Sequin

Calla

“Calla” is a new painting that I have been working on a few months. Here is the backstory. There is a beautiful Mexican woman I know who has a face that I was compelled to paint. She reminded me of the women in Diego Rivera paintings .There was no photo of her to work from so it is just from memory. The more I put down lines the more she had a story to go with her. I know a little of her actual story but the painting took me a little more down the road of thinking about people who have a totally different life than I do. Mexico has always been a real heartthrob for me because of the passion of the people. The way they celebrate particularly speaks to their soul.

I had to add sequins and rhinestones to the painting to get enough of her in the painting. “Calla” is both the flower and the woman. Simple graceful beauty with a smattering of sparkle for her spirit.

Skin Deep

So much work is online now for ease. I know, I know it’s easy! Just scroll through the pages and pages of pictures, quickly scanning them like a shopping list. What is the cost of this to our souls? Are we losing interpersonal contact by just staying skin deep??

Best case scenario is work is done and people physically come see it and be with it and feel it as another person entering a room. What is the energy and story of the work you are looking at? I am thinking back to when I was running a gallery and I had work on the wall from astronomically unique artists who had poured out their beautiful soul. It was an honor to sit with the work for a few months and keep seeing new things that made my heart ache. That is what happens when you connect with the artist , your heart aches a little bit from the connecting with the piece of the universe that you know together.

I think art should be shown in a chapel where you feel compelled to linger and think and be quiet with it. What if there was a gallery that was only one painting big and just had a chair ? What a gift that would be. Everybody has time for looking at one thing. The best thing about that is it would be impossible to be just skin deep.

A long time ago

I was looking at a painting I did 22 years ago when I first had a studio. For some reason when I started, I was just painting in black and white and did these big dancer paintings. It’s not like I had a market for them but I was just walking toward the light by renting a studio and just acting like it would happen. There was a nice big room and lots of light . It was my first real studio.

I had large canvases that I quickly did these big painting on, trying to get gestural strokes of paint to look like dancers moving. I don’t even know what happened to all those paintings. I remember getting this handmade paper from Daniel Smith that spoke to me because it was so heavy and ragged on the edges . Dipping my brush in white and black paint , I just started choreographing the paint around the canvas and the paper.

This was a totally euphoric experience because it sort of was like sumi but had the thrill of being able to ruin it at any time. Acrylic is not like ink so it was like moving spackeling around a wall. Anyway it was a wild free experience that I had forgotten about till I saw this painting. This one little ballerina is the last on left of maybe 50 that I did. Now I wish I knew what happened to the big ones I made and all the little ones that have been forgotten.

It is kind of achey in my heart to look at his painting . It took me back to where I just started to fly and that is always the most exciting part of life- just the first few seconds when you realize you have left the ground.

Vada

I had a friend who was so extraordinary , I have to blog about her.

I met Vada at church I went to about 25 years ago. She was like a sparkling diamond then and continued to be in spite of very difficult circumstances. I never met anyone since then who even comes close to her aliveness.

Her son was a drug addict and we used to pray for him every week for a long time. He eventually did die of a drug overdose in a park. Even though he was extremely handsome and talented and had the potential of a great life , it was over for him at a very young age. I went to her house before the funeral and she sat down with me and showed me the “Cupons” he had made for her when he was a boy. They were for hugs and promises to wash dishes and little chores that a six year old could do. Vada said well I will have the “Cupons” to remember him by. She was not devastated as you would expect especially as we had prayed so long for him and it seemed not to help. But you know I think it did because she did not lose her joy and that was a miracle

She helped my family move about three times and each time it was a party even though we had to move a million books over and over.

One example of Vada doing what only she would think to do is this little pink lamp in the picture. She found this lamp and thought I would like it as it was pink glass and she knew I loved pink things. Plus it was a lamp so I could light it too and that made it even better. I lived in Tacoma and she lived in Everett. She drove down to give it to me and I was not home. Normally if you drove through traffic for hours to deliver a gift and the recipient was not home you would be upset. She told me she was coming down for a visit and I just plain forgot which is pretty horrible in itself.

Anyway I came home and found the little pink lamp on my stoop, with a note that she thought I would like it. I felt awful for all the effort she did coming and going for hours just for that and then I wasn’t even there. I called her and she said that it was just fine and she hoped I liked the lamp. Vada never complained about anything in her life ever.

She went through many more things in her life , all without a frown. Even when she got stomach cancer at 70, she called me and said she was excited to see what the Lord would do . Well He took her home is what He did and now I look at that lamp and think of the profound light She was to this world. She volunteered as a Chaplin at Harborview Hospital and saw the people with the greatest needs there. I remember her stories about how grateful she was to be able to be there with people when they were at a crisis time in their lives. She used to say that it was sacred space.

Vada was sacred space . She was like being with being with an angel.

So my little lamp is reminding me of her every day and Im so glad she brought it down to me when she did.