Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Folklife Festival 2006

Folklife Festival 2006: Seattle's gift to itself in the form of a free festival devoted to music, culture and diversity. What a joy to be a part of this amazing party.

Anyone can come and bring their instrument and participate with others in singing or playing their music. It is a calcophany of sound.

Beautiful people. Every age, race, condition and persuasion. Having fun together.

My good friends Andrew and Terry McIlrath. Terry is a painter too and Andrew is a treasure.

My booth (OK, 2 pictures spliced together with a lots left out but maybe you can get the idea of how much work I usually bring to a fair).

The fair was a huge success despite 3 days of moody Seattle weather. On the 4th day, Memorial Day, the entire city seemed to turn out for a day of sunny pleasure, dancing, making music, playing in the fountain and enjoying all the art and film and musical programs on the schedule. I took a lot of pictures and will share these with you. I really love Seattle. The city has more diversity than any other I know of and the most tolerant, loving attitude toward its multi-flavored mix. This is surely heaven right here on earth; acceptance, kindness, love. I am crazy busy and so I will just post some photos for now to give you the flavor.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Blog Eats Woman's Brain

We leave for Folklife in the morning so I am supposed to be packing, cleaning and all that but no, my friends, I am here because you are here. This is the painting i finished just in time to take to the show. This one was inevidable as where I live there are about 25 non-human animals to every human-animal. They have to sleep outside! Life is so unfair. I know they would love nice houses with central heat but the man draws the line. Only Hermanito gets to sleep on the bed.

I will post some flowers that I shot last Saturday. I did nothing all day but circle the property taking pictures and having an "appreciation" day. To be alive. To have health. To be surrounded by beauty. For beautiful food from the garden and fragrant breezes and friends and family. I never forget that I am pixie dust - here for a very short visit and then quickly again I will depart. We create our lives. Make it a good one!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mermaid Collaborative Book

This is the front and back covers of my half of the mermaid books that Bee and I are creating together. She lives on the Atlantic coast and I live on the Pacific so the book will travel a long way in it's journey toward completion. I had no idea what I was doing so I just plunged in and did what was fun. As it turned out, I headed for the old photos of my family and so I decided to tell the story of my mer-mommies and my home. We'll see how that goes.

I did the writing on vellum with walnut ink and used Babblefish for the Spanish translation. I know just enough Spanish to know that the translation was somewhat bogus but that just made me laugh and I used it anyway.

On the "Home" page I used a transparency of a painting of a house surrounded by aluminum tape with scraffiti. Lots of glued paper and embellishments. You can probably figure it out.

This page shows my Great Grandmother and her sisters dressed in their mermaid tails. We owe everything to our mamas, our grandmothers, our great-grandmothers and beyond. Some day I will do a book to honor the men who nurtured us but I have never heard of a merman (well, beside Ethel) so that will wait. Maybe. I'll think about it. It's so much fun just making it up as I go and making it just what I want to. So Bee, it's coming your way on Monday. And I'll be watching my mailbox for her book in return.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Themes and Symbols

One of my art teachers once said that there were only a few themes in art and life; birth, death, metamorphosis, love and a few others that I’ve forgotten. Some artists are drawn to one particular theme and some to another; by deep awareness we each discover the themes that to us are recurring and meaningful.

I dream a lot at night. In a majority of these dreams I am flying, dancing on air, leaping over buildings, having great joy in my body. Floating. Traveling. I am always me; never a bird or Wonder Woman, but I can always fly and while it is thrilling and dangerous I have trust that I will not fall. So it is an act of courage, this flying as well as an act of showing off, for in most of these dreams I think I am doing something special and that people are watching with approval. I suppose that is the child in me that still delights in pleasing others and basking in the limelight.

One of the recurring themes in my paintings is of a lone woman in the act of flight. I have portrayed this activity in various ways. The painting I just finished is one of these in which I am traveling with intention; I have my little boat and I am charting a course for myself by watching for signs and heeding my intuition. This is how I see my life nowadays. I am wide awake and charting a course of my own choosing. I am no longer young and confused.

This painting is on canvas, mixed-media; acrylic, alkyd, encaustic, and collage. After I finished it I remembered an etching I did of a similar subject about 27 years ago. I searched my drawers and found the etching (a drypoint, really, with aquatint etched in) and I will share it. Someone recently called my "style" magic realism. I dont like labels in art as each painting is so individual an exploration, but I think this one is suitable because it recalls one of my favorite authors, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who has always been referred to as a magic realist. The etching now strikes me as the work of a very young artist but I think it is interesting how it fortells the painting I just completed.

I think I may have done this etching in 1977 or 78 and it was only the second one I'd done at that time. I wanted to write a story then of a woman who danced into a rainbow and create a handmade book of etchings to illustrate the story but I never got beyond the first two illustrations. After that I learned how to make etchings in color with multiple plates and turned to a more painterly style.

To sum up: life themes. What is your recurring dream? Or daydream. What do you doodle while you talk on the phone? Where does your mind go while you are pulling weeds or washing dishes? These are the seeds that your imagination can turn into art, be it storytelling, song or pictoral. Save them up and nurture them. You have a story that only you can tell. It is a powerful thing and it will change you and the world.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Eighty degrees

It's nearly impossible to stay indoors in this weather. The air is too fragrant, too warm. Everything is growing so fast that it changes on a daily basis and begs to be appreciated.

The lambs. The figs. The growing tomato plants and peppers. The roses which refuse to open with the exception of Therese Bugnet. The blackberries which sprout up everywhere and bite my fingers when I pull them out by the roots. Blackberries will eat us alive in Oregon if we aren't vigilant.

Then there is my trusty assistant, Hermanito, who pesters me all day long to lie down on the floor with him and tickle and pet and cuddle him in all the approved ways. If you dont do it perfectly you will get the wrath of his razor claws. Otherwise he's a pussycat.

These are beautiful, dont you think? Common little weeds. But so precious.

border=We brought these irises with us from our old house in Orenco. They are a rather ugly variety but they emit a powerful scent of grape kool-aid which everyone who experiences them agrees is miraculous. Beside that they were given to me by Mrs. Sharp who passed away this winter and so they remind me of her and all the loaves of bread of pies she used to send over when John and I were working late into the night preparing for the next art fair. Her name was Dorothy and she was a great role model for me. She excelled in all the old skills; sewing, baking and child rearing. She could butcher a hog and make laundry soap out of it as well as food for the table. Her stories of the "hard times" were a vivid contrast to the easy lives we live today.