Tag Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown Art

Circus

judy14

This is a piece I did a few years ago entitled “The Circus.”  It deals with that part of us that wants to run away and join the circus.  The porcelain doll has my mother’s face superimposed on it.  Over my mother’s face, I put several layers of Frida Kahlo’s face, peeled off in varying degrees.  Over Frida’s face is a miniature antique paste mask that can be pulled aside or allowed to fall into place.  In her hands are a tiny pair of silver scissors and around her waist is a tiny bag woven of morning glory vines.  She rises out of a toy chest decorated with Loteria cards.  On the chair to her left is a small clown figure with wings.  He is painting a portrait of Frida. Many discarded portraits of her lie crumpled and discarded on the floor. They are all the same. Below him are circus animals and a juggler who have spilled from the pages of a tiny journal that has a story written inside about creativity, sides of the brain, intuition vs. reason and imitation vs. unique inspiration. The overall piece is about the importance of coming from a unique place in ourselves rather than depending upon judgement and imitation. For me, the purpose of art is that experience of going into new realms of ourselves—to allow ourselves to do what most of us couldn’t do when we were young—to run away to join the circus!

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/circus/

Beach Combing

IMG_3577“Beach Sunset” bone, shell, wood, coral, sponge, beach scrub and acrylic paint, 3.5 x 11 inches, Mixed media assemblage by Judy Dykstra-Brown, March, 2016

Beach Combing

I gave nothing to the sea, so she gave nothing back.
It was as though she looked and thought, “There’s nothing that you lack.”
It’s true that I have all I need of food and friends and fun,
and yet I still lack something that’s waiting to be won.

It isn’t gained by medals, by prizes or by fame,
for it is some other thing, bereft of rank or name.
There is some magic in the world that I go looking for
that has no set place where it lives, no windowpanes or door.

I’ve found it once or twice before, in places far afield
by accident, for if you try to force it, it won’t yield.
It isn’t found at parties, a fiesta nor a fete.
If you go looking for it, the magic will abate.

It’s found in how you do things, in what manner, at what pace.
If you reach too quickly, it will vanish with no trace.
I can’t tell you how to gain it, for I fear that I don’t know.
I just know that when I found it was when I was going slow.

Freshly “Found”

Here are a few of the found art wall pieces I’ve just completed.  They are all constructed of material collected on the beach of La Manzanilla during morning walks.

(Click on first photo to enlarge all, then click on arrows to see next photo.)

 

Passing Time

IMG_1162Detra de las Puertas Cerradas (Behind Closed Doors) One’s own living room can become entirely too comfortable. Shutting the drawers to the past may open the doors to the future. (retablo by Judy Dykstra-Brown)

Passing Time

The means of our escape from life are numerous and various,
and there is nothing wrong with getting thrills that are vicarious.
Movies, sports and novels are fine for entertainment;
but if you’re only viewing, there is no sense of attainment.

Looking back on your own life, like opening a book,
isn’t really living life, but just having a look
at the life of someone who you no longer are.
You aren’t really living life by viewing from afar.

Escape is necessary and our choices for it vast,
but there’s no satisfaction in living in the past.
Life is to be spent, not to be hoarded and rethought.
Better just to live the rest of the time that you’ve got!

Fond memories are something that I’m sure none of us lack,
but there’s no time of life to which I’m yearning to go back.
The only thing to do with time’s to live it and to love it.
I have no wish to turn back time, I only want more of it!

The Prompt: If you could return to the past to relive a part of your life, either to experience the wonderful bits again, or to do something over, which part of you life would you return to? Why?
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/if-i-could-turn-back-time/

Reflected Glory

daily life  color048 Version 2

Although the prompt today is to describe my best friend, my best friend encouraged me to write this story instead, so I will honor his exquisite taste in potential stories and do as he says rather than describe who he is. It all begins with a picture.  Well, no, it all begins with a movie, actually.  But, no, I guess that’s more how it ends, so let’s just begin at the beginning.

My story begins in 1985 when I went to a coffee house in Santa Monica, CA for a poetry reading. It was an interesting situation–a dual reading between a local poet I’d never heard read before and his ex-girlfriend who also happened to be pregnant with his child.  Although they had broken up and she had gone back to her estranged husband, the two of them were reading love poetry they had written to each other!!!  Need I mention that it was a packed house?  At any rate, if you’ve read my book, you know that it was love at first sight on my part.  I not only thought he was gorgeous,but his poetry was smart and funny and real and I felt I knew him from the first time I saw him.

A year and a few months later, we were married and moved to northern California where the living was cheaper and where I intended to get a teaching job to augment his early retirement (from teaching) income so he could finally become the full time artist he’d always wanted to be. Prior to moving northwards and actually prior to our marriage, when I experienced writer’s block, the man whose poetry workshop we both attended had suggested that my problem was that I “knew” too much about writing. (I had been teaching literature and writing for 10 years prior to moving to CA to write myself.)  He said the  cure would be to try an artistic discipline other than writing that I knew nothing about–in my case, art.  But I couldn’t draw or paint, I protested. So, he suggested I go to the dime store and buy a bunch of “stuff” and just play around with collage.

So, this is what I did, assembling a half dozen or so collages out the the most unlikely of materials–rubber mice, cut up thin metal jam and butter lids I’d collected on a European vacation, confetti,  paper sculptures I’d cut out of pages of old poems.  I know. Weird.  I remember one of the titles was, “Party mouse wants to come out to play, but can’t.”

Jack, our writing guru, had said to bring my results to show him at the next workshop, but I was embarrassed and so left my collages in the car when I came up to class. When it was my turn to present, he asked if I’d done as he instructed and I admitted I’d left them into the car. “Go and get them,” he directed and because he was our God and because no one ever didn’t mind Jack, I went to get them.  They were well-received, to my great surprise, and one woman who worked in a downtown L.A. gallery even offered  to exhibit them.  No, way, I protested, but I have  continued to do art of one sort or another ever since.

After we moved to the Santa Cruz area, Bob did art full time until his death 14 years later.  I never did get that teaching job.  Instead I studied metal smithing and became a jewelry maker and paper maker.  We made our living doing arts and crafts shows for the next 13 years, each doing our own thing–me, jewelry and him sculpture and ikebana vases–but in addition, we collaborated on art lamps that were constructed from river stones, bamboo, willow, basket making materials and my handmade washi paper.  Some of those lamps are pictured below:

lamps 1

We sold hundreds of these lamps, each one totally unique and although we sold every one we ever made, they were extremely time-consuming and hard to transport. We were not becoming rich, but we were doing exactly what we wanted to and making art exactly according to our own esthetic, not catering to fashion or what would sell. Eventually, I started to make my own lamps as well as doing all of the paper and application of paper for his and continuing to design and make jewelry.

At one show, a man actually came in and bought our entire booth.  Every lamp, ikebana vase and every piece of jewelry!!  That, I must say, was the highlight of our joint careers.

When Bob died and I moved to Mexico, it was the end of my lamp building career. I let each of his kids choose a lamp and sculpture, I saved two lamps for myself, sold the rest, and went on to the next stage of my life.  But, since we did so many  shows in Los Angeles and San Francisco, I developed this very strange compulsion which consisted of looking for our lamps in every TV show and movie that I’ve watched since then.  I had this feeling that one day I would see one of our lamps as part of the set for a movie.

It’s been fourteen years now since Bob died, but, still, my eyes sweep the background of each movie scene.  I must admit I do the same with magazines, and actually, thirteen years ago when I thumbed through an issue of House and Garden that had a friend’s garden on the cover, I suddenly had an overwhelming sense that one of our lamps was inside.  I looked and looked.  Nothing.  Then, I concentrated on a many-page spread of the gardens surrounding a house outside of Santa Fe and when I looked closer, I realized it was the house of the man who had bought out our entire booth in Tucson–so although they didn’t show, the house pictured as the backdrop of the gardens actually was filled with our lamps!!!  I know.  Stretching it, but still.

Anyway, we are about to come to the end of this very wandering tale.  Last night I watched a movie I’ve been putting off seeing for years.  My friend and I had just spent two hours trying unsuccessfully to link my MacBook Air and my Samsung Smart TV.  I was exhausted and decided to just watch Netflix on my computer. Not feeling like scrolling through a hundred different films, I  clicked on “Life of Crime” with Jennifer Aniston.  The movie was actually rather engaging and not the slapstick comedy I had envisioned, and I stayed the course.  And it was in the very last scene that it happened.  As the antagonist female was heading for the bathroom, there on the back wall was what looked like –ONE OF MY LAMPS!!!  Four different times, I got glimpses of it.  When the movie ended (great ending by the way) I replayed the last 5 minutes.  Tried to freeze frame.  Scrunched my eyes up.  Yes!  I was so sure it was one of my own small lamps–not one we’d collaborated on, but one of the first I’d done where I’d done my own design, execution and even the wiring.

Of course, I told my best friend, who happens to live 1500 miles away but whom I talk to at length via Skype each day.  A few minutes later, he Skyped, “Is it this one?” with a perfect screen shot of the  lamp.  Yes, indeed it was.  I remembered thinking I should cover the cord up with something.  I remembered hand drying the paper with a hairdryer so it would shrink over the willow branches.  I remembered binding it tightly with wax linen and spraying it with fire retardant.  I remember making the handmade label and where I tied it on–at the bottom where the willow branches joined.

So, though I may have flaked out and quit the actor’s studio I attended while I was in L.A. studying film production and film writing–running with my tail between my legs as soon as casting directors actually started coming to see what we were up to–there was one of my lamps, bravely rising to the occasion–hanging securely on the wall and facing up to the camera like the star I knew it would one day be. Like a proud parent, I bask in its reflected glory.

It is one of my humble little lamps, non-assuming and plain, but here it is below, for all the world to see:    

Version 2imgo (1)

As well as a few  more elaborate lamps by Bob Brown & Judy Dykstra-Brown made of Stone, wood, handmade washi paper, waxed linen and willow.

daily life  color056  daily life  color053 daily life  color052 daily life  color051

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Born to Be With You.” Got a soul-mate and/or a best friend? What is it about that person that you love best? Describe them in great detail — leave no important quality out.

Cee’s Black & White Challenge: Sculpture, Statues, Carvings

IMG_1367 IMG_1336 IMG_1337 IMG_1343 IMG_1345 DSC08256 IMG_5339 (1)IMG_5377 (1)

 

 

 

http://ceenphotography.com/2015/07/02/cees-black-white-photo-challenge-sculptures-statues-carvings/

Some Sacred Spaces

I asked women about their favorite places.  These Story Boxes are a reflection of what they told me.  Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of my favorite before i sold it.  It was The Artist’s Studio.  These Boxes are all 11.5″ X 8″.

P9090376

The Beauty Shop

P9090367

The Souvenir Shop

P9090365

The Kitchen

DSC00058

Center Stage

DSC00054

The Parlor: A chest of memories substitutes for life: a wedding veil, old love letters, pictures and a solitary bottle of champagne furnish her Saturday night company.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/from-the-collection-of-the-artist/