Monday, November 30, 2009
Yesterday was a cool, grey winter-ish type day. It's one of those days where I really enjoy being in the studio because that kind of weather makes it feel extra warm and cozy inside. The only thing missing was a crockpot of warm cider with tequila and Trader Joe's ginger cat cookies.
KPLU, NPR's jazz station, was on and their weekly program "Piano Jazz" had just begun. And...I had a treat. Sheila Jordan was the guest artist this week. My niece who sings and composes jazz studied with Ms. Jordan and spoke highly of her. Until yesterday, I'd never heard her sing. I was blown away. In some of her songs, listening to the notes she effortlessly strings together blew me away.
If interested, you can listen to the program here.
A couple youtube videos of Sheila Jordan singing:
Humdrum Blues/Let's Face The Music and Dance
The good jazz really added to the comforting ambiance in the studio. And, more importantly, not only did it prompt me to spend some time connecting with my niece via many texts but also felt strongly moved to put up the little hot pink feather holiday tree.
'Tis the season...
Sunday, November 29, 2009
Wonderful concert last night.
One of the funniest holiday things I've seen thus far: zombie reindeer dancing to Thriller (with revised lyrics) sung by 250 men. I still chuckle imagining the dead fabric dripping from their antlers.
One of the best vocal experiences thus far: Betty Buckley singing "Memory" from Cats.
Here's the big - I've never seen nor have had a desire to see Cats. Why? I hated that song. Maybe because it was overplayed. Maybe because I'd hear it out of context. But it always bored me. Ms. Buckley surprised us by performing it as her final encore. Listening to her voice, her energy, the passion she sang with...I had tears rolling down my cheeks. It's was incredibly beautiful. Rich and substantive. It pierced my heart.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Thanksgiving day was a wonderful time...filled with family, friends, loads of great food, laughs and delightful conversations. Silliness abounded. 15 of us gathered close.
Yesterday was a total regroup from such a full people day. Spent a little time with a friend in what is quickly becoming my new favorite public living room. We shared intense conversation while settled into a large comfortable leather couch and enjoyed good lattes.
Today, I finally returned to the studio after a week of being sick. Rusty, but I began with painting on paper. From there I worked a few paintings on canvas. Tentative, but it's alright. Hopefully, this is the beginning of a long spell of working that won't again get disrupted by becoming ill.
And tonight...I'm looking forward to dinner with good friends and then an evening with the Seattle Men's Chorus with featured guest Betty Buckley.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
To put it mildly, the last few years have been challenging. One thing I've continued to do to keep me stable was listing off the many things in my life that I was/am thankful for. And it's not only in an "I'm happy to have this" but it's actually an "I'm still in awe that this is a part of my life" kind of list.
Nothing is perfect including these , but still...
Kickass apartment in a perfect part of town.
Kickass studio space in a seriously groovy building
Kickass job that I've been at over 10 years
Kickass coworkers who still blow me away
Kickass best friend who mutually shares their dark, bloodied spaces
Kickass friends & play partners
There are a few places in my life where I feel a huge tangible hole. Deep longing. But it'll all come together. It's all coming together. And in the moments when despair and pain feel insurmountable, diving right into the blackness without shame gets me through and then mentally and sometimes obsessively checking this list offers balance.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
~We've had much rain in the last few weeks. Today is one of those gorgeous silvery grey days.
~I'm still regrouping from a head cold.
~At work but moving slow.
~I hadn't been in the studio since Saturday and it's making me antsy. But I'm forcing myself to really take it easy and get better.
~We are only 4 in the office today and there's some work interspersed with lots of chatting.
~I pulled them around my monitor so we could watch this really gruesome 45 second European commercial together.
~A coworker brought in some homemade limoncello tiramisu. It was to die for.
~Server problems aren't helping.
~Researching Indian pudding recipes this morning.
~No, I probably won't have the oomph to try it out. We'll see...
~Looking forward to Thanksgiving.
~Down to three pairs of blue jeans. Two of those have tears in them. I hate shopping but will need to force myself into the store soon.
~I really love my job.
Monday, November 23, 2009
It's been a productive painting week, especially, surprisingly, Friday and Saturday when I dragged myself into the studio with a really bad head cold. Yesterday I was still sick and yet tremendously hungered to go in and paint, but after brunch with my best friend it seemed best to return home, take hot baths, get under the covers...and rest.
I've been kind of broke and so last week had gessoed a bunch of paper. A few months back I picked up a large roll of thick brown paper from Home Depot for that reason, but hadn't touched it until I ran out of painting surfaces.
Doing quick oil sketches on paper is what began these newer paintings. Since then, I've been working back and forth between working on larger canvas and then on paper. The canvases are painted over older paintings which assists with the quality I desire. Whenever I want to begin a new one, I go thru my storage loft and find a completed painting I'm not totally in love with. Keeping some of the old history, letting it show thru whether good or bad, and then covering other parts has been exciting and works perfect with the bleeding vessels and my meditation on relationships.
All the paintings on canvas are 18"x24" except for this little one below which is 9"x12". Oh yeah, and the 30"x40" that I showed you a couple days ago. The 9"x12" is my most recent one, done late Saturday afternoon...while feeling especially crappy. But it's my favorite thus far. It's expressive and juicy. The jpeg sucks because you lose the texture, the richness of color and it's picking up some glare.
This one is 18"x24"
Some closeups of a couple quick oil sketches...all around 8"x10"-ish. I haven't concentrated on quick studies in far too long yet it's the best thing for me. Work fast, think very little and trust my hand. In each of these, ideas would spill forth that I then applied to the larger works. It may be something about composition, a specific mark...or something crazy.
Oh...and the big canvas (in b&w) on the floor in the first photo? It's the next one to be painted over.
And...as always, you can click on each image to make it larger.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
It seems I need to explain my recent entry about sex art. I was not saying that porn is bad, or the quality is poor. It's my belief that we need more of it. And there is much good art in porn photos, film, etc. My entry was about whether or not porn turns me on and most of it doesn't. What I find mediocre is not the quality of the work, but its attempt to juice me up. And that's only because it's not expansive enough...for me. I know it works fine for others.
In my sex activism, I have no desire to replay the same images and thoughts. I'll leave that in the hands of others. There are plenty of people out there who do make porn and do it well. I have friends who are writers of porn and I enjoy reading their stories. When I'm strongly moved to, I can create an image or a story which will use traditional porn elements. But it's only one part of my sexual language.
Sex for me is limitless...coming from the most surprising places and experiences, as well as from traditional means (kinky and not kinky). As long as I keep my mind and heart open, work toward being acutely present and awake, I can find hot sex in so many facets of life, even in places others have considered mundane. It's just how I'm built. It's who I am.
Friday, November 20, 2009
A brilliant day...
...a day of many connections. Only one was planned and the other three simply happened. People I trust, who look out for me and I, them. There was so much love..and lovin'. Some scary, risk-taking delicious conversations creating even deeper intimacy. There were moments I'd only barely imagined. I was incredibly honored how one could show share his most wounded self with me, and I with them.
Perfect. Powerful. Amazing. I'm still in awe.
And am so very blessed.
In addition it was a painting day. Here is today's mess.
This is kinda how it works...
The first photo is a painting from two weeks ago...30"x40". It was the 3rd session...and really bad. This week I went in and greyed out the color so it wasn't sherbet-y, although still light. The color felt better, but everything else was gross.
Today, after it dried, I went back in and changed it up. That's the second photo. It feels better than all the earlier generations, but it still falls way short. I honestly don't know if I can make this composition work. If in the next few days I can't...then it will become an entirely different painting.
I have a difficult time with painting bigger but refuse to let it defeat me. One day, I'll have a big painting that carries the energy of a smaller one.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
It's Thursday and I look forward to a weekend of painting and working on more book illustrations.
Now that I have the left side of the studio in addition to the right, I did a little reshuffling last weekend. I moved the love seat to the left and the drawing table in front of the window on the right. Grouping furniture together has dramatically changed the feel of the space, creating a comfy, conversation spot. The physical separation between rest and practice has also become mental and emotional. It's perfect. I'm on the lookout for a small, inexpensive area rug to place under the coffee table and make it even cozier. At some point, I'd like to have curtains as well, not to cover my fab windows but to frame them and offer a little more stillness.
This is what I've been working on since last week. It really is a joy to return to the discipline of paint. The canvases are 18"x24".
And here is one of the newer ones still in progress...
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I've been internally and externally busy. My shrink has been pushing me to face death. When he has a client who he knows can go to those places...he'll take you there. Intense doesn't even begin to cover it.
Back into my painting discipline which feels so good and at the same time can be scary, harsh and unsettling. It's the nature of the beast. I have a handful of new work that is very exciting and yes...terrifying. It's forcing me to really trust myself.
In addition, I've begun playing with my images which has opened up a cauldron containing a wealth of ideas.
A different way of painting...
It's time to schedule my mammogram and my first ever bone density scan.
This week's Freewill Astrology
My favorite funny HUMP! video of all time is up on the web. Check out "Beyond Gay", the 5 minute film along with an interview of the director Lynn Shelton here at Indie Wire.
And for the hottest damned thing I've ever seen on film:
For those who know me, you know that I'm bored by 99% of porn out there. It doesn't matter if it's pervy or not. There is lots of mediocre (to me) s/m porn. Vanilla and kink each has its own sexual inventory and that's what gets used. Over and over. And over again. And again.
Titillation (for me) happens with out of the box thinking. Creativity. Imagination. It pushes me to use all my senses, not only my eyes. And...mystery is incredibly sexy.
I saw a short film at HUMP! this year that, while watching, I could feel an orgasm building. At one point I slapped my hand over my mouth to quiet my groans. Many folks weren't crazy about the film. Some were and also thought it was brilliant. A few thought it was sexy and others just saw it as a gorgeous piece of art footage.
But, it combined art, grittiness, horror, simplicity, and in that...much beauty. It fed my eyes, my soul, my belly, my ears. My hands longed to touch, my nose and mouth craved to smell and taste the piss. My cunt throbbed and hungered.
It surprised me in all the best of ways.
A few weeks ago I found out that it's for sale. It's actually a 10 minute film for purchase that was edited to 5 for HUMP! On the website, you can see the first 3 minutes, which were not shown at the screening. Some of the extra juicy stuff isn't in this clip but check out Incubus.
I know it's not to everyone's taste...but it's my kind of freak.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
The story of the drawing board...
Last week, at Art Walk in my building, I was speaking with another artist who had wandered into our space. We spoke for a long time. He was ragged, unkempt, and through our conversation, I discovered he was homeless. Living on the streets and trying to do his art. He was holding his beloved drawing board. When I closed up the studio I noticed he had left his board leaning against the corner of my work table. My heart sank because I knew it meant a lot to him. All I had was a first name.
I shot this photo of his board and was going to print it out and hang it on our bulletin board in the lobby of our 619 building, hoping he may come by. The entrances to the floors are all locked, but the front door is unlocked. Tonight, Eric and I hit a couple galleries on Cap Hill for their art walk. As we were leaving for the night, I caught a glimpse of someone sitting on the ground, next to a gallery entrance. I didn't pay attention until I heard a voice talk to people in front of us. "Want to buy some art?"
For some unknown reason, I just knew it was Aaron. I turned and it was him!
"I'm Marie and you left your drawing board in my studio last week."
"Oh I love that board and didn't know where I left it. Thank you!"
We set up a time for him to pick up his board tomorrow. He mentioned that he was really bummed when he lost it because that particular drawing board meant a lot to him. And I'm so relieved that it will be returned to him.
Who woulda thunk?
I've had 6 days straight in the studio. Working. Struggling. Painting. Today, I broke through to something new. This direction excites me. It's not what I had in mind, but that was the problem. I was attempting to do something creative with my head instead of my heart. In letting go, three paintings were born and they feel good. They flowed.
Tomorrow I may feel differently about this one, but right now, I'm excited.
Monday, November 09, 2009
After a week and a half, I'm finally feeling physically better. Still emotionally and creatively shaky, but both weekend days had studio time which ultimately is good, even if it doesn't feel so in the moment. Today and tomorrow are very full workdays, but I'm taking vacation time the remainder of the week. I have over 20 hours of vacation time to use or lose before the new year.
Thus far I'm back on track for daily painting including today and tomorrow, even if it's only a half hour or so due to full work days.
Sunday, November 08, 2009
Last week while in the throes of being sick, my painting statement came to me when I realized I've been exploring grief in paint. Coming up with a statement has been a year long struggle (that I've attempted to show patience to)...and out of the blue, there it was. Now to find the words but I won't rush that process. It'll happen.
Slowly, I'm working on rebuilding trust. Trust in myself. My intuition. It took a huge hit, and time hasn't eased it. In the last few months it's affected my painting. Part of that is because it's been so busy (vacation, work, sick) that my regular practice was derailed. Not going in everyday has left me feeling inept. Vacation was good. Spending time in a place that wasn't tainted with the hurts of the last 8 years was needed and healing on some level. Work...well, sometimes work will get crazy. It is what it is. I still love my job. Actually, still feel blessed and in awe that I work where I work and with some amazing people.
But the painting is unsettling. I go in. Paint. And then have no idea what to do to them. What is most disturbing is the fear. When I get to a certain point, I'm then afraid to make changes. So I begin another one, as I did again yesterday.
Also yesterday I took photos of the stuck pieces. Sometimes, when I can look at them as a jpeg, away from the studio, something will come to me.
I hope to get my bearings back.
I miss me. The brave me.