Thursday, August 31, 2006


I have a history with the word "dumb." Frankly, it haunts me. Not haunt in the Oleander N.L. Belardes scary way, but in a traumatic childhood learning lesson way.

I was in 3rd grade and there was this awful girl named Tina. She was tough and had a mouth full of sass. Now, I wasn't a frail little imp, but I didn't like to fight. I would hold my own, but never initiate. As my father said, the only time you hit is if someone hits you first...then nail em! (Dad didn't say the "nail em" was inferred.)

We were in line in the gym waiting for PE class to begin when she started in on me. She shoved me and I said stop it. I know words were exchanged, but our scuffle was broken up by the start of class.

After PE we went back to our country classroom. I was still fuming about the shove. I looked over at her tootheless snarl and scribbled my anger on a piece of paper. When the timing was right, I dropped it on her desk. Scared, but excited about how I was giving her a punch that would scar.

The teacher gathered us back to our desks and stood in the middle of the classroom. She had a look on her face like we were in big trouble...or someone was in big trouble.

"Tina had this note dropped on her desk. Does anyone know who put this on her desk?" Blank and innocent looks flash. "Well, the person who wrote this should be embarrassed because they are truly the 'dumb' one. For that person's information 'dumb' is spelled 'D-U-M-B' not 'D-U-M!' The class giggled, Tina snarled and I faked the yeah, that is stupid huh look.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

My first dumb movie!

Credit: This dumb movie wouldn't be possible without the amazing photos of San Francisco artist Jan Stevenson

disclaimer: the twilight zone title is a work project title...this was made as a test/practice run to see what I could do with photo stills on iMovie.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

My muse...

My cat Potsina died on August 1st. I took her into the vet because she just didn't seem herself and two days later I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. My heart broke. I had left for the weekend to be with a friend knowing she wasn't feeling well. Work also called on Monday. I was slated to take a mandatory curriculum development class the entire week so no taking off to tend to my cat. I called in late to take her to the vet on Monday morning and went to the vet after the first day of class to be told she might have cancer. Tuesday morning I received the call that she did have cancer and it was at a level 10 on a scale of 1 - 10.

Tuesday afternoon I held her in my lap for 2 hours and wept. She went from growling to clinging to me in my arms. I sat huddled in the corner with her on my lap and 6 other cats staring out of their cage at the two of us. For two hours I told her everything I loved about her even when she was at her shittiest. (Which secretly and sometimes not so secretly I rewarded with my pride.) When it was time to make the decision I held her in my arms and cried openly in front of the vet and the assistant. They let me stay with her until I was ready to go.

So, what does this have to do with art? Quite frankly, I'm not sure. I think I secretly want to be more like my cat. As some of you know, I work a Monday - Friday job as a Corporate Trainer. I always do and say the right thing. I coat my words with sugar and have thin relationships with my co-workers. Again, what does this have to do with art? Well, in my Monday - Friday job I am a team player and work with my team at coming to consensus. Being a team player and coming to consensus doesn't inspire good art. In fact, it inspires mediocrity. This goes to making nice for a paycheck or making art for the sale.

I had a conversation with an artist who talked about how he only looks to the master's and that contemporary art is basically, bunk. I disagree. I have seen a lot of art either going for the shock/gross out value (think B horror film) or for the walk in the field of daisies sweetness (think of the sappiest chic flic). That seems to be the struggle. Who or what are you making art for...what group of people/thought are you trying to come to consensus with in order to validate your existence as "artist?"

I think to my cat Potsina and the 12 years of attitude she displayed. She was teaching me a lesson and I didn't know it. When she was happy, pissed, uncomfortable, hungry, needy...I knew it. I know, I'm putting human feelings to an animal. I think I need to have animal feelings toward my life and art. Lately, I have been reaching out to old acquaintances and new acquaintances because I have been feeling needy. I have been speaking frankly at work. I am not pursuing relationships that make me pissy. When I like someone I tell them. I am looking at my artistic direction through a new, more critical lens. I am working toward being genuine in my person and in my art. I'm taking naps when I need them.

Potsina is inspiring change in me and a new self-evaluation that goes deeper then I have gone.

Thank you for the life you lived on earth my precious little muse.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

A note of admiration...returned!

It seems I am playing badminton with good karma. Clive King wrote me a kind letter in response to my note of admiration.

I had an interesting conversation with my friend Bess last night about that 6 degrees thing that seems to be going on regularly in my life lately. We had a late night conversation about the evolution of consciousness in mankind, the Indigo children, UFOs, The Dead Sea, Atlantis, art and cellular trauma. In the middle of all this we talked about connections. Connections from our dreams, what we read, who we talk to and what does all that mean...what message is being placed in our lap to say LOOK at ME!

My note to Clive made a mini-connection. He happened to mention that he was opening a show in Jacksonville Florida with an encaustic artist Tim McDowell and wanted to know if I knew his work. I thought I did, but googled him. Well, he was featured in my professional acquaintance Joanne Mattera's book, "The Art of Encaustic Painting" an amazing detailed book on encaustic medium. I made a connection with Joanne after visiting her website and asking to consult with her. She gave me some good advice and direction and hooked me up with the West Coast Encaustic Artists. Now, I'm participating in a show in Mill Valley, CA at the O'Hanlon Art Center.

Again, it is about connection and reaching out to your chosen community. We can encourage connections to happen, but also need to pay attention to the small connections that present themselves.

So, I have my racket and a bucket of those rubber-nosed, mini-dog satellite collar thingamabobs and am ready to play a little Karma Badminton!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A note of admiration...

I believe that it doesn't matter where people are in their career or how untouchable they may seem it is good karma to pass along a genuine compliment.

I happened to actually pull away from my recent addiction to MySpace to actually search the internet for something useful for my art career. While searching for grant and fellowship opportunities, I got sucked into the never ending twists and turns of the hyperlink warren. No furry dead things found, but I did find an amazing artist. Clive King. Wow, his work is big, obsessive and captivating. His drawings were so captivating that I googled him. I found very little about him online...a shame. I did, however, find that he is a Professor of Drawing at Florida International University. So, as I drilled down further with my seemingly stalker tendencies I found his bio page. At the top of his page was his email address, so I just simply emailed him my admiration. That simple. I had nothing profound to say, nothing seemingly bright or witty just plain...hey, man...I dig your work. OK, not in those words, but that was the basic message.

I'm not expecting a return message, maybe it won't get to him but I did send the love out there because it was just something I had to do.

Check his work out here:
Clive King

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Puppy Papers Needed!

Like a puppy, I was eager for some verbal petting. Squirming in my chair I downed a plastic cup of white wine before heading up to my time in the spotlight at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Normally, I prepare and practice what I'm going to say, but I thought I would wing this one so I would come off comfortable. My heart was pounding and of course, I started sweating again. I'm not sure what this recent trend of me, my art and sweat would be but I'm not a big fan of it!

So, I swagger up to the front and do the obligatory (but sincere) thank you's to the museum for the show and hosting first Thursdays for the community. In a classy artist fashion, I pull out some materials from a plastic grocery (Von's to be exact) bag. I start off by telling them my background then into my imagery and finally my process in making my work.

It was interesting to see the difference in my presentation from work Julia to artist Julia. Work Julia doesn't smile as much as artist Julia. Work Julia certainly wouldn't make four references to dead animals as artist Julia did. Yep, dead animals. Now, I'm not a fan of hunting but I found myself referencing my father's need to blast poor defenseless animals to hang on the wall. Now, in his defense he eats the meat and hunts within the legal boundaries but that doesn't make me appreciate carcass filled walls of the family home. I then referenced my favorite tool I use in making my work...which is also used to skin seals in Alaska. Nice, huh. Yep, artist Julia mentioned that lovely bit of trivia too. Luckily, I believe I humored the audience with the strange, artist Julia persona and I had a brief, but ego stroking moment at the end of people wanting to continue conversation. Unfortunately, there were no more mentions of dead animals and the puppy in me finally calmed down.