slightly wonky

von Heyl at the ICA!
April 27, 2012, 1:24 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags:

So, this week was NOT productive for my drawings.  So be it.  It was kind of an R & D, lateral exploration week.  I stole away on Sunday afternoon to the ICA…a blustery, grey day.  BUT, I was thrilled with what I found within:

Charline von Heyl

This is the amazing work of Charline von Heyl.  I LOVED IT.  If you’re in the Boston area…please go see it.  I found her work to be really “new” to me.  I absolutely love the layering of different textures…bright, flat color vs. scratched dull color vs. drips vs. “objects”, etc etc.  The other astounding thing was her layering.  Her layers weren’t flat stratas at all.  Elements slipped behind one another so that the overall effect was woven, rather than stacked.  I loved the feeling of this push/pull in the work.  Her fearless color sensibilities were also thrilling.  This is not a show that you will walk through quickly.  I feel as if each work could be pondered for hours.  I may have to go back again when I have more time, so that I can just sit there and let each work steep a bit in my mind…too bad they don’t have barcaloungers over there…

After finishing that last drawing, I jumped back to sewing in order to finish up the dress that I started ages ago.  So…here it is:

Cute, right?  Look at the angled hem…Back:

I’m so happy with it!  I love how it turned out…and I don’t think that I look too much like a hippie, which is good.  I thought that this was a very “modern” type of tie dye fabric…and see how I got the spots to match around the dress!  Not bad, eh!  The back is actually three separate pieces of fabric.  Anyhoo…I’m using the success of this dress to make up for the fact that I’ve drawn nothing this week.  Did I mention that I went to Stop & Shop TWICE in one day?  Yes.  I am in total domestic hell.

Speaking of drawing…here is the latest creation by my son:

He tells me that these are microscopic views of either a CD or a microchip…I can’t remember.  So cute!  It reminds me of this sun chart thingy that we had to use in grad school:

This is so you can track the movement of the sun through the sky at different times of the year.  I guess that might come in handy when siting a building…I didn’t use it ever again.  That was back when we actually had drafting tables.  CAN YOU IMAGINE???  No, we didn’t have to mine our own pencils, or pluck a goose feather to do our ink drawings…but it feels THAT ancient to me now.  And look…I’ve come “full circle”, and I am back drawing with a pencil again.  Should that realization make me happy, or depressed?  A little bit of both, actually.  Okay, so here’s a happy thought to end this post:

This fuzzy photo is my son’s fuzzy blanket, which he adores.  We were playing tea party / picnic with it.  He told me that he plans to have this blanket when he is 45, and he’ll use it as a tablecloth.  SERIOUSLY.   Hmm…I’m actually not sure if that idea is happy after all!  Hmm!  I suppose as long as he isn’t living in our basement, I’ll forgive him for having the blanket at 45?  Ok, forget it.  The blanket at 45 IS depressing…


Annoying segues…and I finished my drawing!
April 20, 2012, 9:21 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

Yes, I finally did.  I think that it’s a good transition to larger work.  Sometimes, I worry that if what I do isn’t 8’x8′ in size…it is not “real art”.  I know…what is real art, anyway?  Who cares, right?  Yes, I have heard of miniatures.  I just don’t feel like painting with an eyelash or drawing with a microscope.  But seriously…don’t you walk into an art gallery and expect to say “WOW” upon first stepping in?  It’s hard for tiny artwork to do that.  Is there a gallery for miniature art? Probably.  If it is…it’s not in the U.S.  We don’t do anything miniature here.  Speaking of miniature…(bad segue #1)

Shay Aaron

This is the work of Shay Aaron.  I’m kind of speechless.

Shay Aaron

Umm…did you notice the tomato seeds there?  THEY ARE SMALLER THAN THE TINY LETTERING ON THAT PENNY.  She (he?) must use an electron microscope to do these.  It’s kind of making me hungry for a salad…speaking of THAT…(bad segue #2)

THOSE are our indoor tomatoes and cucumbers.  No joke!  I’m scared to put them outside, as we have a woodchuck that lives under our deck.  I can either put them outside, and have them be woodchuck salad…or, I can keep them INSIDE, and accept that they will probably be stunted.  Hmm!  What’s a plant parent (aka “gardener”) to do????  Speaking of parenting…(bad segue #3)

My son has “reworked” his drawing.  I LOVE IT MORE!  I want to frame it, but it will cost an arm and a leg.  Plus, the paper is the non-archival stuff that will self destruct in a week.  SO sad for me.  This next anecdote relates, but only in a paper-thin way:  My son has a favorite book where a character tells a lame story, then ends it with “Yuk, yuk, yuk…the end!”.  So, my son keeps saying that to random people, who give that faux smile and nod as they wonder what’s wrong with my child.  This morning, I was getting gas in the car…and he wanted me to roll down the window so that he could say that to the gas guy.  Uhm….no.  So, I feel that after every one of my lame segues… I should be saying, “yuk, yuk, yuk…the end!”  I’m sure that my son and I are the only two people on the planet who find that humorous at all.  Too bad he can’t read, or else we may be the only two people on the planet who like this post as well and haven’t decided that ANYTHING is more interesting than this nonsense.

Okay…okay…here is my drawing (sans segue, for your relief):

I’m pretty happy with it.  It needs a little more reworking…but it’s really almost done.  This is when I start to feel all proud of my little accomplishement…until I see the work of someone else:

Seung Mo Park

That is the amazing work of Seung Mo Park.  He builds these fantastic sculptures out of WIRE MESH.  I kid you not…lookit:

Seung Mo Park

Are. You. Kidding. me.

SO AMAZING!!!!!  See?  There’s nothing like the brilliant work of an artist to make you feel amazing, if you aren’t an artist, and hopeless, if you are!  My work is sooooo conventional.  Drawing with a pencil?  That’s soooooo 16th century (or whenever…I know that they didn’t have yellow Ticonderogas back then…).  When I feel that I can “graduate” from pencil use…perhaps I will be able to advance to drawing with metal screens.  Until then…back to the drawing board/the future/whatever.

More than I can chew…
April 14, 2012, 10:13 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yes, you heard me.  This latest drawing that I am working on is an example of me having bitten of more than I can chew.  Because I am typically unhappy with a drawing until the final stages, I cannot bear to show you the “progress” images.  Needless to say, I’m going to be working on this one for awhile.  So, as I cannot entice you to read on with images of my own work…I’m going to digress into OTHER people’s work.

Last friday, a friend and I went to the South End’s “First Friday”, where all of the galleries are open for people to visit and schmooze.  As I hardly know anyone, I was more of the former than the latter.  I won’t go on about those that I didn’t like…but focus on one that I did.  I LOVED the work of Peter Opheim at Steven Zevitas Gallery.  Take a look:

You can see that this painting is enormous…8’x8′.  It is beautifully done…and so wry.  Opheim creates these little figures, and then does a painting of them.  In the press release, it states, “…Opheim’s paintings function as sculpture, and he does not consider them to be pictures.”  HMM!  I could sit here for an hour pondering that one…but I don’t know if I would have a profound thought in response.  HMM!  (just one of the reasons why I am not an art critic).  But, they aren’t sculptures, so what is there about the translation process from object to painting that is significant?  I feel that I am working on similar thoughts.  What is the difference between having full scale sculptures of these made, to having full scale color photos, to having these enormous paintings?  I find that kind of thing to be FASCINATING.  Overall, I found these paintings to be wonderful, humorous, and provocative.  Bravo!  Fimo elevated to Fine Art!  I love being “confronted” by these little creatures.  It’s as if a part of everyone’s childhood (unless you were allergic to clay, I suppose), has now come back to haunt us, or to make us wonder who we are.  Seriously!  I look at these and they immediately make me think, “who are we, really?”.  Don’t you think that they’re like contemporary fetishes? 

Maybe I need to cut back on the tofu again?

As I have none of my own work to show…I’m going to yet again showcase the work by my four-year old son.  This is a beach scene, I am told:

Don’t you love how ORDERLY it is?  Apparently, the tiny scribbles in the rectangles are items such as:  a beach umbrella, his swimsuit, my husband’s swimsuit, my swimsuit, etc.  I’m not sure where we are, but our clothes are there.  The complicated part at the bottom is some kind of mechanism, but I forgot what.  The other in this “series”:

I cannot remember what this is.  The top part may be an antenna, but I’m not sure.  Thoughts?  What would Freud say?  That I’m an awful mom?  I really hope not.  At least he’s not drawing those little crying faces in cages, as I showed in an earlier post.  Now, THAT was worrisome…

Yesterday, I went to visit the building that I worked on before I quit my job to be a better mom.  It was the ribbon cutting ceremony, so everyone who wasn’t involved in construction was getting to visit the building for the first time.

I was thrilled to see it complete.  Finally.  Every door was in place, every duct where it should be…and every detail realized.  I had a tremendous mix of emotions.  I was overjoyed to be finally walking around the building that I spent so many months slaving over.  But I also felt a great amount of sadness as well.

I felt sad that this was not my world anymore.  I felt sad that I had passed the construction of the project over to others.  I knew that it was in good hands…but I still handed it over…let it go.  There is nothing in architecture that is a solo endeavour.  Everything is accomplished by an enormous team of people…from the donors, to the institution, to the facilities department, to the architects…engineers…contractor…lighting designer…food service consultant…geotech…and the list goes on.  So, this isn’t “my” building by any stretch of the imagination.  Still, it feels like mine.  Only because I worked on it with every shred of my being that I had left after trying to be a reasonable wife and mother.   Every single thing…from a fire door, to an exhaust louver, to a wood ceiling, was a “labor of love” which took months to coordinate and design.  And here it is.  Finally done…both because of me, and in spite of my absence.

I look at it with extreme joy, but also with a heavy heart.


I survived this year’s portfolio review…and I didn’t even get a lousy bumper sticker
April 5, 2012, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

I’m sure that there is some kind of sensible limit to the length of a blog title.  Clearly, I missed that memo.  YES!  You heard me…PORTFOLIO REVIEW…organized by the Cambridge Art Association.  It was an exciting Sunday of nail-biting, artist-schmoozing, reviewer-choosing, sanity-losing, and erudite-musing.  I had three reviewers:  Alvaro Camilo of Samsøn Projects, Russ Gerard of Gurari Collections, and Jessica Roscio of the Danforth Museum.  Luckily, all three of them promised me solo exhibitions!!!!!!!  Just kidding.

A.Camilo said that my work was a “good start” and that I was a “fine illustrator”.  He quickly changed the word “illustrator” to something else that I can’t remember, as I think that “illustrator” can be a bit pejorative.  He gave me many interesting ideas of where I might go next with my work.  He also suggested some places to contact to see what they think of it…like Bromfield Gallery, Kingston Gallery…The Drawing Center in NYC (why not shoot for the moon?).  One thing that he emphasized was the the art world is a social world…and just like in any industry…you’ve got to work those connections.  Overall, I don’t think that he was exactly “wow-ed” by my work.  Then again, his gallery tends to be more “cutting edge”, and my work perhaps appeared more like a quaint fish-knife.  Have I lost you yet?  Really, I don’t blame you…

R. Gerard wanted to know about me as a person…and he also talked about his way of evaluating art.  Some of the key points for him are: 1. Is there an immediate, visceral response to the work?  2.  Does it exhibit mastery of the medium?  3.  Will it resonate over time?  I did appreciate that he felt it was “gallery worthy”, and that he really liked the work.  Not bad, right?  He did, however, caution against staying in my comfort zone with my technique.  His suggestion: keep challenging yourself.  By that, I don’t think that he means try to work on a drawing while cooking the dinner and listening to my son tell me about building demolition while he builds a Lego tower in the middle of the kitchen floor.  While that would be “a challenge”, I think that the drawing, the dinner, my son, and his tower would all suffer as a result.  Just thinking about that makes me want to lie down and do some deep breathing exercises.

J. Roscio felt that certain drawings in the set can stand on their own.  She especially liked the drawing of the pear with nails:

She felt that the set overall was “almost there”.  I think that she would prefer that I edit out the earlier drawings, which are more “timid” in comparison to more recent ones.  She suggested that I could form smaller groupings…like the nails/tacks/screws as a set.  She felt that my message or concepts were clear, without being heavy-handed.  She also commented that my technique was good.  I have submitted three of these to the Danforth for an upcoming juried show…I’m hoping that she’ll be involved in the jury and will wax poetic about my sublime pears.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe everyone will look at the images and wonder if it’s lunchtime…

I have NOT completed a new drawing this week.  I’ve only JUST started one.  I got distracted with a side project of making another book for someone.  Here is the cover:

There is text on the white mark, but I edited it out for my blog post.  Looks pretty modest…until you open it up:

Then, I unleash the craziness!  Actually, my son and I painted the pages together as a “group project”.  Then, I wrote a story in the book…and I had him illustrate each page.  So cute!  The drawing on the left is a picture of a book, and on the right he drew some numbers.  Very sweet.   I really do find these “artist books” to be addictive.

Well, enough about MY drawings.  My son has learned how to play tic-tac-toe…but he kind of makes it an “extreme” version:

Basically…he draws ALL of the grids first, and you can put an “x” or an “o” on whichever one you want.  It takes ages.  My head hurts thinking about it.  Looks like grandma got bored and drew a turtle on the page.  My son must have been annoyed by that, as he added more tic-tac-toe grids ON TOP of the turtle.  Here’s another group project that he and my mom did together:

Notice that she wrote the word, “chocolate” on the page.  My son can’t read that, so I wonder if she was just lost in thought while he furiously drew an array of dots and scribbles?  I notice that his brown marker slashed through her word…again, he’s clearly disgruntled about the direction that their project took.  But what artist doesn’t hate a group project?  We used to hate that in architecture school too…until we realized upon graduating that THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT.  My son may be too much of a “prima donna” to be an architect.  Scribbling on what someone else drew is typically frowned upon in an office…See?  Not only do you get art advice, but architecture advice as well!  The only people who get to scribble on other’s drawings are critics in architecture school on a student’s work.  Well, I’ve also seen a critic take a saw to a student’s model while she continued to provide helpful criticism…but I digress…I think I need to lie down again…

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