slightly wonky

Playdoh and potato chips…
August 29, 2013, 11:00 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , ,

The summer is winding down.  We’re in that odd time period between camp and school…the parental Twilight Zone.  (no…not with vampires, you young’uns…the old school one).  This is the place where time stands still and an endless refrain of “Mommy?…Mommy?…Mommy?…” lulls me into a semi-catatonic stupor whilst I aimlessly wander down the aisles at Stop & Shop and wonder when I can have my brain back.  I adore my child.  Really.  It’s just that the daily drudgery of adulthood sometimes saps my joie de vivre and makes me weary.  Why can’t I just play with playdoh all day and eat potato chips for dinner?  Oh yeah…because that’s not a job and I’ll be 300 lbs by the end of the first week.


My son made this drawing a few days ago.  Hilarious, right?  Doesn’t it kind of look like THIS?:


Or, is that just me?  (ahem…not LITERALLY…thankyouverymuch…)

Instead of growling, my son’s horrible beast is yelling, “BOO” repeatedly.  I’m going to have to find some “nice” drawings, in case the school psychologist wants to analyze what he creates.  At least he didn’t label the beast, “Mommy,” I suppose.

I haven’t gotten out to see ANY art as a result of my dearth of childcare.  We’ve been home creating all sort of random stuff with Lego:


We created a mini-city, shrinking down our usual scale of lego architecture.  Cute, right? The “building” with the banana on top made me think of this one in Japan:


That’s the Asahi Beer Building in Sapporo, Japan.  (I’ve actually been there.)  The thing on top of the building is supposed to be a yam, I think.  Only in Japan would a company decide to put a yam on their building.  We can’t pass judgement, as we do stuff like this:


Sigh.  That’s kind of sad.

Besides seeing no artwork this week (except for that created by my kindergartener) and getting barely any of work done, I got a new “toy”…check it out:

a-tabletNice, right????  No, it’s not a hot plate.  Pay attention.  It’s a super fun tablet for me to make remedial drawings on my computer!!!  Why remedial, you may ask?  Well, because I’m completely inept at Adobe Illustrator.  The pen tool?  Tool of the devil, more like it.  So far, there is a STEEP learning curve for me to EVER get the hang of it.  I’m basically trying to dig my way out of the Mariana Trench of ineptitude with a pressure sensitive stylus.  I did manage to scrawl out this today:

PrintNo, that’s NOT some kind of deformed slime creature from the swamp.  Yes, I was TRYING to draw with the stylus, and NOT my elbow.  That’s SUPPOSED to be a jade plant.  Egads.  If anyone out there wants to give me some Adobe Illustrator pointers, I’m all ears…or eyeballs…or whatever.  Why don’t I just pick up a pencil and draw it like a normal person?  Who knows?  Is it because I thrive on challenge?  If that were the case, I’d be homeschooling my son.  HAAA!  No way.  So, I don’t know what leads me to want to use a tablet and have to BASICALLY RE-LEARN how to draw.  It’s the masochist in me.  To give you an example of how hopeless I am…this was done in Illustrator by SOMEONE ELSE:


Illustration by

Hmmm….I have a lot to learn.  Perhaps I should use my tablet as a hot plate, and get back to my playdoh and potato chips???

I’ll try to do better next week…both in seeing art and doing art.  I’ll still be in the Twilight Zone, though, as my son doesn’t start school until Sept. 9.  In the meantime, I’m going to try to convince my son that letting mommy have some peace and quiet is just as important as getting two pieces of Lego unstuck and taking the wrapper off of a stubborn popsicle.


March 1, 2013, 11:52 am
Filed under: Drawing, painting, printmaking | Tags: , , , , , , ,

No, that’s not what I saw on the scale this morning!  I mean: do you know that I’ve done 200 posts on this blog?  No joke!  Sometimes I scroll back to early posts just to see what’s been happening over the past couple of years.  Hmmm.  Not as much as one might hope for.  No one has offered me a solo NYC show yet.  Can you believe it?  WHAT’S WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE????  Clearly, I am the only one who basks in my artistic brilliance.   (ummm…I’m kidding)  I may have to shut off the “comments” feature with this post…the beauty of the internet is that I can’t see anyone rolling their eyes right now…

Perhaps instead of revealing my true struggles on this blog, I should create a faux online persona of artistic brilliance.  I could create faux galleries that represent me and who gush over my faux creations.  I could also imply that although I’m almost 40, I have no gray hairs and look like Zoey Deschanel.

None of this would be true, of course.  My sham persona would soon be discovered.  So, I’ve had to rely on the truth on this blog, and it’s often not so pretty, or exciting.  Perhaps you’re relieved to know that your life isn’t so wrapped up in drivel and nonsense as mine?  Perhaps you’re relieved to know that I keep a messy house, with Lego bits and dust bunnies brazenly staring me down every morning as I walk to the kitchen?  Yes, I’ve heard of a mop, a broom, AND a vacuum.  I just don’t choose to use them very often.  Maybe if I think of housework as some kind of domestic performance art, I might get slightly more interested…

This week, I went to the Arlington Center for the Arts to see a show they have of faculty artwork.  I’ve taken a drawing class there with a teacher who is funny and talented.  Here is the work that she submitted:


Connie Thibaut, Memento Mori, Mixed Media

This looks to be a “trace monotype.”  Can you see how amazing her drawings are?  She tends to do surrealist subjects.  I thought that this was really lovely.  Look at the doll/person’s hand in the upper right!  Beautiful.  I couldn’t find a website for her.  CONNIE, YOU NEED A WEBSITE.  EVEN IF IT IS A FAKE PERSONA.  I know.  Some people have standards, and don’t feel like revealing their ineptitude online.  Go figure.  Next:


A. Kristina Goransson, Collection III & Collection IV, Felted & Dyed Wool

Isn’t that beautiful?  These are two, separate works of art, but they do look so amazing together, don’t they?  Her website is here.  Check it out.  All of these pieces are felted wool.  SO interesting!  I love how delicate they are.  I wish that I knew her, as I’d ask her if I could touch one of them…(the inner preschooler in me.)  Next:


Gloria Calderon-Saenz, Rivers and Nests #4, Acrylic on wood

Isn’t that gorgeous?  It looks like she paints the surface of the wood, then carves it to create the image.  I loved this.  Check out her website here.  She has another one:


Gloria Calderon-Saenz, Open Nests, Acrylic on wood

I love how graphic these are.  The texture is also gorgeous, but you can’t see that from the photo.  If you’re in the area, you should stop by this show in Arlington.  The gallery is small, but these works (and others) are really worth it.

This week, my son’s artistic brilliance was to create this:


Do you know what that is?  THAT’S THE STATUE OF LIBERTY!  I thought that was pretty cool.  Maybe he’ll be a sculptor when he grows up?  Take a look at this:


Maybe I should suggest that he NOT become a sculptor?  Isn’t that kind of deranged looking?  This is the kind of stuff that I’m constantly tripping over around here.  Creepy.  You’d think that I’d clean up more often just so that this kind of stuff wasn’t glaring at me all day.  I know…get the broom…yadda yadda yadda.

Well, it’s lunchtime.  Time to go forage for something to eat…perhaps a rice crispy treat or two? (or three?).

If I sandwich two of them together with peanut butter, does that make them more nutritious?  Discuss.


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:


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:


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:


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…)


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???


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:


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:


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:


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:


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!!!!

South End Open Studios!
September 21, 2012, 10:28 am
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

Last Sunday, my friend and I went to the South End Open Studios.  SO much fun!  The nice thing about these open studios is that the majority of the artists are pretty impressive…AND you really do get to visit THEIR STUDIO!!!  My tie for favorite snacks offered were either the crisp apples at Joel Janowitz’s studio (his work is also amazing), or the mini  peanutbutter cups at a new gallery (whose name I cannot recall) in the Laconia Gallery building.  I tried to appear as if I did not in fact want to snarf down the whole bowl of those things.  That’s kind of frowned upon on a studio visit…

SO!  I want to ramble on about two fabulous artists that were UBER impressive…and who can draw like CRAZY.  The first artist is Heidi Hogden:

Heidi Hogden, Star Buck, 2011, graphite on paper, 48×35

This drawing is GORGEOUS.  I mean…so beautiful.  I was truly in awe at how amazing it is.  Her work is just stunning.  Please take a look at her link here.  Much of her work is imagery from her Wisconsin home.  Can I somehow emphasize enough how amazing I think her work is????  In my next life, I’m going to be her.  Or Zooey Deschanel.

The second artist that I wanted to highlight also draws, but her work is typically silverpoint.   Here is a piece by Andrea Sherrill Evans:

Andrea Sherrill Evans, Double Balaclava #2, 2007,

silverpoint and watercolor on prepared paper, 11×11

Her work is so…ethereal.  The silverpoint makes the lines sooo delicate.  These are an intimate size, and they definitely draw you in for a closer look.  I love her interest in knitting, which appears in some of her work.  I also think that her painting skills are lovely as well, as they work well together with the drawing.  She was actually in her studio, and she was so friendly.  I’m sure that she had good snacks too, but I don’t remember.

So, later today I’m having my FIRST session of my class, The Artist Professional Toolbox at Montserrat College.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  If I get any brilliant insights, I’ll be sure to pass them on.  I might suggest that they have topics such as, “Grovelling 101”, or “Harrassment Laws in Massachusetts / The artist’s guide to approaching galleries”, or “‘My kid could do that!‘: Handling criticism constructively.”  Crying is probably frowned upon, so I’ll try not to do that.

My own work ground to a halt this week.  My husband is out of town, so I’m “single parenting” it this week.  I also had an excessive number of errands to run.  I did have time to do lots of Lego with my son.  I’m pretty hopeless with Lego.  I know…how is that possible?  I’M AN ARCHITECT FORTHELOVEOFGOD.  An example:

Okay.  The “cool” ship/vehicle on the left is my husband’s.  Clearly, he’s got this Lego thing down.  Look at that La-Z-boy cockpit!  The middle creation is my son’s.  I love the multi-headed-person-mobile.  Note the interesting lack of symmetry… I must nurture that lest he become too OCD like mommy.  The sad little plane on the right is mine.  Sigh.  I have a tendency to make these squat little creations.  My one bit of ingenuity was to stick the top of the ship on by actually attaching it to the top of the pilot’s head.  Brilliant!  I have no doubt that you will never see that being done by anyone who knows anything about Lego.  Perhaps I should really be going to Lego school?  I’ll go if they have good snacks.

I survived this year’s portfolio review…and I didn’t even get a lousy bumper sticker
April 5, 2012, 10:20 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

I’m sure that there is some kind of sensible limit to the length of a blog title.  Clearly, I missed that memo.  YES!  You heard me…PORTFOLIO REVIEW…organized by the Cambridge Art Association.  It was an exciting Sunday of nail-biting, artist-schmoozing, reviewer-choosing, sanity-losing, and erudite-musing.  I had three reviewers:  Alvaro Camilo of Samsøn Projects, Russ Gerard of Gurari Collections, and Jessica Roscio of the Danforth Museum.  Luckily, all three of them promised me solo exhibitions!!!!!!!  Just kidding.

A.Camilo said that my work was a “good start” and that I was a “fine illustrator”.  He quickly changed the word “illustrator” to something else that I can’t remember, as I think that “illustrator” can be a bit pejorative.  He gave me many interesting ideas of where I might go next with my work.  He also suggested some places to contact to see what they think of it…like Bromfield Gallery, Kingston Gallery…The Drawing Center in NYC (why not shoot for the moon?).  One thing that he emphasized was the the art world is a social world…and just like in any industry…you’ve got to work those connections.  Overall, I don’t think that he was exactly “wow-ed” by my work.  Then again, his gallery tends to be more “cutting edge”, and my work perhaps appeared more like a quaint fish-knife.  Have I lost you yet?  Really, I don’t blame you…

R. Gerard wanted to know about me as a person…and he also talked about his way of evaluating art.  Some of the key points for him are: 1. Is there an immediate, visceral response to the work?  2.  Does it exhibit mastery of the medium?  3.  Will it resonate over time?  I did appreciate that he felt it was “gallery worthy”, and that he really liked the work.  Not bad, right?  He did, however, caution against staying in my comfort zone with my technique.  His suggestion: keep challenging yourself.  By that, I don’t think that he means try to work on a drawing while cooking the dinner and listening to my son tell me about building demolition while he builds a Lego tower in the middle of the kitchen floor.  While that would be “a challenge”, I think that the drawing, the dinner, my son, and his tower would all suffer as a result.  Just thinking about that makes me want to lie down and do some deep breathing exercises.

J. Roscio felt that certain drawings in the set can stand on their own.  She especially liked the drawing of the pear with nails:

She felt that the set overall was “almost there”.  I think that she would prefer that I edit out the earlier drawings, which are more “timid” in comparison to more recent ones.  She suggested that I could form smaller groupings…like the nails/tacks/screws as a set.  She felt that my message or concepts were clear, without being heavy-handed.  She also commented that my technique was good.  I have submitted three of these to the Danforth for an upcoming juried show…I’m hoping that she’ll be involved in the jury and will wax poetic about my sublime pears.  Or, maybe not.  Maybe everyone will look at the images and wonder if it’s lunchtime…

I have NOT completed a new drawing this week.  I’ve only JUST started one.  I got distracted with a side project of making another book for someone.  Here is the cover:

There is text on the white mark, but I edited it out for my blog post.  Looks pretty modest…until you open it up:

Then, I unleash the craziness!  Actually, my son and I painted the pages together as a “group project”.  Then, I wrote a story in the book…and I had him illustrate each page.  So cute!  The drawing on the left is a picture of a book, and on the right he drew some numbers.  Very sweet.   I really do find these “artist books” to be addictive.

Well, enough about MY drawings.  My son has learned how to play tic-tac-toe…but he kind of makes it an “extreme” version:

Basically…he draws ALL of the grids first, and you can put an “x” or an “o” on whichever one you want.  It takes ages.  My head hurts thinking about it.  Looks like grandma got bored and drew a turtle on the page.  My son must have been annoyed by that, as he added more tic-tac-toe grids ON TOP of the turtle.  Here’s another group project that he and my mom did together:

Notice that she wrote the word, “chocolate” on the page.  My son can’t read that, so I wonder if she was just lost in thought while he furiously drew an array of dots and scribbles?  I notice that his brown marker slashed through her word…again, he’s clearly disgruntled about the direction that their project took.  But what artist doesn’t hate a group project?  We used to hate that in architecture school too…until we realized upon graduating that THAT’S WHAT IT’S ALL ABOUT.  My son may be too much of a “prima donna” to be an architect.  Scribbling on what someone else drew is typically frowned upon in an office…See?  Not only do you get art advice, but architecture advice as well!  The only people who get to scribble on other’s drawings are critics in architecture school on a student’s work.  Well, I’ve also seen a critic take a saw to a student’s model while she continued to provide helpful criticism…but I digress…I think I need to lie down again…

At a standstill
August 30, 2011, 8:25 pm
Filed under: Drawing, Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , ,

My son is out of school this week.  This means a lot of legos, playdoh, diggers and general craziness for me.  Having an only child means that you are ON…a lot.  I suppose if you have more than one, you’re still on…but I somehow imagine that the kids can play together.  That is, until someone starts crying.  This was the typical pattern for me and my brother.  My mother assures me that we did play nicely most of the time, but I don’t remember it that way.

Anyway, as I’ve been doing lots of lego stuff, I just started to play around with them as fun, abstract things.  So now, my son and I sometimes just make lego collages.  Like this one:

That’s a tiny one, but it was fun to do!  I’m sure that I am not the only person to have realized that it’s fun to make random stuff from lego…no need to try to create the millenium falcon.  There are so many crazy shapes now too…I don’t think that we had that “back in the day”, aka prehistoric legos… like this one:

Do you remember those????? If not, don’t tell me.  I already feel ancient.  What about this one?:

Remember how ridiculous and complicated the people were?  WHYYYY?  The lego people that they have now seem good.  Also, having those humongous people require  so much more lego to create anything remotely at the right scale for the person.  Remember these axle blocks?:

The wheels make me think of a Model T Ford, or something.  Okay, that was before my time…believe it or not.  Another:

Do they still make those?  I have no idea.  We don’t seem to have one of the evergreen ones.  Lastly:

A cup!  A filthy one, at that.  Sorry, but I couldn’t be bothered to remove the crud.  I think that on Antiques Roadshow, you aren’t supposed to remove the crud…it increases the value of the artifact.

So, my ever frustrating font of artistic expression is dry this week.  I’m having to use Legos as my medium of choice.  Perhaps this is for the best…I’m sort of “cleansing the palate”, perhaps.  Truth be told, I’m just sort of frustrated with where I am.  It’s always a struggle to come to terms with…grapple with…and hopefully EMBRACE one’s limitations.  I think that I’m still at “come to terms with”.

Yes, I’m definitely not “embracing” my limitations here…I’m sort of peering at them from between my fingers as I cover my face in horror.


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