Growing up on Long Island in the 1960s and early 70s, we often went to family get-togethers with my mom’s side of the family. One cousin, five years younger than me, was a gifted painter at an early age. These two pictures of Portia with her brothers (along with a younger cousin), and her parents were taken at our wedding in 1977 …
We wouldn’t see them all again until middle-brother George got married in Virginia.
Portia went on to pursue art studies at Cooper Union, Skowhegan, and the Mason Gross School of Art at Rutgers. All of which I know because she has been so successful in her professional life that she has a Wikipedia entry.
We haven’t stayed in touch over the years, butInstagram enabled me to catch up on her many accomplishments, after which I explored her website …
Better late than never, I learned more about Portia and her art in a recent Woodstock-Byrdcliffe Forum presentation. She reminded me so much of her mother, Jay, both in appearance and her gentle manner of speaking. What struck me most, though, was how often she referred to what she was thinking while creating her art. I loved that.
I especially appreciated her mandalas of ephemeral flower petals surrounding birds killed by flying into the path of oncoming cars. They are both memento mori and commentary on the impact of human-wrought technology on nature. Terrible beauty.
And at the end of her Woodstock-Byrdclyffe talk, Portia mentioned that she will be installing a permanent exhibit at the 21C Museum Hotel opening in St Louis next year. That was all it took for me to finally reach out online. Hopefully we will meet again if our calendars and travel plans align.
Meantime, I made a mini-mandala of stacked stitching, learned from Jude, using Deb’s threads on black linen. But this patch may not be the one that I end up using … I had way too much fun to stop with just one.