Monday, June 29, 2009
A friend asked me a few days ago if I use a straight-edge for the lines in my paintings or if it's a steady hand. Due to much practice, it is a steady hand unless my blood sugar is taking a dive. In those cases I just give up and stop painting.
This is the brush I use to begin all my paintings. It's my drawing brush. Beat up old bristles, and yet, it gives me the control I need to freehand my lines. The friction of bristle against canvas is perfect. I've used this brush for many years and know that at the rate it's wearing, I'll have to find its replacement very soon. It's a matter of breaking it in as a regular painting brush until the bristles are worn enough to become my drawing brush.
I'm on my second week of vacation and yes, plan on using this brush quite a bit.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
This photo was taken at Pride last June.
It's my friend Matt, after a long day where we marched in the parade together. I had intended for this to be my Pride photo for 2009 as well because I had not shot anything in a couple days and I hadn't attended the parade this year. It was a vacation week filled with huge emotional challenges. On Friday, I made an emergency visit to my therapist. Saturday began rocky and then magically flowed with grace and power beginning with meeting friends for dinner while watching the dyke march and then a play party with another brilliant and brutal play session with R. Sunday was brunch with friends, some rest time and then dinner with J, my coworker. After dinner we wandered the Hill and soaked in the remaining Pride weekend energy.
I took J. to my favorite block on 11th, between Pike and Pine, showing him two new galleries that he didn't know about. On the corner of Pine and 11th is a large wall that is always plastered with posters. It's become one of my favorite visual spots on Capitol Hill. I saw this poster and it had to become my new Pride 2009 photo.
This afternoon while on the phone with Roger, he mentioned some news he had read about. I googled, and found very little, but what I found was quite sobering and upsetting. On the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots, a gay bar in Fort Worth, TX was raided about 1 am this morning. Here is an article from a Fort Worth paper about the story along with info on the action that took place early this evening to protest the raid. There are conflicting reports...of course.
Thursday, June 25, 2009
The Lusty Lady, a strip club in Seattle, is directly across the street from the Seattle Art Museum.
My first full day in Seattle, back in August 1998, I found myself inside the club. The top I had met brought me and we spent time watching the dancers as part of my introduction to Seattle.
I love that it's a remaining part of the city's history with Flesh Row. In addition to being in a lovely little (compared to the two buildings on either side) building, their marquee bring much joy.
Yesterday I shot this photo while waiting for the bus after a stint in the studio. It brought a huge smile because yesterday Mimi Gates (the stepmom of Bill Gates) was being celebrated. It was her goodbye party at the Seattle Art Museum after her tenure as director.
A couple years ago, I feared for the Lusty because the brand new Four Seasons had taken over a part of the block and was building a hotel and high priced condos - the most exclusive condos in the city. They tried to purchase the Lusty property but the owners wouldn't sell.
Mimi Gates was very supportive of the Lusty remaining in place.
Many years ago, there was an Annie Liebowitz show at the museum. It was her "Women" show, with some writings by Susan Sontag. This took place before the museum expanded. I remember walking through the exhibit. In the special exhibition gallery there was one wall with a window looking out onto the Lusty Lady. For the Liebowitz exhibit, her photo of Courtney Love was place on the wall right next to the window. You could see Love and the Lusty Lady at a glance.
It was clearly intentional. And oh very perfect.
Other marquees from the Lusty:
When the SAM opened in 1991, the Lusty announced - "Welcome SAM! Once you've seen their nudes, come in and see ours." After the museum's expansion, the club advertised “We Made Sam Grow” and “Ooh – Sam’s Expanding.” “Hammer Away Big Guy” showed up on the sign after the SAM's 48 ft Hammering Man was installed. A Chuck Close show at the museum prompted: “Chuck Clothes.”
If interested, here are a couple article links regarding the Four Seasons and the Lusty Lady.
From Bloomberg - Seattle Hotel Bows to a Peep Show, Pleasing Gates's Stepmother
and from WA State's history page - Lusty Lady: A Seattle Panoram.
I've shot a couple of other Lusty Lady photos in the past. Here they are:
The light on the Lusty Lady building in May 2008~
When the Seattle Art Museum had the big Roman sculpture exhibit in March 2008~
And this marquee was up a week before the Roman exhibit~
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Yesterday I had the pleasure of enjoying a private cello concert while taking photos. We'll be shooting again and he's agreed to play for me while I work paintings of him.
At first, D was playing Bach. Then he asked if I wanted the music stand moved away, which I did and so he spent the next half hour or so doing a nonstop improvisational piece. He closed his eyes and submerged himself in his playing. Being a part of such a process is...quite special. Glorious.
Cello music is one of my favorites and so to have a naked man playing the cello in my work space surrounded by paintings was heaven.
I'll be posting more over the next few days. Click each to make them bigger.
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Vacation thus far has meant no shooting and so you're getting photos from earlier this week.
Vacation means really resting, including, for the first time in a while, being able to actually sleep this morning until 7:30 am without first waking up at 4 or 5 a.m. Talk about heaven. It was a solid 7 hours of sleep after coming home from dinner and a wonderful concert with R & D.
Vacation also has shown me that 11 days isn't enough. So today I decided to extend my vacation to July 6th instead of June 29th.
This means more relaxing and more painting.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Because it was a busy week, I didn't have a chance to photograph these until they began to curl around the edges.
This morning I dreamt that I slept until 11 am. Then I woke and saw it was 7. Yes, I was first up at 5, and then dozed back to sleep. Maybe one day I can actually sleep to at least 9 am.
I saw a blurb for the concert Seattle Men's Chorus Unplugged with invited guests m-pact, a couple weeks ago and really wanted to attend but just didn't have the budget for it. So I kept quiet and let it slide. About an hour ago I received a phone call from a good friend who had an extra ticket and invited me to the concert! Read more about the concert here.
It's turning into a very interesting time, beginning two weeks ago with brilliant play that is still displaying bruises on my legs, to some exciting changes in the studio which would double my work space to 400 square feet, a big project in the works, the wonderful blurb by Jen Graves, more play next week and as of this morning an invitation to a local private run for some weekend indoor/outdoor play and now a concert I longed to attend!
And to boot, I'm only my 3rd day into my vacation with lots of time left to enjoy.
My heart still does its thing. There are still tears and pain and cheer and life. And yet, something inside has expanded. There's a deeper sureness of self.
This didn't begin with the outward changes of the last few weeks but instead, through the brutal work of learning to love myself enough to immerse myself in all the grief, the darkness and most scary, the deep anger that had been built up over the years. Learning to peel away the top layers of the emotion and face the undergrowth, tangle myself in it and learn that if I dive in honestly, I really won't get stuck.
I haven't written about what's transpired internally over the last few months because I don't have the words. What I can say is no matter how crazy-making or difficult, I knew I could go into it because I had a tether - my therapist.
When one begins digging, there are many layers. It is lifetime work. And it's one I choose.
Friday, June 19, 2009
From a beautiful gift on Tuesday night...
Yesterday was my first vacation day and it was wonderful. The only thing I had to do was meet two different people at the studio regarding studio space. Now, it's all wrapped up and the remaining 10 days are selfishly mine.
I wasn't planning on painting for a couple days with the intent of really having two lazy days. But while waiting for each person (one at 2 and the other at 8) a blank canvas called to me and did so insistently enough that I didn't even take the time to tone it.
And so, I began a still life piece.
Want to know my favorite part of working a painting?
It's the very beginning. There is something so incredibly freeing in the act of drawing on canvas with a brush when working from observation. It's...like home. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like just doing drawings on canvas and then stopping before laying in planes of color.
I do enjoy working the abstracts, but, they are hard work. Pulling from within, facing demons...it's a different way of being with the paint. Now the beginnings of observational painting, feeling my hand react to what the eye takes in is always relaxing, and brings a different kind of joy. Simpler.
Huh. Maybe that's what I'll do this week. It is my vacation after all. Maybe I'll end the week with bunches of just begun canvases strewn around the studio. By the way, notice how giddy I am about this week off? Yeah, definitely needed.
Something I've shared with others but have yet to mention here was a wonderful surprise I received on Wednesday. Jen Graves is the arts writer for The Stranger. In The Stranger's blog, during the week, she will post a "currently hanging" entry highlighting a piece from various shows around the city.
On that day, I was scrolling the Slog and about 5 entries in, I saw something familiar. I let out a loud "oh my god" at work and my ED came running over. Together we saw and read what was on the screen. Tears came to my eyes. She had highlighted a couple of my paintings which are currently in my art blog.
Here is her entry.
I was stunned and at the same time so exhilarated for over an hour that I needed to leave work for a bit to calm down. It was my last day before vacation and I wanted to be able to concentrate on tasks at hand. Considering what I was speaking of in therapy just an hour and a half before seeing the entry...well, there was some definite synchronicity going on.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Yesterday evening I had a last supper with two people who have become a part of my heart. They will return, but life in Seattle is a little bleaker without their presence.
Today is my last work day before vacation. It's a very good thing. The idea of 11 days of no plans but resting, walking, being at the water, reading and painting, along with working a few new project ideas is heaven. There is literally nothing on my calendar until June 27th.
Because I have much to do to clear my desk, I'll leave you with a few links.
This little 3 sentence entry so cracked me up.
Israel's oldest newspaper makes a one day radical move.
Authors and poets in Jerusalem wrote the news for one day.
The article, which includes examples such as how the stock market news was written, begins with...
"It was on an average Wednesday that a very serious Israeli newspaper conducted a very wild experiment. For one day, Haaretz editor-in-chief Dov Alfon sent most of his staff reporters home and sent 31 of Israel’s finest authors and poets to cover the day’s news."
According to Scientific American, dogs can talk. Kinda.
This week's Freewill Astrology.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday afternoon I attended Bat N Rouge, an annual softball game that features the Drag Queens vs. Dykes, ushering in Pride season in Seattle and a fundraiser for the Alano Club. It's been going on for the last 11 years but this was the first year I could actually attend.
It was probably the best fundraiser I've ever attended, very fun and highly creative. My friends and I laughed so hard.
Next year, I'm going, prepared with a blanket and a picnic basket with food and drinks.
Beginning with a marching band and the display of flags - Leather Pride, the Bear community, Gay Pride, Mexico, Canada, the U.S. and the state of WA...
...the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence from the Abbey of St. Joan then came out on the field for an opening prayer.
After that, the Dykes were introduced. Sporting flannel shirts, one even wore a mullet and a toolbelt, complete with a hammer.
The Drag Queens, in their fabulosity, needed to make an entrance. They gathered across the street from the ballfield. When introduced, they paraded across the street and down the length of the field. To music of course.
This is Victoria Secretions...my favorite drag name of the day.
I missed a wonderful photo op where a little six or seven year old girl was simply chatting with her. It was a lovely scene because it felt like a regular interaction where the girl didn't seem to notice anything different. Just a part of life...
Another blogger did capture the image and you can see it here on his flickr site.
It's how I'd like to see the world.
The brilliance of the game was in the way they raised money. The first inning was played like a regular softball game. After that...anything goes. People could buy balls, outs, strikes, runs and home runs. For example, a drag queen up at bat would strike out and then the mc would say "a home run was just purchased for the drag queens" and so that batter would run the bases. One person donated to have a batter bat while on her knees. Another donated to have the outfielders hold umbrellas for a catch.
In between the first and second inning someone purchased to see two dykes of their choice wrestle in the middle of the field. Yeah, it was pretty hot.
Here is the link to Bryan Kraai's blog entry with some very nice photos of the event, including the wrestling. And, check out his entire flickr set here.
In addition to the photos, what I loved about his entry was what I also loved about the game. It brought a variety of folks together and at times opened some up to different ways of being in the world. I discovered his blog from googling for Bat N Rouge. He moved here from the midwest a few years back. From his entry:
"Years ago I would have never expected to see myself at an event such as this, much less enjoy myself, but I'm finding that I'm really enjoying living on Capitol Hill and all of the floavor that it has to offer. I won't be adjusting my sexual preference at all, but this neighborhood is helping to open my eyes up to so much in life and helping me enjoy life so much more than I have in the past."
What a pretty thing to read.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Yesterday was a wonderful day of absolutely no plans. Slow morning od'ing on much dvd viewing and then I headed to Liberty for some sushi and a drink. Normally I'd bring my laptop, but this time it was a book, a paper journal and a sketchbook. Unplugged. It was quite nice and something I really want to return to. Habits have a way of slowly creeping up on us and we aren't even aware of it until it's entrenched in our lives. There was a time when I would choose books and paper journals over my laptop when out and about. It's time to return to that again.
I'm unplugged in the studio and desire to do the same in other parts of my life.
Today? Back to painting, and then head over to watch the annual drag queens vs. dykes softball game.
Friday, June 12, 2009
Crazily, because it's so early, it's been summer in Seattle for a few weeks now. Blue skies. No rain. Mid '70's to mid '80's. And...unlike New England - no humidity. We do have great summers.
Last night was Capitol Hill's revamped art walk. Eric and I, after great food and drinks at Boom Noodle, headed over to Seattle Central first. On the way to the college plaza we stopped because I had a hankering for Balsamic Strawberry ice cream from Molly Moon's. I really like that place because not only are the flavors wonderful, but I can actually purchase a kid-size scoop. It's maybe about half the size of a regular scoop and it's perfect for when I want a taste.
At the college, we bumped into my coworker and his partner, as well as into Anna, the phenomenal and dedicated director of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival.
There, we watched the double dutch girls doing their thing. I used to love jumping rope, but never practiced enough to get a handle on double dutch. It would end up a tangled mess, and very different than what I saw last night. These girls are good.
After my coworker left, E, A and I spent a lovely evening wandering the Pike/Pine corridor, stepping into galleries and shops looking at art. The Grey Gallery, Vermillion and the Fetherston Gallery all had work that I'm still thinking about.
It was a perfect summer evening.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
New tooth. Yesterday was the final appointment with my dentist for the permanent crown. Very glad it's over. The back of my throat near where the novacaine went in is a little sore, as it the area of the new tooth, but ibuprofren kicks the discomfort.
While on the topic of teeth, I need to remember to stop buying generic floss. There is too much shredding. Of course it only comes to mind when the floss is in my mouth.
This upcoming weekend is my first weekend in months without set plans and I'm taking advantage of it. It's going to be wonderful.
art, art, art
Thanks to artist Ellen Forney, Capitol Hill's art walk is being revitalized.
Blitz on Capitol Hill begins tonight, including an "Art on a Stick" parade. See www.blitzcapitolhill.com for a map and list of participating galleries, restaurants and other businesses.
Looking forward to seeing Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949-78, a new show at the Seattle Art Museum which begins June 25th.
From the press release:
" Organized by the Seattle Art Museum (SAM),Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949-78 is an international, historical survey of the assaults that painting endured in the years following World War II, documenting why artists felt compelled to shoot, rip, tear, burn, erase, nail, unzip and deconstruct painting in order to usher in a new way of thinking."
My coworkers and I were huddled over a computer this morning checking out food fun, and that let me to googling for images for cauliflower sheep which then led me to eggplant penguins.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Saturday night's play is still the gift that keeps giving. Each time I look at my body I smile. But a big gift was rending the veil that allowed me to see how burnt out I really am. I've been living off adrenaline for the last couple years. Doing what I need to, trying to take time for myself…enjoying the short relaxing moments, feeling what needs to be felt…immersing myself in intense therapy….and slowly losing my capacity to be productive.
Yes, I've produced quite a bit in this time…about 300 pieces of art. And I know it's not about quantity, but I'm the type of person who needs to do a lot hoping to stumble upon a treasure. So tucked within the 300 are a couple pieces I'm very proud of.
In my day job, as the foundation grows, demands are more and more complex and I've been able to somehow, miraculously create systems to meet those needs. Honestly, I have no idea how it happened, but it did.
The last month or so has seen me slowing down. I don't have the same strength to get over the tiredness and do what needs to be done. Some of the magic in Saturday's play showed me it's time to stop.
In addition to my 4 weeks of vacation, due to budget cuts, we were given 3 weeks of furlough. My salary was readjusted for that loss of income (which yes, hurts quite a bit), but it then opens up the free time. I thought by taking hours here and there during the week, I could maintain a balance. But, it is not the same as having an entire week to myself, not traveling or scheduling with lots of folks, yet instead just being.
I'll work next week to clean up a few things on my desk that can't wait and then take the following week. And this is what I envision:
Catching up on laundry the first day so I feel clearer. Then, long walks in the park and near the water. Leisurely gallery strolls. Seeing the new show at the SAM and the Frye. And, attending a few open figure drawing sessions. I haven't been to one in two years. The memories are too great but it is a hurdle I need to get over. That is the only hard thing I have planned for vacation.
In addition, there will be relaxing studio time. Unless highly motivated, I won't touch the rectangle/group paintings for a week and instead, set up still lifes. So it would be a painting vacation away from my current paintings.
And, the vacation ends with another play party that weekend. Hopefully my body will be healed enough to play again by then.
Monday, June 08, 2009
After a very full weekend of meeting a new friend, play and giving love, hugs and pets to others through their difficult time, today was a take-it-slow kinda day.
I shot this last Thursday during art walk. At one point in the evening while in the studio, the thick smell of salt air came in through the two large open windows and hit my nose. That familiar calming scent called to me and so stepped away from the throngs, walked outside and across the street. Immersing myself in the smell and the view for a bit, I was able to return to the studio refreshed. Salt air does it every time.
It also brought up a powerful longing to return to the NH coastline...my former home.
I really hope to make a trip back east in August for family, spend time in Boston, hear my niece do some jazz, and then up the coast. Finances are really rough right now and I'm hesitant to throw the entire trip on a credit card but do ache to sit on my familiar rocks at the beach. It'll get figured out somehow.
Here are a few other shots from last week's Art Walk:
Right outside my studio door...
Right outside the front door of the building...
Sunday, June 07, 2009
A much needed evening. It was brilliant and perfect. I'm a little disturbed because I once again saw how the last few years have really affected my play...but I'm determined to fucking work through it and am blessed to have loving, compassionate friends and sadists in my life. There is very little left on my body...front, back and sides, that isn't bruised or welted.
Thank you R. for being there through the grief and into the hotness.
Saturday, June 06, 2009
Cages. Locked away for how long...? Almost indescribable. Blanketed in darkness, metal bowl thrown through the slot, feed with my hands. Pee into a plastic jug. Smell the sweat and piss and sex that comes from my hot cunt.
Fed and watered at the Top's whim. Minutes into hours which then slip into days. Morning and night do not exist. The heavy metal bars are a massive liberation.
Then there is another type of cage - loving one who loves fear more than they love you. Seeing their heart...knowing...
...knowing and yet, there is nothing you can do.
The cage is constructed of vision...and helplessness. Aware of the exquisite and rare beauty of the potential while living with the reality. Not wanting to give up, continued longing, along with the knowledge that I cannot return to elusiveness and muddy nondirect communication. It includes an immense desire to love and let them be exactly who they are, because it is perfect...and to do so without the ongoing everyday pain. Holding the great need to simply let go. Where is the key?
Intimacy is not born of sex yet slowly created from messy, dirty, terrifying risk-taking. Daring to reveal yourself to another and having them return the gift. To taste of each other and then have it ripped away...
...they are forever branded in my heart.
With this I live and work and play and paint and fuck from my tears, my anger, my woundedness, my pain...all the while screaming inside at the universe for its horrid, cruel joke.
This cage can also become a place of great liberation.
I just need to find the damned key.