Variation on a theme....
I am trying to focus...either on a series, or on my medium. I have been selling off my earrings and other decorative objects d'art that I have made with the hope that the feng shui-ing of my old stock will help me to focus.
In my planning for my future, I need to keep it simple. Art, cards, and a few gift items for my Christmas show. This year's gift items will most likely include little collaged Moleskine notebooks, my lovely ornaments, and decoupaged Workman's lunchboxes, like the ones that were done in the 60's and 70's. I coveted the ones that some of my class mates had in elementary school, and I think it will be so fun to make some now. And, as my brilliant sister pointed out, they can hold more than lunch items.
This weekend I have been exploring an image which is stuck in my head and heart - three little bungalows that sit on Route 28 in Mt. Tremper. They remind me of the bungalows of my youth and stir up some deep memories.
I have designed my gardens and chosen my house colors from the deeply etched memories of my stays in the family vacation bungalow in Phoenicia, and remember the fun I had playing with the children who were guests at the neighboring cottages which were rented out to families who came to the Catskills every summer. I remember hours of reading Little House on the Prairie while rocking next to my crippled grandmother on the porch, the swims and fishing in the creek behind the house, picking blueberries and concord grapes and wincing at their sourness. I savor the warm memories of my great aunts, grandmother, and aunts in their dresses and thick black shoes, who stayed at the cottage in some configuration of people or another from spring through fall, all one big extended Irish/Scottish family. They loved us children unconditionally, so unlike my authoritarian, angry, abusive father. It was simply put, a time of joy and escape.
Not all bungalow memories are happy, as there was the summer of '77 when my father got very sick and then died of cancer. I had just moved away from home, and unknown to my family, was living part time with my boyfriend in his little bungalow. A shiksa working at the Nevele Hotel, I fell head over heals for one of the owner's nephews and spent a summer of love and partying in those little bungalows that the employees lived in for the summer season. They were dank, messy bungalows, full of the trash from boys partying. They were also full of deception. They day I received the phone call that my father died, I had also found out that the man I had given my heart to had been engaged to a Jewish girl, and she was coming to stay for the weekend. In my grief, perhaps the deepest grief I have experienced thus far, I lost the keys to my house and car, which added another level of panic and disaster to my life. That day I will never forget.
So I work on this series of little sad faced houses in the mountains...that hold dirty little secrets. As I work I make some of them brighter than the dark rainy misty photo portrays, but somehow there will always be the yin/yang of joy/sorrow in their execution. But I plan on working on a series of the red cottage, and that perhaps will be full of light and love. The cottage still exists, but sadly, my remaining aunt who lives on the property in a house nearby, is not talking to me....and that is for another blog. So I must rely on ancient photos...and on the good will of family to dig them up for me.
From top to bottom: watercolor, pastel, and a not-quite finished oil. I plan to work on one in encaustic, and then do a large oil. By then perhaps, they will be out of my system. But for now, I keep on digging in the dirt.....