#3 Amulets

January 5, 2010

Amulets – This  is one of about 6 mini-oil paintings with a stone theme. They will all be featured here in the next weeks.

Size: 16 x16 cm
            6.25 x 6.25 inches  

Medium: oil on cardboard  

Story:  Like Angel fossils (previous Featured artwork) , this one is derived from my soapstone carvings.

What I like about this piece: This is one of my favorites. I remember being surprised by the appearance of those mini-landscapes at the bottom of the painting. They are still my favorite part of the composition as well as their silvery neutral tones.

Tips: Because this particular series is all the same size, buying several and using a changable frame would make an ever changing artwork.

Price: $25      €17      15 GBP         plus Shipping:  $5     €3,50      3GBP    (Only $5 shipping regardless of how many paintings you buy if  in the same order going to the same address).
Please note, all work is delivered unframed.

Ordering info: Please click here.

Painting is…..

December 16, 2008


Okri bowl

This piece was inspired by a section from Ben Okri’s  ‘Arcadia’.  Somewhere near the end is this wonderful lyrical ode to painting. It just goes on and on, I’ll excerpt some of it here , hoping that by leaving out a lot I don’t do violence to it.

Painting is the meaning of humanity in a visible moment… It is the frozen music of time’s justice and injustice…It is the secret history of light, the psychodrama of colour, the moment in a mind, the moment in a song.
Painting is the magic riddle of mortality. It is the longing for the eternal, the happiness of the transient, the enigma of creation, the home of the heart, the fountain where loss is soothed. It is the eternal future, for painting is never in the past tense, only in the ever flowing present tense, an eternal now, a never-ending summer, a life always living, a moment never ceasing.
Painting is water, air, fire, earth, dream, but it is never death. Painting is life,life smiling at death with light as its secret.
…Painting is secret structures, harmonies, balance, chaos, force-fields, philosophy, patience, rhythm, wit, sadness, delight, tragedy… When paintings die, they go back to God’s mind.

Painting is the nightmare of the devil. Codes in colours and shapes. It is the yearning of all things to live and persist in memory. Painting is the only mortal space where angels dwell in stillness…Painting is human love transcending human forgetfulness. It is mortality staring at itself in the evanescent mirror of immortality. It is spaces dancing, dimensions interacting, realms interpenetrating, time zones colliding, eliding, harmonising. …Painting is the shaman’s mirror, the warrior’s truest shield, the healer’s armour against fate and tragedy. The celebration of light.

Painting is the weapon the wise use against vicissitude. It will one day heal profound sickness of body, mind, and spirit. It is the technology of the wise primitive, the science and medicine of the forgotten ancients.

Emily Young’s angels

December 7, 2008


Angel by Emily Young

London was in the middle of a heat wave.  The familiar streets of Kensington where I’d spent childhood vacations were strangely Mediterranean in feel, Holland Park was tropical.
It would have been a beautiful time except my mother was dying in a hospice in St. John’s Wood.

I was staying with my aunt and uncle and would travel by tube every day from the High Street to St. John and Elizabeth’s to visit mom. She felt she was there for respite care and would soon be returning to her flat and beloved piano. During my visits, we would chat and read together and reminisce a bit. The room was warm but cozy and light. I’d leave in the early evening and return the next afternoon.

In the mornings while she was receiving care, I would be free to wander my old haunts in the neighborhood. One day when I looked down from my aunt and uncle’s fifth floor flat, I saw that there was a sculpture garden in the back of Leighton house.  That morning, I met for the first time, Emily Young’s angels. And I recognized them from deep in my soul.

For me, angels have never been those sappy fat little girls and and naked baby boys. They were always vast, fiery and dangerous in their huge intensity. My angels don’t fit on a head of a pin, they spread over galaxies. And dance.

Walking among Emily’s giant winged angel heads I felt that deep kinship and returning to oneself that great art always catalyzes.  The gardens were deserted, sheltered, holy with presence. I felt enfolded and comforted and strengthened for the impossible task of letting my beloved mother go. No, letting her go was easy compared to seeing her in the hospice and knowing she would never come home again.

Every day during my mother’s last week on earth, I visited those angels and rested in  their large presence. Looking closely at the Purbeck marble used for some of the heads, I found endless little worlds of fossilized creatures, like filigree on those great winged heads.

I don’t remember now, which came first, the call that my mother had died, or looking down from my aunt’s apartment to see bare grass dotted with yellow postage stamp squares where the angel garden had once been.  But these two losses will be forever linked in my memory. As well as gratitude for being carried on those stone wings during that  hot summer in London.

She only flew

November 26, 2008


I’ve kept an old America Style magazine from 1996. One of the works of art which touched me most was by Brian Andreas . It was a little assemblage with the words,’for a long time she flew only when she thought no one else was watching’. The words have stayed with me for these past 12 years and the oil pastel collage above is a little tribute to Andreas’ piece.  I hadn’t seen his artwork for years, and when I looked it up this evening, I noticed that even after all this time, some of his visual language had crept into my piece.  It made me smile.

I remember in my Dutch class, we had to write a short story. Mine was about a woman who flew at dawn, when she thought no one was watching.  After a long and lonely period, she eventually became aware of others like herself, hidden angels.  When I had to read the story aloud in class tears came to my eyes. I still don’t know why. Do we all have a dream to fly?

ps Since writing this post, I’ve discovered Brian’s ‘storypeople’ site. I had run across it months ago without making the connection, but now I know why I had such a good feeling about it. Makes me want to get on the next plane to Iowa. Check it out!