Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Introduction: Noun, formally making a person known to another or to the public

Ok Heather, love, here you go, ye olde introduction. Most of you already know all of this, but here it comes anyway.

To most of my friends, I am Winnie. I am Wina to my family, or predictably, Poo. (Without the ‘h’ at the end, as a distinction between myself and a certain stuffed with fluff bear, whose personality is really much too close to my own for comfort.) The name I use professionally contains the whole ball of wax: my birth name, maiden name and married name. When I decided to use the entire thing, I was sure it was too long. Then I counted the syllables and realized it had exactly the same number as Marion Zimmer Bradley. I figured if she could do it, so could I. I didn’t realize when I decided to use the full name that I would end up signing it over and over two million times. If I had, I might have gone with just ‘Poo.’ My official professional name is: Edwina Peterson Cross.

I am a writer and a poet, who only discovered visual art a very few years ago. I grew up in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains and have lived, at various times, all over the United States, from Los Angeles to the rocky coast of Maine. For many years, I was a teacher who worked on a preschool, elementary, high school and University level, where I taught Early Childhood Education, Child Psychology, Children’s Literature and the writing, history and appreciation of Poetry. I was trained in Deaf Education and worked with main-steaming projects, early identification of hearing impairment and early language intervention. I was also a dancer and a Teacher of Dance for many years. I taught many different forms of dance, including ballet and modern, but found my real love was interpretative, creative dance which I taught with many curriculum cross-overs to the visual arts, literature and poetry. For the last fifteen years I have worked as an editor for a large press nationally syndicated magazine. I have just retired from that work and am now writing and painting full time.

I have severe chronic pain with which I struggle constantly. It makes many parts of life difficult. Writing and painting, however are the balm that keeps me going. Our own Wise Woman, Vi Jones, says that artists have to experience pain in order to produce works of beauty. “It's too bad we have to suffer for our talent, but perhaps in that, we walk inward and that is where the beauty comes from.” Vi’s words are a balm to me as well, because they are so true. The pain does, indeed, make you ‘walk inward.’

I have to ‘walk outward’ as well, always setting a timer for 20 minutes then getting up from the computer to walk. Otherwise, I could sit here for hours without moving. NOT in keeping with good pain management practices!

All my art is done on the computer; as a friend once told me, I ‘paint with light.’ I use the bottom of the line wacom tablet (only 4X5) and pen. This is my second set, having worn the first pen’s point down to nothing and worn the surface completely off of the tablet. I hope to graduate up to a slightly bigger tablet sometime soon and have dreams of that really big one, the size of a large sketch book. Of course, I’m not sure what I would do with it, as I have learned to do everything I do moving just the fingers of my right hand. I use an ancient Paint program, Fractal Design’s “Painter 5.” I am constantly in fear that it will go belly up, because I know I can’t replace it.

My art is eclectic and odd, very often something that I have seen in my mind or an extrapolation of something else. I paint visuals to accompany my poetry and sometimes other peoples writing, comments or shared thoughts. I have never gotten over the ability to at least ‘sort of’ translate what I am thinking into a visual image. I have times that I take my capacity for words for granted, but the ability to put visual form to concept still constantly startles and amazes me.

As far as the future goes . . . I would like to study more, to learn how and why I am doing things that I don’t even really understand now, and to learn to do them better. For instance, I would like to learn to draw arms and hands better! They give me fits sometimes and make it unlikely that I will tackle a portrait of Shiva anytime soon. (I just finished a Ganesh which took me forever, and he only has four arms!) I would like to try some 3-D art, something I think about but haven’t ever really done. I have always wanted to try using a potter’s wheel. I have arthritis in my hands and three fingers of my left hand are completely numb, but, in truth, I don’t think that means that I couldn’t use a potters wheel. Some of this entails going out of the house, however, which is another story entirely!

There are a number of pieces of my work on this Blog. I keep putting stuff here like someone priming a pump . . . hoping that it will get the mechanism wet and it will start spinning. Now I’ve done the ‘introduction’ Heather wanted . . . Hello, ya’all! . . . I hope to hear the pump whirring a lot and fascinating things appearing from underground; examples of work and thoughts on various aspects of Art. What period in Art History is your favorite? Who is your favorite artist? Or artists. Which are your favorite paintings? What mediums do you work in? What are your hopes for the future? What kind of peanut butter do you like, crunchy or creamy? This is not as random as it sounds. When I was teaching, we used to finger paint with peanut butter and jelly; there is a definite difference in creamy and crunchy. There is a variance in the brands as well and in the way they mix with the jelly or jam. Come to think of it, there is a vast variation and distinct difference between jelly and jam . . .


At 12:33 AM, Blogger Heather Blakey said...

You are such a good egg Edwina Peterson Cross! I can just imagine that if you were in one of my classes you would be one of the first to hand in the completed assignment. If I could figure out how to do it I would put a big gold star here for you Winnie!

It is just lovely to see bios and latest pieces of work appearing she says coughing loudly so that others will follow suit.

When I have some spare moments, which could be around 2010 at the rate I am going, I will talk about my favourite Dutch Master, Vermeer.
His work always takes my breath away. As for the peanut butter, crunchy of course!

At 6:09 AM, Blogger Salish & Me said...

I loved your bio Winnie! You have packed in a lot of living already and your future plans are exciting.

One day I hope to learn how to use my PSP 8 program. I think it would really help to pull designs together.

I can SO relate to leaving the house. I've been struggling with that one for the last 20 years myself.

love & hugs,


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