Monday, September 27, 2010


“I paint self-portraits because … I am the person I know best.”
- Frida Kahlo

In the post modern world, where photography has taken the place of painting as a record keeper of visual imagery and feeling states, Photoshop has usurped the need to invest hours creating a likeness of oneself when, with the touch of a key, bring into existence watercolor paintings, post impressionistic portraits, and images evoking space and time. I can fashion myself in the style of Chuck Close, Andy Warhol, Georges Seurat, the Gorilla Girls, and so on.

This insight has had the effect of expanding the definition of what actually constitutes a self-portrait. and begs the question, aren’t all artistic creations expressions of some aspect of self and therefore, in part or in essence, self-portraits?

(right: Self-Portrait in the Wilderness, mixed media, 2009)

This self portrait reflects the difficulty experienced during my son’s transition into young adulthood. The conflict finds expression in the form of the masculine archetype of a bull, which I attempt unsuccessfully, to contain. The image came to me in a dream: I stood on a bridge that needed to crossed alone. The bull, too heavy to hold, had to be let go in order for the next leg of our journeys to begin. The scene is placed in a temple; a sacred place of transformation.

(left: Heavy to Hold, mixed media, 2009)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MEDITATIONS: Hidden Cities

Transforming the cultural icon of dollhouse from Barbie’s fantasy homemaker abode into a sacred space representing complex interests and parts of Self, was a formidable task. The house is meant to suggest both relic and living archetype; physical manifestation and psychological/spiritual truth. 

 (left: facade, House of Psyche. 2010)


I often dream of houses with secret rooms and hidden spaces. On some level, this parallels my waking life as well as the “rooms” in my psyche. Like most people, I juggle the daily responsibilities of running a household and balancing relationships and work responsibilities. While maintaining a creative practice takes a significant amount of effort and discipline, it’s an endeavor that actually generates energy.

While working on the dollhouse, I had an intuitive feel for which “rooms” would represent the more public spaces and which ones were more privately occupied. While the antiquated exterior was easier to manifest, the interior spaces had a pace of their own. The process of sorting, elimination, and discernment in creating a sense of harmony in space is a process that allows for richness of color and texture while suggesting emptiness and possibility.

In “True Perception”, the scholar and artist Chogyam Trungpa writes:

Harmony has to be related to some sense of lusciousness or richness, That is one aspect of harmony. The other aspect is a sense of spaciousness and openness. The lusciousness almost has the qualities of a Jewish mother: it is plentiful, rich, and there is lots of stuff on the table, so to speak. The openness and spaciousness are like a Japanese home, where things are very sparse. There is no big furniture, no Victorian stuffed sofa, just mats. When you sleep, you sleep with a block of wood or even a stone as a pillow. So true harmony is the Jewish home and the Japanese home put together quite conveniently.

The first room completed was the library (left) which contains miniature hand-made books and maps. The empty chair sits in the middle of the room and contains a book open to a passage in the Koran. My daughter has lovingly coined the term “areas of controlled chaos” to describe the spaces in our home designated for creative activity. While I tend to be fairly organized and enjoy creating “empty” spaces, I find it impossible to generate creative energy in a space that remains too ordered.

(above: details, House of Psyche. 2010)

Friday, September 24, 2010


If the beloved is everywhere,  The lover is a veil… 
– Rumi

I have chosen, in this self-portrait to identify with women who wear the veil. In this detail of Caregiver and Chador (digital composite) there is more hidden than seen; it is unclear whether the subject feels protected or oppressed. Perhaps it is a little of both.

(Detail: Caregiver and Chador, 2010)

Anne Krauss - Arts for the People

Arts For The People was founded as a response to the increasing demand for creative solutions in the fields of Health Care and Education. Creative integrative approaches benefit everyone, promoting a sense of well-being, empowerment, and hope.