Friday, December 4, 2009

The Friday Evening Nudes

And now without commentary...




Albert Gleizes 




Man Ray

Milton Avery

Thursday, December 3, 2009

A Following?

I began The Pagan Sphinx blog almost two years ago not knowing exactly what it was going to be about. I wanted it to have some focus but with a personal touch. I knew I wanted to create a blog that contained some of my most passionate interests:  art, music, literature and films as well as some key social and political issues. At the same time, I didn't want it to be completely anonymous. I wanted to share snippets of my life, particularly my family and to reflect my gratitude for their love, support and appreciation. The only family members that occasionally visit my blog are my daughters and the future Mr. Pagan Sphinx, aka W.P. But it hardly matters, because what I contain here about my family and my passions is really for me. The fact that I've made connections here - and quite unexpectedly - is the cherry.

And yet despite the "followers" gadget that lists my entourage (heh-heh), I doubt if even a quarter of the people listed there read anything here at all.  I have mixed features feelings about that feature. Aside from the people who publish the blogs I visit most frequently, I really haven't heard from most of them. It appears that a lot of people use the feature as a bookmark. At least that's what I'm guessing from the fact that I seldom get more than 10 comments on a post these days. This is okay with me. But what if more people are reading the blog than I'm assuming and simply not commenting? Well, I suppose this is okay too but it doesn't really give me a sense of who my true readership is beyond the dedicated blog friends I've made here. I once had a site meter but it seemed to me silly, as a casual blogger, to have one, and I removed it a long time ago.

Not knowing who is reading sometimes worries me on a personal level. How personal do I get? Have I so established a certain tone in that regard that I can't let my hair down when I feel like it? How much do I reveal about my loved ones? I try to stay on top of these questions and so far I feel comfortable with the answers I've based my decisions on. It's a constant re-evaluation of these questions as the blog evolves. Or whatever it's doing.  ;-)

With that out of the way, I want to say that as time constraints have come up in recent months, I'm finding myself blogging a lot about art, posting a music video weekly that I've taken pains to find as a symbol of something meaningful to me:  a dedication, a memory, a new music discovery, a message. It occurred to me several weeks ago that I've not been posting on social, political and human rights issues; the issues that have been the mainstays of my activist backbone. It's not that I don't care. Sometimes I just can't dwell on it, or I get overwhelmed and depressed. In that state I am no good to anyone.

There are so many people out there who blog politics consistently and with focus. The writers at the Peace Tree (to which I submitted a few contributions in my first year of blogging) comes to mind. And Godless Liberal Homo, among many I don't have time to visit. Then there is the fact that I don't post everyday. In fact, except for the youtube videos, my posts generally take several days to put together, particularly if they are art posts. And most of them have been art posts. They are a labor of love and they take a long time.

Going back to the I-don't-know-exactly-who-reads-this-blog issue, I want to make it clear what I care about if isn't obvious:  issues of war and peace, the freedom of all people to live and worship (or not worship) as they please and to marry whomever they are in love with. Not to mention world hunger and health and the dysfunctional U.S. health care system.

So if I originally attracted some readers who found common political ground here but who didn't care much or at all about the art,  I can see where those people may have stopped visiting a long time ago.

So are my pet issues not a priority? Oh, they very much are. It's just that they're not a priory in my blogging for some of the reasons I mentioned.  Please feel free to alert me to posts - yours or others' - that touch on these issues. Leave a comment or email me. One of the reasons I don't blog everyday is because I like to reserve some time to visit blogs. I don't make it to everyone's, which I regret.

To conclude, here is a list of things that have been on my mind but that I haven't had time or emotional reserve to think about, let alone blog about. Some items more recent than others.

World AIDS Day

Obama details Afghan war plan

I'm fiercely opposed to troop increases. The president and the media have held us in suspense over what the commander-in-chief would decide but I believe it's been decided for him for a very long time. Obama said so in his campaign. If this is a political move on the president's part to gain support from the Republicans, I don't believe he will ever win them over. Meanwhile, he is risking the lives of more American troops and not divulging enough about what this eighteen-month mission will actually accomplish. It's mind-boggling to think that my country is shouldering the burden of a war to ostensibly ally with Karzai, a man who was put into power as a result of a fraudulent election; head of a government replete with corruption and shady intentions. As I strongly suspected, Obama has turned out to be a real disappointment.

 Eight Years in Afghanistan - How Many More?
From the Codepink website

Maine Gay Marriage Law Repealed

They have repealed marriage equality but they can't repeal the love that exists between two people. That's a small comfort for those couples who are together but cannot, by law, partake of the same advantages the majority enjoys.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Artist of the Week - Suzanne Valadon

Hello, all! Before we delve fully into the work of Suzanne Valadon, I wanted to check in with you all regarding comment  approval on the blog. I thought I'd be able to remove it by now but the Asian porn sites are still at it. It's a lot lighter but I don't want to risk removing the feature for fear that the next time I check my email, there will be twenty in one day, in posts dating back month and months; making them hard to remove. I've also recently rejected several comments from pharmaceutical sites. Maybe as a result of the mental health posts? I don't know.  

Thanks to those of you who stopped by with Thanksgiving wishes. To be honest, it meant a lot to me. Many of you are juggling complicated life and family schedules, keeping blogs with large readerships and I know at least one of you is writing a novel! I can't get over my good fortune in finding a sense of friendship and community through blogging. 

May love keep you always.

Pagan Sphinx

 The Net Throwers

  The Net Throwers


click on images for extra vuluptuousness



Suzanne Valadon is perhaps best known as an artist's model than as a gifted painter in her own right.  Below is a sampling of paintings by famous artists for whom she posed. She learned a great deal about painting from these masters, who recognized her talent and originality.  In 1915, she had her first one person exhibition, which became a critical as well as a commercial success.

When Suzanne Valadon died in 1938, her funeral was attended by Picasso,  Andre Derain and George Braque.

Toulouse Latrec
Portrait of Suzanne Valadon

Valadon modeled for this painting:Dance at Bougival
by Renoir

Suzanne Valadon

Maurice Utrillo
(Valadon's son and also a well regarded painter; gaining the reputation as the half-mad alcoholic of Montmartre)

André Utter
(her husband)
Suzanne Valadon se coiffant


Adam and Eve


The Fortune Teller





Portrait de famille
 (Valdon, son Maurice Utrillo, husband  Andre Utter and Utter's mother)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Music for Sunday

 This one goes out to Cloudia and her Comfort Spiral, out of Hawaii.  The band Poi Dog Pondering began in Hawaii and now out of Austin, Texas, it sounds like.  In the 90's, their debut album was on my top five favorites for whatever that year was. Yeah. The 90's are starting to sound like a long time ago!  :-)

Aloha, friend!

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In Memory of Bobbie

In Memory of Bobbie
Almost There

ARTLEX Art Dictionary

Kick Homophobia in The Butt: Add Your Name to the List of Supporters

Kick Homophobia in The Butt:  Add Your Name to the List of Supporters
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Northampton Prop 8 Protest

Northampton Prop 8 Protest

It's Only Love

It's Only Love
See More Elopment Pictures here

Million Doors for Peace

Lines and Colors

Lines and Colors
A New Art Resource I Just Discovered!

Emily Dickinson - The Belle of Amherst

Emily Dickinson - The Belle of Amherst
"When the Amherst sphinx styled herself a pagan, she meant she didn’t believe in the biblical God. What sort of deity, if any, she did believe in is hard to pinpoint."
-- Gary Sloan, "Emily Dickinson: Pagan Sphinx,"

National Protest Against Prop 8

National Protest Against Prop 8

My Daughters

My Daughters

Code Pink

"The arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
~Martin Luther King Jr.
Love and compassion is the Universal religion. That is my religion.
~ The Dalai Lama

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