Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Today, for example, I had an 8 AM appointment with Larkin Garbee, the owner of James River Tile. Larkin saw Sacred Flesh and immediately started thinking about how she could help others see it too. She has invited me to hang it at her company's showroom (a very cool place with amazing tiles all over the walls - check it out!) and is planning a black tie dinner for Valentine's Day, to be entitled Love Your Body, to showcase it. We met today so I could see her space and to discuss more details of the dinner. It's amazing to collaborate with others about things - so many great ideas get generated, ones I never could have come up with on my own!
After meeting with Larkin, I went and took down an exhibit I'd had at the Central Virginia Legal Aid building. They had asked for an artist to show his/her work there to help brighten up their offices, so I put some of my fruits there in June. I'm glad to have gotten them back home - Larkin would like me to show those at her place too.
At 10, I went to Johnston Willis Hospital to meet with a woman about having my students have an art show in their cafeteria. They have a beautiful space which was carefully designed for art displays and are looking for folks to show there. One of my students works there and told me about the opportunity. I've arranged for them to show in April. I think it'll be very exciting - it'll be a juried show with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons. For many of the students, it will be their first opportunity to show their work in public! We're planning to have a small reception in their honor as well.
After meeting at the hospital, I came back home and did some office work - emails, etc., then finally got into the studio at 1:30. I spent the afternoon painting the small 6"x6" canvases to go around Don't Mess with Me. I have finished 15 of them, I think - 5 more to go! It's quite a process! Today I painted some garlic, a seashell, a wooden puzzle, and finished an apple and some broccoli from yesterday. Unfortunately I can't show you how they look yet because my camera is at the shop for repairs. Hopefully I'll hear tomorrow what's up with it and how much it'll cost to fix.
This evening I've spent more time painting the small canvases, printing up tags for a show, sending my resume and artist statement and list of pieces out to the curator for a show. In a few minutes I have to go organize the pieces for that show so I can take them to be hung tomorrow. It's a lot of work keeping track of all this, but it's so much fun!
While I'm working out in the studio, Chris has been in the wood shop the last few weeks working on a very elaborate frame for Don't Mess with Me. It has one 18" opening plus 20 6" openings surrounding the central one. He thought he was almost finished, but when he went to put it together, he found things didn't fit right. He said he's learned a lot from his first attempt and will be able to do it more quickly this time around. I would be so frustrated I would screech with fury, but he is so patient and persistent, he seems OK with starting all over from scratch. Good thing it's him and not me! I feel incredibly blessed to have his support and help in my art. I couldn't do it all without him. He is an amazing man and a real blessing.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Here's the link if you're curious what she had to say. It's Monday's post, so you have to scroll down just a little bit.
To sign up, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll put you on the list. We can only take 15 students, so be sure to sign up quickly if you're interested. We're expecting the class to fill quickly.
Sunday, December 26, 2010
As the saying goes Necessity is the mother of invention. David Sorg had searched for an easel that would not only make painting more enjoyable but also almost disappear; being a true extension of the painting rather than a support for it. After looking at all the other easels David created this inc...
I like it, with reservations
Pros: Sturdy Tripod
Best Uses: Larger Rooms
Describe Yourself: Quality Oriented
Primary use: Business
I am an artist who paints large scale oils (up to 8'x6') and needed an easel big enough to hold the biggest pieces. This easel appears to be able to do that well. The interesting thing I've found about it is that it doesn't go down low enough to be able to paint the top of a 4' piece while sitting. The tray of my other easel goes down almost to the floor, so it isn't an issue with that one.
The easel seems well-designed. We had some trouble putting it together though - this might not make any sense now, but if you buy it and are trying to put it together, there's a stage when you stand it up to vertical - make sure the mast isn't in the way when you do that, or you might break it in two! Thankfully we figured out what was keeping it from rising up before that happened! It would have been helpful if the instructions had included that tidbit of advice.
The construction is a bit flimsier than I expected it to be - the melamine tray came with a corner missing, and the "drawer pull" for the handy brush holder pulled off the first time I used it. I was able to glue it back on, but I hope it doesn't indicate other issues I may have to deal with. Also, the metal solvent holders are nice, but the screens to wipe the brush against are only 3/4" from the bottom, so you can't put much solvent into them without causing damage to the brush when cleaning it.
It is nice to be able to lift the canvas fairly easily. I don't know if it'll get easier as I use it more or not, but it does take some muscle to lift and lower the canvas. It doesn't work with a fingertip!
I like the sandpaper on the canvas holders. It works well to hold the canvas out from the easel so I can paint the edges. Again, though, the sandpaper came somewhat damaged. I'm guessing that when David built these himself, these details were well-attended to. Having them made in China certainly reduces the price (and made it so I could buy one), but there is a loss in quality.
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Today I started to get a feel for what he meant.
Yesterday I met with a publisher who is working with me to develop ideas for my book. It was an exhilarating meeting. She has great ideas, is a great listener, and isn't pushy in the least. I feel like God sent me an angel to help me put the pieces together so that the book can come into being. It was truly amazing.
Today was the first uninterrupted day I've had in the studio since I stopped tutoring. (And I have to go to Chris's office party at 5:30, so it isn't quite a full day, but I've sure made the most of it.) It has been fantastic to have time to explore and do things I've been wanting to do for ages.
As soon as I woke up, I couldn't wait to get up, but I decided to do Morning Pages first so I could blow the cobwebs out of my sleepy brain to help me for the rest of the day. Then I did 30 minutes of yoga so I could get the creaks out of my body and so I could have more focus in the studio.
After a shower, I took my camera to the post office to send it to Canon for repairs - I was in the middle of a photo shoot a couple of days ago and it completely stopped working. One of the pins that goes into the memory card broke and I have no way of fixing it myself, so Canon will have to help me out. $180 - ouch. But at least I'll have my camera back. A friend lent me her Nikon because I had another model coming yesterday, so I'm not out of commission, thankfully.
On the way to the post office, I was going down Pinetta here in BonAir. I saw a police car so I slowed down, as is my wont. I was going 36 so figured I was probably fine. I was quite surprised to see the car pull out behind me with lights flashing. I pulled into the Post Office parking lot with the squad car behind me. A policewoman got out of the car. I rolled down the window and asked with concern if I'd done anything wrong. I couldn't imagine. She asked if I know the speed limit on Pinetta. I thought about it and realized I didn't - I figured it was probably 35. She said it was 25! Yikes. I said, "Then I did do something wrong. Geez." She asked for my license and registration. I gave her my license then started scouring the car for my registration. I had no clue where it would be. I haven't needed it since we bought the car 18 months ago. She went back and ran a check on my license while I looked for the registration. I couldn't find it. She said, "Well, you have a good driving record so I'm going to give you a Christmas present and only give you a warning. But make sure you go home and find your registration and put it with your insurance information in an envelope and put both in the car. If you have an accident you'll need them both." I was SO relieved. Here I was going to the PO to send my camera to get fixed, an unexpected expense - if I'd had to add a speeding ticket - 19 miles a hour over the speed limit - I would have been really upset. Horrible. I am very thankful for her kindness. It was truly a lovely gift.
After driving home VERY SLOWLY (and waving at the officer as I drove by her), I came out to the studio as quickly as I could and started painting. I worked on the new picture of Valley, refining the painting I'd done on her hands and breasts. They look wonderful.
After lunch I decided it would be a good idea to do some writing. I'd told the publisher I needed some time to actually get words down on paper before I met with her again - a book doesn't happen just through talking, I don't think! I wrote for about an hour about my relationship to my body and various things that have happened over the years to help me come to do this work I'm doing now. It felt good to get it down on paper, though it did bring up some anger and discomfort. Oh well, that's part of the work. As the publisher told me yesterday, writing is a process of discovery. I've already done a lot of this work, but there is always more to do!
After writing for a while, I decided to do something I'd been wanting to do for quite a while. The phrase from Rob VanderZee is applicable here. My interpretation of "sacrificing myself" is to photograph myself and relentless draw what I see. I started with my belly since that's the part of my body I feel least comfortable with. I photographed it from all sides in heavy shadow. This is a pencil drawing I did from one photo. I plan to do more over the course of the month.
I also photographed my breasts and drew one of those. It looks a bit imbalanced in this drawing. I probably need to go back into it tomorrow. I'm not going to show it here because it simply isn't well done enough, but eventually I'll get it and will post it.
In addition to my breasts and belly, I thought it might be powerful to photograph my face. Since I'm the one writing this blog, I get to choose which picture I show (!), so I'm showing one of the ones I find attractive. I took plenty where I was finding tears and laughter and various feelings. It was powerful looking through them and seeing myself so clearly. It's hard to deny what the camera sees, unlike when one looks in the mirror. I can fool myself in all kinds of ways there. I think I generally look pretty young, but there's no denying that I have a lot of wrinkles on my face. I kind of like them and the character they show, but I know I'm not supposed to like them.
I was helped greatly by a 9-year-old student I had when I taught German as a 23-year-old in Austria. She looked at me and said, "Frau Kuli (her nickname for me), you're going to have the most wonderful wrinkles when you get older because you have such a beautiful smile." I have chosen to live into that rather than the fear that I'll look old when I get old because I have wrinkles. I think the lines on my face show the expressions I've had on my face the most - those expressions have carved my skin into the shape it has now. Had I spent much of my time scowling or frowning or disapproving, my face would look quite different.
I'm thinking about painting a series of self portraits from these photos. To me, that's what Rob meant - I have to be willing to expose myself completely, to dig deep, deep, deep into my own psyche and offer myself up as someone who has done so in order to enable others to choose to examine their own stuff. The publisher said the same thing yesterday - that the more truthful I can be in my writing, the more it will resonate with others, and the more they'll be willing to take their own journeys.
I've done much of the psychological work already - it's recorded in my 4 packing boxes full of journals - but now I have to look back and get some objectivity and write it in a way that others can and want to read. It's a very personal journey. A powerful and precious one too.
Monday, December 20, 2010
I was just photographing a new model. We were starting to get into the groove when the memory card got full. That happens. No biggie. I went to change it and I got the message that I had to format the card. Weird, but OK. I tried to format it. No go. I tried a different, third card. No. New battery. No. Nada. Nothing. Zippo.
Crap. Meanwhile, my very nice model is standing there naked while I fiddle and fumble and try to make this work quickly so we can get going again. Nothing.
There was nothing else to do so she got dressed and left - she couldn't have been nicer about it all, but geesh! I hated it!
After she left, I called Canon to see if they could help me figure out what the problem was. Apparently one of the pins that is used to read the memory card got bent/broken and will need to be replaced at the cost of $200 or thereabouts. Not what I wanted to hear!
So here's the deal - my misfortune can be your good fortune! Go on my website and figure out which painting you'd like to buy and I'll sell it to you for 15% off. You can pay using Paypal or a check, and I'll deliver it anywhere within 100 miles by Christmas, or I'll mail it tomorrow anywhere else. I'll keep this offer open until 12/22 at midnight.
Hopefully this'll be a wonderful way to turn lemons into lemonade. Now I'd better go and get this thing in the mail so I can get it back quickly - I have models to photograph!
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Love at Fifty
by Marcia Woodruff
We come together shy as virgins
with neither beauty nor innocence
to cover our nakedness, only
these bodies which have served us well
to offer each other.
At twenty we would have dressed each other
in fantasy, draping over the damp flesh,
or turned one another into mirrors
so we could make love to ourselves.
But there is no mistaking us now.
Our eyes are sadder and wiser
as I finger the scar on your shoulder
where the pin went in,
and you touch the silver marks on my belly,
loose from childbearing.
"We are real," you say, and so we are,
standing here in our simple flesh
whereon our complicated histories are written,
our bodies turning into gifts
at the touch of our hands.
It's quiet. Very quiet. There is snow covering the ground, but dead leaves still extend through the blanket of white. Birch leaves and holly's green and the gold of the wind chimes break the monotony of the snow and tree trunks.
I sit, alone, maker of my own fate, having decided to leave behind what I've known best for almost 24 years.
Allow the silence to resonate within.
This is my new life. Quiet. Spacious. Thought-filled. Inside my own head, expressing outwardly in word and image. No need to explain derivatives or chemical formulas or metaphors or how to conjugate pintar. Instead, the opportunity to derive my own formulations and metaphors for life and goodness and painting. It will be different to be doing more than teaching. A first for me.
I welcome the newness. I breathe into this new life and am grateful.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
I noticed this phenomenon for the first time when I read O! (Oprah's magazine). I had assumed it would be great about building women's self-esteem, etc., etc., but when I read it, I was astonished to find multiple articles about losing weight, the perfect hair style, etc. Fascinating, given Oprah's stand for women.
Tonight I went through the November 2010 edition of Working Mother. I had never read it before so I was curious to see what it was like. Primarily there were articles about women working outside the home and how they managed to balance work and family life. There was an interview with a star, Brooke Burke. There were profiles on many of the Mothers-of-the-year from the top 100 companies. And there were many many ads, of course. The trend I noticed in the ads was that they were for toys or for vitamins or for stress-reducing supplements. There was a large focus on stress. I saw that in the ads but also in the articles like, for example, the one about the frequency of addiction in women and why women turn to drugs and alcohol (stress and family history).
Of course almost all of the women in the magazine were beautiful. On page 22, there is a picture of a woman, ostensibly a mother. She is tall, beautiful, perfectly coiffed with giraffe legs, wearing 3" spiky heels, with a beautiful smiling baby. Yeah, right. I looked like that all the time. I believe that pictures like that set up an expectation that we CAN and SHOULD look like that and that there's something wrong with us if we don't.
On page 16 there's the typical women's magazine spread of products they're touting. The first one says,
"Dull Complexion". Dust on a bit of Benefit Dandelion Pink Perk-Me-Up Face Powder for lasting radiance ($28, benefitcosmetics.com).From that little bit, I get the message that I'm not supposed to have a dull complexion and that using face powder can solve that dilemma. When my grandmother was a young woman, face powder was used to dull the complexion so it wouldn't be shiny - women weren't supposed to "glisten". Has that shifted? Now we're supposed to radiate? Shine? Glow?
Not-So-Fine-Lines: Prevage Eye Anti-aging Moisturizing Treatment eases crow's-feet, dark circles and puffiness ($98, shop.elizabetharden.com).
Big Pores: Sonic waves from the 'Pore'-fector Gadget by Bliss purify pores, leaving them less prominent ($185, blissworld.com).I was previously blissfully unaware that big pores were an issue. How does one know what "big pores" look like? Is there a special pore measurer to assess the correct size? And why are they an issue? Who is going to notice? How close do you have to get to a person to see her pores anyway? And aren't women supposed to wear foundation and powder anyway? Can you see pores through all that?
Dry Skin: A single drop of Diptyque Huiles Precieuses in the bath nourishes on contact, then continues to protect and pamper parched body parts ($78, diptyqueparis.com).I'm guessing that isn't quite true. One drop? In an entire bathtub full of water? One drop of this precious stuff will nourish my skin then continue to protect and pamper it? How? Will it close my pores so they're not big anymore? Will it get rid of my crow's-feet? It offers help to parched body parts - parched? At least a $78 bottle will last a long time if I only have to use one drop, but it really is a challenge for me to believe it would have an effect.
Makeup Blunders: Can't apply a sultry cat eye? Stila's Talking Palette supplies all the tools, including step-by-step directions from a pro. Just press the button ($45, stilacosmetics.com)So now I feel inadequate that I can't apply make up (not that I wear it) and that I need a pro to help me out. This is a kit with eye liner, eye shadow and an application brush AND a little button you can push to hear someone tell you how to do it right. This week. There's a natural obsolesence built in to this though since colors will change soon enough, and the styles of eye shadow will too.
On Working Mother's website, one of the things that popped up is a picture of a young girl. The text to it reads...
By: Tiffany Forte, Photo: Alloy Photography/VeerI wonder where she gets that idea? Maybe she's been reading these magazines?
“I have to get all A’s.” “I look terrible in these jeans.” “My drawings suck.” If your grade schooler continually spouts self-deprecating remarks and sets unrealistic goals, she may be plagued by perfectionism. “Children who strive to be perfect tend to feel what they do is never good enough,” says Robyn Silverman, PhD, child development expert and author of ...
OK - so do you get my drift? This wasn't even a full single page of a single magazine, and just from reading it, I get the message that I have to worry about aging, wrinkles, crow's-feet, dry skin, damaged hair, a dull complexion, big pores, chapped lips, and makeup blunders. How can a woman get through the day with so many worries?
Aren't there more important things to focus on though? Like our kids? Or our spouses? Or our careers? Or our souls? Or doing good in the world? Or following our bliss and making a real difference in the world. I just don't see where wearing eye shadow or high heels or worrying about my wrinkles is going to make the world a better place. All I see it doing is supporting companies who are doing their best to make me buy their products so they can make another buck.
There are more important things in life.
(If you have examples of things you've read which are ironically anti-woman, I'd love for you to send them to me. I'll be happy to post as many as I can. My email is email@example.com. I look forward to hearing from you!)
Monday, December 13, 2010
Here's the list along with links and info on how to sign up.
Intermediate Pastel Drawing, Tuesdays for 6 weeks beginning March 15, 6:30 – 9:00 PM, Visual Arts Center, Richmond.
I hope you'll join me for some of these many rich experiences. I'm excited about all that is happening and look forward to sharing the joy and excitement from each in the months to come!
Saturday, December 11, 2010
I've pasted in pictures of it at various stages because I think it's fun to see how a painting develops. At this point I need to refine the color and the form on her body. I need to darken the shadow behind the chair. I need to paint her ear and her necklace. I need to match the colors in her face and body.
I don't think I'll be able to paint today because I have a lot of tutoring students coming. This week isn't going to be about painting. It'll be about finishing up my work as a tutor with integrity and joy. This is my last week of tutoring after 23 years of it. I feel some sadness about leaving behind what I've known for so long, but mostly I feel exhilaration about where I'm going.
Each and every day I am finding new opportunities to teach about women's body image. Tomorrow if I have time, I'll post a list of the various classes, workshops and lectures I'll be offering in the new year. It is growing daily. Plus I get to paint! Life is incredibly full of promise right now.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Karina Sarkissova dances no more... (updated)
... at least not at the Viennese Opera. It was there that the Primaballerina was relieved of her duties by the newly appointed Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris.
Critical to his decision, according to Sarkissova, were the artistic/erotic photographs taken by Moritz Schell of the
September-Wiener which appeared on August 16, 2010.
We find that to be quite prudish and unworthy of a cultural institution.
Apparently in May 2010 Sarkissova had been "warned" by the then-Chief of Ballet Gyula Harangozo on account of nude photos of her which appeared in the June edition of the magazine
According to the Director of the Opera Dominique Meyer, the company was "shocked" to see the new photographs which appeared under the heading "Sex." In response to the question by the WIENER reporter why it was a problem to appear in nude photos in a magazine when nude dances were performed on the stage of the international Opera House, the director responded, "No comment."
One other aspect makes this prudish behavior seem even more incongruous: the very same Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris, who let Sarkissova go, posed naked as a jay bird for a series of photos (see left) - in which men and women were cavorting wildly with one another. Apparently men at the Viennese Opera are allowed more frivolity than women are...
At any rate, the Director of the Opera, Meyer will meet with Sarkissova next week to hear her side of the story.
WIENER- Reporter Barbara Ginzinger recently spoke with Karina Sarkissova by telephone. The Ballerina said that she had NOT been warned after the first photos, neither in writing nor orally.
There had, in fact, been consternation in the Opera and people expressed differing opinions about the photos, but she had not been warned. She hadn't given any thought to it since the new Director of Ballet, Manuel Legris had appeared nude in a series of pictures. "I am not the first and also not the last ballerina to take her clothes off." Additionally Ms. Sarkissova and the ballet ensemble were asked, at the end of the last season, if they would be willing to dance nude, or topless, at the Opera. That is planned for January for the piece "Bella Figura".
About Sarkissova: born in Russia (1983), Sarkissova was trained at the Bolschoi Ballet and in St. Poelten. Since 2000 she has been a member of the State Opera Ballet, since 2009 as a soloist. She is married and has an 8-year-old son.
Monday, December 6, 2010
This is my last week at Trinity. This morning I got a lump in my throat several times while I was tutoring my students, especially one whom I have been seeing for 3 1/2 years. I will miss her a lot. I've built up such a personal relationship with many of these kids. It'll be hard to let that go. Hopefully they'll choose to stay in touch, but it's actually the rare student who does so. I can count them on my thumb actually. After 23 years of tutoring.
While doing my Morning Pages (see Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way if you don't know what they are) at 5:30 this morning, I allowed my feelings to pour out then eventually allowed some rationality to break in and told God I'm letting go and asked him to take over. I do believe that when I surrender to the forces that be, my life is 100% better. I tend to think I'm in charge and can do very well, but again and again I find that I do better if I let go and let God.
I am feeling so driven to do this work, I no longer have a choice about it. It was difficult staying focused on Calculus this morning. It feels like my brain is a dam, holding in information like derivatives, balancing chemical equations, quadratic formulas, metaphors, the Constitution, the difference between ser and estar. But it is full to overflowing and can't wait to open its gates and let all that extraneous knowledge go! Pfft! Occasionally I'll worry that I might let in Alzheimers if I don't keep using my brain as actively as I have been these last 20+ years - "use it or lose it" - but I am SO ready to let it go (not my brain - the plethora of high school subject matter, I mean)! I want to fill my brain with other things, fill my eyes with other images, fill my heart with other thoughts. It's been wonderful tutoring. I will grieve the loss of my students and my colleagues, but I am ready to move on.
It's been a great art day!