• Dental Nirvana

    In the early 1970’s my dentist sent me to an oral surgeon to have my wisdom teeth removed.  The teeth had tried to appear numerous times, erupting periodically and then retreating into the gum.  “They have to come out” he said “there simply isn’t room for them.”  I knew he was right. The eruption and retreat cycle had also been uncomfortable, giving me a renewed sympathy for babies.  My husband accompanied me to the surgeon, settling into the waiting room of worn leather chairs and tattered magazines to wait for my post-surgical appearance.  I knew the surgery would leave me with a sore mouth, but I was grateful that I…

  • First Memory

    My first memory is of my toddler self, still somewhat unsteady on my feet and alone in a small dirt-floored room in the back section of our basement. I am searching for a lost treasure; it is something I have felt a strong attachment to. I think this may have been my first experience of loss and it is jarring. The room is dimly lit, the only natural light coming from a small and grubby window high in the wall. In the murky light I perceive a large dark shape against the far wall. I will learn later that it is a coal burning furnace, but it gives no heat…

  • Joan Didion

    I was recently reading Joan Didion’s book “Slouching Towards Bethlehem”. The essay entitled “On Self Respect” hit several notes with me, especially her reference to “gifts irrevocably wasted through sloth or cowardice or carelessness”. This is a self-accusation I have often made for it seems that however much I have painted and written, I had not given myself over to it in a way that the work calls for. I can see the many, many times that I had been lazy or afraid, too casual, unfocused and wasteful.  The obvious questions arise: What are you waiting for? When will you begin? Will you feel sad or cheated when you are…

  • Textures

    Ever since I first encountered the Synthetic Cubist works of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque in my freshman art history class, I have been interested in the creation of texture in a painting.   “Synthetic Cubism was the second main movement within Cubism that was developed by Picasso, Braque, Juan Gris and others between 1912 and 1919. Synthetic cubism is characterized by the introduction of different textures, surfaces, collage elements, papier colle and a large variety of merged subject matter.”  – Wikipedia Excited by the possibilities, I headed for a nearby lumberyard to purchase a bag of sand to experiment with adding additional texture to my paints. At the time, I…

  • Paul Klee

    I think it is important to experience the work of other artists, not just by viewing their work but also in reading about their point of view, their references; the mind-workings, thoughts and emotions that permeate their creative process.  I find myself guilty of not doing nearly enough of that. Recently, however, in pursuit of learning more about the artist Josef Albers, I picked up a book about the Bauhaus (“The Bauhaus Group: Six Masters if Modernism” by Nicholas Fox Weber).  Albers is a particular favorite of mine as color was the focus of his work and is, along with texture, the two primary inquiries and components of my own…

  • Encaustic

    A friend of mine phoned to say that she had taken a brief “introduction to encaustic” class at a local park.  She was enthusiastically recommending that I explore this medium as it seemed a match for my interest in building texture in my paintings. I knew next to nothing about encaustic at the time, but upon investigation, decided that it would be an interesting and fun adventure to investigate the medium for myself. “Encaustic painting, also known as hot wax painting, involves using heated beeswax to which colored pigments are added. The liquid or paste is then applied to a surface—usually prepared wood, though canvas and other materials are often used. The simplest encaustic mixture can be made…

  • Notebooks

    The Importance of Notebooks Books on the craft of writing often suggest that aspiring writers carry a notebook so that they can jot down the ideas, thoughts and sentences that sometimes sprout full blown without warning.  I’ve had answers I was looking for arrive when I am nowhere near my keyboard. While sitting in a waiting room, driving my car, or drifting off to sleep, my mind will spit out a concise sentence or paragraph that I had been struggling to get-just-right. For the longest time, I refused to jot things down, telling myself that I would remember these revelations with clarity when next I sat down at the keyboard,…

  • Dogwood Tree

    We moved to this condo as spring faded into summer. We chose this as our new home after much searching and we opted for it over newer or more modern homes because of its location and view. The building is 1970’s vintage and in need of some work, but it is set in a city oasis, a 50-acre parklike development with mature trees, shrubbery and flower beds. Our living area’s eight-foot sliding glass doors open onto a canopied deck overlooking a treed lawn and a lake with resident ducks. Close to the deck, a dogwood was near the end of its bloom when we moved in, the ground beneath it…

  • Kent Island Reviews

    A sensuous evocation of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, just across the Chesapeake Bay but oceans away, rebuts the belief that modernization signifies progress. Lew DiuguidJohns Hopkins Magazine – June, 2003 A jewel of a book… Janet Freedman conducts a remarkably circumspective exploration of a place that engages all of the senses, including a heart that registers the passage of time into memory. This is no ordinary account, but a jewel of a book whose many facets reveal not only a fascinating, haunting place, but a creative inquiry imbued with imagination and grace.” Charles Camp, PhDThe Maryland Institute – College of Art, Baltimore, MD(excerpted from book dust jacket) Before the seafood restaurants……

  • Fragments of this Wall

    Driving down I83 towards Baltimore, just past the Northern Parkway exits, you might note construction work to the right of the roadbed where laborers are installing additional track for the light rail system.  Just beyond the construction, on wooded land now belonging to Baltimore City’s Cylburn Arboretum, a worn stone wall snakes through the trees.  I wonder about it each time I pass. Who built it? For what purpose?  It might have been built to contain grazing livestock, or perhaps the land had once been cleared for farmland and that the walls, like those in Ireland, are built of stones uncovered by the plow.  I wonder about those who constructed…