Friday, January 27, 2012

About Disorder

Writer Anais Nin said: "When I cannot bear outer pressures anymore, I begin to put order in my belongings…As if unable to organize and control my life, I seek to exert this on the world of objects."

As I create chaos in the process of moving home and studio, I fantasize about the moment when I will look at the piles of boxes and the general disorder we have created at the new home — and at the contents of my studio which are now housed in a storage unit. I look forward to making order from that awful jumble.

I believe that is what art is about. One takes control and makes something to one’s own notion of order or beauty or whatever it is that satisfies and rewards the mind and/or the senses.

I expect to be in that mode again soon. In the meantime I will spend as much time in my fantasies of the future as the reality of today will allow.

The images above are of my studio in the past when everything was in place. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

About Missing the Muse

I miss my muse. Oh, how I miss my muse. I miss the comfort of doing something I really want to do. I miss the peace of being focused and working. I miss the satisfaction of seeing something get done. I miss being able to plan a day and living it.

I am submerged in chaos. I am without the safety of my routine within the refuge of the home I built around me. I want my studio back and my bless├ęd routine.

Ordinarily I start my day by reviewing the world within my walls and putting everything in order. I had a dear friend who once said that she and I needed to have everything at right angles to everything else. Well, sure ‘nuff. When the dishes are washed, the bed is made, and the bills are paid, my world is in place and I go to work. I can walk away from it all and into that place in myself that paints. I can forget everything for a while knowing that my reading chair and refrigerator will be waiting when I need them again. The phone is there too; I can temper the loneliness by dialing one of my kids. I can rest so that I can do the same next day. Is that a lot to ask?

Yes, of course it is. It is the never promised rose garden. Experiencing a minor bump in the road like moving one’s domicile, demonstrates yet again just how good a life this is. No tornados here. No major earthquake, no disaster nor tragedy of any kind. I’m moving from one very comfortable space to another that will be even better. Who would ever even think of complaining? Just a mega-kvetch, that’s who. Well, okay, a very, very tired mega-kvetch.

The half-price moving sale of paintings dated prior to 2007 and that I am not currently marketing will continue until the studio is packed, sometime in the the week of the twenty-third. The final move is scheduled for the last weekend of this month. Email me at for images and prices or for information or a studio appointment. The image above is Allegro ©2000, 10" x 26.5” . It is hanging in my studio and included in the sale.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

About Possessions

I have tried not to get attached to things. It just doesn’t work for me. When I left the home I had put together in Caracas, I had to leave everything behind except for my children and what we brought in our suitcases. Actually, I did pack a few things and have them shipped: albums of photos and a few other items that would be irreplaceable. And then, because there was a minimum to be paid which entitled us to a certain amount of weight, I threw in a small teak table and an artisan-made chair. Not a bit more as this was 1979 and five dollars a pound to move to the US was daunting.

Now, many years later, I still miss the cookbook collection, and dream sometimes that I am back in that house running my hands over the surface of the dining room table. I would not change the life I have now for a return to that time. But I was attached to the home that was the site of our history as a family.

Now my home is in a state of total chaos as I am sorting through it all and with the help of my girls and my son, packing and beginning to get a home assembled yet again. I don’t have the lovely furniture I had before but it’s still hard to do the getting-rid-of part. I have a lot of stuff that I have kept just-in-case. I am a child of the great depression, have trouble throwing away food and tend to keep too much of anything that could possibly serve some useful purpose. But now it’s push come to shove. Trash or pack. The choice is easy to make.

According to my not very trustworthy memory, I have moved from dwelling to dwelling twelve times, the first few parent-powered, then on my own, later married with children and now with the assistance of these. This time it’s forever. Never again. Absolutely, never again. I plan to croak in my new digs and will be very careful to keep only what is unarguably useful. Says I.

The half-price moving sale of paintings dated prior to 2007 and that I am not currently marketing will continue until the studio is packed, sometime in the the week of the twenty-third. The final move is scheduled for the last weekend of this month. Email me at for images and prices or for information or a studio appointment. The image above is Flourish ©2001, 23” x 60” (framed). It is hanging in my studio and included in the sale.

Friday, January 6, 2012

About Home

Elizabeth Bowen wrote in Death of the Heart:

"After inside upheavals, it is important to fix on imperturbable things. Their imperturbableness, their air that nothing has happened renews our guarantee. Pictures would not be hung plumb over the centers of fireplaces or wallpapers pasted on with such precision that their seams make no break in the pattern if life were really not possible to adjudicate for. These things are what we mean when we speak of civilization: they remind us how exceedingly seldom the unseemly or unforeseeable rears its head. In this sense, the destruction of buildings and furniture is more palpably dreadful to the spirit than the destruction of human life."
Well, I’m not sure I would agree with the last two lines. I experienced a strong earthquake years ago in Venezuela and remember beseeching whatever powers might be listening: “Just leave me my children and my husband”. Looking back I’m inclined to think that was selfish. What about all the other precious children and husbands? But selfishness is not my topic today. Maybe another time. Now in the throes of moving from my dwelling of sixteen years, I am thinking about home. 
I have painted little houses since kindergarten. They are safe places. Drawing or painting them puts me in a safe place. This is not a conscious act. It’s like reaching for chocolate when chocolate is the right thing. Moving is like being unsafe until the new home is made. This home will be made when everything (or almost everything) is in place and the house loses its strangeness. Putting familiar things, those that have been with me for the longer haul, in their places will be good. Hanging my paintings, which is the last thing I will do, should bring home into the house. But the interim, which has started as I take this home apart, is life on quicksand. The feeling is one of un-ease.
I know people who take their houses with them wherever they go. They are like snails except that their homes are within themselves. They are good travelers, willing to be transported at the drop of a hat. I wonder if they grew up feeling safe and just assume that the force will be with them (to coin a phrase). I am not so trusting, and while I envy that serenity, I prefer to watch my back at all times when away from my own confines. But I have made homes before and will do it again now. I know how. Just wish I could get from here to there with no in-between.
From Robert Montgomery: Home, the spot of earth supremely blest, A dearer, sweeter spot than all the rest.
The image above is one of the Little Houses series, actually a detail from Neighborhood, ©2008

Below we have an ode written by my friend Mike Yanke in response to About Napping. Behold, I’m a muse!


Rectangles abound
This side of town.

They’re green and they’re blue
With varying hue.

Orange ones have dots
Reds have white spots.

Different as they may be
They’re all fun to go see.

Some with white borders
Others borderless in their orders.

Rectangles standing alone
Rectangles with an accompanying clone.

There’s multiples and more
There’s rectangles galore.

The creator of all these
Is so easy to please.

An afternoon bed
To rest her sweet head.

And what time of day
Does she want to go lay?

From one until three
It’s her life’s luxury.

She calls it her nap
To avoid the over-worked trap.

A nap ‘til she rises
She vehemently prizes.

There’s no need for it to be said
The shape of her bed.

It’s always rectangular
Not square, circular or triangular.

Rectangles abound
this side of town.