Sand Dune

"I see in these forms the elemental relationship to the large forms of nature; a sense of strength like a rock – fluidity like water – space like a mountain range. If I have chosen the female form in particular, it is because beauty has been debased and exploited in our sensual twentieth century. We seem to have a need to turn innocent nature into evil ugliness be the twist of the mind. Woman has been target of much that is sordid and cheap, especially in photography. To raise, to elevate, to endorse with timeless reverence the image of woman, has been my mission – the reason for my work."

~Ruth Bernhard


JWM Turner 1775-1851

For Turner the reality of emotion is united with the reality of color. His innovations in style and technique combined with the emotive and esthetic strength in pure color became, to him, the ultimate element in painting. Discarding shape and form to mere outline and by using color fluidly, he pushed oil painting to the point at which the subject is almost seen through the paint itself.

This particular painting "Slavers throwing overboard the Dead and Dying - Typhon coming on" was painted by Turner in 1840 specifically for an anti-slavery campaign . The painting is based on an incident that occurred in 1783 in which the captain of a slave ship tossed sick and dying slaves overboard in hopes of collecting insurance money on the claim that they were "lost at sea." The painting not only depicts the slaves being eaten by sea monsters and drowning while still in shackles, but also foretells the fate of those on board responsible for the horrors. The ship is headed into a massive storm with sales already in tatters and which will ultimately be destroyed thus punishment to those deserving.


Lake Of Fire

This black & white documentary film by Tony Kaye depics all sides of the abortion debate. It touches on the ethical, philosophical, moral, and political issues and exposes the viewer to the raw images of medical procedures. It certainly does not leave anything out. It's a tough film to watch but well worth the time...it definitely forces the viewer to reassess and ponder over this very complex issue.


Helen Keller

"Everything has it's wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn whatever state I am in, therein to be content."

Helen Keller lived until she was 86 in Westport, CT.


Sir Isaac Newton & William Blake

"To myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself and now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, while the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."
"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and deformity... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."
The above color print is by William Blake depicting Newton as the mythic architect of the universe. In this piece Blake was asserting his supremacy of the creative immagination over Newtons disciplined reasoning.


Chicago...Bean style

I was traveling around Illinois last week and simply must share my Chicago experience. The view from afar was beautiful and enticing so I decided I simply must go into the city on my last night just for the experience. I should have picked up on the slight eyebrow raise of the front desk receptionist when I asked for driving directions to Millennium Park. He said "Driving"? with eyes wide open as I innocently replied "yes", as I am kind of the adventurous type. He handed over the directions with an estimated arrival time in approximately twenty minutes. I was on my merry way for my first Chicago experience in the little shiny sporty maroon convertible..and it was very cool, the sun was ablaze and I was able to watch it set over Chicago...when the nightmare began. I made it to the exit in relative good time, I'd say 45 minutes...not bad considering Friday night rush hour. The Bean adventure started when I got off the exit, missed the right turn I was suppose to make to smoothly glide into Millennium Park, and smack dab ended up in grid lock from hell. There were bicycles....thousands of them everywhere...of every size and shape imaginable. Streets were closed and people were pissed. Now I don't know who decided to have this bicycle parade at 5 o'clock on a Friday night in downtown Chicago, but, well, they need to seriously consider transferring this individual to a position which does not give them the power to potentially affect thousands of people. Anywhoo...so Bean is stuck in the middle of the nightmare bicycle parade and has to sit and watch while thousands of bicycles stream by with people wearing costumes and blowing horns and doing other uninteresting things. I had been sitting in traffic at a stand still for probably a half hour when the action packed adventure part of this story begins. A person in a big black SUV starts to become irritated at having to sit and watch these bicycle people roll by in all their merriment as he sits and stews in nightmare traffic on a Friday night. Evidently he had enough sitting and staring and decided to intersect the bicycle parade and inched out little by little while trying to cross the street...and did manage to make it a quarters of the way across. Well, the bicycle people did not appreciate this interruption at all...the merriment vanished and the bicycle people became Enraged. They stopped and started yelling and banging and hitting his SUV while they had him surrounded and while others called for the police. (meanwhile the bean has slowly closed her convertible top) One particularly angry bicycle person took his bicycle and plopped it onto the hood of the SUV while another smashed his back window. While this terror is unfolding only 30 feet from the Bean (no, I didn't get any photographs) a gap in the bicycle parade finally opens and I readily dash away and fly back to my safe hotel room. Chicago...the Bean style!


How to agitate the Bean

I am usually a very calm and collected person (my whole family is calm and collected) but today I must say I let loose with good warrant. My new four month old laptop went on the fritz a few weeks ago and Dell actually said they would replace it completely because it has a serious potential of breaking out in flames at any given moment. Nice enough, I thought, they care enough about the Bean's eyesight to ensure she doesn't loose it by an exploding computer...they said they would replace it within ten days but I would most likely receive it in three because they are so awesome. Gullible me (my whole family is not gullible) actually believed the nice enough Dell people until 2.5 weeks later and still no Dell. I spent one hour on the phone in the morning and I became so irate I was rendered speechless by the utter incompetence and run around I was being given. One amazing excuse after another seemed to stream out of the blackberry without pause. I just couldn't take it anymore and hung up to call my buddy Allison hoping she would jump at the chance to channel her own rage at the Dell people but she had already vented earlier with the Land Rover people. I'm not good at confrontation and I believe Allison would excel in this area because she is so quick witted and a smarty pants. But she declined so I waited until my drive to Chicago to call the Dell people back. My three hour drive is one giant blur...I couldn't even tell you one scenic view because I was on the bluetooth the whole time trying to get someone on the phone who actually would say something other than "yes, I'm so sorry", "yes, please, I understand and am so sorry", 'yes, so sorry Maureen we understand...but the computer will still take 21 days to deliver". Three hours of this and I finally am transfered to someone who says my computer will be here on Monday although I really am not going to be holding my breath...the Dell people were still contradicting themselves with every other word they uttered.


The flat lands of Illinois

I have been cruising through Illinois for the past few days and personally I think it's quite beautiful. There is such a quiet feel to this area and a sense of tranquility that I love (although I am dearly missing my Starbucks!). I only wish I had more opportunities to stop and photograph. The first problem was that is was raining most of the time and the second is that the roads really don't have a breakdown lane to pull over on to. The big mac trucks running through scare the wits out of me and quickly kill any ideas of stopping on the side of the road. The wonderful benefit of having a GPS is you can turn onto country roads for a side trip and the GPS will redirect you so I don't have a fear of being lost. Tomorrow I'm heading north to Chicago in my little sporty shiny maroon Spider convertible...fun fun!


Albert Einstein

"The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books---a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects

This was the quote that was suppose to be published along with my Bio for the art show. The curator, I believe, did a lousy job curating. The bean's just a little peeved about that.


Cain and Abel 2006

Anselm Kiefer is a German sculptor and painter of mixed media. Stars and the distant horizon are recurrent motifs in his exceptionally large paintings where he explores creation mythology and the nature of the cosmos.

Kiefer on his large concrete structures:

"What interests me is the transformation, not the monument. I don't construct ruins, but feel ruins are moments when things show themselves. A ruin is not a catastrophe. It is the moment when things can start again."


Chinese Girl with Bound Feet

The general consensus is that the roots of foot binding lie in the Sung dynasty (960-1279 AD) in China. The general purpose of foot binding was to restrict the growth of the feet so that they would not exceed 3-4 inches as small feet were considered beautiful and elegant. A foot measuring a perfect three inches was called a 'lotus of gold'. The process normally began when a girl was between the ages of three to eleven, the justification being that the pre-bone cartilage of the arch, which was predominantly water, would be more easily molded than matured bone. The mothers or more experienced female relatives who performed the foot binding typically began the procedure in late fall or winter when the foot was generally numb so that the pain would not be so severe. From the Chinese viewpoint, foot binding was not considered mutilation but a form of adornment, an embellishment to the human body. The human body, in Chinese philosophy and medicine was part of a larger organic process of regeneration. The attire and adornment of both men and women forged a link between the needs of human society and universal order, bringing together the world and the spiritual realm of Heaven.


Utagauana Hiroshige

This is one of my favorite Japanese woodblock prints from the Edo-period. It is by Hiroshige (1797-1858) whose work centered on telling stories of 19th century Japanese life in villages and varied landscapes. What is interesting about this period work is that it was often a collaboration between artist, publisher, woodblock carver, and printer although almost always accredited only to the artist and publisher. The artistic expression which emerged from the Edo-period was centered on its use of water as a metaphor which carried ancient associations of freedom & pleasure, the “delightful” uncertainties of life when people live for the moment. This woodblock print is actually only a few miles from my home at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, CT. The woodblock prints which hang in the museum (there are many) are actually not the original prints, the originals are kept in air tight storage facilities due to their delicate nature and their susceptibility to fading from UV light. You are able to request private views of the prints, which is very cool. This little museum has quite a history and is well worth a tour through it's mainly impressionistic paintings, although the entire collection is quite large and varied as the family was quite eclectic in their taste. Theodate Pope Tate was the chief architect and only daughter of the Tate family. She designed the estate in the late 1890's and was also a main architect of the private all boys school, Avon Old farms, in Avon, CT. I can go on and on about her architectural style and talent but I guess if you're really interested you can just look her up yourself.


"Theme"...who cares!

"A Place Where Things Were Said and Done"

I am reflecting over the decision I made to leave the above depicted painting out of my show (remember, I am a introvert so I will continue to obsess and ponder over this issue for years to come). The only reason I decided to remove it was the curators crinkled up nose when she said "What is That?"...as if she was repulsed or something. It is an innocent enough piece, as you can see, it's just of a very different style than my norm. Minimalism at it's best. The reason she wanted to leave it out was because it didn't fit the overall "theme" of the show....and now I'm thinking, who cares? Personally I don't go to shows expecting any particular theme, I'm going because I want to see the artists work and it would actually be a bonus if it did show a variety of mediums and styles because that's what I like....mixed media. Just as a side note, the painting does not depict peppers...they are People!....this is where the tittle is essential to a piece, it can be completely misinterpreted without it. Or I don't know....does the title give a hint to what the painting is at all?....I need discussions people!! ;)


A weekend of Dance and a little Opera

This weekend was just pure luck as my trip to DC was canceled last minute...thanks Justin!! I was therefore able to attend the Open House Hartford annual festivities and it was well worth the trips. On Saturday I saw The Witching Hour dance performance which challenges the silence of non-conformist voices as it raises the gender implications of Hartford's own witch craze in the 1600's. The performance was by the Judy Dworin Performance Project and it was the first time I had ever seen them perform...very good indeed. An interesting aspect was the use of sign language throughout the performance by the dancers themselves as well as a main interpreter dressed in period garb perched on a higher platform directly behind the dancers. It really added a subtle beauty to the piece. And for today I went to The Bushnell to see a collaboration between the Connecticut Opera and the modern dance company, Full Force Dance Theater, for their opera-choreographed modern dances. A Sunday spent with a little Verdi, Mozart, Bernstein, mixed with contemporary dance...what more could you ask for? Sounds odd but it really was interesting!


Politics, Politics....

So Oprah is endorsing Obama....hummmm....have to think about that one. Hopefully she has thought this one through, after all she did support Powell and what turned out to be his little flask of nothing. Oprah had actually challenged an audience member during one particular live show when they had questioned this "evidence" (of WMD's) as propaganda....she was quick to shoot them down and belittle their point of view. I don't believe she ever apologized for being wrong or for her quick, uneducated judgement. I am a big Oprah fan but I have my reservations when one individual has such power over such supposed masses...especially if those masses only look to one individual for their main source of information and that one individual is in the entertainment industry and who also does not do their homework. I have tried to stay away from politics lately as I've become a bit obsessed and therefore depressed over the state of our world. Overall I have a positive view of Obama...I think of him as a mediator of sorts which I believe our country is in great need of. I believe he has the capacity to bring people together. I am not so sure if he is what we need as a leader of our nation....but I will ponder.


Quote of the Week

" I'm living so far beyond my income that we may almost be said to be living apart."

ee cummings, amateur painter and master of poetry is best remembered for his lyrical and playful poetry. There is a wonderful book of his poetry published along with Marc Chagall's paintings, "may i fell he said". Both artists works are such expressions of joy and playfulness that they really complement one another, it's an exceptional match, I think. The above painting is by ee cummings. He died at the age of 68 from a brain hemorrhage.


It's An Art Day

Today was the day to hang the show which went relatively smoothly. I decided to keep two pieces out as they really didn't flow with the overall theme. The space is kinda hokey as the walls and wood beams are crooked so everything looks off kilter. The building itself is very old and in it's center is a main chimney with a large flue venting a non working fireplace, an old bakers oven, and I'm not sure what other type of fire box. So the show is hung, that's about all I have to say about that.

I also went to Real Art Ways to see the 50,000 bed exhibit. It is the conception of artist Chris Doyle who has commissioned 45 artists to explore in video format inn, motel, and hotel rooms throughout Connecticut. The exhibit is a collaboration between three contemporary art galleries in CT... Real Art Ways, ArtSpace, and The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, which have all specifically designed their gallery spaces to enable these multi screen video installations to be viewed in a very personal yet public format. I am still pondering the show so can't really write about it now...I'm one of those introverts that require reflection on just about everything. A brilliant professor of mine once said "Ask an introvert a question and you can expect an answer in about two years"...that about sums me up.


Equine Studies

These were taken with my little digital point and shoot. I think my manual Nikon is almost easier to shoot with, you just need a sturdy tripod and you are able to capture almost anything in perfect clarity and exposure. On the other hand, I probably just need to get used to the digital...there's just so many buttons! This was a very sunny day so the images are washed out and overexposed. i do like the first image the best...I tend to gravitate more towards high contrast prints.


Einmal ist keinmal

"What happens but once might as well not have happened at all". This is a phrase which frequently populates Milan Kundera's novel "The Unbearable Lightness of Being", by far my favorite all time novel. The novel is a search for meaning in life which leans towards the necessity of significance, which comes from a sense of weight. It attempts to identify what makes us need companionship in life as well as trying to understand the relationships between conflicting desires. Is the absence of any responsibilities and ties in life really a "lightness"? Does this lightness, or absence of relationships, become "unbearable"? The novel portrays how vulnerable we are of our contradictory desires, aspirations and impulses.

"When we want to give expression to a dramatic situation in our lives, we tend to use metaphors of heaviness. We say that something has become a great burden to us. We either bear the burden or fail and go down with it, we struggle with it, win or lose. And Sabina, What had come over her? Nothing. She had left a man because she felt like leaving him. Had he persecuted her? Had he tried to take revenge on her? No. Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden but the unbearable lightness of being." pp. 121-122

I also must include a personal note regarding this novel and perhaps why it has affected me so deeply. I was sitting on a park bench reading Tolstoy's "Anna Karenina" while I was studying photography at UCONN. While reading a physician came up to me and we started chatting and we ended up going out on a few dates, but it never evolved into anything. I discovered Kundera's novel shortly after this encounter while scouring the "Red Barn" used book store and took it with me while traveling Europe. The opening chapter introduces two of the central characters; Tomas, who is a physician, and Tereza, who is an armature photographer. They meet one another while Tereza is reading "Anna Karenina"....now how spooky is That?! This was over 17 years ago and the book has never left me!


Daisy & Archie sittin in a tree........

The top photograph is of Daisy's friend Archie on vacation in Maine last week. He didn't go swimming but I requested a picture of him in his life preserver anyway, thanks Allison ;). Daisy is in the photograph on the bottom blocking the doors so I wouldn't leave home without her. Daisy is kinda sassy so she wasn't invited to many party's at Archie's place, but when she was, she had lots of fun and was sure to leave her mark in one way or another.....hee hee.


My Land

It is mine alone,
this land of my most secret soul.
I enter it without a passport,
as though I were going home.
It knows my sorrow and my loneliness
It gives me rest, and hides me under a scented stone.

Gardens bloom there, in my land,
their flowers are bloomed by me.
The streets there are my own,
but no houses stand there;
they have been brought to ruins since my childhood days;
and the inhabitants go wondering in the air,
seeking a place to stay;
they also live in my land,
the land of my most secret soul.

See why then, it is that I smile,
when my sun's blaze scarcely shows,
or why I weep
like the lightest of showers in my night.

There was a time when I had two heads,
there was a time when these two faces that were mine
were bathed in a passionate dew,
and drowned there like the perfume of a rose.

Now it seems to me
that even when retreating
I journey forwards
towards a towering gateway
behind which walls stretch far away
and a pale lightening glimmers.
It is mine alone,
the land of my most secret soul.


This is the only poem I have ever read by Marc Chagall and have been unsuccessful in locating others. I stumbled across this gem in the Farmington Library meandering through the very slim art section. The book was interesting in that it was dedicated to 4 artists, one of which was Chagall and another was Picasso. All four artists were offered two pages in which they could write anything they wanted, it was their space to do with as they wish but the authors intention was to publish reflections by artists on their art. This poem above titled "My Land" was Chagall's submission. Picasso, on the other hand, rarely gave interviews and it was unheard of for him to actually speak or write about his work. Picasso was offered several opportunities to submit something for publication or, as the authors last resort, was threatened that the pages dedicated to him would remain blank. Picasso at this time was very sick and on his death bed when he finally submitted a response to the author. It was the alphabet spanning both pages written in capital letters....Ya gotta love artists!


The "Gunks"

"Visit for the day. Be inspired for a lifetime."

The Mohonk Preserve [ http://www.mohonkpreserve.org ]
in New Paltz, NY, includes the Shawangunk Mountains, where I spent the day rock climbing along it's ridges. It's both exhausting and thrilling and I will write about this more extensively in the future. I'm just a wee bit tired as I've got my pillow on my brain....looking forward to falling into a deep and well earned slumber!


my garden

My gardens did well this year as we've had a hearty rain almost every week. This is the first year the hydrangea bush has bloomed at all, never mind the magnificent color. I believe in a self-sustaining garden, one which requires no care except the occasional pruning as I find this meditative and relaxing. The close ups are better than the overall picture....I tend to plant the flowers too close together and the gardens end up looking like a hodge podge of overstuffed messy beds. I have made it a good nesting place for honey bees, as they've built a home in an old tree stump and seem quite happy to have an abundance of food sources close by. I have decided not to disturb them as I hear there's a shortage of honey bees and it appears to be getting worse every year. Also, I feel if you are going to plant all these flowers you should expect to attract insects and you shouldn't then go and kill them all....It's kind of like entrapment, well, sort of....



The Starn Twins most recent series involves the study of the nocturnal and ephemeral nature of moths and why theses creatures are attracted to light. The works are typical Starn style in that they are certainly unconventional and continue to use photography as a mixed medium. These series of photographs are created by coating handmade mulberry paper with gelatin emulsion and are then toned in sulpher. Although I have yet to see these images up close and personal these photographs are described as being as soft and as brittle as the wings of the moths they depict.


She stands so tall. She has no arms.

I finished this piece about six months ago and I am really not happy with it. All that I admire about Egon Schiele's work I feel is lacking in my own, those confidant free flowing brush strokes that carry so much passion. Although I feel the top half of Winged Victory of Samothrace is successful, the bottom portion is overworked with a thicker application of paint which results in an unbalanced piece. I also think the piece is stiff...almost too graphicy (yikes...not that!!) with everything placed "just so". I was hoping to solve this issue before the exhibition but I have not worked through it yet and probably wont as I have to hang the show next week. Maybe next year ;) Just as a side note for those of you who are interested, the bottom left portion is a shadow image in reference to The Pied Piper of Hamelin, specifically Robert Browning's 1842 poem. You are welcome to leave comments if you would like to discuss :)


Sonnenblume II

Egon Schiele (1890-1918) was an expressionist on the Vienna art scene and was regarded by his contemporaries as a narcissist as well as possibly Gustav Klimts future successor. Egon died at the age of 28 but had created more than 3000 works. His pieces are known for their radical formal elements as well as their emotional intensity.

What I truly admire about Schiele's work is that it is simply dripping with emotion and the pieces seem to have such a substantial feel to them....it seems like they would weigh a ton if you were to pick them up. I think the tonal quality of his color choices, the absence of a background color, and the use of sharp jagged lines add to the weightiness of his drawings and paintings. I don't really agree that Schiele was a narcissist, I think he explored his self in a much deeper, more complex way and tried to understand his soul and it's relationship to the physicality of his body. The spiritual self in relation to the physical self.


Last Light

It was a weird sort of day which encompassed a sort of laziness and productivity that comes around once in awhile. The weekend goals were smashed due to the humid hot weather and I was silently gleeful as they were house oriented dirty work goals (one was fixing the huge crack in my asphalt driveway...this entails a gas torch, liquid tar, sand, and regular gooey tar). So instead I hibernated inside and read, made tofu w/ pesto pasta for the weeks dinner, and vacuumed in all the crevices that need attention every five months or so. Then I went for a much desired run as the day cooled and was unsuccessful because of my dental saga, which I'll maybe go into some other time. It's very trying and exhausting being in constant pain and I'm just plain tired of it....it's only been about four weeks and I have 17 months to go. After my unsatisfying jaunt around the reservoir I went to Boarders and then for my weekly grocery shopping spree at Trader Joe's. On my way home I had to hang out my car window and photograph the sunset.....I love these digital cameras!! Quite the extreme from my Nikon FM4 (which I still dearly love in a nostalgic sort of way).

Quote of The Day

"Go into yourself. Search for the reason that bids you write; find out whether it is spreading out its roots in the deepest places of your heart, acknowledge to yourself whether you would die if it were denied you to write. Must you write? If the answer is 'I must,' then build your life according to this necessity."
-Letters to a Young Poet
Rilke is one of my favorite poets, he has come to be regarded as a modern German classic and was well admired in his later years. In his philosophical works he meditated on life and death, time & eternity, art verses ordinary things. He believed in the spiritual realms which he believed artists had the ability to merge reality with the spiritual.


Julia Margaret Cameron

The Whisper of the Muse, 1865
albumen silver photograph
The Wilson Centre for Photography

The central figure in this photograph is the well-known painter G. F. Watts, who was the artist-in-residence at Little Holland House and a close friend and advisor to Cameron. Two children from Cameron's hometown of Freshwater are posed as Muses beside him, Freddy Gould is on the left, and Lizzie Keown is on the right. Watts is shown communing with the Muses who offer creativity and inspire the highest forms of art - philosophy, poetry, literature and music.
Cameron had a relatively short career photographing and printing, a mere ten years, but was able to produce a lifetimes of work. The archetypal women in her work are portrayed as reservoirs of spiritual strength, and men as reservoirs of genius. Children were often portrayed as angelic as they often died at a very young age during the Victorian time. The fine details in her prints are transitory and accidental as her preferred technique was out of focus.

The Earth Heaves

This is a piece I have been living with for about five months now. At first I was disappointed as it didn't really capture what I had envisioned it to be. Then I grew to hate it for all the typical reasons artists hate their own work. Now I think I actually like it. The digital photograph doesn't do it justice, actually it's quite crappy. I will replace it with a better quality one once I do a shoot in the gallery during the exhibition. I was debating whether or not to frame this piece but due to monetary reasons it's not going to happen. I don't do the cheap frames as I think this can actually ruin a piece... you either go all the way with a good quality frame or don't bother framing at all.


The Otherness Of Things

After a seven year hiatus I am having a solo art show. I've exhibited in a variety of group shows but haven't done a solo in a very long time. There are a variety of excuses I could spew but the reality is I am finally in a somewhat good and stable place, both mentally and physically (although the leaking chimney is giving me MINOR stress). My work is contemporary mixed media having majored in photography. I switched from a painting major after my professor said my paintings were "laughable", so now I do a little of both :)...and have managed a happy medium that seems to work for me. The wonderful ability to work in mixed mediums, which I do not protest to have mastered, is to create something harmonious out of such seemingly opposite elements.