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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Inspirational sisters

6 X 6 INCHES paint and collage on panel
Some of my most self-defining moments have been caused by seeing my reflection in the eyes of my baby baby sister. We have almost a decade and a half between our ages, and that space has grown and shrunk over time. The questions she would ask, (and still asks), as well as the lessons she teaches, are never simple. She has, without meaning to, caused me to identify where I stand in terms of my spirituality, my courage, my faith, and my devotion. I know this sounds tantalizing, and it is hard to put to words... Just say there are images of visiting her lab in grad school where she soared efficiently above my intellect, her sweet eyes as she, a young kid snipped the umbilical chord after the birth of my son, the tears she shed, as a small child, in fear for my soul at the kitchen table, the imaginative narratives spoken as a toddler on the hillside overlooking the marsh. She is something else. I hope to be the person she believes I can be.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Painting fanatic before birthday

I've been painting more and posting less- with a lack of time and too much drama in the home life to do both. Here are a few of my small paintings- I am challenging myself to paint 48 self portraits for each year of my life by next Friday. I have 23 done and so...need a few more.
My son Max believes I can do it...So here are images of me... as a three year old and a 16 year old... and 25. They each have a story but I must be forgiven for not writing it all out. I am exhausted, and it's enough already that I painted 6 paintings in two days!
6 x 6 inches panel with acrylic paint and newspaper headlines.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Anxious Chickens hang at Berkshire Art Kitchen

Opening tomorrow night from 5-7 on Main street in Great Barrington, Massachussetts. Google gabrielle Senza or berkshire art Kitchen to see all the neat stuff going on. At the opening tomorrow there will be the reading of erotic haiku and Brazillian drumming....hmmm. Sounds as though my chickens could be switching from anxious to erotic?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Road maps with hen and suitcase

It's Wednesday already?! I haven't had much studio time this week so far.
I am blissfully happy that everything is going well with my sons. And their school work. I don't really feel like this painting/drawing/collage has any truth to it- Just a random combination of images and words from the newspapers.
I am trying to stay the course, and contrary to the chick in the painting, not look too far down the road!

6 x 6 inches, mixed media on wood panel.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A milestone with the boys- no time to paint

This weekend our eldest son will graduate from high-school and he is just days away from turning 18 years old. We have cleaned the house, mowed the lawn, marinated the dinner, and are waiting for extended family to descend and celebrate. No time to paint! It's all about family and milestones. Stay positive!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Grayer and Wiser, Time

There has been a lot of focus on age and aging in our house these last few days. My eldest son (who WILL graduate high school this weekend!) turns 18 in a few weeks. He feels the liberation of it in his bones. It brings back memories to me of that summer when I turned 18 and had the car keys in my hand and a soft breeze in my hair. He has the world in it's widest sense.
My father-in-law, on the other hand, is struggling with his age. His 84th birthday is on Tuesday and he just shakes his head at the mysterious new limitations to his movements. His world is shrinking to fit a chair, a beam of sunshine, and his cane. I spent a couple hours yesterday driving him for his lotto tickets, and bill paying, and after two hours he was exhausted and eager to get back to his window seat at the rehab center.
I feel caught between the two polar ages. I want great things. I also want normalcy and peace. As much as I can identify with my son and my father-in-law, I feel as though MY age is the wondrous adventure of a lifetime.
9.5 x 9.5 inches
This is a piece started from a recycled antler painting that I cut up and joined with text from Los Angeles Times newspaper headlines.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Baggage Train

5 x 7 inches
Just a little painting.
On a California Map. On a panel of wood.
I've sketched this scene out the airplane window a couple of times... wondering if my suitcase is actually on the train or not.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spring Fling

Just a small painting- 3 x 6 inches, using found text and Romeo and Juliet as my inspiration.

Ice Cream at the Merritt Bookstore

The Barrett Summer Art faculty have hung a show of works at the Merritt Bookstore in Millbrook, NY. Along with a sampling of my Month Of Sundae Paintings, (15 of them), there is work by Jeannie Friedman, Michael Gellatly, Melissa Harris, Christine Owen, and Sarah Chamberlin Scott. The show will be up until July 13th, with an opening reception June 20th, 4-6pm.
I will be hosting two workshops at the bookstore in August. One is for teenagers- a two day self portrait class that incorporates a variety of different methodologies of self analysis. We'll look at horoscopes, palmistry, body types from ancient times, and other means of finding out who we really are. Express Yourself Weekend Workshop for Teens with Tilly Strauss,
Saturday, Sunday August 15,16 11-3:00pm
The second workshop is a three day class where we embark on a daily painting routine that you can continue at home or on the road. Tips and talks about famous daily painters included with the actual painting practice. Daily Painting Exercise with Tilly Strauss
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, August 10-12 , 10-2pm
Register by Phone! 845-471-2550 Register by Email!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The juggler

9.5 x 9.5 inches
The found text came from headlines about some military training. I feel as though the way I interact with others is either forcing an issue or throwing the relationship! Can't decide. I have, with age, lost a lot of my flexibility... emotionally and physically! Aren't these yucky colors? Sorry....
Just added the heart. (May 27th) I mean after all, she may be out of her league, but she does have a heart. The little bit of red does the picture nicely I think.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Chicken soup

This is another older work that I stumbled upon, and it struck me as appropriate for these days. It's a block of wood that can sit on a railing, a shelf...and remind you how risky a day can be! 3 x 5 x 1 inch wood with paint and found text.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


Painted this as a reprieve late last night... Actually the text came from blindly picking a headline out of my assorted pre-cut collection. It seemed to fit just right! I am done with my jury duties. My other son has tested positive for mono, and both boys are really ill. Problem is compounded because when the test results came it- the boy was already on a bus three hours away from home heading to a sports tournament. I am off to get him this morning.
6 x 6 and $48

Friday, May 15, 2009

In the cards: Wait without Hope

This is another of my poetry inspired paintings. It seems appropriate to my days sitting as a juror in a trial. I must weigh all the evidence equally and keep an open mind. Not any time today to paint a daily painting. Thanks for your patience. Some weeks are just too full, and this time of year- even without jury duty, is usually packed with obligations and celebrations. I like the small detail of an added wrist watch turned towards the viewer... hmm. I have always, it seems, been obsessed with time.
14 x 11 inches paint on paper

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Giant 4 day Sundae

OIL ON linen CANVAS- This painting took me about 4 days. I was planning on working on it a whole month but after the fourth day I really couldn't see why to keep pushing it. Sometimes I think a painting-a-day is a discipline made for ADD personalities.
this is big- like 22 x 30 inches. I am asking $600. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Can't seem to find my muse

That's what Krisse said- and it rings true for me too. There is just too much going on for me to lay out paint and start something. I start my jury case today, and leave my eldest sick and sweat soaked in bed. My youngest will get blood work tomorrow as he is also dragging. Part of me thinks that is normal 13 year old pacing- but to cover bases and not reveal the low level of mothering I will get him checked out. My in-laws and mother arrive in a week and the yard looks like the snow was just scraped off of it. The inside of the house is a dust bowl that defies logic. I guess it is part of having two cats and a dog? My father-in-law will be moving out at the same time that my son graduates from high school and both need help boxing up their stuff. I woke today with a panic that I never bought my son a properly fitted blazer for the ceremony. I was going to do it a few weekends ago, the weekend the school freaked us out by saying he might not graduate (which is not even close to true). And I lost my air. Never did it. Now I don't know when or how we can fit that in the calendar. Perhaps my muse will show up in my creative time strategizing.
For now I will post older paintings that could use a second look. There is Yet Faith is a watercolor on paper, about 14 x 11 inches, done in an April past. I used the rubber cement resist technique with light washes. It is part of a series I did on poetry lines. Anyone know where I found this line?

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's day portrait

My son did his annual mother's day portrait of me last evening before we rushed him to doctors and found out he IS sick. Actually he is suffering from a case of mono. It's devastating to his hopes to be a boxer this summer, and his idea of senior spring fun. I tried to console him as best I could. Which meant I couldn't say much at all. Nothing is right when your kid feels lousy and sick. Unfortunately we took the whole weekend before focusing seriously on his symptoms. I was distracted.
He makes me look a lot better in his portrait this year than usual. I feel pretty lousy. Not getting enough sleep. I am a horrid worry wart.
I guess son's can idealize their mothers.

THE auction

The decorations went up for "a night on the town" Big success. Many hands made light work. That's my sons art teacher Daniele Mailer, a great artist herself, with the kids Taxi signage.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Planting Tenderness

This is another small work- about 6 x 6 inches inspired by looking back over the years. I also used an L.A. Times headline for the text. I am going to offer it on my other blog.

acrylic and collage on wood

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Underwater Revolution

I confess I am a failed control freak. For something like 20 years I have had my fingers in other lives, taking care of this, and taking care of that. It started out simply enough. Was it coincidental to when I became a mother? I helped someone through their predicaments and calmed their worries so efficiently I lost boundaries and it became as though their predicaments were my own. I knew everybody else's feelings and felt them. I started doubting my own worries, and if the ones I had didn't serve the other lives I was told they weren't real feelings anyway. After a while- I am not sure when it happened- I no longer knew my own feelings. About 4 or 5 years ago there was a slight revolt, and I found myself not especially liked as a mom, or a wife, or big sister, friend or daughter. My controlling skills were seen as irritations to others. I've since had to pluck up my tentacles and deal with my own desires and fears. A small underwater revolution has begun.

headline poetry

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What were they thinking?

I have been using text from the Sunday Los Angeles Times... and goes.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Extra! My art in the Magazine

Just saw the new edition, (May 2009, Vol.22, No.5), of the Magazine of FAIR (The media watch group). They used a painting of mine- pig pen- to illustrate a piece about pork barrel spending! My son just wrote a paper for his History of Dissent class about FAIR and how they work to keep the media from influencing prejudice and justice in several court cases. FAIR stands for fairness and accuracy in reporting. They are a small organization that works to bring to the public an awareness of any bias and untruths that get printed. Without them the giant news media's would be unharnessed to truth and accuracy. They would be able to print everything and anything without consequence. Imagine how dangerous that would be. Visit for more information and subscription inquiries.
I know these days a lot of people are cutting costs by not renewing subscriptions. FAIR and Extra! are suffering like all the publishing industries. And they don't sell ads. The stuff they bring to light is serious and humorous too. Well worth the subscription.
Finally my art landed somewhere that impresses my sons!

Girl loves her swing

This is a panel about 9 x 9 inches with collage California street maps and headlines from Los Angeles (sunday) Times newspaper. Thinking back to my early years I recall the joy my dad brought to us when he roped up a swing from the highest tree in the yard. It was always amazing to me that he could climb so far and then give me a way to fly into the sky. A lot of dreams were born with the cadence of that swing.
At about the same time as that memory my mother took me to an empty open room that used to be the chapel in the Bishop's house and said it could be a studio. She gave my sister and me each a box of office supplies. We hung paintings and drawings from the open grill work and hosted receptions with skits and performances.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Packed Bag age 5

I used to be quiet afraid of being forgotten in the next move. When I sleep, my dreams are still about trying to catch up, catch a breath, a train, a plane, cobble my bags together, find my shoes, remember the vital numbers....
Stress. 6 x 6 inches, acrylic on panel

Sunday, May 3, 2009

What happens?

I had only a short time to paint today. This 6 x 6 inch painted wood panel is meant to be looked at through the lenses of humor. Lately I have found creating images to be my sole source of joy. That said, it all too often reflects the junk outside the studio and I do not know how to avoid it. This started out as part of my 4
8-paintings-for-my-48th series
, as an image of my high-school room mate. When I first saw her I was immediately drawn out of my own shyness. She was so inspiring. An actress! And she was of Persian royal descent. So all is going smoothly until I spy another section of the Los Angeles Sunday Times and headlines fall from my scissors into the picture. So should I laugh or should I cry?