Abbey Lane 2021 - Originals Available for Gallery
Framed Size: 37 3/4 x 24 1/4
monkshood, mountain grasses, deer skull,
embellished caliper, wings & crusher ball
This piece was a battle. I fought it, not understanding where the ideas were coming from or why I was painting them. Several times I nearly tore it up and discarded it in frustration. Then the lightning bolt hit – my mother was dying and this piece was about her death process. Sh died in slow decline mentally and physically. It was not an easy passing. The monkshood (deadly poisonous) represents the blessings and difficulties of living beyond one’s reasonable expiration date. The deer skull represents my mother; the winged calipers assist her in transition to the hereafter. Death can be both cruel and beautiful. The crusher ball confounded me – it is heavy iron and I now believe serves as the threat and weight of the unknown – poised to dislodge and possibly smash the skull at any moment. This painting represents my grieving, love and hope for my mother - and all mothers and daughters.
One Short of a Dozen (MED13)
Framed Size: 18 1/4 x 35 1/2
oil tins, birds’ eggs & lace panel
Eggs and oil tins – both vessels engineered for utility. Natural vs man-made – precariously balanced – are they in competition? The oil tin – a metaphor for human industry, the egg – for protecting and growing life. I was considering these ideas in this painting. Now we are faced with the probability that the future of the natural world sits on human behavior. I added the lace panel later to create texture and amplify the foundation. With a pink background wash, like your grandmother’s kitchen shelf, this story seemed to call for the pretty illusion of lace.
American Basin (MED31)
Framed Size: 41 x 41
I began this painting in the summer of 2019 during a Colorado Rocky Mountain wildflower superbloom. Each day, on the way to my studio, I would stop and pick one wildflower to render into the developing composition. Due to an unusually heavy spring snowmelt, there were meadows ablaze with flower variations in color, size and shape I had never seen before. Each element in this piece is life size and classically painted. That fall, I brought the piece back to Lawrence and finished it during the winter and early spring of 2020. Thus, the painting serves as a bridge between pre and post COVID 19 realities.
This is a hopeful work depicting the life and death cycle in its full beauty. Even in death, the mule deer supports and protects the flora and fauna that flourish nearby. The overall egg-shaped composition refers to the incubation, miracle and interconnectedness of all life. As a species, we humans are learning new survival strategies in the face of great change, difficulty, loss and heartbreak.
For me, this piece evolved from an homage to nature’s glorious abundance into a prayer for the healing spirit and wellbeing of humanity and our planet. Studying the painting today brings me a sense of solace, hope and gentle happiness. In this extraordinary time and beyond, perhaps contemplating this work can provide some of the same encouraging feelings to you.
The Council (MED29)
Framed Size: 36 x 36
Original Watercolor, Gouache, Graphite & 23 Carat Raised Gold
mule deer vertebrae, river rock, lake-bed silt, water, firmament & dream catcher netting
In 2018, I discovered and collected these bones from an abandoned hunting camp high in the San Juan Mountains. Back in BONEYARD Studio, they seemed to arrange themselves in a circle, so I followed along, not knowing where this story would take me. After adding the sky, the center elements, the rocks, vertebrae and the outer ring of silt lake bottom, all painted over a span of several weeks, I completely stalled out. Was it a cell? A mandala? Months passed.
Back in my Lawrence studio, the idea of adding dream catcher netting to this piece leapt into my mind. So once again, risking the entire painting, I listened to that voice and overlaid the dream catcher imagery along with 23 carat raised gold embellishment. The sky suddenly became the firmament, vertebrae and river rock the council, center the nucleus and the netting a universal connectivity.
Blood Quantum is the process by which the percentage of one’s ancestry determines acceptance into or rejection from the tribe. The bone in the center here could be the “other” encircled by judges. But the reality is that all of these bones are part of the same animal. All things are connected and there is no “other”. Truth. In creating this work, this painting now becomes part of my voice and my truth.
Offering to Winter (MED09)
Framed Size: 32 x 26 1/4
mesquite pyre, sulphur matches, cow femur,
aspen branch, wild rosehip, gauze ribbon
& rufous hummingbird
Carrying whispers of winter, fall arrives, golden and crisp, in the Rockies. The fierce little rufous perches calmly, listening for that mysterious signal announcing the launch of his long migration south. The matches will light the mesquite pyre – the bone and branch will fall and burn, the rose hip split and spread its seed and the bird will fly. But what harbinger of winter will light that first match? There is so much chance in life that some level of denial is necessary for the survival of the self-aware. In this painting, everything is carefully poised, awaiting chance or fate to make its play.
West Watching (MED27)
Framed Size: 32 1/2 x 26
chipmunk, mountain rocks & wildflowers, alpine grasses & wild strawberries
When the wind quickens high in the Rockies and clouds suddenly cover the sun, excitement instantly begins brewing in the sky and on the ground. The air is heavy and electric with portent of the coming storm, stirring sensations of memory and power. Here all things (animal, vegetable and mineral) face west, frozen in motion, witness to change and sensing imminent threat. All will forever watch with intense anticipation, that which we, the viewers, will never see.
Bait and Switch (MED22)
Framed Size: 32 x 14
ore-bucket hook and chain, ring-necked snakes,
gold & jewel embellishment
This beautifully forged iron hook was used in silver mining to catch and turn ore buckets as they came crashing down steep mountainside railways. I added the heavy chain suspension. Both the hook and the chain are painted life-size. The gold and jewel embellishment is a ruse, like The Emperor’s New Clothes, masking nothing, but shiny and sumptuously compelling nonetheless. The snakes are innocents, only trying to find each other. Here I was thinking about the seduction and destructiveness of obscene lust for wealth and power, and how our irrational fears often blind us to the true dangers of the things we become enthralled by and addicted to.
Devil's Garden (MED05)
Framed Size: 27 1/4 x 24 1/4
devil’s claws, cultured pearls,
Navaho pearls, gauze ribbon & snail
In this second piece in the Odysseus series, our adventurer sits enraptured by a hanging garden of wonder and ominous beauty. Alone and spellbound, she watches silently, perhaps the first ever to observe this exotic mystery. She listens for a native drum beat or the siren song of sea pearls. She puzzles over the life cycle of the Devil’s Claw. And what of the ribbon – symbol of bondage and memory? The unknown, when we dare to travel there, is terrifyingly unpredictable and often sublimely rewarding.
Crusader's Cross (MED14)
Framed Size: 34 1/2 x 23 1/4
deer sacrem & silver and amethyst pendant
Suspended and regal, entwined by chain, hangs the sacrem. Only one letter from sacred. Bits of sinew and flesh speak to time and a magnificent suffering. This painting honors the crucifixion. The pendant, a childhood gift brought from Jerusalem, is fashioned after a medieval symbol for blood and faith called a Crusader’s Cross. I was enamored of the necklace and at some point draped it around and through the bone. Hanging on my studio wall for years, prophet of beauty, war, and death, like a guardian angel, it has watched over me. Brush in hand, I bow in reverence.
Design 101 (MED03)
Framed Size: 23 13/4 x 17
protractor & shell
Can man improve upon nature? I was contemplating this question as this piece took shape. The rusted protractor, scavenged from a college campus lawn, was gifted to me. Abandoned and forgotten, is it still usable? The shell, magnificently designed by evolution, is now empty. As is true, the man made stands on nature’s shoulders, and, without proper stewardship, the balance will soon topple into chaos and loss. But anything that casts a pink shadow is worth a considered look.
A Small Vice (MED28)
Framed Size: 20 1/4 x 18 1/4
iron vice, kit fox skull, deadwood & pearls
I loved this kit fox skull and little iron vice in the moments I first saw them – the skull in a gift shop in Creede, Colorado; the vice in a junk store in Alma, Kansas. Painting these objects life-size, I was intrigued by the idea that even a small vice can insidiously overtake one’s life. Just ask the fierce kit fox. The dead wood base I gathered after a devestating mountain wildfire – it seemed an appropriate platform. Pearls represent the objects of obsessive desire. In the end, blinded by lust, the fox languishes helplessly, having completely lost sight of his treasure.
Against the Wind (MED17)
Framed Size: 23 3/4 x 16 1/4
axe handle, mountain grasses, shell fragment & snail
First in the Odysseus series, our explorer begins her adventure as figurehead charging into the wind. Confident and courageous, sails unfurled, she braces the most unlikely of vessels, an axe head. Yet it cuts through the water with speed and grace. And so, like all gripped by wanderlust, she dreams her impossible dreams of discovering distant lands and unseen wonders. The shell protects its treasure of pearls – the grasses ripple in the wind. What if you launched and navigated just one of your dreams? Doesn’t exploration of the unknown always begin in the mind?
Empty Nest III (MED32)
Image Size: 18 x 25
(not yet professionally shot; image from phone. Blurb to come...)