In 1985 I was in art college in Waterford. One day, I skipped class to hang out with my boyfriend (OK, not really boyfriend; let's say the guy I made out with a few times and had a mad crush on). He stood me up where we were supposed to meet, so after waiting around for far too long I walked sadly around the town, ending up in the local park sitting on one of the swings, feeling sorry for myself.
Two people came along, a pretty blonde woman and a plump guy about my age. They sat on the swings at either side of me and asked me why I looked so blue. They were kind and friendly, and I started to feel better as I talked to them. They asked me to come to a meeting of their group that night, and I agreed.
Later, I showed up at the house where the meeting was to take place. There were about 20 people there, and all of them were friendly and interested in me. There was also tea and cookies - it all seemed so wholesome compared to the usual art school drunkfests. After a while, the meeting started, and I can't really remember what was discussed, except it was about God and life and goodness. The leader (who was the husband of the pretty blonde woman) had very simple explanations for the ills of the world (basically it was all the Devil's work). Everything seemed sensible and true.
Afterwards, the pretty blond couple sat on either side of me and told me how happy they were that I had decided to come to the meeting, and they hoped I would continue. But if I really wanted to get the most from the group, I should consider taking the special class (called Power for Abundant Living). I found myself wooed by them and their lovely smiles.
The class cost hundreds of pounds. I said I didn't have money, and they said that God usually provides. Then I remembered that I was getting a grant check the next week. My parents gave me money every week for food and lodging etc., so when these quarterly government checks came to students, I brought the check home and gave it to them. The check was usually for several hundred pounds. How convenient. I told them I just remembered I was getting this grant check, and their blue eyes sparkled with love.
After I left, I went to the local pub, buoyed up with a sense of wellbeing and peace. I met the usual crowd and told some of them about the evening and the special class I was going to do. I remember my friends just looking at me in disbelief, but I was ready for them not to understand, and I just kept saying, I know it's shocking, but this is what I think would be good for me right now.
I slept well that night, but in the morning, the whole idea made me feel just a little bit sick. In college that day, more concerned friends talked to me and I started to waver. It was a bit weird that I had so quickly been seduced into promising money, and it wasn't even my money.
A night or two later, I was supposed to meet the blond couple. I didn't show up. But I guess I must have told them where I lived, because later that night the doorbell rang, and there they were, smiling in the rain. I was uneasy and tried to tell them I had changed my mind. The guy quickly surmised it was the influence of my friends that was to blame and started asked questions and twisting my answers around until I wasn't sure about anything. All this time, we were standing in my doorway (my roommate was upstairs). I didn't want to let them in, but somehow they persuaded me, with great gentleness, to come to their house some more to talk. We walked up their together in the rain, one of them on either side of me.
I can't remember how they tried to get me back, what they said, but I never got back to the feeling I had at the meeting, maybe because it wasn't in a roomful of people, with tea and cookies; it was on a couch in a surprisingly small and dank apartment, with two people, who I could now see were very very determined, and very clever with language. I left that night promising I would think about it and not let other people influence what was right for me. But I was lying, I was back to my senses.
The next day I was in college, in the cavernous studio where we all drew and painted together. I looked up and the blond couple were at the door, their eyes scanning the crowd of students. I went, "oh my God, they're here," to the guy who had stood me up and started this whole thing. He knew the story, and he marched right over to them. I could see him talking and gesturing, but I couldn't hear what he was saying. Their smiles faded and then disappeared. They turned and walked out and I never saw them again.
Eric just took these pics at the studio and emailed them. They are not finished. I think I'll put a few ominous blood-red flowers in the bear painting, and the '60s knitwear model needs something else too. Maybe clouds, vines?
I do have other scenes in mind for the girl and the bear. I have a whole story in my head. This is the third piece with a similar embrace, so time for something new.
I was riding the motorcycle to work this morning at 8:00 and it was already almost too hot. This is going to be a scorcher!
I spent Monday evening at the studio and I'm going there again tonight. I started a bunch of new stuff and I'm eager to finish and see how they turn out. I plan on being there a lot in the coming months, because I possibly have TWO shows in the Mission this summer. Stay tuned!
Look at these cute baby shoes I got for my friend Deedee, who happens to love pirates and is about to have a baby. They are made by Mini Toes.
I spent my last day in Toronto with my sister in law Lindy, who flew up from Michigan (with an expired passport no less; she discovered it was expired the night before and decided to try to fly anyway. She made it across the border, and back. She's ballsy!)
We laughed a lot and did plenty of wandering. Then we splurged on steak for dinner and went to the art opening at Magic Pony. I had no idea what the art would be like; it just sounded like something fun to do on my last night. But I loved the show. Loved it.
Team Macho is a group of five young artists/illustrators. They met in art school and started collaborating on drawings together. This was their third show at Magic Pony, and by the time we got there it was thronged and many of the pieces were sold.
It was also a book launch party for the Team Macho book, published by Magic Pony. I bought a copy of the book, and then, with Lindy's encouragement, decided to buy a painting too. These guys remind me of the Royal Art Lodge, who are also Canadian, and I didn't want to miss the chance to buy a piece before they were widely known. Because Team Macho is going to be big!
Just look how smashing they are. I love when artists don't take themselves too seriously.
Hundreds of great little pieces were hung closely in the Gallery.
The best art is made in Canada by a new process (boot whiskey).
The strange and beautiful little Jacob Whibley painting I bought. It's called "Fishwives" and I love it.
This is me with the artist, Jacob. He's the dude in the black and white sweater in the Team photo.
It was such a fun night, and we rode the streetcar there and back so we felt like cool arty natives.
What a great trip. Canada was beautiful, and my mom and I laughed a lot and had a wonderful time.
Here we are at the top of the CN Tower in Toronto.
And here are my feet on the dizzying glass floor at the top of the tower. Apparently it's built to withstand the weight of fourteen hippos, so I felt safe enough. (I wonder who came up with that odd metaphor.)
Niagara Falls was powerful and beautiful.
We could get so close!
We also went to a play (A month in the country) at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-lake, a very tiny cute town. That was my mom's birthday, and the B&B proprietor was from Ireland and it was also his birthday!
My mom went home a day earlier than she was supposed to because the lame airline I booked her on from Dublin to Hamilton (never fly Globespan) cancelled the Thursday flight and made her fly back on Wednesday.
Her flight out to Canada was delayed for ten hours, and because she likes to be super early for any flight, it meant she was stuck in Dublin Airport for twelve hours! When I went to Hamilton to pick her up, I knew it was delayed, but I was still stuck for four hours in Hamilton, and instead of sitting around the airport, I drove into town and found an Irish bar. Here is the bartender I made friends with. (Hi Mike, come visit SF)
I'll talk more later about my time with Lindy (my lovely sister-in-law who flew up from Michigan to spend the last day with me) and the great art show we went to.