all, I only started painting in the spring of 1999, but already consider
it a nurturing source of freshness for both the model and the artist.
From my own persepctive as an artist, the painting feeds the writing,
feeds my life, feeds the chaos, creates something I can give back to
life and somewhere in the middle of all of it my kids dive in, feeding
into and exploring thier own creativity.
From the model's perspective, I take the art of painting people as seriously
as raising children, giving birth, or making love. My former experience
with midwifery, is an ever intertwining theme I can't shake, but wouldn't
want to. It anchors me with an understanding of the responsibility that
comes with painting people. I feel like I'm reinventing for myself as
an artist another way around the traditional life drawing classes, the
same way that midwives started helping modern women give birth naturally,
in spite of the conventional wisdom of the medical profession.
I finished my BA in creative
writing with a strong psychology emphasis while attending the MFA writing
program at Goddard College in Vermont, a progressive school that requires
creation of ones own curriculum. Yet I've used my entire life
as a classroom to achieve my undergraduate degree which ONLY took 20
years amid scattered colleges living in 60 different locations across
My husband of 25 years, Ron Heacock, our three children, and I have
lived an alternative homeschooling life because we believe "the
life of the individual is dependent upon freedom in a safe space"
and that direct experience is life's best teacher. With that thought,
I never thought I'd be proud of a piece of paper, and I never thought
I'd be going back to Goddard to get my MFA in Interdisciplinary Art,
but I tend to live a volatile passionate life that leads me.
While I'm in school, I will miss
facilitating writing workshops on character development, science fiction,
and especially, my favorite topic, "How to Write Love letters"
which encourages men and women to put their love down on paper...
but then just wait until the book comes out, filled with long overdue
art, essays, poems, and short stories... sometimes we have to draw back
in order to give again. I'm
thinking completion date of the book to be somewhere around my birthday
You can still occasionally find
my freelance essays and poetry in alternative and womens newspapers,
writers newsletters, journals and anthologies, but its all been
on the back burner since I started school this January 2001.
you want honesty which reaches deep into the soft grace of a sometimes
dark, but always human heart, I think you'll like my work. Until the
book comes out I invite you into my website home, my wolf's den of things
to come. But I warn you, I don't pull punches and I don't edit during
the process stage of writing and creating. This has been known to offend
some, but I mean
no harm, and I hope that if you follow the threads far enough you will
be able to find the love, even when I use strong language.
I do invite you, however, to
send me your thoughts of the nature of being painted or on my work itself.
And by all means, if you find typos let me know, eventually I will have
to edit this stuff, and those who know me well, know my typing sucks:-)
So much for the spin and onto
the good stuff....
I beleive that
when a person is painted it touches them deeply, for some this may even
tap into a prevebal stage of mirroring at the mother's breast. How we
are percived and how we feel about being looked at is tied into so many
vulnerable things we
don't necessarily understand with the "thinking" part of ourselves.
It may even be a trigger that gives us insights from other times and
places. On the other hand, when I paint someone I, too, am working from
a non-thinking vulnerable part of my creative self, and its scary (but
there are worse fears.)
People used to tell me I was
brave to have my babies at home. I used to tell them I was chicken shit.
But the truth is, being pregnant would call upon a wildness in me that
contained a sensitivity that could smell illness
like a dog knows
when a stranger has the wrong intentions. Hospitals were no place for
my babies to be born. I could feel that. I had no choice. I could not
go there without my hair standing on end.
Slowly I came to realize that
painting is like that for me too. Its intimate, wild, wide open
and scary. The impersonal life drawing classes didn't feel right either.
The models seemed to shut off a part of themselves in such a public
setting. How can I paint ALL of someone if they are closed down because
of the nature of the space or relationship? How does this reflect our
art in society? Could the nature of how we paint people add to the objectification
of human beings through the art we present to society?
It led me on a search to understand
more of what I was doing. I think its
a bit like giving love to someone, letting the energy flow back and
forth, even a bit like massaging a woman's back during labor contractions.
I decided to go back to graduate school to focus on the responsibilities,
joys, and respect that would naturally evolve from exploring this experience
of painting people from an interdiciplinary perspective.
When I paint, I am constantly asking myself, "How do I paint you
best?" Even if it is a self-portrait. I once came back from an
dance class sore from doing push-ups. A few days later, I did a self
portrait that focused on those sore muscles across my chest. I felt
better about giving myself some attention there. The painting (Blue-eyed
woman ) sold at an auction to benefit
a local AIDS charity.
If I paint you I want to paint
you in my private studio and serve you a cup of tea, and perhaps we
will do some dancing first to loosen
up. If I paint you, I want to play
your favorite music even though I might chatter over it while I paint.
(I like to tell people what I am painting when I am in the process.)
To be painted is as much a part of
the process, as is the finished painting.
I don't feel I was as successful with the process of some my early works.
Yet, I still like them and I know I was still developing my understanding
of how it could be done.
I would love to paint almost anyone, yet I dont want to paint
anyone unless IT calls us both, like the earth and the whispering wind
and we have no choice but to eventually heed the call.
If you love, then all things will come to you. At some point love will
begin to direct all your actions and thoughts. Then you can accept life.
Excerpted from The Book of ECK Parables, Volume 3 by Harold Klemp