The last of my drawings for my Popol vuh commission have been satisfied.
I should feel a sense of relief but in truth I feel a sense of disappointment, of hopes once bright , now dimmed a bit. I am not sure where this project, one in which I have invested so much energy into , will go. Perhaps its just the creativity bubble bursting a bit.
What I had understood to be a project slated for publication after I had completed my commission now seems in limbo. The publisher suggested by the poet I found to be lacking in creativity and vision with no apparent back up option-given the publisher was a pay-to-play publisher was disappointing as well.
But that seems to be the reality. I am now in the position of needing to find a publisher , to pay or to not, willing to publish this heavily illustrated tome. To be honest I feel sick to my stomach but I have put so much into these drawings to just allow them to be stashed away into a folio seems too great a defeat. I also feel ill-equipped and inadequate to the task
So I will begin researching , I dislike feeling a bit alone in this but from recent exchanges I fear the poet and I now have different intentions for the project. My initial understanding of the collaboration was a shared enthusiasm for Blake, inspiring a universalist, humanistic approach to this distinctly Maya creation myth, an uplifting celebration in the Jos. Campbell “Hero with a Thousand Faces” vein. It now seemingly more activist, too anti-Western Christendom in approach than I’d prefer.
There is profound relief in at last being free of the Xibalban Underworld, C.S.Lewis, in describing the creation of his Screwtape Letters dwelt upon the difficulty of being immersed in such darkness. The last year or so of trickster demons, their wanton cruelty, the viciousness of unwholesome, perverse gods and the relentless bloody sacrifices has had a similar darkening upon my soul. I’m eager to emerge into the light.
That said, the following are the images for the tacked on poems to our Popol vuh.
Chapter headers, the theme being puppetry and nursery amusements:
I am going to take some time away from thinking about this project, but not so much that I can wish it away. Just an opportunity to rekindle inspiration, to aflame motivation. David and I are tentatively planning a trip to Mexico City, with old gods underfoot and new above that just may do the trick.
There are multiple translations of the Popol vuh, many of them excellent, scholarly works by experts in the field of Mesoamerican art and culture embellished with imagery predictably appropriate to the rich history of the Maya people. I’ve had the good fortune to meet several of the scholars at Mesoamerican conferences, Mesoamerican and post conquest colonial art being a personal passion; these have been enriching, informative and inspiring experiences.
The translation that I have been illustrating the last year or so however is a bird of another (quetzal) feather, my intention is a retelling of a well told story through images- my own kind of images, imagined through the cultural prism and personal perspective of the re-telling bard, in this case, myself. My first experience with the Popol vuh was much like my imagined 17th c. Court artisan , one of ignorance to the actual originating culture, but sheer, spontaneous delight in the symbolic drama of the tale and expressing this delight in the cultural, visual language at hand- in this case a baroque puppet drama.
In the end the Popol vuh is simply one heck of a good yarn, akin to the gods of Olympus and Valhalla. I try to express that delight and the accessibility in the stories told within my narrative images.
Of which, more have been added.
My collaborating poet has added more verses since I had last considered the project complete a few months back :
Initially I admit to being chagrined, for I wanted to move forward with other projects that I have placed on hold. But I love this project deeply and truly, this theme, this inspiration, the Popol vuh has been my companion since 2013 when I first encountered the epic tale in a short animated film in a Mesoamerican class I had been attending. Immediately I was enchanted by this strangely familiar story and I began scribbling furiously in the darkened auditorium, doodling up ideas for fanciful puppet operas and traveling marionette theaters, 17th c. commedia hucksters , not unlike those in Hamlet, entertaining court after ennui weary court.
So to return to this beloved story is an opportunity to at last figure out how best to share my passion for these two heroic ball playing boys, their sainted mother and of course the hellish brood of daemonic pranksters.
The poet and I need to figure out how best to get this monster of book published , I had naively understood there was a publisher in the wings, it seems that isn’t the case. Self publishing, unless a small press can be secured, appears to be our option. A certain degree of apathy seems to have set in with my collaborator, thus far he seems convinced that there will be little interest in our work and perhaps out-and-out hostility to two non-Maya fellows creating this homage and as artists we’d be best off in just getting the book made and to just move on to our next project.
That is a dispiriting perspective and one I do not share. This is , to me, a special project, one close to my heart, an amazing story, one easily appreciated by Maya and non-Maya alike , a human story, one familiar with its brave heroes, powerful maternal figures, sacrifice, trials and redemptions …and of course the buffoonery of the Xibalban underlords. I’ll have to do some researching how best to get this undertaking out there, I’m ill prepared for this quest, I am unfamiliar with the jargon , with contracts, with preserving rights, with fees and commissions . But the road to Xibalba is made one foot step at a time.
I will need to reach out to those more acquainted with publishing, should I self-publish, using a platform such as Blurb? I would at least have more control over the aesthetics of the project as the one publisher my poet did contact insisted upon visual control of the cover, examples of which I have seen haven’t met my expectations. I have friends more familiar with this game, I’ll be reaching out to them, gathering options, opinions, suggestions. I have time, I have taken this long, what matters a few more months . But for now I have more drawings to make, of which, these few are the latest.
I will close with a proposal sketch for a solo exhibition from I think 2014. My proposal was a resounding dud, zero interest, so perhaps my poet is correct. However, all the more reason to put the Xibalba Variety Hour out there!
Tomorrow the movers arrive, our worldly possessions Chicago bound.
After sixteen years living in Los Angeles ( with a brief stint in San Diego ) I am left with mixed emotions, mostly just eager to get out of Dodge. LA has never been a good fit, we moved here for David’s career and I have tried, mostly unsuccessfully, to appreciate Southern California . It would be churlish (and predictable ) to gripe about LA’s unsurprising superficiality , increasing squalor and existential decadence … churlish but fun.
Instead I will focus on fond memories, of which the many studios I have been lucky to work (and often live in) I place near the top of that list.
My current studio (now crated) was/is in a mid rise office building I shared with my psychoanalyst husband. Perched 1o stories up it was a peculiar home for an art studio, yet it was close to our apartment, possessed attractive amenities and A/C- not a given in the art studio market, and in scorching LA most essential.
Mentioning A/C, my previous studio was the largest , most sprawling and allowed me to expand my scope of my work, my solo show Fairyland wouldn’t have been created if it hadn’t been in this rather dismal factory space in the heart of hot as Hadesville North East LA-without A/C. Grateful for the experience but boy oh boy it was hot.
At one point I had tried working from our little hillside cottage, the Little Hermitage …little being the operative word and it became apparent rather quickly that I needed actual work space.
Previous to the industrial heat pit I had a smaller yet air-conditioned studio, the former work shop of the fellow responsible for fabrication of the clown costumes of Ronald McDonald …or so my landlady told me. It was a charmingly squalid place.
Before we purchased our Little Hermitage on LA’s NE side we lived (where we once again live) in what is known as MidWilshire. We rented a sweet little duplex, with a pretty little garden, charming light and quite a crazy Marxist Feminist landlady-all perfectly fine aside from her tyrannical harping. But it had good light!
In spite of our crazy landlady that apartment had been most welcome for we had been living in San Diego, which sounds lovely , and is , but we were living in what is known as East County, El Cajon specifically. It truly was Hadesville , and our reason for living there was to tend to David’s Mater- quite the SheDevil.
anyway, I spent quite a bit of time sequestered in one of the bedrooms repurposed as a studio…it had A/C AND good light.
Moving to El Cajon was made drearier for we left what had been our favorite home up to that point ( our current place in Chicago now vies for that distinction), a work/live loft, on the top floor of Factory Place in LA’s Arts District. It was so well suited to our needs , a joy to call home, well lit and with very good A/C.
It broke my heart to leave. Pardon the plethora of photos.
When we moved to LA sixteen years ago, we purchased, in the midst of a devastating bubble an outrageously overpriced condominium on a very pretty street , Havenhurst Ave., in very pretty West Hollywood. It was a period of great optimism and hope. The condo, though small, overpriced, far outside our budget, seemed a beacon of opportunity. And there was opportunity, David began establishing his career, my decorative arts career was blossoming, friends were made easily…we were married in our condo’s backyard. Yet the recession hit, and it hit hard, we were far too overextended, borrowed time, borrowed money , we lost our proverbial shirts and the condo . I truly thought we were lost, all of my prudent savings squandered. Yet sixteen years later we have rebuilt and now we approach this new chapter, our Chicago chapter.
Symbolically perhaps I can locate NO photographs of that sweet little West Hollywood apartment or that period aside from our wedding.
So onward, boxes packed, awaiting what the good Lord places on our path. I do have a studio waiting for me in Chicago, I am very eager to see what develops.
The following images are of available art that I have discounted for my upcoming studio sale; generally about half of the regular studio price-some even more deeply discounted due to storage and shipping concerns.
My moving sale will be Saturday July 16th, I would love to see folks in person. If you cannot make it certainly reach out to me (cell 310-498-0817) and we can make arrangements . Payment plans considered, my aim is finding new collectors and good homes for my work. Reach out should you have any questions. Sorry to say , pick up only, I am not available to offer shipping right now.
With that in mind, thanks for considering my work.
This is my first of many Temptations, Anthony is a self portrait. Originally listed at $3500.00 now available at $2150.00 (unless my husband asks me to keep it ).
Originally listed at $2100.00, now $1250.00 SOLD
Originally listed at $1600.00, now $450.00
One of the earliest Popol Vuh works, originally listed at $2400.00, now $800.00, handsomely matted and framed.
Icarus is handsomely matted and framed, was $1800.00, now $400.00/SOLD
Large, striking canvas of the Hero Twins,originally $3200.00, now sharply reduced for swift sale $500.00
Definitely NSF , also nicely matted and framed (I keep framers busy), was $1800.00, now $500.00/SOLD
Again, handsome presentation suitable to a Homeric hero, matted and framed, was $1100.00, now $350.00/SOLD
My Hero Twins are also nicely matted and framed and attractively priced, originally $1600.00, now available for collecting $750.00/SOLD
I really like the framing and matting on this work, a playful pink matting adds just the right over the top touch for a mighty macho fellow. Was $1600.00, now $800.00
Of a series of oversized jumping paper dolls, pull his string, he does a little jig. He is a little shop worn (he is cardboard, his right hand slightly wrinkled). He was $500.00, now $150.00
Lavinia and Second Apparition below were part of a series depicting favorite scenes from Shakespeare’s dramas (Titus Andronicus and Macbeth).
Lavinia was $800.00, now $400.00
This scene from Macbeth priced as above, was $800.00, now $400.00
One of my early Mesoamerican themed paintings, Coatlicue the mother of the war god Huitzilopotchtli, frequently compared to the Virgin Mary of the Aztec pantheon. Originally inspired by a dream, initially listed at $1600.00, now $450.00 SOLD
Speaking of the Great War God Huitzilopochtli. this small but mighty painting is a fitting companion to the fiery Madonna and Child above. Was $900.00, now listed at $450.00 SOLD
Early work exploring the mysteries of the Popol Vuh, was $1600.00, now $400.00/SOLD
The very first of what would be many Popol Vuh works, of Hero Twins, Death Gods, Xibalba the Maya Underworld, martyred Maize Gods, this a theatrical mixed media spectacle . Never before listed let alone shown, lets say $400.00
I have quite a few studies and daubs such as Philoctotesabove, most priced at $75.00 or so. I also have quite a few drawings and studies for browsing and most likely gifting.
I hope to see you there, again, the date is Saturday, July 16th, 2022, between 11 am and 3 pm at my studio, 6404 Wilshire Blvd., suite 1030 (not far west from LACMA). The building is locked most of Saturday so give me a ring at 310-498-0817 and I can let you in. I can let you in for parking as well.
I’ve been making art, studio art, after a twenty year career as a decorative painter since about 2015. I started off with much optimism and I’d say hubris as well. I’d had a relatively successful career as a painter of ornamental schemes and I figured if I put in the work , was as, if not more industrious as I had been with commercial work I’d receive some degree of recognition. It seemed a logical conclusion, very American really, hard work equates success.
That optimistic model doesn’t really apply to a studio career , at least in Los Angeles, I’m pretty certain that is the reality near everywhere. So much seems to influence the move from obscurity to recognition, cynically it does seem to be who you know, who recognizes you and to some degree the work itself , personality seems to have a great deal of social capital as well but fundamentally the influence a person has more broadly (how many followers etc.) can propel a career to an astonishing (disheartening) degree. Add to that mix the relatively recent priority given to identity driven art ; the impetus/demand to throw in the correct hashtag, the most desirable identity driven victimhood intersection, proclaim your work queer, non-binary, trans or some such woke jingo and let the clicking begin…or not.
I’ve tried the hash tagging; the sycophancy; the countless, costly exhibition submissions (with ever increasing rejection notices); the social media attention seeking; the snake-oil publicist route; the humiliating schmoozing; the mortification of fawning over gallery owners, museum directors , art critics; even sucking up to artists with more successful careers, all with the hope that a crumb or two might fall my way. Large sums of money have been spent (squandered) on false hopes and empty promises – those claiming to have the secret of success and recognition and are all too eager to exploit that desperation and lighten your purse in the bargain. In my experience most haven’t the wherewithal to actually fulfill their promises-in all reality how could they?
As I depart LosAngeles, I do so with a sad degree of bitterness, disappointment, and increasingly a sense of humiliation – I feel as if I leave with tail firmly between my legs. , I wish that weren’t so. I wish I could say that though disappointing the experience had been humbling but rewarding . It has however been revelatory in a discouraging way, an inclination towards inwardness. Increasingly I am driven to a resignation of solitude. I will continue to make art, most likely smaller works for my new studio is even smaller than my LA studio, focusing on true loves:drawing, stitchery, panel painting in oil, taking up perhaps relief printmaking. But I am recognizing, reconciling, that I must set aside expectation of the work having broader meaning other than personal…and hopefully to a handful of folks.
Of those folks, I count my chum Jodi, another artist, an artist who’s work we collect, who puzzlingly ,also works in relative obscurity.
We love this beautiful person, of such a gentle, generous, forgiving spirit, one who inspires my better nature . Plus she is a quite the artist, we are fortunate to have quite a few of her pieces in our collection, the latest addition Polyphony from her new Bird series. It will be a fitting and most welcome addition to our Chicago home.
Because I do have so many reminders of Jodi’s talent and spirit in my life I hoped to gift her with my own. Gifting art is a tricky issue. I’ve given art to friends before and humiliatingly they’ve returned it!, that was obviously awkward . It is undeniably presumptuous to assume that though one may be friends that they’d necessarily want pieces of your work taking up valuable space in their home, but nonetheless , Jodi and I share a respect for the craft of art making , animals, the land and its conservation and a general sense of being odd ducks so I took the chance.
I had a few pieces that I felt might symbolize that bond, a textile piece The Green Knight (or The Wodewose) and a drawing Rape of Our Mother.
I hadn’t expected Jodi’s squeal when I handed her The Green Knight. Let’s say it was more gratifying than the above mentioned gift return.
Though I am not sure where she will hang the rather cumbersome framed drawing, I do know where my Green Knight reigneth.
So I leave Los Angeles trying to maintain a sense of perspective, naturally prone to a gloomy outcast, I am heartened. By just posting these fond memories gratitude is triggered for the Anam Cara, the soul-friends, the Lord has placed upon my path. Of which, quite lately, I’ve been blessed to meet a new art chum , a talented writer, wit (she is British after all ), incredibly bright and irreverent , she goes by a few names, I call her Saria, however her nom de plume is Scam Likely. She has become a fast friend and one I will also miss a great deal. She popped over for a studio visit recently and I dubbed her with this scepter, she struck a worthy Valkyrie pose.
I heartily recommend her latest book, its quite funny :
In closing I will explain the first image of this long winded post, an early painting initially called Naked Emperor (I have recently decided upon Los Angeles). Early on in my enthusiasm for a life as a studio painter I had work accepted into a group show-at a museum! I was thrilled, this is so easy I told myself, full of vim, vigor and self importance I attended the opening, certain, cringe worthily certain, that my work, certainly brilliant, would get the attention and respect it deserves. Well suffice to say, it didn’t (it also wasn’t very good ). What did however elicit all manner of oohs and aaahs was a really ridiculous , pretty formulaic bit of installation work, a rusty boxspring, wired with old-timey bare light bulbs and, wait for it, suspended from the ceiling. It was as cringeworthy in its bombast as my own self expectant hubris. But the attendees of the awards program were besides themselves in admiration for its brilliance. I felt alone in my incredulity and of course the Emperor and his new clothes came to mind. Next morning I picked up brushes, new to oil, this was one of my first clumsy experiments with my now medium of choice.
(afterthought, the following image of Punch was the above mentioned, not so very good work)
Jodi admired my Emperor and its sentiment so I gifted him as well.
New work, still on the drawing board, inspired in great part by personal frustration and a general sense of impotent hopelessness.
My latest works are frequently snide, furtive symbolist comments on what I find frustrating , annoying and frequently terrifying (I wish I felt uplifted by society, but in what feels an apocalyptic age of societal decay , I do not). The silencing of dissenting or unpopular perspectives through public shaming by what is loosely referred to as “cancel culture” has for some time recalled to me the Inquisition with its spectacle of public humiliation and penance through the ceremonial auto-da-fé. Whereas in the 16th century there was raucous public degradation and self flagellation of the accused with their pointy headed capirotes, the damned garbed shamefully in their “shirt of flame”, the samarra sanbenito. The accused trespasser of our day, faces an even more relentlessly raucous mob, the unclean must grovel and tearfully (sincerely or not) repent publicly to the politically “woke”elite, hoping against hope to be allowed back into the fold .
I wince every time I witness yet again another sinner, who having failed to tow the party-member line, frequently trespassing ever so slightly, must quiver in isolated shame, flagellating themselves performatively to an unforgiving, intolerant mob. I question why they do that to themselves, can’t they stand by their convictions? But would I be any different if I were in their more high profile shoes?
I fear not, for even this modest post, one read by very few, is still contrary to the generally left, increasingly far left of center art world ; such a stance has me wondering if Mr. Punch will be garbing me in the flames of contrition any time soon.
Afterthought, I used the word “woke” above, I do not like that word, it is too vague, too broad a brush, it is a lazy shorthand . The attached article below explores the word, its possible ideology with more sensitivity, compassion and eloquence.
“In return, the people formerly known as “woke” need to cut it out with the witch hunts. I hope they understand by now that politics by inquisition is unsustainable. Eventually, the guillotine finds its way to you.”
The substack Journal of Free Black Thought is well worth a subscription.
Organizing photographs I came upon this forgotten (lost?) painting of Mr. Punch. I’ve loved the awful mean spirited Punch since boyhood, it is little wonder as I approach sixty that he keeps reappearing.
A newly completed work on paper, pencil and gouache expressing my confusion, dismay and anxiety concerning multiple new realities, be it social upheaval identity obsessions , pronoun hysteria , language police, climate vulnerability , and now martial aggression in Eastern Europe.
Bread and circuses, be it foolish political distractions, petty grievances and mindless entertainment seems to be what society craves most .
A year ago yesterday (30th January 2021) I read for the first time a new translation of the Quiche Maya Popol vuh by a talented poet Jemshed Khan. The manuscript appeared unexpectedly in my email inbox one morning, as I am a devoted admirer of this great creation myth (of which I’ve read multiple translations) I was eager to see how it compared- I confess I hadn’t high hopes. I soon found this manuscript to be a sensitive translation, that it would arrive so magically, so mysteriously, to me, I found enchanting – the old gods seemed at play.
From the first reading it was obvious to me that Khan shared my passion for this great work, weaving his own poetic voice within the tapestry of ancient ancestors.
Gratitude to old gods.
The Popol vuh is clearly a Mesoamerican treasure, steeped in the rich traditions and archetypes of a particular region; however equally true, I find within its twisting liminal wordplay, universal themes that I believe many can (and do) identify with: betrayal, wonder, fear, bravery, parental concern, tragic loss, sorrow, redemption, ultimately rebirth…and concerning the impish daemons of Xibalba, prankish, school-boy humor.
Though this epic work found its expression in the pre-Conquest consciousness of the Maya people, the shape shifting artistry of this great culture undeniably awakened in the Quiche-fluent Spanish friar Francisco Ximenez (the original Popol vuh translator) familiar associations (much within the text resonates with Christian archetypes: virgin births, ritual sacrifice, resurrection and redemption) . As the Mesoamerican scholars Mary Miller and Karl Taub attest in their indispensable An Illustrated Dictionary of the Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya :
In the Classic Maya area, the complexity of the hieroglyphic inscriptions is entirely matched by the attendant iconography, the texts and the pictorial images conveying different qualities of information. Unlike the specificity of writing , the power of Mesoamerican iconography lies in its subtle ambiguity and ability to express different levels of meaning. In a single scene , a richly costumed king can be regarded as a diety impersonator , an actual god, or both. In terms of metaphoric expression , the iconography comes alive. Lightening can appear as a burning serpent, blood as writhing snakes or gouts sprouting sweet flowers, and a mature maize ear as a human head awaiting decapitation from the stalk. (pg.32)
My desire, once I committed to a collaboration, in designing the following plates, was to convey this “subtle ambiguity”, desiring as well that my iconography equally “comes alive” with curious meaning .
In approaching a work so rooted in the Maya people’s culture and identity I naturally tread cautiously and hopefully I convey the respect I have for this masterpiece. I did not resort to Mesomaerican archetypes , such indigenous iconography, while clearly inspirational, didn’t feel appropriate for my use. As one of mixed European heritage I felt haven’t the natural right to directly appropriate such rich material;I instead wanted to express my desire to create a mythical, timeless space of my own imaginings (as much of this epic is set in the underworld kingdom of Xibalba, this was done with relative ease).
This self imposed stylistic restraint is not an original concept , that titan of Mexican mural painting, the great José Clemente Orozco placed upon his own work similar restrictions (though I would argue he had more liberty to “loot” than I do). In Neil Baldwin’s Legends of the Plumed Serpent: Biography of a Mexican God” Orozco is quoted as expressing similar intentions:
Deliberately, unlike Diego Rivera at the Palacio Nacional three years early, Orozco will not draw so directly upon “aboriginal traditions”. It is time , rather for a “new cycle”, he says, and to forego “looting indigenous remains…however picturesque and interesting they may be”.
My desire in addition to creating a dream space is to explore perception, the images that float before our mind’s eye when told an unfamiliar story. I turn immediately, instinctively to Durer’s rhinoceros, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dürer%27s_Rhinoceros
a fascinating example of perception misaligned with reality; Dürer, an artistic genius able to convey with great sensitivity and seeming ease the world about him, however clearly had never stumbled upon an actual rhino. He instead seems to cobble together a bull with an armored tank, sketching I imagine what had been described to him. It is this disconnect of perception with “reality” that I had hoped to convey, my stratagem was in pretending that I had no knowledge of the Maya people and their incredible artistic accomplishments, instead, listening as if for the first time to this grand epic we call the Popol vuh. Populating this fascinating narrative with ambiguous, mythical, vaguely familiar figures; my conceit was imagining a 16th century European court sitting entranced by this exotic tale from a far-off land and in their imagination the Hero Twins possess the brawn of Herakles, the Xibalban princess is sister to a tower bound damsel and the Maize God so obviously the brother to Christ (or at least the Baptist).
That is the intention of this collection of illuminations , an outward expression of my appreciation for the Popol vuh, for we hear in these unfamiliar stories, from unfamiliar lands, the familiar. The Popol vuh, like the creation stories of the Classical world and of our Northern kin, speak of universal truths, naturally touching the hearts of all who stumble upon them, providing inspiration to so many.
“There is devil within each of us but it depends on us whether they are to be nourished or detained within. Burn your devil side into ashes on the holy fire of Samhain. Have a great Samhain celebration today.”
“Let us remove negative thoughts from the depth of our souls on this day of Samhain. Celebrate the evening with people you love and God shall give you a great year ahead.”
Such are the frequently perky suggestions for Samhain greetings I encountered online (link: https://www.virtualedge.org/happy-samhain-greetings/). Being an American, the Celtic tradition of Samhain feels like an affectation, one I feel self conscious in expressing. Yet a day (evening actually )honoring thinned veils of consciousness, liminal possibilities , new beginnings and fairy folk is pretty difficult to resist.
Translated from Spanish, my late mother-in-law Elisa would frequently chastise those inclined to fretting to “not paint the devil on the wall”. Being a well practiced fretter AND a painter of devils, it seemed a particularly pointed and relevant admonition.
I am behind a veil of my own at the moment, not so much straight up depression , but one concerning purpose, direction and uncertainty. I’m 59, an ungainly number , lacking the elegant roundness of 60, and in this awkward time of life I keenly sense not knowing what lies ahead. We purchased a home in Chicago, a lovely between-the-wars apartment on Lake Shore Drive, very handsome and its care and renovation has been my primary focus. But that domestic fussing is coming to an end and in putting down the big brushes of home redecoration I am having difficulty picking up the smaller brushes of personal expression.
My Chicago studio, the workroom is what I am calling it, is quite small, the former maid’s quarter, and that smallness has had an impact psychologically. I once painted vast ceiling murals, in hindsight astonishing physical accomplishments. The nuts and bolts of climbing 30 plus feet in the air, on rickety scaffolding, single handedly painting , with such confidence, recalls pride and admiration for a younger braver person…it also saddens me knowing that chapter is closed. I could not I fear, at this stage, climb to such heights and frankly I wouldn’t want to. Decorative painting was grueling , frequently underpaid, unappreciated work, nearly all of my work has been painted over, much of it painted pre-I phone, undocumented. Memories, many of them bittersweet.
I now, contrary to Elisa’s scolding, paint devils, on canvas and panel, stitched up, carved into lino, sketched into notebooks. Devils and hobgoblins galore as some recent workroom snaps attest.
Currently at work on illustrating the Maya creation myth Popol Vuh , I am happily occupied but my wonder at this point is what’s next? Paintings, of course but drawings , pencil work on paper really holds my attention, stitching as well, bringing the greatest satisfaction…and yet oddly, foolishly perhaps , I feel that to be inadequate , insufficient.
Ponderings, naval gazing, trying to put self consciousness aside, at nearly sixty I struggle like a sixteen year old with self doubt.
Good news , some sales, my skull The Eternal Cycle, now on an international exhibition tour, has sold, and when the traveling show ends, will have a permanent home, that is quite gratifying.
Also gratifying is the fact that my oil painting Genesis has also found a collector.
Another bit of happy news was a satisfying conversation with an artist Richard Bledsoe at Remodern Review, who I admire a great deal and is unafraid to ask the tough and challenging questions others more timid, less confident, fear to ask.
These are early morning musings and I must at this point get on with day as Dawn reaches out her less than rose tinted fingers across the Los Angeles skyline (visible from my dining table). Nonetheless , a little more personal clarity gained upon reflection ; sending out good wishes, open horizons and lifted veils of doubt.
Belated happy Halloween, a solemn All Souls Day and a spirit filled Samhain.