Sunday, September 14, 2008

peachy teach

I had the good fortune to spend an otherwise thunderous and goomly Tuesday with my always sunny Kittery Kousins. Wanda is one of the first locavores, always harvesting something grown in her yard. She gave me a bag of these sweet peaches to take home. Her daughters, Jessie, Mati, and I enjoyed a tangy tomato soup while catching up on life, Facebook, coots, and back-to-school. I showed up to mingle and deliver a belated wedding present, a pastel called Navarro Love.

Here Hugh and Mati wade into the waters of devotion. Their wedding was in Philo, CA last August at a rustic retreat center along the snaky edges of the Navarro. Swimming in that cold riverbed was as good as baptism.

Mati, Next Big Thing in my book, was back east for a group show at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, NH, and sister Jessie was her driver. Rain doesn't slow down these mod girls.

The enormous tiny art show features 45 artists and walls upon walls of art under 8 x 8". So much to see, so much to love. Here is Mati's wall, with some sold pieces long gone.

I also liked these little whimsys, petite gouache paintings on what looks like wood panel samples, by Susie Ghahremani.

There was such a huge range in subject matter, media, approach: it was an eye candy buffet. Here, Wanda savors a purple kiss.

Nahcotta is a casual place, with comfy places to sit, nooks for looking, graphic products like stationary, trays, lamps, and.... look at this cache of porcelain pottery by Ba Jo.

I could have bought them all! But, as usual, I did my Cinderella dash for the ferry.

Mati was off to the Squam Art Workshops to speak on a panel about living the creative life. I drove north nourished by the bounty and artful examples of these peachy women. Yay.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Find out moonshine

They are here! The 2009 Lunar Calendars are in. Got my batch of comps and they are divine.

I posted the tiger drawing awhile back, when I was in the middle of figuring out the illustration. I am asked to do the cover only every few years, so I wanted this one to be as colorful and dramatic as possible.
I decided to work with separate elements, and then play around with layering them in Photoshop. This makes the process akin to collaging, my other love. I can play around til it hits me just right. I also wanted to get more mileage out of the reams of reference I had collected when researching Bangla culture for Rickshaw Girl. I had gotten books about Indian art featuring lots of court paintings of Hindu goddesses. As it turned out, this was not the realm of art done by Naima, the young girl in the book.
In that culture, women do decorative paintings of designs around the dwellings, called alpanas. They are done with rice paste, ephemeral as the latest rain.

With free reign for the calendar, I mixed it all up: an earth goddess, Prithvi, as a tiger queen bordered by decorative designs. The Lunar Calendar is "dedicated to the goddess in Her many guises" and I like to think that the Divine Feminine resides in every woman, queen or not. I have contributed work to the calendar since 1982, which suddenly boggles my mind. 26 years?? It's a mix of nature wisdom, cycle awareness, poetry, and original art.

My favorite thing is gifting the special women in my life with one of these calendars. It can be a revelation to notice the power of the cycles and flux; I keep the lunar calendar right next to a regular grid calendar on my wall. Being visual, I like to see the eliptical moon phases. It's a reminder that what goes around, comes around.

Plus, being an island lunatic, I can tell exactly when the moonrise will be. And rush to the backshore to watch. Thanks to Nancy F. W. Passmore, publisher at The Luna Press, I keep looking up.

Shakespeare said it best: "Doth the moon shine that night we play our play? A calendar, a calendar! Look in the almanac; find out moonshine, find out moonshine."

Long live lunacy!