Saturday, November 21, 2015

Hug each other. Take care of each other.

Yesterday I received news that an old friend who had been fighting cancer for over 20 years took his own life. He was the first person I ever fell in love with. Teenage love. The kind you feel when you are immortal. The days were long and belonged only to us and all the trouble we could find, which was usually plenty. 

I met Corby at my first job. He was the baler and I helped run the conveyor belt at the recycling end of the garbage dump. I was 15 and obsessed with anything 1960's. Corby was tall and had long beautiful brown hair that he would nervously tuck behind his ears when he talked. I was head over heels. 

Teenage love must make a very specific mark on your psyche. I think my brain was permanently tattooed. Occasionally it would uncover itself, coming up in conversation with new friends or triggered by senses. One time, walking through a department store with an old girlfriend, we were approaching a display of the fragrance Sunflowers (remember that?!) and she said " out.......", because she knew I would be flooded with memories. Like Bunny says in Tom Robbins's Jitterbug Perfume, "Fragrance is a conduit for our earliest memories, on the one hand; on the other, it may accompany us as we enter the next life. In between, it creates mood, stimulates fantasy, shapes thought, and modifies behavior. It is our strongest link to the past, our closest fellow traveler to the future … Fragrance may well be the signature of eternity."
And music, of course. Mark Joseph Stern describes its effects in a Slate Magazine article: "The period between 12 and the time when you become you. It makes sense, then, that the memories that contribute to this process become uncommonly important throughout the rest of your life. They didn’t just contribute to the development of your self-image; they became part of your self-image—an integral part of your sense of self.

At the end of our relationship, Corby rejected me. First love, first rejection. I insisted we remain friends and I would heartbreakingly hang out with him and his new girlfriend. All smiles. Life goes on. Then I moved away. Corby was diagnosed with Leukemia. I went to college, traveled, got married, had a child, got a divorce, became the artist I had imagined I would become. When I was in college I would have reoccurring dreams with Corby in them. I thought of him often, and always on his birthday. I found him on Myspace, but didn't connect. His hair had turned white from the cancer treatments his body was thin and frail. We finally reunited on Facebook last year and I cherish the conversation we had on messenger. He said to me "Thank you for the pep talk and making me feel better, I could always count on that from you, always a glass half-full woman." 

I had always imagined we would eventually hang out again one day. He could meet my son and we could have a few laughs about when we were young. 

This morning I sit alone in my studio. It's been snowing all night and it continues to snow. I hear my neighbor outside shoveling. Scrape...scrape...scrape... The heat kicks on. I'm surrounded by bills that need paid, paintings that need completed. Yesterday, before the news of Corby's death, I painted and listened to NPR. Politics. War. Love and Hate.

My friend Jake, after losing another of his close friends way too soon, wrote something on Facebook less than 2 weeks ago that is exactly what I want to say. 

" Hug each other. Take care of each other." 

My deepest condolences go out to Corby's friends and family.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

November :: 2015

Last weekend @lumbering_behemoth and I drove by a property that really spoke to us. Although we are not currently in a position to make an immediate purchase, the estate made such an impression, we wanted to know more. Perhaps just seeing the place would

Last weekend Jim and I drove by a property that really spoke to us. Although we are not currently in a position to make an immediate purchase, the estate made such an impression, we wanted to know more. Perhaps just seeing the place would help us to visualize our needs as makers and start the process of building our lives together. I toured the home yesterday and I'm so glad I did. Now it feels like we are moving toward a very real and possible dream. We are now in the depths of "How do we make something like this happen?" It can feel overwhelming when you have such a solid and strong vision and you *know* you can make something great, but the funding just isn't there. It's a tumultuous path of doing what we love and feeling confident that our hard work will pay off. Sleeves rolled up, hands getting dirty. It's a good life we have.

Gettin woodsy @johnsonpublichouse !!!! #nataliewrighthome #johnsonpublichouse #jph #wrighthome #owlpainting #foxpainting #deerpainting #madisonwi

A few weeks back I updated the Johnson Public House walls with a few new woodland creatures that I'm really happy about! If you are in the Madison area, please stop in for some good eats and drinks. I'm not feeling very ready for the holiday season, but I *did* manage to restock the small prints up at the shop. 

I also started an instagram account @nataliewrighthome // Please follow me if you haven't already! Pics of my work and my world and a few tbt for good measure.

Also, check out Jim's updated website/ and follow his instagram under the same name! He might be just the maker you are looking for!! 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

September 2015


The locusts are buzzing, the tobacco fields are harvested and the queen anne's lace is curling up. My son started Kindergarten on the 1st. We moved to a new home at the end of July, and I am looking forward to the earth slowing down a bit. It's a bittersweet time of year as we all brace ourselves for the long Wisconsin winter. But I need some quiet and winter is good for that.

I'm as nostalgic as they come and lately I've really been missing life without all the electronics. I'm happy to have lived during a time when we didn't have Netflix and "smart" phones. I hear myself saying to my son "when I was a kid, we didn't have cell phones that could play movies, music and games." My child, much to my dismay, has seen SO MANY MOVIES in his FIVE years on this planet. Five years. I can hardly pick up a chapter book without him saying he has seen the movie.

I am overwhelmed at how much there is to *know* about our earth, and how very little time we sit and listen to it and learn from it. Our world, a meadow at sunset...if we stop and pay attention, is very entertaining. But that's a hard sell to a five year old who is mesmerized by the screen.

15 years ago, in another life, my ex and I spent time on an organic farm/ apple orchard in Vermont, as apprentices. We lived in their barn for 6 months. No running water. An outhouse. (They are dear friends and our son is named after them) I look back to that time and compare it to now. No cell phones. No internet. I had a stack of books I read that summer and I filled up a few journals. I used the landline to call my family. I took photos with film. I think about how different my experience would be now. With my cell phone camera and my instagram. I just think about how it has all changed me. I think it's more difficult now to truly be alone.

Anyway. I'm thinking out loud. Just sitting in my studio, listening to the locusts, the whirring of the ceiling fan, the sound of my fingers on the keyboard. I just finished a new painting and I'm thinking about where I want to be in the next 5 years and how I can be the best influence possible on my son's life.

That's a good place to be.

"The answer must be, I think, that beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there." - Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

Friday, May 8, 2015

The Ass in the Lion's Skin

"Clothes may disguise a fool, but his words will give him away." New work going up at Wendigo tomorrow! 38"x50" Acrylic on paper. #nataliewrighthome #AesopsFables

This new work, inspired from Aesop's Fables, will be on display at Wendigo in Stoughton, Wisconsin. For more information please contact me at nataliewrighthome at gmail. 38"x50" acrylic on paper.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sometimes, things aren't what they seem. #nataliewrighthome

Sometimes, things are not what they seem. 38x50, acrylic and gouache on paper. 

Friday, March 20, 2015

Sometimes, things are not what they seem.


The other night Oscar and I walked to the park after supper. It was unseasonably 72 degrees at 5:30pm. At the park there were two moms sitting on the bench and 4 kids playing and running in a pack. Oscar ran right up to them and asked to join them. They broke off into teams and made all kinds of strategic plans behind bushes and shrubs. I stood next to a small tree, Oscar's bike under my feet, the sun on my face, the warm breeze on my skin. I was within ear shot of the two women and I caught myself listening to them pretty intently. They discussed their homes and one was about to move into a new home, with a three car garage and lots of closet space. I shifted my weight, listened to the kids play and smiled at Oscar's extroverted ways which are so foreign to me. It occurred to me that these women are my age; two kids, a husband, big homes with lots of closets and room for more than one car and I had one of those "how did I get here?" moments.

I've always been one to have a vision. I knew what I wanted when I was young and I set out to get it. I wanted to live a life full of art and travels and I wanted a life partner. I was 19 when I met my ex-husband and for a good 12 years we did live a life full of art and travel. The only thing missing in our relationship was love. But like all dysfunctional relationships, you keep going through the motions. You don't talk about what is wrong. You hold in your anger. You don't fight. You just keep going. And like a leaky faucet eating away the enamel; drip. drip. drip. Corrosion. You don't even realize it is happening until the damage is already done. Until 13 years later, the earth stops spinning for a few seconds while your husband is saying "I never really loved you" when you are holding your two week old child and you are sick from mastitis. Then you scramble like hell to fix it because you've spent your entire life building it. It's all you've ever known. But it's over. The lies and anger have all come unraveled and the life you were living is over.

I stood in the park, oversimplifying the women on the bench. What-ifs rush at me and I just wish I could start over. Hit reset. All those choices. I want to go back. Go back to the day 15 years ago when Miriam Patchen and I ate Sara Lee cheesecake in her kitchen and she asked me to move in with her, but I told her I couldn't because I was moving in with my boyfriend.

I yelled for Oscar that it was time to go. He surprisingly said Okay and ran up to me and got on his bike. We headed home to begin our nighttime routine of bath and story time. The sun made everything glow. We listened to the birds and motorcycles and chirping squirrels.

Now. Supermoon Solar Eclipse Equinox. Oscar and I spent the day celebrating this amazing line-up by working in the garden, cleaning up and prepping it for new growth. A few days ago, Pixie Lighthorse posted the following questions on her Instagram page. "Who are you becoming as a result of what you're willing to release? How can you illuminate your divine path on this earth?"

This is exactly where I am. Letting go of things that no longer serve me, so that I may grab onto things that give me strength. I am a mother and an artist. How can I be better at both? Patience with myself and patience with my son. Lots of deep breaths and confidence that things will get better.

The other day at the breakfast table, Oscar asked me "Mom, are we dreaming?" I just smiled and said  "I think it's quite possible, because sometimes, things are not what they seem.."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

february in wisconsin


We are approaching the end of February and hopefully experiencing our last below freezing wind chills. I have not done much writing here in the past year. Looking back, loosing my dad, my uncle, being in a car crash, I could safely write about these experiences. Post divorce issues; not getting along with my ex, loosing a family because of divorce, loosing my home because of divorce, these are not easy topics for me to address. Attorney's and court rooms and obligations not met. SO MUCH emotion and anger and past regrets. So many times in the past year, driving through these beautiful country roads, I ask myself "How did I get here?" There is so much of this that I don't want. I just want things to be simple and they are not, and never will be.

My parents divorced when I was 3, the same age my son was when his dad and I "officially" got divorced. Although it was well over much before I was pregnant, 10 years of co-dependency and bad habits. When I was growing up my families lived in the same small town. My mom got along with my dad's parents, and would often be invited in for pie and coffee. There was never any negative energy. My families spoke fondly of one another. And the best part, I had both my families. Everyone lived in the same place. I spent every other weekend with my dad. My parents didn't hang out, but they also didn't avoid one another. Of course, there was no facebook, no cell phones. If you wanted to contact someone, you called, and left a message on the answering machine. And then they called you back.

I live in Wisconsin. This is where my ex is from and where his family lives and that's why I am here. This is where our child was born. So this is where we live. I'm lucky to have good friends here. This world can be a mean place. I'm damn lucky to have good friends, a powerfully supportive mom, a strong, honest man who loves me, and a few paintings to finish. One of the best joys I have right now, is when I bring my son home after he has been away with his dad, and he says "Did you make a new painting while I was gone?" as he walks over to my painting spot to see for himself.  I think he is my biggest fan. 

It's going to be a big year. My son and I will move to a small apartment. He will begin kindergarden. I will continue to paint, drink too much tea and probably spend too much time wishing things were just a *little* different.

My mom, dad's mom (grandma Mary) and cousin Philip. 1980