Monday, December 19, 2011

New Mexico: My HEART Home

I've been to New Mexico only once, but visiting was a defining experience of my life. After graduate school, feeling shattered by the end of a relationship & writing  a thesis; I was completely spent & in desperate need of renewal. I'm largely an introvert who gets filled by time alone & felt a strong pull to go back to the southwest,
so I took a solo trip to New Mexico for about a month.
I landed in Albuquerque, rented a car & proceeded to drive about 4000 miles; north through Santa Fe, Chimayo & Taos, west to Ojo Caliente, Abiqui & Bandelier, south to White Sands & then east to Lincoln & Roswell.

I realized this was going to be quite the spiritual journey as soon as I landed; briefly stopping to see an old friend, then setting off through Indian Pueblo ruins, National Parks & broken down old colorful graveyards. Mostly I gravitated towards the old to ancient in the forms of hidden indigenous petroglyths & early Spanish churches. The Image at the top is the back of the San Francisco de Asis Mission Church in Rancho De Taos, painted famously by Georgia O'Keefe, & on the left is the view from the front of the same church after it has just been built. It IS the oldest surviving Adobe church in the United States.


"The Shadow of the Cross," is a life-size painting of Christ done in 1896 by French Canadian artist Henri Ault. Curiosity-seekers worldwide visit the parish hall 
in this church to see a mysterious painting that becomes luminescent in the darkness. In regular light the painting is a life size portrait of Christ standing on a rock near Galilee. When the lights go out the painting emits a glow & becomes luminescent with Jesus appearing in silhouette & a black shadow in the shape of a cross DOES appear over his right shoulder. According to the host who showed us the painting, scientists have examined the chemical properties of the paint & 
have confirmed that no radium or other luminescent chemicals or materials are present to produce the eerie glow, which was only discovered after the painting had been stored in the dark room & then 'glowed in the dark' when uncovered. It is a strange experience to experience this transformation.

El Santuario de Chimayo Church was built in l8l6 after a "miraculous" crucifix of Our Lord of Esquipulas was found in l8l0. The traditional story says on the night of Good Friday during the Holy Week,  Don Bernardo Abeyta suddenly saw a bright light springing from one of the hills near the Santa Cruz River. He climbed to the spot & saw the glow was coming from under the ground. He dug with his bare hands & there he found a Crucifix. He went & called his neighbors to see the precious finding & a group was sent to notify the priest, Fr Sebastian Alvarez at Santa Cruz. Upon hearing the extraordinary news, he went to Chimayo & carried the Crucifix in a joyful procession back to his church in Santa Cruz. Once there, it was placed in the niche of the main altar. The next morning the Crucifix was gone, only to be found again in its original location on the hill. A second procession was organized & the
Crucifix was once again returned to Santa Cruz, but again it disappeared! After a third attempt it became understood that it wanted to remain in   Chimayo & so a small chapel was built & the Crucifix is now the centerpiece of the altar here. This IS truly a magical place & is well known for it's healing dirt which is believed to have cured many ailments over the years. 

more later.........
 





















Sunday, December 4, 2011

Desending Angel

John Wimberley: Photographer
'The direction of John's photography took a radical shift in February of 1969. A profound experience while photographing a group of trees in Canyon del Puerto, California, caused him to switch to black & white. More importantly, he began to focus exclusively on what he perceived as spiritual aspects of the world with a long-term study of Jungian psychology, shamanism & spiritual disciplines.'

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Snow Falling on Cedars

scene from SFOC at old Port Townsend ferry dock

I love the story & movie Snow Falling on Cedars for several reasons. The book is magical for one & takes place in my neck of the woods, as Guterson lives on an island about 40 minutes away from here. He is not only a great writer, but also researches his subject matter extensively, which makes where I live come that much more alive for me. I was married where the Japanese Gardens used to flourish at Fort Worden State Park & our old ferry dock in Port Townsend, pictured above, is where the Japanese set sail for the internment camps in the movie. Ishmael & Hatsue had their first kiss in a driftwood tepee; not unlike those often built on our shores.

"Ten years in the writing, its roots lie in both the inner and outer life of its author, David Guterson. He explains: "The book grew out of the history of my own community, Bainbridge Island, on Puget Sound, where I've lived for the past 15 years. Many of the Japanese Americans who live there were interned in 1942. But it also reflects my own personal searching. At the time, I was asking myself the same philosophical questions that are posed in the book: Given that we live in an indifferent universe, where horrible things happen every day to innocent people, how should we conduct ourselves, how do we go on?" 

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dumpster Diver Artist Ross Palmer Beecher

http://www.gregkucera.com/beecher.htm



The sculpture exhibit titled "On the Edge" went off the edge before it opened at Harbor Steps, across the street from Seattle Art Museum. The VP for Harbor Properties said his company is displeased with Ross Palmer's contribution to the show & wants it removed. 

"We support Ross 100 percent," said the spokesman for On the Edge Sculpture Invitational. "Her piece is still here, and I'm hoping we can work this out. If they chose to remove it, we'll find another venue to exhibit it. Harbor Properties let us choose the artists and never asked to see the work ahead of time."

Beecher is a sculptor with a folk art flavor. She recycles aluminum cans, using them as if they were cloth, weaving them into metal quilts. A sculpture featuring her quilt of vintage license plates is on view at Safeco Field & at SeaTac Airport. She has exhibited around the country & Seattle Art Museum holds one of her quilts in their permanent collection.

"Refusing to let Ross be part of the show is extremely shortsighted," said her dealer, Greg Kucera of the Greg Kucera Gallery. "How could Harbor Steps, which is across the street from the Seattle Art Museum, be so afraid of art with political content? Ross is such a warmhearted artist. Her work has edge, but it's not a mean edge. I think Harbor Properties is overreacting"

Hixson said that when Harbor Properties agreed to play host to the show, the company didn't realize that political art would be included. "Her work doesn't fit, as it's not in context with the rest of the art, which is not political. We were not looking to provide a political forum."
 
Beecher's piece is a flag made of crushed Anheuser-Busch beer cans sitting on a red wagon.

"I folded the cans to remove the 'c,' so they spell Bush," she said. "It's a flag collage of cans and burnt cookie tins and merry Christmas wrappers. On top of the flag are whirligigs. In front of the flag are deer jawbones wrapped in blue cans with bullet casings. The handle of the little red wagon is bolted up, to look like a Republican elephant nose. I meant it to be comic, fun and funky. It's what I do," she said.

Hixson wants her to do it somewhere else. : <


Discovering A Lost Da Vinci



London (CNN) The 500-year-old painting of Jesus Christ that, after centuries of neglect, has been identified as Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi", is a discovery so rare, so unlikely, that when New York art dealer & da Vinci expert Robert Simon first saw the painting, he didn't even consider the possibility.
"The whole idea that it might be by him was almost an impossibility; it's kind of a dream," said Simon. The painting joins a small collection of surviving paintings by the Renaissance master who lived and worked in Italy in the 15th century & has been carefully conserved to remedy the damage it suffered over the years.

"Salvator Mundi", (Savior of the World), is known to have been owned by English King Charles I before moving around various private collections until 2005, when the current owner brought it to Simon to study.
"It was a very interesting painting but it's not something I looked at and thought, 'Oh my God, it must be a Leonardo,'" said Simon.
The true identity of the 66 x 45 centimeter oil-painted walnut panel had lain dormant for years, its distinguishing features hidden under layers of crude over-paint. It was known to have existed from preparatory drawings made by da Vinci and copies by his followers but experts assumed it had been destroyed. There are only some fifteen surviving Leonardo paintings in the world and the last one to be discovered was the "Benois Madonna" more than 100 years ago.
So, what first alerted Simon and Modestini to the possibility that the painting they were looking at could be the real thing? The truth revealed itself little-by-little as Modestini painstakingly removed layers of varnish and over-paint in her studio and Simon carefully studied the painting's provenance, comparing it with da Vinci's other paintings and preparatory drawings. But there were two important clues. One was a so-called "pentimento," an alteration in the painting showing traces of previous work that Simon discovered by scrutinizing a photo of the painting taken using night vision, and using other techniques.
The other was the painting of Christ's curls."I was looking at the curls and St. John the Baptist at the Louvre, who has this huge head of massive ringlets and they are exactly the same," said Modestini.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Place in the Sun

I just finished watching A Place in The Sun on DVD with Elizabeth Taylor & Montgomery Cliff. For some reason I had never watched the entire film straight through & happened to pick it up at the library. It's based on a classic book & previous movie called, "An American Tragedy" & almost didn't get made because at that time, 1951, it was unheard of in Hollywood to remake a story; never mind Parts 2, 3 & 4 like some are done over now. I can't really think of ANY remake that has pulled that off very well at the moment.

Anyway, most of you are familiar with the story, but what I didn't know was that the director, George Stevens, had just come back from being a war photographer & documenting D-Day, the liberation of Paris & was one of the first cameras in to Auschwitz, filming the horror of a concentration camp where the fires were still literally burning in the ovens & the Nazi's had just fled.

This obviously changed him dramatically from the cinematographer he was before the war & A Place in the Sun was shaped by this experience. Elizabeth Taylor was just 17 when she was cast in her first role where she 'didn't have a horse or adog as a co-star', & Shelly Winters,a starlet bombshell, got the other main part of the mousy, awkward factory girl by dying her hair brown, dressing down & sitting quietly in a room when the director came in to do the test. He didn't even realize there was someone else in the room until he got up to leave because he thought Winters was a no show. The movie ended up winning 6 Academy awards that year.


I've really come to believe that the extra's on a DVD are almost as important as the movie itself. Often, especially with bigger budget movies, you can turn a commentary on & the director & some of the actors will literally walk you through the movie. I've never sat through a whole movie again with this turned on, but if there are things I don't get, it's helpful to hear what they have to say later. Also, there are often screen tests of the actors for their parts or interviews.

The best one I have EVER seen was of Penelope Cruz for the movie Don't Move; I've purposely left the following clip in Spanish so you don't listen to her words but watch her & her lovers faces.


She's talking about being raped by her father to her lover, a married Doctor, who lives in a completely different world from her in a slum barrio, but at this moment I believe the relationship changes from lust to love, on his part anyway.














Thursday, October 27, 2011

Nightmare

No, this post isn't about Halloween. : /

I was talking to a friend about a situation where she feels like someone else has control over her life & another friend who is trying to have control over someone else's life. This is what I shared with both of them.

I used to have this dream ALL the time when I was a kid. I don't think my parents realized the Evening News 'body count' coming out of the Vietnam War every night was having such an effect on me.

Anyway, the dream was of me running through some rice paddies, in the front door of a shack, out the back door, in the back door of the next & down the line of shacks, with an Asian man following me with a machine gun. When I got to the last shack, there was no back door & I was left cowering in the corner as he came in the front door & pointed his gun at me. Then I would wake up. It was absolutely terrifying.

I had the dream frequently from about age 10 until I was around 30. I was facilitating a workshop at one time about working through dreams using Drama Therapy. We were reenacting our dreams as a partner witnessed us & my partner made a very simple, yet profound suggestion to me when I was through. He told me to reenact the dream again, but this time instead of being the victim, become the guy with the machine gun. In other words, CHANGE MY PERSPECTIVE. I never had the dream again.

The friend who wanted to write a letter to change someone else's behavior? I told her to go ahead & write the letter, but to write it for HERSELF, meaning, that as long as she was writing the letter without ANY EXPECTATION of a reaction or outcome that involved the other person & she was writing it because there was something she needed to express for HERSELF to make HERSELF feel better, that was fine. In fact, expressing her rage, disappointment, sadness or whatever was a good thing & she might not even need to send it after she was through.

We all know there is absolutely NO WAY we're going to change someone. We CAN however work through our feelings by writing them out OR through drama, art, music or whatever works for us. Ultimately, forgiveness & letting go is the only thing that REALLY works, but we each have to find our own way to get there, in our time. 


Monday, October 24, 2011

My Mary Miracles

Donna, my dear friend, sent me this little Mary, some crystals & a pocket Rosary a while ago & did I need it! I'm a firm believer some items don't sell on Etsy because they are meant for someone special. Donna & I know this, so I got her Mary brooch & she got my Bamboo cross, which she painted the perfect colors for her & put in her lovely kitchen.

Anyway, at the beginning of this month I was SO broke I was just plain scared & tied up in knots. I had just paid off the rest of my September rent plus overdue bills that couldn't wait & there was nothing left. Then I went to my lawyer, (he's representing me in a lawsuit from a job I was illegally laid off from 2 years ago), & his $400 consult fee check bounced before I could get ANOTHER loan from my parents in to the bank. I was beyond embarrassed.

When I got home from meeting him, I randomly applied for ANOTHER teaching job I assumed I wouldn't get & that night I literally got down on my knees & cried, "MARY! PLEASE! I CAN'T TAKE THIS ANYMORE! I NEED HELP! PLEEEAAAAASSSSEE!"

Things slowly started to change. I felt a loosening of my 'anger grip' on the old college & received an e-mail from the one where I had applied, asking me to meet with them. Then sales on Etsy & Amazon started picking up, fast. I drove to the interview & although I nearly blew a worn tire right off its rim on the way, I still made it on time & the friendly woman I met with pretty much told me our meeting was just a formality & she would ask the Dean to sign off on my application!

AND as of today, I have sold over $800 worth of art, supplies & books on Etsy & Amazon & the month 'ain't' even over yet! : >

Forgiveness. Piety. Strength. One foot in front of the other. Prayer. MARY. THANK YOU!! xoxoxo




Friday, October 21, 2011

MY Life Could Be Movie! : /

Indie Comedy, Drama, Soap Opera..... you name it; GOT IT HERE!

And that's just one week! Started out completely stressed & sleep deprived on Monday; hadn't paid my rent yet this month, sales were slumped on Etsy. Tuesday, slightly MORE sleep deprived & nervous about first faculty job interview I'd had in a year since being laid off; took the half hour ferry ride on a gloriously sunny day, got off & blew out a tire almost off the rim a few miles down the road. Luckily I was in front of a farmhouse & an old guy helped me change it & I got to the interview with minutes to spare. Looks like I have the job, YEAH; get home & find I need 2 tires & an alignment for $268! EEK! Now I have to find MORE $$! Tell my dad I'm quitting my old job to get at my pension so I can pay basic living expenses; he offers to send money, YEAH; & what's this?! TWELVE SALES on Etsy & Amazon this WEEK! Hmmm; things are LOOKING UP! : >

Today, Friday, I am just HEARTBROKEN again. A developmentally disabled girl, originally from Port Angeles, which is about an hour away from here, was murdered this week. She was 24, with the capacity of a 12 year old & a 'family friend' of the 22 year old kid who killed her & his girlfriend who helped him to cover it up.  I don't blame the parents, OF COURSE, but I am having doubts that she should have been allowed to travel from her new home to Port Angeles to visit & back again on a bus. I don't know the answer to this level of independence for this girl. My son who is 12, but  developmentally around the age of 7 to 9, just got an ankle GPS monitor this week in case he gets lost & the police have to find him. Of course we never DREAM that someone who is so trusting would ever NEED this, but thank God he has it.







Saturday, October 15, 2011

"Ia Orana Maria" (Ave Maria) Assemblage


Living in Mataiea Village in Tahiti, Gaugin painted "Ia Orana Maria" (Ave Maria) and other depictions of Tahitian life. His works of that period are full of quasi-religious symbolism & an exoticized view of the inhabitants of Polynesia. In Polynesia, he sided with the native peoples, clashing often with the colonial authorities and with the Catholic Church.

The Idea Behind This Work is Even as Gaugin Lived a Questionable Life Exploiting Women & Alcohol, He Remained Capable of Creating Extraordinary Spiritually Minded Outsider Art for the time & Defending the People He Painted.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011



I wrote a blog post earlier about putting myself through college using the first MAC, affectionately pictured above. Steve Jobs passed away at age 56 today, just 3 years older then me. As a tribute, I'm putting a link here to a Commencement Address he gave over 5 years ago. It's surprising & inspiring! 

 


Monday, October 3, 2011

Sally Potter: Movie Director




I just watched The Man Who Cried by Sally Potter & was reintroduced to another favorite director, Sally Potter. She is most famous for her movie Orlando, but also directed other favorites like YES & The Tango Lesson. The clip above features her in the lead role, directing herself. So far, I have loved ALL of her films.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Is Graffiti Art?



"Art on the streets of Buenos Aires is generally very well received by neighbors who often give their walls for artistic intervention. Artists get to share their art with the right audience with the true intention of beautifying & recycling the great potential of abandoned & disused walls that would otherwise fall into the hands of ugly political graffiti or advertising pamphlets that pollute visually."

The Shot Seen Round the World

Age 12
Age 30



Saturday, September 24, 2011

Etsy Wheelin' & Dealin'

I was looking at a Mary's Grace's discussion, (a team I participate in) & a question came up about inquiries from customers to buy wholesale. I said I've only been asked to do this with my furniture & I am happy to discount slightly for more then one chair, as an example, but I'm going to send them AS I MAKE THEM & no two will ever be alike. I also do bulk orders on my Art switch plates & will do several for a house & discount those. I'm sure you've heard about people receiving unique items & then using cheap labor to copy them, undercutting the originator's business & it seems worth it to mention this phenomena here. All of my requests have come from the states. I personally wouldn't do wholesale for anyone overseas unless I was SURE what I was getting into. ASK! If they are legitimate, they will give you their website or what company they are working with. If they are hesitant or intuitively you don't feel good about it in GUT, don't do it.

I'll tell you what ticks me off while we're on the subject. Folks who tell me, 'I'm a poor student doing a school project, etc., so can I have this for 1/2 price or FREE? Sure. Let me get right on that. I don't know about you, but I supplement my income with this & work VERY hard on my Etsy business. Sure, I have a few friends that I do trades with, because we trust each other & it's FUN! However, if someone's just asking for something for free & not willing to make it worth my while by trading something back, 'forget about it'!

My Altar Thanks to Donna, Shayna, Vanita & Laura! : >



Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Medieval Black Madonna



This is a Black Madonna Assemblage of mine In Vintage & Rustic Wooden Tool Chest. My Interpretation of Black Madonna is Within The Context of an Early European Church Influence. She has been a Consistent Part of Veneration in 25 Countries, Including the U.S., Which Brings With it an Early Spanish/Mexican Influence here as it Does in Medieval Europe. I See Her Connection to Earth, Goddess, Altar & Shrine & also Tired Catholic Interpretation; Hunched Over From the Weight of Ideological Crown & Robes. YES, the COBWEBS are on Purpose! 14.5 x 5 x 5 inches deep.


 'A link between Black Madonna of European Middle Ages ancient pagan traditions & representations has been asserted & although no direct Catholic theological sources exist, it has also been suggested that medieval veneration of the Black Madonna was in response to a line from Song of Songs 1:5 in the Old Testament: "I am black And Beautiful, O daughters of Jerusalem, ..." These words are discussed at length by St Bernard of Clairvaux, although he uses them to refer not to Mary but to the Catholic Church. Several surviving Black Madonnas are inscribed with these words, although in some cases inscriptions were added at a later date.

    * Some claim the Black Madonna grew out of pre-Christian earth goddess traditions. Their dark skin may be associated with ancient images & with the color of fertile earth. Sometimes associated with stories of being found by chance in a natural setting: in a tree or by a spring, for example. It is further asserted that some of their Christian shrines are located on the sites of earlier temples to Cybele & Diana of Ephesus.
    *  Black Madonna may derive from the Egyptian goddess Isis. The dark skin may echo an African archetypal mother figure. Early Christian pictures of a seated mother & child were influenced by images of Isis & Horus & slashes on the cheek of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa represent markings of the Eye of Horus.
    * The Black Madonna may portray the original skin tone of the Virgin Mary, thus placing the figures in apt historical contexts, as Jesus' family was more likely than not to have Semitic colors and features.
    * Black Madonnas express a feminine power that is not fully conveyed by a pale-skinned Mary, whom they assert symbolizes gentler qualities like obedience and purity. The "feminine power" approach is sometimes linked to female sexuality, which was allegedly repressed by the medieval Church.
    * May be an association with Black Madonnas, The Templars &  St. Bernard of Clairvaux. They were revered by an esoteric cult with Templar and Cathar links, but this idea is dismissed by most historians, who also reject stories of connections with Mary Magdalene & Gnosticism.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Virgin



Abbott Handerson Thayer (Aug. 12, 1849 – May 29, 1921) was an American artist who was often described as 'eccentric & mercurial' was "a parallel contradictory mixture of academic tradition, spontaneity & improvisation in his artistic methods." Largely known as a painter of 'ideal figures' in which he portrayed women as virtuous, (in flowing white tunics or equipped with angel's wings), at the same time he was using methods that were unorthodox, like purposely mixing dirt into paint or using a broom instead of a brush to lessen rigidity.

Life became almost unbearable for Thayer & his wife during the early 1880s, when two of their small children died unexpectedly a year apart. It was around this time that he painted A Virgin, portraying Mary as strong & resolute, walking stoically towards the viewer with a child flanking each side. It's hard not to imagine the representation of the protective Mother of ALL children here, especially his own. This has long been my favorite painting of Mary; well before I read Thayer's troubled story. Her grounded youth is evident; a young yet mature teen at the time of the 'immaculate conception'.* Her hair flies around her as she hurries forward with the resolution required for the difficult tasks that surely lay ahead.

In my assemblage piece, The Virgin, I created a  portrait instead, blocking out the cold clouds & bringing in the more peaceful, vibrant scenes of the Mediterranean. This time Mary is flanked by Roman columns & flowers instead of children however; reminding us of the STILL dismissive & rigid patriarchy surrounding her & ALL women then until now.

* The first known use of virgin in ENGLISH comes from an Anglo Saxon manuscript c. 1200: "Ðar haueð... martirs and confessors, and uirgines maked faier bode inne to women", LONG AFTER the Gnostic Gospels were written. The word virgin comes via virgine from Latin virgo, genitive, virgin-is, meaning literally "maiden" or "young girl". The Latin word probably arose based on vireo, meaning "to be green, fresh or flourishing", mostly with botanic reference—in particular, virga meaning "strip of wood".  There also is no evidence of the term "immaculate conception" until well into the fifth century AD).








Saturday, September 10, 2011

Moon Museum

The Moon Museum was a small ceramic wafer three-quarter inch by half inch in size with tiny art works by six prominent artists from the late 1960's; Robert Rausenburg, David Nouvos, John Chamberlain, Forrest Myers & Andy Warhol. The wafer was supposedly attached to a leg of the Intrepid Landing Module & left on the moon during Apollo 12 where it remains today. 'Moon Museum' is considered the first space Art object. While it is impossible to tell if the Moon Museum is actually on the moon without sending another mission to look, many other personal effects were smuggled onto the Apollo 12 lander & hidden in layers of gold blankets that wrapped parts of the spacecraft.

Monday, September 5, 2011

United 93 & The Man Who Knew

I've been thinking a lot about 9/11, most likely because the 10th anniversary is approaching, which I must also say friggin' blows my mind. Ten years ago? How is that possible?

Two memories I'll share here & hope you'll also share yours in Comments. The first is I wake up & walk down the hall to see the T.V. on, without sound,  around 9am. Greg has left for work & Gabe who's almost two years old, is still asleep. I see a tall building on fire on the screen & I'm thinking, why is there a movie on at this time in the morning instead of the news? Blurry eyed & barely awake, I stand there a bit longer trying to wrap my head around the images. I don't turn the sound up for some reason, but go instead to the phone & call a friend in town who doesn't have her TV on, so then call my friend Lori & she tells me that a plane has hit the World Trade Center. The TV stays on as I go about my day with Gabe & I stop in front of it every once in awhile, staring in disbelief at the screen.

The next evening, of September 12, is the first day of my fall Intro to Psychology class at the college where I teach. We skip orientation & go straight to the topic of P.T.S.D.


 

United 93 was made in 2006, so several years after the events of 9/11. No one else wanted to touch 9/11 with a movie until then. What remains intriguing to me about this film is that, wherever possible, actual participants from that day are used, like Air Traffic Controllers, Airport & Air Force staff, etc., plus well edited clips of real footage, resulting in a documentary style, real time format of events surrounding that day. Of course actors were used to witness as truthfully as possible what was  simultaneously happening on Flight 93 before passengers rushed the cock-pit & it crashed in to a field in Pennsylvania, before heading to the believed White House target. It's not an easy movie to watch, but it is also non-sensationalistic or anything other then tragically & realistically done.

I would also recommend 'The Man Who Knew', a more recent documentary on Frontline about former head of the FBI flagship anti-terrorism unit in NYC, John O'Neill. He investigated bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa & USS Cole in Yemen & for six years he led the fight to track down Al Qaeda operatives throughout the world. His flamboyant style & obsession with Osama bin Laden soon made him a controversial figure inside the buttoned-down world of the FBI. Just two weeks before Sept. 11, O'Neill left the bureau to become head of security at the World Trade Center. He died rushing back into the towers to aid in rescue efforts. You can watch the entire documentary here.

http://video.pbs.org/video/1587879291/ 






Saturday, September 3, 2011

Yolande Moreau: When the Sea Rises

I recently bought a small book about Cindy Sherman; performance artist/photographer, who transforms herself for the camera to expose the persona's women especially take on as part of our society at large. Her photos of herself are shocking, grotesque, vulnerable & tragic & take an enormous amount of gutsy risk, in my opinion.




Another woman who reminds me of Sherman in many ways is Yolande Moreau: a Belgian actress I've written about before as portraying Seraphina, a little know artist. I just watched her directorial debut made in 2006, called, When The Sea Rises. It's a tragic/comedy love story between Irene, a comedienne in her 40's, who is traveling through France with her one-woman show, 'Sale Affaire', (Dirty Business). She encounters Dries, a younger vagabond, who becomes smitten with her & her show. Although regular cell phone calls remind us she has a husband & child waiting at home, Irene becomes charmed by her ardent & tender admirer who is also a street performer as a 'Giant' in parades.

 

Here we see a woman who entertains the audience as a grotesque behind her mask, while she remains planted firmly in both worlds of performer & wife, (who picks out tiles for a home renovation with her husband). It's when she enters this relationship with a fellow performer that the lines between persona's become blurred. Very well done.

Monday, August 29, 2011

SOS: 1339!

I didn't like my son yesterday. For the second time since summer had started, I couldn't find him. The last time he was off on some trails not far from home with his little friend Gio, having a "BIG Adventure", while mom was canvasing the neighborhood. Two hours later, after his dad had shown up & my stomach was in a knot of bile, they came walking & laughing around the corner, while I collapsed down on the front lawn into a ball, sobbing my eyes out & howling like a fighting cat.

Yesterday, he grabbed his tin of Badagon trading cards to show Gio & I asked him, for the umpteenth time, what he would do if Gio wasn't home."Come right home mama!",  he threw over his shoulder as he hurried off. I had a lot to do & so about an hour later I drove around the corner to pick him up to run errands. He wasn't at Gio's. Nobody was. I drove slowly down & around the nearby streets, listening for his familiar laugh in other kids backyards. A half hour later I was calling 911. I couldn't go through this again & was scared, pissed off & frustrated. Three cars soon came & I told them what he was wearing, downloaded & printed off his latest picture & got permission to drive the 10 minutes down the road to his dad's house, because his phone was going to message AGAIN, which pissed me off even more. I pulled in the driveway, honking the horn & yelled out the window to him & my stepson while turning the car around & speeding off again."Get in your car NOW! Gabe is missing & the police are looking for him!!"

By the time I got back the police had found him, walking along a trail I had told them emphatically he would NOT be on, because it was too far from home. Of course I was relieved. I was also REALLY pissed now & that familiar exhaustion started settling in to my bones that had taken me days to get over last time; stick-your-finger-in-a-light-socket exhaustion. He was VERY sorry of course & so after I had collected myself a bit, we took off in the car to find his cards.

"Go to 1339, mama!" "What? I'll drive the car slowly Gabe & you tell me where to go." "It's 1339 mama!" We kept curving around streets until I was about ready to give up & start back towards home. "Down this street here mama; TURN!" I then started looking at the numbers on the houses & sure enough, when we pulled up to a small house, several blocks away from ours, there were the numbers 1339 on the awning. He got out, went up on the front porch & retrieved his cards like it was the most natural thing in the world.

Now, instead of being pissed, I was in awe. Although Gabe's will be 12 this December, his cognitive ability ranges between a 7 to a 9 year old, depending on the skill. He had gotten himself from Gio's, who wasn't home, down another street, on to a trail, turned a corner, went down another block & to '1339'. Those friends weren't home either, so forgetting the cards he had put down to ring their doorbell, he was returning home the same way he had come when found. The love I felt for him washed away all the dislike in that moment & instead, I felt very proud.


" We're a gender, not a genre."

Adele's success occurred simultaneously with several other British female soul singers, & the British press dubbed her the new Amy Winehouse. Adele called the comparisons between her & other female soul singers lazy, noting "we're a gender, not a genre."



Sunday, August 21, 2011

Camille Claudel; French Sculptor


 Talented & ambitious French sculptor Camille Claudel caught the attention of legendary sculptor Rodin. Claudel eventually abandoned her work to assist the womanizing Rodin, becoming his muse and his lover. When the affair ended with Rodin refusing to give up his other women, mainly his common law wife, Claudel spun into an emotional turmoil that eventually lead to madness. Rodin condemned this sculpture done in her later years, claiming it would make HIM look bad & could ruin HIS career because Claudel looks so 'helpless'.  She spent the last 30 years of her life institutionalized. Noticing a pattern here? : /

Saturday, August 13, 2011

 
I have just run out of unemployment benefits & my only other source of income to support my son & I is ETSY. Believe me, it has been a life saver, providing me with at least enough to supplement unemployment, but not enough of course to support us. I have a very generous family, but they are all dealing with their own issues during these tough economic times.

Anyway, just yesterday on my walk I spent a lot of time talking to MARY. When I say talk, I mean PRAY of course. 'PLEASE! Show me what to do next! I need to earn more money! What can I do? I can't find a job;  how will I pay rent?' etc. etc....

I am the leader of our local Etsy Team here on the Olympic Peninsula in WA state. You can only get to where I live by ferry or bridge & although we're pretty isolated, there are LOTS of Etsy members out here. Anyway I met with another member today because we are planning a craft fair on the main drag through our town over Labor Day weekend. 

It just so happens that in the space we're going to be using, there was a flea market set up today. One woman's LOVELY MARY Shrine was for sale made out of a vintage bird house & covered in shells from our local beaches. She was selling it for $15! I just couldn't hold my self back. 'WHY ARE YOU SELLING THIS GORGEOUS SHRINE FOR $15?!' 'Well, I had $25 on it before & it wouldn't sell! Do you think I should mark it DOWN again?' 'NO! Do you have any idea how many people would love this on ETSY?' She responded, 'Oh, I don't know how to use a computer, I don't really trust on-line selling.....'

I bought the Shrine & went on to the next booth where I saw a Mary statue for $5, then at the next booth, a woman who had matching vintage earrings & pendant for $15 just handed them over to me without even asking me to pay for them ...... See where I'm going with this? With a $30 investment, I had 3 women ask me to SELL their flea market items on ETSY for them & they will each pay me 20% of their sales. AND NO, It is not lost on me that the first item I saw there was a MARY SHRINE. : >

Friday, August 12, 2011

Janet Frame: An Angel At My Table


Jane Campion is BY FAR my favorite movie director! You may know her for directing 'The Piano' & 'Portrait of a Lady'. I just watched another biopic film she directed in 1990, which is the 3 part biography about the famous New Zealand writer Janet Frame & named after her best selling book, The Angel at My Table.

It's difficult to believe actress Kerry Fox isn't a cruel character parody of 'Annie' in this movie, with her gigantic red mop of hair, until I looked at actual photo's of Frame. She was, in real life, heavy, gawky, anxious, painfully shy, awkward & had a HUGE red hair Afro, yet with all her outward attributes, there hid beneath a remarkable & prolific writer.

Get ready for a THREE hour movie, (with Part 2 being largely the harrowing years she spent in a mental institution, wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia, receiving shock treatments & narrowly MISSING a scheduled lobotomy, ONLY because she had published a book & won a distinguished literary prize, WHILE institutionalized.

She reminds me very much of Saraphina, who I also wrote about previously in this blog AND so many other artists who demonstrate the miracle of determination, perseverance, & following one's gift in spite of tremendous adversity. There is a saying that goes something like, 'A True Artist Cannot NOT Create', or something to that effect. Janet Frame is just one more example of the literal truth of this statement.







Friday, July 29, 2011

Super Humans: Is it ART?

 

 
These two clips are of Jackie Evancho; an 11 year old girl who can sing opera, well enough to make ME cry like a baby & I don't even LIKE Opera. The second Video is her singing Angel; a song written & performed previously by Sarah McLaughlin.

Super Humans are those who possess normal brain function, but like a super athlete, etc., there is a likelihood that chemistry lines up in such a way that the larynx & brain in the case of Jackie, or the arm & the brain of a tennis pro are in perfect union to create the sound or the serve that dominates all other humans in their age group.

Is it ART? In Jackie's case, she talks about feeling as though she is 'possessed or something' when she sings, as though her physical self only provides the conduit to a supernatural experience. She simply provides the voice to "show that miracles can happen", in her own words. I tend to agree.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Time For Art

My creative self is lacking serious energy...... How can one create Art when the brain is a constantly moving, muddled, interrupted mess? I create when I can putter, wear pajamas, wander around the house, sit down, lay down on the floor & stretch like a cat on a rack, stand up, stare out the window, peer at my collected materials in drawers, walk outside, around the block, on the beach & THEN actually take the dusty old inspiring art books down off the shelf. Flip through pages, stare some more. Take a nap. Then I'm ready. So how long do you reckon that process takes? Time. Some days a few hours, some days all day & all night. How often do I get the luxury? Exactly. My creative self is seriously lacking energy.......

Friday, July 22, 2011

Savant Drawings

There is controversy around 'using' Autistic Savants unusual talents for profit. Most remember the Rainman movie where Dustin Hoffman IS used for his photographic memory as a gambler. The U Tube clip above is of a British savant who can take a visual scan of a city for about 10 minutes, go back to a large sheet of paper & draw that same scan verbatim, down to the number of windows in each skyscraper. Small drawings sell for thousands of dollars. Is this a talent or a circus freak show?
Hmmmmm...



Thursday, July 21, 2011

POSTAGE UPDATE

NOTE TO MY FAVORITE ETSY SELLERS!

Postage rates are KILLING me! I sent a 3.5 pound package to India the other day; $55!!!! Heading out now to mail one to Spain & I'm actually SCARED to go to the Post Office. PLEASE! If you SELL OVERSEAS,  stop whatever  you are doing & UPDATE your POSTAGE SHIPPING Settings! DO NOT discount much for shipping more then ONE item either! I'm not putting any less then $20 on anything unless it's a PEA SIZED BEAD!! Well that's over dramatic, but.........  : /


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Peonies & Gabe's Vocations


Look at the SIZE of this beautiful Peony I found laying FACE DOWN in the grass today; so BIG the stalk couldn't hold it up any more! : > 

Today Gabe & I were sorting my things that I sell on Etsy & he found a plastic Rosary. He wanted to put it on & asked what it was. I told him & said that people wear it to church. 

"I'm going to be a ROSY & a dog trainer when I grow up mama!"

Now THAT'S an interesting blend of vocations! :  /

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Costumer; Black Eyed Peas





A Friend of mine is a costume designer & dressed The Black Eyed Peas dancers for a concert in Paris this past week.... Must be hard to dance wearing a washing machine, Karen...... : >

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Oh, Mona!

A 100 years ago this month, a Louvre employee stole Mona & was caught trying to sell her in Florence; (NOT the sharpest knife in the drawer). "She smiled down on me!" he explained.

.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Edge of Dreaming

A 48 year old woman has 3 premonition dreams in this documentary & they all seem to be telling her she will die before the year is out. She is a scientist, so she seeks out medical doctors for their opinions on the meaning of dreams. Fascinating.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chartres, France: A Favorite Spiritual Place

The best known labyrinth of its type & beautifully preserved in Chartres Cathedral, France was constructed during the second decade of the 13th century. 
Rose Window
Believed to Be Relic of Mary's Dress

Star & Moon Ceiling in Crypt


"La Maison Picassiette in Chartes France, is the extraordinary result of one man's work between 1938 & 1964. The monument he left behind is a house & garden covered with intricate mosaics of broken crockery, painting and sculpture. Much has been written to try to explain why Raymonde Isidore, a middle-aged manual worker, produced such a beautiful, complicated, inspirational & mystifying environment from the house he had built for his family."


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Postage

I'd have to say that the most difficult part of selling online is figuring out how much to charge for postage! AND my time packing it AND the cost of gas while driving to mail it AND....... 
I happen to use a small independently run postal place that is more convenient then our historic post office, (where movies have even been filmed), but by the time I'm done standing in that line, I might as well have brought my sleeping bag. The problem with the smaller mail stop is they add their own charge because they need to make a few bucks too. Urgh......... : /
I also run into the rush issue. I get wanting to get your goodies by tomorrow; the question is, can you actually afford that? AND don't get me started on foreign postage; I have no idea why someone in France wants me to send wooden beads that cost as much to send them as to pay for them. Surely they have wooden beads in France, but hey, I'm not complaining about selling them, just the fact that I didn't, once again, charge enough to send them!
I  know people who ship for free & frankly I don't know how they do it. Some add that cost into the item being sold, but I often see items that are selling for too cheap plus no shipping & wonder how they even cover the cost of their materials & more importantly, the time they spent making, collecting & carefully packing the item.
I'm going to throw my two cents in here. Unless the item is absolutely under 13 ounces, or can fit into one of those flat rate envelopes or boxes from USPS; don't charge any less then $4 to send it, anywhere, AND if you're sending it overseas? Don't charge less then $8 for a light item or $15 for a heavier one. I HAVE learned that there IS no rhyme or reason to any of it. I sent an item to Australia once & it cost $5. I sent practically the same item to England & it cost $15. I have, in the past, offered a discount on the next purchase if my postage charges turn out to be too high; but have never been taken up on it. The only request in fact that I've ever gotten was to dial down the charges when someone was buying another 2 or 3 items in the same order. I was happy to do it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My First Computer

I went back to college at 32 to pursue my Bachelor's Degree & this was the computer I took with me; the first Apple (Mac) computer. Five years later when I was pursuing my Masters, I was still using it.  Was the size of a large ball, could carry it under my arm & thank God was still young enough to see the screen which couldn't have been much larger then 10 inches across. You know what it did? Word processed in B & W with the choice of about 10 Fonts, 5 of which were actually APA acceptable. I lost many a page & pages, DAMN IT!!!, because auto-saving was still to come. It also crashed & burned frequently; although what that meant was having to push a re-set button somewhere on the back & losing everything if it hadn't been saved to the floppy disk. Remember those? By the time I was writing my Thesis, thankfully I had graduated to the next hand me down Mac from my dad which was, in contrast, HUGE & cumbersome. That one wrote in color I think & maybe did a few more tricks, but still no instant saving.

Tonight I am blogging on a Mac 1500 Lap top on the bed. As I write this, I am listening to I-Tunes I downloaded, ironically Dire Straits, which I believe were popular in the 90's?  I hear the bing go off when I receive an e-mail, & am also using the on-line dictionary & calculator while this blog continues to auto save. I copied the picture of the old Mac on this entry from the internet. Before that I was downloading pictures from my digital camera on to my Etsy site that I had altered on Photoshop; oh and I also made sure there was enough $$$ in my bank account.......  see where I'm going with this?

I would no more have spent an extra second more then I needed to on that ol' Mac, unless I was doing school work, or writing a letter or composing a journal entry. In fact, I was probably still writing those entries in a 'hard' journal. I would also be visiting in 'real life' with people, talking on the phone, or actually reading a good book.

Don't get me wrong. I Skype with my cousin in England for free; it used to cost a fortune on the phone. My profession has been on-line teaching for a college & now I make extra income by selling art supplies on Etsy & books on Amazon. I just wonder sometimes what my life would be like without all this. Or at least less of all this convenience? Hmmm......


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Waste land

Vik Muniz is a world famous artist who uses 'unorthdox' materials to paint with like dirt, sugar & peanut butter & jelly. His portraits are fabulous & like life. He wanted to give back, so he went back to his home town, Rio & helped the garbage scavengers to create a massive art installation from, that's right, garbage. Then the photo's of the work are auctioned & it changes lives. This is an absolute inspiration. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Morphing Art



I've been intrigued by the 'morphing' of faces in art & film in the past, mainly from a psychological perspective. Some of us remember an experiment done with babies where a large portrait of Paul Newman, considered an attractive man in our culture & a less 'attractive' portrait of another man were put side by side in front of the babies, with plenty of room to crawl. About 95% of the time the babies crawled to Newman, 'proving' that even babies are more attracted to attractive people. It actually boils down to symmetry; the more closely matched the left & right halves of the face, the more attractive we humans consider those folks to be.

The first example of morphing above is relatively old; intriguing in a way, but all the women seem to me to be based on an Anglo-European vision of beauty. I was fascinated however when I came across the second, more recent example of morphing. Low & behold, even death masks, stone Buddhas, as well as other ancient statues have symmetry too & 'morph' just as easily as the women do!

Hmmmm..... maybe the human race is more aligned in a universal version of what's considered attractive after all!

One Week & Into The Wild

I have put some recommendations for  'ART ' movies on this blog & having recently expanded my view of what ART is, so am also expanding my list.

'One Week' & 'Into The Wild' are to me about LIFE as ART. Both include the winning components of SELF discovery, creativity, adventure, relationship & what it takes to remain TRUE to self, in order to be AUTHENTIC with others.

One Week This is a recent movie about a guy who finds out he has cancer & goes west on a motorcycle. Familiar premise, but a GREAT commentary about 'what would you do if you had a short time to live?' It's a Canadian movie filmed from east to west, PLUS this movie IS the soundtrack & visa versa. I've never watched a movie before where the great music actually TELLS the story as a character. ( http/www.imdb.com/title/tt1104806/soundtrack)


Into the Wild Some might say that this guy should have grown up. His innocent approach to life & his tragic end in a bus in the wilds of Alaska wouldn't have happened if he had achieved a certain maturity that comes with life. On the other hand he probably packed more deep experience into his short but rich life then most of us do in a lifetime.



So, if you're looking to be inspired by Life AS Art ; check out these two films for inspiration and a maybe a few tears. xo

Monday, May 23, 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It's NOT what you think

What Are Women Over 50 Worried About? It's NOT what you think.
"According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the new jobs that were created during the last 12 months, 90 percent went to men, in large part because employers are still MORE sympathetic to an unemployed man than an unemployed woman. Given that more and more women are the main breadwinners for their families, and an increasing number head up single-parent homes, this outdated idea must be revisited and revised. Nothing less."