Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Long day

Today was a long day. I couldn't sleep last night so I did five loads of laundy, blankets and all, and managed about five hours of sleep. I had a few nightmares as always, but it was okay. I got up at 9:20, after hitting the snooze button a dozen times, threw on some freshly washed clothes, looked in the mirror and saw that my hair was like .. insane. I looked mentally challenged, and yes, I was going to a place for the mentally ill anyway, but I didn't need to look the part. So I used a straightener and some gel and rushed out the door. I just barely made in time it to group.

The first half of group was sheer agony. I think the rush in got my blood pumping, because my anxiety was through the roof. People were talking about their families, meds, pot and all sorts of other anxiety triggers for me, and I felt like I was under attack even though they weren't talking to me. I tried to surreptitiously cover this wolf on a magazine cover that was eyeing me, and this lady on the back of  vanity fair, and this horrifying picture on the counter that was some hindu design of a black multi-limbed god surrounded by flames and skull-like shapes and dancing scary things. At that point it got less surreptitious so they made me talk about it, and I was so self conscious I couldn't make eye contact. I don't remember what I said but I know I was talking for a while. After the break things were better. Someone was talking about her mother, who seems very comparable to my dad. That was interesting.

Anyway, I had drawing class at 3. I had to buy some supplies - new sketch pad, pencils, etc. I burn through pencils like you wouldn't believe. I think the shopping excursion gave me some confidence, I felt good in class. My first few drawings sucked, but I got into the swing of it, and Gaffney gave a fantastic chalkboard lecture that I found really enlightening. My drawings were immediately much more round and weighty. Also we changed models, which may have helped. We spend the whole class just drawing from a nude, and I draw women better than men. I'm a little averse to looking at the male nudes, it's a little anxiety provoking, which I think contributes to that. Also it was an older guy, and the female model is absolutely gorgeous and fabulously talented. I'll post pictures of my drawings at some point.

Oh, and I got a poster. It's Klimt's "Tree of Life"

It's striking, isn't it? I needed something for my walls, and I've been passing by a gorgeously framed print of this for the past few weeks, at a framing shop nearby. I saw it was gone and went in and talked him down to a decent price on it, sans frame. He had The Kiss too, but I've seen that one in a museum and it's awful to know how much better the real thing is. It also makes me uncomfortable and lonely.

There's something really engaging about The Tree of Life. It's mesmerizing, and there's so much in the details. There's a story in the characters. Klimt is known for the use of the femme fatale, but that's just one interpretation.

The concept of the tree of life is seen in almost every culture, representing the interconnectedness of all things, and in some cases the idea of everything coming from the same root, be that God or whatever. It actually matches my concept of God fairly well, thinking about it. I mentioned my affection for trees in a previous post. It's such an apt symbol.

The lone woman on the left is tied to the pair on the right by the sensual curves of the tree, while a blackbird, symbol of death, stands guard between her and the pair. The woman seems to be shying away from the bird while staring at the pair, which brings out a feeling of intense longing, maybe for one of the people, or maybe just for the sense of loving fulfillment they seem to have. They've almost melded into a single form and look at peace, with sumptuous round shapes making up the majority of their design, while the lone woman is all sharp angles and triangles, bringing a sense of anxiety. The inverted triangles, symbols of femininity, are vibrantly colored with horizontal stripes which lessen some of the strong downward direction they would otherwise give and lead more focus parallel to her. They're surrounded by eyes, which could be the eyes of God. The pair especially is covered in eyes, while the lone woman has just a few on her dress, each with round pupils. The eyes on the pair's robe have sharp, snakelike pupils, which evokes the idea of temptation. It's like they're a personified form of the apple of knowledge. That blackbird is so troubling, though. And just the alignment of the focal points is a very distinct inverted triangle, which could reflect klimts views on women.

There's just so much to see, and to appreciate. The blackbird bothers me a lot. I guess I could see it as a non-real threat - like anxiety, it's just a bird. It's not death itself. I may be terrified, but I need to move past it. It reminds me of Shortbus in a way. Actually, thinking about it, the painting is very in tune with the major themes of that film.

I need to get a shortbus poster and put it next to it. I really like that connection.

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