slightly wonky


Fitchbuuuuurg!
July 26, 2013, 10:08 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts..., Photography | Tags: , , ,

My big success this week was to meet with Mary Tinti, the Fitchburg Art Museum‘s new curator.  I’m NOT kidding.  She’s putting together a show of still lifes, and was interested in some of my drawings.  NO JOKE.  I was so thrilled that she contacted me.  She was very generous with her time and feedback.   Besides getting to know her, I also really enjoyed hearing about the museum, its collection, and its history.  I’m embarrassed to say that I had not ever been to the Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM) before.  YIKES.  Actually, I don’t think that I had even been to Fitchburg.  I know.  What’s wrong with me?  (Don’t answer that…)  Check it out:

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The Fitchburg Art Museum

This is the main visitor’s entrance of the museum.  It was founded in 1925 by Eleanor Norcross, an accomplished artist and educator.  The museum has a wonderful and diverse collection…paintings by John Singer Sargent, photographs by Charles Sheeler and Walker Evans, African masks and statues, and a series of Egyptian art and mummies, INCLUDING a mummified crocodile (it’s small…and it kind of looked like something that my son would make, but I digress…)

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It looked sort of like THAT, but more shriveled.  YIKES.  This is the kind of thing that I’d find in the bottom of my son’s backpack…(not a result of my poor housekeeping skills, mind you…) MOVING ON…

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The Fitchburg Art Museum

This is an addition to the museum, completed in the late 80s by Burr & McCallum Architects.  The materials are really nice, and it’s well detailed.  Yes, I know.  The architect side of my brain has been feeling neglected lately, and it desperately wants attention.  (The housewife side of my brain is undeveloped and primitive…BTW).  It’s hard to divide my multitude of interests among my limited brain cells.  Well, at least I only have one brain to keep track of, although I do feel like THIS guy sometimes…

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BRILLIANT!  I think this comes with the territory of raising a kid and trying to work from home.  (I have Terry Jones’s impatience.)  But I digress again…FOCUS!

The current show at FAM is the 78th Annual Regional Exhibition of Art and Craft.

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Juan Jose Barbazo-Gubo, Cervus Transformatio, 2011

This gorgeous piece by Juan Jose Barbazo-Gubo won “First Prize” at the show, which was juried by Nina Gara Bozicnik, Assistant Curator, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire.  I should have taken a close up photo for you to see the amazing linework, collage, painting and textures in this piece.  I even love how the fragile paper is puckered around the image.  Beautiful.  Barbazo-Gubo is a Somerville resident…next time you see him at Highland Kitchen, tell him that his work is GORGEOUS.

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Edward Monovich, Snake In The Grass, 2011

Check out this crazy drawing!  Amazing.  It’s actually all done on graph paper.  So cool! The imagery is both appealing and disturbing.  Who is that skunk boy?  The drawing actually has the irregular profile that you see.  Monovich’s got mad drawing skills, right?  Also, he’s another local, and lives in Belmont!  So give HIM a big “hello” if you see him at Stone Hearth Pizza in Belmont Center.  (Actually, he’s probably too cool to eat there.)  I’m not!  I like that place, but it’s always packed with screaming kids.  I feel that I can complain about that, as I’ve got one at home too.  When I go out to dinner, I’m trying to ESCAPE and PRETEND that there is peace and sanity in the world.  Hmph.

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Lee Su, Twinkle Twinkle Little Hypercube, 2013

Don’t you love this?  It’s got an interesting mix of flatness and depth.  This somehow looks vintage to me.  I love it.

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Coelynn McIninch, Castle #9, 2013

Okay.  I LOVE THIS TOO.  So stunning.  I believe that McIninch builds a physical model, and then photographs it and manipulates the photo.  PLEASE look at her website.  I love her work.  This series in particular is gorgeous…and not just because of the architectural content.  The images are so ethereal…ghost-like…  I love how they are both beautiful and disorienting.

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Nora Valdez, Baggage /Bagaje

Nora Valdez was also having a solo show at the museum.  Her sculptures were amazing.  She also had beautiful drawings.

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Nora Valdez, Paper Bags / Bolsitas de Papel, 2009-2011

Crumpled bags carved out of limestone.  Look how soft they look!  I want those…

There was also a photography show going on:

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I know!  So much to see!  I loved this:

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Carl Chiarenza, Triptych: Don Quixote, 153/148/158, 1992

I wish that my photo was better.  This was gorgeous.  It’s so abstract, and yet the richness of the textures and materials are so incredible.  Very beautiful.

I had a chance to wander around the neighborhood of the museum as well…this is what I found:

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Hmmm.  I’m glad that they labeled that.

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This wall was so great!  I’m not sure who the artists are…schoolkids?  People in the community?  Either way, I loved it.

Ah…so my trip to Fitchburg was a treat.  In contrast, my main challenge of the week was that my five year old son has been creating “drop-off drama” at camp in the morning.  Perhaps he thinks that he’s actually AT a “drama camp?”  They do have those, right?  He’s been upset when I have to go, but within ten minutes of me having gone…he’s fine (at least this is what I’m TOLD…)  SIGH.

I’m wondering if I make a stuffed effigy of myself, complete with crabby face and disheveled hair, would this abate his separation anxiety?  He could bring it WITH HIM.  Brilliant, right? I can’t decide if I should use a mass of angora yarn to represent my humidity-induced frizzy hair, or perhaps simply an errant dust bunny would do…thoughts?  Then again…this “faux mommy” doll may temporarily assuage his need for me (as I have about as much personality as a wad of polyester stuffing), but it will likely lead to odd looks from the other kids and subsequent years of therapy to get over this complex.

Perhaps I’ll just bribe him with ice cream, instead?

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No, that’s not my attempt to create the “faux mommy” doll.  This is my son’s piñata from camp!   Isn’t it adorable? He whacked it with a wiffle ball bat in order to get the goodies out.  On second thought…maybe this IS supposed to be me???  Did my son make this mommy-fetish to seek revenge for my leaving him at camp??? Egads. Now, I’VE got a complex.  (Try to act surprised…)



Transforming the mundane and Godzilla…

Well, it’s BALMY in BOSTON.  I think that we’re at around 80 deg F and 80% humidity.  SOUPY.  I feel like I am sticking to everything, and that’s not only a result of my poor housekeeping skills.  Has anyone else noticed that it’s difficult to get a dried Rice Krispy off of the floor?  Well, I have.  Thank god I don’t bother with manicures, or else our floor would be a minefield of dried krispies.

I stopped by the deCordova museum to see the work of Tony Feher.  Now, let me just preface this discussion (one sided, of course) by noting that I am not usually very interested in found object sculpture.  I know…I’m a philistine.  Anyway, so I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of  Feher’s work.

WELL…I LOVED IT.  LOOK AT THIS:

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Mountain Home, Tony Feher, 2004, plastic containers

I know.  I KNOW what those are…but I love that they’ve taken on this ethereal form.  They look so pure and delicate, and yet solid.  It’s a modern Mayan temple in miniature…well, not really.   Here is an overview of the main room of his work:

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Tony Feher at the deCordova Museum

Each piece is quite simple, typically using only one or two types of objects, but the reconfiguration is fascinating.

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Tony Feher, Sharadiant, 2000, mop and broom handles with rope

I love this too.  It makes me think of a Dan Flavin piece that’s turned off and seen during the day.

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Dan Flavin

I know…I know…they are NOT even MARGINALLY related.  What can I say?  These are the associations that I come up with.  Speaking of associations…what do you think of this?:

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Tony Feher, Come Out And Play Stephen Jay, 2013, painter’s tape

Yes.  That’s tape.  TAAAAPE.  Now THAT made me think of Van Gogh’s Starry Night or wavelite crystals…

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Swirly!

I’m sure that you’d rather see more of Feher’s work, rather than my bizarre and boring associations.  Fine.

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Tony Feher at the deCordova Museum

This is Feher’s installation in that great stairway at the deCordova.  This space is pure genius (thanks to William Rawn Associates), as it creates this really unusual installation space.  I love seeing what different artists do here.  Feher has taken two liter bottles and filled them with colored liquid.  It’s often hard to get a good photo of this space, as it’s so narrow.  It’s 21st century stained glass, right?

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Tony Feher, 8 White Elements, 2001 and Honcho Grid 1, 1999

Yes, you are looking at a tower of styrofoam packaging.  I can’t help but think of an architectural model…perhaps for the New Museum in NYC?  Hell, Yes!  (that expletive relates to the New Museum…I’m not normally so brash.)  The grid in the background is made from plastic straws and polyester thread.  BRILLIANT!

I love how simple and elemental his pieces are.  I love how these mundane objects feel truly transformed through their reconfiguration.  He doesn’t cut/break/bend the objects…he just puts them together so that they form a new, single object.  There’s such clarity to his work.

Speaking of clarity…oh wait, I never have clarity.   Nevermind.

I’ll segue by my household’s own transformation of the mundane into…well, it’s still all mundane.  My son is obsessed with Godzilla.  A friend of mine is moving to TX, and she let me take some of her boys’ old toys.  WELL, we got a small Godzilla set…and the rest is history.  Godzilla is the perfect combination of dinorsaur-ish creature PLUS a force of ridiculous destruction/demolition.  Greaaaaat.

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My son doesn’t seem at all put off by the idea that this is simply a person in a lizard suit lumbering around a model city.  Perhaps that’s because he’s used to me lumbering around the living room, stepping on Lego buildings, and growling?  I have better skin than Godzilla, thankfully.   (Check in with me again if I make it to 90, and I may not be able to say that, though.)

This is a drawing that my son did in homage to the great beast:

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Let me describe this for you…the lower left has a monster truck parked next to a skyscraper.  The tall thing on the right is Godzilla’s leg, with monster toenail.  Yes, he’s SOOO HUGE that he can’t even fit on the page.  Priceless.

I’m also hoping that my toenails did not provide inspiration for this drawing…sigh.



Multiple tangents and muscles that ache…

So, I recently started exercising.  I know.  Don’t laugh.  I truly forgot what sore muscles feel like.  Actually, I forgot what muscles feel like altogether, so the whole thing is pretty shocking, to say the least.  I haven’t succumbed to the lure of Ben Gay, though.  When I was in high school, the heady aroma of Ben Gay would waft throughout the school in the week of “sports camp” leading up to the start of the Fall season.  I’d rather hobble than smell that stuff again.  (God forbid you rub your eye with some of that on your hand….YEEOUCH.)  In order to nurse myself back to health, I’ve decided to just lie on the couch whilst eating an ice cream sandwich.  You know…just like the pros do.

Besides moaning about my aching, yet seemingly nonexistent muscles, I did get out to see some art.  This is lucky, as my own artwork continues to plod along at a glacial pace.  I didn’t venture far, mind you.  My hobbling limited the scope of my search.  I decided that I would FINALLY go to 13 Forest Gallery here in Arlington, MA.  (It’s kind of ridiculous/embarrassing that I had not been in before.)  I met Marc Gurton, the owner, who was super friendly and has selected some really amazing artists to represent.  Right now, they have a show titled, “Tangent,” which features the work of Mary O’Malley and Rebecca Roberts.  Here are some views of the show:

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13 Forest Gallery featuring Mary O’Malley and Rebecca Roberts

And another view:

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13 Forest Gallery featuring Mary O’Malley and Rebecca Roberts

O’Malley creates intricate drawings with metallic ink and gouache typically on black paper.  They are beautiful.  The repetitive and abstract qualities makes me think of Islamic art, while the gilded palette makes me think of an illuminated manuscript.  They have an opulent, yet understated quality about them.  Very impressive.

Roberts creates gorgeous abstract fabric paintings in a mix of both bold and subtle hues.  She not only plays with beautiful color palettes, but the texture of the fabric also varies.  My favorite pieces were those with a color field surrounded by an unsymmetrical white background.  Two of those pieces are in the photo above on the right side.

Here are some better shots of their work:

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Mary O’Malley, Relic #10, Ink and Gouache on Paper, 16″ x 13″

The reflection is obviously not doing the work justice.  But you can see the gorgeous palette and beautiful detail.

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Rebecca Roberts, Pfeiffer Falls, Sewn Cotton Fabric, 18″ x 20″

This is one where an irregularly shaped field of color sits within a minimal, white background.  I love it!

Anyone local to Arlington, MA should stop by to see the show.  IN FACT, TONIGHT (June 21) BOTH ARTISTS ARE GOING TO BE SPEAKING AT THE GALLERY.  There is a reception from 7-9pm.  Go see what they have to say!  (And please tell me what they say, as I don’t think that I can make it.)

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Today is my son’s LAST DAY at preschool.  He has gone to that school since he was four months old.  (No joke.)  So, we’re taking him out for a “graduation dinner.” to celebrate.  This is also to ease the fact that he is NOT happy about leaving.  Actually, he’s not happy about change of any sort, unless you mean adding a new toy to his collection.  THEN, he embraces change completely and with zeal.  Also, he’ll “embrace” the change in my purse, and add it to his ever expanding piggybank if I’m not paying attention.  Naturally, if I ask him where the money is from…he’ll tell me that he “found it.”  I guess that’s sort of true…

Actually, the whole concept of “truth” still does not register with him.  He’s only 5, so I hope that there’s time to learn.   Sometimes, he’ll blatantly lie about something.  I’ll ask him, “Did you and Grandma get some ice cream today?”  His response is an emphatic, “NO!”  However, when I say that I’m going to call Grandma just to check, he changes his response to, “Wellllll, at least I don’t THINK that I had any ice cream…I don’t reaaaally remember.” He even scratches his chin quizzically for effect.

Hmmm.

I’m hoping that this does not indicate some future life of crime for him, but just a phase of development that he hasn’t quite reached yet…kind of like facial hair.  Now, if the facial hair comes in BEFORE his understanding of “the truth”, THEN I will be concerned.  Actually, there’s probably some correlation between the onset of facial hair and a regressive trend to actually forget what it means to tell the truth.   Like, “No Mom, I didn’t take your ironing board and use it as a skateboard ramp.  I don’t know where those wheel marks came from.”

HMMMMM.

I’ve decided to stop worrying about all of that now and just go ice my sore muscles with another ice cream sandwich…



Perhaps a skylight would help?

Is it Friday already?  How did this happen?

Well, this is the FIRST week in a month that I’ve actually gotten a chance to DRAW.  I almost forgot which end of the pencil to use!  Just kidding…luckily, my friend got me a deranged pencil sharpener to help me out:

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Yes.  There it is.  (except that mine is black.)  Did I mention that the cat meows when you use it???  SICK.  Actually, having this thing around pretty much ensures that all of my pencils will remain dull.  I’m also keeping it away from my five-year-old, who will want some kind of explanation that I cannot possibly give him without him needing years of therapy, which I don’t want to start him on until he’s at least eight.  I think that my friend would have preferred to have given me this in person, as my horrified reaction is really the priceless part of the gift.  Thanks, TB.  I’m going to have nightmares tonight…

Besides eating my weight in chocolate chip cookies this week, I also went to the The Art Complex Museum in Duxbury to see the work of my advisor, Adria Arch.

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Adria Arch

So exciting!!!!  She has her work in the main room of the Art Complex.  Her work is large and has a lot of impact, so it’s great to see it with the space that it needs.

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Adria Arch

The show is titled, “Iconic.”  She plays with the subconscious markings of other people and magnifies and intensifies them into monumental glyphs.  The forms, compositions and colors are very compelling.  I can’t help but wonder who made each of these marks?  I love the mysterious quality of them.

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Adria Arch, I Love You More, 2013, Acrylic on canvas, 96″ x 96″

In her words, “These elements, spattered across and extending beyond the picture plane, bring to mind galaxies and explosions of energy. The compositions suggest randomness, belying an intentional painting process in which I project and then paint enlarged pencil lines onto canvas, wood panel, or walls. My practice grows out of the tradition of mark-making. I am drawn to the expressiveness found in unselfconscious pencil doodles – some I find and some I elicit from other people. The eccentric lines derived from these marginal marks are, for me, metaphors for boundless physical energy: floating, spinning, and falling through space.”  So fascinating!  Please go and see this show. It’s up from May 36 – August 18.

While I wish that I had a modicum of physical energy, I have managed to do SOME productive things this past month.

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Look what I grew!  Actually, I should say…”Look what I didn’t kill!”  Yes…that’s an ORCHID.  The flowers fell off a couple weeks after I bought it, which made me sad as I thought that was the kiss of death.  BUT NO!  I discovered that if you WATER it…more flowers will grow.  Imagine that!  I am convinced that plants hate me, so I am happy that this one didn’t get the memo.  My other plants are probably blowing it raspberries in their own plant-like way.

Speaking of blowing raspberries, my son is back at school this week.  SANITY.  He was NOT happy about that, but I felt that I should not mislead him by thinking that school is “optional.”  He says that he is besides himself with boredom.  I nod.

Welcome to reality, kid!

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This is what he would prefer to do all day, rather than “boring” activities, like making bumble bees out of construction paper.  (can crafts EVER be boring????)  He told me that this is a hotel.  Perhaps my son will become the next Donald Trump?  As his mother, though, I would not allow him to have the Donald’s hair, though.  In reviewing his design, I feel that the penthouse unit has a catacomb-like quality to it.  Thoughts?  Perhaps a skylight would help?  Maybe he’s catching onto the micro hotel thing in Japan?:

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There must not be a word for, “claustrophobia” in Japanese.  Those wouldn’t work in the States anyway, as they’d each need to be the size of a shipping container to work with our girth.

Speaking of…I’m going to go and look for more cookies.  Let me know if you need me to sharpen any pencils for you.

 

 

 



Yes, I’m still here…sort of…

Yes, I am still here…although my focus on art has taken a serious hiatus.  I recently stopped sending my son to the preschool that he has been attending, for reasons that I will not bore you with.  In a nutshell: I have no regular childcare now.  SAVE ME.  My mom has been exceedingly helpful by coming to watch my son while I attempt to run errands, like picking up six of my drawings from the framer, or having a series of stressful portfolio reviews.  I am CLEARLY not cut out to be a 24 hr.-a-day-stay-at-home-mom.   You know those blogs where all of the photos are dreamy and misty, and where the author is a stay-at-home-mom who makes muffins from scratch with wild blueberries that she just picked whilst her brood of delightful children invent delightful games with rocks and sticks?

This is not one of those blogs.

I feel that having a child is one of the universe’s ways of telling us that we have stuff we need to work on…and it’s only by being confronted with such issues as a parent, that we will ever attempt to work on those things we need to.  Am I being too vague?  Okay.  Basically, I have a very short fuse and an excess of buttons that are easily pressed.  My son, whom I love dearly, has been, besides “my little love”, the one impetus for me to excruciatingly stretch my fuse and reduce the tsunami normally unleashed when my buttons are pushed.

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Sigh.  I love him, AND he can seriously drive me cuckoo for Cocoapuffs.

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Yes, my eyeballs explode just like that.

My mother and I recently took him to the MFA to see the samurai exhibit. Great idea, right?  Aren’t I “Mom of The Year”?  Hmm.  The universe told me “no,” as I hopelessly overestimated my own brilliance and the attention span of my five-year-old…

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Seriously.  What is not to love, right?  The helmets especially were…AMAZING.  It’s hard to believe that anyone wore these, as they are so fantastic, intricate, and other-worldly.  I especially liked the room where several were set up to be “on horseback.”  In spite of the similarities between his Lego “Ninjago” figures and these REAL suits of armor, my son gave up halfway through the exhibit and wanted to leave.

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SERIOUSLY.  Is there ANY comparison?  Sheesh.  Maybe if they could have had someone walking around in a samurai outfit…kind of like a “Late Edo period Chuck E. Cheese”, the show would have been a bigger hit with my son?

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No?  I’m not sure what would have scared him more…a masked samurai walking around or that big rodent?  The kid in this photo doesn’t look too sure either…

Besides being a well intentioned yet hopelessly idealistic parent these past few weeks, I also attended the reception of one of the group shows that I am in.  It was the “New Talent / New England” juried show at the St. Botolph Club in Boston.  Nice!

a-botolphThank you to Kyla P., Karen S., Karina C., Marcus S., and Charlie S. for coming to see it!  I really appreciate it.  I also appreciated being able to go out and have a good laugh with friends, as that doesn’t happen often enough, IMHO.  My friend, Kyla, brought me something that evening that she had been meaning to give me for weeks:

a-peepReally?

I don’t remember anyone saying ANYTHING in my professional development class about bringing stuffed animals to show openings…do I really need to be holding a deranged stuffed Peep while I am trying to carry on an intelligent conversation and look remotely professional?

Of course I did.  Kyla, thank you for coming to the reception AND for reminding me why we are friends in the first place.

Now, if I can just hold onto this thing for a few days before my son absorbs it into his growing harem of freakish toys…

Is that selfish of me?  I’ll just go look up this kind of “typical parenting dilemma” in my growing pile of parenting books…

 

 

 

 

 



Livin’ my time capsule…80’s style

I know that I normally post on Fridays…but seeing as I missed last week and I’m wanting to get this published, I’m doing it TODAY. CARPE DIEM.

So, tomorrow night…I’m going to an 80’s prom.  No, I’m not kidding.  This is the brainchild of a friend, who feels that we need to revisit this era on Friday.  In all honesty, my fashion sense is probably stuck in the 80’s, so I should have no problem with an outfit.  Did hot pink ever go out of style????  If so…WHO CARES???  It’s one of my favorite colors.  I’ve been scrounging around my closet to come up with some kind of 80’s outfit:

 

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WHOA.

No thank you.  This is what I have to aspire to for this event??????  Egads.  Does anyone else have the sudden sensation of acid reflux?

Or is that just from the ice cream sandwich I decided to have for breakfast?

(KIDDING!  I’m testing to see if you’re still paying attention. No?  Oh well…)

One thing that I DO love from the 80’s is jelly shoes.  I am sad to say that I don’t own a pair of jelly shoes anymore.

a-jellyMine were pink, of course.  There is an urban legend that if you stand on a hot sidewalk for too long, they’ll melt.  Pshaw.

Besides wasting time planning for this 80s outfit, I also went to check out what’s at the galleries in the South End.  I know that you’re relieved to hear that this post is moving on to more compelling topics than acid green and/or acid reflux…

a-sigalLisa Sigal at Samson Gallery, Boston

This is the work of Lisa Sigal at Samson.  Okay.  Let me just say that I LOVED all of her work.  Her pieces for this show were sooo fascinating.  In the piece above, she has a digital print of what appears to be housing.  I believe that she also paints on this print.  In front of the print, leaning on the wall, is a typical window screen that she has also painted.  Her sense of color is amazing, and I love the mix of pattern, flatness, layering, depth, and translucency.  So inventive!  I really could have stared at these all day.  (Maybe it’s just the architect in me?  Who knows…)

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Robert Richfield at Gallery Kayafas, Boston

Robert Richfield has photographed eclectic, exotic, and intimate Mexican burial sites.  I loved the intense colors and exuberance in spite of the morose subject matter.  The photos are surreal, and you really forget what it is that you are looking at as your eyes take in the explosive colors and the dizzying array of objects.  They are very beautiful in their composition and content.

a-alpertLaurie Alpert at Bromfield Gallery, Boston

Laurie Alpert has a great show at Bromfield Gallery.  Her show it titled, “Milori Blue,” and is based on a series of photos that she took of her studio floor.  I love how inventive her printmaking is.  The rich, saturated blues are inky (for lack of a better word) and deep.  These images are both abstract and intimate.  This photo really doesn’t do her work justice, so you’ll have to see if for yourself.  I was obviously drawn to the mylar, as that’s what I use for my drawings.

I also had a great time chatting with Lesley Cohen, who is an artist at Bromfield, and was “on duty” at the gallery.  We talked about drawing, why we draw what we do, how we got to were we were, etc.  She is a LOVELY person…warm, creative and engaging.  She is having a show in June, so I’ll be sure to stop  by and see it.

a-pibalAnn Pibal at Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston

This is the work of Ann Pibal at Steven Zevitas Gallery.  I love the sparseness of her work.  There is so much space, and the elements are always balanced, albeit asymmetrical.  I’m not sure why I keep thinking that her work is very minimal?  Perhaps it’s the clarity of each piece, or the “quiet” world that they seem to create?  Really impressive.  Go see!  Now!

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 Karen Meninno at Kingston Gallery, Boston

Karen is a sculptor, but she has created these astounding wallpaper designs that hang floor to ceiling.  This one was one of my favorites.  See the detail here:

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Karen Meninno at Kingston Gallery, Boston

Her work was filled with jewel tones and rich materials.  Her sculptures (which were present as manipulated images) are almost like artifacts of some forgotten dynasty. I wonder how different the images are from the sculptures that they are created from?  I wonder how Meninno feels about this transformation that she’s made?  The nice thing about these images and the wallpaper is that she almost creates a environment which the viewer is immersed in, as opposed to an object that the viewer looks at.  Please go see her work…amazing!!!

I am intrigued by her image manipulation, as I have been doing some similar things in my own work.  I am embarking on a new series generated by my existence as a housefrau/parent/chef/chauffeur/family cruise director:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Nameless Problem #1, 2013, colored pencil on mylar

Perhaps I should have cropped the image?  Anyway, I’ve started making these compositions…AND I’m starting to work in color.  You’re looking at pickles, ham slices, raw chicken legs, a can of chickpeas, and ketchup.  Comments?  Questions?  I don’t really have a working artist statement yet…so you’ll just have to wonder.  I know that my family does…

My son is obsessed with drawing, much like his mommy.  I love all of his creations.  He tends to draw lots of dinosaurs, as he’s five and that’s just what five year olds are into:

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Okay.  I love this.  He wanted to show an ENORMOUS sauropod dinosaur towering above a T.Rex.  I love that it is so big that the neck disappears and reappears at the edge of the paper to show how HUGE it is.  He even drew a tiny person for scale.  DON’T YOU LOVE IT???  Or, is this a picture that only a mother could love?  The T.Rex looks as if it is pouncing on the person, and the whateverasaurus looks like it’s going to stomp on both of them.  Brilliant!  I wish that he hadn’t drawn on the back, as it distracts from the awesomeness of this drawing.  Just my two cents…

Well, wish me luck with my 80’s prom.  We’re going out to dinner beforehand, so I’ve got to go out in “public” with my bizarre, fluorescent ensemble of coolness.  Should be…interesting?

I’ll let you know how many sad looks I get from people who see my appearance as a pitiful and creepy “time capsule” that should be put back underground…STAT!



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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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:

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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:

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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.

Sigh.

At least I”ll HAVE a robotic lawnmower…



Channelling my inner ninja…
February 22, 2013, 8:44 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts..., painting | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Sorry for no post last week!  I was adversely affected by Nemo: i.e. trapped indoors with nothing to do other than try to entertain a housebound 5 yr old whilst not destroying the house or my sanity.  So, we did survive Nemo.  It wasn’t pretty.  Gobs of snow.  This is the view of my husband’s excavation from the basement door…

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Hmm.  That’s kind of a lot of snow for one storm.  This is our back deck:

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That’s our deck furniture…a table and a tipped over chair (blown over by the wind).  That looks like AT LEAST two feet, doesn’t it???? The neighbors across the street:

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Don’t pity them too much.  They hire a service to come and clear out the driveway and the sidewalks, etc.  Our service was my husband, who unburied us…maybe we’ll hire someone to do it next time?  (eh, honey?) Pshaw!  What’s the fun of being a New Englander if you can’t gripe about the weather whilst heaving wet heavy snow over a five foot wall of ice?  Needless to say, I was going postal with cabin fever.  At least we didn’t lose power…I would have just stayed in bed all day if we had!  (just kidding, honeeey!!!)

The following weekend, my son and I walked through the blustering cold to a nearby friend’s house for his birthday party.  It was so fun, albeit total chaos: twenty kids tearing around the house screaming while shoving cheese and crackers into their mouths.  My son, so practical, gave me his half eaten crackers/cheese to hold so that he could run around more easily.  Everytime someone introduced themselves and shook my hand, they ended up with a palmful of crumbs. I had a glass of sangria to get me through it.

One of the activities for the kids was to make paper bag puppets.  You know…like the ones that advertise Fandango:

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Notice that his nose is a croissant.  You can see the ad here.  Ridiculous right?  Anyway, the kids made paper bag puppets.  Can you guess what the theme of the party was?

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No, that’s NOT a woman in a niqab.  It’s a NINJA!  Isn’t that hilarious and adorable?????  Like THIS:

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But not like THIS:

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Luckily, our kids haven’t gotten into this level of commercialism yet.  Coincidentally, NPR did a segment recently on the history of ninjas.  You can listen to it here.  I learned that ninjas were meant to be spies, not so much warriors.  And definitely not turtles.  There is no mention of turtles being ninjas in Japan in the 15th century.  You have to wait until the 20th century in the U.S.A.  Well, AT LEAST the kids learned the names of famous artists: Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello, and Michelangelo!  Too bad that they think they’re turtles with nunchucks (or “nunchuku” for you purists out there…)

With every day that passes, I’m more convinced that we’re all going to hell in a handbasket.

As I managed to get out of the house this week, I went to Brickbottom Gallery in Somerville to see a show that my advisor is participating in.  The show is, “Surface Matters: Exploring the Sense and Substance of Paint.”  It features the works of: Adria Arch (my advisor), Ron Brunelle, Jessie Morgan, and Diane Novetsky.  I have some images from the show:

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Adria Arch, Exhale 2, Acrylic on panel

This is the work of my advisor!  She works with other people’s doodles, manipulating and arranging them into new colors and configurations.  It’s like a graphic language of the subconscious.  Fascinating!  More:

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Adria Arch, Triangle Tangle, Acrylic on panel

This is a very large diptych.  I LOVED the colors in this one and the repetition of the shapes at different scales, colors, and layers.  These panels are built up a bit, almost like the layers of encaustic, but with acrylics.

Next:

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Jessie Morgan, Night Tide #925, Mixed media on plexi

This artist had a really interesting process of somehow squeegeeing large swaths of color on slick plexi.  The ridges of paint are visible, and it seems that she uses both sides of the plexi.  The colors in this piece are gorgeous.  You can’t tell from the photo, but there are subtle horizontal bands of a pale green that are embedded behind the dark vertical layers.  This is a rather large piece…maybe 48″x48″?

Next:

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Ron Brunelle, You Speak My Language, Acrylic on wood panel

This work also had the look of encaustic.  He gets and amazing amount of layering and color in his work.  His work also made me think of the rich and saturated hues of ceramic glazes.

All of the artists have visual depth/layering in their works, without necessarily building up a lot on the panel surface.  I think that they’ve all honed some interesting techniques.  I really enjoyed this show…so go see it if you’re in Somerville!

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Ahh…Somerville. How I miss your grittiness.  This was nearby the gallery.  You might want to bring a ninja with you if you go after dark.  If you don’t have an actual ninja to bring (who does?), you’ll have to channel your “inner ninja,” whatever that is…

Just sayin’.



Ikea filth and shameless self promotion…
February 1, 2013, 9:08 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So, I survived a trip to Ikea this week with my 5 yr old son.  I think that because he found an enormous stuffed leopard to carry around with him and call, “Lepy”, he was reasonably accommodating.  Yes, I am not beyond bribery, and yes…at least it was on sale…

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He looks sort of sweet, right?  Trust me…he came to our house bearing the filth of being dragged around Ikea.  Now we have a UN of filth in our house…our domestic filth intermingling with this international/Swedish filth.  Maybe I should be Secretary of State instead of John Kerry, based upon my diplomatic prowess in successfully bringing my 5 yr old through Ikea?  Maybe if we bought everyone in Syria a “Lepy”, things would be better?  Hmm…perhaps not.  I’d better stick to being a domestic goddess, or demigod, rather, and leave the real problems in life to those more capable…

Case in point:  this is the latest playdoh project that my son and I made:

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Wouldn’t Martha Stewart be proud?

We decided that making a multicolor patty was clearly the best use of playdoh.  Forget those fancy moulds and cookie cutters…PSHAW!  (not MOLD…mind you, I’m not THAT bad of a housekeeper)  Can’t you see Damien Hirst doing something like this???  No?

Is it not the sculptural equivalent of THIS?:

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Damien Hirst, Beautiful revolving sphincter, oops brown painting, 2003

No?

Do I need to get out of suburbia more often?

Probably.  Maybe we do have mold, and the spores are starting to affect my brain…

So, I finally got a chance to update my website with new artwork.  YES!  So, I’m going to do a little self promotion now…you’d better grab that double espresso…

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #1, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

This series is titled, Are You Still There?, and it’s about the struggle to communicate in our significant relationships.  (Everything is fine, Honeeeeeey!!!  xoxoxo)

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #2, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

Next:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #3, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

Next:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #4, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

Next:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? #5, 2012, 15″x20″, Graphite on mylar

What do you think?

Do you know what I think?

I think that it’s going to be next to impossible to get people to volunteer to model for me…that’s what.  Actually, my son wants me to draw him.  Seeing as he typically refuses to have his picture taken, resulting in multitudes of photos of the side of his head, I’m surprised to hear that he wants me to draw a picture of him.  Perhaps he only means a drawing of the side of his head?  Hmm.  Example:

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Classic.  Even less subtle:

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Okay…okay…I can take a hint.  Sheesh.  I’m sure that Durer never had this problem…



Umm…It’s friggin’ cold and my mint green robe is starting to walk by itself…
January 24, 2013, 10:47 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Well, winter has arrived in New England.   Joy.

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Yes, that’s FOUR DEGREES!  I know…those of you above the arctic circle are laughing.  Let me describe for you the layers of clothes that I must wear INDOORS: undershirt, then fleece long underwear top, then wool long underwear top, then a fleece jacket, and then my mint green fuzzy robe on top.  Oh, I know…my outfit is “suburban housewife AWESOME”.  I’m not taking a picture of it, though.  I don’t want it to go viral and waste my fifteen minutes of fame on being the latest “Domestic Loser a.k.a. The Mint Green Marshmallow Mommy” on Reddit.

The big highlight of this week was my trip to the Danforth Museum.  I LOVE that museum.  They currently have a show of the works of John Wilson.  Let me just tell you…his drawings/paintings/lithographs were STUNNING.  I mean, drop dead stunning.  Look at the lithograph of a baby held in a man’s lap:

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John Wilson, Child with Father, 1968, lithograph

Okay, so my photo had an awful glare…this is from the Boston Globe:

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John Wilson, Child with Father, 1968, lithograph

Isn’t that so beautiful???  His works were MESMERIZING.  The density and the sensitivity with which he drew was really breathtaking.  I honestly feel that I could look at that print for days.  Look at the baby’s face!  Look at the hands of baby and father interlocked!  Am I the only one out there who is in awe of this???  IT’S AMAZING.   More:

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John Wilson, Self Portrait #4, 1997, ink

Again, sorry for the annoying glare.  I am astounded by this drawing.  Is he not so masterful at describing form???  If you are in the Boston area…you really MUST see this show. It’s open until March 24.  I’m going to go often, so I may see you there.  (You’ll recognize me as the rumpled housewife in the mint green robe.)  More:

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John Wilson, Roz #15, 1972, black pastel on paper

This is an enormous drawing.  It’s so dramatic, and his lines are so gorgeous.  Martha Richardson Fine Art here in Boston has quite a few of his works (and they own the drawing above).  PLEASE check out their website here.  His work captured many views of his world…both personal and societal.  Some images are of injustice and despair, while others exude the palpable love that he had for the subject.  I know that sounds sappy, but his work is so full of quiet emotion.  I loved this show.  I’ll have to go back many more times before it closes.

It made me think of the quiet emotion in my life…like, how I hate grocery shopping, plastic bags, and Stop & Shop.  You know…really poignant stuff.  This was the highlight of my grocery shopping week:

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Work of Unknown Artist at Whole Foods in Woburn, MA

Okay.  Don’t laugh, but I love this.  WHO DID THIS????  It was up (stapled, actually) on the wall in the seating area of my local Whole Foods.  IT MADE ME ACTUALLY LOVE THE GROCERY STORE…MOMENTARILY…  Seriously, though…don’t you love this???  It’s a construction paper collage with marker.  SO BRILLIANT.   I didn’t see a price, so I assume that it’s not for sale. Too bad.  Actually, because it was at Whole Foods, I know that I wouldn’t be able to afford it anyway.  Hmph.  (for those of you that don’t know…Whole Foods has the nickname “Whole Paycheck” because purchasing a single tomato requires a home equity loan.)

Speaking of crafty brilliance, here’s something that I made this week that I’m sooo proud of:

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No, not the crumbs on the floor…the PAPER SPIDER!  My five year old son asked me to make him a Mesothelae out of paper.  What’s that, you may ask?  Oh, just an enormous, prehistoric spider.  I initially balked at his request, as he handed me several sheets of 8 1/2″ x 11″ printer paper.  BUT LOOK!  Didn’t I do a good job???  Do you think that I should give up pursuing art and just make prehistoric paper things?  Hmm.  Maybe.  Maybe if I brought it to the Paper Source, I could get a “real” job.  I’d probably have to get rid of the mint green robe though, so forget it.

Daddy has been out of town this week, so Mommy has had to come up with many fun thing to do in order for her to keep her sanity:

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1. Turtle Bread

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2. Lego subway station

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3.  Old school wooden playground.

This is an awesome playground that has an ENORMOUS, vintage wooden climbing structure.  They are a dying breed typically replaced by the safe (a.k.a. boring) modern ones made of plastic.  Pshaw.  LOOK:

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Isn’t that GREAT?  Sigh.  A true sign of getting old is reminiscing about playground equipment.  Perhaps instead of moping about my age, I’ll celebrate my Gen X status by eating a fruit roll up whilst I watch reruns of Voltron and crimp my hair.

I know.  Not cool.  Sooo not cool.




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