I haven’t been painting. Have I? I have not. I have been making pages, rather small pages, of lists. Lists of things to do. The kind that have little boxes in front of them so I can place an “X” in them once I have completed the tasks. The tasks run the gamut from taking care of a parking ticket to cleaning up my entire mailing list, which takes …I don’t know how long that takes. I’m still working on that, but I have to go through each name one at a time, edited their first and last name, and/or delete it.
As I’ve said before, I stopped doing this list-making for a few years, but I’m back on it now. I started to forget things and also, or maybe because, things weren’t getting done. Additionally, I felt like I wasn’t getting anything done in general even though I wasn’t twiddling my thumbs all day. I work, but at what? I guess it’s so I can remember in the past. It’s so I can feel some sense of accomplishment when I’m not painting. The paintings show me that I did something. But big woop.
It’s also so I can break the big things into littler things so I don’t procrastinate anymore (on the bigger things). Not that I’m a big procrastinator. I’m more of a worrier. I worry about procrastinating.
One thing that sucks ass is that every time I’m in the head space to write, it’s not when I have the time to sit here and write. Any readers I get here – that are still with me anyway – that haven’t left screaming from their machines, “Ahhhh, death by boredom!” They just aren’t getting the best of my brains. I think of the good stuff when I’m out in the yard gardening or something, which I did a lot of this past week and especially over the last couple weekends.
It all started when I found grape vines along my backyard fence. This is alarming since grapes can kill your dog and my doggie is about as big as a loaf of bread.
I got manic and tore them down and tried to find where they were growing out from, which was difficult. I found myself cursing at the cords coming out of the dirt and slicing them with my almighty sharp gardening cutters without cutting any of the other foliage. That fence is thick with a ton of other pretty things and it was hard not to hurt them, and not to cut all the wires that were set up for the grape vines which someone had obviously organized in a grid precisely carefully along the fence. I was going to need those for whatever else I was going to plant in its place. But, I managed to cut a few of the wires anyway. Better those than my fingers though.
You know how one thing turns into another thing, which turns into another bigger thing, and then your life gets eaten away? Well, that’s what my backyard did to me this last week or so.
Along this part of the fence I planted some white and burgundy Bougainvillea and a few Marigolds in front.
I H-A-T-E those Sunset magazines with all those pictures of perfect yards, expensive plants, beautiful patio furniture, genius landscaping with pristine river rocks between each pant (that happen to somehow be in bloom during the moment of the photograph), and not a single dead leaf to be found! Who are these people?
Once and a while, you visit a real home like this and you wonder, are they doing the work out there? Do they pay their gardeners double to help keep it up? Where do you find gardeners like that? Where do any rich people find their gardeners? Who is raking out the dead leaves stuck inside their rosemary bushes? Can that even be done? Or are they planting new ones every week? I’m serious! Drive through Beverly Hills once and a while and ask yourself this shit. In my case, I live by San Marino – far prettier than Beverly Hills. It’s on the way to Armstrong Garden Center, ironically, and I think about stupid crap like this.
Here’s a pretty good picture because you can’t get too close to it to see all the dead leaves in the bed of my cactus garden, but once upon a time there were a few more live ones in the back and I had even made a design in the rocks that’s now long gone because there is a tree way above it that sheds dead leaves like crazy. Every time I clean it out, a few rocks went with it, so there really aren’t many rocks left, but it used to have red rocks on one side, river rocks on the other and a white kind of eye shape in the middle that divided them. It was cool. I built it six years ago. It was a drained out fish pond when we moved in.
Right now, it’s 1:25 PM. My gardeners are supposed to be here by 2:00, but they won’t be here. They come twice a month and cut the lawn. That’s all. If I want more, I have to ask them, even though they’ve been told to “always” keep the ivy away from the doors and windows. Once the ivy grows on the doors and windows, I have to go out there and ask them to cut it back. And the Mondays they are supposed to come, sometimes they won’t. Or, they will come at 3:00, 4:00, 5:00 – making me stay home all day because I have to let them into the back.
Anyway, I have a few more things I want to plant in the back yard and I think I will be done with it for a while. If these things live, that is. I always have a few causalities. My thumb is not exactly green. It’s a kind of mood-thumb. One day it’s black, the next it’s a kind of blue-green algae that I make a smoothie out of: a horrible-tasting pseudo-ephedrine thing I try to sell to my friends at every opportunity I can find.
Other than gardening, getting my car to pass the smog test, paying some bills, catching up on laundry, I was able to get the rest of the art supplies I needed for the rest of the year, although I still need to make one last trip to McManus and Morgan for the Houses book. I’m getting some of the golden handmade paper from Nepal, like the flysheets that are inside my All Done But None books. Still in love with it. Here is the “mock-up” for that page, which will have a linoleum block print on it.
And speaking of books!…I just got word from Chance Press that the Neil Farber | Carol Es book will be out right at the beginning of next month and they are now taking discounted pre-orders at the crazy low price of $75 before the release. After that they will be priced at $100. There are only 18 for sale. It’s a very limited edition, so if you want this utmost fantastic work of art-as-book – what the hell are you waiting for????
Finally, tomorrow is mjp and my 14th anniversary, so we are going away for a couple of days to a 100-year-old resort later in the week. We found a trustworthy place to board our Gemma since every time we have left town in the past two years, we have taken her with us every time. The place is called Wagville and she has been going there for daycare every other day for more and more time to get acclimated to the place. We should have thought about this a long time ago because she is such a terrified little pup, this seems just the right kind of medicine for her. She’s been having a lot of fun and now, so shall we.
Anniversary advice that you didn’t ask for:
Fourteen years seems like nothing. Seriously. For all of you that haven’t made it very long yet or ever, it’s really no big thing. Love changes. It gets different. It gets BETTER. New love is for suckers. If you fight a lot, that’s not a good sign. Ha!
And for those of you that have made it much further as easily as we have, you know what I mean.
All those boring things that old people tell you are true: Trust, communication, and same sense of humor.
I’ve been scanning old photos today, not for any particular reason, but I thought it might be fun to share them for anyone who might be interested in that sort of thing.
I’m in love with this picture. I can explain who and what these people mean to me/who they are after I tell you their names first.
From left to right it goes: Lloyd, Grandma, Uncle Lenny, Nana, Jack, Feezie, Mike.
Lloyd was not my real Great grandfather, but my Great grandma’s third husband and the only one I ever knew and so I usually called him Grandpa. Rose, my Great grandma was widowed three times. Lloyd would pass away just about a month or two before her. Sol, my true Great grandfather, I never met, but he was a gifted jeweler. He died young because of a bad heart. Rose was pretty devastated over that because she loved Sol very much, but after many, many years, she married some guy whose name I forget, but his last name began with a Z. I don’t think they were together too long before he had a heart attack and died!
So Rose called it quits on men, but years later, when she was already very elderly, she belonged to a senior citizens club where she played cards and Mahjong, Bingo, etc., and Llyod followed her around and did not give up, and she fell in love with him and they made the cutest couple you have ever seen in your life.
Uncle Lenny: he was a funny, funny fucker. But he drank like a fish and we all thought he was going to die of liver failure. As a kid, I would sit on his lap and he would make me laugh until I’d cry. He stank of Bourbon every time I went near him. He was the life of the party and my mother loved him like he was her knight. He was her favorite family member, and they were very, very close. Maybe too close.
Lenny died while getting an MRI. He was allergic to the contrast dye. He was in his 50s. My mom took it so hard, she tried to kill herself, but she tried to do that pretty often.
Nana and Jack: a very cute couple (even though Nana was pretty much a bitch). Jack would call my Nana his “little chicken.” I thought that was so sweet and funny as shit. They worked so well together. Jack was Nana’s 107th husband! Not really. I don’t know how many husbands she had but it was a lot. She wasn’t widowed ever. She just had bad luck. And for the record, she was not easy to get along with.
But the best best best thing about Nana was… she always had bananas at her house, and Mallomars! Who remembers Mallomars? Let me know if you need reminding.
Then, holding my brother in place so he doesn’t run away and create havoc, is my Aunt Feezie. That was her nickname. Silvia is/was he real name. She was Lenny’s Wife. I lost contact with her. I don’t know if she is still alive, but I highly doubt she is alive in her 90s.
Feezie had a sister that lived across the way from she and Lenny. Edie. Edie was an artist. Edie also helped take care of me. I had a LOT of wonderful women around me when I was very young that took very good care of me, and this went on maybe half the time until I was about six. And then it all stopped.
Oh, so much juice I could tell, but I just can’t. (I say while wringing my hands! – Well not exactly because I’m actually typing so I can’t really wring my hands now, can I? Let’s get real here people.)
Anyway, lastly is Mike, my older brother. Older by three years. He is my only brother and my only sibling…wait, no, that’s not true.
I also have three sisters! That story is for another blog. I just want to show more photos.
Here is Susie, Nana, and Mom. Susie is my mom’s younger sister. Younger by 13 years. Or was it eight? No, I’m pretty sure it’s 13. But never mind that, Look at how much I resemble my mom in this photo! It’s just plain eerie! I mean, especially when I was really skinny. Those of you that knew me when I was skinny like this can look at this picture and think this is for sure a picture of me, but I swear to you it is NOT.
So far all the people in the photos are dead except for Mike and Susie. Wow.
This is my dad, Cal. I guess he always has that sevenhead. It’s not a forehead, a fivehead, or even a sixhead. How he got my fashion-plate, model mother to even go on a date with him, I will never know. Why did women marry him? Look at him. He looks like a doofus. I mean, he’s my dad and I think he looks so cute and sweet and innocent. Well, maybe not innocent, but he looks like who he was. You would get out of him exactly what he looks like here. A good person who is not too bright, but he’s going to be there and show up for you. That was my dad.
And here he is before the women, the complications of marriages and children. Here he is at 18 trying to face the reality of World War II. He is really not yet a man, but he can not be a child anymore. Not here. But this was what it was like for all the kids at this time. It’s not that my dad was such a dum dum. He just saw too many dumb and senseless acts.
Talk about dumb and senseless acts…
Please don’t ask me about how my dress is matching his pants.
Here my mother was in Miami dancing in the clubs for money. She had not yet met my dad, who of course stopped her from this nonsense. Look at her! Her bangs are too short. She looks like she’s 15. (She’s not. She’s about 19 here.) But she certainly doesn’t belong in a night club shaking her hips to wins trips and prizes, money or dollar bills. Like, what-ever Mom!
I was working in my EyeBook yesterday, the one where I write in on one side and draw on the other side. I talked about this in a previous blog entry here. I haven’t been able to get a good/usable sketch out of it for a while now, but the writing has been very therapeutic.
So yesterday I was writing about how I felt that the series I have been working on is pretty complete – in terms of it being a basic body of satisfying imagery, palette, shapes and forms where I can now continue to communicate from – for a little while at least – even though I’m just at 12 in the series.
A lot of artists like to name their series. I suppose I have too; “Dan,” “Pattern Paintings,” etc. but those are kinda obvious. I think I will just call this new series, This.
The only one painting I may want to spring board from is the pink one. There are still complexities in that one that I still can’t manage to let go of. Whether it’s the narrative, the painterly-ness, or the autobiographical/narcissism, I’m not sure which, but I know that I would miss nixing that sort of painting all together, which is why it is going to stay in the series. It has to be there to mix and mold, and evolve with the rest of these fuckers.
I suppose I should feature the last two pieces that I finished in this series in this blog post, since I don’t remember if I did or not. Let me check first….
Okay, I already featured Survivor, but I never showed Rabbi Says. The one that happened to take the longest for whatever reason. It must have been painting around all those letters. So here it is:
Rabbi Says, 2013. 24 x 24 inches. Oil on birch panel.
Shit, did I talk about this before? The quote is taken from the late Rabbi Moshe Feinstein (Reb Moshe). And it’s just part of a whole quote. The painting says:
There are many times when a person feels that he cannot move forward because a dark cloud hangs over him. One should know, however, that nothing can stop him! Sometimes one can make a path through the cloud…
The whole quote is actually a comment on a section of the Torah. It’s hard to explain, but it’s about a troubled rabbi not being able to enter a holy place because of a dark cloud, and this seems to keep happening to him, while his solutions had been: waiting for others to pull him through, waiting for the black cloud to go away, etc. And Reb Moshe’s comments were:
There are many times when a person feels that he cannot move forward because a dark cloud hangs over him. One should know, however, that nothing can stop him! Sometimes one can make a path through the cloud, i.e., he can navigate through his troubles without becoming embroiled in them. This is the preferable course, for who knows how he will emerge if he gets caught up in a struggle?
If one cannot go through the cloud, he should look for a path that has no obstacles (just as Moshe waited for the cloud to depart). However, if he can neither go through the cloud nor find another path, he should push forward anyway with a firm conviction that Hashem will take him by the hand and lead him through.
So, I wanted to honor at least part of this view of Reb Moshe’s comment. I thought it had many important elements that confirmed what it was (for me) in being Jewish – ambition, faith in self as equal as faith in God or the universe, yet it not mattering which, and tenacity to survive (not leaving your life to fate).
And okay, so I wasn’t going to go into this, but I figured if two people already asked me this, two more people might ask me, and so on. And maybe I will stir up shit, I don’t know. It’s only how I feel and I can’t help that!
I was asked why I made the rabbi so silly looking. We all know that I make silly cartoon characters anyway, but twice I received the comment that it looked as if I was making fun of him, and this is correct. But it is not I that is making fun of the Rabbi, or the strange Jews in the black hats, or the Jews in general. It is not me who sees the Jew with the big nose and a scary face, or the orthodox with shards of bad, archaic teeth, or Jews throughout time with their hands out for your money while entertaining you, while balancing on a stick, or making you laugh. Nope. Not me. Maybe it’s me who is tired of that though.
I see those “funny Jews” that study day in and day out coming back to the community that wants to listen to them, give the kind of insight you just can’t get anywhere else.
Anyway, back to the studio.
Oh, speaking of the studio, I added new pics in the studio section of my site. Take a look!
One of my paintings is on the Image Blog on the Huffington Post’s Art Section! Go see it!
I had an art consulting session today that was more cathartic than my usual therapy sessions.
I see Ellie Blankfort once a month, who consults me, not only about my art career and creativity, but for so much more – it’s in fact really hard to explain. Today however, I happened to bring a few of my artists books. She had never seen them before, not in real life anyway, and she was rather impressed. And I suppose, I aim to please. It’s actually a life-long problem of mine, like an albatross around my neck that Ellie may have helped me to cut loose today.
She handed me the right kind of scissors anyway.
Look at me, I aim to impress the shit out of you! Yeah, me and a million others.
I am so sick of all that ego-sucking-non-HERE-and-NOW-dishonest-energy-melting-worry-wart-mental-mind-fucking I have done to myself. I am so done with it all. Thank you Ellie.
Bringing those books turned the conversation into story telling, which turned into telling my story, which turned into the fact that I’ve been writing this book, and now…
that’s the last you will hear any mention of this endeavor of mine.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be talking about writing in general, or things I have already written, and maybe even artist’s books I’m working on – like Houses, for God’s sake! How long has it been since you heard me mention anything about that? It’s still something I plan to do! All I have to do with that - next anyway – is carve out the block for the block print. Most of the pages are done.
You know, it’s been almost forever since I have kept notebooks of lists with little empty squares next to them. For a while I thought that was a good thing. I thought that it meant I had recuperated, or combated my stupid little obsessive proclivities. But I think I need to start doing it again, but for the same reasons as I did it before – which was for a sense of accomplishment. I need to because I am forgetting my goals.
I know that sounds absurd. How can someone, particularly ME with relentless ambition, forget their goals?
What’s crazier is: I was sitting in the back yard yesterday and I could not remember how I got there. This happens frequently – more frequently than I care to believe or want to believe or than mjp wants to know or hear about. I wound up tracing my day of starting to sweep the floors of the kitchen and hall way, cleaning the bathroom, and following my rag along the top and bottom moldings of the room. I thought about the two sconces, and at that moment, I felt like I split in half.
There I was in the garden sitting next to myself, and now it was harder to remember all that cleaning, so
I figured she must have done it.
Luckily all this lasted but a few moments. Maybe five minutes at the most. But why can’t we forget shit like that instead of all the great, creative things we want to get done in this life before we lose our marbles?
So back to the lists I will go.
I keep telling myself that I will start writing a new blog post at least twice a week. How do people do that, I wonder? Especially working artists. Especially working artists that are also writing a book, with friends and a life, that go to art shows, that have partners, that like to garden and watch a bit of TV, go to a couple of movies a month and have a dog?
If you have the answer to these questions, please reply, or email me. I’d like to know.
Since I have blogged, or rather, wrote the little review about the Avenue 50 show, Seven Beauties, on the Huffington Post, I have finished a couple of new paintings. Perhaps one of them I finished before that, called In Training. I mentioned it in a previous blog post. I was nearly finished with it then, but I had to allow that yellow to dry before I went back and cleaned up those black outlines. So here it is finished:
This is like the rest of the series: 24 x 24 inches, Oil on birch panel.
Yellow takes forever to dry, as I am learning – so does orange! I am still working on Rabbi Says. So in the meantime, I finished up another piece that I now know is my most favorite in the whole series! It only took two days, but I thought about it for a month. I even want it to be the cover for my book, if that’s possible. It’s called, Survivor: 24 x 24 inches, oil on birch panel:
Still wet, I took these and about 4 others with me to Shulamit Gallery yesterday down at Venice Beach. We had been trying to set up a meeting for a few weeks, actually for a studio visit, but that’s not going to happen until July. So, they asked me if I could come there with a few originals and paper works along with a few of my artists’ books. I would up staying there for nearly three hours. It went very well and we all know each other a little better. What will become of it, I do not know because I’m not absolutely sure I want to be in a gallery again just yet.
But maybe by the time they offer me something, IF they offer me something, I will be.
In the meantime, I just feel so good about painting right now, I’m just going to keep on going on my merry way. I am loving this path.
Speaking of the book, I finally got back to working on it just a bit. I even interviewed a couple people from my past and I think that is going to help me a little in writing this because we don’t always remember things exactly the way they happened. I probably will only use a fraction of these interviews, but I think it’s good to reconnect, let people know they might appear in the manuscript, and in what context – especially if I am going to be making fun of them.
No one gets made fun of more than me, and that I can guarantee all of them!
One of them was an ex-boyfriend. He is significant for a few of reasons. First of all, he pretty much turned me on to oil painting. The relationship was a whirlwind: very unlike me to move in with someone so fast, and then it ended as fast as it flew together, yet I learned a lot about art: the application of it, a little bit about the sales of it, the dichotomy of it, and some of the hard lessons. I think he was the first person I dated outside of my own circles and I learned a lot about sharing, compromise, tolerance, acceptance, all in such a short amount of time. At the time, I am not sure I even knew I was learning this. Ha!
I also am importing in a shit load of data from, get this, on-line forum dialog! I have typed more about my viewpoints on art than I have even talked about to any one person. So now I have to weed through all of that stuff and use it where it’s usable.
I was also lucky enough to make a couple of sales in the past couple weeks so I could get more panels – small ones – so in the next couple months I will have more affordable works on hand, which I think is smart.
That’s all for now.