Friday, December 31, 2010

Shane ~ New Year's Eve 2010 ~

Shane ~ oil on linen ~ 12" x 12"

This is half-done - at this point it is almost monochromatic, using mainly burnt umber and flake white, with a little cerulean and venetian red. After this layer dries, I'll apply the finishing colors in transparent glazes. Hopefully the final result will have some of the glow of its inspiration.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Homestead ~

oil on linen, 24" x 32"

This view looks from Cedar Creek Vineyard to an old farm, owned by a friend. I've wanted to paint the three pine trees since I first saw them, years ago, but that didn't happen until Shane took a nice photo of them for me. Painting an old cabin nestled into the hills could be a cliche of Kentucky, but I enjoyed painting it and I like how it looks. The cabin trumped the pines in a way - I thought of calling it "The Haunted Farm," because it reminded me of a haunted cabin that a friend of my sister took me to see when I was a child.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day, 2010 ~

Ink on paper, 24" x 32"

Shane & I spent the day inside yesterday, eating treats and watching anime, enjoying each others company. With the dark came the rare snow, soft and lovely, on Christmas Eve. This morning I got up early and walked all the way to Pitman Creek with Alf, looking for images to paint. Everything looked so beautiful that it was hard to choose what, in particular. I settled on yet another view down the creek, and decided that the tricky medium of Japanese ink was best suited for it.

This evening I actually snuggled up in a chair beside the logs crackling in the fireplace, read some Gertrude Stein and gazed at the Christmas tree, counting my blessings.

I've enjoyed this Christmas the best of any since I was a child.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Storyboarding ~

After days, (and especially) nights, of storyboarding clippets of You'll Always Come Back in my head, this morning I started the thumbnailing of it. With the images summarized on paper, I can begin to see how the first 2 or 3 minutes of the video will work, and that's a key to how the whole thing is constructed. Whew! I wondered if insanity would beat expression in this case. The work ahead seems daunting. Although I've worked with moving images - dance, film (super 8 in my teens), and video continuously through the years, the efforts have always been short (less than 10 minutes) and understood as steps toward developing a technique. This will be the first effort at a long form with a determined purpose - a video opera. I have the tools to begin, we'll see if the will is there, and the luck. It's exciting ... and a bit terrifying.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Primary Cat Attack II ~

Oil ~ 32" x 24" ~ The colors in this pic are not quite accurate! (overcast day) This is the second version of this image, painted for dear friends. The first one is here:

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Creek in November ~

This is oil on linen, 36" x 42" ~ about half finished. (lots of twigs and ripples left to work on!) I've painted this one section of Pitman Creek, near my house, many times now. I never tire of the views there. Painting this made me think of my longtime friend Doug, who owns several of the paintings of the creek, and my Mom, who loved the grays and browns of November.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knobs with Clouds ~

Looking East from Dandyland ~

Carving in progress ~ Reynardine ~

Shane & I are working on this sandstone carving of Reynardine.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Crowman ~

A walk to Pitman Creek ~

Beechlight ~

Collection of Lori Cunnigan Prather ~

I go back and forth between loving willows and beechtrees. It depends on where I am. Here on the hill, the beeches have it. They are such beautiful trees. Sometimes at sunset the smooth silver-gray bark is illuminated with a glowing copper light that matches the color of the winter leaves. Yes, winter leaves ~ some beeches hold onto their leaves through the season. Gradually the autumn copper fades to a ghostly pale gold, almost white. It's wonderful to hear their fluttering hiss in blowing snow.

This is oil on linen canvas, 36" x 42."

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pine Blanket Chest with Raincrows and Honeysuckle ~

Jake Shackleford made this pine blanket chest & I painted the raincrows and honeysuckle on it. It's a container linking the content of two songs - "Raincrows" from The Faun, and "Keep the Wild Honeysuckle" from You'll Always Come Back.

Jake adapted his pattern from Pennsylvania-Dutch blanket chests made in the mid-1800s. The raincrows converge Pennsylvania-Dutch "fraktur" designs with a bit of Audubonesque bird-torquing. I couldn't help singing a song I learned from Jean Ritchie while I was painting:

"The cuckoo, she's a pretty bird -
she sings as she flies.
She brings us glad tidings,
and she tells us no lies.
She sucks all pretty flowers
to make her voice clear
and she never sings cuckoo
till the spring of the year."

The pigments are all made of clays and minerals - green earth, naples yellow, yellow ochre, ivory black, zinc white, and a tiny bit of cobalt, in honor of the Kobold, spirit of the mines.

You can listen to "Raincrows" here:

Raincrow is the dandyland name for the bird more commonly known as the yellow-billed cuckoo. Their croaking calls presage summer showers.

Limestone Lantern Yokai ~

Here's the Limestone Lantern that Shane & I have been carving. It's a commission, destined for a moss garden. The base has already been installed at the site. Once I get the cap to fit correctly, we'll take it to the moss garden and cut a slot in the base to hold the lantern in place. Maybe it's because the stack is so odd and slanty, but this lantern seems to have a personality. In Japan there are all sorts of monstery things that haunt particular sites, from ghosts to creatures to animate musical instruments to hybrid who-knows-whats, called Yokai. I can't wait to see if the candle inside it makes the eye project a raybeam!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Cedars ~

I keep circling round a project of painting cedars, remembering a single (I thought successful) ink drawing of them, done back in the 80s, and thinking surely I can do something with them again. The shapes and colors of cedars are unique - nothing else has the texture, or that multi-shade of green that seems to have maroon hidden inside it. Or blood. Which fits with the Cherokee legend that the powerful red fragrance of the cedar heartwood is a stain that dripped, long ago, from the decapitated head of an overly dangerous ancient sorcerer. Today was blustery and the cedars were even better in cloud darkened motion. Maybe I can settle on something in these images to paint!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Spiral Drawing ~

Spiral Drawing ~

Ping ping, the chisel hits
the stone, ringing something like
a flavor in my thought,
of the hickory flames, and the deep blue sky,
a sentinel crow
croaking to itself,
sun and shadow on my skin.

The rock chips fly, white dust
falls on the ground. I'm following
the round of a spiral's curve,
cutting down
through substance older
than my kind,
well past the middle point in time.

Death, and birth, and all extremes
are distant, like a bell -
clangorous when close, melodic at a mile.
Beyond all hope now I am loved
as much as I desire, have glimpsed complete
the beauties of my dream,
and even touched them with my hand.

Art is called to show
all things; to turn a stone into a phonograph,
as though it mattered
deeply, in ten thousand years,
that at the instant of the strike
I loved you more than all my words describe.
There is no reason otherwise.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Autumn ~

At Dry Branch ~ Kim as The Ancestress ~ pix by DD & Shane

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Little Knob Creature ~

Shane calls this creature "The Shrine Guardian." When I first started carving it, the three knobs on its head made me think of The Knobs, as the hills in this part of Kentucky are properly called, and how my dad knew all of their names.

We made this for a commissioned moss garden we're working on. It will stand beside a Japanese Temple-style stone lantern. It's carved from sandstone.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Metamorphosis of the Crowman ~

I'm planning to paint. This ink sketch is as close as I've gotten so far to the images I'm seeing in my mind.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shaving ~

One sequence in the 12 hr performance that I was able to take some pics of (because I wasn't performing in it!) was "The Shaving of Shane." Burley and Kim, aka The Hexenmeister and The Ancestress, did the deed, accompanied by the gorgeous ragas of Alok Narayana and Gregory Acker, on tablas and flute.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

You'll Always Come Back in Louisville, Sept. 11th, 2010

The performance of You'll Always Come Back in Louisville last Saturday was such a wonderful and mind-boggling experience (I think a 12 hr performance SHOULD be mind-boggling...) that it will take some time for me to assimilate and write about it. You can see some of William Cox's fantastic photographs of the performance here:

Although it is impossible for me to pick out one thing about the event that I liked best, I do know that one of my foremost hopes for the work was accomplished, and that was to reunite with the descendants of Pete Dutton. What an incredible surprise it was when a group of people entered the performance site wearing "Dutton Family Reunion" t-shirts - all relatives of Pete! Nothing could have made me happier!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Elena's images of the performers in You'll Always Come Back

Elena Dorfman's images of the You'll Always Come Back performers, captured in the Spalding mansion

The Spirit of the Spring ~ Shane Gilmore

The Panther in the Chapel ~ Idrissa Ekundayo

The Spirit of the Spring ~ Shane Gilmore

The Hexenmeister ~ Burley Thomas

The Ancestress ~ Kim Perkins

The Panther on the stairs ~ Idrissa Ekundayo

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Return of the Krampus ~

While I'm posting blurry images, this one has been in my mind of late ~ ( a pic of the pic will have to do ~ it's from a new historical survey of Early American Photography ). It is a documentary photo, of a past event re-staged as a performance - yes, RE-staged. The event was the kidnapping of a North Carolina Republican, back in the days when the Republicans were against slavery, by the Klu Klux Klan. Before his whipping could take place, he was rescued by a marshall who happened to be a former Klansman himself. The marshall was a shrewd self-promoter, or a theater director as they're sometimes called. He re-staged the event, using the outfits of the arrested Klan members. An added strangeness is that if you look closely at the hands in the photo, you notice that the Klan actors in this tableau are black, whether friends or hires is not known.

What surprised me is the costumes. These early Klan outfits have horns and beards ~ they look like the Krampus. Are the KKK direct descendants of the Krampus, Woden/St. Nick's "Black Peter," bringing switches, coal, and a beating to children, such as black men and abolitionists, who haven't behaved? Is this a photo of the Germanic Mannerbund? Or does the boogie man always have horns and a beard?

The cone-shaped headpieces have ancient European precursors as well, as I discovered in the ballad research on The Wife of Usher's Well. Some examples of the old shamanic head-cones, representing, so it is thought, empowering light rays, from the sun, or perhaps the otherworld anti-sun, have been found in ancient burials, made of hammered gold. In The Wife of Usher's Well, the hats worn by the returned dead sons are made of bark, possibly birch, one of the rune trees.

The Scout in the Dining Room ~

Idrissa in the dining room, awaiting his shoot with Elena ~ from Kim's iphone.