Sunday, February 28, 2021

Grey Horse 2021


I've written in my blog about the events surrounding the discovery of Stormy, the wonderful five year old horse that appeared in my life last February.  Now, a year since this magical being came into my life, my involvement has only gotten deeper and better.  He is a very big guy, and still kind of a baby, the equivalent of a 15 year old person. In order for us to work together, just as I am becoming part horse, he is becoming part human.  I have a sense of wonderment of being part of this animal, of learning to understand his body movements and for him to learn read mine: what his ears are telling me, how subtly can I move my body and still have him respond, what is he trying to tell me when he bobs his head down and won't let me put the bridle on?  Is something wrong, or is he just being a teenager?  When I think of all that has gone wrong in this past 12 months(and who knew it would get SO bad)I have Stormy to think of, and it makes it better, a little glow in the darkness.

Sunday, February 7, 2021

One Face III 2021


As I head into the close of my seventh decade of making images, I'm always impressed by just how hard it is to make something that works visually as well as being new and unique.  Some naive part of me wants to think that once I've figured out how to make a great image, then I will have the secret, and I can just go on making those great images, listening to an audio book and snacking on gluten free chips as I work.  Unfortunately it doesn't work like that.  It's really the opposite: once I've figured out how to make an image work, then my creative self gets bored and won't work with me--and always in a very passive aggressive way.

In 2014 I made six beautiful ink washes as grounds for my images, but they were so beautiful that I couldn't ever get them to work when I tried placing something on top of them. And so they sat on my unfinished shelf year after year.  A few weeks ago I pulled them out and started placing different bits of photographs on top of them. Some worked, but not really, just kind of.  However the thing they all had in common was that they were faces. I would build an image, then pull it off,  then try something new, then, dissatisfied once again, pull the new pieces off. I was confused, and frustrated, and lost in the chaos of trying to see something I had never seen before and so  I kept struggling with them.  Finally, the order of the pieces began to emerge, and it had all to do with using just a very minimal application of the face: lips, noses, and eyes.






Then I let the washes do the rest.  Faces, but almost not faces, all six were finally born.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Forest Mother 2008 & 2021



Forest Mother 2008

In 2008 I did a residency at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. It was the first time I had ever lived for an extended period of time on the East coast, or had lived in a climate that wasn't Western. The forests and the greenness were completely new to me, and I tried to get to know the area a little better through biking and on my daily jogs and walks out from the school. I photographed lots of trees, along  with the leafless kudzu, which covered huge swaths of the forest, choking out the native species. This piece evolved as a reaction to the forest, and the destruction of it that I saw in and around Roanoke.  The Forest Mother, whose body is made of the trunks of the incredible trees I found all around me, is crying as she leans over a body hidden in the forest floor, whose hands reach up beseechingly. The image is about loss and despair. 

Forest Mother 2021

This more recent Forest Mother, I did as a spin off from another piece, which I blogged about last month in a blog called Transformation. The piece resulted from the middle image, which I thought at the time to be too sweet, but I still liked certain elements of it.  This Forest Mother emerged, and was much more at peace than her predecessor, done 13 years earlier.  With her two guard coyotes and snake at her feet, a rabbit in her arms, and two birds perched on her shoulder, she has an air of calmness and wisdom and seems to be saying,"I'll take care of you wild things, not to worry". When I compared the two, it was interesting that this Forest Mother would be so much more positive than the one done in 2008. I think Forest Mother is less about the state of the big world, and more about my smaller world, a considerably more pleasant place to be than it was 13 years ago.