Thursday, February 01, 2007

No paintbrushes....just a keyboard....

I've been at the computer constantly, creating a postcard image, press release and other documents for my group show in May. The show is "9 North" and is comprised of nine multi-media artists that I've sought out and invited. Last summer, I began to realize how good many of the multi-media artists are in AK and wanted to collect them together as well as show with them. In art exhibits, I am constantly applying to other group shows, competitions, etc., yet creating my own shows with others has become a very good resource----and additional lines on my art resume. This image above is the color version of the aspect of each artist's work.

Here is one final draft of the postcard. I am now thinking of changing the text element completely. It's just too----simple. Not sophisticated enough. Plus, I hate having to cover up some of the images. The artists in the show are John Barton, Annie Duffy, Don Kauss, moi, Sonya Kelliher-Combs, Tina Shih, Da-ka-xeen Mehner, Don Mohr and Nancy Burnham.

The challenge in getting this show together is getting all of the documents, images and information from each artist and being able to compile them in a comprehensive manner. It's forcing me to be uber-organized, as well as very communicative and very diplomatic and professional. All good qualities.

I got this in the mail yesterday....the catalog for the exhibit my birch bark hats were rejected from. Are they trying to rub it in? Force me to remember how painful it was to be rejected? Of course not.....but in looking through this catalog, it all came back.

Perhaps I am fortunate as an artist, that I have not had to deal with this severely painful variety of rejection that often (so far). This circumstance was special for me----the effort and love and care I put into those hats! I really built up my expectations for the show.....I was utterly and totally convinced that they'd be accepted and that EVERYONE would love them, blah, blah, blah. When I got the letter informing me that they hadn't been chosen for the exhibit, I read the letter three times....I was sitting in my car outside the post office...before I could really get it through my thick skull that my whole fantasy for their success had just crashed. Even looking at the catalog now, I feel some sadness and pain.

Frommage asked me if anyone who could appreciate them had seen them.....and I realized that no, no one who knows anything about bark has looked at them.....I should remedy this and get a second opinion.

There are two bark baskets in the exhibit, though! Rough, unpeeled bark with hand dyed sinew and spruce roots. They look nice.......but not as nice as my hats....gotta say.

So, just to revisit some old glory, and to show new readers what the hell I am talking about, here is one of the hats, the "Leaf Hat." Sometimes I get them out of the closet and just hold them and look at them....and feel sad.

It's the risk that aritst's take---to pour our best selves into a creation and send it out into the world. Whatever happens to it, we feel the repercussions intensely.

Someday, I vow, I will have these hats travel out into the world with success and appreciation. I just have to find the right place.... Posted by Picasa

Survey work...

I've been helping Frommage with some of his survey jobs. I wanted to help him get the jobs done without delays and also save him a little money in hiring people. I do the work of a chainman, but for me, I guess one could call it 'pretend chainman.' Not understanding the deeper complexities of land surveying, I just go where he tells me to and I hold the rod and prism very still. (I'm good at this, he tells me.)

These photos are from a survey we did out on Chena Hot Springs Road----it was about +25F (balmy!) and the job took us just over 2 easy survey, Frommage says.

The photo above is me in my carhart suit (recognize it, Dena?) and a beaver fur hat. In interior Alaska native culture, women should only wear rabbit or fox fur, not beaver. But's a really warm hat.....we got it at a garage sale for $20 and it's handmade.....

This is the crux, for me: I love animals. I could never kill an animal unless it was to put it out of terrible pain, or if I was starving and desperately needed to hunt to stay alive. I love this hat, but I still feel sadness and guilt when I wear it---as well as pleasure. I love Beavers in all their clever industriousness---there are many here in interior AK. I'm never able to find a balance point in how I feel about animals and how I eat them and wear them. I'm always pulled in two directions....

Here's of the wilderness.

And why was a desk out there in the woods? After the survey, we looked in all the drawers. I was secretly hoping for a lost letter or wads of frosty cash. Just rusty leaves were found.

This would be an excellent site for a letterbox!

Underneath the bridge that was part of the survey I found these beautiful patterns and lines where paint had flaked and chipped off. It looks like termite patterns or coral growth. Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 29, 2007


Frommage did a 10K race on Saturday---5K classic and 5K skate. He was exhausted afterwards but had a great time----it was an exciting race. A sandwich and 2 beers cured his tiredness and we went out for a 10K ski with friends that afternoon.

That evening was sushi at a friends house----they have become artists in the creation of beautiful sushi! It was the best homemade I've ever had.

And now, you must look at this flower AGAIN. Phalaenopsis 'Brother Sara Gold.' This orchid is rocking my world this week.

While watering all of the orchids (10) I found the Maxillaria tenuifolia cranking out some blossoms. This is an unusual orchid in my herd in that the blossoms emerge right alongside the pseudobulbs, rather than on a bloom spike. The indiviudal blooms smell like candied coconut. Talk about an exotic, indulgent experience in the middle of winter in Alaska.

Art? No update....still messing with the big painting. The damned thing told me to put in all sorts of other colors, and I did, with pure trust in my heart. Then I looked at what I'd done, got scared and ran. (This happens.) I need to go back into the studio and work for several hours at a time to cross the next event horizon with this painting.
But when?
Today I'm off to help Frommage with a survey job. Probably 5 hours walking, digging and standing in the snow. I like the principals of land surveying and the end result...and even the process in the field, but the math makes my mind turn to it's not the career for me.

Off to work in the snowy field.... Posted by Picasa