Monday, August 20, 2007

Gifts from the House.

A few days ago, when Ray and I were done thrashing down some walls, we experimentally ripped up some old planks in my 'super-secret behind the closet room'. Hidden in the cellulose insulation beneath were many treasures. First to emerge was a man's boot, probably turn of the last century based on the construction and boot nails poking through the sole. We had a brief moment of creepitude as we pictured the worst case finding a tibia..femur..etc... But the next thing to emerge was another shoe, this time in miniature.

We also found a letter, which I will let you read for yourself. I know i am a history nerd, but there was something moving about reading the gossip of the first family to live in our house. I feel like after two months of working to restore it to its former glory, the house is giving me presents. It's starting to feel like home! Sorry about the formatting'll have to jump around--but at least the pages are numbered. And can you believe the nerve of that Mrs. Nassar?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Snail

Sometimes I just need to let go to of representation and paint.
Me: Anna. Pick a color.
Anna: Green!
Me: Stella, pick a color.
Stella: Purple!
Me: Katie, pick a color. YELLOW!
Me: Stella, pick an object.
Stella: A snail!....Does it have to be inanimate?
Me: No.

The last third of "Under the Tuscan Sun" and the first half of "Corrina, Corrina" later, here he is. It is 70% muse, 15% Stella and 15% Anna. I am but a conduit for the psychadelic snail.

Acrylic on leftover trim.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Old Coast Guard Pier: Garibaldi, OR

Bill Wood and I left Portland at dusk and camped on Saddle Mountain. He taught me how to play cribbage by the kerosene lantern and we were on the road again before seven AM. By eight we had caught two keeper crabs off the 12th st. bridge in Seaside. He fished in the ocean while I napped-- we got lost along the Miami river--then we went to Garibaldi to crab and fish off the old coast guard pier. We soon ran out of bait and went to the Gourmet Fish Shack (pron. 'Gor-mett') where we found the store closed. On a whim we went behind the shack, to find a woman filleting fish for a man and his three sons. Her face was covered with red scars and her hands were equally ravaged looking. She couldn't have been older than 35, judging by her incongruously ample figure. She could fillet a large fish in under 20 seconds. We struck up conversation, hoping to use a couple of fish carcasses for bait. The enormous fish, missing only their flanks, seemed to fly from the table of their own accord several times a minute. It was dizzying watching her work. The man and his sons scurried away with their bags of fillets, leaving us to continue our discussion with her. She offered to let us take whatever we cleaned, but that was an empty threat. I joked that she would be driven crazy watching us fumble for several minutes to do what takes her a few heartbeats. She warmed up considerably after I placed a dollar into her tip jar, and told us that she had been there for more than 12 hours and did this 7 days a week. A couple of times as we had been standing there she had said "hey dirty bird!" over her shoulder. I didn't think anything of it until I finally noticed that there were half a dozen seagulls circling the water behind her, but there was one dutifully staring at her from the end of the table. She explained that "Dirty bird" was the name of the closest bird, a juvenile she had rescued from a blackberry bramble a year prior and had been following her around ever since. Apparently he flew from her house to the pier every day, and slept on her front porch at night. She had trained him to sit quietly on the end of the table while she worked. As I looked closer I noticed that although his plumage was of the sort that does look quite dirty, a mottled grey and white, his legs were very genteel--smooth and pale pink. He reminded me of a house cat, the way he distastefully regarded the other gulls circling in the bay. We gathered the large carcasses as she tossed them aside, and within minutes we had more than we could use. We took our garbage bag half filled with fish, gave our thanks and went to the pier to crab and fish for perch. I felt the need to paint, to capture some of that strange reality I glimpsed with that woman. I set myself a limit of 3 hours to finish this piece. It's acrylic, on a piece of extra trim from our downstairs (1x8 pine lumber).

Return on 2x4s and Chicken Feed.

From the Rhode Island Red whose name is.... Scully? We still desperately need a name for this one: