Monthly Archives: November 2011

November Afternoon

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“November Moon”

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

November – already more than half gone, my sweetest month.  I’ve always loved this month of coming winter, of winter holidays, the beginning of endings, and starting over in a new year.  I even got married in November once, in a small beach town where winter was no more than a passing thought around the 1st of January.

When I was a school girl, I loved walking home from school in November, carrying my home-work, or a construction paper frippery, probably leaves and squirrels, acorns, and possibly a colorful turkey with dried paste leaving smudgy fingerprints on the brown background.  The Los Angeles sun casting those long afternoon shadows, and a little wind sometimes arriving from nowhere to lift the hem of my dress; even if it wasn’t a cold wintery-feeling wind, it still felt like coming winter to me because of that hazy early evening light, and the long shadows creating mysterious little pockets in curbside gardens and shrubs.  A few trees might change color and lose their leaves, dancing in that dress lifting wind, but mostly it was palm trees and arborvitaes, and pink or white oleanders parading beside the sidewalks.

I had a brown plaid dress and a yellow cardigan I wore a lot during 3rd or 4th grade.  I can see myself walking along, looking at the blue transparent moon still high in the sky, barely visible in the afternoon light, my hair in long braids with ribbons flagging the ends, brown sensible (and hated) oxfords on my feet with white socks turned carefully over to form a neat cuff; a quiet child, given to daydreams and seeing the world from her own artist angle, talking to fairies or the moon on a November afternoon.

“Moon-y”

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

“Moon-y II”

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, graphite on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

Air, Fire, Water, Earth

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“Air” East

Oil pastel, watercolor, graphite, gouache on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

“Fire” South

Oil pastel, watercolor, graphite, gouache on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

“Water” West

Oil pastel, watercolor, graphite, gouache on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

“Earth” North

Oil pastel, watercolor, graphite, gouache on vintage book page 4 x 6 inches

The ancient Greeks theorized that the elements of air, fire, water, earth, was manifested by spirits called Elementals, which corresponded to east, south, west and north.  Each element had a host of other Slyphs, divas, or sprites  in charge of different aspects of the major element.  I thought it would be fun to depict these major elements personified as beautiful women or goddesses, as I imagine the Greeks might have.  These are very small portraits, only on a book page of 4 x 6 inches.  Working this small has its challenges!  Oil pastels do not have fine points, so its often difficult to work the eyes, and sometimes I use graphite to further enhance the eyes after the drawing is complete. Watercolor is used for eye color, and gouache is used for the whites of the eyes and as a layer over the oil pastel on the face.

It Doesn’t Matter…

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Have you ever told yourself, it doesn’t matter,  even though it matters terribly?  I’m saying that now, and beginning to actually believe it…one can only go on so long making excuses for another person’s behavior before you just throw your hands up and say, oh well, we’re at it again, I see.

I know a woman I’ve been making excuses for, and looking the other way about it, for years.  She has said and done the most disappointing things, and has been doing this for most of her adult life.  It began in 1991, well long before that really, but I became aware of it then.  I just couldn’t figure out why some people I knew very well began acting so strangely.  Now she is doing it again, but because the internet is readily available, she is using it like a butcher knife and ripping through lives (mine and a few others) having a nasty little tantrum — but sharing it with the world.  What this sad person doesn’t understand is that the reflection of her deeds only brings shadows and darkness directly against her own soul.

Why does she do this?  I don’t really know, and although I know her better than anyone, I have never figured this, twist to her personality, out.  She has done it to others, and to me repeatedly.  There is a nastiness in her core that she has allowed to grow, has used against others – but what she gains by this is so small, and that is where I lose comprehension of the sense of it.

Now I am going to go make some art, and in the making of that art I will completely forget about everything else, and life will go on, as it always does.

I will remember that I have a joy that runs through my life, like a river, powerful and true.   I have other gifts and other loves that inspire and enrich, and protect me.

Getting started again …

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“Sisters” Acrylic on 300 lb hotpress watercolor paper collage, charcoal, graphite 15 x 22 inches

Just trying to get started painting again after a brief break.   This was just a quick study, and I am not sure where I was going with it.  I guess I was thinking about sisters, how similar and yet how different they are.  I just jumped in and sketched a brief outline, and started glueing down paper and gesso over these and then adding color.  I found that little scrap with the date July 10, 1960 and I guess I was thinking about the sixties and where I was on that date!  I actually found the scrap torn from the Los Angeles Times in a used book I recently bought.  I love it when I find things in books like that!

My adored grandson kept me very busy for a week or so!  He and parents flew out to Portland to celebrate his 3rd birthday!

He’s always on the move and I can’t seem to capture him fast enough for a clear photo!  But he loves to play board games, so he was thrilled with this old standard, “Candy Land!”  We had a Caillou birthday party.  Caillou is a favorite character of his; from TV and books.

Caillou posters ( I made, because there isn’t much commercially made party stuff of this character in our stores) in the background.  We hung them on the window, so when he drove up from the airport, he could see them from outside!

Three- years- old!  His mother does a better job of capturing him in photos than I do!