Friday, October 18, 2019

Two Pieces for the local Myco Show (June '19)

Two new pieces for the local Myco Show (June '19), hosted by The Ivy House Gallery...:

Emily Dickinson Tribute  (Oil on 6x9 Wood Cutting Board)

Sylvia Plath Tribute (Oil on 8x10 wood plaque)
"We Shall by Morning Inherit the Earth..."

Back in the Spring, a gallery called The Ivy House, announced a call for local artists to enter into an upcoming show they were hosting, called 'Myco'....:


I contributed two pieces, both tributes to favorite poets of mine, Emily Dickinson, and Sylvia Plath.  As authors of Mushroom poems I absolutely adore, it seemed fitting to paint their portraits for this Myco theme....:

View from the Side

The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants...:

The Mushroom is the Elf of Plants -
At Evening, it is not
At Morning, in a Truffled Hut
It stop opon a Spot

As if it tarried always
And yet it’s whole Career
Is shorter than a Snake’s Delay -
And fleeter than a Tare -

’Tis Vegetation’s Juggler -
The Germ of Alibi -
Doth like a Bubble antedate
And like a Bubble, hie -

I feel as if the Grass was pleased
To have it intermit -
This surreptitious Scion
Of Summer’s circumspect.

Had Nature any supple Face
Or could she one contemn -
Had Nature an Apostate -
That Mushroom - it is Him!

~Emily Dickinson

(This Emily Dickinson tribute piece is actually a little revisit to an earlier painting I did years past (which can be seen in the heading at the very top of this blog)...). 

View from the Side


Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly
Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.
Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.
Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,
Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,
Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We
Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking
Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!
We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,
Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:
We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door.

~Sylvia Plath

Emily Dickinson Tribute Painting

I love mushrooms and always have -- to find them, to look at them, to eat them.  
Thus I did have a lot of fun with this theme.

Sylvia Plath Tribute Painting

Thanks to the Ivy House Gallery for letting my participating in their lovely 'Myco' show...!


Ruth Bader Wisebird, for the March '19 RESIST SHOW

Ruth Bader Wisebird

Ruth Bader Wisebird (Oil on 6 x9 wood plaque)

Got a little 'splaining to do.  Or, at least some updating to do.  Because I haven't been so very good about updating my little blog here with recent artwork this past year.  But I do like to be sure to do so if for no other reason than my own record keeping, and there's no time like the present.  And so we have here this little piece that I did for  a local art show back in March of this year.   The show is called "Resist" and raises money for a number of local charities (which I had entered in years previously).  This was my contribution for this year, a wee little portrait in loving tribute to our venerable Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, entitled Ruth Bader Wisebird....:

View from the Side

I definitely had fun painting this one (and please don't shoot me if I say it was even a hoot lol).

Hanging in the Resist Show

Thanks to the Resist Show organizers for putting on such a great event.  They put so much time into it and do good works!

Friday, October 19, 2018

"Frankenstein is Served", for the FRANKENSTEIN MEETS LITTLE WOMEN Art Show

"Frankenstein Meets Little Women: 
A Monster Mash"

"Frankenstein is Served", Oil on wood Oval, 18 x 24

Brand new art...! 

Frankenstein. Little Women.  Two highly beloved literary classics.  And both celebrating milestone anniversaries this year, the first having been written 200 years ago by Mary Shelley, with the second written 150 years ago, by Louisa May Alcott. Whatever would happen if you squished these two seemingly very dissimilar subject themes together....?  

Why, the 'Frankenstein Meets Little Women: A Monster Mash' art show of course!  

Event conceptualized and organized by Valerie E. Weich

The brainchild of curator and historical reenactment artist, Valerie E. Weich,  the "Frankenstein Meets Little Women" art show opens this weekend (Sat, 10/20) in South Pasadena, CA, and I was so delighted and honored to have been invited to participate.  Long standing literary fan and independent scholar, Valerie Weich had a vision for a multi-faceted art/literary experience, which, with much careful thought and planning upon her part, has come to fruition.  She has put together such a comprehensively entertaining and educational event -- complete with artist panel discussion, a living history performance, a movie screening, an educational lecture plus special opening and closing parties, all in conjunction with a fascinating art show by a fine group of hand-selected artists -- that my only regret is not being able to make the show in person myself (really sad about that!)....: 

So upon having been asked to participate, how in the world was I to tie together these two classic tomes in one painting?  All while keeping within my own particular artistic approach and style...?  

Norman Rockwell's "Freedom from Want"

One of the predominant themes running through both novels is Family.  Obviously, "Little Women" is all about Family, featuring as it does the four March sisters, and their beloved mother, Marmie.  But the story of Frankenstein is about family too -- or the lack of it in The Creature's case -- and how The Creature, isolated and apart, longs for the acceptance and belonging of a family, hurtfully rejected as he is by his own creator.  I tossed around a few concepts for my entry into the show until given a really juicy suggestion by Valerie herself that I felt I could truly run with -- that being the spoofing of Norman Rockwell's classically quintessential family-themed artwork, "Freedom from Want"....:

"Frankenstein is Served" (or, is it 'severed'...?) on a large oval plaque

And there you have it: "Frankenstein is Served", in which we have The Creature featured and meeting all the girls of 'Little Women" (Jo, Meg, Beth and Amy March), along with Mary Shelley his literary Creator), her famed poet husband, Percy Shelley, Louisa May Alcott, Marmie...,!  (Because I couldn't very well parody Mr, Rockwell's famous painting and his wee cameo without including my own little selfie now could I...?).

And if you happen to be in the L.A. area this this week, consider going to see this this amazing show....!  Click this link to read what the South Pasadean has to say about it.

Private Commission, 'Hijabi', 09/2017

"Hijabi", acrylic 4' x 4' canvas 2017

Another interesting 2017 project!  A Muslim customer was planning a large party for her daughter upon the daughter's decision to take up in the Islamic tradition of wearing the hijab.  My customer supplied for me a very large canvas -- much, MUCH bigger than I typically work (4 feet by 4 feet) -- and asked for a simplified abstracted work in particular colors, featuring a Hijabi in silhouette.  This was a fun challenge because I don't often work in abstract, and certainly not this big.

The painting as displayed at the special event....

Private Commission: "Still. Life" 04/17

"People have to do what they want to do..."

-J. Mascis

"Still. Life." Oil on Found Wood, by Private Commission 12 x 13  2017

This as a really fun privately commissioned project.  My customer had requested a painting to present as a wedding gift for two very close friends.  I was told the groom was a huge fan of the musician J. Mascis, of the band Dinosaur Jr., while the bride was a huge fan of Frida Kahlo.   The painting was to somehow feature both subjects.  And oh by the way, can the painting also include the marrying couple's two beloved pet kitties...???   But of course! 

Digging around in my stash of found wood to use, I came across this old 12 x 13 cabinet bottom that I'd grabbed off a curb many moons ago. Perfect...!

The shape of the cabinet bottom, with its little notches into the top two corners, allowed for some creative wire hangery....: 

Eye hooks placed in the notched corners for hanging wire

A fun project overall, which I heard was well received by the gift recipients (yay!).

"Still. Life", featuring J. Mascis and Frida Kahlo


Boneyard Art Festival 2017: "Medusa"

"You only have to look at the Medusa 
straight on to see her.  And she's not deadly.  
She's beautiful, and she's laughing..."

~Helen Cixous

"Medusa", for the Boneyard Art Festival, April/2017

Hello, little neglected blog.  Didn't mean to be absent quite so long!  Yet, as always happens, I will eventually find my way back in here.... 

 This time around it's been a few privately commissioned projects, including a particularly large one, that have been keeping me busy behind-the-scenes and away from my usual artistic pursuits.  Such as the Nibblefest Art Contest.  I'm missing it...!  Hoping to get back into the Nibblefest groove in the next couple of months. In the meantime I'm needing to update with a few past projects that for some reason (I guess because they were local...?) never made their way into my blog.  Since I do like to keep this little virtual space as documentation for my own reference, I'm updating now.

"Medusa", April 2017

And so here we have the Medusa. 
There's an annual art event in my locality, known as the Boneyard Arts Festival (named after a little creek that meanders through the town).  The fest runs over a weekend every April, with shows and events at multiple venues all over the city.  Last year (2017) I was invited to hang a painting with the Twin City Derby Girls, our local roller derby team, as they hosted a gallery venue at their practice space. This was my piece for their show....:

"Medusa"  7 x 9 shield-shaped plaque

I had had this old, shield-shaped wooden plaque in my stash for the longest time.   It was high time to use it, and what better subject to feature upon a shield, than Medusa...?   Not to mention what better subject to feature for a showing with the Roller Derby girls, than a Medusa on a shield....?  It all seemed entirely appropriate.

Thank you, Twin City Derby Girls...!


Sunday, March 12, 2017

"No Silent Springs" (Rachel Carson)"

“But man is a part of nature, 
and his war against nature 
is inevitably a war against himself....”
― Rachel Carson

My tribute to Rachel Carson and her book, 'Silent Spring'

"No Silent Springs
(Rachel Carson)"

I recently watched the PBS 'American Experience episode' regarding the author and naturalist, Rachel Carson, about her life's work.  While I knew a little about her background, the documentary went into great detail and was very educational.  I learned much from watching it, and also found myself highly moved. 

Oils on a 7x9 wood plaque

In an era when Nature was seen as a thing necessary for Mankind to dominate, exploit, intercept and control, Rachel Carson's message firmly challenged that prevailing Mid-Century notion.  While the attitudes of the time reflected a belief that humans were somehow separate and apart from the natural world, Carson argued instead that mankind is actually an integral part of the dynamism of Nature, and that our human activities potentially have more far-reaching repercussions and impacts than we might even be aware of.  Her book, 'Silent Spring', specifically questioned the widespread use of chemical pesticides, while calling attention to the negative impacts such wholesale application had upon the environment and animal life -- and ultimately, upon ourselves.   'Silent Spring' became a best seller and brought much public awareness to the concept of environmental conservation.  Her influential writings and moving testimonies helped awaken a global cause, and are generally credited with giving rise and advancement to our modern environmental movement.

I was able to use a small wooden plaque purchased 2nd-hand from our local I.D.E.A. Store

As such, when looking for a subject to paint for this month's EBSQ "Awakening" online exhibit, Rachel Carson came to mind immediately.  Her influence awakened an entire generation. The title of the book, 'Silent Spring', refers to the scenario of an absence of song birds, as they perish en mass from heavy pesticide exposure. Robins in particular are susceptible to the effects of industrial chemicals and pesticides building up in the food chain -- so a robin seemed a likely symbol.  There is also the matter of Rachel Carson having died relatively young (in her 50's) from aggressive breast cancer.  As a survivor of breast cancer myself, I hated to learn about how she likely suffered in her illness. Oncology treatments were rudimentary at best back then, harsh and commonly ineffective, and doctors often patronizing.   We'll never know if Rachel Carson's own cancer was in any way environmentally triggered.  But what if is was...?  Then somehow her message feels even all-the-more weighty to me. 

On my easel in progress....

And so, while I'm entering this piece into the March EBSQ "Awareness" online art exhibit, I was also able to hang it in a local, themed art show this month, entitled "Resist".  What comes to mind when you think of Resistance....?  Rachel Carson did go on to experience a lot of negative fall-out from her writings and opinions -- many folks, including those in the farming industry and other corporate interests, looked to discredit her work and smear her reputation.   They resisted her environmental message -- while she in turn intrepidly resisted their public pressure and attempts to keep her quiet.....

Here's a photo of my entry, "No Silent Springs (Rachel Carson)" hanging in the local "Resist" show....

My Rachel Carson tribute hanging in the Resist show at our local Independent Media Center

RIP, Rachel Carson.  
Here's to no silent springs.