Saturday, May 23, 2015

Dog on a Chain 2001

Currently, we are in possession of three dogs:  Cash, a large, 8 year old brindle mastiff on loan for the summer from our youngest daughter Teal; Sophie, our 11 month old Dachshund, Min-pin cross added to the family last December after Junior, our autistic Dalmatian crossed over on the Rainbow Bridge; and Niko, our 5 year old Rat Terrier.

I'd never owned a terrier before we got Niko.  He was one or two years old (the go-to vet age when no one really knows for sure except that they aren't puppies and they aren't old)when I found him on Craig's list and added him to the family.  He's a very handsome guy, and incredibly athletic.  He is sweet, even tempered, and, for the most part, pretty easy going.  He weighs in at 16 pounds. However, he is a killer.  The breed was bred to go after vermin(hence the moniker), so that anything that moves means that his entire focus is on that thing.  That also means that he is constantly alert to movement and noise, and, with incredible speed, will take off after anything moving.  He's so fast, and so intense, that in a moment he can be out of my sight, headed straight for some kind of big trouble.

When I really think about it, I feel terrible for the constraints I place on him.  He has to put up with the indignity of a leash, a fenced yard, and when he is free and running I'm always calling him back, pulling him away from the incredibly wonderful sights, sounds and smells of his Rat Terrier world.  Not only did I have him castrated, but, to add insult to injury, I bath him after each time he finds the most wonderful things to roll in--usually shit or a dead carp--completely nullifying the magic of the back deep in the ground, digging deep roll. He gets scolded for just being himself, for discovering and eating great great things(I don't even want to know). I watch him, I admire him, I love him and even with all the care I take, I  worry that one day, that Rat Terrier nature will take him too far away for him to come back.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

SS. Kindness 1998



When my daughter Teal was born, we found that we were in for the ride of our lives.  Emotion, power, and determination were all trapped in the body of a small female child who could out scream anything, and who could tantrum for hours on end if opposed in any way.  We often felt helpless beside her forceful strength. It was like having a tornado or a hurricane in our lives on a daily basis.  She grew, we grew.  She changed, we changed.  What saved us was kindness.  It was learning to have compassion for this small force of nature who couldn't help herself.  It was learning to love and appreciate not just the cute, sweet baby, but the small human being with the huge amounts of energy and will power.

Today she is driving from Kansas City to New Mexico to stay with us for a few days before heading on to a summer internship in Colorado.  She would have come yesterday, but weather maps showed the possibility of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms most of the way through Kansas, directly in her line of  travel.  I think she would have been fine--one force of nature to another--meeting the twisters and driving rains head-on, but, this way, her arrival ends up being on Mother's Day, and that's perfect for me.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Change 2015



Although I've used photoshop for years, I've only touched very lightly on what it can do.  Kind of like having a Porsche in the garage that you go and sit in, turning the steering wheel ever so slightly as you pretend to accelerate through a tricky hairpin curve at 90 mph.  But things have changed.  I decided this past year that I would learn more photoshop, and I've set about doing so.

Along with years of expensive continuing ed classes, I have picked up ways to use the different PS tools from many places, most recently, signing up for Lynda, the online IT learning program.  Along the way, I also picked up Painter by Corel, a kind of a fun, slightly trashy version of photoshop, and have learned to do more with my large Epson printer, having had numerous semi-heart stopping events where I got paper caught in the feed and the printer head made horrible grinding noises.  And lastly, I recently purchased an Intuos tablet to draw with, an event with another big learning curve.

With all of this, I have entered a brave new world, one with limitless possibilities.  I can now, by scanning my backgrounds, make different versions of the same image, and not lose my paintings in the process.  I can make an image entirely in Photoshop or Corel Paint, and then be able to make as many as I want, not just the one of a kinds that I've always done in the past.  I can do DASS transfers onto a panel, and if it doesn't work out, I can just print up another transfer and try it on something else.  My final image can live on in many ways:
1. on the screen only
2. as a "photo" on real photo paper
3. as a print on canvas, stretched or mounted on a panel
4. as a print, adhered onto a panel, then painted on to alter the surface.
5. lastly, the final image can be small, or huge, if I want to pay to have it printed out by a professional.

 I'm still learning and trying to figure things out.  Sometimes I go to bed at night with my head full of possibilities, other days, when I look at what I've done I think, "Crap, just a bunch of crap"--but-- interesting crap nonetheless.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ted Kuykendall 1953-2009

For years, Jim Kraft and Judy Booth's place in the South Valley was a refuge for many artists in the Albuquerque area, Ted Kuykendall and I among them, which is where I first met Ted.  Ted and I  were never close friends, but I admired and respected his work tremendously. At one point, when I was pregnant and didn't want to be in the darkroom, he developed a series of large prints for me that I later painted on.

Ted had the thing--he was the real deal.  His work came from a place that was unknown, only to be made visible as Ted did magic with his camera and darkroom chemistry. Of the work I'm familiar with, all have a sense of troubling oddness, as if we could briefly get a snapshot into his strange and dark dreams.  They are strange and unsettling, but quietly so.  His craft was his own, combining multiple images and then using chemistry to alter the surfaces.

Ted died in 2009 at the age of 56.  He had a heart condition.  His life hadn't been easy, and he worked primarily as a carpenter and a cabinetmaker. He seemed to never have had much money and lived  hand to mouth at times, yet he always continued to make work, and the quality and craftsmanship were superb.

Recently, while browsing on the photo-eye website and I came across some of Ted's images http://www.photoeye.com/templates/mSearchShowcasePowerSearch.cfm?keyword=ted+kuykendall&x=6&y=7 .  I was reminded of how much I had liked his work, and reminded, also, of what little commercial success Ted had had in his lifetime.  Few people knew /know his work. He was so very good, and yet so very under appreciated. History still has to write Ted's legacy and my hope is that his place in the world of fine art photography will end up at the very top.

*A lovely piece about Ted and his work by Stephen Fleming, Director of the Roswell Artists in Residence Program  http://www.rair.org/MarshellGallery-Kuykendall.htm

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Davis 2015


 
One of my students this past year happened to be Connie Carpenter, known, among other things,  for being the first woman to win an Olympic Gold medal in cycling.  She took two--three week workshops with me, and during that time I had the great pleasure of getting to know her and her husband, Daivs Phinney.  Davis, also an Olympic cyclist, has Parkinson's Disease. The Carpenter-Phinneys have a foundation http://www.davisphinneyfoundation.org/?gclid=CjwKEAjw0LmoBRDHuo7UkaKXhn8SJADmDTG0tleCTBId9_KYZ-rZruyjHNMtPhwu-6LOnb2S1A4WbRoCKkLw_wcB and that's where most of their time and energy goes.

I asked Davis to pose for me after I saw him changing his shirt one morning in the parking lot of the Aspen Country club(Connie, Davis, and I had spent the morning cross country skiing on the groomed tracks of the golf course).  In addition to having a great torso, he has a small device, the size of a pack of cigarettes, inserted under his skin on the right side of his chest.  Wires travel from the device up to his brain and help regulate the tremors caused by his PD. It was wonderful in a futuristic, bionic kind of a way.

In the short time I had getting to know Davis, he became my hero.  This is a man whose life was  taken off course in a pretty severe way, a world class athlete whose athleticism was his passion, his profession, and his connection to the world.  He had the flexibility to just change lanes and continue on, making whatever adjustments he had to to continue to live his life as fully as possible--a life full of humor, warmth, and generosity. As I age, and  see and understand the difficulties of illness in myself and in those around me, I think of Davis and the gift he has given me, the gift of seeing how it's done when the going gets tough.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Being Told 2012

On a recent bike ride with my husband, I noticed that his rear tire was wobbly--very wobbly.  Later that week,  I took the tire into the bike shop to have it looked at, and it was as we had surmised--a broken spoke. I asked the owner of the shop if we had caused it to break in some way, and he assured me that it just happens.  Then I said, "Darn, I was hoping to blame it on my husband", and in unison, all three of the bicycle repair guys in the shop replied, "Oh, it was his fault!" I remarked that they were awfully quick to jump on the husband blame wagon, and one of them said, "It's always the husband's fault", and we all laughed--a universal truth.

That's what this painting is about:  what TV sitcoms like Everyone Loves Raymond, and the new Last Man on Earth base episode after episode on.  The small nagging, female voice.  The large, unaware, "innocent" male counterpart.  The female confronting the male, the male denying culpability, the female not letting him off the hook and, whether he will admit it or not, the male knowing she's right.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

MIxed Up Face 2015

Lowbrow, or lowbrow art,[1] describes an underground visual art movement that arose in the Los Angeles, California, area in the late 1970s. It is a populist art movement with its cultural roots in underground comix, punk music, and hot-rod cultures of the street. It is also often known by the name pop surrealism. Lowbrow art often has a sense of humor – sometimes the humor is gleeful, sometimes impish, and sometimes it is a sarcastic comment.     Wikipedia

At the Yuma Art Symposium last week, I went to a talk by a ceramic artist named Max Lehman   http://www.maxdna.com/#!   The work was fun to look at, full of references to Mayan Art, Mexican folklore, bunnies, cars, and skeletons.  Max went into the influence that Pop Surrealism had on his work, and showed images by Pop Surrealists such as Mark Ryden and Gary Baseman. When the talk was over, I felt discouraged, feeling that that my art was old and dated, the words "fuddy duddy" springing to mind.  Some raw nerve had been touched, some part of me that felt out of step and unloved.  Even though Pop Surrealism was old news by now, I still couldn't get over the feeling that I wasn't doing work that spoke to a younger generation, work that was cynical and clever, droll, and complex.

I thought a lot about this Pop Surrealist thing, this feeling I had of not being current for the rest of my stay in Yuma.  I then brought these thoughts back to New Mexico to ponder and chew over.  Today, when I came out to the studio, I felt as if I were looking at my work with new eyes. Interestingly, I found the  work to be very compelling--much better than I had remembered.  Perhaps not clever or cynical, but certainly complex and not like anything I've ever seen before. There was honesty, and an attempt to make and do things I hadn't done or known how to do before.  I don't know exactly why I needed to beat up on myself so much in Yuma, but I suspect it was the part of me that doesn't know where I am going creatively.  That part of me was looking for a way to dodge the responsibility of not knowing, of being uncomfortable, of feeling chaotic and lost.  It was easier to substitute the known for the unknown instead of just reassuring myself that, no matter how hard it is, all would be okay.