Who learns more, the guy who makes mistakes and wonders why or someone who stumbles into perfection easily?
I can easily brag I learn slow and wonder a lot. In fact, when in art school I’d hang my assignment with the others on the wall to receive positive and negative comments from all the students and the teacher and a pattern developed early on in EVERY class. When the teacher came to my picture he’d say a variation of, “This is EXACTLY what I was going to teach you not to do!”
It was so predictable that the class would laugh as soon as I hung my picture up. Yea it stung but I also learned more being confronted directly than the others who sat safely in their chairs and picked up a few tips as they watched me learn. nancymauerman.com
Oh Oh – Green Hands – Framed
This is a portrait of my friend Debra called The Levitating Oranges Of Borneo and as soon as Debra walked in my living room, where it hung, she recognized herself in it. In the picture Debra isn’t surprised by floating oranges instead on that sunny spring day she is surprised by dust bunnies sliding like low flying tiny angels across the floor in herd formation.
The bunnies aren’t shown nor am I. I knew for months I had had at least thirty seven rabbits living in my living room. But winter shadows crowded the room and the dimness blinded me to the angelics’ location and exuberance. nancymauerman.com
Levitating Oranges Of Borneo – Framed
When I was three I discovered scribbling was more FUN than coloring carefully inside the lines. Staying in those the lines was boring and tedious although it communicated an image-idea better than chaos. Everyone around me considered coloring in the lines desirable. Scribbling did not look good but it felt fine! And I decided someday I would make scribbles tell a story too.
I was close to thirty in art school and working on a tight rendering of, I think it was, a spoon. After a hundred hours or so I couldn’t take the tedious cross hatching anymore and finished the picture by making several layers of tiny scribbles. I expected to get an F and I didn’t care. I liked it. I’ve been scribbling ever sense.
Understanding the rules and the structure of truths then using self-discipline to live the truths are essential to a joyful life. The same is true in making good pictures that not only communicate an idea but have a spark of surprise and life. Hollywood would have us believe we are all flaky, undisciplined, immoral but happy. They say break rules and the structure of God’s plan and societal truths because its fun. I hear many writers and directors say they were surprised to see they could get the audience to approve of badness so then they decide to go further to see they can make us approve of and embrace evil.
On the other side of the spectrum we could live CAREFULLY down to hell meaning stay buried in TV and video games. Never take the risk of doing it wrong or getting hurt feelings. Never make friends or following through on ideas like an, “I was thinking of you,” phone call or helping a neighbor rake his lawn.
Hildegard of Bingen studied the rules, the reasons for them, then lived with great joy and exuberance. The picture below, of Anna, obeys many art rules and is scribbled in Crayola Crayon as are most of my children’s books. Several of the stories are about Anna and her brother Paul. They and samples of them can all be found at Amazon. nancymauerman.com
This is drawn in Crayola Crayon and over layered with tissue paper in a few places. It’s in the primary colors red, yellow and blue and has two compositions. Composition is the pattern your eye travels around and over the picture. The brown boxes form a big X and an overlapping triangle composition is made by the red horse at the middle bottom and the two side pieces of red sky.
But why is a horse walking in an open window and what do the brown boxes made of people mean? Trees wearing white tissue paper dresses fly across the upper sky and children’s watches fringe the frame of this piece.
Good Outsider Art is technically tight in color use, composition, design and more. These things will grab you as well as subconscious messages. But there is no CORRECT meaning or reaction. As two people listen to a Chopin nocturne one may hear sadness and another sublime beauty. You don’t need to know why the artist did what he did. But the artist must understand and use or break the “art rules” well. Years ago I walked into a gallery filled with sloppily nailed together windmill type contraptions. A sign on the wall told us what the artist said they represented to him. He built the things sloppy not to add to the message but because it was IN. Yes he’d done therapy but not art as far as I’m concerned. nancymauerman.com
Inside The Dumpling Inside Ralph’s Mouth – Framed
Chicken’s In Birthday Suits is based on real and true events. A child- aged friend of mine threw a party for one of her chickens at the park. She invited guests who brought presents for the hen. The chicken’s person brought cake, balloons, and presents. I fictionalized the event into a very funny story told story by the birthday bird herself.
A real mom read the story to her children and decided to have a birthday party in the park for the family dog. She turned the fictionalized event back into reality. If she keeps the book in her home for the next eighty years the book will forever remind her and her children of their adventure. During the turbulent teens her children will venturing out and sometimes succeed other times fail and when they come home and touch base the book will remind them they are loved and cherished and remind Mom too.
The children will grow up and have children of their own, buy a copy of Chicken’s In Birthday Suites and have a birthday party in the park with Grandma and young friends and a tradition of love is entrenched. nancymauerman.com
Chickens In Birthday Suits
I saw a beautiful collar which was basically a square with a neck poking through it. I thought it should be supported by a formal, modest, classic colored and pose. Then I had to stare at it for months waiting for messages. Piece by piece things were added, taken away and simplified, then the title came to mind.
Dennice’s friends saw the picture before she did. Every one of them told me I should NEVER show it to her. They thought I could saw her nose as being big but that she probably had never noticed it was! Actually I’d never seen Dennice’s nose as big or in any way as a prominent part of her face. I viewed her as having a sharp mind.
But Dennice loved the picture. She thought I’d seen her wings! I told her the white triangles behind her were men in formal attire and she liked that even more. She decided they were waiting on her! Now she had men and wings.
This picture is magic. Some people were afraid that after seeing the picture Dennice would suddenly realize everyone in her world thought her nose was big. This picture could change her, maybe ruin her forever.
And Dennice was happy to know that the world would now know she had wings. She didn’t think the picture represented ideas. She thought it would change people. They might never see her wings, only she and I could, but now they would KNOW about them. I asked what wings were and what waiting men were and she couldn’t quite say but she was happy the world would now posses that precious piece of information. I’d love to have you view more pictures and tell me what you see. nancymauerman.com
Dennice – Framed
Very often my pictures have no meaning to me until years later and of course they may mean something completely different for you. “You deliver unmarried children. You can’t be buried here,” is a phrase I heard on TV as I was painting one day. I immediately got caught in a thought wondering at the strangeness of it and didn’t catch the context in which it was said. When I woke up, as it were, the TV program was gone. Now I’ll never know. But the strangeness seemed to fit the picture I’d recently finished.
As for the picture of houses going down not up then I added trees growing down under a two sided sky. Soon after finishing the picture I discovered a book at the library showing a similar idea in an arid part of China and another in Paris. I worried about the French business building. I suppose they thought ahead but I can’t help but wonder what happens after a third week of heavy rain!
Another new thought to me is driverless cars. Everyone is so excited because WE CAN PUT OUR KIDS IN THEM AND NOT HAVE TO BE BOTHERED WITH OUR CHILDREN ANY MORE! We won’t have to discuss ethics on the way to school. We won’t have to comfort, discuss, and explain hurt feelings and mean kids after school. We won’t have to encourage, congratulate or commiserate after ball games.
My friends are amazed to see their grandchildren who are still too young to walk crawl to a handheld device on the floor. They often don’t like what they see on the screen, remember something better, and know what buttons to punch to get what they want. A two year old visited my quilting group. He should have snuggled on his grandmother’s lap to get secure then venture to close ladies, run back for grounding and to be cherished then venture further. He never looked up for two hours let alone got off his chair as he stared at a screen.
We hold and cherish our babies. As kids get older they explore more and more of their world but in these years they need to be cherished more not less. Its rough out there. Here’s thinking ahead. By the time we say to our kids, “I don’t want to be bothered by you. I’m important you’re not,” our children will feel so comfortable REprograming the nanny devices that we’ll put them in driverless cars to take them to school and they’ll go to a gang meeting instead. Someplace where they will have a valued place and be of value. Now the picture below looks different to me. nancymauerman.com
You Deliver Unmarried Children You Can’t Be Buried Here – Framed