Sunday, January 27, 2013

Blind Woman Praying 1994

I've been working as a professional artist for over thirty years, and it never ceases to amaze me at what transpires before I start. Here's how it always goes:

 1.  excitement about getting started
 2.  buying lots of materials I don't really need
 3.  putting off getting started
 4.  more putting off getting started
 5.  getting anxious
 6.  getting depressed
 7.  wondering what the purpose of my art making is all about anyway
 8.  coming up with reasons not to start
 9.  coming up with reasons not to be an artist
10.  crying and making my husband worry about my mental health
11.  getting started

It's such a leap of faith.  For one thing, I have no conscious idea of where I'm going, what I will be doing, or what I will end up with.  I have lots of ideas that I've gathered since the last time I worked, and it comforts me to collect those ideas and write them down, to assure myself that I do have some direction and  purpose( of course, 99% of those ideas will fall by the wayside once I get started).  All of this obfuscating is a pathetic attempt on my part not to have to go into the fire, not to have to struggle and be lost, not to have to feel chaotic and confused.  But mostly it's about not wanting to surrender, to turn myself over to that power that I don't have any control over.  And even though  I always know that this force, when I finally give over to it, allows me be the very best I can be, I still have a terrible time letting go.  It finally just boils down to faith, and trusting that once I get started, all will be okay.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Basket 2013, Benefit "Picnic for the Planet"

Pieces for the cover

Paper Mache eggs after being painted and crackled

Lid after being crackled

Prepping the basket

"Bad" eggs

Inside cover

Outside of basket
I recently received a request to donate a piece for a benefit to be held for the Nature Conservancy and the Farmer's Market, organized by Patina Gallery in Santa Fe.  I was to create something based on a picnic basket which the Nature Conservancy would provide.  The name of the benefit was Picnic for the Planet, .

I don't like doing benefits, and I don't like doing auctions.  As artists, we are constantly being asked to donate work for  causes, good and not so good.  We receive nothing in return, usually not even the name of the person who bought our piece for the benefit, and when there are rules and  limits attached, I get even more annoyed.  That being said, I decided to say no, which of course didn't take into account  my creative self.   That creative self was intrigued: a basket, eggs, a bird.  Hmmmmm.  Interesting.  And so I was hooked.  I planned most of it, which is something I almost never do, and I was pleased that I could actually kind of call the shots.  The "eggs" are paper mache rocks made by my good friend and artist Laurie Tumer, given to me years ago when Laurie was getting rid of stuff.  The bird was loosely based on another image I had done called "Bad Eggs" It seemed right for this cause and this particular picnic basket.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Man Being Chased 1991

In Chicago from 1991-1992, I tried to run for exercise on a regular basis.  We lived about six blocks from Lake Michigan, so that was my course; over to the lake, then along the shore for a mile or so, then back. On one of my runs two men sped by me.  I thought to myself, "How great, they're racing each other".  Well of course, this wasn't the case.  The leading man had stolen the chasing man's wallet and and the chasing man was trying to retrieve it.  I came home from my run to paint this painting.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Mexican Folk Artist, Anonymous 2012

No Te Rindas en La Primer Caida: Don't give up in the first fall.

In December of this year I was invited to give a workshop in Oaxaca, Mexico at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MACO).  I hadn't been to Mexico in years, and was reminded how much I loved the Mexican people-their warmth, their humor and their openness.  I was also reminded of how much I have been influenced by Mexican Folk Art.

In Oaxaca I found a number of  little paintings on aluminum  and bought seven($6 each).  Based very loosely on the Mexican Retablo, a Latin American devotional painting, they are humorous, often sexual, and truly wonderful, all six inches by five inches, hung with a piece of heavy thread from a small nail hole in the metal. They are where I want to go with my own work:  essential, honest, and simply painted with no fuss or muss.  I love the loosely painted yellow background on the slick metal surface with the overpainting of the bossy little skeleton wrestler .  Red, black, and white-how much simpler can you get? In real life, the Mexican wrestlers wear masks much like the one our little skeleton is wearing, so he is able to be both a "real" skeleton and a "real" wrestler at the same time. And finally, what a great life message, "don't give up in the first fall".  Truly words to live by.