slightly wonky


Ho Ho Hell has begun…
December 1, 2014, 10:35 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

We had a lovely drive out to central MA for Thanksgiving!

SNOW

I love Thanksgiving.  It’s like Christmas’s non-crazy twin, or family without the frenzy.  That sanity is short lived, as Black Friday follows (Christmas’s eccentric and unstable Aunt), and today is Cyber Monday (Christmas’s left-brained, introverted second cousin who won’t put down his phone, and hasn’t actually communicated with another human being using his vocal chords for a least two years…)  Thanksgiving is the only somewhat NORMAL member of that holiday family.

Is it bad that I haven’t started to do any holiday shopping, or even any holiday PLANNING, for that matter?  Probably.  Let me help those of you who are also behind schedule by making some gift suggestions:

Mary O’Malley on Etsy:

maryomalley

O’Malley is a fantastic artist who creates intricate paintings that are exotic and gorgeous.  Please take a look at her Etsy shop HERE.  You can either get a lovely reproduction of her work, or you can splurge and get an original.  A brilliant gift idea!

AlmostSundayInc on Etsy:

almostsundayMy friend owns this store, and there are TONS of cute options for gifts.  I like the idea of either personalized stationery or a cool print.

Nicole Porter Design on Etsy:

nicoleporterAren’t those wooden plates/bowls AMAZING?  Please check out her shop HERE.  Again…unique and beautiful gifts abound…

OrangeLadyBird on Etsy:

orangeladybird

For those of you who don’t want to fool around with shipping anything…my friend (who is a graphic designer) has lots of DIGITAL items to buy in her shop.  You can get a download of her digital creations…which you can print at home to your heart’s content.  Check out the cool “infinity banner.”  I like the “home scavenger hunt” cards as well…especially if they had a drawing of my husband’s house keys, which he seems to lose constantly.

I’m basically suggesting that instead of heading to the infernal MALL to buy generic gifts for people…that you buy stuff that is UNIQUE and HANDMADE from brilliant and crafty people.  What would you rather have in your stocking?

THIS?

dump cake

Yes, that’s for real.

or THIS?

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Mary O’Malley

Seriously.  That drawing/painting is divine.

In stark contrast to that gorgeous creation, my son and I have started a comic strip.  It’s kind of hilarious.  It’s mostly me doing the scribbly drawings, and he colors it in and laughs.  Here are the first two pages:

CARTOON 1

 

CARTOON 2

We made up this ridiculous clam character.  He took the drawings to school today, so I’m sure that they are wadded up in the bottom of his backpack by now.  Sigh.  Stay tuned for more.

While this is the kind of drawing that I’ve been up to lately, my friend, Helen, recently had a show open and is the artist-in-residence at the New Art Center in Newton.  WOO HOO!  Her show is titled, Becoming Four Women.  Here is a brief description of it:

The New Art Center is pleased to announce the opening of Helen Payne: Becoming Four Women. This exhibition centers around four female characters that Payne has been developing over the past several months. Payne imagines these women at different stages in their intertwined lives. Taking on their disparate personalities, Payne journals, paints and draws in character to create a series of work that tells a multi-media story from several points of view.

I was lucky to be able to go to the reception.  Here are some of the images of her fantastic work:

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Helen Payne, Becoming Four Women at the New Art Center

Helen has done many beautiful drawings on tiles, such as this one.

payne 1

Helen Payne, Becoming Four Women at the New Art Center

That is a gorgeous oil painting of one of the characters that Helen is exploring during her residency.  You can stop by the New Art Center, and find Helen busy at work.  Please stop by!  It’s an amazing opportunity not only to see her work, but also to TALK to her about the work.  How often do you go to a gallery and have the artist right there?  I should tell you to bring her food as well, as she probably forgets to eat (unlike me).

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Helen Payne, Becoming Four Women at the New Art Center

This is Helen’s desk in the gallery.  You can see numerous sketches and drawings scattered about, with notes about each of the four women she portrays.

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Helen Payne, Becoming Four Women at the New Art Center

Helen is a virtuoso of both painting and drawing.  Please go to learn more about these four characters and the fascinating narrative that Helen has created between them.  The show is up until December 20, so you have PLENTY of time to go, (especially as I have already done the planning for your holiday shopping!!!  You can thank me later by sending me some of these.)

REMEMBER:

Buy hand-made goods!

Spit upon mass-produced/generic junk!

Bring a snack and say “hi” when you visit Helen!

AND…

Send me peppermint marshmallows! (just kidding…sort of…)

Enjoy the holiday season without needing to be put in a Santa Claus themed straight jacket, as January/February will be here soon…and that just sucks!

Ho Ho HEEEEELLLP!!!



Pop up!
November 14, 2014, 3:30 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Last night, I attended the opening reception for a short “pop-up” drawing show in the South End.  I have four drawings on exhibit, along with the works of many UBER TALENTED Boston artists:  Chuck Holtzman, Sandra Allen, Barbara Grad, Linda Etcoff, Eugene Dorgan, Summer Wheat, and Conley Harris.  Please check out all of their websites…the work is gorgeous.  The show is curated by Conley Harris, and held in his studio space in the South End.  I was SO thrilled to be included.  These are really some of the top artists in Boston, so it was fantastic to see their work and to meet some of them.  The show is open today (11/14) and tomorrow (11/15) from 11am to 5pm at 1140 Washington Street, Boston, 3rd floor.  Go see it!

drawing

These are thumbnails of the work of Eugene Dorgan, Sandra Allen, Conley Harris, and myself.  Dorgan does breathtaking charcoal portraits that are moody and compelling.  Allen is a graphite pencil virtuoso who draws with otherworldly beauty, sensitivity, and scale.  Harris’s rich and layered drawings seamlessly meld remnants of photography with layers of gouache to create fantastic “Nature Morte” works.

I’m SO sorry that I don’t have any pictures!!!! I forgot my ipod, which is what I typically use for photos.  SIGH.  At least I made it out of the house properly dressed, and not in pajamas.  It’s tough being a suburban mom.

My other big achievement since I last posted is that I MADE A COAT.  No joke!  Here it is:

a-coat outside

It’s wool, so it’s pretty warm.  I started it with a pattern, but then the pattern was so bizarre…I had to make numerous modifications.  It’s cute, right????  I even added the collar, which it didn’t have originally.  Here is the inside:

a-coat inside

Okay…THAT, I love.

In addition to this coat, I also made a couple of little pouches as gifts for some friends:

a-pouch front

The coffee cup sketch is actually a screen print onto some printed fabric.

I do all of this stuff, and then I wonder why my house is a mess.  Well, it’s messy because: a. I’m messy, and b. I dislike housekeeping.  Simple!  I also have enough stuff to fit into a house that is approximately double the size of the one that I am actually living in.  My son is equally messy, which is clearly a sign that I am being an awful role model YET AGAIN.  Luckily…my husband is pretty neat, or else we’d be in serious trouble.  Why does my son seem to pick up my worst qualities?  He’s messy, he can be grouchy/short tempered, and he scowls a lot.  Hmm.  At least he doesn’t have frizzy hair…yet.

If anyone out there is a “neat person”, I would greatly appreciate an “intervention” at my house to teach me how to be a neater person.  If it involves throwing out any art supplies, fabric, or yarn…then, I’m afraid that you’ll have to leave.  Feel free to take away the vacuum and my pots and pans…but leave the mohair yarn and fabric paint, thankyouverymuch.

I’m just going to rearrange some piles now so that I can get some work done…don’t mind me…

 



Hammertime!
August 8, 2014, 9:26 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Today is my son’s last day at camp.  SOB!…sniff sniff…That means that next week, I have to be on mommy-duty 24/7.  YIKES.  Some people delight in that.  For me, it puts me in a sort of low-grade panic.  HOW are we going to pass the time???  HOW am I not going to go postal???  I’m sure by the end of summer, my son will be thrilled to go back to school and get away from me.  I know that I would too, but…unfortunately, I’m stuck with me.

He has made some priceless creations at camp this year:

a-boat

They have “woodshop” at camp.  Isn’t this super cute?  This will be used as the centerpiece for the head table at his wedding.  (Just kidding…maybe…)

a-door

This is a tiny door.  I suppose that we could put it at the base of a tree, as if it was the entry to a gnome house?  Apparently, my son smacked his thumb with a hammer when making this.  Ahh…this is the timeless injury which began when early man first started using tools!  It’s 2014, and we still do it today.

thumb

Look at this ridiculous graphic that I found.  What kind of moronic image is this?  Who puts their thumb ON the nail????  Should that even be considered an accident???  Why do I immediately think of Congress when I see this?  I know that doesn’t make sense, as something is actually HAPPENING in this image.

But I digress…my son’s last creation from yesterday:

a-thingy

I forgot to ask my son what this is.  It looks like something that would be legal only in Colorado.  I’m not sure what they’re teaching those kids at camp, but I can overlook it because they make him lunch.  Yes, I’m THAT kind of mom.  I’m just glad that there is no licensing exam for being a mom, or else I’d be undoubtedly parenting without a license.

So, yesterday was the reception for a show of my drawings.  It was fun for me, because it is at my old office.  These were some images of the show last Friday when I was setting it up:

a-sasaki2

a-sasaki1

a-sasaki3

a-sasaki4

There is a blog write up about the show here.  It was great to see many of my former co-workers.  I was also really happy that some of my non-architect friends came as well.  I was kind of stressed about the show before I hung it, but I think that I had forgotten how nice everyone is at my old office.  I could tell that I wasn’t used to getting out much in the adult world because I referred to someone’s water bottle as a “sippy cup.”  WTH?  My son doesn’t even USE sippy cups anymore.  CLEARLY, you can take the mommy out of the house, but you can’t take the house out of the mommy.  Perhaps someday scientists will find some correlation between Stop & Shop and early onset Alzheimer’s?

I wore one of my latest creations to the reception:

a-tunicfront

I’m pretty happy with it!  My sewing skills are improving…thank god.  It’s hard to work with silk.  I’m realizing that silk chiffon is even worse, but I’ll show you that project when/if I finish it.  And the back:

a-tunicback

Do you think that I could sell these on Etsy?  Or, am I the only person what would wear this kind of thing?  Probably.  Growing up, I was always the weird kid who dressed strangely.  This clearly hasn’t changed with age.  It’s less endearing now because people don’t think, “How cute!” anymore…instead its, “Why is that old, fat lady dressed like that?”

Because she’s cray cray…that’s why.

Time to get back to my life and death battle with silk chiffon…so far the score is:  Silk Chiffon:3, Me:0.

 



Me WOOOT
June 9, 2014, 9:55 am
Filed under: Drawing, Sewing | Tags: , , , , , , ,

The school year is wrapping up, and I’m in panic mode thinking about what I’m going to do with my son before his camp begins.  I know that letting him eat candy all day whilst watching cartoons is NOT an option.  Hmm.  I also know that joining him to play Godzilla with his toys is also NOT an option, unless I want to go completely koo koo and wind up institutionalized.  I don’t do “imaginative play” with figurines well.  I don’t know why.  I can’t do it.  Build with blocks…yep.   Draw with markers…yep.  Action figures…nope.  Can’t do it.  I always end up doing something silly/hilarious, which makes my son mad.  Play is serious business!  I can’t play with action figures in a serious manner.  I just can’t.

In order to try to get some art exposure before the dreaded post-school/pre-camp weeks arrive, I went with a friend to First Friday in Boston.  We always have a good time checking out what the galleries have up.  We have an even better time getting the required “post-gallery-beer,” but I digress…  Barbara Moody, our studio critic for the A.P.T. program, had an opening that night at Kingston Gallery.  It was great to see her and her new work!  This is an image from the Kingston Gallery website:

a-moody1

Barbara Moody at Kingston Gallery

She creates wild landscapes that overrun fragments of architecture.  I love the color palette!  I love the marks, the layering, and the overall energy and vitality!  She also has a series of very small works that are bold collages of imagined landscapes.  Those were also wonderful.  Go see this show, as it will close on June 29.

We stopped by Steven Zevitas Gallery and saw the work of Ann Toebbe.

a-toebbe2

Anne Toebbe at Steven Zevitas Gallery

I loved her work!  She creates these flattened out domestic interiors from collaged paper.  Each one made you wonder who’s room it was, and whether they were all from the same house, or different houses…

a-toebbe1

 Anne Toebbe at Steven Zevitas Gallery

Aren’t these great????  My photos are terrible, so you have to go and see it for yourself.  Her work will be up until July 5.  Go see.  Now.

We also caught the work of Joe Fig at Carroll and Sons.  Joe Fig wrote a great book, Inside the Painter’s Studio, where he interviewed famous artists and then recreated their studios in miniature.  LOVE IT.  Here is what Leonardo Drew‘s studio must look like:

a-fig

Joe Fig at Carroll and Sons

It’s hard to appreciate the detail of Fig’s work.  Here is a bit of a close up:

a-fig2

Joe Fig at Carroll and Sons

This is TINY.  Can you believe it???  Look at the messy paint cans!  Look at the extension cords!  HOW DOES HE DO IT???  Anyway…I have his book, so I was thrilled to finally see on of his works in person.  I also love Leonardo Drew, so it was cool to have a peek into his world, even though it’s mini.  I really could have looked at this for hours, but then I didn’t want to get too many nose marks on the plexiglass case.  I should show this to my husband just to prove to him that I’m not the only messy person on the planet.  Joe Fig would rather eat one of his models than have to recreate my household chaos in miniature.

Besides making nose marks on plexiglass, I haven’t been up to much lately…except for THIS…CHECK IT OUT!!!

a-juki

WOO HOOOOO!  Yes, that’s a friggin’ SERGER!  Mwahahahahh…I’m sooooo excited.  Now, I plan to dash off shoddily made items with reckless and foolhardy speed.  1,500 stitches per minute!  Imagine what kind of trouble I can get into!!!  Here’s my first serger project:

a-shirt1

I know…I know…I should have ironed it…but remember?  I’m ironing-challenged!  I love this day-glo tomato color.  Side view:

a-shirt2

I look like I’m falling over.  Hmm…probably had the camera crooked.  ANYWAY…notice the ruching at the side seam????  My first time trying that out…it turned out okay!  Because this isn’t Vogue magazine, I didn’t Photoshop my backside to make it smaller.  If so, I would have posted this:

a-shirt2skinny

Don’t I look more skinny?  Ahh…the alchemy of Photoshop!  I hope that they incorporate that feature into the new Google glasses.  That way, everyone would look as they would like.  Kind of like beer goggles…but different.  I think that I’d make myself look like Zooey Deschanel, even though that change would be pretty traumatizing if someone took off their glasses.  Oh well.

 

a-shirt3

Not bad, right????  The pattern is one I drew up based upon I shirt that I already have.  I suppose that’s cheating, right?  The whole thing is so simple that it doesn’t seem like THAT original of a design…hmmm.  I’m a long way from Project Runway…especially as they would spit upon my serger.  BUT WHO CARES????  I love it. It’s “quick and dirty” sewing.  Actually, based upon my housekeeping skills, mine is mostly “dirty”…

So, my husband recently discovered the work of Hombre_McSteez.  He does AMAZING animations on acetate(?) held in front of some actual scene.  Please watch THIS VIDEO on Youtube to see some of his stuff…

a-mcsteez1

Hombre McSteez on Youtube

You also have to see his instagram feed…HERE.

a-mcsteez2

Hombre McSteez on Instagram

You’ll never look at a green bean the same way again.  At my house now, we all can’t stop saying, “I am a plant!”  or “Me WOOT!”

My parting words for today are: Me WOOOT!!!  Discuss amongst yourselves…

 



Elves and a snacking stupor…
March 14, 2014, 9:36 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

My son gets angry every time I buy Cheez-its, because I eat the whole box myself.  (Gross, I know.)  Maybe they have MSG in them?  (Grosser.)  They’re VERY addictive.

I have recently discovered a new snack food to eat excessively:

pickles

I know.  Grossest.  Try them!  They’re not bad.  I still think that salt & vinegar are more tasty, but I had to try these.  I remember in Spain that they had some Lay’s chips that were flavored like a ham sandwich.  Now, THAT’S gross.  (BTW that bag isn’t empty…YET.)

I recently finished another crafty project…a quilted purse!

purse2purse1

It was pretty labor intensive.  I’m going to figure out a way to get small elves to work on these while I sleep at night.  I’m also going to ask the elves to clean the house, since they’re already up.  I’m thinking of opening up an Etsy store.  Any thoughts?  Suggestions?  Words of wisdom?  Are elves hard to find?  They can’t be THAT hard to find, as everyone else’s house is much neater than mine, so they must be using elves.

Please don’t have them take me away and put me in a padded cell.  While that might be good for napping, I’m sure that they wouldn’t give me any Cheez-its.

My son is always creating fearsome drawings:

drawing1He’s 24.

Just kidding.  He’s six.  I love the “v” shaped mono-brow that all of the faces have.  I’m hoping that this truly is supposed to be a monster, and not just me on Monday morning.  I haven’t gotten my eyebrows done in ages, so I have a sinking suspicion that this is actually me.  At least my legs look skinny.

I’ve gotten a bit of “press” as a result of being in New American Paintings.  I got to be the “artist of the day” for March 1 on this website.

artist a day 2

C’mon people!  I need votes!  I only have 28 votes so far.  You aren’t allowed to vote if you don’t give me a perfect score.  Okay, just kidding.  Make it at least NEAR perfect.  It makes me feel better about my imperfections, like my “housekeeping blindness” ailment.  Very troubling.

I also got some press in the latest issue of Artscope magazine.

artscopeRight now, this series of drawings is still up in Dedham at the Mother Brook Arts and Community Center.  Can someone pick up a copy of this for me?  I live in the ‘burbs, and I only know of one local place that has this journal.  Otherwise, I’ll have to schlep into Boston to get some.  Sigh.  Just going to Stop and Shop seems like a major hassle…don’t make me drive 30 minutes to get into Boston.  I’ll have to locate my “good” pair of mom jeans for that excursion.

I’ve recently starting ice skating on a regular basis.  I skated a lot as a kid (not gracefully, mind you) as we lived near a small pond.  I forgot how fun it is!  I hate exercising, so this is pretty much the only way to get me to move around a bit, other than telling me that a fresh box of Cheez-its are in the next room.  I’m even starting to dabble with ice hockey.  I’m pretty terrible, though…so patience is key.  Not falling on my face is generally important too.  I think that the years of playing field hockey is actually doing me a disservice.  I keep forgetting that I’m standing on two, skinny blades on a sheet of ice.  Hmm.

Speaking of ice, my hands are frozen into two claws.  I’m typing this in our unheated basement.  I’m going to stop now, thaw out my hands by sticking them in my husband’s leftover coffee, and then probably finish the bag of pickle potato chips.

THEN, I’ll move onto the box of Cheez-its…



Brrrrboohoohoo!
February 28, 2014, 2:02 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing | Tags: , , , , ,

“BRRRBOOHOOHOO” means that I’m getting VERY TIRED of the temperature around here.

I know.

11 degrees isn’t THAT bad.  But when the wind  blows, it IS cold enough to make one’s face ache, fall to the ground, and get lost in a snow drift.  I almost tripped on mine the other day.  We sort of missed out on warming up during February vacation, as we didn’t go anywhere.   I was delirious with kindergartener fatigue for that entire week.  I found myself staring vacantly at a spot on the wall while my son talked incessantly about: double inverted fishtail bracelets, how he needs more rubber bands, and why it’s better to stay inside all day and make bracelets instead of going outside for sledding and exercise.  Because my son is obsessed with Rainbow Loom, we have an explosion of colored rubber bands all over the house, in addition to all of the bracelets/charms/actions figures that he makes.  He keeps reminding me that I said that it is the “worst toy in the world,” which I mistakenly said when I was in a fit of frustration trying to help him with some rubber band disaster project.  I get a migraine just thinking about it.

Actually, those days at home were much easier than the days with playdates.  I yearned for a large margarita both during, and after, every playdate.  Thankfully…there weren’t many of them as MOST people were gone because they had gone somewhere to thaw out.  In our house, that’s standing in front of the toaster oven.

Let it be said that I am thankful that we have both a house and a toaster oven.

The vacation was a general success, though, as we did manage to get through it without Mommy falling ill with a case of the vapours.  I threatened to do so numerous times.  In order to cope, I also obsessed over my own crafty projects:

kostojohnquilt

THAT…is a stupendous baby quilt that I made for a friend.  I even sewed on a poem:

kostojohnquilt1

I know that I can post this without spoiling the surprise, as new mom’s don’t have time to get changed out of spit-up covered pajamas, never mind read my mindless blog!

NEXT PROJECT:

kostojohnbagfront

Yes.  I made that.  I followed a pattern that I found online, so I can’t take credit for the design…but I CAN take credit for the snazzy fabric choices!  I’m using it to keep my knitting in…(more craft addictions…pls send help!)

kostojohnbagback

Check out the super cool lining!   I nearly broke my sewing machine with this…so next time, I’m using lighter weight fabrics.  OR…I am going to get an industrial sewing machine, which I’ll set up in the middle of the dining room.  (JUST KIDDING, HONEEEEEY!!!)

Besides showing you my ridiculous crafts…I am also proud to say that some of my drawings have been included in the latest issue of New American Paintings.

new american paintings 1

nap2

nap3

WOO HOO!!!!  Yes, I draw AND make garish things out of fabric.  Maybe I need to start drawing the garish things that I make out of fabric?  Maybe not.  I should probably start with some overdue housework first…

Nah.

The drawings in New American Paintings are actually up at a new arts center in Dedham right now: Motherbrook Arts and Community Center.

overall

It’s great to be included in this show, as there are many really talented artists who are also participating.  I’m going to show you the work of just a couple of people…

corcelle

Christiane Corcelle, Square 27

This gorgeous print is part of a series that Corcelle has done.  She specializes in carborundum collagraph printmaking.  I have taken several classes with her, and she is also a great teacher.  I LOVE this whole series…the colors…the transparency…the textures.  Amazing.

wakefield1

Martha Wakefield, Slip #11

Wakefield is one of the co-curators of the show.  She has an entire series of paintings on slips.  In each one, the slip is almost floating down off of the canvas.  She really captures the lightness and hidden quality of these garments (or rather, undergarments…).   They don’t hang as if suspended from a hanger, but they are almost drifting away…slightly billowing to suggest the form of the wearer.  Beautiful!

williamson

Jeanne Williamson, Fence as Lace #7

Williamson is the other co-curator.  She describes her own work as: “Contemporary abstractions that combine grids from orange construction fences and rich textured mixed media surfaces.”  She has taken such a neglected part of our landscape: plastic construction fences, and transformed/re imagined them into compelling works of art.  I love the neutral palette with limited color. The dark textures almost seem to relate to the construction origins of the material, whereas the dots of color (and the title) relate to textiles/femininity.  

Go see the show, as it’s up until March 21.  Please feel free to buy one of my drawings too, as I know that you’d love to have a picture of me on your wall!!!!  I go with most decor, especially Chinoiserie.

Actually, I just need more funds for my craft addiction…and maybe some groceries too.



Technicolor yawn
January 24, 2014, 10:40 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Sewing, textile forms | Tags: , , , , , ,

Where have I been???  What have I been doing???  Honestly…I have no idea.  I was SUPPOSED to post last week, but my beloved child was home with a fever.  We were all pretty much sick, and my husband is still on the mend.  DRAMA.

You know that it has been cold when 14 degrees Fahrenheit feels not so bad.  I’ve been wearing the same, over-sized wool sweater for what is likely a month.  I didn’t wear it today, as I had to meet with a museum curator…and I didn’t want to potentially offend her high aesthetic standards with my Sasquatch-like appearance.  How cold does it have to get for all standards of appearance to be eliminated in favor of comfort?  Clearly, that bar is never very high in my world.  I’m always wearing some kind of sad, D.I.Y. project.  It’s funny that after YEARS of being an architect, where we are trained (brainwashed?) to avoid color in favor of black, gray and white…my D.I.Y. projects are always crazy colorful.  I often think that my aesthetic sensibilities actually haven’t changed since I was seven years old, which is kind of sad…as I dressed kind of weird as a kid.  Things haven’t changed, I guess…

I finished up a knitting project recently:

a-front2

That’s the front…here is the back:

a-back2

Kind of neat, right?  I can’t take credit for the pattern…even though I changed the neckline…the cuffs…the length, etc.  This is not the sweater that I’ve been wearing for the past month.  The sweater that I’ve had on is more like a wool mu-mu.  This week, I realized why I can’t move somewhere warm…I’d have no reason to knit.

I’m totally serious.

You’re likely wondering when I’ll stop yammering about my technicolor craft projects, and move onto something more interesting.  Well, your wait is over!

My friend, Helen, has her work up at one of the well-known Boston galleries…

a-helenpayneHelen Payne, detail of installation “Here I Sit, Brokenhearted” at Bromfield Gallery, Boston

Here is the description of the installation:

An installation on bathroom tiles where drawings make visceral vignettes, showing moments ranging from giving birth to getting booked.  A shape-shifting protagonist emerges from the tiles. She morphs in time and race and limps along at odds with expectations but at one with viscera. 

“Here I Sit, Brokenhearted” is about the ill fit of the body and how our most private moments can play out in the public sphere.

Helen beautifully elucidates aspects of humanity (primarily vices and viscera) that are typically hidden.  Her work is both sensitive and bold.  Helen’s drawing fluency is as compelling as her chosen subjects.  Please check out her installation at Bromfield.  It will be up for a few months…but don’t procrastinate!  Go see it!  If you see something that looks kind of like Sasquatch at the gallery, come over and say, “hi.”  It’s probably me.

I’ve been sidetracked on a quilt project that I’ve been meaning to do for AGES.  Yes, I said “a quilt.”  Yes, I know that I’m supposed to be focusing on art, but as I just said…I’ve been getting a bit sidetracked as of late…

a-quiltSewing curves is challenging…so I decided to put myself in circle boot-camp by doing this koo koo quilt.  So far, it has been super fun…albeit a royal pain in the tush.  This is a mini-quilt…so the width is around 32″ or so.  Each of those little scallop shapes is probably 4″ wide.  In doing this quilt, I learned why people don’t normally use linen-type fabric for quilts (which I did.)  The weave of linen is so wide that it’s like trying to sew a piece of friggin’ GAUZE.

a-gauzeOkay, well not quite THAT bad…but almost that bad.  I fear that this quilt can never set foot in a washing machine, lest I want the thing to turn into a huge blob of colorful thread.  Kind of like this, but made out of thread:

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Do you know that’s actually a creature called a “blob fish?”  I kid you not.

Sigh.  I always have to learn things the hard way.  At least I can sew a half-decent circle now, in spite of the fact that I look like Sasquatch.

Speaking of blobs, did you read about that recent study that says that sitting too much will pretty much kill you???  WHA?  HOW?  WHO?  I have pretty much sat through my entire adult life.  Besides pulling all nighters at school and at work, where I was SUPPOSED to be sleeping but was just deliriously SITTING instead…all of my favorite hobbies and activities involve SITTING.  Can I possibly knit whilst hopping around?  Can I somehow read AND do jumping jacks?  How about sewing and yoga?  Quilting and Tae Bo?  No?

Upon hearing the bad news about sitting, I promptly slid down within my enormous wool sweater and pouted like that hideous blob fish.

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Boo.

I’m waiting for the study to come out that says sedentary craft activities are actually good for everyone’s health because they keep mommy happy.  And we know what a maelstrom of discontent mommy can be when she’s NOT HAPPY…

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Be thankful that you don’t live with me.

 



Cresmes and One lump or two…
January 3, 2014, 12:45 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve managed to make it through this holiday season with most of my sanity intact.  The snow day today and tomorrow, however, has REALLY made me borderline cray-cray.  If it hadn’t been 15 degrees outside, I might have just  bundled up my son and shoved him out to get him some FRESH AIR, and me some SANITY.  Alas…I was fearful that his cherubic cheeks would ice over, so we’ve been inside all day.  ALL DAAAAY.

I may have to go for a walk/trudge to Trader Joe’s tomorrow…just to get out.  I’ll just hang out there all day, eating samples and commenting on what people are buying, until I am asked to leave.  There’s a Starbucks next door, so I’ll just move my insanity show over there.  I suppose I’ll return home when I’m no longer welcome there either.

This has been a particularly busy time.  Not only was it Christmas…but my son’s birthday IS Christmas day, which adds complication and hysteria.  Not only that…just a few days before, I drove out to Cohoes, NY for the opening of a two-person show that I am in at The Foundry.  The show is titled, “The Human Condition + Communication Technologies,” and my series titled, “Are You Still There?” is on display.

a-kostojohn1Elizabeth Kostojohn at The Foundry

The work of the other artist, Nancy Daly, was SO interesting…

a-daly 1Nancy Daly, Status Update, at The Foundry

a-daly 2Nancy Daly, Looking for Love, at The Foundry

Her work comments on social media, its simultaneously transient yet permanent nature, and the vastness of it.  It’s just a coincidence that her work is as monochromatic as mine.   The pieces looked good together!

My best Christmas gift this year was not a nap or a box of chocolates, but an amazingly funny poster that my son’s teacher had him fill out.  I guess this poster is supposed to be an “about me” type of thing.  I love the fact that my son didn’t even ask for help in any way…he just grabbed a marker and set out working on it.  Here are some of the things that I learned about him:

a-pekokHe is six years old and his favorite animal is a “pekok.”  REALLY????  Since when does he like peacocks???  Look at his crazy self portrait….I love his arms.  He’s kind of “groovin'” along like he’s on Soul Train, or something.

a-familyYes, that’s our happy family.  I’m just glad that we’re all smiling.  Let’s hope that he remembers his childhood this way.  Mommy looks so relaxed and happy!  Look how wiggly I am!  Please also notice that his favorite color is white (wht?), and that his favorite food is “hot dog.”  So true.

a-cap codHere is his favorite place…no surprise here.  I notice that he omitted including the lyme disease infested deer ticks in the long grass, which he so lovingly drew.  Good call.  He also doesn’t show mommy yelling, “AAAAA!! GET OUT OF THE GRASS!!!!!”  Nice.

a-treehouseMake the treehouse?  WHAT???  I think that he and his dad must have come up with some idea about this.  I’m staying out of it so that I can’t be blamed when he falls out of the tree and DSS arrives.

a-demolisherOh, joy.  He wants to be a demolisher when her grows up.  Greaaaat.  Well, judging by the looks of our living room, I’d say that he’s going to be a natural.

a-cresmesOkay, how friggin’ cute is that???? He’s wishing for Christmas.  Notice that all that’s needed is himself, a present, and a tree.  Notice also the enormous grin on his face.  Mommy is probably still asleep upstairs in this image.  I know…I know…he didn’t wish for “peace on earth” or anything thoughtful like that.  We’re working on peaceful at home before we move onto the whole dang planet.

Besides this fantastically funny poster from my son, my other treat this holiday vacation was to get myself to the ICA to see Amy Sillman‘s show, “One Lump or Two,” JUST before the show closes on January 5.  I LOVED IT.  Sillman is a wry, master of color, and supremely talented.  I bask in her artistic brilliance.  Here are just a few of the highlights…

a-ocean 1Any Sillman, Ocean 1, 1977, Oil on Canvas

So gorgeous.  I love the use of primary colors…the contrast between the saturated background and the bold, graphic waves…the layering and transparency…ahhh.

a-gouacheAmy Sillman, The Umbrian Line, 1999-2000, Gouache on paper

This series of drawings is so beautiful.  Sillman’s colors and her mix of almost collage-like flatness with delicate linework in these works is amazing.  I felt like I could have stared at each one for an eternity.

a-portraitsAmy Sillman

This series of portraits was fantastic.  I love the distortions in the figures…they seem more real, as a result.

a-psychology todayAmy Sillman, Psychology Today, 2006, Oil on Canvas

She has many large, bold paintings with a combination of discernible figures and loose abstraction.  I think that one of the things that I really love about what she does is that she is always mixing unexpected colors, images, shapes, and ideas.  She can create both minimal drawings of great humor and enormous paintings with visceral intensity.  This show feels as if it gives a very rich view into this artist and her world.  Perhaps that is more a result of her willingness or desire to have herself revealed in these works?  Not sure…

a-bird in the handAmy Sillman, A Bird In the Hand, 2006, Oil on Canvas

a-shadeAmy Sillman, Shade, 2010, Oil on Canvas

a-drawerAmy Sillman, Drawer, 2010, Oil on Canvas

This is a MUST SEE show.  I’m sorry that I’m writing about it so late!  Sigh. Now, I’m getting panicky that it’s closing soon…it would take a small miracle for me to be able to see it again.  Best not push my luck…but YOU should see it.  I know that there is a blizzard outside, but if you head out now with your team of sled dogs…you’ll probably make it to the ICA in time to see this before it closes.  Hey…while you’re at it, pick me up along the way!  I’m lovely company, and I’ll bring you a bunch of extra samples from Trader Joe’s.  I PROMISE.



Searching for solace…

This has been a rather rough week.  A friend of mine, her two sons, and her husband died this week.  I won’t go into the details, as those are even worse.  I want to say something profound about the whole ordeal, and about her, but I’m at a bit of a loss.  I feel as if my brain stopped working this week…my thoughts have been stuck like a needle skipping on a record, repeating the same awful refrain.  Short periods of heartache and angst have been interspersed among longer periods of numbness.

I tried to find solace this week by going somewhere that I love:  The deCordova Museum.

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I have been coming here ever since I moved to the area in 1998.  I find it to be peaceful and beautiful.  It truly feels like an escape to me.  This week, it helped provide me with fresh air and a necessary, albeit temporary, distraction.  While I walked around like a bit of a zombie, there were things that made me smile and appreciate that there is still beauty in this world.  I don’t mean beauty in a superficial sense, but beauty of thought and sensibility. I present to you what I saw at the museum…because I can’t talk or think about my sadness right now.

a-genger1Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It was a cold and clear day.  I aimlessly meandered through the grounds and was drawn to this new installation by Orly Genger.  I first saw her work at Mass MOCA.  This specific piece was originally commissioned for Madison Square Park in NYC.

a-genger2Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

I love to knit, so the loopy, monumental, yet somehow furtive, quality of this work appeals to me.  I like that it becomes taller than a person at times, defying knitting’s typical scale and delicacy.

a-genger3Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

It winds its way around, changing from red, to yellow, to blue.

a-genger4Orly Genger, Red, Yellow and Blue, deCordova Museum

See how it winds around the grounds?  Knitting is very meditative, and I looked at all of the silent stitches and wondered about each one.

Inside the museum is the biennial exhibition…

a-murrowEthan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen 

Morrow’s work fills the main staircase at the museum.  His drawings are amazing.  Detail:

a-murrow2Ethan Morrow, Flotilla (detail), ball point pen

Isn’t that breathtaking? He has drawn gorgeous, ethereal ships floating up the expanse of the stair wall.  He included historical details and text along with his drawings.  I bask in his drawing brilliance.  You must go see this.

a-yurukogluBahar Yurukoglu, Primodial Future, Mixed media installation with projection

Please take a look at Yurukoglu’s website…it’s very interesting.  I like bright colors and transparency, so I liked where this was going.  Everything was wall bound…and I kind of wished that there was even more, somehow.  Look at his website…lots of beautiful images and stunning photographs.

a-bracialeLaura Braciale, Rods and Cones, Mixed media installation

I liked this piece.  I liked the translation of these odd objects into flat, 2D paintings.  It looks like some kind of research project to me…an experiment in perception.  I also like all of the white space (of course.)  You’ll see that there are quite a few installation pieces in this biennial.

a-jane4Xylor Jane, Magic Square for finding missing people,  Oil and colored pencil on panel

I really liked Jane’s work.  It felt very different to me.  At times, it almost seemed to be like a textile, with seams.  Her work was very bold.

a-jane3Xylor Jane, Via Crucis XII,  Oil on panel

There is something both dark and menacing, and happy and lighthearted about this piece.  Overall, it’s chromatically dark…but you can see the sort of rainbow palette with almost heart shapes throughout.  What you can’t see in this photo is the beautiful use of textures…the main background is a matte black, and the colors are glossy dots in a grid.  So cool!

a-jane2Xylor Jane, 2,3,5,7,  Oil, graphite, marker and colored pencil on panel

This was really fascinating.  This painting in particular felt like a quilt/textile…and yet it had such depth and transparency at the same time.

a-jane1Xylor Jane, Nox Rex #26, Hypnos,  Oil on panel

This is an amazingly detailed pointillist painting.  I can’t help but think of The Matrix. (Perhaps, I shouldn’t admit that? Does that automatically make me a total philistine?)  Again, the grid and precision are rigid, but the undulating colors brings some levity to the piece.  I love how her four pieces worked together.

a-gibersonPetrova Giberson, Tree Flowers, Mixed media installation

I really liked how this piece and its shadows interacted.  It’s kind of like a sad, old comforter that somehow went to heaven.  It’s hard to see, but there is a line of threads hanging from the ceiling to the right of the comforter, which created an interesting threshold.  The whole piece had a very intriguing way of occupying the space.

Upstairs, there was more to see…

a-gross1Rachel Gross, woodblock print and acrylic

First off, I want to apologize to Rachel Gross because I did not keep track of what the title of this piece is.  In any event, Gross’s work is stunning.  Her woodblock prints are some of the most beautiful that I’ve seen.  Please take a look at her blog.  I love the layering, textures, color palette, composition…everything.

a-gross2Rachel Gross, Pink Box, Woodblock print with spray paint

I love the simplicity of this.  I love the crinkled paper and flat texture of the wood grain.  (I also love hot pink…)

a-abbas1Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

Again, my apologies to Hamra Abbas, as I don’t know which number this work is in the series.  Abbas does miniature paintings of the Kaaba, contemplating its historic, religious, and everyday influence.  She then has the miniature paintings photographed and enlarged to form these prints.  They have a mysterious and atmospheric feel to them.

a-abbas2Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This is so luminous…with both flatness and three dimensionality…

a-abbas3Hamra Abbas, Kaaba Pictures 1-7, archival pigment prints on dibond

This has a fairytale feel to it…beautiful!

The final artist that I’m going to show is someone who’s work I love, and who I managed to meet at an open studio that he had.

a-palocci4Anthony Palocci, Jr., Empty Fridge, oil on canvas

Don’t you love it?  He just looks at everyday household objects and reinvents them.  Brilliant.

a-palocci2Anthony Palocci, Jr., T.V., oil on canvas

I love the cold glow of this T.V. So amazing…

a-palocci1Anthony Palocci, Jr., Phone Call, oil on canvas

I love this too!  It’s sort of humorous…but there is something “vacant” about all of his work.  The viewer is looking at these objects distilled to pattern and value.  They’re so ubiquitous, yet now they have a sort of uncanny feel to them…

a-palocci3Anthony Palocci, Jr., Window Fan, oil on canvas

This is a large painting.  Take a look at his website to get a sense how how large it is.  It’s as if something that is normally forgotten and silent has somehow been given a voice.

a-palocci5Anthony Palocci, Jr., A/C, oil on canvas

I took a photo of this painting with context, so that you can see some of what I perceive as the humor in this work.  It doesn’t look odd to see an A/C unit sticking out of a wall…but this is a painting, of course.  I thought this was a wry location for the work…

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Well, I’m signing off. It’s been a long week.

On Tuesday, there will be a vigil held for my friend and her family.  If you’re in the Arlington, MA area and would like the details…let me know.

Peace be with them…



Zip-a-dee-do-da

This past Wednesday, I got back from a fabulous FIVE DAYS IN PUERTO RICO.  No, it’s not April 1, I’m serious.  This was a birthday celebration that my friends and I did because we are all turning/have turned 40 this year.  SCARY!  Luckily, we still have the maturity level that we did back in high school, so we had a blast.

Before I left on my trip, however, my son made me this birthday cake:

a-halloween cake

I think that it says “Halloween…40…For Mom.”  I thought this was hilarious.  Isn’t it creative, and adorable???  Look at the candle he drew!  Awesome.  It was pretty odd to be leaving my family for 5 days, as I haven’t gone anywhere since my son was born.  For me, a trip to the grocery store is a big to-do.

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Umm…let me just say that the oddness quickly went away as I was in pure Mommy heaven for those five days.  Sitting by the pool…sitting by the beach…going for a swim…reading and finishing Orange Is The New Black…and gabbing almost continuously with a cocktail in hand.  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE????

a-laconcha3This was my view one morning.  I know.  Ridiculous, right?  If I didn’t have a son and husband, I might not have come back!  Sigh.  I had to swap my flip flops for socks and boots when I came back to the Boston area.  BRRR.

Okay, while we were outrageously decadent and lazy, we didn’t sit around the WHOLE time.  We did go zip lining one afternoon:

ziplineThis was beyond fun.  (This is a photo of one of my friends…who shall remain anonymous…gracias.)  I have no idea how fast you go on these, but it feels like 40 mph.  Actually, when you’re midway…the wind is whipping past you and you’re looking at the amazing scenery…you don’t really notice how fast you’re going.  BUT, when you are hurtling towards the end, then it gets a bit disconcerting as you can’t imagine how you could possibly stop without crashing into the cable support.  Luckily, they have some kind of braking mechanism that kicks in during the last 20 feet.  It’s kind of like how a roller coaster stops at the end…jarring, yet efficient.  Most of the photos I have of people coming in are just a blur.

Okay.  So, now I think that we need a zipline in our yard.  Right???  (You must agree.)  I’m a housefrau re-evaluating the laundry line for alternative purposes.  During the day…it’s mommy’s koo koo adrenaline ride… but when my son/husband is home, it’s got clean towels on it again.  Brilliant!  I think that the neighbors already think I’m crazy, but this will ensure that they never come to my house to borrow any butter.  Now, if I could only zip line to Starbucks and back, then I’d be a happy camper…

While I didn’t see ANY art on my vacation…I went yesterday to see the opening of the small group show that I am participating in.  It’s in Harvard Square, so all you locals have no excuse for not stopping by…

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Cambridge Art Association show

Let me just say that the work by the other artists is really amazing.  I’ll show you some of the pieces:

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Ann Strassman, Singularities IX – (Woman with cigarette)

Strassman does these fascinating portraits of people about town, often on a park bench.  She uses discarded boxes as her canvas.  I love how the people are caught in these familiar scenes…unaware of the viewer.  I also love the cardboard with it’s own mundane story.  Amazing!

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Patricia Schappler, Coming and Going

Schappler does ENORMOUS, phenomenal drawing/collage/paintings.  Mind blowing.  I love the mixed media…the layers, the beautiful way that she draws.  So gorgeous.

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Daniel Kornrumpf, Mr. David Lasely

Kornrumpf does GORGEOUS portraits that have an unfinished and open ended feel because he often doesn’t paint parts that he has sketched in.  There is a beautiful mix of complete/incompleteness to his work.  Even his line drawing/painting is amazing.  His sense of color, composition, and overall skill is breathtaking.  I love that the subjects are often pensive and relaxed…aware that they are having a portrait painted, yet real and at ease.  His work reminds me of Alice Neel, whose work I also revere.

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Yair Melamed, The Extrovert

Melamed is a physician AND a photographer.  I couldn’t find a website for him.  I absolutely love the contrast between her gray hair/background and her warm face.  I love how her face fills the frame.  He has a series of really compelling photographs…a must see.

My own work is minimal in comparison:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? series

Because my work is so small, I think that it’s good that they are grouped together.  I wish the lighting was a bit better, as there isn’t direct lighting on the drawings…just the downlights for the hallway.  As a result, I think that the drawings look slightly washed out.  Hmm!  In any event, I am super grateful to be participating in this show with these other, talented artists.  The show is in the University Place building, at 124 Mt. Auburn Street.  Go see it!

Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I’ve got a clothes/zip line and a latte calling my name…

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Starbucks, here I come!!!  Make mine a double!!!




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