Sunday, February 24, 2008

Sunny sick day

Today I am beginning to get over a cold. I was sick all of this week and Keith was just as sick the previous week. Coughing, congestion, sore throat, exhaustion and a low fever are the symptoms... not the influenza with aches and high fevers as we were worried it might be. No one has been very clear about the flu symptoms since they report shots aren't working  this year so we had now way to know what we had. Last night, I got word from my brother that our dad was struck yesterday with some sort of seisure and is in hospital with mom at his side. Mother called this morning when she got home from her over night vigil and reports he is talking and doing some better with the treatments and is in good hands. We will have to wait awhile longer to get more tests done on Monday. 

The sun is shinning brightly and the air is cold. I am staying in but have lots to do tomorrow my first real day out in the world again since I got sick last weekend. Tonight is the Academy awards program and we will enjoy seeing the program but we haven't seen any of the nominated movies this year. Last year I made an effort with Keith my partner to go see as many nominated movies as we could  before the awards were given and it made the big event more exciting.  It was also fun chasing after the different films. They put out so many at the end of the year that are good films worth while to go see and then they go to DVD or cable channels and you no longer have the chance to see them on the big screen in the dark theater with a few of others in the room. I like best to see a movie in the theater but this year it is going to be hard to catch any of them. Once the awards are given out winning films don't usually stay on screen very long before the freak shows for kids begin to rule the marquees. Starting tomorrow I have to go to a meeting and then in the evening I will be hosting the first male figure drawing in three weeks. We had a long break also due to a model getting the same bug I have this week. Hope I can pull it off without spreading my cold to anyone else. Tuesday back to my Doctor for the usual check ups and then on to deal with the laundry on Wednesday. 
I am sure I will be going out to see how my Dad maybe Thursday evening. 

This week I am reading a new book Speaking for Vice subtitle: Homosexuality in the Art of Charles Demuth, Marsden Hartley, and the First American Avant-Garde, by Jonathan Weinberg, published in 1993. I think I have read it before but I can't recall what happened to the book. If it was the same book I read back in the early nineties then it was one that set me on a course that made me more proud of my urge to make art of gay men. I began the male figure drawing group I run at home in my rented house on 11th St. NW with a collection of guys from the Washington, DC  gay artists group TAG and my boyfriend Denis as our first figure model.  I am still, 13 years later, hosting the male figure drawing group. We meet now on Mondays at the Warehouse downtown Washington, DC and have a great time drawing lots of different models. After three weeks without a session due to illness and holidays I am really looking forward to getting back to draw tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Yesterday, while napping with my flu bug, I was awakened by a sudden burst of light coming in the bedroom window. I jumped up and went to see what the clouds looked like with that bright sun shinning on them just above the horizon. What I found was a huge rainbow. It is the first time in a long time I have seen a late afternoon rainbow break over DC.
Skies and clouds are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. 

finally, orange and some blue

Dear readers:
Finally I have permission to share an orange story with you on a subject that got me very excited a few days ago.  Edgar Degas and ballet paintings always remind me of my youth.  In the story I read, and present for you here today, he used orange and blue as his main palette. The article is about the restoration to bring up those colors from beneath years of dust and yellowing varnish. The process and the colorful painting all thrilled me when I read it so I hope you will enjoy it too. Discovering Degas  Thanks to the Washingtonian Magazine for giving me permission to link.
I studied to be a ballet dancer from age seven. I also studied some other forms of dance after I left the ballet classes at age sixteen and learned a lot about movement and performance. One thing that spoke to me when I began studying visual art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY was how well Degas captured the movement and shape of ballet dancers.  I wanted to be able to draw and paint like him. One of my foundation class projects was to divide a picture by a master painter into it's visual planes showing what was the front of the picture plane and the receding, middle and background planes of the space in the painting. Another famous Degas was the one I chose to work from on this project. My project Degas was of a dancer adjusting her shoe in the foreground of a ballet class studio which I got from the Metropolitan Museum of art in NYC.  
At Pratt I also studied modern and avante garde dance for PE credit. The most interesting class was with a choreographer named Laura Dean who taught us how to spin like sufi whirling dervishes. I practiced and achieved an advanced level where I could spin without stopping for 45 minutes in my home studio. It was a great way to meditate and get your heart pumping. The only draw back was  shin splints which comes from doing the same movement repeatedly. In another school project for a film class I used an orange plastic rain suit and a blue sky on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment as the subject. In this film I was spinning in the orange suit against the shockingly bright blue sky. My tribute to dancers in orange and blue circa 1977. I still have the original 8mm film but I have no idea how to make it digital. One day if I find a way to do it I will add it to the blog. 

Sunday, February 17, 2008

day three: permission to copy

Today I got permission to copy my Kingsbury portrait from Doug and to post a link to his web gallery on my blog.  Doug Kingsbury What a relief, yesterday I read several pages about copyrights on the web and from those I determined that I needed to ask him. It looks like everything is subject to use by permission. I wonder how the blogs I read get those permissions. Many of the stories they quote have links to news papers or news services.  I have some articles I want to link in this blog about art shows and historical subjects that are on the Internet but I have to tread carefully. I am looking forward to discussing this with other bloggers in detail, maybe I am over reacting to the warnings. In the mean time I am saving the goods until I am clear about what I am allowed to do here.
I also heard from Doug in Florence that Scott Brooks, another Washington, DC artist, has arrived there and they had a nice meal together at Doug and Bob's swapped house. It seems they think I need to have a blog, apparently it was a topic of discussion. I got started setting up my blog this week because I told Dan Vera I didn't think my computer connection was going to let me set one up and when I went to double check my access to my surprise  I got right into this Blogger site, no problems. Now, I am wondering what all these people think I should be writing about?  
I don't have much experience writing other than my journals which I do every morning, some letters and emails. I have been a "pen pal" for many years. It began in French class in the seventh grade when I sent away for a name of a French pen pal. I could write to her in French and in return she wrote to me in English, giving us both a chance to practice our studies.  My French pen pal was Silvie and I remember her sending me a extra big post card of a "chateau" from her home town. This was in response to my comments telling her things I liked: castles and knights in armor. She had never heard the term castle in her English class but figured the old stone fortress they called a chateau was close and informed me they didn't have anyone living in them wearing armor anymore. I was bitten hard by the long distance pen pal writing bug. 
Now I have almost daily correspondence with my Dutch pen pal who has been a great friend over the past 4 or 5 years, Cor Windhouwer. I met Cor when he wrote to me about aquirring  a set of my folding book prints he found on my web site. Pictured at the top of this post.   I was happy to sell him a set and in our correspondence about the books he expressed interest in my life as an artist and I jumped at the chance to have him as a pen pal and friend. We are two of a kind when it comes to enjoying our long distance friends. One of the reasons I hesitated to start a blog was because I didn't want to take anything away from this part of my life. It will be interesting to see how blog writing impacts my other writing and story telling.
I determined yesterday that my partner Keith Stanley and I have the influenza this weekend. We both had vaccinations but as we learned on the news this year the vaccination is only good against about 40% of the bugs that showed up on our shores. In the coming weeks, I expect to be spending a lot of time at home resting to recover. Tonight with my new understanding of copyright I need to write to Cor Windhouwer and Scott Brooks and Keith Stanley and Dan Vera all mentioned in this post for permission to link their web pages in my blog.  

Saturday, February 16, 2008

day two: 21st century writing

I am learning the ropes and exploring. I was laying in bed last night thinking about all the issues of copyright and footnotes and how they impact something like a blog which is instantly published. It means something different when you are taking a report from some where and adding it to your weblog. I was curious to see how my favorite blog writers do everything. I haven't paid much attention to the developing new rules since I became a blog reader since I was using them passively it didn't matter. So today I am off to read and learn from all the zillions of resources available to me via Google and the internet. First some reflection on my past that makes me wary.
In the 20th century when I went to public schools and learned to write term papers and book reports I was instructed that you never copy anyone's writing unless you put it in quotation marks and give them credit in a foot note typed at the bottom of the page or in the back of the report with a reference number. It was quite a feat of typing skill to leave enough room on a page when we used real typewriters. Special spacing skills were needed to squeeze in those foot notes and make the report look professional. I read several blogs and now that I have one of my own I must be careful  about giving credit where it is due. 
I also am very stimulated by pictures and I think I want to use them as my stepping off point in writing on this blog. The issues of copyrights on images is another area I am not sure how to deal with in a blog. If it is my own picture there are no questions but what about showing you images of art from great exhibits and books that I want to write about and share? I don't know quite how it is suppose to work. If anyone has suggestions and tips I am looking for help. Meanwhile I know I can use hot links which is much like a footnote or a credit. 
The first one I want to offer up here is the hot link to my pal Doug's home page. He painted the portrait I use here...
See many more of Douglas Kingsbury paintings at his simple and elegant web site gallery. The image on top of this post is mine of Doug working on my portrait in his studio. 

Friday, February 15, 2008

Day One

This is my first succesful attempt to begin a blog. I chose orange and how it explains it all because it was available and made me smile. I love orange beards. I do not have one of my own but my eye always follows when I see an orange beard.
I am using a recent portrait painted by my friend Doug Kingsbury over the latter part of 2007 as my portrait here because it is so good a likeness and it captures something I have not found in any of the photographs of me in recent times. Besides it is a real delight to be the subject of a oil painting by such a master as my friend Doug. I sat for this portrait many Friday's from about one in the afternoon through until dark at his house and had a great time being there and visiting with him while he worked. He can paint and talk and listen all at the same time. Contrary to what you may think, sitting for this artist, was a delight. 
Doug is in Florence, Italy for a long stay and although I miss him a lot.  I am excited that he is there and has this chance to study the Italian masters up close and in person. He and his partner Bob took a house swap for several months to get to know the city in all its detail. Bob writes and Doug paints and draws... what could be more perfect?