Saturday, March 31, 2007


This is the street I grew up on. It's about five blocks from where I live now. Aja and Eden stand under the spectacular branches of three Western Redbuds (Cercis Occidentalis) that marked the years when I lived with them. Buds beneath the buds. Folks used to come from all over to gawk at those trees. I bet they still do. It is strange indeed to be living in this neighborhood some 30 years later. So little has changed. All the trees are taller, thicker. Yard shrubs have become imposing in places. The houses mostly look the same. Paint faded some, flaking at the edges. A bit shabbier but just a bit. Eerie, too, to see my own kid standing on ground where I once roller skated, hopscotched and stretched out in a wet swimsuit on hot summer days eating graham crackers. I can even see my own ghost sitting on that lawn curb just beyond, scratching out doodles in chalk on my front sidewalk. My kids and me-as-a-kid in the same place, just at different times. Weird. I tell my girls stories from my growing up so this place is peopled for them. Mr. Wood with his goo-goo goggles, Joe and Trudy and the jar of candy bars, the Man With No Face, Ernie "Monsta" with his spastic foot, Shaleen and the Chateau Mousseau. They know about the Swing Low Sweet Chariot Lady and how we extracted fudgcicles from Opal and Earl by skating incessantly and noisily in front of their house. The past is alive for them but did I have any inkling back then that a future me was walking by with my family? Maybe I was too distracted with water balloon battles or playing "The Fifty's" with Tammy's portable phonograph and collection of 45s. But there were quieter moments I seem to recall, sleeping out on Jenny's front porch, sunbathing smeared with stinky baby oil or just counting stars when those kind of thoughts may have crossed my mind. Some think all time happens simultaneously so maybe I can still catch my attention when I'm passing through.
Photo by Robbi

Friday, March 30, 2007

Seed Bed

I've started laying color into some of these small canvases that have been scattered around the studio. They have been haunting me, sitting around all ghostly and colorless. I've been playing with keeping my palette restrained to pull together "busy" area so they work more as a larger shape, congealed into one thing. So here the golden flower is juxtaposed with the blue dream state. The smooth yellow contrasts with the textured blue.

Under the Foot of Chaos

I'm in studio sporadically and crazyily working on multiple canvases. I have been so outwardly fallow and in stew mode for so long that it is challenging to get the pump primed again. It's going slow but it is going. Here's a detail of a big piece (30 x 40) I'm working on tentatively titled Lady Chaos. Sort of appropriate considering my general state of neither here nor there. Falling in all directions. My problem has been that I am just burgeoning with so many ideas that it's hard to focus. I get impatient with the nitty gritty of the actual slow process of painting. Like I'm so antsy that I can't settle down and just do it. And when I finish a piece it doesn't seem to represent all deep steeping I've been through. I'm comforted by the idea of chaos being a state at the cutting edge of creation. Where manifest is forging out into the unmanifest is not what I would call comfortable territory. So I just have sink into it. Embrace the uneasiness.

My creative process is diverse. I now recognize all my journal writing, songwriting, poetry writing, guitar playing, dancing, nature walking, reading history and biographies and physics and philosophy and energy psychology as a big interconnected matrix that launches my creativity. It's a kind of metabolic tranformation of what I absorb into some form of expression unique to me. It feeds my creative body so I can exteriorize my interior.

I wish I had the physical energy to match all the stirring inside. Strange disconnect. I also struggle between wanting to constantly break new ground or just work with what I know and do well already. I recently realized that I have at least 3 distinct bodies of work wanting to come through. That is, three separate styles, narratives and media. At least three...sigh. Can I do it? Life dares me.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The Universe is Listening

I love this Vison For Humanity envisioned and created by Malcom Cohan who is looking for other Audacious Visionaries to join him and "think it so". Very moving.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Eden In Eden

Even with the lure of a picnic and stream dabbling, it was like extracting teeth getting the kids out into this
paradisial landscape but they rallied soon enough. It was just too beautiful out there to sustain a grump. We spied butterflies, snakes, hawks, deer, squirrels, conks, wildflowers, sunchokes, skippers, nests and faerie caves so there wasn't much to complain about. I wonder if the kids realize how dang lucky we are to live in this incredible place.

Stepping Stones

Blue Stream With Skippers

Spring Green

Spring has sprung and the last three days have somehow found me walking the same path into the woods of Annadel Park from the especially lush southwestern edge. Refreshing to just move through a landscape where everything is pushing up and out into pure green and pale yellow, pliant and tender with catkins, petals and new leaves. Exquisite.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Time Was

Yesterday’s lunar eclipse was a lovely one. Sun conjunct the dark phase moon. An alignment of conscious will and interior desires. In Pisces no less. Flowing. A sunny Sunday, almost Spring. Paintings to show. Cleaning house for visiting friends. Me antsy, like I get when people look at my work. Circle of chairs outside. Laughing relaxing. “Time Was” is the one. A couple in tangled embrace across the long grass of golds and blues with wine, white egret and bursting milkweed. Going to a new home. Thanks Dave and Annelies. Dream seeds sown. Encouragement. Playing music. More visits from friends. More laughing. Cheerful goodbyes. Then family silliness rounded out with impulse shopping at the grocery store.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Joy In Bogging Down

Endless Snot Nose Catalyzes Masterpiece. After five consecutive nights of broken sleep due to eight year old’s googer nose snorfing resulting in an altered mind state and subsequent hallucinatory visions, artist mom has furious studio session resulting in what can only be described as her most brilliant work.

If only.

After a hard week, I did get a chance yesterday to recoup. We left the kids and went out seed shopping, then a leisurely walk from Graton to Forestville on the bike path connecting the two burbs. Going with our friends Meredith and Steve was especially enjoyable since we all used to live (at different times) on the same piece of magical property out that way. The path actually meanders right along the back end of said piece of land and all kinds of recollections were stirred as we passed by. Even though the “house” we inhabited those years ago was in reality more of a shed/barn, the land was truly charmed in some way. I remember that place with a deep fondness. Some of my happiest times were there. I was pregnant on that ground. India was born there. (Yes, literally born in a barn). I was nurtured as I myself was learning to nurture.

We four were trying to put our finger on what exactly it was about that place that gave three funky habitations nestled on 11 wild acres at the end of a dead end road such a particular sublimity. Certainly whatever-it-was prevailed despite various unappealing qualities. The adjacent vineyards and orchards were actively sprayed. The property sat low and was a cold sink. Our place gathered the thickest fog pocket and was the first to frost. The “house” was a shabby patched together affair, uninsulated and mildewy with exposed redwood poles inside that irritated the lungs (every winter we would develop the pernicious “laughing” cough). We heated with a leaky woodstove. The water was laden with iron and stunk like eggs. The toilet was outside and the tub (with its unsightly rusty patina) graced the living room. The exterior was lined in asphalt roofing tiles. So what was the appeal?

Of all the attributes…the quiet, the wildlife, the flowers, the fruit trees, I think it was the presence of what we called “the bog” that cast the magic spell. A good chunk of that acreage was an almost impenetrable low-lying wetland tangled with willow, cottonwood and bramble. The ground was burbly wallowy and sucked on your footsteps. You went slow into that thicket of thorny wild with its soft rain of seed fluff for you could easily be swallowed. Metaphorically, if not really.

It felt otherworldly and infinitely restful. I know there were fairy mounds out there.

As we walked the periphery of the bog yesterday, we could see signs of attempts to tame it but I know it is a vain endeavor. There was and still is a beingness about that place that is palpable. there it is, reminding me to go slow, take time, allow fallowness and immersion into something quietly tumultuous and beautifully disorderly.

Photo: Me, circa 1986 ?, bogging down in the well-remembered bath in the living room.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Jerome Did It

Here's a mythic photo of us taken by one Jerome Knill, friend of the family. He had an exceptional knack for real people shots. This must be some summer morning circa 1976, judging from the leotard (I spent that summer in Nadia Comeneci Sandwich mode doing gymnastics on the lawn). I love the candid poses and that broken couch. Down home funk. Jerome, where are you now?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Deep Politics

If you want a dense little read into the dark underbelly of American politics, read this. Or don't. I truly want to move my perception/creation of reality away from such murky dealings but part of transforming this rankness is to let the sun shine in on the thick black mold. My mantra lately concerning the fate of our country has been... let there be transparency, transparency, transparency.

Picture: Cerberus, the guardian of Hades by William Blake

Corporate Beastie

I recently came across some stories about a mythic monster called the Golem. According to Jewish folklore, the Golem is a creature built of dumb clay by a rabbi for the purpose of protecting his people. Animated to life and unnatural powers through careful ritual and kabbalistic spells, it eventually, in some stories, grows too powerful to control and turns on those it was created to serve. Hmmm. The soulless hulk as ravaging juggernaut. It is an old image but is, I think, a very apt description of the modern corporation.

After seeing the film The Corporation awhile back and reading Ted Nace’s Gangs of America, this idea of the act of incorporating being akin to creating a Frankenstein is not far off. A corporation enjoys the rights we as individuals do and yet it has superpowers, can shape shift (into new and diverse businesses), has an insatiable appetite (for profit), is immortal and cannot be held accountable. When you start to look a bit deeper at the nature of the corporation, it is frankly terrifying.

So, in the legend, when it becomes clear that the Golem must be destroyed, the rabbi can return the monster to earth by “removing the word of God”. When a corporation crosses the line, what recourse is there? That’s where the “revocation of charter” action starts to sound very interesting.

In the good old days, that’s what we Americans did. Revoked charters. Slam. Firstly, corporations back then were limited to the state where their charter was issued and it was so only with the clearest of terms and purpose, with a built in expiration. So when a corporation stepped out of bounds (by causing public harm, for instance), we the people revoked that corporation’s charter and it died. Slam. Death penalty.

Yes, let’s move beyond anemic slap-on-the-wrist fines. Gross polluter? Slam. Violation of human rights? Slam. Repeat offender? Slam. Could the modern day corporation, so different a creature from its early American predecessors, be kept in line with stricter limitations and the threat of death? I really don’t know.

It's a grim business when an able body has no soul.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Shelton With Sunspots

This is actually one of my favorite O'Keeffes. The Shelton Hotel with Sunspots. The analogy likening the O'Keeffe flower to certain female parts is so tired, I just don't know what to say. (As if the resemblance denigrates her work). This image seems to offer the antithesis. Straight lines shooting upward, strong dark shadows, the sun and the sunspots which to me reference the influence of her husband photographer Alfred Stieglitz and the viewpoint of the camera. Very masculine. Curiously, Georgia always struck me as a particularly masculine female for her time. In her appearance and bearing, her independence and lack of frills. Her painting reveals it. There is a certain strength, assertiveness and abstraction to her work that balances the soft earthy flow of her forms.

I find her fascinating and truly inspiring.


Well, it looks like a trip is finally shaping up. A Spring journey for Mom and I seems to have become a tradition. One year it was a week in Kauai, next a week in Paris, the year after that it was 3 weeks in Thailand and Bali (with family). This year it will be five days in Sante Fe. Rob, natural agent of travel he, has instigated our direction since he and the girls happened through the burb of "holy faith" a few years ago on their way back across country from DC. He's been itching to show me the lovliness of this mountain town ever since. Now's my chance.

One draw for me is, of course, seeing the landscape that inspired Georgia O'Keeffe. In fact 2007 has been declared her year by the city. Does that mean the O'Keeffe Museum will be packed? Oh well. I've seen Georgia originals at different times in the past (SF Legion of Honor, The Poetry of Things, Spring 2000 and a few at the Met in NY). It was crowded both times. Frustrating since I like to get close to work so I can sense something of the technique (see brushstrokes, etc.). Maybe we'll get lucky.

The Collector's Guide describes the city this way: "One of Santa Fe's 'personalities' is that of a passive art town; it is shyly enveloping and an oasis for those wanting to spend languid time meandering, contemplating the mountain and the visual arts that thrive in its shadow, pondering those unknowns that for decades have drawn the world's artistic people. In truth, Santa Fe is essentially an art community that does not have something for everyone." Not everyone meaning not for kids neccessarily. Who's complaining?

Well, "shyly enveloping","languid", "meandering", "contemplating", "pondering" all sound promising to me.

Image: Red Canna by Georgia O'Keeffe

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Patina Latch

Guitar Art

I've been playing my guitar so much these days rather than painting that it just seems natural to paint my guitar case. I went to the studio around 11AM and had it finished by 3:30 PM. It just really flowed and I have to say I am pretty happy with it. Completely freehand, no prelim sketching, which I tend to do these days either because I'm lazy or I like the unexpected qualities that emerge or both. I like how the stalk rising out of the star became both a shooting starform and a treelike trunk shape. I have been liking birdfish lately so I put in a few and the gazelle/goat just wanted in. The woman holding a seed is just typical me. I laid in the color very soft, neutral and earthy and rubbed in a glazed patina over the entire body which gave it a very old feeling. More pix on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Elephant Rock

Shell Beach rocks. We spent the day out at the coast on Sunday. We saw almost no shells but there were so many amazing rocks including this mammoth which stood maybe twelve feet high. Can you see the elephant? Long trunk curving down on the right, heavy limbs and a melancholic eye. Even the texture of the stone was pachydermal, soft gray and furrowed with fine crinkles.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Provoking Further

By Anonymous. Also discovered at MOBA. Yes, all kinds of thoughts are provoked here. One, what exactly makes this "bad art" ? Really, I want to know because I've seen work of similar caliber referred to respectably (i.e. outsider art). True, it's poorly rendered but it could be said to reveal an almost zen serenity and an awkward sweetness. The clumsy lettering could be betraying a refreshing naivete or maybe it's intentional and symbolic. Or perhaps it is just a crappy ass painting. Unskilled gawkiness in the art world seems to be a current fad ("evidence of the hand"). A reaction to the blemishless capabilities of a digital age? The sentiment here gives this piece away as amateur because apparently that's a big no no in the art world. Sincerity must cleverly sport a veneer of irony or it just won't fly. I guess I'm just sick of the exaltation of really bad art. At least this one is in the right place. The Museum of Bad Art.

Bad Art

I found this intriguing piece at a little place called the Museum of Bad Art or MOBA. (I have a special place in my heart for the badly drawn horse head. Special but not pretty.) This juxtaposition of beast and beauty , titled "Think Again", was painted by one Richie and is described thus:

"The chilling, matter-of-fact manner in which the subject presents the severed head to us is a poignant reminder of just how numb we have become. The understated violence implicit in the scene speaks volumes on our own desensitization, our society's reflexive use of force, and the artist's inability to deal with the hindquarters of the animal."

Thought provoking.