Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Angry Mother 2016

My mother-in-law was a very elegant 1950's mother.  She was--and is--quite beautiful, now 92,  Albuquerque's own Jackie Onassis. In our scruffy little western city, my mother-in-law stood out like a sore thumb, always dressed to the nine's with beautiful clothes and scarves, always with makeup and hair done, and always in heels.  Something that couldn't have been easy with four kids and a husband who sometimes brought home the bacon, and sometimes didn't.  At one point, she and my father-in-law went to the Mrs. America contest in Florida, and they returned with a pink vacuum cleaner for her and a billiard table for him.

But there was another side to my mother-in-law--not the Donna Reed side.  It was dark and frightening. To this day my husband has vacuum-noise-induced anxiety because of his PTSD around what we call "angry vacuuming". One minute she would be the Loretta Young of the Northeast Heights, and then, there it would be--pure rage over something seemingly trivial at the time. We still see it in her, now with inhibitions gone as her dementia increases.  This small painting must have hit a note with others, either angry mothers or the children of angry mothers, because when this piece was taken to the Dallas Art Fair in the spring of 2016, it sold immediately.  Soon after that, several of the buyer's friends returned to the booth, demanding to know where they could find their own "Angry Mother".

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Wild Pony 2018

Most recently, I've found myself becoming involved, once again, with horses.  A friend purchased a horse in March, having never owned one before, and I have been helping her out with him.  It's as if a sealed door to my past has opened, and memories have been flooding in.  So much of my childhood was based on my life with horses, hours spent riding by myself in the open ranch land around our home in Santa Fe, or treating my horse much as other kids treated their bicycles, using him as a way to get places as effortlessly as possible. My library was awash with horse and dog books:  Misty of Chincoteague, the entire set of The Black Stallion, King of the Wind, Smokey, and of course, Black Beauty, just to name the ones I still own and treasure.  The stories formed my moral compass and gave me an understanding of how things worked, at least from a horse's perspective.  As an adult, it was my 20 year old mare's inability to conceive that convinced me that, if I was going to have children, I'd better get going or I would soon be too old.

Many of my horse memories are painful, having to do with problems that arose with my horses, or accidents that could have been fatal--a friend being dragged by that same 20 year old mare.  Some of the worst memories are ones of having to say goodbye to a favorite horse, or having to say no to being offered a gift of a horse because I didn't have the money to take care of him.  And now, I'm not sure where I've landed with this new horse life. Something has shifted, but it's a wobbly shift, with no clear direction and no real sense of where I'm headed or where I'll end up. So I find myself watching YouTube, giving my chair directions on how to make a perfect 20 centimeter circle using my inside(imaginary) rein and my(real)outside leg.