Thursday, April 21, 2011

Once Upon A TIme

I'm immersed in a swirl of images, notebooks and A4 paper, preparing Words on Water for a Humanities Conference in Phoenix next month. ('Next month' makes it sound like ages away, when in reality - eek -  it's next week! I'll be leaving Dunedin for Christchurch on Wednesday, boarding a plane to LA at the crack of dawn on Thursday. This time next week, we'll be in the air.). I'll say more about the conference (whose 'umbrella theme' is Invoking a New Renaissance - Let Peace Prevail Through Harmony, Beauty and Art) at a later stage. It's a vast subject and one dear to my heart. Some months ago, during the tail end of my Waters I Have Known project,  Marylinn Kelly gave me permission to include her wise words in a painting,  'It is all one water - a finger in a tide pool brings our shores together'. This phrase has become one of the key themes of my presentation. Thank you, Marylinn. . . 

As happens, I've been rummaging through heavens knows how many iPhoto libraries, hunting out  images pertinent to my paper - some of these go back as far as the early 1980s. Needless to say, it's been a bit of a journey; along the way, I came across a library of photographs of my children's early paintings and was immediately transported back to the land of 'Once upon a time. . . ' Since one of the threads of my paper is to do with personal and collective myth, perhaps coming upon these memory 'beads' was timely? From where I stand today, these seven images uplifted from past to present seem to me to hold  the ingredients of our common humanity; I find myself relieved and delighted by this archive - Life's notes? It's all here, really - from the earnest and awkward to the fluid and free; how appropriate to find a solo dancer in the garden of a castle; friends at play and in conversation; I recognize wistfulness, frustration, a healthy expression of fury; contact and separation; uncertainty, mirth, a hint of darkness and flashes of light; I see love and reality, fantasy and tenderness. But perhaps that's just me. I wonder . . . what do you see? 

Anyone for tennis? 


  1. Monoply? :)
    Interesting topic, would like to attend.

    Claire, have you watched youtube: Cat plays with dolphin?

  2. What a treasure you have saved here, from some apparently talented and lovely children. You are a lucky mom!

    (My fave is MONO PLY.)

    I wish you all the best at the conference; wish Phoenix was closer to Seattle. You really must apply to Hedgebrook sometime....

  3. Wonderful work by your children! I think every one of these should be framed and displayed. You have produced such artists, and wise and good that you saved these works. I see everything you see. All of it. Hugs.

  4. am i crazy, or do you have an astonishingly creative family? these works of art are truly wonderful, claire. and different from each other. wow. now i want to post my son's work...(thank god he doesnt read my blog, cooing over him as tho he were still 5 years old)!

    i cant believe you wil be here in the US of A so soon...
    would love to be a little fly on the wall of that conference!

  5. Claire - too late really - should have done it ages ago - but here's a link to my friend Charlotte Handy's work at the Milford Gallery. She has painted some wonderful sea paintings. There are a couple there... there are links there too re. her thoughts on these... as a NZer etc. When you have time here's the link:

  6. I see great creativity and awareness!

  7. So full of verve--those pictures!

    Good luck at the conference. I'm so sorry to miss seeing you in Boston.