Homestead

Did I lock the deadbolt? I think I did. I’m pretty sure I did. It’s 1:00 AM but I should get out of bed and check it just to be sure. And while I’m up I might as well check all the windows one more time, even though I checked them before I went to bed. I pushed the levers as far as I could push them but I should push them again with all my strength. Better safe than sorry, right? And I might as well look out the window and check the street one more time and make sure there are no suspicious cars in the neighborhood. All rightfully belong: Stacy’s Passat, Mary’s Honda CRV, Mike’s truck, Tony’s jeep. OK. Back to bed. But wait … what about that ill-fitting basement window that doesn’t always close completely? Better check it. Out of bed again, down the stairs, into the corner next to to the water heater. Checked. Secure. Back upstairs to bed. Go to sleep. I have modeling in the morning. But what is that tapping sound? thump … thump … thump … those are the heat pipes, and I know that full well because I’ve lived with those noises for 15 years. It’s the steam, not a prowler. NOT A PROWLER. Chill, girl, chill. It’s the pipes and you know it. Don’t freak out.

This is my house. MY HOUSE goddammit. Not the burglar’s house. Not the police’s house. MY house. My home. I have to stop this compulsive behavior. It would be so nice to have a big strong man here with me, but I don’t :-(

So this sucks, living this way in the wake of the burglary. My alarm system better arrive soon because I’m a ball of knots. I actually did a Google search for shotguns <–that’s how paranoid I’ve become. I’m an inch away from becoming a crazy lady in a bathrobe running out her front door yelling, “get off my property, punk, or you’ll be in a world of pain!”. And that’s so NOT who I am, good grief. But I will continue the mantra in my head: this is MY HOUSE. My sanctuary. My place of peace and privacy. I beg you, Queens burglars, leave me alone. You hit me once. No need to hit me again.

Moonlight Interior by Edward Hopper:

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I’m sorry, readers. I’m so sorry. I’m just unhappy and scared and lonely. I need a vacation … or just a day or two to feel carefree, or pampered, or, at this point, just a solid good night’s sleep.

I’ll be back in the next post in better spirits … I promise :-)

Thou Shalt Not . . .

To the person who broke into my house on Tuesday night while I was out at work . . . I hope the Oxycontin was worth it. Or the meth, or the heroin, or whatever ruinous substance to which you are enslaved. To you  . . . who took a crowbar to my window and busted the lock . . . who ransacked my bedroom, emptied all my drawers, and stuffed into your goody bag my laptop, my Nikon digital SLR camera, my diamond engagement ring and wedding band from my 1998 marriage, and the silver bracelet which was a cherished gift from my last boyfriend . . . To you . . . who shoved off all the perfume bottles on my vanity as a framed photo of my dead father surveilled your crimes . . . To you . . . who in your manic hunt for cash and jewelry, rifled through love letters and cards and personal mementos . . . To you . . . who, in a panic, collided with my kitchen garbage can and knocked it over in the final seconds before you fled my home, and exited right out the front door . . . To you . . . who has put fear and unease into me that I will never be rid of . . . who has victimized and violated a person who did nothing to you . . . who has instilled in me a level of distress and anxiety that has so far prevented me from sleeping one wink during the evening hours since this incident, in my own home, on my quiet residential street. To you  . . . who has forced me to consider paying thousands of dollars – that I don’t have – for an alarm system, without which I will never feel safe again. To you . . . you lost, broken soul . . . I offer my sincere prayers . . . that you might find yourself someday living a life where you have better things to do on a weeknight than steal from strangers . . . that you may earn money, as I was doing on 13th Street while you were invading my house . . . To you . . . whose footprints were shown to me by the police and their flashlights in my backyard . . . the tracks you left in the snow . . . I truly hope and pray that you find the strength to get better . . . and leave your “footprints” in this life of a different sort.

The Angels Sing

On this Christmas Eve, I want to take a moment to again express my sincere thanks to Museworthy readers who participated in the Art Show and shared it on social media, emailed me with warm correspondence, and all who consistently support this blog. My appreciation never wanes. If anything, it grows stronger. I hope you’ve all been well these past several days since we last met up here.

After attending the Christmas Pageant at my church, where the angels sang, I am home to cut up acorn squash for Christmas dinner tomorrow at Mom’s house, and also prepare a whipped creamy cauliflower thing that I hope I don’t make a mess of :lol:

A video for this Christmas Eve that guarantees to make you smile. I came across it on Twitter and it charmed me to no end. From the adorable 5th graders of Quinhagak, Alaska, along with town residents, this is their special version of the “Hallelujah” chorus, in which they proclaim joy amid the snow, trucks, and dogs of their unique corner of America. I wish all of you a most blessed Christmas. May the spirit of the season fill your hearts with love, peace, promises, and reawakening . . .

Midweek Mood Share

Well hello dah-lings! Shall I say Happy Hump Day? :lol: Autumn, and the “fall back” time change is upon us. Shorter days, cooler temperatures, leaves on the ground crunching under our feet, birds feasting on berries. Except for the shorter days part I usually enjoy this seasonal transition. Not so much this time around, as memories have come back to taunt me. Me and the man I loved would have been together over a year this month, that is if he hadn’t completely given up on us. Plans went unfulfilled, promises were not kept, and communication broke down. Even though we split up almost six months ago, a fresh wave of sadness and loneliness has come over me lately, and a surge of vivid reminiscences and special moments from the past have invaded my thoughts. And with those thoughts comes heartache. Just when it seemed like I had finally broken through to the healthy, confident “I’m over it” stage. Guess I’m not fully over it after all. Feelings of hurt and abandonment are hard to shake. Well, for me they are :-(

But sources of precious salvation are available to me, thank God. They are alive and well in the old reliables in my life; the people who love and care about me, and art. Modeling has been going great, which is awesome. And Mom and I are taking a little mother-daughter drive down to Brandywine, Pennsylvania on Friday. Both of us have wanted to visit the museum and take a tour of Andrew Wyeth’s studio. We finally found an opening in our schedules to go. After a hectic couple of months of working it will feel so nice to get out the city, if only for a brief time. I’m bringing my camera and will hopefully take some good pictures.

Before I leave you all, here’s a great example of the lifeline that art modeling provides during these periods when I hit roadblocks. A painting of me by the fabulous Mark Tennant. His other works of me appeared in this Museworthy post from February. I love this. Thank you, Mark :-)

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Be well, friends. I’ll see you when I get back from Brandywine. Hopefully I will have shaken off this moody muck by then.

Beethoven and Brotherly Love

Have I ever mentioned how much I adore my brother and love hanging out with him? Yes, I believe I have :-) Last week Chris and I attended the NY Philharmonic concert at Avery Fisher Hall. The evening’s program was Beethoven’s sublime and transcendent Ninth Symphony. The moment conductor Alan Gilbert strode onto the stage and took his place at the podium you could feel the anticipation filling the air of the sold out hall. New York City native and child of the Philharmonic, Alan Gilbert conducted the hour long Ninth Symphony from memory, with no score in front of him. That’s not uncommon among conductors these days but still it was fabulous to watch.

Chris and I before the concert, outside an illuminated Lincoln Center:

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My brother and I share the widely held view that Beethoven’s Ninth (and last) symphony is as close to the musical pinnacle of Western Civilization as it gets. In other words, it is sacred. And scared things often run the risk of being desecrated by the more prosaic arena of popular culture. Case in point: the background of my Twitter page is the Mona Lisa blowing bubblegum. Sorry Leonardo! I’m guilty as charged :lol:

When Beethoven is involved, however, I become a bit protective. For me he’s the untouchable exception, as I am in reverent awe of the man and his music. My protective instincts kick into even higher gear when a Beethoven work is co-opted for undignified purposes. The Ninth Symphony, intended by Beethoven as a paean to humanity and universal love, provides the musical backdrop for the 1988 smash hit action movie “Die Hard”. It also figures prominently in the violent futuristic dystopia of Stanley Kubrick’s “A Clockwork Orange”, in which the music is contrasted with disturbing images of Nazis. Loudmouthed TV personality Keith Olbermann used the first few bars of the symphony’s 2nd movement as the opening theme for his now defunct MSNBC program. And since we apparently can’t leave Beethoven’s unparalleled genius alone there’s now ” an app for that”. Yes, a Ninth Symphony iPhone app! Okay, so the app doesn’t really bother me and actually seems pretty cool, but Bruce Willis fighting terrorists to “Ode to Joy” is tacky. That’s some degrading bullshit.

I wonder what Beethoven, or any of the giants of artistic creation, would think of their works being treated in such ways. Mona Lisa parodies depicting her as a biker chick, Beethoven symphonies in action movie soundtracks, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring taking a “selfie”. Heck maybe the artists wouldn’t be offended much at all. Or maybe they would find such things travesties. We’ll never know.

To conclude this Music Monday, Here are The Beatles performing – what else? - Roll Over Beethoven. Kisses for John xxx :-)

Happy 6th Birthday Museworthy!!

Babe Ruth’s years with the Red Sox. The Sound of Music‘s run on Broadway. Lyndon Johnson’s presidency. The time Michelangelo spent completing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. My marriage. Those are just some of the things Museworthy has outlasted. Not bad, eh?

Friends, artists, fellow models and bloggers, and readers all around the globe, I’ve said it before on these birthday posts and I will gladly say it again; this blog is written by me but sustained by you. Always has been, always will be. I often wonder if my work as an artist’s model and my attendant experiences, ideas, discoveries, and exploits would hold the same sense of purpose without the existence of Museworthy. The answer is decidedly no. If I didn’t have Museworthy as an outlet for discussion and interaction, I’m fairly certain that my life would feel smaller and less meaningful. A 40-something model from New York City blogs every week about art, music, life in the city, various thoughts and expressions, and you good folks come by on a regular basis to read them, absorb them, contribute to them, offer kindness, and occasionally set me straight. What did I ever do to deserve such a fabulous crew of readers? A heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you :-)

Our annual tradition brings us once again a photo by my dear friend Fred Hatt, one of the best people I know. Back lighting, soft rumpled fabric, me in a relaxed, mellow state after a tumultuous several months on the personal front. So here we are . .  after six years.

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With the exception of Michael Jackson and Bob Dylan, the Museworthy birthday music has been contributed by British men. We’ll keep that going this year with the Rolling Stones. From my favorite album of theirs, Exile on Main Street, this is “Happy”. With much love from a grateful blogger, enjoy . . . and rock and roll :-)


Sunday Miscellany

Helloooooo everyone!  I hope this blog post finds you all well. Sorry for disappearing since Tuesday. The week got a little busy. The main event was my Mom returning from her trip to France, and what a thoroughly marvelous time she had with the ladies! When my brother and I caught the first glimpse of her pulling her suitcase through the Air France arrival terminal, gleefully waving her hand at us and so beautiful in a white blouse and silver hoop earrings, it was obvious that the trip had done her a world of good. Mom was positively glowing. It’s great to have her back. So between Provence and Paris, what was the standout experience according to Mom? The Musee d’Orsay hands down. Just the Degas works in the collection were alone enough to enamor Mom with the museum, which is truly one of the best in the world. I haven’t been there in 20 years, but I remember well what an art lovers heaven the place is.

Mom also came home bearing gifts for loved ones and friends. She honored my request which was “any perfume from Guerlain, Chloe, or Chanel”, as I am a hopeless fragrance junkie. So she brought me a exquisite perfume from Guerlain. Yay Mom!

My brother and I went to see – or I should say hear – the “Soundings” exhibit at MoMA. Really fascinating. Installation art at it’s best in my opinion. It didn’t hurt that I was accompanied by a composer. Chris’ keen understanding of recording music and the nature of sound made the experience all the more illuminating for me.

In about two weeks time, I will post the images and particulars for the Museworthy Art Show. I’m thinking that the show itself will take place sometime in December, that way we all have plenty of time to create our works. Readers will have a choice of poses – a reclining, a sitting, a standing, and possibly a portrait. Stay tuned!

My beloved Mets are wrapping up a less-than-spectacular season. The team gave us some good moments but overall they sucked. The playoffs however should be exciting, as baseball playoffs usually are. How does a Pirates vs Red Sox World Series sound?

Lastly, I want to share some terribly sad news about a dear member of the Spring Studio community. Julia Foote, a wonderful artist and warm, lovely person, died on August 23rd in a car accident in Ephraim, Wisconsin. Julia taught a Wednesday morning class on the Nicolaides life drawing method. The news of her death was shocking and tragic to all of us who knew her. The one and only time I ever overslept and failed to show up for a modeling assignment was for Julia’s class. It was years ago, and I remember feeling completely mortified. Of course, Julia was not angry and assured me that it happens to everyone at least once. Since that awful screwup, I posed many times for Julia’s drawing sessions which were distinctly hers in spirit and style. For us models she was a absolute pleasure to work with. My oversleeping incident became a running joke between us, and we shared many a good-natured laugh about the whole thing. I will miss Julia very much. Rest in peace, friend.

It’s getting late, and I’m very much in need of a good night’s sleep. Some art until next time, this is Muse on Pegasus by Odilon Redon, 1900:

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A Trip for Mom

A little Music Monday as a send off for my mother as she embarks on a late summer sojourn in France. She is leaving tomorrow for painting and touring in Provence and Paris.  To say she’s excited would be a huge understatement! Mom will be traveling with a group of women and I wish her an absolutely wonderful, inspirational, and magnificent time. I also worry about her safety because I’m such a doting daughter. But as long as she stays in touch regularly with her special phone – text, Mom, TEXT! – everything should be okay :-)

In this video we have gorgeous paintings by the French artist Camille Pissarro, both rural and city scenes, accompanied by Chopin’s Mazurka Op. 59 in A minor performed by Michel Block. Lovely.

Summertime Blues

What is that phrase used in football when the quarterback changes the plays at the last minute? “Calling an audible”? Well I’ve just done that with this blog post. I had written four long sad-sack paragraphs about why I’m unable to take a vacation this year and my painful breakup with the boyfriend, the event which precipitated this lousy, depression-filled summer. Then I read some truly horrible news stories about senseless crimes, tragic accidents, and children with cancer. When I returned to Museworthy to publish the post, suddenly my “woe is me” whimperings seemed really petty and self-absorbed in contrast. So I highlighted the whole damn text and hit “delete”. Good riddance.

But I am genuinely happy for my family, all of whom will be taking fantastic vacations; my mother to France in early September for painting in Provence and Paris, and my brother, sister-in-law, and niece to the Grand Canyon, which will be Olivia’s first time there. We all agreed to take separate vacations this year, that was the plan set in motion back in the spring. Since then, everything has changed for me and my summer plans with the boyfriend – now ex-boyfriend – of course won’t be happening. So I’m feeling kind of stranded, lonely, and swindled. That my birthday came and went without so much as a call, text, or email from him only compounded my sadness :cry:

Hey, I said I wasn’t going to do this. Stop it Claudia! How about two pictures to wrap up this post? I was fortunate enough to spend a brief 24 hours in the Catskills where I photographed some of the vegetation by the lake in South Fallsburg. I was hoping to see seals, whales, and the ocean this summer. I’ll have to settle for cattails and purple thistles instead.

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Four more weeks until art modeling resumes. It can’t get here soon enough. I’ll be counting the days .  . . .

22nd of July

Rose Kennedy, Alexander Calder, Oscar de la Renta, S.E. Hinton, Sparky Lyle, Orson Bean, John Leguizamo, Bob Dole, Willem Dafoe, Emma Lazarus, Alex Trebek,, Philip I Habsburg King of Spain. Quite a diverse assortment of famous folks with whom I share my birthday. The July 22nd club also includes an Italian monk, a Russian physicist, two Confederate generals, a French mystic, several composers, an opera singer, a Third Reich war criminal, an astronomer, a wrestler, a jockey, and a cricketer.

Most people get a kick out of learning who shares their birthday. It’s a fun diversion, and I found my list here. But there’s often one individual in particular which excites us the most when we see their name on the list. For me, it’s Edward Hopper. Yeah, baby! If you’re wondering how it feels to share a birthday with your favorite artist, the answer is it feels fabulous. Those of you who have been reading this blog for some time are well-aware of my love for Edward Hopper and the profound effect his work has on me. So it must have been fate that caused my mother to go into labor on July 22nd in 1968.

From the birthday boy, this is Hopper’s exquisite Summer Evening, from 1947:

hopper.summer-evening

And of course my birthday falls on a Monday this year which means “Music Monday”! Of July 22nd music babies I had a few choices. Rufus Wainwright is one. I like Rufus but I’m not in the mood for him today. Don Henley. Not really a fan. My apologies to Eagles people. If I never hear “Hotel California” again for the rest of my life that would be perfectly fine. There’s also jazz guitarist Al Di Meola, a fantastic musician. My brother used to listen to Di Meola a lot when we were growing up. And we can’t overlook Parliament/Funkadelic mastermind George Clinton. I’m not using him for Music Monday because, well, not everybody’s got the funk :lol:

So I decided to go with the wonderful singer Margaret Whiting, who was born July 22nd in 1924 and passed away in 2011. Here she is singing the delightful “I Won’t Dance”, composed by the great American songwriter Jerome Kern who was not born on July 22nd, but we won’t hold that against him ;-)


You Are Beautiful

When your grandfather was a musician, and your mother is a singer and your father is a composer, the odds are pretty good that you’ll be blessed with innate musical ability. These familial gifts were on full display last week at the end of year Talent Show held by my niece Olivia’s 5th grade class. After about 30 minutes of ten year-olds dancing, singing, in some cases hitting off-key notes, getting rattled by nerves, and having to deal with technical microphone issues (bless their hearts, all of those lovely children) our girl came out and absolutely nailed it. I was there, the proud auntie sitting in the audience with eyes tearing up. Yes I cried, I admit it :-)

Filmed on iPhone by her Dad, my brother Chris, this is Olivia Hajian taking the stage at P.S. !66, performing the song “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera, with composure, sensitivity, and the voice of an angel. Our Music Monday:

Being There

It always astonishes me how, in the thick of depression, I manage to reliably show up for work. With the exception of the flu which put me out for a week, and a severely sprained ankle a few years back, I don’t think I’ve ever canceled a modeling booking – certainly not for those “I can’t get out of bed because I’m miserable” reasons. I have been tempted, mind you. As much as I love modeling, I’m still not immune to those thoughts. Sometimes, when it feels like things are falling apart and a crippling anxiety grabs a hold of me (as it is doing these past few days) I will entertain the idea of picking up the phone and canceling the day’s job. Yesterday was one of those days. But I didn’t cancel. The lovely artists at Daniel Schwartz‘s painting group were expecting me, and I didn’t want to let them down. I also wanted to maintain my ability to function. Not functioning is the precursor to breaking, and I refuse to allow myself to break. Cracking and slipping I can accept. But not breaking.

I inherited this quality from my late father. Call it a work ethic I guess. Dad never canceled work, and I do mean never. A musician who supported his family working club dates in and around New York City, he made it onto the bandstand for every gig he booked, for over four decades. No cold, toothache, stomach ailment, or family turmoil kept him away from earning his living. I still don’t know how he did it for all those years. And it looks like his granddaughter, my niece Olivia, who was only two years old when my Dad died, is showing signs of the same dependability. She is finishing up her school year with perfect attendance. What a splendid way to complete the 5th grade :-)

So in Dan’s studio overlooking Union Square Park, we had our painting session last night, as scheduled. At the moment Dan opened the door when I arrived I knew I was in a better place than home in bed, curled up in the fetal position, wallowing in my own misery. With the group’s suggestion that I keep on my tank top and cargo pants, I posed pensively in a big comfy chair. Portable easels were unfolded, paint tubes were squeezed out, and off we went. Annie, who has painted me many times, created this piece in the three hour session. I think she did a fine job capturing my introspective state:

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Study in Saffron

I’d like to say that the picture I’m posting here is some sort of homage to pop art or digital creativity but that would be a lie. All I did was doctor a photo of myself out of sheer boredom. They say that “idle hands are the devil’s playthings”. I would modify that to “idle hands are the sulker’s time waster”. Man am I in a shiftless, dejected funk. So just for the hell of it I decided to bathe myself in yellow, a choice meant to be ironic in that my mood is far from the cheeriness of this saffron-like color. At least I was successful in obscuring the original background of this photo which was the drab model’s changing room at FIT. The yellow is better, trust me.

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Here’s my song choice for this Music Monday. The great, incomparable Aretha Franklin singing “Trouble in Mind”. Later friends.


Breathing Spell

Yoo hoo! Hello? Does anyone run this blog? Anyone??

Hey gang. Really sorry about the stagnancy. I’m here, I assure you. I hope you all had a wonderful week because mine kind of sucked. Stress, tension, and painful frustration stemming from personal matters, life decisions, and shattered expectations. Anyway, I don’t want to elaborate. All I can do is try to make sense of it all and get my mojo back. I miss my mojo :sad:

On the art modeling front, I’ve reached the annual break in my work schedule that comes in late May. School semesters have ended which means students can say goodbye to teachers and classmates, hang their end-of-year art shows, go through final critiques, and look forward to a well-deserved vacation. The schools will close for a bit and regroup for summer sessions which will be up and running in June. What does all this mean for us art models? It means we get a little break for ourselves. With the exception of one gig at a local art center, I have no jobs booked for two weeks. After all these years of modeling I still haven’t gotten used to the sight of so many consecutive blank spaces in my calendar. It’s weird. So much free time dancing before my eyes, what will I do with myself? Haha.

Edward Hopper, Interior (Model Reading), 1925:

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One activity I’d like to do is take a drive up to Woodstock. I haven’t been up that way in quite a while and there’s a farm sanctuary there that I’ve been donating money to for many years. Might be nice to visit and say hello to the animals. And of course, Woodstock is great town in upstate New York with lovely shops and art galleries. There is much to do and see in good old Woodstock.

In the meantime, I’ll be around, being lazy some days and productive on other days. And blogging for sure. So I’ll see you all very soon.

Claudia  xo

Love My Momma

MoThERsDaY MOTHERSDAY MOtHeRsDaY MothersDay MothersDay

M 0 t h e r s D a y !!!!

I have no idea why I typed all those variations but it felt good. Just having a little fun. And screw the apostrophe!! :grin:

Mother’s Day matters a lot here on Museworthy . It matters because this blogger’s mother is a splendid, warm-hearted, generous, artistic, and joyful lady. Many of you are familiar with her, either from real life, my frequent references to her, or her own voice in comments. She’s Elaine, and she’s awesome. She also adores Mother’s Day, not because she expects to be lauded but because her children are the greatest joy in her life. My Mom is one of those women who is thoroughly happy to have “mother” define her identity. Given her two fabulous kids who can blame her? :lol:

Choosing artwork for Mother’s Day is easy as pie. In a word, Degas. Mom’s favorite. And a Degas pastel is the ultimate because of Mom’s love for the medium.

By Edgar Degas, this is Four Dancers from 1902. Love you Mom! Happy Mother’s Day.

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