I created a sketchbook for the 2019 Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbook Project. The theme is “What I Left Behind.” It is an exploration and purging of the anger, rage, frustration, and spiritual struggle surrounding a legal battle to keep my property after being defrauded in the purchase. The paintings I created for the book are small, about 3″ x 5 “, the size of the sketchbook pages. I printed color pictures of my house and yard, then torn them up and rearranged the pieces on paper. I then painted over the collages, responding intuitively to the colors and shapes. The process of making the art helped me deal with the frustrating legal proceedings and make peace with leaving this home behind.
These mages are from a sketchbook I started back in 2010. At the time I was processing many ideas of transformation, new growth, and fresh opportunities in my life. It was two years before we were finally able to move to Oregon. The intention in my mind was set, I had started searching for a property online. These were done during that stressful time, during 2010 and 2011. All except the last one, which is from December of 2017, another stressful time when we are preparing to move from the property purchased in 2012 to another, as yet unknown, location. What would my art be without change?
I set the circular mandala shape as a framework. It is symbolic of cycles and it is a comfortable shape for me. Each drawing is a quick study, a musing, a symbolic representation of my state of emotions and mind at that moment. There are quite a few pages left in the book. The intention is to finish it, come what may.
These mages are from a 2017-2018 series of ink jet prints altered by pencil overlay. I drew on the original print with graphite pencil, altering the dark and light patterns and creating optical illusions of depth that did not exist in the original. The foreground and background became fragmented or changed into solid shapes or deep space. There is matrixing throughout each drawing. Weird little faces appear and morph into strange creatures. Interestingly, these are taken from pictures of the trees that are on three sides of the house. This series is an insight into my own psyche and my awareness of the elemental energies of the forest.
My husband and I moved to Portland, OR from Carson, CA. We lived in a mobile home park for over 20 years. The first picture shows the view out the front windows. Cement, blacktop, cement. I had grown up in Southern CA, so I was used to being surrounded by cement, city, and freeways. However, for years I longed for open spaces, land, grass, and trees. I told everyone the reason I wanted to move to Oregon was, “I need a tree.”
Finally, in 2012, life’s circumstances allowed my dream to manifest. We moved to a small amount of acreage with a big house just out of town, right at the beginning of the farmland. The second picture shows the view out the back door. It is a section of green space, a small forest area that will not be developed. Wow. No cement, no blacktop.
Honestly, I was in heaven, but I felt like Red Riding Hood or Snow White, lost in the big, dark, woods. I felt a nagging sense of fear peering through the trees, especially at dusk or during the black of the night. For the first few months I imagined all kinds of creatures that could be lurking in the forest. The city girl was more scared of a few trees than a busy freeway.
Then, the Brooklyn Art Library advertised their annual call for sketchbooks. An artist can purchase a small, blank, sketchbook with a brown cover to fill in any manner. It is then mailed back to the art library and included on an national tour. Finally, it is permanently housed in the Brooklyn Art Library. I purchased one and used the theme,” Through The Forest Wilderness”.
I took pictures of the trees right at the edge of the lawn. I walked a few feet into the forest and took more pictures. I printed them in black and white, small enough to fit one picture on each page, and glued them down. Each image is a photograph altered by drawing over it with pencil.
I worked in a stream of consciousness way, making intuitive decisions about what areas to darken, which to keep light, what lines or shapes to emphasize. I was surprised at the leering little faces that emerged, and the doorways that appeared. The images reflected my discomfort at the totally new environment I had thrust myself into when we moved. Yet, the doorways symbolized I was open and ready to step into new experiences. They are entry points for transformational energies and information that will shape my life here in Oregon.