These are some images from my decades of art making to provide context for the new work. The time span is from the 1970’s to the 2000’s. The black and white drawing of the cow and man is the earliest, from the mid 1970’s, when I lived in Fresno, CA. The most recent one is the last one. It is from the early 2000’s, while I was still in Carson, CA. All the installation pieces were done in collaboration with Victoria Taylor Alvarez for various exhibitions in Southern CA. The medium for the works on paper is graphite pencil, colored pencil, oil pastel , and color ink jet print enhanced with colored pencil.
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.