Paper Tree

During lunch today one of my students spontaneously suggested that it would be interesting to fashion a tree made entirely out of paper. The interest would, naturally, be tied to the fact that trees produce paper. Her classmates agreed that creating such a tree would be a unique project, while I forced myself to not blurt out some inane definition of irony or post-modernism. After all, such a good idea deserves to remain in a state of imagination for a child. If it ever came to pass that she actually created the tree then she would instantly be labeled an artist and susceptible to all the critical discourse that robs ideas of their purity.


Illustrious Company

The Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) Community Report arrived in the mailbox last week. Flipping through the booklet I ran across my own name, which wasn’t terribly unexpected considering my sale of Interlude to the City of Portland last year, but I was stunned to see who else was on the rather short list with me— Brian Borrello and Storm Tharp! I’ve greatly admired the work of both these artists from the outset of my art studies in Portland. While they are both representational painters they operate at different realms of the conceptual spectrum: Borrello hovers around the decorative simplicity of the botanical specimen while Tharp shovels about in the emotional morass of psychological portraiture. I won’t presume to locate myself in relation to either of them: I’m simply honored.


Ten Months of Goodbye

Pneu passed away on Friday, December 14th, 2007. She had bravely contended with renal failure since the last days of January— putting up with daily injections of fluid to help flush her system, an inconstant appetite, queasiness and fatigue. At the time of her diagnosis we were told it was unlikely she’d see the week through. In classic Pneu style she amazed everyone and comforted us for another ten months. We were so profoundly grateful. . .

Pneu is a legend among cats. Born feral in Atlanta, a mother by one year of age in Oregon, and a skin cancer survivor after relinquishing her ears in California: I’ve never known a cat of such character. She was small but fierce, and as loving towards people as she was disdainful of other felines. Pneu boldly slept in the middle of roads, consistently woke me at 5am for years, and slept, without a note of self awareness, on a hot tin roof for a handful of summers. Even before her death she was the subject of a comic, numerous artworks, and countless stories, but she used one of her nine lives per year to build her mythology.

Now that she’s gone it is easy to dwell on the unfairness of her illness. For the most part she did not suffer and we did our best to make her comfortable as she slowly slipped away. Perhaps the hardest thing is to come home with her name on my lips, only to open the door to an empty house and no greeting. Then I remember that she’s gone and I wonder. I sit and wonder in the quiet. And the whole house is an ache.