Sunday, March 30, 2014

Marilyn Monroe icon, oil and encaustic

This is the third posting from my Modern Icon Series that I made 10 years ago using encaustic over oil and carving through the encaustic to reveal the under colors.

Marilyn Monroe is still worshiped as a goddess of beauty, sexuality and vulnerability. The center panel contains a black and white pencil rending of Marilyn's face and hands, making her appear even more remote and other-worldy. Although she is portrayed in a typical Madonna pose, there is no baby. As with all of these icons, I researched the life stories of the star of each icon; what they symbolized and their personal stories. It was reported that even though Marilyn Monroe claimed she desperately wanted a child, both time she became pregnant, she refused to stop drinking and taking drugs, which probably produced her miscarriages. 

The left panel hold Joe DiMaggio as an angel. Di Maggio was her second husband and did mot want Marilyn to continue playing her sex symbol roles in the movies. He would have her be just Mrs. DiMaggio. though they had little in common,  after their divorce he continued to love her. It has been reported that his last words were, "Now, I will see Marilyn again." I have shown him in a welcoming pose; remaining loving and receptive.

Arther Miller, Marilyn's third husband, is portrayed as an angel who is hold up his hand as if to say, "That's enough Marilyn!" Their tumultuous marriage was irreparably damaged by Marilyn's increasing erratic behavior and heavy use of drugs.

The back is painted just in encaustic. Because of Marilyn's desperate need to be a star, there is a large sun-like star surrounded by many smaller stars.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jackie Icon, oil and encaustic

Here is the second one is the series of "Modern Icons".

I made these double triptychs in the year 2000 using oil and encaustic. I painted the figures in oil. (This was before I figured out how to paint figures in encaustic.) I then carved through the encaustic to reveal the colors or gold leaf underneath.

Jacqueline Kennedy Onasis was another women the country turned into an icon. Gold upon gold surrounds the image of Jackie O. My research into her life portrayed her as a woman to whom money was of utmost importance. Her poise and regal manner echoed her education, style, and breeding. Jacqueline spoke several languages and understood the importance of the arts. She was one of the first persons in the white house who wished to bring the visual, musical and performing art into the presidential home and to the American people.

On the right panel, we see Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of beauty and and good fortune blessing Jackie with great abundance and lasting beauty. The left panel is the goddess Kali, the representative of death and rebirth who signifies the dark contrasts that plagued Jackie's life.

After the serene and balanced front of the icon, our senses are shaken with the bloody and rather dreadful back. Here I have collaged images of Jackie's life starting with her as a pampered child; the inauguration of John Kennedy, Jackie's in widow's mourning, all the Kennedy family, her children and finally Onasis. I covered the collaged images with red and pink encaustic giving the impression of blood.

detail of icon

Monday, March 24, 2014

A special sale

Yesterday, I held my open studio, once a year sale, and a dear friend bought a piece that I thought I would never sell, because of all the work that went into the series, "Modern Icons" .

I will be posting more of them as the days go by.

Each one took many weeks of study, investigation and art making. After collecting all the information on each icon, I cut the separate panels out of solid birch. I then painted the figures in oil with encaustic over many of the areas. Using a sharpened chop stick, I made intricate carvings into the encaustic to reveal the underneath colors and create pattern. The backs of all of these icon continue the message.

Aunt Jemima was the star of this sold icon. Here is her story;

Most Americans are familiar with Aunt Jemima. She has been called "The Slave in a box"; a painful America icon that represents the most demeaning and racist chapters in American history.

"Whites gave us this image", explains Marilyn Kern-Foxworth, whose book on how blacks were portrayed in advertising, takes a critical view of Aunt Jemima; "They made her very dark, very obese, and they put her in the kitchen"

One if the great myths of slavery was that black women were either Jezebel or Mammy, or both. There were both a harlot and the mothering old Aunt Jemima. Of course these women were not authentic. They were stereotypes. They were myths created by these "poor" white slave owners that used their sexual cravings for these black "harlots" to justify their lustful behavior. The white fathers claimed no fault when mixed race children were born to these "Jezebels". 

The women who portrayed Aunt Jemima were part of a tradition that dated to 1893, when  former slave named Nancy Green greeted visitors to the World's Fair in Chicago. Green cooked, sang songs and told tales of the Old South, while reportedly serving more than a million pancakes and helping generate more than 50,000 orders for the pancake mix. That was followed by tours across the United Sates and Canada until her death in 1923.

The character's legend holds that Aunt Jemima had been a slave on a fictional Col. Higbee's plantation. A typical magazine ad from the turn of the century shows a heavy set black cook talking happily while a white man takes notes.

In a broader sense, says Kern-Foxworth, this type of depiction had been stifling to blacks for many years, because it was about the only image of a black woman that was ever seen in the mainstream media. The message it reinforces, says Kern-Foxworth, is that" black women belong in the kitchen, or in their master's bed".

On the sides of this triptych, we see Aunt Jemima's angels; Rosa Parks, the woman who changed a nations' history by sitting down for what she believed in and refusing to give up her bus seat. On the other side is a Masai bride; proud, beautiful and strong.

On the main panel of the back of this icon features the Black Madonna. It is known that the iconography if Isis (who is often portrayed as black) and her son Horus was basically adopted by Christians when they started to portray Mary and Jesus as mother and child.

Among the important black women also pictured on the back of the icon is Josephine Baker in La Revve Negre. She received the Legion of Honor in France for her work in the resistance.

Ida Weel-Barnett, 1862 - 1931, was a relentless campaigner against  racial lynching. She was a predecessor of Rosa Parks in 1884, when she refused to give up her train seat. She became a journalist in 1891.

We also see Althea Gibson, tennis star, born in 1927 and Bessie Smith, singer, 1895 - 1937.

I have included a few of today's powerful black women: Marian Wright Edelman, the founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund; an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional career, Whoppi Goldberg, Ophra Windfrey and Maya Angelu, none of whom could be confused with an Aunt Jemima.

Across the top of the back panel I carved a quote from the Song of Solomon.  "I am Black and I am Beautiful"

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The annual open house this Sunday

                                                                                Dynamic Silence                   
                                                             Open house highlighting new encaustic paintings 
                                                              by Ezshwan Winding and  Cynthia Hamilton    
Cynthia Hamilton


                                                                      Sunday, March 23 1 pm to 5pm
                                                  Fray Pedro de Gante 31 & 33, Col. Independencia,

Not only do these 2 artists live in adjoining homes, they are mother and daughter and both create their
uniquely individual art using the ancient technique of encaustic. They use the encaustic medium very
differently, allowing the viewer to experience the alchemy that lends itself to a dynamic relationship
between the artist creator and her medium. This technique of molten bees wax, tree resin and pure pigment has captured their passions for more than 15 years. Though their artistic directions differ, their artistic messages suggests a gentle silence; a silence that is not passive but opens the viewers’ awareness.

Ezshwan’s newest series is figurative: women in a contemplative state. Cynthia’s soft colors and layering take the viewer deep into profound peace. Both artists invite you to visually enter the embrace of the luminous layers of wax.

Cynthia Hamilton studied art in Florence Italy and learned old masters’ techniques of working with wax. She has exhibited her art in San Francisco, Chicago and Mexico. The medium of encaustic allows her to fuse and unify bee culture with personal stories. “ At first what intrigued me the most about the technique was the prolific and balanced creation of beeswax. I wanted to start from there; the bees, the source.” Hamilton's work reveals a narrative into the profound analogy that humans share with bee society. She addresses her medium with respect and as a reminder to our connected livelihood and cultures.

Cynthia lives in San Miguel and San Francisco. Hamilton is very clearly on a path of development of her own personal language and style.

Ezshwan Winding began exhibiting her paintings over forty years ago, starting in U.S. galleries and
continuing with shows in Spain, France and Italy. Ten years ago she moved to San Miguel and has had many successful one person show in Mexican galleries as well as teaching over 86 classes in the encaustic technique, both introductory and advanced, to hundreds of other artists and non-artists in her home studio

Ezshwan’s classical training allows her to move from figurative encaustic to abstract. She said, “I love the physical demands of working with hot wax and resin, and am continually challenged by the expanding possibilities. After careful calculation, I realized I have spent seventeen thousand hours just making encaustic art. By now, I feel I can answer all my students technical questions, and I still want to continue experimenting with this technique”
Ezshwan and Cynthia invite the public to view their home galleries, see a working encaustic studio, and enjoy at least a 20% discount on all art for this day only.


Saturday, March 15, 2014

Kai Winding

It is almost 31 years since my husband died. I still miss him.

This was the last time I saw Kai perform. Thousands of Japanese fans in the audience.I was sitting on the steps to the stage, sketching, when Kai turned around to smile at me.

After a jam session with Chuck Manngione
Many people have asked about Kai.  I found a good summary of his life on line:  

If you are interesting in reading my memoir : 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I haven't posted in quite a while, because I was on a fabulous vacation in Guatemala for 2 weeks. I am still working on putting the photos together, but in the meantime here is one shot taken of me saying farewell to Lake Atitlán. The reason I have been so busy since I got back last week is because I am getting ready for my annual open house.