slightly wonky

Slightly irritating vs. uber inspiring…
December 28, 2012, 10:05 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Well, I made it through the holidays with my sanity mostly intact.  WOO HOOOO!!!  Now, I just have to make it through this vacation week until January 2, when school resumes.  LORD HAVE MERCY.  I’m sure that there are some parents out there with easygoing children.  We’re not in that category.  I keep trying to remind myself how I’ll miss this age in a year, but this thought doesn’t really help much.  I just googled “child anger management.”  Yes, we’re at that point.  Did I mention that he’s only 5?  I have gray hairs already set aside for his teenage years.

It’s kind of ridiculous to be “at that point” when we JUST had Christmas and my son’s 5th birthday.  I know.  Toys won’t solve childhood angst…even this one:


Yes.  It’s hungry hungry hippos.  LOVE. IT.  Who’s world is not made more complete by this toy???? Apparently my son today at 5pm.  I think that’s kind of the bewitching hour for kids anyway…that’s why the world created SpongeBob and Happy Hour.

Did I mention that my son has told me repeatedly that my smooches on his cheek are “irritating his skin”?  Did I also mention that he walked into the kitchen the other day with his shoes, coat, and backpack on telling me that he was leaving?  I fear that my chances for “Mother Of The Year” are slipping through my fingers.  I quit my job as an architect to be a better mom.  Is it working?????  Based upon my recent parental “feedback”, I’d say “no”.  I’m just glad that my son doesn’t know how to dial a phone yet, or else DSS might be at my doorstep any minute now.

In order to cope with my child’s angst and anger, I’m reawakening my drug of choice:


Yes…those are  needles…but not the heroin kind.  That’s knitting.  For those of you that don’t knit…don’t start.  It can be horribly addictive, socially isolating, and can create episodes of both euphoria and despair.  Don’t even get me started on those crack dens called “knitting stores”.  How bad can it really be when the result is a handmade woolly garment, right?  Don’t be fooled.  Just say “no”.  The store employees are TOTAL ENABLERS.  This is the kind of stuff they think is a good idea:






Ohhhhkay.  NOW, I feel like “Mom Of The Year” in comparison to the parent of this poor child.  Yes, that’s a HAT with a KNIT BEARD attached to it.  No, I’m not kidding.  People make these…many people.  (None that you should get to know, though.)  No, I’m really not kidding.  I think that there should be a law against putting beard/hat combos on anyone who is not physically able to remove it IMMEDIATELY.  Poor thing.  Talk about irritating the skin…sheesh…I should show this to my son and perhaps he’ll consider himself lucky…

Besides not getting any artwork done, as it’s vacation/circus week here, I did manage (or rather, finagle) my way over to the South End to see the last day of a show at Carroll & Sons.  I felt that I deserved to do this, as I had been waiting at the Toyota dealership that morning for my 50K tune up for THREE AND A HALF HOURS.  You’d think with all of that time they could have cleaned out the explosion of crumbs on my son’s carseat…but I digress…

The show at Carroll & Sons was the work of Ambreen Butt.  The title of the show was, “Beyond the Ideas of Rightness or Wrongness There is a Field; I’ll Meet You There.”  I loved all of it, and I was so amazed at the breadth of her skill.  Here are some images from the show:


Ambreen Butt


Ambreen Butt


Ambreen Butt


Ambreen Butt


Ambreen Butt

So amazing, right?  The radiating reliefs of toes and fingers were AMAZING.  So beautiful, yet also a bit disturbing.  The row of portraits are a sublime transformation of one person into another…brilliant!  The huge collages which look like Persian rugs were astounding.  As I managed to see this show on its last day, I can’t suggest that you run out and see it yourself.  Take a look at the links to her website…she’s uber talented and I bask in her artistic virtuosity.  It seems that she can do anything from beautiful paintings to compelling collages, to phenomenal sculpture…sigh.  Super inspiring.  Definitely check out her website.

Well, 2012 has been crazy, to say the least.  I’m not even going to discuss the chaotic world news that puts me in a tailspin EVERY DAY whilst I masochistically tune in to NPR.  The horrors.  Next time, while I rock in the fetal position listening one of these harrowing stories, I’ll try to remember to bring my knitting.  I hope that over the past year this blog has provided you, dear reader, with moments of levity, artistic inspiration,  and an occasional, “WOW!  There are REALLY crazy people out there!!!!”  (I’ll forgive you if you include me as one of them.)

Happy Upcoming New Year’s Eve!  (the holiday liked only by people between the ages of 21 and 25…*YAWN*)


December 21, 2012, 9:53 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay. I’m about to rant about something, but before I do…I’d like to acknowledge how lucky I am to have such problems in the wake of the recent tragedy in Connecticut.  Peace be with those tormented families.

My excuse this week for not having interesting content (besides my crying intermittently as a result of the aforementioned tragedy) is that I was responsible for creating/coordinating/conducting my 4 yr, soon to be 5 yr, old’s birthday.  I am not a party planner.  I stress.  I anguish over it.  It’s not because I want the perfect party.  I want a GOOD party that doesn’t cost me what would be the equivalent of a down payment on a small house. I kid you not…some places charge hundreds of dollars to host your party…and that does NOT include cake/pizza/favors.  But, they highlight “FREE paper cups, plates, napkins!!!”  Really?

The epic disaster for my attempted DIY party was…the cake.  Let me outline for you my series of mishaps.  Let me also advise you to always have someone ELSE make your cakes…someone with nerves of steel and a clue.

Things started off okay…I greased and floured a 13×9 cake pan.  No prob.   I slaved over making the batter.  Looks good.  THEN, I poured the batter into “the pan”…except that it WASN’T “the pan”…it was a different, UNGREASED pan.  And then I baked it.  I kid you not.  I turned around to grease the pan for the next cake, and I realized my mistake.  So, cake #1…ruined.

THEN, I rushed to make the SECOND cake…which turned out okay.  As one wasn’t going to be big enough, I needed to make another.  Here’s what the first two cakes looked like:


HMMM!  I actually contemplated frosting the broken cake.  Then, I regained my keen senses and realized that, much like time moving backwards and being in the fast moving lane at Stop & Shop, this was not possible.

Now, of course I’m out of ingredients for a third cake!  SO, after getting new ingredients, I bake the THIRD cake.  Now, it’s close to when we need to LEAVE for the party.  Have you ever tried to frost a warm cake?  I hadn’t until then.  I thought, “What’s the big deal?  Ok…it’s not cooled, but SO WHAT???”

Umm…yes, the frosting MELTED on the cake.

It looked like someone tripped and spilled their orange sherbet sundae all over the cake as the frosting melted into bright orange pools of pure sugar.  STRESS.  So, I SCRAPED OFF the melted frosting and rushed the warm cake OUTSIDE to cool off.  I stealthily placed it UNDER the patio table, thinking that this would protect it from THE RAIN.  Yes, it was raining!  JOY.  My parents were at the house, luckily, so I had my father be on duty to watch that some rabid squirrel didn’t come over and sit upon/start munching on the cake whist I mixed up MORE frosting (which is everywhere, mind you…along with a general dusting of powered sugar).  I finally bring in the cooled cake and frost the friggin’ thing.  Here it is:


Okay.  Don’t laugh.  It looked MUCH worse before, if that’s at all possible.  Those odd, tulip shaped things are supposed to be dinosaur footprints.  I know.  How sad.  Do you  believe that it tasted good?  No?  Well, I don’t blame you.

ANYHOO…I think that the party turned out okay…and the cake tasted reasonable as well.  I have noticed many more gray hairs on my head since Sunday, but no prob!  At least I have hair!  Action shot at party:


Needless to say, I understand that I do not have a career ahead of me in either:  a. event planning, b.  baking, or c.  photography.

The big gift for my son was goldfish!  (no, not the crackers…)


AREN’T THEY SO CUTE????  My son has been asking for a fish for ages.  I contemplated the small fishbowls…but as I wanted a goldfish (not a catatonic beta fish), I opted for the slightly larger tank.  DON’T YOU LOVE IT???


I’ve come to realize, however, that my gift of fish has not been as met with the same enthusiasm as the grandparent’s gift of Legos.  Hmm.  Another fail.  I should have just stayed in bed that day.

Moving along…tis the season to be receiving packages in the mail, right?  I recently ordered a cool clock…one of those old school “flip clocks”.  The one I got was pretty plain…but THIS is the clock that I REALLY wanted:


I have coveted this clock for ages.  It has different fonts that show up as it flips through the time.  LOVE. IT.  Here is a link to see it.  Did you also see the price tag? $395!!!!!  OUCH!   So, I had to settle for a more conventional one, which I am very happy with.  Still…I hold a special place in my heart for this clock.  (any of you Powerball winners out there…I’d love one for Xmas!  Thank U!!!!)  Anyway, I was talking about packages in the mail.  Here is how my clock arrived:


Package Fail

Umm….are you KIDDING ME?  It looks like an elephant sat on it whilst eating its 1,000 pound lunch of hay.  Wha???  How???

Believe it or not…the clock inside was actually undamaged.  Ho Ho Ho!  Lucky me!

Just so that you don’t feel that I’ve TOTALLY wasted your time with this post, here is some cool stuff to check out:


Adam Sherwood

Check out the video here of this crazy thing.  This is “Firewall” by Adam Sherwood.  Please check out his website.  AMAZING!  I want one for my living room (next to my $395 font clock, which I don’t actually have).  Next:


Guy Denning

Isn’t that gorgeous????  This artist, Guy Denning.  Sooo talented!  Please check out his website here.  Look under the heading “self portraits”.  Amazing, right?  I love how he draws.  So loose, yet so accurate.  BRILLIANT!

Okay, have a lovely holdiay!  I’ll be making yet another birthday cake for my son’s ACTUAL birthday, which is Christmas Day.  No joke.  Oh, continued joy and happiness!!!!

Ginger hell…ginger hell…
December 14, 2012, 10:12 am
Filed under: Drawing, travel | Tags: , , , , , ,

Why are the holidays always so exhausting?  I feel as if I’m at mile 20 of a marathon.  (Can I say that even if I don’t exercise / dislike sweating?)  Hmm.  Perhaps not.  I guess that my main stress is that my endless holiday errands are preventing me from getting any work done (I mean drawings, not housework).  Take, for example, yesterday…I had to mail a big package off to my nephews.  I took the gifts to UPS to see how much they would charge to send them.  $20 minimum to ship (as they weren’t packed yet) and an extra $14 if I wanted them to pack it.  WHAT????  That’s SO expensive!  So, I planned to pack it myself.  I asked them how much a cardboard box was.  They said $10.  WHAT????  Are you on crack?  For a piece of CARDBOARD????  Disgruntled, I walked out with my gifts.  So, I decided to go to Staples to get my packing supplies…$4 for a box (more sane) and $7 for packing peanuts (eco-friendly-corn-based, mind you, I could have had them for breakfast with some milk…).  THEN, I take my self-packed box over to the post office…and it turns out to be $25 to send it parcel post with signature required.

The moral of the story:  I should have just paid UPS $35 to send it.  I hardly saved any money, and I spent LOTS of time running around like an angry housewife (which I am).

I tried to get into the holiday spirit this week by making a gingerbread house FROM SCRATCH with my son.  It started off okay:


Everything was fine…until the pastry bag.

I’ve decided that several things are tools of the devil:

1.  pastry bags

2.  tinsel

3. packing tape that splits every time you try to peel it off the roll

Notice how they are all holiday related…it’s those three things have made my holiday season MUCH more distressing than is needed.  Anyhoo…the pasty bag.  The first time that you fill it…it’s sort of ok.  Yes, I managed to drop some icing, and YES, there was icing oozing out of the top of the bag as I was squeezing it…but those challenges pale in comparison to this: refilling the bag.  HOW ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH IS ONE SUPPOSED TO DO THAT????  Peeling apart the squished sides of the bag in order to attempt to shove in goopy icing, which is simultaneously falling off of the spatula, was a joke.  There was icing everywhere.  It was: a. in my hair, b. on the dishwasher, c. on the floor, d. on the UPPER kitchen cabinets, and e. partially on the gingerbread.  Mommy was trying not to have an aneurism.  Luckily, the house turned out fine:


Not bad, right?  Notice how the trees in front had no frosting.  Forget it.  I’d had it by then.  Notice also the odd lump of gingerbread in front of the left tree.  My son made that.  Apparently, it’s a ball.  It sort of looks like a present from a large rabbit, but I decided not to tell him that.  From reading all of my parenting books, I think that would have been “detrimental to his self esteem”.  Needless to say, I’m not eating that thing.

In a fit of desperation, I drove to Newport, Rhode Island on Wednesday.  That’s almost a two-hour drive EACH WAY.  Why, would I do such an inane thing when I’m so busy, you ask?  Because I had to SOMEHOW shoehorn in some “ME” time.  I drove there to see a drawing show.  Yes, “LocatingPLACE”, curated by Joseph Carroll, was at Salve Regina University. This show is only open until Dec. 19, so HURRY.

I have some images from the show.  Generally, I loved the work.  Some of it I had seen before, but that didn’t bother me one bit.  Here are some of the highlights:


Ali Osborn,0.002178&z=19&msid=108427223874472554307.00047edb154d25d12f46b,

2012, Graphite on paper, 30″ x 40″

Okay.  THAT is just plain brilliant.  This is an aerial view of the “Mall of America”…drawn in graphite.  This is a spectacular drawing.  I love how it looks like some kind of Beaux Arts rendering of an ancient Roman ruin…except that it’s a MALL.  So soooo brilliant.  I even love the title, which is the link to the view.  PLEASE look at his website here.  This was just a gorgeous drawing that I could have stared at ALL DAY.  (I only allowed myself 45 minutes in the gallery, however…I’m on a short leash here).



Carly Glovinski, Area 8, 2011, ink, graphite, colored pencil on paper, 11″ x 14″

Just look at that for a minute…it looks like an abstract work, almost like a small weaving, right?  Well, it’s not.  It’s an interpretation of a PHONE BOOK.  I love this.  How beautiful is that???  She’s brilliant.  She has a series of these, and they are sooo fascinating.  Glovinski captures so much with this drawing: abstraction…modernity…obsolescence…memory…humanity…

I bask in her artistic brilliance.



Nancy Murphy Spicer, Biking in Berlin 12, Biking in Berlin 13, Biking in Berlin 15,

2010, Flashe, gouache, collage on guidebook page, 8.25″ x 5.75″

This is a beautiful series created from painted/collaged guidebook pages.  Each one is so beautiful and delicate.  What you can’t see here, is that some of the colored forms appear to be not just collaged ONTO the paper behind, but they are actually SPLICED in.  So lovely.  These feel so architectural to me.  I think it’s because of the splicing.  Look at this lovely way that the exhibition was hung as well:


Nancy Murphy Spicer, Biking in Berlin 28, Biking in Berlin 44, Biking in Berlin 66Biking in Berlin 79,

2010, Flashe, gouache, collage on guidebook page, 8.25″ x 5.75″

Don’t you love that?  I thought that was really brilliant and compelling.



Andrea Sherrill Evans, Marker #2, 2012, Silverpoint and acrylic on prepared paper, 29 1/2″ x 33″]

This was gorgeous.  Not only have I seen her work before, but I actually met her once!  Her studio is in the South End, and I was lucky enough to stumble upon it.  I love the mix of delicate marks with the splotch of paint.  Her work is really delicate and beautiful. I’m sure that she’s getting tired of hearing the word “ethereal”, but too bad.  Her work is stunning and ethereal.



Raphael Griswold, Assignments (46 drawings from the series),

2008 and ongoing, Mixed media on paper, 9.75″ x 9.75″

There were several of these drawings laid out on a table.  Each one was colorful and with an amazing mix of media.  I love his sense of color and how he uses the disparate materials to create different textures or qualities.  He sometimes washed ink or watercolor over a resistant crayon or oil pastel texture, creating really beautiful effects.  I love that these are small and not fussy…with a great variety of color and marks.  His subject matter seemed to be the built environment in nature.  I wish that I could have seen more of them…beautiful!

Speaking of beautiful drawings (prepare yourself for a typical annoying segue…), check out the latest from my son:


LOOK HOW CUTE!!!  Those are space aliens.  I like how geometric they are.  I also like that he’s starting to write by himself.  Look at their legs especially…aren’t they great???  I wish that I could get him to stop drawing on the back of each drawing…this is another one:


Apparently, this is a mommy alien and her baby.  No, I didn’t reverse the image…my son just wrote “mommy” completely backwards.  Should I be concerned?  Hmm.  Is it dyslexia when someone turns an entire word backwards?  Hmm.  It may be several years before I give him my car keys.

I’m off to go dream about drawings and distress about dyslexia whilst I grouch my way over to Stop & Shop.

Stay sane…

(I’ll try and do the same.)

Christmas clart
December 7, 2012, 9:21 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

Okay.  Because I’m a strange person, we have a “tradition” of getting a real Christmas tree one year, and then using my vintage fake tree another year.  This has not been without controversy.  My stepkids refuse to acknowledge my supercoolvintagealuminumsparkly tree as a “tree”.  I can’t remember what they call it, but “tree” is not permitted.

a-tree 2

Now, I ask you…is THAT really sooooo wrong???  Look how festive and BEDAZZLED it is!  (You know you want one.)

December is one of those months that I look forward to, and yet loathe.  The holiday nonsense…organizing my son’s birthday party…etc.  It’s enough to make my gray hairs breed with reckless abandon.  I keep yelling at them to “quit it!”, but to no avail.  Nobody listens to me around here anymore.  Perhaps it’s my nagging tone of voice, or my incessant whining?  Not sure…I’ll get back to you on that.  I SAID, “I’LL GET BACK TO YOU ON THAT.”

(aren’t you glad that you don’t live here???)

Despite my holiday angst, check out the favor bags that I started to make for said party:


Not bad, huh?  THIS is what I do instead of housework.  (Sorry, honey!)  Housework is tedious, mind-numbing and soul destroying.  Making tyrannosaurus favor bags is uplifting, rejuvenating, and fun.  BTW, my son asked “why roar?”  WHAT’S WRONG WITH ROAR?  He’s soooo nit-picky.  I expected an “ooh” and “ahh”, not a scowl.  When will I learn that the response that I hope from my son is never what I receive?  Sigh.  At least he hasn’t started criticizing my lack of housekeeping skills…

This post is not going to be long, as a dust bunny is tapping me on the shoulder and asking when I’m going to get off of the computer.  Sheesh!  They’re so pushy…

So I didn’t want to bore you with my domestic nonsense ramblings.  As a result, I’ve found a few artists that I think that you should check out.  I tried to find people who have a similar aesthetic to my own.  Why?  Because that’s how I learn things.  You didn’t think that I was going to draw smashed up pears forever did you?  (The correct answer is, “no, of COURSE not…only a moron would do THAT.”)  Hmm…maybe that’s not the answer I wanted.


Rebecca Clark

Isn’t that lovely?  Check out her work here.  I love her series on dry leaves.  Such beautiful forms.  It’s really great.

Here’s another person who works with graphite:


Shona Macdonald

Her work is pretty impressive all round.  Please check out her website.  She works in so many different media.  Really amazing breadth and quality of work.  I bask in her artistic virtuosity.  I also bask in her ability to make a beautiful drawing from piles of laundry.  I certainly have THAT subject matter at home!  It tends to look more like the messy piles rather than the neat stacks…go figure.  Maybe I’ll try to create a still life with my dust bunnies as a start…

In the meantime, you have a homework assignment of telling me about other FABULOUS artists that I should know.  I don’t see any at Stop & Shop, so I need others to guide me to MORE than just the cracker aisle, which I always seem to lose.

Check out here what those of us who don’t live in NYC are missing (besides a good bagel and just about everything):


Did you watch the video????  If not…YOU MUST.  I may set up something like this in our living room.  It will entertain as well as distract from the general disarray…a win-win!


(our living room floor’s perpetual state…)  See?  We have art is the suburbs!!!  Except we pronounce it “aht”, here in the Commonwealth…

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