Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Story

Hi Darling,
Thank you for walking with me. The sun is hiding behind the clouds now while the earth takes in the rain. I am going to make like the sun and hide too. I will be back on November 23rd with pictures.


Ever been to a benediction? Where we sit in church with the old ladies and the nuns, and they bring out the body of Christ. It's just a little circle of pressed bread covered in glass, surrounded by a sun of gold with rays coming out of it. We'd stare and say prayers till we couldn't think anymore. It used to be my favorite- would give me this feeling- to look and adore. I want to be that way with you.

This is the part of the story where I tickle otter's belly...
and hummingbird comes out of the Sun to kiss the Earth.

So listen, kiddo, here's what we're gonna do. First we'll run out of the house into the woods when it gets dark and then you come out too. We're gonna leap out at you- someone will pinch your butt- I'm just saying- it's gonna happen- and you'll get stuff in your hair. There might be masks involved. It could get wild. When you're done running around you can come back home. And we'll see you there.
My clothes? Atrocious. Let's strip and laugh at them.

Roger and Jamie came over tonight. Roger talked at us for an hour during our dinner. What did he say? It was like an energetic lobotomy- wanted to slap him and hug him. I closed my eyes and saw my polar bear lunge at me and eat my head. Which made me laugh? We did. Roger maybe will need to put some water on his forehead. Looks like a fireworks problem right there.

I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree
A tree who’s hungry mouth is pressed
Against the earths sweet flowing breath
A tree that looks to god all day
And lifts her leafy arms to pray
A tree that must in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair
Upon whose bosom snow has lain
Who intimately lives with rain
Poems are made by fools like me
But only god can make a tree


Jerry left a message- he said:

Thought I heard a jug band playin'
"If you don't... who else will?"
From over on the far side of the hill

From the land of the midnight sun
Where the ice blue roses grow
Along those roads of gold and silver snow
Howlin' wide or moaning low
So many roads I know
So many roads to ease my soul


Get your mind out of the gutter and pass the butter!

Today I received this picture of the Catherine Howard painting- she was in last year's collection, The Faces of a Woman. I love how she looks there!

We'll make the best of what's around!
Exciting news for today! Ready?.....
I'm painting a polar bear!!!

When I get to a spot like this- where I'm scratching my head and making faces at the canvas, I think up Degas and he taps me on the shoulder to say, “Only when she no longer knows what she is doing does the painter do good things." And so then I say to myself, "I must be doing good things right now!"

We were staring at the moon tonight and I wondered, "How do the clouds know to part as they cross the moon?" But then I realized the clouds were still there. The moon just shone through them! I don't have any new painting to share from this weekend. The show is twelve days away.
Not long ago we went into the woods to look at the trees, and on our way in we crossed paths with a coyote. He was careful, but he wasn't scared. He looked with those eyes. And he turned his body a little bit towards us. There was a wide raw wound on his hind quarters. Maybe he was in a fight? He lingered for a long time staring at us, us staring at him. I felt sad for his struggle- he looked thin. I hoped that maybe he showed us his wound so that we could see it. And maybe by being seen, could heal.

We made this sign today. It goes out on the front lawn tomorrow morning.

Where has he gone?
The one lit like a candle,
like a seat with roses growing around it.

There is no one like him in the world.
But if there is no form for that now,
how is it everything turns
with the motion of his love?


At night before Steve goes to bed he sits behind me on the couch and watches me paint. I wonder if maybe this is a boring thing? But he always does it, and I like it a lot, and I imagine in my head one of his buddies going, "Whatchya up to, Steve?" And he goes, "Watchin' paint dry!" Tonight he fell asleep on the couch, and he's got a little smile on his face there in dreamland.

Who thinks twice about the tortured gorge cradling the raging river?
"Oh that poor earth. Look how it lost so much of itself for this river."
No that'd be silly! The carving is good. The water's good.
It's okay to get washed away. Good place for a river, then, ya think?

It was the end of such a long day outside so when we got to the room we all collapsed in a heap overlapping each other. Someone drooled and I don't know what foot belonged to whom- my clothes were stained with mud and sweaty too. But when you're all that tired, well, what else is there to do?

So this guy comes up to me
His face red like a rose on a thorn bush
Like all the colors of a royal flush
And he's peeling off those dollar bills
Slapping 'em down
One hundred Two hundred
And I can see those fighter planes
I can see those fighter planes
Across the mud huts where the children sleep
Through the valleys and the quiet city street
We take the staircase to the first floor
We turn the key and slowly unlock the door
As a man breathes into a saxophone
And through the walls we hear the city groan
Outside it's America
Outside it's America


I'm listening to Set the Controls for The Heart of the Sun by Pink Floyd. When I hear Roger Waters I feel like he is my pal. Of course I've never met him, but when I hear him sing, he is singing for me. I want to offer my approach for reconciling perceived distance. When I was a kid I used to wish I could lean my head against Jesus. So I'd imagine him next to me and I'd see myself resting with him. Each new day brings new confusion and fear for me, so what I do is talk to people I know who've already walked in this direction. Like, if I'm working on something realistic and I don't feel adequate to the task, I'll talk to da Vinci and ask him if he will teach me what I need to learn right now. Those who have achieved the greatest heights are the most compassionate towards our striving. And if I'm expressing the creative and sexual more that I think appropriate I'll call up Klimt and ask, "Is this okay? Seriously- is it?" And he'll smile a nod. Part of being a real being is letting it be okay to disappoint people. When I'm afraid I'll paint something that disappoints my friend, I will imagine her smiling at me saying, "I could not love you more. Act great." and that helps me be with myself without worrying. Yup. John Lennon said that he believed in anything- faeries, dreams- that everything was real- who's to say that our nightmares aren't as real as our living time? So if my actual life feels tight or limited, I will take it to the dreamland, where there is a lot of honesty, love, and flowing ease.My intention with the left panel is to create liquid sun- watery and shining- with some of Klimt's water snakes doing the job. Michael is as an entrance for or companion with the living sunshine.
So as luck would have it, this morning's rain attracted an oversize leprechaun into the hot tub! Thankfully, I had my camera in hand to capture him...

I want to talk about art, and this is what I want to say:
It's a public orgasm.
is THAT nerve racking.
The Gods are coming!
The Gods are going to eat you.
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.
-William Blake

Hopefully I'm out of the weeds here with the Killing Angel. I worked on her face for the third day today, and it looks like she's just about there.

I swam in a cold glaciated lake once and opened my eyes to see nothing. The deepest clearest water with lengths and lengths of nothing- just light streaming through. I was astounded with wonder and completely, utterly, horrified.


Life's not a bitch life is a beautiful woman
You only call her a bitch because she won't let you
Maybe she didn't feel y'all shared any similar interests
Or maybe you just couldn't sweet talk the princess

You ever hear the ring of a sword as it's unsheathed?
The bells at the midnight mass?

The Killing Angel is Sarah combined with some Sioux features to arrive at that face. I'll be adding a knife and spear as her accoutrements, which brings me to some upcoming symbolism...

Knives, Blood, Heart: This is the outer layer of the story with the outer layer story of my life: Six years ago, a friend of mine was killed by a guy who stabbed him in the heart with a knife- just once, and deeply. I grieved him and felt as if that knife was in my heart too. A few years later I lived with a woman who practiced black magic. Woops. She cursed me, I left, and felt pain in my heart. I would stick my fingers between my ribs to try and massage out the cramping inside my chest. Around that time I heard that shamans would sometimes just cut out whatever was hurting the body. I was certain something was stuck inside of me so that's what I did- splayed open my skin with a disinfected blade. It was a very successful prayer, because soon after my life structure collapsed. I did too too many times and had to lay down for a long time because my heart was murmuring. After that I attempted to reconstruct my lifestyle setup over a year's time. It wasn't going too well. So I opened up that wound again, and shortly thereafter woke up one morning with oooh what a pain in my ears. I was sure I was in a nightmare where someone was stabbing me inside my brain. Both my eardrums burst that day and I couldn't hear anything, just see the blood coming out of my head. I emailed one of my friends, "This can't be good! What do I do?" And he replied, "Relax, relax. Bleeding ears can look scary, but it's usually a good sign. Blood is very cleansing." I read how the Mayans and their descendants practiced ceremonial bloodletting. I'm not necessarily into that, but I do know that to be intimate with my own blood does bring some clarity to life. My blood amazes me. Life depends upon every single bit of blood traveling in the right place. A single vein is life or death. In the same vein, all my action and intention right now creates another dimension of my body, just as tender and subtle as the physical one. That's where the killing angel does her work. Her spear is for pruning back the rose bush so that the perfumed roses grow. I didn't have the heart to make her sinister- it would be disrespectful- she's simply intense. Once when I got myself hit by a car and lived with fantastic luck, I promised her I would learn my lessons so she wouldn't have to put me in a pickle like that again. The killing angel is, to me, an aspect of the Good Mother- and she helps one walk the line. I think of the destructive events in my life as the Killing Angel throwing daggers to kill my false hearts or strengthen the real one. When she has her eye squared on a misstep, she just sort of hangs out with her eerie scent in the room. That's when she's like, "Heads up, kiddo." If I miss her there, she'll give me an unpleasant nudge, and on in intensity from there. She is a corrective force, tending to aim at the heart of the matter, which hurts. Though when I respect her and let her do her work, I get to play. But that's just one interpretation. She's also Hell. That's another layer of the story.

So here we've got the Mama, or the Tao, say. On her right, being an expression of her, are two contrasting entities. Just put wings up- those are the wings of an anhinga- they always did give me the heebeejeebees- the Incas regarded them as the darkest birds of hell. That's my friend Sarah as the model. She's gonna be on the darker side. Boo!

Devya here is the Mama Tao. She came to ClearPoint this past weekend. I liked her right away and asked if I could put her in one of my paintings. She said that'd be fine.

Here it comes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Jackie and the Jewel Mine

voilĂ :
"There's no such thing," he said.
"Oh?" she asked, "How do you know?"

"Are you on fire from the years? What would you give for your kid fears? What would replace the rent, the stars above? Replace the anger with the tide? Replace the ones, the ones that you love? Oh the ones that you love!
Are you on fire?"
-Indigo Girls

Tonight I am certain that every effort I have made in my life to be a part of this thing we are doing (what are we doing?) is a piece of a funeral pyre I've been building, log by log. I keep seeing that monk in my head, aflame. Widows in old India, pushed into the raging inferno. It's burning.

I saw pictures of bombs exploding, of grinning pilots. The Art of War.


When I walk through the woods- man. I get clear, which is to say: nothing at all. Wrap myself around a tree. Not to give her anything but just to feel her skin against my face. A flower appears that is supposed to be dead by this time of year. A breeze rips through us all and I don't know anything, ever, at all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Kiss


I used to subscribe to the idea that everything on earth was created on earth. Then I heard that, no, some animals and plants are from other places. I'd had that possibility of an idea tucked in my back pocket when I saw a video of a Bird of Paradise dancing in the Amazon rain forest. In order to get his (hopefully) lady's attention, he hooted, whistled, clicked, lifted his feathers up like a skirt, and hopped around in a circle whilst shaking his head to and fro. All at the same time! I fell off the couch laughing at him. He HAD to be from somewhere else! Beautifully audacious little wacky-head. And certainly his own man. Where do these amazing insane absurd wonderful things come from?! And how is it that they birth themselves into these exquisite outfits? Passionflowers- when I saw one for the first time as a child I stopped in my tracks. Holy mackerel! Jesus, what a world. Speaking of him, in the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, he says, "Be of good courage. If you're feeling discouraged, take courage in the many forms of nature." Yeah. I dig that.

So this painting and symbolism. I understand why painters don't talk about their pieces, cause words are generally the fast lane to ruining a picture. Words get us to thinking, and the only way to get into a picture is to feel it. So that's said. Talked about silver below. Gold is the other reality of silver- they two are like brother and sister in the cosmos: Sun/Moon. I think of Gold's voice as being like, "I am here! with you. Yes! Here- absolutely!" And Silver I think she's like, "Yes, here I am, darling. Mm hmm." And hummingbirds- hummingbirds dart to and fro- they're these ephemeral fluttering dainty balls of light that live off of flowers. And then the passionflower- flowers just open and give silently. I put it over my heart. The space here- beautiful empty space. Space has power in its no-thing-ness. Certainly a lot of creative power! I'm endeavoring here to give it its due respect. This piece is cool in color, save the little sun behind the hummingbird. I'm eager for a kiss of warmth.

Pop-Pop (my grandfather) and Mollie are coming to visit this week, so I will be scarce for a few days.

Silver is a color that comes at night when the moon shines off the water. It is benevolent, having known sadness, like the linings on the clouds or the sparkles in rain, or the shimmer in the midnight ocean pools when the little beings light up. Stars look silver because they are so very far away in the darkness. In my dreams I look at people but I can't see them. Behind them it's too bright and they turn dark with the shadow- their colors drain out.

I read once that if we just turn our back to the light we can see everything in perfect clarity. That if we did, everything would be bright and we could see clearly. Have you ever been on open water in the middle of a summer day? It's blinding. Can't see anything for all the light. Some nights in the woods are like early day if the moon is big enough. The whites become even whiter. When the light is dim in the winter, the birch trees glow in the hammock as if their trunks are lanterns.

I hear people say, "The light, the light!" And other people (they seem kinda sketchy), they go, "The darkness! The darkness." There's this painting da Vinci did- to me it is his final statement. He's like, "Listen, I'm gonna say it the best I can. This is it. I cannot make it any more obvious, okay?"
Unfortunately, because we have stunted capacities, we wonder who the model was? and is that a self-portrait? and, say, what kind of egg did he use in his paints? But if you and me, if we really look to see, we'll see.

Once I saw a bright lion in a dream around the time I was feeling like a failure in the world. He was ferocious, and at the same time, kind. He had shining gold and silver plates and barbs all over his body and he growled saying, "We are all failures here." There's a dream of beauty within most of us- the way the crickets chirp in the evening, how the tomatoes turn so red and warm in the sun, the feel of slippery water through a stream, how the little birdies play in the flowers and chirp to each other. I want them to land on my shoulder and tickle my cheek and ride in my pocket for the afternoon peeping and tweeting along. I think maybe if somehow that miracle day comes... they won't be afraid of me anymore?

Still working at that little bird. As this afternoon passes, I'd like to offer one of the most amazing pages I've yet to see: a collection of hummingbird pictures!

Ooh I'm excited! This one's rolling! I going to Massachusetts for the afternoon, and I'll be back this evening to put in the pretty birdie. Really pretty!

I was laying on the floor yesterday gritting my teeth. Doing some kind of pathetic face plant in response to failing four young canvases in a row. Man. Sometime you gotta just keep trying, huh?