Saturday, December 28, 2013


her dream:

i was in her room changing things. i was painting michael jackson all over the walls in pink and she didn't like it. when she tried to protest it was clear that she had no choice in the matter and that we were very upset with her. so she tried to run. luca chased her and she ran all the way down to the basement, found a place to hide in the dvd cellar.

my dream:

i discovered that her old room was still there, just behind our small and inadequate kitchen. it was pink, with a smallish white day bed, pictures of friends that she hadn't talked to in years (actually, old patients of mine) and little torn pieces of metallic paper hung from the walls that made everything sparkle. i found things that had been left in there that had gotten moldy. i presented 3 options to luca: 1) we turn the room into a den with a couch, a desk and a tv 2) we expand the kitchen to encompass both spaces or 3) turn it into a guest room. he is intrigued by the idea of a den, but she doesn't like any of this, wants to keep her room there just the way it is. / then there are people over from my brother-in-law's family, drinking wine and standing around talking. i am becoming increasingly panicky. then i start to see snakes in the kitchen, little ones at first and then some rather large ones. no one else seems remotely aware of all this, but she is afraid. i tell her they can't come upstairs (even though i know that's not true from my own dreams) and i start slicing the snakes open with a sharp kitchen knife. i can see their flesh open up and blood begin to pour out.

Monday, December 16, 2013

(like luca,) john waters (also) teaches joy

when i was a lonely teenage girl treading the vacant waters of suburban malaise, john waters showed up in the form of serial mom and led me onto shores i had never imagined. this happened many times over throughout my adolescence and early 20's, but john waters was a special discovery. i remember going to school the morning after watching kathleen turner bludgeon pearl from diff'rent strokes with a rack of lamb because she didn't rewind her video tapes. suddenly the little things that had made me feel insecure or frustrated seemed utterly inconsequential. i was filled with a kind of delirious glee. in the weeks that followed i rented out his entire filmography from tla, taking particular pleasure in the character of dawn davenport from female trouble, played of course by the incomparable divine, and  knitting my eyebrows in bewildered delight whenever mink stole was on the screen.

in college i learned that john waters had written some books, so i eagerly snatched up copies of crackpot and shock value from this new website called, returning to them over and over again whenever i was feeling low. his essay "puff piece," which catalogues 101 things he loves, was a favorite. i couldn't help but feel awakened by the maniacal joy he takes in the strange and obsessional worlds of his idols. and what an amazing surprise to find out that he loved marguerite duras and violette leduc as much as i did and that my dalliances in the true crime section of borders were nothing compared with his total immersion into the lives of bizarre and sadistic criminals.

what i love most about john waters is his wide and fanatical love of the arts. he has not only led to me countless films, books and visual artists through his irresistible descriptions - "if ingmar bergman had committed suicide, gone to hell, and come back to earth to direct an exploitation/art film for drive-ins, [antichrist] is the movie he would have made" - he has affirmed my attraction to the crazy ones, reminding me again and again that life need not be bound by the shackles of conformity. john waters is a healer.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

grover and co.

got some new books for the little bear with some barnes and noble gift cards that i guess my mom forgot to give out at hanukkah. left with the following array of childhood favorites, timely classics and caldicott winners:

Saturday, December 14, 2013


recently came across the work of joan semmel in an issue of artNews that someone donated to my studio. i recognized the work from having seen a couple of her paintings in this 'erotic art' book that at got at a borders bin in high school. the images in that book were distinctive because they depicted the human body from a subjective stance, something i hadn't seen before:

it's always strange when you start googling things that interested you in your pre-internet days, like you suddenly realize you have access to something that you assumed was only available through mental recall. anyway, a quick search took me to this series of sexually explicit paintings:

i found these to be the most interesting images in semmel's body of work. unlike the earlier studies where the scenes were constructed from the point of view of the subject, here the gaze hovers just behind and slightly above the figures, almost as if we were watching unseen from beside the bed. and yet the voyeuristic elements are undercut by the abstracting compositions that delight in the shapes that the coupled bodies make. the colors too seem interested in the particular hues of each body's skin tone and the harmonies that are created as they intermingle. i especially love the deep contrast in that last one of the icy blue, warmish yellow and fire engine red. however, despite the studied and assertive formal emphasis, the paintings are not emotionally detached. though we see barely see the faces of her subjects, the language of their bodies offer lovely and frank expressions of desire and intimacy. her inclusion of feet is particularly endearing. i can't imagine seeing bare feet in pornographic material, unless they were being fetishized. 

here is another erotic image with an overlay of a transparent figure. i don't particularly understand where she is coming from with this one, but i love the colors.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

love is won

when all of the judgment and hurt are stripped away, this remains. this is what drew me in and lit me up:

O you know I need your mystic mind
For you are leading us towards the un-blind
We know that magic is a part of life
Love is won when we aren't bound by time

When we have animals, we'll start a tribe
you'll be the shepherd as we all head towards the un-blind
Fell into the fault and now we feel too deep
O Love is won when we're bound and still feel free

A puzzle planted on the forest floor has grown tall by now
Forever is asleep it is a tiny jewel in the tiger mouth
I'm walking in the woods, I'm looking for the one
And I'm about to pounce so I can tame the cat,
So I can find the myth and let forever out.

I could fall into a valley so low
O love is won when we don't need free to grow
We can go higher says your mystic mind
Unbind the time and go on up towards the un-blind

A puzzle planted on the forest floor has grown tall by now
Forever is asleep it is a tiny jewel in the tiger mouth
I'm walking in the woods, I'm looking for the one
And I'm about to pounce so I can tame the cat,
So I can find the myth and let forever out.

Monday, November 25, 2013

the very best tea

i have breaking bad to thank not only for being an intensely enjoyable saga of epic proportions, but for introducing me to my new favorite drink: chamomile tea with soy milk and stevia. i had my first cup of this magical elixir not long after the series finale and i never stopped. i do recommend the liquid stevia - 3 drops for a large mug - and not the white powder. you don't want to take any chances these days.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

black venus

watched my 2nd abdellatif kechiche film today. this man is shredding my heart into ribbons. how ironic that much of the criticism leveled against his recent film blue is the warmest color/la vie d'adele has been centered around they way he put his actresses behinds on display and exhibited their sexuality in a "brutal and surgical display," considering that his last film was about exactly this. and none of the critics seem to even mention that!

i think if i continue making my way through kechiche's filmography i might die of heartbreak.

Monday, November 4, 2013

la vie d'adele

this movie has torn my heart apart. all i can do is cry now.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

puer aeturnus and the suicidal urge

from dustin eaton, c/o perpetual adolescence:

"...the ultimate irony is that a few months before cobain's death, he had recorded his most critically acclaimed album with nirvana, the haunting live performance known as 'nirvana: unplugged in new york.' during this acoustic set, cobain proved to everyone the depth of both his talent and his pain. during one cover song after another, kurt's searing, gravel-strewn singing voice almost pleads with the audience for mercy, and for absolution. at last, during the final song of the set, cobain launches into a vintage blues song called 'where did you sleep last night?' the piercing howl that is unleashed during the final moments of this song is the sound of kurt cobain giving up his spirit. it is the sound of icarus crashing into the sea."
the way his eyes flash at 5:07...

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Friday, July 26, 2013

georgy girl

can't wait can't wait to see this!!!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

elderflower liqueur

my most favorite drink in all the world. with sipp soda, with almond milk, with iced chamomile tea. i have found my drink.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

low toxicity oil painting

this blog is going to be a documentation of the research i am about to do on how to minimize toxicity when oil painting. last night i had an anxiety attack as i read about how horrible oil paint and oil paint solvents are for one's health and the environment. and here i've been painting in my basement, too lazy to open the windows. so today i am determined to find alternatives so i may continue to paint sans fretting.

1) SOLVENTS let off VOCs - bad for me, bad for the environment. even finished paintings still off-gas these chemicals. don't use them to clean your hands! (wish i had known that in high school...) and don't pour them down the drain! let them sit for a week, reuse clear stuff, let sediment dry out, discard entire container (along with any old paint tubes and painty rags) at toxic waste disposal site. also... you don't have to use solvents. some brands of oil paints are better for solvent-free painting.

2) brushes can be cleaned with walnut oil or murphy's oil soap. "the master's hand soap" good for washing hands. baby oil can also be used to get paint off of hands.

3) m.graham walnut alkyd medium is recommended by some.

4) gamblin also makes environmentally paints and solvents.

5) the following paint colors are bad because they contain lead, mercury, or some other shit: flake white, cerulean blue, cobalt blue, vermillion, cadmium red and yellow, chrome and naples yellow. not naples yellow!!! you can just wear latex gloves when working with these though. and don't touch your face! and look for the AP label on paints, which indicates they are non-toxic.

6) this company sells organic pigments that you can mix with oil.

7) don't leave solvents or mediums exposed to air while painting - cover and open when using.

8) don't put oil paint soaked rags in a trash can - they can spontaneously combust. instead, place in sealed water-filled metal container.

9) always wear a face mask when mixing powdered pigments, even earth based ones.

10) these books may be helpful: rossol's the artist's complete health and safety guide and gottsegen's the painter's handbook.

11) you can use water soluble oil paints like grumbacher's max.

12) underpainting can be done in acrylic! oil works over acrylic, but not the other way around.

13) ventilate and filter the air!

i feel better informed now and plan to go to dick blick tomorrow to see if they have any of this crap. i also ordered an organic mattress. when i googled anxiety about toxic chemicals, the search turned up many pages about how toxic chemicals cause anxiety. oh deary me. good thing i had lunch with mary h*pper.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


it's strange. i finished the first portrait in my emotional manipulation series and i think it may be my best work yet, but all day i've been struggling to get a foothold on anything. the gap was so wide i couldn't see my loved ones across the bay, so i invented replicas of them on the side i was on. we watched in frustration at our doppelgängers, unable to hear the words they were mouthing, frustrated that their gestures seemed out of synch with our own. why weren't they swimming while we sat by the side of the pool? why would they not listen when we lay beside them with the book light to read? on this side our breaths wouldn't reach our bellies and nothing had any smell at all. we shouted orders across the bay but the wind carried them away. we swam toward them against the current. we devised a plan to reach them, but when we left we forgot our bodies so we had to go back, and by then we were tired. we said, 'i guess we can rest here another night. we can sleep on the shore by the water and maybe in the morning we will find our way home.'

Saturday, July 6, 2013

ferdinand hodler

i was looking up beds since we're upgrading to a king and wound up discovering this swiss artist named ferdinand hodler. here is an article about a series of remarkable paintings he made of his dying mistress.

this is the one that initially caught my eye:

he was no stranger to grief, having lost his entire family to tuberculosis. 

this is from a series of self-portraits he painted after she died:

he also developed a style that he termed parallelism, where vertical figures are arranged side by side:

even his landscapes have this same rhythmic quality, as well as a color palette that rivals emil nolde:

such exquisite portraits, too. look at the line quality and the organic elegance of his negative space. if you are in search of sadness, in ferdinand hodler lies a treasure trove.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

july 3rd

off track with cookies, coffee cake and design-your-own-six-packs, but had a lovely day nonetheless. i put on the hidden cameras during my adolescent group and when i went back to my office they changed it to macklemore. i guess the hidden cameras weren't gay enough for them! who knew the thrift shop guy wrote the gay anthem of 2013? apparently everyone except for me. here's two for gay love:

tomorrow: homemade blueberry ice cream and island beach state park with rachel and elsa!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

july 2nd

moments throughout the day when i felt that sinking feeling, the futility of trying to keep afloat, and then this dude is in my office telling me about neuro-linguistic programming and wondering about the splash of trauma that he carries home from work. rachel shows up and i feel happy. chasing nolan down carpenter street, making my annual fig and daiya quesadillas, looking at tara's pictures from the sand castle world championships, nolan in luca's lap by the book light, "i wanna drink, mommy!"

1. always getting distracted. not 5 minutes into my budgeting for new supplies at work i found myself at the anthropologie wedding site. it's like crack.

it also amused me that when i typed bhldn - the name of the collection - my phone autocorrected it to baldness. now i want to start a bridal collection called baldness.

2. found a stencil to use in my portrait and it works! thank you damask tapestry from michaels! just the victorian touch i was looking for to suggest patterns of romanticism.

Monday, July 1, 2013

july 1st


1. charlotte rampling is this season's guest star on dexter! watched the premiere last night and it did not disappoint. rampling is playing a "psychopath whisperer" who seems to know everything about dexter. can't wait to see how it unfolds!

2. ran for 20 minutes straight this morning. i had googled "running music" and many people swear by lady gaga's "the fame" so i gave it a try. blah. not enchanted by her flat staccato vocals, manufactured pop sound, banal lyrics about money and dancing, and certainly not her posturing as some sort of performance artist who actually has something to say. 

3. luca got me a new set of pots and pans for my birthday! they are stainless steel and beautiful.

4. superfood smoothies! this was my mother's day present and i have been making them every day. today it was goji blueberry with chia seeds. tomorrow: sea buckthorn fig!

5. a few weeks ago i found myself watching lana del rey videos and wondering who on earth was behind this strange, pedophilic construction. i would write about it but i'm so damn tired.

tomorrow: getting lots of stuff done at work, including placing a new order for supplies, stopping by michael's to see if they have any damask stencils, picking up my dry cleaning, vegetables from the farm, working on the hair.

maybe i am doing the best that i can. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

closing the gap

sheba: mind the gap... the gap between life as you dream it and life as it is...

i've decided to close the gap. to stop lamenting over not living as i see myself in my mind and do it. to see if it's really all i dream it would be... to see what it feels like to not wonder if i'll ever stop biting my cuticles but actually doing it. to read like i'm aware of my mortality. to maximize my energy. to take care of my mind. to paint all the pictures i've painted in my head on actual canvas. to curb my sugar, alcohol and caffeine intake. to discover new magickal places. to know where the moon is in her cycle. so here goes. july will be a charmed month, full of energy and adventure. each night i will post about the most interesting things i've experienced each day. my teeth hurt and i am going to let them hurt.

tomorrow: an invigorating morning run. attending to my responsibilities at work with every last bit of my soul. reading proust as much as possible. outdoor adventures with nolan. working on my portrait of adele. rewarding myself with an episode of the sopranos, if watching people get the shit beat out of them is really a reward...

a birthday wish from my beloved bryn:

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

drifting on the echoes of the hours

last week luca found two drowned birds in the pond and i unfriended a vampire. this week molly won a writing prize.

i want to walk an endless hallway - not so narrow that it feels closed-in and not so empty that it feels monotonous. i picture it sparcely touched with cy twombly's paintbrush, the ground shifting imperceptibly from clean cold tiles to sun-baked stone. a playlist of sorrowful songs from just before the time i was conceived - sibylle baier, nick drake, king crimson - the melancholy sway will propel me forward in an eternity of longing.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Sunday, February 24, 2013

r.i.p erland josephson

i can't believe that i found out about erland josephson's death from the oscar's memorial tribute. it makes my heart hurt a little.

some beautiful roles played by this man:

from fanny and alexander - isak is one of my favorite characters in cinema

from saraband, bergman revisits johan and marianne... i love the scenes where he is reading in his study and listening to bruckner

i wish i had been living in sweden when scenes from a marriage aired

so much love for this man. i wonder how liv ullmann is doing now that these two brilliant friends are gone. the gift they have given to the world brings tears to my eyes.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

the sickness

zoe: the house is a mess!

luca: everyone's been sick. sick people can't clean up houses.

zoe: i haven't been sick!

luca: you sure about that?

Monday, February 4, 2013

on watching michael haneke's amour

zoe: he's not afraid of anything, is he?

luca: no. he goes there and he stays.