Monday, November 7, 2011

I am the poet of the body

    "...I am the poet of the body,
And I am the poet of the soul.
oil on canvas "Motherhood" by Claudia Olivos.
The pleasures of heaven are with me, and the pains of hell
are with me,
I am the poet of the woman the same as the man,
And I say it is as great to be a woman as to be a man,
And I say there is nothing greater than the mother of men"....
~Walt Whitman

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Art Museum etiquette and children

Today we visited the National Gallery of Art with some of our young students.

When visiting a museum I like to teach our students respect for art and the experience of admiring and learning from artwork, so I teach them to have an attitude of attunement and sobriety similarly to when one may visit a religious site or library.

I teach them that the museums belong to them-our Nation's heritage and treasures....they are to be well regarded and cared for so that we may all share it with our children, grandchildren and generations to come.

I teach them not to touch or lean on the art or even the walls and glass; not to run or talk loudly, to hold their hands behind their back to lean in to a work of art to admire and understand the details and nuances utilized by the artist to produce whatever effect is drawing them in....etc.

And they listen.
Far better than my college students.
Far better than many of the adults I often see sitting on the pedestals of art or even leaning on sculptures to have their photos taken (are they there for the art or merely using it as another photo op for Facebook??--I digress......)

Today as we quietly walked into one of the galleries a guard told me to "keep your children quiet" because there was a 'delegation' admiring the work, I became instantly irritated at the elitism of the moment....I had noticed the group when we had come in and recognized them...VIPs of the museum's Board of Directors coming to get a private tour.
So...our group is looked as "lesser than.." these "VIPs" simply because they are children!?

I looked at the guard and glancing back at the group that was following me I said: "they are rather quiet don't you think? They will do just fine" .... and with what was probably a look of disdain on my part.... I walked into the gallery followed by all of the children.

There they stood quietly while I spoke to them about each of the works, the materials and technique etc... and do you know what? I could hardly hear myself TALK above the "VIP group".... the children...quiet as mice, raising their hands for tiny questions with big significance... Oh these wonderFULL children who will grow up to admire, understand and support the arts! ... and the VIP group cackling at whatever jokes they were sharing whilst looking at the art.

As we left the gallery I approached the guard and said to him "..your special group was SO loud I could not hear myself talk over them...I hope you noticed our group was well behaved and quiet"...

The guard looked at me and exclaimed "I am so sorry, please accept my apology..
I am SO sorry he repeated, adding I did not intend to..." -

I accepted his apology and then as we stepped into the sunny day....
and I thought it is too bad that adults in suits are given more respect than children just because they are well...:adults. in suits.

We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, 
yet we forget that he is someone today. 
 ~Stacia Tauscher


Ah...the now famous DC earthquake? Well, apparently we missed it by TWO minutes. Yep, that is all. We went underground and were riding the metro when it struck.

I think next week, when we go back to the museum, 
I will take the guard a nice handmade card drawn by the children and yours truly.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

children are wonderFULL


...children....ah..they are wonderFULL.....

Today, a few of them came into our studio for a lesson....and while I was busy looking for charcoal, I heard them taking about a bird.
A dead bird.

Well, birds were on their mind because I had asked them to keep their voices down as we all shared lunch under our gazebo; birds built a nest which weeks later resounded with the chirping of baby birds.

In this heat wave I have worried about them.

 The gazebo is made of metal, and with temperatures reaching over 105F and "feeling like" 120F with the humidity factor... I wondered if the poor babies would bake in there (!)-yet the other day I scooted a ladder, climbed on the deck rail, and when I peeked in I saw three little bobbing heads. They are fine.

They chirp all day long, and the parents fly in and out with various food items.
However, when there is a lot of noise, the parents stay away even though the babies call out to them desperately.... so we tried to be quiet while we were outside.

Later, when in the studio and talk of a 'dead bird' ensued, as I overhead the children, I thought they had found Sergio's encaustic with the dead bird's wing (another long story whcih involves children, birds and screaming)-it took me a few seconds to turn around--but when I did, I realized they were all looking into the woodstove.

I walked over, opened the door....and I have to admit I was the first one to scream...*arrgh* .... a dead bird lay at the bottom of the stove.
Poor thing.
Of course, after I screamed, they all started screaming. Soon Sergio came in and was ready to scoop it out--but I asked him to first dig a hole so we could bury it. He laughed but complied. The children gathered around and wanted a "funeral".... they discussed it and settled on singing a song for it.
 Discussion of which song to sing included Happy Birthday and a few others, but they settled on the Star Spangled Banner.

A flower was laid on the "tomb"
and we set off on foot to the metro to visit the National Portrait Gallery.

There, we saw wonderful art and had great "artsy" discussions about media, techniques, concepts etc.

Children full of wonder can have such great comments and questions about art!
We looked at several pieces by great artists and they sketched in their Art Journals.

When we returned we went into the pool and had a great time.

A full day indeed..... but yes, as you may have guessed: when the parents came to pick them up, what was the highlight of their day?
The Warhol's we saw, Singer-Sergeant?
Calder?....nope...it was the dead bird in the wood stove.

..... thank God for children! 
They teach us that the greatest things are really about the wonder of life and living.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Natural healing for a third degree burn.

After receiving two and third degree burns on my forearm, I have learned many things about treating burns naturally and I wanted to share the information with you.


update- a year later, I have NO scars. None. Two dermatologists told me it was impossible for a third degree burn.... but my arm is scar-less.

please note: I am NOT a doctor. I am an artist. 
I am sharing because it worked for me. I hope it can work for others too.

1. Do not put ice on the wound. This can cause tissue damage. Instead, run cold water on the burn for at least 20 minutes.


2. Clean your wound daily with saline solution.


3. Dab on DMSO (highly controversial, but my medicine cabinet is never without this wonderful

elixir from nature. Google it, and if you decide to buy it- only do so from sellers who package it in a dark glass bottle so it is not contaminated by plastic). DMSO is used topically to decrease pain and speed the healing of wounds, burns, and muscle and skeletal injuries. DMSO is also used topically to treat painful conditions such as headache, inflammation, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and more! I love DMSO and have been buying mine for the last 5 years from
this online seller.


4. Apply Medicinal honey. It is an antibacterial which prevents infection and promotes tissue growth. Manuka honey can be found on the web and at your local Whole Foods. Prices vary, but you want the highest UMF- 20. It is expensive at $50.- a bottle but it is well worth every penny! It is good for wounds, ulcers, flu and more.


5. Top it off with Castor Oil. Make sure you buy only hexane-free & Certified Pure, Cold Pressed Castor oil. This oil is widely used because of its moisturizing, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, it is a thick, amber liquid rich in fatty acids that benefit the health of our skin.


6. As the wound closes, you can also add Aloe Vera gel from the fresh plant (I alternate one day Castor oil, one day Aloe Vera).


Place a non stick gauze pad and wrap it up. Always keep your wound moist and covered in this mixture. I have been changing my dressing twice daily since I burned myself. In three days it will have been 3 weeks since I burned myself....I think my arm is healing very well and I am hoping and praying that this 3rd degree burn will not scar at all! I will keep you posted....let me know if you have other good advice and/or experiences in healing with nature!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Mi papa....

Today marks the anniversary of my Father's death.
I miss him so very much... and think of him everyday.

 He and my mother were divorced when I was a young child, and I wasn't able to visit with him often because while we lived in Chile, he lived first in Mexico City and then in New York City as a diplomat for the UN. However, although he may not have been privy to the day to day of my life... he was never absent.
I spent many wonderful times vacationing with him at the beaches in Chile and Mexico.... to this day, a "real vacation" for me has to include the beach. Also, it is in the sounds, sights and tastes of Mexico that I think of him.... just as in the streets of New York City.
Mi papa.
He was also a painter, and a poet.

He took my sister and I to museums and galleries and the theater... as well as clam digging in upstate New York, shopping at the mercados in Mexico-strolling through Chinatown or Chichen Itza, browsing through the street wares of artists in the streets of Mexico and through the treasures found in the weekend street fairs of New York. Life with my dad was always interesting and fun.

My father, Luis Olivos Ruiz de Gamboa, had a huge influence in me, and in how I spend my days in my present life.

When he died, I felt the whole world had been pulled from under my feet. I was just graduating from high school, and had plans to move in with him and study up north. I was devasted. Lost and broken.

It has been many years since he died, still- I miss him.

I think of him often. And I believe it was he who brought Sergio to me- he knew the joy that Mexico brings to me and that it brings me close to him...so what better way to bring Mexico to me in DC than via a Mexican painter/partner? It is funny, yet I deeply believe that it was my Papa who orchestrated our meeting...

Papa, te amo y pienso en ti...siempre.