Friday, 9 December 2016

Marjorie Cameron's Magical Art

How To Bring Out Your Inner Witch, According To Our Favorite Feminist Occult Artist

Marjorie Cameron was born in Belle Plaine, Iowa in 1922. At the age of 18, she joined the Navy as a cartographer, where she honed her childhood interest in drawing into a signature artistic vision, characterized by spindly lines and delicate yet sensuous forms. After the Navy, she moved to Los Angeles, where she would soon be referred to only as Cameron, and sometimes, Cameron the Witch Woman, the Scarlet Woman or Cinderella of the Wastelands.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Have You Been a Good Girl?

Did you smile?
Did you say thank you?
Did you wait your turn?
Did you earn your share?
Did you say your prayers?
Did you keep it sacred?
Did you go on a date night?
Did you apologize?
Did you shrug and brush the hand away?
Did you drink too much?
Did you close your legs?
Did you laugh at the jokes?
Did you pardon the interruption?
Did you sit at the back?
Did you lower your voice?
Did you listen carefully?
Did you calm down?
Did you see it from his point of view?
Did you accept the explanation?
Did you agree it was love while they stepped on your hand?
Did you take the corrections?

Have you been a good girl?

Wednesday, 30 November 2016


Women film-makers dominate Jarman award shortlist for 2016

Five of the six artists competing for the 2016 Jarman award for moving image art are women, exploring subjects as diverse as Alzheimer's disease and Arab pop culture. Sophia Al Maria, C├ęcile B Evans, Shona Illingworth, Rachel Maclean and Heather Phillipson have been shortlisted alongside Mikhail Karikis for the £10,000 art prize, which is named after English film-maker Derek Jarman, who died in 1994.

Spirituality is a Feminist Issue

Cultivating the Occult Power and Singular Intimacy of Female Camaraderie

MIAMI - &gallery is a small space that, if crowded, requires lots of shuffling and peering over shoulders. If it is empty, a visitor could view a show in its entirety from the entrance.

Friday, 18 November 2016

So ok then

Sometimes I lift my head up out of the world I have created to survive in and I realize that I have a child. The child is like a perfect piece of pale silk and I want to protect her from every stain and smudge. I want to fold her into the world I have created to survive in and keep her there. Except then she would fade and disintegrate in my excessive care.

Some stains and smudges wash away and some do not and they become part of her unique pattern. My job is to make sure that the stains and smudges become something beautiful to her and make her fabric stronger.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Motherhood and Creativity 5

Today is my birthday. All weekend we celebrated by eating good food and spending time together. Now that we have our daughter, all holidays and celebrations have become a communal thing, when we remember how lucky we are to be together.

As an artist, taking a small, new human into the world is an invaluable exercise. They seem to notice every crunch of leaves, they climb up and down steps again and again with enviable concentration, they regard playgrounds with equal measures of caution and desire.

There is so much to learn from them and to be with them is to fall under an enchantment of the world that they present to us. In these strange times, I cling to that.

In these strange times art is a refuge. Not an escape but a choice of direction.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

This Sick Autumn

This sick Autumn.
It won't let go of Summer.
Now the heat is like a fever.
Leaves crumple to brown in the heat.
Frost barely a memory.

Is that what she will know?
No mists and grey iron cold,
That dampens the bones but brings ghosts to the eyes?
Will fall forever be a malingerer?

Monday, 24 October 2016


I opened my art case and the smell of pencils and paint filled my inhale. I have dreams often of being somewhere, such as some kind of studio or art room, where that smell haunts me.

It was the sense of familiarity that surprised me. When did it happen? When did something so ethereal, out of reach as art-making transform to homecoming? I am awake but the sense of longing of the dream comes again. And just like that, I knew.

There is no time to lose. No time for fear of the mark of the page, no time for avoidance.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Motherhood and Creativity 4

A couple of weekends ago, my husband took my daughter to see her cousins. They were away for two nights, a big thing considering I had never been away from her for more than a couple of hours. 

Of course I made a long list of chores and tasks to get done, cleaning out closets, catching up on laundry, that sort of thing. I think I felt that if I did them I would feel less guilty about the time I was spending alone. In the end I thankfully did away with the list and instead knitted, listened to podcasts and painted. 

I wanted to paint a portrait of my daughter. It's remarkable how much her appearance has changed since she was born, it's like watching a cloud move across the sky. I am astounded and a little dismayed to note that while I see these photos of her as a baby and know that it's her, I have very little memory of her face.  Painting her portrait was my attempt to force my memory to go deeper and pull out some time that would help me picture what she was like back then. I wasn't successful.

Through the weekend I did the things I love, but I missed my family terribly. I found this reassuring and realized that I have stopped fighting my role as a mother. Rather than seeing the birth of my child as curtailing my creativity and productivity, the opposite has become true. Motherhood has become my inspiration and my family my muse. The practicalities of having a family and being creative are always a challenge to be sure, but I do think we as a society have compartmentalized our roles to such a degree that life isn't a fabric of threads such as family, work etc. intertwining, but are seen as conflicting demands. 

I have written before about the way motherhood is seen as a prison by some, and I do understand why this is a common opinion - we are tired, our resources are spread thin, time slips away as we deal with the needs of our offspring. However I think there is something else going on here. We have lived in such a male - dominated culture for so long that we have internalized a patriarchal judgement that parenting is neither interesting nor valuable. We see few occasions where children are the subject of works of art, and while  there are some artists out there exploring what it means to be parent in their work, I sometimes feel we have to be apologetic if we celebrate this.  

Motherhood is a profound experience that is multi-faceted. We all have a mother and a father, or have had at some point. There are infinite lists of studies that show that the way we are treated by our parents, the absence of parents, etc. affect is myriad ways. We need to explore that in art more.
Woman in a Red Bodice and Her Child by Mary Cassatt

Monday, 4 July 2016

One Track Mind

The visceral impact of video has appealed to me for a long time. The melding of sight and sound can quicken the heart, confound the brain and create an experience. I created this video about a week ago and I think it reflects how I feel about the world at the moment.

More on my new video and installation project soon.

one track mind - I from LizW on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

June 29th 2016

I am in pain. The country I was born and brought up in has revealed an ugly side that I knew was there but I did not fully realize the extent. The UK's decision to leave the EU has left me shocked and cut adrift. As horrifying as the rise of Trump has been in the US, I felt it wasn't my fight. If Trump got in we would leave, go back to Europe. I was stupid and naive. This kind of evil is everyone's problem and I am left questioning everyday what I can do to contribute, to stand up and say 'kindness matters, tolerance is essential and hatred must be diminished at every turn.'

We are in days of shadow and the history we thought we left behind seems doomed to repeat itself. I have cried for my loss of identity, the sense of betrayal, with sadness for my family in the UK with guilt for bringing my daughter into such a world and shame because I know my chest beating is a little self-indulgent - it's not as if I need to look over my shoulder because of the color of my skin or the number of consonants in my last name.

What I do know is that I refuse to be defined by the rules set up by other more privileged than myself and I cannot run and hide. To be alive is a political act.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

"My Heart is Soaring"

First attempt at self-portrait with brush marker
It's not so easy these days to get to classes, particular ones that are over a number of weeks. So when my good friend and teacher Ursula let me know that she was doing a day-long class on a weekend on self-portraiture, I signed up even though the subject wasn't too interesting to me. I should say though, that not having an immediate interest in a area often is a good reason to try it.

Spending several hours through the day in a class was actually a great thing. It meant you could get immersed in the work and explore it. I had low expectations of what I would create, I always do.

Shared self-portrait
The six other students were also women and Ursula chatted a little at the beginning about the history of portraiture and women. Being part of the class felt subversive and cathartic.   It was moving to see what we created and also in my own work, to recognize the mark of my genes. 

As a woman I felt so empowered by this experience and also surprised at how much I really was able to render my own face. 

For all of us it was such profound day "my hear is soaring" said Ursula, as she watched us work. 

Final piece in acrylics and mixed media

Monday, 9 May 2016

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

The Resistance of Jane Irish

PHILADELPHIA - Many readers are likely to associate Edgar Allen Poe with a story like "The Tell-Tale Heart" or a poem such as "The Raven." But in 1848 Poe also wrote Eureka, a lesser-known work in which the author develops an intuitive rather than scientific argument about the nature of the universe.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Long Time Coming

A Psychological Portrait of Eva Hesse

Telling the story of Eva Hesse's life and work presents one major challenge: as a narrative arc, it is necessarily truncated. In most respects Hesse is the perfect subject for a drama-filled documentary. Her childhood was full of pain and upheaval. The early years of her career were marked by relentless experimentation and constant self-doubt.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Klee's Process

3,900 Pages of Paul Klee's Personal Notebooks Are Now Online, Presenting His Bauhaus Teachings (1921-1931)

Paul Klee led an artistic life that spanned the 19th and 20th centuries, but he kept his aesthetic sensibility tuned to the future. Because of that, much of the Swiss-German Bauhaus-associated painter's work, which at its most distinctive defines its own category of abstraction, still exudes a vitality today.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Connotative Image Making

If you've been following my blog recently, you'll know that I am toning my visual muscles with a MOOC from CALARTS called Fundamentals of Graphic Design. The second optional assignment was to take the household object we had worked with in the previous assignment and create three connotative representations. Here are mine:

I frequently look through magazines etc and wonder at the illustrations used in articles. How to they come up with their ideas? It was mysterious. This project however 'shed some light' - excuse the pun - on the thoughts and experiments illustrators might go through. I always thought about the concept before the image or how images might match the message. This course is teaching me to look at images first and the meanings we impose upon as secondary. This is an idea or process that I think I  need to explore further.

I don't believe all three of these images are that effective of conveying my messages but I did enjoy the practice. So much so that I would like to attempt the first two assignments with other objects as well as continue to explore the lamp image.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Process, Generation, Iteration I

 The project on the surface seemed commonplace or even humdrum. Create multiple images of the same household object. I chose a lamp in honor of the Pixar people who studied at CALARTS. The aim of the assignment was to get us creating.  From every image and technique I used I learned something new. Even something as straightforward as scanning something, making every image the same size opened a world to me I had only been vaguely aware of before. Not know how techniques would work led to happy accidents as well as disappointments.

I was required to make ten images but I made many more, subsequently I had to decide which ones to submit and that was a challenge. Not because I loved them all but all had something of interest.

As I worked on the assignment over seven days I was reacquainted with the pure joy of doing and learning. There was also a feeling of relief, that I am not focusing on words and phrasing but another way of communicating that shows it itself through action.

Art and Experience in Action

The Woman Bridging the Divide Between Art and Poetry

Monday, 8 February 2016

Towards a Visual Language

watch this space....

My odyssey through the visual continues. I am taking a little break from the evening classes for a while and instead exploring an online course on graphic design. The MOOC I am doing is through Coursera and is a CALARTS course. I have done their courses before and they were excellent, I am really motivated. So far I have been impressed. 

Over the weekend I mulled some of the conclusions I am coming to. I had come to a point where I could see that process without some aim isn't going to take me anywhere. I originally thought that the answer was to plan a show but on close consideration I think this isn't a good idea. 

I have decided that I want to marry my beliefs in adult learning with some kind of visual project or works. It has taken me a couple of years to come to this idea. A couple of years of exploring what it is to be an adult learner, to embark on the unknown and to struggle to learn new skills. So deciding on this direction is a big achievement for me.

How to execute this is a different matter. Trying to develop a visual body of work feels a lot like when I learned a new language. And like language the only way I will improve is through practice. Fortunately this MOOC has provided some fascinating opportunities for me to develop making as a habit.  

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

When the Hand Takes Over

What do we find when we're not looking? What happens if we let the hand take over from the conscious thought?

These were the pieces I ended up doing in the class 'Developing in a Series'. In my desire to not become tied to the finished item I gave these away to my dad who liked them. They are filled with so much more than I could express in words.

When I listen to some artists describe their work I am kind of amazed of all they can say. For me it's hard to articulate what the art I produce means, honestly, I don't know if it has any meaning or whether it matters. I just want the activity to speak for itself.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Productive Fear

Thumbing through the new catalogue of art classes for Winter, I realized that the apprehension and fear of taking a class that I had two years ago has gone. I know the teachers and I feel I am able to make progress with the tasks given. That is the problem. I am not doing something new or something that takes me into the unknown. So what to do? The making of art, for me, is entirely about process but perhaps by disregarding the end result I am letting myself off easy.

In the class I took in the fall, 'Developing a Series', I bowed out of the final class, which was a mini show. The idea of people looking at my work was not at all appealing to me. Now I realize that is what I must do. Work towards a show. Not a show with the other students, something more official. Why? Because it terrifies me, because my work could be vilified or simply ignored, because it is a project and because I think I will learn a great deal. 
More to follow, if I don't lose my nerve.

Monday, 4 January 2016

New year Post: A Meandering

With every new year comes so much self-evaluation. We ask ourselves whether this is who we want to be and what we can change to make life perfect. I don't see anything wrong with this. In fact to strive and look for new projects to tackle is the definition of happiness to me. Years ago I read 'The Alchemist' by Paulo Coelho, I remember it only vaguely however there was one passage that has not left me. In it a character talks about his desire to visit Mecca and that, essentially, that desire, that aim keeps him going, because what would he do with himself if he'd already met his goal?
“It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.” 
This time last year I was pregnant and waiting for my daughter to make an appearance. Now I am amazed at how time drags and goes quickly all at once. Having her has not diminished the desires I have for myself. Everyone said having a child would change my life, but I am not sure I agree. It has in some practical ways and not at all in others. I thought it would change me as a person, but instead it has revealed to me aspects of myself I didn't see before.