Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I've been thinking about a year end entry and have struggled with the words.

It's been one of the most difficult years I've ever experienced and one, as of right now, I wouldn't have the strength to repeat. In spite of this, it's also been a year of much movement and change...such as with the painting. And, I feel honored to be given the gift of this journey.

There have been specky bits of magic. There are relationships deepening including a reconnection with a painter.

There have also been a few surprises with my leather life. Interesting invitations for play as well as being sought out to mentor and consult.

This year has been a year of digging and weeding.

My doctor said, when we bumped into each other in public, "suffering suits you." Last month, a board member, who has watched what's been happening with my art came up to me and said "bravery becomes you."

I hear that and find it odd because clearly a handful of insightful people are seeing something I'm not quite feeling inside. I know I'm heading toward a greater self assuredness. It just ain't there yet.

Each day, I take note of the goodness.

It's been a powerful year for our country as well as for the nonprofit I work for.
Profound moments of healing with my family.

These images are an overview of 2008. It's my storage in the studio closet...jam-packed with paintings as well as a few clean canvases. In addition there are about 25 other paintings in the studio.

2008 has been a year filled with much work. Emotional and physical.

And this is the final painting I've worked on in 2008. It's a new one, begun today.

Happy New Year everyone. 2009 is going to be quite a ride.

No, it's not more snow. I shot this last week. The only evidence remaining of last week's storms are on a few side streets as well as overflowing trash dumpsters.

Painting is coming along...slowly, but it's alright. Thursday's Art Walk has been moved up to the 8th this month, which is a good thing. I'm still kind of lost with the large painting.

Su Job, the artist I wrote about here, passed away on Christmas Day. There's a little memorial on the wall across from the elevator in our 619 Arts building. Today, I attached two pink feathers that had fallen from my little feather holiday tree to the wall. Sadly, I hadn't the opportunity to meet her, but the article written by Graves about Su, An Artist, Dying, made quite an impression. It still floats around in my head every day.

It's been a long time since I've posted these...let's see if I return to the habit. Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Monday, December 29, 2008

A friend came up to Seattle this weekend to see a performance of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. We spent some good time together. Allan wrote a lovely entry about his time on Saturday, in the studio and at a little dinner I coordinated in the evening. You can read it here.

I'm off from work this week. The streets and sidewalks are clear in most neighborhoods and I'm headed to the studio in a bit.

It's time to jump back into painting after quite the break. This large painting is pretty intimidating. In sitting and looking at it again with Allan on Saturday, a couple thoughts came to mind. I'm really not sure how to manifest what I'm envisioning on canvas but all I can do is go in and try.

Friday, December 26, 2008

8 days later...

Although as of yesterday more of our major streets have been plowed, side streets such as the intersection next to my apartment are still a mess. Yesterday I cleaned off my car and attempted to take it a couple blocks for a test drive. I went 30 feet, knew I was in trouble and quickly parked the car.

Sidewalks are hit or miss. Not everyone owns a shovel because our normal once a year snow tends to melt the same day.

I understand why it's taking longer to clear the streets. These kind of storms and their duration are so rare that it doesn't make sense to spend more money on equipment. We have more pressing issues.

I also understand the decision to not salt the roads. Coming from a coastal New England town with 4 months of winter that made the same choice, to protect the tidal marshes, it is commendable.

I know it's going to take a while to clean up this mess. Patience is needed from all of us.

This is pretty much what Metro's adverse weather page has looked like for 8 days:

Today's suspended bus routes...
2, 3 Madrona, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 17, 19, 22, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, 38, 43, 45, 46, 51, 53, 57, 64, 68, 74, 76, 77, 79, 99, 105, 107, 114, 116, 118 Ex, 119 Ex, 122, 123, 125, 126, 133, 134, 148, 149 152, 154, 155, 157, 158, 159, 161, 162, 164, 167, 170, 173, 175, 179, 183, 187, 191, 192, 196, 197, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 210, 211, 213, 216, 217, 219, 220, 225, 229, 237, 240, 242, 243, 244, 247, 249, 250, 256, 257, 260, 261, 265, 266, 268, 272, 277, 291, 301, 303, 304, 306, 308, 316, 330, 355, 373, ST540, ST555, ST556, ST564, 600, 912, 921, 925 929, 935, 952 and South Lake Union Streetcar.

Patience, M...patience.

I still love the snow. And I know that this is temporary. I just need an extra dose of patience because even though I've been walking everywhere, there are still limitations and I'm beginning to feel a bit restricted. After helping a neighbor push someone else's car into a parking spot, we spoke about the cabin fever that's beginning to settle in and are each working to let it be.

It was supposed to warm up and rain some today but it's begun snowing again.

Many cities and towns have experienced far greater tragedy than our week of being stuck in snow. This isn't a hurricane or a tornado although there are people who are having a really hard time. I worry for the homeless, and those who have to get to work and must walk further than my commute because they have to be there. I'm quite fortunate.

Here's the thing - with my routine still blown, I need to create a new one.

It's definitely an adventure.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Thanks to Americablog for the link, an 1898 film of Santa:

Made in 1898, G.A. Smith's 'Santa Claus' is a film of considerable technical ambition and accomplishment for its period. It uses pioneering visual effects in its depiction of a visit from St. Nicholas.

A former magic lanternist and hypnotist, Smith was one of the first British film-makers to make extensive use of special effects to create fantastical scenes. It comes as little surprise that Smith corresponded with the French pioneer Georges Méliès at about this time, as the two men shared a common goal in terms of creating an authentic cinema of illusion. (Michael Brooke)

The christians and the pagans (song and lyrics by Dar Williams)

Amber called her uncle, said ’we’re up here for the holiday,
Jane and I we're having solstice, now we need a place to stay.’
And her christ-loving uncle watched his wife hang mary on a tree,
He watched his son hang candy canes all made with red dye number three.
He told his niece, ’it's christmas eve, I know our life is not your style,’
She said, ’christmas is like solstice, and we miss you and it’s been awhile,’

So the christians and the pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And just before the meal was served, hands were held and prayers were said,
Sending hope for peace on earth to all their gods and goddesses.

The food was great, the tree plugged in, the meal had gone without a hitch,
Till timmy turned to amber and said, ’is it true that you’re a witch? ’
His mom jumped up and said, ’the pies are burning,’ and she hit the kitchen,
And it was jane who spoke, she said, ’it's true, your cousin's not a christian,’
’but we love trees, we love the snow, the friends we have, the world we share,
And you find magic from your god, and we find magic everywhere,’

So the christians and the pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
And where does magic come from? I think magic's in the learning,
Cause now when christians sit with pagans only pumpkin pies are burning.

When amber tried to do the dishes, her aunt said, ’really, no, don’t bother.’
Amber's uncle saw how amber looked like tim and like her father.
He thought about his brother, how they hadn't spoken in a year,
He thought he'd call him up and say, ’its christmas and your daughter's here.’
He thought of fathers, sons and brothers, so his own son tug his sleeve, saying,
’can I be a pagan? ’ dad said, ’well discuss it when they leave.’

So the christians and the pagans sat together at the table,
Finding faith and common ground the best that they were able,
Lighting trees in darkness, learning new ways from the old, and
Making sense of history and drawing warmth out of the cold.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I got 'em yesterday and they feel like a set of wings.

Although really practical, they are so a new toy. Chains for my shoes/boots and with them, I can walk all over our winter wonderland.

Phil mentioned them over the weekend but there was no way I could even get down to REI to pick up a pair. On Monday, I showed the link to my coworkers and one of them wanted some as well...and offered to pick them up. I called REI and they had run out but had a new shipment coming in on Wednesday. Yesterday, I called the store to confirm the delivery and then called my coworker who happened to be a few blocks away from the store.

He not only picked them up but walked all the way to the office to drop mine off. And what a difference. No slipping or sliding. Even when I tried to slide it wasn't happening. Full on grip.

These make me so happy because now, instead of staying close to the house, or only walking hills for dinner plans or work, knowing how precarious it was, I have this freedom to explore further.

Between being sick for almost two weeks, and then the weather, my routine has been blown. For a week now my car is still snow covered and parked. My bus hasn't been running, and I only made it to the studio on Saturday.

All this snow has felt like a vacation but at some point, in the next few days I really want to get back to painting. I'm off all next week and would like to spend it in the studio. Now I can.

Yeah for Yaktrax!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Are you sick of snow photos yet? These were taken from our deck at work earlier this morning.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

This morning was filled with much delight because not only was there more snow, but it was crunchy snow! I haven't walked in crunchy snow in 10 years. Of course, while heading to the coffee shop, it needed to take full advantage of by trekking through unbroken crust, hearing the crackling beneath my feet.

A while later J. came by and we both headed out, looking for food. It was about 11 am, and the restaurants on 15th weren't yet open due to the weather so we walked down to Broadway. For a change of pace, I suggested Charlie's...and hoped for a table by the window with the large, very comfy highbacked chairs. When we walked in, all near the windows were full, except for one...with two people just getting up to leave. And it was the table with those fab chairs. Perfect. We talked, ate and watched the magic happening outside as the snow became heavier.

Walking back up the hill, clunky but easier due to the many inches of packed snow covering the ice, we noticed more sledding on my street. This time, instead of dumpster lids and boxes, it was snowboards, real sleds and skis. When we got to the top, in addition to the large crowd, were balloons!

I've been tucked in since then but periodically venture out to grab as much snow time as I can.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Yesterday was the first day in three that I ventured off the hill. My car has been parked since early Thursday morning. Bad tires, and even if they weren't, the streets are too treacherous. I love being on top of the hill but anywhere I need to go is down...which is tricky when dealing with frozen walkways. Metro on Friday had suspended about half of its bus routes, including mine. Sidewalks were really icy and I didn't relish going down on my butt, unless of course it was in a sled. So yesterday morning, I noticed the 43 was running, even though the 10 was still out of commission. It would be a further walk to the studio but I made it down. It was really good to paint for a while.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The street next to my apartment is one of the steeper ones on Capitol Hill. About 8:30 last night, I stepped outside to immerse myself in the quiet of a snow-covered dark. Walking to the corner, I noticed on the next block down, about 10 people in the middle of the street and headed over to see what was happening. I found 4 plastic recycled dumpster lids on the ground.

Folks were sledding!

They were sledding from 13th down to 12th. 12th Ave E is a bigger street and so there were peope stationed at the intersection keeping an eye out for cars and shouting up when it was clear to sled.

About 9pm, I noticed someone walking up the hill. It was Matt. He had heard there was sledding on E. Republican and so went out for a walk. By that point, because I had intentionally only planned on being out for a few minutes, ran to my apartment to put on my boots and fleece pullover, so I could stay out longer. The crowd was gathering and there was much frivolity in the air.

When I returned to the corner, I noticed an increase in creative sleds. Folks were coming with cardboard...waxy cardboard boxes. Someone mentioned the chicken box was the fastest. Another actually brought up a wheelchair, and yes, that chair went down a few times.

There was a funky plastic sled with cool steering, and a Flexible Flyer, which I haven't seen in many, many years.

And yes, even a kitchen sink.

Throughout the evening, there were a few tries to slide down in the sink but it wasn't working. The best attempt, although still not successful, was when the sink was placed in a suitcase.

Frisbees, and pizza pans, and old plastic signs were used. The crowd continued to gather..increasing to about 50 people, positioned on various parts of the hill. We were enjoying the energy and the playfulness. By 10:30 I was freezing, having been out for a couple hours. So I suggested mochas from the coffee shop because I didn't want the evening to end just yet. We walked up and the shop had closed early. I then remembered a bar on the next corner that served espresso and so we picked up a couple mochas to go. When we returned to the sledding corner a 2nd floor apartment on the corner opened its windows and provided great tunes for us to enjoy.

A cop car came by and I wondered if it would be the end of the party. But he got out, watched, smiled, hung out a bit and then left, returning to his duties...

Throughout the 3 hours, there was an ongoing bet from a guy. He was going to give $20 to whoever could make it all the way down, while standing. Many tried, a couple of them came so close...but no winners.

Matt went down quite a few times. I sledded once. About halfway down you picked up speed because the road turned to ice at that point. It was a serious blast. I wanted to go down again, but having slid off the dumpster lid sled and rolled onto the snow, my gloves were saturated, jeans snowy and my toes, frozen. I could have dealt with the cold feet if my hands warmed up. What I should have done was borrow someone's gloves for a second run.

Next time.

It was a spontaneous 3 hours of joyousness. Strangers, coming together to play, enjoy the cold, snow and ice...and in that, found a warmth.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Last night was a benefit for Three Dollar bill Cinema. It was a wonderful evening at Central a small (about 175 seats) theater, enjoying wait service for food and wine while watching Auntie Mame on the big screen. I'd only seen it on dvd and so screening it with Matt, Roger and D, and a room filled with queers, many who knew the lines, made for a fun evening.

Yesterday the schools were closed due to snow. But it snowed around Seattle and not in it. We remained dry.

This morning, at 5:30, I was awakened by what sounded like thunder. Or may be an explosion. It wasn't a sharp crack and my groggy mind was confused. Another minute later there was another long-rolling boom and a flash. I jumped out of bed and peered outside. It was snowing. And yes, it was thunder.


Who woulda thunk?

My therapist's office this morning, while waiting in the car for my appointment.

But this is what going to see him normally feels like~

And, this was my apartment courtyard about 9:30 a.m. (The 13 goldfish in the pond are still okay)

It's still snowing and it's so very pretty. I walked up two blocks to 15th and it really felt like a small town, more than usual. Everyone was out. A few were carrying rolled up plastic sleds. Some had used their cross country skis and had parked them against the entrance of Cafe Lladro. The video store and grocery store were busy and all the coffee shops were filled with folks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tonight is our holiday board meeting. There are 25 members on our board of directors. They are brilliant, creative, compassionate visionaries. We are fortunate to have and have had such a group which has always resulted in an amazing relationship of mutual trust and respect between the board and the staff. Each year we do something inventive. Most times it would be creating songs and poems for each board member. This year each of the staff decided to make cookies/candy for them, compiled into packages and labeled.

Monday, December 15, 2008

One question:

Why is it that when you're in an empty restaurant or theater, enjoying the space, someone will walk in and feel the need to sit right next to you? Not even a couple booths away, but smack dab next to you?

It's curious behavior and it happens often. Fascinating.

The weather is frigid. I've never experienced such cold here...the 10 years I've been in Seattle. It's invigorating and familiar, bringing back good memories.

And yet, it's taking a little getting used to. My body's not used to it. I had to dig into the back of my closet to find a warmer scarf and gloves and scrounge for a hat. On top of it, our heat went out at work on Friday. Today was a balmy 48 degrees in the office, so after an hour, I went home and worked from there most of the day. It should be fixed tomorrow...

Tonight, I headed for Cafe Septieme, desiring a quiet, warm place where I could enjoy a glass of red and a salad, sit and write for a bit. It was relaxing and the perfect place to begin some writing that I've been putting off for a while now. It felt good to sit and write by hand, page upon page. Something different happens when using pen and paper instead of typing on a keyboard. In a way, it feels more holistic...and more natural. Less cold. I need to return to it more often. It's important.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Today, my friend Bill posted another photograph from his exciting new series. This latest photo reminded me of paintings I've been meaning to post.

There are two paintings (each 16"x20"), done in 2001, when I was feeling pretty They are in my home and greet me whenever I walk in the door. I've been paying extra attention to them lately, because they are more relevant now than they were 7 years ago.

This afternoon while attempting to shoot them I realized why I hadn't shown them here. For some reason, they are really tough to photograph and this doesn't capture the color of each nor the translucency of the bottom painting. Please pardon the poor photo quality.

Early yesterday evening, on my way home from Matt's wonderful gathering, it began flurrying. This morning our world is covered in a thin blanket of snow and ice. Treacherous to walk and drive in and beautiful to look at. Snow in Seattle isn't a common winter occurance because it normally doesn't get cold enough.

I wondered how the goldfish in our courtyard pond were faring.

I'm still getting over a nasty cold/sinus infection. It cut short all of yesterday's plans. Last night was a benefit for an artist in town and although I wanted to attend, needed to head home after M's so I could crawl in bed with tea and kleenex.

It was an auction to raise money for hospice care for Su Job and one auction I felt very honored to take part in. At the beginning of November, Su, 52 years old, learned she had terminal cancer. Some artists came together to create a fundrasier to assist for hospice care. Su manages our 619 arts building. An artist and much-loved teacher, I'd always wanted to meet her but never had the opportunity. She lives in the Tashiro Kaplan artist live/work lofts and would like to stay, for the remainder of her time.

I did make it to the gallery in the afternoon to see the show. The work donated was wonderful. There was quite a selection and it felt the walls were filled with love.

This week, Jen Graves, of The Stranger, wrote a poignant piece on Su - An Artist, Dying. Very moving. Check out the link.

Su's art website is found at Take a peek at her portfolio. A fiber artist, she worked in 2D as well as sculpture. I remember seeing her delightful soft porn pieces a few years back - needlepoint sex art. Delicious.

Jen's article about Su has sat with me this week. It's left me feeling humbled. Her grace during this massive change...I can't imagine what she's going through. Su's attitude about her impending physical death has brought up many questions and feelings that I can't put words to it yet, but hope to put it into art soon.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Monday, December 08, 2008

Today I began the big painting. Friday and Saturday I prepped and toned the canvas. Sunday was a day off.

On the bus ride downtown, I realized I was nervous to actually start painting. It's been about 13 years since my last large canvas. And, knowing what these paintings emotionally bring up for me, there was a fair amount of anxiety wondering if the scale of the work would be proportionate to the amount of stuff dredged up.

Placing the canvas on the easel, I decided to simply draw in the shape and begin laying down color. Normally, I'd have taken the time to choose color (even though I'd rework it many times afterward) and be really mindful about where I'd draw the rectangle. This afternoon it felt more prudent to dive in, knowing I'll probably change the placement and size of the block.

The photo was taken about halfway through today's session but the entire surface is now covered in paint...and my insides, covered in tears. While heading home, I wondered if I was crazy to do this...jumping deeper into old wounds via painting.

And yet, in spite of all this, there is an excitement about going bigger. The new piece isn't massive (only 3x5 feet), but it's the next step toward even larger work.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

An afternoon with E., food, a walk and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Today was the last day for Inspired Simplicity: Contemporary Art from Korea. I first saw the show in August and fell for much of the work. At that time, the simple/complex nature of the pieces spoke to me in a profound manner and was the beginning of a breakthrough that led to my current work. I still remember the exact moment and location in the SAAM when the initial spark and rush of creativity surged through me.

It was good to get out. I woke feeling somewhat off and wasn't sure if being with others would help. But getting in the fresh air, seeing art, and going for a good walk with a friend assisted with taking a little of the edge off.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Faux Snow~

Walking to the bus yesterday after spending an afternoon in the studio, I stopped at the light and looked up. Snow was shooting out of the second story of the hotel on the corner of 1st and Madison. It was such a tease because it rarely snows in Seattle and in that moment, I wanted more.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Instead of taking photos at last night's art walk, I chose to do quick little sketches and worked many small pages of fast scribbles. I'm determined to get my drawing hand back and very slowly...with this new regimen, it's happening.

In studying the various ways people sketch, I'm seduced into doing it like some of them, and then judging my own hand pretty negatively. What entices me are the cleaner...more controlled drawings. In the last few days, I'm coming to term with the fact that I'm a scrawler. Lots of lines. And although it's a really good exercise (which I won't stop) to try other ways of drawing, I need to be comfortable with my own hand. It shouldn't be hard...but it is. You see, Alberto Giacometti has been one of my art gods for almost 15 years. So in addition to the starker pieces, I'm hugely drawn to expressiveness. Here is one of his sketches. And here is another.

All this drawing exploration, in addition to honing my skills, is another method of learning self-acceptance.


I shared this with some folks yesterday, but thought I'd post it here as well:

New iPhone art application~

I don't own an iPhone but this application is a huge…huge enticement. It's called Brushes.

The first time I noticed it was on Urban Sketchers, which I check every morning. It's my motivation for my daily drawing. One of the artists had completed their sketch on their iPhone. You can see it here.

Very intrigued, I googled for Brushes and found a site by an artist who works for Dreamworks in SF. He discovered the application at the beginning of October and is hooked. His paintings, all done with the app on his iPhone are phenomenal. Check it out...and scroll down.

And here is the kicker - You can download the application for only $5.. It will work on iPhones and iPod Touch.