Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Pausing to Paint a Postcard

In my previous blog post, I began exploring an invitation (exhortation?) from poet Mary Oliver to stand still and learn to be astonished.

Subsequent to posting, I quickly realize I need first to learn to stand still. 

To fully press pause.

My daughter once told me she carries a mental image of me in which I appear as a head moving full speed forward trailing my body and feet behind.

So, yeah. Starting point: learn to stand still.

4 x 6" postcard; acrylic, ink, and collage on card stock

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Faces 21

Good thing Jen Jovan posts on her blog regularly, so as to blow life into me when I've lost my blogging steam. Today she reminds me, via poet Mary Oliver, to stand still and learn to be astonished.

I am so in need of this reminder, this reminder to practice.

Every moment is a moment to stand still and be astonished.

In one such moment I notice the village vicar in a novel set in post-World War I English countryside. He refers to his work as being called to hatch, match, and dispatch.

Delight and astonishment! Hatch, match, dispatch!

The Friend Who Teaches Me How to Knot Thread
9 x 12"; acrylic, ink, pastel, and collage on drawing paper
abstract face

back story:
chaos layers, blind contour drawing,
and tissue collage

Monday, February 22, 2021

Faces 20

 I'm all hesitation I-don't-know-where-to-start this morning. Again.

Then, a Jen Jovan blog post arrives in my inbox. With these words from a poem by David Whyte:

start with the first


close in,

the step

you don't want to take.

Ok, ok, ok.

work in progress

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Faces 19

For the past few days, woven into the spaces between daily activities—making the bed, taking walks in the great outdoors, chopping vegetables, tutoring, reading, paying bills, shopping for groceries, resolving a glitch with an online order—I've had chances to hang out with this guy, often chatting companionably, sometimes lost in our separate thoughts, periodically venturing into artistic tomfoolery, and more than once exploring differences of opinion. 

He has strong integrity, a clear way of being in the world, a reliable compass guiding him. 

The Friend Who Isn't Afraid to Hold a Fierce Optnion
and Later Change His Mind
9 x 12"; acrylic and pastels on drawing paper
abstract face

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Faces 18

Today, I just want to create in my visual diary an in-process record of the mark-and-response going on with a new abstract face. 

My attention to illumination and shadow as part of the Rembrandt lighting exploration has led somehow with this particular face to a more highly representational mode than with other faces recently. My inner guide is telling me to get my need for a somewhat photographically-faithful rendering out of my system first. 

Then, let's see what else I might want to do. Or not. 

I'm thinking more playful and pranky and improbable is a distinct possibility.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Faces 17

When I'm ten years old, my family moves to the Netherlands for two years as part of my dad's job. More than once we drive to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam to pick up family or friends who come to visit. On at least one of those occasions, when a flight is significantly delayed, my folks opt to visit the Rijksmuseum to fill the interim before we return to Schiphol. This might be my first visit to an art museum. 

What a place to begin! I have vivid memories of the paintings of the Dutch masters whose works hang in the galleries there, dark dark backgrounds but with strong light illuminating faces and other details. I remember being drawn in to those paintings to explore them.

Now, all these years later, I am taking an Amanda Evanston art-of-abstract-faces course, and lesson 2 turns attention to what has become known as "Rembrandt lighting." 

Way cool idea, but I study my chaos-layer-plus-blind-contour-drawing-start and think, Rembrandt?, really?

I can't imagine how I will complete this painting.


But I don't need to imagine its completion. I need to make a mark. So I do. I let it inform my eye, then make another mark, and another, and then—awesome!—I'm totally in flow.

The Friend Who Takes the Bus from NYC
to Surprise Me With a Visit in College
9 x 12"; acrylic, ink, and oil pastel on drawing paper
abstract face

I'm guessing Rembrandt had to start by making marks of some sort also.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Heart and Art, Unlimited

Live on FaceBook on New Year's Eve, Amanda Evanston offered an end-of-2020 activity which I watched even though I was away from home and not able to participate.

But this week I cut a heart shape from cardboard, painted it, tore some strips of colored paper, wrote words of gratitude, folded the strips, wrapped the heart with string and ribbon, tucked in my gratitude and more, and now I have a little magpie nest of love and gratitude, so much gratitude that it cannot be contained! It is popping out in all directions, boundless!

painted cardboard heart

strips of colored paper
inscribed with words of gratitude

folded strips 

Tying My Laces and Walking Out of Myself
Into This Sunny Winter Day
7 x 7"; acrylic, paper, ribbon, cord, and cardboard
in shadow box
mixed media Valentine


detail: side view of gratitude
popping out in all directions