December 26, 2011

Becoming Ophelia

(Work in progress, Becoming Ophelia on wood cradle) I've been quite in love with Ophelia by John Millais since I first saw her in an art history textbook at 19. The term love shouldn't be tossed about carelessly but since I still feel the same way more than 25 year later, I think it’s an apt description. I dutifully studied all the paintings in the text book, memorizing dates and movements, filling countless index cards with notes. Yet I can still remember opening the page to Ophelia for the first time. I don't think I've ever had a such a visceral reaction to a painting in print before or since. (I will admit Goya's "Saturn's Devouring his Children" also struck a chord but of a different note, I was afraid to look at that image for very long) It was a deep and baffling connection. It was not an image I would of consciously choose as my favorite. For one, I got the impression that it wasn't considered important by the way my professor who completely skipped over the section. Secondly, the heroes I valued were strong and clever, not floating in weeds. As a little girl Greek Goddesses were my passion, the Women I adored first names were Wonder and Cat. The characters in Wuthering Heights? I just wanted to slap sense into them. (reading Wuthering Heights for fun in Junior High, you would think I'd of had some grasp of tragic, but alas it was wasted on me)
(Ophelia, The Tate) However there was no denying the draw of this Ophelia, and model Lizzie Siddal. She was my first heroine who’s strength lay in conviction, who’s individuality marked her as other. An acceptance that heroes don’t always survive, much less win. Who cannot help but fall in love with Lizzie who was doomed to become the character who she so famously modeled? The vision of Lizzie floating in a bathtub heated only by candles in the English winter seems as vivid an image as the painting itself.
(study of Lizzie by Rossetti) I’m drawing Lizzie wielding her paintbrush as it gives me some solace to think she had some brilliantly happy times along with the darkness. In a time when that was pretty much unheard of for women, Lizzie took risks in wielding both her beauty and paints.

November 14, 2011

Better Homes feature

Exciting news! "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" is featured in the fall/winter Better Homes and Gardens storage magazine! Maybe I'll be inspired enough to clean my closet now!
I know its been quiet over here lately. Day job has is great but really eating me for lunch at the same time! My students are so perceptive and motivated, I love working with teens! Only problem is some of my classes are so large I sometimes feel like I'm on a treadmill trying to keep up! *whew* There is a light at the end of the tunnel (and its not a train) next week is fall break and waiting in my studio is a brand new easel! Shhhhh don't tell my Mom I'm assembling it early, its my Holiday present!

September 10, 2011

Warrior Girl - a call to arms

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment." — Ralph Waldo Emerson "Warrior Girl" my new ink drawing of Athena, we all have our battles but this one we all face.
The fight demands persistence, This wonderful letter by Pixar artist Austin Madison was written to inspire artists through the rough times of creative drought and doubt. (courtesy of The Animators Letter Project ) If you have trouble reading this format afull transcript can be found at "Letters of Note"
So hold your shields (or palettes) high my friends!

June 13, 2011

Escape of Hollow Girl

"Escape of Hollow Girl" Dress form girl come to life, her scissors cutting the strings.
prints available here

acrylics and gouache on wood

May 01, 2011

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day!
It's a beautiful time of the year here, I think it calls for planting flowers! I do have my students county art show to work and take down today as well. (Why is it the best holidays are work days?) What perfect timing for the Royal Wedding! My next door neighbor and travel companion threw a Wedding Jubilee Friday night! She is an amazing cook and baked a lemon blueberry cake that was divine and served "Something Blue" drinks.

*tosses confetti* My students won first place in painting and collage for the county, I'm so proud of them and at the same time I have such mixed feelings about judging students work at all. No perfect world I suppose, we just try to make it brighter. "Bells Dancing Sprite"

April 23, 2011

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, Where have you been?

Why we've been to London to visit the Queen!
My girls and I had a grand time in London, our first trip across the pond. I've dreamed of making this trip since, well forever. When I was a little girl my Mom would recite the Pussy Cat visiting the Queen verse to me and I suppose I took it to heart, only by the time I made it to London my heart was more set on seeing Ophelia.

Knowing how inspired I am by the Pre Raphaelites Kris Walderr recommended I have tea at the Morris Room at the Victoria and Albert. My photo doesn't do the room justice, but I wanted to share it as I know many of you love Morris and Burne-Jones as well.

View from St. James Park Bridge

Daffodils were in bloom all over Cardiff!

Isn't this the most charming village? I felt like I'd stepped into a fairy tale.
And look, a tray of fairy cakes just drop a pound in the slot and take a cake. Well they weren't called fairy cakes but in this village don't tell me the thought wouldn't cross your mind! But alas, we ate the cakes and still ended up back home the following week!
I'm certain a piece of my heart was left behind, but that would of happened fairy cakes or not I'm afraid.

March 05, 2011

Nature Girl

"Nature Girl"

My paintings this year have taken a different turn, is the year of rabbit bringing me more sultry dangerous beauties? I shared them with a close artist friend and she wanted to know where they came from! I have no answer really, I just start sketching and there was a shift, of course I think there will still be more ingénues to paint, but for now I'm enjoying these new intense creatures.
The first is "Nature Girl" She is partially inspired by my favorite song "Nature Boy"

I suppose I should a paint a Nature Boy to go with her?

The next is a piece for Kambriel that I'm painting on wood, oh goodness I'm loving painting on wood! The texture is wonderful and you can be so rough with it. This is a detail of her face (she is yet unnamed) I hope to spend more time on her this weekend.

Is the year of the rabbit bringing changes for you as well?

February 11, 2011

Hearts and Shadows, Peter Pan

Valentines and fairy tales, Who is the Most Romantic of them All?

   Wendy and Peter are my favorite fairy tale couple. What makes the Neverland pair so special?  flying children and lost boys?  Part of the intrigue for me was that shadow, not as exciting as flying but oh so much more mysterious. Does Peter's shadow only escape in our world or does it slip away from him in Neverland as well?

I couldn't understand why Wendy didn't want to stay in Neverland (of course I could never understand why the Princess would kiss the frog either..wouldn't you rather have a talking frog?) Now that I'm older I can see how Peter wanting her to be the lost boys mother, well isn't the most romantic thing.  But she gains her fame by telling stories, which is pretty fantastic.
But that "thimble" kiss, pixie dust flights over London  and perhaps even the letting each other go have won my heart!
(drawing 2011 Peter and Wendy)

Who is your Favorite Fairy Tale couple? Which prince would you choose to ride up on a white horse this Valentines day?

January 10, 2011

Sunken Treasures Mermaid Paper Doll Mixed Media

"Sunken Treasures" 
 Original sold to collector, prints available here 
 "FAR out in the ocean, where the water is as blue as the prettiest cornflower, and as clear as crystal, it is very, very deep; so deep, indeed, that no cable could fathom it: many church steeples, piled one upon another, would not reach from the ground beneath to the surface of the water above. There dwell the Sea King and his subjects"  from Hans Christian Anderson's Little Mermaid 

A new mixed media paper doll, I do love making them. (Probably because needle and thread vex me so!)  The Little Mermaid is painted in watercolors. Her tale is a passage out of book of pantomimes about brave little sailors.

Mermaid stories, so filled with contradictions have always been intriguing to me. Some like the familiar Anderson's is filled with longing and sacrifice (see sur la Lune) in contrast we have Undine and Selkie stories. Mermaids are creatures portrayed in wide range of personalities from murdering temptresses to tragic innocents. They are everything feared and admired in females, the sinners and saints of the mythological world.