Sunday, October 4, 2015

Man with TV 1986

TV is central to our lives.  Both my husband and I take our dinners into the living room where we sit, plates in our laps, and watch our favorite programs every evening.  I'm reminded of Bob's Grandparents watching Lawrence Welk every Saturday, only now they are long gone, and we are watching our own versions of the saccharine band leader.  We talk about characters as if they are our friends, analyzing what has been said or done long after the show is over.  When we go out to parties or to have dinner with friends, we discuss our latest favorite shows, among them, Naked and Afraid, a reality show about two strangers of the opposite sex dropped in the wilderness to survive without food, clothes, or water for 21 days, or Transparent, a TV series about a family in Los Angeles whose father comes out as always having thought of him/herself as a woman. We now have cable with it's billion trillion(mostly worthless) channels, Netflix, and now, Amazon Prime, so we have even more access to movies and television series.  Many of the programs we watch are excellent, and it's being said that we are in the Golden Age of TV--series that are allowed to follow complicated and compelling story lines over years, like Breaking Bad or The Sopranos.  But even when we only had four stations and a tiny black and white set with Rabbit ears, we were still TV Junkies.  At least now we can pretend that what we are watching is vital to our development as human beings, and not just pure escapism.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Burning House 2015

After being asked by Hiroki Morinoue to do a Mokuanga print with him at Anderson Ranch this Fall, I prepare the drawing, taken from the image Big Girl
Hiroki takes my drawing and traces it to two bass wood panels. He carves another house as well as the key panel to make the house stand out more, but, in the end, it makes the house too strong and we don't end up using it(the second panel can be seen resting against the wall).  His printing station is located on the floor in a corner of the printmaking shop at Anderson ranch, with Hiroki sitting on a cushion with a two low benches in front of him to work on, all of which can be folded into his suitcase so that he can travel with them.

 The first run of the print is a bass wood panel inked with red and it will be dropped twice, once for the background, and again, only partially inked, to give the top part of the sky a deeper red.  The "inks" are water colors, and must be kept wet to work.  The pattern of the wood is clearly evident, part of the charm and aesthetic of the print.

 Here you can see Hiroki rubbing the back of the paper with his Baren, transfering the ink from the panel to the print.

 The second panel after it has been painted with black water based ink and then had an image pulled from it.

 The panel with the freshly pulled print next to it and the round Baren that Hiroki uses to rub the ink in his hand(face down).

 Hiroki, satisfied with the print.

Burning House, a Mokuhanga print printed by Hiroki Morinoue*.  An ancient Japanese technique using water based ink that is hand rubbed from carved wood blocks.**


**Woodblock printing in Japan (木版画, moku-hanga) is a technique best known for its use in the ukiyo-e artistic genre of single sheets, but it was also used for printing books in the same period. Woodblock printing had been used in China for centuries to print books, long before the advent of movable type, but was widely adopted in Japan during the Edo period (1603-1868). Although similar to woodcut in Western printmaking in some regards, the moku-hanga technique differs in that it uses water-based inks—as opposed to western woodcut, which often uses oil-based inks. The Japanese water-based inks provide a wide range of vivid colors, glazes, and transparency.  Wikipedia

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Woman with Small Dog on a Leash 2015

In December of 2014, I went to the animal humane society to find a new dog to replace our old dalmatian, gone over the Rainbow Bridge.  Our other dog, Niko, was catatonic with grief, and it hurt me to see my lively, brave, and fierce little dog curled up in a ball on his pillow, only moving when forced to.  I was clear on what I wanted: a largish dog, perhaps Labrador size. Sex didn't matter, but he/she needed to be at least a year old and housebroken.  I wanted something that would keep the coyotes at bay--that wouldn't let anything in the yard that would kill and eat my little fearless terrier. 

Instead, I came home with a 7lb, 5 month old female dachshund/miniature pinscher cross puppy with god knows what else mixed in.  She'd been picked up as a stray on the mean streets of Albuquerque.  She was never going to be big, that was for sure, and, of course, was not house-broken. She was very timid, and hid behind the TV for the first hours in our house.  When I approached her, she would run away, and her cautiousness  reminded me of the coyotes I was hoping to keep out of our yard.  But there was something about her that spoke to me, some quality of reserve and dignity that I could see under the fear in her skinny body. When I finally  managed to catch her and then pick her up, I could feel her surrender, melting her body into mine, burying her head in my chest, safe at last.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Fox with Rabbit 2014

Raised on PBS nature documentaries, there was always the confusion for me of who the "good guy" was.  Was it the young antelope, separated from the herd, then stalked and chased relentlessly until brought down by a pride of lions working in tandem?  We see her head, eyes still open, moments before she dies, the lions covering her body.  Or is it the mother lion, greeting her cubs after returning from feeding on the antelope?  Without this food, the somber voice-over tells us, the mother won't be able to produce milk for the babies,  and they will weaken and die.  We watch as the cubs swarm the mother's belly as she collapses on the ground, stretching out her long body so that there is room for all to feed.

As an adult, I came to realize that there was no one good guy, or, perhaps better said, all in nature is the "good guy".  Without one, we can't have the other.  Rabbits, and there are a lot of them, are eaten by predators, and predators, which there aren't so many of, face starvation if they don't find prey. They both live by their wits, and if they don't, they die. The reality, beyond the death of one animal or the other, is that both fox and rabbit live on, headed in different directions but sharing the same world of sky and forest.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Two People Walking 2014

Although I'm shy, I am friendly.  When I bike or walk, I always verbally greet or nod to acknowledge the person coming my way, whether I know them or not.  On a recent trip to the bay area, I took a ride on a bike path in Lafayette, California.  It's an affluent area on the far east side, and there were lots of people out.  I did my normal, nod, or nod and greet, or just greet, to the people I passed, and I remembered, from the last time I rode my bike on that same bike path, that people weren't so friendly.  Some people would respond, but in a kind of sullen, not happy at being forced to do this kind of a way.  Others just ignored me or looked away.  It hurt my feelings.  I felt intrusive, like a large Labrador puppy that won't stay out of your space.  As my ride came to an end, I found myself tight lipped, not greeting, nodding, or greeting and nodding anymore.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Working Summer 2015

Painting has always been my true north. I paint outside because it's such a messy, sloppy process.  The floor of the porch is covered with paint, as will be my legs, shoes and apron as the days proceed.
July in Albuquerque is usually hot, but, thanks to climate change, we've had an unseasonably cool and wet summer.  Working outside connects me to my small part of the world:  our dogs racing around, neighbors going by in the street, the wind, the rain, the sun, smells.
With this painting session, which lasted about a week, I tried to act on whatever my creative inner voices told me to do.  At this point in my life as an artist, I have an overload of materials:  paints, tools, surfaces, and miscellaneous items that I used to paint with including but not limited to mops, brooms, sanders, and ladders.  So, it's finding, pulling out and using what I need as I need it.  Since the paintings are abstract, I'm only reacting to the painting itself, not what they can or should be.
The paintings that emerged from this session were lighter, cleaner, and simpler than what I've done in the past.  When I finished, I felt that they were the best paintings  I'd ever done, but then, I always feel that way. 
It rained heavily one afternoon while I worked, so I took one of the paintings, with wet paint on it, and set it in the rain to see what would happen.  The results were pretty great.
At the end of the week I had over 30 paintings that I felt were absolutely stunning, most fairly small.  I sat with that good feeling for a few days, but then realized I had to come up with surfaces that would be better than the paintings alone.  My good feelings turn to ones of anxiety as I start trying to figure out what to put on top of these lovely things.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Thoughtful Man 2002

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened"  Mark Twain

7:30 a:m on a Sunday and I was getting dressed to go for a run.  My husband came into the bedroom, pale and anxious and said he needed my help.  Worried, I hurried to finish dressing and found him sitting at the desk in the family room with his laptop open.   "I can't get this to work.  I just don't know what to do.  I feel terrible".  He was due to leave for a week long workshop in Colorado, a seven hour drive, and was trying to post a letter of recommendation to an application portal that was due the following day.  It wouldn't let him in. I couldn't help.  His despair deepened.  I suggested he call the listed contact number  the first thing the next morning for help.  "But everything is here in the computer" he groaned, "and I've got to get going".   I reminded him that the computer was a laptop, and he could take it with him.  His face brightened. I made us some breakfast, we ate, and he drove away, free of his burden IT burden.