Here’s my new painting “Pink Cross” I finally completed late this May 2020 just before the world erupted. It was inspired by a pen and ink and went through several changes, since I kept changing the colors. I just couldn’t get it right. In each attempt there was something I learned and some color or effect I kept. Originally it was called “Gallery of Miscreants,” however the color changed the meaning fairly substantially. Now I don’t know what it means to tell the truth except they aren’t necessarily miscreants, rather perhaps its a family, whether one’s personal family or simply the family that is called Humanity. And is one’s family a “cross” we each must bear? perhaps to enjoy even so. So interesting what goes on. I certainly didn’t consciously choose pink, golden yellow, baby turquoise blue and lime green, but they chose me…
I am finally beginning a new series about the effects of radiation from Hanford etc. from a personal child-like point of view. Here I am falling through a trap door into the waiting arms of Pluto (God of the Underworld–and of nuclear radiation) with my cat falling with me at my side.
I am still planning to put in some shading etc. Otherwise I think this new 2′ x 3′ acrylic painting is close to done.
The pink represents invisible radiation that blanketed the area outside of the Hanford Nuclear Reservation the night of December 2nd and 3rd, 1949 — including where we lived in Walla Walla, Washington. Apparently it rained when it wasn’t “supposed to.” Twice the amount of radiation was released than they had originally planned. I have read they secretly released between 8000 and 12,000 curies of radioactive iodine–and that this was not the only “green run,” i.e., where green uncured uranium was used at Hanford. The scrubbers for the effluent were turned off at night for 12 hours. It was part of the Cold War race for nuclear superiority with Russia.
There was no notification to the locals so none of us knew about any of this, and thus we did not know we needed to protect ourselves. It wasn’t discovered until years later when mention of the “green run” was found inside mountains of paper-work that was given to an enquiring reporter from Spokane (Karen Dorn Steele). The paper-work was supposed to prove Hanford had nothing serious to hide. As it turned out, it was far more serious than anyone ever thought.
Now I realize my recurring dream of falling through a trap door was my child self representing what actually happened. After being a very healthy baby, at age 4 months (coincident with the Green Run) I suddenly became severely ill with pneumonia for close to a year.
Eventually I was taken to the hospital and put in isolation to figure out what could be done. I was given special treatment since my parents were local celebrities for their work as archaeologists finding and carefully uncovering Fort Walla Walla. I was taken off gluten, sugar and milk fat, plus given gamma globulin for my “failure to thrive.” Fortunately I bounced back! Much later I learned that some of the Chernobyl victims were also given gamma globulin and often special diets. Like me, they got better.
It makes me sad to think of all the other babies who could have been helped like me, but weren’t. Quite a few ended up in the cemetery. Babies are a lot more sensitive to radiation than anyone else. Clearly we need a new paradigm where the health of the Earth and those who live on it needs to come first rather than continuing a focus on an insane arms race that forgets we all live together on a fragile planet.
This makes me think of the continuing problems at Fukishima and, similar to Hanford, how real news coming from there is largely suppressed. And the very real threat of bringing back the Cold War–or a hot one, possibly started in the Middle East ,rather than focus on how we can restore our ailing planet.
Meanwhile, here in Washington at the Hanford site, problems with the clean-up continues to be a sore point. The numerous open radiation pits, leaking cannisters and the fact spent fuel rods are stored just 400 feet from the Columbia River, leaves us open for trouble. I wish it would all just go away, but it looks like Hanford’s old demons will stay with us for some time.
I will be participating in the Clark County Open Studios in Vancouver, Washington (just across the river from Portland, OR) this coming November 11th and 12th, 2017: here’s my page for the event featuring some of my art: http://www.ccopenstudios.org/portfolio/beatrice_garth/
You can find the general information of what Clark County Open Studios is about, the artists involved (including me) and an art map here: http://www.ccopenstudios.org
This info. includes instructions on how to get to my Open Studio just across the county line in Vancouver, near Minnehaha and 68th–not far from I-5. My studio is on a slight rise with fairly good parking.
Besides painting on paper and canvas I will also be including some of my ceramics:
This is my new canvas painting I am working on. It is inspired by an extremely small painting on watercolor paper I did back in San Jose (about the size of a large card).
The idea is that she will probably be wearing pink and black, and likely has dark skin. Though all this could change depending…
Obviously I am still working on the cat!! This time it won’t be brown. It will be a contrasting color… And yes I want the cat to feel alive with movement!
I often like to make an underpainting like this before I go ahead and paint the whole thing in color with all the shading, contrast etc. This way I make sure I get the composition worked out in a simpler state rather than have to remake the whole thing if I didn’t get it right.
I finally finished my acrylic painting on canvas: “Legs Like Vines or The Dilemma of Venus.”
December was not an easy month for me, but I have come out of it feeling renewed. This painting is symbolic in some ways of that renewal, and certainly of my commitment to continue making other paintings!
This painting was in some ways an experiment to see if it might work for me to use geometrics and color more boldly in a painting. In some ways I was borrowing from some techniques I used in ceramics–such as making the rug square rather than recede into the background. I believe it really worked!
The painting expresses in many ways the dilemma between the male and female principle, as well as the continued attraction. Women are on the rise despite the outcome of the last election. Yet we continue to be entangled with men, who up until recently have been acting in many ways as our oppressors despite our love for them. It continues to be a tricky situation.
My next step is to finish this other painting I have called “The Music Genie.” My plan is to finish it and then finally connect with some galleries here in the Portland area.