Saturday, August 27, 2011

.... the blues makes my heart sing...

if there's one type of music that makes me happy, it's the blues.. no matter how sad and down and out the lyrics can be, there is something so soulful and wonderfully touching about the blues.. it lifts me up...

musicians inspire me, all kinds.. storytellers, ballads.. bluesmen and women...

i wonder at times why i never took up an instrument in high school, always playing around with writing lyrics instead, and trying the guitar, and piano by myself.. too busy trying to take classes to get me into college and "be something".. lol.. always doodled, drawing, and sewing and stitching.. oh artist inside is true..

i will never forget how taking a drawing class lifted me into another orbit while working on my english degree, and music too, has lifted me to a different level in my creative process.

I began drawing musicians specifically on the streets of San Francisco, listening to the street artists.  I was always too chicken to draw in a club, and even now, it is one of the most challenging venues.  Mainly because i want to enjoy the music and move.  The other is lighting and movement of the musicians.  I end up sketching several pieces at a time, flipping back and forth from the different perspectives as the musician jams.

I take photographs too, but catching a particular vibe usually happens in the "LIVE" moment.  Taking sketches back to the studio to try and paint them while listening to their music is always a pleasure, bringing me back to the sound they inspired me with.

So many wonderful talents.. I have found abundance on myspace, reverbnation, facebook, dailymotion... the internet world is a great pot of creativity.. at times i feel i'm sucked in the big black hole of it all, but overall, it's an eye opening, a heart opening, a diversity you really can't get anywhere.. and i feel i'm a world traveler.. so i go...

Seeing these artists in a venue LIVE is most rewarding, and provides a layer of heart that you can't always get online, but the work is beautiful and needs to be expressed, and when I hear something particularly moving, I want to paint and draw and share...

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I must need to write...

This past weekend, I spent time in the studio, trying to clean out about 10 years worth of work i
I've collected.. Let me say, I just made a bigger mess than I had, so many things I had forgotten about, so instead, I spent it documenting some of the work so I could reuse it or toss it. 

Work made since 2000, when I left the comfort of art school, and began the journey of an artist trying to make it in the big art world and still survive. 

I laugh:  today, I'm still trying to survive, day job has become more encompassing then intended, and now it feels like I need to restructure to carve time for art to become once again the focus of my work. 

So I inhale a BLT, write a blog, (writing helps me sort my thoughts), and prepare to attend an after work meeting, well,... it used to be I'd be running to the studio before and after work... it's been a transition having my live space be also my work space, it's coming along...

As the coming 10 year mark for the tragedy in New York, and the world rolls around, (I put it out of my mind mostly, it reminds me of too many harsh realities, and brings back a lot of heartache both personally and universally), it is hard to put it away when I began reading "let the world spin" and also hearing tidbits again referring to the "coming 10 year anniversary" on NPR over the past couple of weeks..

Let the world spin

I reflected a bit on what happened and what I remembered.

It' not unlike many markers in life, those that make or leave a big impression; marriage, birth, death, your first grandbaby, your son leaving for the military... any of those things leave a lasting memory..

So for me, thinking of where I was when I heard the news of 9-11, I could easily remember:  helping a friend newly released from jail, having finally finished my art degree, working for the county (a day job), and then more memories flooded..

How my son, newly beginning law school stated, "they won't need a draft, i'll volunteer for this" when speaking of an impending war after the event. 

I remember donating my art for remembering those that died, and that my art then had much text woven within.

I also did a lot of political/anti-war/anti-bush administration drawing... i drove myself mad really.
work i never thought I'd show...

Amazing what 10 years holds.

I wandered around this weekend, looking at the mess of my studio, and began shuffling things around deciding what to get rid of, i'm absolutely without anymore space to live and work here, so i need to give away art, throw it out or find a buyer!

As I moved drawings and paintings around, i began to document many things that were older, and some never seen, even the stuff that i never would have showed anyone really, and again, it became a documentation of the past 10 years. 

From life drawings

and abstractions

and various objects

my work has evolved and i find it difficult to really throw some out just because it does document where i was as an artist at that period..

 and i'm one that reuses my materials and my work in other work, so ... i make a bigger mess trying to clean out the space..

Monday, August 22, 2011

deep concern

Part of my personal commitment is to speak out about environmental issues, primarily those that impact the ocean and nature.

Last year when the BP blowout occurred, it reminded me of where I originally found my deep concern for our oceans. 

1969 in Santa Barbara, I was 11.  We were just moving to Northern CA and the spill there had made a huge impact to my own life because I saw our beaches that I played and grew up on covered in sticky gooey oil and we were told we couldn't be on the beaches.

My father was quite active in speaking out about political issues, and this was no different.. I watched how that community became strong and stood up for changing what happened off the shores of the CA coast.. much was gained by coming together and fighting and writing to our government to find ways to protect our coastal life.

I haven't watched TV in quite a while, but tonight I turned on CSPAN booktv (a type of reader's advisory for me in my day job) and found Antonia Juhasz  speaking on her book "Black Tide: The Devastating Impact of the Gulf Oil Spill" and found myself once again compelled to renew my commitment in my own activism and artwork to bring attention and work at that one important issue.

I was inspired by a photographer some months ago to do a documentation series based on his inspiring images that deal primarily with what he sees as a root cause that are continuing and feeding the tragedies we are seeing as those in the BP oil spill, the mining and other scars that are being made in the name of "consumerism".

His book is in my personal library and is groundbreaking I think in showing, with his talent/art, his extreme commitment and integrity in bringing to the public this tragedy happening in front of our eyes.

Here is another artist, Edward Burtynsky, relates his insights and his commitment towards sustainability.

I have watched his film

Here he speaks about his work:

Both of these artists are making huge steps in my mind to translate their art into a strong "beam" on issues that are occurring now in our immediate world and local communities.

My "black and white and red all over" series is a depository series for me to express those more political/rage invoking issues.  I feel that finally, this series will be unfolding to also encompass those environmental issues i feel so completely helpless with making any significant changes, except for my own actions and using my voice and my way of bringing focus to them.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

... more nostalgia...

I have been in love with the imagery and places of France for over 20 years.

It began when I traveled there in the Spring of 1990, with my then boyfriend, my son's father, and now my ex-husband. 

It was my first time ever in Europe, and Paris and Giverny, Avignon, Marseille and Provence swept me off my feet.

Traveling by the seat of our pants, with only a few nights reserved in the left bank of Paris to begin, we trained to Giverny, Normandy, and down into the South and west for 3 weeks. 

I spoke only a bit of french and spanish, and carried my translation book with my wallet. 

I have never forgotten the cold of April, having to buy a "frenchie" blue beret to compliment the best decision I made for that trip, and that was to bring my winter coat!!  Every picture I have from that trip, I am in my royal blue coat, buttoned up with a hat!

I will pull out my images that are probably ruined and faded, thrown into a box and never albumed, never put into the story i planned on writing, my journal entries too are faded and yellow... but they are in a box, and I plan on taking a peek soon..

I need to tell the stories, paint the places that have touched me... I have much to paint; stories within..

The images from my visit to Giverny, the reflections of the gardens, the lilies, the tulips in the ponds are forever etched in my memory, and the pictures i took with the old 35mm then were good enough to be made into posters... not being able to tell which was the real garden and which was the reflection..

I missed seeing Giverny this past trip (last fall, the gardens were closed) and I had dreamed of painting as Monet did standing there in the flesh.. I will go again and realize that dream.

Elizabeth Murray, (there's two artists that inspire me) has gone there too for over 25 years and has photographed this place...

Elizabeth Murray and Monet's Gardens from Elizabeth Murray on Vimeo.

I've had her book in my personal library for about 20 years.
check out her great webpage

(i took time this afternoon to look for my images, uhmmm in the other part of the studio i suppose, in a different box, got sidetracked looking at old pics of ian and brandon as babies).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

~~~ nostalgia ~~~

nostalgia is an escape... yes?
nostalgia, what is it, a fantasy? is life a fantasy?

things are so bad, we've retired our bald eagle as our symbol and instead replaced it with a vulture (just heard that on "wait wait don't tell") . ..shit... well, i digress..

basically, yes, with the world crumbling around us, both with wars and financial demise, i find it easier and easier to try and block it all out and instead retreat to denial..

there is no denying any of it when you are in the thick of it...

who would have ever dreamed that so many things would be converging..

financial cuts and layoffs and labor rights being undermined, wars on almost every continent .. poverty and pain.. wow..

people not being able to make it on a full time benefited job, losing homes and well.. it just goes on.. i have friends and family all struggling..

so is it any reason why we don't try to find a way of forgetting it all and dreaming?... nostalgia, there were better days, there will be better days?... dreaming of the feelings we once had and dreams we once dreamed?

i recently saw "midnight in paris".. after seeing the stein collection show/picasso etc.. all nostalgic for me... wanting to move from my gloom and doom, my sadness with the local government politics i'm involved in now, fighting for labor, having wished my youngest son good spirit and luck as he entered the military this past week, it's difficult at times to keep my head up and smiling... so off to the movie i went, in hopes to escape... oddly.. this movie was about nostalgia..

a yearning for the past, often in idealized form, i went to escape from my present, my deep immersion of late in the government structural imbalance and my personal sinking with several losses in my life.. loss has layers and for me, when there are several going on at the same time, the impact is like being in the ocean, being hit by a big wave, only to get up again to be hit by another oncoming wave, to get up to the last one slamming you down into the sand grit....

I had that experience as a young girl body surfing, and it comes to mind describing loss for me today..

key:  i keep getting back up.. last night i reached for nostalgia to help steady me, it allowed me to dream again, seeing artists and authors in the movie of midnight in paris, and reliving how i felt walking the rainy streets of paris only 9 months ago.

I let the tears come finally.. with my son entering the military, i've held a lot in.  I didn't cry the last few days spent with him.  Even when he and I recently spent 4 days alone together, away, I didn't let the tears come.  I did share my love, but I just knew he was bothered by my tears.

So when the screen opened last night with the rainy streets along the Seine, the Eiffel tower, the Montmartre, the Blvd. St.Germaine... I let myself cry finally. 

That is when it hit me, that just 9 short months ago, like a pregnancy, i was excited with life and felt hope again, and just as when a baby is born, there are some postpartum blues.. mine feel longer than postpartum, the changes in just 9 months have been significant.

My art has almost completely come to a halt in the past few months other than my sketches, a few photographs, a few paints.. but all the projects I have in the studio are just sitting there..

What is that warrior that just continues to raise his sword over and over fending off the next monster?... yes, I'm sure we all have stories like that going on in our lives... the fastrack of life and the societal pressures, and the technological streaming of every negative happening we can absorb, makes for a long hard slog... hence, retreating to nostalgia isn't something that is that abnormal..

Remembering my father nostalgically reminiscing and telling stories, my mormor too.. I sometimes feel nostalgia comes with age, and I still feel so.  But lately I feel it is almost a necessary place in my brain to retreat to. 

Sitting here, I just told myself, "ok, snap out of it".... what's in front of you?...

After tackling the waist high dry weeds today, I will search the projects and find something to create today, ok, well, at least I've made a goal for my day.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

for ian

you will always be ...

i am grateful

moving into
and up
and finding

universe true
be with you

thoughts and wonder
and challenges. . .

i love you


The Mountain from TSO Photography on Vimeo.