Saturday, October 31, 2009

Weekend in Jamaica

The sun was shining.
The weather was sweet.
Girl pickney in abundance.
And so were the colors.

We left our island home for Jamaica.


Day One

Parents' Weekend at the tony boarding school. The oldest in the nation, seen suh?

We are the family that doesn't quite look like the Kennedys. Nor the Bushes. Nor the royal family of Dubai, all of whom have attended this high school. S'aright. We know we a royal-tee of our own making and we belong there, too. Big girl pickney prove soh.

The King and I arrive on campus with likkle girl pickney in tow. Yes, we sit through mini versions of Chemistry and English. History and Religious Philosophy (that raised some Kingly eyebrows). Math and Francais. Then the Head Mistress gives us all one big chat, lunch and DONE.

Back to our bredren and sistren's home in Jamaica.


Wifeys wan' fi sekkle in for a chat and a re-connect and gossip 'bout husbands. Must.
No mattah, Kings, we will cook the fish 'pon the grill, man -- we haff one next mission for you. Wifeys insist Kings make one bredren mission bakka cam-PUSS.

Big girl pickney needs to be retrieved to join us in Jamaica.


Big chat ensues. Consternation. Dis-TANCE. High-WEH. Ball of confusion. Bredren wan fi sekkle in for a chat and a re-connect.

And gossip 'bout wifeys. Must.

No, man, we no want fi drive -- dat some faddah bizness. You two Kings go get the girl pickney. Seeemple, man, we'll draw you a map.......

Well it appears that the drive up was a snap. Only 25 miles north, highway, exit, smaller highway, exit, drive straight on to campus. One hour passes, I say to other wifey, "well, no news is good news, they must soon arrive."

Cell phone immediately rings. Disgruntled voice of big girl pickney mumbling something about highwway signs saying something about exits to a ski area and the presumption that they are, um, slightly disoriented.


Two and a half hours later, after much google mapping, cell phoning and gnashing of teeth and gossiping 'bout husbands and, no doubt, more gossiping about wifeys - they roll in to Jamaica.


"Well at least they bought me some snacks," says the big girl pickney, unfolding herself out of the back seat and stretching her long legs. Yes, wifeys agree, the Kings are good at keeping a car full of people adequately supplied with snacks.

Following a map? Not so much.

Day Two

Coffee and tea in the yard in Jamaica.


Discussions about art, and mural painting and inner city yewt-dem and yard life and opportunity fi werk and allah deh big baby-dem in yard who want munny. Discuss plans to go to Mess-tee-koh next vacation instead of yard.......Brunch at the cafe. Shopping on Newbury Street. Then to a farm for picking out a punk-keeng.

Mission accomplished. Without gettin lost in Jamaica.


Good times with good family and good friends. Happy fall..............

Friday, October 30, 2009

A surfeit of treasures

I've been fortunate to have some of my art included in several Etsy Treasuries over the past few weeks but have not clogged up the blog with the links. I'm mulling over a re-design of the blog and a more efficient way to share this info -- until then, here a few current collections. I'm currently active in 3 at once -- click through before they expire!

All items are HANDMADE or vintage (20 years older or more).

Lovely items, just in time for the upcoming holidays -


Sweet Potato Pie


Monday, October 26, 2009

Sol Lewitt - Love-it? Hate-it?

Spent a weekend in the Berkshires earlier this month and made a day-long visit to MassMOCA - The Massachussetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. The museum's collection is housed in a restored 19th century factory - I loved the architecture and the soaring spaces but was disappointed at the dearth of actual paintings among the current exhibits. With the exception of the Sol Lewitt massive wall-sized paintings, of course -- but they are not really my cuppa tea.

Lewitt, a legendary Conceptual artist, stressed the ideas behind his works rather than the execution. Lewitt did not paint the massive wall-sized works in this exhibit but rather wrote precise and detailed instructions for their creation. According to notes on the exhibit,

"After nearly six months of intensive drafting and painting by a team of some sixty-five artists and art students, Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective is fully installed . . . and will remain on view for twenty-five years. Conceived by the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, in collaboration with the artist before his death in April 2007, the project has been undertaken by the Gallery, MASS MoCA, and the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Sol LeWitt: A Wall Drawing Retrospective comprises 105 of LeWitt’s large-scale wall drawings, spanning the artist’s career from 1969 to 2007. These occupy nearly an acre of specially built interior walls that have been installed—per LeWitt’s own specifications—over three stories of a historic mill building situated at the heart of MASS MoCA’s campus.

Here's a walk-through video of the exhibit as it was being installed earlier last year:

And here are pics I took with my phone during our visit -

The MassMOCA website has some cool timelapse videos of several of the paintings as the installation team drafted and painted, bringing the images to life. See themhere.

Although I could appreciate the effort and painstaking care involved in putting up the exhibit, it's not really something I enjoyed.

There was ANOTHER exhibit in an adjoining building, however, that was pretty cool - Simon Starling: The Nanjing Particles. Briefly, from an information card in the gallery, " Influenced by the museum's industrial history, Starling began his work with a stereoscopic picture of Chinese laborers who were brought to North Adams to break a factory strike in 1875. Two silver particles were extracted from the images of the Chinese shoemakers (photographed in front of the Sampson Shoe Factory which was once located on the MASS Moca campus). The grains were magnified one million times and forged in stainless steel in Nanjing, China."

One large end of the massive gallery held an enlargement of the original steoescopic photograph -- and had a huge hole cut in the middle through which you could view the rest of the soaring space:

And here are the million-times magnifications of the silver grains -- they were beautiful.

Finally, here is one of my favorite images from the day in the museum --

A shot of the concrete factory floor. It would have made a lovely painting...........

Friday, October 23, 2009

Oils oils oils - works in progress

Watercolor paintings, unique works of art in themselves, also serve as studies, or preliminary sketches, for paintings in oil. I've selected three of my watercolor paintings to serve just such a function.

Here are the three I've decided to re-create in oil:

Watercolors are unforgiving - a mark made can't be painted over to make it disappear -- but they do dry very quickly. Oils, on the other hand, can take days to dry. There are talented painters out there who grind out a small oil painting every day but I'm not one of them. I paint a few thin glazes, tinker with the composition and then let it sit for a couple of days while I figure things out and let things dry a bit before going back into it.

So I've got these 3 going at the same time. I spend some time on one, put it aside and move on to the next. Here they are -- just the FIRST STAGE, with a ways to go. the canvases are slightly larger than the originals, about 8"x10" :

Water Tower No. 3 in progress:

End of Summer Coconuts in progress:

Water Tower No. 7 in progress:

Ok, that's all for now.

Going on a family road trip to New England this weekend! Will work more on these paintings when we return..............

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dread, Red, Head?

Red Rasta, watercolor on paper, 7" x 10"

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Voila - the AFTER photos

No more excuses - now back to work.

Saturday, October 10, 2009


Oy what a mess.

I've been absent from the blog for two weeks or more - apologies. As you can see by the photos below, I've let my studio spin out of control. No wonder I haven't been as productive as I would like.

So I'm sharing these before photos with you partly to explain my absence and partly to shame myself into getting things sorted out.

So these are the BEFORE photos:

This unfinished painting is virtually beseeching me to clean up the place and be more productive:

So I will. The AFTER photos will arrive shortly......