Some months back, The Washington Post printed all of Trump's tweets and they became the underlayment of this piece. This mighty woman eclipsed the outrageous rhetoric with her strength and determination...This weekend is the anniversary of the Women's March and once again, I will take to the streets of DC to raise my voice and be my best resister. I have so many concerns about so much that is happened this past year but...my overriding thought as I march as a proud American--one nation, indivisible and with liberty and justice for all. That is how it goes...right?
As a teen, I owned a t-shirt that said “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman”—in the time of burning bras and discussions of equal pay. Bella Abzug. Gloria Steinem. Shirley Chisholm.
Years passed and I carried that phrase into my life and in my heart. (some times I heard Helen Reddy right there with me…google her)
Yes, I had my share of #MeToo’s, as did most of the women I knew. But never did I think it would take so many decades for the collective voices of women to reach their crescendo. NEVERTHELESS, what erupted Jan 20 2017 in all its pink pussy-hood, the walls (and maybe glass ceilings) began to crumble.
So fast-forward to a year of complete and utter nonsense. And maybe exactly what we needed in order to focus on what is truly important. To commit ourselves to creating the kind of world we want for ourselves, our daughters and our sons.
So this artwork sat in my studio for a few months, unsure where she was going and then BAM! This week, she woke. Fierce. BADASS. Unapologetic. Ready.
And when I finished her, I went to look at the history of the phrase, “Never Underestimate the Power of a Woman” and was blown away that Ladies Home Journal adopted the phase in 1941 as more of a nod to a woman being the quiet manipulator of her husband’s beliefs and behaviors—and oddly was introduced with a BALLERINA.
Well my lady may be in graceful pose (such synchronicity), but not as a manipulator but a collective force. Firmly planted. She is NOT going anywhere.
So...Wear your bra. Don’t wear your bra. March. Don’t march. But whatever you do, do it powerfully. And stay tuned…Namaste.
I need both passion and the peace to feel fully alive.
Finding them is a balance—a push-pull.
The passion—exhilaration-- comes from exploring: travel, having new eyes--doing things out of my comfort zone. It can be a geographic exploration or exploring new geography in my studio…in my mind. And I know I am on the right path when I feel that not so gentle tug of anxiety that is often along for the ride.
At times, I have been self conscious of feeling my anxiety when leaving my comfort zone—and I realize it is a healthy partner into newness. Sometimes the anxiety is about fear and sometimes it’s simply adrenaline. No judgments, it just is.
And when I’ve pushed myself for some time on the side of passion, I need pause--the peace of the familiar—my deeply rooted rituals and quiet moments are essential. Putting a fire in and curling up with a sketchbook. Going for a walk with my pups. Ha—the nesting and cleaning of my house really settles me.
That cycle of growth and retreat reminds me of what I witnessed when my kids were growing. The surge in new abilities—walking—talking…always in lock-step with minor regressions. The brain instinctively making room for all the “new” by falling back on the safety of before--old ways.
It feels so good to be In Route and In Root. My yin and yang of Passion and Peace. I hope to always push myself beyond the anxiety into the unseen. And I am grateful for all that grounds me as I do. Wishing you passion and peace. Namaste.
My filmmaker daughter and I often share the ups and downs of our creative processes. We are on similar paths and recently when I shared with her how hard it was to paint over something that I love but isn’t working, she told me that in film there is a name for it: Killing Your Darlings.
How fitting and how hard--Letting go of the “Darlings.” I do this in just about every painting I create. There is that special area that is just amazing to me in some way –the color, the shapes, the details--and yet it’s killing the composition. It could be so tempting to leave it in, but in the end, I edit. And yes, the moment my brush covers over that spot, I feel lots of anxiety, but nearly every time, my painting is more powerful once I’m done.
It takes so much courage to let go of something you really like but know isn’t working. And it’s as true in life as it is in art. Taking that leap of faith to make a change-- Whether it’s in a relationship, a job, or a routine.
So today I give you food for thought: examining your life for “Darlings.” Feeling the anxiety that letting go will stir and considering making the move toward finding something even better…Opening to the exhilaration. I don’t know if there is an artsy name for that moment when you realize letting go and moving forward was just the perfect thing… so I’ll just call it rapture. Wishing you find yours...Namaste'
Sometimes nothing makes sense—who am I kidding? That feels like much of life. And in these times, my inner resister is lit. Resist. Rebel. Shout from the rooftops. And then again, there are moments for self-care and contemplation.
Recently I was invited to create a piece for Frederick’s 505 North Gallery November show called Yada Dada: To immerse in the nonsensical of today. The absurdity.
A few minutes after I started painting, my daughter called. While on speakerphone and a very long conversation, I painted. She became my muse (not the first time). As I listened to her intensity and tapped into my response, this painting was born. And over the course of these last weeks, I refined and added my response to many other big and small events nudging my psyche--
So in pure Dada style, I will not elaborate on specifics, but invite you to imagine all that churns with my experience in this work. A work that required a very long, but necessary title: Microbiology Climate Change What if What if What if (wtf).
I leave you with one thought from one of the wisest women I have had the privilege of knowing: Never start a sentence with “what if.”
May your day be better because of her simple advice and may you be present to all that crosses your path. Namaste.
I love nesting. Making a safe place to let go. Often, I find myself waiting for that moment when the chaos passes. I’m still waiting.
This painting, Soft Landing, is about making peace with uncertainty—groundlessness. So in the midst of hurricanes, political upheaval & the reality that we control very little, we can choose to surrender. Accept that things change, leaving us without foundation-- and that our sense of solidness comes from our open state of mind. We can embrace the ride as a wonderful flow down the rapids or ride it white-knuckled on a roller coaster.
So in painting this work, I imagine finding zen in the imbalance—knowing that everything shifts under my feet and trying to embrace wherever the shifts may lead. Ultimately, trusting that things will unfold as they should. And relish the freshness of every moment. Finding peace and wonder in the flow.
May you find peace in your uncertainty and beauty in even the unexpected moments.
Our political climate assaults my intellect & sense of justice. My daughter would call it a first class cluster-f.
I feel called. To speak up. To use my art as my voice. Enter Rosa.
In reverence, I began painting Rosa Parks nearly three years ago. I was simply painting my complete admiration of a woman whose moral compass steered her directly into a storm. Rosa as badass.
As a middle-aged woman of color, she found her fill one day and said NO. She knew the stakes. She persisted.
Ironically, I wasn’t satisfied with my early painting and she stared at me for another year while the Black Lives Matter movement began to spread. I became acutely aware of my white privilege. I struggled with the reality. And the pit in my stomach.
Again, I began to add to the painting—it grew in importance to me. There was so much I wanted to say about courage and circumstance. I wanted to understand
So here I am many years later finding myself also reaching the end of my tolerance for what I see in this political reality. And looking for inspiration from Rosa on finding my inner rebel.
Rosa came back to my easel these last weeks. My resister. My guide.
And I painted until she emanated light. A rising storm of determination and grace. Of boldness. Of non-acceptance.
Weeks before that evening on the bus, Rosa had attended a meeting where Mamie Till spoke about Emmett’s murder. It was a turning point in Rosa’s already activist mindset and in her singular act of refusal on that bus, Rosa Parks birthed a movement.
Who knows what will be our turning point. What will move us to take a bolder step.
And what that step might look like. Dan Rather writes on FB. James Comey testifies about Presidential lies. We protest. We get political.
For me, I speak today with my work of Rosa.
MLK said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Have courage. Find your voice. Namaste.
As a kid, you have little choice about how your life goes. Mine was a ride that I never wanted to get on.
I spent time wishing things would have been different. It was messy. And I had some scars as parting gifts.
For a while I did my best to avoid the things that might bruise me. What a safe and unsatisfying path.
I watched my mom choose to cocoon herself and after nine decades, I think she finished with some regret.
So I’ve started inviting the mess in—getting a bit dirty. Trying to have some good heart pounding stories to tell. Relishing the bruises –both past and present—as fodder for a good life. As marks of courage. Battle wounds—Medals of Honor.
So “Flower in the Dirt” was born as I painted in all my artistic vulnerability these last few weeks—a painting about the marriage between life’s battle scars and beauty. I paint flowers not in their perfection, but in awe of all that comes together in their growth—the grittiness and strength. A great symbol for my quest to get in the mud.
I feel grateful for all the bumps I’ve had along the way—otherwise I might be complacent, less compassionate and kind of boring.
So here’s to cherishing each and every scar and the healing that makes you stronger. Each moment of uncertainty and exhilaration. Lessons learned. Paths unearthed.
I mean really, who wants to finish the game without some dirt on their uniform?
When I was about 5, my sister was immersed in high school French. At some point she started calling me “mon petit chou”—my little cabbage. She explained it was a term of endearment and while I was dubious, I never forgot my first words of French. I loved them.
Not too much later, I began loving Henri Matisse—his colors, his unabashed looseness and his maverick rail against convention. I relished his love/hate with Picasso-- their rivalry and friendship. They both feel close to my heart.
More recently, I had my first trip to Paris. It was instant love. The architecture. The energy. The people. From the moment I spied an 80-something woman dressed to the nines with her cane and fishnet stockings, I felt kindred.
My grandfather escaped the pogroms as a teenager, and found sanctuary in France. Walking alone from Poland to Paris, he started a new life. As I strolled along Le Marais, I imagined him finding safety there, selling his woodcarvings. Mastering his art.
So Paris stirs much in my heart, as does Henri. Today I finished this piece, inspired by a Matisse. I felt such joy in creating my own iteration of his work. It just spilled off my brush. There was no angst. No indecision. It was as if he was there with me. Sitting on my shoulder. Mon petit chou.
Homage to tree pose–grounding myself in a strong foundation but surrendering to all that washes around me—remembering to bend so that I don’t break. Feeling grateful to my body and all that yoga brings to my soul and my art.
Welcome to my journey, in art & life...