slightly wonky

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

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

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

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


Everything was fine…until the pastry bag.

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

1.  pastry bags

2.  tinsel

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

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


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

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

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


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

2012, Graphite on paper, 30″ x 40″

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



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

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

I bask in her artistic brilliance.



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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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



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

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

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

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


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


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

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

Stay sane…

(I’ll try and do the same.)


More than I can chew…
April 14, 2012, 10:13 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Yes, you heard me.  This latest drawing that I am working on is an example of me having bitten of more than I can chew.  Because I am typically unhappy with a drawing until the final stages, I cannot bear to show you the “progress” images.  Needless to say, I’m going to be working on this one for awhile.  So, as I cannot entice you to read on with images of my own work…I’m going to digress into OTHER people’s work.

Last friday, a friend and I went to the South End’s “First Friday”, where all of the galleries are open for people to visit and schmooze.  As I hardly know anyone, I was more of the former than the latter.  I won’t go on about those that I didn’t like…but focus on one that I did.  I LOVED the work of Peter Opheim at Steven Zevitas Gallery.  Take a look:

You can see that this painting is enormous…8’x8′.  It is beautifully done…and so wry.  Opheim creates these little figures, and then does a painting of them.  In the press release, it states, “…Opheim’s paintings function as sculpture, and he does not consider them to be pictures.”  HMM!  I could sit here for an hour pondering that one…but I don’t know if I would have a profound thought in response.  HMM!  (just one of the reasons why I am not an art critic).  But, they aren’t sculptures, so what is there about the translation process from object to painting that is significant?  I feel that I am working on similar thoughts.  What is the difference between having full scale sculptures of these made, to having full scale color photos, to having these enormous paintings?  I find that kind of thing to be FASCINATING.  Overall, I found these paintings to be wonderful, humorous, and provocative.  Bravo!  Fimo elevated to Fine Art!  I love being “confronted” by these little creatures.  It’s as if a part of everyone’s childhood (unless you were allergic to clay, I suppose), has now come back to haunt us, or to make us wonder who we are.  Seriously!  I look at these and they immediately make me think, “who are we, really?”.  Don’t you think that they’re like contemporary fetishes? 

Maybe I need to cut back on the tofu again?

As I have none of my own work to show…I’m going to yet again showcase the work by my four-year old son.  This is a beach scene, I am told:

Don’t you love how ORDERLY it is?  Apparently, the tiny scribbles in the rectangles are items such as:  a beach umbrella, his swimsuit, my husband’s swimsuit, my swimsuit, etc.  I’m not sure where we are, but our clothes are there.  The complicated part at the bottom is some kind of mechanism, but I forgot what.  The other in this “series”:

I cannot remember what this is.  The top part may be an antenna, but I’m not sure.  Thoughts?  What would Freud say?  That I’m an awful mom?  I really hope not.  At least he’s not drawing those little crying faces in cages, as I showed in an earlier post.  Now, THAT was worrisome…

Yesterday, I went to visit the building that I worked on before I quit my job to be a better mom.  It was the ribbon cutting ceremony, so everyone who wasn’t involved in construction was getting to visit the building for the first time.

I was thrilled to see it complete.  Finally.  Every door was in place, every duct where it should be…and every detail realized.  I had a tremendous mix of emotions.  I was overjoyed to be finally walking around the building that I spent so many months slaving over.  But I also felt a great amount of sadness as well.

I felt sad that this was not my world anymore.  I felt sad that I had passed the construction of the project over to others.  I knew that it was in good hands…but I still handed it over…let it go.  There is nothing in architecture that is a solo endeavour.  Everything is accomplished by an enormous team of people…from the donors, to the institution, to the facilities department, to the architects…engineers…contractor…lighting designer…food service consultant…geotech…and the list goes on.  So, this isn’t “my” building by any stretch of the imagination.  Still, it feels like mine.  Only because I worked on it with every shred of my being that I had left after trying to be a reasonable wife and mother.   Every single thing…from a fire door, to an exhaust louver, to a wood ceiling, was a “labor of love” which took months to coordinate and design.  And here it is.  Finally done…both because of me, and in spite of my absence.

I look at it with extreme joy, but also with a heavy heart.


Snow, slowness and clutter…
March 1, 2012, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

So, I feel that the pace at which I complete drawings has slowed down considerably.  Why is that?  Winter lethargy?  Domestic distractions?  Raiding the refrigerator like a racoon every thirty minutes?  What???

I think that I’m actually starting to notice the neglected house…the stacks of papers…the projects “in process”…and the general clutter.  I would love to wake up tomorrow morning as a neat person, but it’s not likely to happen.  Neatness takes time.  I prefer to spend my time making a mess, rather than cleaning it up.  I’m clearly setting an awful example for my son.  When he was little, he considered it entertaining to dump out the contents of his toy bins onto the floor.  That was not a good omen for future neatness.

He built this little house the other day.  I’m actually more concerned about his interest in construction/building, than his messy habits.  What if he wants to become an architect????  I have to shield him from such reckless thoughts…which I must insist upon, as a recovering architect myself.

I got the photographs of my drawings back.  They look good!  Here, see if you can guess which was the professional photograph:

Is it this one?



or, is it this un-photoshop-ed one?

It is for this same reason that I now take my son to get his hair cut by a professional.  I know.  It isn’t really a fair comparison, as I did nothing to help my shoddy photo.  Still…no amount of product could fix my remedial haircutting…so, I still say that it’s worth it to go to an expert.

In a similar vein to last week, I am highlighting an artist whose work I love.  Her name is Kate Petley.  Please check out her website.    I LOOOOOVE her colors and swooping marks.  Her is one of her paintings:

Kate Petley

I mean, really….isn’t it GORGEOUS????  (I always worry that the artist will be upset that I have her work on my blog.  But, as I credit her for the work, and provide a link to her website…I hope that this is good blog etiquette…)  Look at those colors!  Look at that composition!  Look at how that green paint bleeds up into the white area!  Look at that little gray square in the lower left!  Sigh.  Such brilliance.  Maybe I can afford a mug with that on it?

Besides finally completing a drawing this week, I also updated my website!  Check it out here, please!  See?  Big changes, if you were familiar with how it was before.  Yes, after looking at my website, you may want to suggest that I look into Zoloft.  Really, I’m fine.

So, here is my latest drawing:

See?  I’m fiiiiine.  Perhaps I have S.A.D.?  Look at that dim light!  It is finally winter around here:

Perhaps my son has S.A.D. too???

Should I be concerned?  Where are the rainbows and flying horses???  Where are the puppies and smiley faces??????  What’s up with that CAGE???????

Maybe we need to get the “family-size” zoloft?  Really, it isn’t “The Shining” over here.  I’m thrilled that it’s snowing.

(and snowing…and snowing…and snowing…)

Heeeere’s MOMMY!!!

My babies are away for the weekend…
February 24, 2012, 9:31 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

NO…not my actual child!  (I’m sure that the plural was puzzling as well)  I mean my DRAWINGS.  Yes, I took my set of 16 drawings to be photographed yesterday.  So, as I write this…they are sitting in a photographer’s studio, and will be there over the weekend.  I made sure not to act like a neurotic parent by asking the photographer if he was going to treat them with kid gloves, as if they were important artifacts or rare antiquities.  Heck, I think that some of them even have pear juice on them.   No joke.  This is the last one that I finished:

You can see it in the box…with my handy-dandy eraser shield adjacent.  I have another one in progress…mwah-ha-ha!  (The produce aisle shudders at my approach…)

In the realm of art, more drawings by my son…another hilarious muppet-esque face:

I seriously love these.  And his version of an eighteen-wheeler:

I think that he thought that all eighteen wheels are are ONE side of the truck…plus, he ran out of room for the full amount. 

I try not to get depressed when I see amazing work by other artists.  I mean…if we all let that kind of thing get to us, none of us would get anywhere, right?  Take, for instance, Surabhi Saraf.  Her work is stunning…please take a look at her link.  She is a media artist, and does AMAZING videos of the mundane turned sublime.  Here are stills of one of her pieces:

Surabhi Saraf – Peel, 2009


Surabhi Saraf – Peel, 2009

You can’t appreciate how beautiful these videos are without watching one. Go.  Now.  I insist. (click here…but, please come back!)  I know.  Gorgeous, right??????

Here is another thing to get depressed about:

How far MY mundane is from the sublime.  Case in point:

Our plant is growing.  (Hurrah! will wonders never cease?) 

 Also, my recent Bed, Bath, and Beyond indulgence (I’m such the suburban mom):


Close up:

It’s a basket made from woven recycled paper…from China.  I love it!  I can’t decide what to do with it…I mean, doesn’t this deserve to be more than a wastebasket???

I love that art causes you not just to look at the world with fresh eyes, but specifically to look at the world AROUND US with fresh eyes.  I feel that Saraf’s work does that in a poetic way…taking the repetitive tasks of domestic life and multiplying/choreographing these rhythmic routines to an enormous scale.  Perhaps, in its own little way, my wastebasket does the same…imagine the possibilities of what a lowly, Market Basket flyer could become!  What if it wasn’t a wastebasketbut a LARGE, WOVEN PUPPY, A-LA-JEFF KOONS???? NOW, we’re talkin’! 




Shoddy week, but at least I went to the Decordova!
February 16, 2012, 8:30 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

Yes, this was a shoddy production week.  I didn’t even finish ONE DRAWING.  I kid you not.  I did, however, build a box for my drawings and mount them all:

Nice, right?  Snazzy custom box!  That’s just to distract you from harping on the fact that I did not finish a new drawing for this week.  So sad. 

I am digressing from my stuff to note that my son’s drawings have taken a new direction.  He was “a scribbler” for the most part.  Now, he’s doing these hilarious faces.  Check it out:

He decided that the hair only on the top of the head wasn’t enough…it needed to go around the WHOLE head.  Awesome.  This next one, he told me, is a one-year old:

See all of the circles in his mouth?  Those are apricots.

My own drawings, as a kid, were rather mundane:

I assume that I was older than 4 when I did this…my dad mowing the lawn.  Nice beard stubble.  Apparently, that was important.  Next:

I’m not sure that my spelling is any better.  Does anyone remember those Ed Emberley books????  They were these odd guides of how to draw stuff…these fish are CLEARLY from that book. In some ways, those books are really “anti-art”, as how to draw things is codified.  BUT, I think that it’s an interesting take on abstraction, just using combinations of basic geometric forms.  I know.  No one is going to get into any MFA program with these drawings, but you gotta start somewhere.

This week, I went to the DeCordova museum to see their Biennial exhibit.  It’s odd…I liked it generally, but I wasn’t really wow-ed by it.  I’m not sure why, so maybe I’ll know by the end of this post. 

Lately, there is a lot of work where something looks familiar, but it is made out of completely surprising materials.  Take these, for example:

Antoniadis & Stone – Sculpture Park (Flipside)

This looked like two, green concrete block walls that have been stacked on their side.   Hmm!  Actually, it was made of particle board, plastic and paint.  I kid you not.  I liked their work, as it was taking the mundane of our landscape and not only reconfiguring these objects, but making them by hand with other materials. Next:

Chris Taylor – Untitled

This artist takes mundane objects, like styrofoam cups and bubblewrap…and makes them out of GLASS.  Seriously.  They look perfect.  I guess that he’s sort of the “anti-Chihuly”.  I liked these, but I didn’t like how they were shown.  They were all sitting on a steel shelf, jumbled together.  I would have liked them to be treated in a more precious way.  How pedestrian of me.  Next:

Lauren KalmanBlooms, Efflorescence, and Other Dermatological Embellishments (Nevus Comedonicus)

HMMM!  This artist studied skin conditions, and then rendered them with jeweled piercings.  It makes beautiful what we would normally think of as “ugly”.  She used herself as a model, I believe.  I like where this is going…but is the final product actually “beautiful”?  Or, now that it is body adornment…has it become ugly again because of it’s unorthodox nature?  Either way…ouch.  I’ll stay with pencil drawing, thankyouverymuch.

Tomorrow, I’m going to the “Artists’ Books: Books by Artists” exhibit at the Boston Athenaeum.  I LOOOOVE this kind of stuff.  I’ve now made several little books myself, which I think is super fun.  I haven’t ever really focused on one seriously, as an attempted piece of art.  Anyone out there know some favorite artists who create cool artists’ books????

For those who don’t know what the heck I’m talking about…artists’ books are basically a book as art.  For example:

Merrill Shatzman

I discovered this artist online.  Her (his?) stuff looks GORGEOUS!  Check out her/his website.  I seriously love her/his stuff…(sorry, Merrill!  Maybe I’ll invent “hisser” as a word to replace her/his?  Thoughts?  Will Daniel Webster rise from his grave to strangle me?) 

Any other book artist recommendations out there????? 

 Is ANYBODY out there????  (kidding…sort of…)

February 10, 2012, 12:04 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Yes, this week is a hodgepodge of stuff.  No, there will be no coherent theme to this post, so don’t bother looking for one.

I’m going to start with something that will prove how…shall I say…weird, I am.  So, I think that we’re all familiar with Marcel Proust’s yammering about his madeleines, right?  I recently got a photocopy of the passage from A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, and it started me thinking…(always a recipe for disaster).  Here’s the quote:

And so it is with our past.  It is a labor in vain to recapture it: all the efforts of our intellect must prove futile.  The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect.  And as for the object, it depends on chance whether or not we come upon it or now before we ourselves must die. – [Marcel Proust]

So, I pondered this quote, and wondered what my “material object” would be that would bring me back to the past.  Not surprisingly, I couldn’t think of anything profound, as Proust does.  BUT, I thought about something ridiculous.  When I was little, I had a rather sizeable collection of Tomy Pocket Games.  Does anyone else remember these?????  I loved them.  I think that I have always been a “micro” person.  This may be attributed to my rather acute nearsightedness…but perhaps not.  Anyway, these little games were a micro world to me.  Each had it’s own character, difficulty, and fun.  They were small enough to fit in one’s pocket, hence the name.  ANYWAY, (this is going somewhere, albeit slowly) I thought back to the ONE of these little games that I loved the most.  It was a tiny obstacle course for a little silver ball.  TEENY TINY!  I remember the one that I had was slightly damaged, as my dad tried to get the price tag off with lighter fluid and slightly “melted” the plastic on that spot.  SO, on a whim, I decided to look on ebay to see if anyone was selling one.  Well…I kid you not.  There was one in exquisite condition.  As per usual, ebay stresses me out.  I only buy things that I can “buy it now”, without an auction.  Unfortunately, this had an auction.    Days went by…on the evening of the final bidding, I placed my bid…and left to put my son to bed.  I let go and just hoped that I would win it…

And I did:


I know.  I *truly* have a problem.  Nonetheless, I am thrilled to have this little thing back in my life.  I am clearly not of the buddhist school of thought where I relinquish attachment to all worldly possessions.  No, I’m just about the complete opposite.  Proust randomly stumbled upon his madeleine…whereas I sought out and bought mine on Ebay.  Same difference.

I wonder what my son’s “madeleine” would be?  We actually have a set of wooden blocks that was my husband’s grandfather’s blocks when he was a kid.  Amazing, right?  Anyway, my husband says that the smell of these wood blocks brings him back to his childhood…

That’s a skyscraper that he built “with” my son.  Cool, right?  Sorry about the mess.   I was too lazy to photoshop out the general disaster in the house.  I needed some kind of “de-crap” filter, but I don’t think that my version has that kind of thing…

The other cool project with my son is trying to grow something in a pot.  Our bird feeder project was a complete fail, as I somehow managed to buy a suet block that is completely unappealing to our furry and feathered friends outside….but I digress.   So, we’re trying to grow either beans, or peas.  I can’t remember what we stuck in the pot, and I’m too lazy to get up and find the seed packet.  I was very skeptical about this project, as I am really bad with plants.  I mean, REAAAALLY bad.  BUT!  Take a look!!!!:

LOOKIT!  There are some tiny GREEN THINGS coming up in the plant pot!!!!!  YES!!!!  I can restore my son’s faith in the order of the natural world!  I was concerned that he was skeptical because of the bird feeder fail.  See???   Add sun and water and stuff actually GROWS!   Ah, I’m such a simpleton…

For those of you interested in art, you’ve probably already stopped reading by now.  Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost most readers by this point.  SORRY!  If you wanted exciting, I’m sure that Kim Kardashian has a blog that you can check on.  Just tell her that I sent you.

So, for my friend’s 40th bday, I made her a little book.  Here it is:

and the inside:

Fun, right?  I called it her “Forever 40” book.  She can just maintain that same age from now on, and reject the signs of getting older.  Blue hair?  Senior discount?  Not when you’re only 40!  I may join her in this delusion when I turn 40.

I’m horrified at how little drawing I got done this week.  This is it:

Just ONE drawing?  Ugh.  My husband was away this week, so my excuse is that I had less free time than usual.  Or, I’m just slacking off.  I’ll choose the former.

Has anyone seen any good art exhibits in the Boston area?  I took my son to the MFA this week to meet a friend and her son.  Yes, we did not manage to do the visit without a guard reprimanding me about my son trying to touch the two-story tall Chihuly sculpture.  Sigh.  Here I am…trying to be the good mom with my kid at the MFA, and we get called out as delinquents.  Anyway, if you can think of a show in the area worth seeing…let me know…sans enfants next time…

Jim Dine!
February 3, 2012, 9:26 am
Filed under: Drawing, printmaking | Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, you heard me…Jim Dine!  I went to the MFA for a lecture by Jim Dine, revered artist/printmaker.  SO FASCINATING!  Isn’t it always better to hear the artist talk about their work?  He was funny and “down to earth”.  The lecture went through the progression of his work…from his early lithographs of “crash”, through the tools (yes!  the tools!), to the bathrobe self portrait…etc etc.  Here are some images:

Jim Dine

Look at those fantastic tools!  His grandfather owned a hardware store, so he grew up playing with tools…next:

Jim Dine

The bathrobe.  This became a sort of “self portrait”, he said.  Next:

Jim Dine

Hearts.  This whole series is interesting, as I think that most of us think about drawing hearts as something that a kid would do.  They always have such exhuberance…

Jim spent a lot of time talking about the need to have his “hand” in what he made.  He didn’t like silkscreen, because it was too removed.  He often made a black and white print, but then added color afterwards with a brush.

There were some questions at the end of the lecture.  One person asked (I’m paraphrasing): “How do you feel about the use of technology in contemporary art?” 

Jim’s response:  [significant pause]…”It’s fine.”

Sooo funny…we all laughed.  His pause and his listless/sarcastic response said it all.  I bought a book of his works:

OOOOO…lovely!  Plus…lookit:

 That’s a signature!!!  I know…how nerdy.

This week, I got a first chemistry set for my son.  Don’t get all excited…it was really basic…but fun.  It’s perfect for a 4 year old, as nothing was toxic…and the outcome was always colorful/bubbly/erupting.  Perfect!  I was going to take a photo, but I didn’t want to leave him in the room with all of the stuff, lest he decide to just dump it all together at once.  Our experiments sort of looked like one of his recent drawings…

My son is a bit of a scribbler:

I love it!  However, I do notice that his friends at school seem to be a bit more “controlled” in what they produce.  I don’t know what that means…does he just “like” to scribble?  Or, is this what he does because he doesn’t have the motor skills to do anything else?  This is what a neurotic mother like me thinks about.  I look at these as “preschool rorschach tests”.  Today, though…he did something a bit more controlled:

THAT, I’ll have you know…is an xray.  This xray detects bloodcells, as that’s what all of the spots on the lower right are.  I’m not sure if I have the orientation right…as I’m not a radiologist, so whatever.  I would have guessed that it was some kind of machine, so I’m glad he told me what it was.  Otherwise, I’d get an angry scowl at my dumb comment.

This week…I am trying to be more productive than LAST week.  It’s going okay:

Notice the dappled, winter sunlight.  I need some training on how to photograph “art”.

It’s so interesting…when I start one of these drawings…I actually feel a little bit of dread.  My “art cop”, as Rhoda Rosenberg would say, starts to nag…”what if it turns out horribly?”  “what if it sucks?” “is this all just a waste of time?”  I know.  Just keep working.  Rhoda Rosenberg has a great John Cage quote about this:

When you start working, everybody is in your studio – the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas – all are there.  But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone.  Then, if you’re lucky, even you leave.     [John Cage]

Hmm!  I wish that I had such profound thoughts.  Instead, I’m trying to remember if I put detergent in the laundry or not…

Oh the times…they aren’t a-changin’…
January 27, 2012, 12:22 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Why that title, you ask? 

Recently…I went to Home Depot to look at more “tools” for my drawings.  In some ways…I dislike going to the Depot, or any hardware store, when I am looking for things NOT for construction, but for art.  So, here I was…in the Depot…choosing some items PURELY based upon their appearance.  I managed to deflect a “Can I help you find what you’re looking for?” by saying “yes”, and asking where there might be some wheeled carts (I’d love to get one from my little etching press).  The guy brought me to the carts, and we started to talk about what the cart was for.  So, he found out that I do “art”, and asked, “what kind of art?”.  This is the start of a conversation that I typically like to avoid.  I told him, “drawing”…hoping that this was good enough.  But no.  “What do you draw?”, he asked.  Okay.  NOW what?  I hummed and hawed…trying to think of something to say…but then I just gave up and told the truth…”I draw still-lifes with tools and fruit, specifically, pears.”  He agreed that I am indeed a nutcase.  Luckily, his brother is an artist, so he was somewhat open to the idiosyncracies of art.  Part of the reason that I avoid this subject is not only because I’ll be judged as koo-koo for buying stuff for art, not construction…but also because I do NOT want to be judged as the “silly” female with my “artsy” pursuits.  Dislike.

THEN, I get to the checkout line.  I happen to be buying a band saw blade, a bunch of screws, and wooden coat hangers.  When the checkout guy started to ring up the blade, he said, “I see that the wives are shopping for the husbands today!”

No.  Really?  You’re joking, right?  Don’t they teach you anything in employee training????

“Noooo…ALL of these items are for ME.”, I responded.  He was really a nice guy, so I gently berated him for such a sexist remark.  Why couldn’t he have just said, “Did you find everything that you needed today?”???  It turns out that he had an 18 yr old daughter.  I wonder what kind of stuff he tells her at home?

In the world of architecture…the balance between men and women feels quite even.  (There is an unfortunate imbalance when you get into the world of “interiors”, as this often tips towards women.)  But, in engineering and construction…it is still mostly a man’s world.  Not always…but mostly.  This obviously saddens me…but I hope that someday those fields will be more diverse.  I have been in meetings where the head of facilities at a university will make some joke about “wives”, and I sit there…as the project architect…and just smile.  Great.  I am likely to be the only “wife” at that ten person meeting…so, does that make me “one of the boys”, or one of the silly “wives”?  Who knows. 

Anyone who tells you that sexism is a thing of the past is probably part of the problem.

Sorry about that rant!  Because I haven’t been working as an architect for the past year and a half…I’ve forgotten about things like this.  I just got a reminder this week…

So, my son has brought home another priceless creation from preschool:

Isn’t that GREAT?  WHAT IS IT????

[OMG…I have AGAIN accidentally posted when I wasn’t done….SORRY!!!]

I asked him what it was, and it’s some kind of nozzle.  I forgot the adjectives that go with the “nozzle” that he described…but I love it.  I love these toilet paper tube creations.  Priceless.  I will be sad when they stop.  Perhaps he’ll be like his mom, and they’ll never stop.

VERY slow week for my own work.  Latest drawing:

So, here’s the bandsaw blade.  See?  I rarely use my Home Depot purchases for their intended purpose.  So be it.

Now, I have to run off to the grocery store to make dinner for a friend who just had a baby.  I have no idea what to make.  Such pressure!!!!!  What if the kids hate it?  What if the whole family hates it?  Sigh.  Perhaps ordering pizza for them is not really very thoughtful…rats.  I’ll have to concoct something NON-VEGAN that will hopefully dazzle them with my culinary skills…

I don’t tend to put pressure on myself much.


(insert post title here)
January 20, 2012, 9:16 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Each week, I wonder what the heck I’m going to write about on Friday.  Luckily, each week SOMETHING happens that I can ramble on about.  Yes, it’s mundane…but I’m no Kim Kardashian.  For me, that kind of craziness lives in the checkout line at Walgreens.

It has finally snowed…and this snow may last more than a day:

Don’t ask my why that deck chair is over in the corner.  Some weird arrangement by my son, likely.  At least it hasn’t been toppled over.

A friend recently commented that an email I sent could almost be a poem, if one were to adjust the punctuation.  This inspired me to create my own, domestic haiku:

Silence is broken.

My son yells that I am trash.

“Good morning”, I say.

I know.  What sheer brilliance.  You would likely say that I shouldn’t quit my day job, but it’s too late for that.

My son has two creations this week.  The first:

The ubiquitous pasta necklace.  Seriously, though…don’t you think that this could be sold at Anthropologie for $50?  Don’t get me wrong…I love that store.  Perhaps it’s the artistic way in which I’ve slung it on the wood surface?  Perhaps not.

His other creation:

YES.  NON-VEGAN CONTRABAND.  I let him eat once of the squares after dinner.  Poor kid.  It’s always tough to have crazy parents.

One of my son’s friends (she’s 6) spent her entire free time at school making him a book.  ISN’T THAT AWESOME?  I love it.  Here it is:

[PLEASE NOTE…to those who subscribe to this blog…I just did some ODD combination of keys that POSTED this incomplete rambling.  Sorry about that.]

I know.  I hope that this paper is archival.  Next:




I have boots just like those.  Next:


So, pick your favorite monster.  Brilliant!  Next:

This is the little girl and my son together with ice cream at the end of the book.  Really.  Is this not the best present ever???  I’m sure that the mom was disappointed that she didn’t get to keep it!  Well…I’M, I mean, WE’RE thrilled.

And now for something completely different:

That’s my latest drawing.  I’m amazed at how unproductive I’ve been this week.  Or, for some reason, these drawings are taking me longer and longer to do.  Detail:

I’m working on trying to really capture the dripping, etc. of the pear.  I think that it’s getting better.  I have to work from a photograph for those parts, as the pear starts to decompose rather quickly.  This is why our basement smells like rotting pear.  Sorry, honey!  My husband had to take back one of his tools yesterday from my “art” area.  I’m sure that this still life worried him further.

So, does anyone out there have any comment about this series of drawings?  My mentor feels that I should show them to someone to get feedback.  I’m not sure who, though.  Hmmm.  Any volunteers?  Is anyone out there at all?  It’s okay.  I work alone for most of the week, so I’m used to talking to myself.  It’s when the tofu starts answering back, THEN I’ll start to worry…

blimey…my kingdom for some butter…
January 13, 2012, 4:26 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Do you think that starting a blog post with, “this was not the most productive week”, is a bad idea, i.e. will cause people to move on quickly to something else more exciting, like laundry?  Possibly.

While I did not get much drawing done this week…I have done a lot of…cooking.  Yes, my husband “forced” me to watch the documentary, “Forks Over Knives”, and now…we’re 95% vegan.  Let me say that again, as I would not in 1,000 bagillion years ever thought it…but, we’re VEGAN (mostly).  I know.  What kind of plant based koolaid did I drink?  Who knows.  If you value eating bacon, you might want to skip this film…and get an ice cream.

mmm…ice cream….

FOCUS!  Yes, it’s been a busy time, experimenting with various recipes and odd ingredients.  I recently bought nutritional yeast this week.  I kid you not.  NUTRITIONAL YEAST.  (why am I yelling so much?)  Now, I’m starting to freak myself out.  When I start wearing all hemp clothes, call the local insane asylum.

In general…I like the foods that are a pleasant “medley” of vegetables.  I am not fond of fake soy “cheese”, fake soy “sausages”, fake soy “meatballs”.  Forget it.  Those are scary.  They also tend to use a lot of mushrooms…which I hate.  Did I mention that mushrooms are SOOO good for you?  Well, they are.  Eat two for me.

So, it’s been an unusual week of buying and eating unusual things.  My son has perfected his skeptical scowl of all of my cooking.  His new favorite question when I’m cooking is, “are you making something that I like?”.  Poor kid.  Kiss those hot dogs goodbye.

If you are all curious to why this latte slugging, hot dog munching person could possibly consider this…then watch the documentary.  It makes you feel like you’re chomping on an early death sandwich.  Pass the butter.

Beyond my food coup d’etat…I’m dragging along with my drawings.  Here is a new one:

My husband just occasionally looks over my shoulder when I’m drawing and says nothing.  I’m sure that he’s slightly concerned.  Perhaps I need some more flax seed?

I met with a local artist, who recommended that I look at the work of Antonio Lopez Garcia.  Here is one of his drawings:

Antonio Lopez Garcia

Amazing, right?  So much atmosphere.  Sigh.  I know…don’t feel defeated.  Just keep drawing (and erasing!).  I aspire to someday be as good as one of his lousy drawings.  A girl’s gotta have goals right?

Two questions:

1.  Is anyone else out there vegan?  How’s it goin’? (this counts as one question, because I make up the rules here)

2.  Any other artists that I should take a look at, who are doing work in a similar vein to mine?  Bueller?  (this is also one question)


%d bloggers like this: