Monday, February 28, 2011
A quieter, more restful day today. Laundry in the morning. Watched two movies on Netflix streaming: The Desk Set with Tracy/Hepburn and Camp.
I hopped the bus to the studio, stopping at a copy place to cheaply print out viaduct photos on my flashdrive for new paintings. Dropped everything off and needed to go home. Was too spent to paint. I haven't hugely slowed down after work ended and today was the day.
But being a Capricorn, a Yankee and the oldest child, I had to do something.
There was some writing that needed to be completed and so I ended up at the place around the corner from my home for a delicious 1/2 price burger, a couple glasses of red, and a killer vanilla bean panecotta with a pomegranate balsamic puree all the while using their wifi to get some art writing done. The panecotta comes with two thinly sliced apple pieces stuck into the top. They look like sharks swimming near the surface. And it's seriously tasty. The burger I ate without most of the bread. Nor did I touch the fries but opted for the dessert. It's a little portion which gives me enough of a taste without feeling like I've eaten too much. I've finally been losing some weight and don't want to fuck that up.
Our weather has been unseasonably cold and I'm trying not to get cranky about it. March is my favorite month in Seattle because the cherry trees, the dogwoods and magnolias are in bloom. My neighborhood is saturated with blossoms. I looked forward to being immersed in this during most of my sabbatical and hope the cold snap doesn't delay the flowering.
Today is the 10th anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake in Seattle. I vividly remember where I was. Having just stepped out the shower, I was sitting on the corner of my bed, head dropped…blowing drying my hair. At the time it was down to the middle of my back.
I then felt shaking. The bed was moving back and forth. I wondered if it was my blood sugar dropping but continued drying my hair while quite puzzled.
Then I walked out the house and saw a few construction guys near my apartment.
"Did we just have an earthquake?" I asked them.
I returned inside and looked around. All my bottles on my window sill were still intact. Nothing seemed to have shifted.
I called a friend and it was once again confirmed that we had experienced an earthquake. It seemed minor but I was shook up because it was my first quake. My friend and I decided we needed tequila. It took me over an hour to make the 15 minute drive to pick him up. The destruction was scattered. Pioneer Square, where my studio is, was hit pretty hard. We got off easy… not like New Zealand or Haiti but the Square suffered the worst damage in the city.
Here's a photo from the Seattle PI archives of an artist painting some of the destruction on March 1, 2001, the day after the quake.
What I'm using for this month's art walk notice...page 131 in the March issue of Seattle Magazine.
I scanned into a pdf and then saved as a jpeg. Sorry for the poor quality.
This is the painting in Seattle Magazine. They are promoting our art walk as a "must see" in their weekly email.
The text on the magazine page says:
The Alaskan Way Viaduct has suffered a great many accusations during its hulking life: It’s an eyesore, it blocks views of the sound, it drops large cement chunks of itself onto sidewalks without notice and, most chillingly, it’s a disaster waiting to happen. But like it or not, the Viaduct has also become integral to the city’s landscape—especially for those working close by, such as the more than 100 artists who work in Pioneer Square’s 619 Western Building, which has served as a creative enclave since 1979. Built in 1910, the building stood nearly a half-century before the Viaduct buddied up to its windows. In the years since, the structures have become pals by proximity—two outdated friends that may be torn apart quite literally when the Viaduct replacement tunnel comes boring in. At press time, the fate of the 619 building was undetermined; it will either be razed or seriously retrofit. Even in the latter case, tenants will be forced to relocate, most likely permanently. In the meantime, artists are becoming more vocal in their appreciation for these historic stomping grounds. Visit 619 at the next First Thursday art walk and do the same. 3/3. 6–10:30 p.m. Free.
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I've been working viaduct and still life at the same time which seems to be helping both. And today, I'll be adding another medium to this mix because the longing to work on paper has been getting stronger. It's time to add charcoal and b&w watercolor drawings. There is almost always a great sense of excitement when many different works are evolving simultaneously. That is, except for those moments when doubt creeps in and it becomes dizzying.
Still life in progress, 24"x12", oil on canvas
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Thursday, February 24, 2011
As of three and a half hours ago I am officially on sabbatical until March 28.
My assistant and I went out for drinks after work for an informal check in before her work load increases for a month as well as to just hang out. A good friend also began volunteering this week which truly assists with the transition. I'm blessed to be surrounded by quite a few people who are generous of spirit. (Some of which I don't get to spend as much time with as I'd like and I hope to correct that this month.)
This photo, shot about 4pm today, is of the skylight in bar.
Four weeks to breathe. To rest. And do other stuff.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
About 3 weeks ago I received an email from Seattle Magazine. They asked for jpegs of 3 paintings for the magazine. The images chosen were of the viaduct, and painted from the same photo. After being blown away and thrilled to bits by the email, I chuckled. The 1st painting no longer existed because the 3rd painting was painted over it. And the 2nd painting had been shipped to an art collector in NYC 2 days earlier.
So I sent the jpegs and explained that if they wanted higher resolution, only the 3rd painting could be reshot. A week later the magazine sent a photographer to my studio to shoot the piece.
Yesterday I picked up the March 2011 issue of Seattle Magazine and this painting, on page 131 takes up almost the entire page! It's a little blurb about the artists and the viaduct, advertising our 619 Western art walk on First Thursday,
36"x36", oil on canvas
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
What I thought would be about 5 hours in the office turned into 10, yet in that managed to complete certain tasks. Afterward I wound my way down to the studio. Here is yesterday's late afternoon sun that briefly hit the space. The photo doesn't come close to conveying the magical quality of the light.
Monday, February 21, 2011
"The true democrat is he who with purely nonviolent means defends his liberty and, therefore, his country's and ultimately that of the whole of mankind"
- Mahatma Gandhi
I've been following the updates from the TAA (Teaching Assistants' Association) on facebook for the last three days and have been in awe of the great ability of the tens of thousands of protesters to remain peaceful while at the same time fighting for their lives...all our lives. You can check out their website taa-madison.org here.
The weekend was a slow build up for my 4 weeks of studio time...pushing myself to spend extra hours in the workspace...with simple things such as resting on the little couch, reading up on the paintings of David Park, and figuring out what I'll need to assist with greater productivity. Craig had loaned me a drawing table, which is up against my window. But I'm going to pick up a 4 foot folding table. The extra workspace will be helpful.
Last night was a relaxing evening spent at the Tin Table with two friends, talking and sharing food. I even had the opportunity to sample some elk tartare which was quite tasty.
Today is President's Day but I opted to come into work because I have some prep to do before beginning my sabbatical on Friday. I can get much done with no one else in the office.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Nice studio time last night and spent some quality time on the phone with my parents. I totally heart my mom and dad. I've begun making a list for projects I'd like to tackle while on sabbatical.
-Inventory my studio and begin a numbering system for every painting and drawing. When the state takes possession of our building, they will need an inventory from each artist to assist with value for relocation monies.
-Photograph all my art.
-Fine tune the new system to document sold works.
-Do my taxes.
-Apply for my U.S. passport.
-Begin new drawing ideas for the viaduct.
-Work on mariegagnon.com. Update. Organize.
-Take lots of photos.
-Schedule the photo shoot to take photos of someone's puppy.
-Do much writing.
-Get together with a few friends.
-Paint. Paint. Paint.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
A Shrink Short
I contacted my shrink on Monday to see if I could have an appointment this week. Sitting on the couch I shared events of the last week regarding changed perspective, the surgery, the missing front tooth and letting go of something large that had been an integral part of most of my life. And then we spoke about my art practice and on selling a specific painting.
Near the end of the session-
shrink: no wonder you called for an appointment. the front tooth and the letting go. much loss. great feelings of vulnerability.
me: that's not why i called.
shrink: (puzzled look)
me: i was angsting over whether or not to sell a certain painting.
We both began chuckling because I heard how ludicrous it sounded and yet it was true. It wasn't an internally passive aggressive way to justify an appointment. Over the last 9 years, he and I have built such a relationship that I'm comfortable enough to even call him while in tears for a short phone call. Yes I've been feeling intensely vulnerable but felt it was manageable. What I didn't trust myself to manage was making a healthy decision about a painting.
I've come to a place where I am ready to sell work and have been doing so. But there are a few paintings that I've chosen to keep for my private collection. The reasons are varied, such as I may have hit upon something new with paint handling or I'm emotionally bound to the piece, etc. Over the weekend I discovered an additional dental bill and wondered how prudent it was to hold onto a few paintings I knew were guaranteed to sell when money was dire. I kept waffling in my decision.
Being a Buddhist as well as being a psychotherapist, I thought my shrink would be the perfect ear. I was questioning the importance of attachment to a personal art collection in the face of financial need. He saw both sides and continued to listen. As I rambled to him I realized that the painting I was angsting over was the closest thing to a self-portrait at this time in my life. Therein lay the powerful emotional connection to this particular canvas and so...for now...I continue to build my collection.
Our history is reflected in all our actions. With much work, I continue to strive for a place where my history doesn't control my behavior but instead informs it. In seeing the evolution, especially with the work, I wanted to make sure that I wasn't making the decision to keep the painting from an older wounded place when its sale would be of benefit. Yesterday's session revealed how the emotional benefit of retaining the work would be as great.
In a week and a half I begin my sabbatical. Five years ago in March 2006, I was looking forward to my sabbatical to immerse myself in paint. For the first time in my life, when I had the desire and the time, I became physically frozen and literally could not paint. That sabbatical took a turn when I mentioned it to my shrink and he said "if you can't paint, come in here." So I spent four weeks with a daily therapy appointment.
Something clicked because two months later I began painting with a stubborn drive and haven't stopped. We reminisced about that a little yesterday as I'm approaching four blissful weeks of painting time.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
About noontime our office heard horns and voices outside the building. We went out to look and noticed a protest lining the street in front of the Planned Parenthood office. It was in support of PP which was really nice to see. Planned Parenthood supporters were lined up on both sides of the street. So my coworker grabbed the hot pink office feather boa and tied it around the deck rail, draping it down the building in a small quick show of support.
With battles in D.C. to dismantle funding by House Republicans as well as the horrific news coming out of the South Dakota, it's critical to do what we can to protect choice and health funding.
Saturday, February 12, 2011
I rarely see something in a store window that makes me gasp but today it happened. Heading to the studio on the bus I saw the outfit. Opera length pearls, a long black skirt and the simple wispy top. Elegant. Classic. Damn that's gorgeous. I would so wear that look.
I don't always feel like dressing up but when I do, it's because I see something like this.
And then I turned my head to the left and saw a fireman on a stairmaster at Westlake. The firemen were doing a fundraiser for the leukemia & lymphoma society.
Studio time was odd. I'm still feeling off kilter and ripped open. Painting is especially hard right now but I pushed myself to paint a bit and then pulled out a large sketch pad and filled the page with thumbnails. For three weeks now I've been really stuck on the one certain image of the viaduct and am trying to work through it. For some reason the composition is kicking my ass.
When I arrived home "Breakfast at Tiffany's" was in my mailbox. I've never seen the film in its entirety an am looking forward to doing so this evening. Red wine and Audrey Hepburn on a rainy night sounds perfect. Look at those eyes...
Friday, February 11, 2011
In the office today for a few hours to take care of some deadlines. I plan on being in the studio this weekend.
What I didn't know until leaving the surgeon's office on Tuesday was that although I had the temporary tooth, if at all possible, they prefer I don't wear it for the first 10 - 14 days which allows the gum to heal in a better way. So...knowing the emotional, financial and physical cost, I'll be damned if I wear it too soon. I have an opening next Friday evening (which will make 10 days). Other than work, because they are family and even so, it's tough being vulnerable in front of them, I think I'm spending loads of alone time until next Friday.
It's a good thing my barista knows how I like my coffee. When I walk in, they pull the cup and I nod. I thank them as I'm walking away from them.
This whole experience is a huge lesson for my pride.
Thursday, February 10, 2011
~Just found out that there will be an amazing show running the entire month of my sabbatical at the Greg Kucera Gallery. Yes, my primary art love is paint. These speak to me in a visceral way and I'm looking forward to experiencing them. Seriously…I can't wait to see this piece in person. And I'm also looking forward to seeing Kerry Marshall's etchings hanging at the same time.
~And…although this has been hanging for a few months and it's only 4 blocks from my home, I have not had the chance to see the show. Once the museum reopens after its two week furlough, I am excited to see Wang Huaiqing's paintings. A painter's painter indeed. Definitely my kind of painter.
And in sad bookstore news…
~I don't want to imagine a world without independent bookstores which is why articles like this are heart-breaking. I haven't purchased a book through Amazon in a few years. Instead, I'll google for the info I need and then get it from my local bookstore. If they don't have it, the bookstore has always been able to order it for me. And although I see the ease of eBooks…I really need to touch the pages and be able to quickly flip back and forth between pages. Reading literature on the screen isn't the same. Text breathes warmth with ink and paper. Call me an old-fashioned girl.
Last Friday night, although you can only see Phil and I, there were 10 of us squeezed around a table for 6 at Bill's on Broadway. The photos were taken by Gryph. The hat is Gryph's.
This is so not what I look like right now. On Tuesday I had the dental surgery for the implant on my front tooth. The surgery was a piece of cake. A little pain after but easily remedied with the pain killers. The problem was the reaction I had to the narcotics used during surgery. Or the antibiotics afterward. Or both. We haven't figured it out yet. It was smooth Tuesday night but I woke up quite ill yesterday and remained so throughout the day. Two years ago when I had surgery, although the reaction was different, again I had a severe reaction to the drugs. No pain after that surgery but laid up for two weeks from the anesthesia.
Methinks I'm simply hyper-sensitive to drugs.
Thank goodness for C. He took time off from work to stay with me and tend to me. There was no way I could have been alone yesterday. This morning, although weak, I'm feeling better. I was going to do an open studio this evening and on Sunday but it's not going to happen. Tomorrow...I will head into work because a few folks are waiting for reports. And I'll keep it slow this weekend.
Tuesday, February 08, 2011
Our beloved 619 Western Arts building...
Last week's art walk brought a few surprises...one being a filmmaker and his crew. They are doing a project to capture the history of our building...and experiences which will be submitted to the Library of Congress in D.C. Anyone who has a story to share or a photo or piece of art can submit to the project.
Info found here.
Here are more interviews and the 619 page on Intersect
And...here is my interview. You can even see my new glasses. :-)
Monday, February 07, 2011
In the home stretch-
Countdown...3 weeks to prep for sabbatical here at the office and compile a list of things I'd like to work on for my 4 weeks of blissful studio time. One thing I've been thinking of is getting a printer to print small prints of some of my photography. I imagine nothing larger than 5"x7" image. There are projects I want to explore but it will have to wait until after the medical expenses are paid.
In the meanwhile, I am truly looking forward to this upcoming gift of time.
Sunday, February 06, 2011
Another full day...and now it's a full car. Time in the studio and there are almost 30 paintings in my car for a hanging tomorrow. Currently I'm sitting at the bar at 22 near my home. I had some organizing to do in my photo library as well as notes and lists to do up for the week. The idea of doing it in a fairly quiet bar with a glass of red and some awesome blues playing sounded better than sitting at home listening to super bowl fans in the apartments next to me. Tuesday is my dental surgery. Last Friday was spent running around prepping...picking up pharmaceuticals as well as my flipper which I need to bring to the oral surgeon on Tuesday.
In the last two months there's been an immense amount of change in my life. It's not one area, but every part of my life except for one has gone into a state of flux. Massive upheavals...in addition to a huge change that will be happening in the next year.
Bless my shrink. I was down to about once a month but love the fact that I feel comfortable enough with him to ask for extra appointments if I'm feeling shaky or hit by things that wouldn't be wise to handle alone. I'm going to seriously miss him when its time to leave.
Now to continue organizing photo stuff before a good friend joins me for food and more wine.
This place is slowly becoming part of my new "lets put off the end of weekend blues" routine. Before moving to Seattle, while I was on the seacoast, I would go up to Ogunquit about 4 pm on Sundays. Sometimes with friends and other times alone. I'd walk the 3 mile stretch and then hit the Front Porch in the center of town for food and drinks. I'd be back home before 8 pm and yet always felt like I had been on a vacation before starting the work week. It's about easing slowly into the new work week.
This photo is another from yesterday's sweet garden walk.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
Today I spent some delightful time at the Arboretum where a few of us wandered the Witt Winter Garden considering gardens in winter with art critic and horticulturist, Jim Demetre. It was a nice way to spend a few hours in the cool, grey mist. It was a quiet day. Nature wept.
I shot many photos and will continue to post them in the next few days.
A poem Jim featured in the web announcement:
“The Tree” by Ezra Pound
I stood still and was a tree amid the wood,
Knowing the truth of things unseen before;
Of Daphne and the laurel bow
And that god-feasting couple old
that grew elm-oak amid the wold.
'Twas not until the gods had been
Kindly entreated, and been brought within
Unto the hearth of their heart's home
That they might do this wonder thing;
Nathless I have been a tree amid the wood
And many a new thing understood
That was rank folly to my head before.
Thank you Jim.
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Yesterday I received a mention in Joey Veltkamp's Best of blog for my owl photo. Thanks Joey!
Tomorrow evening is art walk. Although I will be in the studio I am not sending out a notice because I'm also going to have an open studio next Thursday evening on Feb 10th. A few painters on my floor who do not open for First Thursdays hold their open studios a couple times a year. It's next week and they asked me if I'd be open that night as well.
It'll be good.
The bulk of my viaduct paintings will be hanging in the UDistrict and so that evening I will have a special show of older work I need to sell. My dental work is going to be costly.
So I'll send out notices next week for that open studio and it's a great time for people to check out the powerful paintings of the two Tracys, Mark Tracy and Tracy Boyd down the end of the hall. The links go to their websites.