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April 03, 2011

Lately.

I was going to ditch this blog in lieu of another site to keep non-art interested parties away from my personal life, but my other blog doesn't lend itself to being chatty. I don't know why the difficulty with persona transition.


It's a pretty day here. Yesterday I went to a funeral service for a neighbor. I've noticed that since my mom's death almost a year ago, I feel rather stoic about death and stuff. It's unfortunate. I catch myself not wanting to think about these things as celebrations of life. I've become cynical. I reflected back and wondered if in the hurry of it all, I put enough words in my mom's obit, if I honored her life enough within a two-hour visitation and graveside service, or if I just fumbled through it. I suspect the latter. At the reception afterward I was talking to a striking older woman- striking, because I liked her hair. White on top, strawberry blond on the side. Coiffed. I think about these things now. How should I dress when I'm 70, 80, 90. Should I do something dramatic with my hair? I've got a few more years before I put this into play, but as part of only child syndrome, I've always related well to adults older than me, no matter what decade of my life I am in. Twenty years seems to be a good number. I suppose at some point I could anticipate that people twenty years my junior will relate to me, though I do not know. The woman excused herself from our convo by telling me and another guest that she was volunteering for the Tea Party. "They're doing wonderful things," she said. She had a dreamy look on her face as she said this. I honestly thought I had misheard her, based on her use of the word, 'wonderful.' She was gone by the time I recovered, so I didn't have the chance to ask for clarification. I suddenly felt like I was the new neighbor in a Stepford Wife novel. 


I've been listening to Steve Martin's "An Object of Beauty" in the studio and wondering why audio books in the studio never occurred to me before. In the last ten years, I've read maybe 10 books for narrative pleasure. Everything else has been scanned or skimmed for information. The audiobook slash studiowork combo is good. There are many reviews available and since my qualifications as an avid reader aren't vetted, I simply enjoyed it from the perspective of being in a parallel universe. The timeline fits my own relatively well since I was in grad school in the 90s' which is where the novel begins. It's narrated by Campell Scott, but kept reminding me of an LA friend's deadpan voice. One of my favorite snips of dialogue was from fictional collector, Hinton Alberg: "You know what I thought when we bought the house in Montauk? Walls! More walls! You know what I think when I think when I buy a car? No walls. No goddamn walls."  I laughed out loud at that. I learned a few years ago that some collectors hang art on their ceilings, canted. I have never visited a collection like this, but a woman who owns a couple of paintings of mine said this is what they do when they run out of room. I've tried to picture it. I doubt my version is accurate. I'm curious, though.


I am slow to change. I know this. It's rather characteristic of me. I've been here 292 days. The other day, I thought maybe I was waiting for a pardon or early parole. I'm sure millions of people pick up and move their lives every day without missing a beat, but I am not one of them. {Full story deleted. Let's just say I am still adjusting.}


I took a break to see if it was as warm outside as it looked. Yes, it is nice. I walked out to the pool yard to see what the dog was barking at. Nothing, really. I went in. It's really got potential as a place to sit and relax on a sunny day- once I throw the mosquito dunks in the standing water at the bottom of the pool. I was trying to size up the effort involved in dredging and draining the pool. It's full of dead wet leaves and muddy water. I saw the turtle from last spring. It's eyes were closed and it looked a little crustier for the wear. I read about turtles hibernating so I figured it had a 50/50 chance of surviving the winter. I threw a small twig nearby and it did not stir. Dead animals freak me out, so I wasn't sure how I was going to accomplish getting it out of the pool. I moved on to another ADD motivated task. I found a long pole and started scraping back the dead leaves from the perimeter. The turtle was suddenly alive and well. He dove for cover and moved out of harm's way. I think he may be a snapper. He has a sharp beak. I need to buy tall galoshes. I saw some at my local hardware store. I'm not going to clean the pool today. I will cut shrubs however. I checked out Seven Days in the Art World. I think I'll read that by the pool/pond/wetland. 

Right now, what I'd really like is an almond croissant from a coffeehouse I worked at in the late 80's in Hyde Park, Chicago. I forgot the name of the coffee house, but I also associate it with the Smashing Pumpkins for some reason. Someone knew someone etc. Party, blah blah I can't remember. 


The painting at the studio feels like it's shaping up into a painting that I at once recognize and at once do not recognize. It feels good to work large again. It's been two years. Significant changes in those two years include my eyesight. I have to wear glasses to see things up close, but not far away, my large brushes feel funny, and since my palette table is here at the home studio, I am using makeshift palettes and working on the floor at the other studio. Small, seemingly insignificant details that affect my process.


This portion of the painting reminds me of Thomas Hart Benton. Don't ask. It just does. 


This is the painting  as it stands now- almost. I extended the maroon stripe across the center. I hope it worked. I did it on the way out and can't remember. 


I notice the similarities in my paintings and nature all the time. I rarely talk about these specifics as they require a leap of faith and I am not commenting on anything incredibly heady or intellectual. They simply are there. They are part of my vocabulary. I suppose I could talk about communication or crossed paths, but I prefer to ponder those things later. 


Dogwoods. I was listening to the An Object of Beauty and heard the dialogue above, about "wall space," when I stopped to snap this dogwood. In fact, in order to accurately quote the line, I had to mentally retrace my running route via tracks on my ipod. 


 I may write more and update later. Maybe this will be a Sunday blog. 

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