Over the holiday, I traveled to my parents home which is located in the Chippewa National Forest of Minnesota. I only brought a small sketchbook knowing that I wouldn’t have a great deal of time to do much more than a couple of doodles (see photos).
While I was there and working with the Pink Houses inspiration, led me to think about a more general theme of home and how I feel ungrounded to that particular word. The dark days of winter in Minnesota seem to get longer each year and the separation from family in terms of distance and visits are not often enough to fulfill the emptiness of living alone in a small town. While I do try to fill it with my creative endeavors and social engagements, the dynamics of living where I do, can be problematic. Despite living here for 20 years, I’m not sure if it feels like home in the sense that I imagine of what that should be. There is definitely a strong family ethic where I live, but if you don’t belong to that tribe, isolation becomes the norm. It also led me to further think about what family means and what will happen in our future given our current social and political divide which has already built some unwanted walls that may never be taken down.
I also realized that I have addressed this theme before when I was attending Bemidji State University (BSU). I was lucky enough to be a part of an all woman print portfolio exchange when I studied printmaking under Jauneth Skinner, the prof there at the time. The block print that I created for that exchange is titled, What’s Behind Door #23? which was a response to having lived in 22 different houses and knowing that I would be moving again once I completed my coursework at BSU.
Again, I am exploring during this project which much like my ungrounded feelings of home, I have a disconnect within my artwork. It varies greatly in style, media and subject matter. I like working with a variety of media, moving from one to the next and then returning almost as if the materials were seasonal. In the winter, I will draw and carve blocks, in the summer I will move to the screened porch and paint. Regardless of what media I am working with, I create in reaction to something I’ve seen, read or heard.
Recently I read a novel titled The Line Between by Beverly Knauer and I am currently reading The Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Both of those are influencing some of my inner thoughts and I have a feeling that those two books along with the lyrics from Pink Houses will be merging down the road.
The doodles: monoprints with graphite, blue colored pencil with ink, alcohol ink and marker.