Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wow, I'm Popular!

1600 + hits to Gemini Art Blog

As Galinda sang in the musical Wicked, "You gotta be popular." I would never have believed such a thing about myself, but it appears to be true. Perhaps I'm exaggerating a little. I personally am not all that popular but "Gemini Art" appears to be.

As a geeky little kid in the small town where I grew up, I didn't get much attention. You know how it goes; wrong clothes, wrong looks, wrong friends, wrong orientation. However, lately I appear to have gotten something right. Apparently I have achieved a little bit of attention for myself while hiding behind the pseudonym of "Gemini Art."

A new friend who is far more computer savvy than myself had checked the statistics on my little blog and told me that I have attracted a respectable audience. Not only that, but the hits were coming from all over the world. I just do this as a hobby. Its the way I vent my primal yawp upon the world. Its the conversation that goes on in my head that no one else hears. I had no idea that anyone else was paying attention except a few local friends who laugh at my foolishness. But, out of curiosity I checked my Google analytics tab. Sure enough, I've grown an audience. Since last year at this time my blog has received more than sixteen hundred visits! It also appears that there have been hits from almost every continent on the globe except Antartica. I'm speechless.

What's the next step? I don't know. I really don't feel I've, "found my voice," as Hillary has. Some days I talk art. Some days I talk about my personal life and the gay experience. Sometimes I just pontificate about how the world should be and my observations about that. So, I don't really know what people are coming here to read. If I figure that out, I promise to do more of it. Until then, you're just stuck reading my editorial nonsense that passes for satire and commentary.

But, if any of you have found something that was special to you in the blog, let me know what it was. I'm always happy to hear from readers.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Bloom Where You're Planted

Wow, what a weekend I had.

I gave myself a mini-vacation for a couple days. I needed a change of environment. I just needed to breathe different air for a while. So, I set myself on an adventure. Here's what happened.
As I've mentioned here before, I live in a cultural wasteland, a void of social activity. The only two pass-times in this area are shooting defenseless woodland creatures and alcoholism. Neither of which is of great interest to me, so I have to look other places for entertainment. There are almost no gay people in my area. The torch weilding villagers have chased them all away. Of course, I love my straight friends. I'm not one to think that the only people who I can relate to have to be gay. But, we all have a need for community and mutual understanding. So, I went on a quest to find it.

I went to visit the "big-city" gays. Oh, my gosh! I've never experienced anything like that before. I stayed with a friend who has a beautiful home in the city. We'll call him "Bobby". For the remainder of this post, the names have been changed to protect the innocent (however, Bobby would be the first to admit that he's not that innocent). The first thing we did was head to a very comfortable piano bar where Bobby's cadre of comrades gather. He got on his cellphone and put out an all-call. Apparently, the "big-city gays" consider the cellphone to be an indispensible tool much like Batman feels about his utility belt. Yet, I digress. Bobby found where everyone was and hauled me over there. I had given him permission to expose me to modern gay culture. I was in for a treat.

I was a little frightened at first but settled in shortly. I admit that I froze momentarily at the bar. I've been out to my friends and family for a while now, yet I was overcome by the knowledge that just by walking in that door with another gay man they all "knew" I was gay. Then it dawned on me that it didn't matter that I was gay because they were all gay too. It was the first time in my life that I've been surrounded by a group of openly all-gay people. Suddenly I didn't have to hide who I was because there was no reason to hide it. There was no one there to hide it from.

Bobby got us a couple glasses of wine and told me where to sit with his friends. I noticed all around me that as acquaintances came in they stopped for a hug and usually a peck on the cheek (I didn't get one, no one knew me....damn!). I wish the torch-wielding villagers had to watch that. It wasn't sexual, it wasn't gross or perverse. It was honest friendship and affection. It was a much more honest show of feeling than the straight guys that barrel into a room screaming, "You ugly son-of-a-bitch, how the hell are ya?" Followed by the obligatory forced laughter and sqeezing each others hands so hard it pisses-off their friend.

Then my interview started. Who was I? Where from? What do I do? How did I know Bobby? Then the biggies, "Boyfriend?", "Seeing anyone?" I have to admit. I loved being the center of attention for a few minutes. Apparently all of us gays love the spotlight. But, things settled down shortly and people broke off into their separate conversations of gossip and such. I shared my sob story about my ex and received the appropriate amount of consolation and encouragement.

The piano playing began, then the singer (show tunes of course. How cliche.). The piano was out of tune, but the pianist was adequate. The singer was worse out of tune than piano. Bobby could have done better on the piano and I could have done better on the vocals. Yet, I digress again. After each number the conversations would stop long enough for brief applause. This was a gay establishment so courtesy to the performer was a given. However, one fella leaned over to me and whispered, "We just ignore him."

I was then on my second glass of wine. I stood up to take the glass from Bobby. When I did, I was surprised by a very personal greeting on my backside to which I am most unfamiliar. Apparently, Barry the Bear sitting next to me had found my posterior to be a curious novelty that he felt welcome to touch. I looked over my shoulder and gave an appropriately disapproving quip. If anything, it encouraged him. He certainly wasn't my type but he was friendly and had a nice smile. He continued for the rest of the evening flattering and charming me. I eventually settled into the ritual of the thing and saw it as the silly bit of innocent fun that it was supposed to be. We talked and laughed and had a good time flirting. AND THAT WAS ALL!

The major fascination of the evening for me was the small assortment of straight or ambiguously straight/bi, or otherwise inclined men that populated the environment. There were two there that were supposedly bartenders. However, I don't think they served much other purpose than eye-candy. The most beautiful of the two was an Iranian immigrant. Young, muscular, gorgeous and a hellacious flirt. At first I thought he was gay but the guys told me no. I watched as he went to the older gents, gave them big bear hugs, and kissed them right on the smacker. I must admit to being a little envious of the geriatrics. Why them and not me? I've got a much greater shelf-life than those old codgers. But, it has occurred to me since then that those guys were regulars and he was working for future tips. He should have realized that I had a pocket full of tipping cash, and I was better looking too. Oh well, his loss. I'll be back.

The next day Bobby and I had lunch together and went shopping. We used the time to get catch up with one another. He talked with me about my level of outness. He was actually very good at the psycho/homobabble. He helped me see a few things from a perspective I hadn't considered before, including my ex-relationship and my paranoia of being outed at work. He tried to get me past my crazy notions that there is a conspiracy to out me to the world. I talked about how I feel so isolated and alone where I live. Then he said the words that I'm sure I was meant to hear that weekend, "You can bloom where you're planted." What an epiphany I had in that moment. Everything I had experienced that weekend crystalized. I had been feeling sorry for myself at not living in a more gay-friendly place. I was envious of these men for having such robust and affectionate friendships with other gay people. I had been telling myself that one day I might move to that place or meet those people. One day, some time, maybe.... I have to stop thinking that. I can bloom where I'm planted. As a gardener I can tell you that the little seeds don't care if they fall into the most fertile part of the flower bed or if they fall between the cracks of the paving stones. They can all manage to take root into the soil, be nourished by the sun and rain, and in their time bloom beautifully.

Yes, it was quite an adventure. Compared to the "big city gays" I'm not even a member of the same species. I'm not a flashy dresser, I didn't inherit the gay decorating gene, and I can only think of one word for the color beige. Beige. Yet, I've been introduced to the community. They helped me recalibrate my gaydar and taught me that I can, "bloom where I'm planted." Thanks for the new pearls of wisdom on my necklace of life experience.

Monday, January 7, 2008

New Artist Link

I have a new artist acquaintance. Links to his various sites are being added to this blog. I hope everyone will check out his work.

Alex Ojeda is a photographer working in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. His black and white photography demonstrates a real mastery of light. The composition and value balances in the prints are expertly handled and are rich with texture. Alex's portfolio of work includes a variety of subjects from still life and architecture to portraiture. (The embedded photo, "Grief", is used by the permission of the artist, Alex Ojeda)

As a person, Alex is very friendly and willing to help a fellow artist. He has given me several suggestions on improving the marketing of my artwork. Alex speaks intelligently about his work and has a genuine interest in learning more about the medium. I expect that anyone working with Alex for comissioned work would likely have a very positive experience.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Randall Good Exhibit - The Way of the Cross

Blue Moon Art Gallery in Hot Springs, Arkansas will be hosting an exhibit of Randall Good's much anticipated Hope Commission of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross. Wow, I can hardly wait.
The brochure came in the mail yesterday and it really made my day. I apologize for the quality of the image in this illustration. I regret the U.S. Postal Service didn't give this parcel the tender loving care it deserved. I was so excited that I took it to dinner with me and showed my friends. Once again I was teased about my love for this work yet not being Catholic. But, if I could attend the church where this work is being installed, I might just have to convert so I could be regularly surrounded by such sublime works.
The exhibit will be held in Hot Springs, Arkansas from March 1-18. I encourage everyone to make time to visit the gallery during this time. I assure you that Pat and Dishongh will make you feel just like family. I've never met an "art snob" at Blue Moon, but I've enjoyed the company of many "art lovers" there. If you come to appreciate beautiful artwork and the skill it takes to create it, you'll be welcome at Blue Moon. I'm already working out the plans for a "road trip" with my friends. I hope we can sync our calendars on a time to go.
For more information about the gallery click on the link embedded in this article or on the side bar link of the blog. You can find directions and contact information there.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Caucuses and Primaries.....Colors

Today is the big day of the Iowa caucuses. Gosh, do I have to tell you how annoyed I am that two states (Iowa and New Hampshire) and Wolf Blitzer get to determine which people I can vote for in the upcoming Presidential election. Isn't it bad enough that I live in a state that has such a low electoral vote count that none of the candidates give a Yankee doodle damn whether any of us here vote or not. I realize that I live in a little backwater forgotten part of the country, but we're still governed by the same constitution and laws, right? Then why shouldn't my vote be just as important as a guy from California, Florida, or New York. I'll tell you why. The candidate that California voters pick gets hundreds of times more electoral votes than my state. Oh well, at least we've sent them a republican candidate that is causing the biggest headache since Nancy bought new White House china.

On to happier, more fun things, like artwork. I've started working with oils. Little more than experimenting right now. When I start a new medium I work on technique. I practice basic skills much like a musician practices their individual part before they jump into playing a symphony. So, in this little painting I've painted a simple cylinder. I've used only primary colors plus their tints and shades to model the forms. I did use a little green to mix a complimentary neutral with the red. I also darkened the blue shadow with some burnt sienna in the mix. I've also added my new snazzy Gemini Art logo to the bottom. Hope you like.