father

49 Years and the Art of Getting Older

 

daddy and meprofile49

November 1990 / November 2015

 

I look back at the art of my 20’s

the art of my 30’s…

Now, in the final year of my 40’s

I look forward to where my art will take me

as my journey continues.

Since I tend to measure my life in terms of my artwork

I never had a problem with getting older..

until now.

This is my 49th birthday.

I am now as old as my father will ever be.

I always thought he died too young..

But now I know.

 

 

 

Art and the Proximity of Curious Objects

tray

My husband is always telling me to take a picture of the weird collection of items I have on the tray of my easel.

I’m not exactly sure what the actual purpose is for this little shelf-like area..

but it is where I keep all my favorite stuff.

Polished rocks, glass marbles and rusty keys.

Floppy-limbed Micronauts, the metal license tabs from Gunther’s collar

and my father’s college ring.

My art studio is filled with strange little objects that have captured my attention..

but you can tell how much I like something by how close it gets to my easel.

Peculiar Tales of Lemon Bee and Finding Lost Stuff

lemony bee

After The Secret Kingdom, I immediately started working on the illustrations for Lemon Bee and Other Peculiar Tales by author, Patricia Lynn Dompieri. Naturally, I did the painting for the cover sitting at my beloved easel.. but, I must confess, I did all the interior illustrations sitting on the couch drawing pictures while I watched old horror movies.

I sure do love Vincent Price.

Patricia is my sister, and “Lemon Bee” is a story she first wrote when she was just a little girl.

Years ago, Lemon Bee made a cameo appearance in my painting “Lost and Found Again”… along with my sister Sherry’s lost doll, my sister Julie’s little house and my dog Gunther’s missing leg.

lost and found

Nothing is truly lost as long as it lives within you. As an artist, it is an amazing gift to have a way to let it out again.

Still Life with Scorpion Hat

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My husband Richard and I volunteer each week to teach art to a group of inner city kids in downtown Phoenix. Sitting at a table, listening to music, talking and drawing with these beautiful children is a wonderful experience. We have been honing our skills doing still-life drawings. Not your typical bowls of fruit – instead, I have been bringing in a pile of strange objects and weird stuffed animals to draw. I encourage these young artists to choose what animal they’d like to draw – and then to use their imagination to create their own landscape – adding other characters, people and things to complete their masterpiece. Last night we got a little goofy after we finished our drawings, and ended up wearing most of the animals as hats. When I see the expression on that young artist wearing a stuffed scorpion on her head, it fills me with joy.

My Easel and I: A Love Story

daddy

For the first 24 years of my life, I drew pictures. Pencils, pens and paper were my only art supplies.  The huge callus on the middle finger of my right hand was a testament to the decades I spent feverishly pouring my imagination out onto pieces of paper. As a self-taught artist, it never occurred to me to use anything other than the tools that were readily available.  Why would I want anything else? I was happy.

The Christmas before he died, my father bought me an easel.

In other words, he saved my life.

Since I had never painted before, on Christmas morning I stood before that strange metal object in front of me with my mouth hanging open. My father went on to explain how much he wanted to give me an easel – describing his amusing trip to the local art supply store to buy something he knew nothing about. At the time, he didn’t even know what it was called. My father told me that all the easels were made of wood, except the one he bought. He gave me a solid steel easel because he wanted it “to last forever.”

Words cannot express the depth of my love for my father. When he died, it tore me apart. That easel became the rock that I clung to through the maelstrom of my grief, and I taught myself how to paint.

I painted as if my life depended on it… and it did.

That was almost 25 years ago, and I have been painting ever since. Now, I understand that there are easels out there that would probably better suit my method and my materials – but for me, there will never be another easel other than the one my father gave me. Every single one of my paintings was made on that easel, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It is going to last forever.