Have I said I love creating art? Have I said it makes me feel good? Have I said how I love seeing how pieces fall together and colors blend or surprise, and images take on a wonderful, wierd quality? Have I said how much I love my studio?
Yes, yes, yes. I've said all those things and more! So why is it that it seems to take a Herculean effort to walk into my studio and start playing with my "toys" (as my friend/graphic designer/photographer/artist Mary Ann C. says)? WHY?
I suppose all artists struggle with this push me/pull me dilemma. It's such a crazy love I have with my creative muse!
Well gosh darn. Here it is again. What little thing can I do to keep my creative toe in the water?
Straighten one area of my studio.
Take a photo of anything.
Write and publish a post.
Write some new copy for an oriel pendant.
Make a new oriel pendant design.
Make a journal page.
Straighten a bookshelf display
Read an art magazine. (Alright, read one article.)
Tear images and words out of said magazine.
Paint Angelina Kitty's toenails.
Dress Angelina up and take her picture (Angelina has left the room now...)
Buy a colorful potted flower.
Read someone else's blog post.
Draw a very bad picture and write an apology underneath it.
Straighten my desk so all of the colorful things on it show up.
Pick some flowers for the house.
Create a display on the front porch coffee table.
Take a nap.
Care to add any?
What would it be like to not feel stuck? To just feel my mane blow in the wind?
I recently started "dressing up" my oriels. I just have not liked my scans and photographs -- they don't do them justice. My oriels just seem to demand a new look; as they wait for their new homes, they seem to cry out: "Photograph me here!" "I want to wear that!" "Add something there!" What can I do but comply to their wishes? My beauties speak -- their wishes are my command -- as the the gallant lads say to the ingenues. So this is my first attempt to please these beautiful, demanding pendants. Each one seems to tell its own story. And remember, oriels are windows to another world, and if one seems to cry out to you...well just visit here, and it could be yours forever. How do I look, she coyly inquired? Is not this shawl appealing? Does the green not flatter my hazel eyes? Should I keep the fan, or discard it? Are the brass buttons ripe for opening, or should I button them high? To read more about this Boudoir Beauty go here, and don't forget to give her a flattering compliment!
My brother-in-law Bill died this week. This world was a better place with Billy walking through it. We were not close in the sense of hours-long, deep conversations, but we had an easy closeness that came from 20+ years familiarity as my brother-in-law, trips together the four of us would take to Santa Fe and Mexico, visits in each other's bi-coastal homes, and freely given doctor's advice when requested. Bill loved the outdoors, flyfishing (where he and my sister met and fell in love), eating out, barbershop quartets (what a beautiful rich voice he had), motorcycling, golfing, flying small planes, and imbibing spirits and slabs of pepperjack cheese. He loved all things women: their beauty, their ability to give life and sustain it, their talents, their intelligence, their sexuality, their creativity. He had a curiousity about people and life that was gigantic. He had a wicked Irish humor and he was a doctor who cared deeply about his patients and would make house calls at the drop of a hat. In his earlier years (the late 60's) he was called by Rolling Stone Magazine the "Love Doctor" (or was it "Hippie Doctor"?) -- there is even a picture of him in that issue -- he's standing in front of a motorcycle, his hair is long and he's wearing a bandana. Bill was instrumental in aiding my healing from a traumatic car accident -- his advice was more folk medicine than traditional and filled with love and concern -- and was exactly what was needed for healing. Bill was also human and always did things his way: wouldn't listen to advice, hated non-traditional medicine, often talked over you, and did not like it when you questioned his dogmatisms. But you had to look the other way on those things -- because he was just -- so wonderful. My favorite memory of Bill is when he would sing the Mexican folk song "The Chicken Hawk" ("El Gavilán Pollero"). My sister or I would request this of him repeatedly during our trips to Mexico, and he would dutifully, but joyfully, fulfill our requests. Like kids, we would be entranced by the sweetness with which he sang in Spanish about a man stealing another's true love. Forget the words -- Billy Boy was just precious delivering the goods.
I see you Bill -- I see you flying your plane, riding your motorcycle, swinging that club, casting that fly. I see you happy, happy, happy -- whistling and singing that little chicken hawk song.
I love my little studio, even though I wish it was a bit bigger. It's cozy and jam-packed full of all of the things I love and have made or collected over the past 25 years. It is constantly evolving, like me. It is colorful and surprising, I suppose like me. A color will catch your eye here, a shape begs for you to touch it, a ribbon urges you to wind it in your hair. Images are on the walls, the bulletin board, my desks, and even the floor, and lend a chaotic and stimulating, yet soothing (to me) energy. I am most happy when I am creating a collage or constructing a box, or soldering an oriel, yet I find myself often avoiding going into the studio. This seems very odd, but I understand that many artists have a similar push me/pull me about creating art.
Come take a tour of my studio on Flicker. All photos, unless stated as otherwise, were taken early this year by my friend and sometime dance partner Michael Serescko, an artist in his own right.
To quote my blog friend Chrissy's post title...I spent part of Mother's Day in the hospital with my mother. She's not off the ventilator yet, but her spirits have risen and she's more aware than ever of the necessity of being patient and letting her body get stronger. My mother has little patience, but the strongest will of anybody I know (besides me!). So if anybody can survive an ordeal like this, she can. As I could not bring her food -- I bought a Mother's Day cookie, brewed a cup of strong coffee, sat down at her living room table, and said "Here's to you, Mom!"
As I was writing this, my brother called from the hospital and said "Listen to this..." -- my mother rasped a hello -- she's off the ventilator! How about that!
Leah at Plehn's with Some Beautiful Mother's Day Cookies
I was thinking that Kentucky is home to so many comfort foods, but that is a bit of a grandiose statement. How about Southern Comfort ? -- well, that's a bourbon whiskey made in Tennessee, so I can't use it as an example. Comfort foods don't necessarily have geographic boundaries, but some do, so around the second day of my mother's hospitalization I headed straight for mine at Plehn's Bakery. Phehn's has been in Louisville, Kentucky -- for what? eighty years? and it is home, at least to me, of the world's best cruller with vanilla icing. I have been indulging myself with these baby's since I was an itty-bitty girl. These odd-shaped donuts are simply heaven to me -- I take a bite of its icing-coated-ridged-lip-smacking goodness and I am one happy girl. Sugary, fat-soaked comfort food that momentarily takes away uncertainity, depression, anger. Yeah baby -- I have a standing order for two of these angels every morning, and pick them up on the way to the hospital. I am not even thinking about the calories. I don't care -- it's necessary fortification --my brand of Southern comfort.
I haven't been to Kentucky in the Spring for a long time -- I can't remember why. Kentucky springs are so green and alive with trees leaving and azalias blooming and bluegrass growing that it is almost overwhelming. Verdant definitely comes to mind. I guess I have grown so used to California springs, which comparatively seem so sparse! I believe every shade of green is represented in the grasses and leaves that line every inch of space here. It's been raining on and off the past week, so photo ops are not plenty, and I've mainly been travelling back and forth to the hospital. But I managed to take a photo of some of the pink dogwood blooms that are so abundant here, and remind me so much of my childhood.
An Example of My Mother's Design Sense and Playfulness
...your aging parent is experiencing a life-threatening illness. I knew that this was going to be difficult. While packing for this spur-of-the-moment trip, I threw in some art supplies and a journal so that I could keep myself occupied while I sat next to my mother's hospital bed. I was going to try to keep to my challenge no matter what. So rather mindlessly, when I am not focusing on my mother's needs, or dealing with her temper tantrums, or feeling absolutely helpless, I cut up magazines and color and glue. Maybe for only a few minutes each hour. Somehow it grounds me and helps me to reconnect with a strength that I know exists somewhere within me. So it is possible to be creative in the midst of turmoil. In fact, I think it's a lifesaver. At least for me it is.
I also am aware that this trying, painful time is just part of the whole picture...we live in a beautiful, flawed world. Aging, illness, and death have nothing to do with immortality, vibrancy, beauty, life. And yet they both seem to exist together. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the space in between.
Took the red eye to Louisville to be with my 87-year-old mom, who had to have unexpected surgery. Actually had to fly into Cinncinnati, rent a car and drive to Louisville -- because no flights -- or cars -- were available in Louisville -- because it's Kentucky Derby weekend! I was worried and uncomfortable on my flight -- hyperconscious of catching some damn bug (OMG --swine flu!) I sat next to a software salesman who dreams of writing poetry again. Go for it George, don't give up the dream, live it!
Welcome! My Mane Blowing in the Wind is a visual showcase of my art, oriel pendant necklaces, and creative musings. I have danced toward and away from art for the past 28 years. Much of the moving away from was due to what I guess you could call "artistic paralysis": I heard the muse but went internal with it instead of externally expressing it through art. But somehow my art keeps emerging and recently it seems to have taken on a life of its own. This blog is a record of that discovery.