Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Power of an object

When I was decorating the tree before Christmas, I heard a crackling sound. At first I didn't know what it was. Then I looked down at the remaining ornaments still carefully laid out on the coffee table, and I could see that one of my favorites—a lilac and silver heart—had cracked all over.
When I showed my “broken” heart to John, he said the reason why it had cracked was to let out more love. Hmm. I had a feeling there was a lesson in all this ...or maybe even a poem. But I forgot about it until Christmas Day when my sister-in-law Wendy presented me with a replacement: a beautiful silver heart. (Wendy and I both love hearts, so she could relate to me losing mine).

Yesterday I decided I'd photograph the two of them together to send to Wendy. Unfortunately the lilac and silver heart disintegrated when I touched it. The funny thing is: when I looked at the photo afterwards, I could see myself taking the picture of it reflected in several of the fragments. I’m not sure what the lesson is here (or if there even has to be one), but I do know I've let go of my attachment to the heart and ended up with a visual poem.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Poetry says something...

While I was printing up some pictures for Christmas presents last night, I realized that I’ve said goodbye to a lot of my art in 2009—like this mixed media piece: Poetry says something nothing else can. I worked on it on and off for at least five years, and with the deadline of my show approaching in October, I said to myself: This is something you must finish. Suddenly, it all came together. Then Poetry spoke to someone and now has a new home.
Thinking about the whole process in retrospect, I can see I was so enamored with the central image (it’s a painting by the 17th century Italian artist Carlo Dolci called Poetry) that I couldn’t make a any kind of decision I felt was visually worthy of her. Once I made her less personal and focused on the act of writing poetry, I was able to finish.
The interesting thing is that Carlo Dolci was a notoriously slow painter himself. “[S]ometimes he would take weeks over a single foot,” wrote his biographer Baldinucci. By all accounts, Dolci was a very sensitive man. He suffered from depression and went into a decline triggered by Luca Giordano’s 1682 visit to Florence. Luca joked that his own rapid style had brought him a fortune, but Dolci would starve if he kept taking so long. Dolci also had a daughter called Agnese who made copies of his work and was a painter in her own right.
The image I used of Poetry seems to be the one around that's available to scan. I got her from a book my godmother gave me years ago …a 1908 bio of Carlo Dolci by George Hay. The reproductions are all hand-tinted because there was no color photography in those days. If you want to check out the book, you can read it online here.And by a curious coincidence, a miniature portrait painted of Dolci painted in the 18th century by Nardelli is available on Ebay right now for $1795.00 U.S (see below). I'm thinking it's time to buy myself a lottery ticket pronto.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Emma and Bryan

It was Jean Luc Picard who frequently said Engage on Star Trek, and he might as well have been advising my children because Emma is now engaged to her boyfriend Byran …or I guess I should say: fiancĂ©. We really like Bryan who is a salt of the earth kind of guy and perfect for Emma. But Emma says she lacks the wedding gene and thinks heading to Vegas might be a good idea after figuring out that she wanted to invite at least 300 people to her wedding and will need about twenty bridesmaids.
Is it my imagination, or are weddings much more complicated today? Having been a bridesmaid, a maid of honor and a bride I’m almost certain that they are. But just to get Emma inspired about the bridesmaid’s dresses, here is a picture of my cousin Ann’s 1970s wedding party. (I’m on the left).

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Almost Midnight

I haven’t been doing any assemblage lately because I’ve been focusing on Photoshop. But I really like this one I did a few weeks ago called After Midnight which includes the rusted back of a nametag and a china doll missing a leg that I ordered from Jennifer Pearson Vanier.
Jennifer has all sorts of nifty stuff for collage and assemblage at The Milkhouse Gallery in Prescott, Ontario and CTV did a feature on Jennifer and her husband Marty a few months back I really enjoyed watching.
Now where was I? Oh yes, Photoshop and assemblage. I’ve been busy creating, printing and framing some new pictures and as usual, framing makes me gnarly. Fed up with dust motes and fingerprints trapped under glass, I sat down to play in Photoshop and became completely absorbed. When I finally came up for air, I shifted to get more comfortable and, well, there was the musical sound of glass shattering under my rear end.

How could I have possibly spent all that time framing and then sat down on a finished piece without realizing it? No point in being annoyed though. I think things like this happen for a reason …i.e. stay focused on the task at hand (or wherever). It also made me realize how much I’ve missed doing assemblage. I have some great ideas that involve an oil tin and a chemistry beaker (also from Jennifer), but time will only tell if I follow through.
P.S. If you live in the Toronto area and can make it, our annual Extra-Ordinary Jolly Christmas Sale is happening this Saturday December 5th 2009 from 10 am till 4 pm at the Swansea Town Hall, 95 Lavinia Avenue, Toronto Ontario M6S 3H9. Hope to see you there! I’ll be flogging my wares, or more precisely wearing my flogs …whatever that means.