Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday June 30, 2010




The morning is quiet and sunny. There is not a cloud in the sky, of any description, or color. The sky is simply that beautiful New Mexico blue. As though the child could not stop coloring with the NM-sky blue crayon, the favorite in the box. The little birds seems to have left the neighborhood. I'm sure there is so much for them to learn before winter. The two of them seemed to be strong and healthy, and I wish good luck to them in their young lives. And we will look forward to see if their strong and faithful parents will return again next year to raise another pair of little fly-catchers.

On Saturday, August 7th, Lumina Gallery, in Taos, New Mexico will have an opening to celebrate the artists of the gallery, but my dealer, Felicia Ferguson, tells me, "It is to especially celebrate the creation of the Poems of the Desert, my new series." I was at the gallery yesterday, and there was a hustle and bustle of activity in preparation for the opening.

I read a statement yesterday of an artist, saying that the painting actually said nothing. And of course that is true. For if I listen, I can hear no sound. But it is my opinion, art is a visual language, and there is communicate, between the artist and the work, and between the work and the viewer, therefore between the artist and the viewer. There is thought behind every work. As the artist works, he dreams...of other places, of memory, of new ideas, all matter of things he knows in his life. And therefore there is a narrative. Like the quote on Donna Watson's site, "People will forget what is said, people will forget what is done, but they won't forget how you made them feel." --Maya Angelou

There it is! It is the feeling, that is exchanged! And I have always thought if the work is created by the heart, there is the possibility that the work can be seen by the heart....but only the possibility.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Tuesday June 29, 2010


This morning I started by looking at some of the artists Kate Beck posted on her blog site. Such wonderful artists, my life if fuller because I have looked at them. Kate Beck is such a generous artist to share all of the artists she likes!

Today promises to be a another busy day. I will have to go to town today. I always hate that, I always have to go to the grocery store, since I am going to be in town anyway. And I have to go to the framer, they called and said they have work ready for me, and to the post office. What I have to do, when what I want to do, is to be here working.

I am rereading Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire and in it, he says, "The sun went down and the light mellowed over the sand and distance and hoodoo rocks " pinnacled dim in the intense inane." A few stars appeared, scattered liberally through space. The solitary owl called.

Finally the moon came up, a golden globe behind the rocky fretwork of the horizon, a full and delicate moon that floated light as a leaf upon the dark slow current of the night. A face that watched me from the other side."

He sets up this moment in the desert, as no other. For the past few nights the moon over Taos has been full or almost full and the night so bright it seems like mid-day.

Monday, June 28, 2010

June 28, 2010 The Meaning of Horses




Today it is Monday, again. It is hard to believe,... and I become Alice and I wonder where I am and where did it all go? I look out the studio window and the sun shines brightly, reflected off the stucco house, just on the other side of the arroyo to the West of me. The fan whirrs, it is still hot in Taos. But the afternoon rains have started and that helps to cool things off. I breath the fresh air.

And I wonder how you are? Will you paint today? Will your thoughts join mine, in the river of creation?

Joy Harjo, is one of my very favorite poets. In her introduction to "she had some horses," she talks about the meaning of "horses" for her. She says, when asked about the meaning, "It's not he poet's work to reduce the poem from poetry to logical sense." And I agree, that is true also of the artist, it is not the artist's work to reduce the painting from poetry to logical sense. Sometimes we know,...know what we are after, and sometimes we do not have the words, it is only the feeling. I think sometimes we only create a space for the viewer to have their own thoughts.

Later in the introduction, she says, "Horses, like the rest of us, can transform and be transformed. A horse could be a streak of sunrise, a body of sand, a moment of ecstasy. A horse could be all of this at the same time. Or a horse might be nothing at all but the imagination of the wind. Or a herd of horses galloping from one song to the next could become a book of poetry. (or a painting)" With her beautiful words she puts it all into focus.


Late Summer Leaving
Joy Harjo
"...You face east.
The sun
comes up over the Sandias on star time.
It is another year,
another morning.
I watch it return in you
and say one last song to return home on."

And today, may all that you seek come into focus! And that we,... also have some horses.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Sunday Morning June 27, 2010 I Heard Your Call


I heard your call,
First thing this morning,
I had not opened my eyes,
...just yet.
I know you called your Mother,
for worms and bugs,
But I swear,
I heard you say,
"Come into the world,
The sun rises in the East,
There isn't a moment to spare!"

It's all about communication. My desire to "hear" you speak, and my desire to "speak" to you. I love the opportunity to write about what I am doing. I usually write a statement early on in a series, as soon as I know myself what I am up to, and then I rewrite often. I either add and take away what doesn't really work. It is a way to help the view to "see" what I am trying to say.

POEMS OF THE DESERT SERIES - ANNELL LIVINGSTON- STATEMENT 2010

"There is no separation between poetry, the stories and events that link them, or the music that holds all together, just as there is no separation between human, animal, plant, sky, and earth....The land is a poem of ochre and burnt sand I could never write (paint) unless the paper were the sacrament of sky, and ink the broken line of wild horses staggering the horizon several miles away. Even then, does anything written (painted) ever matter to the earth, wind, and sky?"--Joy Harjo

THE LAND IS A POEM.

The artist is excited. New ideas flash through her mind, and her step is lighter. As she works through her ideas, the light dims, and her interest lags. When the work is complete, the light goes out.

IN THE BEGINNING EVERYTHING IS BRIGHT

She discovers that the experience of coming to the end of a series is similar to the feelings she has about the desert where the colors are subtle, the spectrum is narrow, and the optical illusions are disconcerting. It is like a wasteland, a wilderness--a personal desert--and she has properly lost her way.

AT THE END OF A SERIES OF WORK, IT IS LIKE A DESERT

Since the grid is the basis for most maps, she returns to her exploration of the grid. She creates her own map or visual poem to help her find her way. She adds personal signs and symbols similar to the petroglyphs and pictographs often found in the desert. She calls her visual poems, Poems of the Desert. They are based on landscape of the imagination, where nothing is as it appears. Desert--as actual place or as a metaphor a stage in the creative process.

THE VISUAL POEMS BECOME THIS NEW SERIES CALLED, POEMS OF THE DESERT

As Joy Harjo says, "A story leads to a dream leads to a poem leads to a song,(leads to a painting) and so on."

ANYTHING IS THINKABLE IN THE DESERT

*Joy Harjo is an internationally known poet, performer, writer, and saxophone player of the Myskoke/Creek Nation. She is one of my most favorites!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday 19, 2010


The fly-catchers who made a nest and raised their young last year, returned to create a nest in the same place in the carport. They had three eggs, but the magpies came and stole one. A couple of days ago, the two young fledged. And all seems right with the world, at least right here on the mesa.

Yesterday I did get to the art supply store, and got new paint. I am always astonished at how much it costs! But I put the paint I needed, ....or wanted into the basket and I hope to work this morning.

There was a time in my life when I immigrated to the West, and I realized I traveled without a compass, no instructions, and no map. I had to find my way to a new life. And I realized the other day, that that is what we do as artists, every time we stand before our work. We certainly don't know how, we don't know where we are going. One wonders where we get the courage? But of course we know, soon we will be in dialog with the work, and we will receive instructions, and we will act. I can hear the little voice saying, "Paint for goodness sake!"

My life has been one of a hermit. The life of the artist involves sacrifice. Often when everyone else is out to play, the artist is alone "climbing the mountain, or bailing the water out of the basement." Trying again, to get it "right." I realize I've always traveled without a compass and no road map, just taking the temperature as I go.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday June 18, 2010 Further Thoughts Regarding Rejections or FTRR


The last day of the work week. But of course just another day for the artist.

I have two paintings that I am working on, and still have not found time to get to the art supply to get paint. I did get to paint for a while yesterday. Perhaps today I will go out for paint. Always fun to go to the art supply.

In thinking about rejects, probably no one really realizes they will have to put themselves out there about something they do while alone in the most "naked" moments in the studio, but alas, it is true. Sometimes we do. And that whole process can be quit eye opening.

Of course, when one is beginning the process of launching, or relaunching. We often get stuck at the beginning; what will I include? How will I compose my letter of introduction? What is relevant? And it is here, we check the old "need to know" test. Try to be clear, get to the point. And then... the dreaded "follow-up". We haven't heard anything, can we just slink away with our tail between our legs? Can we say, just forget about it ? Why does the "follow-up" feel so much like "begging," and begging does nothing for our self-esteem. But, then we remember, everything that goes out of the studio, must be followed up. -- And that will probably shake some of those rejects from the tree.I have tried to change my attitude toward the "follow-up." I am trying to put as much energy into the follow-up as the original query letter.

I have been thinking, if galleries are not interested in seeing new work, aren't they shutting off the new energy of their gallery. If galleries are not interested in finding new work, and generating the enthusiasm, it's probably not even a gallery I would want to visit. Even as an artist, I love to find new work. Work I've never seen, it's exciting to me; new favorites. And wonderful new artists who create new work that I love. Isn't that part of the excitement of the whole art thing?

Since I am not so far into my own project and I see that it will take awhile. I look at it as an opportunity to learn something I didn't know. And if I can take hundreds of rejects thrown right at me and still be standing--I will be stronger for it...or it might kill me.

We can "flip the coin", maybe they are right, who do I think I am? I've got a lot of nerve and maybe that's the point of this whole process? I've devoted my life to what I do and now, it is who I think I am. Who I know I am.

I think we, as artists, have an authentic voice, because we have spent the time in the studio each day. We speak from a place of experience. No one has done it for us. We have sacrificed to create. And the process of trying to share it with the world just isn't easy no matter how you turn it. And when we receive that "umteen", or what feels like a "gazillion" reject for the day, we have to take ourselves to the woodshed, and return to say, thank you for this opportunity. We deny our "smart" mouth, and we say "thank you," that is keeping our power.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 24, 2010


Each morning I begin to write. I check the calendar, and am always amazed that time passes, quietly and so swiftly. Yesterday was again a very hot day, the wind blew from the East and therefore the smoke wasn't as bad as it has been. The fire is south of us, and usually the wind comes from that direction, or slightly southwest. But by late afternoon I am exhausted, I dream of cooler days in Northern New Mexico.

In February my sister and I took a trip to Sedona, Arizona. I wrote in my journal, "The red rocks rise above us in fantastical shapes, it is an open air cathedral. We are surrounded by magic." We got sandwiches and went for a picnic, before our hike in Boynton Canyon. The day was perfect, the temperature couldn't have been better. I think there are certain places that we keep forever in our hearts. We are, who we are, because we have been there.
And Sedona is one of those places.

It is through the mark, made by the hand, that art speaks for everyone, sometimes it is an abstract narrative, but it speaks of longing, grief, joy, beginning and endings.

The artist seeks color that is beyond what is seen with the eye. It is color that touches the soul. It is the mixing of colors, and color laid side by side to achieve vibrations which give meaning to what is seen. And it is the interrelation and interaction of color and forms which also give meaning.

In art there is another dimension. It exists in the mind and part of it is the untold story, which gives gravity to all that is apparently visible.

My work is not so much about the external world so much as finding the place that the external and the internal worlds meet; heart, mind and deed.

In creating my work, there is always an element of surprise. I do not know what it will look like until it is finished. And often I do not know how,-- yet, as Susan Griffin says, "something wants to be seen."

"And the the "person" who became intensified with the life of nature, the rhythm of the seasons, the light and the color of New Mexico landscapes. Loving it, wanting to be a part of it, wanting to know it,...down to the crystalline structure of the mineral grains, the chemistry of the clays, the relationship between heights and depths that shape the rivers." --Peggy Pond Church, Bones Incandescent

I like to think that I am the "person" who became intensified with all of New Mexico!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday June 23, 2010


Yesterday was productive and I got a lot done at my desk, with time left over for painting. The painting goes well. There is a dialog going on. I am aware I need paint, I need yellow!

"In the narrowest meaning of the concept, it is touch, after all, that I am after in my work, the touch of my hand I hope to find transmitted into something that touches the spirit." --Ann Truitt, Day Book

This has always been one of my favorite quotes. And I used it as the beginning of my statement about my own work for years. Our own touch is what we are after. Saying it (painting it) in our own way. Hiding nothing, being who we are. It is something we really have no control over, and something we seek. It is what is beautiful in our work. I remember taking a workshop, years ago, from Miles Batts, and he said to us one day, "You accept the work of others so easily, but you are so critical of your own work. And what you do not like, it the very thing that makes your work unique." And I think he was right. How do we learn to be accepting of our own work? Perhaps like everything else, it is practice. See that it is beautiful, tell ourselves it is. It is said our cells respond to our every thought. And can you imagine, how someone might feel, if their inner voice was saying unkind things to them, on a daily basis? I think we can make our practice a positive thing, take a deep breath and love what you are doing, be amazed and say so. Give yourself encouragement, be your own best critic. Know that nothing happens, that you don't create it. And if for some reason it isn't pleasing, fix it. And know that the challenge of perfection is beyond our ability. The best we can do is to be authentic in our work.

Something that goes with the touch, and being authentic in the work, is that, it is the idea behind the work, that dictates the image the artist creates. We do not experience the world, memory or thought, as a whole, but rather in bits or fragments, which are part revealed and part concealed. I think art should be required to be new, fresh, with a sense of the new, not like something we have seen before. Even if the subject is something that has been done many times before, as the artist we have a unique way of looking at things, and that is what we should share. It should give the viewer a different way of viewing the world, as never seen before, satisfying the curiosity that each viewer brings to the work.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Monday June 21, 2010


It is Monday, the first day of the work week. I am again amazed, it is the 21st and the month of June, is passing fast. I am here, and I am working as hard as I can, but time seems to move ahead of me.

I worked on the two oil paintings yesterday. I had to scrape one down, but came back and painted and was pleased with the work for the day. These pieces will be a part of the Poems of the Desert series.

I had planned to put on my "secretary hat" today, and catch up on the office work, but it seems I have someone coming to help me with house keeping. I will be very grateful. Of course, I can't keep up with house keeping, as I spend all my time in the studio....there just isn't enough time. Not enough time to investigate all that I want to and not enough time to keep up with housekeeping, especially when you live in the desert. I try to keep the windows shut as much as possible, as I live on a dirt road and I find the dust of the outside world constantly seeks a place in my house. But to live in Taos is to live without air conditioning and the outside is the inside. But of course I think it is better for us and for the environment, just dustier.

One of my favorite writers is Susan Griffin, and in Eros she says, "It is only those who listen for the speech of birds who know we have all come from the dark, and that darkness, as Rilke writes, "pulls in everything?' Vast as a single life is vast, filled with moments that expand infinitely. Or as a single detail that can speak to us of everything."

This morning when I came into the studio I turned on the computer player, to hear the music that was given me, by my friend Kathleen. It is a mixed tape, labeled Spice, and the music is incredible. But to read Susan Griffin again, I am reminded how much I like to hear the birds sing in the morning, I turn off the player, I can listen later. The door to the studio is open, it is already breathless. I don't know, but it seems hotter this summer. There is smoke in the air from the fire in the Jemiz Mountians, south of Taos. I hope they will be able to put that out soon.

When she says,"we all come from the dark, and darkness pulls everything in." I think of the disaster in the Gulf. And one time in our distant past, we all crawled out of the "dark" salty deep. We know that place, and we suffer because of the suffering there. All is dead or dying. Will it ever end? And then can we start the long climb to reclaim what was?

And yes, a single life is vast, and I think of Elizabeth Browning, who's world was small, and yet she wrote in a "vast" way. It is what is going on in our heads that is "vast." And we can reach out and touch another. And with the communication of art, we only have to touch one, it isn't about touching everyone, and yet I think when we paint from the heart, there is the possibility that the viewer can see from the heart.

I have always thought we don't try to paint the universe in a painting, but perhaps a single detail can speak to us of the universe,... everything. This is about being aware, it is about seeing, and it is about translating what we have experienced.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Dr. Masaru Emotot's Healing Prayer for the Gulf

Dr. Masaru Emoto is the scientist from Japan who has done all the research and publications about the characteristics of water. Among other things, his research revealed that water physically responds to emotions. Right now, most of us have the predominantly angry emotion when we consider what is happening in the Gulf. And while certainly we are justified in that emotion, we may be of greater assistance to our planet and its life forms, if we sincerely, powerfully and humbly pray the prayer that Dr. Emoto, himself has proposed.

"I send the energy of love and gratitude to the water and all the living creatures
in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings.
To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shallfish, planktons, corals, algae, and all living creatures...
I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you."

I am passing this request to people who might be willing to participate in this prayer, to set an intention of love and healing that is so large, so overwhelming that we can perform a miracle in the Gulf of Mexico.

We are not powerless. We are powerful. Our united energy, speaking this prayer daily...multiple times daily...can literally shift the balance of destruction that is happening.

We don't have to know how...we just have to recognize that the power of love is greater than any power active in the Universe today.

Please join me in oft repeating this healing prayer of Dr. Emoto's.
And feel free to copy and paste this to send it around the planet.
Let's take charge, and do our own clean up!

June 19, 2010






I can't believe it is Saturday, I knew the week was passing fast, but this is amazing.

Yesterday I spent painting in oils. I had forgotten how hard it is to push the paint around. My arms were very tired by the end of the day. Since I had been working with gouache for a long time, my muscles had forgotten they might be called on. Who says painting is easy? I can hardly wait to get back at it. The day was productive.

I am remembering a book I read many years ago. Needless to say, I can't remember the title. But it was about an artist who was missing. His dealer goes to his studio, and sees his sketchbooks, which he would never allow anyone to look at. The dealer can't resist and he takes them. Then the rest of the book is the story of the sketchbooks. They are like a journal, and one day he writes about painting a head. At the end of the session, he says, it was a good day. He talks about the painting, and then he says in a couple of weeks it will be a product, that I will give to my dealer, and he will sell it. But today was a good day.

If anyone knows of this book. I hope you will tell me the title so I can read it again. It was a wonderful book.

Since I have been working on my series, Poems of the Desert, I have discovered that women writers and visual artists are claiming the West. And that the West represents a way of thinking, a sense of adventure, a willingness to cross into a new frontier. "Stories, poems, and personal essays (visual works) are being written (painted) today in the Rocky Mountain West by women whose voices could not have been heard twenty years ago. For, as the women of our generations have begun to talk to one another, a radically new way of perceiving the western experience has emerged. This vision draws on the self-reliance and courage of the old western mythology but sees greater strength in community, in making connections in interdependence." --Kim Barnes and Mary Clearman Blew, Circle of Women

"You go Girl!"

Friday, June 18, 2010

Friday June 18, 2010




Friday the last day of the work-week, if one is getting paid for what they do. But to an artist, Friday is just another opportunity to try to get it "right." The morning is quiet, the sun is shinning.

I have been working with gouache for a very long time. There are advantages to working with gouache; it is a beautiful medium, it is a clean medium, you can work on paper, therefore you can store a lot of works in a small space, and there is a special quality to the color. But on the other hand I have been wanting to return to oils. I got some paper at the art supply that is supposed to be for oils, I decided yesterday I would try it. It seems I have to work up to a change in medium. I don't know for sure what the reluctance is? And yet my desire for change, seems stronger than the need to continue in the same way. I think of myself, as an artist, like a big ship, and it takes time to change directions. I have always been told just to shake things up a bit, change your medium...and I have always followed that advise.

As I create new works in this series, Poems of The Desert, I realize what I am "getting at." It is Desert as actual place or as a metaphor for a part of the creative process. Sometimes we feel "lost" with out new ideas, we seem to be wandering in a wasteland. We wonder if we will ever have another new idea?

We are told, as artists, to paint what we love. And I am also painting Desert as actual place. "This land is a poem of ochre and burnt sand I could never write (paint), unless paper were the sacrament of sky, and ink (paint) the broken line of wild horses staggering the horizon several miles away. Even then, does anything written (painted) ever matter to the earth, wind and sky?" --Joy Harjo, Secrets from the Center of the World.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Rejections as a Part of the Art Process and How the Artist Handles it


I asked Mary Ann, of Blue Sky Dreaming, if she would think about rejections as a part of the art process and how the artist handles rejection. She was kind enough to take time to write about rejections and give me some real positive actions that an artist might take. She told me she was in a place of retirement from actively seeking a gallery connection. She said she occasionally hangs her pieces in a local spot or into a local juried show, but she thinks of her blog as her gallery. She told me she sells a couple of pieces a year, without much effort.

She also said there was a time, when she was associated with a co-op gallery and saw first hand, the juried process. She said, she had had rejection of a piece and had the same piece accepted and awarded so a thick skin is required. Choosing a show or gallery that reflects one's aesthetic is so important.

Mary Ann told me she began her art career in the arms of several art professors that gave honest strong critiques but also emphasized on listening with one's heart on hold. She said, that she could trust these professors to tell her what she needed to hear about growing in the area of image making. And she said she also had a couple of important art friends, that were way ahead of her in their careers. She said, each one took her on in a supportive way. They always had an ear to hear her when she was beginning. And helped her to acquire a thick skin.

She said it was easy to re-enter a piece in another juried show, when she had seen other artists do the same. She said she had also felt the initial sting, but over time she learned the process was not perfect, and the juried system was a tough job. Many times, she knew of good work being rejected simply because of limited amount of feet for hanging. She said that she had met with gallery owners that had to make touch decisions about acceptance.

She said, when it came to the emotional, "Sure it is hard and sure it hurts." But she still surrounds herself with artists who are supportive. As a pet peeve, she said, "I can tell you I find silence from a friend or other artist a real problem...as it leaves an emotional elephant in the room. j There are ways to encourage without selling out. I love my art making and need to do the hard job of rejecting or reworking my own work so support is what I expect from friends. My emotional life is connected to the moment I create the work....plenty of emotional ups and downs in the studio...I mediatate. I write in my journal...free writing or poetry...out to dinner massage and a swim...it all helps! The outside world doesn't hurt...their rejection is logical and if it isn't, it needs to be discounted as just mean spirited."

Tuesday June 15, 2010


I awoke this morning a little saddened. I was disappointed at what the President said. I wonder if he understands the depth of feeling the people have for this disaster? I do want him to fix it, who else? We know BP doesn't know what they are doing. Sometimes I think I can't continue to live because of it. But then I remember, maybe it will give the US the will to get off oil, and hopefully we will never destroy our sacred planet like this again?

I realize I am on the "down-hill" of life, and in no way have much time. And as an artist, of course I must add my voice, but my responsibility is to do the best I can in the studio. It is my life's work and my goal, to visually add my voice. To mend my own heart and to do what I can to help mend the hearts of others. I think it is the responsibility of the artist to be the role model. It is not what we do, but our willingness to continue that will inspire others. There will be times we are disappointed, but we must go on. We have doubt about our own work. We might ask, what are we doing? What does it mean? No one cares, etc.etc. I am reminded of the poem we said as children, and it goes, "No body loves me, everybody hates me,....I'm going to eat some worms." Disappointment is another of those things artists have to deal with.

Yesterday was a busy day. I picked up several works at the framer, and dropped one off. Then, when back to the studio I prepared two pieces to go to a new dealer who has asked to see original work. I took my time in packing and blessed them as they were preparing to go on this journey. Some think that the creations we make are a reflection of who we are. But I think because we spend so much time creating them, they are actually a part of us. I have given them all I have and now I must let them go, to stand on their own.

Not long ago, I was experiencing some doubt about my work. And I was told by my partner, they are the product of a life time of work. I was reminded, I would not have been able to do this work, if I had not done the work leading up to this time. It is the best I can do. And it was my "job" to honor it. It's as simple as that.

So I returned to the position of gratitude. And I am, I am grateful for the years I have worked, and grateful for this place that I am. And grateful that I am able to work. What more could I want?

I started reading "The Desert Solitaire," by Edward Abbey. I have read it before, but since my work is based on desert, I wanted to read it again.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A Day in Santa Fe 6-14-2010

Yesterday we went to Santa Fe and met friends for lunch. A small cafe Mucho Gusto, must I say Mexican food? And then we were off to see what was going on in Santa Fe. I don't really like this, that is to write about visual art work, but I don't have pics, but I will post where you can see.

Our first stop was on Canyon Road, Winterowd Fine Art (www.fineartsantafe.com). The gallery was featuring Sarah Bienvenu's work. She has been painting the landscape in New Mexico for 30 years and it seems I have liked her work for about that long. Her work is not what one might think of as a common landscape, but rather is made up of compositions of symbols inspired by the landscape. Her personal use of color is delightful and over all the show was actively alive! They were also launching a new book, Sarah Bienvenu, about Sarah Bienvenue and her work.

Because it was Monday several of the galleries, that we would have liked to have visited, were closed. So if you find yourself in Santa Fe on Monday and want to look at art, not all galleries are open.

Next stop was Argos Etching and Paintings, also on Canyon Road. They were preparing for a show by Eli Levin. And we were able to see many of his paintings, which were "paintings of the neighborhood, or of the hood." Levin studied with the Social Realists of the WPA era. The paintings were realist and the work seemed authentic and fresh. (www.argos-gallery.com)

Then it was to the Museum to see the juried show, Art on the Edge. The work I most responded to, was the work of Kate Beck. The works were mostly black. And the image was stripes. But the works were beautifully executed and deeply meditative. They were very inspirational. (www.nmartmuseum.org)

Then by a stroke of good luck as we passed the Charlotte Jackson Fine Art, through the window we could see that the work of Joan Watts were still hanging! Again by a stroke of luck the gallery was open, even though it was Monday and we were able to see the work. The show was over June 7, but even though it was the 14th the show was still hanging. I was so excited to see this work. I had wanted all month to get to Santa Fe to see this show, but it just didn't happen. The works were brilliant! And very beautifully crafted. I think the images will stay with me all my days. (www.charlottejackson.com) (There was one small thing that bothered me just a little....and that was that the works were gradated from dark to light, and it seemed the works worked better when the dark was at the bottom, for there was a dark shadow at the bottom and when the works were light to dark, side, to side, the shadow on the wall seemed to be working against the works of art, although this could be corrected by lighting.) But the works were, oh so beautiful. And strong! These works made me think of what some people call "near death experiences," when they talk about the light at the end of the tunnel.

The last gallery we visited was the Lew Allen at the rail-yard. They were showing the work of Woody Gwyn, a master craftsman. It was fun to see. The works were landscapes and seascapes. The paintings were executed mostly on long narrow canvases. Though there were two very large canvases. His work is photo-realist. And if one might question his heart, there was no questioning his courage, and his technique. (www.lewallengalleries.com)

On the whole, it was a good day for art. And keep in mind the opinions I give were my own. On this day there was much to love.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Rejections as a Part of the Art Process and How the Artist Handles it



Today looks like a beautiful day, the sun is shinning, New Mexico "blue sky dreaming." Today I will meet friends in Santa Fe for lunch and we will go to some galleries.

I asked Jean Myers, of Artit, the question about rejections as a part of the art process and how she handled them and she said, "...I've come to the conclusion after many years that it is more of a matter of taste and what the public is in the mood for. I do believe gallery owners are people who love art and want to be in the business of offering the world what they love to others, but it is a business and we all have different tastes--what I would put in my home may not be what you would like to live with everyday--so when a gallery says no thank-you to my work, then I smile and move on. What I want is a good fit with a gallery. An owner who loves my work and who has clients that love the type of work i do. That's what I call a good fit and this is what I'm searching for. I think if I am vigilant, I will find that perfect fit and until then?"

About rejection in general, "It's a part of life and it's one of the roads we follow our whole life and it teaches us to become the unique individual we are by standing strong in ourselves and knowing we are "enough". We are not meant to fit into every nook an crannie."

In the meantime I will keep working because it's what I love to do.

Thank you Jean for such a thoughtful statement and for allowing me to post this beautiful detail of one of your beautiful paintings. As Marge Piercy says in her poem, For the Young Who Want to Be," we have to like it better than being loved."

We are so lucky that we are able to do what we love. You can't be an artist without your share of rejections. Of course it feels best to be accepted, but you never fail unless you quit. I've always thought, when we allow others to open their mouths and speak to us about our work, we find out what they do not know. It is important to learn to nurture yourself, after all no one else is going to do it for you, it's not their job. So we are collecting our rejects to acceptance, with each reject we are one step closer to acceptance.



This piece is from a series, One Day in the Life... This series of work was based on the quality of the light of the day. I realized one moment of the day could be a metaphor for the life of a person. Or the time of day could be a metaphor for a time in a man's life. And by using universal elements, such as the color black which could be a metaphor for death.

Before this time my work had been based on squares, and here I found myself in the high mountain desert of New Mexico. The squares just didn't work. They were too urban. My journey was not straight, or direct. But at last I discovered the addition of the random diagonal line to the work. It created compositions which allowed me to think about the place; earth, mountain, and sky. The work with the addition of the diagonal line was more organic.

With my work, there are always ideas behind the work.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday 12, 2010

I recently read a book I really liked. BONE DEEP IN LANDSCAPE, writing, reading, and place, by Mary Clearman Blew. In this book, she says, "...for many of us, the western landscape is permeated with private associations contained in memory and family narratives. Language is how we move from private silence to shared story."

I see painting as a visual language, and for the artist it is a way we move from "private silence to shared story." Our story might be realist or an abstract narrative. But we have something to say, we are trying to express what is on the inside, and find that meeting place on the outside.

The photographs I took yesterday turned out good, and I was able to get the inventory up to date, this includes the Poems of the Desert. I am not saying "all" of the inventory is up to date. I find this an ongoing process.

I have been looking at a poem by Marge Piercy, FOR THE YOUNG WHO WANT TO. And I think she is writing this poem to the "young," but I thought the poem might be directed to anyone, who might want to________________, become an artist, a actor, dancer, etc.etc.

The first word she uses in the poem is "talent." Again I found this interesting., because isn't "talent" the great excuse? I don't have to "try" because I don't have talent. You have gotten where you are, because, you have "talent."

Then she talks about how it is only "after", we are published (we create the work, and have a successful show), and are favorably reviewed, that we know we are an artist, a writer, etc.etc. Before that "what you have is a tedious delusion, a hobby like knitting."

She talks about what you do, is not recognized as "work." Until after the successful show, successful book, etc.etc. Is not treated by the outside world as something that is sacred and necessary, but "friends keep asking when you are planning to go out and get a job."

She talks about, how your genius is not recognized until after after it is recognized by the "authorities," until then, "they accuse you of withdrawing, ask why you don't have a baby, call you a bum."

She talks about the artist's desire for an MFA, or wants to "take workshops with fancy names when all you can really learn is a few techniques, typing instructions and somebody else's mannerisms." She says it is because, "every artist lacks a license to hang on the wall." How else can we "prove" who we are?

But then she says, "The real writer (artist) is the one who really writes (paints). And her final words are, "Work is its own cure. You have to like it better than being loved."

This poem reminds us, "Kiss an Artist Today." It's not easy to continue when after all we are the only ones who know what we are doing..........but the funny thing is that it is better than love, or maybe it is "love."

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday June 11, 2010



Yesterday turned out to be a day of editing. I was selecting several works to go to the framer and as I went back over the work, I realized there were several works that were "not working." It was a good day for editing.

It's funny, after time, you realize what you thought was working one day, really isn't. I'm not saying I made them so much better, but there were things that stood out, that I really did not like, and I was able to make them more pleasing, I only lost one. Of course they had to be removed from the inventory, photographed, re-inventoried. The photos didn't turn out as I wanted so that is the first job on my list this morning.

I would like to share with you something that was emailed to me: As we grown up, we learn that even the one person that wasn't supposed to ever let you down probably will. You will have your heart broken probably more than once and it's harder every time. You'll break hearts too, so remember how it felt when yours was broken. You'll fight with your best friend. You'll blame a new love for things an old one did. You'' cry because time is passing too fast, and you'll eventually lose someone you love. So take too many pictures, laugh too much, and love like your have never been hurt because every sixty seconds you spend upset is a minute of happiness you'll never get back. -- Anonymous

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Rejections as a Part of the Art Process and How the Artist Handles it


This morning I was talking to Katherine Treffinger about rejection as a part of the process. And she wrote to me--" In 'On Writing' Stephen King said that he put a 10 penny nail in his office and put his rejection notices on the nail as he received them. The nail was full by the time he sold Carrie, his first published novel. I think of that. I do get a little bummed but then I pick myself up by the bootstrap and remember that every one is one step closer to the "yes" and the most successful people in the world are the ones that have had the most "no"(s) and kept going. I would like some responses. Mostly I hear nothing.

My partner is a screen play writer who has not sold anything but his follow-up is remarkable and as a result he has several production companies that will read anything he puts in front of them. The head of the Academy of Motion Pictures gets right back to him. While I have been selling tons of art he has sold nothing but he just keeps getting more and more confident. You think galleries are touch, try Hollywood! He has been making these phone calls for over 10 years and has a prestigious agent (the only way he can get read. His agent does very little by the way. If he had not done the pursuing he would be no where.) His attitude puts me to shame if I get discouraged."

Katherine Treffinger's link is on my sidebar.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday June 8, 2010

I'm having a little trouble focusing this morning. I watched the news last night (the best reporting on the Gulf Disaster has been Rachel Maddow, msmbc) I'm sick about it and found it hard to sleep. The salt water runs deep in my veins. Perhaps it is "home" in so many ways; back to the beginning of time, or the fact that I grew up on the Gulf Coast. I didn't move to the West until 15 years ago. I find I left part of my heart in those nurseries and estuaries on the Gulf Coast. And I ache to my soul for the Gulf. The images coming out of the disaster will live with me forever. I feel I need to go to the Gulf and help, but who do I think I am God? Could I dive to the bottom of the Gulf and put my finger in the hole? I so hope they will be able to mitigate the damage. I feel it is difficult to breath, perhaps that is it. The oil disaster is sucking the air, or life from the coast. It will never be the same.
The loss makes it hard to go on, at least to go on as usual.

As Terry Temptest Williams says, in A Voice in the Wilderness, "We have to witness beautiful things die." And we are watching the Gulf and all it's critters die.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Monday June 6, 2010

Today promises to be hot, 91 degrees, really hot for Taos, New Mexico, a Western heat wave. The morning is hot, still and quiet, nothing moves...all is waiting.



"You like it, that's all, whether it's a landscape or abstract. You like it. It hits you. You don't have to read it. The work of art-sculpture or painting forces your eye." --Clement Greenburg

And today, I hope you like it!

Today Katherine Treffinger.blogspot.com posted my writing about the Meaning of Doing Art. Please take a look and enjoy Katherine's art while you're there. Thanks Katherine.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

My Very First Post

So this is my very first post. I am wondering what will I write and will anyone want to read it?

First I would like to tell you about the sunset last night. It was glorious which is not unusual in Taos, New Mexico, but last night was a sunset that could be considered beyond belief. An abstract painting in every direction, pink, pale blue, gold, dark to deepest grays. It was a sunset to share! I will try to post pics. But since this is my first, I don't know if I will be able to do this?

This is a little poem I wrote last week.
Stumble, Stumbling, Stumbled

It's never easy for too long.
It seems, sometimes we stumble,

--We right ourselves--

Perhaps return to a safer place,
Perhaps jump to the next stone,

--We get clear--

This is what I want
And this is not.

--We begin again--

It's never easy for too long,
For sometimes...................we stumble.

I had been thinking....perhaps my work is too simple, too easy? And then it happened, I didn't like anything I did. I seek certain color vibrations in my work, they weren't happening? The work appeared as if done by one who knew nothing, had never painted before, and was making first attempts. And then, I thought, this isn't so easy after all. I said to myself, tomorrow we will begin again.......and perhaps this is where, we might say,.... and they lived happily ever after. But no, again I could not "right" myself. I had to get clear, find the way, pick up the end of the thread, scatter a few bread crumbs and continue on the unfamiliar path. The path of the artist.

I have been at it, for almost five decades, and you would think this path is familiar to me, but it is not. "The art of focusing itself has beauty and meaning; it is the art that continued in, turns art into meditation, into poetry (into painting). The question of place resolves itself into point of view." --Peggy Pond Church, Bones Incandescent