Saturday, January 30, 2010

Magic Flute Mural

My friend Elena and I are about to be awash in the painting of Mozart's Magic Flute. We have accepted the challenge of painting a room of walls with 864 sq feet with the story of the opera. Immersing ourselves in the various performances has been thrilling and........confusing. Let me count the ways it can be interpreted............lots!

We need to paint forests, Egypt, a serpent or shall it be a crocodile? Do I see the pyramids, and a mountain? Hark, here come the three little boys drifting in on a cloud to sing to Papageno and Tamino. Where did the little boys choir come from? It has been eye opening to discover that while the music moves our souls and we love it....the story comes mainly from a guy called Schikaneder who was an actor manager and wanted Mozart to write the music for him and he wanted to play Papageno...(and did for a long time). Mozart was quite taken with the character of Papageno the bird catcher also. He wrote to his sister that the half man half bird was just like his pet canary.

The Magic Flute plays on my computer, my radio, my dvd player (wouldn't Mozart be amazed and pleased?) and I surround myself with piles of sketches and scribbles as does Elena. We proceed at the end of the month to climb the stairs and the ladders to paint the cheeriest and quietest opera that we are capable of doing. If my printer was working (it dies on me all the time like the crotchety old thing that it is) I would post a sketch or two. But we will take photos as this thing proceeds. I've done murals before, but not one quite this large. My knees are screaming, "What, are you completely stupid? Do you actually plan to get back on a ladder!!??" And I say, I'm not dead yet......To paint, to paint....that is my passion.... and my downfall.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the power of music

Meandering about in the old home town, home again in California for my one week a month here....again. I'm in the car a lot listening to my favorite classical station out here and musing at the power of music.

You don't hear so much Rachmaninoff anymore and that's ok with me. We had Rachmaninoff for dinner for at least a decade.....I sat across the table from my brother but also across from a sliding glass door which was a perfect mirror for my overly dramatic young self. I lifted my arms and danced with my hands all through dinner if I could get away with it. But one also had to eat one's hated peas and string beans. Rachmaninoff, in my mind, felt old fashioned and dinner associated.

We listened to Bach, Mozart, Telemann, Vivaldi and Beethoven all the time when I was growing up. We weren't musicians, but my parents gave me a deep appreciation for four hundred year old music and new jazz; with a bit of opera and show tunes thrown in. So naturally, when I left the house all I cared about was folk, blues and yeah, ok, some rock.

But now, for me, it's mostly the old stuff. Albinoni's Adagio in g minor just puts me away. Especially in the studio. I'm still overly dramatic. But now I put it all on the canvas.

And I still don't eat peas.

Friday, January 15, 2010

one world one thread one people

I sit here in a comfy house with my chin in my hand....well, my hand is busy with the other one at this moment as I'm not a hunt and peck sort of typist...having been forced to take typing during one junior high school summer.....

But I sit here comfy, and the news, as everyone knows is so tragic. Grim and tragic in Haiti. Like so many, I feel the tears well up......and I sent money, which is very little to do when so much needs to be done. And I hope it gets there fast along with all the other money and clothes and goods speeding their way around the world. And perhaps that is the where we can take heart. That we, so very many of us, all around the world, so very quickly acted. We don't want to see a third of the world suffer so much.

Let's remember to keep doing this......for the people who need it...even when the headlines are eclipsed by other more comfortable news items. We are connected by this thread now, we really are one world.......and everything that happens is now is vital to it.

Peace, my friends.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

making a statement, paintings speak better

My show is coming up and as usual I am loathe to explain it.

But I'm going to practice here. It is mostly regarding boats, the sea, storms, and survivors. They are, rather obviously, I guess, metaphors for getting through life. We had some fine life disrupting hurricanes here in the past few years and some quite some years ago that I've never forgotten. They do make you think.

Like, what is really important? What would you take with you? And who. You get to know your neighbors pretty quick during any emergency. Your sense of humor rises to the need it. And you remember that we are not all that in control after all.

But in addition to all that.......I was born by the sea, in San Francisco. Salt spray, fog, drizzle, and looking out across the Pacific are all deep in me. I learned to sail (after a fashion) with my father on the bay in a little sailboat. He built a little toy sail boat, and instructed the family at the dinner table how to "come about" and tack and mind the mainsail, over and over before we were allowed to actually try sailing the bigger boat on water. Not that we were ever good at it. We got stuck in mud and flipped over and did everything wrong. But it was grand.

So, that's all part of it. I hope people see more of how I feel when I paint, how I am swept away as marvelously as when I read a good book. I hope my paintings speak for me and better.


Friday, January 1, 2010

Magical Intuition

Working hard in the studio. Finishing some paintings that were started 18 months ago. Some seem to need to ripen like slow growing pumpkins getting richer in color and texture with time.
Other burst full grown into life in a matter of days.

It still feels a little like magic to me. To become so sick of a painting and it's ornery ways that I can't even look at it for months and then suddenly know exactly what it wants to grow full and complete..........that is magic. It seems to need to be ignored for a while. My mind needs to be concerned with other matters and come back with no pretencions and no plans.

When I look over the archive of work I've done for the last 35 some years, I feel that I've said something that was unique to me.........that I never did what was fashionable and that I never painted anything but what was in my soul. And. And that I can see the thread start back 45 years ago with my first tentative work that was concerned with trying to speak of the human condition and the effort to connect.

I'm grateful to still be doing it.


swamp, 55" x 29"

in progress

flying fish, 55" x 29"

eye with a view

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About Me

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I am living and painting in the little town of Houston. A far way from my San Francisco beginnings. I paint what I see of the human condition, be it human, animal or object. The glimmer of humor, pathos, and spirit in so much of what I see is the basis of what I paint.


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