Sunday, December 23, 2007

Holiday Cards. Performance Anxiety Anyone?

It all started many (don't ask how many) years ago, in a tiny dorm room at San Francisco State, ironically designed by the same guy who designed San Quentin. Armed with typing paper, paint brushes, and green and red paint, I splatter painted my way into what became the first of many holiday cards. What can I say, it was the 80's and splatter paint was big. Over the years the process, and the artist, have evolved -- moving from splatter paint and potato stamps to color copies and finally desktop publishing. I've rarely missed a year, with the exception of a couple when my daughter, Mara, was small. As she's grown she's become an active partner in the process and each year has been a tougher act to follow than the last. We start asking each other in November what we'd like to do this year and we never have a clue. As a matter of fact, we rarely know what we're doing when we're actually doing it and some years, like this year, the cards go out on Christmas Eve (or later...) We've run the gamut from the rediculous to some pretty deep thinking. I'm still not sure how I feel about this year's card - but here it is.

Since I've been working a lot with images of bird, mostly corvids and raptors, I really wanted to do something with wings. I also love using words as integral visual elements, so used a favorite quote from Mother Theresa to illustrate the image of a wing and a recent poem my daughter wrote for the heart. (And for folks who want to know what the words actually say, we've put them on the back of the card this year.) The background is textured and painted acrylic medium and the whole kit and kaboodle is scanned and assembled digitally. (Gotta love Photoshop!)

Happy Holidays! The sentiment in this year's card goes out to all.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Animal Teachers

Here's another constant in my life -- a deep almost unspeakable (recurring theme!) passion for and connection to animals. Discovering the Medicine Cards many years ago was the gateway to a more conscious and aware journey. Most of the animal images in my art are inspired by the teachings of the Medicine Cards as well as my personal experiences. If any of these animals teaches you something different than it teaches me, that's fine. Actually, it's more than fine. Remember, there aren't enough words to describe our own internal landscapes. 200 words for snow.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why 200 Words for Snow?

There's a common, if incorrect, expression about the Eskimos having hundreds of different words for snow. What it means here, in this context, is that there are not enough words in our language to describe two very important things to me.

One is love. I'm talking universal, heart-centered love. The love that connects us to everything. There just aren't the right words in our language to adequately describe it without sounding like you're quoting a Beatles song.

The other is art. Or at least my art. And that's mostly what this blog is about. If I do my job right it is my hope my art will touch a place in people where it can't easily be articulated. After all, that's where it comes from in me. Maybe it's the same place that love I talk about comes from -- who knows. The point is, I think when art truly moves someone, often there just aren't the right words to describe what it touches or why. And -- I think that's good. I'm OK with that.

I'm also OK with my art affecting the viewer differently than where it comes from in me. In other words -- there are no wrong answers. Most of my pieces have pretty specific meanings to me and come from a very personal place. But you are not required to figure that out. It's not a test.

By the way, the whole, words for snow thing is an urban myth. You can learn more about this by checking out the link on Wikipedia. It's pretty interesting -- but it's really intended as symbolism here, that's all.

So welcome to 200 Words for Snow. The purpose here is mostly to share my art and my artistic journey. To that note, the last thing I want to do is spend all my spare time sitting in front of a computer -- I'd rather be in my studio taking that next scary step on this path -- so I will post when there's something new to share or see. Be patient. Be nice. If you can't say something nice, find another word for snow.