Category Archives: Uncategorized

Wallace returns!!!

Peter O’Toole is reported to say that he lost his faith in God when he came to real­ize that prayer was a mat­ter of his talk­ing to him­self. (Later I heard him say some­thing like this as a char­ac­ter in a movie. Never mind.) The dif­fer­ence here is that I know I’m talk­ing to myself and have agreed to con­tinue this futil­ity after a three-​year hia­tus. Why, I’m not sure. The web­site has been redone at some expense and effort, so it seems like a rea­son­able thing to do.

In the past three years, some sig­nif­i­cant things have hap­pened. Where my art is con­cerned, I had the plea­sure of learn­ing encaus­tic at Arrow­mont (in Gatlin­burg) and later work­ing with Jonathan Tal­bot, America’s pre­mier col­lage artist. He holds work­shops in his stu­dio – as well as in par­tic­u­lar cities. We had him for two days at the Museum of Art in Hick­ory, NC, and could have kid­napped him! He gave me plenty of per­sonal atten­tion and advice; and, as a result, I received a Regional Artist grant through our Burke County Arts Coun­cil. And that has kept me busy.

The grant was for “Twenty Vari­a­tions on a Theme,” the theme being a col­lage that Jonathan cri­tiqued last sum­mer. (You can find it on the web­site as “Whis­pered Mesage.”) I have com­pleted 18 of the 20, and I’m rea­son­able happy with most of them. They will be shown Octo­ber 7th-​November 1st at the Arts Council.

Per­son­ally, I have had and dis­missed can­cer, and I pon­der this fre­quently. About this chap­ter in my life, I don’t know what to say.

Time For a Break

This will be the last blog in a while. I’ve been writ­ing to you for a year, and this is the 81st entry. I’m not get­ting a response, even when I ask friends directly for one. So, when some­thing “impor­tant” comes to mind, I’ll get it down; oth­er­wise, I’ll just keep on paint­ing because I’m burnt out talk­ing to myself.

The show at the Art Museum approaches with rea­son­able speed. I’ve made a list with four spaces to check for each of the 24 paint­ings: var­nished, signed, labeled, and wired. At this point, I’m not sure they all have names. I’ve called the show “Images of Thought,” because I think thoughts and ideas look like some­thing as they come into our minds, attach to other ideas, and become entrenched in a con­text. If all this talk about ideas is metaphor­i­cal (as it most be), then why not in images as well as words. That’s the aim, anyway.

I’m var­nish­ing, sign­ing, label­ing, and wiring today, and I will be for the next two weeks. Then I can start wor­ry­ing about what to wear.


Nine Weeks, Nine Canvases

Remark­ably, time has passed since the last entry. I’m down to nine can­vases to go in nine weeks. It’s the kiss of death to think like this, because almost always one invites a stall or dis­as­ter when the gods (or “ill trained labrador”) is tempted.

I think the well of ideas needs to refill from time to time. That’s why, when I’ve fin­ished a huge under­tak­ing, I’ll declare, “Never again. I’m going to quit paint­ing because I’ve learned all there is for me to know, said all I have to say.…” and then begin to assem­ble prob­lems to solve again. Things just have to set­tle before another direc­tion emerges from the dust. I’m fer­vently hop­ing this sense of deple­tion doesn’t occur before the last can­vas for this show is finished.

The mon­sters are safely propped up against a far wall and haven’t man­aged to offend me as yet. Of course, I make it a point not to look at them for fear there will be “some­thing else” I “ought” to do to them. Rea­son tells me that I’ve done the best I could with them and that any addi­tional effort at cor­rec­tion would not only fail to cor­rect any­thing but cause prob­lems that weren’t there.

It threat­ens to snow again today, about the sixth event of the sea­son. Cro­cusses are show­ing in the gar­den, per­haps the clouds will see them and move on.…


The Monsters Are Finished!

This is to announce to the world (and I’m hear­ing a fan­fare of trum­pets) that The Mon­sters Are Fin­ished!!! The weight of the world has been taken off my back. The bug­gers just need their edges neat­ened up and var­nish applied, and they’re DONE.

Now I can get to the other nine can­vases remain­ing for the Big Show in May.

Last night we had the fourth snow­fall of the sea­son. I real­ize I shouldn’t com­plain, con­sid­er­ing the hor­ri­ble con­di­tion of our north­east­ern neigh­bors, but I was numb watch­ing it come down. My back can’t take much more time behind a snow shovel, at least in one season.

But never mind: The Mon­sters Are Fin­ished!!! The joy in that over­rides everything!


Childhood Memories

I was show­ing my SO the progress I’d made on The Mon­sters, and she said: “These col­ors are just beau­ti­ful!” I said, I hope so, that’s what it’s all about for me, and my mind went back to a time many years ago when those words had an unwanted significance.

When I was 12 or 13, my mother had a good friend who hap­pened to be the head of the psy­chol­ogy depart­ment at Bay­lor Uni­ver­sity. She arranged with him to give me a Rorschach test. I think this was because she wanted me to stop pun­ish­ing my brother. I guess she thought any­one must be nuts that wouldn’t love him, or that she might approach me more effec­tively through psy­chol­ogy than by the threats that hadn’t been working.

(My brother was a poor excuse for a human being, he was his whole life long; and I’m not sorry for any grief I man­anged to give him. I hes­i­tate to call him an SOB or a bas­tard, because both these epi­thets wind up insult­ing my mother. As a fem­i­nist (and a mother), I am very both­ered about that.)

Any­how, I spent a cou­ple of enjoy­able Sat­ur­day after­noons in this gentleman’s office iden­ti­fy­ing var­i­ous blobs and shapes, the most mem­o­rable of which were the ones in color. I recall one that looked like a lake in a spring­time meadow: It was ringed by a riot of flow­ers and sparkling insects, and I couldn’t say enough about the color. It was truly beau­ti­ful. And when the test was done, I was told that I needed to be nicer to my brother. And my mother was told that I was too much in the thrall of my emo­tions. (Recall that we’re talk­ing about a a pub­s­cent female, now.) While both these con­clu­sions may have been accu­rate, I won­der why the psy­chol­o­gist couldn’t have said, “What we have here is a poten­tial artist who will find the joy of her life in work­ing with color.” Would that infor­ma­tion not have been more help­ful? Does all artis­tic pas­sion boil down to some sort of psy­cho­log­i­cal dis­or­der? Are artists doomed to a waste­land of “Dif­fer­ent” because we see the world around us in a way not typ­i­cal of main­stream observers?

Fur­ther, I won­der how much of the arts is sac­ri­ficed to some physical/​psychological deficit: El Greco had an astyg­ma­tism, Van Gogh was crazy, Lautrec was a drunk who hung out in the Moulin Rouge, etc. A bet­ter descrip­tion of art and the pas­sion some of us find for mak­ing it is that it is mag­i­cal and mys­ti­cal and defies explanation.

That’s what I think when I’m just about fin­ished with some­thing and I feel it’s turned out well. Other times, I’m afraid I do won­der if I’ve lost my mind.


The Economy

When the econ­omy fails, like it has now, I think the arts take the hard­est hit. Real Estate and bank­ing caused this dis­as­ter, but the results for them amount to a lesser need for real estate per­son­nel and bank activ­i­ties. There are still peo­ple get­ting mar­ried who need a place to live, and banks still do a brisk busi­ness in credit cards and house­hold loans. The result for the arts is a total shut down. It’s as if the world is say­ing that we don’t need any­thing con­nected with the arts at all: not art­works, gal­leries, muse­ums, or ser­vices of design­ers. The rest of soci­ety slows down; the arts disappear.

Here’s to those who strug­gle. They were always my favorite com­pan­ions, anyway.


Loving My Work

It’s been a long time, and I’m sorry about that; but I have been busy, and I want to talk about it.

Long time ago, I read that a mother has to “fall in love” with her new­born. There comes a defin­ing moment fol­low­ing deliv­ery when a mother’s heart fills with love and hap­pi­ness at the sight of her baby, when she knows that this lit­tle scrap of human­ity is truly hers and she’s glad.

I think some­thing sim­i­lar must hap­pen to an artist labor­ing over a can­vas. Sooner or later, I must lit­er­ally fall in love with the thing, must rejoice in its look, must rec­og­nize its turn­ing out the way I’d been hop­ing after all that time of won­der­ing and doubt.

The mon­sters look good to me (no mat­ter how they might appear to any­one else at this point – that’s not impor­tant). I haven’t ruined them, nor am I flop­ping around not know­ing what to try next. They make me smile on the inside. It’s a good day!


Working Styles

I’m think­ing there may be more than one way that char­ac­ter­izes one’s work­ing style. You hear of a par­tic­u­lar method as describ­ing one’s typ­i­cal way of work­ing. But maybe there is more than one.

I know I must make the colos­sal mess some­where down the line, ordi­nar­ily. But some­times it doesn’t go that way: I’ll find myself con­fronting a sim­ple suc­cess. Per­haps I con­cep­tu­al­ized the process so exactly (at the thresh­hold of sleep) – or the mate­ri­als behaved as I expected them to, or bet­ter – that the result was sat­is­fac­tory. The lit­tle gem on the table right now is a case in point.

What this implies is that I’ll be sol­dier­ing on with the two mon­sters against the wall for the rest of my life.