Working on new series

What began as the Fairy Tale Series earlier this year is occupying my mind. With the upcoming show at Banfill-Locke in March (March 7-April 10), I have a lot of work to finish.

I feel a bit uncertain about showing work that is so different from what I have been doing for the last 20 plus years. Though my nature-driven work has always been about a few other things besides nature (as some viewers and collectors have noticed), this is still a major step in a different, more obviously autobiographical, direction.

Each of the fairy tales I’ve worked with so far plunges me into contemplation of my own history, both as a child and as an adult. They are all stories of survival against monumental odds, but I also find myself wondering what kind of survival? Does the young woman whose drunken father brags to a greedy king that his daughter can spin straw into gold have much of a future, even after Rumplestiltskin “rescues” her from the king’s promise of certain death if she cannot do this truly impossible task? What if, at some later date and after the goblin has been dispatched and the child she bore the king is saved, the king’s coffers run out? Thinking about this possibility makes me think about my own struggles, and those of my sister, to survive our childhood. The piece I am working on right now, “Straw into Gold,” is based on this tale.

The second piece I worked on tonight is “The Frog King.” The story, which is one of manipulation, lies, and betrayal, features a princess at its center, though mostly as a pawn, which is pretty typical of fairy tales. I keep writing about it, trying to figure out exactly why I am certain I need to work with it and what kinds of imagery will convey my sense of what the story means. It’s a struggle!

The painting above is one I finished a few months ago, the second of those I began. It is based on a dream I had about events in my life, and my reading of the story “The Armless Maiden.”

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