Scene 1

Madeleine: I am not painting well, my hand is too nervous. Which is great for drawing! Currently well suited to small, frenetic movements.

Fiona: Are your hand nerves new? Sort of sounds like the body’s way of telling you to chill on painting, maybe, or pare down. That could be insensitive because maybe you have had nerve troubles I don’t know about.

Madeleine: Not nerve things, but it’s like my hand moves too fast because I’m kind of ‘wired.’

Fiona: Or I’m probably projecting because I have this thing where if I don’t paint for a week or so I become terrified of painting. Like right now!

Madeleine: That’s how I feel about yoga, why I never do yoga anymore.

Fiona: Winter is also another barrel of monkeys. Do you get s. a. d.?


Scene 2

Fiona: Today I was chatting with a guy on hinge, a poet, he proposed this quarantine game of I send him a quick sketch and he captions it and then I make a sketch based off that. I thought this was very cute and its ongoing now, more spread out like an hour apart. I don't care if nothing develops from it because a. have to keep low expectations and b. it’s a nice story.

Fiona: You guys watching movies? Reading on the couch and glancing at each other over tea? Paint me a picture I’m in the broadest sense of the word, single.

Madeleine: Sometimes! Mostly scrabble. We bought a candle for the table.

Fiona: I love this! You love candles.

Madeleine: And we’ve been revisiting all the beaches I used to visit in college to paint at and/or cry lol.

Fiona: At first I read this as you and Sarah go to the beach to cry and that stuck in my head as an image that I loved, that you’d cry together or take turns based on what’s happening. I now realize you were talking about yourself crying in college which is also sweet. But maybe both of these.

Madeleine: Am also thinking about how writing helps me situate one way or another for things in a way that painting itself can’t do.

Fiona: a hearty reminder that the opening up of painting into another medium is something I don’t seek out enough.


Scene 3

Fiona: Been thinking about the simple idea posited of painting something the way I’d paint a car but that isn’t a car. I feel Matthew Wong seeped into my head, not that I’m claiming that lushness. I pushed it around painfully and here’s what it came to.

Madeleine: Enjoying this glimpse into how you start and develop paintings. There’s a nostalgia thing here like a movie still, but stuff is still moving. These are good!! Like what if you painted a horse under the same rule structure you paint cars in, what would it look like? prob pretty goofy and cool tbh.

Fiona: I’m struggling with feeling how I want to identify as a painter, like how similar each painting needs to be. Now with more time on my hands I want to be multiple kinds of painters, or the urge is there anyway, and the threads can get lost. Do these q’s come up for u?

Madeleine: This was something I struggled with making my last paintings because I was like am I just a tree painter, and is that what people want from me or I want from myself? But it is amazing how everything starts to fill in once you’ve decided you only live in one particular void. Like the world is water and we are just houses full of leaks and cracks. These trees live in this landscape, so how do I make this landscape in the same world as the trees? I can’t make everything bulbous and tubular. But I made figures that had a similar economy of color and light, and that became the connective tissue. But even then, some stuff didn’t fit into that world maybe and that’s okay, because the whole thing is still my world. Or is that a contradiction.

Fiona: I was kind of hoping part of your response would involve permission for being as many kinds of painters as I’m inclined to be. Probably was fishing for that! The figures are pretty recent for you then, yeah?

Madeleine: The figures are a new thing, which is why they’re so stiff lol.


Scene 4

Fiona: Had a rough upset about painting time yesterday but it felt cathartic and I feel on the other side of it.

Fiona: What’s new? Or what’s the same if that’s applicable.

Madeleine: I’ve just gotten used to how quiet it gets. I was sure I was going to be murdered but it was probably just deer and raccoons although maybe they could murder me too.

Fiona: You gonna be a non-city convert soon I’ve heard others be lured by the simple ability to drive and pick up canned goods with ease.

Madeleine: It’s wild how many hours open up in a day when trains aren’t an issue. Like I drove to two grocery stores yesterday.

Madeleine: I emphathize with seeing something else in the drawings and about your life that you want to slough off, how drawings are like our diaries in some ways. Taking a break puts space between a mode of thinking and a new chapter, yah?

Madeleine: My pen drawings are getting tighter and tighter, and I’m spending more time on them. Part of me is nervous that they’ll lose some of their air, but I can figure that out when I get there. Right now it’s hard for me to draw because I’d rather be lying in the lawn. Summer is for air feelings, not as much for working?

Fiona: I don’t worry about you navigating loose vs tight. Do you miss color? love the break? I’m shifting away from the landscape in much of my work, feeling a bit better with my head somewhat simmered.


Scene 5

Fiona: I thought I emailed you earlier but I think I accidentally deleted it instead of sending it. If you get two similar emails my apologies. I didn’t sleep well last night.

Madeleine: I am writing this from the Adirondacks! There is no wifi here, so I am writing this on a word document (how official) and soon will set up a hot-spot to send. It feels very much like summer camp. Sarah and I vow to canoe every day. I feel younger, blinking in the sun.

Fiona: I feel time away from the city makes one younger.

Fiona: My paintings are getting more “folky” if I can say that. I think. Went to prospect park yesterday to draw and was mostly distracted by the lovely heat and I sunburned my things. Worth it.

Madeleine: Worth it.

Madeeline: I can get so much done here, I think, and still have plenty of time for swimming. There’s a tiny tv here tucked in a cabinet with a stack of DVD’s, it showed up last year. We’d always insisted on no media at the camp, but somehow with all our smartphone reliance, a DVD sounds quaintly analogue and nostalgic. I’m getting really into root structures visible on eroding water banks.

Madeleine: Read this recently: “Beauty is eaaaaasy, especially if you are a popsicle.” – Anthony E. Luebbert, in a book, the Proscenium by Vi Khi Nao. I’ll get you a copy! We have to support the poets. The book is much too smart for me though.

Fiona: too smort for me too. Stretch our brains and support poets simultaneously.

Fiona: I feel my brain atrophying. Without a more regular discourse I don’t know that I digest well enough. I guess it’s not forever. In other ways, I feel more in tune with myself throughout all of this. I’m tunneling into my practice. I have to face facts and be closer to the ground.


Scene 6

Madeleine: In the mornings, making warm lemon water to drink before I make a cup of tea. Seems healthy?!

Fiona: First q, do you not drink coffee? I forget if I knew this about you.

Fiona: To update you on city happenings, on the studio roof today I saw a male pigeon doing a mating dance next to a female, I think, and she was right there and he wasn’t chasing her, and then he just kind of calmed down and flew away. Like her strategy for rejection was just to stare at him, unimpressed. Or it could have been two males and I was just watching one try out his routine on his bud for tips. I also later saw a pigeon egging on a squirrel with something in its hands (paws? claws?) Was it a challenge?

Madeleine: Ok I wish I had been eating popcorn to this, reads like a SAGA. I feel like I’m living your emotions.

Fiona: It’s like pulling teeth for myself to get myself to go slow but I need to, I have so many failed paintings due to jumping the gun. I think paintings just actually take me a while and I’m very slowly learning to reckon with that.

Fiona: Pics to come, some failures are included.