Sunday, August 31, 2008

A couple of fun and spontaneous photos of me taken by Bill Pusztai at the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Those of you who know me know that letting myself do this is quite unlike me. I was actually surprised that not only did I agree, but felt pretty comfortable...even with people coming in and out.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Where have I been?

It's been (and still is) a time of a huge crisis of faith…trying so hard not to sink into the "I was born broken and that's why people run from me" trap that I know all too well.

I haven't done anything other than work, then go home to lick my wounds and try to breathe. Throw in a therapy appointment and a couple days where I continue to be available to a friend who is going through an incredibly intense healing time and painful fight of their own.

There has been no blogging, no photography, no studio.

This image was shot a few months ago and was being saved for an entry I was attempting to write after a huge insight where I saw how I was dumbing parts of myself down simply to fit in. It was a big realization a while ago and so I was beginning to hang onto the strong parts of myself, no matter how different than what I even encounter in our subcultures and yet I can't access my strength and instead feel like I'm sinking.

I do have plans for the weekend that I am looking forward to and will keep. It'll be good for me.

I'm struggling with the essence of who I am. What I seek and hunger for is so divergent that it feels like I've been on the wrong path my whole life.

Why can't I shut up and just take it?
Why can't I conform?
Why do things affect me so deeply?
Why is it never enough?

How do I fix it?
How do I become like everyone I can feel safe to others?

It's all too much.
I am too much.

(This is not a plea for strokes. Although we all love them, they are only a momentary balm and right now I don't believe anything will help. Somehow, someway, I've gotta tap into my own strength.)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bill and Daniel are spending a few weeks in Seattle.  It's been wonderful having them around.  

Early this week when they came in the studio, Dan walked around my work table and his eyes lit up.

"Would you like to paint sometime?"  I continued, "you're welcome to.  And I can either be here, or not."

On Thursday, he took me up on the offer.  I gave him materials and we created a work space. From there, Bill and I left for the afternoon to check out galleries and the museum while Dan had my studio to himself, where he happily painted for three hours.

He was still working when we returned.

Friday, August 22, 2008

I've been thinking a lot about an experience I had 12 years ago. It was a profound lesson on communication.

I had been dating someone for a couple years. Not sure why because there wasn't a specific incident, but I felt their walls go up. With that, came deception. Somehow, we tried to talk about it.

It was three very brutal days. Not the bleeding kind of brutal but the muddy kind. As we attempted sort it out and talk, things felt like they were getting greyer and heavier instead of better. But I knew that if we persisted, we could come to some type of understanding. I wasn't sure how, yet firmly believed we could break through the confusion. It clearly felt to me that we were speaking on different levels...and therefore neither was truly capturing what the other was saying. Very frustrating.

At some point on the third day I asked her "what's your definition of commitment?"

She responded with the "living together forever" answer. She then asked me to define commitment. I said that it was a desire to work something through to the end whatever that ending was. For me, commitment to another in an intimate relationship, is a willingness to keep taking down the walls and coming to an honest place regardless of whether it means dissolution of a relationship or not. It wasn't the forever happy ever after definition. It was a decision to work at being really present, each moment.

She looked at me and exhaled deeply. It seems her fears were based on assumptions that I sought to chain her to some life of whatever was in her head. The relief she then showed in her body was palpable.

Her fears were brought on by her projections.

A month later, with not only my blessing but full support, encouragement and love, I assisted with her moving 3000 miles to go live with her sister. It was the right thing. It was good and it was sad. I missed her terribly. But it was perfect. We parted as friends who love each other.

It was a big lesson: asking for definition, and granting each other the space to explain is a huge gift. Knowing that sometimes it won't be a pretty conversation and can be a very scary prospect but the willingness to work through it knowing...knowing that honesty is the best way to live because only in that can there be peace.

It has stuck with me ever since.

That memory has been in the forefront of my mind recently because I've been feeling judged and sentenced without being allowed to speak. In turn, I've had feelings that have made me uncomfortable because those feelings are rooted in my assumptions, knowing I don't truly understand either.

We can't live life making decisions based in suppositions of where another is at.

We are human. We fuck up and we bless. The more intimate the relationship, be it lover or friend, the greater the likelihood that we'll rub ancient wounds. But with communication, we discover and see what came from the past and was projected onto the present and can then separate that from the actual moment.

In May I heard the Dalai Lama speak. He spoke of the importance of dialogue. I cried because I knew the truth in that and yet struggled with the fact that one can't dialogue alone.

In July I made the decision to remain silent and step back. What else could I do?

My therapist, a man of great compassion and who I trust because of the great suffering he has endured and successfully worked through, began to poke and prod me. He, at first gently and then with firmer insistence, taught me that I'd need to shake the waters a little...share my willingness to create space to come to understanding and at the same time create boundaries.

We worked hard together.

This week I've been on vacation. Having finally completed a few difficult actions, with the oversight of my therapist, have left me spent. I thought it would be a week of much painting. Instead, it reopened the pain and I felt depleted. In speaking with my shrink about it, he smiled and said "that's about right."

But I force myself into the studio each day. Whether I'm only staring at the work on the walls, reading a screenplay I'm consulting on, painting a mess or just drawing a bit...I make myself go.

Yesterday I realized my studio is the safest as well as the scariest place. Just like my intimate relationships.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sunday, August 17, 2008

17 August 1908

stills from "Fantasmagorie"

Today is the 100th anniversary of the first animated film Fantasmagorie by Emile Cohl. (link to see film on YouTube).

More links:
Fantasmagorie: 1908

Films of Emile Cohl

Wiki on Emile Cohl

Saturday, August 16, 2008

This image is from yesterday because there are none shot today. It was too hot, although I did make time in the studio. From there, the day called for some slugging out in front of the fan. I don't do well in weather close to 90. My body feels like my blood sugar is in a permanent dive.

Tomorrow will be cooler.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arrived home late last night from the east coast and at work before 6 am today. I'm fried. So it's not a very creative daily photo.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This wasn't shot today. I've been flying all day, currently in Dallas waiting for my plane, and haven't been able to shoot and post. So here's one you haven't seen yet from a while ago.

It's Western Ave, looking down the street from my studio. It will be good to paint again.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Today I was supposed to meet my oldest friend (and first woman lover) in Northampton for lunch. We've known each other for 25 years, next month. This morning on the phone we opted for a lunch meeting in Brattleboro VT instead. Seeing she was coming from Raymond NH, it was a shorter drive for her and only an hour for me.

We had no idea where we were meeting but we'd keep in touch by cell as we each entered Brattleboro. I arrive, went thru the center of town, saw an information booth and thought it would be a perfect place to call and potentially meet her. I pick up my cell cell reception. None. Nada. Zip. We later discovered that Verizon seems to work in town but not the AT&T pay as you go phone. This is the first time in two years I haven't had reception.

So I get back in the car and found a parking spot on the street, hoping to find a pay phone. Get out of the car, walk across the street and lo, a pay phone. I only have one quarter left. And it would be a toll call.

Now I know that even a pay phone call is risky because what if she has the same carrier I do and so her phone is down as well? But I figured I'd deal with that when I came to it. Turning, there was a bank next door. I take two steps to the bank and hear "M...M!" It was her. She had literally just arrived and parked a half a block away from me. She had also tried calling me and realized that the cell wasn't working.

Perfect timing!! It was good catching up. We haven't seen each other in about 7 years. Had dinner at a little marina restaurant, on the water, about a mile out of the center of town. Broiled scallops for me. Filet mignon for her. I've been indulging in seafood this trip. Scallops and lobster a couple days ago. And yesterday, some of the best butter and sugar corn that I've had since I moved to Seattle.

I loved the sign painted on the bricks, found in the center of Brattleboro.

It was grey and rainy. At times, torrential downpours. We were going to sit on the awning covered deck but it was beginning to rain. The skies opened up and rain came down sideways. Our choice to sit inside was wise.

Call me twisted but this weather thrills me. You see, we don't get such dramatic rain storms in Seattle. So I've been in heaven the last few days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yesterday I went to Boston for the day to meet a bunch of really groovy people. After a wonderful brunch accompanied by a jazz guitarist, we stepped outside for photos and ice cream before heading in different directions. And yes, the last photo has a really goofy me.

(Click on images to make larger.)

First we have the people...or animals as the case may be.

And now for other stuff from the day...

Today's daily photo~

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Friday, August 08, 2008

A day at the shore~

This is a very special gull...

...because it's an Atlantic Ocean gull instead of a Seattle gull.

Mr. Horn Man...

He stood on the rocks and played his french horn. It was perfect.

My dad took this of my mom and I...

I love, love, love the New England coastline. Look at all those rocks. Plenty of place for hanging and sunning. My jeans were still rolled up from playing in the water.

When I used to live on the NH coast...I would love to go up to Ogunquit late at night. I'd walk the Marginal Way, and make my way across the rocks that would jut out into the water. There would always be a perfect niche to park my I could sit in the dark and listen to the waves. Very dark on moonless nights. A couple times there'd be someone else doing the same thing...and would be playing their drums. It was seriously sweet.

Rope is just plain sexy...

Stuff in the water. The only reason these are here are because I'm surprised how clear they are. The water in these pools was quite still.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Today's photo~

With words.

Normally, I prefer the daily photo to stand alone. But this one fits much too perfectly with some of what's been weighing on me and part of today's conversation with G, my shrink.

This morning, one of my favorite astrologers wrote about Sedna. I've mentioned her before. Last fall I did a series of paintings based on Sedna. From an Inuit myth, she was thrown in the dark Artic Sea by her father, after he cut off her limbs. At the bottom of the ocean, she managed to create life...whales and dolphins morphing from her amputated limbs.

The astrologer reminded me that Sedna is a dark story...about leaving your heart open while in hell.

Today's photo is what I've been feeling like for a while now. Broken. Busted. Thrown away. Trash.

In today's session with G, my shrink, we spoke about that very thing.

In addition, I've been acutely aware and humbled by the fact that the power I do find and can access happens in the studio. With each step into a deeper "hell" my colors are becoming brighter and my strokes bolder. And yet, it feels almost as if it exists within a bubble. Outside of my art it isn't the photo. The busted sink is down the hall from my studio.

But, there are special moments. Little snippets of time and space where magic and healing are manifested. Such as time with my father, which I've shared with a few, or the burgeoning closeness that continues to develop between a few people and myself.

It seems that the deeper I dare to delve into my original wounds, challenging myself to face painful emotions long buried...unearthed, the more I'm discovering my strength as well. With this, I'm holding a bundle of complex feelings. The more space I give myself to grieve for my whole life the more my inner self becomes rooted..solid.

It's a life of vast contrasts.

Here is a painting I worked on yesterday.


The next painting, which is not the one from a few days ago, I began yesterday as well and worked some more on it today. This particular one was the more realistic painting that I let sit for the last month.


I hold onto the story of Sedna. Creating life, keeping my heart open...while immersed in the blackest blacks.

"The Queen and The Soldier" - Suzanne Vega

Eric reminded me of the song today. It's always been one of my favorite pieces. So I hopped onto iTunes and purchased the album. I'm listening to it now. In rereading the lyrics, especially the last three verses, I wept.

The last few months have brought much to the forefront. I've always identified with the soldier...

...and yet, in the past there are been moments where I'd identify with the queen.

The soldier came knocking upon the queen's door
He said, "I am not fighting for you any more"
The queen knew she'd seen his face someplace before
And slowly she let him inside.

He said, "I've watched your palace up here on the hill
And I've wondered who's the woman for whom we all kill
But I am leaving tomorrow and you can do what you will
Only first I am asking you why."

Down in the long narrow hall he was led
Into her rooms with her tapestries red
And she never once took the crown from her head
She asked him there to sit down.

He said, "I see you now, and you are so very young
But I've seen more battles lost than I have battles won
And I've got this intuition, says it's all for your fun
And now will you tell me why?"

The young queen, she fixed him with an arrogant eye
She said, "You won't understand, and you may as well not try"
But her face was a child's, and he thought she would cry
But she closed herself up like a fan.

And she said, "I've swallowed a secret burning thread
It cuts me inside, and often I've bled"
He laid his hand then on top of her head
And he bowed her down to the ground.

"Tell me how hungry are you? How weak you must feel
As you are living here alone, and you are never revealed
But I won't march again on your battlefield"
And he took her to the window to see.

And the sun, it was gold, though the sky, it was gray
And she wanted more than she ever could say
But she knew how it frightened her, and she turned away
And would not look at his face again.

And he said, "I want to live as an honest man
To get all I deserve and to give all I can
And to love a young woman who I don't understand
Your highness, your ways are very strange."

But the crown, it had fallen, and she thought she would break
And she stood there, ashamed of the way her heart ached
She took him to the doorstep and she asked him to wait
She would only be a moment inside.

Out in the distance her order was heard
And the soldier was killed, still waiting for her word
And while the queen went on strangeling in the solitude she preferred
The battle continued on

Monday, August 04, 2008

Tomato Gurl asked about the b&w photo I posted earlier. Here it is in color. It's a big gumball machine.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

click for larger image

Yesterday morning I began another large-ish (22x28) painting of Rose, again from the b&w photo. I had begun one, over a month ago, same size and more realistic. It's the one on the easel, still in progress.

This latest painting has taken a different turn, in great part to being informed by the canvas I was working on. It was a painting, begun a month before I even considered painting Rose. I had been bored...didn't know what to paint, grabbed a canvas and just moved my hand. An hour later I saw a very stylized madonna and child. Surprising imagery. I knew I'd paint over it at some point but then became busy with the Rose paintings.

I grabbed it yesterday because I didn't want to begin on simply a toned canvas, yet desired something that already had some built up paint.

I'm pretty excited with where it's going. In painting, I saw how the marks of the old were playing with the drawing I was laying in and knew it had something to say to me regarding the breaking up of space.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

After dim sum for Pete's last full day in Seattle we wandered the International District and saw an interesting t-shirt in the window of a bookstore. I, along with a few others, have a serious hankering for that shirt. Sadly...and strangely, the store only had it in children's sizes.