“This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” has everything to do with pandemonium.
Cats are agents of chaos. Disruption. Destabilization. Havoc.
They act out their desires to sow confusion and disorder. They advance their agenda by exploiting vulnerabilities within the system.
Be on the lookout for destruction of property, gambling, cheating at cards, setting sofas on fire, stealing and burning money, reckless driving, missing walls, flaming birds and toying with the occult.
The cat sitting on the money is Milo, our cat. He escaped the house last year and thrived among the coyotes. In family lore, he’s become The Coyote Boss. Also, he picked up some bad habits.
The ouija board was my mom’s. She had a connection to the paranormal. It was the best kind of bedlam to get out the ouija board with mom. I do not allow cats to play with it.
I arranged the players and objects into a horizontal oval, implying a counter-clockwise cycle. Bad cats is a never-ending story that happens over and over, a loop you can’t leave.
We might encounter chaos agents on a greater and more consequential scale. The cat pandemonium serves as a stand-in for your quandary of choice.
I began “Lazy River” with a small section of a landscape painting by Alexandre Calame from about 1830. I painted a broad, slow river with reflections in the foreground and golden haze in the background. I grew up on the Missouri River in Montana. I love a beautiful river.
I floated teacups sitting in inner tubes down the river. The right front teacup belonged to my great-great grandmother. The back left teacup is from the Rijksmuseum, from about 1760.
I have 980 photos of bears. I wanted the picture to have a storybook quality. We all grew up with stories with bears in them. I went with bears.
It was Camp Build-a-Bear at my house. Thanks to the many bears who posed for photos over the years, I can use an assortment of bear bits and bear pieces to make just the bear I want.
To keep the picture from being too sweet, I floated a young woman dressed for a pastoral festival down the river. Her eyes are locked with the front bear’s. She can hold her own while floating downriver with bears in fragile teacups.
I chose the title “Lazy River”. It’s a lazy river kind of picture, but the title is ironic because of the wariness between the two front characters and what might happen.
I flew a magpie across the picture and added dragonflies over the water to make the river more alive and also to add a triangle to the composition.
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