When I was young I dreamed of being a flamenco dancer; my parents pointed out I had no rhythm, I couldn’t clap to a Sousa march, even after taking ballet for years. When I was around eight my scout troop entertained a retirement home. I was to “dance” on point while Kathy Sprinkle played ‘The Swan’ on her violin. This song has been danced to for years, mostly with a step called ‘Bourree.’ Both feet close together, tip toe a fraction of in inch over and over, making movement in a direction and giving the illusion of GLIDING across the floor. My teacher would say, “Quiver! Quiver!”
I quivered all right; I was chubby and sway backed. My butt quivered in back, my belly undulated in front! I knew I couldn’t pull off a swan so I pleaded, “I think it would be better to make a funny dance.” The scout leader said, “Nope, we need the swan,” so I danced… probably looking like a new born horse flopping around on wobbly legs in feathers. Looking back on it now, I do believe I won that argument. I’d still like to learn how to clap and dance the flamenco. nancymauerman.com
Flamenco In Olive Room – Framed
Do you aspire to mediocrity? Do you live to just make do? I used to. Its exhilarating to not know, to reach and risk failure. nancymauerman.com
You Deliver Unmarried Children You Can’t Be Buried Here – Framed
A pine tree grew out of the roof of a very small house in our neighborhood! The house is square, boring in ever other way but where the equal side slabs of roof peak, a massive tree grows out and towers over the small home. What must the inside be like?
I have surprises in my house too. Two big owl eyes fill the upstairs windows facing the street, that’s my Christmas present from John, and he had ME draw the eyes.
A large ladder is always open in our living room; no couch. The most fun thing in my house is JOHN. He came home from O. H. S. U., the hospital that is managing the deadly drug test he’s participating in, and Amy asked, “How are things going?”
John’s answer, “60.”
Amy, didn’t miss a beat, “What would 50 be?” nancymauerman.com
Snake Up a Tree – Framed
This is a portrait of my friend’s nobleness. When Dennice first saw it she thought she had wings. “Oh,” was the disappointed sound she made when I showed her that the two triangles behind her were shirts peaking out of tuxedos worn by two men. She decided she liked the idea of two guys waiting on her even more. nancymauerman.com
Dennice – Framed
Grandmas and others who died, live in the branches of trees outside family homes. When John was in Vietnam he talked to the country people who saw and talked to groups of their family members in the trees. I’m wondering if these people were Hmong, whom I’ve heard were saddened to leave the mountains of the east to come here, because their dead loved ones stayed behind. Native peoples from Australia, native North Americans, and a few Euro Americans I’ve met, converse with those not yet born into their families as well as family people who have “died”. Several of my friends exhibit a longing for their dead Grandmas. My friends’ arms, back, and legs are tattooed; a living art exhibit of family faces, dates, and symbols.
Around the picture below are painted bamboo loops, the life cycle. The picture itself is drawn on cancelled postage stamps, a symbol of moving from place to place. We see one of the worlds available to us, a body- family- house type thing under a cloudy sky, beside a tree full of not leaves or fruit but family.
I wonder if we lived before this life in families, if we have a funeral or a baby shower type celebration as one of us leaves that grand place, to take our turn here in this “veil of tears?” nancymauerman.com
Grandma In A Tree – Framed
When they could finally see it: there was nothing. I read an article on electrons and they were finally able see that small; and there was nothing to see. But what they found was space and energy- intelligence. This is what I wanted to paint a picture of so of course I put a wedding dress on a tree. It shouldn’t be surprising; “wedding” implies energy, choice, awareness of self, balance between them verses us, longing for unity, of place, of love.
I’ve read that trees communicate to each other by sending energy messages from their roots into crisscrossing and radiating nematodes, growing in the earth. Other trees’ roots comprehend the energy ideas and groups of trees talk, decide and encourage another small tree to flourish or discourage it to die. Of course this elaborate communication system reminds me of the energy- intelligence system of our brain; ideas there aren’t round things with weight that, move around or modify.
I can’t slap a tape measure or weigh the intelligence- energy so I painted the wedding dress in luminous paint. I stand at one angle in front of this picture and the dress all but disappears, I change my viewing angle and the tree is almost completely covered by opaque white paint. nancymauerman.com
Tree in Wedding Dress – Framed
Growing up in Nebraska, a common saying was, “Those wild Russians!” This was said in a tone of voice as to indicate a wildness, confusion at not understanding another culture, and admiration for Russians’ great energy, creativity, and spirit. I remember a few movies with Russians in a short scene, they were so much more interesting than all else and I always wanted the plot to change and follow THEM. Russian composers, their folk music and harmonies are my favorite. So I painted Prince Svyatoslav below. His conquests are in a tea cup, the cup being something he would not have used. He traveled light; no tent and ate his meat straight off the fire with no pots, pans, or tea cups involved. He didn’t listen when a well wisher told him of a plot against him so he was ambushed and killed.
Prince Svyatoslav’s energy reminds me of my friend who’s scrappy and told me the story of Four Spankings In One Day. Unlike the a fore mentioned prince, Margaret did listen to well wishers. It was around 1916 or so when her Mom left her for a while with a neighbor. Margaret sat her little self at the table and a nice big bowl of spinach was placed in front of her, but evidently spinach was not Margarete’s idea of a good lunch; she made a rude sound and threw her lunch against the woman’s wall! The woman, whom Margaret called Mother Gloria, spanked her and when Mother Gloria’s grown son came home from work he heard the story, and he spanked her too. Margarete’s Mom picked her up later in the day, heard the story and said the same as the others, “Do not disrespect your elders!” and spanked her a third time. When little Margarete’s father come home, you guessed it, she got the lecture and spanking. Now here’s the important part. I asked Margarete, “But do you like spinach?” My friend said, “Yes, now I love the stuff.” Listening, self reflection and change are good things. nancymauerman.com
Prince Svyatoslav – Framed
These two sisters are really one person as John is often dichotomous. John is DESPERATE for treasure; things like water filters, the perfect cookie, camouflage poncho liners or P-38’3 (can openers). He’ll search with ferver, joyfully buy bundles of the items, tie them up in good plastic bags, pile them in the middle of the floor for a month and a half to admire, finally he buries them in the basement….then he GIVES them all away!
Also, I often hear this montra, “I don’t like people! I hope no one calls, I really don’t like people,” but within the hour, “Where’s Nelly? She said she’d stop by,” and “I haven’t seen Brian I wish he’d come over,” or, “What’s up with Bart? He should be calling me back,” and, “Its been a while since I’ve heard from Anna, Micheal, and Paul. They should be coming by to see me.” But then…. his favorite memories, those he regularly chews over, are about his interaction with people. The things he said; their reaction. The things they said, and he reflects on every word uttered and the fine nuances in their faces and their body language. Its as if he’s rolling a Jolly Roger around in his mouth, he’s reluctant but finally swallows with a grin over and over. nancymauerman.com
Two Sisters – Framed
I bet you’ve never worn red meat as jewelry? I met a man with a very creative mind who did. You might tell me, if you’d met him, that his mind was so creative he could never hold a job. O.k. yes, maybe he couldn’t fry burgers or design space craft, but he did a job on my mind, I’ve never been the same. He’s a treasure for me.
His picture is below. His name is private; his face I left vague to protect the innocent and he’s wearing a pork chop necklace and two strips of bacon around his right ankle. In the painting the meat is still red although it was a bit older and green when the people who worked for him discovered, what he had done as a creative jeweler. Those people weren’t as enthralled with his personal decor as I was and had changed his tooth paste, his shirts, sent him to the doctor and dentist and made him shower twice a day trying to solve the smelly accessory side effect. He removed his treasures before he showered and hid them under his bed for safe keeping. When he was fresh and clean he hung the chop under his buttoned up shirt and tied the green bacon around his ankle under his sock and right pant leg.
My mother also made a great impression on me with her hand made, and very creative jewelry. She made two sets of rings, of solid silver, using the lost wax method. One set were five rings, two for the right hand and three for the left, of trees whose roots wrapped around her fingers and whose branches held peridots, a green stone, that covered a great deal of her fingers. The second set were five jagged trunk- like things sticking up in the air a few inches, holding transparent orange stones. I was counting on inheriting them. Every time I visited mom I wore them around her house like a little girl in her mother’s high heal shoes. But one time they were gone. She’d given them away. “To a casual friend. She’s a lady of large statue and big hands who’d long admired them and who looked better under them than me.” “You gave them away?” I said, “There was a lot of money involved in make those things.” “Oh yes, but she could never have afforded them; so I gave them to her.”
Again, accessories changed my way of thinking. nancymauerman.com