July and August 2018
Okay, here’s the thing, don’t judge me, I play solitaire to cope when I’m stressed and when I want to distract myself. When I have just told off my Dad. When my art projects are at a stand still and unresolved. For the art stories as yet unwritten with a deadline looming. For the things I can’t get to. For the endless mind blurring, joy sucking, smoke filled valley that we have lived with for most of July and all of August. Day after day. For the first time, since living here (thirty five years) I am thinking I need to have a “Grab & Go Bag” of essential documents, treasures, photos, food, and survival gear, ready to grab at a moment’s notice. What do I take? What is necessary besides the family and the animals? The terrible fire in Redding, California has made us all think that this could happen here. It’s a worry and a stress.

The smoke kept me indoors. I admit I had a bit of cabin fever. Though I spend my time in my studio I can’t work on my monoprints in process. I just can’t think clearly enough to concentrate on these pieces. I blame the smoke.

When I am not playing solitaire to forget about the smoke or the other things I do to distract myself. I look around my studio and see things that I have collected or saved, intending to finish them one day. Well that day has come. I am dipping old paint brushes, that I have been saving for years, in paint and hanging them up to drip and dry. I have no idea why I am doing this, except that it makes me happy. No other reason what so ever. I am trying not to judge myself. Life is hard, I can’t go outside. My friends are traveling, getting away from the smoke. I can’t leave because I am teaching the next two weekends and the classes are full.

I spy some figurines in my studio. Some are broken or have been given to me by friends or inherited from my mother. I have the idea to switch their heads. I think to myself “what would people think if they saw me cutting the heads off little figurines” Yep she’s finally completely lost it. But I am enjoying myself. I love switching the heads on these figurines. I have saved them from a boring life and re-purposed them. A change of mind. A different point of view. And like the paint brushes, I am doing it because it makes me happy. No other reason and this is reason enough.

The Altered Figurines have taken over my studio and now they have their own life. I have created little books for each of them. And will be showing them at the Art Center for first Friday September 7th 5 to 8. They will only be on display for a short while so I hope you will be able to come and see them.

The smoke finally cleared and so did my head, I was able to finish all of my new monoprints and mixed media pieces for the Art Center. Yay! https://www.ashlandartcenter.org/

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