Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Man at the Table 1995

I have been going through my work updating images of the older pieces I have.  Originally I shot slides(Kodachrome), and did the best I could using a black cloth as a backdrop and natural light.  As I slowly entered the digital world, I learned to shoot digitally and to use Photoshop but I had 20 years of slides that had to be scanned and then transferred into my computer. It's these images that I am re-shooting now, 30 years later..

It's been an interesting journey for me, revisiting these older images.  I have been absolutely astonished at their power and beauty--their strength and complexity.  "Man at the Table" was made during the Bosnian war, and was about the "peace negotiations" which were ongoing and never ending. Everyday we would watch images on the TV of the violence, the destruction and the atrocities between the Bosnians and the Serbs.  And now, sadly, almost 30 years later, the same horrific images are filling our screens with the war in the Ukraine. This image, unfortunately, is still timely. 

Monday, February 6, 2023

Story: Real or Not so Much 2023

                                               "The Bear", Douglas McDonald, 7"x10" 1st place

                                            Story: Real—Or Not So Much

Juror’s Statement

Holly Roberts

January 20, 2023

 For four days I lived with 635 entries for the juried show, “Story: Real-or not so Much”.  Each morning and each afternoon, I would go over the entries numerous times, each time eliminating more artists from the mix and at night I would dream about the images.  My goal was to select 60 wall pieces and 4 sculptures because this is what the gallery had room for.  The process was blind—meaning I didn’t know the names of the artists—to help me be as objective as possible in choosing the work.  Having been on both sides of the fence with this process before, both as artist and as juror, I knew how hard it would be to receive the “unfortunately…” letter, and I also knew that the job of choosing was completely my personal vision in what I felt to be outstanding art.

I had a few rough rules: no more than one piece by each artist and anything that I felt that was sweet, or cute, or too pretty was out. What I wanted in this show was work that was fun to look at, that was beautifully crafted, honest in its intent, and professionally presented.  I was thrilled by the end result: a show that, while curated with my sensibilities, is far reaching in its scope. Because of the diversity of the  work that the title of the call, “Story: Real—or not so Much”, pulled in, it allowed for just about anything. I am a figurative artist, and because of this probably leaned more towards the figurative, but still found wonderful abstract pieces to include. It was not an easy task, selecting these 67 artists, but one that, at the end of the day, I was very proud to have been a part of.


Friday, December 30, 2022

Dream Ride 2007

When we first moved back to New Mexico in 1992,  I met and became good friends with one of our neighbors, most probably because we shared the same very black sense of humor.  In 2007 she asked me to do a commission based on a large painting she had seen in my studio called "Mud Truck". When her father had died, her three sisters had attempted to keep her from inheriting her share of his very large estate through various means of trickery and chicanery.  It didn't work, because, after a long court battle, she won.  And this is what the painting is about:  my neighbor, driving her cloud car with her three "pious"( but really evil) sisters in the back floating over a wasteland of bodies and trash.  The car is made of clouds and trumpeting angels, the tires are teeth, the exhaust hundreds of small bodies floating away.  Six signs guide her way,: a pedestrian walking sign, a stop sign, a one way sign(pointing the wrong way), a road closed sign(with graffiti), a do not pass sign, and a sign reminding us not to throw litter in this trash strewn landscape. On the side of the car is writing that says, ironically,  "Love Me". The painting is all about greed, and the triumph of good over evil. She was able to use her inheritance to buy, among other things, a number of my paintings, including this one.  This fall her husband called me to let me know that she had died.  I wish that I would have written this blog before she passed.  I know she would have loved it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Barefoot Riders 2013

Barefoot Rider(Girl) 49"x41"  

Barefoot Rider(Boy) 48"x45"

The “Barefoot Riders” series is about the journeys we take in life: what we are given to start with and what we will encounter along the way.  “Barefoot Rider (Girl)” is the portrait of a young friend whose mother immigrated from Mexico.  Although born and raised in the United States, she grew up in a home with no father present, where Spanish was the primary language, with a grandmother who didn’t speak English and a mother who had to learn the language in order to support the family. The white horse she is riding has shuttered eyes, letting us know that her journey has not always been clear or easy.

Barefoot Rider (Boy)” is also about life’s journey, in this case a young indigenous boy with a monk’s tonsure. His mount, also white, has no bridle, and only a whip in the boy’s hand to guide the two.  Both riders and their mounts are constructed of imagery drawn from multiple sources.  Trees, sticks and earth combine with part of a Navajo rug make up the Girl’s horse while a cluster of flowers make the saddle.  The Boy and his horse are made of different elements, including lava rocks and urban graffiti—elements somewhat harsher than the Girl’s. By being aware of what the horses and their riders are made of, it’s possible to see the bits and pieces of two life journeys, similar yet very different. 


Sunday, October 30, 2022

Rough Ride 2022

For the last four weeks, I've been teaching a six week concentration at Penland School of Craft in Penland, North Carolina.  Six weeks is a long time for me to teach--I usually do one to two week workshops in different locations around the country.  It is intense.  We meet every weekday from 9-5 and students are expected to apply what they've learned  in the first few weeks to their images, going wherever that takes them. As the students do more and more of their own work, I'm able to work as well, both for demos and to try new processes. My rule in making work in a workshop is that everything I use has to come from somewhere else--the trash, materials the students don't want, magazines, or anything I find along the way. I do have access to my photos, but only what's on my phone, nothing that I brought from  home, although I did bring paint and brushes. "Rough Ride" is about teaching this long workshop while still not having quite recovered from Covid(June 6 of 2022), being older, and dealing with the various complex problems that present themselves in working with 12 very different, very emotional, and very sensitive people.  In other words, artists.

Friday, September 2, 2022

Mirror 1998

An email came into my mailbox a week ago from a lawyer representing the estate of collectors of mine who had recently passed away.  She wanted to know if I had information on "Mirror", which surprisingly I did(I'm not know for my excellent record keeping). A few days later she emailed me back to let me know that the piece was for sale at  "Consignment Warehouse" in Santa Fe.  She also gave me the price of the piece and suggested I could buy it back and then resell it.  I had loved the piece, and after thinking long and hard and, against my better judgement, I called up the store and bought it back, driving up to Santa Fe the next day to pick it up.  It was an upscale consignment store, with $4000 second hand couches and large heavy tables for much more.  There was lots of "art" on the walls, most of which you would  find comfortably hanging in a hotel lobby.  I wandered around and looked at things, then went to pick up my piece from the front desk.  The clerk had brought it out and laid it on the counter with no wrapping or any kind of protection, but it was in perfect shape.  It sat there glowing at me, and then rested in the back seat of my car and did the same.  I was filled with a kind of quiet joy that "Mirror" had come back home.

Old Man Walking 2022

Recently, I tried to leap onto the back of a bareback horse the way I had as a younger woman.  I would stand by their left side, facing their rump, then, with a little jump, swing my right leg up over their back, catching it with my heel and then pulling myself up and over.  It never failed to impress--I could do it on any horse. Imagine my horror when I went to spring onto my friend's horse to impress her and instead of my foot hooking over his back, it smacked right into the middle of his belly.  He gave me a somewhat concerned look, and I tried again and again, finally succeeding, but just barely.  He stood the entire time, waiting patiently for whatever dumb human thing it was that I wanted to do. I tried on another, smaller horse a year or so later, and this time couldn't get my leg over her back. I gave up after a few tries. Where the heck did those loose muscles and powerful legs of mine go?  I guess, turned to sticks.