slightly wonky

The future is blobby…
March 28, 2013, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

WELL.  This was an exciting week because:

1. I got some work done.

2.  It didn’t snow.

Is the bar set a little low here?  Probably.  Wellll, as long as I can rest my drink on it, it’s fiiiine with me!  Did I mention that I did three loads of laundry today?  YES!!!  WATCH OUT, MARTHA STEWART!!!

Now, I’m sure that some of you performed brain surgery, or split an atom or two, or whatnot.  I drew and did laundry. (so nyah!!!)  Such is the life of the hybrid housefrau/artist.  No, I didn’t draw my laundry, (I barely folded it for Lord’s sake) but that’s definitely going to be my next series.  I’m trying to keep this new series under wraps until I have TWO drawings done, as you don’t really have a much of a series without at least TWO, right? (Or is that just to make a thing go right, a la Rob Base?)

Are you still reading???  AMAZING!

So, tonight I went to the opening of my advisor’s new show at the Concord Art Association.  The show is titled, “A Room of Our Own.”  On exhibit is the work of a group of female artists who regularly meet to discuss the profession and support one another.  The title of the show is, of course, a reference to Virginia Woolf’s, A Room of One’s Own.  These artists and their careers have been enriched not just because they each have “a room of one’s own” (a studio), but also because they have had each other.  Lovely!  The show is curated by Merrill Comeau.  I have some images, but not many…as it was a crowded event!


Adria Arch, Red Blue Diptych

So THIS is the work of my advisor!  Don’t you love it?  I’m sorry for the weird angle of the photo, but it was impossible to get directly in front of it and back up far enough for a good shot.  Her work is inspired by the subconscious mark-making of others.  She plays with scale, color, layering, etc.  It was great to see her and hear her talk about her work.


Kathleen Volp, The Town

You might recognize this artist’s name, as I featured her in another recent post.  It was great to hear her talk about her work as well!  This piece was about the universal pain of loss.  Very beautiful.  She’s really masterful with both material and image.  I was hoping to chat with her, but she wasn’t feeling well and left soon after speaking.


Margot Stage, Water Words

This artist described herself as a bit of a scavenger…taking delight in the often overlooked objects that she finds on her walks.  This series incorporates driftwood in a study of repetition of form.  I should have taken a close up so that you could see the detail of her work, comprised of driftwood and brass rods.  I like how she’s arranged them, not in a linear was as a sort of “sentence,” but as almost the visual representation of primordial sounds.  I also think of the scratchy marks of a polygraph, revealing what is invisible to the eye.


Ilana Manolson, Navigation I

Ilana Manolson is well known for her gorgeous, watery landscapes.  Here, she is also incorporating some image transfer of what must be nautical charts, reminiscent of ripples of water.  It’s fascinating to see her subtle painting overlap and interact with the clean lines of the transfer.


Jeanne Williamson, (Fence) Shirts and (Hot) Flashes #1 – 6

Now, I was lucky enough to be introduced to this artist.  I’ve seen her work in many other shows, so it was really nice to finally meet her.  I love how graphic these are, but if you could see them up close, you would notice the delicate stitching throughout each piece.  They are compelling on many scales.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get photos of all of the artists (not even close to getting it of all of the work.)  SO, you’ll have to GO and see the show yourself!  Ahem, that’s an order.  Since quitting my job to be a better mommy, I’m good at dishing out tasks, but not so good at completing them myself…I used to be the opposite when I was working, so I feel that this shows some “growth.”  Again…pulling myself up to that LOW bar…

Did I mention that I did three loads of laundry today?

Okay, besides laundry, I also finished knitting a hat that I’ve been toiling over for a few weeks:


Cute, right?  I had to rip out 1/4 of it, when I decided that I didn’t like the colorway of the second ball of yarn.  AND, I made a pom pom.  Check THAT out, you atom-splitters out there…

My son brought home this creation from school today:


He tells me that it is a house.  I love it.  I love it not because I’m an architect and I’m partial to buildings, but because this lumpy, misshapen thing on the curling paper plate is my son’s design.  I’m wondering what the significance of the yarn halo is at the top, but I’ll have to ask about it tomorrow.  No, my son is NOT a first year student in an MArch program…nor was this a study model for Selfidges by Future Systems:


That’s fondly called “Blobitecture.”  NOT my cup of tea, thankyouverymuch.  I’m all for design that pushed the envelope, just not quite like THAT.  Push it back.  Please.

No, my son is in preschool.  By the time he’s old enough to be in an MArch program, we’ll all be living in blobitecture pods, eating synthetic meat, and using a 3D printer to make everything from our clothes to our houses.  I’ll be crabby and sullen and complaining that he doesn’t come to visit me in my retirement pod, nor does he bring me any synthetic meals, nor does his online avatar ever call.  Ever.  Actually, by then I’ll probably not know how to even answer a phone…so i’ll just end up accidentally turning on the robotic lawnmower instead of accepting his call.


At least I”ll HAVE a robotic lawnmower…


Ahhh…the Cape
September 7, 2012, 9:10 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., travel | Tags: , ,

I have no artwork to show you, as we were at the Cape last week.  Sooo…lovely.  I love escaping from my own house and routines.  Yes, we still had to do the dishes, cooking, and laundry while we were there…BUT we didn’t have to WORK!  (even though I love my work) 

We went to the beach!  We went for a walk!  AND, I ate numerous fried clams and soft serve ice creams.  I think that I gained ten pounds there…so I’m feeling a bit squishy as a result.

One fabulous thing that I got to do was go to the Provincetown Art Association (PAAM) for 20 WHOLE MINUTES, but hey…better than nothing!  (note the air of grouchy domestic angst) 

It’s a lovely building designed by Machado Silvetti.  Check it out:

Apparently, there was a lot of flak from locals who wanted the building to look like an old house, even though the NEW building WASN’T an old house.  This gives many architects migraines, including me.  I understand that people are more comfortable with a plastic McMansion (which is bad), than a contemporary eyesore (which is also bad).  BUT…if you hire talented people, you can get contemporary, contextual AND beautiful.  Sometimes, though…I don’t totally begrudge fake-traditional.  Take the rest stops on the Mass Pike:

It looks like residential architecture, not commercial.  Maybe that’s ok in this instance, as people are travelling and would prefer to be led to believe that they’re eating at someone’s “house”, and not in a “food court”???  Those dormer windows though…there isn’t anything up there.  I tried to find an example of good, contemporary rest stop design…but I couldn’t find anything.

This is a reststop in Georgia.  No, not our Georgia…the other one.  It’s by J. Mayer H. architects in Germany.  Now, I’m NOT suggesting that this would have been good for the Mass Pike…but they’ve definitely not made their reststop into a McMansion.  Here’s a little airport that they did:

Now, THAT…I think is lovely.  We’d never do that in the US.  Sad.

ANYHOO…what a ridiculous tangent!  I was going to talk about the Robert Motherwell show at the PAAM, but instead I got onto REST STOPS????  What’s wrong with me?

Just so you know…the Motherwell show was lovely.  He has a series of ink drawings which are meant to embody the power and force of the sea.  They were really amazing.

If you can get to the show…I’d recommend it.  It’s open until Sept. 30.  I may be inspired to thow some paint around as a result.  Looking at the state of our kitchen cabinets, though… what I should actually be doing is picking up a brush and painting those instead.  Maybe they need some splashy black blotches on them?  No?  Could go with the splashy dirt blotches?  Eww…so gross.

Just kidding!  (nervous laughter)

I should probably go on some kind of diet now to lose my fried clam pudge.  Maybe I’ll start by only eating stuff that we grow in our garden???  Example:

This is our carrot.  I’m going to look like Heidi Klum in a week if I stick to this diet! 

Actually, the odds are not good that I will either:

a. stick to a diet

b. look like Heidi Klum…EVER. 

The bottom of her FOOT is probably nicer than mine.  Actually, everyone within a 1/2 mile radius is likely to have more pampered feet than I have.  Hmph.  At least I don’t wear those shoes with the toes.  Perhaps, I should, though….

What should I even call this post???
June 1, 2012, 3:53 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags: , , ,

You know that it’s going to be a snoozefest if I can’t even come up with a title for this post.  Why bother with a title, you ask?  Or, why bother with this post?  WELL…if I asked myself THAT question too often, I wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning.  So…why not?  (has anyone out there been to “Perche No” in Florence, Italy? two words: bacio gelato…but i digress)

So, this week, I’ve been slaving over a drawing that I’m not sure is really turning out too well.  I’m trying to use a different medium.  Normally, I use graphite on Duralar.  THIS WEEK, however, my advisor suggested that I coat some cradled plywood with absorbent ground, and draw on that.  WELL.  I think that if I was better at PAINTING…and could have applied a SMOOTH layer of absorbent ground…then this might have been more successful.  (notice how I deflect the cause of the problem to the board, and not me)   Here it is:

Okay…it’s NOT done yet.  Still…I think that it still may be a bit off.  I’ve changed the vantage of my usual still life subject so that you can better see the impact of the hammer on the pear.  Do you think that it’s effective?  Or, is it just weird?  Actually, don’t answer that.  Nevermind.  Perhaps when I finish it, it will feel ok.  Here is a side view, so you can see the board that I’m drawing on:

HMM! It’s so different than the thin and translucent Duralar…

We visited some friends over the long weekend who have a fantabulous house on Cape Cod.  Yes, it’s true.  Not only do they have a HOUSE there…but it’s dreamy as well.  In all honesty…after just three days in that house/with those friends/at the Cape, I felt so refreshed.  That’s amazing when you consider that my 4 yr old son and their 4 yr old son played the entire time.  In other words: shrieking laughter whilst the boys throw things at mating horseshoe crabs, etc.  Luckily, we weren’t thrown out by the Audubon “crab copulation” police.  If there are fewer horseshoe crabs next year, it’s because our kids distrupted their love-fest.  It’s so refreshing to take a break from helicopter parenting, and just say “who cares?” 

ANYWAY…that weekend made me fantasize about my own dreamy house.  Here is what our house looks like:

Pretty typical, huh?  It has painted white shingles…a stone foundation…brick steps…original, dilapidated windows…you know, the norm.  It’s a very sweet house.  (“sweet” is a euphemism for “tiny”)  But, I’m NOT complaining…it’s really lovely.  We’re sooo lucky to have it.  BUT…wouldn’t it be NEATO to live in a more modern house, like THIS one???

 Servie Boetzkes and Jeroen Helder

Isn’t it GREAT????  No, I don’t think that it’s Darth Vader’s European hideout, thankyouverymuch.  This house is designed by Boetzkes and Helder.  OF COURSE, it’s in the Netherlands…not the ‘burbs of Boston.  Here is a closeup of the metal panel exterior:

DREAMY!  Or, as I used to say when I was working as an architect: BUTTERY!  (that’s not a technical term, fyi)

I have no artwork completed by my son to show you.  I know.  That’s why you read this blog, isn’t it?  If that’s not why, then I’m not sure what’s left, honestly.  ANYHOO, here is the work of an uber-talented artist you should look at:


This is the work of German street artist, EVOL.  Umm…that’s a painting…on a piece of scrap cardboard.  SCRAP CARDBOARD…for Lord’s sake.  Here I am, whining about working on cradled plywood…and he’s making crazy paintings out of cardboard.  Here’s another:


Are. You. Kidding. Me.

Sigh.  I’d love to have that on the wall of my Darth Vader house at the Cape.

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.


Whatever I am…
November 23, 2010, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Today, someone at my old office sent me photos of a project that I worked on.  It was an addition/renovation to a dining hall.  It looks really good!  The building was pretty much designed before they brought me on, but I had the task of coordinating and detailing the exterior.  Needless to say, it was stressful, but I was working with a great team of people.  If I remember correctly, there were just three of us doing the drawings!  Anyway…why do I bring this up?  Well, I can’t help but feel an odd pang when I see the building.  I am thinking, “I used to do that”…”I was good at that”…”What am I doing now?”…”Why am I throwing away all that I know, to start again?”

Whatever it is that I’m doing now, I’m a beginner.  This is tough to be a beginner, so late in life.  I used to know what I was doing.  Yes, I had way too much to do, but I knew what had to be done and I was good at doing it.  Now…I’m a beginner…muddling my way along…trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing.

Every time I meet up with a friend, they ask me how “things” are going.  Good question.  No good answer available.  I’m trying lots of things: printmaking, painting, screen printing, sewing, felting, etc. etc. etc.  But what exactly do I have to show for myself?  A very odd arrangement of things in progress… Some things I am happy with, many things I am chalking up to experience.

I have been advised to think of myself as an “artist”.  This feels a little premature, and quite a bit of a stretch.  So, I don’t know what I am.  I know that people spend a lifetime trying to figure out who/what they are.  I’m finally stopping to ask myself that question.  It took me long enough!  I feel grateful that I am able to ask.  I wish that I had a profound answer.  I don’t so far.  I just have a collection of odd things.  In any event, I am happy to have this collection of odd things.  It may not make sense to anyone else, but these odd things are dear to me…more so than the lovely, praiseworthy building.  While the building represents my former life as a “take no prisoners/stress-case” architect, the odd things represent my current self…wondering, struggling, searching and hoping.

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