Wednesday, December 29, 2004

western society and over abundance

I have really weird and changing sleep patterns. I don’t remember ever being a solid sleeper even when I was on antidepressants for six years (yes, perpetuating the stereotype that artists are depressed people, I know..). I should be working today…. I feel out of my body today. I wake up over and over throughout the night. The recent tsunami disaster has really effected me. I so internalize images that they become their own life in my mind and its like I was there. I have to be diligent about what I allow myself to see, hear and think…it can consume me and I spiral completely out of control.
I have been thinking about our well off western society and our over abundance and consumerist way of life and how that way of life creates in us an weakness, an inability to understand the suffering of others or at least we are able to momentarily feel and then just as quickly turn it off and go to Starbuck’s. In thinking about what to DO…what I can do about this tragedy over and above contributing financially to aid, which is the American way…write a check and its fixed….I found that by entering into the grief of the people who have been a part of it I can do something more. Sympathy is a big thing, isn’t it? And somehow in my high walls and soft clothing when I can enter into that pain God sees it and the incense of that grief goes up before Him and we enter into the human condition of the destiny of inevitable and certain loss

Monday, December 27, 2004

living in reality

Living in reality is a challenge for me. I am a realistic person, but my creative mind takes me to all four corners of my brain….at all times. Dreams are intensely detailed and colored.. much like novels. Constant imagined places, people and situations ebb and flow in my mind naturally while awake. It is a difficult gift to get control of and I can quickly dissociate from any reality I am in. I don’t lose touch I just go somewhere in my own mind. And honestly I prefer it to reality.. though none of it is real. When I am not sleeping well there is a strange unsettled feeling and I have a hard time staying focused, so getting painting or anything else done is virtually impossible. I have never been able to discipline this imagination and quite frankly it is who I am as an artist. As an artist this ability is essential to my work but guilt that comes with it in a conventional society is at times overwhelming. I still struggle to accept this gift a gift. Apparently my personality type comprises a very small percentage of the population. I was relieved to read the studies about personality types. I can see that its true and have know that from early on. Always thinking that I am the weird one or the outsider and why is everyone else so normal. So, all this to say that I have produced little real work today… I am in the zone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

I knew this person in Atlanta who was a bit of an environmental nut. Her blood would begin boil when she saw anyone driving an SUV. I have to confess that I too have a rise in my blood temperature at the sight of one of those obnoxious, huge consumerist fuel burning machines (which by the way are usually driven by a woman who doesn’t know how to handle it). And when they have a few of the myriad of environmental stickers on the back its even more ridiculous. So, those SUVs are like lepers to her. Everyone has lepers in their life. Each of us has something that we are absolutely unwilling to touch or accept or forgive even. Mine would be the act of anyone throwing trash out of their car or worse yet flicking a cigarette on the ground. I have a fond memory 8in my B.C. days of following someone to a traffic light and throwing the offending butt back in through their car window stating, "You dropped something". I have more self control now, but it is something that I never could understand or comprehend. It is, in my opinion, the height of arrogance, laziness and inconsideration and something that says VOLUMES about a person. Sitting in Panera the other day I watched a woman take one last drag out on the sidewalk and throw that lit cigarette into the sidewalk before coming inside. You know how you make movies of yourself? I made a movie of myself like Jesus in the temple. I jumped out of my seat and started the grand confrontation about the offense…..sandwiches and soup bowls flying everywhere……in my indignation. And she felt really bad about it and learned a lesson.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

new home

I am glad we moved. I regularly heard from others that have relocated how hard it is. We have not had that experience. The essential element of faith put into practice has rescued us from any tangent pathway and kept us firmly on the destiny that God has for us. It is so obvious to me now.

I have found people to be interested, friendly and relational here, an environment we lacked for the most part back in Atlanta. I have gotten to know more people here in the last month than I ever did in the last five years there. I now feel like a Virginian (once again). The amount of interest in my work has been encouraging too. So it comes to light that all the concerns I have written here and said so many times are unfounded and through countless small things I have seen God meet me in answer to each one.

To most this seems a small thing, but I regularly lamented about the dark apartment we lived in for four years in Atlanta.. an old complex. I always felt that sunlight had a great impact on how I worked and felt. We looked out at the other building across the parking lot. This is what we get to see now on the third floor out of our huge sliding glass doors each morning as the sun comes up and streams in to our home. So, this very small thing that mattered so much to me God took notice off and remedied.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

God bless you, Jeff Buckley…..

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

th coolest person on the planet

Having made it to D.C. having begun adjusting here, I realize the person I miss the most is my niece who is in my opinion the coolest person on the planet. She is the closest thing to me having a child and the reason that I can understand what it feels like to be a parent. In her short 4 years I am amazed at how much we have bonded…..I am afraid that the distance from her now will cause her memory of me to fade. Leaving her was the hardest thing for me to do. I have two nephews as well who are older and I love them dearly, but somehow this little girl and I have made a connection. I don’t know if it is because she is a girl or because she reminds me of myself in some ways……..more on our move later maybe.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

leaving atlanta

We are a less than two weeks out from leaving Atlanta. I am stressed out. I don’t make friends easily and fear sinking onto a self induced depression from dwelling on what is the sometimes curse of the artistic personality: "I don’t fit in….I don’t belong…..I am different and everyone knows it"…. Although Craig regularly assures me that I am the most ‘normal’ person in my family, I fall naturally into the mode of standing on the outside looking in. I have stood there my entire life. It is like a groove in a record. The needle just falls right in.
Now, this way of feeling or understanding can be a good thing at times, but for me it is more often damaging. I have begun to ask myself what might happen if I looked at us all…..everyone….as ‘together’ instead of ‘them and me’. We are, after all, ultimately the same….seeking the same things (i.e. 10/5 entry..). What if I began to see myself as connected in some way with every other human being on our planet?….as fellow human beings….as brothers and sisters?…. This is a fearful proposition for me I assure you. Too many wounds…too many scars. But we are all wounded. I can try to start there, God help me….

Monday, October 18, 2004

election 2004

I cannot begin to express how disappointed and sad this election makes me feel. But then it really exemplifies human nature, doesn’t it. Everyone has an agenda and everyone wants everyone else to jump on their makeshift bandwagon. And if anyone disagrees with that agenda then watch out for the flying fists and rotten vegetables. Why do we need for others to agree? Why do we feel so threatened by any opposition? Our natural desire to control others and form little ‘ideology cults’ is SO ugly and quite honestly ungodly. I do it, for crying out loud. But I am AWARE. I see it in my guts. I despise it in me and in others. That huge divide of ‘us and them’, of left and right is despicable to me. It accomplishes nothing and I am embarrassed by what I have heard professing followers of Christ spew in the election season via the media. Writer and speaker Don Miller refuses to use the word ‘Christianity’ anymore because of all the damage that WE have done in the name of Christ. He prefers ‘Christian spirituality’…. I am beginning to prefer that too…. The church is not being ‘persecuted’ in American for being Christ followers. The church is disliked because we are religious and feel the need to insist that others be as well. We have twisted the scripture. It clearly states to judge those who are IN the church not those who are outside the church.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

avoiding christian radio

I generally avoid Christian radio even though I follow Christ. I am pretty sure He wouldn’t listen to it either. I find it full of religious, arrogant and uninformed people. But I am able to glean insight from a few shows. I was listening to one morning spot while I was making coffee and as it ended and went into another show I was still making coffee. Morning coffee a ritual around here. This guy is a well known hot shot radio preacher. I usually run to the radio and quickly change the channel when he comes on, but the coffee details had my attention. His sermon was generally pretty unmemorable, but then I heard him bring up the subject of the arts. This educated man of God who people listen to by the thousands every day and whose church is attended by the masses regularly made one of the most ridiculous and uninformed assertions I have yet heard. He stated that ALL rock music is about sex and drugs and that ALL country music is about drinking and adultery and therefore one must never listen to such music if one calls oneself a follower of Christ. It really was that much of a blanket statement.. ‘Rid your home of such sinful music and only listen to Christian music!" (he yells a lot.) … Certainly there is a percentage of foul musical garbage out there, but ALL!? So by making that statement over the radio and in his church he has produced more uninformed, religious people who can in turn go out and produce more uninformed religious folks. Great. People already roll there eyes when they here about one of those big preacher dudes. I always get angry and my husband says ‘Why do you listen to that slop?’.
‘Secular’ music (that’s a big word the church likes to use for sinful things) is where I hear the human soul. It is where I hear the cry of reality and therefore see the fingerprints of God. Likewise I see it in movies and fine art. We are all alike. We all really want the same things. We want to be accepted, loved, forgiven and to do something meaningful. I hear and see all these truths in ’secular’ arts. I resonate with that. I don’t resonate with ‘Shine, Jesus Shine’.

Monday, October 04, 2004

foul mood

I am in a foul mood for one reason or another, so I thought I would rant a bit about my subject of choice.
The New York Times had an article in the Arts section today about a four year old whose paintings are being compared to Jackson Pollock’s. Well, duh. That is not a hard one figure out. They are quite similar. I have seen his paintings as well as the kid’s. Nearly identical. Now, I am all for creativity and people calling whatever they want to call art art and I understand the movement of the time. I think it should be left to the creator of the work. A friend sent over a story about some dude’s installation in some fancy museum being mistaken by the janitor for trash, so the janitor threw it out. If its art to the artist and the fancy museum curator, fine. The thing that really annoys me is that all of this work, the little kid’s paintings, Pollock’s work and the ‘trash’ installation all sell for ridiculous amounts of money. Artists like to crawl up their own behinds and take themselves really seriously and make all kinds of deep statements that they feel should be worth somebody’s yearly salary to own. Folks in the art industry promote this. I don’t like artists myself. They are flaky…and weird. To assume that your painting or whatever your craft is really worth so much money is arrogant. People buy it because people will buy anything especially if there is enough hype and they think they are the only ones to have it. Its an investment. It has little to do with art. And the perpetuation of that practice has been virtually the death of art… or at least the institutionalization of it. It becomes inaccessible and gives the illusion that you have some rare talent or insight into some mystery and thus should be highly paid for it.. Obviously not true from looking at the kid’s art and Pollock’s art. Its the same. Shoot, I could do it….

Thursday, September 30, 2004

pony ride

My sister and I jokingly refer to my rare opportunities to ride horses as my ‘pony ride’. She is an accomplished rider and riding instructor and is tolerant of me in the ring riding around while she teaches. I have loved horses all my life. Horses sent me on the quest to become an artist. As a kid I would copy pictures of horses onto loose leaf paper with a number 2 pencil. I had a binder full of drawings of horses….just horses. So for me the rare chance I get to be around them is like eating nothing but junk food for a day or traveling somewhere exciting. Maybe heaven. As the problems with my hip get worse I really don’t know how far I can go with riding. It is a issue that has begun to effect sitting at my drafting table, as well. Any extended period of immobility causes me discomfort. I often lament to my husband that I had not a thing wrong with me until I entered my thirties. Then came some sort of unidentifiable hip issue, allergies and the big one: endometriosis. I am convinced that they are all tied together somehow….someway and that they are meant to be. So, when I get to embark on a ‘pony ride’ I experience a hint of heaven and when my infirmities speak I remember that I am not supposed to live here…….

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

fast food entertainment

I decided a few months ago that television is slowly eating away my life and that I needed to read more so I started ‘Joan of Arc- Her Story’ by Regine Pernoud. I found it really hard to absorb being written in a academic style. So I picked up ‘Hemingway’ by Kenneth Lynn……I still had a hard time wanting to skip passages and get on with it. I suddenly realized how damaging t.v. has been…… I want to use a remote control for the books as well to get to the interesting parts. Fast food entertainment has made me REALLY LAZY. And though we don’t watch nearly as much television as a lot of folks, I am totally shocked at how much it has formed how I work. When I begin a new painting I find myself demanding subconsciously that it already be done or that I should just easily create the work and get on with the next. I am so divided in my focus jumping from one thing to the next like flipping channels. I hate that.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

the great aloneness

There is a great aloneness to making art. No one tells you which ideas to pursue or how to convey those ideas. In each moment that an aspect of a work is confronted…a direction chosen in its progression…the death of countless others occurs. And when the completion of that work comes there is almost a mourning over what a piece could have been had you chosen another approach. So the decision making process in creating a work of art is overwhelming. With artists like myself who work largely from a surreal and imagined realm these issues are magnified ten-fold. I don’t use a set of rules and techniques to tell me how to work and I don’t copy from what I see. Those who work in this way have most of their work done for them once they master the assigned rules. Someone long before has already figured out the techniques and someone has already created the subject. On the rare occasion that I work from conscious reality not only do I find fewer challenges but I also find myself less interested…..

Thursday, July 22, 2004


….in the low tide of my creative ocean. One of my heroes Vincent Van Gogh produced over 2,100 works in his short lifetime…..but then again he also shot himself at 37.

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Most things have been on the back burner as we begin planning our move to D.C. in pursuit of graduate school. It is unbelievably expensive to live in the metro area and we are awaking to the reality that Atlanta is one of the most affordable cities in which to live….we didn’t know just how good we have it. As daunting as the high rents, pet rent (what a rip-off…), and ridiculous non-refundable deposits are to a student and an artist, we push on. Our life philosophy with shoes on……

Thursday, July 01, 2004

I saw some guy with a t-shirt on that said "A lot of art is boring"……..right on.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Fruit Pie Factory

Craig and I like to compare dreams we’ve had thinking our dream can out do the others in weirdness. Mine are always bizarre and novel-like. So this morning he tells me about his dream that he was in class and all the students in there were none of the people that are actually in the class and then some girl stands up and offers favors to the professor in exchange for a good grade. What’s weird about that? I knew I had won this one…

In my dream I was a nine year old werewolf boy who was the head of a large and successful fruit pie industry. I lived in a big mansion and often visited my factory down the road. My fruit pie factory employed a unique hydrolic system to make the pies and on one visit I fell into the hydrolic system which was much like a big fast moving moat. I was in trouble because I was small and could not swim well. But because I was not liked as an employer, the employees took their time getting me out and left me along the moat where. being exhausted, I slept for the night. Upon waking I was angered to see that my servant had not taken me home or even brought me a blanket, so I chased her down in my car and shot her with an antique rifle. Then, of course, I had to flee. I was pursued by Frankie Muniz, the kid from ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ who was intent on turning me in….. no wonder I am always tired in the morning.

Monday, June 07, 2004

I'm glad you got to see me........

Me with my granddad and grandma…
My grandfather passed away a few weeks ago. It really is the end of an era for our family. He is the patriarch of the family…a sort of firstborn of a family of five children and thirteen grandkids. A few months ago I saw him. His health had really deteriorated and a bunch of the family were all hanging about the house. He wasn’t feeling well and was in a mood and he looked at me and said of his house full of family, "I am the one who started all this mess".
A wonderfully intellegent and witty man, he had lots of great true stories and exaggerated tales of life as a sailor as well as too-the-point advice and opinions on various matters. My mother always said, "There are two things you do not discuss with daddy. Politics and religion". These are subjects that he had the opportunity to offend many folks about over the course of his life.
Of the dozen or so grandchildren I am number two. Up until recently my aunts, uncles and cousins have all pretty much stayed in the tidewater area. I was the black sheep that left the flock in my teens, but my first fifteen years I saw him and my grandmother often because we did a lot of family things together then. Without fail when we would leave his house he would always say, "I’m glad you got to see me". Thats the common experience we ALL had with him. He said that to everyone. We even talked about that at his viewing..something humerous to remember. But I have my own personal memories. My graddad is responsible for my love of butterscotch candy and honeysuckle blossoms, two lovely and simple things for a granddaughter to remember a grandfather by.
Thanks, granddaddy. I am glad I got to see you, too.

Friday, May 28, 2004

the creative life

A fine commentary on art critics…..the painting “The Experts” by Decamps…..brilliant.
We’ve been away and it has been difficult to get back into the flow. Creative work is different. One cannot 9 to 5 it…… although there is the voice that echoes in the corner of my mind to squeeze the work into a standard progression. But its dangerous and damaging to make circular creativity fit into the square hole of a work day. It is all day every day, the creative life. I find it soaks everything I do from cooking to repairing old furniture and it is the breath of life for me.

Monday, May 03, 2004

the beast

I have had more than a few people comment that the characters in my work look just like me. Well, of course. And I completely embrace that. I never noticed it before, but that makes total sense. My work is about me and what is in me. It isn’t about reflecting what is on the outside. That is an easy task. My work is about mining and exposing the beast….. and the exposure of that beast is absolutely essential to becoming fully creative and in finding out who you REALLY are. Look at artwork and you can see plainly who is mining and who is mimicking (and let me say that mimicking is fine if that is your thing…). Like mining work or not, it is stark in its obviousness of TRUTH. It is the artists’ own work…. out of the soul of that person. There is nothing more exciting than that.

Friday, April 23, 2004

to post or ot to post

I have been vacillating on the proposition of actually posting the diary. Being a rather private person and being riddled with the faint hue of something called fear of rejection, I wavered, but as I have walked these last months the philosophy that I hold concerning art has been greatly challenged and continues to bubble up in my life… maybe someone might benefit, and if not, I benefit enormously by just putting it into space. A catharsis, if you will.
There are recurrent themes or objects in the work of an artist. We are prone to force ourselves away from these if the fear of repeating ourselves. Or we ignore them because of the pressure of wanting to fit in. But the repetition of them is a very reflection of the soul.. it is who you are as an artist. Though there may be a deepening and transforming of these elements as an artist grows, they remain interwoven into the structure of the work in some way. The stamp of the unique soul……

Sunday, April 04, 2004


DEATH TO THE ART NAZI. Traditionalism is the death of the creative process. I am now convinced of this. The perpetuation of the elitist attitude in the world of art is the demise of real art. Art is one of the few wonders of the world that is completely subjective and the idea that an artist is only an artist if he or she completes a checklist of technical acrobatics is wholly antithetical to the heart and soul of the creative process! I liken it to religion. Do these things well and you are an artist… don’t do them or do them "poorly" (whatever that means) or have no interest in them and you cannot possibly be an artist. Ah! The pharisees and the true followers…. very distinct.