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?

omalley

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:

payne 2

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).

payne 5

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.

payne 6

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!!!



Halloween fatique assuaged by a better cup of tea…
October 30, 2014, 2:31 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

Halloween is nearly upon us, and  I’m already exhausted by the whole thing.  My son keeps telling me ways that we could make our house look MORE SCARY, with fake tombstones, etc.  He doesn’t seem to realize that because of my poor housekeeping skills, the house already IS scary.  WAAAAY scary.  Case in point:  a contractor was over yesterday installing new storm windows.  When he came inside to do something, he asked, “Got several kids?”  My response was, “No.  One child, and one poor housekeeper.”  Sheesh.

My skills lie elsewhere.  I don’t yet have the map to that “elsewhere”, but I’ll let you know when I get there.

I spent gobs of time making my son’s costume this year.  He wants to be a dragon.  I balked.  Why can’t he be something EASIER?  So many kids are going as ninjas.  What a simple costume!  Just have them wear black clothes and wrap a black cloth around their head.  Simple!  Done!  Or, better yet, a black ski mask!  I kept trying to convince my son that a viking would be just as cool as a dragon, and infinitely easier to make.  But, no.  He’s spoiled by my craftiness, so he knows that a dragon costume is the better thing to push for.  So, here it is:

a-costume front

a-costume back

If I thought that I could make these quickly, it would be smart to make some for my Etsy store.  Perhaps I should start now, and I might have one or two made by next Halloween?  Perhaps I need to start drinking caffeine again?  No…that’s a bad idea, as mommy is already high-strung.  Doesn’t this look like a dead bat on the floor, or is that just me?  FYI…I may eat all of the Halloween candy before tomorrow…I am both filled with remorse…and chocolate.

But enough about my ridiculous domestic chaos…my printmaking teacher and friend, Christiane Corcelle, has a solo show titled, “A Better Cup of Tea” at Artspace in Maynard, Ma.  This show closes TOMORROW (Oct. 31) so you must go NOW to see it!  It’s a great show, and I was really happy to see what great things she has been making.  Here are some images from the show…

choissisez 1

Christiane Corcelle, Choisissez Votre Chapeau!

and a detail:

choissisez 2

Christiane Corcelle, Choisissez Votre Chapeau! (detail)

I love the image transfers of vintage illustrations on teabags.  The texture is so fascinating!  I think that it would be cool to make a garment/coat out of these layered teabags.

going green

Christiane Corcelle, Going Green

This, believe it or not, these colored squares are teabag wrappers that Corcelle has printed on, then collaged.  I love the simplicity of the black ink on the colored wrappers.  This would also make a fantastic quilt.

kaleidoscope

Christiane Corcelle, Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope 2

Christiane Corcelle, Kaleidoscope (detail)

Corcelle has collaged tea bag labels, including their strings.  I especially liked this one in the center of the image…I think because some of the labels were tea stained.  Don’t you love the effect of the hanging strings?  You can imagine that each board is a different person, with their own tea drinking preference/personality.

T-duck

Christiane Corcelle, T-Duck

Okay, I LOVE this.  This may be my favorite piece in the show.  I love how simple, yet graphic the form is.  I love the shadow that is cast by it.  It makes me think of some kind of Duchamp readymade (although this is clearly not quite “ready made”.)  Brilliant!

melt series

Christiane Corcelle, Melt Series (detail)

Can you guess what those blue blobs are?  Yes, they are MELTED MILK BOTTLE CAPS.  Amazing, right?  I love how bold and irregular each one is.  She has a whole series of these.

red ticket

Christiane Corcelle, Red Ticket (detail)

I’m sorry that I only have a detail photo of this piece.  The overall photo that I took is pretty blurry.  Again, Corcelle has hidden little found treasures in these used teabags.  I love that there is some organization to the arrangement of the items…and I love the unifying color scheme.

Great show.  Overall, I tended to prefer the pieces that kept the teabags lose and flexible in some way, like in Red Ticket and T-duck, as opposed to where the items were more rigidly collaged, as in Kaleidoscope.  Perhaps because the teabags seem to be almost a textile, I like when they maintain their soft/loose quality.

For those of you in the Boston area, some of my drawings are going to be included in a show, “Drawings Out of Lines and Marks” in the South End.  The reception is November 13 from 6-8pm.  I’m super excited, as the other artists are uber talented.

drawing

Now, to figure out what we should have for dinner tonight…does a mystery vegetable from the freezer sound appealing?  What about just having Cheez-its and some Halloween candy?

If you’re thinking of calling DSS, my name is “Cindy” and I live in Omaha.  Thank you for your concern.



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.



Groundhog grumpiness…
February 7, 2014, 9:46 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., textile forms | Tags: , , , , , ,

If this post seems grumpy, it’s just S.A.D.  Those of us in the Northeast embrace this seasonal grumpiness by complaining about the temperature, the snow, the temperature of the snow, shoveling, lack of parking, lack of daylight, lack of warmth, and the general fatigue and malaise induced by constantly having to spend half an hour putting on layers of clothes to go outside, and another half an hour taking them off when we come inside.   There’s also hat head and/or static electricity.

a-snow

Can we ship some of our snow to drought-ridden California?  I’d be more than happy to stuff some into a Tyvek envelope and send it over.

a-snow 2

This is what our deck furniture looked like during the blizzard on Wednesday.  Hmm.  I guess the cursed groundhog saw his shadow the day before. Evil creature! Vile vermin! (Maybe a groundhog can’t be vermin?  Too big???)  Speaking of groundhogs…LOOK WHAT MY SON MADE THIS WEEK AT SCHOOL:

a-groundhog

I might have to keep this FOREVER.  I assumed that this was a popsicle. I was told that this was not the case, and that this is obviously a groundhog.

a-hoghome

Oh.  That clears everything up.  I think that the background paper should have been white, not green, just for the sake of accuracy.  (Actually, I should think that at the current temperature outside, all groundhogs are kind of like popsicles, right?)  Please excuse my blurry image, but THERE ISN’T ENOUGH LIGHT in the dead of winter to take an indoor photo.

Tonight, I am going to the opening reception of a group show that I’m in.  It’s being held at the Motherbrook Arts Center in Dedham.  I’m looking forward to seeing the work of the other artists!

a-art

I may have to gear up my team of sled dogs to get over there.  I wonder if I can go through EZ Pass lane on the Mass Pike with sled dogs? Stopping to pick up a ticket will really slow me down.

a-sled dogs

Can I at least go in the carpool lane?  No?

Besides complaining about the snow and doing rainbow loom nonsense with my son, ad infinitum…I also finished up that little quilt that I was working on:

a-quilt

Kind of cute, right?  The back:

a-quiltback

Now that I look at it again…those scallop shapes are starting to look like groundhogs to me.

a-quilteyes

Hmm.  Maybe I need some fresh air?  I may have to put myself in a Tyvek envelope to be mailed to California…it’s warm there, right?  I’ll say “hi” to the California raisins for you…

 



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.

a-decordova3

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…

a-decordova

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!!!



Is it Halloween yet????
October 11, 2013, 3:43 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

I had NO time to see any art these past couple of weeks (save for the stuff that my son makes, but more on that later…)  I have, however, rediscovered shrinky dinks in the past week, which I am now OBSESSED with.  The only negative is that I’m convinced that by baking them, toxic vapors are released into my home.  Is this irrational?  This is the reason why I haven’t bought any of those “melty beads,” that kids love so much. (well, I also don’t feel like sweeping up spilled beads for the next six months…)

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That’s a whole lot of plastic.  How in God’s name did they even do that?  Maybe they used a hairdryer? I thought that you had to use an iron to fuse them?  More importantly: why do I think that “shrinky dinks” are less toxic that these “melty beads?’ Who knows.

In an effort for your mind not to go completely numb, I did find some art online that I thought looked pretty amazing.  Check out this FANTASTIC artist whom I thought I should share…MYRIAM DION.

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Myriam Dion

That started out as a newspaper page.  NEWSPAPER.  She takes newspapers and turns them into beautiful lace.  Is this not mind blowing?  Don’t you think it’s phenomenal?????  Look at the detail of her work:

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Myriam Dion

Is that not completely gorgeous?  Her work is sooo breathtaking.  Please check out the links that I provided to her website.  She’s from Montreal, so the website is in French.  Here are many of her pieces together, with the paper scraps below:

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Myriam Dion

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Myriam Dion

Look at the papers draped together on the floor!  AMAZING.  I am in complete awe.  I would LOOOVE to see these in person.  What are the chances that she’ll come to Boston?  Hmm.  Well, it’s slightly warmer here…but then again, we have less fashion sense and most of us don’t speak French.  Hmm.  Yes, WHY would she come here?  Sigh.  Nevermind.

What’s also incredible is that I can’t imagine that these pieces will last, as newspaper is so fragile.  She has created beauty of what is normally depressing and dirty.  (Why does this immediately make me think of my lack of housekeeping skills???)  I should get inspired to pick up around here.  Or not.

Speaking of paper…my son has taken it upon himself to make Halloween decor for the house.  Sigh.  Clearly, my string of pumpkin lights aren’t enough.  He felt the need to make THIS:

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That’s a zombie.

And THIS:

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That’s a mummy.

And THIS:

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That’s me.  (just kidding!!! Sort of…)  I helped him a bit with this one, I confess. My arms and hands aren’t really that big, though…BTW…

He also convinced me to buy this pumpkin carving kit:

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Do NOT be tricked into getting this.  Yes, it is “safer” than using a kitchen knife.  It becomes less safe, however, when your five year old keeps wanting to point out with his little fingers where you should be cutting WHILE you are cutting.  They should have provided a set of handcuffs for the kids.  My beef with this project is this: carving a really detailed pumpkin, while impressive, is A TOTAL PAIN IN THE TUSH.  Here’s how ours turned out:

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I know.  This isn’t even THAT detailed, but it felt like it took aaaaages.  Probably because I was frantically trying to work on it whilst making dinner.  I’m a mommy who multitasks.  My son was also interested in somehow doing the QR code, as shown on the kit:

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No joke.  I tried to explain to him gently that carving this would likely cause mommy to want to perform hara-kiri with the pumpkin knife. I’m sure that if Myriam Dion did a pumpkin, it would be pretty phenomenal.  I’m just going to settle for “happy that I didn’t cut off anyone’s finger.”

Halloween is still 20 days away.  I’m not sure I’m going to make it with my sanity, and fingers, intact…



Still lifes on steroids…WALCAM!

I know…I know…it’s been TWO WEEKS since I last posted.  Sigh.  Things are just so busy.  Hopefully, to make up for missing the past two Fridays, this post is an image-filled extravaganza, so hang onto your triple espresso…(and get me one while you’re at it!  Make it a decaf though…I have plenty of self-induced stress, so I don’t need to rely on caffeine to put me in a state of hysterics…)

So, my big news is that the group show that I’m participating in (Still Life Lives!) opened last week at the Fitchburg Art Museum.  WOO HOO!  I was thrilled to see some of you come out to see it.  Thank you!!!  I totally appreciate the time and energy it took to head out there.  I hope that everyone found it worthwhile, as I think it’s a very interesting show.

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Nameless Problem #2 & #1, 2013

Here are two drawings from my new series!  (Yes, that’s food.)  I think that they looked pretty good.  It’s hard not to panic when your work is on the wall.  But, as I wasn’t wearing a name tag, I managed to calm down a bit…

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, 6 drawings from Hurt & Damage series

These are more of my drawings!  I’m happy to see them up.  This show is kind of a big deal for me, as I’ve got two bodies of work up…never mind being amongst the super talented people that are also participating.  I kind of wish that we had name tags, as I would have liked to have met some of the uber talented artists!

But enough about me…here is some of the AMAZING work that is up…

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Emily Eveleth, Snake Eyes, 2000, Oil on Canvas

I wish I had a wall in my house big enough for this painting.  It is stunningly beautiful.  Eveleth’s mastery of oil painting captures the soft and sticky essence of her subject in an intense gaze.  This painting alone is reason enough to come to the show.  This painting is breathtaking and mesmerizing.  It’s gorgeous even on this lousy computer screen. It will blow your mind in real life…

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Mary Kocol, White Crabapple Blooming Branch, 2011, photograph

Kocol had several photographs from her Ice Garden series.  These are AMAZING.  In spite of being frozen, there is something very dynamic about these images.  I think that’s particularly true of the images where you can clearly see the sky beyond.  I keep thinking, “POW!” in my head.  (Please don’t ask me to explain myself…I am neither a writer, nor an art critic…)  So beautiful.  I love it.

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Georgia O’Keeffe, Untitled (Pink Camellia), 1935, Pastel

Oh yes…I forgot to mention that this show also features work from FAM’s permanent collection!  Amazing, right?  This work by O’Keeffe is in the same room as the Kocol photos…brilliant!  It’s like rubbing elbows with celebrities!

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Elisa H. Hamilton, An Apple a Day, 2013, Mixed media on paper

Hamilton has an amazing talent with color.  Each of these drawings really pop with vitality.  Please take a look at her website!!!  I also love her drawings of domestic interiors and objects, especially “Vermont Studio Portrait.”  Very impressive.

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Cynthia Greig, Nature Morte no. 18, 2010, chromogenic development photograph

Okay.  This is a PHOTOGRAPH.  I kid you not.  I believe that the artist paints everything white, and then actually outlines the objects with charcoal…THEN photographs it.  My brain still can’t wrap itself around this.  It’s so clean and beautiful!  I’m amazed at her analog virtuosity.

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Victor Schrager, Untitled #7 and #472, 2011, Pigment print

These gorgeous, saturated, soft focus still life photos are the work of Victor Schrager.  I love the vivid colors and in focus/out of focus combinations.  Amazing, right?

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Kathleen Volp, Wan-Li RUMBLE and Still Life with Impostor and Wan-li, 2008, Mixed media, oil and aluminum on panel.

These pieces are enormous, glossy, and embossed METAL.  No joke.  Volp’s work always amazes me…it is always compelling, masterful in technique, and truly impressive.  Please take a look at her website so that you can appreciate the range of work that she does. Mind-boggling…

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 Evelyn Rydz, Gulf Pile I, 2012, Pencil and Colored Pencil on Drafting Film

This is an AMAZING and delicate drawing.  Rydz is my “drafting film god.”  She and I both use pencil/colored pencil on drafting film.  I bask in her drawing brilliance. Her work is so delicate and GORGEOUS.  She often draws piles of objects that have washed ashore.  I’m sorry that this is not a good photo…it does not do her work justice.  I just checked her website, and it says that she is having a SOLO show at the MFA in 2014.  So impressive!!!  That is MUST SEE show.  (I’m not kidding.  Check her website.  Mark your calendar.)

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Mary O’Malley, Altar #4, 2010, Gold Metallic Ink on Paper

Ahhh…this drawing is SO beautiful.  I am in such awe of O’Malley’s work.  I was lucky enough to meet her at the reception.  She is a lovely person.  I hope I conveyed to her how much I love what she does.  Her work is so timeless…it feels both historic and yet so contemporary.

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Shelley Reed, Ribboned Flowers, Ribboned Fruit (after Mignon), 2010, Oil on Canvas

These paintings were really breathtaking.  I love how dark and intense they are.  I believe that she looks at historic works and then interprets them in her own artwork.  Please check out her website.  I pretty much want to own all of her work.  Maybe if I eat ramen noodles exclusively for a year, I could swing it?  Hmm.  I’ll still need that fantasy house with enough wallspace, though…more noodles for me, I guess…

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Janet Rickus, A Bird Painting, 2012, oil on canvas

Yes, that’s a painting…not a photo.  Rickus’s work is hyper-real and beautiful.  Beautiful composition…color…light…realism…I love it.  Her work will definitely make your jaw drop.  I feel almost like they are views into a gorgeous world that I WISH I could be a part of.  The elements in the images are unpretentious, yet they are so perfect that they are still awe inspiring.  I might have to get this for my house so that I can meditate upon it, and somehow be inspired to make my disaster-area home be marginally more lovely.

On this note, my son (5 yr old) has decided that we should make our house a museum.  He doesn’t seem daunted by the fact that we have nothing museum-like in our house.  I’ve told him that no one is going to want to come to see our “junk.”  We joke about this.  He’s still determined to do it, somehow.  In fact, he’s trying to entice passersby with this “advertising” at the front of our house:

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Yes.  That says, “MUSEUMOPNEG TADAY.”  Yes, I allow him to do this to our house.  Yes, those are little purple flowers stuck to the tape for aesthetic effect.  Oh but wait…there’s more:

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He wants to make sure people understand that they are “WALCAM” to come in.  And:

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Just in case there was any doubt that we were “OPEN” or not…

If you do stop by to check out our “Museum”…please note that the mess inside is what this museum is actually all about.  Imagine taking a Joseph Cornell box and shaking it vigorously…it kind of looks like that, but with more Lego.  Just try not to trip on it all whilst taking the tour. Currently, we’re working out the “gift shop.”  Brace yourself…



Shot through the eye…and you’re too late…
August 17, 2013, 2:08 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags: , , , , ,

No post last week because we were at the Cape.  AHHHH. I spent a lot of time vegging out, trying not to get sunburned, and struggling to maintain my sanity with my five-year old.  I thought about trying to exercise in some way…maybe doing a pushup or two.  I couldn’t be bothered, and so I continue to look like the “before” picture, in spite of my exercising somewhat consistently for two months.  SIGH.  Nobody tried to harpoon me or ran away screaming, so I guess that means a successful beach trip.

We had good weather…too much ice cream…and mini-golf…

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My son felt that we needed a “mini-golf action shot”, so this is it:

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Perhaps photojournalism is not my callling?  Does it kind of look like that lady in the background is walking along the club?  Or, is that just me? Don’t all photojournalists hope for that kind of quirky coincidence?  Probably not.

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At what age is it possible for a child to eat an ice cream without THIS happening?  I’m hoping by 12.  Only 7 more years to go.  Hey, at least we were using my husband’s car for the week…sorry, Honeeeey!!!!

I didn’t bring my latest drawing to work on at the Cape.  What a slacker!  I thought about it…saw the packed wad of luggage in the back of the car, and decided against it.  Do I really need sand and sunscreen smeared all over it?  No way.  INSTEAD OF BEING TRULY PRODUCTIVE, I worked on this little sewn pouch, which I am SUPER excited about…CHECK IT OUT:

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Eh?  Not bad, right?  Lookit all the tiny fabric pieces I sewed together and quilted!  And the back:

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I attempted a sort of “sashiko” stitching to relate to the front.  Nice!

The inside:

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And a detail:

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This was my first little pouch like this…I loved making it!  There’s something seriously wonky about it, but if I make another…I’ll try to do better next time.  The majority of it is hand-sewn…with just the zipper and overall construction done on the machine.  Now, if I could just sell it for $1000, it will be worth the time/energy/materials I put into it!  Ha ha!   Just kidding!  (Well, sort of…sigh…)

So, this week hasn’t been totally unproductive, as the previous week has clearly been.  (Unless you consider getting all of the sand and ice cream off of my son at the end of the day “productive”.)  I managed to get to the South End to check out a couple of galleries yesterday.  Naturally, I had to stop by Carroll and Sons to see who they’re showing…

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Raul Gonzalez at Carroll and Sons, Boston

The work of local artist, Raul Gonzalez, is in the main space.  Two words: LOVE. IT.  PLEEEEASE, go and see this show.  It’s only up until Aug. 31, so leave NOW…esp if you are coming from Australia (that means you, Ruth…)

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Raul Gonzalez at Carroll and Sons, Boston

Gonzalez paints exquisite scenes of horrifying depravity, decapitation, and dismemberment.   Each painting could capture your open-jawed attention for an hour, at least.  In most scenes, you’ll find a skeleton, possibly a lucha libre mask, and a pitiful character who is often simultaneously dishing out and receiving some heinous crime.

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Raul Gonzalez at Carroll and Sons, Boston

The linework is amazing…the bright, yet dirty, palette is amazing…the composition is amazing…never mind the content, which is fascinating and horrifying at the same time.  Stunning.

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Raul Gonzalez at Carroll and Sons, Boston

I’m sorry that this one is blurry.  I love how the bullet is ricocheting around the drawing perimeter.  Naturally, it had to shoot out the eye of the snake…

Go see this show NOW.  Just don’t bring the kids, lest you want to spend your whole time explaining why that guy no longer has a head, or why this guy’s eyes have fallen to the ground.  I don’t know either, but it’s awesome.  Gonzalez is oozing brilliance.  I bask in his artistic glory.  His work is AMAZING.  A must see.

Speaking of oozing, THIS is what my son brought home from camp this week:

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What in God’s name is that lumpy stick, you may ask?  Why, it’s a “magic wand” of course!  It apparently has a few coats of plaster of paris and paint on it.  Hmmm.  I’ve tried using it.  It doesn’t work.  My house is still a mess and I still look like a “before” picture.  I might have to ask the camp for my money back…

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My son drew this this week.  What is it?  I have no idea…but perhaps he’s a burgeoning Raul Gonzalez?  Does anyone else see a lucha libre mask in this????  No?  Maybe that’s for the best.  Actually, maybe I need to get out of the house more than once a week…at least for fresh air, or something.  I’ll be sure to bring my son’s magic wand…just in case the thing decides to start working.  It may help me to finally find the fast moving line at Stop & Shop, or something non-existent like that.  If nothing else, we can serve it to daddy after dinner and tell him that it’s a vegan cookie.  Good times…




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