While on the trip to and from Taos, I had been taking photos of windows. The above is from Mabel Dodge Luhan's house. When I got to the classes at Taos, I told the instructors about my "love" of windows and they told me to explore the idea. I tried every way I thought would make a "good" painting about all those windows. The instructors, each with a different idea, would ask me questions to push me on. I fought with those paintings, and was ready to give up and let the windows go. I could not make the idea(s) work. I could not do the things that they suggested, or what I thought would work.
After classes, back in the hotel, I would pour over artists on-line that I had grown to love.
I have continued to work on different paintings with the idea of windows for the past three months. Only one really spoke to me.
After three months, I used the window idea and created something I like. It came out of my head and heart. Not what someone else was telling me to try and create. But, all those months of frustration was a path to here.
Back to the paintings that I created in Taos. I had pulled out two of the paintings and was going to "change" just a few things. Just "fix" a spot here and there to make it more me and to make it fit into what I thought would be a good mix of the window ideas. I started at six pm the other night, and painted and re-painted and "lifted" paint and re-painted again, until one am. I was tired and cranky and was in a panic. I felt that to let this go would be a failure. What was worse, I thought I had lost "it," the ability to create. If I stopped painting, went to bed and got some needed rest, I was giving up.
The last time I looked at the clock, it showed two-thirty am. When the alarm went off at six-thirty am, I got up to face the paintings that haunted me and made sleep restless. By ten am, I was working on them again. But even thought I had very little sleep and my defenses were down I began to collage over the paintings that were now all neutral, drab colors. Boxes of paint on the paper were gone. As I covered the paint with bright papers I thought back to one of the instructors at Taos, Alex Powers. He is a very political artist, and had encouraged me to tell the world--with my art--the theme I would like to convey of how we treat one another. How bullying is not okay, and that if we did just love each other as we love ourselves, this world would be a better place.
I pulled out a magazine that had some of Alex's work and read what he had written about his art and what he wanted to tell the world about our prejudices. I was hit with a shock, like hitting my crazy bone in my elbow. A jolt that ran through my body of what I wanted to tell the viewer of my paintings. "Don't" was created. It comes from the phrase that my dad always used. "Don't hate. Hate hurts the hater."
This is only part of the painting. The text is from an old dictionary that has the definition of hate.
I have moved to another subject that is near and dear to my heart: teaching and teachers. My daughter, daughter-in-law, and soon to be other daughter-in-law are all teachers. I have many family and friends that are teachers, and I feel that they don't get what they need and are treated badly. They are in-charge of our children's education and are up against the worst odds. We do not pay them what they are worth, and when things go wrong, we blame them, never thinking that the problem lies somewhere else.
After "Teach Me" I will go on to my next painting. I don't know the theme of what I will create but I will keep creating the message that I would like to inspire.
At ISS Taos, NM 5/12
Thank you Alex.