Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Full Fall

There are several art related things on the calendar for the fall, the first being the Spice Show opening this Saturday at Elder Street Gallery.

On October the 4th, one of my paintings will be in the Susan G Komen Race For The Cure Pasta Party Silent Auction at the Westin Galleria. Tickets for the Pasta Party are available at Komen-Houston.

Something fun and new I'm working on will be in the silent auction for Lawndale Art Center's Dia de los Muertos Silent Auction on October 26th.

The Center for Hearing and Speech is hosting Via Colori on November 17th and 18th. Like last year, I am painting a 10 foot by 10 foot square on a street in downtown Houston. I have almost decided on an image to transfer for this HUGE disposable art. In addition to the painting on the street, Via Colori will also auction a smaller reproduction of the piece on the street, if that makes sense. So I will auction off a ten inch by ten inch painting, and draw a ten foot by ten foot giant painting of the same image on the street that will be washed off by the end of the festival. Someone will get to keep the smaller painting, though.

And I'm having a piece for sale in Bering and James for their annual Holiday Box Sale on December 1st.

Friday, September 14, 2007

A Leaf Treader

I have been treading on leaves all day until I am autumn tired.
God knows all the color and form of leaves I have trodden on and mired.
Perhaps I have put forth too much strength or been too fierce from fear.
I have safely trodden underfoot the leaves of another year.

All summer long they were overhead, more lifted up than I.
To come to their final place in earth they had to pass me by.
All summer long I thought I heard them whispering under their breath.
And when they came it seemed with a will to carry me with them to death.

They spoke to the fugitive in my heart as if it were leaf to leaf.
They tapped at my eyelids and touched my lips with an invitation to grief.
But it was no reason I had to go because they had to go.
Now up, my knee, to keep on top of another year of snow.

Robert Frost

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Elder Street Gallery is hosting a nine woman exhibit called "Spice." It just so happens that I am one of the artists (!).... along with Susan Donaldson, Shelly Shanks, Jerrie Glidden, Bridget Vallery, Alissa Fereday, Sorange Castillo, Rose Marie Moore, and Susan Goettsche.

Instead of being Spice Girls, we are Spice Women. Call me Zesty Spice....or just call me.

The opening reception is September 22nd, 6-10pm. Every one is invited, of course. The gallery is located at 1101 Elder Street in the really old refurbished Jefferson Davis hospital. Drive around back to the gallery entrance.

"Whoever controls the spice controls the universe."
—Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, Dune

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Bertie On Our First Date

On July 4th, we were invited to an old fashioned Southern style Independence Day picnic where the guests were encouraged to bring a family dish AND include a photograph of the relative from whom the recipe came. This task first required looking through a very disorganized box of recipes. Having found a recipe for Mills' Homemade Ice Cream, the next order of business was to find a photograph of my father's mother, Gramma Mills.

Now, I realize it's very unlikely that this recipe was invented by my grandmother. And it's also very probable that it wasn't passed down from her, but I do remember going to her house in the summertime and eating homemade ice cream. She was really cute. She would get so excited in the kitchen when she was cooking for us. Sometimes she would have saved some snow ice cream from the previous winter....Now remember, I was young. The story was that since it didn't snow in our part of Mississippi, she would save some snow ice cream for us to eat when we came to visit. In my childishness, I imagined that all snow fell in drifts of colors and flavors. One would go outside in the winter and gather a bucketful of vanilla or strawberry snow ice cream to save for the coming year. I'm convinced that's why we tell our youngsters not to eat yellow snow....if it's yellow it must be lemon flavored, right?

The photograph I found was stuck in an old album. It's the only picture I have of Gramma Mills. She didn't still look like this when I loved her.

This is what she looked like when my grandpa first loved her, for on the back of the photograph, it says in a lovely script,
"Bertie on our first date"
Did my grandpa know *on his first date* that he was going to build a life with this woman?

For the last 20 years, the Lawndale Art Center has hosted a Dia de los Muertos exhibition inviting Texas artists to create a retablo, a small oil devotional painting. This precious photograph of my grandmother and what it signifies---the beginning of a life and love that is a huge part of the reason that I even exist---was the inspiration for the retablo I'm painting.

The plan for this piece is to have the Gramma Mills part in black and white (as shown below) to indicate life from the past. Then I plan to paint the background in color to show that love flourished and grew, and is still growing from this first date. The whole "family tree" aspect of the retablo will be suggested by a tree in the landscape. The finished piece will be auctioned in The Retablo Gala and Silent Auction for Lawndale Art Center on October 26. (I might need to buy this piece back.)

Mills' Homemade Ice Cream

6 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 can condensed milk
pinch salt
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 cartons whipping cream
1 pint half and half
2 cups milk - more or less - fill to line in machine

Ice and lots of salt
Also drain water as it turns