Tuesday, May 4, 2010
This spring seems to be a bonanza for new books featuring Janice. Her good friends and frequent Sommerset collaborators Jenny Doh and Jo Packham have just released a new book, Where Women Create Book of Inspiration. It is a beautifully produced full color hardcover book, and it features a six page feature on Janice in her studio. This was one of Janice's last interviews, conducted in her studio last spring. Ironically, this would be one of the last projects Jenny Doh would undertake while still the editor at Sommerset Studios. She has since moved on to launch her own venture, www.crescendoh.com which states on it's home page: "Creative Passion, Authentic Community, Focused Compassion." Be sure and check it out.
So this book represents a time of transition of both Jenny and Janice. I think readers of this blog will really enjoy it.
Posted by Jon Gothold at 7:32 AM
Saturday, May 1, 2010
I got to thinking a bit after my last posting about the current show at the Smithsonian. I remembered Liza had told me that she really wanted to do a show AND a book on artist's to-do lists. I wondered...hmm...did Liza mange to create the book she wanted to do in addition to the exhibition? I prowled around the Internet, and lo and behold, there it is! Just published on March 24 (my sister Ruth's birthday and just 6 days before Janice's). Here is a link to it on Amazon.com:
Just today I received a copy from author Liza Kirwin, who inscribed it "We are honored that Janice chose us as the keepers of her journals." Indeed they are. Every artist in the book includes a full spread of their work, including Janice. Janice is also featured with an additional image as well as description in the introduction. The book is full of amazing people and images, and includes nearly all of Janice's art heroes and mentors, among them Joseph Cornell, Arthur Dove, Pablo Picasso, William de Kooning, Ray Johnson, Grant Wood, and one of my all time heroes, N.C. Wyeth. If Frida Kahlo and Marcel Duchamp were here too it would have been a grand slam home run for Janice.
I know that she would be thrilled and humbled to be here among so many of the artists that she so admired. And I can tell you from my own slightly biased point of view that she stands toe to toe with every one of them.
It's a great book, and I know readers of this blog will all enjoy it.
Posted by Jon Gothold at 3:43 PM
Monday, April 26, 2010
In the fall of 2007, Janice and I traveled to Washington DC to meet Liza Kirwin and work out the details for Janice's journals to become part of the Smithsonian's permanent collection. Liza was flipping thru one of Janice's journals and she stopped on a page and exclaimed excitedly "Look! You do it too! I just knew it!"
What she had pointed out was one of Janice's to-do lists, which Liza had noticed was a recurring theme in so many of the artists journals that are in the Smithsonian's collection. She said she really wanted to do a show on just artists lists, and perhaps even a book. Well, Liza's show is on display now thru September. It's called "Lists, To-dos, Illustrated Inventories, Collected Thoughts and Other Artists' Enumerations". (whew!)
My mother, father, sister Sue and Sues' daughter Halley just returned from seeing it, along with a VIP tour of the archives with Liza Kirwin. One wall even features a huge blow-up of one of Janice's journal pages.
These are some photos my dad took, and what struck him immediately as he entered the museum was a statue of a cowboy, leading the way for my family to see Janice's work.
Posted by Jon Gothold at 9:30 PM
Sunday, April 25, 2010
This is a photo of Kelly taken October 15, 2008 by Janice.
When Janice and I were married on Ground Hogs Day, 1983, she provided me with an incredibly rich dowry. I got two sons; Brandon, who had turned 17 four days earlier, and Kevin, who was 13. And I also got a God Daughter, Kelly Brown, who was 17.
Kelly was Katy Jo's oldest child, and she and Janice were connected tightly together since before Kelly was born. Katy Jo and Janice were best friends in High School. They both married their high school sweethearts in 1965. Kelly was born November 10, 1965 and Brandon was born January 28, 1966. Katy Jo and Janice would each decide to have another child, and 1969 saw the birth of David (to Katy Jo) and Kevin to Janice. Both Katy Jo and Janice's husbands would decide to uproot their young families and move to California. And ultimately, both of these early marriages would end in divorce.
But the bond between Kelly and her God Mother Janice would remain rock solid and strong throughout both of their lives. Even though there were sometimes long gaps between seeing one another, Kelly always knew that she could rely on Janice and that gave her tremendous comfort and confidence. And Janice loved Kelly like the daughter she never had herself.
Kelly and I always got along very well. Our families spent several memorable vacations together, in France, in Palm Springs, and Washington. When Janice's cancer forced her to be bedridden, Kelly was by her side. And after Janice died in September, Kelly, Katy Jo, and their good friend Deb Hanula decided that the best thing that could be done for me and my family was for them to host the Christmas holidays at Katy Jo and Steve's home on Vashon Island, Washington. All of my kids, their wives and the grand kids were invited. David would be flying in from India to join us, and Kelly would come in from Santa Monica. Kelly set many wheels in motion; matching t-shirts for the entire family, a bevy of board games for what was bound to be stormy days on Vashon, extensive menu planning, and a jewelry party for all of the girls.
Katy Jo and Deb organized a small birthday party in Santa Monica for Kelly, and it was a very nice event. Kelly was in much better spirits than when I had seen her shortly before Janice died, and we talked a lot about the upcoming Christmas holidays and how much we were all looking forward to spending it together in Vashon. Sadly, this would be the last time I saw Kelly alive.
Kelly battled disease for much of her adult life, and it had taken a terrible toll on her. Sometime on November 28, Kelly died in her sleep. She was 44 years old.
It was an incredibly sad ending to a very sad year. We have had three memorial services for Kelly; a small one at my home immediately after her passing, a large formal gathering on Vashon during the Christmas holidays, and a third one March 21st in Eagle Rock for Kelly's many friends in Los Angeles that were unable to attend the service on Vashon.
This has been a very difficult thing for me to write about. Like Janice, her life was cut far too short. They both had so much more to give and they both had such love for this world and their families. And every time I think of Kelly, I also think about Janice, and the sorrow and loss is twice as bad.
But with a little time and distance, I can already see that some good things that have happened. Our families did indeed spend the Christmas holidays together on Vashon Island, and it was a beautiful, moving and wonderful experience-just what Kelly would have wanted. Our mutual loss has brought Katy Jo and Steve and I even closer together, and we have just finished taking a remarkable trip together which I will be detailing in my next postings. And we plan a trip together to India and the Kingdom of Buthan at the end of May. I like to think that when my time comes and I get to see Janice and Kelly again, they will have got things totally ready for us-the place will look incredible, the artwork will be dazzling, and the meals will truly be out of this world.
Kelly and Janice will be forever linked together throughout all of eternity.
Posted by Jon Gothold at 2:19 PM
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
One of Janice's very favorite recording artists died this Monday. Although she and Janice never met formally, we did have the great pleasure of seeing her perform with her sister Anna at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano. Linda Ronstadt describes what it was like to see the McGarrigle sisters in today's LA Times obituary, which you can read here:
I can not help but be struck by the similarities between Janice and Kate. The were the same age, they both died of rare forms of cancer, they were both highly regarded artists that never found huge widespread fame, nor cared to aggressively pursue it.
I can't say enough good things about Kate's music. I can tell you that from the time Heartbeats Accelerating came out in 1990 until the day she died, this album never was too far from Janice's CD player. I posted the following tribute to Kate on her website (mcgarrigle.com) last night. My comment is number 281, and I reprise it here for you.
I am sure that Janice has already begun to show Kate the ropes in heaven, and that they two of them have an awful lot to catch up on.
Dear Anna and family-
I was very saddened to hear the news of Kate’s passing today. I have
followed your work since the 70’s, and my wife and I were both big fans.
Living in Southern California seemed to mean that live appearances by you
were few and far between in our neck of the woods, but I still remember very
fondly the night we saw you at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano back
in 1990. It still remains one of my very favorite concert experiences.
Kate’s passing has an additional personal significance for me. I lost my
beautiful wife of 27 years back in September, also from an uncommon form of
cancer. Like Kate, she was born in 1946, was a mother, a wife and a
grandmother. She was also an incredibly talented artist, although her chosen
field was painting and assemblage as opposed to music. Her journals (all 126
of them) reside in the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
You can see her work out at http://www.janicelowry.com.
She and Kate were both taken from us far too soon, and leave large gaping
holes in two very remarkable families. My deepest sympathy and very best
wishes go out to all of you. I feel your pain very much.
A grateful fan,
Posted by Jon Gothold at 8:08 AM