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Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's All Kid Stuff

  A woman is stopped by a police officer while driving her car, presumably due to a traffic violation.  The officer spies bags of nails, broken glass and razor blades in the back of her car and then recognizes the driver as someone who had previously been convicted of 18 felony counts of child abuse and assault with a deadly weapon, who had been put on probation , rather than given the 11 year sentence recommended by the prosecutor.   So here she was again, her weapons of choice sitting on the back seat.   Her previous crime was to  'plant' the nails, shards of glass and razor blades in city parks and playgrounds hoping they would cause injury to the children who would play there.  What do you think, was she headed out to repeat her crime?

These four stories, the top row of: Reporting America's Story,  wove through the pages of the paper that January.  As if these weren't enough, there were the stories of men's violence towards women.  The next five canvases represent those stories.  The first is about a man and a gun, but of course he didn't mean to use it.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Family Entertainment

Onto the scene came a story about a teacher, a married woman with three young foster children.  This English teacher, who was entrusted with teaching middle school students reading and writing seduced at least two of her 13 year old students with a series of phone calls, e-mails and dinner engagements before having sexual rendezvous with them, sometimes at their homes.  What an education....lewd-conduct was what counted in her classroom.  And yes, I consider this violence.

Tomorrow's canvas, the last  in the row about women's violence against children, deals with a two time offender (we have seen that before), a woman with a penchant for nails, broken glass and razor blades.  I think I saved the worst for last in this row.  They are all awful, pitiful, and have robbed children of dreams, life, innocence.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

About the second or third day of reading the newspaper that month, in came the story about Andrea Yates.  It had been told in 2001, and here it was again, being retold.   I know you remember her story, the mother from Texas who drowned all five of her children in the bathtub at home.   She did this to protect the children from eternal damnation and to punish herself for being a bad mother.  She pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but she was convicted.  Now, in appeals court, the murder convictions were thrown out because of false testimony, errors made by an expert witness.  This was now the story.  So frustrating to read this.

Reporting America's Story

  The general description of this art work is in the blog post below.   I have been asked to talk about each canvas and will start with the top row which deals with women's violence against children.  These are ugly stories.  They are very unsettling.  You may or may not want to read them.  I really don't know if I want to retell them.  I created this work to clear all these visions out of my head.   I also find it a bit ironic to be retelling the telling and retelling.....

The first canvas, top left, was the first work.  It is visually dark and heavy due to the weight of the story, the beginning of the process:
   A woman, who had been previously convicted of child abuse and served eight years in prison, after setting her 8 month old daughter's diaper on fire with the head of a burning mop, became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy.  He was 3 months old when she stuffed him into her mother's washing machine and set fire to the house, a fire that resulted in the death of her son.
   This story lingered in the newspaper day after day until the woman was convicted of her son's death.  There were photos of her, photos of her son.  It became incredibly depressing to open the paper and see more of this.  

   Tomorrow,  the second canvas which became national headline news, and a story you will remember.  

Monday, April 26, 2010

My desert home is in escrow.  Because of this I am releasing, for purchase, several art works I created specifically for this home.  It is a contemporary home, so the work is contemporary as well.  I will be posting photos with descriptions of these works over the next several blog entries.  If you are interested in any of them, please contact me via e-mail for additional information:

The first work, Reporting America's Story, is a collection of 19 canvases, each 12" x 12".  It is approximately 90" tall by 64" wide when all canvases are hung.  

Pictured here are 13 of the canvases.  Each is a viable composition, yet designed to be hung together.  They are paint, wax, ink, and collage of newspaper clippings.  Each canvas represents one story reported in the newspapers during January 2005.  All deal with tragic situations, human cruelty and violence.

There are six rows. Each row tells of a particular type of violence:  Women against children, men against women, women against men, violence due to prejudice, women against women, men against children, child against mother.

This is a powerful statement not only about violence, but about the retelling of these stories by the media.  It is a graph of the frequency of these various types of violence.  The third row ( women against men), fifth row (women against women) and sixth row (child against mother) contain one canvas only, one story, while the other rows have several.  

When I moved into this home, I began having two local newspapers delivered which I read each morning.  This work was created as a catharsis for me after reading the newspaper day after day, seeing these stories told and retold again and again.  After one month, I discontinued delivery of the papers.  

If you would like additional photographs, pricing, or any further information, please contact me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Completed the Lemon Cairn painting which will be delivered and hung in the customer's kitchen tomorrow.  I will miss the scent of lemon in my studio, but think I just may take the lemons into the kitchen tomorrow...lemonade, lemon curd, lemon pie, lemon bars, lemon chicken, lemon drop martini....what a list!  

There are many lemons:  Eureka, Lisbon, Meyer, Bearss, Ponderosa.  My favorite is the Meyer which is sweet, deliciously fragrant, and lends a wonderful flavor to many dishes.
The Meyer Lemon Tree is a hardy variety and the best lemon tree for subtropical climates such as the gulf coast of the United States. The Meyer Lemon is not actually a real lemon but a cross between a lemon, a type of orange and a mandarin. While it retains most of the characteristics of a lemon, it has a bit less acidity, less bitterness, more sweetness and thinner skin. The skin of the Meyer Lemon lacks the typical zest of a real lemon. It has gained favor because it bears a heavy crop and it is a relatively hardy plant.  And it is oh, so delicious!  

The Meyer Lemon Tree is named for Frank Meyer. He brought it to the United States from China in 1908 while working for the USDA. The tree became very popular and was widely grown until a virus that attacked Meyer Lemon Trees was discovered in the mid-1940s. Meyer Lemon Trees were banned in the United States in an effort to insure the safety of other lemon varieties from the virus. A new version of the Meyer Lemon Tree was developed that was virus-free and it was reintroduced in 1970. Since that time, the Meyer Lemon has become a favorite for the home grower. 

This variety is especially sweet and succulent. The Meyer Lemon has a thin skin and does not survive shipping well. As a result, the Meyer Lemon is not widely grown by commercial lemon growers.  You don't see Meyer Lemons in the markets often, but make friends with someone who has a tree and you may receive lemons as a gift since the tree is prolific.  Or better yet, plant your own.  I have a Meyer, in a pot, living in a mountain climate.  It spends the winter months inside, in a south facing window, and the summer months outdoors in full sunshine.  

I am off to the studio to move the lemons into the kitchen.....                                                                        

Friday, April 16, 2010

Picked lemons from my tree and set them up as a still life in my studio.  With the vertical nature of the canvas, I decided to stack them into a cairn.  Snapped some photos, sketched a bit, and started the painting.
Just kept on painting, spending hours with brush in hand.

And though it is not quite completed, it is close.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What a busy week it was!  With the Dick Blick award announcement last Monday the tone was set.  After a couple of interviews, one with Palm Springs Guides, an on-line magazine and the other with the Desert Sun, I spent hours in my studio completing a commissioned painting.  Read the Guide article:        I was introduced to Arts Oasis, an on-line creative community which supports and promotes the arts:

To close out the week, I delivered and hung this painting and received another commission, so I am working on the sketches now.  This will be lemons, on the tree, with a few blossoms.  Check back to see the painting evolve.

Monday, April 5, 2010

I was just informed that I have been selected as Dick Blick's April 2010 Featured Artist of the Month.  The monthly artist is chosen from submissions that come from all over the world!  What an honor!  The selection was based on my Produce Paintings.  Here is my statement about these paintings and a few photos....take a stroll down the Produce Isle:

"We live with fruits and vegetables daily, in the market and in our kitchens. I first started painting these colorful edibles after a visit to a farmers’ market where they were stacked and piled in bins and on tables. The shapes and colors were luscious and inviting, asking to be arranged into small still life arrangements, asking to become small paintings. Not only do I hunt farmers’ markets for beautiful produce, but I spend time in vegetable gardens and fruit orchards looking for just the right subject. 

I pick and purchase fruit and vegetables, take them home, set them up in small arrangements, sketch and photograph, then paint. At this point in time, my produce paintings are small, most 8" x 10", nothing larger than 20" x 16". But I can see that they would make wonderful large works.

You can see more of these Produce Paintings on my web site, or by asking me to e-mail photos of the newest work.

Dick Blick is an artists' supply house with a catalog, web site and physical locations.  Not only do they supply artists, but they are supportive of the arts and art students.  Take a look at their web site to learn more about Dick Blick:

And Thank You Dick Blick!!!!  I am honored to have been selected.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Just painted stamen and pistols in the barrel cactus flowers.  On to the addition of the spines. 

 Probably the most well known barrel cactus is the golden barrel, Echinocactus grusonii with its bright yellow spines. Its unusual coloring makes it a popular container plant or a point of interest in the garden. Unlike some of the native barrels with their green color and strong fishhook thorns the golden barrels' thorns are more of a gentle curve.

A Tucson gardener has said this: 
The native Fishhook barrel, Ferocities wislizenii, is common around the Tucson desert and produces large clusters of showy flowers either yellow, red or orange in color. A bright, many seeded pineapple like fruit follows the flower which birds and other desert wildlife eat. The thorns of the fishhook barrel can be treacherous especially around pets.
I once heard a scream in my back yard and had to run outside to see what could be in so much distress. On closer inspection I found a young woodpecker stuck to the cactus with the hooked thorns penetrating the wings. I used pliers to pull the thorns from the cactus and then cut them from the bird. On its release the woodpecker ended up hopping off not flying.