From Charles Seliger's last show, Ways of Nature.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
"God has put a secret art into the forces of nature so as to enable it to fashion itself out of chaos into a perfect world system"
-Immanuel Kant, Universal Natural and the Theory of the Heavens
This is a painful one. Ever feel extreme gratitude and pain at the same time? While creating a link for my first posting of this blog, I learned Charles Seliger had died at the beginning of the month. He was 83. Self taught and the last living abstract expressionist from the original group that created the term. Just 17 when Peggy Guggenheim saw his talent and decided to show him. And as often happens to me, he was a person who came across my path at just the right time in my life to answer questions and confirm some things I was wrestling with. I found a book on his work about 6 years ago in NY, thought it was interesting, then put it back on the shelf for a future read. 4 years later, on a cold winter Sunday, on the couch with a fire and Paul, I opened it thinking I'd just take a look. But instead I got a little weak in the knees and even weepy discovering his life, his process and seeing his art. Small paintings that were packed with so much life, I quickly realized that's what he was actually painting. The stuff the makes life, life. Paintings that drew you in and said "Come close, no really close". I felt tiny and in awe. His work and story haunted me so much, I some how found the ovaries to track him down and call. His wife Lenore answered the phone. ME-"I'm a huge fan, blahblah, trying to make paintings, blahblah, self taught blahblah" Long silence. LENORE- "Well I think you're very brave. No one does this anymore. Just call people they admire. I used to when I was younger" Then we had a great chat about how they met and she passed my info along to Charles. He called me the next day and it was like having 70 compacted years of the study of art, poetry, history, music and the NY Public Library on the other end of the phone. Tempered with kindness and compassion. In the last year and a half we've exchanged some letters (his written in the tiniest cursive on very cottony paper) he's sent me a beautiful collection of catalogues from his past shows, and Paul and I got to meet he and Lenore at his last show at the Michael Rosenfeld gallery. He's taught me so much and will continue to be my teacher. I've learned I'm autodidactic, I'd been naturally using automatism when I paint, he got me feeling less guilty about my massive book collection, tiny is fierce and beautiful, and that the constant change or chaos in nature within us and outside of us, is what makes life deserve the name life. Like I said, sad and grateful.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
"We are family. I got all my sisters with me"
My peeps. My clan. Seth Godin calls them tribes. Our family we join not because we were born into it but because we grow into it. In this clan the same things make us itchy, bitchy, smile and want to take action. But there are so many endless options now because of the internet. It's like you're in your favorite store but can only carry so much. I went to the New Bedford Antique Center on Sunday, just to cruise with Paul. I was dizzy in 3 minutes. Trying to keep my pocketbook healthy, I hadn't been in awhile. I got the gimmees so bad. I was overwhelmed, wanting to own so much. I could be so organized with all these great little cupboards and file cabinets. Make so many hats with all these pieces of ephemera. Meditate so comfortably in this chair. My muse was messing with me bad. Needed to put her in her place. Then my dear friend, Arley-Rose's obsession with the font Hobo came to mind. She's always snapping pictures of this crazy little font and posting them. You go on flickr and those tribes are everywhere. So with my little iphone I began to shoot what I found inspiring. I walked out with the same abundance of cash I walked in with but feeling really full with the treasures on my phone. And funny so much of it, related somehow, to a logo I've been struggling with. Got some clarity. One of my wonderful wise daughters once reminded me that in many cultures you eat only a handful of rice because that's what fits in your hand. There may be abundance but without the supa sized bowls we have, your hand serves as the bowl. It's in direct proportion with your stomach. Full and content. One tribe at a time. Now I just have to edit those photos.
Monday, October 19, 2009
Attracting and Saving Sunshine
"A day without sunshine, is like, you know, night".
It's here. The end of the summer and I'm saying good bye to walking out my studio door barefoot into my backyard. Summer has really just been 15 minutes long this year. I'm also saying good bye to two fabulous 3 month long projects. My Smoke and Pickles shoot with Dan George and The Dunn family's Mole Hollow Candles shoot. Two dream projects Paul and I have worked our tails off on. How did we get so lucky? Two companies that let us create beautiful photos of what they work hard at and infuse with love. Dan's project entailed jumping in to many of his catering events and on the sidelines capturing his incredible feasts. On non event weeks we got to trace his shopping path by shooting the small businesses that feed him- fisherman, cheese merchants, vegetable growers, and meat purveyors. The Dunn's make a candle that is hand crafted and just makes everything around it beautiful. Staging backyard picnics, a birthday party, a woodland wedding, then inviting some handsome friends to be our models gave us some shots that show off that magical candlelight. The thread through all of this was love. Love in how the products are made, the talented artists that helped, and love of the beautiful and capturing it. Winters can be dark and cold in the church but producing the websites to showcase these photos will be sunshine for me. Thanks for the vitamin C- Smoke and Pickles, Mole Hollow, Roanne Robbins, Cody Nowel, Roseberry Winn Pottery, Beehive Kitchenware, Milk and Honey Bazaar, Charlie, Peter, Alison, Sophie, Lydia, Hillary, Levi, Cameron, Laura, Ian, Abby, Christen and Marc.
Just the tip of the iceberg. These are snapshots of the body of work Paul has shot for Smoke+Pickles and Mole Hollow this summer. Stay posted for the new sites in the works now.