Friday, December 04, 2009

Solstice Open Studio

I am having another Open Studio and everyone's invited
to come soak up some holiday cheer, cast trouble in the fire, eat, drink and be merry when I open the studio up for two days in December. The 12th and 13th from 11am until 4 pm.

A warm refuge from winter weather, a place to peruse and poke about and perhaps find the perfect gift for that particular person, the open studio will have new small worx. prints, cards and canvases, small giftie items and various painted tidbits on offer. As usual, sippable liquids, spirits and savory nibbles will be on hand to sustain those who drop by. If you're lucky, the cob oven may even be in operation, weather permitting. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Reading at Kaldi's

Published at last!

Many of you know that local poet Amy Trussell and I have been working for a few years now on a collaborative project of poetry and paintings. The Painted Tongue Flowers has finally hit the press! Deva Luna Press has published it's first book, an elegant volume of voluptuous poetry and vibrant color images.

We are launching our book on Friday, December 11th at Kaldi's Pearl Tea and Coffee from 5:30 to 6:30 pm in east Santa Rosa out on Hwy 12 in the Skyhawk Market center. Everyone's invited to come hear Amy read selections from the book and get your first copy. The 100 page book of 28 poems and full color images with be available for $15 and each will be signed by the artistas themselves.

What a lovely holiday gift!


Hope to see you there.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Green Witch

Well, I have to say my crunching and grinding and painting like a fiend for weeks on end actually bore some beautiful fruit. Yes, my Seeds and Shadows Open Studio was a surprising success, feeding me once again on so many levels. Of course, some credit falls to the gorgeous fall sunshine and my dad's cob oven fired up to full. I think he personally formed, slathered and garnished, slid in and turned so carefully over twenty pizzas all told. I had many new pieces leave to new homes, "licensed" a multitude (you know who you are), had many enlightening conversations and enjoyed the kinetic energy of a full house every hour I was open. Splendidly gratifying. I am always overcome by the appreciation directed my way when I venture to open up. Deep thanks to all!

My latest work "Green Witch" sold hot off the easel. I have lots of prints of this one which was inspired by my latest obsession with art deco/art nouveau shapes as well as my desire to just paint a witch. She is gathering her power and datura dew. Now in the private collection of Nancy Campbell, Sebastopol, CA

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Seeds and Shadows Open Studio

I love and observe the Day of the Dead, building an ancestor altar each year laden with offerings and actively feeding the memories of those who have passed over. In the spirit of celebrating this seasonal crossroads, I'm opening up my studio for two days at the end of this month with a show of paintings both bright and dark. I will have lots of new small worx as well as larger pieces, plenty of prints, cards and curiosities with an el Dia de los Muertos flavor thrown in the mix. As usual, I will have sippable liquids and nibbles to sustain those who drop by. I know it'll be a buuusy couple of days with Halloween Samhain falling on the weekend but I hope to see some of you there!

Date and Time: October 31-November 1 from 11-4
Location: Beaver Street at McConnell in the JC neighborhood Santa Rosa. Look for signage.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Uncreating the Monster

The issue of corporate personhood has been a pet interest of mine for many years (see my previous blog entry Corporate Beastie). The reality of big business being granted human rights has deeply bothered me and I recognize it as a major taproot underpinning and feeding much of what ails this modern world. The potential for far reaching change if this insidious cord could be cleanly cut is staggering. So much ugly reality would wither, finally clearing ground for the truly nourishing innovation and vital repair that needs to happen on this planet.

So, I when Stephen Colbert highlights this very issue in his segment The Word (Let Freedom Ka-Ching) on his show, The Colbert Report....I take notice. And when new Justice Sonia Sotomayor makes a "provocative statement" in her first Supreme Court session to the effect that perhaps the 19th century rulings on this matter should be revisited, well, I am downright excited.

Judges "created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons," she said. "There could be an argument made that that was the court's error to start with...[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics." Wow, am I dreaming? That pesky "court error" has sure wrought some havoc. I'm feeling just a little bit hopeful.

Still a long haul, no doubt. But the glimmerings are beginning.

Picture gleaned from Albo Jeavons'

Friday, August 14, 2009

Into Light

Dear friend and great being, Tofah Eileen, slipped into the other realm yesterday after a courageous dance with cancer. Her life love, Jay, wrote so eloquently every step of their shared experience and for that I am so grateful. His intimate stories revealed the piercing beauty of their time together and let us all feel nearer to them. For me, Eileen will be remembered as a Sufi priestess, a smiling shaman of radiant power and a laughing goddess of enlightening. She ran deep but had a brilliant cackle, like an ancient body of water that is tickled by every skipper ripple at the surface. An irresistible star, she drew so naturally a constellation of loving community around her and burned so brightly in her last days that her physicalness became incidental. She approached the crossing and literally became the Light that is her name.

You are loved and missed, Eileen.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Moving Work of Art

Ukraine's Got Talent. This is a brilliant narrative piece about Ukraine during WWII by sand artist Kseniya Simonova. She has a stunning mastery of her medium and a strong expression. Appearing on Ukraine's version of Britain's Got Talent, her dramatic performance goes far beyond a Susan Boyle talent act. She brought the audience both to tears and to their feet. Poignant and powerful.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Revolution Revelation-Lifting the Veil

This sweltering heat wave puts my head in a simmer and my thoughts bubble against the hard edge of the world. Summer has hit at last, the tomatoes will finally redden and the gardenias are popping with perfumed abandon in the lusty atmosphere. But the tender greens are scorching, the nasturtiums are crisply brown on their edges and our skin is burning beneath the SPF 30 sunblock. We're all wilted, housebound and draped over the furniture, panting and out of production. The face of global warming emerges. The House just passed the Climate Bill but will the Senate rise to the occasion? And is it enough and in time? So many "chaos points" arising. Now or never moments in history when we collectively decide, will we let it break down or will we find a breakthrough. Beneath the thin flashy veneer of sensationalistic news stories, scandal and celebrity, are the real cruxes and crossroads. The ACESA Clean Energy bill. The rare chance to have real insurance of health care in America (H.R. 676) and most riveting of all, the revolution taking place in Iran. I've been following closely the widening gyre of dissent that began when the election in Iran went sour. Ahmadinejad's "landslide victory" was declared before the polls closed and the "official" numbers were beyond belief. It was the proverbial straw hitting the camel's back. For Iranians living for decades with a government that professed "the participation of the entire people in determining their political, economic, social and cultural destiny" (article 3.8 of the Iranian constitution) and yet voting meant choosing one of a handful of candidates selected by the Supreme Leader, the country's religious authority. It must have felt like a mask finally being torn away when the government began beating old people in the street and shooting young women through the heart. People surged in protest and outrage at the unequivocal revelation that their vote was an empty exercise and their "democracy" a sham. After weeks of relentless demonstrations in the streets of the larger cities and despite a brutal and bloody crackdown on the "rioters", an air of determination persists. There is no turning back. Something's cracked, fallen away, a veil lifted, a sense that the wheel is turning. 70 percent of Iran's population is under the age of 30, most of them urban dwellers. A demographic that is most definitely tuned to the future and they want change.

(It has been illuminating seeing the photos and videos leaking out of the cracks in the communication lockdown. I saw a country I didn't recognize. A fresh impression of "the other" that exposed fragile threads of connection and kinship with these Muslim brothers and sisters caught up in this human drama. My thoughts are with them.)

Painting: Eye of Khaos-A New Green World by moi. Painted while the economy was crashing earlier this year.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Beautiful Bed Ad

It is amazing and heartening to me to come across this Spanish ad for a bed featuring a peaceful powerful home birth. How potent advertising can be when advocating something truly worthwhile. Too much ingenuity is wasted on pushing corn syrup sodas and gas guzzlers.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Same Planet, Different Worlds

Oh, the crazy imbalances on this planet just tears me up. I know there are endless plights of woe crying for attention but this got to me. When I was first pregnant and wanted to have my baby at home, the challenge of being female in a modern world became a medical issue. Living in a society where technological innovation is the guiding star and our connection to the natural world is pinched off at the root, I had to work my ass off to keep my body and baby from "medical intervention". The key unspoken word here being unnecessary. For those uncommon life-threatening situations that can occur despite careful prenatal care and screening, living in a developed nation is an unequivocal blessing. But I wanted to start out trusting, expecting the best and allowing Nature to do her thing unencumbered. For me that meant saying no to many well meant but overused medical trends.

No artificial induction. No Pitocin drip to jumpstart contractions, relentless against an unripe cervix, perhaps causing fetal distress and thus requiring, emergency cesarean! An all too common scenario. No demeaning shave/enema, no hookups to machines that restrain free movement, no laboring prone, no drugs to cloud my experience and my baby's brain, no routine episiotomy, no separation of mama and baby, no formula, no bottles. None of that. This translated for me as no hospital. I wanted to walk through the tall grass in the orchard while laboring and give birth on my own bed, quietly, in the natural light with the windows open. Insisting, intuiting, educating myself, choosing wise support in an experienced midwife, staying grounded and vigilantly slipping out of the grip of cultural fear was a full time effort. I ultimately had my daughter (both of them) naturally and safely at home but as a white American woman of the industrialized West it strikes me as deeply ironic that I felt compelled to resist the medical service that is a symbol of my privileged life. What I saw as meddling in my healthy process could have been a godsend to a women living in desperate conditions halfway around the globe. And that gets to me.

I recently stumbled on a hauntingly poignant documentary that moved me to action. Nova's A Walk To Beautiful deals with the devastating reality of obstetric fistula in Third World countries. If it's not enough being born a woman in a place where hard physical labor is your childhood duty, food is scanty, marriage comes early and childbirth too soon, add another brutal layer to the mix. Physical injury and damage from obstructed labor is common in countries where women are undernourished and thus stunted, their pelvic bones too small to allow the birth of their babies. So not only are their babies often stillborn but the physical outcome is often obstetric fistula, a deterioration or hole between the birth passage and internal organs (often those of elimination) resulting in permanent incontinence of urine or feces. It is an epidemic and literally millions (WHO estimates 2 million) women worldwide, primarily throughout Africa and Asia, suffer from this. Shunned by their husbands, families and communities only because of their foul smell, most exist in heartbreaking isolation, living in tiny makeshift huts or begging on the street. They suffer terrible depression and a debilitating sense of worthlessness. Not surprisingly, many commit suicide. Absolutely tragic.

All the more so because this condition can be remedied in most cases by simply stitching closed the fistula. A $300 medical procedure. The film focuses on the work of Dr. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian woman who in 1974 co-founded Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia, the world's only hospital exclusively dedicated to offering free treatment to poor women suffering from childbirth injuries. The camera offers an agonizingly intimate view into the lives of a few of these young women as they struggle with utter despair, then discover that thread of hope and follow it (sometimes hundreds of miles) to this hospital haven at the heart of Ethiopia, burgeoning with flowers, bright spaces, clean linens, accepting faces and kindred sufferers. Both harrowing and buoyantly joyful, the film is a beautiful invitation to help our less privileged sisters. I was moved to contribute money to The Fistula Foundation and am now inspired to tithe a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of my artwork to further this needed work.

The film can be viewed in chapters at the PBS site here.

Photo: Wubete, one of the young women in the documentary.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Two Bees

Or not two bees, that was the question. (Sorry, couldn't resist). Nevertheless, this was the case. Last year I painted a wee juicy bee that attracted a little buzz. Even after the original sold, the image held its allure and I considered painting more eye/heart/bees. Last week I committed to the contemplated continuum and produced two more in the series. Bee 2 and Bee 3. Each now has a home but there are more in the works.

Blurry shot: two 6 x 6 canvases, Bee #3 and Bee #2

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Old Stories New

I've heard my brother say more than once that years ago he had intentionally sat down with my grandpa, tape recorder in hand, and interviewed him about his early years and our family roots. The tape was subsequently lost in the shuffle of multiple moves and I never heard it. Until today. Jonathan came in from an afternoon out with a strange look on his face. Guess what I found? We popped it in an old player and sat back to listen. It was eerie to hear his good-natured voice from years ago, before the stroke that changed him so dramatically and those last difficult months before he died. Thus was the Grandpa of my childhood: easy-going, always amused and a little distant, like he was resigned to being a bit bored with the goings-on around him, contentedly eyeing some distant horizon. An inventor, an artist and self-made man, he must have always been thinking, wondering, working things out. So here he was, game to the questions and telling his story so matter-of-factly. "Hello, my name is Albert Scott..." We learned that his oldest sister, the pretty Miriam Ruth, died at age 20, not of consumption but of a thyroid disease, wasting away suddenly within six months and that had plunged my great grandfather into a deep depression just as the world was entering its. Grandpa had worked beside his father in the sign-painting business for years. Their place was located literally blocks from where we were sitting listening to his voice tell about it. His older brother, my great Uncle Byron, was a boxer during the Depression, even working the carnival at one point taking on "comers". We heard how Grandpa had actually enjoyed boot camp, that it was "kinda fun" because he was "strong and light on my feet". He'd gotten his pilot's license as a young man out of casual curiousity but had better things to do than fly planes which he admitted was "kind of boring". He wanted to tell about his grandparents, his (great?) Grandpa Flint, a successful business man who had bought abandoned ships out of the SF Bay during the Gold Rush for pennies on the dollar. His great grandmother, who was a Tyler, related somehow to the tenth US President of that name. It was a relatively short tape, thirty minutes all told but full of intriguing threads leading off into the mist of forgotten stories. It made me realize how much is lost when an ancestor crosses over. We take too much for granted and don't realize how rare the familiar things around us are. When Laurie Andersen whispers in her song "When my father died it was like a whole library had burned down. World without end remember me," I understand.

Photo: President John Tyler, 1845 by Brady

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A New Day

"Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around, when yellow will be mellow, when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen."


The words of Reverend Joseph E. Lowery in his delivery of the benediction at the inauguration of Barack Hussein Obama, the 44th President of our United States of America.

AP Photo/Musadeq Sadeq) A US soldier observes a moment of silence during the inauguration of Barack Obama, at the US camp Phoenix base in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday Jan. 20, 2009.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Grief and Beauty

Strange days these. Sifting through the weeks since the Election, I cannot put my finger on this mood that has settled on me. It's a loose-lashed assembly. The final dregs of my despair at the wreckage of the world, the ashes of our collective bankruptcy, all the shards of annihilation pieced together into an empty bowl, open to any sweetness, buoyed up and riding an illogical elation and hopefulness. After the climax of Obama's win, I haven't wanted to keep my head in politics at all lately. The fine-toothed speculations, endless doubts and dire predictions, the picking of nits. The last machinations of business as usual. It all exhausts me. I'm wrung out and fragile and too spent to keep my vigilance.
So I've abandoned it. I've become the empty pieced-together bowl. Hungry for life, beauty, warmth, vitality, sap, joy. Tomorrow begins a fresh page, a new leaf, turning, accumulating, dancing together, a multitude, like a forest of trees...and I want to say yes for a change.

Photo: Combust by Binh Danh- chlorophyll print and resin- from his current show at Haines Gallery The Eclipse of Angkor