Creating Beauty

As a child, I was frightened by a humongous Kissy doll. At 3, it was as big as I was and when you pulled it's hands together it made a smacking or a supposed kissing sound. I was sure it would get up and get me......making smacking sounds as it neared my bed.

Now I make dolls.....some are supposed to be scary, but most just reflect how I look at beauty. To me we have a very narrow view of what beauty is and is not. I have cerebral palsy and don't think I'm whining about it I'm not. I'm lucky my case is very mild compared to some people's. But you can pick me out as different, I walk awkwardly, but my arm and leg work correctly.....for someone with a partially paralyzed arm and leg.

I look like someone with CP is supposed to and in my way I'm attractive. I try to reflect alternative beauty in the dolls I create and so in some ways I'm still dealing with fear, but now it's not my own.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Ghosts, Pie and Fresh Cream

The one pie my Grandma Bartlett made that I thought was strange was funeral pie. It's actually just raisin pie. Of course if you lace any dried fruit with brown sugar, eggs, cream and brandy and bake it in a good crust and top it with real cream or homemade ice cream you've got a winner. 

I think what freaked us kids out was the family story that went with it.  Tale of the black dog.... circa 1912.

The Bartletts were Irish dirt farmers from way back and kept the Irish tradition of the family wake for yrs. My Aunts Catherine and Virginia were around 8 and 10 when a cousin of theirs died by drowning. 
It took a couple of weeks to find him and the corpse was found in a seated sort of pose. So poor cousin had to be tethered inside the coffin so he wouldn't sit up. 

My aunts just wanted the grown ups to stop drinking and wailing and serve out the mountain of food (out in the yard behind the house of course.... cousin was ripe.) Grandpapa heard them fussing and sent them out with the promise of extra funeral pie if they were good . 

So escaping the stinky death house, they went to see the tethered horses in front of the barn. While they were talking to the horses, a huge black dog the size of a Great Dane appeared  on the path to the house. 
The girls walked up to see the dog and he came towards them and started circling them very slowly. As he circled he got smaller and smaller and vanished. 

They ran screaming back to the house as the body was finally being taken away in the horse drawn hearse. All the drunk adults thought it was cousin on his way to Hell. Apparently cousin was a dick. The ghost didn't seem to put a damper on the festivities and Virginia and Catherine got a whole pie and a little pot of cream to themselves because cousin scared them.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Art History in the Time of Trump

A couple of Saturdays ago Mike, my brother Ken and I went to the Getty museum. To avoid visual overload, we just went through the 13th-16th century mostly Italian and French paintings section.

As per usual the early paintings had ugly angry babies and they didn't improve with the Mannerist ones who just looked dead. But that's something for another post. Now in the later sections the Renaissance painters brought happy back to art. Well, at least for me anyway because I love Greek and Roman mythology. Mike and I have a decent background in art history so listening to the guides can be interesting. I love art lectures.  Now this lovely Italian painting of Danae that is some what new to the Getty.  

If you don't know the story, Danae, daughter of the King Acrisius was imprisoned by her father when it was prophesied that her son would kill her father. She was locked away in an underground bronze chamber. Zeus, who could never walk away from a complicated lay, impregnated her by appearing to her as a golden shower.

Now why this gets funny, at least to me, is this was the week of the Trump/Russian golden showers story. I was wandering around listening to the guide as she worked her way over to Danae. I wondered if there would be any smirks or giggles about the golden showers story.

The guide went into an elaborate look at the golden falling shapes and don't they look like coins monologue. As an art teacher by training, I was annoyed. I wanted to laugh because she was trying so hard to not say golden showers, but she was NOT telling the actual myth! Alt-history is not acceptable. It may seem a small thing in the scheme of the universe, but tiny lies add up.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Decor 1960's style..... the computer card wreath

 As I was about 9 or 10,  the image in jumped out at me in all it's silver glory. McCall's Needlework and Crafts always had the best Christmas projects.  I loved making every tacky decoration. If I found a box of computer cards at a thrift store, atheist or not, I would make one of these for my door.
1.Cut a circle out of fairly heavy piece of cardboard.
 2. Fold a computer card's 2 short ends and staple them. Flip  the card over so the stapled side is now the back.
3. When you have a big pile, you can start stapling  the cards ....pointy end out following a long the outer edge curve of the circle. Each successive row is  stapled in the open spot between the 2 points like shingles. Don't be stingy with the cards. The whole point is to make this monstrosity of Holiday gaudyness as fat and obnoxious as possible.

4. I personally prefer a gold or silver spray paint, to make a nice background for the even gaudier glitter balls, elves, candy canes and tiny glitter penguins that you arrange artistically in the center  of your wreath ....AFTER you wait a bazillion years for the 2nd or 3rd coat of spray paint to dry.  Yeah, they never say it takes a bazillion years for things to dry properly in craft magazines.

5. After the paint's dry, try a few arrangements of your glitter stuff or boring greenery. But Mom! SPARKLY IS BEST! AND THEN GLUE EVERYTHING DOWN WITH WHITE GLUE.... AND  WAIT ANOTHER BAZILLION YEARS for the GLUE to DRY!

Of course now there are GLUE guns to get burned on, but wait time is cut by a bazillion. I don't know how easy finding IBM cards is now, but I have seen them in thrift stores on occasion. I'm told big index cards will work, that seems sacrilegious.

IBM computer cards
1 or 2 cans of spray paint... if you find those pink cards that need extra coats.
A bunch of little decorations for the center
Craft GLUE or a GLUE gun
Wire to make a hanger so you can hang this masterpiece up
Stapler and staples

Monday, November 21, 2016

My femme fatales

Working on a new version of my skull carrying mermaid....  Learning how to work with oil paints has been a huge learning curve.  I've been working on primed masonite and I'm really liking it. I enjoy just banging on a solid surface while painting. I thought I'd miss the bounce of a stretched canvas, but no. This surface is much better for me.

As for my horned oracle... ew what a mess. I painted her to death.  This was the painting when I liked it.
But as I look at those overlong arms, I want to just start again.   The weekday Open studio had one of the models do a sorceress for a series of quick sketch.
  I find the gestures much more interesting want to use one as an inspiration for my redo.  A 3/4 view with the snake draped over the extended arms should be more interesting.  I want to keep the circular curved horns and long red hair. I have a few other shots of the original model with a 3/4 view.

Basing out the masonite with a base color like I do when I use acrylic, really helped me focus on what I was doing.  I'm hoping it will keep me from over working my paintings.

One new piece I'm really proud of is my sleeping dryad. She's done in acrylic and wouldn't probably be considered a femme fatale, but I'd like to share a successful finished piece.

Monday, October 17, 2016

What you hope when you start painting.....and what you get.

Sol Saucedo-Butzke - our model at open studio this past Saturday inspired me to look up Jesus Helguera a Mexican painter who I always liked.
 I always liked his pretty women in traditional clothing.  Now I realize my style of painting is hardly idealized realistic in nature like Helgeura's, but I thought attempting a different style would be interesting.  Well, the blank wall put me off, so I rescued the striped blanket and made it the backdrop.

Yes, so much for good intentions. So you see the painting I ended up with.
I wasn't too surprised when my finished piece was more like something Matisse would have done.

Which when I think about is okay too.  I just couldn't bear paint a relatively barren(at least to me) brownish background. I'm a firm believer in using the model and their environment as a jumping off point.

I am what I am....a colorist at heart.

Does your nature as an artist sabotage your good intentions?

Friday, June 10, 2016 rant!

I've written about clowns before. Yes I am scared of them cos I've never liked anything with a hidden agenda. Clowns are not funny...although as meat they might taste that way.

As for being bringers of relief from pain in a hospital setting... What do you think?  I'd rather be visited by Pennywise or this guy from the French short film Happy Meal.

But maybe it's just me.....  Nope. Clowns are awful.  Really really awful!  Would you like to wake up after surgery with this guy hanging on your headboard? Geez, why not? 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Bathroom Lurkers

Back when we were kids in the 60's Mike and I had the principals of our respective schools give us The Bathroom Lurkers or in Mike's case The Toilet Bums lecture.

**UPDATE: Holy crap! I just found the short film. It's scarier than I remember.  The Scary man video **I think there was even a short film about never going into a park bathroom alone. We always joked it was supposed to be dirty unshaven men in trench coats or something. Which obviously isn't usually the case in child assault cases.

Anyway, I have an odd story for you.

Mike and I had a nice lunch Saturday afternoon. We talked about movies and work and painting.  We were even chatting about the stories about the potty phobes cos we planned to pick up some things at Target on the way home.

So as I usually do after eating, I stopped by the restroom on the way out. As I came out of the stall a woman put her hand on my arm and asked me if I'd found Jesus.

Now honestly was I startled by being approached and touched by someone  I perceived to be a woman? No. I think what bothered me was the giant cross around her neck. I've had experiences with being told that as a person with a disability I was a tool of the devil or unclean.

Yeah, apparently there's some stupid thing about the deformed not being allowed near the altar in the Old Testament. Well, now we have science and stuff so we know about birth defects and genetic anomalies. So you are gonna have to get over that stuff. Human comes in a range of colors, sexualities, genders, limb counts and mental abilities.

Any way.....sorry I got ranting. Back to the woman with the giant cross. As all of the stuff in my rant was whirling about in my head she repeated "Have you found Jesus?"

I pulled away and started washing my hands and replied, "In the toilet? No I was alone." And walked out. Come to think of it, I hope she washed her hands too while she was skulking around in there.

Now I'm sure some of you are thinking that I was unfair to her, but I wasn't the one lurking in a bathroom. If that's leading by example I wasn't impressed. If you want to be mad at me being irritated here's a card to present me the next time you see me.