Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Young Shoots and Roots

Cabin 15

Cabin 15 Front Room

My childhood home... 'til age 9. One bedroom, 5 people.
Loved it. It's now a popular vacation rental, cabin 15.

I'm wondering if the circling form of the hearth's river rock and the warmth of all that pine influenced the way I paint. There are also towering redwood trees on the property, and of course there's that fabulous river. I spent a lot of my youthful summers underwater, swimming around, looking at the rocks down there through blurry vision, searching for secret lands and mystical places. I was pretty much a world traveler back then. A wet one.

One never knows where resonant imagery comes from.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Action. Depth. Distant Horizons.

Most people enjoyed flying into this one.

(Flew away, red dotted.)

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Resonating Within

(Red dot skibbling away)

I painted this a few years ago, waiting, waiting for someone to see and embrace it. The other day she walked in and she did. She always does, through the 30 years I've known her. She's an innovator, a visionary, brilliant. She sees with instant clarity. The simple, the complex. Always has. And when she can, she embraces, takes the connection home with her.

Real connection is rare, but when you find it, pause and pay attention. That's were the beauty of life lives.

A second person came in and recognized the following painting. I don't know her personally, but for me to see her connect so deeply (tears!) and so accurately to my vision (she described her feelings out loud, so I could tell she completely got what I was doing with the painting)... ahh, again, the beauty of life at its most rich. (This painting has most of it's wealth in viewing it from a distance of one foot... sorry you can't experience that here. It is part of the point of the painting, that treasure is everywhere you see it... you just have to know how to slow down and pay attention.)

Yes, with these two connections I know I am one lucky giggle-thwort.* It took me years to figure out this paint language, and I know it's somewhat esoteric. I don't expect the general populace to completely relate, but when they do... "Treasure Within."

Friday, March 22, 2013

That Old Charmer, Charisma

A guest cracked up in laughter over a chaos cartoon contraption I made ~ 5 mini chaos scenarios displayed in a row. Above is one of those chaos delights. The original of this power-hungry-happy-chaos-creature is actually about 1.5 inch in diameter. (Real chaos creatures can be tiny, tiny, tiny!) Doesn't it beam delight?! Charisma?! But watch out it doesn't burn you... Those dark shapes on the outside are unhappy-power-hungry-chaos-creatures.The war is on. As soon as they connect: Friction! Jealousy! (Mixing black and yellow can make a rather lovely earth green...)

Below is the full load, and an article by some disreputable newspaper someone sent me.

Clearly the journalist had a bit too much of the following:

Cup Full and Spoon Full of Chaos

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Wouldn't it be Great

"Three Percent Contained" (red dot)

Wouldn't it be great if life was as calm as some of my drawings. It's not. It's as chaotic and confusing as those other of my drawings/paintings.

Some people think my art is all about myself. When you think about your own life work and philosophies do you think about your life in relation to only what you, personally, do and feel? Or do you think about it in relation to how other people come and go within the sphere of your life, influencing your thoughts and feelings, closely, or even abstractly. Do you think about the decisions they make within their own lives and how this affects others? When you think about your life do you think what you read (reality as seen through the eyes of others) is a part of you? that what you watch on TV becomes a subconscious part of you? that what you watch, perceive, and feel in movies might color your world? that the music you respond to (the heart beat of others) might fill your head so much you can't see yourself? that the people you are fascinated by or are repelled by are just as much in your life at particularly intense moments as your own conscious thoughts might be?

No, my art, though often about emotional topics, is not all about me going through my own personal moods. It's about you and me and them and all that physical, virtual, natural, trippy movement that surounds us all, day after day, year after year, and on into the decades of time.

EB, a person from my husband's life and someone whom I've never met, just called, desperate. Three sentences from this man and I was sitting more closely inside this guy's spirit than he'd ever want me or anyone to sit. It's a place I have noticed many people can't acknowledge. It's a bit scary there. But it's also a beautifully human place. I make art about this inner place. Thank God it's not always desperate! But it's always intense, vibrating, resonating. It is a human something that is alive, fertile, hopefully hopeful ... and downright fascinating.

So now I am imagining that EB might be feeling a little bit like what the above painting looked like when I first began painting it (out of control, desperately wild paint strokes flying all over the place). Or maybe like the one below. I just hope his chaotic reality gets safely contained, as I have done in these two paintings. Maybe he will be able to make calm sense out of the mess, just as we all strive to do in our chaotic and sometimes very brutal existence.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just a thought.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

More Meaning or Not?

One of my favorite contemporary artists, Suejin Chung, you will find linked here.

In Chung's book she says she likes the shapes and colors of the objects she puts in her work, so she paints them. She says there is no psychologically intended meaning.

Part of me sees what she means, realizes that she is enthralled with certain shapes and patterning so much she seems unable to stop painting them. Another part of me wonders if she is playing a game with us. Another part of me wonders if anyone can not see themselves through a psychological consciousness.

Then I remember my dad, who could create wonderful cartoons. He is one of the most psychologically unaware people I know, but still he loves to play with perception of reality, especially through joking with word rearrangement. So perhaps Suejin Chung really is unaware that she is painting more than what she says she is painting. The sound of the tree falling in the forest can be a loud crash to some, and just a whisper of the wind for another.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

What is Going On?

My audience has been curious about this piece. We all came up with a number of possible answers. From my perspective I see a lot of movement, so what ever is happening is clearly not static. Pay attention to the colors. Where is the joyful coloring? Where the grounded coloring? Can you find color combinations that create tension in this piece? Is there a sense of calm anywhere? One guest asked me why the man on the right is clothed and the woman on the left is not. Look at the colors again. If you click on the painting you can see the shapes a bit better.

As a side note, I painted this a few years ago. At the time I was frustrated with one part of the painting. I kept thinking it should be different, but every time I imagined changes I kept leaving it as is. Now, after living a lot of life in the past two years, I completely understand that area and it is right on about what I think I wanted to say back then, and what I know I want to say right now. Funny how one can know something even before we know it. We are always children, always growing up, no matter where we are in life. And that is a big hint about the painting.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Structure Within Chaos

"View From Above"

I finished the young adult book I mentioned in my last posting. The last half was just as relevant and satisfying as the first half.

I'm always one for learning something new, anywhere I can. My take away from "Okay For Now" is the technique the author used to structure the story. The world this boy lives in is in complete chaos. The author creates a type of inner thought pattern within the boy that enables this character to deal with the chaos, and us, the readers, to deal with it as well. The writing slows down the action so that we can take it all in, easily.

This is a lesson for life.
This is also a lesson for creating art about chaos.
Slowing down the swirl of chaos enables the viewer to relax enough to take it all in.
Structure, even almost invisible, is structure nevertheless.
The painting above looks quite different from the scratchboard below... or is it?


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's a Good Game Plan

(Detail from "One Good Book")

(...The title of this drawing being kind of ironic because I'd forgotten it's name, but wanted to put this guy in because he illustrates an idea I have about a really good book I am reading right now.)

A friend, Megan Sugiyama, has a wonderful perception about all layers of life. She gave a young adult book, "Okay For Now," to my husband as a gift, saying it was one of the best books she'd recently read. It has taken me a while, but I am finally reading it and before one chapter was over I was in tears and knew I didn't want to let these characters out of my life. I fell in love that quickly.

It's not easy to be a complex person in this complex world. The author, Gary D. Schmidt, gets a handle on this mess, simplifies it into an understandable game board of life, and shows us how every step of our game (no matter how sh***y or twisted up it might be) has room for positive interpretation.

There are birds in this book (which my husband loves) and there is art (as you know there must be because everything I put in this blog is filtered through art-brain). The protagonist is in the 8th grade and is forced to move to a small town where everyone thinks they know everyone else's business.

I'm on page 218 and the last page is 360.
I will get there way too soon.
You can find "Okay For Now" on the best sellers list wherever vibrant, new, young books are found.

You can find more characters who I am imagining might live in Schmidt's book in the drawing below.

"One Good Book"

And you can find possibilities for dialogue that go with the above characters here.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Working in Light Cast by Ruth Waters

I have a new art studio!
This one is fabulous. It has great light, smooth white walls, and is snugged up in a cluster of new studios housing 27 talented artists.
Right next door is the Peninsula Art Museum, presently moving in to its new home.

Immense gratitude goes to Ruth Waters, the greatest benefactor of visual artists that I am aware of on the peninsula. She created my past studio complex (1870 Art Center) and now has created this new museum/art institute facility from scratch. The generosity and strength of will of this woman is mind blowing.

Leigh Toldi
Peninsula Art Institute
1777 California Drive (Studio 26)
Burlingame, CA, 94010

We are having a Grand Opening
Saturday, March 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

I had lost my art studio 5 times recently ~ once caused by my own generosity and the other times caused by rather peculiar quirks of fate ~ so I'm drawing with fingers crossed, hoping that this one sticks!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Little Big

(Have you read that book, "Little Big"? It's a good one.)

Above is a detail from "Here and There Philosopher." The figures are a tiny bit larger than same size. When I am drawing so small I'm never sure what the characters really look like until I use a magnifying glass. Click on image to get a bigger picture. Click on the image below to get an even larger magnification.