slightly wonky

fuzzy filter…
May 25, 2012, 8:59 am
Filed under: Drawing, painting | Tags: , , ,

This week, I had a fun evening of cocktails AND painting with my best friend.  IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!  I’m not kidding.  We went to Palettes in Natick.  Here’s how it works:  You sign up to take “a class,” where an instructor leads the group in doing a painting…step-by-step.  I know.  You art snobs out there have already clicked “close” on this window, right?  BUT WAIT!!!  How much fun is it to MINDLESSLY work on a painting, and just enjoy the act of blobbing on bright colors (with a caipirinha in hand, mind you)???  SO much fun.  Here’s the painting that a roomful of people painted simultaneously:

(I will explain why it’s so blurry in a minute)

Now, I would NEVER have painted this if left to my own devices.  BUT, I found it really freeing to let go of all expectations, and just paint.  One other thing that made it interesting was walking around the room to see each person’s version of this SAME painting.  Notice how narrow my boat is…in comparison, my friend’s boat was wide.  I found this to be a metaphor for our personalities…she is warm and open, and I am crabby and sullen.  No?  Well, I think that I’m onto something…

Okay, now why the image is so blurry:

I have a four-year old son. 

Need I say more?  I walked by the dining room table this week, noticed my camera sitting unusually close to him.  He also had a rather guilty expression on his face.  The camera looked fine, so I didn’t say anything.  Well…now, as you can see, my Leica lens is now coated with one or all of the following: 1.maple syrup, 2. saliva, 3. rice milk, 4. chewed up waffle.  While I think that the lens may be pretty much ruined, I think that I now have a “fuzzy filter” lens, which can likely take very flattering portraits.  I may have a career opporunity in either taking fuzzy photos, or letting my son ruin other people’s cameras so that they too can have “soft focus” photos.  Sigh.

I think that my motto as a parent is just that:  “sigh”

We made a miniature living room set out of playdoh this week:

I tried to convince him to do a “low arm” sofa, but he insisted on “english arms.”  Go figure.

I think that I finished that drawing from last week:

Looks better, right? (you must agree with me, lest I be offended)  I was toying around with the idea of drawing these in charcoal, but do you know what?


I’m sure that’s my lack of skill with charcoal, but jeez…that sooty black dust gets EVERYWHERE.  I am already a messy person, so I’m not sure that using a messy medium is the way to go.  I’m kind of asking for trouble, I think.  People will see me coated with black dust in the grocery store and wonder if I am a chimney sweep.  “Oh no,” I’ll say, “I’m an ah-tist!”  Weird looks will abound.  I still getting used to the odd looks that I get from the employees in either hardware stores, or Home Depot.  I’m not sure that I want to add odd looks from grocery store clerks as well…especially as they can be a rather odd lot themselves.  (I apologize if anyone reading this is a grocery store clerk…perhaps that’s true just in our town.)

I am also sorry for any of you looking for a somewhat serious discussion about art this week.  I got nuthin’.  Check out this blog, for thoughtful insights and discussions about the art world:

Joanne Mattera is an uber-talented encaustic artist.  She does beautiful work, and she generously writes a fabulous art blog.  READ IT!  NOW!  While her blog would be likened to a gourmet meal, mine is more similar to a bag of Cheetos. 



Drawing show at the New Art Center & grey hot dogs!
May 11, 2012, 1:46 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

So, this week I went to the New Art Center in Newton, MA to see a drawing show titled, “M(i)(A)cro: A Contemporary Drawing Exhibition.”  SO AMAZING!!!  It’s so great to see a drawing-only exhibit.  Sometimes, I feel that drawing gets neglected…works on paper are fragile…they are often just black & white…yadda yadda yadda.   Whatever.  Here are a couple of highlights:

Greg Fuqua, Study in Dynamics, Charcoal, 69″ x 42″

LOOK AT THAT!  Look how BIG it is!  Seriously.  That drawing was gorgeous.    I could have sat all day and just looked at it.  So amazing.  Here is the artist’s website, just in case you missed it:  Greg Fuqua.  Trust me…if you saw that in person, you’d “oooh” and “aaah” as well.  It’s a CHARCOAL drawing, for goodness sake…   

Here is another artist from that show:

Barbara Blacharczyk, Botanical Flux, Acrylic and ink on multiple layers of Duralar, 57″ x 40″ 

SOOOO COOL!!!  She has many layers of Duralar (which is what I use as well), which she has painted on…cut into…collaged.  The drawings really look “alive”, as there is so much depth to them.  They’re fascinating.  If anyone is in the Newton, MA area…go see this show NOW!  It’s almost over!  Seriously.  Put down your silly IPad and get over there.  I mean it.

As is always the case, I find it impossible to look at another artist’s work and not automatically compare it to my own.  Actually, I do that less so with UBER artists, like Picasso…but more so with anyone who hasn’t quite achieved that stardom.  WHY do I do that???  WHYYY????  It’s some sort of automatic, self-torture reflex.  I can’t be the only one with such a neurosis, can I? Yes?  OK fine…don’t answer that.

So, I framed my drawing for the Danforth show.  Here it is!

Now, do you understand why feel deflated??? (Okay, I’ll be quiet).  I go the The Framer’s Workshop, in Brookline, for the framing.  I have this hair-brained notion that it will be cheaper, if I do some of the labor.  Also, I am so neurotic that I don’t quite trust someone else to frame these drawings.  Crazy, right?  I trust MYSELF more than the professional?  How flawed is that thinking???  You should have seen how I struggled to mash and smooth the putty in the frame’s corners.  It took me probably 10x as long as someone who works there.  I dislike the whole chore of framing.  SO TEDIOUS. Plech pleh pflu.

I got very little done in my own work this week…EXCEPT that I finished yet ANOTHER dress!  Here it is:

Don’t you think that it’s cute???  It even has pockets!  I am all proud of myself, as I added the shaping around the middle.  Can you imagine what this looked like without that?  Sort of like a multi-colored potato sack…you know, like my usual sewing projects…

My son made me some playdoh food this week:

mmm…yummy, right?  The only thing that looks marginally appealing is the hot dog on the right.  Perhaps the food on the left is what a hot dog normally looks like for someone who is colorblind?  Not sure.  He also drew a self-portrait:

Isn’t that hilarious???  I love it!  I’m also glad that he drew himself “happy”, not frowing or crying.  I must have been doing an ok job of parenting at that moment.  I feel like I need a sticker “How’s My Parenting? Dial 1-800-KOO KOO U” on my forehead sometimes.  Luckily, my son can’t use a phone, or else I’d be getting lots of disgruntled calls.  Have I already mentioned that when my son is mad at me, he’ll either say, “I’m going to throw you in the trash!”, or “I’m going to put you in jail!”?  When I tried to outsmart him, and tell him that he couldn’t put me in jail because I was already in the trash, he said that he’d put the trash can, with me in it, in jail.  I died laughing, which, of course, made him angrier.  WOO HOO…it’s never a dull moment when you’re a parent!  If fact, if it gets TOO QUIET…that usually means he’s up to no good.  I typically grab a wet sponge, a roll of paper towels, and then start searching…

thank god for washable markers…


Upcoming show and a featured local artist…
November 16, 2011, 10:06 pm
Filed under: Drawing, painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , ,

So, a bit of good news!!!  I submitted three pieces of work to the upcoming show at the Arlington Center for the Arts…and all three were accepted!  I was pretty excited, as I had no idea what to expect.  The work is all abstract, but varied: one woodblock print, one monotype, and one acrylic painting.  Exciting!  The show, titled “Regeneration”, runs from November 21 through January 27.  The opening is December 2 at 7:30 pm…I hope that I can go!  Here’s what was selected:



So exciting!

On another front, I wanted to highlight the work of a local artist, Regina Valluzzi.  She is uber smart, and combines her scientific background with her artistic vision to create amazing works.  This is one of her paintings, titled, “Vacuum Energy”:

“Vacuum Energy” by Regina Valluzzi

Amazing, right?  I wish that I could begin to understand the influences in her work, but as I am lacking a doctorate in physics, I can only talk about how I really love what she does…Please check out both her website and her blog.   Here is another of her paintings, titled, “Emergent Order”:

“Emergent Order” by Regina Valluzzi

I’m such a fan of the colors, layering and complexity…She has two works that are going to be in an exhibit in Boston’s Hynes Convention Center from January 4 – 7.  In addition, two of her drawings will also be in the aforementioned upcoming show at the Arlington Center for the Arts!  Congrats, Regina!

 I’ve been working on a WIDE variety of stuff, as per usual.  In my portrait class, we worked with that same model that you’ve seen me draw in past blog posts.  This time, however, instead of drawing….we did linoleum prints!  Here’s mine:

Kind of interesting…in a Durer-esque sort of way.  I wasn’t really finished with it, but I printed it anyway, as we were running out of time.  Lots of stuff that I’d do different next time, but my first linoleum print from a model.  The model looks like a brunette Gwen Stefani to me.

I also did a couple more woodblock prints.  These are just using the blocks that I already carved before:

I actually did several, but that one is just an example of the colors that I was using.  I also made ghost prints as well:

I’m not totally sure about the colors.  It was good to play around with these blocks again, though!

I’ve been continuing to work on my vise study/series.  I’m enjoying these drawings, as they are rather quick and messy (charcoal!).  I am forcing myself just to do them, without over-analyzing the whole thing.  I love using charcoal…it’s soooo tactile.  I mean, you can draw a thin line…a fat line…a really WIDE line with the side of the stick…you can smudge it…lift it…amazing!  I’m going to end up with black lung by the time this is over.  I need a drawing-vac to suck up all of the charcoal dust.  Again, does wonders for the laundry area where the vise is situated…But, I digress…here is one from last week:

I started to play with the anthropomorphic qualities of the vise…one from this week:

and one from today:

I really like that one.  I’m not sure if I’m finished with it.  I think that I should just leave it, so that I don’t “over-work” it.  That’s what my painting teacher is always threatening us about.  I am a virtuoso at over-working…both in my art and my life…but I’m trying to fix that in both too!

Speaking of painting, my recent painting from that class turned out…hmmm.  Here it is:

Hmm…I was trying to do a self-portrait…but from memory.  No photo or mirror.  Once I got home, and looked in the mirror…I saw TONS of stuff that was off.  It will be obvious to those who know me that this is only marginally a likeness.  I think that I might try it again.  Detail:

I really don’t think that my painting teacher liked it.  I think that he was concerned that I looked so depressed!  He asked us to do a painting inspired by writing/literature.  I was working from Shakespeare’s sonnet #159, which I had to memorize in high school.  DID I MENTION THAT I CAN STILL RECITE IT????  Scary!  Anyway, thinking of all of that generated this painting.  Once again…I got sucked into “realism”.  I just love painting faces, though, so I like to do it.  Next time, however, I’m going to really try to stay with abstraction, as I prefer that kind of art generally.  Well…just as my high school field hockey coach would yell with her Dutch accent…”PUUUUSH YOURSELF!”  Thanks, Anneke!!!

General drippy-ness
November 10, 2011, 4:25 pm
Filed under: Collage, Drawing, painting | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The snow has long melted away, and now we’ve got a gray day with rain.  I’m not complaining, as it was almost 70 degrees and sunny on Tuesday.  Typical November in New England.

My painting class went pretty well this week!  However, no matter how hard I try…I seem to keep getting sucked back into “realism”.  Trust me, I’m not implying that my work has any photographic realism to it, but it becomes more and more representational, which I’m always trying to avoid.  Here is the painting from this week:

If you can’t discern…it’s a still life of gardening gloves and a binder clip.  Don’t ask me what that melange means.  Anyway, I was trying to keep it fairly abstract, but my teacher kept prompting me to “fix” it so that it looked more “correct”.  I guess my abstraction wasn’t capturing the essence of the forms as much as when I just caved in and tried to paint the objects, albeit in a messy way.  The majority of this painting was done with a small paintbrush, like the flat kind that you get in a hardware store to paint the trim on your door or something.  I like the marks that this kind of brush gives.  I’m generally happy with it, although I’m still scratching my head how as to be more “abstract”.  Why, you ask, am I trying that?  I just like abstract art over realistic art.  I’m naturally wow-ed by anyone who can paint in a photographic manner.  But, I don’t like that kind of art, really.  I like abstraction.  Thus, I am continuously attempting to move in that direction.

My other art class never strays from the “non-representational” world.  We had to do two collages this week from the paintings that we made LAST week.  Here are my collages:


Okay, here’s an odd thing.  The first one felt easy to do and took very little time.  The second one was like digging my own grave with a toothpick.  I have no idea why it was so difficult, and took me so long.  It’s so odd how one’s brain gets stuck.  Why?  WHYYY?  I don’t want to say that it was a waste of a good hour doing that one, but when I finished…I was exhausted and somewhat defeated by that little 5″x7″ rectangle of paper.  I was also surrounded by an explosion of paper scraps from failed attempts at that second composition.   I know…some people are brain surgeons, and I’m stumped by sticking paper down.  Hmph.

We also did colorful ink blot paintings in this class.  I think that maybe this is a project that I’ll see if my son wants to do:


What do you see?  Don’t say “a general mess”.  I had fun doing this, but I would have loved to have had my tar gel medium to do some squiggly drips.

I’m also meeting once a week with Adria Arch, a local artist who’s work has been shown all over the place.  She just had a show finish at the Bromfield Gallery in the South End.  Impressive!  Anyway, she’s helping me set some direction with what I’m doing.  Because we both liked my previous “drill press” print (see my post titled, “Last Cambridge Print Studio…Boo Hoo!), we decided that I should continue this tool exploration.  So, I’m to do ten, 18″x24” drawings of 30 min. each on the subject of tools.  I’ve started with a vice that we have in our meager basement workshop:

Please excuse the generally poor quality of the photos in this post.  As the post title states, it’s a drippy mess outside, and I had to take all of my pictures indoors.  So, this first drawing is a pretty straightforward charcoal drawing of the vise.  Next:

Then, I zoomed in on one area.  Hmm!  Next:

This was me initially trying to do a “blind contour” drawing, but I started looking.  So, if the whole vise looks “wonky”, that’s why.  I kind of liked the general messiness of this drawing, so I did another one:

That’s an odd combination of fussy drawing and scribble drawing.  Hmm. Blech.  Next:

That time, I tried to draw the vise with only tones, and not too many lines.  Very messy!  Hmm!  Now, what can I do with the next five that I have to do?  EGADS.  This one was kind of fun because of the general messiness of it all.  I love that I’m scrubbing away with black charcoal in our laundry area while I look at this vise.  Doesn’t everyone dream of a laundry area with fine dusting of black charcoal on everything?  I know…not very Martha Stewart of me. 

In looking at these drawings, it’s kind of odd.  I almost like the wonky one the best.  I guess that the other ones are so straightforward, that they are almost boring.  What do you think?  Hello, out there!?!

A weekend away…figurative work…
September 27, 2011, 10:51 am
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For one weekend every year, my husband and I go back to where we were married…sans enfants.  Thanks to the generosity of my mom who is willing to watch my son, we can have a weekend escape!  I know.  How lucky!  We go to the place where we were married in the Berkshires.  It’s SO lovely…so quiet…just the noise of the wind moving through the trees.  Ahhhh.  I wish that I could bottle that and bring it home.  Perhaps that’s what those Bose noise cancelling headphones are like…sounds appealing.

So, I’m thinking about my next painting class coming up.  My teacher suggested figurative work.  I like drawing people, so perhaps I’ll like painting them too!  I made an effort not to “draw” the paintings.  Don’t get me wrong…I love the way that drawn lines look in a painting.  I just thought that I’d try to keep my paintings truer to the medium.  I basically reworked the two canvases that I had started in class.  This proved to be a challenge, as both canvases were VERY textured.  I mean…REALLY textured.  So, it was tough to do something on top that wasn’t abstract.  Here was the first one, based upon a suggestion by my teacher:

I think that you can see what I’m talking about with the “extreme” texture.  Here is a close up:

Okay, it wasn’t an assemblage, but still.  It was really tough to paint over that goopy surface.  Anyhoo…this was kind of fun.  I liked using the odd colors too.  I decided to do another one:

Hmm.  I layered this one a bit more, as I felt that it needed something to tie the abstract background with the portrait.  Perhaps I need to be a bit more abstract with the portraits.  Hmmm…

I’ve started another one, but this time…I began with a charcoal drawing on the canvas.  I have also added some texture to the canvas, but it actually relates to the image, as opposed to the two paintings above.  We’ll see how this one goes!

I found that the charcoal sort of smeared when I went over it with the acrylic medium, so I actually put most of the medium on the background.

I’ve also got a woodblock that I have to make some progress on.  I’m not using the gourmet shina plywood, but some other plywood from Woodcraft, a store in Woburn.  This is a royal pain.  I’m so spoiled with the shina plywood.  This other plywood splinters, is hard to cut, and is a general pain.  It’s made me sort of drag my feet about carving it.  I need to finish it up though!  Hopefully, I’ll have some prints next week to show of it.

The opening reception for the portrait show that I have a drawing in is this Friday!  So, if you are in the area…please stop by the Belmont Gallery of Art between 6-8pm on Friday.  I’ll be there!


Portraits excavated from attic
September 8, 2011, 4:38 pm
Filed under: Drawing | Tags: , , , , , ,

A while ago, I took a portrait drawing class.  This is really one of my favorite things to do.  I don’t know why, but I really do love drawing people’s faces.  But when I am not in a class, I find it really hard to do so.  I mean, who is going to sit still long enough?  Nobody.  The other thing about this is…I don’t think that I would necessarily want these drawings hanging up in my house.  I love crazy abstract art.  I am less inclined to like realistic art.  So…these are attempts at realistic images of people that I don’t even KNOW.  Why would I put these drawings on my wall?  Hmmm.  I am considering taking another portrait class, just because I love doing it, but I’m not sure.  If I don’t like the end products, then why do it?  Or, is that just me being too “product/end result” oriented?  Here are the drawings.  Note how the corners of them got crumpled in the attic.  Sheesh.  I need a flat file.

I’ve managed to flatten that one out a bit.  I may try to enter it in a portrait show.  Who knows.  I don’t think that it is really “original” enough, but we’ll see.  He was kind of a character.  Here is the second drawing:

She got quite crumpled.  Hmm…I will have to work on that.  I managed to crop my feet standing next to the drawings, as I thought that would look odd.  This was a hard pose to draw, as a profile doesn’t give much depth.  A 3/4 view is always better.  In a crowded class, though, you can’t always get the good spot.

I’m still chasing after abstract art.  Is it futile for me?  I’m not saying that these drawings are amazing…but I have some modicum of ability here.  Should I keep going with the portaits, or try out the crazy abstracts, which I love?

I have a painting class that starts next week.  Wish me luck!  I’m hoping it will help me a bit.

Hey, if anyone out there wants to sit still for a few hours so that I can try to draw you, let me know.  No, you’re not allowed to fall asleep!  I also don’t want to draw someone with a “zoned-out/tv-coma” face.  Not a good look.

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