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Amazing Graces
From Feast Your Eyes, Toronto. © 1998
Original oil pastel & stick on paper
29" x 37"

Along with the surprise discovery of finding cherries in winter, this composition was inspired by a painting I'd studied at university- Botticelli's La Primavera in which three elegant Graces are seen dancing in a woodland. Imagining what the Divine pleasure in such a display would look like, I bathed my own happy trio in a warm, basking light. This image expresses the gratitude I feel for the blessings and benevolence that cross my path and abide at my hub.

Angel Food
From Fruits of Labour, Toronto.© 1997
Original oil pastel on paper
37" x 29"

This painting began as an exploration of sibling relationships; the inherent connection, the love, the alliances, the separateness, the individuality, the ambivalence, the alienation, the shared history. I found small fragrant Italian pears and felt a great affection towards them. This was a very difficult painting, an exercise wrought with humility and I hesitated to include it in my show that year, thinking it wasn't very good. To my surprise it sold opening night to one of many interested people. Every occasion I've seen it afterward brought me to new levels of comprehension. I could finally hear its unexpected angelic song and receive its compassionate encouragement in the trials of the earthly struggle to live together in peace.

Solo Splendour
From Feast Your Eyes, Toronto. © 1998
Original oil pastel & stick on paper
30" x 38"

This distinctly shaped Chilean cherry is often thought to be the result of artistic license applied to an apple. A Gestalt teacher of mine, the late Lisbet Trier Rosner, once mentioned that the ideal state to strive for, regardless of marital status, was to be alone and not lonely. This image is a celebration of arriving at that elusive place. I thank all the maverick trail blazers who, throughout the decades before me, paved the way. A recently single woman who was drawn to this image when she came across my printed invitation to Feast Your Eyes bought the original sight unseen after she read the encouraging title.

Empress Grapes
From Fruits of Labour, Toronto.© 1998
Original oil pastel & stick on paper
51" x 38"

While I attended a strategic planning meeting the facilitator broke the ice with this exercise: What would I look like as a tattoo and where on my body would I be found? I thought of a big bunch of grapes, attracted to their versatility as a simple, healthy snack, intoxicating refreshment and multi purpose raisin. It was a marvelous projection exercise. In a dream I had months before, the recently deceased director of my school, Jorge Rosner, came to me offering much needed wisdom. He started to leave sooner than I was ready to let him go. When I protested he held up his gleaming gold thumb, smiled encouragingly and said to me, "All you need is right here." Upon waking I remembered that I paint with my thumb, using it to blend built up layers of color. I began to take interest in harvesting the treasures born out of the creative process. My thumb is where I would have put my grape tattoo. However, rather than going to the local parlor I chose instead to paint a self portrait using Emperor grapes, whose fruit is of generous size and complex color, and to experiment with metallic pastels. Botticelli's Birth of Venus receives my playful salute in this composition, which is also a self-mocking reminder not to get too serious.

Ode to Joy
From Fruits of Labour, Toronto.© 1998
Original oil pastel on paper
36" x 28.5"

At the end of the movie Immortal Beloved we see a young Beethoven running through the night forest to escape his abusive father, crawling through the reeds to be cleansed in the dark waters, floating to the center where he is surrounded and witnessed by countless reflected stars from the unseen heavens. All the while his magnificent 9th symphony perfectly punctuates the scene. It was an image that left me changed. I was reminded of a moment when, while camping, I sat alone late at night on a rocky shore. I noticed I was included in a cosmic circle defined by the waves rolling onto the stones where I sat under the expanse of starry sky that stretched to touch the horizon where it met the water upon which the star light was reflected while the waves continued to come forth to the shore. I had this experience while I was a university student contemplating the experimental art assignment - find a place I wanted to become and bring it back somehow to share with the class. Life and art where one that night. Seeing the aforementioned movie years later, remembering my own experience and then finding a gorgeous trinity of unassuming vine tomatoes inspired me to paint this image.

Better Later Than Never
From Fruits of Labour, Toronto.© 1998
Original oil pastel on paper
31" x 25"

After parting with Angel Food I was naively inclined to create a similar painting for myself. Wanting to explore the complex dynamics of any threesome, I bought these Bartlett pears with all the good intention I buy countless other fruit. After one week rolled into another I saw that they too were passing their prime. Out of sheer self discipline I started to work on this painting, choosing for the first time to paint on colored paper and use not so perfect subjects.

The title refers to my ongoing meditation on the nature of time. Talking to various friends revealed common negative issues that arise when certain things don't go according to the perceived or imposed social schedule- like home ownership, career bliss, financial security, children, marriage. I was startled to realize the profound impact of one overlooked detail: Time in and of itself is value neutral. Random human intention assigns achievement timetables. I was rather pissed off when I recognized this uninvited and insidious interference with self-acceptance. In a subtle act of self-empowerment I neutralized the judgment from the word "late" by making it a user friendly "Later". This creates a beacon to me and other later bloomers that it really doesn't matter how long something takes to manifest as long as we are striving to live authentically along the way. This painting is my reminder to bother to follow up on good intentions, to ignite inertia towards risk taking, to be open to the moment just as it is and to monitor the mysterious relationship between active and receptive principles. Some things are simply worth waiting for.

Mango Tango
© 1996
Original Oil pastel on paper
28" x 21"

One particular working couple caught my attention for a number of years. Being vastly different personalities with many independent and time consuming interests, I was fascinated by their ability to work together harmoniously and to have come to a highly functional place of well defined roles and delegation of duties. I was also impressed with the equal and unwavering loyalty they showed each other and their children. This painting is my tribute to the pulsating dynamic in this marriage that allows the two to grow individually, to move separately and yet still surrender to the container of their shared lives in the space defined by their union.

Come Hither Leek
From Ripe For The Picking, Toronto. © 1996
Original oil pastel on paper
37" x 29"

My sister was cooking with leeks one day and I saw this amazing creature lying on the counter, all elegant and sultry, quite unlike the average stout variety commonly found in the produce section. I had to paint her. The composition is my homage to Manet's Olympia, which I enjoyed studying in art school while the wonderful passion of Professor Guy Metraux spilled over me as I devoured his illustrated lectures. He mentioned how Olympia, an uncommon, self respecting prostitute was elevated by Manet, who chose to flaunt her hard won independence by painting her with, of all things, body hair! (Victorian women didn't have body hair don't you know). He also gave her a direct, challenging gaze aimed at the public, daring the viewer to judge her with his moral hypocrisy when it was probably he who just left the pleasure of her chaise lounge and was sending the flowers her servant was presenting. Seems at the Salon where the painting was hung the gentlemen attacked the canvas with their canes in outrage at such audacity. I love her spunk and pay my respects to her indomitable spirit with this humble offering.

Cherries, Pits and All
From Ripe For The Picking, Toronto. © 1996
Original oil pastel on paper
28" x 21"

The show Ripe for the Picking was very much an idealized exploration of romantic relationships. I wondered about the look of commitment and found a lovely representation with this pair, freely moving and yet attached at the end of an extended limb. During the weekend I was working on this painting, a woman told me about her own mid life story in which her long awaited mate was soon diagnosed with an incurable condition. They each took a sabbatical year off to be together, travel and live as well and as deeply as possible. It was a bittersweet time of wakefulness to the transient pleasures they enjoyed. He died before the end of that year. She claimed no regrets for the three short years he graced her life, no matter how deep the pain she endured in her loss. I was moved by the totality of her experience and finished the painting the next day, privileged to give testament to such a poignant love story. The title reflects the complete package deal, the relentless absence of a guarantee and the sweet bliss inherent in any commitment choices, the courage it takes to proceed and the fortitude to continue in the face of it all.

Strawberry: The Space Inside
From Ripe For The Picking, Toronto. © 1996
Original oil pastel on paper
28" x 21"

In the same spirit as Come Hither Leek this painting came to be. Delighted to discover this unusual hidden chamber as I split a particularly ripe strawberry, I reveled at the perfect protection around and unknown quality of this place. It sold opening night to someone who saw a beautiful strawberry and when I later delivered it to her office, a colleague of hers commented on how erotically suggestive the image was. The new owner was thrust into a different perception and voiced an unexpected hesitation in her purchase. Fortunately, weeks later a visitor whose artistic opinion she respected praised the painting as it hung in her home and she confided feeling more confident in her display. That was the start to the provocative history of this image.

Banana Lovers
From Ripe For The Picking, Toronto. © 1996
Original oil pastel on paper
28" x 21"

These firm young things inspired a look at the heady, all consuming, electric texture of a sexually charged new relationship. I spent a long time twisting and turning the fruit into this composition which affords a nod to the spirit of Rodin's Kiss. This was a fun painting to do and I especially enjoyed scraping the cross hatch of sizzling energy enveloping the two who unapologetically take no interest in the world outside their embrace. Ain't love grand.

Bananas: Moonlit Dreaming
From Ripe For The Picking, Toronto. © 1996
Original oil pastel on paper
28" x 21"

I saw these bananas on the kitchen counter and they looked to be asleep, spooning. Imagining them at peace in their plumpness, in their ripened and well worn skins I thought about the later years in a marriage; the comfortable, be totally yourself and still be loved years, the time when the electricity has grown into something sustainable and rooted in love. The background explores the hieroglyphic dialogue of their dreams and beckons to the mysterious bond that exists between two people which can be neither seen nor understood by outsiders. This piece is about the long term rewards of a good marriage. They are separate and connected and enjoy the rich companionship of a time shared when all defenses are laid to rest.

Sweet Pea: In the Beginning Before The Split
From Ripe For The Picking, Toronto. © 1996
Original oil pastel on paper
28" x 21"

Plato had this theory about our origins as perfectly content, whole beings displaying a self sufficiency that made the gods so jealous that they split us apart and threw us to the winds so we'd spend all our time yearning and looking for our other half, forever reminded by our navels of the time we were once united. Nice story. In this painting I imagined the very first dawn when all was still well, when we were home and blissfully ignorant of the fateful parting that was nowhere in sight. Plato's reference to soul mates supports the perennial investment of hope and expectation, perseverance and courage in the face of the adversities that plague the seeking heart, all of which are honored here.



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