July 9, 2011
July 5, 2011
The first time I was taken to a zoo I cried. The cages were small, barred squares with cement with drains in the center. The animals’ misery and pacing mild insanity was clear to see.
Even at a lovely zoo like the Woodland Park Zoo I can’t quite shake the fact that it is all still just a series of cages. If it meant I never got to see them and they forever got to be wild I’d have it that way. But, there it is and there they are, so gorgeous and fascinating. So we go. And really have a rather good time. Crying only over the incessant bad jokes people feel inclined to make at a zoo.
It is also possible that I have missed my calling as a natural history museum display/diorama creator. I love the odd, earnest, dim lit, humble theater of these things.
February 3, 2011
Very pleased to announce that the PT Public Library has invited me to create and facilitate a workshop for their homeschool program. And, here it is!
VISUAL-STORYTELLING WITH COUNSEL LANGLEY
Homeschoolers are invited to attend a Visual-Storytelling Workshop
with local artist and art educator, Counsel Langley. The focus of
this workshop will be the use of visual art to communicate
information, ideas, and feelings. Using collage and drawing in
various media, homeschoolers will explore approaches to organizing
space, and techniques for achieving a pleasing composition. This
workshop is appropriate for all skill levels.
Please, join us Friday, February 11, from 10:30am until noon at the
Port Townsend Public Library.
For ages 7 – 12
This program is free thanks to the Friends of the library.
For more information call 385-3181
[It feels wrong to post with out visual aids! But, for the time-being I've chosen to keep related imagery underwraps. I want participants to be free from expectations of style, skill level and theme; they may come prepared to communicate and idea or feeling or their choice. I promise pictures post-workshop.]
December 8, 2010
“Not sure I buy this hand-looks-like-a-turkey-thing, but people seem to make it work so I’m going to give it a try.” So says my daughter as she sits down to the self-imposed chore of making place cards for this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
By now she’s onto December holidays and has chosen collage as her medium. This one she made for her little sister shows a clock tower and sidewalks that are made from a mash of anything grey she could find.
And, this one is for me. I love it.
November 30, 2010
There’s a thing I’d like to tease out into the light. It is the nature of a childhood spent in the Pacific Northwest. Not completely certain why, YET, but there is a piece of it here:
http://player.vimeo.com/video/6981507 (Click link to see this. These Vimeo videos are resisting embedding for some reason. It is excellent.)
http://player.vimeo.com/video/3108686 (again click to see the video)
I am not pointing to specifics, this is purely gut reaction; the viscera is where you understand what it is to be a child of the northwest. It is a childhood defined by an undercurrent of a brooding presence, at times menacing, but always creative. A slow-driving, get-your-project-done force. Much of this comes from the sheer power and presence of the natural. The constant quieting grey, massive mountains, dark dancing trees, violent storms, and the ever present, shifting waters.
There is also an element that is unabashedly mystical. This grey tilt here in the northwest allows for the other to be present, to come closer to the veil between worlds. It is exactly why both Twin Peaks and Twilight could only be set here.
Put whatever opinion of these two pieces of fiction you hold aside for the moment, they share a debt; both owe their success to the atmosphere of this region.
When it comes to it, I delight in finding hints of this northwest feeling in pop culture. I felt something of it in the art direction of the movie versions of both Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I and Where the Wild Things Are .
Likely, much of what I am chasing here is simply the common experience of being a child. My childhood being northwestern I surely can not with confidence claim to locate the line between childhood and the influence of this environment. The best of childhood for me were the stretches of time, sometimes alone, sometimes with friends, absorbed in some invented game of private wonder and a logic that made such practical sense within the game; all explanation dissolved when taken out of it (I see this very much reflected in the styling of the Fever Ray video above).
In the northwest, childhood creativity is informed by natural surroundings and a sense of awe. It is a place to find who you are as an individual; delve into what you brought to the table from day one. There is the brooding, there is some winter blues to endure, and yet there is the drive to create; with it a deep, sustained personal fulfillment.
Others who I suspect know the influence of the northwest force:
The Wilson Sisters.
The artists of the Northwest School (including the ones who rebelled at the label.)
Nirvana [as well as the original author (unknown) of this song].
September 14, 2010
A kid’s take on the traditional “Wish you were here,” postcard.
For example, we recently received this from a good friend of my daughters. He was in Lake Tahoe at the time. In the bubble on the left, inexplicably and delightfully written backwards, Luke, who can be quite the whiner, groans “With the blast shield down I can’t even see, how am I supposed to fight??”
When is the last time you, while relaxing in some lovely destination, sent a buddy a postcard that said nothing whatsoever regarding your splendid vacation? Instead, you simply draw a key Star Wars scene.
Emerald immediately began working on a reply. Here, we see Han Solo feeling sorry for himself that Leia clearly loves Luke. Leia is trying to explain that “It’s not like that. He’s my brother.” [Emerald asks that I make sure you know this image shows a "work in progress."]
Not only is Star Wars awesome, but it still feels great to get real mail. If your kid wants to send us a random illustration (see top image for postal address) of something they are into we promise to draw something in response and send it back. Don’t forget to include a return address!!
July 24, 2010
I just ran across this sweet Q & A I did with the girls when they were 6 (Emerald) and 2 (Dare).
1. What is something mom always says to you?
e: brush your teeth
d: we should change your diaper
2. What makes mom happy?
e: when we are good
3. What makes mom sad?
e: having her kids get hurt by the cat
d: …or sharp scissors
4. How does your mom make you laugh?
e: when we play together
5. What did your mom like to do as a child?
e: be a dancer
6. How old is your mom?
7. How tall is your mom?
e: i think that is too hard for me
d: just like me
8. What is her favorite thing to watch on TV?
e: star wars
d: scary movies
9. What does your mom do when you’re not around?
10. If your mom becomes famous, what will it be for?
11. What is your mom really good at?
12. What is your mom not very good at?
e: playing violin
d: playing piano
13. What does your mom do for her job?
14. What is your mom’s favorite food?
15. What makes you proud of your mom?
e: when she paints
d: putting her clothes on
16. If your mom were a cartoon character, who would she be?
e: an elf
d: a real lady
17. What do you and your mom do together?
d: play games
18. How are you and your mom the same?
e: we are both strong
d: we’re happy
19. How are you and your mom different?
e: how we deal with frustration
d: [is baffled by question]
20. How do you know your mom loves you?
e: she massages my growing pains away
21. What does your mom like most about your dad?
e: that he’s a fisherman
d: story time
22. Where does your mom like to go?
23. Where does your pop like to go?
24. What is important to your mom?
e: keeping her kids healthy
25. What makes your mom proud of you?
e: when i read to myself and learn more about how to read
d: reading story books
July 6, 2010
My daughter is in an upcoming production of Goat Rocket & Co. I am totally excited.
New York based Theater group, Generation Goat Rocket, swings into Port Townsend to set their new show, Goat Rocket & Co., on a group of twenty local young actors.
Goat Rocket & Co. follows mythic brothers, Goat Rocket and Ernie Deacon, as they tumble windward under the candelabra of a scrambled seaborne sky. These reluctant adventurers unwittingly carry a secret that will unlock the potential of their generation. Caught between the electric hum of their broken down tandem motorcycle, and the jangling strumsong of their own hearts, the brothers are forced to take themselves throat-wise and leap skyward.
This epic will grab you by the toe and swing you, giggling, into a starry Southern sky. Watch, as Goat Rocket and Ernie Deacon make the decision of a lifetime; diving headlong into the sympathy of a wailing summer storm. Goat Rocket & Co. promises entertainment for both children and adults.
Goat Rocket & Co. is sponsored by Elevated Ice Cream Co. and Akamai Art & Glass, inc.
The show runs July 16-18, with three evening performances Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at 7:00 pm, and two matinees, Saturday and Sunday at 2:00 pm. All performances take place at The Chameleon Theater on Castle Hill, 800 W Park Ave. Tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com, by callling the box office at 360-379-1068, or at the door thirty minutes before curtain.
The Chameleon Theater
800 W. Park Ave.
Port Townsend, WA
June 26, 2010
I’ve shown you Gravity and Self-portrait, now here’s a few more from the Girl Meets Universe series. Girl Meets Universe is an opportunity to look into the abstract worlds of my previous works and uncover the people and objects that inhabit those spaces. I am also examining one of my favorite states of being. A cool passion of focused hunger and energy that comes on as emerging confidence in the face of a slightly menacing unknown. In some cases the backgrounds of these pieces represent grime, explosions, ruin, deep space full to the brim with dark matter, but in all cases refer to that which is bigger than the individual.
The Committee | acrylic, ink, glitter, 15 x 30″
This work is also about the challenge of rendering specificity and subtle emotion in chunky glitter. It is satisfying to work a face and/or the posture of the body until the individual and a sense of their experience–sometimes ambivalence–comes through.
Magnetic | acrylic, ink, glitter, 18 x 24″
Versace Joan of Arc | acrylic, ink, glitter, swarovski crystals, 24 x 18″
Versace Joan is dedicated to my oldest daughter, Emerald, who is particularly happy to meet the universe head-on and is totally into swords, spirituality and battles.
May 9, 2010
I’m just going to talk about this. Even though I try to avoid it. I don’t like talking about being an artist and mother of young children because every statement I make about it I immediately want to contradict.
Frequently people comment that it must be hard. This does not ring true to me. Although it is true. [See? Contradiction.] Alright, being an artist and a parent of young kids is no joke, but I’ll take hard work anytime if it is worth my while. And, then there is this, and this almost makes it easy: It is freedom of choice. It is the day-to-day reality of conscious decisions I had the space and time to make. I am not so naive to pretend that the consequences of our own choices are never hard to bear, however I feel that it is a privilege to be in a circumstance that allows for such choices. The responsibilities that follow are a reminder of that freedom. I bear them willingly and am thankful for the richness they bring.
Here is some of what it is:
It is missing the party.
It is having brilliant, creative people populating the day-to-day world of your kids’ lives.
It is leaving early to catch a ferry.
It is a mess in the studio.
It is having the insight of kid brains to keep you on your toes.
It is never stopping at a good point.
It is having time to consider the next move carefully. [Some of my clearest thoughts have come while cooking a meal.]
It is never being bored.
It is working around the edges of everyone’s needs.
It is what I want.
Now I leave you with this Mr. T video that I ran across while reading Best of. I thought it was really sweet that Joey Veltkamp gave this nod to moms (and found such an awesome way of doing so). And, I love it when the important aspects of my life (in this case unexpectedly reflecting on being a mother while keeping up on regional arts) happen together in the same place at the same time.
That is what I am doing: Living my whole life all at once.