Friday, November 30, 2007

Featured Artist: Eleanor Gilpatrick

In The World One: Basra and Amagansett
© 2007 Eleanor Gilpatrick

Like many of us in the creative life, world events have caused Eleanor Gilpatrick to use her artistic tools to try and make sense of the chaos and violence she's watching unfold. Her series of paintings, entitled, "In the World", studies the Iraqi war, and other terrifying events, in a very unusual way. The paintings juxtapose serene scenes of American life with those of terror and loss in Iraqi, and other places in turmoil. The contrast of daily life within our two cultures is startling.

Other than the families of soldiers, and a great deal of the public fortune, most of us Americans have sacrificed little for Bush's war. There is no military draft, (so most of our children are safely off at college or working) no one needs to grow Victory Gardens as the supermarkets are bursting with food, and we haven't even had to give up driving our enormous gas-guzzling cars. Tragically, war has been made easy, and long-term. It's simply business and we need to make sure it doesn't continue "as usual."

Regarding "In The World One: Basra and Amagansett" Eleanor says:
"This is the first in a new series, "In The World," in which I express my feeling about beauty and terror in the world. For In The World One I acknowledge permission to use a news photo by Atef Hassan, courtesy of Reuters, as a model for the Basra figures in the painting. They are Shiite militia members, July 16, 2007."

In The World Two: Sangin and Montauk
© 2007 Eleanor Gilpatrick
"This is a British soldier on foot patrol in Sangin, Afghanistan. The model for the figure is a press photo by Joao Silva. The sunset was in Montauk, New York."

In The World Three: Sadr City and East Hampton
© 2007 Eleanor Gilpatrick
"This contrasts a woman leading her son past a tent destroyed by a military raid in Sadr City (Baghdad) Iraq with women on the beach in East Hampton, NY. The Iraqi figures are based on a photo by Karim Kadim. The rest was reworked from a painting originally titled April Beach I."

In The World Four: Baghdad and Montauk
© 2007 Eleanor Gilpatrick
"In August, 2007, bombs killed people in Baghdad. A mother followed a health worker carrying her child....The woman in this painting is based on a photo by Karim Kadim; the rocks, ship, and sunset were in Montauk, August 2007."

Eleanor says,
"I found that coming back to my first love, painting, made me younger -- and without the angst of youth. But I was surprised that what I was moved to paint did not seem to be political (and I had been political), but instead were affirmations of life and a celebration of beauty. I saw that this could be a statement in and of itself; but now, the beauty I paint, which challenges the tawdry, ugly, and grotesque, is being contrasted with the "terrible" in the real world of our time. People have had various responses to the series, and I was asked, "What do you want the viewer to feel?" At first I didn't know except I was moved to do this. But, as the work began to transform me, I realized that what I want to offer is connection."

Perhaps the way to end this terrible war, and to prevent more like it (with Iran for instance) is to seek out a connection with the people our government is waging war against. I suspect the average Iraqi woman, or man, is just like you and me. They want shelter, safety, warmth, love. They want their families around them, they want work to do, they want to have their lives mean something in the greater expanse of human history. They're people just like us, yet we buy into the demonization of their culture and allow their world to be destroyed. And for what?

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

A Holiday Art/Peace Project You Can Join

ArtCar artists Todd and Kiralinda from Safety Harbor, Florida (page 31 in the ArtCar Book by Harrod Blank) live in a house they call Whimzey.

They are creating an Light Holiday Installation with their home and yard and they need you to send them art, poems, stories etc. about what Peace means to you. All proceeds go to charity.

Easy instructions:
Buy a Priority Mail envelope at the post office or Office Max Cut open the sides. Fold it inside out and put the creation on the inside of the envelope. Fold it back up and mail it to Todd and Kiralinda at:

1206 3rd st. n.
Safety Harbor, Florida , 34695 USA

You needn't be a "professional" or even a "good" artist to participate. We all need to be a part of PEACE. Here's another video to help you understand what art is in case you need a splination (hat tip to my friend artist Lisa Greenstein for this hilarious link:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Marilyn Taught Me How to Really Live

Marilyn Dreampeace in Joshua Tree, CA 2006 photo by Ken Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

If you've reached adulthood you've likely known someone who has died. As you age, it happens more often. It's never easy, even if you know it's coming.

My dear friend, fellow ArtCar artist and traveling companion Marilyn Dreampeace departed last night. She had known for two years she had a rare, incurable form of cancer, and thankfully only suffered physical pain near the end. But what she did with her remaining time taught me how to really live while I'm here now.

I've often said that if I found out when I was going to die, and that it would be soon, I'd immediately book a world cruise. I'd want to see every exotic place I could, hear new languages, eat unusual food, and meet people from everywhere. I'd want to see wild and wonderful jungles and deserts, jagged mountains and beautiful beaches. I'd want to soak up the life of the world, its cities, its forests, the sunsets and sunrises. I'd want to stuff my eyeballs with images of aliveness.

When she got the news about her cancer, Marilyn's version of living fully was to retire from her job (as a mental health counselor for many, many years) and hit the road. She traveled in three different ArtCars in the past two years:

"Come Play With Me" by Marilyn Dreampeace photo by Ken Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

"For the Birds" by Marilyn Dreampeace & Shalom Compost, painted by
Kelly Lyles photo by Emily Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

"Wet Dreams" by Marilyn Dreampeace & Shalom Compost (painted by a Santa Cruz artist) photo by Ken Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

Marilyn went to dozens of ArtCar festivals, even more music festivals, probably over a hundred folk art environments, and traveled the roads of America alone and with fellow artists like myself. Sometimes I wondered if she was trying to outrun the cancer but I think it was more likely she was trying to experience everything she loved to do, see great sights and favorite people, before she couldn't travel anymore.

I, and various other companions, traveled with Marilyn up and down the West Coast, to Oregon and Washington State. We went East to Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas. She went on to places like Nebraska, Kansas, Minnesota etc. but I had to turn back and frankly couldn't keep up with her.

Marilyn was very road-wise and knew where some of the most wonderful, weird, and arty things were hidden in America. She took us to Tinkertown (near Albuquerque, NM), where we saw sights like this:

Tinkertown photo by Emily Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

She found a well hidden homestead called Eliphante (near Cornville, AZ):

Photo from Eliphante

We cruised old Route 66 and met folks like her friend Elmer Long, creator of the Bottle Tree Forest (Helendale, CA):

Bottle Tree Forest, photo by Emily Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

Together we paid homage to the historic auto shrine, Cadillac Ranch (near Amarillo, TX):

Cadillac Ranch, photo by Emily Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

We stayed at the Blue Swallow Motel (in Tucumcari, NM):

Blue Swallow, photo by Bill (Innkeeper of the Blue Swallow)
(Click on photo for larger image.)

We also overnighted at the famous Wigwam Motel (in Holbrook, AZ):

Wigwam Motel, photo by Emily Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

(*Note: Many of the above destinations were arranged by Jo Owens for our group caravan to the Houston, TX Orange Parade in 2006.)

Marilyn, her sister Sunshine and Emily at the Houston ArtCar Ball 2006, photo by Ken Duffy
(Click on photo for larger image.)

Marilyn, thanks for showing me how to really live this precious life I've been given. It was a great pleasure knowing and loving you. Thanks for all the terrific adventures we've had together. I hope we'll meet again! Love, Emily.

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Guest Artist Ione Citrin

Dear Dad © 2007 Ione Citrin

As you'll see from visting her website, guest artist Ione Citrin does not generally create overtly political art. But sometimes historic events create an urge within an artist to protest violence and war using her/his creative language.

Many of us grew up during the turmoil of the Vietnam war. Some of you even protested it. I doubt many of us ever expected that our nation would be involved in an even more questionable war so soon.

While we give thanks for all that we enjoy; family, friends, food, shelter, relative safety, we must continue to work hard to get U.S. soldiers out of Iraq. We must also squelch the right wing echo chamber as it clambers for another invasion, this time of the sovereign nation of Iran. Sadly too many Americans didn't learn the terrible lessons of the Vietnam war. Those of us who did, must work to end all war, forever.

"Dear Dad" is a mixed media piece representing the mixed emotions of the “Viet Nam” war. The Viet Nam memorial is in the background with a hand touching the many names of the war dead representing the severe pain of loss.

Dear Dad © 2007 (Detail) Ione Citrin
At the upper right hand corner notice the father receiving the horrible news that his son was killed in action.

Dear Dad © 2007 (Detail) Ione Citrin

Then there is the action of actual combat...

Dear Dad © 2007 Ione Citrin

...and at the bottom is a soldier’s dead body under our great American flag.

Dear Dad © 2007 Ione Citrin

War infuriates me. The senseless killing and torture of innocents just to gain wealth and more power for the ruling party is something which has existed throughout the history of man. It is sad that we have this as part of our DNA, that we are able to be cruel to our fellow human beings. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if there was no war. If there was no war there would be no famine, no mental illness, and all resources would be energized towards making human life better, not the brutal destruction of morality, values, ethics , and all things living on our planet earth, i.e., human, plant, animal, etc. why is this evil inherent in the human psyche?
- ione citrin

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Resistance Pops Up in the Strangest Places

Image Source

From San Francisco Chronicle Columnist Jon Carroll:
Bridge is, as I understand it, a vicious game, where no quarter is asked and none given. It often ends with a triumphant sneer as the winning trick is played. Mock sympathy is then proffered and cold comfort taken. Competitors play mind games with each other, and, because their minds are so very good, the games tend to be subtle too - and nasty.

Nevertheless, a group of bridge players does not look like a convocation of warriors. They are by and large an elderly group - the graying of bridge is a much-discussed issue - and they neither brandish swords nor shout oaths. Further, bridge players tend to live in a genteel world apart from the hurly and the burly of modern life. Concerted political action is not their thing.

So the story that appeared in the newspaper last week was surprising. At the world championships, held in Shanghai, some members of the American women's team decided to hold up a small sign - no bigger than a piece of stationery, really - during the closing ceremonies. The sign said, "I did not vote for George Bush."
Read the rest here!

Photo Credit

UPDATE: Bridge ladies' punishment recinded. Read the new developments HERE!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Censure Feinstein!

Does Dianne Feinstein work for us or does she work for the same people that most Republicans work for?

From the Courage Campaign (Please sign their petition!)
Dianne Feinstein has failed us. Now it's time to hold her accountable. Deadline: Friday at noon.

Please join the Courage Campaign and Democratic Clubs and grassroots organizations in calling for the California Democratic Party to officially censure Senator Feinstein for her shameful votes confirming Judge Michael Mukasey as U.S. Attorney General and Judge Leslie Southwick to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. (A full list of endorsing organizations is below.)

Here is the text of the current censure resolution, authored by California Democratic Party Progressive Caucus co-chair Mal Burnstein, that will be submitted to the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party at its meeting November 16-18 in Anaheim.

Please sign your name below to encourage more clubs and organizations to endorse the censure of Senator Feinstein and send a clear message that the condoning of torture, racism and homophobia is unacceptable:

Whereas Senator Dianne Feinstein voted to support the nomination of Judge Michael Mukasey as United States Attorney General, thereby elevating to the highest position in law enforcement a man who refused to renounce the right of the President to resort to torture and who refused to recognize waterboarding as a form of torture, and by this action Senator Feinstein failed to oppose President Bush and failed to stand for the ideals of the Democratic Party, which abhors torture and stands firmly against its use by the United States at all times and places; and

Whereas Senator Feinstein voted to confirm Judge Leslie Southwick for a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit despite his clear record of racism and gender discrimination, thus failing to stand firmly with the Democratic Party, which supports gender equality and opposes racism in any of its manifestations; and

Whereas these examples are far from the only instances where Senator Feinstein, after seeking and securing the support and endorsement of the California Democratic Party, has failed to support the policies and principles of our party;

Therefore be it resolved that the California Democratic Party expresses its disappointment at, and censure of, Senator Feinstein for ignoring Democratic principles and falling so far below the standard of what we expect of our elected officials.

Friday, November 09, 2007

ACTION ITEM: 11/13/07 - Berkeley, CA

Image by Doug Minkler

Did you know there is a military recruiting office in Berkeley, California? I know many other towns have recruiting offices but my hometown of BEZERKELEY, CA, where the hippies, tie-dye come from? Where the Free Speech Movement started??? What the @#%#$^&%$@$ is going on?!?!

The Marine recruiting office is a little hole-in-the-wall located very close to the University of California (CAL) and Berkeley High School, what better location to target bored, low-income, rebellious youth and draft them into an unwinable war in Iraq?

East Bay artist/activist, Doug Minkler has put out a very unique call for art. The idea is for artists to hand-hold their political artwork during a peaceful protest on Tuesday November 13th near the recruiting center. Code Pink will be there all day and the art exhibit will run from 3-5pm, as an adjunct to their efforts, during the rush hour.

This sidewalk art exhibit/protest will put rarely exhibited, powerful, "message-art" out into the public realm. Our images can inspire fellow citizens to end Mr. Bush's monstrous war.Let's make a splash!

Join Doug, myself, and hundreds of other Bay Area artists as we line the streets of Shattuck Square the day after Veteren's Day. Let's do our part to keep any more young people from joining up, and being shipped off to die in Iraq. Details below:


This will be a hand held uncurated exhibit-- plan on staying to hold your artwork for the duration. Let your art speak your resistance to this illegal war.

Time : Tuesday, November 13, 2007 from 3-5pm (Art exhibit)

Place: The Marine Recruiting Station
64 Shattuck Square, Berkeley CA

(Note: Code Pink will be on location all day starting at 7:30AM if you'd like to join their efforts: 510-524-2776)

The US is involved in an illegal war of aggression. According to the internationally-recognized Nuremberg Principles adopted by the United Nations and the US, all persons are responsible to stop illegal wars and crimes against peace. The following acts are illegal:

Crimes against peace: the planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the foregoing.

Please pass this on to other artists and friends. - Doug Minkler

Please respect the work of the artists you see here and be sure to credit them when you share their artwork with others.

To share your opinion on this or any other post, please click the word "COMMENTS" below.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Fellow Californians Beware!!!

A very important report from Max Follmer at Huffington Post regarding Republican Party plans to steal the next presidential election. First it was Florida in 2000, then Ohio in 2004, now they're targeting California. Here's how, and what you can do to help stop them:

Map Courtesy of Digital Map Store

Democratic Party activists responded with renewed concern Monday to the news that reports of the death of a GOP initiative to divide California's electoral votes had been greatly exaggerated, and that a new round of financing from wealthy Republicans had resurrected the proposal.

The Republican proposal would alter the method of apportioning California's 55 electoral votes, moving from a winner-take-all system based on the popular vote to one that awards one vote for each congressional district a candidate wins.

Such a plan would alter the political geography of the current presidential contest, shifting as many as 20 consistently Democratic electoral votes from safe Republican districts into the GOP column.

Party leaders in Washington and Sacramento moved quickly to launch a revived push to kill the initiative once and for all, setting up a new effort to challenge the legitimacy of the signatures being gathered to qualify the measure for the California ballot.

Opponents are also simultaneously laying the groundwork for an eventual legal fight over the constitutionality of the proposal.

Image Source

The aggressive push back from Democrats reflects the deep concern throughout the party about the consequences of the California ballot initiative.

"I think Democrats should plan for the worst and hope for the best," said Chris Lehane, a Democratic strategist spearheading the opposition to the GOP plan. "I don't think Democrats can ever breathe easy in this campaign."

In their new push to fight the plan, Democrats have launched an aggressive effort to track down the signature gatherers being paid to sign up the roughly 400,000 supporters needed to qualify the initiative for the California ballot.

"We actually have people out filming them and trying to find out what they are doing," said Rick Jacobs, founder of the Courage Campaign, the California progressive organization, which is working against the initiative.

On its website, the California Democratic Party is encouraging state residents to take on "mission assignments" to stop the Republican plan to "steal the state." Among the tasks are reporting back to the party whenever they see signature gatherers in action.

"Email, call or text us when you see people collecting signatures for the petition. We'll post them on the CDP Fraud Busters sightings page so everyone can see where the Republicans are on the move," says a note on the Democrats' website.

Opponents of the proposal said it remains to be seen whether Republicans have now raised enough money to sustain the initiative.

Image Source

According to news reports over the weekend, various Republicans, including California Rep. Darrell Issa, have cut checks to resurrect the initiative, but the committee pushing the plan has yet to file disclosure statements with the California Secretary Of State identifying its new donors.

Issa himself donated $50,000, but said other Republicans had donated much more.

Lehane said he is fielding calls from Democrats across the country wanting to contribute to the campaign against the proposal.

"Money will not be an issue in this campaign," Lehane said.

Opponents have also repeated earlier concern that the proposed initiative is one strategy the campaign of Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani is using to help secure the White House.

Lehane's group has filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission and the Department of Justice about connections between the Giuliani camp and the proposed ballot initiative.

Anne Dunsmore, a veteran Republican fundraiser who recently quit the Giuliani campaign, has signed on to help resurrect the electoral vote proposal. Before Issa announced his donation last week, the initiative's only other donor had been Paul Singer, a prominent Giuliani backer.

Thomas W. Hiltachk, a Sacramento attorney, stepped down from his post as the initiative campaign's first chief in the wake of the revelations about Singer.

"We went from one set of Giuliani-connected, power-grabbing, democracy-threatening right wingers who couldn't shoot straight with the people of California," Lehane said, "to another cabal of Giuliani-connected, power-grabbing, democracy-threatening right wingers who shoot even less straight with the voters of California."

Image Source

Saturday, November 03, 2007

It's My Birthday...

So I can "cry" if I want to!

Yes folks, I'm turning the big 5-ohhhh on Monday November 5th! HALF A CENTURY!!! I truly can't believe that I've lived this long. I know 50 sounds young to many of you but to me, it's a real miracle. I did so many stupid, dangerous, life-threatening things back in my teen years that I just didn't think I'd reach this age.

Then after I grew up a bit, and realized that I did indeed want to live a long time, two years ago, I had brain surgery on a benign tumor (meningioma). And two years before that I had an emergency appendectomy. I thought for sure I was a goner both times, yet here I am about to celebrate the biggest birthday of my life so far.

I am very lucky, not only to have lived this long but to have a comfortable, happy life for the most part. It sure didn't start out that way (terrible childhood, incest survivor, lots of therapy, etc.), but my life is really good now despite even those health scares I've had. What turned my life around? Two things really, one was seeking help (therapy, anti-depressants when needed etc.), the other was meeting Ken.

Although he claims we met in high school (I don't actually remember it), I met (or re-met) Ken on August 14, 1986 and we've been together ever since. He has been the most generous, loving, fun partner and best friend I could ever have wished for. We've built a terrific life together, one filled with fun, creativity, friends, adventure and travel. We've also had some really tough times but weathered them together. We've faced illness, death of loved ones, financial trouble, and many other difficulties. (Ken had brain surgery 12 years before I did for a different kind of tumor, also benign thankfully. His unfortunately left him deaf in one ear.)

Anyway, enough about all that, I could go on forever. It's true I'm very lucky, and I'm extremely grateful for my life on this planet. But there is one thing I want... really want for this landmark birthday:

I want my country back!!!!

Seven years ago this month, our constitution was broken and it's yet to be repaired. In fact each day of each proceeding year has brought increasing damage to the precious document our nation's laws were based upon. What do I want for my 1/2 century birthday? I want to see the duly elected 43rd U.S. President serve his term. I don't think America will be fixed again until Al Gore serves his term in office.

You can say I'm dreaming, I'm daffy, or I'm foolish but I see no "earthly" reason not to at least put the idea out there and try to make something of it. I think it's worth it.

To that end, I ask you, in lieu of gifts, cards, etc. to write to Al Gore and ask him to take his rightful place at the head of our government. You can do that here:

Honorable Al Gore
2100 West End Avenue
Suite 620
Nashville, TN

FAX: 615-327-1323
Phone: 615-327-2227

Thanks for reading this, for being my beloved friend or family member, and for caring enough about this poor old world of ours to want to leave it in better shape than how you received it.


This video is entertaining but the music is pretty bad. Still, it's worth a watch: