Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonne by Ellen G. Landau

I love Ed Harris' movie, Pollock.

I've watched it so many times, I've lost track. And sometimes I'll put it on the DVD player while I work, just to listen to it. I even have the soundtrack CD. Jeff Beal's music is wonderful.

The movie is a sketch of the life of the man ... and really a sketch of the last 14 years or so of his life, once he meets and marries Lee Krasner, and makes it HUGE in the art world. It's a moving film.

There are several moments that still make me cry even after seeing them like a dozen times ... Harris depicts moments (himself as Pollock) where Pollock just freaks out -- and those emotionally raw moments are just frightening. Was Pollock manic-depressive? Was he chemically unbalanced? Was he just spiritually lost within the sin of mankind and crying out for help? The moments are just so gripping because I know those moments, only too well from my younger days. Those days where all you can do is curl up in a ball on your bed or cry/scream and your emotions are on a hair trigger and you just. feel. lost.
Watching those terrible moments and understanding what he could have been feeling always makes me extremely grateful ... Sometimes being an artist and having so much easy access to emotional information to do ones work is sometimes also an easy way to an emotional overload.

I have struggled with being a Christian and an artist because sometimes they seemed to be vocations at odds with each other. But I have struggled to reconcile with them, because I have tried to give both up at different points in my life, and simply could not. I was not myself when I did, so I found I had to reconcile them, somehow. For me, I was finally only rescued out of that emotional spiral once I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord. Taking that particular step (which is actually another step past taking the "Jesus is my Savior" step) was like girding my emotional self with a safety harness of some kind, where I now won't tumble into the Hole of Hell.

When I shared with one of my sisters how much I loved the movie Pollock, she bought me Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonne, which is an astonishing and thorough collection of Lee Krasner's artwork. Lee was Jackson Pollock's wife, and quite a surprisingly talented artist herself before and after she married him, and after his death.

I finally sat with this book recently, and read it through, including all the prose/history bits. I was really impressed by the scope of her work and with how intensely she worked. People coudl so easily dismiss her as "Pollock's wife" and that is being terribly unfair. She was an Abstract Expressionist ... and I found several periods of her work (her vertical collages from '53 - '54, a set of simple, bold flowery shaped paintings from '72- '73, just for starters) really appealing.

I think many women artists, within art in general and within comics specifically, struggle with whether we could possibly become "as great" or really, simply as accomplished as men artists often are in their own art work, both in sheer volume of output and in skill level ...

I think some of us -- I know I do, anyway -- struggle with the love, time and attention needed to create the artwork in the first place ... which we may feel is better spent on people. Creating artwork is a very solitary job. But it's also a fine line we tread ... since this love and attention should never be confused with idolizing the artwork that's being created, which I think some artists can do. Rather than idolizing, this emotional investment is being sensitive to and respectful of the souls of other people, those who share in the work when they observe the art, since most of them will innately be able to pick up on the emotions poured into the art by the artist ...

Ms. Landau's catalog of Ms. Krasner's work was very good (Krasner was the subject of her PH.D. dissertation). So few female artists gain the high-profile name recognition as males artists do, that seeing a woman having created such a large body of artwork is encouraging to me. I hope to root out Ms. Landau's book on Pollock as well ...

Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing The Will of God by Henry T. Blackaby & Claude V. King

My Dad sent me a copy of Experiencing God and I had put it on one of our bookshelves, knowing I'd read it eventually, but not knowing quite when.

I must confess I'd shelved it for so long because I judged this book by its cover. Sure it was shallow of me, but I didn't get it when I saw it. My copy has a black background with a drawing of an old, bearded man looking "off panel" to our right, with something lighting up his face. Kinda like the above, but the outside is all black. At the time I wasn't ready to examine it carefully, so I just didn't get who the old man was supposed to be. Was it supposed to be God? Was it Abraham? Was it Moses? Who was the old guy with the stick? Why did the cover have to be so dark? I was being crabby. So I shelved it.

Then I recently found myself in a spiritual-starvation state, needing to grow and to seek God more, so I started to look at the books we had around the house, to see what might help me meditate and spend more time in Godly thoughts ... and Experiencing God was one of the three I pulled out. Its subtitle is "How to live the full adventure of knowing and doing the will of God" ... and I was curious what it had to say.

It wasn't until after I had finally read it and kept it out, knowing that I wanted to blog about it, that I FINALLY really saw the cover and got who it was. Duh! It's a drawing of Moses when he encounters the Burning Bush when God speaks to him the first time. This is mentioned several times in the book itself ... why I didn't see it until now ... ! On the cover, the burning bush itself appears in the middle of the "O" in "God" in the title (OH!). Okay, so the cover doesn't annoy me anymore, now that I know who this is supposed to be. LOL

I found Experiencing God to be a really nice, solid primer with biblical perimeters and guidelines in recognizing God at work around us, and in approaching God for a more direct and personal relationship with Him.

Sure, it can be frightening to approach the Almighty God, but there is precedence for desiring this kind of relationship. We want to know why we are here. We want to know that we are part of a bigger continuity. God walked with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden! He visited Abraham and Sarah. Once Moses got them out of Egypt, God would have talked to all the Israelites directly, too, but His Holy Hugeness freaked them out so much they asked Moses to handle all that direct communication for them. To read a book where someone addresses those longings in such a matter of fact way is pretty amazing.

I think what is lovely about this book is its directness and simplicity in addressing what we expect and what we should aim for in a relationship with God ... and how all that seeking, pursuing, loving, watching, adjusting, obeying and experiencing affects the fruits of our labor. From God being constantly at work around us and how when we pursue a relationship with God that plugs us directly into that work, the 7 Realities outlined and covered by Blakaby and King on the book are terrifically practical. It's especially useful I think for those who now understand they have a Purpose and need to plug in with God to fulfill that -- as humble as that purpose may be -- but who are not sure how to pursue that more deeply and thoroughly. This guidebook gives some very solid biblically-backed principles that should help many on their walk with God.

I gotta read it again.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things ...

It was a VERY busy September.

I've been UPTOHERE working on a new project enough to plum not have had time to post blog entries ... and even though I technically don't have the time now either, I've also reached a "critical mass" state of "wow, I really should blog about that" ... so I gotta post some things, if only for the sake of making room in my head so I can sleep! LOL

In the midst of all this work I also had a birthday (note to self: be sure to schedule time off on ones' birthday), and it was wonderful. Because of my gluten allergy I didn't have a cake, but only because I was too lazy to make one (however, I'd recommend Pamela's Products any day. My favorites are her Brownies and her Chocolate Walnut Biscotti. YUM!) but it was still a good day, and I spent it drawing comics, which for me was just a great happiness and a great blessing.

So I got a little "of everything" too so to speak, to make it not only a very happy birthday, but one I can enjoy for far beyond the one day ... For my TV/DVD Junkie side, my darling Chris got me Season 3 of The Bob Newhart Show and Season 4 of Monk! For my Artist and Comic Book side, my best friends got me a copy of DC Comics Cover Girls by Louise Simonson! And for my Nostalgic and Fashion side, my sister got me a lovely (fuschia!) vintage dress. (Reviews on all later on!) My other sister got me a b-day card with a sound chip in it featuring Linda Carter as Wonder Woman (YAY!) that cracks me up to no end every time I listen to it. In the card/chip WW sez: "Seems to me that you can put your powers to good use somehow." That card totally lives on my drawing table now! LOL

Let's just say I am VERY happy (it was a milestone birthday), very grateful and feel like a well-rounded human being (considering I'm basically a comic book nerd). LOL.