Tag Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown Retablos

Daily Post Photo Challenge: Saturated

These are two of my older retablos–both pretty colorful! Although the retablos were sold many years ago, I found these photos on an old photo disk. The top one is about 5 inches wide, the bottom one probably about 15 inches high.  Click on photos to enlarge.

 

For The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Saturated

Rabbit as Legend in Mexico

The Rabbit’s Navel

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Numerous Mexican legends surround Rabbit, and each object in this retablo depicts one of them. Even the name “Mexico” is derived from Nahuatl words for the rabbit in the moon; and its capitol, Mexico City, is built on six lakes in the form of a rabbitIf you open the box this retablo sits upon, you will find inside a manuscript that conveys the story of the rabbit in Mexican legend and how I was drawn to it. The Aztecs had a legend of 400 drunken rabbits who were the gods of pulque–a drink made of fermented Maguey–the same plant that Tequila is made of. The woman sitting next to rabbit might be Mayahuel, the goddess of Maguey, but it is more likely that she is the Jaina woman explained in the quote below from the book Maya Terracottas.

“Representations of Maya women occur more commonly as Jaina figurines than in any other medium. These Jaina figures represent two kinds of women, both archetypes of female behavior. One is a stately, courtly woman who is sometimes shown weaving; the second is a courtesan who appears with all sorts of mates, from Underworld deities to oversized rabbits. The imagery of both derives from Maya concepts of the moon, perceived as an erratic, inconsistent heavenly body, whose constantly changing character follows the monthly cycle of female menses…
…The second female type is far more active, and she projects her sexuality…she is usually bare-breasted, and she gestures, as if offering herself to others. The demure woman may be painted in various colors, but this one is generally painted blue…Nothing else in Maya art conveys sexuality more convincingly than these figures. Although they may be conceived as the moon goddess and her consorts, they also reflect human behavior. As companions for the dead – perhaps particularly for old men – they seem to promise renewed sexual activity. For the living, such Jaina figurines may have been titillating objects for private observation.” (Schele: 1986, p. 153). Cf. Kimball, Maya Terracottas, p. 23

Since Fandango’s prompt isn’t up yet and I didn’t post to yesterday’s prompt of Legend, I’m doing so now. This is a reblog of a post done three years ago.

The Conveyor of the Moon

The moon, a rabbit, a bottle of tequila and a simple Mayan figure of a woman convey to us many of  the legends of Mexico as well as one theory about her naming.  Eight years ago I created a retablo that conveyed this message, both visually and in a story that resides in a chamber within the box the retablo sits upon.  I sold that retablo years ago, but luckily I have this photo and these words that describe it. In case you missed it last time, here it is again: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/07/11/the-rabbits-navel/

 

The prompt today was conveyor.

Rich Harvest

© Sharon Knight
I saw this photo by Sharon Knight on Sascha Darlington’s blog and knew it was the perfect photo for this poem as well.  Thanks to both Sharon Knight and Sascha as well as dVerse poets, who sponsored this prompt. Like Sharon Knight, I grew up in the midwest and this photo could easily have been taken in my home state of South Dakota, a bit before the harvest time described in my poem.

Details from retablo “The Gleaners.” Painting by Anna O’Neglia, retablo and photo by jdb (Click on any photo to enlarge all)

Rich Harvest

The night that we brought in the wheat,
our weeks of labor now complete,
we raised our voices, beat our feet,
and in that stifling prairie heat,
weary and arm-sore, yet replete
with satisfaction for jobs well-done
earned in the dust and chaff and sun,
we ceased our labors and had some fun.

Hank gave the prim schoolteacher a treat
by lifting her from her safe seat
to move her to the fiddler’s beat.
Soon, her hairpins met defeat,
her wild hair anything but neat,
 and Hank was heard to woo the miss
and then to plant a tender kiss.
She remembers all of this

now that their family’s complete
with Rita, Sarah, and little Pete.
Now every harvest, when you greet
each townsperson you chance to meet,
chances are they will repeat
how Hank brought in the wheat that year
and afterwards, conquered his fear
and dared to call the school marm, “dear.”

The prompt today is treat.

“We Were Framed!” One Word Photo Challenge: Frame

(Please click on first photo to enlarge all.)

 

 

 

 

https://jennifernicholewells.com/2014/01/28/one-word-photo-challenge/

Hide and Go Seek: Thursday Doors, Nov 24, 2016

With men everywhere in the house tiling, it was inevitable that the doors would have to come down. I found my bedroom door “hanging out” in the living room, complete with all its retablos and wall collages. One oversight on my part. I later “saved” all of the art pieces just as they were ready to cut the bottom of the door off with them still intact. Not your usual Thursday Door, I’ll submit!

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This group of efficient young men descended upon my house just as all of the tile layers were getting ready to go home and made short work of removing what doors hadn’t already been removed and cutting the bottoms off 13 doors to accommodate the higher porcelain tiles. And two of the doors were metal! Amazing.

https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/thursday-doors-november-24-2016/

Circus

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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/

More Retablos, Closer Up

More Retablos, Closer Up

These are not the most accomplished photos, but I am so happy at having retrieved them from the bowels of the  “Photos” labyrinth, that I’m posting them.  They are a few of the more formal “Retablo” series that I’ll be displaying  January 31 from 10-3 in addition to the “Found Art” collages I posted yesterday. Since the Art Walk is tomorrow and I’ll be busy (I hope), right now I’m going to go for a walk of my own on the beach and for a swim!  (Click on photos to enlarge.)

Pushing and Shoving: Favorite Quotation

Pushing and Shoving

“If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

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I’m trying to set up for the art walk this weekend, but it is tricky when you are away from home without the usual display materials. I did a photo shoot this morning, but all of the photos mysteriously disappeared after I edited them. Hmmm. This is a quick shot of a display of retablos set up in the bedroom. I need to avail myself of all available surfaces!

I envy people who can throw things together with great flair, but I’m not one of them.  I need to experiment, nudge things around, walk away and come back and have another look, leave the room and walk back in to surprise myself and see if I really like it, seeing it as a stranger of sorts.

When my friend Patty had me come help her arrange things in her new house after her old house blew away in a tornado, she said, “I’m going to have to leave the room while you finish. It drives me crazy watching you fuss!” Ha!!!  I always think of this every time I am pushing things this way and that.

I blame this on my mother.  From the time I was little, we would wait until my dad went to bed and then rearrange the living room furniture.  We’d sit with our backs against big heavy pieces like the piano and push with our legs and backs against the heavy beast to budge it without risking popping a muscle or tendon.  Then we’d sit and survey our work, move one thing or another.  I think my mom in this way made me a collage artist before I even knew the meaning of the word.  It was performance art where we could actually walk around in the assemblage and tug it around.

When I work in the art studio, I usually work on 12 to 20 pieces at a time.  I arrange them, then come back the next day and take out one thing, add another.  Pieces can take a week to come out right or a year–or, after a year I sometimes take them all apart and start over.  I don’t know why a piece finally feels right.  I just know when it does.

Yes, when it comes to art, decorating or setting a table–I think “If a thing is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.”

The same goes for cooking!  If it doesn’t taste right, I just start adding things until it tastes right.  I like lots of flavor in a dish.  Subtle just doesn’t do it for me in either decorating or cooking.

The Prompt:  Do you have a favorite quote?  Tell us what significance it has for you.

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/