Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Sunday Afternoon Sitting

My back porch as studio.

This beautiful mother and daughter sat for a double portrait today. The portrait is Jessica Carmichael's gift to her mom, Karen. I recently advertised on my Facebook Fan Page that I am doing quick and affordable portraits. So far I have three commissions! I'm very pleased. It's really alot of fun, and I often do my best work in a short amount of time. I just want to make a living, and decided to set my prices comparable to what other professionals charge, such as massage therapists, or psychologists, or dental hygienists...
I want my art to get out there, and I want people to have it and enjoy it. To heck with the whole expensive gallery scene!!!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Seeing Red

Self with Red Eye Glasses, 2010
chalk, pastels, markers, pencil, charcoal, and acrylics on Rives BFK, 22" x 15"
A demo from yesterday's portraiture class where I'm teaching at The Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. The homework is to do an exaggerated self/self portrait.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

On the Line with Nancy Spero

I’ve always wanted my art to be something that would not be acceptable in the usual daily, ordinary, polite way of ­communicating. ~ Nancy Spero

Nancy Spero
Sheela-na-gig at Home

Martha Miller
Untitled, 1984

Mentors show up in various guises at unexpected times and places, and we sometimes don't recognize a mentor until after the fact. I've recently been wracking my brain trying to remember Nancy Spero's name. One of my professors at MECA showed me pictures of a mural that she'd made. And when she died last year, I saw images from her riveting Maypole installation that have stayed with me. Today her name finally came up to the surface and when I researched her a bit, I found Sheela-na-gig at Home. Timely, in that I was taking pictures of my women ancestor portraits under the clothesline yesterday. While I've been working on these portraits of the older generations of women in my family, I've been wondering alot about the emotional truth of their lives, searching their faces for clues. What was it like to be a woman in the late 19th century? What loving habits and what painful dysfunctional behavior got passed down to my generation? Did these women yearn to be something other than housewives and mothers? I have struggled mightily with the duality of being a mother and an artist. When I was a young mother I had a fury inside that was so powerful I thought it would destroy me if I allowed myself to feel it. It frightened me terribly and I tried to keep it pushed down for years. It would not stay down and erupted as panic attacks and depression. I did not have balance in my life. I was not doing my art. Not the art that I needed to do.

Seeing Spero's work on-line today made me pull out this old painting of mine once again. I really need to attach it to a board - it's been folded up in my closet. This speaks to the level of shame I still harbour about creating it. When my father saw it years ago, it must have frightened him, because he looked at it and said, There is something wrong with you. This hurt. My father loved me, but he was a man of his generation. He was quite controlling of my mother, and she dealt with it by being passive and secretive and she went underground with her needs. I sometimes wonder, what would it have been like to have a mother like Nancy Spero? Someone who would have celebrated the imagery in this painting, which I made after the birth of my fifth child, and then found the courage to return to school and take this one class? But other mothers, and as I mentioned above, mentors, show up at unexpected times and places. I am amazed this morning to see Spero's sheela-na-gig's on the clothesline. I painted that crouching figure in my piece all those years ago without ever having heard of a sheela-na-gig. I painted her at the top of that doorway to say, See? See here: this is your destiny. I was trapped in the old patriarchal system, and raging to bust out. I wanted to be a mother, but I wanted to be an artist, too, and I was just starting to figure out that I could do both...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ghosts at the Clothesline

A photo shoot out under the clothesline this morning, documenting portraits for my upcoming show. I am also getting ready to plant a bed of marigolds from seed, so that they will be at their peak in late October for the exhibit. I will be placing them around the gallery at my niece Michaela's suggestion. Michaela loves Day of the Dead and all its imagery and folklore, and tells me that marigolds bring forth spirits!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Studio Beerhorst

Braided Vision

Who Will Throw the First Stone

Bird's Eye View


The Letter I Can't Read With Red Orb

Hummingbird Print

The Future Now

Double Rose Vision

Boat Bed Collage

I treated myself today. To celebrate the return of my hummingbirds to the feeder, I bought the hummingbird print, posted above, which I have been eyeing for some time now. The artist, Rick Beerhorst, describes this painting as having a theme of spiritual sight going past physical sight. I do so like that thought. His paintings bring to mind Magritte.

He states:
I have always felt that a piece of art work can become a portal into the spiritual world like the idea of thin places in Celtic theology. All artistic creation can become a flight towards God. Then lets surround ours selves with truth and beauty and live lives accordingly.
(Amen to that!)

Do check out his family's website!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

One More Shot!

The one person who sat for me at the MECAmorphosis portrait drawing marathon whose picture I did not get was captured here by Avery Yale Kamila! Avery kindly sent me this image from last Sunday's paper. You can read more about the event in Avery's on-line article!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

All Souls

All Souls’ Day
Aladar Korosfoi-Kriesch

I found out yesterday that my upcoming show at Sanctuary Tattoo will be in November rather than September, and I am so pleased! My cousin Jon, who will be showing his photographs of family gravestones along with my drawings of our ancestors, pointed out that our exhibit opening will coincide with The Day of the Dead, or All Souls' Day, which is PERFECT considering our subject matter!!

(I'm also thrilled with the new date because it gives me more time to prepare! (:^D)

Monday, May 17, 2010

Wild Boys

My grandson Wyeth giving his friend Eben a wild ride in the hammock yesterday.
What fun were you up to this weekend?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Lillie Evelyn Congdon

Lillie, around age 14 or so, drying her hair in the backyard, and peeling potatoes. Love the little clothesline with pins behind her. LOVE this image.

Lillie on the left, with her sister-in-law, Mary, at a county fair. Terrific hats!!!

Lillie at her home in East Greenwich, RI, with an old beau who is wearing WWI garb...

Lillie front and center.
My Gramma.
Next week I will be back to working on my charcoal portrait series. I've been sidetracked by other projects, but plan to spend time downtown in my studio starting on Monday! I have so many great images to work from, thanks to the scanning prowess of my cousin Jon!