Monday, December 30, 2013

The Cats of Munjoy Hill • The Stare

I spotted this cat on the stoop of a house walking toward the East End School one day. The stare was arresting - I was caught off guard.  It was a major stare-down and I was feeling really nervous all of a sudden, like maybe I had a glob of jam on my chin. I love cats, but I still don't trust my instincts with them.  A soft, fluffy and quite beautiful looking creature during the day can be ferocious, and more often than not, a yeowling hellcat at night. I hear them all of the time when I read into the wee hours.

I used to see this cat quite a bit, but then the house was sold and the cat is now gone.  I would like to think that the price the person who owned this house got was ridiculous and that the cat is in a beautiful place now. In the meantime I'm glad I got to be with her for a moment.

The Cat's of Munjoy Hill • The Stare • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve

We four kids can blame our lifelong expectation of getting a boatload of toys Christmas Eve on our my middle class boomer parents. Many had survived the depression and come back from wartime with an opportunity to make a decent living, with real disposable income, for the first time in their lives. Still thrifty in every way, they would uncharacteristically open the spigot of their savings and let it just pour out and over us kids at Christmastime. Add to that the passing down of immigrant family traditions and you have the making of a magical out-of-body experiences.

In all honesty, I don't remember much about the toys I got except for a new bike every now and again. As an adult looking back, I think the real magic was being awakened at midnight on Christmas Eve by the ringing of Santa's bells, always a chronic near miss. We'd tear down the hallway so fast we'd miss the tree buried with gifts as we rounded the corner at full speed, flying mid-air out the front door to see if we could catch even the slightest glimpse of Santa.  Every year, we'd find ourselves standing breathless and barefoot in the cold on the stoop, but so sure we could still detect those bells somewhere out there in the darkest of dark. I remember scanning the night sky, and maybe for the first time in my life, noticing how dark but utterly beautiful and magical it was especially when the stars twinkled silently and brilliantly so far up there. Then someone would remember the toy thing and we'd push each other back through the front door and dive under the tree where we'd tear into our gifts and play with them way into the wee hours of Christmas morning.

Our parents loved being with us that night. We were all so happy. Delirious with joy, way past overtired, and bursting with excitement, we were introduced to a magical moment in time I think we tried to replicate for the rest of our lives. All of us chased it down different paths and maybe found it in different places.

But what never changed for me personally, was my firm belief in Santa and that huge, dark and utterly mysterious and magical midnight Christmas Eve sky. It continues to be a vast canvas for the infinite number of things I have yet to discover, know and understand.

Christmas Eve • 8" x 8" watercolor framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, December 16, 2013

On Getting Snow

I had mixed feelings about the prospect of getting hit with a big snow storm this past week. The mountains needed a dump badly, but I was due to leave Boston for Seattle to spend the holidays with my kids. If the sucker stalled I would be spending the next week trying to hitch a ride in cargo. It was a mental conundrum.

My solution was to envision a timely, tapering storm. As it turned out, the 'ol mojo still works. Elecktra came, dumped and left right on time. Today is truly a divine holiday gift.

In the meantime and unbeknownst to me, I found out The Weather Channel now uses names for winter storms (though the national weather service doesn't). The decision to begin naming storms was a way to communicate severe weather information on all platforms, including social media. Hashtags are a big part of social media, and naming a storm proved to be the best way to efficiently and systematically convey information about one particular storm.

The name Elecktra, not your regular Jane-type name, intrigued me. I got to explore this while waiting for the plow guy to come. He was a no-show, so I had a lot of time on my hands.

First, she is a Marvel Comics character. If you're interested, here's the link with everything you've ever wanted to know about that Elektra.

Second, she's a character in Greek mythology.

Electra, ( Greek: “Bright One”) in Greek legend, the daughter of Agamemnon and Clytemnestra, who saved the life of her young brother Orestes by sending him away when their father was murdered. When he later returned, she helped him to slay their mother and their mother’s lover, Aegisthus. Electra then married Orestes’ friend Pylades. The plays of the same name written by Sophocles and Euripides and the Choephoroi by Aeschylus vary the theme in detail. Many later artistic interpretations of her life exist, including Hugo von Hofmannsthal’s play Elektra (1903), later made into an opera by Richard Strauss (1906–08), and Eugene O’Neill’s play Mourning Becomes Electra (1931).

And finally, she's a complex. Thankfully this was not an American idea though I am a Jung fan.
"Daddy's girl" and "Daddy's little girl" redirect here. For other uses, see Daddy's Girl. For other uses, see Daddy's Little Girl (disambiguation).

In Neo-Freudian psychology, the Electra complex, as proposed by Carl Gustav Jung, is a child’s psychosexual competition with her mother for possession of her father. In the course of her psychosexual development, the complex is the girl's phallic stage; formation of a discrete sexual identity, a boy's analogous experience is the Oedipus complex. The Electra complex occurs in the third — phallic stage (ages 3–6) — of five psychosexual development stages: (i) the Oral, (ii) the Anal, (iii) the Phallic, (iv) the Latent, and (v) the Genital — in which the source libido pleasure is in a different erogenous zone of the infant’s body.

On Getting Snow • 8" x 8" framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Summer Idea

We humans are fortunate. Most of us can alter our state of mind by altering our thoughts. When winter kicks out a day like today, I go to a summer scene in my memory bank. Because I do what I do, I can throw it out on paper and hang it on my wall too in case I forget.

Lenny Brown comes to mind as I write this.  He used to wear his penny loafers at Sugarloaf all winter - with no socks. He did a lot of slipping and sliding over ice and snow, but never fell or complained about cold feet. I don't know why he did this, but my suspicion is that he simply ignored the cold and envisioned a beautiful hot summer day. He seemed like that kind of guy, or I would like to think of him that anyway.

The Summer Idea • 8" x 8" gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200

Monday, December 2, 2013

Joyful Foxes

I recently watched the coolest video someone posted on Facebook about a fox hunting in the snow for mice.  I have re-posted the link if you want to watch it. What I loved was watching the fox jump straight into the air and plunge head first and three feet down through the surface of the snow. Such a joyful antic, especially when the fox gets a mouse which, by the way, you can hear squeaking to death in the film.

That's the way I feel during the holidays. Joyful - like I want to jump straight up in the air and belly flop into a pile of soft fluffy snow that is my family and friends. I feel like I am going over the river and through the woods to grandmothers house all the time for two whole months. Wait - I am the grandmother's house. When did that happen?

Joyful Foxes • 8" x 8" watercolor and gouache framed to 12" x 12" • $200