Apr 27, 2010

chard lines and good dirt

Visually speaking, my favorite kitchen chore is pulling dark green leaves off red swiss chard stems.

Another deeply satisfying household task is turning that into this:

Maybe this fall or early next spring I can grow some chard,  especially now that the once pitiful dirt in the vegtable bed has been ammended with this good compost over the last few years.

Apr 24, 2010

looking at Nicolas de Staël

La Cathédrale, 1955

Nice, 1954    (The Obamas have hung this one in the White House.)

Paysage, 1954
 Landscape: the road to Uzes, 1954

Nicolas de Staël - Collage Moleskine # 18   (This collage is from tos2tods' photostream on Flicker.)


Chunks of black in an abstracted landscape make my heart sing.  

The poor fellow was beginning to get success in his late thirties in Europe and New York, but the pressure along with depression, insomnia and exhaustion got the better of him.  He killed himself at 41 by jumping off his eleventh story studio terrace.

Apr 22, 2010

Apr 21, 2010

the kids are alright (part II)

These collages have two things I appreciate in art:  
1.) a sense of humor with a spoonful of truth 
2.) a smidge of pink

The two Friday night art shows I attended last week were curated by Rhodes College students Maggie Exner,  Noelle Smith and Esther Ruiz and Whitney Ranson, respectively.  The collages are from a collaborative installation by Brannan Denney, Adam Farmer, and Mary Carmack called Role Play.    

I personally liked the title of the second show, I Miss Ashley, because Ashley is my middle name, which was actually my grandfather's middle name, back when men were named Ashley.  


The statement said the photographs are a documentation of the artist Ben Bauermeister's daily life.  I saw them as a documentation of friendship.  
The mindset between friends of "why call when you can just stop by?" and then hanging out for a few hours together changes as you get older.  It just does.  

I miss Ashley too. 


Apr 19, 2010


Head and Bottle    Philip Guston

Alexander McQueen

Sometimes straight lines pop out.  Everywhere there's a grid.  Sometimes shadows are the forefront of the visual world.  Other times it's text.   Once I worked on a mural and painted trees for weeks and on my drive home the Memphis canopy of verdant made my eyballs vibrate.  The whole world was shades of green.  Right now this teatering drunken oval seems to be everywhere.

Apr 16, 2010

Saturn's moon Helene.

Apr 13, 2010

ajuga patch

I use to live in a fourplex apartment building where the only place for a garden was a small patch of dirt with a dead tree stump in it.  I told my new boyfriend at the time that I wanted to plant flowers but the stump was in the way and I couldn't dig it up.   He said he’d give it a whirl because he was interested in starting a garden too.  

For hours he dug, rigged and wrangled.  He even tied one end of a rope to the axle of his ’86 Pontiac and the other to a root on the stump for the final pull, but that only loosened it up a little bit more.  Finally, he dug far enough underneath the root ball to wedge in a car jack that he used to slowly pry it out.  When the tree stump was on the curb and we were standing over the newly opened ground, I knew I’d found the person I wanted to marry.  

The little garden we ended up planting there was a treasure.  One plant that we fell in love with that was already growing all around that apartment building was a ground cover with dark waxy leaves and a beautiful spiky purple flower that blooms in April called ajuga (bugleweed).  When we bought our house five years ago, James brought over three shovelfuls and every year since he’s slowly spread it out along the edge of beds and in between stepping stones.  Right now it’s in bloom everywhere you look in our yard and it’s so beautiful.  

Apr 11, 2010

wicker chair

Most chairs say two things to me:  have a seat and draw me.  Even utilitarian folding chairs embody basic shapes and lines I return to over and over again in painting.   And then, of course, the visual impact of an empty chair speaks volumes about the human condition.

Apr 8, 2010

Arkansas in April

Today I drove to the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock to pick up a painting that was in the Delta Exhibit.  Last night there was was a loud raucous thunderstorm, but this morning it was clear as a bell.   Beautiful post-storm light saturated everything and simpsonsesque clouds filled the sky.  It was a good day to drive in the delta.  These were taken just off the Hughes exit.

Apr 3, 2010


Inside a cabinet in my studio there are a few brown accordion file folders filled with random drawings, found notes, pictures from magazines and scraps of this and that.   Anything that might inspire a painting but hasn’t been glued into a sketchbook is stashed away in these folders. 

My studio process is a lot like thumbing through the contents of an accordion file.  I’m always sifting, no matter where I am or whether I’m making art or not.  Here we go, flipping through it all...

Some time ago I acquired a beautiful stack of glossy film stills.  This one from is from the 1968 Czech film "A Report On The Party And The Guests”.