A Painting A Day: Days 21-27

"My Bathroom"
5.5" x 5.5"

Actually, this is my friend Lois' bathroom with a few interesting additions. Earlier this morning, I spent time with my friend Asa. She just completed her MFA at the New York Studio School. On her walls were grand, beautiful paintings of figures in spaces. Her palette varied from brilliant, fun and childlike to delicate, feminine and dreamy. These later colors inspire this painting. Isn't it funny how we associate bathrooms with the feminine? Pierre Bonnard comes to mind, with his unrelenting study of Marthe, the compulsive bather. One semester at the New York Studio School, we painted a model emerging from the tub. Poor thing! She had to pose half-crouched, perched on a porcelain tub for 20 minute sessions, over a three hour period! I hope she took the cue to say no to such strenuous positions. I hated painting it.I imagine myself with a soft bathroom, with gauzy curtains suited for reading in hot water, with candles and incense burning and a CD of monks chanting in the background.

 "Cafe Roma in Little Italy"
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

When a gallery assistant job falls through, I wake out of my stupor and hit the pavements running: gotta find a job and fast! Taking Irene's advice, I gravitate towards Little Italy. Several years ago, I worked at DiPalo's delicatessen. We served Italian meats, cheeses, dried goods, olive oil, fresh bread and a number of prepared foods made fresh in the back kitchen. Are you surprised that I packed on a few pounds, working around such luscious selections of pecorino, cheeses con tartufi, dried salami (my favorite) and prosciutto di Parma e prosciutto di San Daniele? Why not return to DiPalo's? Well, I'd like to try something new.

This day is a hot one. The kind that leaves six-inch circumference wet circles under your arm. You wonder how anyone could sit next to you on the subway. Walking through Little Italy, I ponder where to give out my application. A well-dressed gent at posh "Public" took my resume. He looks more like a secretary than a host. Continuing down Mulberry, I am stopped by a young man whispering "Godfather, Sopranos, Goodfellas," like he is selling fake watches or porn. "Are you looking for lunch?" he asks. He is gathering people for the restaurant. Apparently they filmed many of the classic Italian mobster movies here. I don't recognize it, though. "I'm looking for a job!" I snap, smiling. We talk. He is new here, too. Bruno, from Barcelona Spain. He wishes me good luck.

Continuing on, I enter Benito, where Matthew and Pop Pat had dinner and a nice bottle of wine. Sorry, no work until the feast of San Gennaro in September. Better try back at the end of August. An old man at a dark table plays with a package of napkins. "Did the young lady say she's looking for a job?" he mumbles in a gruff tone that recalls Marlon Brando's Don Corleone. "Yes," I reply. "What kind of job are you looking for?" I pause, wondering if he's recruiting another hit-man, but decide to give in. "Any kind." "Go outside, around the corner. See the sign for Cafe Roma and ask for..." It turns out he's the owner, and of course I know Cafe Roma. A few girls are leaving for school in August. He asks if I'm interested. 

We exchange information and he says he will call Thursday. I go outside to tell Bruno the good news: "We could be neighbors!" Then I pop in Cafe Roma to see this guy. To my shock, the old man is there. How did he get from the restaurant to the cafe? I was standing right there on the street, between the two buildings. Is there a secret door? "I walked," he replies.

"Help from the Angels"
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

This afternoon I spend lounging at the Hudson River Parkway, secretly figure drawing from the buff gay men on the green by the water. In the evening, my friend Anthony hosts a Violet Flame Gathering at the Meta Center. This is my first live attendance at one of Anthony's workshops (you can see more on his website). The Violet Flame is a tool used to transmute karma. You can call upon this etheric flame to clear away any stuff you want to get rid of in this lifetime and clear your way for ascension (which I interpret as being one with yourself). During the workshop, Anthony plays one of my favorite songs about angels. The song brings to mind my late grandmother, Katherine Kilgore, who was fond of angels. The walls in my mother's house are covered with tapestries of angels and mythic creatures. This watercolor is an imagined scenario of me calling upon the angels to help me while I'm sleeping. Notice the figures look alike, except the one on the bed who's missing her wings.

"Life as a Monk"
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

In this piece, I imagine myself as an Italian monk in a little cell. All I have is a simple cot, a wooden crucifix, prayer beads and perhaps a bowl. A garden can be seen out the window. I spend my days praying, cleaning, gardening and doing service in the community. In this scene I pray to the cross and an angel drops down: she hears my prayers. In the bottom left corner is myself at the moment, a female with long, dark hair. The swirls and colors coming out of my head indicate that I am dreaming...the colors form the dream of this time before memory.

Patchouli by the Table
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

Cat-sitting at the cat-sitter's house, I am drawn to the candles out the window. Just the night before, they were lit as I enjoyed a dinner of fresh and pan-seared vegetables and a glass of Pinot Noir. A date with myself!! Now, how to stop spoiling myself and be disciplined. Patchouli, the blacker cat, peers over the ledge of the table to inspect my activities.

 Sandalwood and the Golden Cat Inside
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

Sandalwood is curious to see what you are doing. He's so curious that he sits on what you are doing and help you do it. For example, he attempted to paint by dipping his paws in the violet watercolor and sauntered across the table. "You're going to get me in trouble!" I yell, chasing him towards the kitchen with a wet paper towel in hand. I pick up his paw as if he were a horse with a stone in its hoof. Sandalwood doesn't like this one bit. But five minutes later he's in my face purring again. I thought my cat Stormy was a pesky one but Sandalwood takes the cake. Here he is with a Golden Cat inside of him.

 The I Am Presence
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

My friend Angie Corsini turned me onto a website called the Radiant Rose Academy, where they talk about the Violet Flame, the I Am Presence, Ascended Masters and all that type of stuff. Honestly, I haven't quite grasped it yet and my feet are firmly stuck in the traditional world history that we are taught in school. Then again, there are many things that happen "by coincidence" and many things left unexplained in my own and in other people's lives. Perhaps one day I will have a blinding revelation and all that I have forgotten will come back to me. Until then, I hope to increase my personal discipline in various ways. This project is a good start. This image is a take on the I Am Presence picture on the aforementioned website. The I Am Presence is also known as the God Self, Higher Self or Super Conscious. The person below transmutes their karma through use of the Violet Flame. The face is not known to me yet but pops up frequently in my work.

 What I Conceive, I Can Achieve,
What I Feel, I Can Make Real
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

Listening to recordings or "courses" on the Radiant Rose Academy website. These are my notes. What a change from note-taking in 6th grade! Some sacred Hindu-derived symbols from a rare book of Hindu and Tantric art I purchased this afternoon. Many of the symbols and colors were nearly identical with my own. With a pesky cat around, I don't dare risk opening the book with a watercolor palette and glass of water on the table, but perhaps soon I will begin my studies.

 Aligning with the I Am Presence
10" x 6" watercolor on paper

Listening to courses at the Radiant Rose Academy.

Budhhist Cat, Buddhist Eyes
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

Another portrait of Sandalwood, my partner in crime, in front of my friend's Tibetan flags. She lives in an apartment high up above the street. My head tilted while walking to her place the other day, wondering if I could spot her balcony. Yep, there it is...the Tibetan flags and the pink, green and white bushes. A splash of color and love in an otherwise ordinary gray building. It's like when you see a person walk down the street in blushing pinks and reds, when everyone else is wearing charcoal gray suits. Cheers to that!

10" x 6"
watercolor on paper

 Consulting the I Am Presence
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

Again, I consult the Radiant Rose Academy while painting. I like the channels, the messages, the music, the colorful images that they display on their youTube classes. This one is the "Freedom Class." My own version of consulting with the I Am Presence emerges. The little person in the violet tube is you (or me) and the golden person above is the I Am, or Higher Self, or God Self or Christed Self. The two used to inhabit the same form, but there was a separation and now we have to call it back to us every day. This takes practice and discipline. Some days I remember, some days I forget. 

Radiant Rose Heart
5.5" x 5.5" watercolor on paper

The "Freedom Class" took place in May 29 2012 and says at the end that the people listening or attending this workshop have to use the Violet Flame for seven days and then all their past life karma will be transmuted. This angers me. Where was I on May 29th, and why do I have to go to a workshop in Salt Lake City to remove my past karma? Why are spiritual boons limited to selective groups? What if you don't even have a computer and have no means of transportation? I guess we each have a message or frequency that we resonate with, and it doesn't place one group over another. To paraphrase my teacher Derek O'Neill: It's all ice cream. You may like rum-raisin and I may like chocolate, and there may be a million different flavors, but it's still ice cream in the end.  

 Kathy Hamer, a good friend, lends me a CD called "Tibetan Chakra Meditations" by Ben Scott and Christa Michell. Late in the night, I put it on. I like to paint at night lately because it puts me out of my mind, in the way that only extreme fatigue can do. There are fourteen tracks, two for each chakra, or energy wheel in your body. Without thinking, I engage in a little exercise, similar to ones done in art school. Each watercolor will last only as long as the track: one per chakra. This is one round, beginning at the Root, ending with the Crown. At the end of this series, I am too exhausted to continue. But an interesting thing happened: the images are unworldly! I am painting things I had never thought of before, as if they come from another person's mind, or the ancient mind of all people. Is this what it is to "get out of one's head and into one's heart"? My mind turns to a recently viewed book on Joseph Campbell, to cave paintings, to Native American folklore, to the segment in Disney's "Fantasia" where the artists demonstrate how to draw to music. At the time, this part bored me to bits. I wanted Mickey and the Greek centaurs. But now I am fascinated. How do you transfer one artistic medium to another: sight to sound, sound to sight, dance to sound, dance to sight and so on. Enjoy these because I surely did. Thank you, Kathy for sharing this music. More interesting things to come, I'm sure.

(top to bottom): Root, Hara and Solar Plexus chakras
10" x 6" watercolor on paper

 (top to bottom) Heart and Throat chakras
10" x 6" watercolor on paper 

(top to bottom) Third Eye and Crown chakras
10" x 6" watercolor on paper 


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