There is something comforting about this tree. I listened to Michelle Obama's "Becoming" while painting it, which seemed about right.
My colleague turned "The Phantom Tollbooth" into a play suitable for our eight 1st - 6th grade students. I got a bunch of cardboard and canvas and put the kids to painting sets and props. We were trying for a sort of early 1900's nursery tale book look. The kid who played Milo is in 3rd grade and did a fantastic job.
We put on two plays a year, an all-encompassing process i highly recommend.
When Mom was a refugee in Bavaria after WWII, she got a job painting peasant motifs on traditional ceramics. I have some of those jugs, filled with history and in this case, spring flowers.
Another one of those Thursday evening paintings, on unprimed pressboard. I see that the poppies open up during the day, but they were closed in the evening when I did the painting. If you ever want to brighten up a meadow, plant these things! I transplanted one of them about 15 years ago, and now they've spread over about three acres, here and there. The other plant that does this is oregano. Everything else needs to be irrigated or coddled in some way, but not these! The yellow plants in the painting are leopard's bane, another trouble-free flower.
My friend and I spent Thursday evenings painting or drawing on my front porch. I normally work from photos, which don't wriggle around, but sometimes it's fun to see what happens in a less controlled environment. I used that brown pressboard, unprimed, because I like the gloomy evening feel that it gives, as it sucks up the paint so thirstily.
Naked City in Seattle, where I've had a month-long one-woman show on a vast wall for several years now, has closed. It wasn't me. Bryan had a baby and I guess he for some reason thinks his family is more important than my needing a venue.
So now I'm looking for another place to show.
Painting requires vast amounts of unstructured time, or at least for me it does. I need to dink around, poke and marvel and shudder and generally let life wash over me unfiltered. If I had my druthers, I'd just moon around all day and paint all night.
The business side of it is completely opposite. I just bought a high-end printer, for example, and am FINALLY getting my records in order. I have three-ring binders that my dad fished out of a dumpster 50 years ago, stamped with "Tuborg Beer." I remember him coming home triumphantly, the back of his VW beetle crammed to its white-fabric ceiling with his find. My sisters and I all keep our records in tidy rows of those blue binders, yay for Tuborg! I now have one for paintings from 2017-18 and one for 2016, and will probably be able to complete another one before I have to buy another tranche of ink. This requires square thinking. Lists, checkmarks, strategy and tactics. Accounting.
But venues? Right now, I'm on a very isolated island, teaching in the teeny tiny public school here. It's off the grid, cell phones don't work, and there are no stores. There is a private ferry service, but it runs during the week and I work during the week so I've been here since January, with only one trip off-island to take my dog to surgery. I took the stitches out myself rather than take another day off work and pay the stiff boat fare.
End of June, I move back to Lopez Island, which is also remote, but not quite so isolated. I can get to Seattle from there in less than a day's worth of travel. So, probably this summer I'll make multiple trips into the Big City to try and find another place to show my work.
I'd rather paint and moon around.
We had a great end-of-winter session at school, which included kid-made Pleistocene megafauna posters all over the wall, a paper jigsaw puzzle of the Middle East that extended from the mud room to the stove and over to the primary reading area, and three days of Arab dance, complete with costumes.
At home, I mostly fell into bed and slept. But occasionally, I painted something entirely unrelated to work. The roses are genuine Norwegian roses, bought to brighten up a dark November Norway, and the forest path is from a walk I took with my rather timid pit bull, who, shortly after we rounded the leafy path, ran home to escape from the scary cow moos that we heard coming from the little farm to the left. I, on the other hand, stopped in for tea and a quick bout of fiddle tunes. Good times!
How do I pick what I'm going to paint next?
As a person trained in mathematics and logical thinking, I would have expected that what I'd do is make a hierarchical chart. This is what I want to express through painting (the interconnectedness of our choices and the interweaving of our lives, human and "natural"), here are the themes that best illustrate that (probably the derelict vehicles for the first and the animal paintings for the second), and here are the gaps that I see in the overall oevre.
There is a certain energy that shivers through my body when I see or imagine an image that I want to capture. It doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I know I want to do. The creative process is wild. The only taming process that I seem to be able to do is to squish it all into an 18 x 24" frame. Sometimes it even bursts out of that, but due to severe storage restraints, I avoid acting on expansive inspiration.
Anyway, these roses have very little to do with what my intellect tells me I'm after. But they were fun to paint and I'm glad I did them. Deal with it.
I have a half-time job and I don't start until mid-January. Since it's December 24 now, I figure I have about three weeks to carouse before I have to buckle down and finish mapping out my teaching semester.
The wall behind the stove looks like this now. These paintings are all drying while I stare at them and occasionally add a dash of this or that to one of them.
On the left is a walk I took in Norway at sunset (which was around 3:00). It was near freezing and I was quite taken by the spindly yet eerie looking trees. The middle picture is of ferns in the deep woods in the Pacific Northwest. The one on the left is of my friend's geese. I tried to interleave their feathers in with the landscape in a not very pushy way. The original shape of the geese is probably fairly clear. It's what I love most about being alive, that sense that we are all layered into each other.
Don't tell my therapist, who spent three years talking to me about setting clear boundaries. Feh.