I started reading Anne Truitt’s Daybook again. I feel as if I’ve never set eyes on her writing before. Actually Amazon has packaged her three books into one e-reader, so I am wondering if I started in the wrong place. I know I have read at least two of her books.


Back when I was a young artist, which sounds ridiculously mythical, the Ellensburg City library and the world of literature at large did not offer much documentation on female artists. The only other person that comes to mind is Judy Chicago. It would be really interesting to go back into my own journals to see what is the case (Editor: interesting only to you most likely).

In the book I’m reading currently, Truitt is writing from Yaddo at the age of 53. She has just had a retrospective put together with Walter Hopps (I would not known of either Yaddo or Hopps the first time I read the book). As Ken Johnson states below, her writing is indeed graceful and composed.

I can’t help but want to know more though. How does one, a divorced woman with three children steal away to the South West and then go make work in Yaddo? What drove her to start making work in the first place (Wikipedia, trusty Cliff Notes tells me she has a degree in psychology). What were her resources? How did she know David Smith? It is possible that was my route to Truitt as well. I see from Wiki that Clement Greenberg championed her, which makes me finally wish to read the Greenberg book.

So many questions. The truth is most artists are not writers and it is still rare to find a document like Truitt left behind of a daily record of her life. Of course, being one who too writes a journal (some years and decades much more than others), I can see the appeal.

I hope my questions are answered after reading the books.
I think I can appreciate minimalism much more now than I could have when I was first reading Daybook.


Here is Ken Johnson:

A writer of uncommonly graceful prose much admired for her published journals — “Daybook” (1982), “Turn” (1986) and “Prospect” (1996) — Ms. Truitt described her works in psychological terms. In the catalog essay, Ms. Hileman quotes a revealing passage. Recalling her junior year at Bryn Mawr, Ms. Truitt wrote, “I was obsessed with the idea of MYSELF as a citadel, an inner stronghold for which the experience of my life would on the one hand provide nourishment and other the other build more and more intactly.”

This may explain why works that depart from the stele are less powerful. An anthropomorphic, integrative container of the self, the monolith had a personal significance for Ms. Truitt unlike any other form. She added moldings or crosspieces to some works, but those elements only disrupt the unity of the stele without contributing anything very exciting formally or metaphorically. “Grant” (1974), the only large piece that lies horizontally on the floor, has nicely colored bands of mauve and ochre around it and an additional, short plank on its dorsal side for formal variety, but it has none of the imposing impact of the stand-up works.

A World of Paper


[The Fortuny Tent at Pulp Fashion]

Back in the spring of 2011 I coerced my sister into accompanying me to an exhibit at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor called Pulp Fashion. Both of us came to this visit with no expectations and were quite blown away at the exquisite exhibit. Isabelle de Borchgrave is a Belgian artist who works mainly with paper and paint to recreate to scale reproductions of historical costumes. I believe the exhibit at the Legion was the first large scale exhibit of her work in the United States.

Tonight, the Bellevue Arts Museum opens an exhibit called A World of Paper which focuses on  a specific body of work inspired by painter and textile designer Mariano Fortuny. I am very excited to have an opportunity to see the work of this world class artist again.

I have to mention to see this work up close is a bit mind boggling when you realize every bit of it is created from paper. I hope people “go over the bridge” and take the opportunity to visit BAM with their own eyes. I’ll be reporting back on my own visit.

As an aside, for anyone who hasn’t been to the California Palace of The Legion of Honor, it is quite the grandiose pleasure. The location is a bit out of the way, so you feel like you are making a pilgrimage, with a pay out of spending time with the mainly European collection of art. For Hitchcock fans, you might recognize the interior from the famous museum scene in Vertigo.



Oil paint has gotten more expensive than I thought.

Especially for the good colors.

I like Thursday nights. I pour myself a glass of wine and head out to the studio.

I open the oil mediums for the first time in years. That smell makes me swoon. I used the pliers to open a tube of white paint and make a small  drawing. I think I like working from my sketches, so I need to do more of those.


On to Duxbury. I need to check the spelling but I am certain those were the tide pools that we went to in Bolinas this summer.

I remember saying while standing there, ‘these are so gorgeous, no artist should or could try to replicate them’. And then they become the marking moment of the trip and I am now trying to think about painting them. Perhaps they are more about people looking for things in the tide pools. It’s almost a bridge to the Radiolaria I guess, as the sea anemones and what ever else is submerged in there were beautiful. The color was awe inspiring.

The whole reason I know about them and the whole reason I fell in love with Anne Lamott’s writing were these very tide pools. There is a passage in Traveling Mercies that takes place there that I need to have right here:


In August of 1977, Duxberry Reef was green with the crust called lichen, made of algae and fungus; it covered the lava rock like slippery fabric. Lichen is what reduces rock to soil and sand. It was a heathery, sage green.

The tide pools were full of wafting hairline algae and wonderful kelp like emerald green lasagna noodles. You had to be very careful when bending down to inspect the creatures who lived in the pools, or you would fall on your butt. Spikey sea urchinsdug in the crevices of the lava rocks; sea anemones, highly pigmented in August, yellow, pink, deep red, lots of little crabs picking their way through the algae and kelp. The three of us were paying more attention than usual, trying to tether ourselves to the earth, because the world was coming to an end…..that day at Duxberry, pelicans flew so low to the water you’d think their bellies were wet with surf, and there were hundreds of seagulls, cormorants, Arctic terns, geese and ducks and egrets and herons.

Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies, Lichen. (here is the original Salon article that sold me on Lamott)


I still haven’t written about Diebenkorn. That trip was too, surreal, and I think is going to come out in different places when I am not expecting.

I listened to Tyler’s podcast tonight, he interviewed 75 year old Vija Clemmons. It was a heartbreaking. I wish the art world still let people be like her, not quite sure, not quite confident but so genuine. Her art work is beautiful. I am probably a fan of hers because of Tyler. I really enjoyed hearing her talk to him.