"We Three"

"We Three"

Sunday, December 01, 2013

A funny thing happened on my way to my blog...

Well, best intentions and all that.  Many, many burps along the digestive tract of therapy, art, life in general.  I did a bunch of these sloppy abstracts.  Really, Pollack had nothing on me, stirring the paint around with my trusty putty knives, layer after layer, all wet and messy.  It was cathartic, to say the least.  And I LIKE them.  They are visceral, kinetic, kind of edgy in a way I didn't think I could be.  Of course, I am exploring that.  My baby therapist said he didn't know many folks of my exalted age, verging on 70, who would do work this wrenching.  And I thanked him, as he has taught me to do, and told him "I don't know who I am and I want to find out before I die."  Yep, the cowwoman is on a voyage of self-discovery.  Considering I fell out of the high chair (twice), out of the buggy, off the bed and off the potty, and a babysitter shot my father's loaded gun through my crib, and I burned my hand on the oven, and the dog bit me, I am lucky to have had any life at all.  Seems I was not very important in the grand scheme of Mother's life, being female and all.  And I tried to  not be very important to my self for a lot of years, throwing myself under a man and adopting his way as mine, looking for love and approval.  Now the life is mine, at least.  Messy house, messy art, messy little dogs, it's all just fine with me.  Yep.                                                                                                  

Friday, August 16, 2013

Never, never stop learning and growing, even when it hurts like hell...

The cowwoman has been hung out and dried lately.  This occasions angst.  Angst occasions paintings with a whole lot of kinetic energy.  I learned this new process from a weekend workshop.  Couldn't get his style, though.  This work is the result of many, many layers of paint, thinly applied and each layer sealed with a layer of acrylic varnish.  I just love this piece.  It is visual proof of the healing process I am experiencing in therapy.  And my therapist wants to buy it!  I don't know what "artful" is, but I think this is close to it.  It is complicated, full of energy, a burst of creativity I didn't know I had in me.  I just ordered 6 more cradled boards like this one to work on, and oeuvre # 2 is currently reposing on the board.  I slap at it several times a day.  It is taking its time revealing itself to me.  This is okay.  Probably I will begin another, then come back to it.  It's really all just amazing fun, art. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Roll over, Cezanne...

Trying something different.  My first love, even before I went to college and learned boatloads of stuff about all those artists that came before me, was Cezanne.  I loved that he outlined things.  That was my partner's first criticism of my art.  Things do not have outlines!  Well, tell that to Cezanne.  Everything just jumps off the page, right?  And then there are the COLORS!  Holy palette, Batman!  So just imagine the fun I had doing this pastel yesterday.  Well, I had not done anything for a while, and I was ready for a challenge, and in the end, it really just did itself.  The way things are supposed to happen, sort of automatic painting.  In the end, this is the best therapy there is, to just noodle away with the paper and pastels, pushing color around, getting all messy in the process.  I had to do laundry, that's how intense it was.  And this is the way artists have learned their craft for centuries, copying the masters.  What Cezanne teaches me is a love of scintillating color, dabs of which are everywhere, even where you least expect them.  I want to paint like that.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Hot here, cool painting...

Happy to report the Punkin finally got his spring haircut.  He is a fraction of his usual self, very neat and splendid.  I fretted over this little thing while he was out in the van in the driveway.  He got an excellent in deportment, my little guy, and Dierdre is happy to add him to her long list of happy little canines.  And there is a raft of them.  I told her that must bee because she is good at what she does.  It is such a blessing to be good at what one does.  Happiness is a fluffy duck, and a sweetly shorn puppy.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Super satisfaction, plus a soupcon of rebellion...

Back to the drawing board, so to speak.  THIS is my style, lots of marks that show, on dark paper (some of it even showing through the finished work), expressive and bright.  This is "The Elder".  He is my fourth lion in my current wild animal opus.  He has a fierceness and a sweetness at the same time.  I did him fast, as I usually do, but as a concession to my recent teacher, I went back into the painting for some fine tuning.  Not a lot, just a little.  Now satisfied.  That could change.  Art is so very subjective.  My goal has been to find what works for me, and so far, this is it.  That could change, too.  A wise woman whose art is terrific, and highly personal, once told me to just keep playing.  I am happy to follow that advice.  For the rest of my little life. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

What happens when I value others more than myself...

I took some pastel lessons from a really fine, acclaimed artist, who doesn't know anything but his own style.  Now I know more than he does, because I know mine AND his.  Here is a glammed up self-portrait done in his way, very saturated and smoothed out.  Well, it makes me look really young, not a bad thing.  He even wanted me to smooth out the hair.  Didn't do that.  Now, I think this style is admirable, and useful for when I am doing a picky piece, like a floral still life, maybe.  He uses sanded paper, which is hard for me because I am so heavy-handed, I make oodles of dust.  I am debating putting my glasses on, which would make it much more like me.  Oh, well, live and learn.  I just keep trying new things, thinking I will stumble upon that which would make me revered and desired and immortal, that would be nice, too. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Not erveryone is the same, thank the Universe!

I signed up for a pastel class.  My thought process said, well, I taught myself this medium, and since I knew nothing about it when I started, maybe I still know nothing and there is much to learn.  (Actually, I had a book, and tried a lot of stuff before settling on the style I now employ.)  The baby artist in me said there is much to learn, little one.  And this very French guy is a renowned artist.  Surely he knows more than I?  So I bought the sanded paper, which I had tried before and was pretty unimpressed, made lots of dust under my heavy hand.  And, yes, I made mounds of dust.  I chose to do a self portrait, since I was the only subject at hand.  No, this isn't it, it is still unfinished.  What, you say?  More than one session on a painting?  Yes, French guy is pretty picky picky.  And, yes, it looks like a painting.  A kind of very smooth version of cowwoman.  Nuts.  I like my toothy paper.  I like the fact that you can tell it is not a painting.  I like the challenge of layering the pigments for dimension.  And I did this as my computer geek guy was hooking up my new CPU.  No more games of Freecell waiting for the Internet to graciously appear on my monitor.  Patience is not my virtue, guys.  And I love this guy.  The buck, I mean.  Also love the geek, and if anyone needs one of those, I know where to find him.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Newness all over again...

This is me trying to be a) neat and b) superlative with my drawing homework.  Neither goal was met, but aiming for it never hurts.  Punkin took off with my kneaded eraser, so I grabbed another from the pencil box, and it was dirty, so now I have a couple of blotches on my pristine page.  I like working with transparent objects, they are so much more expressive on the page, when one can discern after they are rendered that they are, indeed, transparent.  Sigh.  I followed the instructions of doing the shading as recommended by the teacher, but cheated in that I used my tortillons and eraser shield, not currently on the supply list.  Showing off, that's the cowwoman.  See what I know.  Yay me.  More coming, and that cannot be a bad thing.  The more I practice, the better I will become, yes?  Must get a supply of erasers or I will be searching for them on the back psuedo-lawn. over and over again.  Happiness is an HB pencil and a sketchbook. And knowing where your eraser is.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Back to basics...

The cowwoman felt that her work was too static, which means I had become my own teacher, and that is a way to get really stuck with the art.  So I signed up for some drawing lessons from a local artist.  He believes in learning to draw from the mind rather than rendering objects you can actually see.  This has never been my forte, but, hell, I am willing to try anything.  Here is my first lesson, drawing a can from the right perspective.  I actually embellished my can with other lessons I had learned, like weighting the line so that it is heavier when in shadow and lighter on the side of the ambient light.  I got a big nono when I left raccoon prints on my nice clean drawing, and was admonished to always rest my hand on a stationary paper towel.  That alone was worth the $40 I spent (for 4 two hour classes, being a senior doesn't ALWAYS suck, you know), and I was so impressed with this guy I signed up for his pastel classes, too, which means I need to dig in the muck that is my studio to find all the goodies I need.  Or buy new ones.  Gee that sounds like fun, actually.  New pastels are just like a new jumbo box of Crayola crayons, and remember how exciting that was?  Jumping up and down here like a little kid.  Figuratively speaking, of course.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Worry, worry, worry...

A funny thing happened while I was changing my password at ATT.com, after, once again, forgetting my old one.  Big warning came up - password too weak.  Gee, does that mean someone could hack into my account and pay my bill for me?  One less thing to worry about.  Many other things to take its place, of course.  Like, when will spring really arrive?  Will the laundry ever get done?  Why does the vet need my birthdate for Punkin's meds?  Will I be able to find my way through the Oakland maze of freeways to get to my daughter's house?  Who do I call to enroll in Christian Quinlin's drawing class since the one I did enroll in is cancelled?  Will they give me back my $100 without a hassle?  And then there is this painting.  A friend brought me the reference photo.  Easy-peasy, I thought.  I guess there is no way to make a mature bear cute.  And would I really want to do that?  Contrary to my usual method of painting, which is slap, slap, slap, done, this one took an extraordinary amount of time, and a couple of sessions, too.  I am not displeased, and the longer I look, the better it seems.  Stephen King says to throw your work on the floor and walk on it for a while to keep it from becoming too precious.  Maybe the table would be a better place for the bear.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Wherefore art thou, Spring...

Spring keeps burping up little storms and murky days of really gray, cold clouds.  Well, weather in California, at least the part I live in, has always been schizophrenic, with summers-of-no-summer happening every so often, foggy and dismal.  We are surviving in the little yellow house with layers of clothes, refusing to turn on the heat because, after all, it is SPRING, goddammit.  And the cowwoman has become fierce with the wild things opus, working on stepping out of her little box of self and incorporating new and wondrous non-local color here and there, something she had forgotten about.  This chapter of the work is more fun than a flock of Easter bunnies.  It feels really fuzzy and warm and deeply satisfying, like a fine dining experience.  I am not in the picture at all when doing this work.  It just flows out of me.  When I peck away, it is never as extraordinary than when I make big swaths of color and just stand back. letting it flow from the Infinite.  Bless you, HP.  Sweetness happening.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Wild things, and other musings...

In case you didn't notice, I am taking a sabbatical from birds and horses and koi and landscapes and self-portraits and yes, even cows.  Now communing with the wondrous creatures that roam the forests and jungles.  At first, I moaned about this painting.  Now, I feel really close to my wolf work.  More coming in this vein.  There is something in the eyes of these animals that really says something to me.  Maybe this is the reason I make my bed with squeaky toys under the pillows, so I can call my wolf pack back to the fold every night before turning out the lights.  We all curl up together in the blessed coolness, Pickle snoring, Punk issuing an occasional whimper as he chases critters like Socky Monkey and Little Cowee in his dreams  How sweet it is.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The warm and fuzzy thing...

In my last therapy session, I told my guy that shame had tweaked me more than usual, like the Critic does not like all this worthiness I am trying on like a new bathing suit.  See, Critic says, back fat!  Lumpy thighs!  Shame on you!  And then, I did something worthy.  I did my taxes.  You see, I am kind of cheap, and I think I am more creative than TurboTax or H&R Block.  They would probably not consider the dogs to be "security" as I used to claim when I lived at the house on the edge of the world, where badness slept under every bush.  So I wrestle with the mountain of receipts, tame them into a dandy Lotus worksheet, and run it all up the flagpole to see if anyone salutes it and sends me the refund to which I am so sweetly entitled.  The whole operation takes up the majority of a day, and involves storage boxes, a pencil sharpener, and a lot of yelling to keep Punkin from rolling around in all that paper spread out on the office floor.  Once it was done, aside from the fact that there will be a dandy refund this year, I felt all warm and fuzzy, like what a good girl am I.  So Ian, my baby therapist, commanded the homework this week be something that captures that feeling on paper.  I really didn't plan on it being this darling baby girl (no I don't know if it is a "she" or not, but if I say so, she is}, but I do know that whenever I feel all surly and sure that this life is just not worth the effort, I like to look at pictures of baby animals.  So full of hope and promise.  Cannot wait for Ian's appraisal.  The lion is going to therapy, too.  Much more indicative of my nature at the moment.  Quiet for the moment, with prospects of big outburst of power in the future.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Healthy pride, coming up...

After learning to be all humble, like, God does the art, not ME, my therapist thinks I should now take pride in the art.  Well, I did this in about 20 minutes yesterday (black paper, it's a real time-saver), just because I had the time, and I was tired of diddling with another image, and, as usual, I was sure I would not be able to get my conception on the paper, but, lo and behold, there it is.  Art is so elusive for me.  I get lazy, don't want to lay a palette or drag out the boxes and boxes and boxes of stuff, it all just seems so overwhelming, and then, there's THIS.  I did it to be a companion piece to my tiger, and these, I will never sell.  They are to absolute epitome of the divine process.  I am thinking now of doing a wolf, too.  Such nobility in our wild creatures.  I just want to honor their beauty, and love my own gift, the one HP gave me, and honoring it, honors Her, too.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Long time, no post, no paint, no nothing...

Okay, rousing myself out of the lethargy that is intensive psychotherapy, hoping that writing will be cathartic and light a fire under my admittedly rather heavy ass and get me working, again.  Very cathartic, therapy, however not so hot for my creative juices.  This go-round is all about shame, my emotion of choice, liberally spread by my parents, the Catholic church, teachers, employers, ex-husbands, yep, the list goes on and on.  And of course, at the head of the list is ME.  Now working on moving from the intellectual to the emotional level, and have I mentioned how PAINFUL this is?  Well, it is.  I have this baby therapist, in his last year of his doctorate, who has to peddle pretty fast to keep up with moi, as I have three times the life experience he has, and some pretty effective methods of deflecting the focus away from the real stuff and onto the fluff on top.  I gave him the imprimatur to call me on my shit, and he is getting really good at it, so much so that I didn't want to go last week.  That means it's working.  There doesn't seem to be any growth in my life without a significant amount of pain.  Wonderful teacher, pain.  I always move faster whenever that happens, like sitting down on a hot stove.  And the image today is one of my iconic cow paintings, this one a quick little pastel, that just found its forever home with a friend who bought her.  I admit that I miss my paintings when they leave the little yellow house, like I miss my children.  And I am feeling that it may be time to do another retrospective of the bovine kind.  This is, after all, my signature here in this strange little blog.  Cowwoman, over and out.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Homework! My therapist gives homework!

Well, we did a sand tray.   Now, I am committed to the process with this psychologist, he knows what he is doing.  And yet, this was ever so uncomfortable, playing with action figures in an oversized catbox.  My first attempt was all about animals, and their relevance to my personna, like I love frog medicine, cleansing, and oh, eagle is one of my totems.  Whee.  Next, nitty gritty time, with people.  Me, of course, and I was Cinderella.  Mother stood in front of me, her back toward me, the Queen, arms extended to protect her two little princes, and her dog.  No King in sight.  Really sad.  Yet, Ian said Cinderella did get the glass slipper, so go home and paint one.  Here it is.  This is my third attempt.  It was like I just couldn't get the proportions of the shoe correctly drawn on the paper.  This is a mixed media effort.  I forgot how fuzzy charcoal gets, so I sharpened it up with 6B graphite and a little Conte, too.  It became more of a tongue-between-the-teeth art project rather than an expression of my existential angst.  Though, maybe that is it.  If I get it just right, my prince will come and ride off with me into that eternal sunset of bliss.  Not happening at the moment.  No, not at all.  But I have this nifty glass slipper.