Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Works in Progress # 9

This is an oil on stretched canvas 30" x 40".  I am trying to capture the 'Eden-like' quality of the little pocket garden that is just outside my studio doors.  There is not a lot of upkeep;  and the fountain turns this fabulous 'pond-scum green' on a regular basis...but still,  it is very compelling.

People With No Names - The Undocumented #89

This is a 12" x 18" oil on foam-core.  The subject is a gardener,  who I recently interviewed as he was working on the grounds of the walled-in, one city-block area of an historic inn, in Tucson, AZ.  The huge grounds are very lush, beautifully cared for, and require constant, labor-intensive attention (in order to achieve the 'effortless', unchanging serenity of the place).  It is a large cocoon of subdued nature,  which has long been a haven for those captains of industry who can afford under-stated, old world pampering.  It is soothing and lovely.  Everything is under control, you can relax.  Which brings us to the gardener.  He is perfect for this place.  He does not speak English (he will not be chattering at guests).   He prefers to be behind-the-scenes, as he may or may not be documented to be in the U.S.  He is very grateful to have this job (as he explained to me in Spanish) because they let him eat food there, and all the free soda he wants.  He is used to very manual grooming of plants...his work ethic dovetails perfectly with the tedious work required to give this place the sense that you are on the grounds of a very large private home.    

Friday, June 10, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #88

This 8' x12" oil on board is another reflection on whether there is room in our hearts and minds for the foreigner/stranger/immigrant...or like the Governor of Alabama,  we want the toughest laws in the country to "keep them out' and 'root them out of our midst'.  Not only does Gov. Robert Bentley's new law require people to "show papers" to prove they are "legal",  his new law "requires officials in K-12 public schools to determine whether students are illegal immigrants".   In other words, teachers, as well as policemen will be required to act as immigration agents.  Officials claim that there will NOT be racial profiling.  Not that long ago, in the southern U.S.,  free blacks were required to show papers to verify their status as non-slaves.  I guess it wasn't the color of their skin that made people question their 'status'...I guess they just looked like people who should be slaves.  Just like some people look like they should be 'illegal'.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #87

This watercolor of the single chair is a metaphor for the prevailing mood in much of the country.  Many people and government officials feel that there is not room for anyone to 'pull another chair up to the table'.  Wonderful,  informative daughter (from yesterday's post) just told me that the Oregon House of Representatives could only muster 26 of the 31 needed votes to move a bill to the floor that would  allow kids, who have been raised in this country, to pay in-state tuition at community and state colleges.  The 26 Democrats all voted "Yes" to the bill...and then all of the Republican Representatives just let the Bill's time run out.  So technically, they didn't vote AGAINST it, and they are not saying you can't get an just need to come up with a formidable amount of money.  There is a Spanish saying,  "There is always room for one more, everyone just takes a little less".   Another daughter told me recently that when you clear the furniture and clutter out of a room,  people have the urge to dance.  Let's make space for others...and dance.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #86

I am not sure that this painting is finished... but it is a series called 'The Other End of the Pool'.
 The two chairs make me think about this wonderful thing that Father Don preached to us two weeks ago.  He said, "En la mesa del Senor hay bastante espacia por todos"  (At the table of the Lord,  there is space for all.)  My daughter just explained to me the idea of "The Social Contract",   that she learned about in her philosophy class.  It is an idea/agreement in society that "this is HOW it is,  this is HOW WE DO THINGS,  this is how we have ALWAYS done things.  It may not be best for the dignity of every individual in society,  it may not INCLUDE every individual in our society,  but by and large the ruling majority is comfortable".  Then, along comes a "Moral Hero" who says, "I am going to go against the prevailing social contract, in order to do what is right for individual dignity".  (Think Dorothy Day, Cesar Chavez, Martin Luther King Jr., the Freedom Riders, The Stonewall Insurrection)  Today we have an opportunity to offer disenfranchised, undocumented people a seat at the table.  We have an opportunity to treat immigrants with dignity and respect.  We have an opportunity to lift them up in prayerful support...not so they become more like they become fully who God means them to be.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

People With No Names - The Undocumented #85

Okay, this 8 x 12" oil on board seems weird for my series about immigrants,  but let me try to connect it.  I see these beautiful swimming pools all over Arizona.  They are feasts for the eyes and the see and be dipped in beautiful cool water on a hot day.  Who wouldn't want that?  Water is  symbol and sustenance of life.   Whole 'pools' of water are available to some,  while others are dying of thirst (literally) walking through the scorching desert between Mexico and the U.S. to find work to feed their families.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

why i paint what i paint #22

This 24" x 24" oil on canvas is a painting of my painting partner and me...painting.  I am very happy with the fragmented, unfinished nature of the image.  I am stunned over and over, how much more 'realistically' this way of mark-making conveys the truth of a thing, story,  person than the very crisp, realistic, finished work.  I think it has something to do with the 'river-ish' nature of our lives.  The minute we step in to the water...THAT water has moved on.