Friday, April 30, 2010
From what I recall during my tenure at a photo lab in New England, this is one of the most photographed lighthouses. And yes, the little shack is red.
I've fantasized living there for over 20 years.
Or...at least have it as a getaway place. Wouldn't that just be awesome? It would make a rockin' artist residency spot.
I'm back in Seattle. Travel-weary. I'm not hungry but am trying to get a little food down before hitting the sack because of fallen blood sugar. I had cleaned my house before leaving...including fully making the bed which I thought was a crazy move until I threw my bags on the floor, turned on the little lamp near my bed and saw how inviting it all is.
I'm glad to be here and yet passionately miss my east coast.
I really didn't think I'd get a chance to run out on a jetty again. The last time was over 15 years ago. On Wednesday we were driving around, and I saw it. Squealing, I pulled the car over, hopped out and began to head out to sea. My parents smiled and watched.
For me, jettys are a complex mix of childhood joy and adult freedom. Being alone on the end, feeling one step closer to touching the horizon and surrounded by salt water...
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My friend Lewis shot this yesterday. And...it's a perfect way to begin my vacation entries. Yesterday afternoon was spent with Lewis, Ian and Todd. We moseyed and romped on the Marginal Way (well Todd did most of the romping), had a really nice dinner and then more beach time...all the while very much enjoying each other's company.
Today is grey, windy and stormy-ish. Over the last 12 years, I've truly missed weather like this and in this very place. I'm sitting in a comfy highbacked chair, typing, looking out the window...and relaxing.
By the way, hearing waves crash against the rocks while drifting off to sleep is one of my world's wonders.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
A little airport boredom.
Gee. I guess the Saturday night redeye is the flight to take. I'm sitting in the bar because it's dark, quiet and cozy. Also, it's fairly empty...as is the rest of the terminal. I still have another 1 1/2 hours before we board. How does a hot dog and a gin & tonic sound for a late supper?
I really wanted to bring a book but the two books I'm reading are big (in size) and didn't have the room. At the last minute I found a packet of NYTimes crossword puzzles a friend had printed out for me about a month ago. I had totally spaced them until I cleared off the table during my pre-vacation cleaning. Big score.
When I say it snows petals...I'm serious. Most of my neighborhood looks like this. I saw the accumulation early this morning and had to come back later to capture it.
How many times have I said that I can't wait to get to the beach? It really is my home.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
My flight leaves tonight. Tomorrow I get to spend time with my family and then my parents and I will be here, at this beach, on Monday. I'm really thrilled to take this time with them.
Yesterday was a painting day. I was finally able to grab photos of my most recent in progress pieces. They are all 18"x24" except for the last one which is 30"x40".
These are me...but different from the past work. Although I'm always pushing myself with each painting, this time I wanted to take greater emotional risks. This painting direction is definitely out of my comfort zone and yet in some way feels familiar. I really need to dig deep and listen to them. It's the reason I wanted to document them so I can sit with them while on vacation.
You can click on each to make them bigger.
The left side of this big piece stumps me. Hopefully something will become clear while I'm away.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Officially on vacation. And it feels wonderful.
Over the year I do take vacation hours here and there...but it's normally to have extra painting time. To have a week off, away from home and the regular routine is a treat. After work, one of my best friends and I grabbed drinks and sushi to celebrate.
When we parted I strolled through the neighborhood. After a cloudy day, the sun came out...and so did the people. There were many mini happy connections with strangers. Mr. Violin Man was out sharing his craft. We exchanged a smile and a few words. I passed a young man who was juggling 3 balls and walking down the street at the same time. Spoke with a mom and her very shy 3 year old son. And a few others. I love my hood.
Tonight I'll catch both parts of the Project Runway finale. And tomorrow I'll head to the studio and clean because I don't need to return a week later to dirty brushes and a palette filled with dried up paint. And...I think I'll be starting a new painting before I clean up. I have a hankerin'.
Yeah for vacation!
I've been distracted with work stuff, getting ready to go away stuff and life stuff. Too distracted to focus on painting which is unsettling, but I'm trying to let it be okay. I've had a big exhale of fresh paintings and although I know that a daily practice is important, it feels as if I've been pulling away because I know I won't be there all next week.
Here is a creepy dollhead that showed up in a coworker's office. She was found while a friend was digging in their yard.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Studio time last night. The paintings, although a few with stuck moments, are overall in a good place.
Planning the prep for my vacation. Time for laundry and time to clean because returning from a trip and stepping into a tidy-ish house feels so good.
Seven days from now I will be getting out of bed and staring at the ocean....having my morning coffee at the water's edge. Heaven.
It's been a fun food time in the office. Last week we let another non-profit borrow our conference room and they thanked us by leaving two large tubs of extra creamy, utterly delicious ice cream and sugar cones. Mocha oreo cookie and toasted butter pecan. We've been enjoying their thoughtful and inventive generosity plus it adds an extra playful spirit to the office.
Yesterday afternoon a coworker returned from a work trip to Montana and brought a stick of buffalo salami and cheese in the shape of a bison.
This morning another coworker brought in two leftover homemade pies from last night's dinner party. Blackberry pie and a rhubarb pie.
The rhubarb was a perfect breakfast food. There is only enough sugar to combat some of the tartness without being sugary. My mouth tastes a clean flavor. And I think there's a hint of ginger in the pie.
Two more work days before vacation!
Monday, April 19, 2010
I found an extra day this week. Looking at my flight itinerary this morning I realized my plane leaves Saturday night, not Friday. For two months I thought I was leaving Friday evening. This gives me an extra day which, right now, is valuable. There are paintings to work and people to see.
It's just like finding a twenty dollar bill on the sidewalk.
Saturday was a really good day. Very fun party with a full 8 hours of playing and chatting. On Sunday, good friends were headed to the tulip fields and I really wanted to join in but also knew that it was the only day for the next two weeks I'd have to myself and so staying in was necessary. Quiet and alone was needed.
In honor of the tulip trip, I was flipping through my tulip excursion photos from 2008 and stumbled upon this image shot in Skagit Valley yet had never posted.
Happy Monday everyone!
Friday, April 16, 2010
I love cats yet very allergic to them. Sneezing and asthma.
But I've had this cat for about 49 years. He is one of my oldest toys, given to me by my pepere. Plastic. About 8"high. His head turns. His eyes go up and down and he still has most of his eyelashes.
Normally he hangs out in a corner of the living room, but this morning kitty wanted to feel the sun on my kitchen table.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Yesterday was one of those rare, amazing, magical days. On so many different levels, work rocked. Later in the day, studio time rocked as well. I wanted dinner eats that I could munch on while painting and so picked up my booty at Trader Joe's - a small bag of cauliflower, broccoli and carrots and a little tub of spicy hummus. It was just right and there's enough left for tonight's studio time. Some cheap red wine and an apple finished off the meal.
I'm looking forward to returning this afternoon. I have three other paintings currently going in the direction of this latest one.
This weekend is full with an old friend coming into town tomorrow, a party all day/night on Saturday, and then two very dear friends arriving on Sunday for an extended visit. Therefore I'm grabbing as much painting time as I can before friends and my trip to the ocean. I wore my painting jeans and green sneakers today so I can hop the bus to the studio right from the office.
The paintings are jumpin', the cotton is high, the sun is a bright ball way up in the sky.
It's a good day.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Photo from Friday evening at the Seattle Art Museum.
In addition to my regular paintings currently in progress, I began a new piece on Saturday morning. Something different. I'm working from one of my photographs because I had an overwhelming desire to paint from almost life, instead of in my head.
This is the first pass, just beginning to block in lights and darks. Color will come later. I need to push the darks but the paint needs to dry first.
The view from my studio window...
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Morning light through the window in our studio bathroom...
Last night was a really good evening that consisted of dinner with Roger and David before we headed to the Seattle Men's Chorus spring concert.
Yesterday and this morning was spent painting. Somewhat solid. I have 5 pieces in progress.
Here's a before and after painting. It's always exciting to grab a painting off the wall and do something different with it.
I've been holding onto this painting for about 3 months...not satisfied yet didn't have a direction.
That is...until this morning.
We can blame the 3 Enigma cd's that I put in the player with the volume cranked. It's been years since I listened to them. The jewel cases were covered in dust.
Now it's time for laundry and then hopefully grab some sunshine.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Yesterday was some studio time and then a trip to the Seattle Art Museum with C so he could catch the Calder exhibit before it came down. I noticed a new installation at the SAM of a tall glass structure. A waterfall of tumbling bottles.
Before leaving the studio I bumped into another artist on my floor...one whose work I admire. She asked me how the painting was going. "Harsh", I responded. She came in to look. For the first time in years, I received a really productive critique. It made me think about what I'm doing and where I'm going. And it excited me to continue to push through and become more expansive in the act of painting.
Her thoughts and questions, her attention, came at a perfect time...a moment when I've been feeling a phenomenal sense of isolation with my art.
After the last few art walks, I really question how my work fits into the Seattle art sensibility. I've been noodling with the idea that maybe I need to return to New England for my painting. I didn't graduate from Cornish or UW which both carry a different style of art. My BFA program was rigorous as well yet was a more traditional program. Traditional in a stylistic sense. At times, brutal. I still remember my thesis year where each candidate would present their work to all the professors at four different times during the year. I took to wearing my leather biker jacket as a form of armor during my presentations so I would be prepared to hear severe critiques without internally crumbling. It was possible that a student would be asked to repeat their final year or be told that they would graduate with a BA instead of a BFA. So you'd never be entirely sure what would happen.
I still cherish those memories.
I wonder if the doubts and feelings of misfit are coming from some other place and I'm attaching it to the art. Still recovering from a hit, there is much I am working through as well as questioning my place...and who I am. I do wonder if the pull to the northeast is because it's a safe place.
Anyway...regarding location, I'm not moving soon. You see, I have a sabbatical coming up in August. Between that and vacation time I'll have 12 paid weeks off. Lately, I've been planning for it...maybe taking two 4 week stints devoted entirely to art and then single weeks here and there. Creating my own little private artist residency would involve very little socializing during the week. Just dinners. Can I fully immerse myself in the art...attending open figure drawing workshops, and painting time? Quiet time to write. Think. Walk. And then get together with friends on weekends.
Ideas have been flooding my brain...directions I want to explore, different ways I want to push the paint. Training my eye in a more disciplined fashion. I've been jotting them down in preparation for the sabbatical.
One thing I've recently noticed, periods of major doubt and uncertainty, such as now, assist to entrench me more in my practice instead of running from it as I would have done years ago.
I am very much looking forward to these long stretches of time to immerse myself in the art and from there, hopefully be able to make a clearer decision about where I belong...and who I am as a painter.
Then again, maybe that is part of life's journey and it is always an ongoing, unfolding path.
Monday, April 05, 2010
Friday, Saturday and Sunday were three scheduled guilt-free days that involved staying home and doing nothing more than a little vacuuming, dusting and picking up. There was also an intentional lack of socializing except for a Saturday evening birthday party for Eric. It also meant no drawing, no painting, no day gig and no photography except for this photo that was taken on my way home from the party.
It's the first time in a long time where I had lazy days that weren't taken simply because I was sick or exhausted. Friday was regrouping from Thursday night's busy art walk and the remaining days were a needed mini vacation.
In this resting space, ideas for my paintings have been filling my head. New ways of exploring the bottles. I had to write them down last night for fear I'd forget.
Today it's back to my practice.
Sunday, April 04, 2010
Friday, April 02, 2010
From last night's art walk...at the opening of Troy Gua and the Collaborati: Meet Greet Rinse Repeat.
50 pieces in conversation. This is just a portion of the wall. The exhibit looked fantastic...every glyph unique and rich. I was enamoured with the creativity of each artist.
Just to give you an idea of the passion and hard work of Troy, the artist/curator... not only did he create the show, drop off and then collect all the pieces, have them photographed and then hang the exhibit, but he had also designed and cut each glyph for the participating artists.
And he did it with a caring buoyancy and much grace.
It was an honor to be one of the collaborators.
I was there at 6pm and by 6:30 I felt drawn to return to my studio a little earlier than planned. In doing so, I bumped into someone on the street who was headed up to see me because they had desired to see my work in person. It was perfect and we managed to spend some quality time with my paintings before the studio filled with people.
There was a happy vibe in the air last night. Pioneer Square was buzzing with a cheery art groove and it flowed into the 619 building. People were really engaging with the work on the walls and I had non-stop conversations until 10:30, when I finally needed to head home.