Sunday, August 30, 2009

Yesterday I was able to double the size of my studio space by renting the entire back half of the space. This is now the second window in my personal work space. I'll try it for two months and hopefully can financially manage to keep the extra space. C is generously loaning me his drafting table so I don't need to commit to purchasing a work table right now.

It will feel so good to have the room to spread out and work multiple projects at the same time. For two years, I could paint, or work charcoal/watercolor drawings. There wasn't the room to have both set ups. Lately the more I paint, the more I crave to be able to run to a work table and spontaneously work big drawings while the paintings are evolving.

I love my studio space.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Practice is powerful.

The routine, the mundane, the precious and rare magical moments. With diligence, it assists with continual looking within and bringing forth my deeper self.

For the last few months, my practice has brought me to an exceptionally uncomfortable place regarding the art. Having been one who's lifelong struggle is with abandonment and being seen, I'm questioning the integrity of my work.

Why do I work? Why am I painting what I am painting? Is it really coming from strength or is it coming from a fear of invisibility? Everything we do and say carries some of our shadow self. The trick is coming to a place where the shadow is less in control of my actions.

I've been questioning the project still unrevealed, that I began in July. What's the reason for it?

How artificial is my everything I touch? Is there really anything real in this world or all we all players, living a farce?

And if so, what's the point? Maybe the art part of me is only a costume. Or maybe it's me, a square peg trying to fit into a round hole.

All this has placed me in a vat of paranoia, swimming in my own stink.

Lately, pretty much each day I've approached the easel, there's been no joy. Only pain. The old history and false truths I grew up with are staring me in the face...that people go away because I'm bad. It's the lie a child tells themselves in their nightime beds.

And yet, I persist.

Something came to me yesterday.
I remembered "The War of Art" and what it said about resistance. Resistance is insidious because it shows itself in many forms...brilliant reasonings which are really just excuses for not doing. I can fool myself into thinking I'm a farce and stop painting or I can work through the tangle by continuing my practice.

Although I didn't know why, I was pushing myself to go in and work even when it felt futile. Last night I saw that it was critical to keep working because for me, the light that can strip through the murkiness is in the act of painting.

I may not have answers but I can't allow the questions to paralyze me from the work. And sometimes, the questions are false questions, brought up to deter from the task at hand.

We all come to our creative selves in different ways and for different reasons. I seek depth, not popularity. But my wounded kid wants to be liked. Each aspect is a part of me - one strong and substantial and the other created from broken ego.

I've been battling the part that needs to be in the middle of everything, that craves to fit in because when it comes to the forefront, it contaminates everything I touch. I've learned the brokenness can't be exorcised but can be integrated and become added energy...yet I don't know how to do it.

Therein lay the reasons for the questions about my work and the project. The project has a genuine element...a healthy exploration. The desire to make it public...well, that's where I wonder if the gimmicky part of art is coming through. The gimmick that will allow me to get noticed.

Last year when I won the auction for the interview with Jen Graves, I was aware that it was an intentional way to get noticed. But that act felt it was coming from strength. It took much courage for me to actually place the bid. I want whatever I do to come from that same place. When something feels gimmicky to me, it's because fear is the motivation. Fear I won't be noticed. Fear I'll disappear into oblivion without making my mark. Fear that I'm nothing special. Fear that I'm nothing.

I may still reveal the project. Actions aren't good or bad. The impetus for the act needs to be explored. So if I do make it public, I want to make damned sure that the greater intent is clear and not from old fears. And here is another thing that makes my head want to the midst of all this questioning, I'm even questioning the reason for this blog entry.

It's another reason why I look forward to time at the beach. My connection with that environment assists with head clearing. In the meantime, the only thing I can do is keep painting. And so I'm off.

Friday, August 28, 2009

In a little more than 3 weeks I'll be sitting at my favorite beach...the one I consider home. It's the place I'd retreat to when happy or in pain and it's long overdue. It's been an excruciating time and this coastline is needed. It's the same type of comfort space as laying my head in a safe lap and sob while a hand strokes my head.

I've been googling for restaurants in Ogunquit and checking out menus. I predict lobster rolls, lobster benedict, lobster bisque and lobster, lobster and more lobster in my future.

More importantly I see much time, sitting alone on the rocks, feeling the spray, smelling the salt and immersing myself in the vastness of wild waters. There is nothing else like it.

This photo is of the Pacific because I don't have any digital photos of Maine waters. That is, until next month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

One Voice Into Many...

Ted Kennedy will be missed.

This morning I read a beautiful piece about the loss of Senator Kennedy, written by a dear friend. You can read it here on his blog. His piece pushed me to write my own thoughts.

Ted Kennedy's death hit hard...more than I expected. We have many people who are vocal about the injustices and yet very few are courageous enough to stand up, speak up and take action. He was such a person. Was he perfect? No. We've all and will all make egregious errors in our lives. The difference is most don't make the front page and therefore easier to sweep under the rug.

But our leaders who work tirelessly for social justice are few and far between. And each loss leaves a vast hole - room for another to rise up and take their place. Or better yet, it is space for the collective spirit of our individual voices to be heard, for our actions to become more mindful, mixed with compassion and picking up the mantle of responsibility...of being human and knowing that regardless of our station in life, we all have something to offer that can make our country and our world a more humane environment.

What if, in memory of Senator Kennedy, we each peeled back a little of the anger we feel about various injustices, bravely tapped into the pain that lays underneath, and translated it into letters sent to our U.S. Senators, our Representatives, and the President?

What if D.C. received thousands of letters, each describing why universal health care, ENDA, same sex marriage, getting rid of DADT and the HIV Ban, or lessening the budget cuts to human services are so critically important? What if we explained with individual examples? We all have stories of pain. Are we courageous enough to use our anger in a more positive way?

Ted Kennedy's death need not leave a silence. It is a profound opportunity for us to take on our role as citizens and create a massive choir for change by sharing some of the heartbreak we've each felt due to injustice.

Goodbye Senator Kennedy. Thank you for your voice.

To send letters:

President Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

To write to your U.S. Representative go to

To write to your U.S. Senator, use the "find your senators" feature on the top right of the page at

Monday, August 24, 2009

One of my bleeding vessels painting I've been working on for a while and its latest progress along with a couple details of the canvas...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The movie shown? Nine to Five with Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda and Dolly Parton. It was a very fun evening, not only because of the movie which I hadn't seen in almost 20 years, but also very much due to the audience and being outdoors on a nice summer night.

The photos: both taken about an hour before the movie begins. The screening area was entirely filled by the time the movie began, with the grassy area turned into a patchwork of blankets right next to each other.

The color photo is of 2 people who happened to be chatting for quite a while, about 30 feet in front of me while the sponsors were flashing across the screen. In case you're wondering, no, I didn't do anything in photoshop other than resize.

It was a good evening.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

It was a refreshing end to a crummy day.

I wrote out a couple paragraphs detailing the events of the day and then deleted it. Details aren't important. Let's just say it was a crazy-making day, filled with the oddest on top of another. It didn't help waking with a really bruised heart and sitting with that all day while trying to troubleshoot all the office nightmares having to deal with fried phone systems and computer problems and leaking walls.

After a quiet hour at home I met a friend at my neighborhood bar. A nice time in a lovely, little space with good drinks, a couple sushi rolls for dinner and a very friendly bartender who gifted us with freebies for espresso coffees. He remembered me from the few times I'd been in, just to read and grab a coffee, or a drink. His kindness and joy was infectious. And it was salve.

The evening ended with a little ice cream and then a good walk to the park, up the water tower and back. It was a perfect time for a battered day.

This tomato plant was on the sidewalk at the flower shop next to the bar and brought a smile to my face. It was potted and sitting in a little red flyer wagon. I love homegrown tomatoes and fantasized having it in my home.

Computer problems.
Water leaks.
Shorted phone systems.
And people suck.

A tangueray and tonic is calling my name.

One bonus...all the workmen who came through today were quite tasty.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

They've been working on the outside of our office building this week. Repairing, powerwashing, painting...

It's a four story building and our office is on the third floor. This is what I was seeing from my big window next to my desk, not quite 4 feet from where I sit. I wanted to shoot the photos but didn't want the guys to catch me doing it. So I mentioned it to my coworker who happily grabbed my camera and shot away. These are his photos.

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.

And thanks to Kyana, here is a link she posted last night to a good article in Slate:

Seeking - How the brain hard-wires us to love Google, Twitter, and texting. And why that's dangerous.

I sent the article link to our staff and just mentioned to a coworker that for me, those days where I'm actually unplugged and therefore can't surf for many hours...7, 8 etc, tend to be the most satisfying. I'll come home and feel I've actually accomplished something. And with that...carry a greater sense of peace.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

oil on canvas, 24" x 18"

It's my week back after a week off. The office is quiet this week with only 3 of us here instead of 8. Although I miss my coworkers, it's nice because it will give me a chance to really tackle my projects with quiet and focus.

I was speaking with a coworker yesterday, giving him a history of one of our donors who created a certain scholarship. This coworker is our new scholarship manager and didn't know about the evolution of the fund or the man behind it. In speaking and relaying stories, I was transported back to another place. Still raw, tears came to my eyes as I shared the joys and sorrows of a magical time. It was another reminder of, regardless how painful, how rich my life is and how fortunate I am to have experienced all I have, even when people go away.

Lately I've been mourning my own shutting down. It's the first time in my life where I'm acutely aware of the different ways I close off. The last 8 years, I've watched myself open, with each experience, to greater levels...leaving myself exposed and feeling a power in that opening. But honestly, everything now feels so dangerous. I don't know if I have the courage to become vulnerable again and yet because of this, I've been pushing myself, in small ways, to reopen.

One of my horoscopes this week was so appropriate:

Your blissful summertime hammock nap is rudely interrupted by a snapping rope and harsh impact with the ground. That kind of painfully unpleasant surprise could leave you unnerved and tightly wound for ages. I understand your wariness; being hurt while at your most relaxed and vulnerable truly sucks. However, it's important to understand there was nothing malicious in it; it just happened. So you need to get over your wariness fast, because something much better than a sweetly uninterrupted nap is coming your way—but you'll only be able to notice and appreciate it if you're as open and unafraid as you were before that last shitty surprise.

Yesterday I wasn't feeling well and sadly never made it to the studio after work. In bed by 8 pm, slept solid all night and do look forward to heading down there today. It's time to pick up more canvas. I've gone off in a new direction with a couple paintings and plan on doing more of them while still working the others. Although right now they are very different from the blocks and still lifes, thematically they all work together.

I've spoken before how my studio time is my sesshin. These paintings from the last year are a meditation on identity and relationships - how we fit into our environment and how we connect with others. What do we show the world? What deep parts of ourselves do we shield and try to shape into something else because of wounds? How much of our hearts do we reveal? How frightened are we? How authentic? How lonely? How closed off? How open? How true?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, August 16, 2009

A busy day and so here is another photo from Thursday night's art event... much grey.

I'm (proudly) becoming a kinky crone. :-)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I saw this last night after dinner with E. It's part of a chandelier...made out of clothespins. Now that's a fixture I'd like in my home. Seriously hot.

Very, VERY productive studio time today...6 hours in the space which is the longest continual painting stretch thus far. Heaven. It's time for more canvases, especially because of a brand new idea that began today. How many different types of work can I juggle at the same time?

This morning there were all sorts of interesting things to share for today's entry and right now, I can't think of a damned one. It's 7:30, I'm pleasantly tired and so will keep this short and go watch my new dvd obsession...Mad Men.

Friday, August 14, 2009

(Last night, seeing I'd be standing with a painting, I handed Craig my camera and let him take all the photos. He did a wonderful job. I set the camera for color and then tweaked them this morning. Yes, this amount of desaturation feels cheesy but considering the felt right. )

Yesterday's Arbitrary Arts Grant in Art Dealing...

The sky was dark all day but it didn't begin to rain until I headed to the car, painting in hand. Craig joined me and we did dinner and drinks first at 611 Supreme which is almost directly across from the empty lot. While in the bar, the mist turned to a heavy downpour...something I hadn't seen in over 3 months.

The event was being held, rain or shine, and I was committed. So at 6 pm we left the bar, walked across the street and saw a good size group gathering.

I did have an umbrella but it wasn't large enough to protect the entire painting, which was 36" wide. So I called a coworker and asked if he'd mind going to the office to pick up this very large umbrella gifted to us by a donor/volunteer. J, the doll that he is, came by after his dinner and dropped it off at the lot. Of course, by then, it had stopped raining. But I was very grateful for it in case it started up again.

Greg Lundgren had placed a white rope on the ground in a rectangle with an opening. It represented where the gallery walls would be. We each stood on the rope with our work, facing into the space. The opening allowed people to walk in and check things out.

All ages. It was a very festive time. There was a guitarist next to me. And the woman in between the two girls had the most beautiful painting of a bug that I've ever seen. Really wonderful.

Steven Miller, who just had a book release party last weekend for a book of his lovely photos came out as well.

The guy in the wheelchair was really smart because he had protected his piece with clear plastic.

Here I am...with a goofy expression.

The skeleton is pretty cool, isn't it?

And...being an arbitrary grants process, this is how the winner was chosen. A large arrow on a lazy susan was placed in the middle of the gallery and was given a spin. No, I didn't win the $500 but I was quite thrilled for the guy who did. He was given the cash, right then and there.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Seattle-ites, what are you doing tonight?

If I'm feeling brave enough, this is what I'll be doing from 6-7pm this evening. When I head down to the studio later, I will choose a painting for the event and then see how it goes. I'm determined to do it, but have been feeling raw and bruised this week that it's going to be a tough internal push to get me there. Tonight is also Capitol Hill's monthly art walk.

Here is the former block that is mentioned in the release and the vacant lot that has taken it's place will be turned into a temporary living, breathing gallery for one hour this evening.

From the website:

"This is it. This is the last Arbitrary Art Grant before the Dada Economics exhibit opens in three weeks. Now some may say “Art Dealer! Why that’s not some one you give grants to! Give it to the artists.” And my response is three fold- All artists that exhibit their work are part dealer, all dealers are part artist and lastly- sit on it bigmouth.

There are a few artists that exist in a vacuum and don’t show their work, don’t try and sell their work, find some other way to pay the rent. Hell, besides those that live off sticks and grub or trust funds and rich husbands, the great majority of us are hustling day to day. So some of us flip burgers and flip homes. The art world is mighty and complex and only partly ran on angst and creativity. A great portion of this alternate universe is fueled by critics, dealers, curators and rich people. Take them out of the equation and the art portion of the art world looks quite a bit different. Looks a bit like Howard Finster’s backyard.

Yes, like it or not, the health of our cultural identity relies on a great network of participants and removing one can throw the whole planet off its axis. So for our next grant, we are recognizing the importance of a properly lubricated art machine, a healthy balance of bottom feeders and fishermen, the consequences of any one aspect of our culture suffering. Buying art keeps painters painting and photographers clicking. It pays bills, it inspires more work, it sponsors more ambitious projects, it brings more beauty into the world. No lie. Take away the consumer and the supply slows. Speed up consumption and art falls out of the sky like seagull shit. Easy, fluid, effortless.

This Thursday we are going back to a block that once upon a time defined Seattle. It was a single block of simple one story storefronts. Nothing fancy, not architecturally significant. But it hosted an array of local businesses, bars and an old rental house. It claimed home to the ChaCha, Bimbo’s Burritos, Man Ray, Lipstick Traces, Kincora’s and a convenience store that always advertised cheap beer with bikini clad models. You know the block.

They tore the heart of Capitol Hill out and replaced it with a parking lot. The great comedy of greed. But this Thursday we are going to create a new gallery on that block, lay down a hundred and fifty feet of white rope, define an entrance and call it home. It is our 2009 Arbitrary Art Grant for Art Dealing, and we invite you to strap on a painting, a photograph, some 2-D piece of art- around your neck like a big Flav necklace. Hell, put a price tag on it. And step on this white rope. With enough people, your bodies will become the walls, and for an hour, pedestrians can stroll into this temporary structure and view a selection of poorly curated work (one thing at a time, alright?) Artists- throw on your work. Friends- try and hawk your shy artist friends work. Dealers- extend your arms and hang a tryptich just to show the punks how it is done. Maybe you sell something, maybe not. But one person will walk with $500.00 cash, chosen randomly, in one small effort to recognize and appreciate the true nature of our arts culture. Plus, how cool would it be to make a gallery out of bodies? Come one, come all! The Arbitrary Art Grant in Art Dealing is a rain or shine event, open to all people, of all skill levels, and all that jazz…"

Bloody brilliant.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I've cancelled a couple different dates in the last two days. Two people I always look forward to spending time with but time alone, once again, felt critical.

I'm working through something big inside and it's sapping most of my strength. Five times now I've begun a sentence to explain what's going on but have deleted each one. Not sure how to write about it. Let's try again...

It's about growth. It's about letting go of unhealthy connections while trusting that authentic binds will remain, although in a new form. When we spend our entire life using a certain belief system for survival, it's scary as hell when it's time to move past them and learn to see ourself in a different way. Sunday morning I woke at 4 am and clearly saw my greatest fear. It wasn't a surprise because I've been aware of it for a few years now but what was new was seeing how large and embedded the fear was/is. And there is no way I will let it continue to rule me for the next half of my life.

I think my 50th year is going to be an exciting one.

So it's time alone, watching dvd's, reading, walking, therapy and painting. There have been a few social things I've not cancelled, but more because they were one shot deals.

Speaking of painting...

remember this painting from June?

I knew it wasn't complete but wasn't sure where to go and so it sat. On Saturday I was ready to work it again and so have been. It's a 16x20. This is where it's at right now:

And here are 3 more I've begun this week and I'm sure they'll change at some point...

Here is this week's Freewill Astrology from Rob Brezsny.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I've been feeling really private the last few days. Keeping mostly to myself...resting and working in the studio. It's a furlough week and energy has been spent more on painting than photography or blogging. I'm still trying to come up with words for my new paintings.

Still lifes returned to the canvas at the end of June. I thought it would only be for that vacation time but they insist on staying. So I've been working on slowly combining them with the blocks/windows/spirit that are the rectangles. I think part of the need to pull away from people is to spend time listening to what all of this has to tell me...why the bottles and rectangles are both important and work together.

This afternoon I have plans but I'm still trying to grab all the alone time I can.

I had planned to hit the studio yesterday afternoon but changed my mind as I was ready to head down there. It didn't feel right at that time. No explanation except my innards were telling me to wait a while. I did make it down there at dinner time and then had an amazingly productive session that pushed 4 spanking new paintings to another level. Gotta listen to the gut.

The above shot was located around the corner from my studio and reminded me of some of the newer paintings I'm working on. This painting shown is a little older...from about 2 weeks ago. It's still not quite done but I'm enjoying it.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Thursday night was a wonderful art walk. So much so that it took all of yesterday to replenish my energy. Totally depleted. Between friends that showed up and amazing conversation with strangers about the art, I couldn't even get back into the studio to set up the easel again and pull out supplies. I was so very wiped.

Art walk nights are complex for me. I enjoy them and at the same time, all the people and yakking leave me spent the next day. The life of this introvert. I've learned to become protective of my alone time because without it, I'm no good.

Today I'll take it slow but return to the studio. I'm excited to rework a painting that's been sitting for over a month. Now I know where it needs to go. Also, I'll check out a gallery show before it comes down next week and then dinner with a few friends. A good, creative, and somewhat low key day.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

The last few days have felt like autumn and a welcome change after the extreme heat of last week. Contrast.

Yesterday, after our almost weekly Wednesday dinner dates, my friend and I walked up to Volunteer Park and climbed the water tower, enjoying not only the view but each other while continuing very meaty conversation begun over dinner. It was a time of intense reflections on art, on sex, and on our queer culture. We discussed our kink, and our personal definitions of porn.

We spoke of boundaries and of healthy versus unhealthy sex. We spoke of addictions, coming in many forms. We spoke of healing and evolution. Metamorphosis and reaction. Creation. Destruction.

I've watched my life change greatly in these 49.5 years and seen people come and go. Shifting, transforming. The newness in my life is a very small handful of people that I can regularly connect with and dive into the deep together without having to shield them from that part of me. A nice exchange of energy, each giving and opening.

A phrase my dinner companion said yesterday is still in my head: "It may not always be fun, but it's rich."

And that, my friends, is life.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Straws and Stripes Forever.

This photo is from Monday eats after working in the studio. Here is this week's Freewill Astrology.


Tomorrow at lunch time, I'm headed to the Henry Art Gallery to see a specific show. It's First Thursday which means free admission. There is an exhibit of Jasper Johns, with some never before shown work. Here is the link to the show.


Greg Lundgren of Vital 5 Productions is a very creative Seattle artist. One of his many projects is the Arbitrary Arts Grants. Check out the Vital 5 link above for examples of these imaginative grants. The latest is happening this Friday and it's a $500 writing grant. Anyone can enter and it almost one of the simplest grant apps ever. It consists of writing a comment on his webpage.

Greg will begin a story and each comment, by someone else, is the next part of the story. Greg will choose the best one for the grant! His instructions begin with:

Welcome to the 2009 Arbitrary Art Grant in Writing. Call this a bit of an experiment, but we are going to write a story, you and I. Right here. At 9:00 am on Friday, August 7th, I am going to be glued to this computer and accept (or reject) your contributions to our story. It is titled, Ping Pong Ball.

As you can see from the first comment, these entries have a bit of structure to them, like the corresponding numbers in the upper left and the real name of the author/potential winner in the lower right. Beyond that, I only ask that you keep the story going, and not submit a shout out to your brother in Philly. Or how much you hate art. Or where I can get Viagra for super cheap. This is a potential novel in the making, and my request is we focus on the ball, focus on the ball.

You can write in as often as you like but only one entry is needed to be in the running for $500.00. Over the course of (8) hours, I will be posting your additions to the story here, so you do kind of have to read the previous entries to see what is happening and where you think it should be going. The book will end at 5:00 pm on Friday and we’ll exhibit the final product at this years Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle. And it will always be available online here. It may well be the first time hundreds of people have written a singular work of fiction. And it might entirely, totally suck. Check back on Friday morning and we’ll see what you got.

It's simple and fun. Details and comment page are found here.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Why the lobster and crab?

Because I'm wicked excited. Wicked!!!

I shot these photos yesterday while driving my coworkers crazy with my excitement.

It's a done deal. Yesterday I finalized my vacation plans for mid-September. Reservations are made, car rental booked, and flights taken care of.

I'm doing a serious splurge for 3 days at the Maine seacoast after spending 4 days with my parents. It's a very early 50th birthday present to myself. The hotel reservations at SeaChambers includes an entire dinner off the regular menu from apps to dessert (excluding alcohol of course) at a restaurant down the street, Clayhill Farm. Take a peek at their summer menu for an example of their food. About 18 years ago, I had dinner there and it was fabulous. A couple of good friends that I haven't seen in a while are going to join me on Sunday for the fancy, schmancy dinner at ClayHill.

To be able to step out of the hotel and walk along the rocky coast will be bliss.

So after I booked everything yesterday I was bouncing around. I'd immerse myself in spreadsheets only to grab my stuffed lobster every 15 minutes or so and play with him.

The top photo is the east wall of my office...and looks down to all the other walls. We have a combination office/cubicle setup. Open doors and walls that go floor to ceiling but the dividing walls are only 6 ft high. The corner of a map you can see tacked to the wall in the bottom right of the photo is a bicycle map of the NH seacoast, including the town I came from before moving to Seattle. Our dear Matt sent it to me about a month ago.

I almost still can't believe I'll be at my favorite ocean for 3 days!!! And on top of it, yesterday I decided to take all of next week off as one of the furlough weeks so I can really spend time in the studio. Now that the weather is much better I'll be able to immerse myself in the work.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Some new work~

An in progress painting and a few details...

First Thursday Art Walk - August 6
6-9 pm
619 Western Ave, Seattle
4th floor South - The Sophia Room

Last week, I walked into the bathroom/shower room/utility room at the end of the hallway on our floor of the arts building and discovered that someone left flowers.

Looking at them again today I saw life...the grunge and utilitarian-ness of our existence combined with surprises and beauty.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Who is Sam?

My unborn child.

Sam is a name that I've pretty much always loved. If I ever had a child, I would have named it Sam...because it could work for a boy or a girl. It's gender fluid, short, sweet and strong. Not frivolous.

Sam I am. (Also from one of my favorite Dr. Suess books)

Sam was the name I gave my first Mac computer. the way, I no longer want a child. Although there were two times in my life that I seriously...very seriously considered getting pregnant, I'm glad I didn't. The first time was when I was 28 and was speaking with a gay male friend about having his child. We spoke at great length, going thru details of custody and financial arrangements. I decided to wait one year. If the hunger was still there a year later, then we'd do it. As you can see, the desire dissipated.

The second time was 11 years ago when I very seriously considered being a surrogate for a married couple I knew and cared about. There was a third time, but it was kidding around with my dear friend, a kinky gay male, who has since moved away. We joked about it often, including the idea of having a little leather sling for the child to sleep in instead of a crib. I think if we had each been younger, the talks may have been more serious. But, after the surrogacy conversations which were getting to the point of having papers drawn up, I put the idea to rest and am glad I did. Sometimes I regret not being able to go thru with the surrogacy. I mean...what a gift to give to someone.

Anyway, today, I was headed for the studio. Although much cooler than last Wednesday or Thursday, I was still feeling the effects of a week of major heat and therefore depleted. I called Eric and we met for lunch and then I'd head down to paint. While eating, my energy was off...very wiped. So instead of painting, we went to the Seattle Art Museum so I could introduce him to the Target Practice: Painting Under Attack show. We spent a wonderful afternoon looking at work.

The first time I saw the show was last Sunday. It moved me for one big reason: the new painting experiment. I conceived the idea a month ago and began paiting on July 17. But it wasn't until I saw the show last week where I saw a similarity between what I was working on and the show at the SAM. I spent part of the time making notes...jotting down thoughts that, once put in some cohesive format, I will share. For real.

It was very surprising to me that in my own way, I was exploring a similar theme. And it showed me that art is my baby.

I love children. They are amazing and they teach me so much. I've always had a special bond with the very, very young ones. paintings are my children. And, I'd never want to have to choose between tending a child or tending a painting. I lived through that struggle. Because of my passion for art, it wouldn't be fair or healthy for the child or the painting and ultimately, detrimental to me.

The first time I equated the creative process with birth was almost 20 years ago. I hadn't painted in a few years and was just starting up again. At the time, I was managing a custom photo lab and had just befriended an artist who became my informal teacher. Weekends were spent at his house on the water, painting.

He had invited me for an entire week in January. For about a month before that week, I had a recurring dream: I was pregnant. The odd thing was that each time I dreamt it, I was more pregnant than the time before. It was the trippiest thing. In sleep, I'd watch my belly getting bigger with each dream.

The painting week arrived. Dominic (the artist) and I painted...from morning into night. We'd stop to eat and talk. I'd be up at 7am and we'd work until 2am the next morning. It was a huge burst of creative energy. I learned so much.

And...the pregnancy dreams stopped. I saw how the dreams were foreshadowing that week.

Pretty powerful stuff.

To this day I carry many of those lessons from that special time...especially lessons about birth, death and the creative process.

Maybe I can call all my paintings "Sam".