My life has not always been easy. The ease i have now was hard earned. I grew up in an environment that was smooth on the surface but jagged underneath. I know through experience that this is a common paradigm. I learned at an early age to project calmness. It was almost as though if I could seem calm, I could be calm. But I am not calm. I have never been calm. And at 59 years of age, I am ready to shake things up a bit.
I am fortunate recently to be in a position to be able to make art without regard to compensation. That is no small statement. I no longer have to take on commission projects that I don't want to do. I am free to pursue ideas that truly interest me. This is due to the fact that I worked for more than 20 years as a teacher, and to a large extent, the money management skills of my husband.
And besides being fortunate, we are damned thrifty! More about this later, but when we decided to leave Texas and move to the Pacific Northwest, we sold everything we owned that would not fit in our car. Oh, I may have mentioned this in previous blogs, so I... No, I won't apologize for mentioning it again. It was quite dramatic! How many of you have ever dared such a risky venture? Even more importantly, how many of you have ever been put in such a tentative situation when it was out of your own control? I have. Many times. This is how I grew up.
Since I moved here, I have come to realize on a day to day basis, there are a lot of people who are much less fortunate than I. I live on the third floor of the Monticello Hotel, in a lovely suite in a 100 year old hotel, which overlooks the R.A. Long Park. There is a huge homeless population here and a lot of these desperate people spend time in the park each day. I am compelled to use my art to document their lives. That is an ongoing concern of mine. I haven't decided how it will manifest itself in my work, but it will.
I have also become acquainted with a whole segment of gay society that was not a large part of my former life. Of course, I have always had friends and students who were gay. Most of them eventually told me they were gay. My reaction has always been one of acceptance. The thing is that for them it was a revelation! It took courage, and I am not trying to discount this is any way. For the people I have come to know recently who are gay, it usually comes out in our first or second conversation. Seems more efficient, I guess. And really, their sexual orientation is no concern of mine. It is just another bit of information about them that lets me get to know them better and to empathize with them.
One of my best friends here is a man named Roger. He does drag. And he is really good at it! We recently had a photo session during which I captured him transforming himself into "Goddess Rockafeller." The shots ranged from campy to quite serious and emotional. I am planning to use the photos (I will include below a couple of manipulated examples) to paint a series of portraits, and I am very excited about the project. I already have a dozen ideas for the series, and Roger has even more planned for a future shoot. It is unusual to have a subject who is so open to playing along. The irony is, of course, that he takes on a different persona in order to reveal himself. This is surely the crux of this project. And I can see it changing my thinking in future projects as well.
So, these are the things I will be pondering today while I paint--beauty, art, the dynamics that push us all forward or hold us back, our differences and our similarities, the business of selling art, and balancing my time between the public and private domains. I will close with this: