Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Sparrow Fell

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be over-tanners. Do you need more raw sienna in your life? No! You don't! Just a little will do! I shudder to share what happens when skin tones go bad. No really, I do shudder. Behold. The Horror:

.... pumpkin face here to wish you a happy October! There's new pics of Rose Window and Coventry Carol below.

A good listening accompaniment is Hawkmoon 269 (all of it) by U2. Click here, press play.

Yesterday evening as the sun was setting, Steve and I were playing catch in the front yard. I saw a sparrow zoom in- how confusing- that such a skilled creature would fly directly into the window glass. We ran to him. And as he fell immediately to the ground I thought maybe he would work his way through it- he flapped his wings, but stayed on his back. For less than a minute he tried to help himself. But then he was washed over by a relaxation, still breathing with his round chest rising tinier and tinier. Then his singing belly caved in. We put our hands around him and felt the warmth. Then he departed. With a swift elegance. As he lived, I suppose. Steve cradled him in a little towel and gave him to me. I brought him into my room. When I left and returned, I was hoping that as I opened the door he would be hopping around in my room singing. Surprise! But no, he had really left. An instantaneous being. His eyes- beneath them are two layers of creamed coffee colored lashes, and under them grow the tiniest feathers that are like the needles on a pine tree, yet even more delicate. It's been some time now and his eyes still shine. I painted him. What a beauty (even though his beauty is diminished by its majority with his breath gone). Steve chuckled, "So fragile. As if just running into a window scared the life out of him." Gave him back to the woods this morning under a big pine.

"If we had a keen vision of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence." -George Eliot

Friday, September 26, 2008

Art Nouveau Vases

Painted these yesterday for something outside of the show, but still wanted to share them with you. They are three 1 x 1 foot canvases. Saw these vases in a picture book with turn-of-the-last-century pottery. So pretty!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Coventry Carol

"Have you seen your mother, girl?
Has she gone away?
Gone away and found the pearl
But the price she paid."

Stone Temple Pilots

The safest most effective way to be harmful in this world is to do it from a distance (there are so many ways to be at a distance). Here's Roger Waters singing about the Bravery of Being Out of Range. It's an exploration of the exploiter. In this world, we're either giving it or getting it. Our grammar precludes that the subject does unto the object, and the object receives what the the subject does. That's our option. In other words, I'm either fucking the world over, or getting fucked by it. Try making love with this world. You won't fit. Even what we call success is just a judgment of how much ass we got. "I came into the world, I saw what I wanted, and I got it." Forget the whole veni vini vici. "I came" says it all. When Jesus said, "When the man becomes the woman and the woman becomes the man," the receiver becomes the giver, the giver becomes the receiver, they are contained within themselves, they are no longer external to one another. I've heard that angels speak to each other in music and tones. Motherspeak, a kind of high-toned sing-song voice used by mothers when speaking to their newborn babes, is done all over earth. Chompsky said there's a universal grammar on earth, a structural comprehension that we are born with, but that theory has been disproved by the Pirahã people in the depths of the Amazon, who sing and chirp like birds. Our structures are not inherent. Our divisions are not inherent. Our me-you-them is created, and makes us act like we're supposed to do the world, or think that the world is supposed to do us. We cry so bad about what is done unto us (from our limited perspective), when really all of our life is what has come to pass through us. We cry, "Oh lawd! I'm empty! I have nothing left! I'm full of holes!" That's the life of a flute. Add anything and the music is ruined. Like Peter Gabriel sings (and probably the Pirahã as well), "I sing through the land. The land sings through me."

This is like... a funeral wake after the Slaughter of the Innocents. That's when all the boys Jesus' age were slain by King Herod's soldiers. The Christmas song Coventry Carol (to hear me sing it, click here) tells that story from a mother's perspective. We've got innocents on earth right now, and they're also being led to the slaughter.

I painted this yesterday. It began as a fascination with this illustration by Alice Russell Glenny, and I wanted to put myself into it. Specifically, I wanted to cry into it. I made the roses pale yellow for my Nana who died a long time ago. She loved yellow roses, and I used to grow them. This piece was originally to speak to the sadness I am feeling in my own summertime of life- that as I tuck the blooming flowers into my hair I grieve. Something. When I finished the face I looked at her and felt distanced- I had created an aseptic mourner. I thought, "Shit! She's an atoning Nazi!" And where did they all go? America! America. What are we doing in America? Killing things. Killing people. Sucking up people's dreams and letting them collapse. My grandfather worked for the steal mill for 30 years and lost his pension because they went broke. As I look at this face it reminds me of the Belle Epoque beauty ideal of Western Culture. How many people got to experience the full fruits of the time? What 1% of the 1% had the harvest of luxurious fabrics and warm lovely homes? What do we build our lives on? For God's sake, what are we doing? I mourn my country and I mourn what I have done to others for the perpetuation of my self-concept. A yearly tragedy that sums up this predicament is Christmas. In order to celebrate the Prince of Peace, we slay millions of animals all over the world, remove their skins, hang them from hooks, chop them up, and eat them. For the same man that said, "Let the children come to me," we kill the children of our Mother Earth- her animals, and then we wish each other peace and love. And I mourn it.

Yet every mourning is a new morning.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Rose Window Piece

Here it is with some more color into the stained glass window. Nearly all the colors in this painting are in their brightest hue. When I first began painting, I asked artists and dealers what I ought to do to make my paintings better. I was told that I really ought to limit my palette more. A restrained palette creates a rested harmony, whereas many colors can be confusing. After many attempts at restraining myself, I've begun to see that I enjoy a little confusion and a little mess in some of my pieces, which explains this one.

Hey check out the flying hot pepper with a sombrero! To see him, you may need to click the picture to enlarge.

Here's this one in process. The galaxy at the right lower corner is the Pleiades, with one star shining through a little sparrow. I love sparrows- how they tweet, twitter and hop! They always seem delighted to me, and they remind me of how Jesus said they are sold for just a few pennies- and the Father takes such good care of them- why be concerned? Behind the woman is a stained glass rose window radiating out of her Temple. She is from a John Singer Sargent pencil drawing.

Written within the stained glass is the line "And I will touch this tender wall until I know I'm home again," from Peter Gabriel's song, "Your Eyes". At the base here is written, "But what you have to understand is that it's over." I kept hearing that within myself these past few months, so the "It's over" bit naturally migrated to the canvas. Those phrases will both likely be painted over when I finish.
There's some action going around her heart area with different figures lightly painted, and for me that symbolizes the alchemical bubbling that travels up to the bright window of seeing more clearly. She's staring at a dead rose, which is just white right now.