Portraits of Self

There is no long trail of documentation that precedes me…no hard drive containing a vast record of digital photographs…who I was…who I am…appearance-wise.  I fear though, that I have left a huge trail of ephemera.  My children likely wish that my footprint was less in this regard.  I have a stack of concert t-shirts, for example…each one worn one time only…I hope everyone will select their favourite and take it, when I’m gone.  The same goes for my ‘vinyl’…each record played once in order to make a cassette tape and then filed in a box.  Why do I hold on to such as this?  Does anyone really know Three Dog Night anymore?

My mother found two photographs in a box taken with a borrowed camera and she swears that they are photographs of me.  Why do I have my doubts?  Here is one of these official baby photos…the only one of two.

I  treasured the paint-by-number of The Last Supper that my father did while stationed up north, so much so that I purchased its contemporary on E-Bay for $9.98…apparently done by someone’s grandmother circa 1953.  I’m glad I have an archive of the original.  (see below)

I’ve always been a pet-lover.  This has been documented also.

Next…proof that I studied ballet, until the teacher explained to my mother that perhaps this wasn’t the style for me.  In retrospect, I could have told her that and saved us both the trouble.

Family…most times one parent was missing from the photograph, depending on who was holding the camera.

School photographs are the best, aren’t they?

Two other portraits were brought to mind by a photographer of my youth, Lorraine.  The first one portrays my ‘earth mother’ days very well.  I made lots of whole wheat and rye bread back then, some loaves more successful than others.  These, always partnered by the community pot of soup.  Mm-mmm!  Lorraine captured my young-woman-walk-through-the-coulees-self exquisitely, me thinks!

The second sitting was with Lorraine when I was about seven months pregnant for my first baby.  I like the ethereal sensibility created with the lighting and the curtain in the window.  I don’t mind publishing the photo here.  Photos in our contemporary world have become far more provocative and revealing.  I think this one is subtle and captures, I think, my sense of anticipation, if not acceptance.  Thank you, Lorraine, for reminding me of these!

Based on this visual legacy, I decided to have my portrait done professionally and it was both entertaining, creative and fun!  Thank you, Jen of Jen Hall Photography!  A great experience and a record of my presence to my life.  Thanks also to Cathy Larsen who built a quilt out of 2006, a year where I documented magic every day for 365 days on fabric.  You are a master at your craft, Cathy, and I continue to this day, to treasure our friendship and your artistry!

Sometimes when I think how good my book can be, I can hardly breathe. Truman Capote

Look at What the Light Did Now

Jen Hall came over to archive some work in the studio.  I’ve been really aching to get a couple of pieces out into the world, one inspired by a  poem by George Bowering (thank you, George)…
 
(a recent letter from George)
Hey, Kathleen,

 
I like your wolf in the snow
and I am glad that my words could have a part in it.
 
Hope to see them in the flesh, or charcoal, or whatever.
 
Well. Hope to say hello in person some time.
 
I am the way and the heavy.
 
  
George’s poetry is so powerful, that to have words of his sent to me via electronic mail also feels like poetry.
 

Thank you, George Bowering

 
and another by Paulette Dube (thank you);
 
Paulette shaped a heart-felt message for me as well, but it stays here, tucked in my heart.
 

Paulette’s Words Take Flight

 
…but, I didn’t want to send the paintings out of the studio until I had them photographed.  I’ve converted my old photo slides to digital recently and I realize that I used to tear out the door, often with wet paintings, in order to meet deadlines.  If I photographed my works, they were haphazard trapezoidal shapes of every variety; they were unfocused and they hardly qualified as an archive at all.  Here would be an example.
 

Poor Quality 😦

 
So now, I have no REAL history of what has come before, to even consider how all of that work influenced this.  See.  This is why I am excited that Jen came to the studio this morning.
 

Jen’s ‘Take’ on an one of my ‘old’ paintings.

 

Photo of taking Photos by Jen Hall

 
 
Little Wings and Feist
 
Hear it like a pounce upon a peak, oh
Look at what the light did now
Bear it like a bounce upon the beak, oh
Look at what the light did now
Land and water and bird or beast, oh
Look at what the light did now
Shiny little band or golden fleece, oh
Look at what the light did now
 
In my will I went ’til it’s wasted
Look at what the light did now
Taste the taste I taste ’til it’s tasted
Look at what the light did now
Bought it like a boast that burly beaming
Look at what the light did now
Got it like a ghost that girly gleaming
Look at what the light did now
 
Like a dead tree that’s dry and leaving
Look at what the light did now
Play it on me with grief and grieving
Look at what the light did now
I would finally fall to pieces
Look at what the light did now
We’ll meet soon as nephews… nieces
Look at what the light did now