Negative space

Today my new eight year old existential friend paid me a studio visit.  She carried on a lively conversation, told  a few jokes, and then, very seriously asked   “so, how is your life?”  It gave me a moment’s pause.  I answered her with the seriousness the question deserved.  I told her “my life is joyous”.  End of discussion. The day before she had told me that being in her new third grade classroom felt like “being in another world”.  I guess, when you grow up with the Aegean as your background you think in those terms.  As an artist I’m …

The Creative Life

When I was growing up, in Huntersville, North Carolina, the kids in the neighborhood all claimed one treehouse. It was actually maybe three boards, nailed across a forked Sycamore branch hanging parallel to the ground. The host tree was immense and beautiful with its outsized leaves and white skin. We would collect there, suspended over the creek that threaded through our neighborhood,  known as “the Pasture” because that was what it had been. Back then I was transfixed by the movie Swiss Family Robinson — mostly because of the house they fashioned in a tree. I loved the family’s ingenuity …

Into the Swamp

I have been measuring time, for the last couple of days by how long it’s been since I was in the swamp. I tell myself this morning–two days ago I was waking up in the swamp– to attempt to connect this life to that one. The swamp was so dreamlike it takes some effort to believe I was there. This week I was a lucky participant in a canoe trip up the Roanoke River Estuary with biologists from the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and a representative from the Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program. Our destination was a site deep …

ID:entity Self: Perception and Reality

I stepped out of my comfort zone and into the future when I visited CAM Raleigh last weekend for the opening of ID:Entity at the Contemporary Art Museum of Raleigh. The exhibition features interactive work by artists and faculty associated with the NC State University Departments of Art+ Design, and with the Ph.D. program in Communication, Rhetoric and Digital Media. I was there, particularly, to see a piece by my oldest son, David Millsaps. David is a digital media consultant and interface designer and over the past several years has created several large scale digital works of art either alone …

Art Home

Last night I had three dreams about houses.  This is not uncommon.  I often dream about structures and cubic spaces and the things that go on in them.  One of my dreams was oppressive.  In another my mother appeared and I asked her for advice.  The last one delighted me so much that I was still flashing back to it over breakfast.  In it  I was standing in a room, looking through a big square window at the glint off the water and the trees outside, when the view began to move, and I realized it was a floating house, …

In memory of a best friend

This was published a year ago under the title “Beth”.  It recounted a wonderful friendship.  Yesterday Beth began her journey into the great mystery, from complications of a 15 year battle with breast cancer.  Her place in my heart is secure.  She travels now, inside me, and many others. Beth is one of my friends from college days.  She’s been there with me through a lot of interesting experiences.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding.  She is godmother to my middle son.  She and I have stood before thousands of paintings and talked about what we saw.  We have …

lost shelter

Driving by my house on the way from school to an appointment I was shocked to see that the oldest tree in my yard had come down in Wednesday’s hard winds.  The trunk still stands, but the yard is filled with the top,  limbs larger than most mature trees. This oak had been struck by lightning 40 years ago, and hit squarely by a truck in the late 70’s, in a brutal accident that killed the driver.   It had survived Hurricane Hugo eighteen years ago, losing a giant limb, but it stood otherwise intact.  Its six ancient  companion oaks had all toppled …

Beth

Beth is one of my friends from college days.  She’s been there with me through a lot of interesting experiences.  She was a bridesmaid in my wedding.  She is godmother to my middle son.  She and I have stood before thousands of paintings and talked about what we saw.  We have looked at the ocean together for hours with or without conversation.  Not since Chapel Hill days have we lived near one another, but that hasn’t kept us from staying connected.  Some of my favorite Beth memories are from the times she lived in Maryland near DC.  We would sometimes …