slightly wonky


Zip-a-dee-do-da

This past Wednesday, I got back from a fabulous FIVE DAYS IN PUERTO RICO.  No, it’s not April 1, I’m serious.  This was a birthday celebration that my friends and I did because we are all turning/have turned 40 this year.  SCARY!  Luckily, we still have the maturity level that we did back in high school, so we had a blast.

Before I left on my trip, however, my son made me this birthday cake:

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I think that it says “Halloween…40…For Mom.”  I thought this was hilarious.  Isn’t it creative, and adorable???  Look at the candle he drew!  Awesome.  It was pretty odd to be leaving my family for 5 days, as I haven’t gone anywhere since my son was born.  For me, a trip to the grocery store is a big to-do.

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Umm…let me just say that the oddness quickly went away as I was in pure Mommy heaven for those five days.  Sitting by the pool…sitting by the beach…going for a swim…reading and finishing Orange Is The New Black…and gabbing almost continuously with a cocktail in hand.  WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE????

a-laconcha3This was my view one morning.  I know.  Ridiculous, right?  If I didn’t have a son and husband, I might not have come back!  Sigh.  I had to swap my flip flops for socks and boots when I came back to the Boston area.  BRRR.

Okay, while we were outrageously decadent and lazy, we didn’t sit around the WHOLE time.  We did go zip lining one afternoon:

ziplineThis was beyond fun.  (This is a photo of one of my friends…who shall remain anonymous…gracias.)  I have no idea how fast you go on these, but it feels like 40 mph.  Actually, when you’re midway…the wind is whipping past you and you’re looking at the amazing scenery…you don’t really notice how fast you’re going.  BUT, when you are hurtling towards the end, then it gets a bit disconcerting as you can’t imagine how you could possibly stop without crashing into the cable support.  Luckily, they have some kind of braking mechanism that kicks in during the last 20 feet.  It’s kind of like how a roller coaster stops at the end…jarring, yet efficient.  Most of the photos I have of people coming in are just a blur.

Okay.  So, now I think that we need a zipline in our yard.  Right???  (You must agree.)  I’m a housefrau re-evaluating the laundry line for alternative purposes.  During the day…it’s mommy’s koo koo adrenaline ride… but when my son/husband is home, it’s got clean towels on it again.  Brilliant!  I think that the neighbors already think I’m crazy, but this will ensure that they never come to my house to borrow any butter.  Now, if I could only zip line to Starbucks and back, then I’d be a happy camper…

While I didn’t see ANY art on my vacation…I went yesterday to see the opening of the small group show that I am participating in.  It’s in Harvard Square, so all you locals have no excuse for not stopping by…

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Cambridge Art Association show

Let me just say that the work by the other artists is really amazing.  I’ll show you some of the pieces:

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Ann Strassman, Singularities IX – (Woman with cigarette)

Strassman does these fascinating portraits of people about town, often on a park bench.  She uses discarded boxes as her canvas.  I love how the people are caught in these familiar scenes…unaware of the viewer.  I also love the cardboard with it’s own mundane story.  Amazing!

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Patricia Schappler, Coming and Going

Schappler does ENORMOUS, phenomenal drawing/collage/paintings.  Mind blowing.  I love the mixed media…the layers, the beautiful way that she draws.  So gorgeous.

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Daniel Kornrumpf, Mr. David Lasely

Kornrumpf does GORGEOUS portraits that have an unfinished and open ended feel because he often doesn’t paint parts that he has sketched in.  There is a beautiful mix of complete/incompleteness to his work.  Even his line drawing/painting is amazing.  His sense of color, composition, and overall skill is breathtaking.  I love that the subjects are often pensive and relaxed…aware that they are having a portrait painted, yet real and at ease.  His work reminds me of Alice Neel, whose work I also revere.

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Yair Melamed, The Extrovert

Melamed is a physician AND a photographer.  I couldn’t find a website for him.  I absolutely love the contrast between her gray hair/background and her warm face.  I love how her face fills the frame.  He has a series of really compelling photographs…a must see.

My own work is minimal in comparison:

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, Are You Still There? series

Because my work is so small, I think that it’s good that they are grouped together.  I wish the lighting was a bit better, as there isn’t direct lighting on the drawings…just the downlights for the hallway.  As a result, I think that the drawings look slightly washed out.  Hmm!  In any event, I am super grateful to be participating in this show with these other, talented artists.  The show is in the University Place building, at 124 Mt. Auburn Street.  Go see it!

Now, you’ll have to excuse me as I’ve got a clothes/zip line and a latte calling my name…

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Starbucks, here I come!!!  Make mine a double!!!



Still lifes on steroids…WALCAM!

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

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

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

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

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Elizabeth Kostojohn, 6 drawings from Hurt & Damage series

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

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

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Emily Eveleth, Snake Eyes, 2000, Oil on Canvas

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

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Mary Kocol, White Crabapple Blooming Branch, 2011, photograph

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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…)



Languishing lasagna…

My current excuse for not having seen any new art is that it’s sweltering hot here.  I guess it’s going to be 97 deg F tomorrow with tons of humidity

I know…

It gets hotter in Texas…the Sahara Desert…the surface of the sun, etc.  But does it get hotter than the dark interior of my dark blue car????  Nooooo…I think not.   I’ve been feeling too lethargic to cook lately, and I’m wondering if there is some way that I can prepare dinner by cooking it IN MY CAR???  Fried eggs on the dashboard?  No, those aren’t vegan…damn!  Tofu pups instead?  What IS seitan anyway?  It looks like a wet, sweatsock turned inside out.  No?  Well, I hope that it doesn’t TASTE like that.  Anyhoo…as I can’t afford a real convection oven, or at least one that doesn’t have four wheels and an engine, I was thinking of possibly doing a lasagna.  Do you think that it would cook faster in the glove compartment, or on the dash?  Tough call.

So, I recently finished a drawing.  FINALLY.  I’ll show it to you in a minute, but before I do, I had to celebrate it’s completion by making a baby quilt.  My FIRST quilt…mind you.  Needless to say, the quilt is done, but the sewing machine is in the shop.  I think that I scared it half to death with my shoddy sewing skills.  The feed dogs won’t go up anymore.  I think that they’re either hiding, or on strike.

So, here’s the quilt!

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I know.  It’s sooooo basic.  Hey, at least it’s a friggin’ rectangle.  This is machine quilted entirely.  I’m much too impatient to even remotely consider hand sewing.  Besides…the binding was hand sewn, and I nearly made a pincushion out of my left thumb with my incompetent needle handling (yes, I’ve heard of a thimble).  I can’t imagine doing a whole quilt.  (Patty, I bask in your quilting glory.)  I feel itchy to do another quilt!  Is that normal?  (Don’t answer that.)  Actually, as I am a mosquito and poison ivy magnet, I tend to be itchy in general.

The back:

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Super simple!

While I was working away on this thing, my son brought home one of HIS creations from camp.  Here it is:

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Do you know what that is?  No, it’s not vermin.  It’s a PET ROCK!!!  He proudly told me that it will require no feeding and care.  He also explained that after adding the first piece of brown fur, he felt that his rock was cold and needed the black fur as well.  It’s like a bad toupee…or if Donald Trump somehow found himself in the story of Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.  Anyway, I love it and think that it’s hilarious.  I’m also a sucker for anything with googly eyes.

Speaking of googly eyes, after months of slaving over the minutiae of my drawing, it’s finished.

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Nameless Problem #2, Elizabeth Kostojohn, 2013, colored pencil on mylar

Sorry for the glare…photography is not one of my strong suits…

No, I have not gone off the deep end.  I’m just expressing my domestic angst.  I’ve already started another one in this series, and I am seriously hoping that it does NOT take me months to complete.  I’m also hoping that I don’t decide to ever draw Doritos again.  Don’t get me wrong…they’re delicious and I love orange, but really

Okay, I will make a SERIOUS effort to see some art next week.  Until then, I’ll just have to wander around the yard in a heat induced stupor.  The hydrangeas are about the only things that haven’t completely shriveled up and died in this heat.

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Speaking of withering neglect, my son correctly used the word “languish” in a sentence this week.  He’s five!  Well, he only get’s half credit…as after he commented on how our unused British pound coin will “languish”, he said, “What does ‘languish’ even mean?”  What does “languish” mean??? Just look at mommy trying to bake lasagna in the Toyota!!!  I’m glad that my culinary failings can prove useful by enriching my son’s developing vocabulary.  Next, I’m going to teach him, “exasperate”, “lethargy”, and “ennui…”



A shriveled Cheerio kind of week…
May 30, 2013, 11:33 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

So, yet again, I have done NO new artwork.  I did, however, eat two bowls of Pirate’s Booty just a minute ago…does that count for anything?  Seeing as my latest body of work involves drawing food, I’m just going to chalk up this indulgence to professional R&D.

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Sound convincing?  Should I run for Congress?  Perhaps…but only if I could attend all sessions wearing my fuzzy, mint green bathrobe carrying my half-eaten bag of Pirate’s Booty under my arm.  I’ll be representin’ the moms out there…I MAY even brush my hair…

I did attend the reception for the National Prize Show at the Cambridge Art Association.

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I ran into some friends unexpectedly, which was great.  My cousin and his friend also came, which was wonderful as well, AND greatly added to the evening.  My work ended up in a corner of the room:

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There it is!  Actually, there’s my husband!  Poor guy.  Little does he realize his portrait is hanging up in Cambridge.  He may not be able to handle the fame of people coming up to him on the T saying…”Hey!  You’re the guy in the drawing who mysteriously has no hand!  What’s up with that???”  He can just nod and mumble something about his crazy wife as he tries to hide under his Kindle.

Sometimes, my posts aspire to be “marginally intellectual,” or at least NOT ridiculous.  But…as a result of my son’s continued absence from preschool…any remaining braincells that I might have had to create a “marginally intellectual” thought have shriveled up and are now forgotten…much like the errant Cheerio that rolls itself off the dining room table from my son’s cereal bowl and ends up underneath the radiator. (Just wondering…do I need a third bowl of Pirate’s Booty?  Thoughts????)

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I was digging that pen and pencil drawing of a grasshopper on the right, in spite of my bug phobia.

During this past week, as well as getting nothing done, I stumbled upon the work of Joan Linder online.  Check it out:linder

Joan Linder

She recently had a show at Mixed Greens in NYC.  I WISH that I had seen it.  Her show was titled, “Sink.”  She has numerous drawings of her kitchen sink/countertop that are mesmerizing to me.  Some of the drawings are realistic, and they almost have a “family portrait” feel to them.  They are long, colorful and detailed…and they make me feel as if the viewer has interrupted a private party amongst the artist’s kitchen items and food.  The black and white drawings look gorgeous.  I love the look of the drawing and the entire theme.  The multicolored line drawings have a very frenetic feel.  I almost relate to the faucet in the center…it’s trapped and trying to deal with the culinary fracas.  Amazing!  Did anyone out there see the show?  If so, let me know what you think.  I would love to see her work in person.

It makes me wish that I could make something amazing from my lowly kitchen sink.  (Yes, I’ve heard of Bon Ami…thankyouverymuch.)  I’m going to hold off on posting a photo of my own kitchen sink …lest I get arrested by the housefrau police.  They have spies everywhere.   I think that I can pretty convincingly plead ignorance.

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I’m just like that, except that my dress is red, not blue.  I’m also right handed.

This past weekend, we went to the Cape…

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AAAAHHHHHH.  Now, I know it’s not the Caribbean (unless we took a wrong turn after Albuquerque), but it still has a zen effect on my psyche.  I am lulled by the sparkling waves…the noisy seagulls…and my son asking repeatedly when we can see his friend who lives nearby.

Have you noticed that eating soft serve ice cream seems to have a zen effect similar to being at the beach?  I have.  Or, perhaps it’s just the beach and  ice cream combo that work together so well?  Beach + ice cream = zen.  As opposed to: 5 year old boy + 5 year old boy = NOT zen.

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I find that sprinkles are helpful too…especially when applied topically to my temples during one of my son’s raucous playdates…

(FYI…they’re also easier to pick off the floor than shriveled Cheerios…)

 



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:

 

a-scary2

a-scary

 

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:

a-kostojohn

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:

a-argentinosaurus1

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!



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…

a-lepy

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:

a-dough

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?:

a-hirst1

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…

AYST 1

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)

AYST2

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

Next:

AYST3

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

Next:

AYST4

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

Next:

AYST5

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:

a-classic1

Classic.  Even less subtle:

a-classic

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



Dino-disaster and hands-off
January 11, 2013, 9:37 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

So, I recently brought my son to a dinosaur exhibit at the Boston World Trade Center.

Total.  Parental.  Hell.

a-dino1

I imagined that there would be oh…50 or so of these large scale dinosaurs to look at.    Great.

There were actually more like 15, which only filled 1/5 of the expo hall space.  What was in the rest of the space, you may ask?  Well…the rest of the space was devoted to:

1. A store where your children could obsess over dinosaur paraphernalia,

2. A dino bouncy house, for which you had to stand in ANOTHER a mile long line to BUY tickets for (because the tickets that you bought to get into it didn’t count), and

3. A dino mini-golf area, where you also needed to stand in the four hour line to BUY more tickets.

It was a total dino-scam.  Do NOT go.  Luckily, my son didn’t want to do the bouncy house or mini golf.  He did want a mini paleontologist kit, though.  I thought it sounded harmless enough…you dig out bones from a block of something.  Cool, right?

a-dig

Oh…SO unbelievably NOT cool.  SO MUCH FILTH.  There was dust EVERYWHERE… thick, reddish plaster dust EVERYWHERE.  There was so much dust that I thought my son and  I would develop black lung and/or a nasty rash.  I am the worst housekeeper ever, but even I was in a filth panic.  Me!  Parents…do NOT buy this gift in the winter.  This is an OUTDOOR gift.  Actually, you may want to just forget it altogether.

DO NOT BUY THIS, EVER.

Yes, my son did work on it from 11:30 am – 3:30pm , with a brief break for lunch…but still.  It was NOT worth it.  I suggest that you be the slacker parent and neither take your kid to the dino-scam exhibit, nor buy this educational toy.

Consider yourself warned.  So there.

I had high hopes of going to see some art this week, but it didn’t happen.  I did install a cabinet door myself, though! Only 17 more to go!  Woo hoo!

Here is a recent concern of mine that I’d like your feedback on:

My son can sometimes be a happy normal kid, and draw stuff like this:

a-aliens

These are aliens, I think.

Or, he can be kind of high strung, and draw things like this (on the other side):

a-hand

(I erased the background scribbles from the other side for clarity)

Do you think that I should be concerned?  Who was this for???  Me?  What was I not supposed to touch?  Wha?  Thoughts?

This drawing, and other instances, sometimes make me feel unwanted.  Example:

a-legoship

This lego ship is apparently using the couch.  I guess I’ll just go sit on the floor with the red plaster dust and be sure not to touch anything. Is he trying to tell me something?

Don’t mind me…I just work here…

Just so that you don’t feel totally gypped from seeing any art, I’ve found this cool artist online:

a-tower

Sagati Keita

Original Drawing of [Expedia City Breaks:Paris], 2012, pen on kentboard, h.42×w.29.7cm., Ogilvy & Mather collection

Kind of crazy, right?  Look at this detail:

a-keito

Sagati Keita

Detail of Original Drawing of [Expedia City Breaks:Paris], 2012, pen on kentboard, h.42×w.29.7cm., Ogilvy & Mather collection

ISN”T THAT SO COOL????  He/she draws these incredible images with tons of doodle-esque characters!  AMAZING!!!  Isn’t that incredible??? Talk about skill.  I would like it more if he/she would not choose these famous images, but instead drew images from his own life.  What do you think?  Comments?  Isn’t he/she SUPER TALENTED?????  Check out the website here.  Also, if anyone can clarify if Sagati is male or female, I’d appreciate it.  (ありがとう)

Wish me luck avoiding the flu epidemic here!!!  I’m going to go now and order a haz-mat suit online.  I hope that I can wear it on top of my snuggie!!!



Crumbles…
December 21, 2012, 9:53 am
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

Okay. I’m about to rant about something, but before I do…I’d like to acknowledge how lucky I am to have such problems in the wake of the recent tragedy in Connecticut.  Peace be with those tormented families.

My excuse this week for not having interesting content (besides my crying intermittently as a result of the aforementioned tragedy) is that I was responsible for creating/coordinating/conducting my 4 yr, soon to be 5 yr, old’s birthday.  I am not a party planner.  I stress.  I anguish over it.  It’s not because I want the perfect party.  I want a GOOD party that doesn’t cost me what would be the equivalent of a down payment on a small house. I kid you not…some places charge hundreds of dollars to host your party…and that does NOT include cake/pizza/favors.  But, they highlight “FREE paper cups, plates, napkins!!!”  Really?

The epic disaster for my attempted DIY party was…the cake.  Let me outline for you my series of mishaps.  Let me also advise you to always have someone ELSE make your cakes…someone with nerves of steel and a clue.

Things started off okay…I greased and floured a 13×9 cake pan.  No prob.   I slaved over making the batter.  Looks good.  THEN, I poured the batter into “the pan”…except that it WASN’T “the pan”…it was a different, UNGREASED pan.  And then I baked it.  I kid you not.  I turned around to grease the pan for the next cake, and I realized my mistake.  So, cake #1…ruined.

THEN, I rushed to make the SECOND cake…which turned out okay.  As one wasn’t going to be big enough, I needed to make another.  Here’s what the first two cakes looked like:

a-cakemess

HMMM!  I actually contemplated frosting the broken cake.  Then, I regained my keen senses and realized that, much like time moving backwards and being in the fast moving lane at Stop & Shop, this was not possible.

Now, of course I’m out of ingredients for a third cake!  SO, after getting new ingredients, I bake the THIRD cake.  Now, it’s close to when we need to LEAVE for the party.  Have you ever tried to frost a warm cake?  I hadn’t until then.  I thought, “What’s the big deal?  Ok…it’s not cooled, but SO WHAT???”

Umm…yes, the frosting MELTED on the cake.

It looked like someone tripped and spilled their orange sherbet sundae all over the cake as the frosting melted into bright orange pools of pure sugar.  STRESS.  So, I SCRAPED OFF the melted frosting and rushed the warm cake OUTSIDE to cool off.  I stealthily placed it UNDER the patio table, thinking that this would protect it from THE RAIN.  Yes, it was raining!  JOY.  My parents were at the house, luckily, so I had my father be on duty to watch that some rabid squirrel didn’t come over and sit upon/start munching on the cake whist I mixed up MORE frosting (which is everywhere, mind you…along with a general dusting of powered sugar).  I finally bring in the cooled cake and frost the friggin’ thing.  Here it is:

a-cake

Okay.  Don’t laugh.  It looked MUCH worse before, if that’s at all possible.  Those odd, tulip shaped things are supposed to be dinosaur footprints.  I know.  How sad.  Do you  believe that it tasted good?  No?  Well, I don’t blame you.

ANYHOO…I think that the party turned out okay…and the cake tasted reasonable as well.  I have noticed many more gray hairs on my head since Sunday, but no prob!  At least I have hair!  Action shot at party:

a-blur

Needless to say, I understand that I do not have a career ahead of me in either:  a. event planning, b.  baking, or c.  photography.

The big gift for my son was goldfish!  (no, not the crackers…)

a-tank

AREN’T THEY SO CUTE????  My son has been asking for a fish for ages.  I contemplated the small fishbowls…but as I wanted a goldfish (not a catatonic beta fish), I opted for the slightly larger tank.  DON’T YOU LOVE IT???

a-fish1

I’ve come to realize, however, that my gift of fish has not been as met with the same enthusiasm as the grandparent’s gift of Legos.  Hmm.  Another fail.  I should have just stayed in bed that day.

Moving along…tis the season to be receiving packages in the mail, right?  I recently ordered a cool clock…one of those old school “flip clocks”.  The one I got was pretty plain…but THIS is the clock that I REALLY wanted:

a-clock

I have coveted this clock for ages.  It has different fonts that show up as it flips through the time.  LOVE. IT.  Here is a link to see it.  Did you also see the price tag? $395!!!!!  OUCH!   So, I had to settle for a more conventional one, which I am very happy with.  Still…I hold a special place in my heart for this clock.  (any of you Powerball winners out there…I’d love one for Xmas!  Thank U!!!!)  Anyway, I was talking about packages in the mail.  Here is how my clock arrived:

a-box

Package Fail

Umm….are you KIDDING ME?  It looks like an elephant sat on it whilst eating its 1,000 pound lunch of hay.  Wha???  How???

Believe it or not…the clock inside was actually undamaged.  Ho Ho Ho!  Lucky me!

Just so that you don’t feel that I’ve TOTALLY wasted your time with this post, here is some cool stuff to check out:

a-art

Adam Sherwood

Check out the video here of this crazy thing.  This is “Firewall” by Adam Sherwood.  Please check out his website.  AMAZING!  I want one for my living room (next to my $395 font clock, which I don’t actually have).  Next:

a-art2

Guy Denning

Isn’t that gorgeous????  This artist, Guy Denning.  Sooo talented!  Please check out his website here.  Look under the heading “self portraits”.  Amazing, right?  I love how he draws.  So loose, yet so accurate.  BRILLIANT!

Okay, have a lovely holdiay!  I’ll be making yet another birthday cake for my son’s ACTUAL birthday, which is Christmas Day.  No joke.  Oh, continued joy and happiness!!!!




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