Saturday, July 27, 2013

Making Rain 2013

When my back and legs started hurting from standing all day, I decided to find some good shoes to paint in.  When I paint, I pour and drip and sand and scrape, and much of that goes onto my shoes. So I didn't want anything fancy. Nurses stand on their feet all day, just as I do, and they apparently like Dansko shoes.  At Savers, my thrift store of choice, I found a pair of used, black, Maryjane Danskos.  Something about them was oddly compelling.  I bought them, brought them home, and wore them into the studio the next day.  However, I couldn't bear to cover them with paint--disrupt that oddly compelling factor. Instead, I set my camera on a tripod and took photographs of myself wearing them.

The shoes became the inspiration for Making Rain.  The clunky Maryjanes with the plain, gray, workaday socks gave form to the legs, made from the negative space of the three poured paint areas.  A photo of dried mud became the dress and the figure was suddenly a giant woman, raindrops dripping from her fingers.  Simultaneously, the legs and the background behind the paint drips morphed into a gray and cloudy sky.  I finished the painting and photographed it.   A few days later it poured, the first significant rain we'd had in over a year, and at the end of July we had a massive rain and wind storm--one of the worst (or best) ever. 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Arguing 2013

In the winter and spring of 2013 I made three trips to Boston to work with graduate students at the Art Institute of Boston.  It was not long after I returned home from my second trip that the Boston Marathon bombings happened.  I know I would have been horrified in any case, but now, because I knew the city and it's people,  it meant more to me.  When I returned to Boston in May for my final visit, I knew I had to go to the site of the bombings.  It was a few miles from my hotel, so I put on my running clothes and jogged over. It was raining ever so slightly, and I worried that I would get caught in a downpour, but the rain let up as I got closer to the memorial site.

The memorial was a small, roped off area in Copley Square.   As I approached the memorial, I began to cry.  It surprised me--it came from such a deep, emotional place. Hundreds of pairs of  running shoes hung by their laces from the temporary fencing,  along with flowers, flags, running jerseys, candles, and just about anything that had meaning to the people who had come to pay their respects and wanted to leave something behind.
 Because of the rain, most things  were covered by thin sheets of plastic, so that everything seemed soft-- blurred under the translucent material.  
This photograph of flowers is collaged onto the elephant's torso in Arguing. It was my way of trying to make sense of something I'm having a hard time understanding.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mother Bird 2013

On my bike rides, in the spring and summer, I often see mother quail with their babies.  When they see me coming, the babies line up behind their mother as she ducks and weaves, trying to evade me--the fast moving giant with the round, rolling  legs.  The chick's tiny legs work like pistons as they move in single file behind the panicked mother.

My mother quail is a conglomerate of pieces that speak to the fact that she is simultaneously urban and wild:  her head is constructed from graffitied text, her body from soil littered with seeds and sticks.  The babies bodies are made from bits and pieces of the brush they hide in.  All of them, mother included, have human eyes.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Blind 2013

From earliest times white horses have been mythologized as possessing exceptional properties...There are also white horses which are divinatory, who prophesy or warn of danger.  In more than one tradition, the white horse carries patron saints or the world saviour in the end times.  Wikipedia  

About a week ago I had a dream in which I was riding a huge horse who suddenly could not continue.  I got off to examine the horse and discovered that his legs were bound.  I untied his legs, then woke.  I did this piece before I had the dream, and haven't known quite what to think of it, especially now with the bound dream horse always at the back of my consciousness.  A friend who saw the image suggested that it had to do with relationships between men and women. I like that interpretation, but I think there are others.  I find it interesting that the horse's eyes are shuttered, and that his back  is covered with both an open eye and the written word blind.  The young man seems to be listening, but I have to doubt that he is hearing what the white horse is trying to tell him.

1.  A pair of leather flaps attached to a horse's bridle to curtail side vision 
2.  Something that serves to obscure clear perception and discernment

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Woman Trying to Listen to Her Better Self 2013

I don't entirely understand why, but so much of being creative involves huge doses of self-doubt, and sometimes, self-dislike.  In January I started a new body of work which involved the following:   taking lots of photos, painting panels, looking at my photos, printing out my photos, cutting those photos, adhering them to the panels, looking at them, getting excited, having doubts, taking them down, repainting the panels, and then starting the whole process over.  Here is a tiny sampling of my busy mind as I worked or lay in bed at night, unable to fall asleep:  You thought it looked so great but it doesn't now, does it?  or Why would anyone  ever want to hang this on their wall? or  And where precisely are you going to put all these new paintings when they come back from not having sold?  and the worst one What a terrible thing to leave your daughters when you die.  All These paintings that they won't know what to do with.

But fortunately I have a better, stronger, and smarter self.  I like her a lot. She calms me, reassures me, and lets me know that it's okay, that what I am doing is pretty terrific, and that in fact people will be thrilled to hang one of these pieces on their wall.  She reminds me that I can always buy another Tuff Shed to store work and that once I'm dead and gone my intelligent daughters will figure out what to do with all those paintings.  For better or for worse it will be their problem, not mine.  Best of all, she lets me know that what I do is important, and that it matters. Even if I don't know exactly why, she does know, and that's enough.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Woman with Sunburn 1983

I just got back from Carmel(by the Sea)in California.  With a packed schedule of talks, workshops, and openings, I only had three chances to get to the beach.  Like most of us, I love the beach, especially now, smack dab in the middle of the worst drought in New Mexico's recorded history. The first time I went it was early in the morning, and I jogged the length of the beach, and then back.  It's a dog friendly beach, and lots of people were out with their dogs.  It made me feel good watching them run and retrieve and shake and roll and pant and trot through the sand with their friends, both human and canine. No leashes. The next time I came to the beach it was a little more crowded.  It was a warm Sunday in Northern California, and people had streamed over the mountains to spend the day there. The water was very cold, so most of the people were on the beach, laying in the sun or walking along the water in bikinis and board shorts.  Kids, mostly, would run in and out of the surf, screaming when the cold water hit their legs and feet.  The third time I came back was later that same day, with a friend.  We stood on the bluff overlooking the beach and watched as the sun went down.  It was chilly, and I had to borrow two of his jackets, feeling like a little girl in the large fleece pullovers.  There were fires all up and down the beach, little dots of yellow on the huge expanse of white sand, people sitting quietly as the tide headed back out.