I wonder if this will kill me

twilight flyer

I have a new collection of paintings up at Twilight Gallery in West Seattle! Opening night is Friday, Oct 2nd, from 6-9pm and the show will be up until October 31.

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I was in a car accident two years ago. I keep thinking back to it, only seeing it a split second before it happened. Disbelief. No fear, just surprise. I hit the breaks and closed my eyes and let it happen. Force. Noise. I thought,

wow.

I wonder if this will kill me…

I did not see that coming…

huh.

When I came to I was afraid to move. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to. I couldn’t see anything because the car was full of dust from the airbags. After a bit I moved my head first, slowly, side to side. I didn’t feel pain, which freaked me out. I moved my fingers and toes. Disbelief again. I started to hurt once I got out of the car. Then more in the ER. And for a brief bit I couldn’t read, or make words come out of my mouth in the correct order. I just wanted to go home.

I broke my collarbone and got to experience the joy that is whiplash. “Whiplash” sounds so benign, right? I thought so. Sounds cute, even.

Death’s been on my mind. I’ve been dreaming about it, always thinking, “huh, I thought it would be more painful. This really isn’t so bad.” But the crash didn’t kill me; it wasn’t even that serious. And it wasn’t painless. Physical therapy hurt. My neck is still recovering. Sometimes, when I lay really still, mostly in the mornings when I’m still in bed and just barely awake, I can’t feel it at all. And I lay there, curled up, feeling what it’s like to be in this body. I always liked sleeping in, but had never appreciated it this much.

It occurs to me that there are emotional crashes, and those can also stick you with whiplash. I feel residual sadness, and like with my physical injury I don’t do my exercises – even though I should, cuz it hurts. So this art is my way of tugging at old wounds, stretching out and gnawing over old heartbreak and disappointment, using vague images of my body as the language. The materials are simple, and straightforward: one color of oil paint on bleak birch panels. I’m trying to create a portrait of longing, of a fleeting, anonymous stillness. I am remembering sadness.

For three of these paintings I used a model other than myself: the beautiful Justyn Rebecca, an incredible photographer currently based in New Zealand (Muse, Handful, Curl 2).

Cover

“Cover” 30×30,” oil on wood panel

Curl 2“Curl 2″ 12×16,” oil on wood panel

Fold “Fold” 30×30,” oil on wood panel

Handful“Handful” 8×10,” oil on wood panel

Home“Home” 12×16,” oil on wood panel

Introvert“Introvert” 20×24,” oil on wood panel

Pine“Pine” 12×16,” oil on wood panel

Tuck“Tuck” 30×30,” oil on wood panel

Whiplash 3“Whiplash 3″ 20×24,” oil on wood panel

I tried to keep this collection of work simple, only working with one tube of paint and four brushes. I primed the wood panels with clear gesso, and painted the pieces directly onto the wood, without sketching or transferring drawings first. Once dry, I gave the pieces a protective coating of varnish.

STELLAR: Evidence of an alternative space program

postcard2

Oh my god. How is 2014 already halfway over? More importantly (to me, anyway!) – how is my solo art show at Twilight gallery opening in only eight days?! I am soooo excited – there will be paintings of planets, starscapes, unnamed cosmonauts and floaty space girls. You are officially invited! If you are a facebooker, here is the invite page.

This weekend I’ll be into the gallery to paint the walls black, and any day now my bags of glow-in-the-dark stars will be showing up in my mail. To be used on the gallery walls, of course, but which after the show I’m sure will all go straight up in the apartment walls.

cosmonaut 010 sm

Why am I devoting a whole set of drawings and paintings to this franky, naive and arguably overdone subject?

What I’m after – childish wonder, stark beauty, vast loneliness + absurd simplicity. Exploration, finding comfort in the unknown + active curiosity.

I’m not a scientist, or an astronaut, this collection is just a portrait of what I thought being a space explorer was like, when I was 10.

I have this desire to touch emptiness, embrace the nonsensical, and lose a sense of proportion. Gadgets, physics, magic… all that good stuff!

I aim to create a portrait of an innocent motivation to seek comfort and wonder in the unknown.

Luna 8_small

cosmonaut 013 sm

cosmonaut 014 sm  postcard

If you are in the vicinity, please come by for opening night! There may be space-themed cocktails. And there may be spacemen/women. YOU should definitely come dressed in your finest intergalactical gear. 🙂

Twice

twice sm“Twice.” Oil paint on paper, cut. Named after the Little Dragon Song, for an angsty art show at Twilight: FADE INTO YOU: an Artist’s Mixtape!

Opening night is Thursday, February 13th.

I found this paper during my last trip to the art supply store – it’s specially coated to handle oil paint, so I thought I’d give it a shot! After painting the figure, I hung the painting up on the wall to dry, that and I had no idea what I wanted to do to it next. This is usually where I’d start arranging fabric flowers and gluing them down, but for this one, it didn’t seem right. I didn’t want to cover up any of the painting, and the idea I wanted was not of something added, but something missing. For a while I thought of simply leaving the whole right side empty.

twice detail 2

But that wasn’t right, either. When something’s missing, it’s not just a static emptiness, but more of a gnawing, moving, cutting sort of feeling. I’m out of practice with the Xacto, so I have a good blister now, but I think I’ll be doing more of this. twice detail

 

“Twice”

Twice I turn my back on you
I fell flat on my face but didn’t lose
Tell me where would I go
Tell me what led you on I’d love to know

Was it the blue night
Gone fragile
Was it about the men
In wonder steady gone under
Was it the light ways
So frightening
Was it a two wills
One mirror holding us dearer now

Thought I had an answer once
But your random ways swept me along
Colossal signs so I got lost
With so many lovers singing soft

Was it the blue night
Gone fragile
Was it about the men
In wonder steady gone under
Was it the light ways
So frightening
Was it a two wills
One mirror holding us dearer now

A poem by Elisa Chavez

Down here, the asphodel wisps up through sidewalk cracks and waits like a line of physicians in powdered-sugar fields.

The cracks below my feet look like the letters of your name; I trace each one, letting them ripple like sounds, letting them reticulate like the secret rings of trees.

(When you wake gut-first to the dense black breath of your bed and picture me, you don’t picture me here, but in my favorite summer shorts with the red ribbons. My feet are cut to red ribbons as the car skitters away, and you feel a regret so deep it’s almost sensuous. It’s not strictly for what’s happened, but an underwater nostalgia, a curling envy for what the dead know. When I breathe, you pull the sheets up to your neck.)

Sometimes I see ribbons too, when I look down; mostly I just see white: the cracks in the sidewalk thrusting up flowers. Little godhead lightbulbs dispensing alleluia to the corners of rooms. A flat, white, low-hanging sky.

I remember your name down here, but I don’t remember mine.

Pencil, Ink and watercolor on Stonehenge paper, 11x14." 2013.

Written by Eliza Chavez, prompted by my painting, “Double Amputee {legs},” and performed at the Twilight Gallery here in Seattle this past September. I can’t believe I haven’t shared it till now – it really hits me hard, the words trickling all into place just so. The poem leaves me with a bitter, dark feeling that is so – right.

 

12 new little artworks – for a little art show!

 

black hole

I’ve been busy lately working on little paintings. I dropped them off today at Twilight Gallery for their miniature art show! The call for art is still open, till October 20th. I know you people are all sorts of artsy and talented, so submit away!! Do it. 🙂 black hole 2I’ve been experimenting on working with small cradled wood boards, sanding them smooth, adding pencil and acrylic, then finishing them with an acrylic sealer. This first one is called “Black Hole,” and these small wood boards are 4x4x1.” migraine

“Migraine”

migraine 2

pinkies

“Pinkies”

pinkies 2

These next two are officially the smallest paintings I’ve ever done: “Lover 1” and “Lover 2.”

lovers 2

So, if I do say so myself, I think they are really adorable but the best thing about them is that the little canvases came with equally little frames! Check it!!

lovers

red wall

“Red Wall” – this one is quite larger at 8×10.” And named because red was my first choice for painting the bedroom (but I ended up going with a dark royal blue. Also awesome, but I still want to paint a room red).

tiny and stretch

“Tiny” and “Stretch,” 5×7.”tiny

tiny cuts 3

These next three are called “Tiny Cuts 1” “Tiny Cuts 2” and “Tiny Cuts 3” – clockwise from top left.

tiny cuts

Anyone else currently working on tiny art? I’d love to see it!