Hi. I'm a painter, a writer and a mother of three teenage sons, one with a severe disability. This is a journal: riotously disorganized, full of art, food, children and everyday domestic events. Unless you are a friend or family member you may not be interested, but you are welcome to look. Artists who are parents may find some common ground here, as well as parents of children with special needs. For art only, see my site: nancybeamiller.blogspot.com
Wednesday, February 28
BASKET OF TOMATOES
My mother-in-law Darian (this is her set-up) is an artist at home and kitchen decor. Notice the one withered tomato? Makes me think of how quiltmakers in past centuries always made a deliberate mistake to keep their patterns from perfection. Trying to create something perfect was seen as hubris, an affront to the Supreme Maker. Of course, I always smile at a little at how the quiltmakers believed they were so near absolute perfection as to need the deliberate error: kind of a prideful idea in itself.
Well, we all have our little "conceits and self-deceits". I will just say..if you are looking at my paintings and notice various errors please know that they are NOT deliberate. I am so very far from any standard of perfection as to have no need for self-sabotage!
Monday, February 26
snow squall in the woods -
late afternoon sun burning
through the icy veil
Sunday, February 25
Float oil on canvas 11 x 14 inches
Well, Studio Friday (I'm late as usual) has this as its theme, list one or more quotations on art that speak to you. This topic was almost too much for me as I am a life-long collector of quotations. Both computers in the house have word files for "Interesting Sayings" I come upon on-line, and I also keep a notebook for copying in those found in printed books. Actually, I've filled one notebook (started at age 20) and am well into my second. I hadn't really thought about how obsessive this must seem, till this minute! Live and learn.
Anyway, here is one art quotation from my collection:
"To any artist, worthy of the name, all in nature is beautiful, because his eyes, fearlessly accepting all exterior truth, read there, as in an open book, all the inner truth."
--Auguste Rodin, 1840-1917
I thought this went well with this painting. I've had a few comments from the peanut gallery along the lines of "awfully skinny legs on that kid!" but many more warm comments from parents of kids with physical disabilities who instantly recognize this for what it is: a physical therapy session. One perspicacious mom even pinpointed exactly where it was taking place "Is that the therapy pool at Children's Seashore House at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania?" she asked diffidently. Bingo!
Friday, February 23
of these old doors caught my eye this morning as I walked around my neighborhood. Nothing like the raking light of winter to bring up in sharp detail every crack and fissure. Made me glad there were no mirrors around!
Thursday, February 22
shock. I was standing on a second level walkway at the new National Air and Space Museum when I casually turned my head and got a big surprise...yikes! Very intimidating, which I guess was the whole point. Whoever designed this exhibit did a great job!
Wednesday, February 21
years since I
cut up ginger root-
the juicy heat sparks memories.
That was a Fibonacci sequence poem for this week's One Deep Breath meme. Yesterday I made Kung Pao Tofu for the first time. Having read an article by Michael Pollan about his book The Omnivore's Dilemma, we are trying to eat a little lower down on the food chain these days. I love tofu but previously had only one "All Family Acceptable" tofu recipe (Crispy Fried), and was looking for more. This one needs some small modifications but passed muster. I'll try it again, with more sauce and fewer peanuts, and I also need to chop the ginger more finely. I was out of practice!
of Henry. Despite the flashdance look this is pretty recent. Shortly after I took this shot, Paul cropped his hair a little (he is the family barber), and when Hen came home from school last weekend he had lost a little more weight...so his face is now a bit thinner. The constant morphing of all three boys is utterly fascinating to me.
Monday, February 19
Nothing like it when a kid is ill. It looks like it would actually make you ill, but the reverse appears to be true.
Saturday, February 17
somewhere i have never travelled, gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look will easily unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands
A friend's husband died very early in the morning on the day after Valentine's Day. He was in a coma from a malignant brain tumor, but I like to think that even in an unconscious state he deliberately held on so that his dear wife Candace and his three young daughters would not have to forevermore associate this day celebrating love, with his death. Of course, I am probably being romantic. His family will always associate the day AFTER Valentine's day with their tragic loss. But maybe, surely, that is a little better? Anyway, here's to you Bob York!
Thursday, February 15
I was recently asked "Why are you so interested in painting doughnuts?" All kinds of answers swirled in my head...but I found myself at a loss for words and a little embarrassed. Why indeed? If only I'd been quick-witted enough to recall this saying of Ludwig Wittgenstein:
The aspects of things that are most important for us are hidden because of their simplicity and familiarity.
In my paintings of doughnuts and other everyday objects I am taking a careful look at the familiar. Even in apparent simplicity there is incredible complexity if you look closely enough. And that this simplicity/complexity dialogue is interesting to me. What I actually replied was along the lines of "Um...because I like how they look."
Wednesday, February 14
HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!
We are in the midst of a bad storm, snow and sleet and ice so school was canceled. H's colorfully crayoned Valentines are piled neatly in their box, waiting to be delivered. I am delighted that he still wants to make them all by hand as most kids have switched to the mass-produced cheapies by this age. The allure of familiar cartoon characters paired with a piece of candy is just so irresistable and easy. I asked H if he wanted to tape a piece of candy onto each of his cards and he shot me a look of the deepest affront. "No, thank you." was all he said with quiet dignity. My art should be enough! was the unspoken message.
Tuesday, February 13
My studio is stocked like a confectioner's shop. Bags of sweets and boxes of doughnuts, cream buns and other pastries are heaped on every shelf and surface. But not for sustenance while painting: for painting props! I love to paint these objects. I am not even remotely tempted to eat them. As I have mentioned before other than chocolate (anytime!) and an occasional yen for black jellybeans, I don't have much of a sweet tooth.
So, the candy gets old. I've noticed that with old Starlight Mints, when they start dessicating the colors start running. I am also working with nine gold-foil covered balls: all that is left of a tub of dulce de leche candies no longer stocked by Trader Joe's! They are slowly caving in, but on some the foil remains arched, like a carapace...so I can still use them for painting. Oh the trials of the still-life painter!
Sunday, February 11
DOODLE NUMBER ONE
to appear on Genre Cookshop. A friend e-mailed me wondering why I have not been posting as frequently recently. She guessed that I was busy painting, and she is right. I've got a lot of paintings in the works right now for some reason. I don't like to share unfinished work, but I can share my doodles. Like many people I doodle obsessively. If I am on the phone and not folding laundry, cooking or painting, I am doodling! Usually from my imagination, but sometimes if I am looking at something it becomes the doodle subject. When is doodling drawing? Or drawing doodling? I've never felt I clearly understood the distinction...
Friday, February 9
fertile soil rests
old barn rots quaintly- around
the corner a mall.
Thursday, February 8
I got 'em. And so tolerant of my obsession with photography! I was having a rare coffee with Meri and Julie this morning and I pulled out the camera. With absolutely NO REHEARSAL OR DISCUSSION these two went into synchronized mug-for-the-camera mode. Just had to share these faces with you. By odd coincidence the Thursday Challenge is cute!
Tuesday, February 6
The downside of drawing faces on the hard-boiled eggs is that sometimes if I've done a really good one, by accident of course, nobody wants to crack it. Otherwise, I have noticed the faces entice the kids to have a healthy snack more often than not.
Friday, February 2
STUDIO FRIDAY - PORTFOLIO
The Studio Friday topic today is Portfolios. Somebody suggested the topic by writing in:
"I've never put one together. I would be very interested to see and hear what everyone else has as a portfolio and what makes up one"
Of course there are lots of different kinds of portfolios used for different purposes. My main portfolio is really my website. There you can see samples of my work, my resume and statement and lots lots more. I update it pretty frequently. It may not be up to the minute but it is up to the last half hour! But occasionally you need to put together a packet of information that can be held in the hand and passed around at a committee meeting. A school recently asked me for just such a packet (or small portfolio) on my Genre of Inclusion project. They are considering inviting me to exhibit, and I was very flattered and happy to be considered. I decided to put together four or five packets while I was at it: here you see my assembly line spread out on a card table. Inside I put copies of my resume, artist statement, copies of reviews and articles on the project and of course, print-outs of a selection of pieces from the project. Because, yes, the whole presentation is important, but of course, it all hinges on the actual work!
For this kind of portfolio, which is sent to an institution or person, I like to make it semi-disposable. I always include a SASE, but just in case it doesn't make it home, the loss should not be catastrophic. So, it is all copies of things or computer print-outs: no originals. I use a simple 3-ring vinyl presentation folder and plastic sleeves from a local office supply store.
The odd thing about getting all prepared like this is that you immediately find you have a use for each and every one of the packets and you wish you'd done more!
Thursday, February 1
STRANGE DARK DRAMA
under the full moon. Young H watched me taking pictures of the moon for a little while and then said "Mom, how 'bout this?" What's a photographer to do? Click click click...As a parent, however, I think I need to keep a closer eye on what he is reading!
Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)