Friday, December 16, 2011

a parallel

New Czech hit from Vaclav Neckar for this holiday season. (An icon from Czech history and film who suffered a stroke not too long ago.) The song talks of hope and comfort in times of fear of the unknown.

Love of/in a woman

(detail of gift, watercolor, 14"x12")

There is a lovely old photograph of a wedding couple, of my grandmother’s brother with his wife in which you can almost feel his devotion for her. As long as I had known them this chemistry was present. After something like 60 years of marriage and two sons, her partner left her side. Milan Tomastik died in 2008 leaving his wife for the first time since their teens. She in turn had a stroke which left her in a wheel chair and almost mute. Miraculously she has regained her speech and is quite self-sufficient and has recently celebrated her 80th Birthday! I feel his presence and this love still surrounding her. 

                                                          Dagmar Tomastikova

Saturday, December 10, 2011

We are still here

Yay! I am so happy to have just read your post about continuing on with our blog!

Admittedly, I was a bit confused about how you wanted to participate here when you started your own, but of course didn't want to push the issue since you were moving not just yourself, but your family, half way across the world.

And so, here we still are.
I am just getting ready to mail a piece to you - to work with, next to, on top of...whatever you dream up. It could be very interesting to work in this way together.

I am intrigued by the soap carving. It very much feels like the small paintings on eggs that you did 10+ years ago..There is a warmth and intimacy to the piece - please post more as you do them. I'd like to see what more transpires. Why are you interested in covering them with dust or charcoal? What does that signify to you?

I'll do the same - posting what I'm working on, I mean.

I just started working on an edition of 30 small pieces, each only 8cm x 8cm.
It's with others from the SAP group. The pieces are supposed to be white on white; I am using the horizon line as a metaphor of the Above and the Below. I take colors (whites ) from the everyday and place them in relation to each other. The horizon line appears and then suddenly disappears. It's very interesting - a new way of relating to work.

More soon - I have to go tend to Alessandro.

Saturday, December 3, 2011


She left 120 soaps. I understand the wires, the china, the towels , the clothes, the books, the radio, the typewriter. But the soaps are a joyful/light surprise. Their touch, smell and feel are all lovely  to work in. (The carving tools are also hers, a knife and a manicure set.)  The carved portraits will need a layer of soot, I’m thinking of oil, or something that will combine with soap, (any ideas?)  and dust that is left in her room.  

Friday, December 2, 2011


Let me be very clear that I have no intention of stopping our work together here. The dialogue is very much part of who I am and I cannot bare to lose that especially now that I cannot just pick up the phone and call. What is more I will need this forum for communicating and making clear those ideas that I need to translate into art form. (Clarity is not my strong suit so please do not give this up.)

(My Czech blog is more of a record for me to process the overwhelming totality of this new space and the new yet familiar experiences I find myself in.)

I think the solo show is an important step in both of our lives. I want to start coordinating (after the dust settles,) one myself for an intended space in Praha.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

artist proposal


Without you here, I feel a bit alone in the world ;)

I'm not sure if I will continue this blog without you, as it began as a conversation between us.

It seems strange and somewhat unnatural to post da sola.

Anyway, I applied for a solo show at an upstate gallery today.

Below I posted my statement and proposal.

I sent the images from 2010, before Alessandro was born.

I hope I am able to communicate with words what I can in painting.

I often find it paralyzing to write a statement and proposal.

If this blog continues with just me as an author, I will let you know what the outcome of the proposal is.




My work is an exploration of the human condition. I speak about memory, tragedy, loss and redemption predominantly through painting and performance- based work.

I begin with experiences from my own life and then move outward, drawing connections between my personal history and the stories of others. I find that taking this step is transformative in and of itself. This work is not just for me to overcome individual heartbreak or misfortune, but to open up a dialogue that also facilitates for others a space of catharsis.

Artist Proposal

For x I am pleased to propose an exhibition of figure paintings, comprised of nine canvases, formally united in identical size. Each piece depicts an individual woman in a various stage of either pregnancy or motherhood.

The series takes its inspiration from Sandro Boticelli and Piero del Pollaiuolo’s The Seven Virtues. As an alternative to the idealized forms that Boticelli and del Pollaiuolo present, however, my work offers the viewer a more egalitarian relationship to the female form. The women are not romanticized or put up on a pedestal; they are partly autobiographical, partly allegorical, and partly based on real women in my life who also happen to be mothers.

In the special setting that x Gallery offers, the paintings would resonate in an intimate way. It is important to me to exhibit them as a group, and in a woman-owned gallery. It would be a pleasure to collaborate.

Thank you in advance for the consideration.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Straw into gold

The gold that is my life - all of it, the baby, the house, the weather, the work - is beginning to glean...

I've started an application for a solo show.
I've also started my portion of an edition. One work every day for 30 days and I'll meet the deadline of January 1, 2012.

I was working on the application/proposal for most of yesterday, with the baby in the room with me. He was calling for me, making noises, moving around, consistently needing attention. And I was able to work with it, with him. For the first time since he's been born, I didn't see anything 'distracting' about it. If anything, it was a grounding reminder to be clear and not to waste time.

Straw into gold. Without locking myself up in the tower!
(full story here)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Insomnia post

Insomnia post

I also question what I am doing, what space I occupy, where I belong.
Been up for hours - the quiet of the night can be deafening

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Trying to keep centered while shifting ground.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I question what I'm doing here.
I question my role in this world as a bridge.
I am neither here nor there.
I question my purpose.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Studio for the next two months

My media

-boxes of shoes and clothes

-a box full of wires and a huge light bulb

-120 soaps

-a typewriter

-a box of towels and rags

-black and white family photographs

Monday, November 7, 2011


always tired
never alone

always on call
never rested

always hungry
never ready

always another diaper to be changed
never prepared

always prepping
never clean

always cleaning up
never enough milk

always dirty
never finished

always running around
never caught up

always cooking
never asleep

always interrupted
never satiated

always anxious
never alone

always awake
never better

always rushing
never warm

always cleaning up
never worse

always exhausted
never enough money

always distracted
never polished

always cold
never clear

Dearest Tereza

My dear Tereza,
I am just getting your post now.
I miss you, and will miss your voice in our discussions here.
I am so indebted to you for this experience.
It began with a conversation over the phone, and a desire to make public what we had both been keeping private. Artistically, personally, and otherwise.
It was a big step for me to have something so personal suddenly be available to everyone via the internet...that is to say, if anyone ever knew where to look for the information.
That idea of posting online, while still in the privacy of my own studio, started something that still carries momentum - in work and in life (thus the banner title of this blog).

And look what has become of it, of us!

I completely understand your need to begin in another way.
Looking forward to seeing what you create.


Friday, November 4, 2011

I have started a new chapter in all ways and must start this new adventure on a separate page listed above. I will still be posting projects and work related to our dialogue, but/and I need to start a separate record of this incredible shift in our lives.

Angela, I am indebted to you in ways you may never know. It has been this forum that has enabled me to express and vent in a rather dark time (for me early motherhood.) In an isolated existence it is a space like this that is invaluable.

Please continue posting whenever you can. You are doing an incredible job of raising you son! It is an extraordinary journey.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Purged Items, And More Importantly the Particles that Remain

making house a home-

a comfy couch
a wooden table
soft yet firm bed
the I Ching
friend's art
child's art
tea kettle
tea cups
appropriate colors (personal)

All of the above has been purged in it's material form, emotionally, quite a difficult process.
But, in my heart, I hold on dearly to the essential representation of each of the above through our relationship. I am most indebted to the many friends and family that have made our house a home for the past seven years in the Seattle area. It is you who make the difference! You are the home I carry within me.

Monday, October 3, 2011


(I almost forgot about this project.)

As a way to say good-bye to my five year old garden, I collected seeds (for the first time) and want to spread/send them throughout the US. Contents contain organic; sage, lavender, radishes, arugula, spinach and parsley.

Packet Instructions: for small seeds sow directly on ground after chance of frost has past. Sprinkle with thin layer of soil. For larger seeds (small pebble size) measure half a thump into the ground.

If you are currently without a garden please pass on seeds to friends who may be interested.

Three weeks

the time of one workshop
a lot can get done
here is the list and I must remind myself that there is always enough time. (My 2011 New Years resolution: "I always have enough time.")

finish last commission
and some paintings on the side (I am re-realizing how little material is needed for painting. Adding medium to the color can go from most saturated, darkest, to least saturated, lightest. It can be a totally immaterialistic process.)

write an excerpt for a portrait competition

write a summary of the Art4Kidz curriculum (I'm writing the curriculum for K-6 which connects each child's development to episodes in art history.)
finish and polish first 8 lesson plans

prep and finish classes
write and email images to parents

end of this week drive a few loads to friends and family

end of next week dismantle the studio (perhaps the thing I feel most sadness for- outside of friends, family, animals and environment of course. I have truly only let myself enjoy the studio these last few weeks while Al was in school. -I do remind myself that I have been doing art throughout however, I'm grateful I have had this last month!)

end of week 3 we are on our way to Boston
end of week 4 we are on our way to Zlin, CZ
a new beginning

Thursday, September 29, 2011


comission- in process: "Holding Heart"


teaching exercizes: "Form and Formlessness"

comission: "Brother and Sister"

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

First Day

Today is Ali's first day at school! From my perspective it is six hours I have for myself that I have not had since she was born, six yeays ago.

I can officially start a serious studio practice, at least for the next six weeks until we are off to CZ.

First order of practice;

-purging and shedding to make space. This weekend we had a garage/yard sale and managed to get rid of half of our stuff, (incredible the amount one accumulates!) I realized that next time each item has to be of quality and we need to have much less!

-meaning cleaning- mindful tidying of the house/studio/yard

-work on "Spreading Seeds"

-gesso a couple of canvases!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

back to painting

"Postcards of An Other Conversation," oil and dust on canvas,
15x10.5 cm, 2011

for 'Drawing Connections', Siena Art Institute, Via Tommaso Pendola 37, 53100 Siena, Italy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Focusing on distance, distancing

Pullman, WA

perspective from downward dog
Sun Lakes, WA

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Around a Central Principle"- work for Chain Letter, Shoshana Wayne Gallery

(in process)

cut paper (8.5"x11") on overhead projector

on lit projector (above)

two versions of projection (below)- roughly 5'x3'

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Zlin bound

- the city of my birth
- the city I have not previously resided in
- of a different structure, cultural constructs, geography, language, mentality

- thoughts on a project for a year in CZ:
- daily observation/meditation within this new/first space, (Why was I born here? What are my ties to it? topography of birth 2/2/78, rebirth 10/11, Leonardo da Vinci/Tereza ze Zlina?
- recording the daily process
- breaking down language and English/US constructs

- project 2:
- daily communication with people outside and inside the country
- painting/drawing course
- commissions: asking commissioners in each country what gives them visual pleasure? comparing the results.
- drawing/painting this series.
- continuing to run after-school Art4Kidz curriculum, long-distance.

- preparation:
- shedding of material things. The plan is to arrive with 6 suitcases of clothes, art supplies, electronics/tools, and gluten free food.
- organize visas and paperwork
- set a date and order plane tickets
- send resumes to all CZ universities
- send note to Mrs. Rosenclaire
- arrange the house for the upcoming tenant

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Creative Mode of Exchange

Part III
Creative Mode of Exchange (gallery doors,) 2011
Cut paper (color inkjet) and adhesive on glass
Dimensions variable

Night of the Opening for Flourish, participants engaged in hand massage in exchange for photographic documentation. Site-specific installation includes the hands of all participants from that evening.


(detail 2)

Part II
Digital preparation

Part I
Opening night, 6/9- Hand Massage,
a setting for intimate moments through touch

Thursday, May 26, 2011


Flourish: Alumni Works on Paper
Bakalar & Paine Galleries at Massachusetts College of Art and Design
June 6—July 9, 2011
Reception: Thursday, June 9, 6-8 PM

Exhibition Hours:
Wednesday: 12PM – 8PM
Thursday-Saturday: 12PM – 6PM

Flourish: Alumni Works on Paper
is the first juried alumni exhibition to be held in the Bakalar & Paine Galleries at MassArt. Showcasing the breadth of talent and excellence embodied by MassArt’s artists and designers, this exhibition features the work of 64 international artists working in a range of disciplines.

Flourish highlights the wide range of work by MassArt’s diverse alumni and includes painting, collage, interactive sculpture, photography, performance, fashion and graphic design.

For example Tereza Swanda’s work begins with physical engagement and dialogue between the artist and viewer resulting in layered translucent site-specific collages. Swanda will be at the opening reception (Thursday, June 9, 6-8 PM) connecting with the public while documenting each personalized interaction—for the duration of the exhibition she will leave a trace of this encounter in the gallery as a continuation of her Bodies Reform series.

Claire Beckett
’s large-scale photographs were made at military training sites in the U.S. that mimic foreign war zones and include specific architectural references, representative costumes and objects, as well as American soldiers and civilians playing roles as Iraqis and Afghans. Her work explores how Americans interact with and understand their place in the world.

Chuck Brouillette
culls imagery and characters from comics and pop culture, creating digital illustrations that envision traditional superheroes as classic Hollywood film celebrities, who step into the 3rd dimension as living, breathing, and fame-seeking beings.

Stacy Scibelli
sews wearable interactive sculptures—soft machines that facilitate basic interactions and elicit awkwardness or communal awareness between participants. Through her sculptures, she explores the space between people, both literal and metaphorical, and the power dynamics of distance between individuals.

Squares, rectangles and trapezoids become architectural forms in Gabriel Phipps’ paintings; the geometric units that reverberate throughout the work are at once solid and ephemeral, synthetic and organic, and fictitious and real.

The artists in the exhibition are: Scott Alario, Elizabeth Alexander, Lizbeth Anderson, Johnny Arguedas, Kristy Asaro, Brenton Barnes, Claire Beckett, Susan Blatt, Jen Bradley, Kelley Brannon, Chuck Brouillette, Emily Brozyna, Kyle Bryant, Bruce Campbell, Lana Z. Caplan, Caleb Charland, Christine Collins, Corey Corcoran, Leah De Prizio, Jess Dugan, Pat Falco, Alex Farrell, Jeff Fichera, Christian Flynn, Jessica Gath, Ania Gilmore, Emily Goodale, Hannah Goodwin, Lucy Grover, Karen Hendrickson-Santospago, Mary Huges, Lauren Kalman, Heidi Kayser, Joshua Keay, Isaiah King, Bara Kirkpatrick Jichova, Robert Knight, Regina Kokoszka, Kay Kopper, Adam Lampton, Surendra Lawoti, Sebastien Leclercq, Courtney Lockemer, John Magnifico, Bryan Martello, Julie Martini, Laurel McMechan, Kevin Morosini, Dana Mueller, Bruce Myren, Ashley Norman, Zoe Perry-Wood, Gabriel Phipps, Eric Saline, Dana Salvo, Stacy Scibelli, Ji-eun Shim, Candice Smith Corby, Dawn Southworth, Tereza Swanda, John Thompson, Dylan Vitone, Eileen Wagner.

MassArt was honored to have Tammy Dayton, Creative Director, Moth Design; Michelle Lamunière, John R. and Barbara Robinson Family Assistant Curator of Photography, Harvard Art Museum; and Edward Saywell, Chair of Contemporary Art and MFA Programs, Museum of Fine Arts; to serve as our selection committee.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

thinking of you

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

MassArt Alumni Exhibition: Works on Paper‏

Project Description for 2011 Alumni Exhibition: works on Paper

Bodies Reform

Residing part-time in and outside of the Bakalar & Paine Galleries at the beginning of the show, I will engage in dialogue with viewers/students/faculty. As a way to begin physical engagement through the body, I will offer body work, such as back massage - in exchange for photographic documentation and the possibility to continue the series, Bodies Reform. For the duration of the show I will leave a trace of this encounter, (cut paper (color inkjet) and tape on glass,) on the gallery windows/doors.

MassArt Alumni Exhibition: Works on Paper
June 6 - July 9, 2011
Bakalar & Paine Galleries, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Opening Reception: June 9, 2011, 6-8 PM

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Birth of a Mother

>Subject: Birth Story
Date: Sat, 20 Aug 2005 20:08:36
>Oh goodness- where do I begin this process...
>our life is now a whole other process- changed in an instant when we held
>Alenka in our arms last night!
>Labor started in the night on the 17th- a few contractions 10-15 minutes
>apart- my body just started to work its way - we labored at home through
>about to 2Pm at home and decided to get to the birth center when I really
>did not feel like being in the car for longer than 20 minutes. We were at 4
>cm. and then the midwives said things went like clock work- for me it
>certainly was not the feeling- but I focused on one contraction at a time
>and took those brakes. Will was an inch away throughout- I certainly am
>skeptical about being able to do such a job as he had by my side supporting
>me through every instance. We also had an amazing doula whose body I worked
>almost as much as my own, leaning, pulling, grabbing.
>At 8cm the midvife broke my water and this is where it really started to
>move and increase in intensity. I 've certainly never worked this hard
>physically- ever- Two and a half hours later still thinking that there is
>no I had the ability way to get squeeze her head through- Her beautiful
>head finally slipped through and was floating in the water (I was
>delivering into a tub)- The midwives wanted to check the cord in another
>position before delivering the shoulders but in the transition on all fours
>to my back she just floated out of me! Next thing i new i was holding this
>beautiful being in my arms- the most exceptional moment if my life...
>daddy felt the cord finish pulsating and then cut this connection. Alenka
>and i are doing fantastic- we are both new at this- espeecially me but we
>are making things work. love to all of you, please connect soon- Alenka
>will want to say hello to all her aunts and uncles!!!!

Rereading the passage above, I recall the overwhelming feeling of those first days. This wide opening. And although some sentences don't make 'sense,' the feeling is there.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

twists and turns- two

The first print is on window cling with lovely colors, fantastic to see it all in one (rather than fragmented paper pieces!)
However, after speaking with the gallery and there not being any glass surface, I realized these have to attach directly to wall. And therefore there will be two versions, an indoor one with the lighting/transparent effect and an outdoor one, where the colors are more pale rather than yellow and where the transparency is not seen. These two versions is what one sees on a sliding glass door and how the paper itself acts in this configuration. I loved understanding light and how it acts through this process. Above should be how they hang on the gallery on wall. Title: "Indoor Mother Whore, Outdoor Whore Mother, Sliding Glass Doors."

Sunday, April 24, 2011

off to the printers

-All figures scanned and digitally manipulated for transparency effect of background lighting.
-Currently standing at 12 inches by 5 feet
-Will play with various backgrounds in the morning including paper, vinyl, etc.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Congratulations Tereza,
I'm so happy for you!
Thank you for sharing this with me - wishing you all the best with the upcoming show.
Great work,

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2011

Dear Tereza Swanda,
Congratulations! Your artwork, Whore Mother Totem Pole, was chosen by this year’s jury to be included in The Kinsey Institute Juried Art Show 2011 at the SoFA Gallery (which will be renamed the Grunwald Gallery of Art mid-way through the exhibits run).
Please see the details below for shipping information. Your shipment should also include a completed copy of the attached loan agreement and a prepaid return shipping label for your artworks return shipment. Congratulations again, and we will be sending additional emails to keep you updated on opening reception and promotional details. In the meantime, if you have any questions, contact us at
Details for Shipments
Artwork should be scheduled to arrive Thursday, May 5 - Wednesday, May 11. Hand-deliveries will be accepted May 10-11, 12:00 – 4:00 p.m. As stated in the brochure, shipping of artwork to and from the exhibit is the responsibility of the artist. All shipping must be prepaid. Ship artworks to:
The SoFA Gallery
Kinsey Institute Juried Show
1201 E 7th St.
Fine Arts 123
Indiana University
Bloomington, IN 47405
The artwork must be framed and ready for installation. Late or damaged work will not be exhibited. In the past we have had problems with fragile pieces arriving damaged. Please take all precautions to protect your artwork during shipping.
Artworks must also be prepared for return shipment. Shipping cartons and materials must be reusable for return shipping, and a prepaid return shipping label must be included unless prearrangements have been made with Garry Milius (
Exhibited hand-delivered work must be picked up Tuesday, August 2-Wednesday, August 3, 12-4p.m. Shipped works will be crated and ready for return by August 9. It is the responsibility of the artist to provide postage and insurance to and from the exhibit. Nothing may be shipped COD. Any work that has been left after August 30, 2011 will become the property of The Kinsey Institute unless other arrangements have been made.
Again, congratulations, and please let us know if you have any questions.

Monday, April 11, 2011


I am so happy for your realization! I'm also excited to pick up Krishnamurti as well. (I just sent the first article from the 1st workshop to the same students I wrote about last night.)

Yes, the lessons are finally being realized! It is all so significant, if only we stop and look.

I have not taken my work all the way to the source- at the root I am sure the themes are mother/father, masculine/feminine and now they are the mix of the two, from the act of rubbing two egg portraits together in a gesture of two meditation balls, one of a man and one of a woman in 1998 to the overlapping figures on glass today. I have just considered the bodies but the gesture is the same.

Much more recently I've realized the architecture standing behind victims/perpetrators, mothers/fathers and how the architecture (space created by mental constructs,) affect the bodies that perform in that space.

For me the process has been shifting the mental space to create space- I reread your passage as there is so much to dialogue with. I really enjoy this sentence: "I have always been interested in transforming something I understand in my mind into something I can feel, understand, and communicate through my body." I resonate strongly with "I've understood how to express vulnerability and compassion in my work by allowing those aspects of myself to be exposed, softened, transformed...It's the knowing without getting caught up in the concept of knowing."

It is a huge understanding of yes there is famine, disease, war, and at the same time there is healing, compassion, empathy. There is the knowing without judgement and blame, without a label.

I have this concrete lesson currently within my body, a dull reminder in my sacrum. I tried to stuff my vulnerability, afraid to expose myself and voila- the energy had to go somewhere.

Thank you for the post and the lesson. I am eager to read "Education and the Significance of Life."

A more balanced outlook

I am glad you found your daughter and that all was not lost.
I too have come to a much different understanding of things since my last entry.

Re-reading Krishnamurti's "Education and the Significance of Life", and finding endless inspiration from it. Feeling the growing life inside me and getting filled with anticipation and love. Can it be that after winter's slumber I have renewed unbridled energy?

Synchronicity abounds...all judgement dissolves. Tensions leave me. Creative thoughts begin to connect with previous work and projects yet to be undertaken. I am so excited. The middle of the night is now an excellent time to work! I have never been awake this consistently between 3-6AM, but for whatever reason, canvases are still getting worked on, and ideas are being consolidated that have been dormant in my mind. Seeing the black sky slowly turn blue each morning is uplifting, even though there is still terrible unrest in the world and many people are dealing with homelessness, radiation fallout, famine, disease, and war.

I had tea with an artist friend yesterday.
It was a lovely afternoon, and we talked about many things. She is currently participating in NYFA's MARK program, and has had a very positive experience so far. She mentioned that the program has helped her in terms of presenting her work to groups of people who don't know her or her work. She spoke clearly, articulately, and confidently in a way I have not witnessed before. A huge weight seemed to have left her. I was happy for her, and was encouraged by her this change.

As the afternoon wore on, there seemed to be a mutual sense of relief of knowing what we are both doing with our work, and now never running out of ideas to work with. As both of us have had the tendency to take things a little too seriously and to become very hard on ourselves, we have recently realized there is no sense of having to recreate the wheel every time we step in front of our work. Better yet, I felt like there is more space to get out of the way of our work!

I told her about my most recent revelation, while installing my most recent piece at a gallery in Rosendale. Something that hit me in a very profound way was that I have really been working with the same thing my entire life. I have always been interested in transforming something I understand in my mind into something I can feel, understand, and communicate through my body. Since 1996 this has taken the form of painting, mixed media work, and performance.

It all connects: in 1996/7 I remember loving small text pieces I began 'on the side' that didn't have anything to do with my painting (typed words on handmade organza baskets); the methodical process of stringing beads to cover texts I found offensive to women; intervening on The Scarlet Letter by making a 500-page necklace out of it; salting another version of it and hanging it in a grid; the mediational and repetitious actions of embroidery in Airing Dirty Laundry, the endless counting and meditation of the Morse code all has a lineage I just realized for the first time.

In performance work as well, Meaning Cleaning takes the concept of 'doing public service' and actually realizes it through often grueling outdoor manual labor: sweeping, scrubbing, packing, sorting. It is actual participation rather than an idea of participation.

Finally, In painting: I've understood how to express vulnerability and compassion in my work by allowing those aspects of myself to be exposed, softened, transformed. In 2007, I overcame my deepest obstacles. Because of that decision, I have been able to understand what universal empathy can feel like in a painting. I am beginning to understand why the Hanging Meat painting from Rembrandt is so important; I see Fran Angelico in a much different way now. It's the knowing without getting caught up in the concept of knowing - it's the realization through one's body of what is truth.

In 1996 I began painting the back of the head, neck, and torso as a way to highlight this investigation; paintings of fragmented body parts followed, fragmented undergarments, slips (with words either painted on them or behind them), shoes, and a lot of angry process work. Concepts of death and rebirth were investigated through paintings of black cats, ravens, and jackels. I kept things separate - there was not an awareness that everything was the same. The anger I felt in my body scared me, and I didn't want to work with it. What I presented through my paintings were removed from the series before it. It is really in the last month that I have understood that everything is the same. Everything has equal space. Everything is connected and is in relation.

As you know, I stopped painting for five years, from 2004-2009. Since I have returned to it there is such a deeper investigation of how to articulate my questions of how the body understands one's experience of this world. Even at my most critical, this question comes up in my mind. I understand as I work, I understand through the work.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Rain Season

Of Good and Bad:

We had an incredible week on the Oregon Coast. What beauty! (God lives at Cannon Beach.) And after all the glory a few moments stripped it all away. For a second I thought I lost Al which sent me into complete panic followed by a panic attack, insomnia and a pinched nerve in my sacrum. All previous beauty dissolved! How ridiculous! (It did help me enjoy homecoming.)

In response to your post, this is what I wrote to my students tonight:

All in all, I wanted to discuss this notion of 'not loving what you are painting.' It is a very important concept to observe and I'm glad it came up last week. We seem to be in the mindset of likes and dislikes most of our day. (Like, I really don't like this pain in my back.) What this does is it sets up binary opposites- things that relate but are on opposite sides. This is still within our mental constructs which sometime block creativity. We think we know. We label the plat. (I know it is green, it lives in the soil, etc.) But all these words stop us from really seeing the plant. (Seeing that entity in front of you stripped of all the labels.)

The still-life which wasn't still at all is a living entity- that changes, is form and color, is in relation to you.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

A Good Day

It's interesting to notice attachments to either feeling "good" or feeling "bad".

During this last week (week 37 of pregnancy), there was a lot of feeling emotional, weepy, feeling hopeless, feeling useless, feeling lethargic, despondent, and physically sick. I perceived this as "difficult" to get through, and did very little to resonate with these feelings. Rather, I fought against them, judged them, judged myself. I contributed to my own feelings of misery.

Today, on the other hand, I began to feel wonderful.
I received encouraging and uplifting news from many people, which helped in my tying up a lot of loose ends.
Suddenly, seemingly tons of pounds were lifted from my shoulders; I felt relieved, happy, optimistic, lighter, bright-eyed and focused. Small but profound connections were made between people, places, and energy...I noticed the subtleties of the world around me and felt comforted by being alive in this moment.

Why is it easier to feel more aware when perceived 'good things' happen than when 'bad' things do? Where does judgment come from, and why?

Is any of this part of the practice of non-attachment?
What part is noticing?
What part is being aware?

Tonight I have insomnia again, and am continuing to work on a beaded Morse code piece based on the John Donne poem Death Be Not Proud. When I took a short break an hour ago, I found an email from a friend who forwarded me the announcement for Liza Lou's most recent exhibition at L&M Arts in Los Angeles.

As I only have the thumbnail images on my computer screen to base this observation on, it was a pleasant surprise to see such a shift in Lou's beaded work. There appeared to be so much more transparency and weightlessness to the pieces: a transformation from earlier work. I felt myself exhaling more deeply after seeing the exhibition highlights online. It had such a more quiet atmosphere around it. A stillness and a breath that I haven't felt from her work before.
Chance occurance

I will continue to work until I get tired

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On another note

Just about 4 weeks to go...xo

Airing Dirty Laundry progress and install shots

Residency application draft for Women's Studio Workshop

Project Description

I am interested in creating an artist book based on my interactive performance piece Airing Dirty Laundry. This ongoing piece has existed both as a growing site-specific installation and as an interactive collaboration between the public and myself. It has aimed to reveal a common thread between meditation and everyday actions. It began as a collection of various commands and criticisms amassed via public interaction over the last few years; it has continued as an embroidery circle, most recently at a winter residency at Roos Arts in Rosendale, where I worked alongside volunteer participants embroidering the phrases onto antique table linens and white bed sheets. I hope to expand upon the collaborative nature of the piece in the form of an artists’ book.

Embroidery as a central visual element has emphasized the connection between internal reflection and external daily activity. The playful yet suggestive notion of “airing dirty laundry,” in combination with public participation, has facilitated a creative space to reveal stories and life experiences we might otherwise keep to ourselves.

The book I would like to make will be comprised of 12 antique table linens or ‘pages’ that have various commands and criticisms embroidered onto them. Linen and thread color would both be white, pointing to - and at the same time subverting - notions of neutrality, purity and cleanliness. The pages would be housed in a handmade portfolio, and experienced either in one’s hand, or as a wall-mounted installation. Both configurations aim to underscore the intimate nature of the texts themselves. Edition size would be 9 or 12; portfolios and pages to be created at WSW.

It would be a natural extension of the piece to continue its fabrication at Women’s Studio Workshop. WSW has a long-standing commitment to the tradition of making work in a collaborative and non-competitive environment, which is in line with my philosophy of art making. Especially in this piece, collaboration and participation from faculty, staff, and other artists would be encouraged.