Category: a new beginning

Where do the missing pages in books go?

“Pajaro-cu-cu”, today I read this book to Fiona, this old book from my childhood, one of my favorites. I wonder, how did it even survive this long? It’s a book of “Animal Rhymes from Many Lands”, illustrated beautifully with what looks like monoprints. The book was published in 1967, this is the copy I have. We get to a page that has been torn out. The poem beside the missing page is about a horse. I tell Fiona I probably ripped it out when I was a little girl because I loved horses. She asked me “where is it now?” I wondered, where could it be? The ripped-out page of the horse from my childhood book. “Probably was thrown away” I say. Or in a box somewhere hidden away, lost and forgotten. It’s not here, it’s not in my house. I didn’t save it or protect it. Maybe it was left outside in the rain, in the mud. I am surprised at the language used in this book. It’s complicated and rich. It’s diverse and fun. Fiona and I carefully dissect the sentences. It’s especially challenging for Fiona because of her hearing loss. It’s difficult to put the words in context because they are such unusual combinations and ordering of words.

Fox with his sack is on a jog;

He’s taking cabbages to Prague.

Hare, quick before they’re out of sight, Pursues that sack rich with delight-

One for hedgehog, one his own-

He quivers at the thought alone.

Then sly fox speaks, his tail goes flick!

“Come over near, and take your pick.”

Czechoslovakia

Fiona was so tired and not feeling well she went to sleep after this. She hasn’t taken a nap in a long time. Jack is sleeping too. I haven’t been into my studio in too long. I’ve been so busy finishing up my book and setting up my solo show on the days I had a babysitter and the rest of the days the babies have been underfoot, especially Fiona. They haven’t felt well and that’s always tough. I hear one waking now. It feels dark and gloomy today. I need more Pajaro- cu-cu!

Revision:

Revision:

 

My book, “Nap Time Paintings, Thoughts on Motherhood through the eyes of an artist, Essays and Artwork by Jennifer Hynes” is off to the printer. It should be ready in a week, once again available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Xlibris website, The Gallery Show at Fourth Wall during my exhibit, “Never Enough Time”. Get your copy in one of these fine venues. Fresh off the press. Up-dated with a redesigned cover.

I’m drinking a glass of red this afternoon, to warm me up, to celebrate this fine fall afternoon. Wanting to go to the studio, wanting to write, wanting to lay down and watch a movie covered in warm blankets. I only have an hour and half until the kids get home. Still plenty of time. I need to work in my note books. It’s been too long, too much business, not enough making. Time to make and enjoy receptions.

Poop Parenting

Jack calls my name many times, in a row, “Mama”. I am sitting on the floor with Fiona cutting out scotty dogs from birthday bags. I am so engrossed in Fiona and her project I ignore Jack several times. Also, I am annoyed by Jack yelling for me from one floor to the next. “Mama wipe my butt”, he’s not a baby anymore. I hear Jack saying he got poop smeared everywhere. I walk down the steps, see a little piece of brown, “Jack, is that poop on the stair?” I ask. “Yes” he says. I get the cleaner and a cloth. I walk into the bathroom and poops all over the toilet seat, floor, Jacks legs and butt, smudged with poop. The strange thing is I was at the park the other day waiting to use the bathroom. There was a boy in there, a year older than Jack. He took forever. When I went in to pee there was poop smeared all over the toilet seat. I thought the mom should’ve cleaned it. It must be a stage. I can’t believe how much cleaning of poop there is involved in the profession of parenting.

“Feminism” (A piece that was censored during C.E. out of my manuscript) written in May 2017

FEMINISM

 

On the way to Target the other day I was listening to the news, the recent news of Trump and the woman he “Octopus armed” on the airplane. It reminded me of my Greyhound Bus trip  to Wyoming when I was seventeen years old. A guy sat next to me, (which always happened on the Greyhound). We talked during the day, he’s from Detroit, he tells me about the Car manufacturing business, how it’s all getting shut down. I listen in earnest, something I’ve always done. I like listening to what people have to say, hearing their stories. Sometimes men misunderstood this and thought I like them in a sexual way. I got tired of listening at some point, the conversation got boring. As the day turned into night I pretended I was asleep. The guy put a blanket over both of us, slid his hand under the blanket and up my t-shirt and started feeling my boobs. At first, I continued to pretend I was sleeping, I figured he would lay off. I figured I could just let him get a feel and he’d leave me alone. He didn’t let up, he got more into it, he tried to kiss me, he had bad breath. That’s when I finally said “leave me alone”. He was mad, I couldn’t wait till he got off the bus. As a kid growing up I had several encounters like this, which would be classified more as molestation I guess, since they were grown men and I was a child. One time I was in the back of my dad’s pick-up truck, my dad’s friend was laying next to me.  We were laying down with a blanket over us because it was illegal for us to be riding in the back like that. The man reached his hand under my shirt and started feeling my under-developed ten-year-old boobs. I never told anyone.  Another time when I was twelve my mom left me with one of her friends while she went to her class at Grossmont College. He was teaching me racquetball. He stood behind me, spread my legs and stuck his hand up my little green terry cloth shorts my mom brought me back from Acapulco. I was paralyzed. Thank god, my mom came back soon. I went to the bathroom and found a Band-Aid stuck to my butt, it fell off his finger when he was molesting me. I never told anyone.

My mom was a strong woman. She was a feminist. She didn’t raise me in princess outfits or to think I needed a man or that men had any power over me. But I lived like men were above me, like they had power over me. Like the things they did were just natural, a natural human drive. I never thought they crossed a boundary. I thought it was my fault. I erased these incidents out of my mind.

This week I am seeing things in a different light. I am seeing that sexism is so engrained in our society. I wonder how we are raising our girls, the media, the toys they make for girls. The focus on being pretty for little girls, being sexy for women. It’s everywhere, it makes women powerless, even when our mothers are feminists. We need to change our collective consciousness as women, as mothers. As I turned 45 this year I felt a deep change come over me. I don’t know if it is because of all the shit I’ve been through, the soul searching and craziness I went through with infertility. I don’t know if it’s the experience of being a mother, but I finally don’t give a shit what people think of me. More specifically I don’t feel like I need to wear lipstick all the time or a bra. I don’t care if people think I’m old or ugly or un-feminine. I only wish I could have had this confidence when I was a young girl, when I was a woman in her twenties. I can only hope now to instill this self-confidence and self-esteem in Fiona and to raise Jack to be a feminist.

 

Fruition : the point at which a plan or project is realized

Sunday I bring my work to the Fourth Wall Gallery! I am looking forward to seeing all my pieces for “Never Enough Time” in a beautiful Gallery.

Strange how time flies, I say this all the time. But time never stops surprising me. There are a few ceremonial blank pages left in my largest notebook. I am pleased with my Note Books, my paintings and drawings. My WHOLE art show fit in my car! A whole year of my life packaged up. There is Never Enough Time, except sometimes, there is enough time to do the things we want, enough space to devour, enough oxygen to breath. To the last breath, all in sync. Coloring books, pens, blocks, toy cars, a toy shark, and a “Sound Storybook Treasury” surround me. Yesterday Fiona and I went to a children’s book reading at the bookstore that I and The Book Reader enjoyed most. I think I’m gonna make my deadlines, even my Book, “Nap Time Paintings, Motherhood from the Eyes of an Artist.” I can’t wait until I see my new book. It’s gonna be so cool.

Never Enough Time, One Year Ago it Began

A windy fall afternoon, the ground adorned with large light tan fig leaves with rusty tops. Pink and magenta bougainvillea leaves, wispy sticks and thick sticks. Deep red wine. Long legged dark brown spider crawling across the floor in the morning. Yellow school bus, purple sage. Studio full of paint, paint drips, paint splatters, dark, dirty charcoal, paintings, drawings, frags, all contained. Work leaves my studio, graduates, becomes contained in a frame, hangs, is looked at, is bought, is re-hung in a new location. The cycle repeats, spreading an idea, a concept, a mistake, a masterpiece. I remain, for now, to create, to paint, to write, to care for, to love. I circle on through the Fall, through the Winter, through the Spring, through the Summer. One year leads to the next. One years’ worth of work contained in my series “Never Enough Time”. From Autumn to Autumn, from days before Trump was elected. My studio gave me a refuge, a place to react and deactivate my murky days. To bring me back into focus, to work though my feelings and emotions, to come back into being a homemaker, a mother an artist. Practicing becoming me, a full version of me. Artist and Mother and Wife. I look at my work for this show, all together as a group. I have worked hard. I see my growth as an artist, aesthetically, an esthetic that is uniquely me. It’s beautiful and scary simultaneously. It’s my whole self, my innards and outers exposed for everyone to consume. It’s a glass of deep red wine on a late fall afternoon

Women, Are We Our Own Worst Enemies?

Why would a woman tell another woman she shouldn’t have kids because it will ruin her life, ruin her art career, ruin her body, take away all her freedoms? It happened to me, good friends told me I shouldn’t have kids because it would ruin my art career. On Facebook this weekend a thread was started with a question, kids? Or no kids? Versus Art? I can’t remember the exact phrasing. It brought a slew of responses, most of them kid positive, all of them acknowledging women’s “place” in the art world, being less than satisfactory. Men still have the lion share of Museum and Gallery representation and sell their art at a much higher price. But would this have been different if men were the ones giving birth? I wonder. Many women on the thread also made comments about privileged women with children vs. non-privileged women with children, those who married well vs. those who didn’t fair too well on the significant other and single moms. Categorizing women artists with children in a hierarchy according to wealth and circumstance to determine who has the best chance of “Making it” as an artist, which means competing in a male dominated art world. But is that it? So simply defined? Having the ability, time, money, right circumstances to be an artist is only half of it. A person must have confidence, determination, a vision, and work ethic.

Is confidence more the defining factor? Have our women counterparts told us negative things about ourselves, pitted us against each other, making us less confident? Has that stifled our determination to be professional artists and compete in a man’s world?  Has our vision been clouded because of all the comments from other women? A man has NEVER told me if I have kids I can’t be a successful artist, it’s only been women. Has our work ethic when it comes to our own work been side stepped to make more time for cooking and cleaning and wiping butts? We are our own worst enemies. Until ALL women come together and support each other in the art world regardless if we have kids or not, money or not, husbands or not, we will NEVER be able to make headway.

Yesterday I went for a hike with my family. I brought my sketchbook and pens, I brought the same for my almost four-year-old daughter, my son likes climbing on trees, so I didn’t bring one for him. Fiona and I sketched shadows and leaves and cat tails. I jotted down notes on things I want to write about, things I want to paint about. We hiked the whole way around the lake on foot, the first time with no stroller, no back-pack carriers. It was a beautiful fall day, crisp, trees all turning oranges and reds and yellows. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, a family or no family. No one ever told a man not to have a family because it will ruin his life or career. Why are women told they can’t enjoy having a family life? I have a sink FULL of dirty dishes looking at me, the house is a mess, laundry piled up. I have two kids I need to get ready for pre-school, make lunches. I don’t care, things will get done. If I need to write or go to my studio while they are in school and do the dishes later that’s fine. No one, no circumstance can take away a woman’s need to be creative. It’s unfortunate that other women would try to dampen our dreams and desires of being artists because we chose to have children. Remember, Men do not do this to each other. Are we keeping ourselves down by not uniting?