Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Traveler Goes Trick-or-Treating

Well, not really, but it sounds a lot better than "The Traveler goes Halloweenish"- though the second one does sound like something I'd say.  I'm starting the 5th piece in The Traveler's Tale, a series of large collages I've been working on intermittently since the spring of 2009.  Maps are the main material used in the series, which is somewhat narrative, as each piece "tells a story" about the same character.  And this one is, well- kind of spooky.

 This is an old monotype that I started re-working.  It's actually a "ghost image", so called because it's a second impression, made using only the ink that's left after the plate has been printed. 

I started re-drawing the figure; I'm not finished yet, and you can see that many of the lines and shadows aren't really in the right place.  But this is just the preliminary stage of planning for me- like thinking aloud on paper.

This drawing of a model inside a piece of stretchy fabric was transferred onto frosted acetate so I could see through it.  Somehow it will have to be transferred onto the monotype, but at this point I haven't figured out exactly how I'm going to do that.  I think I'll need to enlarge it a bit so that both figures will be closer to the same size...

It still has a long way to go, but here's the general idea:

And a detail:

It is rather Halloweenish, you see?

If you're not familiar with the series, here's a look at the first four.

The Traveler's Tale: As the Crow Flies

The Traveler's Tale: Balance

The Traveler's Tale: Once Upon a Time

The Traveler's Tale: Self-Birthing

I'd really welcome and appreciate any comments, criticisms, or suggestions about the new piece.  Have a blessedly spooky Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Doors and Windows of Richmond, VA

This is a subject I'm drawn to again and again.  (Hmmmm... a subject for a future series, perhaps?)  
So, come with me on a little tour of Richmond, Virginia's doors and windows...

Doors and windows have had, throughout history, much symbolic meaning attached to them, and I don't think it's hard to see why.  Think of a classic book or movie (Wuthering Heights, The Lord of the Rings, Peter Pan, Jane Eyre, Rear Window, The Secret Garden... ) - and there's probably a door or window playing an important role.  Their part in horror movies is obvious.   (Why do the characters always open the door, after  you've pleaded so emphatically with them not to?)

Of course, the symbolism of doors and windows lies in their function:  Opening. Closing.  Who /what is allowed to enter, and who's kept out.  Who's forced to leave (or pushed out!), and who is set free; 
  who's protected and safe within, and who is imprisoned.

  A window may reveal, or conceal.  Symbolically, someone looking out a window is an observer, but not a part of what they see.  Is that a face behind the window, or just a shadow?

 A door may be a passageway, or a barrier.  Is that a spirit moving through a portal, or just a trick of the light?

A window may reveal what's inside,

or only reflect its surroundings.

 A window into the past...
  ...a moment in time, frozen and framed.

In dreams, two doors side by side often symbolize a choice to be made.  Would you like door number 1, door number 2, or what's behind the curtain?  (What was that show called, anyway?)

A window may function as a stage, where a bizarre story plays out in our imaginations- a view into another world.

A door within a door carefully protects the secrets that lie within...

The doors we open and close each day decide the lives we live.  ~ Flora Whittemore

There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.  ~ Aldous Huxley

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls.  ~ Joseph Campbell

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I Did It! (thanks to Eleanor)

This short quote has become my mantra:
You must do the thing you think you cannot do.  –Eleanor Roosevelt

You see, I've been a big chicken for a long, long time.  I made some unfortunate decisions, and the consequences left me nearly unable to make any decision whatsoever.  You could say that self confidence has not been my strong suit.  I've been working on it, though.  Whenever I begin thinking, "That's just too hard", or "I don't have the time or energy to do that", or, "I'm not good/strong/smart/whatever enough to...", I make myself repeat, over and over:
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
"You must do the thing you think you cannot do." ...etc. ....

I applied for an exhibit at the Artspace Gallery in Richmond, Virginia, and to my surprise, I was notified that the jury had decided to offer me a show!  I was in shock; what had happened to the usual rejection letter?  Now what do I do?
The usual doubts flooded in.  How could I do this by myself?  Would I be able to drive so far alone?  Could I afford the trip?  How would I get everything done while working full time?  Would I be able to hang it by myself?  Could I take off work that long?  There were a thousand reasons it might not work out.  Maybe I should turn it down, I thought.  It seemed like, well- the safest thing to do.

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."  I don't remember where I first read them (probably on someone's blog), but I do remember the feeling of recognition, of knowing deep in my bones that those words were true.  How many times had I told my students the same thing- that self esteem comes only from accomplishing something difficult, that no growth comes from taking the easy way out?  So, I signed the contract, and did what I had to do.  Whenever I felt like chickening out, I repeated those words.

And here's what happened as a result.

 My husband was able to go with me, and we got the show hung on time, with no major problems.

The gallery was in an old warehouse, which also housed several other galleries that had openings the same night.  It was a nice space.

You can't tell from the pictures, but the opening was well attended.

Everything went pretty smoothly, and we had a great time!

In other words,
I did it!

That Eleanor, she really knew what she was talking about.

Monday, October 18, 2010

(Late) Weekend Update

I've been so busy lately that I haven't posted in more than a week!  It's hard to believe it's been that long; time flies when you're struggling to keep up, and apparently it's gotten further ahead of me than ever.  I haven't kept up with my blog reading very well, and when I have looked at your posts, I haven't always had time to leave comments.  But my thoughts have been with you all, my bloggy buddies; your friendship is very important to me.

One thing I need to tell you is that my studio vignette is being featured in Chapter 6 of

 (click image to go there)

at Seth Apter's wonderful blog, The Altered Page.  If you're not familiar with this project, Studioscapes is part of the fourth edition of The Pulse, an ongoing "survey in words and pictures of the online arts community."  Seth has conceptualized and facilitated (meaning he has worked his butt off!) the entire thing, and has created an amazing wealth of shared information.  You can find links to the other parts of The Pulse on Seth's sidebar.  I feel very lucky and honored to be included in the project.

I haven't had much time to make art at all, but I'll show you the tiny bit of progress I've made with the current piece.  Here is where it started... and it ended up looking like this:

 ... and here it is now.  It came together so easily in the beginning, but now I'm sort of stuck! Can't worry about it right now, though.

 I have spent much of this weekend framing the remainder of the work for my show in Richmond, Virginia. Anyone who has followed my blog for a while knows how I feel about framing, so lets just not go there!

 Here's the invitation card for the show.  If you're in the area, I hope to see you there!

Here are some of the pieces that will be in the exhibit:

Transformation 24



Transformation 18

 Kalachakra Matrix


Transformation 10

Sacred Geometry

I'll miss you all while I'm in Virginia!  I'll be "unblogged" for about a week or so, but then I'll be back with news to share!  Adios, mi amigos!  Au revoir!

Friday, October 8, 2010

What Frogs?!!

If you've followed my blog the for last month or so, you might remember that I went to a place in Ohio called Camp Joy, where I spent three fun-filled days with a huge gaggle (that is the proper word, right?) of 8th-graders.

 There was a lovely little pond, complete with cattails and waterlilies, which was used for some of the nature classes.  I was taking photos, as usual, when one of the camp leaders brought a group of students out to look for reptiles and amphibians.

"Look, there's one!" yelled a student, not three feet away from where I stood. 
"I see two over here," another called back. I looked into the pond, but saw nothing unusual.
"What is it?" I asked the boy next to me.
"A frog," he replied.  I leaned over and peered into the water.  I could hear kids all around the pond proclaiming that they'd "found one".
"Where?" I still saw nothing except water lilies and algae.

 "Right there."  He pointed at an indeterminate spot in the water, as if I could see exactly where he was looking.
"I still don't see it," I told him.
"There's another one over there, by that leaf- see?"  He ran off to join his friend, leaving me to wonder, which leaf?  Try as I might, I could not see a single frog, and so, frustrated, I went back to taking pictures.

I had a good time, and took some nice shots.  I really didn't give another thought to frogs- that is, until I got home and loaded the pictures onto my computer.  As I began clicking through them, I couldn't believe it- right there in front of my face- frogs!  They were everywhere!

There are three in this photo...  Can you spot them?  Click the pic to enlarge if you need to.

This one, I'm pretty sure, was having a good laugh at my expense.  (Oops!- I mean, these two- I just spotted another one!)

 There are at least three in this photo...

How did I miss this one?  I can just hear it laughing its little froggy laugh...

This one's got quite a nerve, hasn't he?


 Well, I'm saying it's the bifocal thing.  I really don't know what part of my glasses to look through unless I know exactly where I'm looking.  Anyway, that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.