A Life Less Ordinary

Sunday, February 15th, 2009 – the next dawning of the Age of Aquarius returns after a 2,000-year cycle and fell on St. Valentines yesterday – the last time this happened a messiah was born – I wonder skeptically if this time will be quite so cataclysmic, or if the power of Aquarius has merely been reduced to a 1969 showtune I can’t get out of my head – images of elated hippies in headbands dancing stoned and spasmodic gyrate in my memory. Something in the air is different today. I feel mobilized, optimistic, the sun warm on my back, children play and giggle in syncopation from the swings, a dog catches a frisby mid-air, skaters grind the curb and flip tricky tricks and pat each other on the back, my mind reels with painting ideas.

Flash to this morning-

Bleary from last night’s revelries, we revisited the stage where the echos of last night’s velvet cabaret still echo in the eaves – a striptease fishnet stocking cast to a dark corner, wigs suspended on candlesticks, a paper moon, fake eyelashes on the railing – remnants of this creative movement I’ve been searching for all my life, here in my own back yard. We pull out the staples one by one, break down carboard props, force overstuffed vintage hat boxes with broken latches into the magically expanding trunk of my car. The dancers are hung and dragging, last night’s makeup a stain of their alter-egos, a shadow of their stage-name personas – “Wild Ginger” and “Lusty Lue” – They’ve come down to earth, to real life, wiping toddler noses, separating laundry, tidying up the evidence of a life less ordinary, it’s a work night after all. I’m too happy to want to unpack the car just yet, I don’t want to forget – the dishes stay undone – Mondays are for housework now – the dishes can wait. This budding Whiteaker scene’s cast of characters have captivated my imagination. I want to move with the movement – I DO want to dance and wear flowers in my hair.
<Click here to see photos from last night’s Terpsichore’s Daughters Valentine’s show “Lonely Heart Cabaret” at Sam Bond’s Garage >

Published in: on February 16, 2009 at 7:22 am  Leave a Comment  

Our bodies are oceans

I can’t sleep tonight. My body is all salt and water, these tides pulled in all directions by planetary face-offs and solar eclipses on the make – no really, this Friday (the day of my next art opening oddly enough) there’s going to be a solar eclipse at 6:21 AM EDT. All these things sloshing around in my head making me seasick. The old me hears the siren song and wants to be swept away in the insomnia-driven excitement of that ominous something’s-going-to-happen feeling. The practical me tried putting herself to bed an hour ago, trying to keep time to the sleep sounds of my husband and child on either side of me, sweet smelling sleep sweat pasting baby curls on Penny’s forehead, me looking up at the ceiling wishing for that kind of peace.
The source of some of the excitement is the completion of a painting I put off finishing for over three years now that was pretty emotionally charged. I rushed through it, thinking I’d find some peace in the end but it only stirred the pot I think. My wanting something to be finished business may not always make it so.

On the bright side however, just when I was starting to dread that the next painting idea would never present itself, the images are starting to come to me tonight. It’s hard to verbalize but I’ve got a veritable circus of characters in my head, all standing in line waiting for their portraits to be painted. I’ve been fighting it off some because I know it’s probably time for me to grow away from figures and get to doing some safer landscapes and still lifes that I can show in a restaurant but no great artist ever did “safe” for too long I suppose. I think I’m just going to keep following my nose where it goes and keep it honest as usual even if it gets dark and uncomfortable, seemingly unsellable, etc…

This Mirah song comes to mind:


The sidewalks are dirty
The gutters are dry
The summer is over
My bones are inside

This dance is difficult
This dance is hard
This makes me wanna spin
‘Round in the yard

Asleep in my bedroom
My eyes open wide
I hope i get out soon
Get lost in the tide

This dance is difficult
This dance is hard
This makes me wanna spin
‘Round in the yard

And when i get thirsty
From drinking the ocean
And my blood is burning
From all the commotion

This dance is difficult
This dance is hard
This makes me wanna spin
‘Round in the yard

Love is an arrow
Shot through the sky
The streets are all narrow
The rivers are wide

This dance is difficult
This dance is hard
This makes me wanna spin
‘Round in the yard

Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 8:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Fertility Series completed

Here are the last of the series (some have been revised) to be included in my upcoming show starting tomorrow at Feinstein’s Gallery of Unfine art running July 1st through the 14th. Check out the opening July4th starting at 5:30 (first stop on Lane Arts Council’s First Friday Artwalk).

Published in: on July 1, 2008 at 5:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Fertility Series cont…

Took advantage of the opportunity to keep Mike company in the studio while he had to work late to do some painting last night. Still need to finish the rear-end one but think it stopped in an interesting place. Still can’t believe our little baby is sleeping through the night – it’s so nice to have our evenings back!

Published in: on March 6, 2008 at 7:39 pm  Comments (4)  

New Painting

Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 11:41 pm  Comments (1)  

"Reliquary" Artist Insight Talk

Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 12:47 am  Comments (1)  

Revelation Week

This week doesn’t seem to be slowing down in intensity for me really – but not for lack of trying. I even went so far as to get up early one morning before Penny was awake even and started the tea and did some yoga (which hasn’t happened in ages for me) and I got a full hour of me time first thing no less! If you are not or have never been a mother, you might be stunned as to why the incredulous tone. My day usually begins with a smack on the face or a fistfull of my hair being pulled out by Penny and a cheery “HI!” an inch from my nose and sometimes a bonus wet morning baby kiss (which are the best!!!) and a gesture towards the door, then a diaper, a mad dash to the bathroom to see to my own needs, then take my best shot at convincing Penny that brushing our teeth is a realy fun game, then if I’m very lucky a quick shower in which I need to dance and sing (and any other form of entertainment that you would assume might best be reserved for opportunely clothed moments) for Penny whilst trying to actually clean myself, followed by running Penny her own bath and hopping on one foot trying to be in two rooms at once between getting on each article of clothing so I can be sure she doesn’t drown in two inches of water. On the days she’s really into bath time I get to dry my hair and that coupled with a hot morning chai can make me feel almost human again, maybe not like much of a woman, but human. An hour later I’m picking Penny’s crusty oatmeal breakfast off my jeans. This is my life.

Intensity, yes, as I was saying. Every day I seem to set out expecting one kind of day and then something else entirely seems to unfold. It’s not been stemming from the painting this week – in fact I’ve ended up having very little time in the studio at all. Since last week was about research, it only follows that now come the revelations. Here was today’s revelation I jotted down in my sketch book:
“Last night I dreamt I was planting an herb garden – and it hit me today: Last weekend when Mike and I had one of our first real difficult dissagreements and then finally when after two days we reached a point of understanding about our silly non problems – reached that point in an conflict where you finally hit the root of the matter – the kind of resolve that unveils what really motivated one to get bent out of shape about who puts the fresh garbage bags in the can – when you reach the emotional core and you can finally move through it and move on. I find it interesting that after our big talk I was dead-set on immediately going to work on pulling out the Rosemary bush that has swallowed our driveway and entry way whole, the monster of my discontent that has been staring me down for months now (I pulled the other one out while I was pregnant that one month I actually had energy and I was back for blood this time). Penny asleep in the car still we wrapped a rope around the base of the bush and yoinked it out if seconds flat. I think we were both surprised at how easily it came free, and instantly we felt the catharsis and the symbolism of what had just taken place. I went to work planting new flowers in the bed and sweeping the driveway while Mike became the caseworker in the innocent until proven guilty Rosemary bush relocation program, which now resides under a new name in the far corner of the yard where it belongs and will be (where we will all be) much happier with it. The symbolism of this act, and the relief we both felt in planting something new where frustration had once flourished was not lost on us. We’ll see if she appears in the next painting…hmmmm” [the gears are going again]

Here’s the only tangible sign of headway I’ve made in the studio this week. The rest has just been the business of being an artist and not necessarily a whole lot of painting: running pieces to and from the framers (Terry you’ve been a life saver and source of solace every time I see you – Thank You!), I hit a few local stores with my greeting cards and magnets some success there, some heartbreak. I’m not used to having to put myself out there so much – in an art show you usually toil in solitude for a year or so and then have one night to let the work do all the talking, and the people that come are there to see it – I’m not as comforatable with having to do the talking and approaching other people peddling my art like I’m selling a Kirby. So, these are hard knocks but good ones, and the successes certianly make it easier to take the failures.

Today also ended up being about friends in need. I did a Tarot reading for a friend (which I hadn’t done in years) and three major arcana cards came up – Jen, I know you’ll understand the implications of this immediately. I also got to hob nob with midwife Emily for a little while (talk wedding stuff, relationship stuff, baby stuff, and of course discussed the really crucial question of the day, “so, what are you going to wear for the art show?” – which is still looming over my head unanswered 😉
My evening ended on a really lovely note as I was able to answer to the call to arms from my lady friend Rena to unite and validate, weild our affirmations and bare our souls. It had been a long time since I felt a sense of ritual, not since the full moon circles my grandma Berta hosted when I was her apprentice as an awkward child and almost-woman. Rena had this idea to write down the things we loved about each of the other and then share them aloud. I suggested writing them down in 4 separate notebooks so we could have a keepsake and reminder of this gesture. To be in the room was to know what it is for your heart to swell and there was not a dry eye in the place. How lucky I am to know so many poets. Heather and Amy, I also suggested that we transcribe our little party favors for you so that you two can add to them as well and we’ll start our love poems to you as you were sorely missed and it was too special for you to have missed out on completely.

Mike, I’m missing you terribly and as I sit here typing, Penny is lying here next to me somehow managing to take up the whole bed in your absense. Thought you’d enjoy this little slideshow of how sweet and snuggly she looks right now.

Published in: on November 15, 2007 at 5:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Down the rabbit hole

It’s a rainy Oregon Saturday, Penny up at seven and napping by nine, eggs simmer on the stovetop, a British quiz show just audible from the kitchen radio.
How I wish I had more moments like this to hear my own thoughts. So much time passes these days where I can’t quite discern what’s happening in my life without seeing my thoughts tangibly in front of me.
This week has held a special kind of synchronisity and intensity – and I don’t just mean little things like the last dish just fitting in the dishwasher, or having just enough butter to make two loaves of bread. Having my momentum back with the painting has pushed everything else into motion. Everything feels stirred up, cast open, leaving me feeling especially tapped in to something larger than myself, more atuned to life’s billboards, but also feeling terribly exposed and vulnerable. shaken.
Despite my attempts to take the last couple days to rest up after these late nights, my nose has led me down the rabbit hole and I’ve had to heed the call. In following this rabbit’s nose I’ve ended up at the door of several local artist’s studios sometimes quite unintentionally. An old friend, a new friend, and the third, a collector of my work I thought I had lost all record of whom I didn’t even know was a brilliant artist. Oddly enough all three are successful local artists who have each been here in Eugene 20-some years. All three are now entering the phase of their careers and lives where they can retire from having to do the production line, bread and butter products to keep themselves in paints and brushes, able to solely focus on doing the work they have always yearned to do. I always pictured this stage as what it’s like to finally have “arrived” – a concept which, until now, I didn’t really believe could be realized.
It’s strange to knowingly be at the beginning of so many roads, a new marriage, a new family, new life, new art – so much in the thick of it that it seems to swallow us hole at times. I’m cherrishing those moments when we wake up in the middle of our day and think, I’m happy, truly happy, despite the struggle and lack of sleep, the diapers and the dishes, the inkling of knowing how much we truly don’t know. It’s a lovely kind of awakening, to realize life as you live it, and see magic there.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 4:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wet Paint

The last three days have been up at 7 with Penny until Erin gets home so I can sneak out to the studio, fixing dinner when Mike gets home, getting Penny bathed, boobed, booked and to bed by 8, then back out to the studio where we both work late until around 1 am. Whew, I’m spent! Erin’s taken Penny for an outing so I’m going to draw a nice long breath and a nice long bath and hopefully a nice long nap will follow.

Published in: on November 8, 2007 at 11:43 pm  Comments (1)  

Two down, only twelve more to go

Had a great time in the studio today – finished these two:

Published in: on November 7, 2007 at 5:14 am  Comments (1)