My daughter challenged me to a timed painting of a photo I had just taken of Birdman. It was a cool challenge. Never tried it in my life!
Here’s Birdy with the painting. That’s my husband’s Navajo rug in the background. It’s been hanging on that bannister for years.
Finally a little sunshine here but more snow coming I heard : (.
You are less
than I remember,
and more than
I superimpose myself
like a mask of light.
I’m not really sure this satisfies the dVerse prompt to write a letter, but I immediately thought of the stitching and Photoshop layering I had done using some childhood photos, trying to make a composite of is and was.
Another self portrait: from a photo of me at around age five (?). I had cut a chunk out of my bangs. I still chop off my hair sometimes when it gets too long and then have to get an emergency appointment with a professional.
I added a few things in the background that were iconic to me. The zither had sheets of music that you put under the strings and plucked the corresponding strings. The little jukebox (all busted up now) played a song when you put a penny in. The white horse was a piece I got at some junk shop; I remember my mother being amused that I spent my babysitting money on a little object like that. I had a happy childhood.
Here’s the zither and the little jukebox. The white horse is lost to history.
My daughter painted in watercolor, no pencil sketching first. Although this is simplistic I think it caught her mood. She didn’t hate it which is something. So glad it is Friday. I hope everyone has a good weekend. Weather is looking promising here in NJ.
Wherever I look I find photographs. Boxes of them in closets, albums randomly scattered about…there aren’t many of my father’s mother Dora. I tried to catch how happy they looked in the photo:
I keep gravitating towards the old photos and black paper with colored pencil and Neocolor. Trying to be more diligent about sitting down and drawing every day.
This was before I put a background behind Dora and Joe. I like it a little better like this.
From of killed but spaces why? morning reply no what.
Where? more it when? tomorrow killed has and.
Black another questions wear gun color of sorrow and again just;
Remain will the empty.
I wanted to acknowledge Las Vegas. The dVerse prompt to ignore grammatical rules seemed a good way to reflect our country’s continued loss of syntax. But when I went to write something it just seemed I had nothing more to say. A quick look through the MTM archives counted at least 13 previous posts related to gun violence. Remember the shootings in Kalamazoo in February 2016? That’s what the black grid above was done for.
The two faces above? Victims of Dylann Roof in 2015. And below, cops killed while sitting in their patrol car in NYC in 2014.
Gun of again another why? color more empty is sorrow remain.
Of killed killed;
From what and the just black spaces;
Has and will no it questions shots unfilled.
Morning where? when? Tomorrow
Every day 88 people die by gun violence in the United States.
To make the poems above, I took what I had written for Kalamazoo, and plugged it into the Dada Poetry Generator. I did it about 15 times; all the results were pretty accurate as reflections of my jumbled feelings, and I chose two to use in this post. You can see the original poem here.
Jimmy Kimmel said everything I want to say and more in his monologue the other night.
Charlotte Bacon, 2/22/2006
Daniel Barden, 9/25/2005
Olivia Engel, 7/18/2006
Josephine Gay, 12/11/2005
Ana M Marquez-Greene, 4/4/2006
Dylan Hockley, 3/8/2006
Madeleine F Hsu, 7/10/2006
Catherine V Hubbard – 6/8/2006
Chase Kowalski, 10/31/2005
Jesse Lewis, 6/30/2006
James Mattioli, 3/22/2006
Grace McDonnell, 11/4/2005
Emilie Parker, 5/12/2006
Jack Pinto, 5/6/2006
Noah Pozner, 11/20/2006
Caroline Previdi, 9/7/2006
Jessica Rekos, 5/10/2006
Avielle Richman, 10/17/2006
Benjamin Wheeler, 9/12/2006
Allison N Wyatt, 7/3/2006
Rachel Davino, 7/17/198
Dawn Hochspring, 6/28/1965
Anne Marie Murphy, 7/25/1960
Lauren Russeau, 6/8/1982
Mary Sherlach, 2/11/1956
Victoria Soto, 11/04/1985
once again we ask:
why? no answer. no words left.
a prayer: have mercy.
All art from previous posts on the occasion of death by gunfire in the news.
Working on a mystery, going where it leads. Into the great wide open under skies of blue. Will you sail into the heavens, constellations in your eyes? A red-winged hawk is circling.
White light cuts a scar in the sky. Take it to the heart; face up to your soul. Stand in the moonlight. You belong somewhere you feel free.
The shape of the mist–
feels like something from a dream–
you’re learning to fly.
Songs quoted: Running Down a Dream, Into the Great Wide Open, The Dark of the Sun, You and I Will Meet Again, Luna, The Waiting, You Can Still Change Your Mind, Only a Broken Heart, Wildflowers, The Waiting, Learning to Fly
Words from Tom Petty and Colleen’s poetry challenge.
Water, and fire above it
How I say to you the truth as I know it.
How I am lost in words.
Subtle gradations implications explanations.
Do they reveal tenderness or terror?
Do they echo feeling or imagine it?
How to adjust memory.
How to maintain and reflect.
Erasing magnifying refining touching failing.
Safety features are not built in.
Evidence is not self.
To delete is to open.
I wanted to do a final self-portrait inspired by Paul Klee. There are so many wonderful Klee works to choose from, but I chose this one because of its title: “Seventeen, Insane”. I didn’t put the geometrics in, instead choosing to try to replicate the feeling, with loose ink portraits of myself now and at 17. I think the feeling of being unable to understand what’s going on is an apt one, and Klee seems to me to be indicating that age doesn’t really clarify things at all. I agree.
For the poem, I took one from my early 20s and revised it, but only a bit. Mostly I redid the way I had the lines set up; rather than breaking up each thought into several lines, I made it into a single one. I eliminated two lines altogether and changed 3 or 4 words. And then I broke it up into stanzas. And yes, that’s my original title. And yes, also, I wrote that last line in the early 1970s, before “delete” and “open” had the meanings they hold in this digitized world. That’s pretty strange.
My notebooks from then contain notes from books I was reading (Otto Rank with this one–we were reading him in a class I was taking), and poems mixed together. From what I could tell, I started with a title, and had a complicated system of construction involving numbers, syllables, and first letters of each line. I have no idea how to replicate it, because I don’t remember where it came from, and it makes no sense to me now. “Insane” indeed. (but I still like to play with numbers of syllables and words, so…)
You can see the entire self-portrait series here. Above is the drawing I did before simplifying it for the painting. Somehow I managed to make the present “me” look much younger in the process as well…
Some more family paintings from photographs I’ve been going through lately. This was a great shot of my mom but I turned her inadvertently into an older lady.
This one was identified correctly by my husband. I’m not sure if it was because he saw the photos I was working from. Both of these have a resemblance of my mother but just a bit. It’s more a feeling.
Another enigmatic family photo. What is Blue Gate? Where is it? Cute how there’s two shots of Jane framed within this doorway or porthole. I’m thinking I should paint the outside black.
The photograph. Undated but she looks around 17 here, maybe older.