Saturday, April 30, 2011
Something magical happened today.
I was in the studio painting the new piece and twice, during my painting session, I cried. In between the tears, I was painting, singing and dancing around the space.
The tears were joyful tears. I was so damned happy to be painting and I haven't felt that level of exuberance for paint in a long time. Years. Normally, it's simply work. Sometimes with a good dose of happy or contentment. Today it was pure ecstasy.
I have no idea if the painting will work. But I'm jazzed to be working it. Times like these are far between and boy oh boy, I cherish them when they happen.
It was a busy day, beginning with a visit about the June show. I was in the studio just after 8 am. After much deliberation, ten pieces were chosen for the show. I went home for lunch and headed back to the studio later in the afternoon, beginning with a trip to the printer's and then to stock up on more canvases. I don't normally paint late in the evening but tonight I did. Inspiration comes from so many different places and I try to take advantage of it when it happens.
A friend had posted a photo of herself on facebook. I immediately not only fell in love with the composition, the energy, the quirkiness and the light but knew I had to paint it. So a few emails were exchanged and I received her joyful consent along with a jpeg. Throwing it on a flashdrive I brought it to Kinko's and had them print out a color copy while I was picking up my business cards.
I had to begin the painting this evening. and it felt so good to paint something so different from my current series. Right now I'm in that wonderful stage of observation and measuring. It's such a relaxing place to be with a work and brought back a familiar feeling from my thesis year.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Another photo from EMP on Friday...and a mishmash of thoughts.
~Yesterday I went to the printer's and ordered a new batch of business cards.
~Today a friend loaned me his tripod so I can photograph a painting for a group show installation piece I'm involved with in June in the heart of Pioneer Square.
~Friday morning, the gallery director from the solo show that's booked for June is coming by to choose the work.
~And now that I can bend my knee with less discomfort, it is back to the studio after work. I'm trying to finish a painting for a mid-May art call.
~My boss...the one who hired me, is leaving at the end of May. We've worked together ten and a half years. I'm thrilled for her new opportunity and sad because our work culture is due in large part to her. I woke this morning feeling the ticking of the hours before she moves on.
~In the last few months, there has been an exciting increase in more frequent and smaller play parties.
~There is so much writing to do. I've been looking at all the work I've done in the last 5 years and seeing connections between the various series and desire to compile a larger more general art statement that is not series specific. How do I succinctly explain why I paint what I paint? I don't like intellectual-speak in statements, instead preferring shorter, more direct phrasing. I am just now reminded of March's art walk. A woman came up to me, said she loved my short statement on the viaduct series and asked for permission to photograph it. She mentioned she was an art teacher and had been trying to explain to her students that less is more.
Last year I stumbled across the Six Word Memoir - encapsulate your life story in six words. Yes, the brevity leaves much out but can also push you to the core. No room for frills. I immediately wondered what my six word memoir would be and in a flash six words describing my life filled my head:
Are you strong enough for me?
The words came so quickly it blew me away. I brought it to my therapy session and let it evolve into a mental/emotional exercise. It then morphed to:
Can you be strong with me?
It's a subtle but important change. More gentle. Less accusatory. Now my favorite is - can we be strong together? But I can't make that six words.
In mentally working a statement and titles, I keep returning to the six word memoir in an attempt to focus on clarity. And now...I need to refocus on the tasks at my desk and see if I can achieve some clarity with a few report requests.
EDIT: A good friend just read my entry and emailed me with a solution for my six word memoir: Can we both be strong, together?
I love it. It's perfect. And as I told him, I like that the solution came from outside of me.
Monday, April 25, 2011
I've been documenting the light in the studio for a project. This is from Saturday morning.
My two walls were packed with art work and I finally began taking work down in an attempt to direct my focus to two different viewpoints. Separating them, I put the paintings of my drawing table on one wall and the city scene with the viaduct on the other. Sometimes the walls get so cluttered that it's tough to look at the new work without distraction.
Friday night while walking with Mark and Eric, I was responding quickly to a text I received, didn't pay attention to the curb we were stepping down from and fell. Bloodied up my left knee pretty good.
Saturday morning I needed to get out, grab coffee, groceries, more bandages and bag balm so I left the house early and also grabbed a little studio time. I knew that upon my return I'd mostly be house bound for the remainder of the weekend. Very sadly, I needed to miss a friend's birthday party Saturday evening but on the up side, Roger and David brought over freshly made hot cross buns on Saturday afternoon.
Skinned knees hurt more at 51 than at 5 but it's healing well. This morning I was able to wet my entire leg in the shower. Bag balm is magic. I could make it down the stairs with only a little pain and very little hobbling.
That will teach me not to respond to a text while walking with friends. My body was keeping pace with theirs and so I wasn't paying attention to what was in front of me. It was a dorky move.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
14"x11", oil on canvas.
It's a quiet little painting. Nothing flashy. And yet, it's one of my favorites. I completed it last month and sold it this week. This morning I was in the studio packing it up and although thrilled for the sale and for where it is going, feeling a sense of loss that I won't be able to look at it everyday.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
A tale of a painting in four chapters. Actually there were many more stages before the first image and in between each but this is all I've documented thus far. And the story is still unfinished.
I've been working on this poor canvas since last October. It's only a 36"x18" painting, oil on canvas. Normally, when a painting doesn't work, I will turn it upside down or on its side and begin an entirely new composition. For some reason, I became quite tenacious and decided I was going to make this particular image work. Somehow. Someway.
I wish I'd photographed each step. The jpegs are posted in order of earliest to the most recent.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I did this drawing about a month ago. It is red chalk, charcoal and graphite on 18"x24" paper. The words had been swirling in my body that day and left me frozen and couldn't paint. So I pulled an old sheet which was used on the other side and worked it with full intention of tossing it once it was marked. I even tore the corner when I needed to grab paper to write down a phone number.
The next morning I came into the studio and looked at it again. Ripped and wrinkled, I attached it to another large sheet and hung it on the wall.
Over the last few years I've been slowly working a series of text pieces. This piece is part of that collection.
For a long time now I have been carrying a great sense of humiliation. Of regret. Of sorrow.
Almost every time I see my therapist I begin with "so when is this going to end? Fix me!"
He smiles...such a caring smile, while saying "you are doing it. It takes time."
I've learned that our culture doesn't allow for full grieving space. Instead it's "cheer up, it's not so bad..." or "it'll get better" or "haven't you gotten over that yet?" We aren't comfortable with deep sorrow...with loss. And so we escape. We distract ourselves. As a society we immerse our beings in music, in drugs, in people, in color, in flash, in noise, in sex, in busy-ness. Even when actually grasping the silence and slowing down my life to allow for fuller healing, I feel guilty for still being haunted.
I know that with certain types of loss, we will always carry a small part which quiets in moments and is louder in others. When the loss is great I don't expect it to entirely vanish from my being.
Some things take time. As I once wrote, we can't twitter our healing.
But in the last six months I have become increasingly sadder while at the same time fully aware and pleased that the painting is progressing, the job is flourishing, and certain aspects of my sex are slowly returning. This morning's horoscope from Rob Brezsny gave me a wee bit of hope:
Capricorn - The next phase of your life will be an excellent time to unbreak your heart. Here's what I mean by that: You will have extra power to dissolve any pain that still lingers from the romantic disappointments of the past. You'll be able to summon acute insights into how to dismantle the sodden and unnecessary defenses you built to protect yourself from loss and humiliation. You will find it easier than ever before to forgive and forget any close companion who hurt you. So get out there, Capricorn, and launch the joyful process of restoring your love muscles to their original potency.
Unbreak my heart.
One day my heart will wake smiling.
Work meeting two nights ago at Coastal Kitchen. The rainboots are part of Coastal's current festival celebrating Seattle. We were sitting near my 60"x36" painting of the viaduct and talk flowed from work to art.
Over plates of delicious mussels and oysters accompanied by glasses of wine, my dinner companion mentioned they desired to buy some work from me but wasn't sure if they could afford it. I said buying art is choosing a lover. I believe it should be an emotional choice. It's not about name, fame or popularity. Art needs to speak to you. Pull at you. Make you hunger for it. Consume your thoughts. And when one finds that strong connection with a work of art, I will do what I can to make it possible to purchase what has captivated them.
Last night before dinner with Mark and Eric, I had a meeting with a gallery owner and booked a solo show for June. He will be coming to the studio next week to choose the art and the image he wants for the notification and postcards. It looks like it will be a mix, including some of my works on paper from 2006 & 2007. Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it.
It's been a busy week and it's only Wednesday.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Yesterday I went to a friend's open studio. He has a space in the old INS building that is being converted into an arts space with work studios. It is called INScape. There are still rooms available...not yet converted and holding remnants of its past, such as this bed. It's a lovely old building, filled with history and for some, not pleasant memories. You can feel the ghosts of those who were detained here mixing with the burgeoning creative spirit that is slowly beginning to fill the halls.
As he gave me a little tour, every once in a while a white sheet of paper would be posted near a door - "chinese boys dormitory", or "furnace and laboratory". That last sign confused me. It was on the 4th floor across the hall from my friend's studio. He then mentioned that the 4th floor was not used by INS but it was the assay office for the Klondike gold rush. My friend mentioned that history was creeping in his work because for the first time, he was using gold in his paintings and sculptures. Standing in the middle of his space I did find myself surrounded by the warm metallic glow.
Here's a little bit of history on this 77,000 square foot building known as the Ellis Island of the northwest.
There are a few photos with this article written by Jen Graves on Inscape.
This photo was taken in a room that had windows on three walls. Light filled the space. On the left I could see the recreation courtyard where detainees would be allowed outside. Before entering this large room, there was a little door on the left which was a lavatory. Old sinks and then another room with bathroom stalls and urinals lining one wall.
The idea of working in such a space is incredibly sexy. Creation bursting from containment. Powerful stuff.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
A bit of Bodie...
Bodie spent all day yesterday in doggie daycare. Today, he was exhausted. So tired that not only did he fall asleep for over an hour in my chair this morning, but not once would he get up and follow anyone into the kitchen...as he always does. My yogurt didn't even excite him and normally he sits beside me while I have breakfast and hopes for the remnants of my yogurt. It's food and a toy in one. He'll stick his nose in the container trying to lick the last few drops and then walk around with the container in his mouth, until he's chewed it to bits. With J's permission I only indulge him once every week or two. It's too damned cute but I loathe obnoxious begging and so won't encourage it.
J told me that Bodie was so tired this morning he didn't want to walk to work. He got as far as the sidewalk, turned around and sat on the porch. I thought young pups had limitless energy.
I left halfway through the day because I'm still sick. The puppy was still being hugely lazy. Looking at the photo I'm trying to channel a little Bodie because I'm antsy and know I need to stay put otherwise it'll take longer to recuperate.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I painted the first five on Saturday during the same work session, choosing to do one after the other in a determined attempt to achieve something I've yet to attain. I can't even articulate what that something is...but will know it when I see it. The bottom two were painted Monday evening after work. Still not there yet. And yesterdays paintings are a total mess. I'm pretty frustrated.
These are all 11"x14" or 12"x18". One is a 16"x20". All oil on canvas. Five were painted over older paintings.
This morning I woke at 4 am, totally sick. Chills. Vomiting. Achey. Finally I'm beginning to feel a little better and was able to eat about an hour ago. There is so much to do at work and I had planned on a long, full day. Instead, it'll happen tomorrow.
Photo taken yesterday afternoon.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
This was from a Tuesday night dinner at Coastal Kitchen with C & B at the end of February. They were featuring foods from Normandy. I tasted duck cassoulet, and enjoyed Sole a la Normande as well as a pate made with salmon, other goodies and accented with caviar. Great company and as always, Coastal doesn't disappoint.
(I shot the photo the last week of February and had saved it in a draft this entire time. See how my life is? Looking to post something quickly, I went through my blogger drafts and found it. It feels a little appropriate because I plan on eating there this week with a couple friends and sampling their new festival menu which has changed from Normandy to Seattle. And I'll get to see my paintings hanging in the space.)
Monday, April 11, 2011
A couple photos from the conservatory...
My work computer was hit by a virus last week. It made for an awkward time, attempting to do my work on a laptop in another space and feeling unsettled because I didn't have easy and familiar access to my files and data.
Our tech support had been working on it remotely from Tuesday through the week. On Thursday, they came in and picked up my computer so they could deal with it at the office because the OS was shot. When I came in this morning, I saw they had returned my unit. I expected a few changes. But only a few.
Instead, my donor software isn't loaded. I can't access all the shared drives on the network. And for some crazy reason, they downloaded Office Vista when we chose not to use that in the office.
I've spent almost four hours reinstalling my browser, iTunes, and trying to find everything so I can customize...getting rid of the extra bells and whistles.
One thing I truly loathe is that upgrades to software are creating cutesier icons and interfaces. In doing so, it creates a more cluttered feel. It's as if they are dumbing down to the population. I see it in MS and in Apple. It drives me crazy.
On a better note...because I don't know when tech support will return my call and I can actually do some needed work, I am looking forward to the studio this evening.
Yesterday was a wonderful two hour studio visit with hugely productive critiques. I'm not as puzzled by the paintings because I finally have a clearer sense of direction. Tonight I'm diving into a few works that I've been afraid to touch for about three months.
And it's sunny today.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
I had planned on taking today off from the studio in an attempt to have one day a week that doesn't revolve around the day job or painting. But a studio visit had been booked and so am headed down in a few minutes.
Seeing there's a damned Mariners game today which means no parking, I'll be bussing it. I was hoping to stop at Utrecht for more art supplies but it'll have to wait. Began a new book yesterday which will fill my commuting time and am thoroughly enjoying it. It funny in a twisted way: "The Three Weissmanns of Westport" by Cathleen Schine. Here is the NYTimes review on the book.
I needed something light and not so heart-provoking after finally finishing "Just Kids" by Patti Smith which I highly recommend. Yes it's an easy read but I intentionally took my time because not only did it bring back too many memories but also desired to savor her prose. For me, reading her words had the same feel of slowly walking through the waves at Ogunquit on a hot summer day. I can walk for miles and not want it to end.
And now, off to meet the bus before I miss it.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Friday, April 08, 2011
The hallway outside my studio is a gallery every First Thursday. This is the morning after. It was a packed evening. To all my friends who showed up, I'm sorry I couldn't spend much time with you. I didn't stop talking for over four hours. Person after person. It was a good evening. I was surprised that there was such a demand for the small drawings in various mediums: ebony pencil, charcoal and black watercolor. This wall is the wall that holds the bulk of my sabbatical work.
Normally I work more monochromatically for about a week and then return to full blown color. This time, I'm still immersing myself in a limited palette and am enjoying the challenge.
An insightful friend and his boy had been sitting on the couch which faces this wall for quite a while. He was studying the work. Near the end of the evening he asked me if it was painful to work on these. He could tell. I shared stories of the struggles I'd having getting into the studio to work them. I like that he's one of the few who can sense the deeper goings on in the creation of the paintings.
There was a nice dinner before art walk with a good friend who I rarely see. She gifted me with a wonderful treat - a little red box that contained hand made chocolate labias. Totally tasty with the added bonus of a little spicy kick that showed up after the chocolate. I enjoyed sharing them with a few friends...asking if they'd like to partake of my chocolate pussies.
Today, I was incredibly spent but needed to return to the studio for an interview this afternoon with a journalist for an article on sexuality. And tonight...I'm crashing.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I've been working quite a few paintings from this view over the last month. This one, 30"x40", oil on canvas.
From my FB events notice for tomorrow's art walk:
April Art Walk - The Fruits of a Sabbatical
Thanks to Pride Foundation, the amazing organization I've been with for ten and a half years, I was able to take a four week sabbatical this past March. Other than much rest and a little socializing, the bulk of my time was spent in the studio. The walls are filled with working drawings, ideas and paintings in progress. For April's art walk, I'll be exhibiting much of the exploration I've focused on during this blessed gift of time.
I'm still working images of the viaduct, but like all my series, after being inspired by a subject matter and working with it a while, the subject simply becomes the vehicle to focus on paint, composition, space, light.
For those of you who don't live in Seattle...it rarely thunders here. I truly miss thunderstorms and we may get them a couple times a year if we are lucky. It began thundering about 20 minutes ago. Thus far only two claps of thunder but for Seattle, that's a lot.
Weather outside my living room window right now…
...and I miss fireflies.
While sitting at J's desk, Bodie wanted more people time and hopped on my lap and from there to the desk. The week before I left on sabbatical, he spent an unusually extra amount of time in my office...laying on the floor near my feet, or stretched out in the entrance of my office. I wondered if he was sensing that I'd be away for a while.
Upon my return, he's been again spending extra time with me. I heart this dog.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Back in the studio last night...cleaning up for art walk and decided to paint a little 12"x12" piece. It's the first of many little studies for the large 60"x60" painting I began last week.
I'm still recuperating and so have little energy for the open studio on Thursday...although I will be there. The work is getting to a point where if I wasn't sharing a space with another artist I wouldn't participate in every art walk. Taking about 5 days out every month for cleaning/organizing/showing/regrouping is disruptive. I've begun a new series in addition to the viaduct ptgs that I want to explore further without having to find a place to hide them for art walk. I want my walls to remain messy and filled with notes without having to turn it into a little gallery every 4 weeks.
Next year when I move out of this studio it will change. In the meanwhile, I will take advantage of the art walks because there are only about 10 left in the 619 Western building.
Enjoying a brussel sprouts-cranberries-hazelnuts with cheese salad from Trader Joe's for lunch. Pretty tasty. A couple fig newtons and a vanilla yogurt were my breakfast.
It's a sunny/cloudy, spitting rain/snow and is cold/warmish. Mother Nature is indecisive today.
Photo taken at the Volunteer Park Conservatory...
Monday, April 04, 2011
Enjoying my second cup of coffee and slowly working my way into deciding which projects need to be tackled here at my desk.
This evening I hope to return to the studio although after losing an entire week to being sick and with art walk this Thursday...I probably won't do more than clean and set up the space. And work on smaller pieces at home.
I received a very heart warming email from an ex...an ex from when I lived on the seacoast. It was a nice way to begin a morning. She and I reconnected a few months back and I'm thrilled that we are re-establishing a friendship. It gives me hope.
This year is truly becoming a year of completions...my past coming round again and resolving itself in magical ways.
Life is funny.
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Today was the first day in a week that I felt almost back to my old self. No cold meds. And fairly normal. Yesterday, sadly, I was so sick that I needed to cancel concert plans in the evening. For a friend's birthday, I surprised him with tickets to a stage production of The Rocky Horror Show playing at Open Circle Theatre in Belltown this afternoon. It's a delightfully small space on the second floor. I don't think it seated more than 150 people. I love seeing shows that aren't slick and massively produced. They are filled with a quirkiness and a raw unsettled energy that can't be found in the larger mainstream venues. I enjoy the big productions but the smaller spaces do have my heart. When I live back east, I would hit small theater productions about every month.
I have a few photos I've wanted to post from my afternoon in the conservatory and am finally getting round to it with this one.
Friday, April 01, 2011
A photo from last week on sabbatical...across the street from my studio. It was a gorgeous day. The weather, perfect. I was in the studio early, then hit a few galleries where I experienced one of those rare potent moments with art work...and a wonderful evening with good friends. All in all, it was a good day.
Early this morning I hung 10 paintings from the Bleeding Vessels series at the Hopvine on 15th Ave E near the corner of E. Republican. They range in size from 12"x12" up to 30"x40". They will be hanging the entire month of April. About four doors south, I have 5 paintings from the viaduct series at Coastal Kitchen. The viaduct pieces will be on display until June 20.
Now...I'm back home where I'm spending the bulk of the weekend resting and trying to get over this damned cold. That is, other than a Seattle Men's Concert on Saturday evening and a surprise birthday treat I've planned for a friend on Sunday afternoon. Both of which I'm looking forward to experiencing.
It's a rainy, cool day which lends itself to huddling in a blanket, watching dvds, drinking tea, taking cold meds and not feeling guilty for taking it slow.