Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Today is Leap Day. And, after 11.5 years, today is my last day at the best job I've had thus far.

This photo was taken at the end of January, during one of our all staff retreats. Our regional organizers from MT, AK, ID, OR and Eastern WA gathered with us in Seattle. Our new ED had begun earlier in the month. The new staff member who is replacing me came in for the day. And of course Bodie, as always, was in attendance.

Yesterday we received a nice surprise...a wonderful article in The Puget Sound Business Journal.

From the article:
"Seattle’s Pride Foundation has been ranked the nation's No. 1 public and community foundation serving the gay community between 1970 and 2010, according to a report by Funders for LGBTQ Issues."

Read entire article here.

What a nice thing to read before leaving this place I cherish. There is much in my heart and maybe when things settle, I'll find the words.

To all who've been a part of this particular journey...thank you.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Last night on Broadway

Monday, February 27, 2012

My dresser only had a couple teddy bears and the orange containers of deodorant and so Sarah was using the space for her stuff. On Friday, I really paid attention to it and checked in with Sarah. She had unconsciously created her own Bleeding Vessels installation which spoke to the Bleeding Vessels painting.

Here is a photo I took of Sarah on Friday afternoon, as we sat at The Athenian in Pike Place, to grab some lunch.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Yesterday at Ft. Worden, with Sarah. It was a warm, rich, striking late afternoon light.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bubblegum wall at Post Alley.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sarah Elizabeth Charles and Evan Flory-Barnes rehearsing for about an hour before the show. They accidentally met at a jazz club in NYC a week earlier, both unaware that they would be performing together a week later in Seattle. It was a brilliant show in an intimate space with two exceptional talents.

Sarah created show posters yesterday morning and I had to put one on the infamous poster wall on Cap Hill.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

From Alki Beach yesterday. Sometimes the clouds are simply magnificent.

At Alki Beach. Sarah in awe of the trees on her first trip to the west coast.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Picked Sarah up at the airport last night and spent a full evening with her, chatting away. We always come together as if we had just seen each other yesterday. She may be my niece and thirty years younger, but we engage like peers and close friends.

I'm filled with elation and with sadness. There were a few goodbyes this past weekend that were painful. And although my future is filled with unknowns as well as excitement, and there is much to do, I'm cherishing my remaining time in Seattle.

Monday, February 20, 2012

I've been busy. In addition to a few farewell gatherings and prepping for the move, I've been preparing for a special guest who is arriving tomorrow and will be staying with me until Sunday. We've been planning a fun event. You are invited to:

Jazz and Art

For over four years I've yearned to have a Sarah Elizabeth Charles jazz performance combined with an exhibit of my paintings...craving a melding of art and jazz. Surprisingly, over a week ago this dream has become a reality. I am thrilled to announce an evening of Jazz and Art.

Thursday, February 23, 6:30 - 8:00 pm
Vermillion Art Gallery and Bar
1508 11th Ave
Seattle WA 98122

Sarah Elizabeth Charles is a vocalist and composer based out of New York City. Her musical stylings are unique and the intricacies to her art focus on modernizing classics and composing distinctive originals. The Vermillion show is the first time that Sarah will be performing her original compositions/arrangements as a duo with renowned Seattle-based bassist Evan Flory-Barnes. Combining this debut artistic presentation with the paintings of Seattle artists Marie Gagnon, Sue Danielson and Laura Hamje, in "Conversations in Paint: Danielson, Hamje and Gagnon" will make for an eclectic evening of art, jazz, soul, and folk.

Two of Sarahs's performances:

w/ The Jesse Elder Group Live at the Blue Note NYC-April 2010

S.E.Charles Quartet Live-November 2011

Evan Flory-Barnes website

Jazz Event Info:
Thursday, February 23rd
one set only!

Exhibit: Conversations in Paint: Danielson, Hamje and Gagnon
February 9 - March 3

Show Statement

I'm excited about all the art I see. The idea that people are creating is an energizing force, electrifying in its diversity.

Within that, I still seek out the painters who enjoy figurative and abstract, fluidly working between both, not as an either/or, but as an and. I seek painters who paint for the sheer joy, because the act of laying thickly-laden brush to canvas is synonymous with breathing. Initially, it is painting because we must; we can't not paint. Once the painting begins, our hand brings forth our subconscious. The motion of moving the hand engages our inner world and shines light in dark corners.

Whether or not we are fully aware of this internal journey, the act of painting, alone and of itself, is an act of brilliance. It is as simple as our daring to make a mark with no agenda other than our need to breathe. -Marie Gagnon (curator)

About the artists:

Sue Danielson

Sue Danielson is a self-developed acrylic painter and mixed-media artist who lives and works in Seattle. She is a Western Washington native who has also resided in Alaska and California. Her work has exhibited at regional and national venues such as: Fine Art Museum at Florida State University, the Denver Biennial, Farmington Museum in New Mexico, and Arts Center of New Jersey where she was awarded an Honorable Mention by MOMA curator Susan Kismaric. Her current representation includes Core Gallery in Seattle where her show, The Truth of What I See, will be on exhibition during February 2012.

Danielson’s work has been published in Studio Visit Magazine, and will be included in the upcoming Manifest Gallery Painting International II (juried), to be published in summer of 2012.

For more information, please visit and

Laura Hamje

Laura Hamje's work has been included in juried exhibitions at Art/Not Terminal Gallery in Seattle (2011); the gallery at Clatsop Community College in Astoria, Oregon (2011); and Sixth Street Gallery in Vancouver, Washington (2009). Hamje, a 2008 graduate of the University of Washington, currently lives and works in Seattle. Her work is represented by Prographica.

Marie Gagnon

Marie Gagnon is a painter, sex activist and culture warrior. Born to a painter and a physician, her first art lessons came from her mom while growing up in Western MA. After far too much procrastination, Marie received her BFA from the University of New Hampshire in 1996. She has had solo shows in NH, MA and Seattle. Marie’s work has also been included in exhibits in New York City and Oakland CA and has work that will be featured in an upcoming HBO movie, release date 2013. A refugee of the 619 Western Arts building, and after enjoying Seattle for 13 years, Marie looks forward to returning to the New England coast in March where she will relocate to Providence RI.

Hope to see you there!!!!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yesterday was filled with the beginnings of my farewell parties. First, a wonderful lunch and conversation with our stupendous board president. A few hours later, it was with the staff. The coworker I've worked with the longest (11 years and 3 months) is beginning his sabbatical and we will no longer be working together. So the staff gathered at The Local Vine on 12th Ave for food, drinks, laughter and memory sharing. I have six working days remaining and began training the new me a few days ago.

Today, another party, thrown by my best friends. Considering I'm not a night owl...the party begins in a few hours and will run into the night. Conversation and camaraderie upstairs. Play and prancing downstairs, in the dungeon.

I intend on planning many more gatherings with all the various circles in my life but they need to wait until March. My niece is flying in from NYC next week to spend almost five days with me. She wanted to see Seattle before I left. I should be getting the details in the next day or so but I'm excited to say that we tentatively have a jazz gig planned at the gallery on Thursday evening. full.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A few more conversations from my current show.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pairings -

Going through files I found this large (about 3 ft) charcoal drawing from 1996 and the photo, taken 12 years later, in November 2008. I'm fascinated because it reminds me we all have a personal creative language which crops up regardless of time and place. I've been thinking a lot about the artist and their personal symbols and have begun paying attention to the symbols that show up in my work whether it is conscious or not.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

(found in my neighbor's window at 5:30 this morning)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Here are some of the "conversations" from the exhibit. I apologize for the crappy photos and have plans to take better ones in the next week or two.

Three different artists…two of us have known each other for a year and we met the third in the last couple months.

Many of our paintings span the last four years.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Today was loads of much need resting and now it's back to the business of moving. I did walk to another gallery on the Hill to check out a friend's beautiful and dynamic paintings. Took this photo on my way home. This afternoon it was time to tackle my two dressers to sort clothes. I tossed out a large trash bag of clothes and put quite a bit in our apartment hallway where the "up for grabs" can be found. Tomorrow, I'll dive into the bottom of my closet. The more I can sort/toss/give away now, the less stressful my last few weeks will be. I want to enjoy them, relaxed...immersed in Seattle and my people.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Thank you to all who came by last night for the opening. It was astounding. I can't even remember everyone I spoke with, chatting folks up for about 3 1/2 hours. The show was received very positively and we, Sue, Laura and myself, were thrilled with the results. We all felt it was the best collaboration we experienced thus far.

On Tuesday evening we had almost a 100 paintings on the floor and it was overwhelming. I wondered what I had gotten us into. But slowly we began to see themes and little by little we were able to create many conversations on the walls. Groupings of paintings.

It was energizing as we'd talk with the work in hand...sorting and separating. There was no drama. No egos in play. We didn't need to all have a painting in each grouping. What came through was a working together, each using our work to create something larger than the individual.

On Tuesday night after the bulk of the install, I went to bed sore, very tired, and perfectly satiated. I felt exactly like I'd just had really fabulous sex.

This is the first time I've curated a show and taking on such a challenge six weeks before moving is almost insane. But I learned I can do it and now have another skill to tuck in my back pocket. The reception last night exceeded my expectations. The conversations and people were delightful.

I hope to have photos soon. Right now, I'm curled up in my chair, still flying high and enjoying a strawberry champagne cupcake that a dear coworker gifted to me at the opening.

For those who still want to see it, the exhibit goes through March 3.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

This morning called for unwinding with a hot bubble bath. It's one of my perfect calming treats before special events such as tonight's opening at Vermillion.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Getting ready to hang the show, Conversations In Paint: Danielson, Hamje and Gagnon.

Photo taken early in the evening and we were there until after 11 pm last night. Need to return for another hour or two this evening. I had asked Sue and Laura to each bring between 20 and 30 paintings knowing we'd all be taking our extras home. It gave us a strong inventory to work from.

Super excited about the show because it came together really great.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012


Hanging the show tonight.
Studio group tomorrow night.
Show opening Thursday night.

Sunday, February 05, 2012

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Look at what I saw today!

(forgive my clumsy writing. I'm still emotionally and physically spent after this long week but wanted to write this entry)

My time in the Senate Gallery witnessing the vote on SB6239 for marriage equality -

Our entire staff (including the regional folks from AK, ID, MT, OR and eastern WA) happened to be spending this past week in the Seattle office. There were many meetings in addition to our regular work which made for a very full week. I spent most of it working over 12 hour days.

On Tuesday, we discovered that the Senate vote for marriage equality was going to take place Wednesday evening. We were thrilled at the synchronicity because our entire staff could head to the state capitol in Olympia to witness the historical event. Wednesday morning I hit my wall and almost cancelled. One of my guys emotionally encouraged me and it gave me the strength to attend the proceedings. I'm very grateful to him.

We went early to get seats in the Senate Gallery, arriving about 3ish although the Senate wasn't going to meet until 6pm. Some of the staff showed up in the morning to meet with legislators and other folks.

Going into session, the Senate knew they already had the required 25 votes. But they needed to caucus and then back on the floor to speak for and against the many amendments that were tacked onto Senate Bill 6239...most to protect religious institutions and organizations before the final vote.

Listening to the arguments for religious protection honestly...was painful. All I could think was that these religious folks who believe in such a powerful god were so afraid that they needed to create amendment after amendment to protect their rights. It made me think that if their god was really omnipotent they wouldn't need all the stipulations. In my personal belief system, what I consider super powerful cannot have its core touched by common man.

It was incredibly profound to listen to these Senators, albeit speak very respectfully, in an attempt to take away the fact that I am deserving of the same rights as the majority. An attempt to protect themselves because clearly we are such a threat. It actually hurt my heart to list to them. I could feel their fear and it saddened me.

Also, I now believe that everyone, regardless of faith, orientation, race, gender, etc....everyone in the world should have the experience of listening to people in power attempt to argue away their basic human rights. It is sobering. But mostly, I found it humiliating.

Having said all that, the speeches both for and against held so much authenticity. We were fortunate to hear nothing that felt speechifying...and instead, witnessed genuine heartfelt belief. Even if I didn't agree with the speaker, I could not deny he/she was speaking from the heart. A few Senators voting for the bill admitted they were going against the will of their constituents. Their courage in voting yea meant they were, as a coworker said yesterday "signing their own pink slips". Another stood up to explain why he was voting against the bill. His voice broke as he asked for forgiveness because he knew his vote would hurt us and yet he honestly believed he was doing the right thing based on his spiritual beliefs. You could hear the conflict in his voice and it was a good reminder for me that life is filled with so much grey. Not everything is black and white. We really need to walk in the shoes of another to get an inkling of where they are coming from.

During all this I'd periodically look around the gallery and see tears in the eyes of the audience. I felt the compassion and pain emanating from the crowd that would come from the words spoken on the Senate floor.

I was honored to be surrounded by so much passion on both sides of the debate. Not once did I hear the ludicrous and irrational arguments that are inundating our media. This group of Senators, even those I didn't agree with, all spoke with an integrity that we don't often hear in such a group. In that, they all had my respect.

We live in a world of fast-paced news cycles, social media, instant internet and shortened attention spans. But most of life, if one chooses to live deeply, cannot be boiled down to soundbites. Life has many facets and we need to continually remind ourselves of context. As we increasingly twitter-fy our lives we lose the richness which I believe makes life worth living as well as it makes it easy to forget that no matter what side of an issue we are on, we are all connected.

Sitting in the Senate gallery Wednesday evening, I was immersed in the rich substance of life and even tonight, am still feeling incredibly blessed.

Here are some photos from Wednesday. It's a small capsule beginning as I was walking up to the Capitol, to getting my seat, watching the media set up, and people around me all engrossed as we'd be mentally counting the yeas and nahs for each amendment until, we won the final vote with not 25 but 28 votes. The second to the last photo is Senator Murray who has been tirelessly working on the bill for many years standing before the final vote. Near the curtain is our governor, Christine Gregoire, and Ed Murray's longtime partner Michael peeking out. I was thrilled to be able to capture that one.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Compare and contrast...

Senator Ed Murray on the bottom right, with Governor Gregoire and Representative Jamie Pedersen in the wings, waiting for the vote on SB 6239.

The Daughters of Edward Darley Boit by John Singer Sargent.

Yesterday I arrived, with my coworkers, at the Capitol in Olympia to witness the historic Senate vote on SB 6239 for marriage equality. We arrived at 3:30 and positioned ourselves in the Senate gallery for the process that was to begin at 6pm. It was a powerful experience and I hope to share more about it after I’m rested. (I've been working 12 plus hour days this week.)

But very late last night, as soon as I uploaded my photos and saw this particular photo I immediately thought of one of my all time favorite paintings ever by my art god, John Singer Sargent. I studied his use of whites quite a bit during my research fellowship in the late ‘90’s.

In addition to the similar composition, I was powerfully struck by the idea behind the two pieces: Anticipation.

The painting has a sense of four young girls possibly unaware of their anticipation for their burgeoning maturity whereas the photo depicts a conscious anticipation for the evolving maturity of our society as we work to embrace greater justice for all people.