Thursday, May 31, 2007

Bruised Wing (2006)

Today, tomorrow and the next day are images created using the Appleworks6 Painting program. I wasn't quite ready to paint again, but I was ready to use color instead of black and white.

I've been enjoying this.

Zen and the Art...

Someone else making a connection between Bob Dylan and Robert Pirsig.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Lady of the Lowlands / Mary Magdalene / Witness (2006)

Yesterday I posted the last image from the Black and White Series. As 2005 came to a close, a period of creative energy had run its course as a series of life stresses toppled me emotionally. Interestingly, at that time several health professionals suggested that I might make a good psychiatric nurse, a suggestion which puzzled me deeply and still does. The way I appear and the way I feel inside clearly don't match.

Today's image was an attempt to paint sometime in 2006, a year which began with emotional exhaustion. There is a clumsiness to it. Still, I find it compelling. A few days after I had painted it, it occurred to me that it might be how Mary Magdalene looked, although while I was painting it, I had no one in mind. It has something of the feeling of the drawing I did of a young man when I was 16 years old, in 1966, the first drawing I posted in this 40-year retrospective, a pencil drawing titled "Imaginary Brother as Witness," a drawing which came out of the years of the war in Vietnam.

Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands

Tomorrow is Memorial Day 2007.

Here are some flowers from my porch today.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Black and White Series: Family Travelling at NIght (2005)

Yesterday I realized that the recent images that I had labeled as being from 2006 were from 2005, the year that I worked at home full-time as a medical transcriptionist for a national transcription company which is based in Illinois. I remember now that having little time for art work made me prioritize my time so that art work would be possible.

Working for the national transcription company I chose to work for was financially demoralizing, although I thoroughly enjoyed doing transcription at home. After having been a transcriptionist since 1984, it was a shock to find that I was unable to make more than minimum wage when paid by the line. I had chosen that particular company to work for because they advertised that they paid incentive for quality. After a few months of doing quality work for them, they changed their policy so that high quality work would no long result in incentive pay. I was among the more productive transcriptionists in my group and was making less than a third of what I had been making in 2003.

In August of 2005, an old friend died, and in October of 2005, I received a deeply disturbing letter, which triggered an episode of post-traumatic stress disorder which led to a relapse of compulsive overeating, although not a return to bulimia. After Thanksgiving in November of 2005, I started eating refined sugar and chocolate, something I had not done since 1987. As a result of eating massive amounts of sugar and chocolate, I developed ocular rosacea, a condition in which the skin next to my eyes became acutely inflamed, and the whites of my eyes became red and irritated from rubbing against the irritated skin next to my eyes. I was eating sugar and chocolate instead of eating the nutritious food I usually eat, and I gained about 8 pounds. I went to my doctor, who notified my employer that I needed time off work. My eyes began to return to normal with the help of medication and with refraining from eating sugar and chocolate. After discussing the exploitive work situation with the doctor's nurse practitioner, I made a decision to resign from the meagerly paid medical transcription position in order to regain my emotional equilibrium.

In 2005, I had created 21 images, but in 2006, I created only 7. My sense of well-being returned very slowly.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Black and White Series: Child With Gift (2005)

In 1988, in the Calendar series, I painted similar landscapes:

In this part of the Black and White series, the image of a young family consisting of a mother, a father and a child entered the black and white landscape.

The "preview" function on Blogger is still not working. Hope this comes out right the first time!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Black and White Series: Pulling The Empty Carriage (2005)

Something is wrong with Blogger. I can't preview my posts before publishing them. Oh well.

In the dream that inspired this image, I was a "stable girl" walking through the night next to a pair of horses and a pair of small white dogs who were pulling a large empty carriage. It was a huge responsibility, but I accepted it willingly. I felt deep love for the animals in my care. I don't know where we were coming from or where we were going, just that it was a full moon night, and that the animals depended on me to take care of them. I could feel in my bones that I had finally been given right livelihood.

After this image are 15 more images that I completed in 2006. Since March 8, 2007, I have completed 24 new images along with 10 inkle belts. As of today, I am seriously considering taking a time out from blogging for an indefinite period of time after I show the images through 2006 and complete my 40-year retrospective. I am grateful that my energy for painting and weaving has returned.

Take a look at this and this.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Black and White Series: Clear Night Dream (2005)

For the past week or so, I've been reading BOUNDARIES OF THE SOUL: THE PRACTICE OF JUNG'S PSYCHOLOGY, by June Singer.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Black and White Series: A Question For The Teacher (2005)

This image from last year matches my continuing state of having a mind full of questions but no clear teacher. Or maybe it's that the darkness I am looking into IS the teacher. Or that there is no "teacher" and no "not-teacher."

Here are two interviews with Robert Pirsig, one from 1974 and one from 2005. I didn't read the two books that followed ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, but now I am curious about them. In 1992, Robert Pirsig stated that he felt that he was done with writing. From the descriptions I've read, the third book is a transcript of on-line discussions of Pirsig's Metaphysics of Quality, with comments by Pirsig.

When, out of curiosity, I type the words "bob dylan" and "Robert Pirsig" into Google, my blog comes up on the first page. The ocean was my first spiritual teacher. Bob Dylan was my second spiritual teacher, beginning in 1964. Maybe I liked Robert Pirsig, whose ideas came into my life around 1974, because he reminded me of Bob Dylan and the ocean. My experience of them was that I did not "feel so all alone" after hearing what they had to say. I didn't agreed with everything they said, but what they had to "say" was expansive rather than stifling and gave me a context in which to grow, as did Georgia O'Keeffe and Thomas Merton in the early 80s and Martin Buber in the early 90s. I am grateful to all my spiritual teachers. I am still growing.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Black and White Series: Kindness at the Crossroads (2005)

Last night I wasn't able to sleep so I read for awhile. When I still wasn't able to sleep, I listened to the end of the unabridged audio version of the book, ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, by Robert Pirsig, which I have been listening to as I weave and paint during the last several days. The book is deeply moving for me, especially the section at the end that was added in 1984. The end of the book brought me to tears, after which I was able to sleep well.

It was when I was 26 years old that I first read ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE, around ten years into my life as an artist. As was the case the first time I read the book, there was much that went way over my head. Still, what I felt I did understand gave me hope.

Listening to Pirsig's description of areas of Oregon and Northern California, where I have taken multiple solo road trips, brought back my own memories.

Also see ZEN AND THE ART OF MOTORCYCLE MAINTENANCE route and landscape between Minnesota and San Francisco.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Friday, May 11, 2007

Black and White Series: Two Angels With Red River Valley (2005)

Just now I went back and added the words "Black and White Series" to the recently posted images that were created in 2005 using the Appleworks6 Painting program.

These images were the first signs of the return of my creative life after 10 years of what had appeared to me to be unending grief and loss, during which time I lost all desire to draw or paint. As my creativity returned, it came in the form of black and white images made using a computer trackpad. I liked that I could make images that looked like linocuts or woodcuts.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Black and White Series: Sunrise Seen From The Ocean (2005)

Between 1966 and 1973, from the time I was 17 until I was 23, I spent as much time as possible exploring the San Mateo County beaches and bluffs.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Black and White Series: Parrot Out Walking (2005)

These woodcut- or linocut-like images were created using the Appleworks6 Painting program, making the "paper" black and then "drawing" on it with my index finger on the computer trackpad. My enthusiasm for this waned as my hand began to ache in a way that had never occurred when I drew with a pencil or pen for hours. It did remind me how much fun it is to draw.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Black and White Series: Lion and Parrot Dream (2005)

Right after I dreamed of a red-headed parrot outside of a house in the forest and a lion which walked through the house and then disappeared into the forest again, I got a postcard in the mail from a local independent bookstore announcing that the author of The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill would be doing a reading and parrot slide show. In 1970, when I had been working for the post office as a letter carrier, I had been taken to Coyote Point, south of San Francisco, to practice parking large mail trucks. As I concentrated on maneuvering the various large trucks, I heard an unfamiliar bird-like sound. When I looked up in the trees, I saw a single red-headed parrot, which made me feel inexplicably happy. I was delighted to find out all those years later that there was a flock of wild parrots on Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, not far from where I had seen that single parrot in the spring of 1970.

In 2005 and 2006, I began experimenting with the Appleworks6 Painting program on my iBookG4, my first computer and the computer I am still using, which I had purchased in February of 2004. At first I used the full palette of colors, but then decided to use just black and white. I played around with black and white, discovering the different effects I could get, eventually completing twenty-one images, after which I made three more images using the color palette of the Appleworks6 Painting program, along with four paintings using watercolor and gouache on paper, which will bring my 40-year retrospective to a close in early June.

Today, while sitting in my car, I drew this basket. Simply drawing something simple is extremely satisfying.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Aleph Series: Bhagavad Gita / Psalm 104 / Lao Tzu (2003)

My father died at age 89 on St. Patrick's Day in 2003, just before the Iraq War began. During the last years of his life he wrote his autobiography and chose this photo of himself at 30 years old for the cover:

My father didn't consider himself an artist, but he was.

The Aleph Series is the only art work I did in 2003.

Today the swallows arrived at the cattail pond I look out on from my computer desk. Today to the east are the kind of clouds my father said were one of the many things he liked about Northwest Washington.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

September 11 #1 & 2 and Nooksack Falls Painted from Memory (2002)

Almost a year after September 11, I painted the two above images in Payne's Gray, closely followed by the image of Nooksack Falls painted from memory. I didn't paint again until sometime in 2003 after my father died of congestive heart failure on St. Patrick's Day of that year.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Two Innocents with Experience / We Are Still Talking About Vincent's Ocean (2002)


When there was no teacher, life gave us a bridge.
When no bridge, a star.
When no star, a silence.

Far beyond silence,
His ocean was a starry night,
A bridge of palpable forgiveness,
A teacher of immense gratitude.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

An Opening (2002)

Yesterday I felt as lost as I had felt in 2002 when my old friend was so ill with cancer, but today I have my sense of direction back again. Looking at these old paintings stirs up unresolved feelings, but also helps me with their resolution. It does help to admit that I am lost and to ask for help. Help arrives in one form or another. That is my experience.

When I look at this painting, I remember the song, "Mississippi" from Bob Dylan's album, "Love and Theft," released on September 11, 2001.