“Do you know," Peter asked, "why swallows build in the eaves of houses? It is to listen to the stories.” ~ J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

4.29.2008

Climbing plants, real art & money

This painting sits in my office. It's quite large - 23" x 72" - and is propped against the wall behind me. (My apologies for not being able to post this at a larger size, but as you all know, just click on it to enlarge.) I painted this a few years ago in just a few hours. All in one day. Which for me is quite a feat. It was one of those really-able-to-let-loose days - I just stopped thinking & started painting. Another oddity for me. I laid the board on the living room floor & bent over it, painting away. I could barely move when I was through.

At our old location, I used to keep it in the front room, displayed behind the front counter. I came back from lunch one day to find 2 very excited employees, telling me that an artist had been in & loved my painting & wanted to know if it was for sale, how much money, etc., etc. They also described this artist as very strange - you know, like real artists should be! I thought it was funny that they never thought I was a real artist (because, trust me, I'm sure they thought I was pretty strange also) until someone thought a piece of my work was worth money. Needless to say, the artist never returned & I still have the painting.

4.28.2008

Maggie gets better


Thanks to everyone who asked about Maggie - she's much better, but fights like a true cat from Hell when it's time for her medicine.

It's massage night for me, so I am off to that particular bit of bliss, and cannot linger here, but I wanted to let you all know I appreciate your very kind comments & emails about Bob & now Maggie. It means a lot.

4.27.2008

Rose fence #1 - Jefferson, Texas


I've been sketching a series a series of ideas for fence paintings, so I found it a gift from the universe when Christy, Diana & I happened upon this wonderful little yard while in Jefferson. Surrounded by sagging fence posts & roses & clematis, enclosing a small homemade bird sanctuary, I made up stories about the woman I knew must live there, while Christy & Diana laughed. I could just see this woman talking to her plants & pigeons, content in her solitude, while all the nearby children laughed at her. Jefferson has ghost tours & I also knew her home must be on the route - I can see it in the fall with a little frost in the air, when darkness comes early, the moon hidden behind clouds. It just felt that way to me.

One of my favorite books when growing up, and one I still re-read is The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Doesn't that sound like a terrific place to live? I never wanted to be Kit, the young girl who's the "star" of the book - I always wanted to be the witch, living with my cat in my own little place, with the birds & the wind as my friends.

I took lots of photos, so have quite a bit of visual information & inspiration to egg on this series.

Expect to see more!

4.25.2008

Pink for the day


I do not hurry well. It's not something I'm proud of, but it is what it is. My new/used car needed a new tire - I was told they weren't supposed to (by WalMart regulations) put on the size that would match the other tire, but they would, since that was the size I'd bought with the vehicle. I was told that perhaps they couldn't (by WalMart regulations) repair the tire that had picked up a nail (it has to not be in certain place on the tire), but as it turned out, yes, they could. If any other store in this town had actually had the tire I needed, I wouldn't've been at WalMart in the first place. But that is what that is. I had to drop it off to have the oil changed (not at WalMart). I've been trying to get all the photographs out that have to be out, and perhaps I'm done. Because of all this, because of the phone calls I answer here at a business only to have someone try to sell me satellite service, better insurance, better postage machines, even better insurance, a new credit card machine, insurance again, and even better postage machines, I will be meeting Christy tomorrow without a new haircut. And that is what that is & that's why God invented Pepto-Bismol. Breathe in . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . (I am peace . . . ), breathe out . . . 1 . . . 2 . . . 3 . . . (I am calm . . . ) Ommmmm . . . . . .



4.24.2008

Yesterday was a long day & I left really late


I laughed when I got to work this morning & found the front door looking like this. And I'M the responsible party! Luckily, we don't work for the public.

4.22.2008

Summer on the lake & snow


This is a drawing from some years back. It was hanging in a show when my father died - I'd just gotten the show hung the night before he went into the hospital. There was a freak snowstorm -it was a couple of weeks before Christmas, and we had no idea how serious his condition was. I remember standing out in my front yard with huge snowflakes just pouring out of the sky - Mary was outside in her yard & we both just laughed and held our arms open to the sky. It seemed like a gift from God.


I'd not wanted to do the show because I really couldn't afford to have such large drawings framed, but Robert talked me into it. In addition, we were incredibly busy at the lab - another of those periods with months of 70 hour weeks (I'd even worked on Thanksgiving) - and I just felt I wasn't up to it. But the ever-wonderful, ever-supportive, ever-always there for me Michael helped me hang the drawings and I didn't see them again for weeks. Until my father was gone (New Year's Eve at the stroke of midnight) & my niece was born (the last day of the same month). The woman who ran the gallery had lost my phone # & didn't know where to find me, so my drawings had, by then, been replaced with others, and stored away for me. None sold. I wasn't surprised - they didn't seem a good fit for the gallery & I had no time to do that art-shmooze thing. I still have three of them. I've just put them back & not displayed them anywhere. I guess they have some sad memories attached, but I think it's mostly because once I got them here, to the lab, I was just too exhausted to deal with them anymore.


I've grown more attached to this one over the years. In the springtime, I always bring it out so I can see it for a few months. I'm thinking I can maybe let it go. I don't know. It has a lot of history attached.

4.21.2008

Dezah's flowers


I'm feeling quite sentimental today, so decided to alter a lovely little flower photograph I'd taken back in early March. This is a bloom from one of the bulbs I bought from Lyndi-Linda's granddaughter. As part of a school fundraiser she was selling various goodies - I got the bag-o-blue-flower-bulbs. 40 bulbs promising 40 blue flowers - the only one I knew was grape hyacinth. It was a deal.

I'm learning how to adjust this incorrect Photoshop technique & use it in the same way I use a brush in my paintings. I'm liking it more & more as I become more at ease with the procedure. Number 1 - save, save, save. Of course, I always go back & adjust strokes here & there anyway, just as I would with paint or pencil, so a mistake is never permanent. No things are permanent. Very Buddhist, very Ken Kesey.


I've added Miss Kitty's photo to the sidebar, as well as Charlie's. Charlie has lived with Bob & Mary for 4 years or so, and this morning I found him sitting at Bob's grave, smelling the bouquet I laid there yesterday, and I thought my heart would break. We're a very cat-friendly neighborhood. There are dogs as well, but, unlike when I was a child, the dogs are all behind fences & you usually only get to know them when they're being walked by their owners. The cats just do as they please. What's that saying? "Women & cats will do as they please, so men & dogs should relax & get used to the idea." ~ Robert Heinlein. The cats in the sidebar are not all mine (do cats ever really belong to anyone?) but in a way they are. They're like the rest of us who live on this wonderful, charmed block - we all just just wander between each other's homes as if they were one.

JY told us last night that he'd once told his doctor (who was about to suggest things/habits that JY should consider renouncing) that he could give up some things, but there 3 things he could not live without: Scotch, Wagner, and cats.

Nuff said.

4.20.2008

The Story of Bob



Where Bob came from I can't be certain. He was just there one very dark night, waiting for me on my front porch. I was living in the country then. I pulled through the gate onto my property & my headlights swept across this white & cream cat sitting there as if he were home. For a split second I, too, thought, good, he's home & then remembered he wasn't mine. It was cold, he was hungry & injured, and against all good sense I fed him. And that was that. He was there every evening & soon every day. His leg had been hurt, apparently in a fight, and I had no extra money to pay for my vet to see him. But I called Dr. Alexander anyway (best vet EVER) & he recommended some home remedies & Bob got well. My cat Maggie was not at all happy about that turn of events - she is a one-woman cat & sees no reason why I shouldn't be a one-cat woman. But Bob was there - for months he would sleep under the house next to the heater. Eventually he & Maggie reached a truce, and when the time came for me to move back into town, there was no way I could leave him. So off to the vet he went, to be neutered & vaccinated, and we came to town.

I don't remember how many years it took until Bob left me for Mary - y'all remember, my across-the-street-neighbor. He checked out other houses first, kind of like Goldilocks looking for the bed that was just right. One of our ex-neighbors came home to find him asleep on one of her son's beds - we never knew how he got into the house. But eventually it was Mary - Mary & her House of Many Colors & many comfortable chairs & a just right ginkgo tree to leap into. And so he moved in. How could I stop him?

Bob made his own destiny in this world. He knew what he wanted & he made sure he took the right steps to achieve his desires. Mary always told people he had 2 moms, but really he had none. He was his own man. He took care of himself.

We lost Bob today. He was about 14 years old, maybe a little older, but it was too soon. He'd been struggling with a kidney problem for several months, and was under the weekly care of Dr. Alexander, about whom I cannot say enough good things. But last night, his kidneys began to fail, and by this morning it was obvious we had to take him to the Emergency Clinic. So Mary, Lyndi-Linda (Mary's caretaker) & I drove him in, and all 3 of us held him till the end. Katie was there to hold Bob in the sunshine before we left Mary's house & he seemed pleased to feel the breeze & hear the birds & smell the flowers. Robert returned home from his week-long photo shoot to bury him, and found a 1917 Mercury Dime deep in the ground while digging. 2 nickels from Lyndi-Linda's pocket were buried with Bob, to pay the ferryman. I found an azalea bloom, some blue flowers & pink & purple & tied the bouquet with grass to lay on his grave.

Bob, you were so loved. Take care, sweetie.


4.19.2008

Vines, chipped paint & spider


Boy, I am gonna milk this technique for all it's worth. I really like it. It mixes photography in with painting & I'm loving it more & more. I know photography purists would just be rolling their eyes, but I don't care. I'm not pretending to be a photographer. This is all about my vision, dontcha know. (How vain does that sound?)

In keeping with my plan (I mentioned it before, a few weeks back - the week of the humiliating pink chair incident), I am looking at things. Really looking. And really starting to see. These are vines that hang outside the building we rent for our photo business. The yellow-y bits (doesn't that sound like a line from Bridget Jones?) are where paint has been pulled off the building by these vines (don't they look like flowers? - the yellow-y bits, I mean) & the dragonfly looking bits (I'm starting to like saying bits) are the pulled off paint stuck to the vines. Aren't they beautiful? And in the lower left hand corner you can just make out a bit (!!!) of a spider - a dead one, flattened like Wile E. Coyote under a steamroller or giant truck or boulder. Isn't he beautiful?? (The spider I mean.) Okay, maybe I'm pushing it, but, really, it's amazing what's out there if you really look around. On the other side of the building I found a couple of blackberry or dewberry vines (I can't tell the difference - my mother would be so ashamed) with teeny little berries already growing. Not enough to really eat unless you were really starving, but I'm gonna keep on eye on them & eat them all up anyway!

Ferris Bueller
: "Life goes by pretty fast. If you don't stop & look around once in a while, you could miss it."


And PS - If you click the Ferris Buller link above - you can't make this stuff up - it will take you to Ferris Bueller: The Best Bits. !! A little serendipity yet again.

4.18.2008

Miss Kitty, cars, catawbas, and craziness


This is Miss Kitty. Don't mess with her. Actually, despite her fierce robin & lizard-stalking glare, she's a sweetie and a half. She's here today paying us all a visit because I'm feeling depressed & overwhelmed - I may have to buy a new car & it's stressing me out & annoying me because I don't want to spend the money unless I can get what I want (which means in addition to specific features, it's got to be white, and I am exhausted with seeing UT orange vehicles - pretty much the same color as Miss Kitty's eyes) - and Miss Kitty always makes me smile. She lives with the lovely lovely Katie & her fiance, the usually-packing-heat, etc, etc, Robert, and today she is missing Robert for the 5th day in a row because he is off taking photos of paintings for The Tyler Museum of Art. I believe. I know he's shooting paintings (no doubt there's some he'd like to literally shoot, but that's just me talking, not him), and I assume it's for an upcoming show for the museum.

And yes, I changed my banner (at least temporarily) - I just feel the need to see something lighter when I come here. This is the catawba tree across the street and when it blooms I'll post a picture of its gorgeous white flowers. I thought the new banner would add color to this blog, but I can see it doesn't - I swear, I must be color-phobic.

4.17.2008

No image available

As some of y'all undoubtedly know, Blogger is having an internal problem which is making a lot of us unable to upload an image. The funny part about all of this is that I'd just 1 minute before edited yesterday's post & uploaded a different image of Rain-Soaked Pavement with a different border color because I wanted to see if it would help "pretty up" my blog. I figured I could post it, check it out, and then change it real quick if it looked silly. No one would ever be the wiser. But now I'm busted. It's stuck there - at least temporarily. And I like it - I really do - but I feel like I'm being so goofy about this! I look at other people's blogs & they look so cheerful & colorful & fun & then I look at mine & it seems so, well, definitely not colorful. And it doesn't matter that I've had people tell me, with no prodding from me, mind you, that they like my color "scheme" - the lovely, lovely, lovely Katie (with her lovely new haircut) says it's soothing, Theresa says it looks like me. Hmmmm, I'm sure she meant that as a compliment, but now that I'm thinking it's colorless . . . . No, I know she meant it in a good way. God is happy. He laughs at me.

4.16.2008

Published poets & pavement


I really think this is just incredible. For a couple of years I've been noticing how beautiful cracked pavement is after it's been rained on & has partially dried - it has a softness & fluidity & sensuousness totally at odds with the material. I mentioned this once when talking to Paula, and she said - see? You're an artist! I'd been doing my usual complaining/worrying/agonizing about being an artist, saying I'm an artist, telling other people I'm an artist, which was just making her laugh, because she's always thought I was. An artist, I mean. I always think of that line by Bruce Springsteen - "And the poets down here don't write nothin' at all; they just stand back & let it all be". Are you an artist just because you ARE?

The ever-wonderful Michael once ran into this woman whose business card read "Published Poet." We've laughed about that for years. Did she believe that she was only a poet because she'd been published or was it just (as I believe it was) a bit of vanity? Is it possible to be a poet by virtue of just writing, or can you be a real poet just because (as Springsteen says) you are? Is the poetry itself necessary?

Because artists never actually retire, do they? I mean, it's not like a 9 to 5 job with benefits (would that it were!) & a compulsory retirement age. You just go on being an artist until you don't or can't. You don't say "Whew - NOW  I can have some fun - where's the Winnebago? - Branson, here I come". You just keep on being an artist. Don't you?

4.15.2008

Nothing today


I got nothing today.

I've got this song in honor of tax day, but nothing else. (My apologies to those of you who've already received this from me, but I really like the song.)

I went out this a.m. to find something pink to photograph, and found playground bars and a water fountain but nothing's working. I blame it on my long day yesterday, and my overall yucky mood.

So here I am - me & Miss Lily in the dark, cluttered back hall. Barely any light, so not a particularly good shot (in fact, it's pretty bad), but it's also pretty cute.

And I notice my mother's hands there on the end of my arms. (An extraordinary trick, to be sure!) Sarah of Rich Inner Life will appreciate that.

4.13.2008

My Neighborhood - part 1: Mary



Okay, I know y'all are thinking that I'm not working on any paintings, but I am, and I did this morning. But none are finished & I've decided I just can't talk about the process of getting them finished - at least not right now.

This is Mary's birdhouse, which I've glowed up in my usual, incorrect Photoshop way. Which makes it look quite magical, I think, and that's the way it should look - it's the way her place feels. I call her home The House of Many Colors. Red living room, green bedroom, purple bathroom, full of plants & books, books, books. 2 cats in the yard, an arbor almost crushed under its load of miniature yellow climbing roses, baby pink, fushia, hot pink & white azaleas, lavender wisteria & a sweet olive tree in the spring - later blue hydrangeas & some kind of tall blue flowers which open every morning & close every evening & an owl who makes his home in the tree at the foot of her driveway. Then red cannas - over 6 ft. tall (red dazzlers? red King Humbert?) & tall bushes of teeny red flowers. A gingko tree that turns golden overnight, a Japanese red maple, and in late winter/early spring, white narcissus & bright yellow daffodils. White & red camellias. In her house, she used to have a rotary telephone painted with tiger stripes, and although she's now updated to a push-button phone, she still uses rotary service.

Mary is 94. She's cruised up the Nile & down a river in Russia, she's visited Greece & Egypt, Italy & England, spent time in New York & Washington, San Francisco & Arizona. Bob the cat left me for her (she would microwave ice cream for him until it was the temperature he liked, so who could blame him?!). Mary says he has 2 moms, but the whole neighborhood knows the truth. When he first began to spend time at her house, she called to ask my permission - as if I could control a cat; later after he'd spent his first night with her, he didn't visit her again for 3 days. She said it was just like a male.

After breaking her hip 3 years ago, she's been unable to travel, but still lives on her own, with help from Lyndi (that's pronounced Linda) during the day, and a close eye from Robert, Katie & I during the evening. We pile up in front of her tv & watch news & old movies & argue politics & talk books. They all have gin & tonics, I have a coke. On Sunday nights, JY stops by with food - he says we have a neighborhood neighborhood. We all have keys to each others' houses, and think nothing of running across the street in pjs & flipflops to watch a movie - Mary keeps Coca-Colas especially for me, and we don't ever have to buy chocolate anything - we just run over to Mary's for a Baby Ruth or an expensive goodie from Norman Love. Robert brings her BBQ from Carthage (Daddy Sam's BBQ & Bail Bonds) and if flowers are needed for an empty vase, we're free to cut from whomever & wherever.

So in between paintings & oddities, I'll tell you about the neighborhood. Lulu thinks (via long distance) that this may not be a good idea, that someone may be offended by something I'll innocently say, that I should be prepared for some anger. I don't think so. I have nothing bad to say, and I'll not spill anyone's secrets. I won't use their names if so requested. But JY is right - it IS a real neighborhood. When 9/11 happened, I sat on Mary's couch & we watched together as the first of the Twin Towers fell. When the Space Shuttle Columbia fell apart over our heads, I went to Mary's to watch THAT with her. We're lucky folks. I think you'll like us.

4.11.2008

One last thing - Adios azaleas










I TOLD you 
I'd get a picture of the azaleas! 
(From Mary's side yard.)

It's a small pink world


It's such a small world. I found these pink legs right down the street - about 5 or 6 blocks from where I'm sitting at this very minute, at Ye Olde City Antique Mall. I didn't even know this place was open and it's fabulous - I'm so happy! Years ago this spot belonged to someone else, under a different name, & it was pretty wonderful, but then he moved away & it became pretty-not-so-wonderful & I stopped checking by. There was no air conditioning & it gets hot here in East Texas, and that was okay when it was a cool place to go, but it had become just a so-so place, so I hadn't been by in about a year. But today as I was heading out for lunch - more fabulousness in the form of tacos pescados @ Stanley's Pit BBQ - I passed the new sign & couldn't resist turning in. And like I said, it's too good. And too close - I can already see myself handing over $$ for things I don't need.

Anyway, I met Margo Arrick - who is not the owner of the pink legs; I forgot to get her name & I'm so sorry because she was so nice about letting me take pictures - but does have a terrific spot inside. I'm already regretting I didn't buy the bird candy mold. Recently Country Home printed a letter & photo that Margo sent them, and I sat right there on my big old white living room couch & read the letter to the ever-wonderful Michael (ps - missing you, baby!) & said nice things about her, even though I didn't know her. You can check her out here at Robolady (she explains the name in her blog).

So not only did I meet another blogger, I had a great lunch & found more pink stuff for pictures - these legs just made me smile! - & a cool place to shop!

A much better day than yesterday!

4.10.2008

Miss ya BABY!

The ever-wonderful, especially-generous-this-week Michael walked out the door yesterday evening, on his way to a long Cancun weekend with a dozen friends or so. I told him I was going to blog every day about how much I miss him & he looked so scared, amused, disbelieving, hopeful-that-I-was-kidding that I absolutely must say it.

This morning I was actually early to work because this happened:




This is a couple of blocks from my house, and unfortunately, it's about the 10th or 12th tree to go down in the last 2 or 3 years. Always resulting in no electricity for a while. That means a cold shower when you have one of those usually wonderful tankless water heaters. NOTHING wakes you up any faster! So there I was, awake & hungry, unable to make even tea, so I ran by Jack-in-the-Box (thankfully, it still had power) for breakfast, managed to get everything done that absolutely had to be done today, and then my computer printer went kablooey. Requiring many reboots & restarts of the computer, and then I decided to just clean my office while waiting, and then, since I'd been here earlier than usual, I got really hungry & had a pizza delivered. Not a particularly healthy food day.

Here I sit, pizza in hand, Lily asleep in the chair behind me. Luckily the printer has started to work. Sometimes you just have those days.

So, baby, I really DO miss you!! But consider yourself lucky to not be near me right now - while my mood is now improving with pizza and a coke, it was . . . well, you'd know better than anyone.

4.09.2008

White weeds


This is the painting that I originally found to be too similar to Bridgette's Grow. I've worked on it & now LOTS of pain paint later, it's mine. Many, many, many  thanks to the very kind & very smart emails & comments I received in response to my original post. Y'all are all  just terrific people!

4.08.2008

Offerings


Another quote I have laying around my house. It strikes me I have a lot of quotes about birds. It also strikes me that I have a lot of bowls containing things that are important to me - things with which I have some sort of spiritual connection. The lovely lovely Katie says that Robert (yes, the usually-packing-heat Robert) is the same way. Lulu does this too. She has a bowl of nutshells that have fallen from trees & have been emptied by squirrels, leaving teeny little holes in the shells - the squirrels can make the tiniest holes & still get out the yummy part & that just amazes her & makes her happy. You can't beat keeping a bowl of happiness laying about the house. The even funnier part about Lulu's tale has been the discovery that her aunt does the same thing - on a trip to Texas, Lulu discovered a bowl of empty nutshells on her aunt's kitchen table, tiny little holes in their sides. Her embarrassed aunt began to explain, but Lulu stopped her - no need for that explanation.

UPDATE April 9.08: After speaking to RBL last night & reading his comment this morning, I realize I was very unclear about these little nutshell holes. Sorry! I was rushing, and I'm not very good at rushing! Anyway, the teeny holes aren't as teeny as I made them sound - they can actually be as big as 1/4 of the shell, but if they're that large, Lulu's not interested. They need to be smaller. Also, they're not perfectly round little holes - they're jagged, in-a-hurry, let-me-at-the-food openings. And last, but not least, never acorns. Always bigger nuts. Pecans here in East Texas.

4.07.2008

Blue chairs & birdless skies

Another chair photograph. I'm not sure how I feel about the combination of white & pale, pale blue as the background, but it's growing on me. This chair sits in the corner of my bedroom, and was in fact the inspiration for a series of 3-d collages I started a while back. I finished one, called Sit, which I've posted here, and have never finished the others - I just keep redoing them. One in particular. It's all silvery & pearl colors, with black & white birds, and the reality is that I keep changing my mind about what goes on/in the altar (it's a small box), & that leads me to start changing the rest of the piece, and so it remains unfinished.

That's kind of the way I feel lately. Unfinished, constantly changing, unsure of what goes where. I slept poorly last night, tossed & turned even more than I usually do & dreamed & dreamed & dreamed & dreamed. It was exhausting & my thoughts are very scattered today. I keep thinking of the white doves who, until recently, resided outside the house behind us. I keep remembering the one dove who'd managed to escape her cage, but couldn't talk herself into leaving the area. She'd fly & fly & then return to sit outside the cage & visit with her 2 friends, still living their safe, cozy, predictable life inside. Their owner eventually made a perch for her attached to the outside of the cage & she'd snuggle up against the others, with the bars between them, and happily go to sleep. I wonder about her now. The cage is gone, the others taken inside for the winter, and not yet back outdoors, but I don't know what happened to the uncaged bird.

A million years ago, when I was about 14 or so, Glamour magazine ran a poetry contest - I think it was for college students - & there was one poem I cut out & have kept - it's now in pieces & I don't know who wrote it or how it ends, but it begins "Something should be said for birds who venture into birdless skies . . ." Even at that age, I found the idea of birdless skies quite wonderful.

4.04.2008

Tiger Fence


I really love this shot. It's outside Brady's Coffee Shop, 2 or 3 blocks from my house. I stopped to get a coke this morning & there it was. Never mind that I've been there a gazillion times & I finally  actually saw it. The point is I saw  it. It's been raining for a couple of days & while most of the fence was totally saturated with water & had turned dark, part of each board hadn't, and it reminded me of a tiger's stripes. Photo specs are that it's just a normal shot that's been enhanced in Photoshop - photo technology is sooo  boring; I will spare you the details.

The tiger is the symbol I use when describing/dealing with my anxiety disorder. Several years ago I heard a Zen story about a monk who was an incredible artist. The monk takes up residence in a cave (I think all  good Zen stories should involve a monk in a cave, don't you?) & begins painting a tiger on his wall - an incredibly realistic tiger which takes him years to finish, and when he does finish it, it's so realistic that he becomes frightened by it. It's not real, it's something he thought up in his own head, but he allows himself to become frightened. When I heard that little tale, it was such an epiphany!  I mean, that's what I  do! And I'm really good at it, too - I could rule the world if I could just harness my brain power & imagination. Anyway, it's become a code phrase that the ever-wonderful, ever-understanding, ever-patient Michael uses whenever I begin to imagine the worst . (Why is it one never imagines the best?) He just looks at me & says "You're paintin' the tiger, babe." For a while I kept a couple of little toy tigers on my desk as reminders.

It's also the theme of A Fairy Tale for Grown-Up Women  - a story I began writing about a year ago that's gone through several incarnations as an altered book, a "new" book, a collage, etc., but now sits in pieces waiting for me to figure out what to do with it. I blogged about it back in February & posted the 1st page. Maybe I'll post the 2nd page.

This fence also kind of looks like a feather - a tiger feather? A tiger bird!!!!!  YES! That is a painting I will start this weekend! Wow - It just hit  me! Wow again!!! I can't wait!

PS - The video linked to Brady's Coffee Shop was shot by the usually-packing-heat-Robert-Earl-Keen-loving Robert.

4.03.2008

Bridgette's Weeds?


This bothers me quite a bit. This is a small painting I've been working on - a portrait of some weeds that grow in my front yard. They will eventually be all white & less pink, but I'm bothered because it looks so much like Bridgette Guerzon Mills' Grow. It wasn't on purpose - I just realized it one day when checking her blog at Contemplating the Moon. I'm assuming I just absorbed it without realizing it - it also kind of looks like the poppy next to her name on her blog. Let me make it clear here that I am NOT asking for Bridgette to tell me it's okay - I just want to talk about how we do absorb ideas from each other & are influenced by each other & at what point that influence crosses the line. I was talking about this with a friend of mine who asked why I couldn't have my own "flowers", and I told him that wasn't the point. There's just so much similarity & there's no way I could feel good about selling this piece. I feel just fine about keeping it - hey, it's done in the colors I like! - and using it as reminder. Of what, I don't know. And maybe when it's complete & the weeds are white, I will feel less uncomfortable with it. That I don't know either.

So when is it over the line? When does it become plagiarism or copying, even if inadvertently? That's such a tough question.

Boy, a serious subject for today! I've agonized for several days about whether I should talk about this or not, and finally decided I would just throw the question out there. Again, I'm NOT asking for Bridgette's okay on this, and I'm really not asking anyone to tell me it's okay, that the 2 paintings are different enough, because I've decided it's a little too much of a coincidence. But I'd love to hear feedback from y'all about the whole ethical part of it.

Bridgette - thank you for the wonderful work you do. And thanks for being such an inspiration - maybe too much of an inspiration!

4.02.2008

Wisteria Hysteria


The above title comes courtesy of the lovely lovely Katie - it's what she calls the absolute madness that seizes people to rush to take photos of the wisteria in our neighborhood at this time of year.  I, however, think it also applies to the attitude  people have about it. My mother hates  the stuff, our neighbor detests  it (and has used some incredibly potent, lethal, supposedly permanent solution to rid himself of the teeny little bit he used to have - we'll see; my money is on the wisteria making a return appearance). They don't like the WILDNESS  of it. Since I have no skills at all with azaleas - the piece de resistance  of our neighborhood - it's lucky that wisteria needs no help from me. It probably actually prefers that I just stay away. Every spring, the yard just erupts into a huge lavender landscape all on its own. How great is that And yes, I know  it will take over the entire place - trust me, I know  - but it makes me so happy that I don't care. The wildness of it makes me  smile! And that brings me back to my observation about who hates wisteria & who loves it. It feels like the tip of the iceberg if you find out someone hates wisteria. (The ever-wonderful Michael & Robert's iceberg theory: When someone says or does something that doesn't really seem all that  bad, just a little funny, a little off - like if they won't share any cookies with you - you can just bet it's the tip of the iceberg & soon you'll know more weird stuff about that person than you ever wanted to.)

The above photo is the front yard Saturday afternoon, after wisteria had begun to rain down on it. How could you not  like that?

4.01.2008

Bowen's pink chair


This is a photograph of the pink chair I talked about the other day - the one I spied up in a yard on my way in to the lab. As I went by this morning, there were 2 people standing on the front porch of the house in whose yard this chair presides. And it made me crazy  because I wanted to ask their permission to get up in the yard & take the photo, but it made my stomach very  uncomfortable - I don't call this Tales of Art & Anxiety for nothing - but I turned my car around, parked & did just that. And I FELL  as I was saying hello to the woman - how embarrassing is THAT?  Needless to say, my anxiety level really ratcheted up, along with my humiliation level (and people think art isn't hard), but it has  been raining & the grass was  wet & slick, and I wasn't hurt, but STILL!!!!  Anyway, despite my red face & despite trying to catch my breath, I asked. And it turns out the house belongs to the guy & he was very cool about it. In fact, they were both very cool, much cooler than I - young & hip & tattooed, which also made me feel goofy & ridiculous. The house is also pretty cool. Great porch, great spaces to hang out. The chair was made by Bowen Hardy, a friend of the house's owner (whose name I forget - I'm so sorry - I was so rattled by facing my fear about telling people I'm an artist & falling & everything).

So I took the photos. The trees & plants surrounding the chair made it difficult to really see the rods, so I decided to just play with Photoshop & see if a white background would help. Now, I was NOT  doing this the Photoshop easy  way, but I always forget how to do that, and the ever-wonderful Michael wasn't here to help, so like I said, I just started to play. And I gotta tell ya, I really like this  glowy effect much better than the "correct" glowy effect (after Michael got here, he showed me how to do that). In fact, I'm going to use it with some photographs of my own personal chairs - I've been trying to figure out a way to make them seem magical, with no luck, but I think this is the method. So my apologies to all you Photoshop people out there, who are just rolling your eyes, but I really like this effect.

And PS - doesn't this chair remind you of Salvador Dali's mustache?

PS#2 - For some reason, this chair looks very lavender-y when I post it to this blog. I've noticed in the past that I have to color-correct photos differently for posting here because the colors just don't match the real deal, but I forgot to do that with this. I'll try to fix it. In the meantime, if any of y'all out there know any blog tricks to take care of this little problem, I'd love to hear from you! Muchas gracias!