Kisu original painting 36 5/8” X 40” Acrylic on canvas paper, 2009
Kazuo and Aiko drank the water from the stream in which the dew of the chrysanthemums had fallen; longevity was assured.
Holding hands they made their way back to the bench, the bench that only a few days prior, each sat reading unaware of the other. The sweet smell of flower blossoms filled the air, the grass seemed greener and the birds’ plumage more brilliant, quietly they sat, each secretly wishing this moment would last forever.
Kisu from Lares and Penates Series: Lares and Penates an on-going series of paintings based on cherished household items from friends, family, and orphaned items found in thrift shops.
Kisu/Lares and Penates Series ©2009
I was born in New York City and raised in New Jersey--sort of. Although my parents grew up in NYC, my father was adamant about raising his children in a house with a yard and a pool. My mother went along with the fantasy, but for her the reality was a different story. A loquacious New Yorker who didn’t drive, she was stuck in the middle of nowhere with two children under the age of five. She quickly hated the suburbs and came up with a compromise.
Every other morning she packed up my sister and me, and we joined the ranks of commuters climbing aboard the bus for a forty-five minute ride to the city and our busy day of socializing with family and friends. My father had the illusion his family was enjoying a country life, and my mother was happier when my father came home. It worked beautifully, until my father noticed the expense and insisted it stop.
But my mother was as stubborn as she was clever and set into motion a new creative plan that I marvel at to this day. She would scan the New York Post’s obituaries each morning, pick a deceased person and fabricate a fictitious friendship. Paying her final respects to a friend was a duty--not an option. As a good Irish Catholic woman, she had to help the family through this difficult time. There were times people she knew were dropping dead like crazy!
My family ignited the creative spark in me. My mother and her family laid the foundation for the appreciation of a good story. Every week, relatives and other colorful characters gathered at my grandparents’ apartment, laughing, singing and story telling. My father’s two sisters were both painters and showered me with art books and color by number painting sets as birthday and Christmas gifts.
In addition, my parents built a playroom in the garage and filled it with toys and art supplies. Although I shared it with my sister Nancy and, then three more siblings, I considered this my art studio, my sanctuary. When we were not in the city, I would spend hours creating: making drawings and paintings, once making a very convincing removable papier-mâché cast for a pretend broken arm, followed by a disastrous Plaster of Paris leg cast that began cutting off the circulation. No, Dad was not enthusiastic about art that day! Expletives were flying as he tried getting that cast off my leg.
At first, my family did not understand my decision to attend Kean University in Union, New Jersey for a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts, but it made perfect sense. Theatre married art and drama within a strong social structure that I found very fulfilling. I worked for 15 years as a lighting designer, stagehand and occasionally, an actor. However, if you are not willing to live an itinerant life-style, you are limiting your options and success. Eventually, I chose to settle down in a city. Seattle was my choice and where I began exploring the fine arts again.