Monday, July 25, 2005


blue fish on a
red plate, a slice of lemon -
primary hunger

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Progress - G-Nome Project

A sudden fit of inspiration seized me the other day, while staring at my three faceless, terra cotta gnomes.

First, there was the whitewash, out of which just naturally, without even trying to make it happen, some very diverse personalities emerge.
Bit, by bit, they were neither faceless nor shapeless.

From there personalities came to the surface quite quickly. The lady, the sad clown, the hippie-chick.

It was a warm day and I did not have the heart to paint their clothes on. No reason a gnome needs to have clothes on. I don't think decency laws apply here. From there they went a little wild. I took some snappies of the goings on. appears some gnomes can be quite wild, hedonistic.

First they took to the beach
playing with bubbles
getting quite chummy

Now to get on to the more serious writing of the actual story, which I will post once it is done and polished a bit. Somehow it is all making sense as a larger story with plenty of moral existential lessons and I've had just so much fun doing it. I will probably finish the whole series completely, and start again from the beginning posting each section as I complete it.

Having such fun doing this, did I mention that?


Thursday, July 21, 2005

amulet bag Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 18, 2005

Getting Ready for Second Grandchild (January '06)

Modelled by my 42 year olf doll Keesie and my Bear Bart, the pink hat is for my nearly 2 year old granddaughter, the rest for my daughter Koszima's mystery baby #2.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

the finished bag Posted by Picasa

the lining Posted by Picasa

finished knitting Posted by Picasa

I thought I would share my latest accomplishment with you.

A couple of months ago I taught myself to knit, bored with knitting
scarves and beanies, I thought I would try my hand at something different.

The pictures attached to this email are the results of my latest project.
A knitted bag. I think I'll try my hand at another one now.

The photo's however do not do the bag justice. It is knitted from a wool called
rockery - it is a rust brown with, bright colourful knobbly bits.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the present

According to my mother, my first visit to a museum happened on the very day I was released form hospital a few days after birth. My father triumphantly carried me fro room to room through the Rijksmuseum. Rarely did a week pass by that we were not in one great museum or another. One of the perks to being an Amsterdammer.

My father had inherited the painting gene in his family. He did for a time when I was about three try supporting us on the sales of his paintings. He had also luckily inherited the sales and marketing abilities which had long kept generations from having to pursue "real" jobs. Collecting rent is a long cry from a real job. It must have been a crushing brush with reality, washing bottles and lab equipment at Shell Oil's laboratories. both my parents had been cheated of a high school education, both were just 17 when WWII ended. Dad took night school and worked to bring himself up to where he could attend University, nothing was handed him. My mother either, she worked as a nanny and private nurse to underwrite her nursing studies.

On this particular day I was the daughter of the Artist. I had no notion, no idea if we were rich or poor. I knew I was loved and cared for. My parents took a great deal of time to point out the wonders and beauty of the world around me. I hung on every word, I was a sponge. I loved everything about my parents' interests, it was our bond. I shared painting with dad, opera with mother. I studied every stitch my mother performed with her patient and talented hands. I sat excitedly by father as he painted, I can see them still if I close my eyes. It explains, perhaps why my paintings, without any intent, look so much like his work.

The museum, in particular Boyman van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam,was and always will be my favourite place on this earth, my holy place, it is in my heart even when I cannot get there myself. That is where my tiny hand touched the bronze foot of Degas' ballet dancer. It is where, in my opinion, the most beautiful clocks ever made, tick harmoniously now as in centuries past. These are the survivors, valuable enough that war and fires did not destroy them. Nothing chronicles history as well as paintings do. There for me to see in one room the Armada fights at sea, and in another, Bosch's Tower of Babel's staggering detail (the painting is barely a square foot in size) speaks of an artist sparing no amount of his very spirit to put on canvas (actually I believe it is on wood) all of what one moment in time could possibly mean. Within the one story of the painting there are dozens of smaller stories. I've spent hours with this painting and still have not fully taken it all in.

Of course little girls cannot keep up with adults, their legs will get tired. This day there were paintings on loan from another gallery -- the specifics I do not know, just that it was very special -- with a great deal of excitement my parents had gone room to room. When I became tired the first time I was allowed to lie on a bench in the grandfather clock room. My parents could then spend some time in the adjoining room which had remarkable seascapes. My father's and also my mother's family had been in the shipbuilding business for centuries, it follows they had some considerable knowledge and interest in the subject. At age four or so the details of one ship versus another are not terribly interesting. It was by far my favourite place in the world to take a nap, watched by the timeless timepieces, hearing them tick tock with a sense of the infinite.

On the second floor in the room with the blue walls I did my best to show how tired I had again become. Why? Because I still did not like mandrills, and in this room there was an intimidatingly large painting of a mandril by Kokoschka. Daddy picked me up, while he admired the Kokoschka I looked out of the window, where below in the courtyard large zaftig bronzes looked pensively at each other. The window was a welcome view, I did not like blue walls, I still don't. The next room had green walls. Some very nice landscapes.

I lay down on the bench in the green room I imagined myself walking through each of the landscapes. I was very tired, there had been a lot of walking, my shoes pinched. I sat up to look for mom and dad. I was alarmed when I could not find them. Maybe they had gone for another look in the blue room, being how fond they were of those awful mandrills. I turned my little groggy head around. There, directly behind me was the most ghastly nightmarish sight I gasped, gurgled choked by the fear of what faced me. I let out a scream.

I think I had everyone's attention. My dad swept me up, my mother grabbed me. An apparent lapse in parental judgment had put me down for a nap facing away from Goya's "Saturn Eating One of His Children." I loathe that painting, even more than a mandril. How could a father eat his child, or any child. What monsters were there in my world? I held on very tightly to my mommy. That was the very last time that I ever took a nap anywhere at Boymans other than the clock room.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Who is just the spookiest?
Goya! Goya!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Who is possessed with such finesse?
Goya! Goya!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
Obsess, transgress, but ne’er suppress,
Distressed from the darkest recess express,
Depress excess infests noblesse!
Goya! Goya!
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Cheerleading. It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it.
You know, I really love Goya. It is, however, my job to keep your bodily functions lively.
You know, ‘The Leaning Tower” ~ “The owl cries twice . . .”

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Goya's Devouring Monster

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The Mystery of Goya's Saturn

The painting known as 'Saturn Devouring One of His Sons', by Francisco Goya, presents us with a terrifying cannibal god, Kronos, whom he depicts as a wild, revolting figure, consuming his offspring. The ancient deity looks crazed, his eyes are atrocious and the painting is one of those which imprints itself on the psyche of those who examine it closely.

'Saturn Devouring One of His Sons' springing from the Kronos myth, was a part of Goya's 'Black Painting' series when Goya 'carved his fates and inscribed his nighmares directly onto plaster.'

The earliest version of the Kronos myth--Saturn is the later Roman name--was written down by Hesiod in his Theogony, around the eighth century, B.C.E.

First comes Chaos; then Earth/Gaia; Tartarus in the bowels of Earth; and finally Eros. Earth gives birth to Heaven, also known as Ouranos, and then bears twelve of his children, the last, "most terrible of sons/The crooked-scheming Kronos." Earth and Ouranos have three more sons, so fearsome and mighty that Ouranos forces them back inside their mother, burying them alive. She forms a sickle, and asks her other sons to use it against their father, "For it was he/Who first began devising shameful acts." All are afraid, except Kronos. She gives him the sickle, hides him in her, and he castrates his father, preventing him from having more children, then assumes power among the Titans. But fear lives in his heart; a usurper himself, he learns that one of his own children will usurp him, and he devours them at birth:

As each child issued from the holy womb
And lay upon its mother's knees, each one
Was seized by mighty Kronos, and gulped down.

Through a ruse by his mother, the last born, Zeus, survives, leads a war against Kronos, and casts him down to Tartarus. Even gods cannot overcome Fate.

Reviewers have asked what it was that Goya recognized in himself that charged the work with such raw, wounding power? Jason Scott Morgan, for example, alludes to the traditional father and son narrative which has been presented in, amongst other documents, the Bible.

Maybe Goya was painting this narrative but I suspect not. Before he began the Black Paintings, Goya survived a near fatal illness, documented in his Self-portrait with Dr. Arrieta. Goya depicts himself as a "pained and weary artist, surrounded by dark, phantasmal faces." It is plausible that Saturn was painted as a way to express the lonely terror of mortality. Since my husband's body has been ravaged by a third round of bowel cancer, and we have faced the lonely terror of mortality, I have every reason to think that this is likely. If I could paint I would paint Atrophe, towering like a giant, scissors in hand, tormenting us with the reality that she has the power to cut the thread at any moment. Goya's Saturn touches me deeply because it expresses shared pain and his Atropos paints the dark dreams that haunt me.

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So what charged Goya's painting of Saturn? As his health declined, as he stared creative impotence in the eyes - Saturn's eyes, Atrophos's scissors his work gathered momentum and a dark force. It doesn't really matter if Goya threw away his pastels and used someone like Saturn as a metaphor to represent the terror of creative impotence. Who cares if Goya used Saturn as a metaphor to depict the 'black dog' that consumes artists offspring -- that hungrily devours work deemed, for whatever reason, not to be of any merit, not to fit the stereotypical mould. The main thing is that Goya went right outside the square and painted with force that speaks with passion today.

I imagine Goya must have smiled wryly when he realised that he had captured the demonic figure who had lived with him all his life. But most of all I am grateful that he has so powerfully captured the demon who lurks in my nightmares, for I know now that I am not alone.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Riding Giants

I love watching surfing documentaries. And this one is outstanding. What could be better? Tropical setting, lotsa water, guys on a wave? Nice.

And then somehow during the last part of the movie, they begin to talk about faith. A 30 foot wave is out of your control. You can only bring your experience with how to deal with such an awesome, natural occurrence. And then during the take off of looking straight down a mountain of moving water there is faith that you will either jump off or stay with it. As Laird Hamilton said,” I can’t make it, unless I just stay on.” And that for me translates to anything you choose to do with life.

You cannot succeed unless you try. As I jokingly said to my husband “You have to enter to win.” We can hem and haw about all the responsibilities we have, but it’s in the pure dedication that things begin to take shape. You want to fulfill a dream? Don’t put it off. Make it happen. Or what I really mean to say is, what would happen or how would it be if you knew you would NOT fail? If you had the pure faith you would succeed.

These guys put their life on the line to experience oneness with the sea. It’s pure exhilaration. Although I don’t want to be a big wave surfer, I do want to be a working artist. And I can’t make it, unless I stick with it.

Jack and Luke - Our Brittany Spaniels

I did this as a Father's Day present for my husband

Monday, July 04, 2005

There is more than even I gnome so far

The pool of Buddy is becoming a well landscaped memorial to the fallen gnome.

My new gnome underwent a change, first whitewashed, appearing as a ghostly sight next to the pool of Buddy. Clearly I was being drawn in to help give this new gnome his face, his character. I felt humbled by the prospect.

After much thought the gnome became a small person, pardon me, gnome, with his very own personality.

Then, at dusk, more gnomes appeared. Three in all. Faceless. What do they want? Why are they here?

They are there still, night after night, gathered in eerie silence. Days pass, and all I can think is that they want faces too. Maybe I need to step in again, and find for each one their own face, clothes, and personalities. Or they will be there every night in stony silence waiting to evolve into full blown gnomes and not just another piece of terra cotta gardenware.

Maybe then they will move on, to homes and reflecting pools of their own.


Saturday, July 02, 2005

CAT - After Warhol