|Cindy P Gates, Artist||
Hi, Nancy! I told you it would be easy to find! Little did you know you would be looking at yourself! I tried to find a picture of us when we were little. You know the ones...we wore the same dresses (poor you) and shiny black patent leather Mary Janes. Poor you again. I always thought it was cool, but I imagine it was awful for you since you were five years older. So sorry. OR I was going to find a picture of us sitting like perfect little girls on the couch, speaking only when spoken to, observing, passing glances. OR I wanted a picture of us hiking in the Sierras with our backpacks and baseball caps and high top tennis shoes when it was NOT cool for girls to wear ball caps and Converse. But what I really wanted was a picture of us stealing to Emingers to buy Big Hunk candy bars when you got your drivers license! Alas, all I had were pictures of us from last summer. I cropped myself out. Do you notice the warm glow on the right side of the photo. Our sun was shining brightly that day, wasn't it? I love that "sun" of ours. When I put this picture up, I noticed the tiny chain, the same chain that encircles my left wrist, the chain that binds us together when we are apart. I love you, Nancy. Thanks for all you do. Frab! Oh, and look at my day 9 photo below!
I love this clay house. My son made it when he was about six. I used to bring art projects into the school, and this was one of the projects we did. I love how the windows are all crooked. I like to imagine his six year old hands working hard to make this piece. It hangs on the wall in my kitchen by the sink. I look at it every day. Now his hands are twenty-seven years old...but I can still see them as they were when he was a little boy who tried to make square windows in a cold slab of clay.
This week I am on an art theme. Last weekend, I grabbed my camera, my trusty Canon, and took pictures all over the house of art on my walls. Lots of it is work my children made. The piece on the left is a cardboard sculpture that Sophie made in kindergarten. She's now 23, so the piece is pretty old. I still love it. The sculpture is right by the foot of my stairs, and I look at it each day when I go up and down. It is three dimensional. Sophie took cardboard and folded it so it comes out in space. I love the way she painted all the polka dots, especially that there is one piece that is painted black. I am always amazed how children are so free with their art. If I were to get a bunch of pieces of cardboard and was told to make a sculpture, I'm sure I would overthink the project. Sophie just slapped this all together with glue, threw the paint on it, and...voila! It's art!
These are pictures painted by my husband's aunt, Miki. She used to paint all over California, but she especially loved to paint the Big Sur coast. These paintings were given to me when I saw my family. They are all unfinished. I love that part of them. I can see her brushstrokes and her dabs of paint. Just knowing that her gentle hand guided the brush makes me happy. I also love that the three paintings all have the same colors. The bottom picture I took was of two of them, one on top of the other. When I looked at this picture of mine, I noticed that the sky of one blends into the other. It is a strange photo. You can tell the second picture down is unfinished when you look at the top left corner. Miki didn't finish putting the blue of the sky over her pink base layer. I love that these are not perfect! (My baby Buddha is nodding in approval!)
I've realized in these postings are taking a sentimental twist. Today's (actually, it truly is Sunday) picture is highlighting some artifacts I have at my house. My husband comes from an illustrious family. His great grandfather, Frederick T. Gates, handled all of Rockefeller's philanthropy and was responsible for getting the University of Chicago on its feet. At Thanksgiving, my husband's aunt brought a wooden case filled with coins and medals. She married into the family. Bill's uncle passed away a year ago, and our adopted aunt is now cleaning up many years of family artifacts. While she honors them, she wants those of us close to the family roots to have these precious things. We have become the repository of all things "Gates." I am proud to be the custodian.
This picture is a sample of the medals that reside in a beautiful wooden box our dear aunt Yvonne brought to us. You will see more of the coins and medals in the future. I love the colors and shapes. Many of them come from other countries. We have no idea where they came from or to whom they belonged. We just know that they are part of the Gates family legacy. There is definitely a research project here. Look at the sheen of the ribbons. Look at the variation of the star shapes. Look at the beautiful colors.
Today we took down the Christmas tree. This wooden chickadee always sits at the top. During the rest of the year, it is perched on an antique plate rack in my dining room. The chickadee is special; it reminds me of my father.
Dad's favorite bird was the chickadee. When we lived in the Southern California mountains-Big Bear Lake, to be exact-chickadees entertained us. My father, at aged 45, was stricken with a debilitating disease called Zollinger-Ellison Syndrome. We almost lost him. I was fifteen, and after his diagnosis, I had to become the "man in the house." When we knew that Daddy would make it for awhile, we encouraged him to sit in the sun and watch the chickadees flit around the pine tree that defined our front yard. The tree was a hundred feet high, clearly one of the tallest trees in the area. One year, Dad built a birdhouse for the chickadees, and every year after, we watched families come and go. They were such fun to watch. Some would walk upside down on the underside of branches, while others would sing their songs and fly around Daddy (who wore a hard helmet to protect himself from the squirrels who threw pinecones down at him). After my father died, I found this wooden chickadee which now holds a special place for me. It is the way I invite my father to celebrate the holidays with me.
Merry Chirstmas, Daddy. I love you.
I took this picture last September out at the Georis Winery way out in Carmel Valley. I am fascinated by the place. There is art everywhere! The first time I went, I forgot my camera. I was so disappointed. Even the chicken coop is a work of art! The stones that make up the walls are like waves in the ocean. This is a picture of a space that defines the border between the house patio and the vineyard. I love to take pictures of textures and use the microfocus on my Canon to catch the imperfections that give items character. I also was interested in the contrast of color, the cool colors of the iron and the warm colors of the stones. More of my photos from my recent trip there will show up in this project. Walter and Sylvia Georis are incredibly creative people, and I thank them for opening up their winery every year so that we can take in the wonder of it all.
The winter morning sky was a canvas for clouds that scattered like dabs from a paintbrush. I love how the sky moves from deep blue at the top to white in the distance, while the clouds move from dark grey in the distance to white in the foreground. When I was a graduate student in art, I became interested in the interplay of colors when placed next to each other. I love how colors change because of their surroundings. This morning picture reminds me of those days when I used to cut out ColorAid paper and study the work of Joseph Albers.
Today's picture is a tribute to a great man. Jose Fernandez was the father of two of my students, Carla and Jose. He was a dedicated father, a Renaissance man in every sense of the word, and one of the most interesting people I've ever known. When Jose asked a question, he wanted to know the answer. He would look me straight in the eye; I always knew Jose listened. One day he came to my class to find me after school. He had a big grin on his face. "Cindy," he said. "I was on a plane to New York, and I figured out an anagram for your name." I was curious. "You won't believe this," he continued. "It's STAY TEACHING!" Sure enough. Cynthia Gates=Stay teaching. Now, whenever I find myself exhausted from grading papers and prepping for class every single weekend and I'm on the cusp of retiring, Jose's words fill my head. I'll miss you, Jose. I didn't see you often, but you've always sat sweetly in my heart. Thank you for your kindness, for your two extraordinary children, and for keeping me in the game. Fly like the monarchs, my friend.
How lucky am I? This is the view I have from my school. Every day when I get out of my car, I stop for ten seconds and take in the view of Point Lobos. The canvas changes every day. Sometimes I see waves crashing on the rocks, sometimes fog licks the trees, and sometimes the point is muted by gray rain (though not so much lately). Any day, any way, it is one of the most beautiful places in the world.