Category Archives: Poetry

The Year of Living, Dangerously – Imaginary Conversations #5 ~2009

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Journal Cover – I cut up a drawing and put it back together again, glued it to a page in a sketch book – after the journal was finished, I knew this was to be the cover.  The year 2009 began like most any year – lots of resolutions – lots of ideas, hopes, and, of course, the unknowns.   I guess the first thing that happened was my immediate boss at work gave notice.  We worked so happily together and balanced each other very well, I knew it would be a difficult transition working for someone new.  She suggested I apply for her position, but we both knew I wouldn’t survive working for her boss, which was the reason she was moving on.  Corporate hired someone new, and in March I lost my job.  Not a good time to be job hunting, to say the least. 

A sketch of my new boss, that became a mini-painting and started a series of other little paintings I called Circ.

 “Margaux and Her Climb to the Top” acrylic on Canvas 4×6 inch

My senior photo from high school, I am 16 years old.  Thought I knew so much more.  It just seemed appropriate to put this old photo in this journal – a journal of moving backward and being dragged forward full speed.

A sketch for a painting that I am still working on.  Its a very large painting ( for me) and it’t taking a lot of time to create.

Now that I’m not working there seems to be a lot of time for thinking about the past.  Also a lot of time to work on letting go of the past, easier said than done!

Jobless, and now bad news from my doctor.  This year just isn’t getting any better.  I wish I could fly away.  I wish I were a million hours away from this moment, not  in this time, not here – be somewhere else, anywhere else, be anyone but who I have to be now.

I am standing in fire.

An old blurry photo of me at age 30.  Aren’t we supposed to know most everything by then – we are adults – but I still knew very little.  I look at my face and I see how trusting and naive I was, even at 30.  But I like  this photo, I like the person I was, inspite of being naive.

 

A copy of a drawing I did – somehow I have lost the original – but I had a copy of it in the computer, such a sad determined face.  I feel myself growing angry, then sad, then angry, determined, afraid, staunch.  I cannot be defined by this thing that has invaded.  I am determined to fight this on my own – I kept it secret for months.

 

 

Thirty-three stones – one a day, five days a week, for six weeks.  I gathered a stone each day after the radiation treatment and I keep them in a jar where I can see them often – a reminder that I am determined!  December 1, 2010, saw my one year anniversary from radiation.  The disease did not define me, the experiences I grew from defines me.

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And Another Imaginary Conversation

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Possible Events in a Life

Imaginary Conversations IV ~ 2007~2008

Hand painted cover of a purchased blank book with drawing on a book page attached after back ground painting.

 

 The butterfly is a monoprint from a glass plate using acrylic – which dried much to quickly and  the “print” had to be hand painted to fill in where the plate had dried.

 Facing page of the butterfly monoprint.  Pen and ink.

 

There were five islands.

Pen and Ink and colored markers.  This is actually a remembrance of my grandparent’s front door – but it is similar to the front door on Buford Street, which didn’t boast the colored glass.  I can remember when I was three, standing on tiptoes at my grandparent’s front door to peer through the colored glass panes.  My favorite was red.  They lived in Oklahoma on Randolph Street.

A transfer print of my grandmother at about the age of three.  She passed away at the age of 28, leaving my father at age three without a mother.

Photo copy of a family tintype.  I believe my great grandmother is amongst them – but I don’t know which one she is.  They were not from Australia as the candy wrapper indicates.  The wrapper was probably applied first, and then I just filled up the page later on.  I don’t know why I put somethings together on a page.

 

I have shared this image before, but this is the journal it came from.  Gouache on gesso’d journal pages, photo copies of old paintings, found papers, pencil, pen and ink, acrylic.

  

Scribbling with gel pens!  Some words I read in an art magazine.

More scribbling with pens.

 

Imaginary Conversations

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I started saving my journals about 5 years ago.  Until then, after I completed each one I threw it away so no one would ever be able to read them.   Now I wish I hadn’t done that but at the time it seemed appropriate.  Five years ago I found myself living alone, and privacy seemed less important to me and I started to save them.   I began doodling, or collaging, or painting in my journals, but until this last year or two, they were mostly written journals.  I have been doing some cleaning and rearranging in my house, and the journals live on a shelf in my studio and I now need that shelf for other things, so I’m packing them away for a while.  I thought I would share the covers and maybe some of the less incindiary pages.  I don’t censor myself in these journals, so please excuse any words you may find that seem inappropriate – I’ve tried to crop out most of the writing.  In the  last five years all of my journals are titled, “Imaginary Conversations,” and numbered by year.  I read that phrase somewhere and it seemed like the perfect title for a journal – these are imaginary conversations because what is said in a journal is not usually spoken.  Anyway here are a few of them.  Some years there are more than one, or I keep two, one with just writing and one more visual.  These are the early visual ones, and there is still a lot of  journal writing on the pages.   

 Imaginary Conversations I – 2005 ~ Words Unspoken

I always use a green pen for writing in my journals and I often scribble little pictures with the green pen.  

This page folds out to reveal the scribble below.

I really like to scribble faces.

 

 

Imaginary Conversations II ~ 2006

I remember I had been trying different glues – I don’t remember what this was – but it was a failure!  The page is permanently wrinkled, I tried making it better by hand drawing a paisely design around it!

I remember this page – the post-it notes I penciled in are taken from the little notes a co-worker used to leave for me when I was working at the main office of a well-known non-profit food delivery service, located in Portland.  I was the “Office Manager” and this particular busy lady liked to let me know when the mail room needed clean up or organization.  She left “empty” on a paperclip holder that was obviously empty!  haha  The “return to patio” referred to an empty milk crate that someone had misplaced in the mailroom.  The next day when it hadn’t been dealt with per her instructions she threw it at me (not the note, the plastic milk crate!) 

The next page – haha – I think I was feeling a little witchy about the whole place!  I only lasted about four months – it was just too stressful a workplace.  The milk crate incident was only a minor wrinkle in the overall atmosphere of the place.

Well, that’s a few pages from Imaginary Conversations I and II.  I will be sharing more in the next few days – life is getting piled up in the present tense as the holidays begin with their freeway speed, not much time for artmaking!  I am busy working on Christmas presents now!

 

Swallowing Stones and other discoveries

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Journal 2010 016 (2)

 Swallowing Stones journal page mixed media

When I was a first grader my teacher told us that stones and rocks were very ancient and many of them were formed when the earth was first made.  She said that if we could dicipher the information locked away inside a stone we would then know everything there was to know.  That was the interpretation that I took away from this simple unit on geology.  That probably isn’t what she said at all, but I liked the idea of this concept.    I thought about this  quite alot and even asked my mother if stones were truly very, very old.  She agreed with my teacher that rocks are quite old.  Being six years old, this was a new and  intriguing idea.   Somehow I jumped from this to the idea that if I could manage to swallow a stone or two, I might suddenly become very smart about many things I didn’t currently know or understand.   A few days later I was digging in the dirt and found a smallish piece of gravel, I wondered if gravel counted?  Quickly decided that it definitely was rock like and therefore, did indeed, count.  I carefully washed it off, I didn’t have any inclination to swallow dirt, and I might add, sneakily washed it off because I didn’t want anyone to know my plan – I would just suddenly appear to have become a whole lot smarter!  I rolled that nastly little hunk of gravel around in my mouth trying to decide if I should swallow it or not, when without warning it moved down toward my throat.  Panic set in.  I decided I’d better get it back up since it seemed destined to become stuck if it went any further down.  I gagged and coughed, and tried grabbing it with my index finger, one last gag and it bounced out of my mouth.  I’m sure this all occured in a few seconds, or it might have had a different ending, but it seemed to me that the whole thing took a very long time. I decided  it would probably be better to get smart in the old fashioned way rather than trying anymore shortcuts.  I had a terrible sore throat for several days, and could barely swallow dinner that night.  I never told anyone what I had done.  I felt embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of the consequences of trying to swallow something as big or bigger than my throat.  I won’t say I didn’t ponder swallowing a much smaller stone, but the uncomfortable sore throat stopped me from trying.

The journal page above began with the usual heavy brown sheet of paper.  I cut some columns from a newspaper and then decided to sew them to a sheet of deli paper and glued them to the brown paper, and smeared some acrylic over it.  The female faces at the top are cut from a post card series of faces I did a long time ago.  I may add a few small stones to the page, but just didn’t feel like it right now.  There are three pieces of scotch tape I pulled from the binding of a very old book and it left some impression of the binding on the tape and I liked how it looked, you can make out the word “and” on one of the tapes.  They are tucked into a quiet little brown envelope with a golden pear on it.  There is a sand castle near the bottom of the page, which to me, represented dreams and hopes. I used some words from an old poem I wrote called “Swallowing Stones” but it has little to do with the episode mentioned above, but then again,  of course it does, because that is a part of my own history and everything is connected.  One verse says “Sly with watching someone else ~~Pushing names from a darker mouth ~~A stranger’s face, not she…Sidling head down sneaking off~~She goes begging with her…”   The last four lines of the poem are actually about being robbed of one’s childhood and the resulting sadness that no amount of stone swallowing can change.

“Her hands cold, clasped together~~Holding sanity as a prayer~~Wedged between her sobbing palms~~

Her stone filled mouth swallowing~~The afterbirth of grace, like alms”

Summer Dances…

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Summer: Journal page mixed media

 

 It is my intention to bind all these loose pages I’ve been sharing, at the end of the year, so I will have a journal completed for 2010.  This page was created mostly from scraps and pieces of trash; peanut shells, candy wrapper, rusted champagne lid cover, old negative I was going to throw away, but was able to use it for the dancing female figure on the film, watercolor, pencil marks, oil pastels, pressed leaves.   I keep a large two-inch deep tray in my studio where I toss odd bits of paper, especially little pieces of brown paper from junk mail, or packaging, etc, or trash scraps, pieces from other projects… I planned to do the whole page in browns, but  couldn’t confine myself to a monotone color range. 

Detail from "Summer"

 

Detail from "Summer" mixed media journal page

In Her House. . .

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In Her House ... journal page, collage, mixed media, acrylic, goauche, torn paper, Citra Solv papers, magazine cutouts, found objects.

   

 The words from “In Her House …” are taken from a poem I wrote many years ago.  I have paraphrased most of the verses, sometimes taking them out of context to fit my thoughts for the collage.  It is a double spread journal page making the total size 12″x18″.  I cut our the shapes for the houses from handmade collage paper, then painted over them with Zinc white(transparent white) to tone them down.  (Both of my printers are out of ink which explains the strange color of the printed words!)  I used acrylic for the background, also oil pastel, and gesso, found papers. Please excuse my slightly crooked photography – I have a hard time with it!  Also please excuse my typos which appear as misspellings!   

"In Her House..." house #1. Handmade collage paper, magazine image, acrylic, oil pastel, collage.

   

"In Her House..." house #2, handmade collage paper cut in house shape, acrylic, watercolor, oil pastel, magazine image, computer printed words.

   

"In Her House..." detail; house #3

   

"In Her House..." detail house #4

   

"In Her House ..." detail bottom of page

   

"In Her House..." detail bottom right page