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.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Trans Man: LGBTQ Pictionary

3 Steps to Go

Trans Man (10" x 10"), Mixed Media & Distressed Paint

I've been working on three other artworks at the same time, so it will be a week or so before I get back to finish this mixed media distressed painting. But, there are just 3 steps including signing and then “Trans Man” will be done. I took this photo of the artwork in full sun outdoors, temp 75 degrees F, 200 ASA, at 100th of a second, f 5.6, and yes all that does matter, especially to focus and colors of the image. I did purposefully play with the color of the printed sections of the image in the previous stage of work so that the transparencies in the dechirage sections would be slightly different in hue from the original paint colors. I also spent a great deal of extra time on this painting because of printer issues that caused colors to be entirely too light. However, that problem is now resolved and the painting is back on track.

Transman is based on the amazing history of transgender people. These include people like Billy Tipton, the late great Jazz pianist, Wilmer M.“Little Axe” Broadax, gospel singer, Charley Parkhurst, gold rush days whip, Alan Hart M.D., and many more. I also include images and text about modern transmen of note as well, hidden to varying degree in the layers of distressed paint and paper.

I know these last three artworks from the LGBTQ Pictionary, based on transgender people to be important because of our White Suprematist president. At the same time I never thought that I would be embarrassed by my skin color. However, I also happen to be part of one of the other groups at which this president and his government have taken aim. The groups include people of the Muslim faith, illegal Latino immigrants, all people of color, and LGBTQ people. The most egregious act of president Trump to date (there have been so many) has been his order to remove transgender people from the military. Trans Man is one of three works that speak to my grave concerns about the Donald J. Trump presidency.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Taking A Stand Through My Art

As an artist with a political conscience I have designed a postcard that I place in stores and libraries, post on bulletin boards, and post in other public locations. I am also in the process of sending the cards to Republican Senator and Congressional Representatives whose voting record demonstrates an extremely high correlation with DJT. As I have written on the back of the postcard, "We are not Democratic. We are not Republican. We are the people." I have distributed 30 of these to date and will continue to do so as I travel. I may design others as the Trump presidency continues. I feel it is my duty as an artist citizen to fight this frightening turn to the false science of eugenics, radical racism, and white supremacist politics that resides in the Whitehouse, and through it, the department of Justice of the United States.*

*The series of mixed media distressed paintings that I call The LGBTQ Dictionary are also political, especially the current new artworks in the series, titled Trans/Transgender, Trans Man, and Trans Woman as they express an opposition to the presidents order to remove all transgender persons from the military.

Friday, August 11, 2017

New LGBTQ Pictionary entry, "Transman"

Trans Man / Transman

The first layer of “Transman” will be buried under many more layers of paint, glue and images. Actually it is the second layer, the first being the flat blue acrylic foundation. The layer includes photos and text about historical trans men figures. These include Dr. Alan Hart, specialist in roentgenology, (x-rays), Charley Darkey Parkhurst, Gold Rush Whip, Wilmer “Little Ax” Broadax, a gospel Quartet singer, and Lou Sullivan, first trans man to self identify as gay, an author and activist. These "men" should be some of the real heroes of LGBTQ people as they performed their actual racial, gender and sexual identity at a time when discovery meant social death if not actual physical termination. As this first and second layer is buried in more layers of oil crayon paint, paper, and glue, these same images may occur again. It is hard to predict what or which will happen as I will be motivated by accidental lines, shapes and colors created as I add coating after coating to the painting. Also, the nature of the mixed media distressed paint technique reveals parts of lower coatings randomly as though one is looking back through time. *


1. Lout Sullivan, Wikipedia at Last updated August 2, 2017. Viewed 10:43 PM, EDT, Thursday, August 10, 2017.

2. Alan Lucill Hart (1890 1962) doctor, roentgenologist, novelist, in A Gender Varianc Who’s who, Pulbished October 20, 2008, viewed 1:52 PM EDT, Tuesday, August, 8, 2017.

3. 5 Amazing Trans Men You Didn’t Learn About in History Class, at Viewed 3:31 EDT, Monday, August 7, 2017.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Trans/Trany (12" x 12") mixed media distressed painting is subversive

I finished the LGBTQ Pictionary artwork, “Trans,” a 12-inch square, mixed media distressed painting in May well before president Trump attacked trans people in the military with his series of tweets of July 26, 2017. As clarification, I quote the 3 infamous tweets together here.

“After consultation with my Generals and military experts, please be advised that the United States Government will not accept or allow Transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U. S. Military. Our military must be focused on decisive and overwhelming victory and cannot be burdened with the tremendous medical costs and disruption that transgender in the military would entail. Thank you.”

He hadn’t consulted with (not "his" but "our") generals. In fact they were taken by surprise, as was the nation because it was understood that Trans people were not only to be tolerated, but accepted as a talented part of our military based on President Obama’s policy pronounced on June 30, 2016. And, in fact the joint chiefs of staff have stated that there will be no change in policy until they receive direct clarification from the president.

I never thought that post Obama I’d be living in a country in which the government would once again attack minority after minority, trans people but the latest to be singled out by this president. Now I see The LGBTQ Pictionary in a new light. It is a subversive tool, set against a government that once again is acting against the people it is supposed to protect.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Landscape #2

Finally, I had a five-hour stint of work time Sunday and got the 2nd Landscape well on its way. This image is based on the huge philodendrons that grow in the garden behind our place in south Florida. I took a number of photos from my porch/studio, enlarged them, squared each off, and enlarged one on to the three by four foot canvas. I may do others from this group or I may move on to other photos that I shot of nature. These paintings are based on 5 layers of transparent acrylic that build to create hundreds of not thousands of colors, much like a computer printer does by layering cyan, magenta, yellow and black inks. However, I work in washes of yellow, green blue, purple, and red pigment instead of tiny dots. I paint into water sometimes or I quickly lay water next to wet paint. Sometimes I use a hair drier to make the paint dry in splotches and/or run. Each layer of paint must dry thoroughly before the next is put on the canvas in order to prevent new paint from picking up the old.

I don’t know why I so often choose techniques that are slow going, or why I can’t stay with one technique. I have good company however, just look at the varied body of work Picasso left behind, though I am a minor entity next to the great master. You see, this group of landscape paintings is but one of three different bodies of work I have been working on during the past five years; 1) mixed media distressed paintings titled the LGBTQ Pictionary, 2) The huge abstracted acrylic paintings of iconographic celebrities, and 3) this series of acrylic landscapes.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Trans/trany, Stage 4

Finally, all the layers are piled up on top of one another except the central square. I photographed stage 2 and 3 and made a central square from both using more images and text.

To finish the work I will tear those 2 photos in different directions, one across and the other up and down, and then laminate the torn pieces into the mixed media distressed painting. I will varnish and add a bit of actual glitter at the very last moment, date and sign the work, and “Trans/ trany” will be complete. I will add a post of the finished "Trans/Trany" painting.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Trans – Stage 3

The photo is out of focus, so I will have to reshoot it. To most it wouldn't matter since the image is not of the finished artwork. Never the less, as an obsessive compulsive artist, reshooting is an absolute necessity in order to have a decent record of the creative process.

I am also in a quandary. I like the painting at this stage. The distressed paint, dechirage (torn paper) digital photos of the painting with historical additions are working well together. However, I’m not sure whether to cover all this with another layer of wax and paint, distress, and varnish again. It would be nice to be able to do the center square that will contain definitions of trans woman, trans man, trany and pronounce the artwork finished. I can't decidde, so I suppose I’ll just have to sleep on it.

Monday, April 10, 2017

“TRANS," Stage 2 complete

It won’t look at all like this after the next six layers because these layers will be partially hidden beneath six more layers. However, I’m now about a third finished with the painting.

I like doing the mixed media distressed paintings because the technique makes history appear both hidden and seen or at least intuited. It suggests a motion, in the case of the LGBTQ Pictionary, I’m suggesting that the motion to this point in time has been positive, though within that there have been contrary moments (See the graph below).

With the advent of the White Supremacist Trump era, this may no longer be true, though I hope people of good conscience are able to fight the trend to denigrate all minority groups other than white heterosexual male.

As such, this painting, and all of the LGBTQ Pictionary can be viewed as my act of affirmation and hope, tempered with a bit of fear and determination that a reversal must not be!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

First Stage, "Trans"

Finally, It's so good to be back on my Art Blog. I’ve been working on a new painting for the LGBTQ Pictionary series, “Trans (12" x 12").” I've found over the past 5 years that these paintings work best in small sizes. Trans has but the first four layers so far, but I’ve done all my research and have all the type and historical stuff to bury in the layers of paint. Next I will begin printing images and text, hand writing out text, then laminating them into the mixed media distressed painting including some gold leaf and glitter - got to have a hint of glitter and glitz - in several layers. There’s not much to the painting just now, but I’ve thought that I could also do much larger pieces, say a triptych of three or four foot square canvases similar to this, with variations in color, or a third & forth color working through them from one piece to another. There would be no images, perhaps just a bit of hidden text. They’d make a stunning over-sized-sofa (Hah-hah!) painting.