Monday, August 31, 2009

So,What Comes Next?

Tonight I watched an excellent documentary called "Flock Of Dodos" - which gave an interesting view on the eternal debate about Evolution verses Creationism or, in the "new age" parlance, "Intelligent Design" which is the argument that nature and this world and all life is so complex that we can't explain it and therefore there is "something/higher power" in control. The documentary chronicled the Kansas State Debate of what to teach in schools; where this controversial subject usually raises it's little head. OK. I'm not debating this - it's rather one of those 'nobody can ever agree' things depending on your belief system and we ALL have something we cling to in this crazy life- it's a choice.
Nope, not going to dive into that murky pool.
What evolution always makes me wonder about is: Is it still happening? Or have we come to the final design here? Is some very very very future human going to look completely different (but still recognizable) from what we are now from those early humans? I mean, we seem to be mostly unchanged for some 3000+ years, and I'm making a conservative estimate I think, and I know that evolutionary change is very slow to happen but I just think there might be something that would be evident about change by now. That is, if we are.
Does anyone know or wonder about this besides me? Does anyone study stuff like this? NOT all the old species stuff but whether we and animal life is changing still.
I know we live longer nowadays but I think that's mostly due to a better understanding of nutrition and healthy living as opposed to body redesign.
So, if anyone is out there that might know, I'd sure like this answered.
And I'll now start picturing future!

Saturday, August 29, 2009


I mean in a painterly sense, not in the tobacco one...although I do crave one every time I finish a painting.....sigh.
OK. I am LOVING this series and am already planning the next one to start tomorrow. This one is called "Walkies" and is inspired by the many times Mom would comment that her dogs gave her much more pleasure than her children ever did. AND that I should learn to groom poodles when the art career didn't work.
Ah Mom. She was really not a happy camper. I think that she had such a 'fairy tale" idea of what life with kids and all that was supposed to be that the reality of it all just made her more and more miserable. I really miss not being able to talk about all this with her. Who knows, maybe she just never would have.
You can see I'm still changing the face....seems to help as long as I don't start to fool with it at night while I look at it.......this actually is a very respected and time honored arty thing we artists do. I mean sit and look endlessly at our finished work - Rothco would spend days looking at his even after just 1 brush stroke.
I personally take mine to bed with me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Who's That Girl?

I was out to dinner last night with my gal-pals; the sustaining friends throughout the last 10 years of my life. Good good women. Anyway, when I got home and was downloading the excitement of the evening; ok, and the fact I drank 2 strong coffees after dinner; I went on line and Googled myself. Admit it, we all do this. (It's some strange impulse to see if we're really as much of a big deal as we think we are.) Now usually, when I get this impulse, I see all the Galleries I'm in or the articles I've appeared in or the arty events I'm participating in but this time I clicked on "Images" to see what would appear. The usual stuff of the Galleries, articles etc. did come up (where was this blog??) but what really threw me for a loop was the photo of some strange woman with my name......not that anyone would consider this odd but I have a fairly unique name. There is no other Marla Thirsk out there I am sure and willing to bet the bank on not that I have any money but let's just get on with the story.......Anyway, I clicked on this "doppelganger" and got directed to my Classmates page. (Classmates is where you can try to reconnect with old school chums.) Now, my own photo did come up on my page but I'm left wondering who in the wide world of odd things, is this woman? And why is her photo coming up on my IMAGES search? AND! why is she wearing my name?

I find this somewhat disturbing. Almost "Picture of Dorian Grey"ish. (I really have way to active an imagination)
Twilight Zone would have had a field day with this.

...I also found a "Marla Hotel" and gotta say I was really intrigued by that! However the site was all in German and very confusing so I couldn't figure out exactly where this place was. Too bad! I wonder if they'd offer a discount....?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Photographic Evidence

Thought you might like to see the original photos. They are @ 3" X 2.5" in black and white. I shifted the 2nd one to a mirror image for the pose in it. I'll ad the next ones as I finish the painting.

I Think She's Got It! By George, She's Got It!

" TELEPHONE CALL" Rita Series #2
Ah, sweet smell of success....or whatever. Pretty pleased with my second one in my Rita Series....did redo face @ 7 times and then completely erased it and redrew the whole thing...stayed up until 5 am one night ( and was rocked off my pins when I saw what time it was...that's a weird feeling to have your sense of reality shift. This has happened a few times in my life. Once I remember I walked out to the compost pile to dump the veggie scraps one morning and there was this huge and dead raccoon lying there but what I focused on were the paws of the creature. Don't know if anyone has seen raccoon paws, but they are extremely human-ish. So I momentarily thought it was a child.....ooga -totally creepy! That made my whole time sense and position in space go right into another dimension before I realized it was a raccoon!
And if I walk into a wall at night, that does it too. As well as smacking my head on something - because I'm so short that's a pretty rare occurrence for me.
So anyway.
This painting has an oddly troublesome story to go with it. It was inspired by a memory of a telephone call my mother once took then she handed the phone to me. On the other end was a fellow who thought I was his girlfriend and he proceeded to talk "inappropriately" ......and I was 14 at the time and very very shy and this whole thing majorly traumatized me. My mother was laughing her guts out in the other room meanwhile.
To this day I hate telephones.
Honestly, I feel like a Gothic thriller at times.
But what "grist for the mill", so to speak.
Got lots of that.
...... and now for painting #3........(I feel like a wildly cackling laugh should follow that sentence).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beula, peel me a grape.

'Beula', what a great old fashioned name! Like 'Eustace'. Or 'Madge'. Does anyone name their kid 'Madge'? My Grandmother's name was 'Calista" but that's seen a rise in popularity since Calista Flockhart. Ex pop-in-law's name is 'Stallard' which is pretty trippy. Or how about 'Effedrina"? There's a moniker for you.
OK, completely off topic; whatever it is.
Been struck down by the mother of them all colds over the last 4 (5?) days. Where everything runs but you can't blow your nose it's so stuffed up - weird that - and all the attending aches and etcs that come along for the ride. Bleah.
And I just laid on the couch staring at my next painting waiting waiting waiting......
Anyway, I thought that the worst part of this whole "sick" business was that I am single and there was no-one to send to the store for "mercy" trips ; like some Popsicles for the sore throat or another trashy magazine or more Kleenex or drugs.....the legal kind.
Which made it all even worser.....and I know that's not a word but it fits.
We need some kind of service for times like this. A "Rent-a-?? Something" that you can call in for the duration to fetch and tuck and coddle. Oh yah, and is sworn to secrecy about how revolting you look while you lie there like an old melted shoe.
Opportunity here folks! If you could put up with whiners like me, that is.
Ah well. This too shall pass.

"Beula, peel me a grape" comes from an old Marx Bros movie...does anyone remember them?
Now I'm really worser.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

OH! LOOK! There's another gizmo for my collection!

I got to thinking about collecting after my last post; you know, how we seem to like "collections" of....well, things. From the sublime to the ridiculous it seems from my troll around the Internet. (and who doesn't LOVE the Internet for being the BEST in finding the most amazing crap out there...I spend HOURS on the damn thing...ok well anyway...) I happen to like collecting stuff. Who knows why. I have about 11 teapots so far. I don't particularly like tea, I just like teapots. This started with an old old old one from my Mom. It's so old that when I tried to make tea in it once, it was close to the most foul stuff I've ever had. Beautiful pot though, hand painted enamel over clay - maybe Japanese?? - no marks on it to say. Then my big hand made pottery one I got at the "Renaissance Fair" in Courtenay, B.C. and that's been defunct for 20 years now. And it just went on from there. Most have been given to me - old no-longer-wanted kind of thing. And my 2nd hand store finds...#1 rule: cheap! and funky!
If I ever learn pottery, it will be to make teapots.
Now I'm sitting here thinking about all the other things I have collected. Of course my old trunk with all the photos and etc from my life,there is also: hats (don't particularly look good in them, just like them), books (love to read), beach shells, beach floats, magazine clippings (boxes of this as I do collage work), pottery, old things: 1920s sewing machine, 1900s pendulum clock, opera glasses, 1890s lamp, 1900s meat grinders, coffee grinder, tins, scales...ok enough already!
I haven't even touched on the visual arty kitsch I have all over my little apt. Or the art accouterments for all the assorted art things I do.

...and I hate to dust.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Time, Time, Time

I've been delving into my old trunk that's full of letters and school memorabilia and collectibles and birthday cards, looking for more old photos for this series that's got me so all fired up when by golly look what I found!
This was a self-portrait I did in 1971 when I was lord, seems like forever ago.
Honestly if there is ever the faint chance I may be written about someday, this old trunk is a goldmine of my history. What is the thing that makes me treasure all these bits? Goofy photos of myself from the dawn of life to now - what a chameleon I am. I think I've had just about every hairstyle and outfit going. Letters, man, a LOT of letters; some great old memories in these almost disappeared form of communication. Pics of the boys from the baby days that make me get all weepy. Birthday cards for heaven sake! I can't even remember some of the people who sent them.....
What in god's name am I doing with all of this.
I suppose it all will make sense at some point. Or be a real headache to deal with.
Anyway, it's a treat to find little surprises like this painting. How raw the talent was.
Sure nailed my little blobby nose tho!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Huston, the painting has landed.

Here it is. "Thursday's Child - The Rita Series #1"
This has been, to date, in my long and twisty art life, the most difficult thing I've attempted.
But the EXTREME sense of satisfaction I have right now is truly worth the last 13 days.
I actually feel I've climbed up another notch artistically speaking.
I'm totally stoked to do a whole series now. Can't wait to stretch my next canvas.
Here is the old children's poem that the title comes from:
Monday's child is fair of face
Tuesday's child is full of grace
Wednesday's child is full of woe
Thursday's child has far to go
Friday's child is loving and giving
Saturday's child works hard for a living
But the child that is born on the Sabbath Day, is bonnie and bright and sweet and gay. (that would be the old meaning of gay, ie: happy)
The title refers to the fact that she travelled to Canada from Holland when she was 23, leaving behind her large family and everything she was familiar with, to marry my Dad. Pretty brave and awesome, really.
*sigh* Time for a glass of celebratory wine I think!

Paging Dr. Freud!

13 erasures of the face in the painting. 13 attempts to repaint my mother's face in the painting. 13 frustrated days doing this again and again and again, until finally realizing it was because it was my mother's face, it wasn't working.
Therapy anyone?
There is something deeper than I realized going on here apparently. But it's made me want to do a whole series of these paintings just because of this. Will it eventually "work out" for me? Will it prove to be elusive and just never happen? Will the face morph over the series?
Fascinating in a truly weird artist way.

By the by; the painting is almost done now, just a couple more days to complete the background. I'm really really happy with it; it's just not got the face of my mother.

So, Dr. Freud........?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Curses, Foiled Again!

.........I don't even want to talk about it..........

Friday, August 7, 2009

Difficult things take a long time, impossible things a little longer

HA! Thank the great spirit for making me a real stubborn cuss.
Boy have I had a battle.......
I was NOT giving up on that painting and after a long rant about the frustration of the whole "face" thing to my very dear long time friend who said to me at one point, "Marla! Paint freeking Benjamin Franklin's face instead!", I realized that I was lost in the "never gonna win" idiocy game that hits me every once in a while. And that comment about Ben Franklin made me think I needed to approach this in a completely new viewpoint. Forget the "face of Mother" and look at it with new eyes.
So I blew up the old photo to 600 times it's original size (it's only 2" X 3" panic!) and played around with the shapes of the shades on the face and that's how I nailed it.

Mind you it's still early evening and I might change my mind by bedtime.......
The curse of ART!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

How Do You Spell &#%%$@#!? .......A-R-T-I-S-T

There are times when I think that going to art School would've been a good thing.
Like right now.
Came back from my trip down island to good friends (and the Sooke Show) with all sorts of inspiration. The main one was an image of 2 women from the 50s that really captivated me. I have a veritable plethora of old photos of my mom from the 40s and early 50s, and since she has been dead for 25 yrs now(!) it would be a great painting series to portrait her. She was very photogenic and had a interesting life - what with being a "War Bride", coming over here from Holland to marry my dad leaving behind her large family and all she'd ever known. I never had the chance to talk to her about any of this as she died when I was in my early 30s and we were estranged.
There's more fodder for the blog.
Anyway, the point being that, I was all fired up with the vision of this series and dove right in. The beginning of the painting was just pure heaven, artistically speaking. I got the body and pose nailed and LOVED what was going on. Even her hair was excellent. The way the paint was applied was making me feel I'd finally joined the exalted realm of figure painters.

Then the face.....

Why is it that this part completely frustrates me. I have scraped and repainted and touched up and ad infinitum until I want to cut my head off with a dull palette knife.
And I want to paint this SO BAD!


Today would have been good to groom poodles*..........

* this refers to the many times my mom would tell me I should've learned this particular skill.