Sunday, December 30, 2007

Many times, moving my hand leads to this~

Since Friday I've been going in, knowing I have to work and just doing it. It's been a struggle but it's happening. I've needed to do larger drawings and so am working on 18x24 sheets. Moving my hand wasn't enough. I had to work my arm as well.

Although I'm going to make these drawings go away, I wanted photos because there's something in them I need to study. And I've documented them here because I don't want to show you only the pretty or successful work. There are many weak pieces before a strong one is born. And in thinking about it, I'm uncomfortable with the idea that most of what I do is good, strong work. There are lots of bumps. It's the reality of creation.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Yesterday I had an experience that brought back the grief and anger to an intense degree. With that, again came the humiliation and large sense of feeling duped. Although nearly paralyzed by emotion, down deep I knew it was a good thing. It was another step in letting go.

Thing is, even with that knowledge, I still feel like such a fool. Sometimes I think I ask for too much. Yesterday's moment brought back the memory that all I had asked for was honesty. And it was too much to ask for.

In correspondence with another artist yesterday...they wrote (greatly edited):

"Is it just that we have to push forward, despite the doubt?"

And I replied:
Yup. Jump in and break through the doubt...Practice is going in and doing, over and over, each day because we haven't gotten it yet.

And I believe that there's a good reason we don't fully achieve. If we did, there'd be no reason to continue. We manage to create magic in moments. Small moments. Those times give us the drive to continue.

What if you stepped into the studio and simply moved your hand around? You have ideas flying in your head. You've researched. It sounds like you feel you've lost your voice. But your hand knows. Even if things are muddled in your head, your hand knows.

Shake it out, work it through. Create fabulous, non-caring messes that have nothing to do with anything except that you're moving your hand.

And...I'm saying this because I'm also speaking to me right now as well.

I've just been hit with an intense bit of enlightenment, regarding someone I love. It's left me furious, and incredibly hurt. I know I have to go into the studio and draw and yet...I'm so messed up that I'm sitting at home, watching dvd's and checking email. Numbing myself. In writing to you, it's giving me the strength to throw on some jeans, and go to work. I need to move my hand too. In moving, I'll move through the anger and the grief. The garbage can come out as black charcoal marks on paper...not caring...except for the fact that I desire to be committed to my practice because when all is said and done...I am a painter.

No one can take that away from me.

And no one can take that away from you. Not even the part of you that doubts."


I'm grateful to the other artist because yesterday's little connection gave me the strength to get my ass into the studio and work.

There is so much I have to learn. There are so many places where I'm unsure of my footing and what life holds and what it all means and learning how to trust again. But there is one thing I know. No matter how foolish or humiliated or broken I may feel, there is one place where I am not. It's the painter in me.

If the painter is fed, then it nourishes the rest of me to continue to love and fuck and live. And do so with integrity.

Hold on to the painter.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Shadows...'s astounding what can come back and haunt us.

The photo was taken in July. The drawing, done a couple days ago. They just happened to come together today...falling into my lap. Like a few other things.


Out of the Garden, oil on canvas

In going through some jpegs last night, I found this - a painting I did in 1996.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

From the studio window.

It's been very cold (for Seattle). Combined with the wetness makes for almost bone-chilling weather. The lights from Julie's Garden restaurant promises warmth by serving up Thai and Vietnamese food. It prompted me to have Chinese delivered when I arrived home.

Even though the heat kicked on a few times, the studio was cool as well. It wasn't conducive to a hearty drawing session. But I did work a bit and finish two pieces. This little one charms me. The actual drawing is about 3x7 inches.

There is lots going on and not much of it is coming out in the blog. Ideas are swirling around and percolating. I'm letting it be.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007 came.

I had placed an order almost 2 months ago. Yarka compressed charcoal was on backorder. A few weeks back I was informed it would be backordered indefinitely. So I called another supplier and ordered 5 boxes. He had one left in stock and ordered 4 more from their distributor. Very kindly, at no extra charge, he offered to send me that last box now.

The timing is perfect.

On Monday, I was down to 2 small pieces of charcoal. I had been deliberating whether to stop working in b&w and jump back into oils. Again, I've been feeling stuck with the work. Each time I approach the paper, it's an immense challenge...a much scarier unknown than in the past.

This time, I left it up to the universe. If I ran out of charcoal it meant I could dive back into oils and push the hard stuff to the side.


The earlier drawings were created while adrenalin was pumping. I was too juiced/emotional to be afraid. I would dive into the white page. Now, it's as if I'm aware of what I'm doing and so will tense up. Instead of working from my gut, the mind is taking over. With that, fear returns to the work. And in that...the doubt.

Hmmm, wow...that just came to me as I was writing. Charcoal or not, knowing this now I see it's not time to stop the drawings, even if I had run out of Yarka charcoal. There are other mediums. Ink. Watercolor. Pencil. And I do have other brands of charcoal. They just aren't the same.

But I cannot use something that appears so reasonable as an excuse to back out of a scary place.

I will paint soon. But for now, I need to stay with the drawings for a bit longer.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A nice afternoon at Matt's with good friends and lots of food. M. received another set of lights for his tree, which FJ, visiting from LA promptly put up. Yes...crucifix lights.

Hearty tasty stews...oyster and beef, nice wine and fun conversation.

Eric was visiting from SF and spent a couple hours with us this afternoon before heading to the airport to return home. E, it was great seeing you.

Happy Holidays everyone...

Monday, December 24, 2007

I gathered a table of nine at Café Septieme last night for dinner with Eric who is in town until tomorrow. It was a nice evening.

In conversation with the two men I'll be working with on the film for our HUMP! entry…we talked more about our thoughts for the project. What is exciting is that I've always marveled at how directors have a vision for film and had no idea how they could do it. Sometimes I envision paintings and sometimes I don't. But in the medium of film-making…it was a foreign concept. Unimaginable. So much to think of. How could they predetermine and bring together so many elements to create a hopefully cohesive piece?

I'm now getting an inkling.

I can almost clearly see a completed film. With specific shots…scenes, and getting a handle on the soundtrack. Sharing my ideas with the guys has been easy….and it's meshing comfortably with their ideas. We seem to be on the same page.

Last night, notes were scrawled on the newsprint covering the linen tablecloths. The beginning…the middle…and a delightful not obvious ending naturally flowed.

We are now on a mission to find not only someone to man the camera, but someone very adept at editing, willing to follow our vision.

In sharing the thoughts with my shrink today, he said with a smile "that's right up your alley...challenging people with bigger ideas about sex..."

It's a daunting and exciting project.

The cafe is pretty during the holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

When I draw...memories flood back.

This year...tough season.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Embrace the light as well as the darkness.
Today is solstice.

I learned a new term from Brezsny's email this week...wabi-sabi. It's quite beautiful.
From the newsletter:

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese term that refers to a captivating work of art with a distinctive flaw that embodies the idiosyncratic humanity of its creator. An aqua groove in an otherwise perfectly green ceramic pot may give it wabi-sabi. A skilled blues singer who intentionally wails out of pitch for a moment may be expressing wabi-sabi.

Wabi-sabi is rooted in the idea that perfection is a kind of death.


"The essence of Wabi-sabi is that true beauty, whether it comes from an object, architecture, or visual art, doesn't reveal itself until the winds of time have had their say. Beauty is in the cracks, the worn spots, and the imperfect lines." --Todd Dominey,


Wabi-sabi is a kind of beauty that's imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete, says Leonard Koren in his book *Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers.* It differs from Western notions that beauty resides in the "monumental, spectacular, and enduring." It's about "the minor and the hidden, the tentative and the ephemeral: things so subtle and evanescent they are almost invisible at first glance."


A little bit of this and that...

While at the doctor's office I read a very disturbing article in the latest issue of Forbes Magazine: The Art of the Deal.

It makes me sick because it shows how art is another commodity to be bought and sold, without passion. The art world really freaks me out and this is an extreme example of how capitalistic thinking can poison what I always believed (naively) was the one pure way of being in the world. Even the works of our souls are up for grabs.


Auxugen is in town until Tuesday afternoon. We're spending the afternoon together, at the studio, and then he doesn't know this yet but I'm taking him to the Gaylen Hansen exhibit at the SAM...and then heading off to FELS.


Jen Graves, the visual arts editor for The Stranger has a piece on nativity art, A Lay in a Manger (Dan Savage made me write this).

It begins:

"I remember the Nativity scene in our church every Christmas Eve: Some poor young family, trundling up to the altar with a newborn, usually trying to appease their other child (who might be dressed as a sheep) while pretending for all the world that they'd never had sex. Christ almighty.

The truth is, history is littered with naughty Nativities—and not just ones in which the Virgin or the onlookers are simply hot (for this, start with Botticelli). Jesus, there are some shockers! We'll start slowly."

Check it out.


Yesterday I finally...finally after first beginning the paperwork 2 years ago, sent off the completed application to replace my birth certificate. Only $20 for a certified original. And they estimate a 12 day turnaround. That's Quebec for you.

The procrastination is costing me quite a bit. I printed out the application to replace my naturalization papers, prepping for when I receive the birth certificate. What was $200, went up to $275 a couple years ago and is now....$380! I guess it costs more to now process the paperwork through the Department of Homeland Security instead of Immigration.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007

In the session with my shrink yesterday morning, I realized that one week after a potent sacred intimate session, there is a clear and positive change. I no longer feel shame or guilt for whatever emotional pain I'm going through. It comes may surround may even be debilitating for the time it is with me, but that's it. I don't have the same resistance to the pain, nor do I beat myself up for it.

I don't revel in it. I much prefer the too infrequent moments when I'm pain free. But it comes with less negative stuff, and therefore am trusting that ultimately I will go through this cycle quicker.

What I still need to work on is my cynicism. I trust fewer people than I used to.

In time...

Last night I learned that 4 of my paintings in the 30 in 30 show sold.

From Rob Brezsny's weekly newsletter is a quote which "coincidentally" goes with the photo I chose last night for this entry:

"When bread is baked, some parts are split at the surface, and these parts which thus open, and have a certain fashion contrary to the purpose of the baker's art, are beautiful, and in a peculiar way excite a desire for eating. Again, figs, when they are quite ripe, gape open; and in the ripe olives the very circumstance of their being near to rottenness adds a peculiar beauty to the fruit. And the ears of corn bending down, and the lion's eyebrows, and the foam which flows from the mouth of wild boars, though they are far from being beautiful, please the mind."
--Marcus Aurelius, *Meditations,* translated by George Long

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tonight I have to pick up what's left of the 30 in 30 paintings from the curator of the show...along with a check (assuming anything was sold).

It's a week of art tasks. Well, tasks in general.

I need to put hanging wire on the back of the paintings that will be showing for the month of January at the Starbucks on 15th. I suppose I ought to sign them as well.

Two tasks I'm not fond of.

Also, I promised to send out about 12 watercolors. So I'll begin organizing, sorting and get those ready to ship out.

The desire to work in oils is slowly returning. With it, is the need to work larger. It is time. week, I am committed to beginning the process of replacing my birth certificate and naturalization papers. I have copies, but need to get my hands on certified originals again to then be able to obtain a passport.

It's a little of this and a little of that. All the while I continue to breathe deeply and visualize healing breaths surround the shattered heart.

Sunday morning I woke in the throes of a powerful moment. I was cycling down, hit by pain, and then saw plain as day, myself being held by an indistinguishable person. They were comforting me, soothing me...telling me it's okay that I'm scared and confused. They weren't going to leave but would be there supporting me. I could feel them and in their arms, I sobbed. It was someone choosing, because of their love, to fight for me when I'm feeling little knowing I would do the same for them...holding them when they are trapped in their darkness.

That experience showed me what I could have. For the first time in my life, I knew that I too was worthy of such devotion...a connection consisting of equality, transparency and reciprocity. And I plainly saw the power and light that radiates from such a relationship.

I sat in the vision, allowing it to comfort me.

Now on to work at the day gig and then paint. In spite of last night's dismal experience with the art, I am not disillusioned. Those times are simply a part of the process.

Monday, December 17, 2007

I was very tired today and so took the last little bit of use or lose vacation time, went home and zombied out. About dinner time I headed to the studio.

My mind was all over the place and therefore couldn't focus on any one piece. The mental jitteriness tried to create a feeling of insecurity about the work. Doubts, confusion...wondering what the hell I was doing thinking I could paint...

I forced myself to stay for an hour...doing nothing more than moving my hand on large sheets with brush and charcoal. Page after page fell to the floor, wet and messy, all the while trusting that this too will pass.

I think it's time to keep a bottle of Kava Kava in the studio for such days. It would help with these periodic ADD moments.

But I worked. And that ain't nothing.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More studies today. Again, jazz playing on the radio and I'm working a groove, not caring if they are good or bad. It feels good to be working again, after the week and a half when I couldn't. And better yet, I like that the work feels like play. What helps is having the luxury to do it right now.

At some point I'll have to buckle down and get serious about another series, but for now...I'm relaxing into it.

Getting off the elevator, opening the grated door, (yes, one of those old ones), I just about bumped into the most amazon drag queen I've ever seen. I'm almost 5'9" and my face almost just about hit her boobs.

She was all decked out in a canary yellow dress. There was a photoshoot going on in the hallway outside my studio. Lights set up...a photographer with a big ass camera.

I couldn't even use the bathroom/utility room because people were changing in there.

By the time I left, the hallway was clear. When I stepped outside I almost bumped into them again. They had moved the shoot to outside, in front.

You never know what you'll find in the building...

Two parties last night.

First a tree-trimming/house warming for Matt. I made him a little ornament for his tree. It was a wonderful time...with good folks. Matt has such a kickass apartment. I still covet it.

While there, two guys and I planned our contribution for HUMP! (Seattle's amature porn film fest) next year. We'll begin work after the holidays.

Then I ran home to be quiet for about 45 minutes before picking up Tony B. and his boys, and headed to a private play party in a fab dungeon to honor a friend's 50th birthday. I don't see any of these guys as often as I used to. Our lives each have a different focus. But it's always wonderful to reconnect.

I spent a wonderful time with the birthday papa, G, and his boy, M. His boy and I have known each other since the summer of '99. He's a big old pain pig as well. The three of us talked, hung out and played a bit. M has an impressive and quite formidable collection of phenomenal clothespins. He's had these much longer than he and I have known each other.

They do not make clothespins like these anymore.

I'm still enjoying the aftereffects of our time together.

Thanks so much G & M.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

drawing 12.12.07

Becoming bolder has been a prominent theme the last few days. A couple weeks ago I wrote about becoming more daring. It seems the universe is conspiring to not let me run away from that message. My horoscopes, from the three or four I faithfully check, have been reiterating the choice to live a courageous life. Again, yesterday...

My weekend horoscope from Jonathan Cainer


"Your Weekend: Sometimes, we just can't get away with taking the easy options. Life is not about playing it safe nor is it about settling for second best. If we are not striving for excellence we are selling ourselves short. Even if we fail to achieve all that we want to, we at least have the satisfaction of knowing that we tried. You are now making a brave effort. Don't be talked out of it and don't feel that you are wasting your time. Rewards both obvious and indirect, now await you if you find the courage to challenge convention."

It's really about finding my voice. Not the voice of the masses. Not a sound that replicates bland consumerism, bowing to the gods of media, or the cacophony that stems from the cult-like sensibilities of organized "communities", but a very personal, unique voice. We each have that, tucked away, and come into our own voice in different degrees.

My challenge: how to use a voice, once pure at birth, now fashioned from the the anger and grief of 47 years and not be controlled by yet instead be informed by the wounds of life.

Last week it hit me why I love good jazz. Jazz is freedom. It's created in the belly. Changing each moment, being fully present to surroundings. I was too frozen to sing it or even learn how to play it on the piano. Even when I was little, I knew I was too stilted to even try, and in that knowledge, sadness grew.

The drawings I've been doing are my form of jazz.

Following this recent theme of boldness and courage, yesterday afternoon I fell into a luscious treat. It was an old entry from November 2005. It again confirms the idea of needed daring - the most powerful speech I had ever heard. Juba Kalamka screams boldness.

If you aren't familiar with Juba, from his bio:

"A recording artist since 1988, Chicago native Juba Kalamka (aka Pointfivefag) is most recognized for his recent work as a founding member of "homohop" crew Deep Dickollective (D/DC) and his development of the label Sugartruck Recordings...

...Noted for his dialogues on the convergences and conflicts of race, identity, sexuality and class in pop culture, Kalamka has written and illustrated articles for Kitchen Sink, Colorlines, and the now-defunct bisexual issues magazine Anything That Moves."

His piece ends with:

"I will open my arms, run headlong into these flames
I will own this heat in my chest
I'm on fire and for you and you and you and
you and you and you"

If you didn't read it two years ago, I urge you, no, I challenge fightingwords.

Read the whole thing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Remember this from a few weeks ago?

Playing in photoshop...getting ideas about where the drawing may want to go...

And then thinking about some of my current work (older photo)...

especially after spending time looking at Dave's deliciously honest work (go back to his November and October stuff also)....

I need to get bolder.

Although I'm aware that the new work is braver than what I used to still feels tentative. It's fearful.

I'm afraid to bust loose...break forth, fearing ugliness. Showing my underbelly may scare the natives. Instead, I've been taking cautious steps.

There's nothing wrong with that...except when it feels there is. Thinking about the second half of my intention..."my love is greater than my fear..." and knowing that it has to, it needs to, it MUST apply to my work as well.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Just a quickie. It's a busy day.

Dave is one of the other artists in my studio. He's an urban street artist. I really like his work because it's honest, raw and he's quite prolific. He's on blogger at, posting work quite often. He also creates comics.

His myspace page, with more info is here.

There was a letter from Blick Art in my mailbox. The Yarka compressed charcoal is on backorder for a minimum of 60 days! Time to find another supplier.

Yesterday the S.I. I work with emailed me...checking in regarding the session I wrote about yesterday. She mentioned that I can continue to feel the unraveling of intense breathwork for a few days afterward. And indeed I have been, including waking at 4 am in tears this morning grieving childhood stuff.

I'm working on being very gentle with myself, and allowing all the feelings to continue to wash over me. No "shoulds", no guilt, no shame.

Not this time.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Hammering Man, in front of the Seattle Art Museum

Back to work.

Tonight, for the first time in over a week and a half, I'll be in the studio painting, working some more on the little black and white watercolors.

Last night, after a few weeks, I had another appointment with the sacred intimate. In different ways than therapy, it's hard work.

"Where there is danger there grows also what saves."
- Friedrich Holderlin, "Patmos"

In talk sessions…I can use my mind. In doing so, although I work on being the realest real I can be, he allows me the space to zone out a bit, or change topics when things get too hot. Well, most times. He still is pretty damned challenging. But in talking, there is always room for me to outwit myself...for a while, anyway.

With the intimate, it's all about feelings. Being acutely and tenaciously present to every feeling that arises…with every inhale and exhale. She doesn't let me run from the pain or memories that may come up. I realized yesterday that she's my space to work through the grief with touch, while being physically held.

Working with her and my shrink in tandem is quite powerful. I've intentionally been making appointments with him for after the sessions with her.

Last night, the intimate allowed me about 15 minutes of working through my mind muck. Just babbling….while leaning into her, my head against her chest.

You see, I had been berating myself because I was still dealing with the vicious pain that comes up. I have rules. I felt it had been long enough. And so I carried shame because I still hurt. In still hurting, I felt I was weak.

After a bit, she said we'd do something different. As she explained it to me terror rose in my chest. We were going to spend an hour doing breath work. Only conscious breathing. This time there would be no other distractions.

I knew this would be a full hour of being present with a capital P to every emotion that would come up. There could be no hiding. No shutting down. No numbing myself.

It was a zazen of sorts, with the only difference being she was physically guiding me through each breath. There was very little room for the mind. Only feeling. As things would come up, she'd lay her hands on various parts of my body and whisper in my ear, breathing for me and with me...reminding me to breathe deeply.

An incredibly intense scene.

And yes, it all came up. Even surprises. I grieved and cried for a relationship that I thought I had worked through over 12 years ago. It was not the excruciatingly painful relationship that ended 10 years ago, but one that ended with mutual love. Much love. Yes, there was sadness at the time but a calmness as well. Yet last night, I saw how I had held grief for that…and had stuffed it.

The most recent pain was the toughest. So deep there were no more tears. Only wracking sobs from my belly while forcing myself to inhale…then exhale.

We've also been working on creating a potent intention. It's something I've been struggling with since my first session with her.

Everyone has their own unique path. We each need to be true to ourselves and so there is no one right way for all. My intention is specific to my journey.

I know the intention has to do with finding a co-conspirator, a peer, a partner - one whose path in life is the deep journey. One who knows that we aren't meant to go it alone, but sees the priceless gift in being mirrors for each other. One who not only can embrace silliness and fun but also seeks to sweep out the dark corners of their closet. One who is willing to jump into the fire.

One with the eyes of an artist and the heart of a poet.

"Live at the empty heart of paradox.
I'll dance with you there, cheek to cheek."

-Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks

I have been given many wondrous gifts over the last year, including the gift to know not only what I want but what I need. Last night, at the end of the session, the words of my intention crystallized:

I am with someone whose love for me is greater than their fear.
I am someone whose love is greater than their fear.

Therein lay my intention.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

"Don't drink the kool-aid."
It's becoming my mantra.

The emperor isn't wearing any clothes.

I've checked, double-checked and triple-checked myself. I've tormented myself with over-checking.

When one stands on the outside, it's good to look within and make sure one simply isn't being ornery, stubborn or prideful. I've spent a long time searching deep and even feeling guilty for not jumping onto the carousel. This is made more difficult because my whole life has been lived on the outside looking in and I so feared I was recreating my history.

Finally, after slaps from a therapist, a body worker and an affirmation from an unbiased friend with a good head on their shoulders, I see that I need to hold onto my instincts. This gut has yet to fail me.

It's okay for me not to drink the kool-aid. It's not for everyone. Instead, just as with other areas of my life, the choices to partake can be mindful...thoughtful.

My job is to do what I can to continue to see clearly.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I found a new blog today...via the Slog, I think. It's a design blog called Oil & Ice. Within it was clampology...a series of seriously cool gadgets by industrial designer Jorre van Ast.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Yesterday surprised me by being much slower than I expected. A little disappointing, but not too much. I was so tired after the last seven days of nonstop being out there that it was ultimately okay. There's leftover food, but it won't be wasted because I'm going to bring it to Matt's tree trimming next weekend. I think the reason for the smaller crowds was because it came two days after First Thursday, when the building was slammed with people. I locked up by 4, came home...and crashed.

Two more social things today...first a brunch and then dinner. I was going to make an appearance at game day, but just can't do it.

Although it's been a wonderful, whirlwind week, I'm looking forward to getting back in the groove of my routine. Drawing. Painting. Being quiet...and smaller spurts of socializing.

This little tree makes me very happy. It's the first tree I've gotten since December 1998.'s the first fake tree I've ever purchased. Normally, I'm big on little, real charlie brown trees. But this wee tree is perfect for the painting space.

Also, satsumas make me happy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Today is the whole building holiday art show in our studios at the 619 Western building. I've decided to have a stack of older paintings on sale (for those seeking affordable art), in addition to some new work. I think everything is in order and will go in around 10 am to set up the food, heat up the cider and do final prep. You're welcome to come check it out. I'm on the 4th floor, south The Sophia Room. I'll have my cell on me.

Last night's talk with Iona Rozeal Brown was very provocative. Her work is not only fantastic, but powerful. Iona spent a fair amount of time speaking of her observations and background that led to her work...watching a burgeoning Japanese interest in hip hop...observing what appeared to be black face, and how there are similarities between black and yellow. She spoke of race, gender and brought up hard questions about cultural appropriation and the difference between caricatures or complementary action...not only paying homage, but a desire to be as another.

I couldn't help but think of the appropriation of gay leathermen culture by the pan sex positive community. There's an idealistic sense of what is considered sexy, simply in taking the surface stuff....the look, the attire, the roles. And yet, people fail to see that a big part of what added to the mystique is also what happened under the surface - those who made hard choices, many sacrifices, much suffering, being a part of death on a grand scale.

My head is flooded with thoughts on the subject. It's something I thought about for years, but last night pushed it closer to the forefront. Maybe one day I'll have words for all of it.

But not today. Today the sun is shining. It's a day for art and a little Barbie pink feather holiday tree.

Friday, December 07, 2007

A jet car...

This car was across the street from the studio as I left the building last night.

It's kind of appropriate this morning, because I've been awake for 3 hours and still believe it's Saturday instead of Friday. Even after verbally reminding myself, my body jumps to Saturday.

I popped by the opening of the 30 in 30 show last night before our studio show. Good crowds. Happy faces. Assistants wearing Santa hats so they were easily distinguishable. If anyone wanted to purchase paintings, they needed to nab someone in a hat to pull it down.

Another artist came up to me and said that someone had fallen in love with my little paintings and they were trying to talk their husband into letting them buy more.
It was a nice moment.

For our First Thursday, it was a good showing as well. Pioneer Square was quite busy last night.

I exchanged cards with a photographer who is enamoured with the black and white drawings. We had a great conversation, and I even agreed to sit for her, letting her know it would be a challenge because I tend to freeze in front of the camera. She envisions a portrait of me in front of the black and white drawings.

It was a good decision to keep those pieces up for the show, even though they are so new that I'm not quite ready to sell yet. I was very touched and floored that others could smell the passion and rawness in the work. And keeping them all hung and strung together with mini baby binder clips added to that naked state.

A few more great connections...and then by 8 pm I needed to drag myself home. So very bushed.

Today is a recoup day. I'll head over to the store and pick up supplies for tomorrow. And tonight is the event with Iona Rozeal Brown at the SAM. I'm excited to have the opportunity to see what she has to say.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

From the preview of the Forgotten Works 7th Annual Challenge - 30 paintings in 30 days.

Take 50 artists, 30 8x10 paintings each, and a groovy setting, originally built in 1917 with a really cool history~

Every painting sells for $40. The official opening and sale begin at 5pm tonight. You see something you like, you immediately grab it off the wall, pay for it and take it away.

No, these aren't closeups of any of mine. I just liked the patterns.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Haven't had a minute to really think, let alone take photos. This one is from the summer.

Busy yesterday. I happened to wake at 3:30 am and couldn't fall back asleep. At work at 5am. At 3pm, I went home to lay down for a couple hours....then grabbed a Dick's Deluxe burger and a coke for the caffeine on the way to the studio, where I spent an hour cleaning my space before heading to the theater for an amazing and incredible presentation on the Ilkhom Theater group and the two plays the ACT Theater is bringing to Seattle, one of which is Ecstacy With The Pomegranate. Scroll down their web page for more information.

From the website...about the Ilkhom:

"The «ILKHOM» theatre was one of the first professional theatres not depending on any state institutions for cultural affairs in the history of the former USSR. It was founded in 1976 by director Mark Weil, who is still artistic director of the theatre, and part of the group of Tashkent Theatre Institute graduates. From it’s beginning the theatre was founded on a jazz structure where the director makes an ensemble consisting of the participants who understand & hear each other...

...between 1985-1990 the theatre lost the interest for traditional plays and sank into miming theatre. It has become the visual theatre of metaphors and clownery. It was the beginning of the new «ILKHOM». The actors playing in «Ragtime for clowns», «Clomadeus», «Petroushka» brought the energy and the feeling of a new time to the theatre."

(On a very sad note, two months ago, on September 6th 2007, Mark Weil was attacked, and died the next day.)

The project, for me is incredibly sexy....sexier than most things I've done to date. It combines an extraordinary and highly skilled theater group, paintings, speaks to class, religion, culture and sexual orientation. The simple and complex nature of life...,life of daring acts and passion.

I'm very excited about this project and hope to figure out ways to do outreach as well as come up with ideas on how to create larger and needed conversations.

And now...time to immerse myself into work. I've a buttload of reports to pull and sort. Right after work I'm headed to the preview screening of the 30 paintings in 30 days group show and then hopefully home fairly early to crash.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Yesterday morning, Bill and I were discussing daring art. Since then, I've been thinking about what constitutes not only daring art but a daring life. Of course there are more questions than answers floating around my head.

My desire is to live such a life. And yet, an attempt to do so comes with a price. In my case, it's great grief and staggering confusion. Being a truth seeker, and trying to find peace with the idea that I may never know certain truths is challenging. But I don't regret daring to step into an intimacy never before imagined. I tasted something so holy...incredibly sacred, and will cherish that forever.

Grief has become an appendage, a part of who I am. I have no idea how permanent it is, but each day, it becomes more enmeshed in my being. With that and the massive pain that shoots up at will, taunting me, I'm driven to not become paralyzed. Instead, if this is to be, my task is to continue in spite of it.

After resting last night from two days of people heavy events, I have a full week ahead. Again, daring to put myself out there. Tonight is the discussion with the theater folks about two plays. Tomorrow night is the preview screening of 30 paintings in 30 days group show. Thursday is the opening, but I can't attend because I'll be in my studio hosting First Thursday. And I'll be there all day Saturday when our building has their Holiday Open Studios.

Friday night I want to attend Hip Hop Masquerades.

It's another conversation with artist...this time, an artist I've never heard of, but in researching, am intrigued by - Iona Rozeal Brown.

Here is an article from Art Net, which also has a few samples of her work.

And this line from the article piqued an even greater interest in going to listen to her:

"Being outside the narrow art-world loop, Iona felt fairly isolated at the Yale arts school, a condition that has enviably never bothered her."

After the Dine lecture, because he spoke of nerve and courage, I seek to become more familiar with artists who dare, regardless of what life throws their way. I need to break through some of this isolation by discovering more truth seekers.

From the Spelman College website, here is a gallery of her work.

Monday, December 03, 2007

After yesterday and today, even though the day is only half over, I'm peopled out. I spent about 4 hours at the memorial. Although I was apprehensive about it, it turned out to be quite lovely...sad and joyous in parts. There were many people there I hadn't seen in over a year and it was wonderful to see them again.

Today was a morning long full staff retreat and then we headed out for dim sum together. I needed to pass on the afternoon because I couldn't wait to get home, curl up in a blanket and be quiet. The tv is on but the sound is intentionally off.

It's a full week of tasks, events and happenings. I can't even imagine finding time to paint this week, although there will be time in the studio each day. That is, except for tonight. Tonight is my one night alone and quiet.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The lecture I went to on Wednesday evening was a conversation between artist Jim Dine and Michael Darling, SAM's Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art.

They sat in chairs on stage, talking about Mr. Dine's work while his work was projected on a large screen.

I found the artist to be refreshing.

For a while, including the day of the talk, I was feeling down about my own path. Each day, I was more encouraged by what I was creating but had many doubts regarding my future as a painter. I really wondered if I had made a big mistake by not going for my MFA, not because I want to teach, but I feared I'd not be taken seriously by galleries and buyers.

I believe in paying your dues and earning your way. I believe that anything worthwhile will involve some sweat, blood and tears. Upon completing my BFA in '96, I was booking shows in coffee shops, restaurants and even a hair salon. Then I moved to Seattle. I did have a small gallery show, booked another show at Toys in Babeland in 2001, and last year, part of a group show at the LGBT community center. It was all okay. I saw it as small, positive steps.

For some reason, once I obtained the studio, fell into my art and began to finally wear the cloak I was born with, I became impatient. Pride took over. I felt I had worked and suffered enough in the last 10 years...and it was now my time to be grabbed by a gallery and in that, there would be validation.

It didn't matter that I hadn't been faithfully working the art these last 10 years, but instead I'd work in spurts. Dammit, I am 47 years old and my time had been spent doing a different kind of work: self-awareness and inner healing. That was my twisted thinking. No, I don't regret doing the internal work, but for some reason, I believed I was entitled to leapfrogging in my career because of it.

Opting to ask a coffee shop if they'd consider hanging my work was a a huge step in swallowing this enormous pride. I did it because it felt right, but at the same time, embarrassed and conflicted because I was afraid I'd get stuck or never be taken seriously as an artist.

My behavior carried an over-inflated capital E ego and I was holding onto that as a substitution for a healthy ego.

I need to learn humility. And, the big lesson, which was affirmed in Jim Dine's talk...I need to learn to not only trust myself, but ultimately, that is the only place where validation really counts. It's not through someone else. If I can't feel it within me, for my own work, then any exterior validation won't matter. It will always be fleeting.

I've been working in uncharted terrain for a few months now. I ached to have someone experienced tell me I'm on the right path...and that the work is strong.

If I continue to hold onto that desire, then I choose to remain in the role of student, always seeking ultimate affirmation from an authority figure.

There was a question and answer period near the end. In response to an audience member's question about teaching, Dine replied, "Drawing. I can teach it. But I can't teach how to make art."

Powerful words.

On to some of Dine's talk~

What was fun to see was an art historian speaking with an artist.

M. Darling...referring to some early pieces of Dine's: "....I see violence in these pieces..."
Jim Dine: "I think you read it that way because it fits in well with art history. No offense."

M. Darling, as we looked at Bedspring 1960, commented on how Dine chose to discard the canvas in favor of other materials. (scroll down the link page to see the piece).
J. Dine: "I didn't discard the canvas. I couldn't afford it."

Dine: "I'm not a pop artist. I'm just an artist."

He reiterated that a few times during the evening. I could almost feel his frustration with the label. He said that he felt that pop art was created with contemporary manufactured objects in mind, whereas the objects he chose were not a statement on the current culture. But then, when asked about his connection to Andy Warhol, he admitted that the label allowed him to put his grandkids through college.

He mentioned that he has never tired of working with tools because tools touch a primitive place inside of him.

He also said he aspires to be a Giacometti or Morandi. That statement titillated me because they are two of my gods. Especially Giacometti.

When asked about his daily practice, he mentioned that he works prints just about every day of the year...etchings or lithographs.

The jewels of his statements came near the end, including the teach art statement I mentioned above.

He said that he had to grab his nerve in doing work. It was not about working what was safe but his practice needs to be filled with courage.

"I trust what the accident can bring."

"I trust my knowledge, that it's in my hands."

Saturday, December 01, 2007

It began to snow a couple minutes after entering the studio. Gorgeous.

A cup of Tazo Joy tea, some hot, sexy jazz on the radio and big, fat quiet flakes outside created a perfect environment to get a bunch of work done. It was the balm needed after this week.

Even the viaduct looks pretty in snow.

Tomorrow is a memorial service for a friend who was killed in a motocycle accident earlier this week. The death hit me especially hard because I didn't see it as a singular event. Immediately, I saw the threads that connected so many lives, felt the suffering of others, and noted the complexities. To have someone here, and then instantly gone...words left unsaid...'s incredibly sad.

What I haven't spoken about is that I was preparing myself for my father's death this week. He's been in the hospital since last Saturday, fully bed-ridden, not eating...having everything done for him. The emotional impact of the possibility was a biggie. I've been in daily contact with my mom and sisters regarding his status.

The day I heard he was improving...finally...was the day I received the news about Jeffy.

People are here and then gone. Life is fleeting and fickle.

I've been asking myself one big question these last few days: "what have I left unsaid?"

Today is World AIDS Day.

I still think of my brother-in-law who passed away in '90. The family was too afraid to say he died of AIDS and instead said it was cancer, requesting donations to the American Cancer Society. To this day, it breaks my heart.

Remember all of those who've left us. Remember how our culture's puritanical attitudes to sex contributed to the prejudice and fear around the disease.

Remember the vastness and healing power of compassion.