slightly wonky

On the eve of 2012…
December 31, 2011, 2:13 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Many moons ago, New Year’s Eve used to take on some significance.  You know…dress up, go out, stay up and cheer in the New Year with lots of other twentysomethings.  Hmm.  Now, it has become probably my LEAST favorite holiday.  It consists of staying home…knowing that there is no babysitter what would want to spend his/her New Year watching your kid…and feeling that midnight is awfully late to stay up.  The fact that Dick Clark is still doing the countdown depresses me.  Is that awful to say?

Anyhoo…although we will “lamely” be ringing in the New Year, 2011 has been a pretty good year all round.  We have lots to be thankful for…our health, the roof over our heads, food on the table, friends and family.  The things that I am not so thankful for are as follows: 

– Burning the rolls for a dinner that I was making for a friend

– Nearly slicing off the end of my finger with a brand new razor in the shower

– The Lincoln Navigator that plowed into my husband while he was biking home

– Yelling at my four-year old when he sends me off the deep end (you can tell that the child psychology books that I’m reading are really working…)

– Having to take this same four-year old to the emergency room when I stepped on his hand and thought that I broke a finger

There is probably some intergalactic correlation between all of these things, but I can’t figure that out right now.  Right now, I am procrastinating from going to the grocery store, which I hate enormously.

While at the nightmarish grocery store recently, my son begged me to buy paper cupcake cups and plastic straws.  Why, I had no idea, but I caved in.  When we got home, he directed me to find him some boxes, because he was going to make something.  This is what he made:

THAT, I’ll have you know…is a homemade black widow spider.  This was his idea not mine.  I think it’s brilliant. 

This has NOT been a productive week for me.  With my husband and son home all week, I’ve not had my usual work time.  Sigh.  I did get a little done though:

I’m trying to “turn up the volume” on these drawings a bit.  My husband is wondering why our basement is beginning to smell like rotting pear.  I want to yell out, “Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain!!!” 

What should my New Year’s resolution be?  Yell less?  Hug more?  Forget shaving…as it’s too dangerous for me?  Switch to Peapod so that I no longer have to set foot in another grocery store?  Any suggestions?

Happy New Year!  Hakuna Matata!


ho ho hmmmpf
December 23, 2011, 12:17 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

We all managed to survive the birthdaypalooza for my son this past weekend.  I think that I aged a year just in that day alone.  Basically, from the moment I woke up that morning, I was busy getting stuff together.  Maybe I missed it, but I do NOT remember my mom having to do so much work for a kid’s party.  WHAT IS IT WITH THESE KIDS TODAY????  (imagine me scowling as I look over my reading glasses, which I don’t own).

The cake…took forever.  As soon as I started to make it, I told my husband that we’re buying one next year.  Did I mention that the frosting alone had two pounds of chocolate in it?  TWO POUNDS.  I probably gained two pounds just licking the spatula afterwards.  I gave up on really making it 3D, and just settled for 3D tires…

Hey, I think for someone who had to buy a pastry bag for the first time, I did a pretty good job.  I must confess, I did have my son’s name on the cake, but somehow in order to shield him from the folly of his mom’s blogging, I photoshopped it out.  Not bad as well, right?

I thought that this was going to be a VERY productive week.  I guess that it has been, a little.  I have been sidetracked slightly, as I am making a dress for my friend’s daughter.  Here it is:

It’s cute, right?  Looks very straightforward and easy, right?  The sort of thing that someone on Project Runway could do in ten minutes with a Holly Hobby sewing machine and a broken needle, right?  It’s sad how long it’s taking me to do this.  I have sewn clothes for myself…but I have no shame in wearing my own wonky creations.  THIS dress, however, is not for me…so I’m TRYING to channel Christian Siriano whilst I stitch this thing together.  My biggest fear: that it doesn’t FIT and I’ll have to REMAKE it.  Maybe I should call the mom up and suggest that her daughter only eat lettuce until I finish this thing. 

My own work is always taking a turn for the weird.  Some of my latest drawings:


Someone else’s trash is another person’s treasure!  Yes, I pulled that keyboard out of a trash can.  It was in our own trash can here at home, so I figure that makes it slightly less gross.  You can agree with me now.  I’m wondering if these B&W drawings are less exciting than the bright, colorful stuff that I’ve done in the past.  I mean…have you yawned yet while reading this?  Be honest.

I hope that everyone is having, or will have, a nice holiday.  I’m asking Santa for more sleep next year.  And fewer dust bunnies.  I have more than my fair share, really.  They’re doing some kind of “Occupy My Living Room” right now.  As long as they clean up after themselves, maybe that’s ok.

It just dawned on me that my son and husband are both home all of next week.  This is called a “vacation”.  Hmm…


mooning over de Kooning & de 4th birthday…

The birthday planning for my son’s 4th birthday party has given me several more gray hairs.  Today, during his bathtime, he was mad at me and told me that I was NOT to come to the party.  I was to stay home and feel awful.  Sheesh.  Who taught him such nasty mind games?  Do I say stuff like that?  I hope not…I might have been more subtle and not stipulated that the other person “feel bad”.  He’ll learn such subtlety in time…

I am attempting to keep this a fairly DIY party.  No, I’m not hand-making artisanal balloons or anything.  BUT, I’m making the cake, have baked cookies to go with the favors, and have scribbled together the decor.  The theme: construction site.  A week after deciding this theme, my son decided it should be pirates.  Too bad, I said.  That brought on another barrage of vitrol from him.

So, here is one of my scribbly signs for the party:

Isn’t it cute?  Just say it is to humor me.  Actually, you’re probably wondering when I’m going to stop blabbering about this party, and talk about de Kooning instead.  All in good time…

This is probably the last year that I can do anything DIY for a party.  Next year, he’ll want lazer tag with spiderman and Doc Octopus.  Ummm…yeah, I can’t do that with cardboard and markers.  I’d have to be some kind of hybrid between Martha Stewart and Stan Lee.   Hmm…disturbing.

The ornament situation in our house has gotten worse:

I have completely given up.

Okay, enough about my preschool-centric universe.  So, this past Saturday…I had the WHOLE day to myself.  No, I don’t just mean from around 11 am when my husband is done with his marathon bike ride, until 5 pm, when I’m needed to relieve him from being “on duty” with our son.  I mean the ENTIRE day.  What did I do?  I went to NYC for several hours!  Okay…for my friends who are in NY…PLEASE DON’T BE MAD.  I had to do a tactical strike.  I was on a mission to go to MOMA and see the de Kooning exhibit, which is only open until January 9.  I can do a social visit another time.

It was AMAZING.  So brilliant.  That man just oozes talent.  Or, I guess that would be oozed.  Seriously.  I loved his lines, his enormous swaths of color, his manipulation of the human form…

and this:

de Kooning, Untitled – 1961

and this:

Sigh.  You must see this show, if possible.  You won’t believe the scale of some of these pieces…their textures…their energy…so amazing.

When I was rushing through the rest of MOMA, I saw a crowd gathered around something.  Naturally…I was curious.  WHAT was it?

Really!  So interesting.  I am not a fan of Dali, but it was really fascinating to see what was a “celebrity”.  I just like other stuff…I nearly plowed through several people when my eyes locked with THIS from across the room:

Rauschenberg, Bed – 1955

Yes, I nearly became a linebacker in order to look at this old quilt with paint on it.  LOVE IT.  As the old adage goes…it was smaller in real life.  (no, not that it tastes like chicken…pay attention).  Really.  If I hadn’t spent so much time mooning over de Kooning (!), I may have had more time to see everything else.  One other piece struck me:

Wyeth, Christina’s World – 1948

Okay.  This is a VERY familiar painting.  Right?  I’m not savvy in the least, but this has to be one of Wyeth’s most famous paintings.  Anyway…it always seemed to me a very “romantic” picture…I mean the romance of the agrarian.  WELL.  I had a VERY different feeling when I was actually looking at the painting firsthand (which, by the way, was stuck in a  corner next to an elevator vestible and a cafe).  First of all…her hair is not the lustrous brunette of youth…but actually a  harried mix of grey and brown.  This is not a young woman at all!  She’s probably in her late 30s / early 40s…you know…way over the hill, like me.  In addition…her body is neither youthful, nor supple.  She actually appears frail…weak…half-starved.  If you look more carefully, her bent arm in the foreground is very thin…(and not in a Marie Claire sort of way).  She seems to be struggling to raise herself.  In addtion, her dress and shoes are not fresh and new…her shoes in particular struck me as very worn and old.   So ultimately, this painting had a desperate, bleak air to it.  WELL, if my art history class in college had covered anything within the past 300 years, then I MIGHT have known that: I the only person in the world who had an entirely different impression of this painting than is actually the case???  This long-winded story is basically remarking on how important it is to actually SEE artwork in person…not on a screen…not in a magazine…not on some crazy person’s blog…(are you still reading?  amazing!)

As a result of all of this art viewing / party planning…I have not gotten much work done.  Sigh.  I have one drawing to show:


No, I’m not done with this “line of exploration” yet.  If you get tired of my subject matter, please bear with me.  I’m trying to focus and stay on a path, and not flit around from project to project.

Wish me luck with the party extravaganza on Saturday!  I’m sure that I’ll be crying with frustration and relief at the end of it, and will be sent home in order to have a nap.

Holiday frenzy builds…
December 9, 2011, 1:42 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Okay.  I have gotten much more into the holiday spirit.  I think that having a four-year old makes it so.  Just to add to his frenzied excitement about both his upcoming birthday AND Christmas…I bought an advent calendar.

I know.  All my architect friends will fall off their chairs in horror.  Look at that pitched roof!  Whatever.  I always loved advent calendars as a kid.  This is even better because I can put stuff in it!  My son loves it.  However, he keeps asking me about what’s behind the big door.  I am now feeling that the silly little christmas ornaments that are behind that door will be a big disappointment.  Hmmm.  What to do. 

I did alter this thing a bit…notice the colors within the boxes, and the colors on the back of the doors.  Yes, I added those.  Laundry is not being done…chores not completed, yet I persist in “improving” this thing.  A true sign of neurosis.  Actually, the true sign of neurosis is this:

These are some of the ornaments that I had in the advent calendar.  My son is hanging them up on this garland (with my assistance, of course).  The neurosis is that I DESPERATELY want to separate those two ornaments from being on the same link.  See the two together in the middle?  It is taking all of my willpower not to change the way that my son has hung it.  This is a real period of growth…not leaping in to “fix” what he does.  Leave it be. 

Our Christmas cactus is looking good this year!

Try to ignore the filthy window.  This lovely plant on the left was a gift from my husband’s aunt and uncle when they came by to visit my newborn son.  So, I associate it with his birth.  I am relieved that it is still alive, as I am terrible with plants.  I either over-water them, or leave them to shrivel and die…not intentionally, of course.  I hope that this plant will be around next year…

Not as much art done this week.  Too much holiday stuff to do.  It’s kind of non stop.  Part of me will be glad when the holiday craziness is over…the other part will be horrified that we will be in the bleak winter.

See how dark this winter light is?  I just went outside to take this photo, and this is how it turned out.  Yikes.  Notice the phone message scrawled in the upper right.  All famous artists do stuff like that.  It makes it more “authentic”.  This is what the scanner did to that picture:

Really not good.  Shoddy equipment.  The scanner basically washed out the whole thing and made it all look more “scratchy”.  Sigh.  Maybe winter photography is beyond me.

That’s all for now…I hope to have something even MORE brilliant to post next week… let’s hope that I’ve done something more than drawing a digger for my son…

Rhoda Rosenberg & new woodblock/drypoint prints
December 4, 2011, 9:14 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

This week, I went to the Danforth Museum in Framingham (which I love) to see Rhoda Rosenberg’s works:

GO. SEE. THIS. SHOW.  I loved it.  Her work is so beautiful.  Most of the works were some form of printmaking…woodblock, carborundum, etching, drypoint, chine colle, etc. etc.  She has an amazing ability to juxtapose colors and textures.  Many of her works referenced either her mother or father.   She did a really stunning carborundum print titled, “Bubbie’s Bag”.  It’s so simple…just an inky, abstract silhouette that you recognize as someone’s handbag.  But the  depth of the color is amazing for something so minimal.  The richness of the dark bag almost makes it some kind of emotional black hole that you feel the heavy density of.  Beautiful.

My own work this week was varied.  I had my last portrait class, where I did this drypoint:

It’s such a caricature of the model, but I was happy with it anyway.   I love drypoint, but it’s difficult, as you can’t erase and it’s hard to see the “drawing” as you’re doing it.  I’m sad that this class is finished, as I loved it!

I also did more on this series of abstract woodblock prints:






I haven’t had time to carve more blocks for this series.  I was only working with three colors to start, but you can see the amount of variations possible.   I added the red ink towards the end of the class.  Some of the prints needed something more, and so this was an attempt at that “more”.  I definitely like some more than others.  That’s the surprise of printmaking…sometimes it’s a good surprise…sometimes not!  At least you can keep running prints, as long as you have paper and time!

The holidays are coming up, and I have yet to catch the “spirit” of the season.  Maybe if I bake some xmas cookies today, that will change.  There’s nothing like sugar cookies with a thick and colorful crust of sugar from my son’s heavy handed application to get one in the spirit!  In spite of many sweepings, I invariably hear that crunching sound under my feet from the sugar explosion for at least a month.  Don’t get me started on the whole pine needle extravaganza.  I feel like those things don’t go away until sometime in mid-June.

This year, we’re getting a real tree.  Last year, it was my fake aluminum tree…so this year we do a real one.  I must admit, my fake tree doesn’t have the lovely pine aroma…but what it lacks in smell it makes up for in exuberance.  When we get our tree, I’ll post a picture…(you can vote on whether you prefer the shiny tree or the real one).   Kidding!   Actually, I really don’t want to know if you prefer the real one.


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