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    • Thanks Julia! No worries that it posted more than once – I’m just glad you took a look and took the time to give me your feedback! This whole new approach of riffing off Anna’s little marks and sometimes words and numbers is very exciting to me. Not that it’s making my paintings so different than what they’ve been, but there’s an intimate conversation there that is informing my work and sense of purpose and expression. I love her marks and little drawings and I have a trove of them – going to try to figure out how to display them alongside the series of large paintings I am doing so that people can see the relationship. It’s turned out to be a way of honoring her and her development while honoring my own development as an artist which was so influenced by her. (Which I never really got until now! ) More soon and thanks again for looking and commenting. And so great that you’ll meet Arlen in Jeddah! She’s a love and I know you two will hit it off – sounds like you already have 🙂 Helen

  1. Hi Helen! I’ll test out a comment here and see if it works.
    It’s so great to read the excitement that you’ve been feeling about the program, your process, etc. It seems like you’re making great strides already, which must surely mean that you were really ready for this program, even if you weren’t entirely sure about that.
    What I saw in Berlin and see happening here, which you’ve identified, is that the work is becoming more about you and your experiences, and less about Anna. It’s a delicate balance, for sure, when we’re working with material by / about our children, but ultimately I think it’s much more exciting to be inspired by her marks into making your own, rather than trying to translate hers. (A number of years ago, I took a woodcut relief workshop with a well-known printmaker and I was struggling with some imagery related to one of my children. The instructor gently suggested that I didn’t have to be so literal about it, and that simple observation opened up a new direction for me, toward a much more abstract piece that was still about her, and about me, but without hitting a person over the head with the content.)
    So it seems like you’ll be developing a whole new vocabulary of mark-making, a voice that is very much your own and not your daughter’s or Twombly’s or anyone else’s. I wonder about the size – you say they are large; how large? Is there some abstracted figuration in the latest one, or am I reading too much into that? And I wonder about process, if you’re working with pencil and graphite first, and then paint, or back and forth, or what.
    No need to answer the questions, unless you want to, of course.
    (If I subscribe to your email list, will it notify me when you post?)

    • Thanks Rachel – I’m glad to know this comment section might actually work. I really appreciate your observations about the way I’m developing my relationship to Anna’s marks and my own use/interpretation of them and inspiration from them in my own work. THe two are in dialogue but also quite separate and it will be interesting to see how they evolve. It’s a relief to realize that I can just have and appreciate Anna’s images on their own, as they are unto themselves… To answersome of your questions: the paintings so far in this series are about 65×68′ or thereabouts. I usually start with graphite and pencil, then add paint, collage, and then go back and forth a lot. So it’s all of the above. Thanks again and look forward to more exchange.

  2. HI Helen! I’m so glad I visited your site to see what you’ve been working on since Berlin. What powerful imagery and thoughts about how your daughter has impacted these pieces. I am especially struck by her drawings on the left of the books and your response on the right. Anna’s line work and marks are incredibly fluid and intelligent. I can’t get over the feeling I get from looking at them – and then with yours next to it. Yours feel less fluid, more frenetic, as a made mark, less sure – and yet your paintings have a feeling of great power. It’s all so wow – I’m still trying to look and feel and think about what i’m seeing – but my overall feeling is one of total engagement and love on levels that go beyond just a mother daughter bond – the art is living and speaking of great things including the mother daughter love. The layers and collaging and color palette all seem to have a sense of great structure within the abstract pieces which allow me to enter the work aesthetically and emotionally. Nothing turns me away. This is a new experience for me in appreciating the non figurative approach to art. It’s teaching me a lot about looking and thinking and feeling. Really wonderful. Thank you Helen. More to come and I’ll be looking at your blog! By the way, your friend Arlen is on tap to visit me in Jeddah at the end of this month and visit the university. I can’t wait to show someone Jeddah! I love it here so much and she is so game to come – we feel like old buddies already. Thank you for that connection. I’m sure we’ll both be talking about it for a long time to come. I hope you’ll take a look at my work when I post in a few weeks – I’ll let you know and if you have the time I’d love your feedback. – all best, Julia xoxo