Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evening, Beach and Shells

My partner and I were walking on our devastated Juno Beach the other evening just before sunset. The beach is almost gone and the sand drops as much as 9 feet from the Sea Grape covered dune behind the beach. I’m assured by almost everyone here that it is normal - the beach disappears and reappears on a regular basis. However, the same folks also inform me that the beach here has to be replenished on a regular basis. Thus, it reappears because we (mankind) make it so.

In any event, I took a couple of photographs of the missing beach and sand cliff at dunes edge in disgust, then began looking for other subject matter. I glanced down at an itchy toe, scratched and noticed the shadows and gradations of light on the shells, sand, and footprints around me and had one of those moments.

Ah- ha!

Republicans Balk at rescuing U. S. automakers

I have a suggestion - I left the Republican Party back in the late 1980's because of the increasing hate turned against LGBT people. Now, it's time for those to leave the Party who are concerned with the total collapse of the U.S. and World economies due to parsimonious Southern Republicans unable to see past the danger to the foreign automakers in their own states.

What, and you folks don’t think that the foreign automakers are in trouble when Americans stop buying cars?

Merry Christmas to you too Scrooge!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Opening: "Pastels of Ocean, Beach and Marsh"

I actually wrote this piece on Wednesday, December 10, 2008, though I am just putting it in the journal due to my frantic last minute preparations for the show.

It’s been a mad dash. However I’m almost ready for Friday evening, December 12, 2008, the opening to my exhibit of pastels that runs to February 18, 2009 at the Juno Beach Town Center, 340 Ocean Drive. I have twenty-four pastels, many of them over-sized works that range in style from quite abstract to almost hyper-real. I must do a short presentation about my pastel technique at the opening, which is totally different from the approach most artists make to the medium. Instead of rubbing, blending, and smearing colors together, I rely totally on mark making technique. The individual pastels themselves do all the blending together of color. I know I shouldn’t be apprehensive about speaking, but I haven’t done any public speaking since retiring from a thirty-eight year long teaching career over three years ago.

There is still one 32” x 40” drawing at the framer, and I have to put my card on the back, and place numbers in the lower left hand corner of the glass on ten of the pieces, but then I will be ready to transport all the work to the site of the installation tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to seeing the work installed. It’s a huge space, and it will be the first one person exhibit I’ve had since 2002.

I’ve decided to give any profits I might make to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center here in Juno Beach because there is little or no beach left after the series of coastal storms during the past year, and the sea turtles have no place to lay their eggs. However, I worry about the abysmal economy because I have a huge investment in framing and art materials. The framing is especially expensive, even though I’ve framed all work smaller than 32” x 40” myself. In other words, I can’t make any money to help sea turtles until I recover those costs if I’m to continue my bad habit of buying art supplies for, completing and framing future artwork. I’ve also had little luck at obtaining publicity about this donation, since I was unaware of a three week lead time Palm Beach County newspapers require for press releases about such. I did, however give my information to Loggerhead Marinelife Center in hopes they are able to obtain some publicity about the show before or after the opening.

In any event, it will be exciting to see so much of this body of work installed as opposed to stacked in studio storage.

To end on a positive note, anyone who sees these pastels raves about them - perhaps the artwork will be that compelling as to sell despite the worst economic crisis in a century. Afterall there is in history a group of Great Depression American artists, such as Regionalist Grant Wood whose artworks were successful. I shall just have to put that positive thought into the space around me.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Proposition 2

Once again I’m writing and making art about politics instead of concerning myself with Art or my art. I’ve read many critiques and arguments and/or diatribes against this venomous measure. Most of these state that, and I’m paraphrasing – “It’s about Love.” I agree - I want my partner of forty years, the man I love, to be entitled to the same rights as any heterosexual partner in "marriage," though I’ve got to get past my anger at the over sixty-two percent of Floridians that seem to think that, instead, he (and I) should be second class citizens.

As a resident of Florida I’m more concerned with the effects of Proposition 2 than with Proposition 8 in California, or with the measure passed by the citizens of Arizona. Proposition 2 is the most malevolent of the 3 in that all persons not married are persecuted by the written addition to our state constitution. All civil unions, same sex or otherwise are invalid. Anyone not married may not adopt his/her partner’s children whether heterosexual or homosexual. Unmarried partners may not pass on their estates to partner or children in death. Partners have no say in medical practice when one is incapacitated without having drawn up expensive legal documents in advance. Unmarried partners must file income taxes separately. And, there are at least sixty other rights that married heterosexual partners take for granted. However, Proposition 2, voted into existence by so many of Florida’s citizenry who would prefer not to live in an actual participatory democracy, but rather to live in a Republic of privilege based on sexual preference - strikes most venomously at heterosexual senior retirees who have lost their married partner. I wonder - do these voters including seniors who hate LGBT people, and who voted for Proposition 2 - realize that they have created constitutional law that requires that they personally live as second-class citizens whose freedoms are limited by law? I doubt that most have bothered to think their vote through to its actual effect on our state’s social and political life. Unfortunately, and I am paraphrasing Lincoln here, so long as one man is not free, so all men are not free.

From a personal point of view, I am angry. I am most angry with those mean spirited individuals responsible for having drawn-up the acrimonious provision in the first place. I am perhaps only slightly less angry with those who voted for Proposition 2 based on religious belief, since my Christian upbringing has led me to believe that Jesus Christ himself was an inclusive individual, and that the good news of his Gospel is that God loves us all. I am also angry with those who voted for Proposition 2 out of ignorance. In fact, at Thanksgiving, my brother-in-law proudly announced that he had voted for Proposition 2. When I confronted him with the actual legal ramifications of that addition to our state constitution, he changed his statement to, “I actually meant to say that I voted ‘NO’ on 2.” So, did he actually vote “NO?” Or did he not understand the legal language and/or implications of the proposition as written? I’ll never know. However, I do know my brother-in-law to be a reasonably intelligent individual, who though conservative on many political issues, has demonstrated that he harbors no ill feelings concerning my partner’s and my almost forty-one year commitment to one another, and in fact is pleased that he and I are equals within the family. Thus, I am left with the concern that many otherwise intelligent citizens voted for Proposition 2 without even a basic understanding of its ramifications.

Though this is a hot button emotional issue, it is also necessary to think practically about what must be done in order to remove this malignant constitutional – and, I believe ultimately illegal – amendment from our state’s constitution. We must educate Americans into an understanding of the difference between emotional and intellectual thought processes, and their responsibilities as practicing members of a democracy. And, we must make sure that the language used in our political process is clear and easily understood, not obfuscated in complex legalese.