Friday, May 30, 2014

Today, I am going to toot my horn, pat myself on the back, brag, a bit. 

A mixed media piece that I did about a special kind of circus will appear in the next issue of Somerset Studio Gallery, a Stampington & Co. magazine, on newsstands on June 1.    Yippee! How to find a newsstand these days?  Barnes & Noble and the craft stores such as JoAnne’s carry these magazines, which are full of good art and crafts ideas from artists all over the country – well worth a look!    Click on the badge below which will take you directly to the magazine.

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Circuses are great material for artists –clowns, high-wire performers, animals. I love the look of the old early 20th century clowns, but circuses seem to me to be more scary than fun. When we lived in Paris, we went to the Carnival Museum, which is only open by appointment and to groups.  The Parisians love carnivals and circuses. The museum is filled with old rides and costumes and the fanciful world to be found in every Parisian’s heart.  The clowns I’ve drawn are a reflection of that part of Paris. The faces of these old-style clowns are often sad as if they hold all the world’s sorrows on their shoulders.  To lighten them, I added butterfly wings to the shoulders. Now they are ones that can fly through the air, whisper soft, with a gentle touch on landing.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Cover the Cracks

Black tar marks scroll down
the asphalt on the Iron Horse Trail.
Like Japanese calligraphers,
two workers swooped 
across the cracks with a large pen,
pushing out more tar when they needed
letting the last dry brush strokes peter
out across the trail.

The ghost of ‘yama’ -–river—
wanders the path
the tar has sunk in.
Leaves, dust and
a broken pinecone or two
fill in the valleys.

The asphalt conceals the old
railroad line which
covered the horse trail which
covered the deer path which
covered the silt and mud which
covered the bones turned to fossils
deep beneath the asphalt trail.

Ants, near the strokes,
push up dirt on to the trail
from the tiny caverns 
they are making.
Dirt from deep down below --
fragments of wheat, oats,
manure, glass, bones.

I took a Calligraphy workshop called Text and Texture with Yukimi Annand ( last year and have been finding calligraphy in places that I didn't imagine before.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Do you have an expression that fits to your core?

Mine is “What goes around, comes around.”  

I remember an event from my childhood that illustrates this saying so well.

Between our neighbor’s house and ours was an alley that was a fascinating place for me. On our side, I could sit on the edge of a small well that was one entrance to the crawlspace underneath our house. I used to find all kinds of interesting insects in that hole: potato bugs, banana slugs, black widow spiders, and stinkbugs. The coolness coming from under the house intrigued me (though not enough to pull back the screen so that I could crawl under).  On the other side of the alley, our neighbors had a wide patch of thriving ferns.

I couldn’t resist them either.  One day, I spent a very long time stripping every leaf off of every fern so that all that was left were the slender stakes.  Did I think I would get away with such mischief?  I didn’t even consider the consequences. It was just too much fun pulling those leaves through my fingers.

In our backyard now, we have a hill with redwoods towering over us.  Underneath them, the only plant that will consistently grow is the kind of fern from my childhood.  The ferns create a lush, verdant area in a hot, dry climate (one of the few fern forests our gardener has seen).  They are beautiful.

I think of that moment at my neighbor’s yard when I look at our ferns as I’m working in the yard. My neighbors were gardeners.  My punishment for stripping their ferns:  an hour’s worth of work in their garden -- an hour that woke up my lifelong love of gardening.  To me, the expression, “What goes around, comes around,” explains my passion completely.

Do you have a lasting expression?

Friday, May 9, 2014

Do you keep a journal?

I have written in a journal for about 25 years since our son Theo was born.  I like to use the composition books that you can buy at a drugstore.  My favorites now are the Decomposition books that are made from recycled paper, and have artwork inside the front covers.

Every now and then, I look at the stack of journals where I have documented my most inner thoughts and feelings and wonder what to do with them.  They are not great works of literature, mostly, rants, places to figure out what I think and feel, not something for public knowledge.  I had heard that a university somewhere was studying personal journals, but I couldn’t find the study, even on the Internet.

So, they have become a project, a possible art project.  Here are some of my ideas:

The one that I thought would work the best involved shredding the pages halfway through and displaying them as an open, shredded book. Brillliant!  I have a shredder so I decided to try. As soon as I aligned the journal pages with the shredder, I realized I had one small problem.  The pages were about ½” too wide for the shredder’s mouth. I persisted, stuffing the sides in a little to make them fit, turned the machine on, and watched, much to my horror, as the machine far too quickly ate the pages, pulling them from the book, tearing more pages, almost gobbling up my hand as I tried to retrieve them, until the machine ground to a halt overloaded with paper.  Okay.  Stop. 

Any new ideas?