Thursday, August 26, 2010

Alleppey travels

Appelley, India, is located on the southwest coast and is known as the backwaters of this sub continent. We hired a driver from Mysore and along with a French Canadian traveler from Montreal, we all decided to split the costs. It would take twelve hours to travel south costing fifty dollars each to get there. Along the way, two hours from Alleppey, we got into an accident on Christmas day. A woman and a small boy seated between her legs on a scooter drifted onto our path, causing the driver to skid a good hundred feet. Fortunately, the woman was okay with a slight head wound and her boy bounced off the scooter unharmed. Our entire windshield was smashed and I was in the back seat while I quietly examined this terrifying slow motion happening. There was a police station across the street; we were taken there and sat in their offices for almost an hour while the driver was questioned. They didn't speak or ask us anything about the incident and we were told that a new driver was on the way to continue on with our journey. It was a good thing that the young woman was going to be fine and not sure what would have transpired if it had been serious. Travel in India is perilous and you literally take your life in your hands because of the hoards of people in this country and the general congestion on the main freeways and city roads.

We arrived to Alleppey, hot and exhausted, late in the evening. Finding a temporary room, we slept and got up to look for a better lodging along the backwaters. Along the wet lands we found a duplex of cottages privately owned. Deepu, the caretaker (and is our friend today) made our lunches and dinners. It was a centrally located area where we hired a boat to peruse these fertile territories. The Keralans are darker and kinder in spirit; the Alleppey attitude is more laid back and there seems to be a wonderful shared sense of humor among the community. This video clip is taken on site at our lodging. Crows would assemble each morning and dusk to socialize; it is the sounds that I was drawn too and their massive enchanting cries.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Part Two of my Raven Solitude

Four new house posts were installed at the clan house at the Alaska Native Heritage Center. You can see the interior of the four nations represented - the Haida, Tsimshian, Eyak and Tlingit tribes. In the background, the Eyak complete their song and dance.

Friday, August 13, 2010

My Raven Solitude

Realizing it was Friday the 13th, I thought it apropos to work on my blog statement. It has been raining for the past week with constant gloomy, gray weather and the summer has been a record of terrible and disappointing weather. I find myself though enjoying the time to focus on reading and catching up on loose ends; my studio work is healthy and complete at the moment. At times, I find myself imploding and needing to get out of the house because the lingering gray seems to sit on my head. Ken is away on a ten day flying survey and I find myself experiencing solitude and quiet. My dog Blue is with me, my shadow and constant companion who is suffering from a poor spine but is amped up on steroids. She keeps me busy tending to her needs; we take simple walks to ease her mind and she remains a good source of distraction from my singleness.

Today was my adventure day! This morning I loaded the dog in the truck and we headed to the Alaska Native Heritage Center. This past week was the inception of four new house posts from the four nations - Tlingit, Eyak, Tsimshian and the Haida tribes. I was thrilled to be able to see the naming of the clanhouse ceremonies, experience the quirky behavior of these colorful people in dress and dance. Moreover, the sense of their self respect was radiant. I love Alaska because of this native core and it has drawn me closer to the land and forced me to embrace another way of seeing and experiencing this hidden culture. When I first arrived to Alaska, it was the Alaska Native people I searched for and found this culture too assimilated and strained under layers of many complexities and subtleties. It is prevalent however in the coming together of festivities that reveals their native pride and I sense their desperate grasp to hold onto their language and native ways. The video posted above is The Tsimshian Incoming Song sung and danced by a sister and brother.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

studio work

A series of new works called Blindfold Series are being completed in my studio. These pieces are done on board with gesso, graphite and oil; are done quickly at times while others are reworked to achieve the resolution that I want. The word blindfold is used to describe these works because I feel around, not seeing, not working with a photograph but drawing and painting intuitively and instinctively. I would assume that these pieces are records of memories lingering in and out of my unconscious.
Each piece is approximately 20" x 18" or smaller and I start with a gessoed surface, make my first marks with graphite and do some random scrawls, some more defined than others. My work has always been about combining the two medias of drawing and painting and my new philosophy is not to struggle with each, but to settle into a peace and let go of the hand or in other words become a channel to be led into this expressive path of consciousness/unconsciousness (I could never figure out which term is more appropriate.) This casual process doesn't always work and because I want to contain the painting, I become anxious and feel the need to cap it and finish it.
The image above is one of my favorites quite possibly because it is lighter and easier to look at; mark making is comfortable and airy, they are free and roam around and lines seem to rest without toil and aggravating the senses. My smaller works are more successful at times because of the size issue. At the moment, I am sitting on half a dozen unfinished large pieces and they appear stagnated and the paint or marks don't move like the smaller pieces. Movement is an important aspect in my work, this constant flux of thoughts and expressions that move in and out of my existences and landscapes of thoughts.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

before fall to dark

I have been observing the dwindling light as we move towards August and I see the changes and feel moods of summer slip away. This is a view outside my front door; it has been rainy and gloomy lately, so the darkness is even more apparent in its coming. However, I love this time the best; the neighborhood is tucked away and a settled peace seems to prevail over the world. It is quite beautiful and I make sure I study it well before I go to bed, hold it close and inhale it before I forget about it upon waking to another day.