Tuesday, May 31, 2011

This morning I decided to bring in the wonderful cheese I purchased on Saturday because it's the first day in the office without our boss. The cheese is a cross between queso fresco and ricotta salata with a coating of cocoa and chipotle for a little kick. I figured a little treat was in order because it's sad walking in knowing that an era has ended. Unbeknownst to me, my coworker must have had a similar thought because he walked in with a pie he had made - balsamic strawberry apple. The cheese works beautifully with the pie.

We needed a little lovin'...

Monday, May 30, 2011

I want a couple more days off or really, I'd like the entire week off. It's a super full week. On second thought, next week would be better. Why take vacation time in a week filled with events and meetings? Tuesday is the opening of Gallery (206) and I am in the phonebook. Thursday evening is art walk which means cleaning the studio and hanging 3 walls of work. Friday evening is the opening at Burk Gallery. Saturday, a photographer is coming to the studio to professionally photograph every painting in the studio so there will be high quality images. And I'm on a roll with a few paintings and so am trying to eek out the time to paint...but after tomorrow evening I don't foresee painting until next week.

Although all important and good and exciting, it is a lot of people stuff for an introvert.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

More photos from yesterday's road trip...

Samish Bay Cheese farm where we picked up our awesome cheeses. A lovely, simple, nonpretentious family-owned business. Such a great vibe.

I have a thing for clouds.

Captivated by all the squares and peek-thrus.

The remants of D's lunch. I was going to opt for the same but instead chose dungeoness crab benedict. With big chunks of crab.

The view from Chuckanut Drive.

Rocks on the beach at Larrabee State Park. They are oddly worn...looking like cresting waves. So beautiful.

The trail down to the beach.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spent a full day going through Skagit and up to Chuckanut Drive on the way to Bellingham. The weather was beautiful and it's nice to get out of the city.

We saw animals. Horses, alpacas...and at an award-winning cheese farm, Samish Bay Cheese, we saw these...

...and a very sweet dog named Charlie.

The owner kindly chatted cheese with us and we enjoyed some cheese tasting...including a phenomenal gouda aged for 9 years. It was a little too pricey for me at this time, although I believe well worth the cost. A brilliant cheese.

I did indulge and purchased an unusual cheese: Black Mambazo. You can read about it here. It's their signature cheese, aged and with a coating of cocoa and chipotle. It's my treat...which I will be enjoying with pears, figs and wine.

It was a nice day with good friends, fresh air, taking in the surroundings and a wee bit of hiking.

Strolling the ferry walkway yesterday which passes under the viaduct because I wanted to grab food from the ferry terminal to bring to the studio.

And today...a road trip with friends. It'll be nice to get out of the city for a few hours.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Today was one of my favorite kind of days. These days would happen at least once a week if not two or three times. Because work has been emotionally and mentally almost all consuming, my free time was spent mostly recuperating. And today, was a full day at the studio and then roaming around.

After a leisurely morning I hopped a bus down to the studio. Grabbed lunch. Painted. And then attached hanging wire as well as signed the backs of seven canvases for next week's show. I used to sign the front of a painting but stopped that a couple years ago. I didn't like that my signature distracted from the painting. So, my signature and date is on the back.

I'm not thrilled with the painting I worked on but know it's just building up the surface and the color. It will come together at some point.

Once I was done in the studio I contacted a friend and we met on the Hill and enjoyed a leisurely dinner and a bottle of wine at Via Tribunali. From there, we popped into a gallery because a friend was hosting an event. I had the opportunity to say hi and chat with a few folks before walking home.

On the way home the setting sunlight was lovely and I stopped to take it in. All in all...a really good day.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Photo I shot a couple years ago and just found it sitting in a draft.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My beloved boss's last day in the office is tomorrow. Last night we all came together at Liberty, in their back room, immersing ourselves in each other. There were drinks and sushi. And a game of "To Tell The Truth" which was hysterical coming from a group that has a large trust in each other. We laughed so hard that a few times I was crying from the laughing. The other bonus was learning crazy and unusual details about everyone's past as we attempted to figure out which factoid belonged to which person. It was a reaffirmation of the high level of creativity in our staff. The link is to a delightful video of the original game show. You can see a fabulous and very young Betty White.

Yesterday morning I had a full cup of coffee in each hand, bringing one to a coworker who is currently dealing with a nasty pinched nerve. Bodie decided I needed to play with him. He had a ball in his mouth and with each step, as I try not to spill coffee, he would head butt my calf. All the way down the hall. I couldn't even be annoyed with him because it was quite funny and he's so damned sweet.

This is a photo I shot last summer at a play/camping weekend which I'm looking forward to returning in a few months. I haven't been rigorous with daily photos in a while. It's sporadic because energy needs to be spent elsewhere and there are many elsewheres to spend it. Tonight I need to finish prepping a few paintings because we are hanging the show on Sunday. And I think work is returning to a more manageable level which means I can return to a more rigorous painting schedule. I miss my daily painting practice. Not having regular quiet, working time in the studio also affects my emotional state. Studio time grounds me.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I currently have three different Jill paintings in process. Still incomplete, here is the most recent incarnation of the original Jill - Jill #1. 24"x30", oil on canvas

Monday, May 23, 2011

Untitled - 2010, 30"x40", oil on canvas


"Everything Changes" - recent works by Marie Gagnon
June 3 - June 25, 2011 at the Burk Gallery
340 15th Ave E, Ste 350
Seattle, WA 98112

Opening Reception Friday, June 3 - 5 pm to 8 pm
Capitol Hill’s BLITZ Art Walk Thursday, June 9 - 5 pm to 8 pm
Closing Reception Saturday, June 25 - Noon to 6 pm
Other Times by Appointment

Statement for "Everything Changes"

"There is something intriguing in this solid structure that is disintegrating; a massive presence and the light that comes through the heaviness. It offers direction and yet, it is slowly crumbling."

The above quote is my statement, written last fall, for a series of viaduct paintings that I began painting in the summer of 2010. Although the series was prompted by the not too distant demise of the viaduct, I realized it is also a powerful metaphor for life.

The only thing we can count on in life is change and what counts is how we handle that change.

I've loved the viaduct from the first time I saw it in 1998. In August 2007 I moved into my current studio in the 619 Western Arts building and was thrilled that not only was our building right next to such a presence but also was gifted such a view from the large studio windows.

Six months ago we were given official word that the 619 artists need to evacuate by next spring. The viaduct series began to evolve as I slowly started to include scenes from my window as well as my interior space. The studio is my home and I needed to pay homage to this magical place. This is an ongoing series.

I hope you enjoy the work.


Untitled - 2011, 18"x24", oil on canvas

Super busy today.

Leaving work at noon because I've a studio visit this afternoon.
Doing some prep of paintings for a show that opens in a couple weeks.
Still attempting to write a short statement for the show.
Hope to get some paintings done.
Sending letters (paper mail) to my parents and sibs.
My day job stuff.

And yes, I'm still reminding myself to breathe.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Seattle had an exceptionally cold spring. Normally I open my living and bedroom windows in April and they remain open until the end of September. But this year, I didn't open them until a few days ago.

And it seems as if we've jumped past the temperatures of spring and are headed right into summer. The last two days have almost felt like the end of July. Bright blue skies. No clouds. Very warm sun. I'm not complaining, just observing.

Last night was beautiful. Eric and I sat on the sidewalk at Broadway Grille and enjoyed a couple hours of conversation over a leisurely dinner. It was a nice way to unwind after a grueling few work days. I fell asleep just after 9 pm but mysteriously, never went into a deep slumber. I floated on some surface sleep...semi-awake. It's frustrating but I'm sure it will pass.

After a breakfast of an apple and yogurt, I'm headed to the studio for the day, before enjoying this evening's festivities. I've been struggling with the Jill paintings, torn between continuing in a more expressionistic style while also desiring to return to realistic roots. Realizing I could do both at the same time, I have a new canvas awaiting me...where I can play in that more realistic manner and not shortchange myself.

Today I'm wearing one of my fetishes. I have a thin cotton, very worn, big pale yellow button down shirt. That shirt, my jeans and bare feet encased in sandals is probably the outfit I feel sexiest. It's loose and considering I pretty much never wear underwear, I love the way it feels against my skin on warm days. And yes, I have attended play parties dressed that way. I get crazy when people tell me I'm not attired in fetish wear. I always have to ask "whose fetish?" Group uniforms don't do it for me although I'm glad others find certain attire sexy. And sometimes I do too but love having flexibility. To me, it's a large part of the idea of being sex positive: the ability to uniquely be yourself, working on letting go of shame and not feel the need to fall in line to fit in.

Now...a painting is calling me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

omg...I am so tired. Between not sleeping well this week due to work stress, and immersing myself in queries, problem-solving and deadlines...I am spent. This afternoon I attempted to do one more thing and my mind kept going blank. So I shut off my computer and headed home.

Monday night was my only evening in the studio. Tomorrow I'm off and am definitely going to paint. I miss it. Saturday is a day in the office and Sunday I crash.

Right now, it's quite warm and very sunny. I'm going to relax by meeting a friend for food and drinks as we sit outdoors at a sidewalk table enjoying the day and do some people watching.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Here is another photo I took of the viaduct...which I really like although I don't know if I'll paint this one. I may...with some serious editing.

Rough night. I'm overwhelmed at my day job and couldn't really sleep. Very early this morning, I was so over the continual tossing and turning and finally got out of bed and came into the office at 4:30 am. Work is challenging as I attempt to keep far too many balls in the air. (Day job balls, that is). Our little data department is stretched at the seams. Increasing the staff by a third means that many more people who have data needs. All the while I'm still continuing to train my assistant because I need her to know how to deal with the bowels of the database. And this kind of training needs time and space to do it well.

Of course, while this is going on, I've been inundated with new ideas for the art. The best I can do is jot things down, trusting that it will all work out.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A few tidbits and links while eating lunch...

~I'm hooked on Trader Joe's salads...with my favorite being their beet salad. Even with dressing it's only about 300 calories and I tend to only use about 1/2 the dressing.

~One of our former studio mates who had moved out of state to obtain her MFA is back for a visit in July. We've decided to do some art time in the studio with pizza, beer & wine. It'll be fun.

~Next week is my boss's last week. Although excited for her, I'm also a little heart sick.

~~Last night I caught most of the new documentary on PBS, "The Freedom Riders". This month is the 50th anniversary of this amazing movement. These were students...young people trained in the art of non-violent civil action. Powerful, powerful stuff. They sacrificed and suffered for their beliefs. There is always a social movement...changes that need to happen. Everyone should watch this two hour brilliant film and you can view the film online at this PBS link. Do yourself a favor and check it out.

~Down economic times mean greater creativity in how art is being exhibited. And I believe it opens up opportunities to show work. In a time when galleries are sadly closing, and others can't take on new artists, different spaces are popping up to have your work witnessed by others.

We have a few people who turn their living space into art galleries one night a month or every few weeks.

Todd J last year created Gallery 40. It was a 40 foot mobile wall that would be towed and then parked in various parts of town. It had an overhang to protect the work and lights. Brilliant idea.
You can read about it here.

Todd has a new idea - Gallery (206)...a gallery in a phone booth in Occidental Square. The show opens May 31 and Joey Veltkamp wrote about it in his blog. And, I have a piece in the phone book.

Scott Burk is an attorney who loves art. He has a small office with plain walls and it's sparsely decorated which is intentional because he wants to highlight the art. Each month he hosts a different artist. And, from my experience, it's done with much care. He came for a studio visit and we spent a few unhurried hours together as he looked at work, making a decision on what he wanted to exhibit. The Burk Gallery will be exhibiting my work in June.

Now, back to work.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Our quirky views make me smile...

...which help after grueling work days. Going into the studio to paint also helps. I returned to some viaduct paintings that had been on hold for about three weeks. This little piece is 12"x12", oil on canvas.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

I planned on painting through the weekend but yesterday morning I decided to take the weekend off...no work emails and no studio time. It was an entirely lazy two days. A little decadent in spots. All good. And needed.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

One of my favorite parts of spring in my neighborhood are the sidewalks and steps blanketed in petals.

Friday, May 13, 2011

This morning I woke exceptionally angry and that rage sat with me most of the day. The good thing is that it wasn't paralyzing. Although it was heavy inside me, at the same time I was enjoying the weather, contacting friends and getting on with my day. I walked quite a bit before taking the bus to the studio and once near the piers, it was such a beautiful day that I walked by the water before going in to paint. While wandering I captured more photos of the viaduct for that series.

Once in the studio I worked the first Jill painting and then because of this fiery emotion, I was able to work on a series that I've slowing been building for the last few years and have yet to really show. There's no rush and I'm not pushing it. These particular paintings get worked on when I'm moved to do so.

Listening to my iShuffle while on the bus and a song I haven't heard in a long time began to play...

Hearing the music, my anger dissolved and I was able to feel once again what it was covering up. Anger is often a holding place for hurt. It is easier to feel because it takes much vulnerability to feel deep hurt. This song dug through the surface and hit the core.

It's nowhere near the first time I feel this hurt and it won't be the last. But each time I can let myself feel it, a little more dis-ease is released. Healing is not a linear process. It's a spiral.

I had written an entry in blogger yesterday and as I was getting ready to publish it, Blogger went down and not only did I lose that draft but it seems to have eaten Wednesday's entry as well.

Yesterday's weather was awesome. Warm. A little breeze. A few clouds. And sun. Returning from the studio I got off the bus super early and walked all the way up the hill, stopping at an art opening on the way home. Today is supposed to also be gorgeous.

Walking to the mailbox about an hour ago to return my netflix flick and noticed a man in front of me walking in the same direction, his netflix in hand, also destined for the mail. I then imagined hundreds of people, coming out of nowhere, all slightly dazed because it's a pre-coffee moment, clutching their red envelopes and ready to converge upon the lone blue mailbox.

Today, it's back to the studio. This is the second painting of Jill that I began Monday evening. It's larger than the first. 30"x40".

I woke today visualizing what I need to do to the first ptg as well as saw my next step for this one.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

This is part of one of the boring machines that that will bore the light rail tunnel from Capitol Hill to the U District and also downtown Seattle. They are known as Hitachi machines but the three also have their own names, Togo, Balto and Brenda. The Capitol Hill machine is Brenda.

You can see it in place - the piece with the blue ring.

Last night I was thrilled to finally get back into the studio and continue reworking the Jill painting. It still has a long way to go but it's feeling better.

I also had the opportunity to prep a larger canvas that will also become another Jill. Tonight I'll begin working the bigger one and then later in the evening, run to my monthly studio group which is leaving me totally jazzed. This weekend the busy times continue because I'll be balancing painting time with some long suspension play with an old friend.

Life is full.

Monday, May 09, 2011

3 of the 4 small drawings that sold last weekend. I didn't have the opportunity to take better photos. The actual drawings are between 5"x7"-ish to 8"x10"-ish. The top and bottom ones were done with Ebony pencil. The middle one with charcoal.

They went to good homes.

And now, off to the studio.

Yesterday's brunch at Grim's began with a carafe of Mimosas.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day.

After a crazy week, the only thing on today's calendar was a phone call to my mom. About noontime the sun was coming out and I remembered it was opening day of the Capitol Hill Farmer's market. Seeing their old location is part of the demolition on the Cafe Septieme block, the farmer's market moved to Seattle Central Community College. It's a good spot. There's a little green space to chill and kick back. Part of today's festivities to kick off the market season included a parade by the the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence beginning at the farmer's market old home, down Broadway and ending at SCCC. There was also a jazz band set up in the entrance of the performance hall and music spilled out into the air.

I called E and he met me at the market. We wandered a bit, grabbed brunch and then wandered some more. It was slow and easy. Just what I needed after a long week.

From yesterday's staff/board retreat. It was a good day focusing on leadership and our strategic plan. Here is the view from one of the large windows in our meeting room.

A week earlier, everyone attending was given a few options for Saturday evening's activities. One was an event for the Rainbow City Band, another was an awards dinner for Equal Rights WA, the third, getting together over dinner or simply not do anything. I opted for the dinner with the stipulation that it needed to be in a quiet place otherwise I'd head home. Something low key. Our boss sent an email to those of us who chose the dinner. It was five staff and one board member, all introverts and data/numbers geeks. When the board member realized it would be a small group, he and his partner generously hosted us for a wonderful dinner in their condo downtown.

It was a perfect way to end a full day of processing. Great food, awesome company, low key evening, wonderful wine and a killer view. The sun was setting and the light, beautiful.