Wednesday, October 31, 2007

"Needs are important and wants are wishes."

A week ago Tuesday, I went to see a sacred intimate. We talked for an hour and a half. Or, she let me talk. It was an introductory session to see if we could do some future work today.

Our second session is next week. In our first meeting she asked me to think of my intentions - what I want. That's when I quickly spat out "needs are important and wants are wishes."

She looked at me, laughed and repeated "want are wishes. Interesting."

In that, I saw how I never let myself truly indulge in imagining or envisioning my wants. Accessing my needs is a fairly new activity for me. Wants are foreign.

Six years ago,when being mentored by A., he gave me a needs exercise. Until then, I couldn't clearly express my needs. For a week, I had to continually ask myself the question "what do I need right now?" And I was required to come up with a quick, immediate response. In the moment, what do I need right now?

While working, while driving, walking, shopping…going on with my daily life, the question would always pop into my head. The answer had to be released with no guilt, no shame and luscious honesty. The first few days carried much discomfort. The Censoring Judge in my head would attempt to edit or dilute every response to the question.

With time and practice, it became easier.

From there, with greater work in therapy in the following years, I learned to take it to the next level by slowly and haltingly being able to express honest needs to another.

It doesn't flow effortlessly every time. But it's so much easier to access now.

Having been a child who learned to stuff her needs, this was a potent exercise for me.

Last week I realized that not only had my expression of needs been stifled, but expressing wants were just about banished from my life.

I was taken care of in a physical sense. And there was love. But due to lack of time and extra arms, wants became an unobtainable luxury. It wasn't practical. Dreaming only leads to heartbreak. Imagination creates suffering and wastes time.

Wow. As I'm writing this, I can now see the massive disconnect created within an artistic kid who is not encouraged or supported in expanding her imagination and dallying in fantasies.

"Wants are wishes."

A couple weeks ago, in our staff/board retreat, as the facilitator was writing down our ideas, our core values, etc., he remarked that the dream side of the page was blank. He said it was incredibly important to be able to not only envision but to concretely write it down. His words gave us permission to dream. Within 5 minutes the page was filled with dreams. Big dreams. Dreams including seeing a world free of bigots and prejudice. Dreams of support and love for all who seek it. It was a compelling moment.

It's an idea I've heard many times. And this time it struck me. I thought about his words last week when seeing my own personal struggle with claiming my wants.

The day after the appointment I came up with an idea and have since been diligent with it. Last Thursday I picked up a little moleskin book and it became my wants/intentions journal. Since then, every day I've written either one line…or a couple pages filled with wants.

It's a fascinating exercise.

Each time I write down a want, immediately I try to edit my words because they aren't practical, or the want is selfish. From there I've been asking myself "what do I REALLY want right here and right now?"

It's getting easier. I've committed myself to being incredibly honest in the little book of wants, knowing there is no attachment to the wants. Knowing that they may or may not come to fruition. Knowing that the only thing that matters is an ability to express my desires…my dreams…my fantasies…my wants, in the same way I learned to express my needs.

For those of us who engage in S/M, we pride ourselves on knowing the difference between needs and wants and in the ability to express them. I did too.

And in times I could state to others or myself what I'd like in my life. But what I've seen is that I didn't believe in true goodness for myself.

My little black book is showing me the extent of that brokenness. And it is creating another way to heal myself.

It has become a powerful tool.


(It's been brought to my attention by a few people that for some reason, comments aren't showing up here in Blogger. I've tested it myself but can't find the problem. If this has happened to you, I've love an email describing what happened or didn't happen. From there, I could let the Blogger folks know. You can email me at: absque2 at yahoo dot com)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Back in 2001, while A's leather student, he gave me an assignment. Well, it was one of many. This particular exercise was to seek out a certain something. Something that would be a reminder. Something I would keep in my workspace. Something that reminds me of the deep me. Something that keeps me going.

He intentionally kept it vague and didn't give me a deadline but told me to be on the look out. "When you begin seeking, it will appear. You will know it when you find it."

In April of that year, coming home with my freshly earned boots, I placed my boxed Chippewas on the floor. And I saw it. The something.

It was printed on the boot box. So perfect.

I cut it out and taped it to the wall of the bedroom I was using as a studio space at the time. Since I moved from there (3 apartments ago) the something was tucked in with drawings. Last week I found it again, and put it on my worktable in my new space.

Live the Spirit.

Today was probably one of the most difficult days thus far. I had no intention of going to the studio to paint. And I knew I was hurting myself by refusing to work but I couldn't fathom stepping foot in the studio. Then, I read a friend's blog entry and they were going to push themselves to be creative despite their very dark emotional state. Their words gave me the gentle nudge to do the same.

I took three old barely begun paintings and by the time I left, all three were shiny, glowing, very wet and dripping with thick paint. These paintings please me greatly.

Giving them one final glance before shutting the studio lights, I knew I had lived the spirit.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Forgotten Works Challenge and the first painting I've ever done.

These are the final 30n30 for the Forgotten Works 7th Annual Challenge. I'm headed out later to drop them off to the curator's. A few of the paintings have drastically changed from when I first showed you all 30.

Some I'm very pleased with and a couple...not so much. It's one thing doing this challenge for myself and another doing it to show. But, I would do it again.

It's a full exercise in letting go. Although there is an artists preview the night before the opening, I have no control over the work after it's painted. I can't do presales, reserve work or even request not for sale.

Whatever happens, happens.

This year for the first time, the curator is offering an additional show for the 50 artists. We are invited to submit one painting from our regular work (not part of the 30). It can be a new or older piece that represents what we do. Those will be hung, beginning with November's First Thursday in the Mneumatic Gallery, on the 4th floor of my building.

Now...over the last few months I've been thinking about the first painting I ever did. I knew I brought it to Seattle with me but had no idea where it was and hadn't begun to look. On one of Matt's visits, we stored a few of his boxes in the closet that used to hold all my art stuff. When we opened the door to dump the boxes, there lay the painting. Turned over. On the carpet.

It must have fallen out of a box when I moved stuff to the studio.

This is where it gets weird.
I realized it was an 8x10 on canvas board. Other than the 30 paintings in 30 days, also on 8x10 canvas boards, that first painting was the only time I had ever worked on canvas board. Flipping it over, I had written a date and title after completing the little acrylic painting.

Date: Sunday, October 28, 1973
Title: The Lone House

I was 13 years old. Exactly 34 years to the day of the deadline for submission of the

"The Lone House"

Saturday, October 27, 2007

I've been hiding out in the studio. Paint doesn't have the ability to hurt you the way people do.

Since Sunday I've begun 7 new paintings of various sizes. 5 are fully abstract and the other two from observation. The one pictured below will get blown apart. I went in yesterday morning to redraw it. From there, I'll push it past realism. I've upped the contrast in the jpeg quite a bit to let me think about the piece in a different way.

4 private viewings this week. One on Monday, one Thursday night, another yesterday morning and then again last night.

On Monday I sold one of the male masturbation drawings and left the studio with a check in my pocket. Last night, someone else had set up time to view the work and again, much to my surprise, sold another...also leaving with cash in my pocket.

Today I need to contact a photographer to take good images of the two pieces. Then I can get the drawings to the new owners.

As I've said before, I can kind of see the light on the other side. It's a matter of trudging through this part, filled with brambles...shredding my skin with every step.

I don't want my success with my art to be contingent upon the amount of pain I'm in. I've been heavily immersed in survival mode. Not really living, but knowing I have to get up in the morning, remember to breathe and do what I need to do. Until it's time to go home, curl up in a ball and cry. It's not a pretty existence.

But...I'm fucking painting.

And it will get better. It has to.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

It's a shaky photo, but it's a photo from this morning. As I've been closing into myself, I learned how intimate my photography was. Not only couldn't I share it but I couldn't even take a photo unless it was for the sole purpose of less emotional documentation.

False beliefs I've held forever (two which appear in direct opposition):

~I'm invisible (not seen)

~I'm untouchable (seen but people recoil after seeing me)

~Needs are important and wants are wishes - meaning if I dream to manifest those dreams, they better damned well be practical and needed. Wants are frivolous and therefore only good for fairy tales.

~I'm too broken to ever have a healthy relationship.


Big insight:

Don't breathe through the pain. Breathe into it.
Very important difference.

Yesterday morning, thanks to a photo from Bitterlawngnome, I gained this powerful insight regarding my current state. It may be a time of broken sex and broken me and yet, it's perfect for now. Like a garden which goes through a death cycle on the surface, I need to trust it is right. I can't force healing. Breathing into the pain means submission to where I'm at…right now. Learning patience and accessing forgiveness of others and of myself.

I was working furiously on breathing through the pain. If I worked through it, then it (me) could be repaired quickly. But the actual truth is that in doing so, I again outsmarted myself by not letting myself really step into the full uncomfortableness of the emotion. Instead, I grabbed the pain and attempted to sprint to the finish line.


I met with someone last night for almost 2 hours. Talking…opening. In the initial hug, I felt my wounds by recoiling from their touch. I'm a hugger and a toucher, yet I've been so stiff I couldn't even look them in the eye. It made me cry because I saw how although contact is craved, in this current time I haven't been able to bear it (except in the very rare case).

In addition to so many things, I spoke of how I had glimpsed into my potential and need to reconnect myself to access the beauty and power I saw. I ache to reclaim my vulnerability and soft underbelly side.

After our time together, I felt nurtured…emotionally held and incredibly validated. The space was a salve. Subsequent appointments will be 2 full hours of erotic, full body touch in a clean-boundaried space. My only responsibility is to arrive with clear intentions, be present and receive it all. Allow them to lavish full attention.

Just be in it and all that arises from it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Spent the bulk of the day in the studio, which was an unexpected and wonderful surprise. Traditionally, after an all day meeting, such as yesterday's staff/board retreat, I'm spent.

Worked over 4 of the 30n30 paintings and then I needed to work on something else. I ended up pulling out 3 canvases begun before the project and began reworking them.

It felt very nice to paint something that had no deadline...and instead, paint simply to paint.
Move colors around.

Friday, October 19, 2007

I'm feeling the pressure.

It's funny. A few years ago I told myself that I would not book another show unless I already had a body of work to show. All my shows were created under deadlines. Not my best way to work. So what do I do? The first show (First Thursdays don't count) I book since that statement is an intense deadline show.

I had forgotten all about my promise until yesterday while I was reworking 5 paintings in the studio. The struggle to remain free with the pain is great.

(an aside: Wow. In rereading after I posted I noticed a powerful freudian slip. So much so, that I will leave the sentence as is. But what I meant to write was- "the struggle to remain free with the paint is great.")

I plan on spending the bulk of today working. I'll bus it down, bring my laptop and a book...and it'll keep me in the space longer.

Still not taking my b&w photos. Really don't have the creative room for them.

In my eclectic music tastes, one of my favorite (of many) songs is ACDC's Hells Bells. Normally, it's lyrics that are a big draw. With this song, it has nothing to do with the words, yet the music. It hits me big time. Yesterday, on Radio Paradise, I heard an absolutely fabulous cover done by The Dandy Warhols...a band I wasn't familiar with. Their rendition is smooth and mellower. It grooves. Here is a You Tube video of them doing the song. Note, the video is much shorter than the version I heard which is from their Bohemian Like You Australian Tour EP.

Found a new blog yesterday, via a tv commercial -, created by a member of the New York City Ballet.

From their website:

THE WINGER is a community oriented dance website that shows the lives, insights, and personalities of professionals, students, experts and pioneers in the dance world.

The photos are quite lovely. And it offers a wonderful peek.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

(Edit: fixed the image link)

18 days in and all 30 are in various stages of completion: done, almost done, have a ways to go and two that I'm definitely fighting with. The stool and chair in the front are kicking my friggin' ass. I may just obliterate them and start fresh. But as of last night, there is paint on every single board. Here's the kicker: I have until Friday night to finish them.

Saturday, we have an all day staff/board retreat. They tend to knock me on my butt...for that day and the following. So although I'd love to go in on Sunday and paint, I can't count on it. I could work on them Monday, but seeing I need to drop them off on the 28th, I want to make sure they are dry.

At some point I'll write out the thoughts that have come to me in doing this project. And...I think I need to continue this pace in some fashion and not wait until next year.

(Another edit: I just figured out why I'm stuck with the stool and the chair. There is so much fear wrapped up in those two. I can visualize where I want each painting to go, can see it in my head. And yet...

...But they'll get there.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

In the 30 in 30 series, I began four new paintings today and reworked an older one. This is a brand new one. I love where it's headed. I love the simplicity of it. And, like all of them, although pleased, they aren't the best of me. I'm so disconnected from my belly and cunt and it's showing in my work.

It's not a good place to paint from, but I refuse to not paint.

And I've taken a huge, terrifying step to rectify the situation. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

I'm feeling a tad better and so am taking advantage of it by sharing. Yesterday afternoon and evening I was blessed with some big insights. These insights have pushed me to a different level.

Day 16 of the 30 in 30 days challenge. Most are still in progress.

Friday, October 12, 2007


Tough, tough time.

Yesterday my shrink said that this is probably the most difficult thing I'll go through. He speaks from experience.

I'm saving my energy for getting up in the morning, going to work and then painting. There has been nothing left for blogging. No photos. I'm too raw, too vulnerable to post new work. And I'm rarely taking photos. Again, the little creative energy I have is being saved for painting. Or, like tonight, setting up a private showing in the studio.

Most of my time is spent alone in my office, alone at home, alone in the studio. I can't even bear to go for walks or take the bus. It's too much exposure and I have no reserves for dealing with crazed stranger energy. Happy, shiny people grate on me right now. And excess joking is like nails on a chalkboard. As is being overly solicitous. I don't need polite care-taking.

Taking the space and time to be present to every emotion that pours through is important right now. I'm being vigilant to make sure I don't get stuck and loop in one place. I'm learning to let go of discomfort brought up by certain feelings. And yet in it, I'm exhausted and am beginning to wonder if I have the strength to continue.

I've gone through periods of darkness, and a greater sense of being alone in each one. This time carries the most amount of aloneness...a feeling it is infinite.

The only thing that keeps me going is a very quiet voice inside saying I'll get through it.

The shrink is being very supportive and is pleased to see the amount of self-care that is happening. He's told me that there's nothing else to do but what I'm currently doing. Small comfort, but comfort none the less.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Friday, October 05, 2007

Notes from First Thursday-

Last night's showing was good. Good, considering I was dealing with a nasty sinus headache. But cold meds, and then wine helped ease the pain some.

It was interesting to watch people approach the drawings. Some, clearly were embarrassed once they realized what was depicted. One guy and his friend were discussing whether or not there was a dildo in the model's ass. I jumped in and said yes.

One man looked and looked...for quite a while. He began nodding, and then went to the wine table, grabbed my card and left. That made me happy.

Another man engaged me in conversation and thanked me for the drawings. He said it's rare to see a woman do art of men with such respect, and not strictly porn or in a man-hating sense. His comments moved me.

Yes, the drawings are very sexual and yet there is more. It's the more that turns me on. Most porn bores me - being one layer...surfacey. Porn is needed. I understand that and support those who do it. But, as my shrink has said, I'm into multi-facetedness, complexities, tapestries of feeling and many layers. Having said that, tomorrow I'm going to the screening of HUMP's annual amateur porn contest. It's their 3rd year, and I've enjoyed it each year. It's really fun to see fresh ideas...mostly amateurs attempting to create something sexy.

One comment from last night, "these are gorgeous drawings." Another loved the way I worked the paper...feeling the struggle and the marks. And even another loved the mystery in the work.

It was interesting. Overall, more men than women spent time in front of the wall, looking, searching. And my gaydar wasn't going off with all of them. Honestly, and I know I'm assuming here, but it felt like it was the straight guys who'd stop, look and I could feel them relax in front of the drawings. That was wonderful to see.

I'm not into preaching to the choir. For me, that's not where my activism lies. It's another reason why I didn't want these particular pieces hung in an "erotic art" venue. I will only submit to an EA show if powerfully moved to do so. In that, I know there's a greater reason for the act.

Watching the energy of folks last night, feeling the bits of healing taking place as some looked, felt and immersed themselves in the work...seeing a validation come across their faces...was powerful.

In addition to the drawings, I had to hang the 7 very wet, in progress pieces from the 30 in 30 show. So they were at the end of the wall, tucked together.

I discovered that people's reactions to the male drawings were so personal...that unless someone approached me, I didn't want to invade their space in that moment. Yet, when some were spending time in front of the 30 in 30 ptgs, that's when I'd go over and talk to them...explain the challenge. From there, many would then ask me about the drawings.

Also exciting was the reception to the in progress paintings. I spoke at length with the creator of the challenge, who spent time in our space last night. He was thrilled with what I was doing, and especially loved that I was painting an homage to the space.

And...I sold a piece.

These evenings although very difficult for me, are becoming important. I'm learning to see myself as a professional and observing how something that comes from my hands can actually move people...consistently. Yes, my friends tell me they love my work, but they're my friends. It's different when it comes from strangers - people who owe you nothing.

All in all...despite everything else going on in my was a wonderful evening.

The painting depicted is from the one of the two photos used for the drawings, but begun a year earlier. It's not complete...almost, but not quite.


In other news:

Yesterday an email was forwarded to my work email. It included the resignation of the first and only openly transgender member of the board of HRC.

Donna Rose posted the letter on her site. It's a powerful, albeit long, letter.

This line, from her letter, is wonderful. (The bold is mine):

"History teaches painful lessons. Any celebration of rights gained at the expense of others is not a celebration. It is a failure of effective leadership. It is to offer the promise of a tomorrow that you know in your heart will never come. It is to choose to turn your back on those who need you most, who do not have the voice or the stature to speak for themselves."

HRC had backpedaled and chose the safe route, Donna's response was resignation. Since then, HRC has changed their stance (but it still hasn't changed my feelings for them).

Thursday, October 04, 2007

This is what I'm showing tonight for First Thursday.
Charcoal/watercolor and graphite.
Each about 15x20 inches.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Rob Brezsny's take on Capricorns.
Very timely!

"Jackson Pollack (1912-1956) was a pioneer painter. Instead of using an easel, he laid his canvases on the floor. Rather than manually applying paint with a brush, he poured the liquid colors out and then used his whole body to shape his creation, crawling and walking on it. Sometimes he'd employ trowels, sticks, pieces of glass, and other objects to further manipulate the paint. He's your role model for the coming week, Capricorn. I hope he will inspire you to expand the way you carry out your specialties. Try new techniques. Involve more of yourself in the process. Be willing to get messier than you've been before."

And here is yours.

Putting up yesterday's painting was a good thing. Although not in the studio, I've been able to stare at it quite a bit and today know the sections that really bug me and what I can do to complete the piece.

Uppity Faggot has chosen seven of my interests and asked me to write about them. As I settle into the painting a bit more I'll write about a day. The seven are - singletails, cigar play, blogging, food, walking, service, and the unknown.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

click for bigger image

This is more like it!

Sinus headaches or not...I spent two hours in the studio after a 10 hour work day. And the paintings flowed. After two days, I'm almost finished with this one, and have 6 others under way.

I made one small change to my palette. Pthalo blue was added to my other colors. It's been years since I've used it and while at work this morning, the color came to mind. It's made a big difference.

After working this little piece as much as I could before it was too wet to continue, I was shaking with joy.

Snippets of space and light. Moments. Another painting begun is the corner of a wall...while the last one I worked on is a minimal painting easel. A few lines and much light.

The series of 30 paintings in 30 days are a love letter to my studio, my heart.

Drizzly, dark day. I do like such days. Especially after months of the bright, glaring sun.

I think my cold has turned into a sinus infection. Two days of nonstop pressure and headaches. For lunch, I've indulged in Pho Tai both days. The basil, lime and peppers are heaven. I want to swim in the broth.

Yesterday's Pho whet the appetite of a couple coworkers. One left to eat it at the restaurant and the other offered to run out and pick some up for the rest of us.

I've made a decision to switch from acrylics to oils for the 30 day project. I became frustrated with not only the handling of acrylics but losing the type of light I can achieve with oils.

It means I'll have to paint fast so they have time to dry before october 28th.

Monday, October 01, 2007


I work so very hard to protect myself. Yes, at times walls are needed but at some point they have to crumble.

We live in a tit for tat world: I'll show you mine if you show me yours. Otherwise, I'll hide...fearing foolishness, vulnerability, hurt.

I'm learning that I can't protect myself from pain. And, I'm learning that the pain is greater when I block myself...not being true to myself, my heart...all that I am. What hurts the most is hiding.

In an attempt to squash, it comes out in other ways. It has to. So it'll show its face in anger, in cynicism, in analytical thought...creating the most brilliant reasons why something isn't right.

This is a big struggle.

My first favorite shrink, back east, once told me my analytical and emotional parts of my head were equally as strong. It can lead me to interminable debates with myself. Infinite struggles between following my head versus my heart.

The only way to know the truth is to strip it all away - dismantle the complexities I've built and find the core. It returns to asking why. Why...over and over again, why until I can't ask why anymore. Each answer in my head can be met with another "why?" until I get down to the real issue.

I've outsmarted myself.

Because I am a big feeling person, I've allowed myself to immerse in the dark parts of my life, thinking I'm doing all I can..."See how I hurt? Yes, I'm so active in my healing." Stepping into some pain because it let me believe I was really tackling the core wound in that manner.

Yet those dark parts are safe in a way because I'm fooling myself into believing I'm really working on my stuff. And yes, in a way, I am. There are valuable lessons and skills gained. But the shadow side of this scenario is that I'm also avoiding the big thing. The deepest part.

It's a smokescreen, protecting me from the real truth...the truth that I really don't deserve full happiness and therefore why go for it?

If there is love inside, I just gotta let myself feel it...regardless. I can't pretend to be wise and all-knowing. It's no longer working. And it wasn't a good tactic. I can't be so afraid to love...and to the possibility of being loved that I let my fear of great risk paralyze me.

I surrender...knowing there is no plan, knowing I have no idea what life has in store for me, knowing I have no control. I can't fix anything or everything.

All I can do is love...