It has been awhile since I posted a snapshot of my studio… I’d sure be lost without my large, main studio table that I got at The Ohio State University’s surplus warehouse before we moved out to Portland! In fact, I’ve found several pieces of great “studio furniture” at university surplus stores, so if you’re looking for furniture you might check with your local universities to see if they sell surplus furniture and equipment.
The horrific events in Orlando have taken over my creative process in my studio since it happened nearly two weeks ago. As an artist, I paint what I’m thinking and feeling – first I paint in my mind (often while I’m supposed to be sleeping!) and then, ready or not, I put paint to paper in my studio.
As a gay American, tragedies like Orlando impact me deeply. My own family has rejected me on this “issue” and I’m saddened that hate and anything but complete acceptance, still fills many people on this planet.
So, I paint. And then I paint more as I process what happened in Orlando and the 49 young people who died. The painting below, one of my Pacific Northwest Rains series, is one that I finished this week. I’m conveying the lives of 49 colorful people (as the stripes on the bottom) who are being transported through a black line into whatever silvery “light” is above and next for them.
I’ll never forget what happened in Orlando and will be painting many more as I try to make sense of people like the shooter… and my own family.
I’ve been a fan of Michael W Smith’s music for a long time – surely over 25 years. His music and message always inspire me… all year around and at the holidays. His music is especially a favorite of mine for listening in my studio.
I recently commented here that I was listening to some of my favorite holiday music in my studio, including Michael W Smith, and received an interesting message from one of my blog fans. In a nutshell, the point was, how do I reconcile being a big fan of a musician who most likely would condemn and oppress me for being gay? I’ll admit that it is a question that I’ve avoided researching over the years, not really wanting to confirm anything. But, this message from a fan made me google around to see what I could find. I didn’t really stop to think how I would solve this problem, depending upon what I found out…
Well, there doesn’t seem to be much out there about what Michael W Smith thinks of gay folks. But, he does have a recent, dramatic video on his website that encourages conservatives to vote and highlights the fear of “redefining marraige” as a motivator. He also seems to be a fan of Rick Santorum, and we all know what he thinks of gay Americans.
So, how do I solve a problem like Michael W Smith? Is there a problem? Can I just not care what he thinks and still be inspired by his music? I’m certainly not a book-or-CD-burning kind of guy, but will I stop listening to his music? Blech – I don’t know.
Maybe I’ll try focusing on a simple message that is on his live Worship album. I wrote it down to send to members of my family years ago and dug it out to hang back up in my studio today: