Sunday, July 17, 2016

Midsummer Night's Dream, revisited

Midsummer Night's Dream is my favorite Shakespeare play. From the first time I tried illustrating it in senior year of college, I've been in love with the fantasy and magic of this story. Its humor, satire, and intelligence does not cease to inspire me (and make me crack up).

This series of quick drawings I made on location (adding color to some afterwards) comes after a long hiatus. I had created a series of drawings and puppets between 1996 and 1999. It's been many years without Midsummer Night's Dream. Thanks to my friend, Julia, for telling me about the live performance that was happening in the park just behind my apartment. It was a beautiful and hilarious rendition. And a perfect setting in this park.

Here are some drawings.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Bound (No one wins)

Most of my posts are about my travels and center on landscapes and things that come from beauty. These images don't. They are nonetheless heart-felt, and perhaps even disturbing to some. They come from my heart, which can be quite sad, angry, and dark, at times. I can't help but feel a deep pain and unrest within me and around me. These works are a response to that. They are not based on anything I've read or should read, or the media, which loves to instigate and perpetuate. If I seem naive or uninformed, contrary, or idealistic, then so be it. I feel misunderstood at times, and the more I try to explain, the more the communication lines break down. So I use the best vehicle for me, drawing.

One person told me that I (and no white people) should be quoting Martin Luther King right now. I thought that was ridiculous (and narrow-minded, esp. in the stance they were taking). Why shouldn't I? Isn't that the point? "An eye for an eye makes everyone blind" is one my favorite quotes of all time. More than ever, everyone should be quoting from MLK. But that's just my opinion. If you don't agree, you don't agree. But please don't try to "educate" me or suggest I google what you think I'm ignorant on. I don't base my thoughts solely on what I read or what people tell me. I weight it and take in what feels right. I try to base my thoughts on what I feel. That's sometimes hard, but it is where the things I might say or draw come from. If you think that's bullshit or stupid or ignorant, then unfriend me. I don't care. What you think of me is none of my business. Yes, I'm angry. Very angry. And very heart-broken. And that's where these pieces come in. I've worked out some of my feelings through art-making. I sometimes wish more people would do the same–even if not artists–instead of hurting each other through words, or worse.

These are inspired by two of my favorites: Jean-Michel Basquiat and Corita Kent. Both talked about and responded to what was going on within them and the outside world, in a very personal way. I leave these to your interpretation, your personal view. What does it bring up for you? I know at times I feel like a "drowning torso". Or suffocating in a tangle. Whatever is happening outside is happening on the inside, as well. If you choose to respond, I'd rather know how it makes you feel vs what you think of the work.

Tied: This piece started in a drawing class. The model had his arms crossed over himself.
As I drew it, I began thinking about a bound figure, unfree. It made me think about the
violence and hate perpetuating racially right now.

Drowning Torso: I drew this at the same time as Tied, with the same idea.
A powerless figure with no arms, bound, and drowning.

I took the "Bound" idea a bit further placing both races in a suffocating tangle. 
No one is free. And no one wins.

An eye for an eye: I don't believe there is any difference between these two faces. 
The hatred is akin to eating each other. 

An eye for an eye (It's the same face)

No one wins

Bound together (The blind leading the blind)

Rising out of the ash heap

Maybe there's room

Painting by Basquiat

Screen print by Corita Kent

These are 2 effigies from Cameroon, Africa

Effigy I (Bound in Blood): Blood is red no matter what color you are

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Drawn to Mountains

I didn't realize before this trip how much I am drawn to mountains. I have drawn and painted them in the Hudson, Mexico, Hawaii, Bhutan (the Himalayas), and now Tennessee, which holds the great Smoky Mountains. I don't know if it's their quiet majesty, mysterious holdings, or sheer grandeur that attracts me every time, but I can't help but put them down on paper, as much as I can. Their sacredness speaks to the soul, to an inner journey we are all making.

Though I did not get to explore the Smoky Mountains national park itself on this trip, some part of the mountain was always in view from where I was staying, at its foothills, at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

From there, I did 3 drawings of the Smokies. I really do hope to return and draw them in depth one day.

Riding through the road to the Smokies at sunset, the sky and clouds were a dusky pink, the mountain was a soft periwinkle blue, and the river rushed forth from it, sprinkled with rocks. The trees surrounded the mountain on either side, just turning color.

Distant Smokies

Sunrise Mountain

Fantastic sunset. Almost spiritual. That tree feels otherworldly. I felt sometimes as if I were a kid again going to school in the 70's. That's what I liked about Arrowmont. They held on to their traditions. And their looms. I sought quietude in the beautiful library, with an amazing collection of books.

Rainy day at Arrowmont.

A river ran through the back of the lodge I was staying at. Hearing it rush by reminded me of the river behind my house growing up. It was lovely.

One of several stained glass pieces at the Arrowmont School.

Weaving in Nature. I turned the conference I went to into a retreat for myself.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015


Savannah was not a city on my bucket list. Never even crossed my mind to go there until my friend, Jeff, moved down to South Carolina and I made a plan to visit him. He suggested I visit Savannah for a few days before we met up. OK, I said. I had no expectations.

Then...I saw the live oaks and the twenty or so Squares Savannah is famous for. I was instantly captivated by this city's rich history and charm. I walked everywhere (it's a tiny city) and took in the sights and scents, the balmy breeze swaying the Spanish moss on those live oaks I fell for—at once beautiful and haunting. Full of history, older than this country itself.

I got to draw and paint here and there when I wasn't sightseeing my eyes out. The trolley tour was really sweet. And so were the people. And it wasn't fake either. Genuine kindness. We need a little more of that up here in the North.

Hope you enjoy looking at these as much as I enjoyed making them. I did not expect this city to resonate so much with me. But I am so glad I listened to Jeff and went. One small note to add: I sold two watercolors (the first two posted here) sitting on a park bench painting. It was really a thrill. Something I always wanted to happen...kind of magical. But that's Savannah.

Forsyth Park

The Mercer Williams House (where Midnight in the Garden of...was filmed)

The fountain at Fortsyth Park