Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Poetry Month at the Salem Library with Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen

The Salem city Library is hosting a art show of poetry broadsides (printed pages of a poem that is sometimes paired with an image) as well as some interesting presentations including a day with Oregon's Poet Laureate, Paulann Petersen.

The day of Paulann's workshop you can see the images she and I worked on together. You can also see the image poet Cindy Williams Gutierrez and I worked on. It it beautiful (and for sale!!)
Snow Red II, by Cristina Acosta and Paulann Petersen

A Day of Poetry with Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen
Poetry Workshop

(Pre-registration required for this session only.)
1-5 p.m. Tuesday, April 12       Anderson Rooms A & B

Third Thursday Poets, Salem’s longest-running poetry series, is thrilled to bring Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen to the Salem Public Library for a day-long event featuring a workshop and a reading.

The afternoon workshop will provide an opportunity for poets to improve their work and foster creative expression. The workshop will give poets the opportunity to work one-on-one with Paulann Petersen. The workshop is free and open to the public, with pre-registration is required. The workshop size is limited and registration will be taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Registrations should be sent to Maureen Clifford at
Poetry Reading
7 p.m. Tuesday, April 12

Loucks Auditorium

Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen will finish her visit to Salem with an evening reading that is free and open to the public. Her work will be available for purchase after the presentation, courtesy of Brigadoon Books.

Paulann Petersen has given readings in hundreds of spots from Powell's in Portland to Omsania University in India, from Ross Ragland Theater in Klamath Falls to the Museum Hotel in Central Turkey. Her poetry is featured on TriMet public transportation in the Portland area as part of Poetry in Motion. She frequently teaches workshops for colleges, high schools, libraries, and writers' organizations.

More information about both events is available from Maureen Clifford at

Crowned in Song
Musical Settings of Emily Dickinson Poems
3 p.m. Sunday, April 17

Loucks Auditorium

Marva Duerksen, who teaches both music and women’s studies at Willamette University has a special interest in music by women composers and poets. Recently, she has pursued a fascination with musical settings of poems by the famous American poet, Emily Dickinson. She will turn that fascination into a special program of Dickinson’s work set to music, featured as part of the Salem Public Library celebration of National Poetry Month.

Although Dickinson lived in the 19th century, her short poems are fresh and modern sounding even to 21st century readers. It is no surprise that many modern composers have been drawn to her words as lyrics for their songs. A broad range of musical styles will be represented in this program, including by Ernest Bacon and Leo Smit. In a couple of instances, the program will contrast two different composers’ settings of the same poem.

Dr. Duerksen will be joined by fellow Willamette faculty member, Christine Welch Elder, and Portland singer Barbara Wester Skipworth to interpret these solo songs and duets.  Duerksen and Dr. George Skipworth will accompany them on the piano.
The event is free on a first-come, first-seated basis. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m. More information is available from the Information/Reference Desk at 503-588-6052.

La Voz de la Poesia/The Voice of Poetry
Bilingual Poetry Reading (Spanish and English)
7 p.m. Thursday, April 21

Anderson Room B

Published poets Efrain Diaz-Horna from Peru and Juan Marcos Cervantes from Mexico will each present a 20-minute bilingual poetry reading. Afterwards, audience members may participate in a question-and-answer period, followed by book sales and a reception.

Efrain Diaz-Horna is a native of Talara, Peru, who has been drawing, paiting, and writing since he was a child. His poetry has been published in Expreso, The Oregonian, The Hispanic News, the National Catholic Reporter, and several newsletters. He is the author of a collection of poems titled The Many Faces of Love (1983).

Juan Cervantes Morales is a writer, poet, and essayist from Oaxaca, Mexico. A writer from an early age, Cervantes was awarded the 2010 Proyeccion Latina 2010, for the first place in poetry. Cervantes has recently published El Jardin del Eden, a book of poetry (Spanish).

The Salem Family Literacy Program is sponsoring this event, which is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Kelley Morehouse at

Workshop is available to people who register.
for more information about reading at 7 pm april 12th.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Nature of Words: Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate Collaborates with Artist Cristina Acosta

Snow Red I, by Cristina Acosta and Paulann Petersen
This past year I have been fortunate to collaborate with artists working in different mediums. I've written about working with the artists Tolley Marney and Cindy Williams Guiterezz. Here I'm sharing with you the work I've done with the poet Paulann Petersen, Oregon's Poet Laureate. 

The work is exhibited for sale at Atelier 6000 in Bend, Oregon and is conjunction with The Nature of Words, in Bend, Oregon.
Show Dates: NOVEMBER: First Friday, November 1, 5;30 – 8:30 pm “Broadsides” Hanging at the crossroads of art and literature, Atelier 6000 and Nature of Words present “Broadsides” artworks that include mixed media and two-dimensional works with emphasis on text and image. This juried show opens November 1 and continues through November 30, 2010.

How to Find Us

389 SW Scalehouse Ct.
Bend, Oregon 97702
(Off SW Wilson near the Old Mill District)

Artist Statement – Paulann Petersen, Oregon's Poet Laureate

On the page, poems assume lives of their own. They encounter readers and listeners. Once my poems are launched into this world, I realize I can no longer explain or defend or amend them. Separate from me, they unilaterally carry—in the arms of their lines—whatever music and meaning they can convey.

Snow Red II (ghost image)
I’ve known this—that a poem takes on a life of its own—for a long time. But in the process of collaborating with Cristina Acosta, I’ve recently learned that poetry can become part of a collaborative process in which the poem continues creating itself.

When Cristina gave me the monotype (and ghost image) she’d created in response to my poem “Snow Red,” she asked me to continue the artistic exchange by adding text or graphics to her work. Her striking, luminous images compelled me to write, in pencil onto the monotype’s surface, phrases I borrowed from my poem. And as I added those words to her images, I found them rearranging themselves into new combinations and permutations.  As my eye followed Cristina’s color and line and form, the phrases juxtaposed and re-sequenced themselves in startling ways.  My response to Cristina’s visual response to my poem gave that poem a new life.  The poem assumed a life that included—one that actually welcomed—continual change.

Artist Statement – Cristina Acosta

I came to this collaboration with poet Paulann Petersen through an invitation from her that has resulted in an artistic conversation unlike anything I’ve experienced. After meeting Paulann at an artist’s salon in Portland she sent me one of her poems, Bloodline. Reading that poem resulted in my first experience of a visceral response to a piece of poetry. In return, I sent her an image of a monotype painting I made reflecting that response and our collaborative conversation commenced.

Paulann then gave me her book, The Wild Awake and I dove into her poetry. The poems took shape for me like sculptures formed of flowing mass, hue and value. Experiences that existed for me outside of words now found shape and form within her poems. The monotypes in this exhibit are the result of working with the poems from The Wild Awake. I then gave those monotypes to Paulann so that she could choose to add additional work to the pieces (or not). Turning my pieces over to her for the next part of our conversation was a conscious surrender to the process of continual change. The result will take on new meaning to the viewer, continuing creation.

Paulann Petersen is Oregon’s sixth Poet Laureate, former Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, recipient of the 2006 Literary Arts Steward Holbrook Award for Outstanding Contributions to Oregon’s Literary Life. She is the author of four chapbooks, and two full-length collections of poems including, The Wild Awake and contributor to many publications.

Cristina Acosta is an artist, author and color and design expert. The author of Paint Happy, her art is in numerous collections nationwide. She is also a contributor to many art, design and home décor publications over the past two decades.

“Broadsides” is Atelier 6000’s November exhibition.  Artwork from Texas, Colorado, Washington, Iowa and Oregon are represented. Cristina Acosta's collaborative art with poets Paulann Petersen and Cindy Williams Gutierezz are exhibited in the Broadsides show.

First Place: “Meditation” by Joseph and Marquita Green (see left)
Second Place: “Sleep Awakens” by Kris Tolmie
Third Place: “Phoebe in the Watermelon Boat” by John Simpkins
Honorable Mention: “Lamentation” by Barbara Payne Ward and Boston Tea Party by Danuta Muszynska

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Artist Collaboration: Sculptor Tolley Marney and Painter Printmaker Cristina Acosta

 Artist Statement

Artists: Cristina Acosta and Tolley Marney

Mixed Media Originals – are a combination of the classic artist printmaking process teamed with drawing and painting techniques. The art process begins with a drawing or painting that is made with intaglio-ink and placed on the bed of a hand-cranked printing press. Using 100% cotton or other natural paper, only one image is made at a time. Acosta and Marney then finish the art by hand-rubbing it with powdered pigments and/or drawing and painting on the piece.

         Marney and Acosta collaborate on a series of original mixed media images based on the image of the horse. Marney says, “I’ve interacted with horses all of my life, so I understand the horse and feel a comfort working with its image. The horse is a kindred spirit. Horses are creatures that will do anything in the world for us as long as we ask in the right way. Heart and soul, they always amaze me.”
            Acosta’s work blends spirit and physical energy, both creating a new vision of the horse as well as translating the images of the sculptural pieces into mixed media monotypes rich with surface and texture. Acosta says, “The image of the horse is symbolic with layers of meaning that I’ve echoed both actually and metaphorically in this series.”
            Working as much as possible with environmental sensitivity, Marney works in reclaimed steel and Acosta works with enviro-safe printmaking materials. Both artists contribute to the other's imagery and often work together on the pieces. All art is signed by both artists.
            Primarily a sculptor, Marney exhibits his sculptures in premier art galleries in New York, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. His sculptures are in many private collections. Marney also won first prize in the New Jersey Equine Art Expo in 2003.
            Primarily a painter and printmaker, Acosta’s art has been featured in many national venues including galleries, museums, print and internet media. Acosta is the author of the art book Paint Happy ©2002, 2004 and a contributor to art and design books and articles.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day of the Dead - Dia de los Muertos Art Exhibit at Onda Art Gallery

Drawing and painting bones has been a lifelong interest for me. That interest is lately evident in my monotypes including both animal and human studies.  My piece La Coneja / The Rabbit along with some other pieces of mine are on exhibit at Onda Gallery in the Alberta Street district of Portland, Oregon. Here's what Allan from Onda Gallery has to say about this November's show:

October 28, 6-9 PM, the run of the show will include Halloween and the two Days of the Dead, November 1 and 2.  Note that the show ends on November 14
at Onda Gallery, 2215 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211

Onda Arte Latina Gallery is marking Dia de los Muertos / the Day of the Dead with a show of art by Latino artists from Oregon and Washington - Analee Fuentes, Cristina Acosta, Gene Flores, Alejandro Ceballos, Susana Espino, Paulina Hermosillo, Roberto Herrera, Hampton Rodriguez, Armando Olveda and Pepe Moscoso - and other artists working within the genre, including Joan Darling,  Nancy Watterson Scharf, Gregory Carrigan, Clay Hoffman, Sue Burnett and Kat Keating. Other highlights are an altar by Justine Avera and Vincent Ramirez, a shadow puppet play by Shiney Penny Productions and art from Zarco Guerrero of Mesa, Arizona.

The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos in Spanish) is a holiday celebrated mainly in Mexico and by people of Mexican heritage living in the United States and Canada. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and relatives who have died. The celebration occurs on the 1st and 2nd of November, in connection with the holy days of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day which take place on those days. Traditions include building private altars honoring the deceased, using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.

Allan and Pablo
Onda Gallery
2215 NE Alberta Street, Portland, OR 97211

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Artist Collaboration: Poet Cindy Williams Gutierrez and Printmaker Cristina Acosta

This monoprint mixed media piece includes drawing and painting. It is a collaboration between the poet Cindy Williams Gutiérrez and me. After reading her poem many times, this image came to me. It is not a literal illustration of the poem but a response to Cindy's evocative, image-rich language. Collaborating like this has been a wonderful experience. I'm grateful to be working with such a beautiful poem.

Creating the monoprint is a sensual process that by its nature engages images. I begin with a glass plate that I then finger paint an image onto it. I refine the image with a variety of tools like sticks, wedges and other edge tools. When the image looks done, I put it on the steel bed of the printing press and turn the crank handle, pressing the image onto a sheet of paper. After that I hang the image to dry. Later I go back into the image with drawing tools to pick up lines, shapes and forms that enrich the image.

When I finished my part, I gave the image to Cindy and she refined areas important to her, and the piece became entirely different. Read what Cindy had to say about her part of the collaborative experience:

If I Were a Nahua Poet/  Si yo fuera poeta Nahua

This broadside is a collaborative project involving three artists:
poet Cindy Williams Gutiérrez, translator and poet Ángel Fuentes,
and printmaker Cristina Acosta.

The original poem was written by Gutiérrez in English with
Nahuatl code-switching in 2008. In January of 2010, the poem was
translated into Spanish by Yucatecan poet Fuentes (with the author)
in a translation workshop led by Professor Pedro Serrano of la
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Both the
original and the translation were published online in UNAM’s
Periódico de poesía in April of this year.

This August, visual artist Acosta responded to the poem by creating a collage of two original monoprints encircled by the original poem and its translation (in her handwriting). In the spirit of collaboration, Acosta left the broadside with Gutiérrez, inviting her to alter it as she felt moved to do so.

Note: This project evolved from el Grupo de ’08, a collaborative artists’ salon
founded by Gutiérrez in 2008 to inspire collaboration among Northwest writers,
musicians, and visual artists. The salon is inspired by Federico García Lorca and
named for the multi-disciplinary group of Spanish artists to which Lorca belonged,
la Generación de ’27. Greg Simon, a noted Lorca translator, is a core member and
a continual source of inspiration for the Northwest group.

Artist Statement
Cindy Williams Gutiérrez

Duality inspires my work. I write to wrestle with contradiction, to explore the connections among the disparate—to experience opposing ideas, emotions, people, places, even languages in close proximity.

In this piece, I was drawn to the copper leafing Cristina had applied, particularly the shapely moon. I found two copper coins in my jewelry box—one from Spain and one from Mexico. I used the Spanish coin to cover the top half of the skull near the heart image: for me, the power of history is evoked in the juxtaposition of a Spanish coin and a Nahua (or Aztec) skull. In this context, a contradiction is created: through the lens of the Spanish conquest, the nearby heart is evocative of human sacrifice rather than the human trembling we all share.

I placed the Mexican coin to the center of the flower near the deer image. Poetry, or “flower and song”(“floricanto” in Spanish or “in xochitl in cuica” in Nahuatl) was a valued currency in the life of the Nahua tribes of central Mexico. The Nahuas believed that poetry was the way to a pure heart, an emerald heart.

I write to see. I am impelled by what I might discover—if I dig deep enough, if I turn something over and over enough to subvert its face value.

In this piece, I was fascinated by the way Cristina interwove lines of the original poem (in English) with lines of the translation (in Spanish). I became curious about how the piece would be experienced if some of the poem were hidden. I overlaid strips of colored paper that matched Cristina’s palette until a single new hybrid poem emerged. The original and translation were no longer redundant. English, Spanish, and Nahuatl flowed freely into each other as all three languages felt of a whole.

My goal is to surrender to poetry and let it be my guide. I trust myself most when I write. In these moments, I am but a vessel. The poem is the thing that’s most alive.

Cindy's Website

Friday, August 6, 2010

Original Works on Paper: Artist Pulled Handmade Monoprints with Drawing

These monoprints are my most recent work. I love the sensual process of creating a monoprint. I begin with a glass plate that I then finger paint a image on to it. I refine the image with a variety of tools like sticks, wedges and other edge tools. When the image looks done, I put it on the steel bed of the printing press and turn the crank handle, pressing the image onto a sheet of paper. After that I hang the image to dry. Later I go back into the image with drawing tools to pickup lines, shapes and forms that enrich the image.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Artist Pulled Handmade Prints of Horses

Horses have been an active part of my imagination since I was about 10 years old and rode my first Smoketree Ranch horse at the Moonridge Stables in Big Bear Lake, California. As an adult I even owned horses for about 6 or 7 years, taking dressage lessons and going trail riding with friends.  Though I've dipped in and out of riding throughout my life, horses are always part of my imagery.

This year I've been collaborating with different artists. The result of those collaborations is now emerging. My friend Tolley Marney, a sculptor in Palm Springs (and a cowboy), creates beautiful sculptures of horses using recycled steel. Working from his images I created a series of original works on paper at A-6 (the printmaking studio I joined last year). Check out our collaborative work at this link

Monday, June 21, 2010

Printmaking Exchange with the Art House Co-Op in Brooklyn, New York

I love going to Atelier 6000 and doing some printmaking. The vibe Pat has nurtured is creative, supportive and a lot of fun. One of the projects we artists came up with was to contribute prints to the Art House Coop print exchange in Brooklyn, New York (that's one way to exhibit in New York!!)

Going to their website, we got the rules on size and theme and let loose with images. About a dozen artists from A-6 got into the project and submitted art. Here's what the Art House is doing:

The exhibition for the Prints will be held on July 16th from 7-10pm. Sometime before that date you will receive 15 prints from other arts all over the world! Your 15 prints will be distributed to 15 other artists that also participated.

Sounds interesting. It's sort of a instant karma art experience. I love the randomness of what to expect.  I used this opportunity to learn etching and sent in 17 prints of my first etching. It's a version of my drawing, Love Always / Siempre Amor.  I printed the etching on Rives BFK cotton rag paper and finished the image with powdered pigments and charcoal.

I based this image of two skeletons embracing on the image of two friends I saw embracing on the beach. Their image was so tender it struck my heart and I've been drawing and painting versions of this for the past year. Though  this printmaking image lives in the Latino art culture of Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) art, I think of it as a year 'round image.

And now -- what will I get back????

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Figure Drawing Exhibit at Atelier 6000

Many artists consider figure drawing (or life drawing) to be a crucial foundation skill for artists. Though you don't have to be able to figure draw to be an artist, drawing the figure from life (not photos) does engage your eye and heart in a different way than any other type of artwork.

From an early age, figures and faces were what first brought me to art. Though I've not made a career of drawing the figure (yet), I have regularly drawn from life for over two decades. Dipping into and out of the art of figure drawing over the years is like revisiting favorite classical music pieces. As I've changed with age and experience, my appreciation and enjoyment of figure drawing as deepened.

I put a few conte and charcoal figure sketches I've done over the years in this month's exhibit at Atelier 6000 in Bend, Oregon, June 2010. Be sure to check out the show of drawings. It is probably the most figure drawings to be exhibited in Bend, Oregon in a long time.  Dawn Emerson curated the exhibit. Thanks so  much Dawn!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Douglas Jewelry and the Sara Fisher Breast Cancer Fundraising Event

Art and special causes often go together. Artists often donate a piece of art or the portion of a sale of a piece to worthy community causes. Bend, Oregon is a community of generous people and recently the Tower Theater was the venue for the Sara's Project, a fundraiser for breast cancer. Participating in this event were several jewelry stores in town, including Douglas Jewelry.

Steve and Elyse Douglas are true jewelry artists steeped in both the artistry and science of contemporary jewelry making. They make custom made jewelry from start to finish. 95% of their merchandise is produced by them (and their staff). Nothing leaves their shop for other jewelry artisans to complete. Elyse is also a certified gemologist.

This year's fundraiser was themed on the movie Sex and the City. Elyse asked a few of her fans and friends to model some of her finer pieces for the event. So... as one of her fans and a friend I also became a model. I was fortunate enough to get the opportunity to break out of my comfort zone and wear this gorgeous necklace while mingling with the crowd.

Thanks to everyone who was part of this wonderful event.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

New Monoprints - Bare Bones and Feet

Working at Atelier 6000 for the past half of a year has been such a wonderful experience. Learning the variety of printing processes (and there is much more to learn) has enabled me to blend drawing and painting in a way I've never been able to achieve with drawing or painting alone.

The techniques of mono-printing that I used to create these images involve painting with my hands on glass plates and drawing into the surface with my fingers, sticks, and more. The process is very sensual and enables me to feel as though I'm building each image with my hands from the stuff of my dreams.  For me this is a very mystical and satisfying way to create art images.

I prefer studio time in the morning when the visions from my dreams and subconscious are most accessible.  Here are two images I've recently finished.

Broken Pairing - Geese Feet Study 14:  Rives BFK paper 9" x  20".
A close friend of mine is a hunter and owner of Women's Hunting Journal.  Not only is she a responsible hunter and steward of the land, she's one of the few people I know who knows exactly where most of her meat has come from and she doesn't shy from her part in the life cycle of animals that humans harvest for meat.  She gave me some of these feet after a successful hunt. 

Ancestral Claim - Vertebrae Study #36, Rives BFK paper 16" x 16"
I am regularly in the forest and desert of the High Plateau around my home in Bend, Oregon. For many years I've picked up bones (I lived on a old homestead ranch for most of my first decade in Oregon). I especially love how the vertebrae echos some of the shapes of the DNA helix. I've worked with bones in my imagery since I first became an artist in the 1980's.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Every Cowgirl Closet Needs Painted Cowboy Boots

Have you ever taken a load of old clothes to a thrift store and made yourself a little ill when you tallied up the money you paid for them?  Well, fashion trends come and go, but the best fashion investment I've made is my cowgirl clothes. Though the presence of horses in my life has ebbed and flowed. I still have some Stewart boots that are 30 years old, belts, and even some shirts that are certainly in the vintage category by now (An age category thing that's a bit tough to take when I'm the original owner!)

Recently I took a pair of old Tony Lama cowboy boots I bought at a garage sale and painted them. It's a fun way to play with your inner cowgirl and get something new for your cowgirl closet. Here's a few tips I came up with to paint leather  boots.
  • Use oil paints.
  • Very lightly sand the entire boot with a 100 grit sandpaper to open the surface of the leather. Don't sand over stitching as it will tear.
  • With a rag, wipe the boot down with paint thinner to prepare the surface.
  • Let the paints dry for months as recommended with oils, then protect the surface of the boot with a natural oil finish.
  • Have fun! 
Note: I painted these boots with thin washes of Cadmium Red Dark and Quinacridone Red on the foot area. On the boot shaft, I painted the gold calligraphic floral pattern with a laquer-thinner based 14kt. gold pigmented paint.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sister's Folk Festival Donation Time - Balloons Over Bend, Oregon

Balloons Over Bend  — Cristina Acosta
This parade of balloons and other flying machines was inspired by Balloons Over Bend. A longtime Bend, Oregon artist, Cristina always adds a bright and cheerful piece to the auction.Pastel  and Acrylic on  100% rag paper (30" x 22"). "Balloons Over Bend" is sponsored by Farmers Insurance of Sisters, and will be on display at High Desert Gallery
It's that time of year again -- Time to Donate to the Sister's Folk Festival - My Own Two Hands Fundraiser 2010
"Traveling Light" My Own Two Hands is a fun-filled community arts event in and for the community of Sisters, Oregon. Sponsored by the Sisters Folk Festival for the benefit of the Sisters Americana Project.

Friday, April 9: Community Parade, Art Stroll, Chili Feed & Performing Arts Evening 4-4:30 — Community Parade on Hood Avenue from Pine St. to Spruce St.
4:30-6:30 — Art Stroll (get a map here).
6:30-8:30 — Chili Feed & Performing Arts Evening at Bronco Billy's. Saturday, April 10: Art Auction & Party at Ponderosa Forge & Ironworks Doors open at 6 pm

Online ticket sales have been discontinued, but there are still some left. 

Please call the Festival office at 541-549-4979. Call them for instructions to bid by telephone on a piece of art.

My Own Two Hands began in 2001 as a fundraiser for the Sisters Americana Project, the educational outreach component of the Sisters Folk Festival.

For the past nine years, My Own Two Hands has celebrated how one individual can change their community for the better by using their own skills in a positive way. The two-day event is a community celebration of the arts; from performance to visual to the written word. My Own Two Hands has it all.
View Art Auction Donations Online.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Thanks to Life - Gracias a la Vida - April Exhibit at Onda Gallery in Portland, Oregon

Violetta Parra was a gifted singer and songwriter who's iconic piece, Gracias a la Vida has inspired and entertained people since she wrote it in the 1960's.

Gallery curator, Allan Oliver at Onda Arte Gallery in Portland, Oregon invited a group of Latino artists to create work in response to the lyrics from the song for an exhibit in April. He choose these two originals from my recent work. These are original one-of-a-kind pieces called Monoprints. Monoprints are the result of painting on a printing plate, then running it through a printing press, a magical process that always results in the unexpected. I like this form of painting, the gentle surprises at the end of the pressing are juicy, artistic challenges.

Purchase these original monoprints at Onda this April 2010 in Portland, Oregon: 
Allan Oliver (Director)
2215 NE Alberta St Portland, OR 97211
Phone: (503) 493-1909 Fax: (503) 493-1909

Here are the lyrics to  Gracias a la Vida:
Poem by Violeta Parra
 Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.             Thanks to life, which has given  me so much.
 Me dió dos luceros, que cuando los abro.            It gave me two bright eyes, that when opened,
 Perfecto distingo lo negro del blanco                  Can perfectly distinguish black  from white
 Y en el alto cielo su fondo estrellado,                  And in the sky above, her starry backdrop,
 Y en las multitudes  el hombre que yo amo.         And from within the multitude, The man I love.
 Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.              Thanks to life, which has given  me so much.
 Me ha dado el oído que en todo su ancho              It gave me an ear that, in all of its breadth
 Graba noche y día grillos y canarios                    Records— night and day- crickets and canaries,
 Martillos, turbinas, ladrillos, chubascos               Hammers and turbines and bricks and storms,
 Y la voz tan tierna de mi bien amado.                   And the tender voice of my beloved.
 Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.              Thanks to life, which has given  me so much.
 Me ha dado el sonido y el abecedario.                  It gave me sound and the alphabet.
 Con él las palabras que pienso y declaro,            With them the words that I think and declare:
 “Madre,” “amigo,”hermano,” y luz alumbrando   “Mother,” “Friend,” “Brother”and the light         
 La ruta del alma del que estoy amando.                  
which illuminates The path of the soul I love.
 Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.             Thanks to life, which has given  me so much.
 Me ha dado la marcha de mis pies cansados.       It gave me the ability to walk  with my tired feet.
 Con ellos anduve ciudades y charcos,                  With them I have traversed  cities and puddles
 Valles y desiertos, montañas y llanos,                   Valleys and deserts, mountains and plains.
 Y la casa tuya, tu calle y tu patio.                         And your house, your street  and your patio.
 Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.             Thanks to life, which has given me so much.
 Me dió el corazón, que agita su marco.                It gave me a heart, that causes my frame to shudder,
 Cuando miro el fruto del cerebro humano,           When I see the fruit of the human brain,
 Cuando miro al bueno tan lejos del malo.            When I see good so far from  bad,
 Cuando miro el fondo de tus ojos claros.              When I look into the depths of 
your blue eyes…                             
 Gracias a la vida, que me ha dado tanto.               Thanks to life, which has given 
me so much.                              
 Me ha dado la risa, me ha dado el llanto.              It gave me laughter and it gave 
me tears.                               
 Así yo distingo dicha de quebranto,                       With them I distinguish 
happiness and pain—                                         
 Los dos materiales que forman mi canto,              The two materials from which
my songs are formed,                                      
 Y el canto de ustedes que es el mismo canto.         And your song, as well, which
is the same song                                   
 Y el canto de todos que es mi propio canto           And everyone’s song, which is
my own song.                                          

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Monoprints Layered with Drawing and Painting

Blending spirit with physical energy is a direction in my original art work that is now surfacing in different images for me. Working with the art form of the monotype at Atelier 6000 printmaking studio has opened new ways for me to translate creative inspiration to image and surface.