action · growth · joy · painting · persistence · recovery

I love Mondays. & A Return to Art.

It’s my least busy day of the week, and I get to see some of
my favorite people. My friend came by this morning and saw my holiday cards
pinned up on a string of ribbon and said, you painted those? or maybe it was you painted those? 😉 in any case, yes. it’s strange, i
still get pretty thrilled when my paintings turn out well – it’s something I’ve
had to cozy up to, work at, come back to.

a few years ago, I’d stopped drawing completely. i had too
long associated doing art with drinking a 40oz – well, whatever the Korean measuring equivalent was (they had 3 types of beer: piss, pisser, and pissest, but, they
worked). It’s funny cuz art was really the one thing my roommates there knew
about me, about my hobbies – besides the drinking – and so each gave me some
kind of drawing or painting set for Christmas.
I lived with two guys, one a Canadian, one a Texan, that
first contract year. Their contracts run February to February because of the
whole Chinese New Year thing; it was October when I got there in 04, and
February of 06 when I left. But that first 4 months, I spent in this smaller
more agricultural town – there was a pig slaughterhouse not far, and the lunch
lady at the school would go into the hills/mountains to get some sprouts and
things for the lunch … the always popular hot dog soup.
My Canadian roommate was the adventurous type, he found the
well of fresh mountain water where you could stand with your jug and some
ancient Korean woman. He also once reported a troop of Korean soldiers passing
by him in the pitch dark one night when he was up the mountains alone.
In any case, when I stopped drinking, I stopped drawing. I
used to sit with my 40 and draw or paint (infrequently) until I couldn’t really
see the lines so clearly anymore, then stop – drawing that is. So I didn’t
know, for a while, how to draw sober.
When I finally did take my things out (the end of my sketch
book is pretty hilarious, lots of fucked up looking women – i’ve always drawn
women, bodies, faces, i don’t know why – maybe cuz it’s what I see most often,
or because there were fashion magazines around when I was little –
but also, women are beautiful. just beautiful, i love drawing them, still). So,
i took my things out about a year and a half after I’d gotten sober and tried to
sketch one of these magazine women. – Utter Fail.
Well, at least, I thought it was at the time. I spent the
longest time trying to get the lines just right, and got so frustrated over and over till i just quit the whole thing
and shoved the sketch pad and pencils back into some drawer. Done.
Then, I started to host parties.
Somehow hosting became the thing that brought out my
creativity again. The first party was a holiday one (Star of David Christmas
Cookie party), and I didn’t do any “actual” art, but I rearranged everything
(moved my bed onto it’s end up against the wall!) and I went to the party
supply store and got some fancy looking sheets of scrap-booking paper and
arranged them on my bedroom wall in a diamond like pattern, and I took all my variously
received holiday cards and taped them in a pattern on the living room wall.
Come to think of it – when I moved into that one bedroom
apartment from the room I was renting in some (very nice) lady’s house in the
outer Sunset is when it all started again. I had all sorts of creative ideas
for the apartment – i got to choose the paint colors, the flooring, and I had a
semi-disaster when I decided to paint half my bedroom a crimson, bordello red,
and left the other half white, as I intended to do a stencil of a damask
pattern in black and white all over the other side … this never came to
fruition, and finally my house painter friend came and painted the rest of the
room red!
The next party was a “Pre-Val Hearts&Stars” and I
created a whole tableau of mushy words in a crossword pattern and cut out each
letter and pasted them on my wall (among sex, lust, and other words, “conceive”
got a few eye-brow raises) ;P But still no painting.
HollerWeen! 2009, I painted. Well, I started with oil
pastels. I did a version of Munch’s Scream
with a jack-o-lantern head instead, and I was thrilled with it. I loved to get
my fingers dirty again, smushing the colors around, messing up, going over, and
getting in there. It was
wonderful. I did a few other riffs on some famous paintings (“Cece n’est pas
une pumpkin”, and Warhol’s Marilyn with jack-o faces instead. And one in the
kitchen I wasn’t sure was “okay” of Jesus on the cross with a jack-o head…!)
I loved it – and so I intended to do Valentine’s again the following
Spring and I wanted to do something big – really big. I began these enormous
sexy lips with a white flower in between them in oil pastels and colored
pencil. It was daunting, I was frustrated, but I had a party to finish it for.
This was why I had been doing all this
art – I had a party to throw – my party was my muse. And it worked. I didn’t
feel satisfied with that one for some time, it didn’t feel “done” till I got
some good suggestions on it (drawing a flower on a 5 foot piece of paper is
really hard!). But finally, I signed my name on that paper, and it was done
So, then, here I am now (this blog is getting long, and
maybe you don’t care), but it’s wonderful for me to remember how tentative I
was, how frustrated and upset and worried that I’d never be able to draw again.
And now? Over my bed hang 7 sexy paintings of people, body parts, attached to a
garden trellis like a headboard – and like I said, it’s not perfect, there are
things I see that I know others don’t. But I love it. It makes me happy, and
it’s hot.
And now here are my holiday cards, beginning to line my
wall, and they’re silly and fun, and somewhat impressive even to me.
That’s what I love about this work – I continue to amaze
myself especially when I come with a spirit of fun. Creating paintings for a
purpose (a head board, a holiday card, a party) gives me the juice, the north
on my creative compass – and even though, sure, I’m in school for writing, and
I’ve been trying to get in to acting, watching one branch of my creative tree flower
is actually pretty encouraging.
Though, now I drink tea, not Hite.

oil pastel on posterboard 2009

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