Friday, November 25, 2011


Tonight I'm thankful that I have time to paint. It's hard over a holiday, but big A has taken the kids for a movie night while I work. 

Thanksgiving was the quiet, cozy, fragrant day I hoped it would be...that is until we broke into a dance party to shake off the comfort food. Many things I'm thankful for drifted through my mind as I stirred, mashed, splashed, and kneaded...

The ginkgo trees in October


good food

the forest

meeting new animals while adventuring


these guys

this guy

that I have this little space to share

that you're taking a moment to check in

that somehow I've carved out the time and space to pursue my work

that the occasional "f*** it" doesn't keep me down...that I never forget the list...that it keeps growing...

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Artist Statement (and the subject of Love)

I don't meet many artist who enjoy writing about their work; as essential as it is, the artist statement is often a thorn in our sides. The purpose is to offer a platform from which the viewer can explore the work. My approach is usually to be as brief and straight forward as possible. I grumble and edit and end up with words on paper that introduce people to my work.

When I sat down to write about the paper people, the task was more difficult than ever. I prefer to have my hands tell the story, but the collection must travel with a statement. Two words came to mind, a title perhaps: necessary luxuries. The Paper People were here to be a little bit braver about the things we crave need, but for some reason, can't quite deem essential. They challenge our habit of keeping secret that which is most human.

private collection Philadelphia

private collection Washington DC

One day, after quite a while of having only a few lines I would commit to, I came across this quote by visual, conceptual, installation performance artist, Helene Aylon:

"Because there  is a fear of sentimentality, love is not very often addressed -- and it is really the one motivation in all of our lives."

Well, there you have it, I was afraid to say it's about love. I was afraid of setting that word out to sail in a sea of misconceptions. For me love is
                               bolder & more brilliant than my words can convey. I would prefer the paper people say it for me. As Jean-Paul Sartre put it, "There is no love apart from the deeds of love; no potentiality of love but that which is manifest in loving."

private collection Indiana

So, as these pieces greet the public, they will be accompanied by the sparse words that came to mind on the first day I started ripping up newspaper...a question more than a statement:

What would we share if we didn't fear?
Which simple pleasures have become necessary luxuries?
The explorations of the paper people.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

jack-o'-lantern for dinner

The no waste Mamas

Having to take your own trash to the dump puts you in touch with your waste very quickly. I'm happy to say our schedule has changed over the past year; there's very little that is not composted, fed to chickens, or recycled. I'd like to say it's our drive to be green, but I know big A and I are happy to avoid a smelly trash haul whenever we can!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

one new sculpture

Here are some pictures of one of the new sculptures. You can see more of the Paper People here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween and Tarot for Children

Halloween was a blast, despite the fact that my youngest spent Mischief Night in the ER getting stitches in her finger. She was quite adamant that she did NOT need any help tackling the largest pumpkin she could haul. I applaud her determination, but next year I have the feeling she'll take me up on my offer plead to help.

The Halloween costume I mentioned in the last post was inspired by the character, Prunella on the Arthur show.

Prunella is a a peach colored rat who is interested in yoga, fortune telling, and paranormal phenomena. In one episode her sister, Rubella, makes a cootie catcher as a gift for Prunella's half birthday and claims that it can tell the future. We made cootie catchers after watching and started talking about other ways people play with telling fortunes. The cootie catcher gives very definite answers, maybe you remember from grade school, things like:

no way
for sure
you can bet on it
not in your dreams...

Just like in the episode, some people around here were not too thrilled with the cootie catcher's answers. I remember feeling the same way about my magic 8 ball. This got me thinking about  Tarot cards; the way they act as a Rorschach test of sorts, and allow you to explore aspects of life without pushing definite answers. I looked up "children's tarot cards" on-line, not sure if I would find any. It seems that others had the same idea because there was a list of results for various ways the tarot deck could be re-imagined for children. These days the tarot deck could incorporate anything from astrology, Kabbalah, runes, I Ching, you can see how children's fables and storybook characters could find their place in the major arcana. These cards deal the human condition and their titles might remind you of fables, or Shakespeare characters. I see it as a good way to explore the human condition with the child leading the way. There is no need to lend belief to the occult to use the cards; the Tarot has been a source of inspiration and creativity for individuals simply by sparking their imaginations.

I decided to ask my kids if they wanted to illustrate their own set. After taking a look at how diverse the decks are, they dove in with their own ideas about what strength, justice, earth, fool...might look like to them.

My daughter went from curiosity about Prunella's cootie catcher, to dressing like a fortune teller for Halloween and doing "readings" (which consist of selecting some cards and then telling a story around them). The tarot deck is a work in progress and I will post some pictures soon if I get the artist's permission.


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