Monday, November 15, 2010

Rembrandt masters me

Wikipedia-Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈrɛmbrɑnt ˈɦɑrmənsoːn vɑn ˈrɛin], July 15, 1606[1] – October 4, 1669) was a Dutch painter and etcher. He is generally considered one of the greatest painters and print makers in European art history and the most important in Dutch history.[2] His contributions to art came in a period that historians call the Dutch Golden Age.

This the skeleton of Rembrandt. While reading about him and viewing some of his work I discovered that his life was filled with loss and sorrow, as well as triumphs and joys. He experienced much of his artistic inspiration from the stories of the bible although he is best known for his portraits.
I found his work warm and sensitive, filled with emotion.

As I learn first about DaVinci , then Michelangelo and now Rembrandt I feeling richer and richer by the day. I am finding that my view of art is changing as well as my creative experience evolving. I liken it to the first time I felt the endorphins rise in my brain while exercise. My endorphins are rising and with each day that passes I feel a stillness and a hunger for this process that I have committed myself to.

Getting down to the nuts and bolts of my inspired work influenced by Rembrandt.
First of all I wanted to stay primarily on the warm side of the spectrum.
my pallet consisted of titanium white, azo yellow medium, cadmium yellow hue, azo yellow deep,cadmium red hue, rose quinacridone, azo red deep, alizarine crimson, yellow ochre, terre vehte, colbalt blue hue, and french ultra marijn.
When it came to decide what I was to paint, of course a portrait was tempting, I love faces. But I decided to go to the bible for my inspiration as did Rembrandt.

My mother gave me a bible for my fiftieth birthday, yikes fifty, that is hard for me still to comprehend. I don't feel fifty (something).
I went to the old testament and looked through the stories and found one that spoke to me.

The Book of Ruth. as the story goes, Naomi, her husband and their two sons moved to neighboring Moab to escape famine in Israel. Naomi's husband died there and her sons married Moabite women. In time, both her sons also died, leaving Naomi destitute and and alone, far from her relatives in Israel. Naomi decided to return to Israel. She went to her daughter-in-laws and told them to back to their families, there they would find security and safety and they were still young enough to remarry and have children.
verse 14 "And again they wept together, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law good-bye. But Ruth clung tightly to Naomi. "Look," said Naomi to her, "your sister-in-law has returned to people and to her gods. You should do the same."
But Ruth replied, "Don't ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go, I will go; where ever you live , I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord punish me severely if I allow anything but death separate us! When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she said nothing more.

This story spoke to me specifically about loyalty, love, grief and friendship. So I tried to put those feelings down on canvas.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ode to Michelangelo

As I look for you through my looking glass
colors and stone, folklore and wiki wield their testimony.
Who can deny your Angeloic gifts to us.
to use Marc's word, let me be your witness.

I imagine walking dusty path to Florentine churches.
Your mysteries manifested reside in the Vatican.
I tumble softly through
the cotton clouds with angels and God.

When will I see your face.
There are so many years between us.
Do the tender touches, mean you were.
Are there still silent secrets sleeping.

One can only look for the deeper meaning
Can i see you in me
In what way will you travel with me on my dusty path
that has brought me to you in times twisting tease?

6 March 1475 – 18 February 1564
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni
what is in a name.
Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect,engineer,

Monday, October 11, 2010

worm holes

Wow! I just crawled out of a worm hole, or the rabbit hole. They have very similar landscape. So much has happened since I wrote last, my studies and practice are constant.

Today I delivered a commission piece, it was an emotion experience, and for one with virtually no water in my astrological sign, it always seems surprising to me that I am so filled with such deep stirrings.
The commission was a memorial portrait, my client's brother died and the memorial is Friday and this portrait will be at the service for viewing.

This has been a trans formative month and a half. I am hoping that soon I will have a chance to really take it all in.

It started with my art lab show. I learned so much from that experience. Bets Lundeen was the other painter and I enjoyed the Friday, Saturday and Sundays for the month of September painting with her. She was quite generous with her knowledge and companionship. It was a true privilege and honor to be at the art lab and to share such company. Initially I was paralyzed with fear and distracted with self doubt. I have to wonder if other artists have as active of a thought life as I do. My brain is always talking to me, giving me her opinion and it is not always good news. But I just kept showing up. I have to wonder did DaVinci, Michelangelo, Frida, Georgia, Picasso, did any of the masters fight this weary battle of self doubt and incrimination?

At the beginning of September I participated in the Art Steps program, Little Monets. That was amazing. What those little eyes see. I once heard that we are all born little Van Goughs and Monets but life makes us forget. Well they have not forgotten yet and the work produced was breathtaking.

On the heels of the art lab came a controversial show at the museum, followed by picketing, city council meetings and culminating in an act of violence toward art.

Yesterday, the clients brought to me a number of pictures of his brother, throughout different stages in his much too short life. They came to deliver the pictures and to see my other work. We talked for a while about his brother. I asked him to share his brother with me because it would make it easier for me to share him back.
There were stories about their past and present, jokes, expressions and personality, moods, phone conversations and mostly about the love they had for one another. It was touching. I was reunited with my own grief and loss and love.

I have discovered that most of life is about point of view. Whether rose colored, readers, bifocals or sunglasses, how we see things seems to rest with our point of view and for me that changes many times a day. Consequently, there are many times I find myself questioning my value, my contribution, my resolve, my abilities. It can be quite tiresome at times.

During the museum controversy there were some pretty sobering question about the value of art and I had to ask where do I fit into this community of masterful artists that have accomplished so much. What is success?

about a week ago I met with a young man who wanted to commission a copper repousse for his wife's anniversary gift. We met at the coffee tree and I explained what I do and showed him some of my work and we were able to strike a deal. He shared with me that he, his wife and their two children were out shopping and he took this most amazing picture of their shadows and the wanted that translated into a piece of art. He shared about himself in a refreshingly open way.

I started the composite portrait yesterday. While creating this work I was reminded how short and precious this life is and how much I still feel my own losses. I turned the focus dial up and started the work. I called them this morning and told them that the work was ready for them to take possession, then I got of the phone and called my grief counselor at hospice and made an appointment.

When they arrived I had the picture hanging on the wall. As they walked into my house I saw their eyes land upon the piece. I saw a recognition, a reuniting, tears. Which soon became contagious. It was a sorrowful and happy occasion. This picture, for them, brought him back in some small but rich way.

I have resolved to remember that I am an artist and to observe the special ways my Creator reminds me that I am a creator too.

Monday, August 30, 2010

In conclusion

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

For the last month and a half I have been studying Leonardo da Vinci and I can say that the experience has truly taken me into the clouds. He was an extraordinary man and I have learned so much. I am currently working on a portrait of my daughter Sheena in the Mona Lisa style using his techniques of thin coats of paint layered to creating the ethereal effect he so masterly captured. I will continue to work on the painting but because of the many layers, specifically 30 layers, this project is ongoing and will take more time and I am ready to move on to the next artist.

In conclusion of my studies of Leo, there are many things to admire about this man as I have mentioned previously, the main aspect I am taking away from him is the diversity of his creativity and the creative way he approached every aspect of his life.
Having taken time to really look at much of his work and read about the time he spent on this earth I feel I have truly touched the sky and and there I, with Leonardo as my example, will return.
I encourage anyone who is a willing and ready student to do your own journey with Leonardo and glean the pearls of wisdom he still offers anyone open to receive.

Quote of the Day, 30 Aug, 10

Life is pretty simple: You do some stuff. Most fails. Some works. You do more of what works. If it works big, others quickly copy it. Then you do something else. The trick is the doing something else.
Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quote of the Day, 26 Aug, 10

For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
Leonardo da Vinci

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Monday, August 23, 2010

Quote of the Day, 23 Aug, 10

Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.
Leonardo da Vinci

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Quote of the Day, 22 Aug, 10

I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.
Leonardo da Vinci

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Quote of the Day, 21 Aug 10

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
Leonardo da Vinci

Friday, August 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

"A good painter has two main objects to paint, man and the intention of his soul. The former is easy, the latter hard as he has to represent it by the attitude and movement of the limbs."
Leonardo da Vinci

Monday, August 16, 2010

Leo, The Renaissance Man

Leo was born, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci on April 15, 1452. So it appears that he was an Aries, which is a fire sign. And his fire burned bright. He was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, inventor, scientist, botanist, mathematician, engineer, anatomist, geologist, map maker and writer.

He is the archetype of the Renaissance man.

He is considered to be one of the greatest painters and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter. Two of his works, the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, are the most famous, most reproduced of all times. Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also considered a cultural icon being reproduced on everything from the euro to text books to t-shirts.Leonardo is known for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double hull, which is a ship hull design, and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics, which is a scientific theory which describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere.. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime,but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. As a scientist, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics.
Historians write that he was a chronic procrastination. what's that about, I'm not getting that one.

Born the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence.
In 1466, At age 14, he was educated in the studio of the Florentine painter, Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio.
In 1472, At the age 20, Leonardo qualified as a master in the Guild of St Luke, the guild of artists and doctors of medicine.
In 1478 he received his first independent commission, to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of St Bernard in the Palazzo Vecchio, Neither important commission was completed, the second being interrupted when Leonardo went to Milan.
Leonardo work in Milan between 1482 and 1499. He was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, and The Last Supper for the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
From September 1513 to 1516, Leonardo spent much of his time living in the Belvedere in the Vatican in Rome, where Raphael and Michelangelo were both active at the time.
In 1516, he entered François' service, being given the use of the manor house Clos Lucé near the king's residence at the royal Chateau Amboise. It was here that he spent the last three years of his life, with his friend and apprentice, Count Francesco Melzi, supported by a pension.

Leonardo died at Clos Lucé, on May 2, 1519

There is so much that could be written about the great Leonardo Da Vinci and already has been written.

He was amazing and talented and energetic and gifted in an other worldly sense.

For the last month or so I have been eating, sleeping, reading, painting, studying Leonardo. When I started reading about him, I doubted that I could find a point of identification with such and ambitious genius. In self reflection I was able to reach toward him and identify. I am in awe of this man, yes man, a mere mortal. And we can all aspire to follow his example.

Monday, July 26, 2010

July 26, 2010

Well, I'm back from virtual Florence.
The day started out with an email from my friend Lynn, "36 Hours in Florence" New York Times article. This couldn’t be better timing. As usual I had an idea and the universe was at the steering wheel. So I followed their itinerary. I spent time at the Baptistery and Duomo admiring the ceilings and Michelangelo's David, there was so much to see. No traffic, no crowds.
Then I took a break and created a lovely Italian meal with chicken parmesan over pasta, a Tuscan green salad and for desert, tiramisu. While I ate, I watched an opera on Netflix. I forgot to mention the espresso. The afternoon was a delight to the senses. After the opera, I toured the Santa Maria Novella and admired the frescos, and dreamed of creating one of my own someday. More espresso and the off to the gardens of Florence. Then I worked on my DaVinci inspired art piece.
Earlier this week, I read an internet article about the recent examination of the Mona Lisa. Apparently Leonardo accomplished this painting with thirty very thin layers of paint and glaze and that gave me direction on technique.

Mona Lisa examination reveals layers of paint for dreamy quality
Mona LIsa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci early in the 16th century. French researchers have recently learned he used a lot of paint.

This recent undated photo, provided July 16 by the CNRS (National Center of Scientific Research), shows the Mona Lisa painting being examined with a non-invasive technique called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to study the thickness of paint layers and their chemical composition. The enigmatic smile remains a mystery, but French scientists say they have cracked some of the Mona Lisa's secrets.
AP Photo/V.A Sol/ESRF

By Associated Press / July 16, 2010
The enigmatic smile remains a mystery, but French scientists say they have cracked a few secrets of the "Mona Lisa.
French researchers studied seven of the Louvre Museum's Leonardo da Vinci paintings, including the "Mona Lisa," to analyze the master's use of successive ultrathin layers of paint and glaze — a technique that gave his works their dreamy quality.
Specialists from the Center for Research and Restoration of the Museums of France found that da Vinci painted up to 30 layers of paint on his works to meet his standards of subtlety. Added up, all the layers are less than 40 micrometers, or about half the thickness of a human hair, researcher Philippe Walter said Friday.
The technique, called "sfumato," allowed da Vinci to give outlines and contours a hazy quality and create an illusion of depth and shadow. His use of the technique is well-known, but scientific study on it has been limited because tests often required samples from the paintings.
The French researchers used a noninvasive technique called X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy to study the paint layers and their chemical composition.
They brought their specially developed high-tech tool into the museum when it was closed and studied the portraits' faces, which are emblematic of sfumato. The project was developed in collaboration with the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility in Grenoble.
The tool is so precise that "now we can find out the mix of pigments used by the artist for each coat of paint," Walter told The Associated Press. "And that's very, very important for understanding the technique."
The analysis of the various paintings also shows da Vinci was constantly trying out new methods, Walter said. In the "Mona Lisa," da Vinci used manganese oxide in his shadings. In others, he used copper. Often he used glazes, but not always.

My daughter Sheena has that enigmatic smile like DaVinci's Mona Lisa. She is my portrait model for my DaVinci inspired piece.
What joy this project brings me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Anyone who knows me knows of my unfulfilled passion for travel. To see knew exotic places is my fondest wish. In the midst of my fertile imagination is a fantastic world to be discovered. Then of course there is the real world, my world. So far, the universe has not afforded me the experience of travel, save New Mexico, South Dakota, New York City, Cleveland, Ohio and of course the original travel teaser “ The Bahamas”
So when my clients come back from some faraway place like Italy, Africa, South America, I ask the questions and imagine myself there. It is the poor man’s travel guide, first class all the way.
Recently one of my friends said, "It is every artist obligation to travel to Florence." and so I would if I could. I even got a passport about seven years ago so that if the universe decided to send me I would be prepared. So far there is no travel on the horizon. But that somehow does not stop my mind. I think they use to call that, (back in my days of youth) astro travel.
I am at present eating, sleeping and breathing DaVinci. For me to really connect with someone, I need to find a point of identification. But how does ordinary me identify with extraordinary DaVinci.
I have my inspired art work planned and I continue to get to know him through the pages of recorded history.
Stop the presses!
I have plan
I’m taking a trip to Florence this Sunday.
You may be saying to yourself, I thought she just said that she is not yet traveling due to her personal circumstances, and you would be partially right.
You heard me right; Sunday I am planning a day in Florence.
I am one of those girls that have lived by the motto, where there is a will there is a way. Now stay with me here. No I am not climbing on to an airplane and flying across the ocean to that mystical land of the creative birthplace of the renaissance, but I have never been one to let my meager circumstances limit my enthusiasm and zest for life.
I am having a day of Florentine delight at my home on Sunday. I am going to research the food of the day, 1400's, Florence, Italy, surf the web for video or the culture and landscape of the land , listen to renaissance music and maybe even indulge in some Romanic fiction, Florence style.
DaVincian principle number three- Sensazione- The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experiance.
And so I embark on this new adventure, to experience DaVinci through my senses.

I'll keep you posted!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Saturday, July 19, 2010

About four or five years ago, I started my "bucket list". You know, the list of things you want to do before you die. On the list was to play my guitar and sing at an open mic night. Now you have to picture this, I am the oldest of five girls, and they are all very good singers, they have all been at one time performers in one way or another. Each one at their individual high school graduations, were selected to sing at the graduation ceremony. I love to sing, I love to play my guitar, but I would not say I am at their level of ability.
I also have severe performance anxiety.

So I went to a therapist and underwent a therapy called EMDR.

I sat down in the therapist office and she explained the process. I had the choice of, either, hold in each hand a alternating pulsating disc, or look at a box that had blinking lights flashing back and forth for your eyes to follow, or wearing headphones that alternated in each ear, back and forth. Because I was well acquainted with the severity of this challenge and chose all three. I knew it was going to take something short of a miracle for me to overcome my extreme shyness.
She began to guide me through a relaxation technique, and then she led me through a visual scenario.
“Imagine yourself as a horse, confident, strong, and fearless.” And so I imagined it. Then she said, “you are running through a field, the wind blowing through your mane and you feel good and confident and strong and fearless." My imagination was fully present and I was a horse and I was running through the field.
" Now you are running through a forest and you are feeling strong and confident and fearless and you are jumping over logs and," suddenly while in my mind's eye, I blurted out, "my horse fell" I had in my mind really become the horse and while jumping over the logs I tripped. We both started laughing and I explained what happened. She helped me get back up and we brought the session to an early conclusion.

Oddly, what I took from the session wasn’t talking myself into being confident, strong and fearless, but it’s ok to trip and get myself back up and go on.

A week later I did perform and right out of the shoot, one of my guitar strings went out of tune and I had to retune before I could go on and I was amazingly calm. While tuning my guitar, I told the audience my EMDR story and they were thoroughly amused and it was a good experience.
And I got to take performing at an Open Mic Night off the list. Not to mention, it was alot of fun.

I picked up a book at the book store the other day, "How to think like Leonardo DaVinci" Seven steps to Genius Every Day. Wow, what a great book. I have only started it but I am totally hooked already.

Yes I am one of those self help junkies. Self Help, self taught, self diagnose self-help junky.

In the book it describes seven Da Vincian principles they purpose for everyday use to lead one to their full potential.
The first principle is Curiosita'- An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning. (i.e. my blog)
The second principle is Dimostrazione- A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. Now there's an ego buster.

When I started this Blog, quite honestly I thought no one would be reading it and just the imagining that someone might stumble across it was good enough for me and anyway this whole project was like singing in the shower, I was doing it for my own personal pleasure and learning. I did not expect much attention about it. Through circumstances, the museum expressed interest and we set up a show for the work produced from my studies when I am done, July 2012. Immediately the walls started closing in., well I'm over it now, I have climbed back up on the horse and we are one and going full steam ahead, lesson learned through another experience.

Monday, July 12, 2010

What's next...

After finishing Frida, I realized I didn't really know where to go next. I have my favorites but I really felt that I needed to consult history. so I started in the present and worked my way back. It was like reading Leviticus, but much more interesting. I would read about an artist and his or her influences and then I would go to those artists and do the same and before I knew it I had walked myself back through history to the Middle ages. I have to say that was an exciting and stimulating exercise. I mapped it out on paper. Then I was able to take the next step.
So this project is trifold, study, write and create.
I am starting my studies in the Renaissance Era. Leonardo and Michelangelo.
Now the fun begins.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Frida and me

Frida was born July 6, 1907 in Mexico and named by her parents Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon. Frida’s Father, Wilhelm Kahlo, a photographer, was a German Jew born of Hungarian descent that had come to Mexico as a young man. At age 6yrs old Frida contracted Polio. Her right leg was noticeably thinner than her left leg.
In 1922 Frida qualified to attend Mexico City's Preparatory high school. Women had only recently been admitted to the Prepa: Frida was one of only 25 females in a class of 2000 students. She studied compos ion, drawing and art and was interested in poetry, history, literature and philosophy.
On September 17th 1926 Frida was riding in a bus with her friend Alejandro when the bus tried to pass a streetcar. The bus collided with the heavy streetcar. In the accident, Frida was impaled on a rod of a metal handrail. Frida was not given immediate medical attention, but eventually was taken to the Red Cross hospital for treatment.
A description of her wounds compiled by her doctor years later in a clinical history, "Fracture of the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae, pelvic fractures, fracture of the right foot, dislocation of the left elbow, deep abdominal wound produce byte metal rod entering through the left hip and exiting through the genitals.
The rehabilitation was long and difficult and for the rest of her life she would endure many surgeries and many recoveries. She lived with chronic pain for the rest of her life.
August 21, 1929 Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, artist were married. They divorced in 1939, and then remarried December 8, 1940 and remained married until her death, July 16th, 1954 at the age of 47yrs old. She said to a Time magazine reporter, "I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy to be alive as long as I can paint."1953. And paint she did.

On April 30th, 2010 I started studying Frida and her work and I could not have predicted the profound affect she would have on me and my work. I reflect now on the obvious: her pallet was consistent with muted colors. She seemed to have shaded and highlighted her work with black and white. She was the subject of most of her work.
She illustrated her pain, physical and emotional. What courage!

I have learned so much from Frida. Technically, I gleaned the importance of painting as a practice. When we want to master a skill, this requires practice. What I took from Frida, as a person was courage. The real risk is in the attempt to be authentic.

In conclusion, as cliché as this may sound, I am a better artist as a result of this study of Frida Kahlo. I am asking the questions.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Dancing to the Tune of Paint

I am a woman of many projects, ask anyone who knows me. Idle does not agree with me.
Last summer I decided to take out the old fashion T-post laundry line that stood in the center of my yard. Every time I would walk across the yard, I would have to bend down to avoid the line. It amuses me to think of the expression "clothes lined", and I have been. I decided to remove one pole and repurpose the other pole, paint it and put bird houses along the top. Immediately I saw an opportunity. So I called my daughter Tiffany and asked if the boys, (my three grandsons who live in Loveland) could come spend the afternoon and help. Of course she said yes, like every mother of small children, she welcomed the break. They pulled into the driveway, the van door opened like a can of sardines with a Bowes speaker system inside. Loud voices of excitement and Eveready bunny energy emerged, primed for the adventure.
I think that is the charismatic draw that children have. They are fully and totally in the moment.
We went straight to the back yard. They were excited to see this project; Grammy had invited them over for.
I showed them the paint, and brushes, gave them a brief tutorial in art supply care and then told them they could use whatever color they wanted and paint whatever design they wanted. No Rules.
Caleb was at the time 6 yrs old and has been diagnosed high functioning autistic, Zayne 5yrs old and boy as boy can be, Davey, 4yrs old and has another set of challenges but sweet and always smiling. They were very serious and I could tell they were listening intently while I gave them their charge. Then they picked up their brushes and chose their paint and began painting.
What I saw was nothing short of "the essence of life" pure unencumbered joy.
Caleb began to hum and dance. The energy was contagious, Davey followed in the celebration, though Zayne was intense and meticulous, soon his joy erupted in a chorus of lalalalas.
That was an afternoon I will never forget. I could fully relate to their joy.
The pole is bursting with color and as with all original art carries a spirit, a life of its own. I love remembering that day. It was transformative.

I cannot remember when I started drawing. I have to rely on the family folklore. I know, Art, drawing, painting, creating was the first thing that I was sure I loved. Like my grandchildren, dancing and humming around the clothesline pole with brush and paint in hand, I feel that joy still, when painting.

There is a joy present in the works of Frida Kahlo among the honest illustration of her ongoing physical limitations and chronic pain. You will find it in the paint. You will find it in the masterful images, color, and content. Frida was in the moment, Frida was that moment. It has been said " It is in the journey we find happiness" When I look at the works of Frida I see someone who did not give up what she loved, but found love in what she did. She made herself absolutely vulnerable, as a child.
Frida's paint dances on the canvas for all to enjoy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Color your way through

In researching Frida, of course I had to watch the movie "Frida" staring Selma Hayck. If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend it. It is a work of art in itself. Artfully and thoughtfully done. I also read "The Brush of Anguish" by Martha Zamore, my daughter picked up for me at the Frida Kahlo exibition at Philidelphia Museum of Art.
I just can't get tired of looking at her work. There is meaning in everything she did, down to the last detail. I have no wish to interpret her work, people with much more knowledge than I, have already done that.
I started drawing when I could pick up a pencil or a crayon, so I am told. I remember sitting for hours and just drawing. My childhood had alot of tramma and I remember drawing my way through it. I could go somewhere else.
Last summer I had the priviledge of being chosen to participate in the Loveland Transformation Project. About thirteen artist were chosen to paint electical tranformer boxes and my transformer is next to the Loveland Museum. WOW, sometimes, I have to pinch myself, what a source of joy that was, and it came at a time in my life that was especially difficult. Karl had just died in February and I was in deep grief. I thought I would never come to the other side and then I received this honor. For the first time in a long time I felt true joy. Painting that transformer brought me back to life, when I thought there was none to be had.
What I am learning right now from reading about Frida and looking at her art, may turn out to be a valuable lesson in art and in life. I imagine that she colored her way through much pain and anguish,I don't see self pity in anything she did, but that does not mean denying the nature of your true circumestances, create beauty from whatever you are given.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

hand in hand with Frida

In choosing a painting from Frida's work as my jumping off point, I thought about her life and you cannot think about Frida Kahlo's life without considering her intense chronic pain as a result of the trolly accident she was in as a youth and the many surgeries that left her at times worse than before the surgery and how in the midst of this pain she was able to create such beautiful art.
One cannot compare pain, it is impossible. I think when one compares one's pain with someone else’s it devalues either yours or theirs, yet we all have it. It is one of the things that make us human. Some are unable to get past it, some get through it, and some, the pain is the color on the canvas and it is beautifully brilliant.
My grandmother Dodge had polio as a child. She spent a number of years in bed. Her legs became a challenge not her excuse. My father told a story of his youth when she took him shopping for school clothes. They were downtown Canon City, Colorado. They were walking past a store front and she looked at her reflection in the window and said, "Who's that cripple". She never saw herself as handicapped. She was vibrant, energetic, creative and hard working. She raised four boys alone and had a successful career. She endured alot of pain and it made her magnificent.
The work of Frida Kahlo is not only poetically painful but also strikingly beautiful.
This leads me to my own pain and what I do with it. It is there. I don't know about anyone else, but I am on a journey through it, with it and in it and color is my companion.
What about you?

Friday, April 30, 2010

The Challenge

Fall of 2009 I was invited to participate in the upcoming Salvador Dali exhibition. The artists who were invited were charged with creating a piece inspired by Dali's work. Needless to say I was thoroughly excited by the challenge. Looking through the resource materials I was struck by this man’s fearlessness. He was so brave and honest.
I selected the Salvador Dali piece that would be my inspiration and started on a hand in hand journey through Salvador to me.
The piece title "My impression of Africa" propelled me into my impression of surrealism's interpretation of my own life as I saw it then. Very exciting, not necessarily my life was especially exciting for the story on canvas, but I don't know how to describe the thrill of creating. It could be compared to the feelings you get when a person falls in love, and fall in love I did, with Salvador, surrealism, creativity, creating.
December 11Th the show opened and with much success. it was a wonderful experience.
As I mentioned in an earlier entry, at the urging of my daughter I started this blog. I had no idea what that was. I had heard references to blogs here and there, and being the leap before I look sort of girl I jumped right into it and then after a weak start, then a burst and then a cathartic memorial of my deceased husband, i found myself found myself clueless. but what the hell, there is very little left to my left brain so the logical steps someone else may take in preparing and starting a blog just do not exist in my world.
Yesterday I signed up for netflix. Everyone i know has it and so I am trying it out. While considering my movie options, I spotted “Julie, Julia”, which I have already seen, but anyone who knows me knows that if I like a movie i will watch it multiple times. i enjoyed it the second time as much as the first time. I was once again inspired by the author Julie. Her challenge was to cook all the recipes in Julia Childes French cooking cookbook in one year.
Which, leads me to my challenge, like a light bulb at moment of surge. I will create artwork inspired by the masters and write about it. Looking at the many great painters that have gone before me, I am not sure how to accomplish this challenge in one year, so my criteria may not align with what Julie did, but I thank her for the initial inspiration.
How will I decide what artists?...
I will start with Frida Kahlo. Wow, that will be cool. Ii wonder what Frida has to say to me. I will let you know.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Color of Cooking

Recently I saw the movie called Julie & Julia. Meryl Streep was fantastic in her portrayal of Julia Childes. After watching the movie I went out and bought a new cookbook. No not Julia Childes cookbook on french cooking but another one that caught my interest. I meticulously followed the recipes and created the most delicious dinner. If walls could talk, or even the cats, they would tell you that mmmms were endless and ongoing. I haven't cooked like that in years.

About 3 weeks ago, I went to a public meeting called ArtSpaces. Our community was gathering to support the arts in forming an alliance with the non profit organization that supports the arts in affordable housing and work places. It turns out that it is a common practice for artists to move into an area and through their creativity, actually revive otherwise undesirable areas of cities. Investors then come in and buy up the property (recently revived by the artists and their art) and raise the rent so high they are forced to move out and move on and not always up. ArtSpaces comes in and creates, builds, renovates, and or converts spaces for artists to live and work afford ably.

When I started this blog, it was at the urging of my daughter Sheena, an artist in her own right. She told me I needed to do this and like a good mother, I do what my daughters tell me is good for me, sort of like eating my vegetables. I have spent little time reading blogs, my hands are usually in paint or dirt or something. She has a blog, and it is quite good and with her creative talents has made it wonderful and interesting. So I started typing my questions.

So, the day before yesterday, I went over to my studio, downtown Loveland and for those who are still not aware, Loveland is the art capital of Colorado and hosts the 2nd largest sculpture fair in the world every August, slipped under my door was a notice that my space rent had gone up 30%. WOW!!!!!!!!, that was a shock and immediately followed a river of tears, fears and frustration. The expression starving artist, I am well acquainted with. so after the tear momentarily subsided I started thinking about my options which, at the time, seemed few. That night I cried myself to sleep only to awaken the next day with a firm resolution that everything would work out, I will just move my business and my studio home. But there were so many obstacles. Anger ebbed and flowed over me and anyone within a 10 block radius. Under it all was the fear of not being able to keep painting, something my mother says I have been doing since 18 months old.

The economy, now that is a can of worms, I imagine cans of worms, top opened, laying on there sides, with worms crawling slowly out on every street corner and everyone standing around pointing their fingers at everyone else.

Last night I cried myself to sleep again, my vivid imagination full steam ahead, I couldn't stop imagining my 2 cats forced to go to the humane society due to my living space, turning into my business space in full consideration of other peoples allergies to cats.

I was raised on the poor side of poverty, and am well versed in frugal, so economic challenges are my forte. This morning I woke with a mission, either find a new space or create an action plan to turn my home into my business-studio-living space. I resolved that what ever will be will be. And with prayers dripping out of my mouth like alphabet soup, I went out looking for a new beginning. If unsuccessful, I would start the reinvention plan. After a number of disappointing space tours, my hopes were starting to wain. When a friend called for help with uploading her digital art images in to jpeg from her iphone, I went over and helped and we made great progress.

One of the things that impressed me in the story of Julie & Julia, was this young woman was cooking her way through Julia Childes french cooking book and had a blog about it with the hope that it would inspire others to cook, which is exactly how it effected me. And throughout her story she was confronted with many challenges, it was not a cake walk.

Right now I am in the middle of a challenge, that seems at times, insurmountable. but as the old saying goes, "Change is the only thing that we can count on and when we except that fact, it can be quite comforting".

So... my new hope is that if you do choose to follow this blog, you will be inspired to create, to be devoted to the creative and to walk in the image of the creator, through the challenges and the seemingly bad into the perfect timing that we sometime find ourselves actually noticing.

Happy Trails,

Robin Dodge