Studio 308...computers...reliefs

 executive artist

2000 Hand, Mixed Media

Son and father are busy recreating the past and trying to cement the present. Literally making walls with native stone and cement. Two friends and a daughter from the Chelsea flea market are staying there also. Half camping in their van and the multi-level homestead.

We take a trip over rocky river and hills with the Explorer doing the dirty work. A swimming spot up in the mountains cools everyone off. I take pictures and reminisce. Watching the family enjoy themselves is quite sufficient for me. Of course I'd like to cavort in the water; wouldn't feel good with the cold so no go.

Back at my ex's place I'm  carried up the winding steps to the second floor porch and living area. A panorama of mountains, roads, sage brush and sky interjected with whirring hummingbirds that feed off the sugar water hanging near our heads.

Dinner with candles, wine, beer and creative company restores my soul. Granddaughter sleeps on the bed and I take a nap beside her. Hours later I'm carried back down; I'm always scared; all it would take is one little trip. Definitely worth it; I feel like a burden yet no one complains.

1985 With Dagna at Home

Doctor Doolittle is playing in Rio Rancho,   granddaughters first movie with her grandmother and Mommy. She's fine because she sleeps and doesn't really get the gist of the story. It's nowhere near the joy of the original; in fact it's kind of terrible but we're together that's what counts.

Madama Butterfly is one of Santa Fe's Opera House offerings this season. I had bought tickets and the five of us went plus the baby. We were not allowed to bring in babies but convinced the usher that we would keep her from disturbing anyone. Since we were up near the door it was easy to go and come. What an incredible edifice. Partially open to the sky with water as a baffle between the singers and audience. Stars and Puccini. Son hated it.

Both grandmas, daughter and granddaughter went out for an exclusive lunch. Outdoors in Albuquerque felt like Soho in New York. An infrequent chance for us ladies to chat without work or phones or husbands or aides...

The guest bedroom has two windows, a double bed and carpeting. I look out at the stars and mountains reclaiming a sense of freedom however fleeting. Mornings are mine; if I get up in time someone comes by to pick me up for one of those fabulous brunches, other wise I watch the cats chase mice, moths or snakes around the house, reading and dressing myself while cherishing the quiet moments for myself.

Little watercolors more like mementos than works of art give me something to bring back home. I didn't want to leave; it was such a normal life.

1986 Studio 308

photos Joan Harrison














The engagement ended without fanfare. My Moroccan ring a paste counterpart exchanged by slight of hand.

I took a position with the larger print shop in Glen Cove doing basically tedious entry and form work. The owner of the last had a very serious mental breakdown - either manic-depressive or bi-polar disorder. Very frightening and a difficult situation to attend to. At the same time I increased my freelance clients with work at home.

There was a great deal of energy circulating in regards to computer generated visuals. Very primitive for home use; Hollywood was using a group centered nearby in Old Westbury at NYIT. Ever curious I kept my eyes and ears tuned in to the next wave.

Essouira.jpg (23849 bytes)An oil series based on Moroccan memories was keeping me in painting form. Lunch in Essouira (1986) revolved around the Portuguese sea port with its blue shutters, fishing boats and beautiful sky. The perfumes, spices, robes, kohl, rugs, ebony, beads, tangine, pederasts, tea, sand, donkeys, camels, French, Arabic Moroccan all meshed into winding forms both spiritual and decadent.

A photo cover on The Daily News of a Colombian woman being pulled out of the mud by two men caught my eye. If I took away the men she looked like Christ hanging on the cross! 

Three collages/drawings of women alone in stop-motion surrounded by a large area of energized color - paint.


The third became a breakthrough piece, Toward the Light (1985-1986). I had a new studio in downtown Glen Cove. About 1500 square feet for $250 a month. That included utilities, a bathroom and an elevator to its third floor. The door at one end and two floor to ceiling windows at the other. Tin ceiling, linoleum floor and white walls made it a perfect work place.

Ray Johnson showed up at my official opening. Assistants helped me sew the painted canvas to another stretched cloth creating a border and tapestry quality. An easel-like extension of the painting leaned against it merging the tangible 3D with the painted forms.

A 4' x 4' watercolor Transformations, in the same vein.

While dancing at Cafe Harlequin I met a Jewish French-Moroccan computer artist/architect Jeanlouis Schulmann. He taught at NYIT. He loved my work.

I needed a break and found that the island of Monserrat was  a quiet and unusual vacation spot. With my usual bravado I booked a trip and left for parts unknown. To get there required a small plane; me, the pilot and two others for the last lap from Antigua to Monserrat. Just what I longed for; blue waters beneath us and clear blue and puff clouds around.

Black sand, a short runway and a cab ride to Plymouth. Definitely slow except for McCartney's studio and Sting's simultaneous visit. Never saw him to my dismay. Guess my lowly accommodations were far and away from his. There were finer private homes to stay at but I didn't find them until too late. I already changed the second night for a quieter and cleaner haven.

Found a wind surfing instructor (Sting's)...he got me up and as I sailed away I screamed and fell into the ocean. Would not get back up and made him come and rescue me immediately. Fear of water not of flying.

Walked all over and took a cab to a desolate spot and asked to be dropped off! Well; a little dangerous for a woman alone drawing in the middle of a field. Managed to get back and spent most of the rest of my stay reading, lolling, drawing and walking. The only time anyone really spoke to me was to try and sell dope. No thank you.

Teak, rope, detritus along the beaches were stuff for inspiration even back home. Picked up great 'stuff' on my walks along the harbor in Sea Cliff and Glen Cove. Began a series of reliefs incorporating the paint rags once again and fragments from previous watercolors.

Back to building again. I love taking a variety of materials and pushing their limitations while creating something out of junk.

The Bridge of Sighs Revised (1986-88) is one of the most successful. The watercolors from a series of Venice were ripped up and used as backdrops for various pieces of wood from ship wrecks.

The graphics business was in full swing. The First National Bank of Long Island put me on retainer. A large holding company in Manhattan gave me a large job and there were other smaller clients for fillers. There was a gradual move to more commercial work from the fine. I started dressing in heels and business attire. With an artsy twist.

I hired a secretary and part time artists. Kind of snuck up on me.

Terry asked me if I'd like to go camping in Colorado. Sure. Never did anything quite like that before. A couple I met my first month in Sea Cliff lived in Nederland just outside Boulder. A visit to see them would be nice.

Bought hiking boots, borrowed a back pack and gear and left for the Continental Divide. Priscilla drove us to the trails entrance and off we went.

We climbed half way the first day and spent a sleepless night. Volunteers were looking for a lost boy. Dogs, airplanes, flashlights, calls, screams and a morning of closure. He had fallen asleep and was found unharmed.

Hit the top of the Arapaho Glacier and set up a tent. Just Terry and I and a steady stream of day trippers. She was ill from the altitude and spent that second night retching. Beyond imagining...crystal water running down the hillsides for washing and drinking. A few birds and lots of grass and meadow flowers. The Divide visible in the distance. Heaven on earth!

Renewed and looking forward to doing more camping I returned home and continued the juggling of work, family and art.

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