Until my 6th year of school my family and I lived in a small tar paper house that was built in a day by my Dad’s friends as a wedding present. It had a living room, a kitchen and two bedrooms for a family of 6. The house was rough on the inside with no insulation and heated by a woodstove. In our minds it was a palace and a home. I miss that house still. There has never been a house as grand or a kitchen so warm.
The Big Elk river runs like a silver thread through my veins and Tiger Mountain chimes my heart.
My art speaks to these two worlds, my first home and my second. In all my work I turn personal history into fables where animals walk upright and speak in the voices of my friends and family. They relate their lives in small dramas – sometimes they make sense and sometimes they do not.
Ravens and rabbits, elephants and mice carry on complex relationships often reversing roles, sometimes friends, sometimes lovers, often enemies. Always in flux.
Drawing is a meditation on time and idea – not to be confused with rendering, which is only a small part of the drawing process. This workshop gives you a chance to really sit down, slow down, clear your mind and watch where your pencil takes you.
For example, there is a technique of automatic drawing, used by the surrealists as a way of putting whatever came to mind down on paper. Paul Klee called it “taking a line for a walk.”
Finding the right drawing implement is also important. Some prefer drawing with a pen and ink vs. a pencil or charcoal. Using homemade pens made from twigs or pop cans can bring novelty into play and begin a whole new experience.
And why is it so popular?
The one art expression that we all know and take for granted.
The easiest to make? The easiest to dismiss?
But is it? Collage was introduce to the world of mainstream art in the early 1900s by Picasso of all people and baffled the intelligentsia.
It quickly spread to the surrealist and the dadaist movements and became the signature of low brow and high brow artists alike.
But why? Probably the best answer is the ease in which an idea can be expressed. Slapping down two disparate images on a piece of paper instantly creates tension and dialogue. Add a third picture and the intrigue grows. Add more elements and a story develops.
My day starts with coffee, one cup per day then tea. Up to the studio I go with my steaming cup of black tea with lots of milk. (A habit I picked up in England.)
The important thing – and the way I start every day there – is quietly sitting on my studio steps for a while, drinking my tea and watching the birds that congregate around my studio door. Chickadees, thrushes, sparrows, and juncos are almost always there. Occasionally a grosbeak or two. Here on the mountain things move slowly. Rabbits sit quietly in the green grass near salal and salmon berry bushes, undisturbed. After my tea and thought I begin my day, poking through mental notes and tattered sketches to find my direction.