The assignment was to make several collages and then create a painting form the collage.  Because I was seeking something different with the endless tired still life, I was told to create four or five paintings based on my backyard painting.  See below.  I think for this reason they have a feeling of collage.  The painting with the small cutout tree.  And the full chickadee is my favorite.

I did both I half assed the collages, taking old images of my own work and slapping them together into something new.  I have at least two good paintings out of that.  I have an unfinished collage that is very intriguing and every time I walk by it I say OH.  I accidentally made a discovery when I was cleaning and placed it on a piece of paper that I liked but didn’t use and it has potential.

I think I will work on those a bit today before my meeting.

These two paintings I worked on yesterday.  I am quite happy with one of them.  The other is in need of additional work.  Especially now that I look at it online.  It helps my eyes somehow to see it backlit and smaller I can focus on what it needs better.

Still adjusting to my new eyes.


On the (easel) Dining Room Table

I spent the morning cleaning and organizing the studio.  Having the desk next to my work table was just awkward and was a poor use of the desk.  After several hours of work I went out for fish at Rudy’s a local iconic favorite.

When I returned I got to work on an assignment for the graduate painting class I am taking at SUNY Oswego.  I took the class to improve my skills and to start to show my work, because it is ridiculous that I have been painting and making art for 25 years and have had no commercial exposure.  After  completing the painting of the back yard, the assignment was to make some collages based on my backyard painting but collages in general.

I was kind of being a snot, because I think the professor is underestimating my experience and a comment he made on Thursday seemed to be a tick in the column of hmmm about using quality stretcher strips (for over 13 years?) okay anyway.

The first piece here is a painting I did while living with a person who was not very good for me spiritually I painted the background, and then I painted the dejected angel put along they were not very good.  So I combined them.  As I look at it, it is so much a reflection of the neighborhood and the feeling I had while living there.  I can totally see the whole situation in the painting.  But y0u would have to walk the same third mile stretch of road with the multistory nursing home and feel the watchful eye of the neighbor who had a murder in her house thirty years previously and the bitchy Indian woman who didn’t want me training my dog on the street, and the German Aunt and mother who were constantly overwhelming me and the man, with his he is a bully and a clown persona.

Not sure, would LOVE commentary.

I took a marker drawing of a city, Petare (Spelling?) a slum in Venezuela, was partially the inspiration, and honestly I wish my ex husband could see this doodle because he loved it.  Anyway.  I added the sun that I put into a doodle I did while I was laid up for over a week with severe back pain. I could not walk or even move easily.  Excruciating. I drew two doodles of spines, when I first posted them online my high school friend who has a bad back and MS immediately recognized the spines and the pain in the drawings.

I loved the colors together and had to make very few changes to fit the two pieces together.  When I was obsessed with collage about 15 years ago I did several pieces where the city was overwhelming nature, so very much a part of my psyche and spirit at the time, having grown up in farm country, and the deep woods of upstate (real upstate not Westchester County) NY and the remote hills streams and meadows of Columbia County.  For some reason this all just fits for me.  The strength of the backbone hugging the fire of the sun rise and the silhouettes of the trees, a symbol for me of the self and now the blue river washing clean the grungyness of the city.

The two sumo wrestlers, not really but maybe, the two curvalicious female figures at odds with one another is much better in natural light, and is not complete.   See below for the remaining four pieces.


Original “doodle” with pieces of other doodles added.  Hard to see here will repost later with blue river flowing through.
Original colored pencil drawing depicting two figures at odds. 
Negative space tree draft/collage/ experimentation for backyard
Collage experimentation for backyard
Collage Experimentation for backyard
Playing with an old map birch bark and a river colored canoe, drawing from a receipt 1932 bi prop and bi wing plane 

So the three collages are all experiments with what I want to do for a final project for the painting class.  I hate them all.  But the one with the pine tree branches against the blue sky and the negative space tree is tolerable.  I have more to do and will add to this when I make a final painting for the class.

I have been wanting for a long time to do a piece with maps this is just an experiment and I am sure more will come later this is not finished nor fully actualized.


Tiger Lily and Bird

“be like the flower, and turn your face to the sun.” ~ khalil gibran


we spend the morning clearing away the snow.  he works on his aunt’s driveway and i on ours, hers and his mother’s down the street.  the dog is joyful to be in the snow  the men are in the street snow blowing, the plow has not yet come through.  later i get a haircut and then spend some time shopping with and having dinner with, my daughter.  i come home late and crawl into his bed, he wraps his arms around me, holding me so close, with such strength.  I close my eyes and breath in the smell of him, and visions pass before my eyes, of birds and sunshine, and lilies.

Angel and Spirit

Today’s page.  A female figure is lying on the snow, eye’s closed she has made a snow angel.  All around her are trees from a bird’s eye view, they are smaller than her, so most important is the figure, the trees cast blue shadows on the snow.  Far above her, is a bird designed to resemble the Holy Spirit, because it is to represent her spirit, flying over head view all that is below, including the embodiment of the spirit, the figure.  So that is the description.  I am not exactly sure what it means.  Just that in the woods, she is at peaceful and full of spirit.


Creating Art for South Sudan

My friend and co worker is married to Gabriel Bol Deng, who is a grown Lost Boy from South Sudan.  He has a non-profit organization called Hope for Ariang, his home village in that country.  He has been raising money for and building a school, digging wells, and helping to educate and provide economic stability for the women of his home village with the funds he has raised.  A second organization called the Canvas Peace Project collects artwork based on the theme of raising up the economic and educational status of women in that region, and then donates the profits to Hope for Ariang.  My friend told me about the Canvas Peace Project and asked me to create a work of art for it.



The image is of a sunrise or sunset, which represents the transition from traditional role to a new paradigm.  The female figure is also off balance, a side effect of change is that it off sets the balance of things, but in this case she is spinning in circles filled with joy at the transition and its impact on her and her child.  She is pregnant, her fertility is not only not effected by her education but she is full of fertility.  She wears a belt which has the word Transforming in it.  I chose a yellow collage paper because of one of Gabriel’s friends, Valentino Deng, in his collaborative book What is the What, spoke of the yellow dress his mother wore, and I put this in as a nod to his efforts to raise money for a secondary school in his home village.  The baby has wings and the wings are made up of text from a book called The Education of a Woman, it is her education which gives the child wings.  The dress of the woman is made up of images from an article about  the Lost Boys in a June 1992 issue of Life Magazine.  The baby is also made up of images of the dirt floor school room in the article, and behind the child’s head is the sunlight streaming through the window of that school, a symbol of the light of grace that comes from an educated child.  She wears black and white beads, a tradition in South Sudan that shows the wealth of the female by the number of cows she has, but is a symbol here of the economic stability that also comes from her education.

I included for her head an image of a child from one of the refugee camps whose head was wrapped in a blanket and he was peering out from it, I felt that this was the basis of her education through the Hope for Ariang Foundation.  The suffering of those children and the people of South Sudan is the soul and the secret spirit of what has created this new hope.

Canvas Peace Project

Hope for Ariang