“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.”
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!
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.
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
Mom will you drive me to school and pick me up today?” Fiona, age 3″No, today is my studio day” Me
“Why do you have to go to the studio? I don’t want you to go to the studio.” Fiona
“Don’t you want me to be me? I have to go to the studio or I will cease to exist.” Me
In my studio my work begins with my Notebooks, where I’m free to work fearlessly in quick gestures, exploring compositions, line, layering and color. The Notebooks help inform my studio time, my paintings take the lessons learned from the notebooks and move another step forward to figuration. They are often portraits, a psychological merging of self and strangers whom I learn about in the news. People who are facing unbelievable tragedies, war, mass shootings, and natural disasters. They are also self-portraits of my family–the sound of a child’s laughter. And, yes, the chaos of a temper tantrum. And the Sadness I can’t process outside the studio. Life can be very sad. Maybe the studio is therapy. Or a refuge? Maybe my work can give a viewer refuge from the world? I feel I never have enough time in my studio, but maybe I do have just enough time, because without it I would cease to exist.
The misconception of mothers as “hobby painters” gets under my skin; that is not me. I was an artist before I was a mother. I have never stopped making and I have never given up the dream of having a solo show. I am proud to have my first, “Never Enough Time”, at The Fourth Wall Gallery in Oakland, California.
“Don’t have kids” I was told. “You can’t be a serious artist and have kids”. My legs got weak. My friend said the teacher of the art class and she were talking about me, that I shouldn’t get pregnant, I shouldn’t have kids. That I was a good artist, if I had kids I wouldn’t have time? Be taken seriously? This was right at the beginning of me trying to get pregnant. Years later, right before Jack and Fiona were born, I was turned on to a fabulous artist by one of my teachers. She lent me his catalogue. I took it and read it. He did wonderful paintings and studies. He did travel diaries which he worked on abroad for a year. I read he had kids and I became obsessed about who took care of the kids. It was the wife. She stayed home and took care of the kids while he went on a yearlong painting residency in a tropical rainforest. Is that why I was told women artists who are also mothers can’t become serious artists because it would be difficult to pick up and leave the children when they are young for a year to do a serious yearlong art residency? Or that we can’t just work in the studio all day long. We have responsibilities in home. Why can a woman have a full-time job and be a mother, but not be a serious artist? Why did my friend and my teacher tell me this? I looked through a book last night, a survey of contemporary painters. There are several women in the book, and it’s filled with top notch paintings. I read through the writings about the different artists. I noticed no one mentioned children, having children, how domesticity has influenced their work. There are a lot of fiber arts that deal with subjects of domesticity, but it’s mostly a direct connection with a material used in domestic products; fabrics, yarn, embroidery, wool, using these materials in new and interesting ways. My work uses traditional picture making materials, paint, paper, glue, charcoal, pastels, canvas, wood, the printing press, even my Nap Time Notebooks are in traditional sketchbooks. But my identity as an artist has been very influenced by my childhood, my relationship with my mom and her death, parenthood, wifehood, domesticity. It’s filled with memories through color and line. Raising children is emotional, my work is emotional. Was their critique of me having children saying I didn’t have it in me to do both? I wouldn’t work hard enough, or I didn’t want it bad enough? I remember my mom telling me I would never be able to be a serious artist because I would never be able to spend hours alone in my studio. After my declaration of becoming an artist she found out that she was wrong, that I did have it in me to spend countless hours working in my studio. Thank God for the women in my life who said, “Go for it”! Have kids and be an artist. Thank you, Ladies! It wasn’t easy, making time for my studio after Jack and Fiona were born. But I did it and I wrote a book about it too.
Jenny Hynes , My new web site I made myself on WIX. Just a week ago I never imagined I would be able to create my own web site just how I wanted it. I did it, I learned how. I am so proud of myself. It still needs some additions but Its a great start.
My book is almost ready too and all my paintings are framed for the show! I would celebrate but I got Jacks cold. I have a half hour left until I’m back on mom duty. I’m going to try to take a nap.
Today is a studio day. That is something to be VERY HAPPY for! I don’t have a crappy job. I’m writing and painting and being a super groovy mom. On Face Book a friend posted she wanted to hear some good news (it’s been depressing lately for so many of us). Ones who care about humanity. We all agreed on Coffee! That was one of the best things in life! Anyhow it altered my consciousness just being part of that conversation. Even though things are very glum right now.
I’m sitting down to have lunch. I flip through my red journal, I read the first entry 12/16/03. I notice I have stopped putting dates on things. I wrote, Happy Birthday Mom! Then I talk about how “Today I hate this place more than ever, it is one of the worst environments I could find myself in.” I went on to talk about how I wish I could get a new job. How my manager said to me “People shouldn’t be so jaded and just be happy”. I had a few more journal entries about eating bagels, wanting to lose ten pounds, and my dog Wiggly. Then I quit writing in this journal. I grabbed it the other day to take to the beach. It has a leather cover with a string to tie it shut and blank cream-colored paper. I Sat on the sand behind a large log that blocked the wind coming from the sea. I wrote, “Beach, cold, ice air, Poetry? Beautiful Day. October.” Today I have Navratan Korma for lunch, sit in a quiet house and write. The bit of blue sky peering through the smoke, knowing the fire will be over eventually, having fresh drinking water, a happy family and a good dog makes me happy.