Thursday, September 29, 2011

Transformation: What is essential, part 2

I was able to get the photos of this project loaded to my computer tonight while watching Sense  and Sensibility with 3 girls-o-my-heart, always a treat.

This is what the big deal was. I may be weird here, but sometimes I hold this small sculpture in my hand and think to myself, This is the SURFACE of a painting. And I'm HOLDING it in my HAND. 

It astonishes me every time. It reminds me to wonder. 

Here's a close-up of the surface. Once I peeled the surface up from the board, I had to gradually heat and fuse it together to keep the layers from splitting. the layers of colors were still underneath, so after I got it into a sort of solid shape it was time to start using the pottery tools to scrape away some of the layers and find the inherent colors and shape.

to scale on the windowsill.

It was a nervous business, sometimes, deciding what to remove and what should stay. Some pieces of the sculpture lost their structure and I had to continually re-fuse when that happened to reinforce the integrity of the piece. I lost some of my favorite parts during the constant restructuring and discovered new beauties that I couldn't have foreseen.

The high lighting reveals some of the color striations.

There are so many layers beneath the surface, such complexity and such beauty that is buried. But all of that history behind the surface, lifted up and discovered in a new dimension, transforms.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I intended, from my last post to put up the pictures of what that thick surface of wax became. I will post those pictures soon, but my sister absconded with the usb compaqflash reader for a few days.

In the interim, for anyone who still reads this blog in spite of my fitful participation, just want to remind you all of the upcoming deadline for a project that I love very much, The Sketchbook Project, from Arthouse Cooperative and the Brooklyn Art Library! 

This collaborative project is so much fun to participate in...something like creating an elaborate message in a bottle that is then archived and made available in Brooklyn's art library should you ever want to visit!

I can't recommend participating strongly enough...if you are interested in exploring art, drawing, collaging, or any form of exploring visually (for heaven's sake you could stick a piece of gum on each page and call it "all used up" if you want to!), sign up! you have until January 31 to complete your book and mail it in. Then it goes on tour, and eventually is archived into the library!

You don't have to be any kind of professional artist to participate, and you can even sign up with a group of people, a class, a small group or just pass the book around to a bunch of friends!

Like any good collaboration, it's the community that makes it fun. Check out the arthouse website link and explore many of the wonderful artists and their work featured there.

Last year, having never completed a sketchbook in my life, I realized the very valuable lesson that the inspiration more often comes while I'm working than before, kicking off a journey of writing and working more regularly, slowly reclaiming discipline in my life about artistic habits. 

Try it out and let me know what you learn!

Friday, September 23, 2011

"What is essential is invisible to the eye." (Part 1)

I may have posted this video, called "The Way Paintings Go" a few posts back. And on Pinterest. And on Twitter. and I may have contributed significant views to it ever since Shannon Newby showed it at the Wax and Wane retreat this spring.

It is fascinating to see the layers build, and to think this happens in all forms of painting. Surface is built, obscured, rebuilt, pulled away, rediscovered. It is layers of material that transform into something different--a 2-D image that communicates ideas. But to go one step further and turn that painting into a 3-D sculpture...laughable. Fascinating. Brilliant, but simple. Fun! 

It makes you want to play, to discover. So I had to try it. Here is the painting after I finished building the layers, perhaps 30 layers of colored and fused wax on a plywood board. Tomorrow, I'll show you what became of it! Suspense!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Playing with light

Though the poetry is dark right now, 


there are beautiful moments, too. 

I am exploring what beeswax can do. I play with silver-leafing a lot these days, and ashes, and fabric. These poppy pods are beautiful to begin with, dried and bone-colored. But dipped in golden wax and silver leafed, they look otherworldly. 

The cheesecloth netting I found for 50 cents on sale as the end of a roll also transforms when dipped in the wax, becoming malleable, stretchable. I molded it gently into this little cocoon basket, like a nest with the poppy pods nestled like fragile eggs.

Living circumstances have allowed for a new work space. A large, light room, instead of the old, dark room-too-small-to-be-a-legal-bedroom. I feel lucky beyond words, slightly guilty about it, and somewhat determined to make it worthwhile.

Monday, September 19, 2011


I rest unanchored to any body
The little rootlets of my heart
reach like strawberry plants, 
long vines extended,
sprouting small blind white roots
a visible faith in home.
I cannot stop them, but
hostile is the soil they reach for, so
rejected, they are left to air
an unfamiliar atmosphere,
surviving only on trace
minerals for nourishment,
but starved for home.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This is no gift economy.
You live in a tyranny of equality. 
The dictator--you--deals
in judgment, payment, 
enforced retribution:

an eye for a lie
a tooth for a truth, damage
in exchange for pain.

(except where the pain is penance 
for a debt only you can see.)

Any generosity exacts payment, with interest.
There is only being even.

Imagine a government
Where a gift is a gift and not
an obligation, where retribution
is subject to the government of grace
How would you then give?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Meet Mountain

Troubled is the atmosphere
And wild are the currents here
Restless the wind and broken the water
When the weather meets the mountains

Everlasting granite walls, the Rocks of ages stand
To question the tradewinds’ direction.
Offended clouds boil, stopped in their transgressions
When the weather meets the mountains

The rain falls
The rain falls
The rain falls
The Weather meets the Mountains.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Needs Seasoning

:: winter ::

I am trying not to need
Anybody but God
But, god, it’s hard
To not need anybody


I'm not trying to need
Any one more than God
But, god, it's hard
To need less than one.


I need someone
Anybody can see it
But, God! it's hard
To need anybody


I need for nothing
Obliquely, I can see it.
But,'s hard
To know I need nothing more.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Manna must have been like strawberries
So perfect for so brief a time
But no one was allergic

Some days, I feel like a garden
untended. Bounty wasted,
rotting on stems

Or harvested and refrigerated,
a slower decay, encouraging
the vines to go on bearing
their useless fruit.