Muse vs Muse vs Muse vs…

Oooh! Makes me wonder….

I’m in a conundrum I can’t recall having ever been in before.

My table easel is with blank canvas is up raring to go. My color palette rests between my and acrylics and watercolors.

So does my sketchpad with its plethora of markers and scores of sharpened colored pencils that lay in wait.

All while cursors blink on three different incomplete stories, a half-begun glosa, and a line for what is free form verse for now, but may become a villanelle, a tritina, an octain or…or…

Not to mention an idea in pieces malingering in Photoshop limbo.

And in the midst of the creative storm is not-so-little, not-so-old, but very frustrated me as I find myself singularly unable to do any one of the above because Muse wants to do each and every single one of the above…

Right.

Freaking.

Now.

So instead, I slice and see which comes out on top.

Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life Writing Challenge
Two Writing Teachers

When A Raivenne Gets An Idea…

It’s October. Halloween is a couple of weeks away. I write Sherlock fanfic. So I asked myself, “Self, what would the classic Sherlock Holmes thinking pose look like on a skeleton?”

Naturally, nothing I wanted came premade, ready to hang. It Joanne’s, Michael’s, Amazon and even IKEA to create it. Even with ample ventilation I feel I will be smelling spray paint for days. It took several passes to get the pieces, especially the hands that dark.

It’s not exactly as I imagined it. And I am not sure, Jeremy Brett, Nigel Rathbone or even Benedict Cumberbatch would think much of it, but I love it.

Art and Dollars and Sense

Was speaking with a friend regarding how I like going to galleries to see all the different kinds of art out there and how much I wish I had the funds to purchase some. The discussion eventually lead to the following question —

Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?

No, I do not have to agree with an artist’s personal views to appreciate the art.   What’s the joke…? I don’t know what art is, but I know what I like.  Often times I see/hear/read the art long before I know the views/lifestyle of the artist anyway and have made my own opinion of the art. The last time I checked, artists are people and definitely have their own opinions and theories on any variety of subjects, as I have mine.  There are going to be differences of opinion. Little of which has bearing on whether how I will perceive the person’s respective arts.  If it moves me, it moves me.

So many people liked Tom Cruise’s body work until he became outspoken on Scientology (and the infamous couch jump on Oprah). Okay, he was (is still?) an ass personally. The backlash was odd and misplaced. So many could not separate the man from the various movie characters. It is interesting now that his personal life is such horrid gossip fodder, the general opinion on his acting ability seems to be rising again.  It is/was the same with Mel Gibson and Clint Eastwood. Providing Gibson can keep his rants to minimum, and Eastwood sticks to being a rambling curmudgeon only between “Action!” and “Cut!”, that is. I suspect the same will happen with them as well, as people tend to forget/stop caring quickly enough if you let them.  That’s not to say given their respective faux pas, I would never see a movie either are in again because of it.  I know I would simply because I respect their work as actors, if not necessarily the current state of who each is as a person right now.

To spend money on it, though?  Well, that has a caveat or few.

I have a friend who will not purchase anything from a particular band because he despises the lead singer’s political views. My friend loved the band’s music, all the way until he learned of the singer’s view. Now it is all about how the band sucks.  He can’t bring himself to separate the art from the artist.  Now, I agreed the artist is a jerk, however, this artist continually has songs that impressed me in spite of my opinion of him personally. As long as that continues, I can support his artistic work.  If it moves me, it moves me.

As a woman of color in America, should I discover that a sculpture I simply adored and am seriously considering its purchase was created by a staunch, outspoken  member and defender of the Ku Klux Klan, it would certainly give me pause.  As I stated before, it would not stop me from appreciating the beauty of the art, but I cannot knowingly aid someone in a cause I am solemnly against.  If I have already purchased the item before I made the discovery, I would not return it.  I would not be happy for quite the while of my accidental contribution to the cause, but I’d eventually get over it. And knowing me I’d likely have an anecdote along the lines “it’s amazing how could someone so ugly could create something of such beauty”.

After all, if it moves me, it moves me.

<>==========<>==========<>

Let’s see how others are slicing it up this week:

Slice of Life logo

Slice of Life Writing Tuesday Challenge – Two Writing Teachers


52essays2017
Writing Our Lives #52essays2017 challenge – Week 17

A year-long weekly personal essay/memoir/creative nonfiction writing challenge. To learn more about this challenge or to participate, check out Vanessa Martir’s website and learn about it.

Fine Dining

Yesterday was all about Georgia O’Keeffe, but that was not all I saw while at Brooklyn Museum. Continuing its feminist vibe, the museum also has on exhibit “The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago.

At some point in our lives we ask or are asked “If you could have dinner with…?” type of question. In her work “The Dinner Party” artist Judy Chicago takes that question and answers it in a magnificent way. It is a tribute of women from mythical goddesses, government leaders, wordsmiths, artists, scholars, activists and more, from historical to 20th century contemporaries.

Before you get to the table itself you pass through an entry where you are welcomed via a series of banners which hang from the ceiling. The phrases, depicted in much of the color pallet used in the main exhibit, read:

“And She Gathered All before Her”
“And She made for them A Sign to See”
“And lo They saw a Vision”
“From this day forth Like to like in All things”
“And then all that divided them merged”
“And then Everywhere was Eden Once again”

I do not know Ms. Chicago’s intention, but reading this I felt as though a powerful feminine deity looked around to see the mess that had been made of things and took action setting things right.

And then you enter “The Dinner Party”

“The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago at Brooklyn Museun

“The Dinner Party” by Judy Chicago at Brooklyn Museum

I had heard of the iconic, large scale project years ago. Still I was not prepared for the monumental scope of it. Chicago does not invite just one iconic woman, but what has to be nearly a thousand women in history to dinner. The lighting is intimate and inviting. You want to lean in and view each setting. About 40 who are represented by place settings at the triangular shaped table and rest via names inscribed on floor on which the table rests. Because of the flowing text and the lighting, I initially felt the table floated on tiles made to look like water. Especially in the center of the floor where the names of so many women, a representation of the ebb and flow, the fluidity of the female spirit throughout history. I thought it fitting.

Ceramics, intricately embroidered table linens sit beneath utensils and golden chalices surrounding unique porcelain plates created for each invitee, with radiating forms representing female external sexual organs. Akin to a Georgia O’Keefe flower painting in spirit, she of course is a guest at this astonishing table. I was amazed by the beauty and depth of detail of each setting.

I cannot fathom the amount of staff involved in the creation of such amazing craftwork, but I give immense praise to all who brought this to life.

<>==========<>==========<>

#SOL2017

#SOL2017

Let’s see how the others are slicing their Sunday,

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 26

Georgia On My Mind

And before you start humming any more of the classic Ray Charles song, I mean Georgia O’Keeffe, the artist and one of, if not, the inventor of the American modernism genre in Art. Brooklyn Museum currently hosts an inspiring exhibit.

wp-image-1878780826jpg.jpg

The exhibit, though featuring numerous pieces of her art, was more about the woman herself. Known as much for her free spirit as for her dramatic and often sensual of art, something she maintained was never intentional,  O’Keefe was a female role model in the male dominated world of abstract and fine art. Her unique style made her a standout in many ways.

It was in the 1920s, when nobody had time to reflect, that I saw a still-life painting with a flower that was perfectly exquisite, but so small you really could not appreciate it. I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
–Georgia O’Keeffe

wp-image-339009781jpg.jpg

The queue to view the exhibit.

Like much of her art, when she wasn’t wearing black, she wore deep, rich hues. Preferring well-tailored, nearly mannish in her cut of clothes, instead of the more flowy, frilly styles that are a constant of women’s fashion, O’Keefe preferred a more androgynous look in her clothing style long before we started bandying the word about.

A style icon in her own right, the exhibit displays items of her clothing, and accessories -off the rack and custom made, over the years. She was also a sassy little minx as images captured her in various states of contemplation and dress – and undress- from various photographers such as Richard Avedon, Ansel Adams, and others, but especially her ex-lover Alfred Stieglitz. These photographs interspersed throughout the exhibit cover decades of her life and are as much art themselves in the stories they tell of their subject.

The exhibit also included video interviews of her at different times in her long career. Seeing and hearing her adds even more dimension when combined with all these personal pieces of her.Though I have known of her work all my life, I really knew nothing of the artist’s life until this exhibit.

It was a wonderful fusion of the art and the artist. I have a new and much deeper respect of both for it.

<>==========<>==========<>

#SOL2017

#SOL2017

Let’s see how the others sliced it up their Saturday,

10th Annual Slice of Life Story Challenge! – DAY 25

Every Way The Wind Blows

They marvel at your skill
How lifelike I appear
As though I could fly
Every way the wind blows

They know not your dark secret 

A twirl in Sol’s gold
Coiling in Luna’s silver
Diaphanous and solid
Every way the wind blows

How your majik sealed me within

Lighter than dandelion fluff
Joyful wings ever airborne
Yet never take flight
Every way the wind blows

A statue admired as so alive

The ethereal made corporeal
To this post ever bound
In eternal dervish motion
Every way the wind blows

I scream unheard in living death

<>==========<>==========<>

Today at dVerse Lillian invites  us to pick a piece of art and tell a story from the view of the artist or the art itself.  I recently saw this wonderful piece of kinetic art and have been completely enchanted by it.

I promise this started out on a much happier note, wondering about the unknown artist who could create such a delightful thing. But as I watched the video again, I thought what if this isn’t the magnificent work of a very talented artist, but of magic, dark magic that trapped a faerie playing with a dandelion.

Perhaps the statue looks so alive because she is….

dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Poetics : Chisel Me A Conversation

A Pearl Among Stores

How did I not know Pearl Paint closed?!?! Not just closed, but closed for a little over a year now. It felt as though I was just there recently, but time is indeed fluid to the heart as it was December 2013 I was there last according to my bank statement.

I had wanted to go by Pearl on a day off just because. The place always inspired me and as one can see from the dearth of posting as of late, I could use it. Still, something said go online and check the store’s opening hours before I drag my tail down there and that’s how I learned yet another NYC societal if not historical landmark that has fallen victim to the giant called capitalism.

After the shock of the discovery, I semi-joked I have not been this mournful since I read the Red Wedding scene in George R.R. Martin’s “A Storm of Swords“.  If you do not know what the Red Wedding is by now, don’t bother asking. Just understand that it’s something bad.  Sucker punch, gasp out loud, gut wrenching bad.

Because it’s a new wound for me, i want to pass by the site and poor libations on its threshold. That’s how the unexpected loss of Pearl Paint has struck me.

Pearl Paint was an eight decades old institution. Whether the amateur looking for stamped tin foil for an occasional scrapbook or the professional looking for gold foil leaf for a mural in a skyscraper, Pearl had it. I did not go there often, as Pearl was off my beaten path, but once I was there, I was there for a couple of hours minimum. Since the early 80’s, when I first discovered the place, it was six floors of dusty, seemingly nonsensical, glorious mayhem.  But if I needed it artistically, Pearl Paint had it. And it was not just an art supply store for many of the staff and fellow shoppers were artists in their own right. I come in with what I think is a simple question or request and leave some time later having absorbed knowledge, techniques, tools and sometimes gossip.

And now it’s all gone.

I mean doors locked, gates closed, assets sold off .

*Gone*.

Yes, there are other art supply stores, this is New York City, but none like Pearl Paint. I Alas no, like so many other places and spaced becoming a part of my past, it’s now just memory.

<>==========<>==========<>

Come see how others are slicing up their days.

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

Tuesday Slice of Life Story Challenge – Two Writing Teachers

 

The Canvas Laughs

the canvas laughs at me knowing

I hold the image of you,
sipping water from the fountain, in my head,
ready to transfer it from my memory to my canvas.
the cobalt and pthalo greens along with the terre verte
of the background foliage
the mixing of warm and cool grays for the fountain
were all easy choices
but now I’m down to you.

the canvas laughs at me knowing

ivory black, burnt umber and raw sienna?
for glossy dark locks of your hair,
the sweep of your brow, the curve of your lashes – yes.
oh, but where do I begin
for the deep rich tones that comprise all of your complexion?
burnt sienna might imbue the shadow in the curve of your dimples
maybe some yellow ochre deep to highlight your cheeks, hmm

the canvas laughs at me knowing

some titanium white to capture the hint of teeth showing as you smiled
won’t capture its mischievous gleam
but a touch of naples yellow light is perfect
in that the arc of the water drop reflecting sunlight
against the alizarin crimson
that is but one scant shade of the lushness of your lips
lips still wet from the water drank
not even seconds ago
an errant liquid drop is about to fall.

and the still unadorned canvas laughs at me knowing

there will never be a man-made hue,
that can rightly capture
the soul of you

I pick up my pallet anyway

what makes a person - Photo by Andrew Wilmot

What Makes A Person
Photo by Andrew Wilmot

<>==========<>==========<>

At dVerse Victoria challenges us Word Artists to Grab a Brush and Write! something related to art technique. The attached photo is from Andrew Wilmot a painter, award winning screen-writer, author and above all a person I am honored to consider a friend, is the inspiration for my write.

dVerse ~ Poets Pub | Word Artists, Grab a Brush and Write!–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Power in the Blood

Human Art by Grace Mateo Used tampons on canvas. 20 x 16 inch. www.gracemateo.com

You Don’t Understand (Do You Now?). 2014.
by Grace Mateo
Used tampons on canvas. 20 x 16 inch.
http://www.gracemateo.com

 

The above image will make a lot of you uncomfortable? Why? If you are one of those souls who genuinely get physically sick at the site of blood, I am sorry to have made you feel ill, but I do not  apologize.

I’ll admit that I did the rapidly blinking eye thing as I registered exactly what it was I viewed. After all, I am woman who has made it the half-century mark  in life. To put this in a historical  timeline perspective, I am old enough to remember/have used a menstrual belt, but by the time I was living with my partner in the mid-80’s they were already a thing of the distant past, so I have an itsy bit of personal knowledge in the subject. After all this isn’t anything I haven’t seen virtually every month for the past thirty plus years of it, so big deal. Even as I thought the words, I was already countering thinking, but so many other will think it’s just that, a big deal, and I’m forced to ask myself why? Why is this a big deal?

In the artist’s own words…

This is Human Art. The female body is not something to be afraid of, and it is definitely not disgusting. There are things we don’t speak about, that are traditionally held to be private, but silence only leads to fear and death. So, if you don’t like the things I say or make then you do not have to engage in it. This is not shock art. If you find a woman’s period to be shocking then you, my friend, are most definitely living a sheltered life and need to be better informed about your fellow humans.

I’m not here to further roast the old chestnut of What Is Art?. This is more of a query into this particular human behavior. What is it about the female menstrual cycle that makes people, male and fellow females so uncomfortable?

It takes everything I have to not let my eyes roll in the back of my head whenever I hear a grown woman say “I can’t stand the sight of blood”. The older she is and the more emphatic she is in her repulsion the harder the temptation to do so.  Years ago I was handling a stack of manila folders at work and gave my self a nasty paper cut. One that required my stopping everything to tend to it. As I rinsed my finger at the sink and prepared to bandage it, a co-worker went into mini theatrics about the sight of blood and how I was upsetting her. Trust me when I tell you she was no shrinking violet so that was one time I did roll my eyes in annoyance without hesitation. I asked if she menstruates each month, to which she naturally responded in the positive as I expected. I then queried if she had assistance when removing and disposing of her used feminine hygiene products at that time. Naturally,she naturally responded in the negative, as expected. I concluded with if she can stand processing her bloody bodily functions several times a day, for a few days each damn month, then my manila cut on a finger for a minute was nothing and she needed to shut the fuck up, but I digress and return to my original query.

Why is the female menstrual cycle clouded in this veil of mystery? What is with the menstrual taboo that allows commercials to use the proper terminology for erectile dysfunction and incontinence with almost no filter, but when it comes to female our cycles it’s almost always hidden some form of pseudonymThe Gift, That Time of the Month, the ever classic Aunt Flo and of course the only one that actually makes any sense Period. Basically any and everything that will avoid using the word blood and any iteration of  menses. The only time you hear the word menstrual used regularly is in the phrase “premenstrual syndrome”, but even that is usually shortened to the gentler acronym of PMS. Because we can talk circles about the mental and emotional aspects about menstruation, but the actually physically bloody part of it is always hush-hush. And speaking of bloody – unless advertisers believe every single woman who menstruates also turns into a  Vulcan during her period, what is with the mysterious blue stuff they use to demonstrate Product Y’s absorbancy anyway? Because goodness gracious should they use red food coloring so that it might resemble what it is. I am not even going to touch that nonsense of women wearing white anything below the waist when Mother Nature comes to visit. Trust me when I tell you for a majority of us women, the first few days are not anything near as sanitized as it looks in the above art work, yet only other women and our respective doctors will readily understand this.

Nearly all girls are brought up that they should not talk about menstruation with boys, nor was it appropriate to discuss menstruation with their fathers. Most of the single fathers I know learned that their daughters were not quite so little girls anymore via a female friend or relative because of this. Young heterosexual women are almost always embarrassed the first time they misjudge their monthly supply amount and have to ask their significant others to run to the store for their feminine hygiene product/s of choice.  Tip for any men reading this: Please, please pay attention to what brand your woman uses/tells you to get. You do not want to get into that argument – really you just don’t.

Historically, a menstruating woman was considered sacred and powerful. Yet like so many things and stories that extolled the feminine power, it was wrapped up in mythology and dismissed or outright just dismissed, especially in the patriarchy of many religions that view a menstruating woman as “unclean”. The menstrual taboo is more prevalent in most movies and television shows when a woman’s menses is generally mentioned in relation to the thankfulness of unwanted or regret for lack of  pregnancy. Otherwise periods are generally portrayed as something traumatic, embarrassing, offensive, gross and/or for cheap comedic premenstrual syndrome (PMS) makes us evil laughs.  Outside of the rare portrayals of menarche, when a girl experiences her first period, there are very few portrayals of the completely natural act of female nature that it is.

Granted, things are slowly getting better. There are a hilarious couple of commercials by Always, with the “The Gift before The Gift” tagline.  New Moon Party and The Camp Gyno. The HelloFlo campaign takes wonderful pock shots at their behaviors when it comes to menarche. In these commercials not only are the products free of the packaging, all allusions to blood are not done in blue! Parents of prepubescent girls, if you have not already seen these commercials you should. I wish these care packages were around when my mother was explaining it to me. Designed for young girls, the commercial and the ensuing products are made to help demystify the period for those near the onset of puberty. Take the secrecy out of such items from the beginning, it does not turn into such a taboo later.

I am not saying a detailed analysis of whether Kotex is better than Always is discussion to be had at the family dinner.   If your family is that progressive that you can, I saw “Bravo!”, more power to you. Women can talk about the various stages of their pregnancies good and bad without a problem. Parents can show videos of the up close and personal views of the birth of their children without batting an eye. Some will watch such videos voluntarily on PBS type stations in all its bloody glory and it’s just fine. Yet let a woman place a package of feminine hygiene products on the conveyor belt where a young boy is packing, or at the top of her bag where a grown man has to inspect it and watch what happens. The mere thought of a woman’s menstrual cycle is so disturbing to some, that most males will give pause before touching the item and the younger the male, the more likely the revulsion.

Because it is still the presumed norm that menstruation should remain hidden.  And while whether or not  the above image is art is debatable, the subject matter depicted as a discussion point should not be.

<>==========<>==========<>

Come visit other Slicers and take a peek into their lives…

Slice of Life - Two Writing Teachers

 

Slice of Life Writing challenge | Two Writing Teachers