Thursday, September 30, 2010
(Entry typed up from notes taken at dinner this evening. Photo shot at the farmer's market last Sunday.…)
I just finished my entree at Coastal Kitchen. About a month ago a friend told me about Coastal's early bird announcements and so I keep an eye peeled for them. All food on their menu is half off. Coastal Kitchen is a couple short blocks from my home. It's perfect for me and the early bird specials are pretty much the only way I can enjoy their menu. Their delicious menu. In addition to a regular menu, they feature foods from various coastal regions, changing the region every few months. Last week they switched from Greece to Galicia, a region of Spain off the Atlantic.
What do you do when you eat alone?
I tend to bring a book or a sketchpad or a paper journal. Or…a combination of the three. There's something important about looking busy. I'm currently sitting in a booth, waiting for dessert after an amazing but intentionally light meal. I journalled through the appetizer, filling pages with black ink. A cup of Logasta Sopa kept me company. It's similar to a lobster bisque, but thickened with saffron rice and finished with a drizzle of sherry creme fraiche. Hearty, but not as rich as it sounds. Perfect. There was not only lobster pureed into the soup but also tasty chunks. Maine lobster. My waiter came from Dover NH not far from my old favorite, best apartment in the world. We both attended UNH…he in '97, a year after I graduated. The soup was heavenly.
For the entree I chose the vegetarian selection, Bolo de Abobrinha - a roasted zucchini cake topped with panko and toasted hazelnuts. And roasted mushrooms. A cider-tomato puree and pickled asparagus accompanied the zucchini. I enjoyed the entree with a second glass of red wine…a Malbac blend, put away the writing and pulled out a book. A book recommended by someone I once knew. "Varieties of Disturbance" by Lydia Davis. It's an astounding book. Every chapter is another present under the tree. Sometimes it feels like prose and always poetry. And many are koan-like.
This will sound odd but I'm enjoying the book so much that I'm taking my time with it. Like a fine wine. Inhale, take a sip, put down the glass, let it ride against my tongue until I swallow. Proceed to chat with companions until I'm ready to taste again.
With dessert…the book was closed and I am writing this. Dessert consisted of two cold crepes. One was filled with a little chocolate custard and the other a hazelnut custard. Chopped hazelnuts topped the crepes. Again, it was a perfectly light finish to an engaging meal. The meal was substantial and yet refreshing. No grease, no heavy oils, creams or cheeses. What came through was the flavor of each of the ingredients. Fresh. Refreshing. Clean.
Because of the early bird special, my tab with tax came to $20. Appetizer, entree, dessert and two glasses of red wine. I left an additional five dollars for the tip, packed up my bag and walked out onto the street, happy and satiated. It's an ideal way to begin my weekend.
So what do you do when you eat alone in a restaurant?
Monday, September 27, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
Last night on the Hill, at Gallery 40 - part of an installation by Amanda Manitach.
It was a wonderful piece. And quite sexy even in its gruesomeness. Although at first glance it looked as if it had a slasher flick vibe, it felt much more like a luscious Hitchcock moment and held horror, vulnerability, perversion and innocence.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Didn't sleep well and late (for me) to work this morning.
I stepped outside last night looking for the harvest moon, but couldn't see it at the time because of the clouds.
Can you tell I've been really into these sunflowers?
It's still really great having a dog in the office. Sometimes he hangs out under my desk, or in my comfy chair in the corner. Other times, laying beside my doorway, peeking in.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Sunflower on the sill from yesterday...
Very busy day at work and I left mentally and emotionally spent. I didn't think there was enough stamina left to paint, but when I arrived home I couldn't bear to sit there and so hopped a bus down to the studio.
I treated myself to some curry soup and wine. So drained, tears fell. All I managed to do was a quick sketch of the flowers on the sill, take a few photos and spend quite a bit of time staring at the painting on the easel.
I feel like I've been sinking into a grief deeper than any I've experienced before. With that, I'm expending lots of energy to not let it paralyze me. Dive into work challenges. Continue painting. Attempt to be social. Play when appropriate. And hole up at home when needed. My shrink has told me over and over that when we experience great loss (loss of innocence, abandonment, isolation, various traumas, etc) especially as children, there is an immense amount of grief. If we choose to do the work to heal, the grief will be experienced in layers. Like an onion, each layer going deeper toward the core.
In the last 10 years I've been slowly learning to go with whatever feeling comes up. Sometimes it feels near impossible because shame likes to highjack the feeling. Shame is toxic. So there has been massive work to let go of shame.
Finally, just in this past year the majority of the time I feel the feelings, they are clean. Shame and guilt free. Not everytime, but most of the time. I won't deny that there is a sense of pride and accomplishment in allowing them to be...not fighting them...and knowing (although I never know how) that I can move through them.
A couple weeks ago while watching a tv program, I heard the best definition of why one goes to therapy. The character felt they didn't need it anymore because life overall was okay and they felt happy. The character was still running from feelings and the therapist knew it. The therapist responded:
"Happiness in the face of horrible is not the goal. Feeling the horrible stuff and knowing that you’re not gonna die from the feelings? That’s the goal."
I am so incredibly blessed to have the shrink I do. With him, his patience and my perseverance, I am slowly, achingly, painfully learning that very thing.
Monday, September 20, 2010
The last week has really felt like fall. There's a crispness in the air which is distinctly autumn. It's a clean scent. Although the leaves drop and die, the smell of promise remains.
I glance out the window and see the full moon rising.
Fall has always been a potent time for me, filled with beginnings and endings. Last week I was captivated with the sunflowers in my studio. Slowly dying and yet, still offer much life. A different kind of beauty.
I've been experiencing hot flashes for the last few weeks and note the moving of my physical clock into a new season. With it, I've made the choice to view the heat that rises from within my body as a power surge, tapping into each flash to access its unique strength.
All phases hold their own grace.
I experienced food poisoning for the first time Friday night into Saturday morning. So not fun...and it left me somewhat depleted for the remainder of the weekend. I needed to cancel plans and kept to myself. Mostly rest with a little studio time thrown in for good measure.
I've been tired, and busy, and emotionally challenged for the last week or so and therefore haven't been taking photos. This image is from my NYC trip in July.
Friday, September 17, 2010
I'm having a very difficult time getting motivated today. Not focused. Confused. Tired. And down. I will definitely get down to the studio this afternoon at some point. Sometimes life is really hard. It's crazy because so much is going so well. I am incredibly blessed.
Oh well...honor the feelings, right? C'est la vie.
How many choppy sentences can I write?
This photo is from a massive set I shot of the sunflowers last week.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Next month the large Picasso show opens. Not only am I excited because over 150 of his works will be exhibited, but these are pieces Picasso kept as part of his personal collection. More on the exhibit here.
In other art news...or art/political news, Seattle Weekly cartoonist Molly Norris needs to go into hiding because of a fatwa issued against her for her Draw Mohommad Day cartoon over the summer. This hurts my heart for a few reasons. One being the idea that someone is so threatened because of another's creativity and how that taps into the problems with censorship as well as the backlash against an entire culture. Also I've been reading too many comments where people are slamming Islam over Molly's plight instead of remembering that extremists are found everywhere. We deal with it in this country as well, not only in traditional religious institutions but in many other communities. And, although the FBI have insisted she essentially disappear, they are not providing any financial assistance for her to do so.
From the Weekly's article:
You may have noticed that Molly Norris' comic is not in the paper this week. That's because there is no more Molly.
The gifted artist is alive and well, thankfully. But on the insistence of top security specialists at the FBI, she is, as they put it, "going ghost": moving, changing her name, and essentially wiping away her identity. She will no longer be publishing cartoons in our paper or in City Arts magazine, where she has been a regular contributor. She is, in effect, being put into a witness-protection program—except, as she notes, without the government picking up the tab. It's all because of the appalling fatwa issued against her this summer, following her infamous "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" cartoon.
And here's another article, by Regina Hackett, on Molly's need to disappear.
And...in personal art stuff, I have a bunch of new paintings in progress, most of which need to dry before I can rework them. So while waiting, I begin another. This one is 22"x28". Yesterday I photographed it to study it while away from the studio. I like where it's headed...but need to spend more time on it.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Saturday, September 11, 2010
Upon waking this morning, even before my eyes had opened, I knew which old painting had to come out of storage and become a viaduct painting. The canvas is the largest one I've worked on since I've been in Seattle...5 feet by 3 feet and I had completed a painting on it about 18 months ago. It was time to sacrifice it for a new piece.
Here is the new painting after today's session.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Doesn't it look inviting?
When I walked into the studio early this morning I noticed my studio mate had lined the sill with the leftover sunflowers from art walk. I sat on the couch, finished my coffee and sketched in my books, awaiting another artist for a studio visit. He wanted to see the viaduct series. It was a wonderful visit. Also had one last night, and another scheduled for Sunday afternoon. Balancing the visits with painting time.
Afterward I painted for a while and then came home for a few hours. Now it's back to the studio to paint some more. Painting right now is comforting.
I've been obsessed with photographing these sunflowers while they are on their last legs.
Thursday, September 09, 2010
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
My studio mate has a 5 year old step son who will come into the studio with her on weekends. Kenny walks in with his art supplies and heads right over to the coffee table and couch near the window where he'll work diligently for the entire time.
He hangs his work on the wall and has been exhibiting for the last four or five months. The first time he priced the work at $15 and sold a few pieces. Excited about his sales, he upped his prices to $25 for the next month and didn't sell anything. The last two months they've been priced at $5 each.
He wasn't around for August art walk but did come in for last week's show. At one point I saw him at the other end of the studio, next to his work, surrounded by adults. Smiling, I walked over and listened to him explain his work to these folks with a lack of pretention and not the least bit self conscious. He was calm and assured, with a lowkey excitement as he spoke. It was a joy to behold.
As he finished talking, he then looked up at one of the gentleman and asked "so which one do you want to buy?" The man hesitated, grinned and pulled out his wallet.
Chuckling, I walked away...in awe at the gorgeous innocence and thrilled that we could offer such a unique experience to a five year old.
Tuesday, September 07, 2010
Monday, September 06, 2010
It's been an impressive five days of art, play and kinship. Experiences from different parts of my life each carried potent results coming together to create a textured chain built of sublime moments.
It was a perfect although short painting week that culminated in socializing at events and a party.
For artwalk I chose to go dry and not serve wine due to the liquor board doing stings in art spaces as well as rude visitors a few months back walking out with a full bottle. Because I didn't want an empty large table, I pulled out 10 bottles and jugs and and placed a large sunflower in each one. The table turned into a garden.
As people came into the studio to see the work, many stopped and took photos of the flowers with their phones. It was a joy watching folks do a little of their own creating...grabbing their own art. Sunflowers bring smiles.
It was a blessed week.
Sunday, September 05, 2010
Saturday, September 04, 2010
Pioneer Square in the late afternoon sun before heading to the studio for Art Walk. Thursday night was exhilarating. So much so that I crashed yesterday and spent the day (other than a quick dinner with E) alone, surrounded by much quiet. I needed to reenergize.
The paintings were met with excitement. Good conversations. Some wonderful friends spent time in the studio. Today, I'm again taking it slow and quiet...saving energy for a big evening.
This photo was taken at art walk by Daniel with his phone. He caught me while speaking with someone about the new work.