Thursday, September 30, 2010
I emailed her to see if she would be OK with my posting her poem. We had a nice email chat, and I realized there are a lot of artists working towards the same end - ending oppression around body image. How would it be if we all banded together to get our message out there more powerfully?
To that end, if you know of other artists (or are one yourself) who are doing work around women's body image, I would be grateful if you could send me the link to their work. I will post links to their work here on the blog so we can begin a community of like-minded folks. The more aware people become of this issue, the greater the possibility that one day we won't be so bound by pain and anguish around how we look.
Let's start now!
The wife of a senator, who was NOT in favor of giving women the vote, was also arrested and chose to remain in jail rather than being given amnesty. That got the attention of the president eventually and was portrayed as being a turning point. She also went on a hunger strike and scared her husband into doing something about it when he saw her.
What stuck with me about this movie was how few people it took to change the world. There were 1000's of women around the country working for Women's Rights, but (if the movie can be believed), it was the hardheaded determination and refusal to give up of this one single woman who made the difference. That is truly astonishing.
That means that any one of us could change the world if our vision were clear enough.
I am also reminded of Westboro Baptist Church. There are 50 Phelps in the church and 10 other members. These people have spread their hatred and anger and confusingly hate-filled message all around the country and have stirred rational people into a fury. Laws have been passed all around the country to counteract their tactics. Some of those laws are unconstitutional and have negative consequences for the First Amendment Rights for many of us. There is a case going in front of the Supreme Court next week to decide a case that has been moving through the courts the last 2 years. It too could negatively impact our First Amendment Rights.
What impresses me about Westboro is how the hatred of one person (the head of the church and family) could spread so horribly and affect all of us so negatively. Hitler is, of course, another person who comes to mind which I think about one person spreading horrors around the world.
So I awoke with the thought that I can change the world. With a clear enough vision and enough determination, I can affect the world in significant ways. That isn't the statement of a meglomaniac (I hope!) Any one of us can change the world.
What is your vision of the world? How do you want it to be? What will you do today to begin to affect that change?
My vision is of a world where we each love ourselves deeply and completely, where gentleness and kindness and respect are the default ways of being. Loving ourselves leads to loving and accepting others unconditionally. There is no place for hatred or strife or war in such a place.
Join me, will you?
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Tomorrow is the Preview at the gallery from 5-7. 208 W Broad St, Richmond, 23220. Visual Art Studio. Be there or be square!
Friday I'm taking an art class for the whole weekend at Crossroads Art Center with Rob Vander Zee. I saw the advertisement for his class and immediately felt drawn to take it. There have been a few times in my life when I have just known there was a right thing to do. Whenever I've followed such strong leadings, it has proven to be the right thing to do.
One such leading occurred at Quaker Meeting when I saw an advertisement for a singing weekend. It just felt like the right thing to do so I signed up. While there, I met a person who became very important in my life and set the trajectory of it for the next several years. That was a good leading!
I love it when it happens because it's exciting to see what comes from it, so I'm really looking forward to the class. Rob teaches classical forms of painting and talks a lot about marketing. He's located in DC, so I'm hoping he'll be able to give me some tips about galleries that might be interested in my work in that area. Who knows what the future holds? I'm curious to find out!
After class Friday is the opening for Sacred Flesh! Super exciting! I'm really looking forward to seeing people there and sharing my work with the public. Many of the models will be coming to the Artist's Talk to talk about their experience modeling for me or simply just to see the work. It should be a very fun evening! Hope to see you there!
Monday, September 27, 2010
* It takes a LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONG time to shrink wrap 72 prints!
* 5 weeks is NOT too long a time to put together and publish a catalogue, especially when gathering texts from 20 different people.
* Two months before a big opening is NOT too long to have all canvases finished.
* When people have feelings about the artwork, it means my project is working! It's helping people look at their feelings about their bodies.
* Measure the capacity of the car before building canvases to make sure I can get them to the gallery for the show.
* Pay careful attention to the dimensions of the gallery and notice big windows when planning how many pieces to put in the show. (Big windows = less space = fewer paintings)
* Don't sign up for a weekend art workshop for the same weekend as a big opening.
* Try to get daughter to leave for a year abroad either a week before or a week after a big opening - not the day before.
* Try to get son's college to plan Parent's Weekend for a different weekend than the weekend of a big opening.
* Try to get husband to plan huge stress at work and 80-hour weeks to fall a different month than the month of a big opening.
* Don't plan an out-of-town meeting about the next big opening four days before a big opening.
* It's more important to take off for the day to see the son in college with the daughter who's going overseas for the year than it is to get 72 prints shrink-wrapped.
* 19 large paintings barely fit in a Honda minivan and a Ford truck, but much patience and mathematical brilliance can in fact make it happen - if the stars are aligned just right and a once-in-20-year Harvest moon happens to be happening that very night.
* It's wise to breathe every once in a while in the midst of everything else.
* It's even wiser to relax and trust that everything is going to be just fine, even if it doesn't all get done and even if glitches happen.
* People will offer to help at the most perfect times.
* Everything will turn out just right.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Here are the events for the week regarding the show:
Thursday evening, September 30, from 5-7 there will be a Preview for Discerning Viewers - what that means is anyone who would like to can come take a look at the art at a time when the galleries aren't as crowded as they are on First Friday. I'll be there until 6:30 when I have to leave to go teach my pastels class.
Friday evening, October 1, at 5:15 I'll give an Artist's Talk about the show. Several of the models will be there to answer questions as well. It'll be a great opportunity to ask whatever has been on your mind as you've watched this show evolve. The talk will (hopefully) be on YouTube later if you miss it Friday.
Friday evening, October 1, beginning at 6:30 and going until about 9:30 is First Friday, a great opportunity to explore and be a part of Richmond's art scene. All the galleries along Broad Street stay open late; street musician, magicians, fire eaters, jugglers, etc. come out to perform; anyone who is anyone goes there to be seen! It is a very fun way to spend the evening, checking out the culture that is Richmond and seeing scores of people you know. I'll be at the gallery that evening until we close around 9:30 or 10.
If you can't make it this week, the gallery is open during the week and on weekends (see the website for hours). I'll be there the Third Saturday, October 16 for Saturday Stroll from 1-4.
Thursday, November 4, from 5-7 there will be another Preview for Discerning Viewers with a new set of pictures. I had so many paintings, I couldn't fit them all in one show, so I'll be trading out pieces for the November showing.
Friday evening, November 5, 5:30 I'll be giving another Artist's Talk about the new work as well as the work in general.
Friday evening, November 5, 6:30 - 9:30 is one of the best attended First Fridays of the year. People come out to enjoy the nip in the air and to shop for Christmas presents for their loved ones as well as to enjoy the festivities.
Saturday, November 20, 1-4, is another Saturday Stroll. I'll be there to talk to folks about my work.
Catalogues and prints will be available at the gallery during the show as well.
It would be wonderful to see you at one of these events. I hope you'll introduce yourself if we don't know each other already. I look forward to meeting you!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Here's the blurb on his opening page:
Clothes are our second layer of skin. They disguise, reveal, mirror our innermost being or help to hide it. By wearing certain clothes we can for example give an indication of our profession, our social status or our emotional mood. A business suit makes us guess that theperson behind it is a banker, office worker, insurance agent and so on. In our society it is a sign of trustworthiness. But to which degree is this assumption correct? Can we really trust this cover unreservedly? What is really behind it? Can the illusion be destroyed when all of a sudden a tattoo appears under the suit or does the person remain to be nfathomable? Here you have the opportunity to perceive the different effect between a person dressed in their characteristic clothes and in the nude.I hope you enjoy the site as much as I did!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Just to answer your question, yes, some people can be fired for posing nude.
Teachers are particularly targeted, as there is a morals clause, usually in some fine print, upon hiring for the first time. Usually public schools, don't know about private. It never shows up again when teachers are "renewed" for the subsequent years. The same clause has been used to fire pregnant, but unmarried, teachers.
I suspect certain other businesses also have vague morals clauses. I vaguely remember something when I was a JCP employee. Truth is, a corporation/business/employer should have a right to hire or fire people, but they should also make clear their rules. That is where I think you will find the dilemma - rules and interpretations and how many employees actually bother to read when signing on?
I suggest asking your models to locate a Memorandum of Understanding, or some equivalent, to find out.
good luck... geez, yet ANOTHER thing for you to worry about. Your perseverance is remarkable.
Anybody else have any information about this daunting question?
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
If you ever need to get anything printed in Richmond, Uptown Color is definitely the place to go!
So now I have 75 copies of Sacred Flesh awaiting the masses of people eager to purchase them! They are $25 if you get them from me before the show (plus $2.25 for postage if you want me to mail it to you in the US), $30 at the show or afterwards. You can send me a check to my home address (email me for it if you don't already know it) and I'll get it out in the mail right away. The Buy Now button down below can be used if you want to pay with PayPal. It doesn't cost you anything extra and they'll ask you all the pertinent information. A very easy way to go, I hope! If you have any problems with it, please let me know and I'll figure out how to fix it.
Here's an excerpt from the catalogue so you can get a sense of what to expect:
When I told this woman that I wanted to paint this image, she was horrified - No! It looks too much like me! Everyone will recognize me! I found her statement fascinating. It’s ironic because you can’t see her face, and it’s likely that not all that many people have seen her nude. It’s also wonderful because perhaps I captured the essence of her in this image. That’s exactly what appealed to me about it - and what made her uncomfortable with my painting it, I assume.
I was so excited, I began right away.I love the essence of this woman and how it comes across in the painting. Her comfort in her body is clear. Her centered nature and grounded being give me comfort and strength. SS
Monday, September 20, 2010
In addition to working on the catalogue, Wendover Art Company, the company which wants to print my seascapes, emailed and called to say I was going to have to Fed-Ex my paintings to them so they could do the scans themselves. I had them done by Staples Fine Art here in Richmond. Mark Staples does outstanding work, and his assistant, Carole, is a dream to work with. They have both been incredibly helpful. Wendover was wanting to print my 6"x9" pieces 50" big, and they were thinking the files were too small to do so. I think the problem was more that my art is too small to blow up so large. Mark scanned them as large as is technically possible to do so at this time. Finally we got it resolved. I'm going to take over some larger pieces so they can make big pieces out of them, and the smaller pieces will be blown up smaller, and the pastels won't have to be shipped to FL. It's all good. Everyone involved is wonderful to work with and is doing everything they know how to make things work out just right. It's just complicated getting art made by me, scanned here in Richmond, coordinated by Catharine in Atlanta, printed there in Florida, and marketed all over the world! Next time I'm in Crate and Barrel and see artwork, I will certainly appreciate the effort that went into making it a lot more! Geez Louise!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 18, 2010
And then what?
What happens to the judgments?
Do they harm me? Even if I don't know about them? Or do they harm the person having them?
What happens to them? Are they in the ether?
What do they say about the judge? Why do we judge others?
I'm really thankful that I didn't grow up with all sorts of strictures about what I was supposed to or not supposed to wear. I guess I knew you're not supposed to wear white pants after Labor Day - or perhaps I learned that after I left home. But I'm left wondering why not? Is there a white pants police? What will happen if I do? Why does it matter? Who really cares? And WHY?
I know judgement hurts when it lands on me. I don't like it when someone I care about judges me or something I've done or a choice I've made. I try very hard to be thoughtful and careful in my choices, so when someone judges them, it sometimes challenges me. I usually feel sad or wrong or bad. It takes a while to rebound and to remember that my choice was thoughtfully made, and I feel sorry that the other person doesn't like it. It usually causes a rift between me and the judge.
Likewise when I judge someone else. There is then a rift between us because I'm holding my judgment between us, whether I've been indiscrete enough to share it or not. I'm still thinking it and wanting him/her to be different than he/she is.
What I often find if I take the time to reflect, is that something the other person has done has triggered something in me that I'm uncomfortable with. For example, if I judge someone for being overweight - I don't have to look very far to find the cause of that - I'm afraid of being overweight.
What are your thoughts about judgment? Do you catch yourself being judgmental sometimes? Any thoughts you'd be willing to share about it?
I'm looking for some good books to read about this topic and would be grateful for suggestions if you have any. Thanks!
Friday, September 17, 2010
I'm used to those judgments from previous shows and don't mind them, generally speaking. Occasionally I'll have someone at a show tell me they don't like my work, but usually people don't have that much chutzpah - they'll just leave if they don't like it. That's all part of the territory, and normally openings are actually really fun because people, in general, tend to be incredibly nice and supportive and friendly and curious.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
A friend of mine (thanks, Eliezer!) shared this beautiful video with me. It's about a couple who is doing artwork about aging. The woman paints women who are older. The man sculpts men and couples. They have lovely things to say about the aging process and about each other. Very life-affirming!
|"Don't Mess With Me!"|
|Closeup of necklace|
Monday, September 13, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Here's the deal. My art show opens October 1 at the Visual Art Studio here in Richmond.
I've been working on a catalogue for the show for a couple of weeks now. It's been grueling getting everything together. The first printer refused to print it because there are naked people in it and they don't print nudity. The second one is doing a great job so far, but, when I picked up the proof Friday, I realized the colors aren't right and I don't know how to make them right. Plus the fonts look bad, some of them, so I need to re-work all that. It's going to take many hours to sort it all out.
I shipped a piece of work to someone, and the glass broke, messing up the mat. I had to cut another one to send to them but forgot for too long, so now I feel guilty that that's late.
People are starting to have feelings about some of the art that will be in the show. I will need to be very centered before I go to the Opening so I can be detached and open about the work and not take their concerns and feelings personally. My intention is for my models to be 100% safe and as comfortable as they can be given their own feelings about being seen naked in public (if they happen to have any feelings about it). If other people have feelings about the nudity, it will be interesting to hear about it, but I hope I'll manage to not personalize it. I'm starting to sense that there might be some discomfort provoked by the content of my show!
A question: do you happen to know if a woman or man can be fired from a job for posing nude? Several of my models have expressed concerns that they could be fired if anyone at their work found out about their posing for me. That is one of the main concerns expressed about working with me. I don't know if it's true. If it is, I want to protect my models in every way possible. If it is not true, I want to let my models know so they needn't worry. It could be, too, that there's a grey area - that wouldn't be a legal reason to fire someone, but companies don't really need a reason - they can just fire someone - so, if they found out about it, the person could be fired anyway. I'd love to have some facts. If you know of a lawyer who handles art law or someone in HR who would know, I'd LOVE it if you could put me in touch with them.
I hate it that this could even possibly be an issue. It is MY body. I should be able to do what I want to with it, including having it photographed naked and painted. Especially for a project which is all about honoring women and their bodies. It is NOT pornography.
Tricky stuff! Wish me luck!
Saturday, September 11, 2010
the catalogue for the show
my newest piece, "Don't Mess with Me!"
checking out the company which wants to license some of my artwork
tutoring at school again and trying to pick up some new clients
working out so I enjoy my body
being with Chris when he has time
several meetings this week
marketing a new art class which starts next Thursday
framing work for the show
laying out the artwork for the show
It's a LOT for one week - no wonder I'm feeling a bit fragmented!
So - progress report -
I sent the catalogue in to Docucopies.com. It took 4 hours to upload all the files. Tedious, to say the least. The next day I got the following email from them:
Hi Susan,THAT was a bummer! I ranted and raved for a while about it then realized there wasn't a darn thing I could do about it other than find a new publisher, and FAST! Of course I have a lot of ethical stuff to say about it, and of course it feeds into my project very effectively - what is our society about if a company won't publish a catalogue celebrating women and their bodies and supporting positive body image??
We do apologize for the inconvenience, but we will be unable to print your orders. It is a company policy that we do not print nudity, whether it is a painting or photo. Again we do apologize for the inconvenience.
But pragmatically I had to act quickly to get the catalogue printed in time for the show. I went to a local printer, Uptown Color. They do a fabulous job, they're professional, they print nudes, they're local. The only reason I didn't go to them right away is because they charge somewhat more than twice as much for the catalogue which makes the price a bit high for folks to buy. But they're good, and they're willing. So I'll be spending $825 plus tax for the catalogue. I sure hope I sell out the copies of them! I picked up the proof Friday. It looks good but the colors are off, so I have to try to fix them somehow. I haven't been able to figure out how to calibrate my monitor, but the colors are consistently too yellow, so I'll take that into account and try to adjust accordingly - however that is!
It will be done in time for the show.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
I read a book about Art Marketing about 8 years ago. It said you have to spend as much time marketing your work as you do making it. I certainly find that to be true. Between the show and these prints, I won't have time to paint this week at all. Hopefully I'll have some time next week and can get back into the studio. I get a bit grumpy when I don't get to paint for a long time.
I find they are a true testimony to faith and trust. In choosing to rent the cottage for a week even though Chris was unemployed, I was trusting he would find a job. I trusted my art to help me find a way through my anxiety and upset.
The third day we were there, Chris got a phone call from a company offering him a well-paying temporary job. We were able to relax and revel in the vacation the rest of the time. Such a relief, such a joy, such a pleasure.
This was also the trip when I found a gallery in OBX to sell my work. The gallery no longer exists, but it was these pieces she saw and liked. They fed me spiritually when I did them, and perhaps they'll feed me literally in the years to come if the sales happen! I feel truly blessed.
Monday, September 6, 2010
Chris and I spent a few hours yesterday laying out the pieces for the show. It was fun trying to figure out where to put what. The front wall will say the following, "All Women Are Beautiful." "All Flesh is Sacred." Under that will be the two paintings I've pasted in above. I think they, along with the statements, will get people thinking about the concept of body image and what is beautiful right away. I find both of these women incredibly courageous and gorgeous, but I'm not sure they would make it into Vogue magazine because they don't fit Madison Avenue's idea of ideal beauty. I imagine some people might have judgments come up when they see them. What a great opportunity to examine those feelings and discover what they're about. I think the show will give people many opportunities like that!
I'm starting to get very excited about the show. I've been working on these paintings for almost two years now. I've shown bits and pieces of them but never all of them in one place. I'm excited to see how they look all hung with so many of them in one place. I wonder what sort of impact they'll have.
I do hope you'll join me if you can!
Friday, September 3, 2010
I'm working on compiling a catalogue for the show I have beginning September 30th. The show and the catalogue are both called Sacred Flesh. The show will be held at the Visual Art Studio at 208 W. Broad St in Richmond from Sept 30 - November 24. Thursday, September 30th, there will be a preview for folks who really want to study the art without lots of crowds. Friday is First Friday, a very fun, crowded, let's-see-who's-here-kind-of-evening that has turned downtown Richmond into a safe, fun, and very cool place to be. I'll be giving an Artist's Talk at 5:15 on the first, and several of the models plan to be there as well to discuss their experiences.
For the month of November, I'll be switching out almost all the artwork. On November 4th, there will be another preview, and First Friday will take place again November 5th with another Artist's Talk at 5:15 that night.
If you are on my mailing list, you will get a postcard in the mail in the next week or so. If you'd like to be on my list, you can send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I'll be happy to put you on the list and send you a card about this and other events I'll be having.
The catalogue will contain almost all the paintings which will be in the show both months as well as statements by or about each of the models. Here's an example of what'll be in the book:
That's not exactly how it played out. I felt unsure of what to do with my body, and was constantly worrying that my poses were awkward and unattractive. The fun part came afterward, when we looked through the photos. Once I was able to view what Susan was seeing through her lens, I have to admit that I was more than pleased with what I saw. Her ability to capture grace where none existed is amazing. In the end, I felt emboldened by the experience and came away realizing that I'd like to do it again!