18×36 inches oil on canvas
20×30″ oil on canvas
Back to Painting
and it feels good.
Changed title. “Do Not Go Gently” 30×30″ oil on canvas.
Lately I have been asking myself why I keep making things. It conflicts with my desire to reduce the number of my possessions…except earrings, maybe. I like earrings. And then there is this rush of visual pleasure seeing glass fuse to silver, so I make more things.
It’s the magpie in me, it’s strong and won’t be denied.
I found my words again although the geo-political atmosphere continues to be contaminated. Lots of shit flinging, a behavior observed in monkeys and apes, and the insane. And it’s contagious. I’d best stay clear and take a watchful position.
It appears that the heart theme has displaced the spiral theme and enameling has displaced the knotting. The colors make me feel childlike and cheery. The urge to place a heart on a piece seems to be a calling to “take heart”. Loving the clarity of Czech glass beads, too. I feel aligned with the work.
I see the path back to painting. I miss painting like I miss a lost relationship; the effort to reestablish flow is sometimes too much. But the energy is rising.
There are new options on the horizon. I hope 2017 will not be as steeped in loss as 2016 has been for so many of us. Let’s take heart and look to the future.
Learning as refuge
The election is over. I am grieving. I really want to say more, write more, but I feel mute.
So I am taking refuge in learning new ways to work. Here are the first steps. Torch fired enamels. Fussy like etching, fussy like printmaking. But the colors are rewarding.
Sometimes friends have more confidence in your abilities than you do yourself. The friend for whom I made this necklace showed me the dress she was wearing for her son’s wedding and said, something simple, with a pearl.
So I made something simple with a pearl. Interestingly, the process was not so simple and depended on a little good fortune (reticulation can be unpredictable). But it worked, and I stretched a little, and she liked it and I’m glad it’s done. Commissions always have a bit of edginess. *wipes sweat from brow*
I have been knotting beads on silk cord. It’s a tricky process. As the strand gets longer the potential for tangling increases. And then a knot is placed too far from the bead and has to be undone. I have found that with mounting frustration, slowing hand movements to tai chi speed helps. It also helps to spin a story about the strand you are knotting. Here are 108 beads in an order that suggests dawn, day, dusk and night. I thought about this progression at our house. The days are full of doing, followed by some relaxation before and after dinner, and then it’s time for bed. But at night it gets busy again because our little dude Remus believes that 3 am is a sporting good time to rouse us, his favorite playmates. Someone is always busy at our house.
It’s all I have to bring today
by Emily Dickinson, 1830-1886
This, and my heart beside—
This, and my heart, and all the fields—
And all the meadows wide—
Be sure you count—should I forget
Some one the sum could tell—
This, and my heart, and all the Bees
Which in the Clover dwell.
(this poem is in the public domain)
Try, try, try again
So much of my life has been about trying again. When I was a teenager, my mom once told me that it was important to be true to oneself. I had no idea what she meant. I thought you had to fit in, work hard to get recognized. I failed at that many times. My kids now say “mom has to commit to her work”. So here I am being an artist. It’s still very hard. I’m still trying again.
A Micro-Holiday for the Eyes
Jewelry is easier to sell than paintings. From a practical point of view, it’s clear: it’s easier to accommodate a small, affordable work than a large canvas. Someone once told me that people buy jewelry even in tough times because it can lift the spirit. I am curious about this power. How does it do that? Maybe because we like (need) eye food. Looking at, and holding jewelry is an intimate experience. A meditation of sorts, a right brain micro-holiday; and I think most of my supporters have magpie traits, too.
No matter where I am, my eye will find small pieces of metal, old nails, screws and mysterious bits of hardware that fall off cars and trucks. Their shape, color and texture form unnoticed tiny sculptures on the road and in parking lots. I always pick them up. In thrift stores an unknown force draws me to the counter where the old jewelry is kept. Smooth pebbles and shells on the beach keep me happily hunting for hours. The thought of going to a bead store is so thrilling, that I cannot think of anything else until I actually go and spend a long time handling all the strands, seriously straining the patience of anyone who has the misfortune of accompanying me on the trip. I am not alone in this, I am part of a tribe of stone and bead lovers who have been here on this earth collecting small treasure to adorn others and ourselves ever since our index fingers and thumbs met.
I am a discerning magpie however, only stone, glass and other natural materials will do. Light refracts differently on these materials. There is a beckoning glow about them. I know it when I see it.