This weekend!

The Painter and the Pose Part 2

I just received this hot off the press work produced by Austin Brayfield from the posing session in Ashland.  If you no idea what I am talking about you can read the previous post from March 9, 2013 titled The Painter and the Pose.  These are LARGE oils.
The work of Austin Brayfield
The work of Austin Brayfield
The End!  

The Painter and The Pose

I had been an artist’s model once before.  When I was in the energetic heights of being an art student at Ventura College. The day the model didn’t show up for our life drawing class, I volunteered.  This was back in the 80’s.  It was one of the best exercises for me as an artist.  To sit still and hold a pose.  30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, then the finale of 20 minutes.  It was a more difficult feat than I thought.  I gleaned a new respect for our models.  

While I was in Ashland,OR last month, Austin asked me to pose. 

Painting is her passion.  

She originally wanted me there so she could work off of Donna Granata’s photo of me in the “glass dress”.   When I arrived and saw that she had started with a painstaking accuracy of the laying out a grid in order to get proportions correct in relation to the photo, I asked if that is how she usually works.  

“No” was her answer.

I didn’t think so.

I see her paintings as spontaneous splashes of soulful color and shape, not the “thought out”, “get it right” type of work she was approaching.  I asked her if she would consider painting me in her new bath tub which is cradled in a beautiful arched window.  

Her eyes lit up.
It would be fresh.  
For me, for her.  
A scene of the moment, not from a photo.  
With easel, canvas, and paints we hustled into the bathroom.

The college experience came back to me.  I could just feel the scratch, scratch, grr, grr, of the brush on Austin’s canvas as she dove into the start of her painting.  I had to laugh out loud as I heard the sound of her passion gnawing away.  It is contagious, passion is.  

The smell of paint, quiet concentration, and me in my model mind, forced into the moment of full attention by not wanting my foot to sag, my leg to drift out of it’s original position, or my body to slide in any way, all the while, wanting to relax enough and not be worried about moving. It is quite an experience.  

The art of staying still. 

As my time in Oregon was coming to an end, Austin wanted to make sure she had details to work from, so I agreed to do some modeling for her to shoot photographically.  Getting in and out of the bath tub, drying off, close ups of feet, hands, face, water, etc.  

While we were doing this, it occurred to me that Austin could model and I shoot images of her.  A bit hesitant, she finally agreed,  saying that she could use the photos to work from for a self portrait or two.  

So off go her clothes and the classic, stepping out of the bath, gazing out the window poses continued until the finale of a serious Vitruvian Man pose that was beautifully framed in the window.  Right at that moment, through the window, up on the very scarcely trafficked  road, I saw a cop car, going super slow. “Austin, the cops” she jumped for the towel and we both looked at each other and just about died laughing. 


Later, while looking over the photos on the computer screen, up pops the image of Austin, arms and legs spread out, beautifully back lit, the front of the cop car to the left of her head and the back of the cop car to the right.  I didn’t realize I got the cops in the shot and I’m glad I did.

op Car


When I was looking online for inspiration and found Margaret Fabrizio’s (Atree3 videos) The cover photo on the youtube video that caught my eye was of a sunburst/starburst.  That was the feeling that I wanted….A center and growth.  Pulling out from that center….I wanted a pattern to follow. 
As I watched and listened, I found someone speaking a language that I used to know.  
The familiarity of the unknown.  
The adventure of it all.
The mother tongue that I was born with. 
A way I know in my bones.  No way.
I found permission to NOT follow a pattern.  
Then I got excited.
Then I got scared.  Even scareder that I was when I was surfing for a pattern.
Then I remember all of my preaching of that damn Miles Davis quote…”Do not fear mistakes, there are none.”   
I have WORN it OUT!  I have sucked that one DRY!  EVEN used it as publicity for my work…..FORGIVE me Miles…….
All of those pieces of glass!  wobbling!  off center!  cracked!

And……what happened to that kind of creativity?  in me?  from the core?  that puts it out there regardless?  Of the crack, wobble, off centeredness?  I think what happened is TOO MANY SHOWS! Too many deadlines, competitions, galas.  Somewhere along the way it became turned inside out….the wrong sides together ended up on the inside.  OR WHATEVER!  
I started making things for the audience.  BECAUSE….I was DEPENDING on the audience.  And I think by me doing that almost slashed my main creative artery.  Or at least it has turned me off…..BIG TIME.  

My hot glass tools got really heavy and melty like a Dali.  My seamstress stuff got cold.  Frigid.  Iced.  

The first cut into the safe purple fabric that I bought with Julie in Santa Maria.
The first seam…that I now want to rip out!  
First branch of the tree of life

The threads that pull these pieces of material together…I parallel with thoughts of a tree of life or a branch at least budding out from…….kimono that Eileen gave me…..kimono from a bale that I bought at the garage sale where the lady let me pick the persimmons……silk from Suzanne…..and that safe purple filler material that I bought with Julie in Santa Maria.  The safe purple filler I bought when I started to transition a few years back.  I mean!  Come ON!  That store was filled with the most BITCHEN materials and I choose that safe purple filler(SPF)!  Well today, guess which was the material that I cut into first?  YEAH…..that SPF!  AND….O.K…..O.K….O.K…….I DID!


This is the last quilt I made (2009).  Austin gave me the silk from Thailand.  Years later, in Italy, I got the velvet samples from Etro. And, as usual, some shim shimmery that caught my eye.  

Above is the quilt that I am making now.  In what looks like a pile of fabric, I see a finished piece of art!   These materials from Italy,  batik & tie die from grandma, cast off from friends, and the thrift store, have been staring me in the eye every morning I wake.
Sometimes getting cracking isn’t the key.  Obviously.  My vision keeps changing.  And I am letting it change.  Before I cut.  I am so glad that I am taking this time.  This time has allowed me to realize that  I am not interested in the patterns anymore.  And going for the gusto without a pattern can be a bit scary.  Hence the fabric’s continual glare at me.

A different pile of fabric and a different quilt.  Maybe not.  I may marry all the materials together into one.  

My original idea is a memorial quilt to my Uncle Mark.  Whose body is buried in a Guatemalan cemetery above the village of San Marcos, Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala.  If a “memorial” quilt doesn’t load up the fear in me to start, I don’t know what does!  Many of these fabrics are hand died and woven by Mark’s wife Kathe who is a Kachekel woman from San Marcos.   

Also, Babushka scarfs my mom gave me from the Ukraine hold a sentimental pull.  A pull that says “keep me piled in the closet”, “don’t cut me up”……A pile that I cleaned out of my grandma‘s house…..unused, waiting….for me to distribute.

I don’t want a pile of beautiful fabrics in my closet.  I want a quilt to spread out and let the cats scratch up and spill stuff on.  So, guess what that means?  

Make the cut!  Sew the quilt!  Get some cats!  Spill some stuff!

P.S.  my inspiration for this entry is Margaret Fabrizio.  Yesterday, while I was surfing for quilt inspiration I found her youtube entries, atree3, highly recommended….not just about quilts, about LIFE! 

Just Photos

Out the Kitchen window
Fox tracks crossing in the yard
A house I like


Depot Park

Depot Park

See post Sequence Shots for exactly that….the sequence.

There are roads EVERYWHERE a lot of them dirt…it is

a HUGE grid of roads.  The FIRST thing that I hear/see in the a.m.after a snow (after waking from….in a slight whisper… the quiet) is LOUD,HUGE trucks, red lights flashing.  The plow, the sand, and the salt trucks.They are up and at it…they even cover all of those tiny dirt roads.  We get them first here in town.  And because there was only 6 inches total of snow last year…this year….. they are raring to get r’ dun!  

The Plow

The Sand

Sanded road
Keuka through the trees
Up the hill takes 30 minutes 
Another road and farm house
My walk
Sky is opening
All of the little creeks are starting to run
I love this tiny place
Vineyards and view of across the lake
More vineyards and cute farm house
Bully Hill Winery and vineyards
Vineyards and lake
More vineyards
The tiny place in the sun
My walk on the way back
The lake
Farm House
Real live ice sickles 


Last night a semi truck drove by carrying a flat bed filled with people wrapped up from the cold singing Christmas carols.
So this is Americana.

The quiet of the morning wakes me.
So this is snow.

The House

Hammondsport, NY

Town Square

Park at Lake


Three Stories

First story.
Today I made a big pot of lentils- Which, Jeane & Chris especially, I know you like photos, and I keep forgetting to take them because I am so into the moment….  I need a photographer, or better yet, I need a chef.  Actually both would be nice, then we could trade roles.
Moroccan Lentils

The Moroccan Lentil recipe was introduced to my family about 43 years ago by Doris….at this point, in an almost rap beat, she would rattle off a bunch of her different last names.  I think there are seven total.  When I was a kid I used to beg her to say all of them because it was so fun for me to hear.  That was way, way, before rap.  
I called Doris last night to pick her brain about something.  I ended up giggling in and out of the entire conversation.  That is who Doris is.  She makes light of life in a really beautiful way.  It is at no one’s expense.  There is no brunt at the end.  It is life and she laughs with it.  Through some truly tragic things too, her soul laughs.  I love being reminded that the people who I have loved for a really long time, are still the people that I love, through all of our changes, no matter that we haven’t seen each other or talked often. 
Second story.
When anything is in a big pot on the stove, holding my face over the steam is a habit of mine.  A mini facial in the middle of the cooking process.  I am in awe at the character of steam.  Between its ability to open the pores on my face to the thick fogging of the windows in this tiny apartment, the steam just does its thing in a phenomenal way.  

Third story.

“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday, I walk myself into a state of well-being & walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, & the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill. Thus if one just keeps on walking, everything will be all right.”

― Søren Kierkegaard

On my walk up the hill, with the wind at my back, I feel my heightened energy. There is the snow, there are all of the let down people on the computer because the world didn’t end today (at least I think they seem let down), there is the holiday, and there is a lot of stuff that just goes on in my head.  My pace is on high.

With the snow coming from my back I am able to see the actual flakes fall in front of me.  Perfect crystals of ice.  I have now been introduced to the graphic of snow.  It is not the muddy mess that we, as Southern Californians, would excitedly drive up the mountain to see.  It is far from that.

I turn to go home.  The snow blowing horizontally into my face stings my eyes. There is no making out the tiny details now, the wind is too strong in this direction.

It amazes me how the first half a walk can be so different from the last half.  The shift of the brain.  The direction of the wind.  The energy burned the energy gained. The last day of the Mayan calendar the first day of the rest of my life.

The Long and Winding Road

On the way up
Walking up the Road

Heading up the road this morning, my blood feels like clay.  No flow, and many unanswered questions  banging around in my mind.  I’m a bit terrified because this was one of the symptoms my severely depressed friend complained about.  “Thick blood, and feeling like being stuck in a bubble”.  I go back in time to the many walks I took with her in order to cheer her up, pull her out, have some laughs.  None of which worked.  I was watching a light in my life, one of the main lights, dim and keep dimming, and I didn’t like it.  Nothing to do.  Now, when I feel under the weather and sort of depressed, I usually go back to thinking how my friend must have felt or she may still feel today.

A close relative once pulled me aside to ask me to please listen to “these CD’s about depression”.  He told me he was depressed and he thought I was too.  “A generational thing”.  I was able to say “No, thank you,  I will not take on your depression.  It’s all yours”.  At the time, I was in the middle of a break up of my marriage and I was sad.  I was feeling loss.  And yes, was probably depressed.  After this depression, diagnoses, encounter, I felt so much anger.  It was in the anger that I saw I was able to feel.  It was in these guts of mine saying, “no”,  that proved to me I am on my own path, and as much as it might be depressed, I am going to feel every bit of it.

Then there is the SAD Seasonal Affective Disorder which I wonder about now, after not seeing the sun for a few days, and knowing this is just the beginning of the season.  I can feel what some of my Seattle/Portland friends have talked about.  The food thing too.  I am buying organic, but does trucked from California count? It doesn’t feel like it does. Down to the health food store for a quick lunch doesn’t happen here- neither socially nor healthily.  Stolen hours, which I was accustomed, on a rock in the sun at the California trailhead, aren’t happening either.

The Long and Winding Road

This subject of depression is interesting, because as I started this post with being “terrified” of noticing the symptoms, I realize the true fear of depression which I actually have.  Weather it being me, as a sponge, soaking up others’ feelings or the environment’s affects, who wants to feel clay for blood. I don’t, yet at the same time, when it comes up I don’t want to deny it.  I recall Thomas Moore’s The Care Of The Soul‘s one chapter on depression.  My introduction to the idea that depression is a gift.

Yes, a gift when, if I’m not so afraid of it, I allow it to happen.  In the meantime, I notice the wonderful and tricky part about depression is that a simple sweat up the hill usually nips it.

And, today, walking back down the hill,  I hear myself singing The Long And Winding Road….bum….bum…..bum…..bum………dummmmmmm.

Now, is that being depressed?

Back down to town

Wake of the Lake

This morning’s walk took me further, beyond my usual route, ending up with my feet in the mud at the edge of the shore. There I could feel the energy of a storm just gone through the east, lapping in the heavy wake.  My west coast people are concerned for me in these storms.  I keep telling them to look at a map….see exactly where I am……”Go to Lake Ontario, about the center of the U.S. shore, straight down, the small lake shaped like a ‘Y’? I am there, at the southern end”. The storm didn’t reach here, today is filled with sun & blue sky, not snow.

The inspirational push to my boundaries this morning was a blog post.  Reading it urged me to see a different vision, suggested expanding my horizon.  And I did, and it worked. Though it all seems like an outer experience- “different vision” & “expanded horizon”- it’s not. It is happening on, which seems to be my theme these days, an Inner Level. 

In the sound of the water, beyond the secure and known in which I create over and over in order to feel safe, I sense safety in the unknown. I watch the wake in it’s effortless push to shore.  A flow.  The process of this flow…. trustworthy.  

Trusting does not come easily to me. It is my challenge.  It is my change.  I have not had the courage to allow….not even wanted to give a glance at how to go about it in order to “just be”.  Though, my own soul, constant and loyal, still pleading, “Do you acknowledge?  Will you stop and see? Can you let things be?  When?”  

In response I am grateful to say-

Yes, today, down at the lake, watching the wake, effortlessly.