Monday, September 27, 2010

A Glitch

Something's wrong with my camera - I'm unable to download my images. So I can't show you the drawings I've done from these two old photos. But these are the latest ghosts who've come to sit for me in my studio - my Great Aunt Edna Congdon, who died from pneumonia when she was just a teen, and my Great Grandfather Godfrey. Soon as I figure out my camera glitch, I'll post some pictures of the portraits! Having such fun with these!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Need A Wife Too

Janis Mars Wunderlich, ceramic artist, and mother of five.

I'm sitting here this morning with a head full of to do's: stack wood, gather kindling, wash and hang out the laundry, pick up the house, scrub bathrooms, process tomatoes, make and freeze batches of basil, sort mail, plan and make supper, tend to my Etsy business...

It's a gorgeous day, and I have the luxury of being home to do these things. Tomorrow will be a studio day when I drive to Portland and get to focus, for a few hours, entirely on my art. Our children are grown and flown, and my husband, who works full time as a hospital pharmacist, helps a bit with the housework and alot with the cooking responsibilities. I now have the opportunity to balance home and art. (It hasn't always been this way - I've struggled mightily to make it so. These are internal and external struggles...) Yet I still experience inertia and conflict, and often feel guilty packing up and heading to the studio, when there is "more productive" work to be done at home. And there are still days when I wonder what it would be like to have no domestic responsibilities - to awake like Picasso, and know that my wife has already peddled her bike to the studio to get the fire going in the woodstove, and that she will make all my meals and clean my house, and to grab paints and clay first thing in the morning (not frying pans and wash rags) and to start creating, and to create all day, everyday. (And to know that just my signature will fetch thousands of dollars would be pretty damn sweet, too!!!)

(Would I even want this, though? Do I need the domestic to anchor me? Or is that me rationalizing my conditioned life and what is expected of me??)

I need a wife too is one of the discussion topics in the Who Does She Think She Is? home party pack that I recently ordered on-line. I plan to show the DVD at MECA soon, and host a discussion. There are many more provocative questions posed on a set of enclosed cards, such as this one:

What would be lost if you lived your dream?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Yet Another Ghostly Sitter

I arrive at my studio and look through my on-line album of scanned photos of ancestors, and I ask, Who's next? This fellow called to me yesterday. A great great uncle (I think...) Such an interesting challenge to create a portrait from the zoomed in pixillated image...

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hattie (and Company)

The start of my latest ghost - another Great Grandmother...

Sunday, September 12, 2010


The start of another friendly ghost, Lillie Congdon, my Gramma.
(I really HAVE to do a portrait of the other woman in that old photo, my Gramma's Aunt Rhody. Fantastic HAT!!)
I always like the initial drawings better than the finished pieces. But for the intent and purpose of this show, these pieces have to hold their power behind old windows, so they are less about the drawing elements, and more about presence and form...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Back to the Studio

So many more ghosts need faces for my upcoming show in November, Mything Persons. Here' s the start of one - I'll be in my studio again today conjuring up another...

I've been nested so solidly at home and in my garden this whole summer, I had to rip myself out yesterday to get back to the city and into my studio. My entire adult life I have struggled with acknowledging, paying attention to, and then balancing these two parts of myself: the mother/homebody and the artist, or "the domestic and the wild," to quote the wise poet mother of an artist friend of mine. Brings to mind this truly atrocious old song...