Saturday, July 31, 2010
Sarah at Zinc...
The photos of Monday night's performance are, due to low light, mostly underexposed and blurry. So on my return flight I explored photoshop to see if I could transform some of them into something else.
I'm not ready to return to work. If I could, I would have called the office on Friday and informed them I'd be extending my vacation one more week. Instead, I'll see if I can take a week off at the end of the month.
Friday, July 30, 2010
My trip back east was very quick and although I had left a few moments open, the bulk of my time was spent with family. It was a face-paced, frenetic and exhilarating time consisting of listening to very good jazz, facing fears, drawing in a special place, family time with much laughter, hearty walks, adventures and discoveries, long conversations, sweet kisses shared on the subway, delicious food, and a pitcher of sangria enjoyed under an umbrella with the girls on a hot summer day all packed in 48 hours.
Pretty delightful and way too short.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Taking a little unintended break from going through more NYC photos.
Today was the first day back in the studio after a three week painting vacation. I expected to be in the studio in the morning and then enjoy a coffee shop in the afternoon sorting photos. But after a very late (for me) start I headed over to the art store, picked up a 10 yard x 42" roll of heavy drawing paper and was in the studio by 9:45am. I worked for a few hours before heading home for lunch due to having forgotten it on my kitchen counter. After lunch I returned downtown and worked some more...excited about a new direction I'm exploring.
Bulldogs clips always make me happy. So does pulling out Yarka charcoal from its beautiful little wooden cases.
Opening an old drawing box that hadn't been touched in about five years, memories poured out. There was a bandaid which reminded me that I used to draw with charcoal in such a way that my left index and middle fingers would bleed on the paper. Stashed in the bottom was a beat up plastic 35mm slide holder that I'd use to compose drawings. And my breath caught in my throat when I found the little yellow wrinkled envelope that still contains a few sticks of beautiful red chalk from Italy given to me from my professor's personal stash in 1995.
A special moment.
It will take a while to reacquaint myself with the medium so I can once again paint with the charcoal instead of doing just quick sketches. Breaking sticks, sharpening charcoal pencils and working three drawings made for a joyful day.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Spent a wonderful afternoon with not only my two sisters, but my brother-in-law, 2 nephews, a couple friends, Sarah and her friend also joined us. Totally unexpected and a rockin' treat. We walked to Washington Square Park and met Sarah and her best friend, spending a nice hour in the breezy shade.
Now time to hop in the shower and out the door for dinner and some jazz.
My two sisters should be here within the hour. Then we'll spend the remainder of today and tomorrow morning together. Tonight is my niece's gig and I'm so looking forward to it because the last time I saw her perform was either 2005 or 2006. Way overdue.
I had planned on seeing art at the MOMA before the girls came in today but surprisingly, opted to make art. A delightful couple hours were spent at an open figure drawing session which happened to literally be four blocks from my hotel. It's been years. I was so pleased to see a much older bearded gentleman model for the artists because I'm so over the skinny white girls.
My hands were shaky due to the heat, dropping blood sugar and some memories but I felt a smile come over me with the first mark and continued throughout the session. I worked about 10 drawings with a tentative line and a strength in my spirit.
It was good. And healing.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Another photo from last night. C, M and I had a really great little table on the street...watching folks go to the block party. Feeling the sun. Drinking a lot. And catching the spray from a few guys tossing water balloons from the artists' studios above us. It was quite festive. Good, fun energy.
And...I did wake up with a wee bit of a hangover this morning.
Now...laundry done. Packing almost finished. House fairly clean. I'll just throw a few more things in my bag in the morning before my 5:30 am cab. It seems on Sunday the bus route doesn't begin until 6:15 and the light rail to the airport doesn't begin until about 6:20. So much for taking public transit for an 8 am flight. A few kind friends offered to drive but I can't have a friend up at 5am on Sunday just to take me to the airport. They are wonderful for offering.
Time to crash...
Friday, July 23, 2010
Vacation began last night with a wonderful dinner of fresh spring rolls with shrimp, two kinds of tofu and perfectly cooked, tender and non-greasy calamari. Oh yes, and the mandatory gin and tonics.
Afterward we hit a vintage shop (see earlier entry) and then sauntered through Cal Anderson.
The evening continued with a couple dress purchases for me and a generous gift of a gorgeous beaded scarf after which we topped the night off sitting outdoors at Vivace while sipping a couple cafe Nikos and people watching.
All in all, a smashing beginning to a fabulous week.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Evolution of a painting...
This morning while trying to wake up and get ready for hopefully my final work day before vacation I was going through a few of my older blog entries that are still sitting in draft and found this painting that was begun in late fall and completed in March. I often photograph a piece throughout its development but because most of my paintings change quite drastically and I work many of them at once, I don't always remember which painting came from where. This was one painting that still had enough similarity in transition and therefore could be tracked.
In looking at these, I remember sitting with the 2nd and the 3rd versions quite a while, enjoying aspects of each...until it was time to change them. I also am reminded of how lost I felt when I began the first one. It was one of those scary "I have no idea how to paint and don't remember how to mix color" moments that I struggle with far too often.
There were many more painting days but I only captured 5 stages. The 5th image is the final one and that painting is currently hanging in my office. It's one of my favorites. The jpeg really doesn't do it justice.
Oil on canvas, 18"x24"
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Two more work days and then vacation.
One of the big highlights of next week in addition to spending time with a friend is seeing my niece and listening to her stunning jazz vocals at Zinc Bar in Greenwich Village.
She has been working on many original compositions and they will be the highlight of this performance. You can see and here one of them from her May performance at the Blue Note, uploaded to youtube here.
The other highlight, for which there is great anticipation, will be a return to the studio after an intentional and very thoughtful three week break.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Monday, July 19, 2010
I saw these yesterday while out with friends. Rollerskates with pompoms bring back wonderful memories. Once a month our school would close at noon on Wednesday for faculty meetings. For those few hours all the students would go rollerskating. This was back in the late '60's and early '70's.
I loved skating.
My mom wanted to be a figure skater when she was a little girl. She could ice skate so gracefully...delicious curves, and twirls and figure eights. Gliding across the ice, she looked like an angel as she tried to demonstrate moves for us. At the time we were little kids...all skating together on the pond.
So in grammar school, I took to roller-skating with the same joy I brought to the ice.
It's another really busy work week and also the last work week before my vacation. So it's very possible I'll be posting only photos from here until my time off. I'm letting go of the idea of blogging words to ease unnecessary self-imposed pressure.
Next week I'm looking forward to a quick 48 hour trip back east to see art and attend my niece's gig where she is the featured performer at a jazz club down the block from the Blue Note. And then, I will spend the remaining part of the week painting, immersing myself in new directions and then culminating that time with another play party. It's been a full season.
In the meanwhile...I'll try to eat well, sleep much, focus on reports, train my new assistant, and plan her workload for the week I'm away.
And post periodic photos.
Life is good.
Going through my photo library last week, I found this old photo.
I still really miss this place.
Being highly sensitive to noise and frenetic energy, it's been difficult finding a new restaurant/public living room that is relaxed, quiet and comfortable. But in its place, I'm discovering people who are relaxed, quiet and comfortable. There is a difference between living a dramatic life and a drama-ridden life.
Yesterday was a wonderful day, beginning with brunch and then wandering the hill and sitting in the park with three new friends. The conversation flowed, speaking of old times, art, and intimate relationships as we were getting to know each other. All of which created a very sexy afternoon.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Taking it slow…finishing laundry…then shower, shave, grab a bag of cherries, a few toys and head to a party. I love gatherings that begin during the day because not everyone is a night owl.
This morning was spent going through my photo library looking for certain photographs for a new project. Urban work. It is a time of percolation. Many questions about my purpose as an artist…who am I as a painter…where is the work going…what do I want to say, etc.
I was sorting through old drawings and paintings, reliving experiences. It was interesting to see how the bottles would peekaboo throughout the work for a few years until they demanded to be placed center stage. There is much more to say with them but I will be working new subject matter in addition to the bottles.
Friday, July 16, 2010
After dinner last night while walking to Vermillion to purchase a lovely little piece of art I noticed that one of the poster walls on the corner of 11th and E. Pike had come down. Those walls are some of my favorite landmarks on the Hill. It was a sad moment.
And a less sad moment is when it periodically dawns on me that it's really Friday and I've a weekend to enjoy. I've been so swamped this week that my head is taking its time switching gears.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Last night I attended an open studio for two artists...both wonderful people as well as really good painters. On my way back up the hill I hoped to pop into an art opening for another artist but couldn't make it. The intense projects from this week are taking their toll. By 7pm, I hit my wall, craved alone time and scurried up the hill to my home.
By this afternoon the bulk of the current project will be completed and I'll breathe a little easier.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
J and I both had rough days. After work we went for drinks and pizza near my home, choosing to sit outdoors because not only was it a beautiful evening, but Bodie would be able to join us. The company and food assisted with sloughing away the day's problems.
After we parted ways, I went home and watched a show on my computer. The episode ended with Greg Laslow's cover of "Your Ghost". I love this song and have it on my iShuffle. But for some reason I was moved to pull out my guitar to learn it. It was a surprising action because I haven't picked up my guitar in about 8 years...when I was camping with 3 friends. Two of us had brought our guitars and played one evening.
I purchased this guitar in 1978. It's a 12 string Takemine...solid spruce with rosewood. For many years that guitar came with me...everywhere. I was performing 5 nights a week. At times, I would be asked to play and sing at weddings. So, if I knew the couple, I would write a song for them, perform it at their wedding, and then give them a copy of the lyrics that I would do up in calligraphy and frame. It would be the only time I would sing it. And I never kept a copy of the song. The framed lyrics and that one performance would be my gift to them. It was their song.
It's strange. Tonight, out of the blue the desire for that guitar came back. Tears filled my eyes as I felt its weight on my lap and gingerly began to play, awkwardly and fearfully plucking the strings. But slowly...my fingers remembered what they needed to do.
My guitar. For twenty years it was a good friend. Always there...and many times a comfort.
It felt so good to touch it again.