Sunday, March 30, 2008
I haven't touched this one in a couple weeks but it's still in progress. It's 22x28. And it puzzles me.
The shot is kind of underexposed. The painting is built up of many thin layers. I can't even remember what was underneath. I posted it hoping that in seeing the jpeg maybe I'll get a clue. It's worked in the past. Maybe it will again.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
What have I been up to?
~Working at my day gig.
~A handful of birthday gatherings and other social events.
~Organized a group from work to go see the Dalai Lama speak on April 12th, thanks to the Seeds of Compassion organization.
~Met some wonderful new folks.
~Submitted work to a gallery for a potential show in June.
~Painting, painting, painting.
~Developing more substantial relationships.
~Creating short film for HUMP!
~Saw some fabulous sex art a few weeks back at the Benham Gallery. It was rare because the bulk of the work, by 3 photographers, were filled with energy and juice. Refreshing.
~Many insights, some of which I'm working on entries for...the biggie is how I've spent my life dumbing myself down, specifically to try and fit in as well as because I fear my potential.
~Enjoying the smell of the blossoming trees that line our streets.
~Working on a surprise 50th wedding anniversary weekend for my parents. What means the most to my parents is to have the whole family (kids and grandkids) together. When I was still at home, our summers, in addition to spending a week at Martha's Vineyard, we would always go to Ogunquit, ME. The others still head up there every summer. So, unbeknownst to my parents, we are planning a full weekend in Ogunquit. It will be the first time in over 25 years that the entire family is together on a vacation.
The trick was to make sure my parents don't book anything for that weekend in August. To assist, I'm designing a poster which I'll take a photo of and then turn it into a jigsaw puzzle. I'll then send it to my sister who will mail one piece a week to my parents. We don't want the postmark to be Seattle. The first piece my parents receive will say "reserve this date - Aug 8th-10th". Little by little, more pieces will add to the mystery.
~Setting up a special show from a private collection that will hang on the two smaller walls of our studio for this upcoming First Thursday.
~Letting myself feel the entire range of emotions without stuffing them and without shame or guilt. Let them flow and pass through. It's not always pretty.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I'm still stuck with the painting. And for quite some time the photography hasn't been part of my daily regimen, yet happens sporadically. It's disappointing and at the same time I'm trying to cut myself some slack.
There is a complicated world within and I'm not sure how to express it. Driven to break through this creative impasse, I've decided to take a short break from words in this blog and simply focus on the visual - photo entries.
This is a chance to find a greater center, seeing deeper with my eyes and my belly - seeing without the pressure of speaking.
A meditation of sorts.
Last night I did something very unlike me.
I attended the annual gala at the Grand Hyatt put on by The GSBA, Seattle's gay business chamber. It's an awards banquet. My work had a table there and last week our ED asked me if I'd like to go.
Everyone at work knows those scenes aren't mine…the schmoozing, the crowds, etc. Even First Thursdays in my studio are difficult for me. But I was enticed with free steak, and surprisingly, to everyone in the office including myself, I accepted.
The steak was fabulous…thick, juicy piece of meat that cut with a butter knife and melted in my mouth. The wine was flowing freely as I noticed waiters continually keeping our glasses full.
It was a nice event. And oh so gay.
The evening's entertainment, as you can see in the photo, was Captain Smartypants, an ensemble of the Seattle Men's Chorus.
From their website:
Captain Smartypants was discovered by Madame Curie in 1913 as she was emptying a test tube. The radioactive slime mold developed in the Paris sewers until it gained consciousness and crossed the Atlantic. Upon landing in America, this new life form sprouted legs and strode across the continent, singing Partridge Family songs all the while. They settled in Seattle where they became quickly known as 'Those Nine Homosexuals Who Won’t Stop Singing.'
Part of last night's performance included a medley of Wizard of Oz songs mixed and mashed with tunes from Queen. Very witty, talented and gay, gay, gay.
Listening to the various people and groups accept awards was fascinating. It educated me a little more to the history of some groups that I'm familiar with. My favorite tidbit from last night was that I learned that Seattle Counseling Services (a service for sexual minorities) was established in 1969. That's the year of Stonewall! The link brings you to their history page. Check it out.
The first time I heard of them was in 1999. At the time I was a 24/7 collared slave, very new to that particular aspect of s/m, and confused about a few things that the relationship was bringing up. My master had me call SCS and tell them I'm a 24/7 slave in an s/m relationship and sought an appointment to speak with someone. It was so freeing to be able to have a place to go and immediately out myself in a safe space.
Although my day gig is with a queer organization, and I've been with them 8 years…being in a larger, more open city, being queer in our daily lives almost becomes becomes no big deal. We are acutely aware of the discrimination in other places and the need for support in smaller towns. Therefore we continue with diligence and effort to work for social justice. But in my personal life it's not like in the early '80's when I needed to be in a group to walk into a bar otherwise we'd get beat up or have rocks thrown at us from guys waiting across the street. Although I need to note that even Capitol Hill has been seeing an increase in gay bashing.
Upon waking this morning it took me about 20 minutes to figure out what day it was. I didn't drink too much so it's not alcohol-induced. All the noise and large crowd contact really wipe me out. But I'm glad I went to the gala. An evening immersed in full on gayness was a blast from the past as well as a nice dose of Vitamin Q.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
My shrink, the hope guy, has been telling me for a while that if I continue on the path I'm currently on, I will get thru the blackness. It's tough to believe when each step leads you into a deeper, darker abyss than the step before. It's incredibly lonely and there is no quick fix. Most don't understand, even loving friends.
Growth and change only come with suffering.
Becoming sensitive to all I feel and more importantly, allowing those feelings to arise and see them as a part of me, without shame, is a difficult lesson…as is accepting my own worth.
My desire to love unconditionally needs to extend to myself. And as someone wise told me a couple months ago, true love is messy and very hard work. There are varying degrees and depths to love. I seek the deepest. Having tasted it, that is what I desire for myself and connections. It's the most elusive yet powerful form of intimacy. One can't be compassionate without first being honest with themselves.
This week, in three very different ways, I'm slowly finding other connections.
One is the one person other than my shrink that I can talk with. He shared a dream he had, of us, earlier this week. He said he dreamt of me and it made him happy. In the dream our relationship was continually shifting and yet one thing remained the same…understanding. As he described it to me, he said "you get me…we understand each other." In relaying the dream, he then likened us to co-conspirators. It struck me.
The second is a new person I met last week. Upon meeting, I felt a clean energy emanating from his being. It was wonderful. We appeared to click. 4 days later I received an email from him saying that he really enjoyed himself and wants to get to know me better. Who knows where it will go, but we smelled each other and sensed familiarity.
The third was also in the form of an email...a very powerful email. While reading it, I cried.
It truly affirms that this struggle and work is not in vain. With his sensitive encouragement and permission, I can share what he wrote:
"I am just beginning to understand the power released in me from knowing you. I have had huge mounds of incredible stuff lying beneath the surface of me all of my life. For the most part, it has festered and rotted because I didn't know what to make with it. I didn't know how to access it and bring it forth.
I was moving singularly, without example, through a mundane world.
Then I started to find the freaks, the intense folks that others shy away from...
the powerful shamans of our world that lived as they needed not as they were taught. In this I find hope but more so, I find myself.
So, thank you. For your intensity. And for the open and honest portray of your personal struggles."
That email clearly was the voice of another co-conspirator.
Although far away and infrequent, there are a few others in my life that I do have such connections with. But after feeling so low, keeping my eyes open and watching so much dissolve and disappear from my life, I feared even losing those. Instead, the seeds planted long ago are beginning to sprout tender shoots. It is something to celebrate.
After all, it is spring.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Did get into the studio yesterday afternoon. I reworked 3 paintings, attempting to bring fearlessness to the canvas. It's not easy to do when one is feeling little.
Big marks. Loads of paint. Trying to shut my head and allow my hand to move freely with no regard of good or bad. Silence the voices and wall off the outside for a few hours.
There is much determination.
I left at 7 and returned home. Exhausted, I was in bed by 8 and asleep by 8:30.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Friday and Saturday were a break from the studio. It wasn't intentional but just couldn't get in there.
Painting scares me.
I've been struggling with the work, the direction it's headed. The more I delve into it, the less accessible it is to most. The photography follows suit.
Dare I continue this path? Each new step into the unknown sheds more of the old skin. See me fit even less.
Dare I discover who I truly am? See my fruit, born of alone.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
Saturday, March 08, 2008
Last night I went to my first acoustic show in Seattle in a very long time. The only other such concert was Aimee Mann at the Moore many years ago. Listening, I was transported back to my time in Portsmouth NH where I was catching live acoustic acts all the time and preferably the smaller the venue the better.
It was a very good show. The group?
The Magnetic Fields.
I knew nothing of their music and had been looking forward to this adventure for months. Great concert. And cellos turn me on big time.
A few of the lyrics hit too close to home, betrayed by the tears that fell. When Stephen Merritt began to sing "...no one will ever love you for your honesty...", it was almost too much. It took a bit of strength to stay in my seat and not go out for air.
Music is powerful...which is why I've been careful about my listening choices.
But, I so do not regret attending last night. Instead, regardless of what the music brought up for me emotionally, it reminded me how much I need live music in my life just about as much as I need art.
Thanks M, R and D.
Wonderful show. Nice evening.
Friday, March 07, 2008
It was a busy First Thursday.
The weather...dry and almost balmy. Perfect for walking around Pioneer Square.
Happy hour company was fun.
There were some good conversations with folks walking through, including one who found the pile of my black and white drawings, started looking and became quite captivated.
I wanted to stay longer but exhaustion kicked in early.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
A quickie before I jump in the shower and then head out the door for First Thursday.
Busy day...first an early morning appointment with the shrink. Today I told him he was my hope guy. I'm leaning on him for any ounce of strength I can get. And kindness. I need kindness in a really bad way. Not babying or pampering, but genuine kindness. Caring, compassion...sensitivity.
My hope guy.
The good thing is, about 10 minutes before the appointment I realized why this time has been so excessively devastating and debilitating for me. Now...to figure out how to get upright again.
Then at work I immersed myself in a nasty problem with the finance guy. Our heads were spinning after a few hours of attempting resolution. We didn't today, but it will get solved. It's our tenacity that allows us to succeed.
I need to hold onto my personal tenacity.
This evening, I'm meeting a couple other guys...one a new friend and another an old. And the Bear and bunny guys will join us for food and drink before tonight's open studios.
My paintings this month are crap. Like me. They each have parts that I love, but there's so much struggle and fight in them. I'm weary and overwhelmed. I guess it's showing in the work.
Sorry this isn't cheerier. I am tired...overwhelmed by pain and disbelief.
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
No hot water in the studio last night and so I didn't work. There wasn't any the night before, but didn't find out until it was time to clean my brushes. Hopefully it's fixed today. If not, I'll spend the time working on drawings.
First Thursday tomorrow night. It will be what it is.
from The Chronicle for Higher Education:
The Back of the Envelope Design Contest~
The Chronicle asked for designs for the new Bush library to be submitted on the backs of envelopes. There are some brilliant designs...some serious, some satirical and some just plain weird.
Check out the video in the article. The narrator's commentary is worth listening to.
Monday, March 03, 2008
I grabbed a couple vacation hours today and headed for the studio. It will happen again a few times in the next couple weeks due to a desire to take advantage of this time before work gets hectic. Spent some downtime at Septieme afterward with C.
First Thursday is this week. For the first time, the work I'm showing, again all new, doesn't feel cohesive. I've been working hard and it's a jumble. The only similarity may be some of the color and the fact that it's done by my hand.
There is much turmoil within and it shows on canvas. Everything is a struggle and therefore my head isn't clear. Yet I'm clinging to the fact that I can work through this time with paint. I don't know what else to do.
I don't know anything...other than allow myself to feel all that comes up, without shutting myself down. What else can I do?
Sunday, March 02, 2008
A friend and I caught the exhibit on Rome at the Seattle Art Museum on Friday. The Lusty Lady, located across the street, created a marquee in honor of this show.
We love The Lusty.
I've been struggling much with painting. Yesterday morning, while in the studio, again I realized how incredibly difficult painting can be.
It was 3 hours spent more on looking than actual painting. So very stuck.
8 am, the building quiet, I sat and watched the light dance across my 30x40 canvas. Morning sun poured into the space. The shadows from the large mill windows moved slowly, changing the painting. Quietly, I stayed still, camera in hand and watched the show, believing it would give me a sign...a clue of how to move forward.
I think it has.