Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tonight is Dining Out for Life and we've gathered a group of 16 for dinner at one of the participating restaurants.

Check out the link to see if it's happening in your city.

The photo is of the Dining Out Poster. I saw the fly just hanging out and had to shoot it.

Now I need to get back to work before hopping into the rest of my day.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I don't expect to be posting much more than on the fly entries because the next 4 or 5 days are pretty full with an out of town guest, some shared art time, the art festival, and a big dinner of 16 on Thursday evening. Yesterday afternoon I assisted with unpacking shipped artwork for SEAF and then worked a little installation until my brain died and I couldn't measure anymore due to hitting a 13 hour day mark. There is some pretty special work in this year's festival, including a piece I'm very tempted to buy.

It's also been a time of cleaning dust bunnies, literally and figuratively.

Somehow April has flown by and May seems to be shaping up to be busy as well, including a short San Francisco trip smack in the middle of the month that I'm looking forward to. It'll be nice to get away, even for a wee bit and I couldn't beat the deal I received on airfare and hotel.

I'm thrilled with the direction of the new paintings.

I haven't picked up my camera...probably since Friday.

A bath was relax, slow down, and take a breath before heading to the airport to pick up a friend.

My kitchen table needs tulips. I'll pick some up later.

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Very short entry because I have to finish a few things at work before I head down to assist with art installation for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival about noontime.

Here's an interesting article in today's NYTimes about a small factory in Pakistan that makes fetish gear for export needs to keep it on the down low.

From the article:

"The Qadeer brothers, Adnan, 34, and Rizwan, 32, have made the business into an improbable success story in a country where bars are illegal and the poor are often bound to a lifetime in poverty.

If the bondage business seems an unlikely pursuit for two button-down, slightly awkward, decidedly deadpan lower-class Pakistanis, it is. But then, discretion has been their byword. The brothers have taken extreme measures to conceal a business that in this deeply conservative Muslim country is as risky as it is risqué."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Remember the 3'x5' painting I'm still toiling with? I haven't documented all the changes but this was from the beginning of January, and here again at the beginning of February, and then it changed to yellow in early March. By the end of March it changed to a vertical blue piece.

I didn't touch it for quite a while. Still wasn't happy with it and yet wasn't sure how to proceed. So it sat. And sat some more.

Last week that canvas was calling to me and I kept ignoring it, thinking I'd work it after May's art walk. But it's an insistent piece and so Friday morning I tipped it on its side and began again. Yesterday afternoon I had to go in and work it some more.

For the first time since it was first painted last December, I finally, finally feel it's headed in the right direction.

This piece makes me happy...

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A weekend of rejuvenation which not only included restoration for the body but for the home. Friday it began with painting and then time by the water with friends, which always soothes my spirit. Saturday was a full chill out day - totally lazy. No painting, no working and very little talking or listening until I headed out for a birthday party which included homemade kosher wines and a killer chocolate marzipan babka. It was a fun way to end the day.

Today was a tending to my house day. Loads of laundry, cleaning out closets, reorganizing my home, washing the glass bottles on my kitchen sill...and then about dinner time I headed to the studio because I really wanted to play more on the new painting that I began on Friday.

Although I will majorly procrastinate, house fluffing always gives me warm fuzzies.

It was a perfect time of self-nurturing.

Friday, April 24, 2009

It was a productive morning in a sun-filled studio and a beautiful day with good friends. Much fresh air, bright clear skies, a soothing bay with the periodic whiff of salt and even quick peeks at a seal playing in the water.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Somehow, almost overnight, I've discovered a buttload of energy. I've spent this week, going almost nonstop between work, studio and getting together with friends, with each part being productive.

This morning when sharing that with my shrink, he said "I'm not surprised. You're taking bigger risks, stepping out and expressing yourself in ways that claim your space and your worth."

In the past week, I have been speaking up for myself in three different areas of my life,work, personal and painting...and doing so in ways I've never before done.

Because the work I'm doing in therapy is integrative, it makes sense that this is now all happening at the same time. I'm sitting here pleased because the fruits are more obvious and happening quicker.

It offers some relief. In therapy I've worked, sweat, bled, cried, rended, and screamed for so long...rarely seeing much improvement and wondering if it's all in vain, wondering how much longer my friends and coworkers will be patient with me, when little by little, change begins.

First very far between, spiraling...feeling like it's one step forward and two back, to then slowly, agonizingly picking up pace with different aspects gaining momentum at varying times, such as the discipline with my painting practice or the growing ease at overcoming work project challenges.

Speaking of which...the paintings are coming along. One of my big, huge, massive lessons, which plays into what's been happening in the other areas is the idea that I need to become more sure of my self. Abstraction is about trust and if I can't believe in my work then no one else will.

I also know that abstraction speaks to fewer people and I cannot allow people's confusion or lack of interest to stop me from trusting the work.

Last evening, in the throes of increasing painting doubt, floundering because I feel in big need of a painting mentor to bounce things off of...I shared these concerns with a new friend over dinner. I wasn't sure of the work, doubting its validity as a skillful piece of art and noticing that the further I delve into abstraction, the crazier I think I am.

He asked one question: "Is it honest?"

It was a perfect slap in the face. I'm grateful to him for asking that very question. Yes, deep inside, regardless of whatever anyone else thinks, it IS honest. And, deep down, I know it's good and it's perfect for this moment. And yet...I want to continue to learn, acquiring new skills that can enhance the work I do.

And...and that is the place I need to stand. Holding onto that little voice.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In honor of Earth Day, how about a little Thoreau? The link offers some of his writings.

From "Life Without Principles", Thoreau rants against a financial culture. It remains very appropriate.

"If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. As if a town had no interest in its forests but to cut them down!

A big part of going greener is choosing to live a life not so attached to commercialism.

And another Thoreau thought:

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify.


You know you're old when you find out your younger sister is celebrating her 25th wedding anniversary and she was not a teenage bride. My parents 50th didn't really make me feel old. I'm approaching 50 and although that's a wee bit unsettling, it's also refreshing. But hearing that L has been married 25 years next month was like being bitch slapped by time.


For Seattle and surrounding area folks, the Orca Card is now active! It's a reloadable card good for 7 transportations systems, including Metro, ferry and rail. You can get your card online and reorder online, by phone or in person. For a limited time, the cards are free.

Check out for more information and to order your card. No more saving quarters.


I seem to have a very busy few months coming up. This week is filled with dinner dates with different folks each evening, after studio time. Next week after dropping off my art for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, I'm assisting with some artwork installation for the event. The festival begins May 1st. Information on SEAF and purchasing tickets is found at

Then I have a friend coming into town for a few days, still projects to finish, a couple art openings and a friend's commencement for his BFA and oh yeah, painting.

Mid May will find me in San Francisco, seeing other friends, meeting new ones and checking out art!

Hmmm...I need to find time to finish cleaning.


Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

Monday, April 20, 2009

I found these butterflies by getting off the bus early.

Painting was fairly productive. I'm still focusing on smaller oil studies right now - 11x14 or 14x18. In doing so I'm exploring color in greater depth. More accurately, I'm fascinated with greys. How much color in there can be in grey and how they react to each other.

Yesterday afternoon, before beginning a new painting, I reworked an older one. It was all grey - simple, with a little door tucked near the top left. The door was a different grey. Thick, juicy but felt colorless. And the background, a cold grey. So yesterday I mixed a deeper yellow ochre and changed the background. In doing so, the color within the grey door began to pop. You could see the delicate pinks that lay within. It was a lovely moment.

I didn't have to change the door yet only its surroundings.

Here is a 14x18 piece done about 5 days ago. I'm trying to get comfortable with the mess of painting...brushstrokes that aren't even and colors that may bleed into each other.

In the last few months I've pulled away from various things because of the amount of pain I'd feel. Anniversaries are hard. I've learned that healing from broken trust is a long haul. It's happening. Slowly. And one day I know I'll make it through a season without reliving the pain of deception. Trust given is sacred - a powerful and fragile gift.

The key lies in forgiveness.

Sometimes I can tap into forgiveness, and feel the immense love and freedom that comes with such an act. It's a phenomenal state of being and in that, I feel my entire body change. My insides become expansive. It's joyful...and fleeting. Precarious because then it disappears into those moments when history returns, full force.

The energy I've been expending is in an attempt to access that love, unconditional, while letting myself feel whatever I need to, and maintain healthy boundaries while trying to keep a heart open to discernment and seeing when and how those boundaries may need to shift. And the whole time trying not to beat myself up too much if I get it wrong.

Painting is very helpful.

It's a bright, sunny and warm day. I've completed the work that needed to be done in the office and am now heading off for the studio. God it'll feel good to get back into the paint.

I received a couple different goodies via email this weekend. Very fun. One in particular gave me huge insight in why I've become drawn to a certain artist.

Until a few years ago, I've never much paid attention to Robert Motherwell. The Greg Kucera Gallery has some of his work and each time I stand in front of a Motherwell, it feels more like home than just about any other artist.

(The Kucera Gallery has a Motherwell catalog that I've coveted for the last 2 years. One day I'll pick it up.)

Anyway, the email I received showed me why there is such a connection. A friend saw a Motherwell in a museum and just thought of me (not knowing my huge affinity for that artist).

Here is a link to the work.

The statement under the piece says:

"Motherwell painted this work while listening to the music of Charles Ives, an American composer whose unexpected chords and musical phrases suggest images and impressions that we almost, but can’t quite, identify. Motherwell’s monsters—the dark, threatening masses that loom in his paintings—express his anxieties as an artist and as a witness to a violent century. He had written a few years before painting this work that poets and composers, like artists, were “ill at ease in the universe” and their efforts were meant to bridge the gulf “between one’s lonely self and the world.” Motherwell dedicated the painting to Ives because he felt the composer understood the difficulty of making modern art that moves its audience without explaining why."

It was a big aha moment for me. And it shows me how much less restrained I need to be in my own work.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pretty full weekend. Almost.

I didn't make it to the studio once in 3 days, and, although I miss was also good to be doing other things. Friday was a Donna Reed day including buttloads of laundry and actually cleaning out my bedroom closet. I hit a party on Friday night. Saturday, I had hoped to return to the party but my stomach was weird all day in a "can't relax and really enjoy" kind of way. So I did spend time with B & D who had just flown into Seattle and then returned home to crash.

Today, another beautiful and warm day. It was brunch with friends, and then drinks and food with others on the patio at Linda's.

Keeping a few friends who are dealing with hard times in my heart.
Saw a fabulous bondage scene this afternoon.
Met some more new good folks.
Given permission to attempt some special drawings which may turn into a painting series. Figurative.

Which reminds me that I need to begin at least one of the book illustrations before I take on any more new projoects.

And now, tired.

This week I plan on grabbing some vacation hours in the afternoon for studio time. It'll feel wonderful to get back in there.

Oh yes, although I didn't find out until an early Saturday morning email, I am one of those who woke Friday morning as a Canadian citizen. That link goes to the Wall Street Journal article. I went to Canada's citizenship and immigration website for further research and with a simple form to fill out... voila...!

Thursday, April 16, 2009


My weekend begins.

It's hasn't been a bad week. It's been good. But it's been an incredibly busy time. And now, even though I have a full weekend coming up which doesn't allow for much painting time, it's one I'm looking forward to. Work has been intense and I'm glad there are a few days to regroup with some fun distractions.

Hopefully I'll have a chance to respond to emails this weekend.

p.s. I'm not only surprised at how quickly asparagus can go thru you but how little it takes to make itself known.

From yesterday at the park...late afternoon. When I went for a walk, I intentionally brought the camera. And I figured out what was happening. For quite a while, I could multi-task...writing, painting, drawing and shooting just about every day. That is, until a few months back when it all became too much.

Knowing I wasn't headed to the studio, I could focus on the camera and being outdoors. (Seriously, no pun intended)

It was a good day for a walk...and a climb up the water tower.

Today, I'm in an all day meeting with no computer access. Good thing that Thursdays are my Fridays.

And, I'm fiddling with my blog template. I have a dummy blog where I test out changes before entering them in this one. This current template doesn't allow for bigger photos and am trying to find a way to make the images larger, without being so large that it takes a while to download.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I crashed today.

About 1pm I decided to take a couple vacation hours and go home to snooze. So tired, I couldn't keep my eyes open. After vegging out and then a wee nap (which some know is nearly impossible for me to do), the Volunteer Park water tower is calling. It's sunny and warmish out and a little workout is needed.

The tower is 4 blocks away, smack dab at the end of my street and it's a perfect time to enjoy the weather. The studio today is taking a backseat.

Speaking of Volunteer Park, this is another photo from the batch I shot in January.

Shot this while on the bus yesterday. I haven't been shooting daily. It's saddened me, but for some reason, my photo drive isn't what it was. I trust it will come back.

Yesterday was really work at 5:30 am, a therapy appointment, more work, taking a quiet hour for myself, then painting and a dinner appointment. I didn't get home until almost 8:30 which isn't late for most folks, but considering when I started my day...I was pooped and planned to be in bed by 9:30, which didn't happen.

Here are one of the 11"x14" doors I wrote about a little while ago..that I've worked and reworked and reworked...

...not sure if it will stay.

This is the 4th in the schoolyard series. 18"x36". I'm still working on this one. It has a ways to go.

A quick oil study, done with a friend's words in mind...11"x14". The painting glows in person but seriously isn't captured in the jpeg. I need to do something with the top right but overall I like where it's going.

Also, there are 2 questions left from March question month and I plan on answering them.

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

It's a full, good week. And it will be a busy weekend.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Although I showed this piece for April's art walk and someone had even pulled me aside to talk at length about the painting because it captivated them, I'm still not done and struggling with it. It's a really dark painting...almost black, a rich, deep thalo blue mix. I haven't been happy with the surface at all. Because there's so little going on (the inside of the block is the same as the outside), the surface also becomes subject matter.

In addition, because of the intense color, it's really hard to photograph. I tried again this weekend and it fell flat. But I noticed that the composition of the entire image, including the stuff around the painting made for an interesting photo so I just pulled out all the color there you have it.

It's Monday morning and I'm looking forward to a very full week. Hopefully I'll finish a report I've been working on for a while. In addition, my head is filled with exploratory paintings. I began this entry last night and this morning woke with a possible way of finishing the dark painting. It's going to involve a bit of destruction but now, with this piece, it no longer scares me.

This is also a week of working on my house some more and working on the physical me. Yeah, I'm slowly getting back into a workout routine. Gaining the habit is tough, but once it's implanted, I always look forward to pushing my body. It's been a while.

Happy Monday everyone.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Saturday, April 11, 2009

This is the third in the School Yard series that I completed this past week. It's 18"x36". I began a fourth one a few days ago, and am looking forward to working it further today.

In addition I'm also working on a small new series of doors...about 8x10 each. In them, I'm exploring paint handling. Juicier, thicker immediate paint application. Currently, they don't all work but I wanted to show one anyway. Unfortunately, the jpegs are really crappy and they need to be reshot.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Quiet and productive day.

I was going to head to the studio but ended up staying in and spent time working on my home...a little cleaning and some reorganizing. It's way overdue because most of my time has been split between work and then painting, with using extra time for friends and crashing. Tending to the house was, sadly, last on my list. I've come up with a plan to do a big spring cleaning, and to prevent it from being too overwhelming I've broken it down into smaller tasks.

I need a boy around to cook, clean and do ummm...other duties as assigned. An exchange of services.

Tonight, dinner with E. I made it a point to walk down and back via the street fully lined with cherry blossoms. Each year, I look forward to these few weeks where I can walk under a cover of pink and white.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

A photo taken a while ago from the conservatory.

It's been a busy week. Even with the vacation day on Tuesday, it's been full. I finally organized all my receipts for taxes and handed them off to J, our finance director, who does my taxes for me. I've been dreading compiling all my stuff and numbers this year because it's the first time where I have a full year's worth of art expenses (with the studio) and feared looking at the totals.

A big load lifted once I handed everything over. Now I can move onto other chores that I've been putting off.

Tonight I'm beginning my weekend with the first show in a mini film festival - God Save The Queens, consisting of 4 british films. It's queer Thursday at the NW Film Forum. Tonight is the first show and they are screening The Leather Boys from 1964. The above link will take you to the 4 films, which also include Edward II, The Killing of Sister George and Young Rebels.

I hope to catch all of them, especially The Killing of Sister George. It's one of the few movies that my former Leather mentor really wanted me to see and was insistent on it for a more rounded education. The other, which I saw with him was Babette's Feast.

And to a couple art openings before hitting the film.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

We've had a fabulous four days of sun and warmth. Although I haven't photographed it yet, the cherry blossoms are blooming, and the early morning air is sweet with thick scent. It's even been t-shirt and sandal weather.

After spending mostly a full weekend painting, I took a vacation day yesterday and returned to the studio. It was good.

Planning a SF trip for May.

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

And here is THE best cover of Tears for Fears "Mad World" by Adam Lambert. The song begins one minute in. Hopefully a studio version of this will come out soon. That song always pulls painfully at my heart.

A few weeks ago he did Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire". His arrangements are brilliant. I've never before considered country music sensually sexy. Until now.

His voice...his artistry get me wet. And hard. He brings an uncommon and delicious intensity to each song I've heard him do and there's a rawness to his voice, which I really enjoy.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

I'm still answering some remaining questions from March.

Before I answer Russell's second question, I need to comment on my answer to his first.

I've been thinking about it ever since and still am not happy with my answer. What informs my work...content? form? And I answered process.

The last few weeks, I've been paying extra attention to the act of painting and noticed that the question isn't easily answered. Yes it's about process. But there are times when I have an idea...let's work the blocks or let's begin with a still life. And other times, it's simply about moving the hand hoping that something will arise. So, it's not much of an answer, but there it's content, form and process.

Now onto his second question...

He asked:

"if we assume it's true that all artwork, regardless of content, is political, can you show or describe for us an example of your work that you feel is the most unassuming yet politically subversive piece you've created in your life as an artist since you first became a politically aware adult?"

Let's start with the definition of politics~

From Merriam Webster one of the the definitions of politics is "the total complex of relations between people living in society".

I've always believed the political is personal, and every action, every encounter, every a political act. The most substantial and lasting changes come from within, beginning with our own level of integrity and then flowing out to others.

Again, like all the other questions I've received, this question has been stuck in my head since the beginning of March. Tough to put into words.

I believe my most unassuming yet politically subversive piece to date is a recent one - The School Yard.

It wasn't an intentional piece. I began simply by painting boxes. Making boxes upon boxes. Wiped out, painted over, removed some, repositioned...and simply worked until it felt right. It wasn't until the painting was just about complete that I realized what I was painting: the dynamics of groups, cliques, fads, and the isolation and bleeding that comes from not fitting in.

When I saw it, I knew in that moment "the school yard" isn't only a childhood phenomena. It continues throughout our entire lives. The difference is, hopefully as adults, we gain an awareness that we are each unique and maybe can garner enough strength to allow our own lights to shine without the childhood need of hiding that light to fit into a group. It's a tough road but an achievable one.

We all need connections, intimacy, family. Yet how do we find those while remaining authentic...honest to our deepest selves? Where do we find the ones we can feel safe enough to allow our wounds and bruises and scars to show, knowing that we will still be loved instead of covering them up simply to surround ourselves in a temporary shelter? Where are the people who in turn are willing to share their underbelly, trusting that they too will not be rejected?

If we really pay attention, we can see how this need to fit in infiltrates all aspects of life and will determine the personal and from there, the political choices we make.
And now, here is a less subtle but still not obvious, other political piece. I honestly didn't know how much it was until a First Thursday in 2007 when I showed this series.

Watching people's reactions showed me how uncomfortable people were with male self-pleasuring.  I wrote about the experience here, in the entry dated October 5, 2007

Excerpts from the entry:

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

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

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

Yes, the drawings are very sexual and yet there is more. It's the "more" that turns me on. Most porn bores me - being one layer...surfacey. Porn is needed. I understand that and support those who do it. But...I'm into multi-facetedness, complexities, tapestries of feeling and many layers...

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

I'm not into preaching to the choir. For me, that's not where my activism lies...

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

Here is a closeup of one of my favorites from the series.  These charcoal/watercolor drawings are each about 15"x20".

To this day I still remember one man in particular, standing in front of the work. First puzzled, then embarrassed...and yet, to his credit, he remained...looking. Then, I could feel shame slip away and saw how he embraced his own sexual power through establishing a connection with the work. He stood a little taller and an ease took over his body.

It was a moment of sacred sexual intimacy. A bit of healing. And it still leaves me in awe.

Russell, thank you for your questions.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring has finally come to Seattle. Sixty degrees on Saturday and seventy on Sunday. Bright blue skies. It was an full weekend of long painting days...until Sunday about 3 when I needed to get outdoors and spend a couple hours roaming my painting neighborhood and the piers.

Seattleites love their weather. From a Slog entry (with a photo):

"It's the first really nice day of the year, and walking through Cal Anderson Park just now was like walking through that colorful Seurat—although instead of parasols and rigid hats it was all frisbees and flip-flops and iPhones and hula hoops. And groups of people on big blankets eating takeout. And people playing bongoes. And a guy reading Thomas Pynchon. And a lady reading Mary Higgins Clark. And a man throwing a baby through the air while the mother of the baby panicked. And little dogs tumbling over backwards. And children running through the volcano-fountain runoff channel. And a photographer trying to get a shot of the surface of the reflecting pool. And some guys twirling sticks like they're training to become Ninja Turtles. And a kid in a hat with huge foam ears (an elephant? a mouse?). And a woman with tall pink wedges for shoes lawn bowling with silver balls. And an owner of Neumo's with Bose headphones clamped to his ears and Dick's in his lap. And elves sitting in trees playing music".

Here is a closer view of the elf.

This morning, thanks to Kyana, I was introduced to another artist: Cecil Touchon

She began with an excerpt from his writings:

"Art, since it is not fashion that is here today and gone tomorrow, moves in large multi generational waves and any artist is, at any given time, a conduit for one or several artistic trends. Artists embody the ideas that are still being played out and the tug is always between fresh, new adaptation and a love of nostalgic regress."

Here is his blog.

And you have to check out his website.

Sunday, April 05, 2009