Monday, February 13, 2012

I Left My Heart in San Francisco...Happy 50th Anniversary!

It was a festive celebration at City Hall on Valentine's Day to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of this great song! The Mayor proclaimed February 14th to forever be Tony Bennett Day in San Francisco. I stood next to a man whose wife had to stay home to do her hair but he had bought a box of Sees candy for her. Just before the performance, a high-spirited blonde woman joined us whose husband was at work. The three of us had our picture taken together. The man laughed and said he would show it to his wife. When the tribute ended we all shouted,"Sing Tony!" The blonde woman kissed the married man on both cheeks. I told him I'd enjoyed talking and we said our goodbyes as he looked somewhat sad to see us go.

Walking home I wondered why some men feel compelled to confirm their marital status immediately after meeting an attractive woman. This is often accomplished by working a seemingly innocent reference about their wife into the conversation. And, at times even if he isn't married but has a girlfriend the same technique is used. Could it be that once their unattainable status is declared it clears the conscience so they feel free to flirt like there's no tomorrow? 

I then began wondering if married women do the same thing? After all, the woman celebrating Tony Bennett Day with us did mention her husband shortly after we all met. Maybe Valentine's Day had something to do with it. Or is this just something spouses do? I don't know. Maybe if I was married I'd do the same thing. But, that won't happen. At least, I don't think so...

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Box of Oil Pastels

Woman on Black Beach
Oil pastel sketch on newsprint, 1998

When I created the above sketch I was just beginning to rediscover my painting and drawing after two decades of focusing on making ends meet in San Francisco.
I'd just purchased a box of oil pastels and was the first time I'd used this medium. I remember standing over a large and very blank piece of newsprint and, after staring at it for a few minutes, I opened the box of pastels and randomly selected one of the large crayons.  I immediately responded to the fluidity of this new medium and before long a woman standing on a black beach wearing a pink tutu began to emerge.



Sunday, February 5, 2012

Jour de Pluie dans la Vallée de la Loire

Watercolor on Paper, 1998

Leonardo's Flying Machine

"The great bird will take flight above the ridge...filling the universe with awe, filling all writings with its fame..."
- Leonardo on manned flight

On Leonardo's rooftop I can see his flying machine ready to take off. But, how do I get up there? I close my eyes and suddenly I'm there! I climb in and swing my feet back and forth beneath the sprawl of enormous bat wings. My hands grasp the steering mechanism and I wonder where to go. I'd like to go far, very far into the stars. How do I measure the wind pressure or navigate my direction? Does it matter? I'll just let the wind carry me and keep my eyes open to avoid bumping into clouds or a migrating flock of birds. A strong wind comes up and in a sudden SWOOSH! I'm airborne and flying high above tree tops over farmlands and miniature houses. I feel free but its not as glamorous as it seems. I have my work cut out for me!  Warships float past and the nine-hundred forms of perfection Leonardo drew for Ludovico's horse. They gallop and curl kicking up hooves in a thousand different directions. I dodge and weave trying to maneuver the giant bat wings spreading out above me. After awhile the flight levels out and I reach out touching the pink clouds. I prefer Leonardo's flying machine to the Battle of Anghiari, forever peeling in some museum or the unfinished Last Supper suspended high above whispers of controversy in Santa Maria delle Grazie. I like to take wing, to levitate the spirit, to meet the mystics!