Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Recent work: encaustic

"Can you use a typewriter?" Encaustic, pigment, typewriter keys, and transfer on birch panel. 8"x8" Commissioned by my friend Katrina Hansen. 2012

"Banner" Encaustic, pigment, lunaria seed membranes, Bed, Bath & Beyond satin ribbons wrapped around board. 8"x10" 2012

"The Ocean and Truth" Encaustic, ashes, and silver leaf on board. 10"x10" 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012


A few months ago, my friend Cole asked me to send him a few poems he might use for a school project as a Music Composition student at Cornish College of the Arts. 

I sent him a few, and he chose 3 to write music for the harp and voice, a project which eventually ended up as part of his Junior Composition recital this weekend. Our mutual friend, Ruth Mar, who founded the non-profit Classical group The Parnassus Project, played the harp, and former Cornish student Achil Jackson read the poems and sang the soprano part.

I was so honored and excited to hear these poems spoken and sung for the first time, and Cole's music really put them in a new light. As strange and nerve-wracking as it is to hear your own words performed from a stage, it was a very special experience.

Cole's wife, my dear friend Luz, had made the gorgeous posters and programmes, as well as the handcut-paper and light set pieces.

The Parnassus Project performed the second part of the recital, with Beethoven's Sonata in G Minor for cello and piano, OP. 5, NO. 2, a beautiful performance of the two-movement Sonata by Brooks Tran on the piano and Nathan Harrenstein on the cello.

For me the real highlight of the evening was Cole's String Quartet, "Waiting Games," performed by members of the Parnassus Project. I am not an expert on classical composition, but the complexity and tension of the music had me on the edge of my seat, and during the last movement I couldn't keep the smile off my face.

This was such an exciting project, and in Cole's thank-you card  after the event, he wrote something that stuck with me, "collaborations like this give me hope." While the discipline of pursuing art and creating is in many ways a singular journey, participating in collaborative projects always brings a particular hope and joy to the work. Whether it's looking through the same lens for a while, or the new perspective working with someone else brings, or perhaps that sense of "you too? I thought I was the only one!", the few collaborative projects I've been a part of have always been very special and life-giving.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Thursday Lyric: 'Ragged Company' by Grace Potter feat. Willie Nelson

O Lord, I think I’m falling to my disbelief 
I’m cursing like a sailor and lying like a thief 
It’s hard to heed the calling from the better side of me 
When I’m blaming everybody else and no one’s coming clean 

O Lord, can You see my thick skin wearing thin?
And the demons of a lesser me are beckoning me in
Those who gathered 'round me I’m watching them all leave
'Cause I am my own ragged company

So you can take a trip to China or take a boat to Spain
Take a blue canoe around the world and never come back again
But traveling don’t change a thing, it only makes it worse
Unless the trip you take is in to change your cruel course

‘Cause every town’s got a mirror
And every mirror still shows me
That I am my own ragged company
I am my own ragged company

Won't You help me, Lord?
Won't You help me, Lord?
Someone cut the cord
And I'm falling down again

Oh, it’s lonely, Lord, it’s mighty cold
And I don’t wanna live this way
Afraid of growing old

It’s hard to heed the warning when you cannot see the crime
The only way to remember is to forget in a rhyme
And I’m scared to tread the red road that leads to Galilee

'Cause I am my own ragged company
I am my own ragged company
I am my own ragged company
I am my own ragged company