Here’s what I am working on right now–I am temporarily calling it “Under A Red Sky.”
Its mixed media–ink and colored pencil on parchment paper. I’ll likely tweak it a little, but it is mostly done.
I like the female figure’s dreamy look. I don’t think she really wants to be interrupted!
I have always really enjoyed making pen and inks. I am liking the fact I found a way to make them work with color.
Combining ink with colored pencil is really fun to do–it is so direct! I have found that the parchment paper is a dream compared to many other papers for this kind of treatment.
I am thinking of doing a series of these small 8.5 x 11 inch pieces for the Clark County Open Studios in mid November, and then a show I may have the following month in Portland at an alternative gallery–assuming it all works out. More on that later!
Here’s my latest update of my painting “Lady in Pink” –still in progress. I did some good work on it last night. I am enjoying the rich new paint I bought recently and plan to do more with it. I am enjoying the drama the shadows bring to it. Even though it is a very simple painting I think it creates a strong presence.
Meanwhile, I think the imbalance in the world events finally got to me — I ended up depressed and developed a really bad case of hives. Talk about the itchy bitchies!
As a result, I have gotten back into doing yoga and meditation again. It really helps me feel much more balanced and far more capable of steering a positive path in this turbulent world. Plus the meditation has helped me get rid of the hives!!
I can well imagine the “Lady in Pink” along with her trusty cat about to meditate too!
This is my new canvas painting I am working on. It is inspired by an extremely small painting on watercolor paper I did back in San Jose (about the size of a large card).
The idea is that she will probably be wearing pink and black, and likely has dark skin. Though all this could change depending…
Obviously I am still working on the cat!! This time it won’t be brown. It will be a contrasting color… And yes I want the cat to feel alive with movement!
I often like to make an underpainting like this before I go ahead and paint the whole thing in color with all the shading, contrast etc. This way I make sure I get the composition worked out in a simpler state rather than have to remake the whole thing if I didn’t get it right.
I am nearly done with this painting. Just needs a bit more shadow and other little fudging. I have had some delays finishing it, but now am on it again. This painting seems to express the dilemma of the feminine principle going through a rebirth in the world. She wants her male counterpart to participate, but is having some trouble getting that point across…
I believe I have mostly completed this painting. It was just like that! 2 days. Though I should probably fiddle with it a little. It just came pouring out of me. I was obsessed, reading all these new and old documents about the Hanford radiation experiments and watching videos about it. There is more in me to do on this subject, to be certain.
In truth, I first started this painting some years ago — the same day the reactors at Fukishima experienced severe problems in Japan in March 2011 as a result of a record breaking tsunami. I must have known it in my bones before I consciously knew the accident actually had happened.
The style in this painting is very different than what I usually employ, and the colors make me think of radiation. I was never able to finish it until now, the 67th anniversary of the Hanford human radiation experiment called the Green Run (which originally occurred on December 2nd and 3rd, 1949). It is personal for me since I was affected as a small infant.
While I was working on the painting yesterday and today, I kept the same large figures and the color scheme that I had originally, although I tweaked the skin and clothes. I added the two babies after seeing the video about the many young babies who died in Walla, Walla, WA (where I was born) during the Hanford Green Run experiments era. The babies are all grouped together in the local cemetery. I was in tears.
On my painting, I included typed strips of writing from an article by “A Green Road Journal” and another article created by the governmental ‘Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments’ called: “The Facts and Unknowns of the Green Run” published Nov. 9, 1994. The typed strips remind me of the little typed notes my parents and others put on archaeological specimens. I incorporated them in the painting so they seem both like bandages and ghostly, dream-like bits of documents that weave between being clear and obscure.
I figure there must be tons of sick and dead children from radiation more recently in Japan. Not to mention increased illness and death rates in infants along the West Coast of the United States given all the toxic xenon we are getting these days. Ever wonder why there is increased respiratory illnesses here??
So yes, unfortunately, there is a lot of material for me to get inspiration from. I feel like I owe it to all those kids who didn’t survive or aren’t doing so well–since yes small children are more affected by radiation than their elders (although their grandparents don’t tend to do so well either). I am one of the lucky ones despite the fact I got severely ill coincident with the Green Run in 1949 when I was 4 months old. I was likely sick from both the iodine 131 and the excess xenon (and who knows what else!) since my lungs were severely affected. They have never been quite right since then.
Nevertheless, I was fortunate to have been taken to the hospital and treated with gamma globulin likely laced with iodine (which protects against the radioactive iodine 131), and taken off gluten (which tends to be inflammatory). But many were not so fortunate. But even as fortunate as I am, I have had to really work hard on my health for years (and still do) to be healthy and whole. I am really glad to have found some remedies that really work for me like dandelion root, barberry, ginger and (taken separately) bentonite slaked by letting sit in water at least 5 hours–as well as a low histamine and gluten free diet.
Of course none of us were fortunate at all to be exposed to so much intense radiation. As I keep reading I have discovered there were several Green Runs, not just one as the government eventually claimed by mid 1985 (i.e, the one on December 2nd and 3rd, 1949). We are talking about more than 847,000 curies of radioactive iodine that were released into the river over a 3 year period alone–before the Green Run in December 1949 with its 8,000 curies. More was released at intervals up through the 1960’s. Fortunately we moved away by the time I was 3. There were only 24 curies of radioactive iodine that were released in the Three Mile Island accident. And yes no one was told until the mid eighties.
Both Hanford and the nuclear accident at Fukishima are bad situations that keep on giving. The big issue at Hanford now is all the leaking storage tanks the federal government (and its agencies) simply has not had it in its heart to spend money on. From what I have read, they could potentially contaminate the entire region if its not attended to. The health of the Columbia River is at particular risk not to speak of cities downriver like Vancouver and Portland.
And Fukishima, wow. I need to find out more. And plan to. There seems to be a continuing black-out on the situation there. The powers that be and news media overall seem determined to give the impression that nuclear is safe by not covering the story or paying attention. This needs to change.
I hope some of my art can help create more awareness of the necessity to deal with and heal this issue wherever it exists.
I still want to finish my painting of “Legs Like Vines.” However I am also called now to focus on issues of radiation which I want to begin exploring with my art. My family and I and many others were subject to a huge top secret radiation experiment called the Green Run. The Hanford Nuclear Site created the Plutonium for Nagasaki and most of the nuclear bombs for the United States –as well, as it turns out, a great variety of radiation experiments both on animals and humans. How does it relate to now? Well its still going on, with how the nuclear plants at Fukishima continue be subject to yet more earthquakes to spue out radiation while the US responds by simply artificially raising the level of permitted radiation in the atmosphere and, for all intent purposes, stopped testing these levels at all.
The government finally admitted in the mid-1980’s that there even was a “Green Run,” i.e., a release of raw “green” radioactive materials from Hanford into the environment. The numbers vary from between 7000 and 12000 curies of radioactive iodine and at least 20,000 curies of xenon-133 that were released on the night between December 2nd and 3rd, 1949. (Compare this with only 24 curies of radioactive iodine that was released at 3 Mile Island nuclear accident.) I immediately got seriously ill in early December. My mother and siblings all remember how I just wouldn’t stop crying! I was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia when my parents observed I just wasn’t getting any better. My mother said previously I had been a very healthy and happy infant.
I was put in isolation at the hospital for over a month. Fortunately I was treated with gamma globulin for “failure to thrive” –likely laced with iodine. This more than likely saved my life, unlike many of my contemporaries who were soon put in their small graves. I was “lucky. ” Years later on my mother told me that a “retired” doctor from the Mayo clinic treated me because he liked the work my father and mother did in the Walla Walla area as archaeologists. Gamma globulin infused with iodine is what the Chernobyl victims were given to counteract high doses of radiation.
Although the government still does not admit its primary reason for having this experiment, it does list the secondary reason. It was to measure how easy or difficult it would be to measure “dirty” radiation and thus detect what the Russians might be doing with their new “dirty” bombs they began experimenting with in the summer of 1949. The US was in a race to stay ahead of the Russians…forgetting meanwhile the human cost of their experimentation.
I just watched a video of Kay Sutherland whose family lives in Walla Walla, WA. She shows how many of the infants who were born around the same time as I was who died, likely due to the Green Run . It is her claim, and now that of many others, that there were several Green Runs, not just one. Both before and after 1949. Kay’s description of the babies who were buried in Walla Walla in the mid 40’s through the 50’s is heart wrenching. It is imbedded in the following file from the Green Road Journal amongst a lot of very interesting information.
Another update on my painting, “Legs Like Vines.” A bad headache the other day (from an egg I hadn’t boiled quite enough–I have histamine sensitivity) slowed me down.
But late tonight I was back at it again. There is more to do with it of course. But am sharing my process. I am not one of those really quick painters. Am a perfectionist more or less in this area of my life. Plus all those intricate patterns take time to get right! I use the principle of spontaneity and structure working together to create tensions and harmonies.
On yet another level, this painting is starting to make even more sense to me considering the fact I discovered very recently that I need to take a lot more silica than I thought I’d ever need in order to be OK. My legs etc. have truly in their way been like vines.
I laugh since what else can one do. There are both positives and negatives to being what is considered to be too flexible. The big problem for some of us is that we have a hard time making enough collagen. This eventually starts to become a real negative, especially as one gets older. And yes, more silica is needed to make the collagen.
Now even my eyes are improving, as well as my hair, teeth, nails, nerves, joints etc. I am even having less jerking at night. And overall fewer headaches. I am now able to exercise more regularly without hurting myself. Have less reflux etc. Amazing! Its only been two months since I started taking the food grade diatomaceous earth. Literally a dirt cheap source of silica!! and healing…
With everything improving, who knows where I will be at in a year. Though one thing is for sure, more than likely I’ll be painting up a storm!!
For more info on this condition, I suggest you look up Ehrlos Danlos Syndrome. If you think you might have it, please consider joining some of the EDS support groups on Facebook. The Cusack Family Protocol is the best!
Its been a rainy Thanksgiving so far. Plenty of chance for me to work on my painting! Though today I was able to go out for a walk before it started raining again. I wore my poncho just in case!
This painting is changing before my eyes. I am really uncertain what I will call it. How the pillow or rock/Mayan Calendar (!!) turns out will affect it quite a bit, of that I am certain.
I still have to work on the male figure quite a bit, it needs the definition shadows bring. I also need to finish the edging around the carpet.
And yes I do like the carpet. The rectangles and triangles are subtle but effective. They echo the Calendar symbology nicely.
This piece is kind of blowing my mind, such as it is. Not at all what I expected! But that is the fun of painting for me–I let my unconscious come through and have free reign.
I had a dream last night that suggested I put in roots around in the blue area, but today am uncertain that would be right for this painting. Maybe the next one? Might be too busy and unnecessary. However I will play around with it and see if it could work or not…
I got some more work done this weekend on my new painting. Am thinking the name of the piece will change, as is often the case. For now still calling it Legs Like vines however… Maybe should include arms too, lol! Even more extended than usual even for me!
I was listening to the local Portland jazz/community radio station. A lot of pieces from the sixties. A good reminder of what all is going on now and likely will for the next four years. Both the ‘what the world needs now is love sweet love’, plus ‘whats going on’. Remember? It definitely is happening now…
This new work of mine meanwhile is an experiment in color and composition. So far the woman has definitely increased in importance…
I just got started putting the color in. Thought I’d do something a little different, more like what I sometimes did working on clay. Let design have it’s say more and keep it playful.
As you can see, I am not done!
I have not worked on the bodies or pillow (except for the sketched in underpainting) or even finished the background. I like the bold design and colors so far however.
I may or may not put any actual leaves into the painting. I’ll be playing around with that concept in my head whether or not I try it.
As you likely can see, the painting is in my studio in the unheated garage next to my kilns. I was working there late tonight all bundled up. The weather is starting to get chillier. Nevertheless, the act of painting seems to keep me warm!! I even took off my coat and hat! Though this time my second sweater stayed on…
I worked on my tarot card (“The Fool”) late last night after the debates. Somehow this card seems very appropriate at this time of crazy politics from both sides, IMHO!
I had to enlarge the width of the painting a tiny bit so it will make the right size card when reduced down. Thankfully I could since its on watercolor paper…and I just use blue painters tape to hold the paper down.
I decided to go ahead and use acrylic paint. I have found that acrylic is much more durable than watercolor or gouache. For instance, I have a wonderful painting of the almost mythic Wild Ox that got ruined due to my studio being too damp, and that was in San Jose, CA!! (Yes sometime I need to make another one…).
Plus if I need to go in and change things, with acrylics I can do so without sweating it. I have found the acrylics stay cleaner and are easier to frame too.
So as you can see, last night I decided to work on the faces etc. first. And in a few, I will be working on it again. Maybe work on the Sun and background before the rest.. We will see! I let my subconscious guide me in these matters. Its always fun to see where it takes me!
If you look closely, you can see I am getting ready to work on some clay as well as painting again too.
My friend Graeme made the cool shelving unit with my help; I made the new clay table you can see in front. I already had the slab roller table and the wedging table I made years ago. Plus of course there is the desk I use for my paints, and the sculpture stand….
The kilns are in the background. Am planning on putting them outside once I get some housing for them. I don’t want to breathe the fumes, and discovered I really need to fire my ceramic sculpture etc. the old fashioned way, slowly for quite a while before closing the lid.