Monday, April 29, 2013


Your children will smash your understanding, knowledge and reality.  You will be better off.  Then they leave. You'll miss them forever.

Tibor Kalman



Until recently I have had only the slightest interest in drawing people.  They are rarely found in still life drawings which have been the main focus of my work for many years. 

Arno and Barrett are our identical twin sons.  They are remarkable artists, writers and scientists. 
They are also two of the most original, funniest and kindest people I have ever met.  Walk anywhere with them and you will see more and you will always learn something new.  They (along with their amazing sister Korinthia, who will appear later in this blog) are my best "works".

I was inspired to include Barrett in the Insect Installation, as he opened the door to that kingdom for me.  He began his pursuit of entomology when at the age of 5 he found a dead butterfly in our driveway.  From then on it was the major focus of his interest. He has generously allowed me to visit him as he has pursued his adventures and his education.  He is the inspiration for my interest in natural history museums.  Arno's interests are less accessible to me as they include the realms of computers beyond my reach and the study of brains that goes even further away.  Despite that, he is approachable and wonderful with his ability to include anyone who is interested in his work.  Both are admirable, generous scientists.  

All three of our children have taught me to be more rigorous in my thinking - always question! Conversations with them are exciting and profitable.

In the cabinet of sons and insects  Barrett is surrounded by bees as his PhD work was involved with bees and sleep.  Arno is surrounded by mantids and stick insects because they seem to suit him and they also relate to forms of martial arts which have been a part of his life.

This is the outside of the cabinet.  Further posts will explore the inside when the doors open... 

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Close-up views of the front doors of the cabinet:

I did my first drawing of a hawk moth acting like a Phoenix for an artist's book I made called "WAIT WAIT".  That image is inside the book which is usually tucked away on a shelf.  I love the visual concept so much that I decided to use it again on the cabinet doors where it would be seen more often.

Originally the breaking or flaming on the petals of  tulips was the result of a virus carried by an aphid.  The most famous of these early tulips was named Semper Augustus which appeared at the end of Tulipmania in Holland when crazy speculation in bulbs brought down their economy.  Today the effect is achieved by breeding and not disease.

The lily isn't really as appropriate as the tulip but it does have a wonderful grasping twist as if it is trying to hold onto the beautiful beast that is making an escape.

The band of butterflies beneath each main drawing has an almost subterranean look as if it were the ground itself holding onto the plants.

Sunday, April 14, 2013


24 portraits inside the Insect Cabinet:

Monday, April 8, 2013


In plain words, Chaos was the law of nature Order was the dream of man.

Henry Adams

The insect triptych was the second of the cabinets to be built.  I did not post it before because I was waiting to see where it would find a home in the Cabinet Room.  Because there is not a lot of space to house my objects in the original room, this one has spilled over into a second room where I have decided to install a wall of insects.  it is actually inconveniently positioned for now on top of a French cabinet which houses our pottery collection.  It puts the triptych up too high to investigate intimately,  but at least it is now out for view and not hidden.  

The front two doors feature a lily and a tulip.  The tulip, one of the flamed varieties, is appropriate. The hawk moth which I have rising up from it is like a Phoenix.  The drawings are covered with moths and butterflies in bits and parts like a collage. Bands of Lepidoptera  act as bases for the main drawings.

When the doors are fully opened 24 insects from various families are revealed.  Each one has its own setting.  It is a case again of ecological fiction.  I have used different objects that visually suit the insects, giving them beautiful homes but not places where they might actually appear.  People are too often afraid of insects and I feel that if presented in this unusual way they might better be considered for their beauty.

The back of the insect cabinet has one large drawing of a pond surrounded by camouflage insects.
This seems to work out for them in that the back of the cabinet is rarely viewed.  They are extra well hidden from view.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013


The purpose - where I start - is the idea of use.  It is not recycling, it's reuse.

Issey Miyake

In my pursuit of unusual frames I mostly haunt the halls of Ebay.  I don't particularly enjoy shopping, but running through the frames up for auction, in the comfort of my studio, is another matter.  I did good work as a framer for many years.  I was respectful and used the best materials available for my clients.  Now I find charm in odd and even weird ways to present art.  This frame, classified as "tramp art", was made from a tin can.  Installing the art required pulling back a few of the little curls, dropping the art and the glazing into place and pushing the curls back to secure them.  

The insect pictured is a weevil with Hoag's Object / ring galaxy backdrop.  Weevils form the largest family in the animal kingdom.   I am planning a wall of little frames containing insects.