07 July 2020

The Colors of Silence


Markings, No. IV
oil on canvas, 2020
22" x 28"


Swim in an ocean of internal dialogue.
Speak only when spoken words are of true necessity.  
Write candidly. 
Make meaningful marks.
Yield to purpose.  Refuse to supplant purpose with practicality.
Allow lessons to become teachers of light, 
the colors of silence.

-OH


18 June 2020

Amelioration


Markings, No. III
oil on canvas, 2020
40" x 50"



Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.  -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


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15 May 2020

Flow


Markings, No. II (Week 6-8)
oil on canvas, 2020
22" x 28"



The words flowed right out of me in the form of paint.

-OH

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The Making of Marks


Markings, No. I (Week 2-6, Reworked)
oil on canvas, 2020
22" x 28"


There is nothing I cannot paint over.
-Richard Diebenkorn

---

The unsettling feeling of dissatisfaction coupled with a curiosity surrounding a life unknown to the present one, I set to the task of risking what was for what could be.  In so doing, I am able to give the painting its full meaning, and myself the courage to trust in what I do not see, but know to exist.  

Each mark I make develops a memory within the work and my process, regardless of whether or not I layer over it.  The mark is forever a part of the whole--merging with the new and engaging with it, holding both permanence and impermanence.

-OH

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28 April 2020

Markings


Markings, Week No. 2-6
oil on canvas, 2020
22" x 28"


What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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22 April 2020

The High Sierra (Happy Earth Day)









 The High Sierra, October/November 2019 (35mm film)



In honor of Earth Day and its 50th Anniversary, I thought to share some photographs I took while camping in and through the High Sierra last year . . .

An autumn ago.
Solitude and stillness. 

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Allow us to be better stewards of our planet--for each other, for our children, for our children's children, and for their children's children.  For our magnificent wildlife, our vast marine life, our invaluable plant life.  For the whole of nature.

We have one Earth.  Be kind to her.

In no lesser degree, may we also remember to show kindness to our fellow humans during this time of global crisis.

Our Earth and world are hurting collectively.
Be the antidote, not the poison.


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15 March 2020

North Star


December 15, 2018 - A Brief, Quiet Respite  
(art installation: Yayoi Kusama, Infinity Mirrored Room—The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away, 2013)

---

To be uninhibited by language, by the obstacle of stringing together words and phrases in order to achieve a satisfying degree of expression . . .

Painting had erased the tension I too often felt marred my flow of expression--the tension between the initial moment of feeling and the goal of articulating it.  There seemed to be these unidentifiable words murmuring just below the surface, waiting to be delivered in writing.  As a result, my external attempts to translate the internal in its most unadulterated form met a great deal of challenges and seemed overreaching on most days.

However, painting was the process that allowed for unobstructed first strokes and fluidity.  It allowed for immediate expression without the immediate need for words.  Painting transformed the poems of my soul into raw, honest, physical entities that could be shared with an audience.  They were my wildlands.   

Painting provided more than just a means to organic expression; it gave me purpose, made me resolute.  It set a path that I believed I could follow until dust to dust.

But somewhere in the recesses of 2018 and 2019, my compass stopped working.  Eventually, I let it slip between my fingers.  Maybe I abandoned it.  Regardless of what exactly, everything came to a grinding halt last spring.

You see, trauma holds the power to change everything, including the parts of us we work to sustain and keep engaged through all the years that matter.  When the trauma is deep enough within the psyche and pierces the spirit we once believed to be indomitable, it is only a matter of time before the small crack becomes a loud shatter.

I do not know a lot at the moment other than I have lost my strongest sense of self, truth, trust, and purpose.  I do not recognize the person who now greets me at each reflection: withdrawn, uninspired, burdened with experiences and trauma she wishes she could erase.  To be left meaningless and questioning God is a heaviness I have had to carry quietly. 

Yet, even as I am feeling the brunt of a fractured existence, I cannot deny there is a speck of brilliance present--a still, small voice that continues to encourage me to defy the odds.  Like the very stars that dot the night sky, the very bodies that bring respite in chaos, it tells me a story of profound beauty in the seemingly endless darkness. 

“In spite of everything, I shall rise again; I will take up my pencil, which I have forsaken in my great discouragement, and I will go on with my drawing.” - Vincent van Gogh

---

 

02 January 2020

See Cy, Part II





Museum Brandhorst - München, Germany (October 2019)


At every corner, at every turn, there he lived in all his glorious mark-making.

And at every corner, at every turn, there I had the pleasure of experiencing the pure magic of those very marks.

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01 January 2020

When in München . . . See Cy.







Museum Brandhorst - München, Germany (October 2019)


By far, one of the most serendipitous events in my life.  

Traveling across the globe, München was probably my least anticipated spot.  Simply put, I was more excited to visit the Abbey Library in St. Gallen, Hallstatt in Austria, the Dolomites in Northern Italy, and the whole of Switzerland.  

During my first night in Europe, on a whim, I decided to Google contemporary museums in München.  I was not expecting to come across anything of significant personal interest, but I was every bit wrong.  I nearly toppled over when Museum Brandhorst appeared in the search results--boasting an inventory of over 170 Cy Twombly pieces.  I could not believe my good fortune.  I had struck gold.

The night before we were to make the trek to the art district, Kunstareal, my very real allergy to tobacco smoke (so many smokers in Europe) peaked.  Sickness slapped me like a slab of impasto paint.

Yet, for the few hours the following morning, when we were among his work, life felt extraordinarily surreal.  A dream state.  The fact I was there seemed eons ahead of my humble existence.  Maybe it was delirium settling into my feverish head, but I was convinced (and still am) that this was the reason our itinerary included München.

It seems serendipity has a way of bringing Cy and me together time and time again.

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31 December 2019

Ten Years


Interlaken, Switzerland - Double Exposure


This year — this decade — will soon pack up its experiences and many lessons, and set sail for the place where the present converges with the past, where younger memories lace fingers with older ones.  Unseen, but it exists somewhere in between the sky and land, the land and sea.

2019 held me in ways I never knew possible.  Its linear form was more undulating than straight, with high peaks and low valleys.  It was a year of simulation — of characters and situations seemingly drawn from the innumerable books I have read through the ages, the stories I have heard.

I witnessed and felt an overwhelming amount — in places that spanned two continents, five countries, seven states, one province, countless towns, and a long string of national parks.

I grew, I dealt, I shattered; I managed through all of it.  This year, as well as the last ten.

I discovered time has a strange way of revealing ungodly truths.  The truths that end up breaking us wide open — sometimes wounding and changing us in ways that go on forever.  Truths about others, about ourselves, about humanity.  It can be a difficult obstacle to find our footing when the dust settles, but how we choose to move forward is part and parcel to our rebirth.

As the new decade approaches, I see the experiences and lessons from the last ten years as a form of magnetic energy.  A push and pull to new heights — encouragement to grow into the person I am. 

2010-2019, you were memorable.

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--

(more photos from Europe to follow)



27 September 2019

Ambient


 Dear Hemingway,
(San Francisco - Point Lobos, 20 Sept 2019)

---

These days are met with bedlam
a malady of the spirit
ubiquitous, fluid form 
I wake to nothing
no joy to be found or known
I cradle my soul, fill her with the night's stars,
not understanding
loss, unwilling to delegate pain
only allowing these eyes to tell of the
weight she carries.

I venture to where the lands end, and I see an old man 
standing on the cliffs,
fishing.  As I observe him, I wonder
whether or not he is struggling
with a marlin of his own.  


 


17 September 2019

They were mountains after all.


No. 4
mixed media on paper, 2019
24" x 22"
(from Alexander Supertramp series)



31 August 2019

The Color of Space & Time



San Francisco/Cayucos - Double Exposure


July 2019

I would be stopped at an intersection, observing the rush of the cross traffic, pondering over the small ways in which the world moves about--being no more remarkable than the bowl of fruit that sits on a kitchen table.  That is when something catches me on the inside.  Disrupts the ebb and flow.  It does not take much.  Maybe a thought.  An image.  A sentence.  Someone across the way.  Reminders.  From a distance, I see the water beginning to stir.  A wave is approaching, one with which I am all too familiar.  I know it by the particular tension it emits, a tension that seizes the body and refuses to let go.  Alas, there is no breaking free of it.

So I oblige.  I make room for the crash as the wave gains momentum.  Sometimes, the process lasts a week.  If the stars are in my favor, the wave breaks after several days.  During this period, I swim in perpetual night.  Time continues to march on while I live in ages past. 

I often wonder if the universe is upset with me.  If, perhaps, I have committed some unforgivable sin that justifies the haunting ruminations and recurring memories, which are saturated and riddled with yearning. 

I look out into the ocean and marvel at her unparalleled, unyielding beauty.  It is a strange truth to know that while this endless mass of water harbors millions of living organisms within her, she holds the sovereign power and ability to swallow anything. 

The waves are merely her taskmasters, your wave merely my own.




10 August 2019

Of Wyoming & Montana












 Wyoming/Montana - July 2019


What are photos
but two-dimensional time machines
transporting the present mind to
safe houses lodged within the past.




Photos are of Glacier, the Tetons, and Yellowstone.


30 July 2019

An Open Road


 Upper Glacier National Park, MT
July 11, 2019

Montana.

I enjoy being on the open road alone.  I enjoy it immensely.  In exercising privacy and absence from the company of others, the pressure to be everyone else’s definition of “a person” flitters away and I am reintroduced to myself.

And how much I prefer quiet solitude over the whispering multitudes.

Seven states and over 3100 miles later, I returned to San Francisco after spending a week on the open road — the pinnacle being upper Glacier National Park in Montana.  I camped wherever I could stake a site and woke up to views of the best kind: towering pine trees and mountain ranges nestled among sleepy skies.  I delighted in the still moments during morning twilight — laying in my sleeping bag, looking into the endlessness of earth.

I drove in and out of different towns, teetered on mountain ledges, charted and touched lightly the unfamiliar places, observed the glimmering gold of lakes and rivers.

Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier.  There was not a shortage of national forests in between them.  Wyoming stole my heart.  The Montanan landscapes were everlasting.  Two showers in the span of eight days.  Daily fasting with discipline.  Hiking alone through grizzly territory.  Herds of bison, a couple of elks, a mountain goat, two foxes, three bears (two black, one grizzly), and countless horses.  After years of preparing, planning, and putting off this expedition, being able to experience the northwestern US without distraction from any cohort felt (for lack of a better or more succinct word) right.  

It was personal — this trip.  I had no wish to extend any invitation.  This was a retreat into the rehabilitating elements of nature and the aloneness very few know how to navigate and embrace.  I think it to be something remarkable when one can find happiness and contentment in sitting by herself, disconnected from the vast majority of her fellow humans, being fully present and feeling the shifts in life's fleeting moments.

It is a challenge to articulate and explain the true context of my experience.  However, amid the deep lack of, instead of finding it jarring, I find the blank space to be more than enough. 




(additional photos to follow)