Friday, March 9, 2018

Transgender - Gender Variant Pronouns

In 70’s I am increasingly forgetful. During work on this set of layers in the 6” square window transparency I forgot to make a layer of oil to separate new paint from the dechirage and paint below. When the layer dried and I distressed the paint it came off of the exposed paint below, but not the laminated layer of dechirage paper in the square. In order to make the mistake work, I took a new photo and put it into Adobe Photoshop. Printed the image, and tore it apart, finally laminating some of the torn pieces back into the 6” central window. I am so pleased with the result! It is better than if my memory had functioned properly.

I plan another smaller square within the 6” square. And that square will have my makeshift definition of gender variant pronouns. That may finish this mixed media distressed painting - or not. I won’t know until I see the artwork with the smaller square added.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Transwoman: Not Finished As Planned

I tried to go beyond this step with more glitter stripes around other areas in the mixed media distressed painting, but so far I haven’t been successful with these. I always try shapes, photos and buried text in different locations in Adobe Photoshop before gluing the actual physical things in place and or painting over them and distressing the paint. I experiment with locations until everything seems to be absolutely correct visually. After 2 hours of deliberation the image has the definition added to the central 2-inch square plus the glitter box surrounding it. I will add more glitter stripes after I sleep on it tonight. Once the subconscious has had time to ruminate I’m sure the solution to final glitter stripes location will happen on the conscious level.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Gender Variant: Stage 3

The final artwork in the series of 4 mixed media distressed paintings about transgendered people delves into language and “gender nonconformity.” The painting has 12 layers at this stage, and will have at least 4 more over the entire surface after which I will be working on smaller segments of the surface to completion. There is no way to know what the painting will look like when finished because of the unpredictable nature of this process, though I do use some line, color and shape toward the end of the process to superimpose order onto the accidental nature of the work. The painting is done mostly in blues, red and pink at this stage because pink and blue are the colors of the transgender flag.

Can you find the miss spelled words? I am the worlds worst speller, and I must check everything several times. Also, as I age my spelling is deteriorating. I missed 2 in this stage. Since it will be painted over and distressed I am not overly distressed (pun intended) about them because they will probably be hidden. However, I best be more careful in the next stage of the work.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Trans Woman Heroes: Next to Final State

I am overcome with distress (pun intended)

As I create these mixed media distressed partially digital art works I’ve learned so much about the heroism of trans people and their fight for recognition. I learned that they are no different from the rest of us, with that one small exception; they are born in the wrong body. By way of example, black trans woman Lucy Hicks Anderson, pictured in the top of “Trans Woman” was tried for marrying her soldier boy friend. They were taken to court, fought the US government over her trans status, and were convicted of perjury and fraud by Federal courts. They were both imprisoned. She died at age 68 in 1954 still living her life as a woman. She was a trans woman hero as were all the other women pictured in the painting.

About Process

In the final steps of this painting I will make a small 2” square centered within the larger distressed pale blue square. This smaller square will include the “Trans Woman” headline. However, I’m not sure of the colors I will use, nor how or whether I will distress the definition and the text in the square. Perhaps that little square will contain 2 or more layers of digitized torn paper sandwiched between distressed layers of paint, and laminated into the montage. Also, there will be torn stripes of actual glitter enhanced photographed glitter laminated around and through portions of the entire painting. These are process questions and I will make decisions as I continue my work. I do know that the end of this process is in sight.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Transwoman: Stage 4

This is the mixed media distressed painting in its current Adobe Photoshop state, layer 11. I will print "stage 4" using the large format printer, tear it up, and laminate some of the pieces – there’s a secret step at this point - onto the canvas board. After doing the dechirage (torn paper) I will once again cover everything with oil crayon and coat all with a heavy layer of opaque tempera, then scrape through everything. The painting will not be finished. Instead there will be at least 3 to 6 more layers to go. I usually work on 2 to 4 paintings simultaneously because I am constantly waiting for layers to dry on each painting.

So, I have begun another mixed media distressed painting, this one titled, "Two Spirits." The terms is not technically an LGBTQ term. Rather it is a term that refers to indigenous peoples, many cultures worldwide in which gender-diverse roles (boy and girl, neither, or other) are not only acceptable but understood as "normal," sometimes special, even spiritual in nature. From now on I will alternate work on the two paintings, Transwoman and Two Spirits.*

*"Normal" in Western cultures is understood to apply to a large group of people or things that are supposed to be similar. Mathematically, the concept "normal," norm is one number in the exact center of a set of numbers. In anthropology - the study of human cultures - "normal" as used in the West cannot be applied to other cultures, and is an inappropriate trope as used in our culture.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Trans Woman (Transwoman): History's Heroines - Stage 3

As I work on each painting in the LGBTQ Pictionary, I learn more and more about human sexuality in general, and the heroism of LGBTQ people in particular. “Trans Woman” is the exception, not for the lack of heroism, but because so many women risked their lives, reputation, happiness, love, everything that we as humans find valuable. So far I’ve buried in layers of paint such women as Lucy Hicks Anderson, Sir Lady Java, Rene Richards, and Jacqueline Charlotte Dufresnoy (Coccinelle) At times I have been brought to tears reading of their heroism, and these are literally buried in the layers of paint, paper, glue and computer ink along with these heroic trans women. These "Trans Women" are heroines!

Today I will cover Stage 3 of “Transwoman” with oil crayon once again, and bury the image you see here completely with a layer of blue paint. While that is drying I will move on to put the first layer of paint on the new LGBTQ Pictionary painting, “Transvestia,” a painting about the magazine of that name from the 1970’s and 1980’s of the last century.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Transwoman: Stage One

Researching the topic, "Trans Woman (Transwoman), history" I discovered the amazing courage of trans women who fought against societal prejudice at a tune when the culture was unable to hypothesize or picture anything beyond the physical embodiment of binary sexuality. As the artist producing this artwork my attitude and understanding of trans women is important in the conceptualization of the mixed media distressed painting. It is my belief that we are closest to God at birth and death, before our cultural identity is formed and at the moment we leave our culture and return to God. The modern medical/psychological term used to describe the condition of mental anguish Trans women and men experience is "gender dysphoria."* I see gender dysphoria as a cultural phenomenon, not an individual personality issue. In other words it is the culture that puts the onus on the condition, and trans women  as individuals absorb the disconnect. Trans women are simply born in the wrong body and they have no choice other than to fix the culturally induced gender dysphoria. Fortunately, modern medicine is able to help though the process is terribly expensive and so prohibits many from achieving the goal of being content in their own body.

In the first layer of “Transwoman” I chose two women. First, Lucy Hicks Anderson (Tobias Lawson), a black Transwoman living at a time (1886-1954) when she was doubly cursed by her culture as, one, a black, two, trans woman. She was jailed two times because she insisted on living as a woman. Second, Renee’ Richards, who fought the United States Tennis Association (USTA) in order to participate on the national stage as a female player after her transition, male to female.

This layer will be buried beneath many more as part of the process of building history into the painting. It may become completely hidden or not as the process is accidental and I (the artist) have only partial control. That is why I am documenting the creation of these artworks. I am hoping that the book about the “LGBTQ Pictionary” will be published in order to clarify and elevate knowledge about the strength of these many LGBTQ people and their effort to achieve equality against so Brobdingnagian a cultural blockade.


*Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person's physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.

People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves (referred to as experienced or expressed gender) and their physical or assigned gender.*

"What is Gender Dysphoria," The American Psychological Association, Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.February 2016, viewed11:17 AM EST Friday, November 17, 2017.