Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A visit to Cuba from London

The death of Fidel Castro will enormously affect America's relationship with Cuba.   Let's hope that the progress that President Obama has made in communicating with Cuba is not completely destroyed by our resident idiot, because Cuba is so much more important to America than we actually realize.

If you want to know a bit more, from a first hand Cuban, please go read my friend,  Mario Lopez Goicoechea, over at :    He has given a wonderful interview with the BBC World News explaining his experiences and views of his birthplace and how he sees this transition.  As he says, he is a revisionist, lets hope his vision of a Cuba without Castro is the one we all come to see.

Thank you, Mario.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

My best friend

                                                                   Dearest Marley
                                                              November 15th, 2016
                                                           Rest in peace, darling girl.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Brilliance Lost

It's very difficult to do a blog post about someone you Love and have lost.  Especially if they are someone you never really met, never really knew, because how much do we truly know and Love  each other in this blog world? I think we'd be surprised.

This is Ellie, Eleanor Anne O'Connell Decret.  Ellie died on August 30th, 2016.  She died almost to the hour that princess Diana died (US time to Paris time) - and she would have fucking loved that.

Ellie was from Santa Barbara and had been living for many years in Paris, with her French husband, David Decret and her sweet (really) daughter Grace.

I came to know her, again - love/know - feelings in this medium sometimes feel more real, more concrete and certainly more meaningful than some in our tactile world - through her brutal (read that as gut punch brutal) and funny, generous, thoughtful and deeply appreciative writing.  She was a decorator and antique dealer (Cira, her Malibu antique shop), and had the most cutting eye for great design and a zeal for bringing it to the forefront so that others could learn and appreciate. Even through this devastating disease, she kept an online antiques shop and was dedicated to it.  She loved beautiful things and made no apologies.  She wasn't afraid to say the material world enchanted her. Ellie came from what most of us would consider a very posh background and had many connected friends. Not only did she have her shop in Malibu but she also had worked for Assouline (luxury book company) and 1st Dibs.

And Ellie had ALS.

I could speak volumes about her struggle to try to beat this unbeatable disease. About the way she kept her extraordinary sense of humor, truly it was legendary, to the very, very end. Throughout her illness,she was rude and acerbic, impatient and humbled. She sought Gods guidance and strength and she was pissed off when she couldn't get it, which happened way more often than not.  She was fierce in her determination to fight this devil of a disease and relentless in her research and experimentation with diet (she was a junk food aficionado, so that's not easy!)  and meditation and, again, that gob-smacking sense of humor. You could probably hear the laughter ringing around the world (she had over 3,000 readers) every time she got out there and wrote to us.  Everyone fights for something in their life, but not many fight to bloody fingers trying to climb out of darkness, and that's what ALS can bring, because the minute you get it you know you are going to die and it isn't going to be pretty.

ALS moves quick, in six years Ellie was completely paralyzed and barely able to speak.  There where many times when she could not even swallow (a feeding tube was necessary) and towards the end, could not breathe at all without a breathing tube. When she could whisper, she would dictate her blog post. She was relentless in her drive to give to and take something from this world, to connect and express herself. And still she could crack us up with her attitude about all of it.
Ellie had been letting us all know for quite some time that she wanted to go.  And she wanted to go on her own terms. Everyone had had enough, her family, her friends, her readers, and most especially, Ellie. Enough of the fear, the pain, the anger and the bloody battle. She came home from Paris to die and within a month she did... on her own terms, with all those who loved her surrounding her - and the thousands of cards and letters from the people who loved her through her blog (that would include me) because they meant the world to her, I think they kept her going for awhile.

If you've made it to the end of this knowing that just because you receive beauty and wealth,  prestige and power in this life,  it doesn't mean that you are not entitled to the same empathy and tenderness and embrace as anyone who is not in that position, as many of us are not and will never be, then you have learned one of the most precious lessons in life - that we are all the same, we are one, and no matter what, the fear and sorrow of leaving this world is exactly the same. And the hard won understanding that nothing in this world, no matter the price nor the beauty, is of any value except the giving and receiving of Love. Ellie knew this, I think it had been an underlying value all her life.

In her last blog post, she ended with an enticement, as she so often did.....Hold on, I have so much more to tell you.

That's what she taught me, that's why I loved her. Tell it. Don't worry about how it sounds, don't worry about how they will take it. Just be who you are, no apologizing, no editing. This is who she was, this was her legacy.  And Love, she left behind a whole fucking lot of Love.
If we're lucky we can learn from her life.       So tell me. Tell me more, I want to know.

With Love for my friend, Ellie O'Connell Decret, rest in peace.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Exactly what I look like after a long day of shelling

Just checking in to let you know that I have been working a lot in the studio but I am also working on Chapter Three of the "Journey to Heaven" and I will be able to post soon....please don't go away!

This is me after I have glued on 7,482 shells.   I even dream about them.


                       Francesca Woodman, American photographer, gone too soon.


                                            And the journey shall continue. 

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Reliquaries and shrines


It has taken me a long time but I have finally come to the place where I view all art as spiritual.  Pretty art, frightening art.  Naive and sophisticated. Art that I just can't understand and want to walk away from and art that grabs me and sucks me in.  The stuff that gives me a headache and the other stuff that causes me to feel an ecstatic jolt of lightening through my chest. Art that makes me smile and art that makes me cry.  I don't like it all but I respect it all and what it took to make it.

All manner of people make art, happy, sad, bad and good people, creepy and cool people. Centered and broken people. Those full of unjust pain (and it's all unjust) that they just can't shake and those that say - I did.  People who boast of their skill and the others who are afraid that it's no good and the, thank God, lot that just do it.

It's all made by human beings (the elephant and monkey stuff doesn't count here) and human beings are what it's all about, becoming a full dualitied (i just made that up) human being.  Being it all...being. I don't want to rise above it and I don't want to escape it, I want to BE it, human, fully. Otherwise, what the fuck are we doing here?

I'm just, Liv. And that's just what I've figured out for myself.

I'm realizing now that a lot of the art I make often has an edge of "religiosity". You couldn't drag me into a religion.  But the smell of benediction, the whole divine mother thing and all the pretty stuff associated with it, yeah, I really like that stuff. I go to it a lot and it makes me feel good and it has meaning to me.  I think that mostly it brings the feeling of comforting, because it was the place that I could go to and get a little bit of that and escape the shitty, scary other stuff.  I had somewhere to run to.

I was looking at some of the art that I make the other day, especially the ones with the little place for prayers,  the Mary stuff and the Quan Yin things  (what more could you ask for, the goddess of mercy and compassion - I need a lot of that!) and the shrine/reliquary that I keep in my house and it made me ponder what it all means for me.

The Reliquary  The Shrine

Repositories and reminders and places of remembrance

reality checks, places of reverence and
spots at which to pay respect's and rest stops

places at which to take responsibility
and places to repent

places that inspire and respond to ritual

They hold the vast and deep darkness and the light
requested or received
our fears, our pain and the hope of relief
and the beloved

Reliquaries and Shrines help us to bring forth 
all that sleeps within us. 
                                         in my home with a drawer beneath for prayers

geez, still with the big and little - I can not figure this out....

Friday, April 8, 2016

I did it again - whoa!

Be prepared for a lot of pictures.

Yes, I did it again and I am happy and high.  That's the best part of work - besides actually creating something - you get lost in time and space and it is a high that buzzes for a long time.

Some really good stuff happened here - a huge accomplishment for my daughter - and so there has been a lot of joy and lightness in the air.  Suddenly I started working on my "stuff".  I hauled out every box of shells that was lanquishing on shelf after shelf in my studio and attacked a bust with gusto.

You might remember that this was my first one:


This is what I am almost finished with :




 This one is not as spiritual as the first. The baby and the Madonna really required a light touch to convey reverence.  This one represents the ocean and it's exuberance.  There are ceramic fish embedded. This one is about 2' high by 15"wide.  The first was about the same measurements.  They both are in the range of about 25#'s.  This one is not finished yet, she will have more shells on the lower half to even her out and maybe some other tweeks of similar colored flowers, but I wanted to show you what my busy has been lately because I haven't written for awhile.

I've also done this small QuanYin, about 18" high.  She is lightly decorated and her gown is decoupage paper napkins, I love the flowers on her underskirt. She carries a basket of sea flowers and she has the tiniest split nautilus on the top of her crown, I just love it. And her scepter, oh my gosh - it is a shell worn by the ocean for a long, long time.  There is a tiny little clipping from the NY times many years ago that say's "Let there be peace." It is pasted just above the prayer holder.  It's from a full page ad that Yoko took out on the anniversary of Johns death to commemorate him, printed in dozens of languages.      All these "things"?,  I don't know what to call them, have tiny little holders at the bottom for prayers, keepsakes, etc.  They're not just pretty, they are meant to be functional.



The challenge, as always, is trying to figure out what to sell them for.  The top one sold for $350.00 about 8 years ago.  Even then it was a crazy low price, but I had no idea what I was doing and not much self esteem.  Now I know my work is pretty good and should sell accordingly.  But what is that?
These sort of things are selling for...hold on to your hat...$3,000 to $5,000 dollars (like the two big ones) in Florida and Palm Springs.  I'm not that crazy, but still pricing is difficult for me.

Many glue-burned fingers later, I am eagerly awaiting the next one.  It's a bit smaller, but has the most beautiful, delicate face.  Can't wait!

Hope you enjoyed.
Love, Liv