Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Wildflowers in My Hair

1967. Babysitting. Canoe Brook Parkway, Summit, NJ.

What I don't remember:
• who the family was,
• who the kids were,
• how I knew them, or
• how I landed the babysitting job.


What I do remember:
• modern architecture and furnishings,
• 50¢ per hour,
• a stereo turntable, and
• Judy Collins's Wildflowers record album.

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Six or seven weeks ago, I sat in the Cabot Theater in Beverly, MA, as part of a full-to-capacity audience whose average age was roughly 67 and who may or may not have worn flowers in their hair and smoked a little weed during the "Summer of Love" in '67—all of us gathered fifty years down the road from the Summer of Love on a cold almost-winter night while Judy Collins offered up a transcendent concert that transported us with her timeless voice right back to our youth.

There is a whole lotta magic in this world.

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I dipped into a different then and now today. Picked up another one of the free canvases I acquired over the summer and started noodling with it.

Back in the then of last summer the canvas looked like this:

free canvas #3, as picked up from a neighbor's collection of pass-alongs

Now, I've performed just the littlest bit of black magic (ha ha!) by covering the whole surface with black interior semi-gloss enamel latex house paint and letting myself indulge in free play with various paints, brushes, texture sheets, crayons, and mark-making tools—roughing up this canvas for who knows what next.

Amusingly, the black background, with these colors on it, evokes strong sensory memories of the fabric of a sassy swishy dress I wore in 1967!

free canvas #3
18x24"
work in progress

14 comments:

  1. Wow that IS a transformation. PAinting black with house paint never would have the courage!
    I love the bright pinks and the little white pattern of dots. Really a dancing piece!

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    1. Here's the funny part: I was so excited to happen upon these free-for-the-taking, already-painted, ugly-to-my-eye canvases a few months ago, seeing them as a chance to experiment wildly … but I still find myself 'precious'/cautious/hesitant/constrained as I play with them. Baby steps, baby steps. Thanks for encouraging me (literally—you see courage where I don't always see it).

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  2. Free, wild, colorful, energetic. You did your magic, Dotty!

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    1. Your comments feel magical, Laurie—thank you! I'm off to play again in my studio …

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  3. WOW! What a transformation! Magic indeed! Where can I get one of those magic wand thingies?

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    1. Well, truth to tell, the transformation was no more magical than starting with a blank white canvas or a panel of found wood—I had nothing invested in what was already painted there! Nonetheless, if I find a magic wand thingy in my studio, I'll send it along, Jen. Thanks for you your WOW!

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  4. Super, Dotty, these experiments.

    Bye the way: 1967. I was not even born then ;-). Still had to wait two years for that.

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement with the experimenting, Simone. It feels good to have reconnected with experimental energy, to be back in discovery mode. Cracks me up that you were not even born in 1967 : )

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  5. I’m so glad you’re back in action! (I wish I could remember the swishy dress!)

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    1. Hi Joje! The dress was black with a bright floral print, from when we were in London. I'm thinking Muth must have sewn it.

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  6. Dotty, I don't know what happened on your hiatus, but don't stop.

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    1. Ann, your comment made me laugh out loud! Thank you so much for your cheerleading : )

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  7. Ohhhh - I love this - I am going to take two weeks off and find some magic......wait.....I have had two weeks off and a lot more.....what's the magic word!!? All kidding aside - this is so dramatic and love the 'flowers' - where to next!

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    1. Janet, thanks for your enthusiastic feedback. The magic words with painting are: I DON'T KNOW.

      Where to next? Somewhere different … but I DON'T KNOW where yet : )

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