Walking to School – SHOW!

24″x36″ oil on canvas

Please come see my show “Walking to School”! It will open at the Sunderman Gallery There will be an opening reception 6-8pm, Thursday, September 13th. 5100 Ross Avenue, DALLAS,TX 75206

I use my art as a way to notice something beautiful everyday. “Walking to School” has been a whimsical fun series chronicaling my second grade daughter’s daily walks to school.   My 3 older children all start school an hour before my youngest. We like to eat breakfast as a family, so that leaves Lydia and I an extra hour every morning. What I am trying to do is not waste our gift of time, the phrase “killing time” is a phrase that makes me so sad. Instead of “killing” that time I have painted it, and all the adventures and beauty that we found in those extra hours. This series is about half landscapes of what we have seen on our daily walks and half mixed media pieces of people walking. It includes: homework, tardy slips and bit and pieces we collected along the way.  In addition to many kinds of media, I have used a bit of magical realism in these paintings. For example, in “Spokes and Shadows” the light was beautiful, the shadows were beautiful, but the backdrop was generic new suburbia. In my mind, I saw a fantastic tree lined drive, with a young girl pumping up a hill onto great things. In the painting, I created the leaves with bits of homework. As the leaves fell, I could imagine the days and years and the entirety of Lydia’s childhood landing on the drive as she confidently rode into the future.

These paintings are about being present: we put away the phone, compose a rhyme or poem, talk about the day, share our hopes and dreams, plan dinner or our next family celebration.  We notice what is in bloom, when the leaves change color, or when someone repainted their front door. We have noted that all those carpoolers don’t have a chance to: meet a new neighbor, pet a kitten, do a cartwheel, twirl a tutu, pick a flower or sneak a fresh fig hanging over the fence.

In painting this series, my hope is you will be reminded of a sweet memory of when you walked with your friends, siblings, or parent to school. Or you will be reminded of when your child walked to school. Perhaps you will be inspired to be present and get out and find the beauty and life that is in YOUR neighborhood waiting for you to just enjoy and discover!  Perhaps you can grab your dog, or kid, or mom, or neighbor and embark in a simple way to really live your life…go for a walk.

Hiking Hand in Hand

8″x10″These girls are so strong, and so sweet. I loved that they were hiking holding hands on the amount Massive Trail. However, if I were to be completely honest, I painted this because their shadows look like little yetis, and the shape delighted me.

Wave Watchers

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I started with an acrylic under painting in 2 values. I scraped ochre, and violet thinly on with a palette knife, leaving the white canvas to make a third value. Then I mixed some big puddles of paint, and painted fast, waiting for the figures way down on the beach to get into position. I captured them with a few strokes each, cleaning up my mess using the negative space around them.

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Beach Boys

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This painting started as a memory: the last morning of a great week at the beach with my family. It was cold, we carried a thermos of coffee and hot chocolate down to the ocean to watch the sun rise. We walked, and sipped, and enjoyed the cool sand beneath our feet. I love the way my boys often lean into each other when they walk.

Of course, like any good Labradors, or my children in this case, they did not stay out of the water. I packed up this memory with the kids wet and sandy sweatshirts and pajamas. Now months later, my memory finally found its way to my easel (fortunately my husband is better at unpacking than I am, he dealt with the wet clothes the midnight we came home).

Desert Rain

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“A Desert Rain”

The cool rain poured in sudden haste
Upon the thirsty sod,
And life throughout an arid waste
Rejoices, thanking God.

Each wild and lonely desert flower
Is royally arrayed,
As if in one brief, stormy hour
The world were newly made.

Where vagrant breezes stray and waft
The mesquite’s sweet perfume,
The green saguaro’s fluted shaft
Lifts high a richer bloom.

The palo verde blossoms glow
Like jets of yellow fire,
And every bird we love and know
Pipes in the tuneful choir.

The fair Altruria of the bees,
Beneath the orange boughs,
Hears whispered friendships of the trees
As sweet as lovers’ vows.

Wee desert folk from strife forbear–
Their deadly conflicts cease,
As if responsive to the prayer
For Universal Peace.

No more on thorns the linnet hangs–
Slain by the cruel shrike;
The coiled crotalus sheathes his fangs,
And does not care to strike.

Here blooms the world like Aaron’s rod,
New verdure clothes the plain–
The wondrous miracle of God
That follows a desert rain!
-Andrew Downing

Walking the Dog

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Walking the Dog

Two universes mosey down the street
Connected by love and a leash and nothing else.
Mostly I look at lamplight through the leaves
While he mooches along with tail up and snout down,
Getting a secret knowledge through the nose
Almost entirely hidden from my sight.

We stand while he’s enraptured by a bush
Till I can’t stand our standing any more
And haul him off; for our relationship
Is patience balancing to this side tug
And that side drag; a pair of symbionts
Contented not to think each other’s thoughts.

What else we have in common’s what he taught,
Our interest in shit. We know its every state
From steaming fresh through stink to nature’s way
Of sluicing it downstreet dissolved in rain
Or drying it to dust that blows away.
We move along the street inspecting shit.

His sense of it is keener far than mine,
And only when he finds the place precise
He signifies by sniffing urgently
And circles thrice about, and squats, and shits,
Whereon we both with dignity walk home
And just to show who’s master I write the poem.
~Howard Nemerov