Sunday, December 24, 2006
Another picture from the Indian Museum. Yes, the prairie dogs are partying and they look like they are having a wonderful time.
Meanwhile, a few blocks from the museum, the police were guarding George Washington. Is he holding a gun too? This was across the street from the stock exchange. The police didn't mind at all if you took their picture. I wonder if they were decoys?
As I walked up Broadway I passed Santa in his sleigh, which was being pulled by eight tiny......red Jaguars! I was too tired to pull the camera out and anyway, my fingers were greasy from eating honey roasted peanuts.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Took a walk down to wall street and came upon this scene of Christmas joy outside the stock exchange. Happy wall streeters were hurrying home carrying huge bags of cash: their Christmas bonuses. I went on my way to the Museum of the American Indian which doesn't even charge admission: Positively Unamerican in their lack of money orientation. The Christmas tree in the museum had a sad Charley Brown appearance.
I read somewhere that an eskimo tribe had refused to be genetically tested because they don't want to find out information that would not jibe with their beliefs. Or did it have to do with legitmacy of their land claims? OK, I really don't know enough about this or how I feel about it.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Here, for those terribly NY deprived folks out there, is the Grand Central Holiday light show. Lots of oohs and ahhs. Lots of pick pockets and other quaint Dickensonian characters. I hugged my backpack and stared gloomily downward toward my pickable pockets. Just looked up to take this picture. I'm sure the light show was quite nice.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I painted this image of Gerona on the side of a book shelf. This is the truest image of what I feel about Gerona. The narrow twisting medieval streets going up up up. Or, in our case, down down down to the river. Then back up to the hotel. The figure under the arch at the center is Wil, my muse.
After he got sick and we had to move I had to saw the side of the book shelf off to save the painting. I really had no place for the shelf in my new tiny apartement.
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
Yes, I haven't been around. I got a new camera: Panasonic Lumix FX07. It's so small and cute and I can carry it everywhere. Somehow the color seems much richer than my Olympus. Will have to put them to the test. But who has time for being sure about anything?
Friday, October 27, 2006
This head, from Northern Spain, is part of a show of Medieval Heads at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of course I didn't pay $20 to get in. I paid MY price of $1.00. I then committed a crime by taking this photo. Why are there no signs up? I didn't use a flash, I swear to you.
But it was all worth it. Look at that lovely expression. And the two little dots of rouge on the cheeks. The person who did these sculptures, and once you see them, you will recognize the style again and again, always puts the little smiles on the faces. Even when they are being eaten by lions. I saw some of these same style heads in Galicia. It was nice to meet the artist again in New York.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
The moon was full last week so I set up my camera and took this picture. It's part of some research I'm doing on a new painting: a bird standing on a staircase on a narrow street in the night.
Wil and I saw this bird, it was a magpie. Something must have been wrong. Why would a wild bird just be standing there in the dark? This was in Gerona, in the medieval quarters. We were staying in a hotel at the top of the town, a stone building from the 1700's. There were 3 large churches nearby that rang every hour. No, they rang every quarter hour, each one. First you would hear a low burrrrrr. Then the bells would toll. Then the next church, then the next. All night long.
To have a coffee or eat a meal, we had to go to the bottom of the town, 164 steps. Wil counted them. First down one winding narrow street, then we would walk along that street till we came to another narrow alley leading downward. After our meal we would climb up again in the dark. On one of those nights we saw the magpie. All part of this mysterious place.
Years later, I gushed over the beauty of Gerona to my sister and her husband and they went there. I forgot that her husband has really bad knees. They weren't too keen on the stairs.
Friday, October 06, 2006
It's not MAMA'S Beans, but it's beans nonetheless. Red kidneys, calabaza, tomatos, onion, garlic, green pepper, parsley and cilantro with some spices: oregano, thyme and cayenne. Don't forget the Louisiana Hot sauce. Oops, I forgot, I did use some smoked turkey. That's Jon's idea, to replace ham hocks and it works great.
I brought my piece, Alley, to the BWAC Fall show. The opening seemed kind of subdued. I sure hope it sells, cause I don't want to bring it home again.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Tiny guy was a small figure on the top of a column in the cloister of Saint Martin du Canigou. That's a abbey in the French Pyrenees.
You drive drive drive up a tortuously winding road. Then you park your car in a grassy field (on a slope I should add). Then you walk walk walk up the rest of the winding road. Oh yes, you’re supposed to be respectfully quiet while you are walking. I was quiet alright; I couldn’t have talked if I wanted to, what with the altitude and the steep uphill grade. I hope that panting was ok.
Then you arrive at the abbey but Voila! It’s French lunchtime. The guy who sells tickets closes the window in your face. You wait. There is nothing for you to eat or drink. Instead, you watch the ticket man eat and drink. Is this some kind of penance?Finally, lunch is over. You buy a ticket. But first you must watch a grainy video of the restoring of Canigou. It’s in French and it’s very long...in a hot and windowless room. You fantasize about doing the ugly American thing but keep your mouth shut. You have come so far. Finally a totally disinterested woman in a house dress leads your group around the monastery at lightening speed. She talks as she walks....in French. You dawdle and take photos of the spectacular capitols. Somewhere, in another part of the monastery, the monks are chanting there after-lunch hymns. That’s the best part. And looking over the misty mountains. And tiny guy. Who is he, what is he and what is he trying to say? A thousand years ago, some medieval person created him.
Friday, September 08, 2006
An alleyway in Gerona. This painting will be in the Fall 2006 BWAC show in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Tomorrow, my friend Grace will help me transport the painting, which is...too big to carry by myself.
I don't have anything very profound to say about this image. It just intrigues me, the covered, narrow streets.
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Is art about feeling really good or really feeling? Some people find this piece disturbing. Mai-Liis wrote:
“Oh, my God! You have painted the horror of LBD! I can barely look at it. Don't show it to Wil because he will know....some part of him will know.“
It’s not really about LBD. It’s about my mother, my constant muse, in her last few days.
What about Mai-Liis comment that she can barely look at it? This has been an issue in my artwork over the years anyway: How to express the negative. I have made so many drawings that I have had to put away and hide. Will others mock or reject the work? What do I care? But Do I care? Is art about hiding or showing? Is the best art where you are the most vulnerable to attack? Inside (ourselves) vs. Outside (family, parents, the duties of life): Not sure I really know the difference.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Monday, August 21, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I've been thinking a lot about Jon's post, 'Ghost Story', the 8/10/07 blog on http://jonsbiggerbrain.blogspot.com/
Was that really our mother, trying to communicate with Jon? And why Jon? Is he her 'favorite' or is something else going on?
Then I remembered: Mama, in her usual tenacious way, was going on and on about Jon throwing out the washing machine...it had 'something' in it....he didn't check....he threw out something valuable, all was lost, etc, etc.
So, the way I see it, she is still going on and on about it, throwing Jon's furniture around, telling him he has to look INSIDE of stuff before he throws it out.
Along the same lines, after Mama died in April, my phone started going dead. Yeah, every few weeks it would just....DIE. What is she trying to tell me? Maybe she still want to talk. I know, amazingy, I do miss talking to her. It's amazing to me cause I thought it was such a pain in the neck at the time. Now the daily phone call, unmade, unspoken, is like a big hole in my days.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
By popular demand, I have included a copy of the Penis man mentioned in the previous post. This was about 30 feet in the air, but someone, over the centuries, had managed to knock his poor legs off. But the important parts are still there.
I leave it to your vivid imagination to figure out WHY. Why a man with an enormous penis would be sculpted on the outside of a church. And whether he had any designs on the open mouth lion next to him.
Perhaps that is the moral: the foolish man is thinking about putting his organ into the mouth of the lion.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
This was the vestibule of a church in Sepulveda, a small hill town near Segovia. There was an incredible richness of detail both inside and outside the church. Wil and I visited it in the late afternoon. It was hard on Wil, being in Sepulveda. The whole town is on the side of a mountain. I remember that I put him thru a lot to get there. And then the climbing up and down the streets, many with stairs, every day. He certainly doesn't remember that anymore. But I do.
My fascination with the images and scultures on the church is related to all that. It isn't all pretty angels and cherubs. It's torment and struggle. A knight fighting a demon beast, dragons and deformed creatures writhing and eating each other. All displayed in sculptures encrusting the walls of the church which is in a sunny plaza where old abuelos watch the children play. Go around to the back of the church and you will see the rarest of images: a man with a penis as large as he is. It's high up and you might miss it. Bring your binoculars!
Friday, August 11, 2006
This column is from Puente de la Reina, on the Camino in northern Spain. It was a stopping point for me on my 9 day journey from St. Jean to Los Arcos, where my feet gave out.
The Mouth was just one of the many tormented souls, forever preserved on the outside of one of the town's churches. I spent an hour photographing and drawing it. Then I went back to my hotel room and called Wil. I told him about my feet and he, in turn, called a podiatrist he knew. Then he called me back to give me blister piercing directions. That was true love. Imelda
Thursday, August 10, 2006
This is a small piece, hence the unimaginative name, that I am submitting for an auction. It's BWAC's Fall Pier Show in Brooklyn. The column shows figures from a church in Galicia, Spain. They are being industrious. Perhaps gathering the wine harvest in the bucket they are carrying. In the background are the misty hills of Galicia. My favorite place on earth.
Not that I've been many places on earth. I have my own theory of travel. I could go to the same place a hundred times and still feel like I need to go back. There's always something I missed or heard about or didn't get to. Or maybe, if you just stand in a different corner of the same plaza, you will see everything in a new way.
Monday, August 07, 2006
This is a drawing I did a few years ago. I was working on a psych ward at a large municipal hospital. I had gotten myself promoted to acting director of my department: a soul killing job involving being mean to underlings and obsequious grovelings to overlings. I also had to attend every day, hours of meetings where other directors dozed or stared angrily at each other. But no one really cared about the topic at hand, whatever that was. I took to doodling. Some of my finest drawings came out of those meetings. This is one.
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Another hot day in Brooklyn. We moved to this neighborhood 3 years ago. I should be used to it by now, right? Our other apartment had room to spare. And in one of those spare rooms was my art studio. I haven't gotten over resenting having to give that up. This apartment is plenty big but laid out all wrong. There's just one huge living room, a kitchen and a bedroom. My husband sleeps in the living room now and it's full of all varietes of equipment for him: the 3 wheelchairs, the commode that is useless now, the exercise equipement, the walker. STUFF. No room for an art studio. I paint in a corner of the bedroom. And there isn't one place around here to buy decent vegetables nor a pharmacy. UGH.
But me, ever the Pollyanna, try to see the bright side. We are across from the lake with all the geese flying to and fro: To in the morning and then back, fro in the afternoon. And the gardens on our street are lovely. Last year I actually saw a preying mantis, right there on the sidewalk. I bent to pick it up, to save it's little life so it wouldn't get squashed by the next pedestrian. The creature thanked me by biting my finger. Still, that day was one of the hightlights of life in our new neighborhood. I think of it every time I walk down the street. I wonder if I'll ever see another preying mantis.
Today was no different, except much hotter. So hot there were dehydrated earthworms scattered all over the pavement. I was feeling sick and tired of the area once more and made this zany vow: If I ever see that preying mantis dead, I'll know it's time to pack my bags and get out of here.
No sooner did I think the thought then there, all curled like a fallen leaf, I saw my hand-biting friend. I swooped him, no her, up and brought her home to show you. It's an omen, really it is!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Why is the centaur shooting an arrow at the mermaid? This setting is Galicia, in Northwestern Spain. Home of my father, my cousins, the familial home. I had hoped to teach myself Gallego, the language spoken there. Which is pretty ridiculous; I've been struggling to learn Spanish for 20 years. Still, I managed to spook my relatives by understanding some of what they said. "Be careful", they would say to the neighbors, right in front of me, "She understands Gallego". I wonder what they were saying before they thought I understood.
But my trips to Spain were abruptly halted when Wil developed Lewy Body Dementia. I want to drill that into everyone's head...maybe literally. Those damn lewies destroyed his life and mine. And forget about the happy dementias, like Alzheimer's, where the person forgets everything. No, he remembers a lot. But how it all fits on the streets in his world I have no idea. It's not exactly a nightmare. More like an amusement park. Horrors set in stone. Retribution for what sins?
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
It's 100 degrees and something here in Brooklyn. Meanwhile, at the Antartic, it's 180 degrees below zero. Do I have that right?
The painting, San Joan, is, of course, from Spain and, of course, Romanesque. I've done so many paintings on this theme: the archway, the bridge, the mountains beyond. But no matter how many I do, I'm stuck on the inside looking out. Well, that's a whole theme which it's way too hot to write about today. Yes, of course, I'm destroying the enviorment by having my A/C on but my brain is out on the street, frying. Or is that dying?
Remember when you were a kid (oh, YOU were never that kid) and you really wanted to see if an egg would fry on the sidewalk? But where to get an egg from? Your mother was not about to hand over an egg for such an experiment. You just sat there, on the front stoop, your neck dirty with those little balls of wet dirt that formed in the crease, your braids, two hot ropes encasing your shoulders. Too hot to move, too hot to play, too hot to think. Until Uncle Miley came home and treated the kids to 'drumstick' ice cream cones from the place around the corner. That was New Orleans, the summer I was 7.
Sunday, July 30, 2006
A photo of Mr. Diaz, my father and Mrs. Frances.
When we were kids, was it Easter, Christmas or when? we traveled for hours up to the Bronx, to see Mrs. Frances and Mr. Diaz, an old couple that were friends of my parents. Everything about them was exotic. Mrs. Frances spoke with a gravelly southern accent, like tiny pebbles were buried in her throat. Her face was the warm brown color and shape of a hickory nut.
Mr. Diaz' voice was even stranger. It was deep, resonant, but soft at the same time. He was pale white with bright red hair. He spoke Spanish with my father, a fact that I never registered at the time. That my father was from another country and spoke another language flew right over my head. He and his friends were simply speaking another form of English.
Mr. Diaz and Mrs. Frances' home was just as mysterious. Amidst a labyrinth of tunnels under one whole block of old apartments in the Bronx, they lived in a cellar apartment. We went down some steps, walked thru darkened hallways until, in the distance, the front door to their home gleamed with light. Their walls were cool and white, the rough stone painted over in whitewash.
Sometimes Mr. Diaz would allow us kids to follow him back thru the maze of tunnels to the boiler room. There we stood far back and watched as he removed his shirt and, his skin now gleaming as red as his hair from the fiery reflection, he would shovel coal into the furnace.
It was Mrs. Frances who made the best filé gumbo. Who allowed us to look, but never touch, the beautiful large sugar Easter eggs she kept on a high shelf. In each one, existed a world of lakes and trees and tiny elves and princesses riding winged horses. I wanted so much to be small enough to go inside those eggs.
But of all the curious and strange things about that place, the strangest of all was the shrine that Mrs. Frances had in her bedroom. I had never seen anything like it and somehow I knew it was taboo to study it or ask any questions about it. Later I learned it was a shrine to her dead daughter, whose picture set in the middle and was framed by flowers and candles and holy cards. It surely seemed to be a sacred place, but hidden and not for the eyes of common children.
Mai-Liis shrines inspire me to try my hand at creating homes for the dead who live in my heart. They have that same mysterious power. If you'd like to see them, click on her website in "Links" on this page.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Here's the first post to my blog, Imelda's Brain. I chose my painting "Prophets" to start off with. It was a painting I had hoped to be ' one in a series' and I love the muddy, rocky, stoney look of it.
This painting was from statues I saw on the side of a church in Segovia. It was during a trip to Spain, 2002. I considered it my last vacation because from then on my life changed dramatically.
Generally, I don't think of my life as very dramatic. My husband, Wil, had been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia the year before. I cried a lot, for him, for myself and then it came to me: he was still relatively healthy and able to walk. I'd better make hay while the sun was shining. So I planned this trip, just two weeks. I had to pare down my usual grandiose plans. I chose Segovia, a city I had visited many times before but never really spent any time in. And Sepulveda, a nearby hill town that I read also was rich in Romanesque churches. I was on, and still am, this Romanesque kick.
So I traveled with my husband, his brain riddled with those damn lewy bodies, the beginnings of the parkinson's making the word 'hill town', a sad and terrible joke. He had a great time except for the aforementioned hills while I was constantly riddled with fears and worries about him. I had so many trepidations that I even found an internet cafe so I could write to my Lewy Body support group. Somewhere in the middle of complaining to them I realized what an idiot I was. I WAS IN SPAIN! No matter how limited or difficult our trip was, we were there and we could enjoy it. After all, it was going to be my last vacation for a long long time.
So the prophets foretold anyway.
P.S. WHAT! You don't know what Lewy Body Dementia is? Check out http://www.lewybodydementia.org