Lady Folk and Blues I

This new work, which is the second of a new and on-going tribute series, was inspired by my love of blues, jazz, folk and gospel music.  I so admire these artists, whose throaty and gutsy homage to heartbreak and survival are soundtrack to my own creative process.

Tess Farnham, "Lady Blues I," mixed media collage on watercolor paper

Tess Farnham, “Lady Blues I,” mixed media collage on watercolor paper

features (clockwise from top) Koko Taylor, Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Lena Horne, Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, Marie Knight, Ella Fizgerald, Bessie Smith. (click on image to see print)

 

 

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New Work this Week and Just Listed

on Etsy as prints:    https://www.etsy.com/listing/153717200/decor-impressionist-fine-art-painting

Tess Farnham, "Study in Lavender and Light" acrylic on canvas, 24x30

Tess Farnham, “Study in Lavender and Light” acrylic on canvas, 24×30

 

 

 

 

 

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/153717200/decor-impressionist-fine-art-painting

Here is Your Handbook for Heartbreak: A Springback Survival Guide for Single Girls When Ice-Cream is Not Enough

Ophelia, oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in

Ophelia, oil on canvas, size: 49 x 29 in (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But you know, the most perplexing part of this is, it  I could barely tolerate him upon our first meeting.  And then as fate would have it, the moment I rearranged my thoughts about that, he began to back away.

All of a sudden it was me working to keep him instead of him trying to woo me and win me over.¬† I mean as if I couldn’t do a thing for myself anymore.¬† I¬†spent all my free time looking for¬†¬†ways to make sure he was happy and confident in knowing how much I loved him.¬† And now I”ve done that, he’s moved on to the next conquest.

Why did he try so hard at the beginning just to let me go like this?

Last week I found myself listening as a friend¬†let go¬†those words¬†in the sauna at¬†the girl’s gym, her eyes rimmed in crimson, tears making rivulets that dripped on her¬†terry cloth dress¬†and neck; meanwhile, as I groped to find the right response, I felt my own sense of longing and loss grabbing at the hem of my heart.¬†¬†After all, it wasn’t so long ago I had found myself¬†saying¬†such things¬†as well. And in the throes of that full-throated¬†aftershock of agony and insecurity, it also occurred to me

how ill-equipped we mortals be in the face of heartbreak.

It would seem that biology prepares us in oh so many ways to fall in love, but sadly does nothing whatsoever to help us fall out of it.

And so in light of science and lack of knowledge about the actual anatomy and physiology that supports such insanity, here I humbly offer this virtual handbook for heartbreak, something I’ve been trying to do for myself for quite some time as well.

To begin, I thought I would start with a to-do list for you, (but also for her in my groping, I am pretty sure I only said something to make it worse, not better) something printable and easy to carry around in your purse.  Because coping with the loss of love can be exhausting.  Especially when it seems all you can do is obsess  over and over to the point of neglecting the most basic need for sustenance and sleep.

Let alone tend to the needs of a battered and abandoned psyche.

So here it is, something to focus on after the (much needed) first crying spell passes and you start to get some perspective back:

Number one and most important of all:¬† Let go of the urge to make contact with someone who’s not going to appreciate it and write a love letter to yourself instead.

The fact that you were able to open your heart to him like a rose in winter speaks volumes about the way you view the world in general.¬† And chances are you didn’t break that mold on him either.¬† You are¬†a bundle of love and cuddles¬†no matter where you go or who you meet.¬† There are a bazillion¬†creatures out there who appreciate that trait in a person, from the homeless guy you bought that sandwich for to the baby bird you scooped up off the ground and climbed that tree to put her back.

You are the embodiment of love and kindness.¬† And what’s not to cherish about that?

Time to pull your petals close to keep your heart safe from¬†someone who doesn’t love himself enough to¬†open up to you. ..¬†so that later you’ll be able to open them again for someone who loves you just the way you are, unabashed lover of the ones who are hardest to love in the first place.¬†¬†You touch a lot of lives with that stuff, Honey.¬† And the world will never forget you for it.

2. Now that you have written that love letter to remind yourself how precious and special you truly are, it’s time to¬†do a bit of triage and bandage-rolling.¬† Time to focus on helping your¬†heart to heal again.

Make a list of cons to avoid.

Jim Morrison's Mugshot - Florida 1970

Jim Morrison’s Mugshot¬†– Florida 1970 (Photo credit: SongLyrics)

And do it first thing in the morning before the light of day hits the empty dent on the other side of the bed. ..and¬†the tears begin to fall again.¬†(Ordinarily I would suggest a pros¬†column too, but let’s face it.¬† If you have read this far, it’s a good bet you have that one down ad nauseum.)¬†¬† The truth is, we already spend a lot of precious reality hours¬†fantasizing and assigning all kinds of unearned¬†adoration to the objects of our infatuations.

 

Ask yourself the hard questions now and don’t be afraid to let¬†the¬†fritos¬†fall¬†where they may.¬† Among the beercans and¬†roach clips¬†that¬†your once beloved¬†left lying all over the house as well.

Is it¬†really¬†all that cute when he burps the words to “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”¬†?¬†¬† Or is it cuter¬†that¬†¬†you¬†were able to overlook¬†it and laugh with him. ..¬†the unconditional depth of¬†the way you let yourself open to¬†a dope¬†who didn’t deserve you. ..¬†like a magnolia or a lily of the mountains?

Get real, Girl.  And give credit where credit is due.

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My Blue Heaven

--Tess Farnham "My Blue Heaven," mixed media on canvas, 20x24

So in the past, I have admitted to being one of those artists who grapples with intense bouts of sadness, bouts that are at times so gripping and intense you can barely hold a brush in your hand, let alone steady the thing for detail or realism.  The curves turn linear and the lines wave and bend with trembling.  You erase and erase until the frustration just leads to tears and the tearing up of preliminary sketches and grids. 

At some point in this process you finally get so exasperated, you just grab the closest implement of application and let the strokes go where they will.

This piece actually began as a much darker work with lots of primary colors for contrast; it was a piece that I cherished mostly because its importance to a friend of mine, nevertheless, a piece that I had more or less made to suit his tastes instead of mine.

As it happens, I store blank canvases in the same corner of the basement where I store finished works.  And the other night as I was flipping through to find the size I wanted, my eyes fell upon that painting. ..and I started to think of how much I wanted to take out those awful strokes of ocher and red. . . 

So instead of starting fresh, I decided to go to work there. 

After I had taken this painting upstairs, I noticed that there was a tiny ding in the wood support where it had been dropped on the basement floor.  At first discouraged by this discovery, I quickly recovered when I realized I could patch it.

With lacy mesh from an old curtain panel, its mate lost in the fog somewhere now.  A slumping and ravaged mishap in a heap on the chair beside the easel like a castoff bridal veil. 

I cut the bandages haphazardly, applying them to the corners of the canvas as reinforcement. Afterwards, I applied some gel medium and paint to anchor them.

Next came coats of color and gel medium mixed with pearlescent powders to address the areas where the piece had fallen short of my vision of a completed work. Blues and maroons, mixed and unmixed with dabs of this and that and at times patched together with leaves shakily extracted from that cast off curtain.

A couple of hours later,¬† I was finished.¬† Happy and satiated that I’d lifted myself out of this sad spell,¬†but also had¬†done sufficient triage to resurrect a work that had gone to a corner of my basement to die.

New Work: Marilyn in Solar Eclipse

So this is how I lifted myself out of the doldrums over the weekend.¬† I just put myself into Marilyn’s dress and went to outer space.¬† If you look closely, you will see the car that jumped over the moon!

Process and Painting: On Bartering a Portrait to Pay the Rent

So here is a new work, one born of necessity. ..the necessity arose from having to pay rent between semesters sans a paycheck.  It started with a conversation wherein I sort of hinted at the barter and then when my landlady found herself in need of a gift for her mother, she remembered that conversation.

I asked for a photograph so I could get started and she obliged with this one:

If you look closely, you might note that this drafting table doubles as a sewing table, but also perhaps something about my process which involves using the grid technique.  In this next photo, you can see the sketch done with an olive gray wash:

And here is the finished portrait:

Tess Farnham, Untitled Portrait, 16x20 acrylic on canvas

Heeere’s the Weirdness: New Work with Lovecraft Today

Marginalia (collection)

Image via Wikipedia

So a couple of weeks back, I told you about my friend in Sweden and our gift exchanges across the miles.¬† And that most of what I send is work he’s inspired in one way or another.

This time I was working to incorporate the various facets of weirdness that make him so endearing, but also to include the one I keep overlooking, one that’s nevertheless an important part of who he is including fascinations with the dark side that I will always try my best to understand.

So here is the work/Christmas and birthday gift¬†I’ve done for him; a mixed media incorporating some 3d¬†feathers, photo collage, random design¬†and glitter. . .¬†and I’ve added/collaged/embellished a found monster¬† head from Lovecraft, just to show I’m a good sport.¬† And you know, by placing him in a nice garden setting with lots of flowers and romance,¬†am reaffirming for us both that¬†there will always be room in my world for weirdness.

Cthulhu Angel Embracing the Muse

http://www.etsy.com/listing/90510932/lovecraft-inspired-cthulu-angel-embraces