Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Escape Never seemed more Urgent and less Likely

A few days ago, I was having an intriguing conversation with some friends about how we, as a species, often explain the unknown.

We blame aliens.

Crop circles?  Must be aliens.

Mysterious ruins?  Must be aliens.

Unexplained lights in the night sky?  Must be aliens.

Disturbing abductions?  Must be aliens.

Not so very long ago, a mere century or two, and we had a very different explanation for such phenomena.

Crop circles?  Mysterious ruins?  
Unexplained lights in the night sky?  
Disturbing abductions?
Must be fairies!

When I started this piece, I started with a fantastic sky.  I had been admiring some antique  fairy tale illustrations of  "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", but I had a vague plan about a charming young girl and her polar bear steed.  As per usual, my art went in a completely different direction.

What happens when Victorian nursery meets Space Invaders meets Fairyland?

Now, you know!

To be accurate, my alien invader is actually an extremely large flying jellyfish, but I have often thought that most science fiction is probably way off when it always portrays alien species as almost all humanoid in style.  

I think that the inexplicable and eerily elegant life under the sea seems a more likely visage for our future alien encounters.  

Of course, I have absolutely no background in science so don't start betting the corn fields on it....

Friday, March 27, 2015

A Portal to Elsewhere via Eel

March has not been my favorite month so far.  

My two art markets and a festival has dwindled down to just one art festival after two tires burst on my car at just the wrong moments.  Four new tires and a spare later, I have loaded my car and am ready to head out and set up for Fest for All.

By now, I've done dozens of markets and fests, but am feeling strangely apprehensive about taking my car back on the highway.  Can a car pick up bad mojo?

Wouldn't it be nice if we could just travel from one place to another via space portal?
Even if that space portal were made of eel?

Then, we wouldn't have to worry about tires unraveling....

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Bearded lady and her Hairless...um...Kitty

I am having too much fun with this new series!

When you start looking on your art as a task to finish, it's time to take a leap in a completely new direction.

I love my Tarot card series but I definitely needed a palate cleanser!

Allow me to introduce the Bearded Lady and her fellow Side Show Performer, the Three Eyed, Hairless, um....Kitty.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

It's all Connected

Many of my blog posts have concerned connections.  

With my art, I oftem explore my connection to the world and to my past.  I may have taken things a little too far this time...

I am still in the midst of my Tarot card series and putting the final touches on my last two Jack the Ripper pieces, but I wanted to take a bit of a break and do a piece that could stand on it's own.

I started with the idea of two different little girls having a playful skirmish battle with umbrellas, but somehow, I ended up here.

I have been toying with the idea of doing a Side Show series for many months but didn't feel quite ready to start.  

With my art, I let my emotions lead me.

I've commented in the past that I am a firm believer in the clarity gained through daily pages (a k a "The Artists Way" fundamentals.)  

Whether you believe that you are communing with a higher power or merely removing all the petty minutia from your thoughts, I find a sense of purpose within those pages.  

By focusing for 45 minutes and letting my thoughts wander on paper, I find that am never without ideas for a new piece of art or series.

My interest has meandered a bit this year, from Victorian crime to my grandmothers' mystical past.  I've enjoyed working through my obsessions but am really excited about this new piece.

Expect to see several more Side Show pieces from me in the weeks ahead!

Interested in seeing a few in person?  
I will have these Twins as well as Mermaid Girl ready for viewing this weekend at Fest for All in Baton Rouge.

Look for me in Booth 3 off of River Road!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hanged Man - the Tarot Series

My original intention was to work on my Tarot series 
in order from card one to card 21.

The Major Arcana represents the journey of the Fool (Card 0) as he gains knowledge, step by step, card by card, until he reaches the end of his journey and, hopefully, Enlightenment.

The Fool is anyone and everyone.  
He knows nothing and is content in his ignorance.  
He is the blissful infant.

Inevitably, that state of perfect innocence must end.  
The Fool must go out into the world.
The Fool begins his journey.

Card One - The Magician represents the physical world.  

The Magician manifests a control of the world around us.  

Card Two - The High Priestess represents the beginning of spiritual knowledge.  
She is the maiden.  She is purity.

And, then,  I stopped creating the cards in numerical order.    
The journey of the Fool is not so different.  
He meanders.  
He doesn't learn each lesson in a perfect sequence.
The world is not so orderly.

I next went to the Wheel of Fortune.  
No matter where you are on your spiritual quest, 
the Wheel can turn against you.

On our journey, we must accept that
we cannot predict the future.
The path may not be smooth.

Which brought me to the Hanged Man.

The Hanged man represents a pause
on your journey.

Sometimes we need to stop and reflect.
Don't abandon what you have so far achieved,
but don't rush on.

You have not fallen behind.
Take your time.

Sometimes we need to just stop.

Remember: it really is just about the journey.

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Wheel Turns - Happy Friday 13th!

My Tarot Card project is progressing nicely.  

In case you missed my recent blog post, I think connections are important.  To know who we are, it helps to know where we've been, or where we come from.

In exploring the Tarot deck, I can connect with the Romany part of my family past.

I love the sense of connection going back through the generations of all the women who came before me.  My grandmother and great-grandmother supplanted the money they made at their boarding house by telling fortunes and helping out with the odd bit of  spell work.

I love holding  a deck in my hand and feeling that sweet mystical thrill down my spine.

A shuffle of the cards and the fates arrange and re-arrange themselves for my perusal.

What influences are at work in the greater world?

The Wheel card has been much on mind the past few days.

The Wheel of Fortune sometimes turns in  your favor.  Sometimes, it does not.

The Fool has set out on his (or her) journey to gain wisdom and find enlightenment.  

By the Wheel of Fortune Card, he has realized that the Universe will not always make his path easy.  Sometimes Fortuna throws obstacles in his way.

If you truly wish to find Enlightenment and follow your chosen path, you have to deal with the ups and downs of life.

Last Saturday morning I was keenly disappointed to miss my art market because of an unkind spin of the Wheel, but that night, Chez Fab opened with some of my pieces on display.  I had a wonderful time, met fantastic people, and loved being able to talk about my favorite obsession, art!

The Wheel spins.  

Are you ready for it?

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Juggling Life is Not as Easy as it Looks

So today I dropped the ball.

I was on my way to my local art market and the front tire on my car decided to burst at the seams.

I guided the car to the side of the road, knowing frustratingly that I was only five minutes from the market.

I called one of my brother in laws hoping he might be passing this way shortly as he sells at the area farmers markets.  Unfortunately for me, he was not heading my way.

I unloaded all my market gear from the car, metal poles, canopy tent, mesh siding, stools, piles of art and pried open the cabinet in the back where my spare tire should be.

It was empty.

I bought my car last year and never even thought to check.  I definitely dropped the ball.  Also, no jack.  The balls are dropping.

I am a widowed, single mother of four.  Every day is a struggle.  Two of the four are teenagers with jobs and working toward their future.  Neither has a car.  That's a lot of driving for me.  A lot of balls cascading around my head and I don't really know how to juggle.

The dishes pile up.  I don't cook three well balanced meals every day.  The laundry is clean but doesn't usually get put away.

Add to that that I hate to ask for help.  Absolutely hate it.  

When it comes to my children, I will ask but I resent needing help.  I want to be able to juggle all these balls on my own.

I'm sure it doesn't help that I am absolute crap with people.  I avoid them whenever possible but becoming a hermit is not an option at this point.  I have to keep juggling.

Today I didn't juggle well.  I dropped the first ball.  My other brother in law agreed to come out and help me with the tire although it meant another hour and half of sitting by the side of the highway.

Absolutely no chance I was going to make it to the art market.  That was a very large ball to drop. My income from the market is one of my primary revenue streams.  Balls are dropping left and right because I neglected to check the compartment in my car.

All told, I spent three and a half hours by the side of the road, mentally castigating myself for my mistakes.  I cost myself time and money.  I inconvenienced others.  I had to ask favors.  

The worse part is knowing that I am likely to drop another ball at some time in the future.  It will be probably be a different ball, but my juggling doesn't promise to be getting better any time in the near future.

I came home and worked on art because it's the one thing in my life that gives me a sense of calm and a sense of control.  I suppose I should be washing dishes and steaming vegetables.  

I did mention that I am bad at juggling, didn't I?

Hilary Clinton said that it takes a village to raise a child and, for all practical purposes, it's true, but no one really cares as much about the little rug rats as I do.  

I am juggling for their lives and I dropped the balls today.

Raising children alone in this world is hard, terrifyingly hard most days, but what can you do?  Wallow in self pity and weep over the dropped balls?

Maybe for a little while, but then I have to pick those balls back up and continue juggling.

But, maybe, just maybe, if you need me to catch a ball for you, I will.  Maybe, just maybe, you could catch one of mine?

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mary Jane Kelly Disassembled

Mary Jane Kelly was the youngest and, arguably, 
the prettiest of the victims of Jack the Ripper.

She was the only one killed indoors.

Hers was the most brutal and horrific of all the killings.

Canonically, hers is considered the last of the killings attributed to Jack.

Compared to the other victims, little is documented about the past of Mary Jane Kelly.   She was believed to have been born about 1863 in Limerick, Ireland.  Her father was reputed to have been an iron worker and the whole large family to have migrated to Wales when she was a small child.

Her hair color is reported as anything from blonde to red to brown.  By nickname, she was known as Fair Emma, Ginger, and Black Mary.  She may or not have been married at some point.  She may or may not have had a child.  She may have lived briefly in France as the mistress of a well-to-do man.  

By 1887, she was living in Whitechapel, making a living as a prostitute.  She enjoyed her drink, apt to become quarrelsome under the influence and inclined to drunkenly sing Irish songs.  She lived for a time with laborer Joseph Barnett.  They quarreled on October 30th and he moved out of their rented, single, furnished room.

On the night of November 8, 1888, Mary Jane Kelly took a client to her room.  No one ever saw her alive again.

The scene that met the eyes of the agent of her landlord on the morning of the 9th is one of the most gruesome crime scenes of that century and this.  She was completely disassembled, identifiable only by the blue eyes that had been left in what remained of her mutilated face.

Many reported seeing her out and about at various times during the evening and night.  Close neighbors reported hearing her sing one of her Irish songs late in the night, and, later still, some heard a cry of murder and a plea for help, which never came.

Good night, Fair Emma.  

Your stay in this world was far too brief.  

May your welcome in the next have been far kinder.

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Gypsy Connection

Lately, I have been feeling an increasingly strong connection to my past lineage.  My father's mother descends from a Romani background.  While I've always had a streak of mysticism in my nature, reflected in my enduring love of the Tarot, I've also been most comfortable in familiar surroundings.  I like having a stable home base.  I never felt the need to travel or constantly change my environment.

Traditionally, the Romani people live out of a caravan.  They travel, almost constantly, selling and working each new day, and at each new stop, to survive.  I never felt a connection to that type of life.

And, then, I began to market my art.  Almost every weekend, now, I load my car and travel to an art market.  I set up a tent.  I hang up my wares.  I have established that connection.  It's only a mere glimpse, and a weak shadow reflection of their lives, but I can feel that long road of women, traveling, and selling, connected all the way to me, and my new life as a traveling artist.  

Last year, one of my long term project goals was to create my own interpretation of the Major Arcana cards of the Tarot.  I wanted to honor my past in my present vocation.

I started, made the first three cards, and then stopped.  I wasn't satisfied with the images.  I couldn't feel my great love for the Tarot and its mysteries reflected in my work so I stopped.

I've received a lot of positive feedback for my first card of the Tarot, the Magician.  I took a new look at this project, reflecting again on my new found sense of connection with my Romani past and realized that I really just needed to re-visualize my plans for the cards.

With that in mind, I re-approached the High Priestess card and came away with an art piece that I like.  It inspired me to re-boot the whole project.

I'm pleased to be exploring that part of my life and my past even as it reflects who I am now and what I envision as my future as an artist.

Look for more of my Major Arcana pieces as the year unfolds!