Saturday, December 5, 2009

Necessity From Finian's Rainbow, Musical with book by E.Y. Harburg and Fred Saidy, Lyrics by Harburg, music by Burton Lane

I posted this and the next two backwards, so you could read a story forward from this to the next two posts. It's a timeless American tale:

What is the curse
That makes the universe so all bewilderin'?
What is the hoax that just provokes
The folks they call God's children?
What is the jinx that gives a body and his brother and everyone around...the run-around?
Necessity, necessity.
A most unnecessary thing, necessity.
What throws the monkey wrench in
A fella's good intention?
That nasty old invention
My feet want to dance in the sun
My head wants to rest in the shade
The lord says go out and have fun
But the landlord says, 'Your rent ain't paid!'
Necessity, its plain to see
What a lovely old world
This silly old world can be
But, no it's all in a mess
Account of necessity.
I'd like to play some tennis
Or take a trip to Venice
But sister, here's the menace
Oh, Satan's the father of sin
And Cupid's the father of love
Oh, hell is the father of gin
But no one know's the father of
Necessity, necessity.
That's the maximum that
A minimum thing can be
There's nothing lower than less
Unless it's necessity.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Come and Get it from Finian's Rainbow, lyrics by E.Y.Harburg

On that great come and get it day,
Won't it be fun when worry is done and money is hay.
That's the time things'll come your way
On that great, great come and get it day.
I'll get my gal that calico gown.
I'll get my mule that acre of groun'
'Cause word has come from Gabriel's horn
The earth beneath your plow is a-buddin'
And now it's yourn.
Glory time's comin' for to stay
On that great, great come and get it day.

On that great come and get it day,
Won't it be fun when worry is done and money is hay.
That's the time things'll com your way
On that great, great come and get it day.
My gown will be a calico gown.
My shoes will dance all over the town.
'Cause word has come from Gabriel's horn
The earth beneath your plow is a-buddin'
And now it's yourn.
Glory time's comin' for to stay
On that great, great come and get it
And keep it and share it, great, great
I'll get my gal that calico gown.
I'll get my mule that acre of groun'
'Cause words has come from Gabriel's horn
The earth beneath your plow is a-buddin'
And now it's yourn.
Glory time's comin' for to stay
"Come and get it" day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Idle Poor/Idle Rich From Finian's Rainbow

When the idle poor
Become the idle rich
You'll never know
just who is who
or who is which.
Won't it be rich
When everyone's poor relative
Becomes a 'Rockefellative',
And palms no longer itch
What a switch!
When we all wear ermine
And plastic teeth
How will we determine
Who's who underneath.
And when all your neighbours
Are upper class
You won't know your 'Joneses'
from your 'Ass-tors'.
Let's toast the day
The day we drink that drinky up
But with a little pinkie up.
The day on which
The idle poor
Become the idle rich.
When a rich man doesn't want to work
He's a bon vivant.
Yes, he's a bon vivant.
But when a poor man doesn't want to work,
He's a loafer, he's a lounger
He's a lazy good for nothing
He's a jerk!
When a rich man loses on a horse
Isn't he a sport, oh isn't he a sport?
When a poor man looses on a horse
He's a gambler, he's a spender
He's a low life, he's a reason for divorce!
When a rich man chases after dames
He's a man about town,
A man about town.
But when a poor man chases after dames
He's a bounder, he's a rounder
He's a rotter, and a lot of dirty names!
When the idle poor
Become the idle rich
You'll never know
just who is who
Or which is which.
No one will see
The Irish or the Slav in you
'Cause when you're on Park Avenue
Cornelius and Mike
Look alike.
When poor tweedle Dum
Is rich tweedle Dee
This discrimination will no longer be.
When we're in the dough
And off of the nut
You won't know your banker
from your but...ler.
Let's make the switch.
With just a few annuities
We'll hide these incongruities
With clothes from Abercrombie-Fitch.
Wheeeeeeeeeen the idle poor
Wheeeeeeen become the
Wheeeeeeeen idle rich
When the idle poor
Become the idle rich!

Monday, November 30, 2009

The wonderful website created by Amy Sousa, artspark6 matched writers and artists. I participated as both. Partnered with D. Quentin Paquette I sent artwork for him to play off of as writer, and he sent me his story for me to respond to. Highlighted link to right of this page, along with link to wok done at same site by Meggi Raeder and me.
I have been reading the most wonderful book on arts and a history of economics in our times by Lewis Hyde, called The Gift. a few quotes culled from the book:

"Not any self-control or self-limitation for the sake of specific ends, but rather a carefree letting go of onself; not caution but rather a wise blindness; not working to aquire silent, slowly increasing possessions, but rather a continuous squandering of all perishable values." -Rainer Maria Rilke

"Thou hast giv'n so much to me,/Give one thing more, agratefull heart:/ See how thy beggar works in Thee/ By art:..." -George Herbert (1633)

"We're sleek we're fine, we're out the door/ We shan't be cobblers anymore!" -Two elves who worked through the night to make shoes that saved the Cobbler and his wife from ruin, after Mr. and Mrs. Cobbler showed their gratitude by clothing and feeding the elves.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Moon Uprising/ First appeared on website Spark 6 Writers and artists responding to one another, inspired by a photo by Meggi Raeder (and then distorted and revamped by me), link on right

A treatise on the most frightening and destructive creature on Earth.

How frightening the creature who beheads ancient noble Tree. Once so tall and proud, she existed for a thousand or more years. She had housed Squirrel and Bird, Rabbit and Centipede; Jerusalem Cricket had made his cozy little home in her. Through the ages she had stretched her mighty yet graceful arms outward to embrace Sun, Cloud and especially Moon. She had never discriminated: she welcomed all to her embrace. She was after all, an emissary of Mother Earth, her roots were deep in her mother, her head was perennially in the stars. She proudly gazed upon Ocean, His sound and smell were treasured by her in her seemingly eternal stance.

Oh, she had wept to see the damage done by mighty Volcano, even as she had gloried in his beauty. Understandably she, the rooted one, had yearned to run away from Thunder; instinctively she knew what terrifying Lightening might render. Tree nearly shrank at the thought. But no, nothing could stop her growth through the centuries, for she was a maximalist creature, a grower of trunk, branches, twigs, and leaves.

What Tree loved most to gaze upon at night was Moon. Ever changing, growing, shrinking, hiding Moon, who believed, just as Tree did, in her own immortality. Moon sometimes hid from Tree, out of respect. She felt she knew that she had much more reason than Tree to believe that she herself would live forever. After all, she was many miles away in outer space, far from the selfishly destructive and acquisitive creature who came to call itself … Humanity.

Moon shuddered through the ages at the ever exponentially reproducing, inventing, grabbing, acquisitive and greedy animal, the one who believed that it was all for him. He believed that Earth was his. He believed that he could destroy and take and have and eat and warp and hurt and rape and pillage and burn to his endless pleasure, for all he believed and still believes is that Earth is his; for his ego knows no bounds. The Hubris of this creature, Moon has always known, is boundless.

Tree never knew what hit her; how she lost all, save her roots still able to feel Earth, still able to give life. All she knew was that one day they came to cut off her branchy, leafy, twiggy head, arms, branches, body, trunk. She was cut off at the ankle, after so many centuries had passed. Then the abused boy had set fire to the forest and millions of acres of what they call California burned to the ground. Bird, Squirrel, Rabbit, Butterfly, Centipede, Jerusalem Cricket, flower, all other Trees everywhere for miles around, The horror…the horror. It could have been prevented by knowledge of Inventing Human, of what it meant to strip Earth of her ancient fossil fuels; thereby depleting Environment, and poisoning Air with carbon dioxide, greenhouse gasses, global warming. Parents caring for and loving their children, rather than warping them through neglect and abuse into the pyromaniacal state could have prevented it.

What Earth, Tree, Ocean, Air, and most tragically Moon did not realize, until it was too late for Moon, was that Human knew he had destroyed Earth, Tree, Ocean, and Air. In his insatiably greedy quest for more, he had in early October 2009 shot missiles at twice the speed of a bullet into Moon, hoping to find water, hoping to colonize. Human was looking for a way to leave his nearly ruined home on Earth, hoping to find a new home on Moon, Mars, somewhere out in the infinite, pure, pristine reaches of ancient omniscient outer space.

Wounded Moon righteously, hissingly hopes… he… will… fail.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It was suggested by my friend the writer Beth Blevins that I write about the mundane: the day to day life of the artist---me. Aside from the fact that I am not one to "do small talk" (my friend Mim has been telling me for years, "Chandra, you don't do small talk..."); what I have always done is try my best through art and as a fledgling writer, to tackle the big subjects. There has grown up in me over the years the feeling, since I was a small child, that life is an emergency. Aside from the fact that I was beaten and beaten down again and again as a child, by both parents, I have remained defiant in my belief and practice as a human being, that my truth is important, that I will be vigilant in my expression of that truth, that not only is this toward the greater good of me, but of the world itself. Global warming, nuclear proliferation, robotic warfare, war, child abuse, spousal abuse, rape, and environmental catastrophe affecting this planet and outer space (the moon fired at to find water for human-kind!) are not subjects that go away just because we hide from them. I have not been a little child with my head buried beneath the blankets for many years.
All of that notwithstanding, my friend Beth is a beautiful writer. Any subject in the hands of one whose primary talent is for writing will be profound, poignant, perceptive, insightful, and thought provoking.
That said, Shakespeare's greatest work did not come in the package of a Sonnet comparing his lover (or his agent) to a Summer's day. On the other hand, as we near the end of T.S. Elliot's life we ponder with him over the fate of his rolled trousers, and of course we know it to be great poetry; with him we ponder the Wasteland that every life eventually becomes. In the guise of the day to day life of the poet is embedded our greater questions concerning our mortality. While I love to frolic with Wordsworth in his field of Daffodils, my heart leaps up with his, when I behold a rainbow in the sky; for it is when truth to one's feelings about the larger subjects are tackled, that flight becomes possible.
So for now, I leave the art and writing about a day in the life to Lennon/McCartney, Morandi, Hockney, Dostoevsky, Monet, Whitman, Cassatt, Flaubert, Vermeer, and Blevins, among many others we would all do well to look to.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Writing Home: Postcards from Santa Cruz, by Beth Blevins

Writing Home: Postcards from Santa Cruz

From a time when we created postcards together, something of a collaboration in art and writing, blog article written by Beth.

Writing Home: Artist Profile: Chandra Garsson Interview of Artist by Beth Blevins

Click on Link for interview---Writing Home: Artist Profile: Chandra Garsson

Aki Sasaki is the webmaster of, including the subsite he set up for me. He is a wonderful musician, and a wonderfully observant and appreciative person concerning the arts. Check out his website and his music.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


In short, it could be said, and said again and again; and again it could be said: Life is sometimes like an innocent baby sitting oblivious to danger in the gigantic unseen jaws that could clamp down in a moment, or not. It is possible that the teeth might cut, or that the babe would sit cramped but unscathed in the closing mouth, beyond the reach of the teeth. Or finally and hopefully, calm on the infant's part might result in her being able to crawl free of the gaping maw.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adam and Eve in The Dutchboy Art Studios of the Artist's Imagination

The studio was real, this painting of it is according to anarchistic lack of law that is artistic license. It was the imperfect but grandly large and very utilitarian studio I was sadly forced to leave behind. For an artist, ultimate utilitarianism is The Garden of Eden.
Here I was able to work on the art you see at this blog, and so much more. I was able to show and sell the work, I was able to invite galleries, museums, collectors and friends to view the paintings, sculptures, artist's books, masks, prints, and drawings in person over a period that lasted twenty years. I held classes here, with the core group of students in attendance for over ten years. My best student was Pedro Moreno, who became my best friend. He took one on one classes here, once a week, for three years.

A Thing of Beauty

A Thing of Beauty: Jane Campion's Film on Love, John Keats and Fanny Braune, and the beauty of Wet Paint Drying

I am inspired to write a little piece on a film I love, Jane Campion's Bright Star by a review written by a colleague* who stated that watching the creative process of poets is like watching paint dry. The colleague is a writer. I am a painter and sculptor who sometimes writes.

I paint and I often paint my sculptures. I have spent many an hour watching paint dry. I am fascinated by this vigil; as I wait for liquid to evaporate, worlds open up to me. Sometimes, as with polymer media mixing with a variety of agents and vectors, textures and objects, ideas and colors, juxtapositional unpredictables, the drying can be relatively fast. The excitement is in watching the crackle/ripple/ whirlpooling in your face to distant space effects transform before my eyes. Oils take a bit longer. Dare I speak of it in geological years? Epochs? Centuries? Decades...years...months? At least. It is believed by scholars that Mona Lisa is still drying. She is many layers, as are all good oil paintings. X-rays reveal her in many positions, with many different kinds of smiles under multiple layers of paint. We watch her drying to this day. This is the meaning of the Italian Renaissance word 'pentimento.' It is built into our definitions of what good painting is, that we can see through every layer to every other one beneath it. It is estimated that on average oil paintings take about three-hundred years to dry. Only enough of a surface needs to dry enough, that gently, patiently, softly, a new surface of image can begin over all that came before it.

My students were never bored by these processes, in fact they were rarely patient enough for me to get to issues of the technical, chemical and scientific; past such issues as I hold dear in all the arts: composition, subject matter, self-revelation, memoir, insight, perception, content.

As I watch the paint dry, I go into a reverie, each time. I muse on where this work will travel, before it alights home on a flower in the garden of my earthly delights. I keep a vigilent watch for elements of my own bright star, my own truth as beauty, my own nightingale singing my life.

Bright Star brings the viewer if she or he is willing, into the realm of another time, when the world was only on the brink of science and technology as we know it today. It was an era when nature could be taken for granted still, when the nightingale singing was the same one who had sung for millenia, would sing forever. It was how John Keats saw himself singing eternally, with Fanny Braune the woman he loved. And this is why I love the movie Bright Star; it is precisely because it brings me to eternal infinity of slower possibilities. It is because I am forever in love with the revelations brought on by watching the paint dry.

* In my lexicon a colleague is any of the many kinds of artists who are alive anywhere in the world at the same time that I am living.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Somewhere Between Collage and Sculpture

The paintings "fall somewhere between collage and sculpture," as has been pointed out by a critic or two. So many artists, critics, and historians have described the painting as object. In my work the three-dimensional qualities inherent in collage and sculpture (in the round and on the wall), grow out of the textural qualities in the paint, as well as out of the metal plates I used to create Intaglio (Italian for gem, seal, piece of jewelry, or metal plate having an incised, sunken design) prints. Ink is then transferred from the grooves to paper, via a printing press. It is the historic (many would say authentic) way to make a print, as opposed to a reproduction, examples are Drypoint, Photo Etching, Monoprint, Lithograghy, Silkscreen, Engraving, and other centuries old print-making processes. All are labor intensive, highly technical, and involve the multiple uses of metal, ink, acids, various resins, grounds, tar, solvents, feathers, and many toxic substances. It is the main reason I quit making prints; the toxic substances and the delayed gratification of having to carry a work through so many processes before I could get anywhere near the finished product. I made prints using these methods a total of six years, beginning in High School. It was excellent discipline, it led to sculptural qualities in my painting, mixed-media and sculpture. There is something to be said for hard work beginning in high school. Sadly, I doubt that Printmaking is still offered to High School students. One can only hope for a return of the arts to education, I have always looked forward to a world of people who know and love the arts. It begins with education.