Saturday, December 31, 2011

Not Dead Yet

I've been hearing rumors that the world is supposed to end some time soon. Yeah yeah I've heard that one before! It's tomorrow in India, and I see that The Nothing hasn't consumed the subcontinent. And that's good, because I still haven't drawn up a list of New Year's Resolutions.

So I'm home again after finally finding the party I was invited to, on the other side of the hill. Short version: we ate home made tamales (thanks Mija, you are awesome!), imbibed margueritas (thanks Josh, who transported his new super duper industrial strength blender), planned a future party, did a few crafty things, and I drew this while the two guys talked about semiotics, er, semantics, er....both!

Jared (Neil? Damian? Jordan? what is your name again?): "Okay so how many syllables is this? 'w.w.w.' Count 'em. It's like fifty. Just say world wide web, man, that's the real shortcut". Neil/Jared/Charles/Simon had a HUGE glass of wine, I failed to draw that to scale. But you get the idea.

Happy New Year y'all!

ps. Three years ago to the day, I was in a plane flying to India. Whacky. Technically I had already landed. That year I celebrated my birthday twice. Think about it: India is, what, 12 hours ahead. I was born in America, at 12:40pm on February 27th. That means in India, it was February 28th at 12:40am. It's so weird to think about a Dali-esque period in my life. Er, I have lot of D-Periods actually. Well, here's toasting to the next one! Cheers!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Deluge, Glorious Wreckage, Comics Are Great

If I didn't mention it before - and you know by now that much of my life and blogposts orbit around the weather - it is raining in earnest, after rows of days marching by in relative un-dampness. Witness:

While all that rain and wind is thrashing around, I've been listening to this Comics Are Great! podcast hosted by Jerzy Drozd. As I mentioned in a previous post, you can Google Jerzy and find a plethora of sites and projects he creates and is involved with. A wonderful artist, he teaches workshops and facilitates knowledge transfer with an enthusiasm, panache and exuberance that is so inspiring and fun. This particular podcast is paneled by four teens who have been making comics for years and they impart a generous whallop of wisdom. Their love of comics and industry, thoughtful responses and involvement is exciting to witness. Check it out!

And, while listening to the young creators, I've accepted my own offer of drawing cartoons, making some more fan art! It's something I can do while listening to the podcast, and absorb what is being said. If I'm working from scratch I find it's too much for my brain to split attention between drawing and listening. Here's my outtake from the wonderful graphic novel Wonderland written by Tommy Kovac and illustrated by Sonny Liew. Swooning!!

Once again I have worked myself into a tiny little corner of my studio space. Time to lever myself out of this chair and clear the table to begin anew. Ahoy mateys!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Illustration Friday - Messenger

I'm taking up the torch again; ironically, I'm fueled by the torrential rains (I'm staying inside and drawing today, you see). After about three weeks of no rain (lots of clouds though), we're finally back to real pacific northwest weather. Ah, the 'torch'? Illustration Friday!. It's been a long time.

This week's topic/random word is Messenger.

If you know me at all, you'll know that usually rain doesn't stop me from going out. You'll also know that I don't own a car, but I do own a bicycle, and my two feet and legs (and a bus pass). But this is practically a monsoon. A monsoon, I tell you! Oy! Mr. Messenger! I guess I need to borrow yer Wellies!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Ahoy! Greetings from the wheelhouse of Flagship V! It's not quite wet enough out there to start calling in animals two by two, buuuut it is raining once again here in the Pacific Northwest's Willamette Valley. By the looks of it, we are destined for drenching.

Our December Freeze is over, for which I am eternally thankful. There is a huge difference in twelve degrees daytime temps, especially when it's damp. 46 beats 34 no contest. This is positively balmy!

I decided that maybe it would be fun to sit around and copy cartoons, you know, like you did when you were a kid? Today I picked up a book I had on reserve at the library: Otto's Orange Day by Frank Cammuso, illustrator, and Jay Lynch, writer (who I've learned is a big name in underground comics). The book is geared for kids, the drawings are really fun and the story is snappy. Here are some of my copy/interpretations.

And here's a page from said book

Have I mentioned how much I love comics. Mr. Cammuso's characters are so bouncy, rubbery and borderline manic. Just like I like 'em.

So, speaking of comics!! I've been listening to the podcasts over at Comics Are Great!. It's the brainchild of Jerzy Drozd, co-facilitated by Ann Arbor District Library, and roundtabled with guest artists from all over the globe. It's a truly fantastic production. You can google Jerzy because he has an umpteen websites and is involved with lots of different projects - all geared towards comics, teaching comics, singing praises to comics, drawing and talking about comics. I really like this program because there is a live feed each wednesday 9:30am EST and the casts are available to view in an archive - and they include video. The guests are practicing and professional comic artists and there is a wealth of information offered. And, they have a lot of fun doing it.

One of my latest favorite artists is Rebecca Clements. Her website is adorable, pure joy, and even though her webcomic Ruffle Hall is unfinished and on indefinite hiatus, the few pages are so packed full of fun and whimsy that I'm feeling well-fed.

I jammed on the last sticker from the pack that Anthead sent, and now I'm going to watch some BBC. Lately I've been really into The Human Planet and Wild China. Top-notch. Did you know that there are bats the size of bumblebees? And they live inside the hollow stems of bamboo? And they all puppy-pile inside together? It's true! It's amazing! This world is truly astonishing.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

yo! ho ho!

Where have you guys been?! What have you been up to? What did I miss??

Well, my tan has faded and with it my chances for skin cancer (I guess) (trying to look on the bright side of winter here, folks!). We've just had nearly three weeks of no serious rain, which has been hallelujah. At the same time I'm wondering if I should import a camel, because are we now in a drought? I have been assured that La Niña will be in residence (second year running - who re-elected her anyways?). I am sure that she will make a proper spectacle of herself. The season is yet young.

I landed a very part-time job at the community college campus library. It nearly pays for rent. I'm not whining, just doling out the facts. I keep learning how to live on less! And bless me and all of us who have paid our 'fair share' of taxes over the years, because now at least I can claim penury, enough to be given a food stipend from the State. It is something I really am grateful for. I was also able to defer my school loans!

The next news of glad tidings is this: a full time position at the library, my current place of employ, has been posted. It was an internal posting, and I was given much good advice and editing from a co-worker for my résumé and cover letter. There were even those lovely Supplemental Questionnaire Questions at the verrry end of the whole application process (surprise!!). After I hit Send, I received an automated email response confirming my submission. This was rapidly followed by another form email declaring that I did not qualify. 

At this point, all I could do was laugh. Loudly, heartily and rather maniacally. Got on the horn with HR and asked What seems to be the trouble? Basically I haven't logged in enough hours as an employee to qualify as an internal applicant. I have worked 115 hours. To qualify, one must have worked at minimum 1040 hours. 

Here are the glad tidings I spoke of earlier! There weren't enough internal applicants and so the job has been posted to the general public. I mean, that's good, right? It is. Sure, I will be competing with a few hundred other people. But, I have a leg up: about a dozen years experience in the specific areas they're looking for, and 115 hours at the community college. Ka-Pow!

Full time will be a definite change. I haven't worked a full time job for a decade. I haven't needed to. I don't have a mortgage. Or a car. Sure I have expensive tastes, but I can amuse myself for very little. A full time job will give me a chance to catch up, and hey, health insurance would be freaking awesome! But (a Privileged But), a big adjustment. 

So there's that.

Oh! Right! I'm not in school anymore, either. I thought maybe I'd be ready to return this Fall? Nope. Dang! Freaking me out with the school loans ratcheting up. And, my heart isn't in it (lame as that sounds). So, on to earning money instead of incurring debt! Hooray!

Here are some doodles I diddled today. This guy sent me a pretty sweet sticker pack, with some left open for me to jam on. Happy Hols, y'all!

Next post, I'll insert some Highly Recommendeds for webcomics and podcasts! Stay tuned!

Friday, September 09, 2011

schmorg as Borg

Okay look. When you advertise an apartment (cottage, flat, duplex, etc) for rent and say, 'all utilities included except/excluding heat (electricity, gas, etc)', it's just.....oxymoronic. Okay? Plus, it's irritating. Yeah yeah I'm scouting for a new place to live. I'm also looking for a job. Exciting times!

We're in a long (for this region) heat wave (relatively speaking) right now; our first week-plus of September has been in the way upper 80s/low 90s. This is when the crickets saw out the hot jazz songs as the sun sets and I love that. This is when the sun is white-hot (for this region) (relatively speaking) and I feel kinda like I'm on some other planet (it's such a stark contrast to the low-slung grey skies and persistent downpours that mantle the valley for months and months of the year). I like this planet. Yes I know that our ozone is depleting and the UV rays are mega bad for you (and me), but I am totally digging this righteous tan I have from hours out in the sun bicycling and gardening.

There's a haze from horizon to horizon, too. Did you ever see Pitch Black? Well it's set on a really hot, really bright, very barren planet. Super intense sun in the day - super intense dark at night. That's what this weather reminds me of, and with this haze refracting the light weirdly it's also like living in some sorta post-apocalyptic Polaroid.

I'll need to bookmark this post for looksies when, in December, I haven't seen sun or open sky for awhile. This is proof that the sun does in fact exist when, in January, I begin to seriously doubt it and think I must have been on some other planet (one of my own fabrication):

Do people outside of the Pacific Northwest wear Keens? If you don't then you won't recognize the tan lines on my feet.

Oh for eff's sake. Someone is blogging about their tan lines. Ugh!

I dunno what's happened with my art; it's kinda dried up over the last couple five weeks or so. I did manage a Lollie

  and it was fun to dink around with the Pentel Brushpen. I'm feeling more gnarly (post-apocalyptic?) lately and sweet Lollie just ain't cuttin' it for me right now. Oh dear.

I'll close with a reading recommend, a great chewy chunky epic of a lusty spirited crack-me-over-the-head-with-a-crowbar book: Shantaram. My friend Yona lent it to me and I totally churned my way through it, completely engrossed and riveted, for all 944 pages. It hit me hard on many levels and I've been dreaming at night about family members both living and dead, the loss, and potentiate connections never realized; about named and nameless lovers who I will never see for various gods.

Go read it. Even though I'm heart-wrenched, I highly recommend it. Gregory David Roberts writes beautifully (seems a pale and trite word, ugh). If any slivered part of you feels refugee, you will love it too I'm betting.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Stayin' Alive ah ah ah ah

Whoah, I gave myself a startle when I went to my blog home page. It looks and.....spiffy! (for those of you who haven't followed for any length of time, I used the same template for over five years and last week just changed it)

I uh......what the hell.......have I been uh.......doing? Basically staying outside in the sunshine for as long as possible, and very little by way of 'art'. I guess I am in one of those dry spells. Ehhhh. I keep meaning to write down, on a series of 3 x 5 cards, what to do when these dry spells hit instead of doing the 'why am I not doing any ART' and freaking out all over myself schtick:

Oh, well, I did clean the studio. Shiny! It's kinda freaky how sparkly it is in here. Floor to (almost) ceiling. Bought some mums and potted them in big pots with lots of room to spread out and hopefully they will be the perennials they are supposed to be. Applied for a part time office job at a local's called Acupuncture for the People Awesome. Sliding scale, no income verification, you can be treated for as little as $15. That and selling some art could pay the bills.

Hey what do you guys do when you hit a dry spell? How many blogposts on the planet are there about this, anyway? At least a half a metric ton I would imagine. I know what Douglas Adams would say.....

I was recently reminded (during studio cleanup/cleanout) that one of the funnest, best, inexpensive investments are these:

Because then you can put your ATCs (if you are so inclined to trade) or ACEOs (if you are inclined to sell) inside of them.

They're so frikkin' cute. I mean really how fun is that, to make your own trading cards? Reminds me of when I was little and collected the cartoon cards from inside the Wonder Bread (remember that?).

There is something very cool about seeing your art in print, in different sizes, and in different contexts. A couple of my pieces are downtown for ESAP (Eugene Storefront Art Project). This organization fills empty street-facing businesses with local artists' works. I don't walk by the storefront my two works are in hardly ever, but when I did, I had to is a semi-serious landscape (the obligatory in painting class from a couple semesters ago) and the other is that Blue Jay one you know? It's not a nice picture of a bird; it's a human-bird hybrid portrait. Atypical for what you would see in storefronts. Oh, I didn't post that here, did I? I was pretty excited when I worked on it (first time painting on a canvas) but now, well you know how it much further to take it.....but still, it was fun at the time yeah.

Anyway. I'm going to toast Sookie and the gang with a home made cranberry wine blended and watch the latest episode of True Blood.

I wish I had a spoon-straw.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Speedball Secrets and Uni Pins

Now, what do you think that title refers to?? Well it's not anything to do with mixing uppers and downers.  I just found out something! Look at this!

The end of the handle for the linocutting tool can be removed to store a cache of other tools! (or, whatever) (ssssshhhhhhhh).  Did you know this?? Ha! I only know it because I was leafing through a Daniel Smith catalog just now and saw it in a picture! Gee. The brayer handles do the same thing (I own two brayers). What'll I put inside those?? (shhhhhhhhh)

Here's another little tip: there is a great online store called Stationery Art where you can buy all sorts of goodies for very very reasonable prices and unbelievably low shipping costs.

For example: the Uni Pin. It's better than a Micron (according to some). I found the pens, the Uni Pins, on Stationery Art for about a buck fifty each. It's double that on all the UK sites I visited, and shipping is about six US dollars. At Stationery Art I bought four of the pens in varying sizes and shipping was two dollars. I received them in four days. They ship from Japan. I am shitting you not. Furthermore, the UniPins are awesomenessss.

Want one of those Pentel Brush Pocket Pens? Want to pay less than Amazon, even? Okay! On Amazon you could buy a pen with two cartridges for ten bucks and if you're a Prime member, shipping would be free. At this nifty overseas online store you can buy a pen and four cartridges (refills) for ten bucks and that immaculately conceived shipping price. I bought one last year. It works great.

Yesterday I decided to treat myself to a purchase: Pentel water brush pen. Where you fill the reservoir yourself. Oh yes. Four brushes for eighteen bucks. Niiiice! must've seen that Credit Limit Report notification up there, sitting under the Speedball. Yeah. I can go to the community college and receive financial aid next term: but only for ten more credits. Then, they cut me off. I should've said I need THIRTY more credits instead of being honest and saying ten will do, when they sent me a notice and I needed to justify. Ah hells I don't even want to think about school right now. I'm still in summer vacation mode. Math? UGH.

I was going to transfer over to the University in Fall but then I decided to take summer off......summer off is feeling mighty fine, still.

Okay later you guys. Yona is gonna try and sneak me into the Eugene Celebration so I can see the Object Afterlife show (which she is exhibiting in). Ah! There's the call!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Industry and Mayhem

Just now home from taking down the show at Ninkasi. You see the state of things around here. If I drank Red Bull I'd be slamming a few cans to fortify myself before tackling the aftermath, reorganization, cleanup, sales at the show. Ah well. I did, however, meet someone who works at Ninkasi. James is a nice fellow; he said Ninkasi has been invited to pour at a Gala Event in BelAir to honor Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn (why??). The rep from said Gala Event, while visiting Ninkasi, said to bring some art. Ha ha! So I could mark up my sunflower print to, what, an easy grand or two? Seems like a pipe dream at this point but maybe I'll pursue the line of inquiry.

(Ninkasi, by the way, is our local brewery)

Here are a couple of shots that my friend Jacque took while the show was up (once again I forgot to take photos and this morning I just wanted to get in, get out):

Umm...there are a whole bunch more pieces hung around the place that looked pretty nifty! The Ninkasi inlay piece in the floor is fantastic; it's done by local artist Jamie Buress.

So then I packed everything up (acrylics, prints, paintings, watercolors, inventory) into two bike panniers, slung my bigass portfolio over my shoulder after securing another flat containing the inventory prints to the rack on my bike, and carried two of my large pieces in my left hand while steering with my right, and rode home.

I looked like one of the Clampetts.

Thank god it's not raining.

Here are some excerpts from the Guest book I left for folks to sign.

"I think you guys & girls have the potential to ROCK MY FACE OFF!"

"Boom shakal-a-shaka! (ps this message would have been boring pre-beer. xoxo PDX"

"Amber waves really made this our last stop & a good one! come visit us in SF & try local brewing! <3 the vanilla stout! Cheers! A.W.R."

"Sophie, Thanks for referring us to here! :) -Adam & April SLC, UT"

"Love this beer! Eugene Rocks - Brendan's Mom from So. Cal"


"Had a great time with friends! THANKS"

"great key lime juice! squeeze!"

"Dear Jamie, I Love You! I love your beer in my mouth! Love, The Wench"

YEAH!! Thanks, people! I made the beer myself, that's why I put an ARTIST'S GUESTBOOK here beside my business cards and ART for you to sign! ha ha!! pretty fucking hilarious, I think.

So there were actually a few comments directed to me, the artist, about the art. Which was pretty cool:

"How long does it take to heat up a pretzel?"

oh wait a second....(no this really IS in the guest's like.......a subway bathroom wall or something!!)

"Happy birthday!! Oh oops my bad this isn't a birthday ard. Props on getting a showcase here, you're very talented I hope to see more keep it up brodda popping bi - N.......???"

Who wrote that? Were you inebriated? I don't care! Tell your friends to buy some of my awesome art! I am tired of looking at it on my walls!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Occam's Razor

.....or, K.I.S.S.

I'm not going in to the finer points of Occam's Law of Parsimony, but it's the one I am going to use to remind myself and anyone else who wants reminding that looking in the most obvious place is often the path of least resistance......WHAT? Define 'obvious', you say? Ah! Obvious is obvious in hindsight I guess.

I wanted to add some things to this Olde Blog, like those nifty share bars with Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other social networking sites. I googled all sorts of phrases and read all sorts of tutorials and messed around with HTML and some of worked but not in the way I really wanted. Finally during a conversation with a friend she said she just added hers from the widgets in Blogger.

Gee. I guess it's been awhile since I posted, or dug around in Blogger to familiarize myself with the newfangled thingies. WHAT?! Define 'newfangled'!! Today's newfangled is tomorrow's Olde Passé.

You'll notice that you can now subscribe to the blog and receive emails whenever I post new content; you'll also notice that the Share Bar of Niftyness is now included at the end of each post. And it even works, I Liked myself and it shows up all shiny on my Facebook profile.

What else good came of all that? I practiced patience, fellow grasshopper. When something did not work, I did not lose my shit. I kept trying stuff. And tinkering. Lemme say that the most excellent weather is a definite help. WHAT? Define 'most excellent weather'!!

1: sunshine, blue sky, warmth, no howling wind

Warmth: Above 75 degrees.

Two weeks into August, our True Summer finally arrived. YESSSSSS!

Here are a couple of fun art things I did a couple weeks ago but lately nothing new except for doodles, sketches, stickers, and drawing on my leg.

Heh heh heh. Ever feel like that? Oh sure you do!!

I love these guys:

Watercolor and pigment pen on coldpress w/c paper. Best Friends Forever!!!

So yeah I also set up an Etsy store. No sales yet, but I haven't done a lot of Friending and Circling and Treasury Listing like I guess you are supposed to for promotion. The above two are $12 for an 8 x 10 print.

I'm also tossing around the idea of a making a website through GoDaddy. Any advice? Welcome to drop me a line or two in the comments or email.

My latest absolute favorite online comic/graphic novel is Dream Life by Salgood Sam (or Sadax Golum or Maxim Douglas). Do press on past the first page. His use of traditional and digital combined make for delicious viewing. I am over the heels in love with his style. I really do literally curse in admiration and awe when I look at his artwork.

That's it for now....oh wait! There's a new Hourly Comic up!

You can view the whole Day's Worth on our team blog over here. Think about joining us and post your own comic, that'd be pretty awesome.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Pretty Lights

I have just discovered the newest wonder of the world. It is called Pretty Lights. This guy is amaaaaaazing. The music is a synthesis of vintage funk, trip hop, ambient, downbeat, jazz, trance and other stuff I have no words for. It is the perfect music to finally kick off the summer!!

His website features samples and free downloads...and a donate button that I urge you to click upon. You determine how much you'd like to support Mr. Derek Smith in Pretty Lights. Major props, dude.

Last night I listened to PL for hours and drew Lollie being extremely happy with a buttercup under her chin:

Actually I think she found some cross-pollinated buttercup/dandelion/sunflowers.

So Lollie has been saving my life this last month. If you're familiar with my sticker art over on Flickr you will have seen Lollie in many incarnations. Mostly as a crazed woman. But always with the wild red hair. Last month the sun came out for a few days and I started drawing Lollie as this super insanely happy girl of various ages.

I also tabled at a First Friday Artwalk event and Lollie brought the house down!! Sold a lot of postcards and prints of the watercolor drawings I'd done during June. Thank you everyone, and thank you Lollie!! It was a LOT of fun, lots of traffic, and I felt very well received. I was also situated across from a Fine Art gallery, which I thought was great. Power to the street artists!!

I restrained myself going fisticuffs with one of the guys who got the ball rolling on the First Friday event: he remarked that he legitimized street artists by putting them into the gallery. Yes. 'Legitimized'. Oh I said something to him but I didn't break out the brass knuckles.

Last  friday my landlady Joan treated me to dinner at our local Friendly Street Market cafe restaurant. I talked with the owner, Mario (from Italy, but of course), about hanging some art. He said sure, bring it on in! Just put it wherever you want. And he didn't charge me any fees, and doesn't take any cut of the sales. I will be making a special Lollie for him. I sold stuff right on the spot there too.

I am so sweet on Lollie. Totally charmed. Second childhood!! When I said she's been saving my life, I mean that in a saving grace sort of way. I'm always so happy and often smiling pretty big when I draw her. I was never into baby anythings, or flowers, but to me!!!

When Joan's two granddaughters were visiting a couple weeks ago (Violet is 7 and Alice is 9), I surreptitiously took many photographs of them playing. They were soooo cute. Being kids, just doing their thing, totally in it.

Here's Lollie with her first library card (she signed it all by herself!!). The youngster on the left is modeled after Violet.

Here's the first Lollie, when the sun came out in June:

You see what I'm sayin'???? I mean...I was NEVER the princess/tiara in a tutu type as a kid. I've never worn a tutu in my LIFE!! Oh Lollie! I love ya!! Jumping for the joy!

But, Lollie is also comfy in cargos:

And what does Lollie do when the clouds descend?? Beer and snacks of course!!

Okay there is sunshine out there to soak up. The forecast is for 'partly cloudy'.....for the next five days. Around here (at least this year) partly cloudy means totally overcast. So, today, I am going to revel. Happy summer y'all.

Oh and if anyone has any experience selling their work online (say, though Etsy, or any of the print-on-demand websites), I'd love to hear about it. I'm doing some research and trying to decide which avenues to pursue to build up some income and generate some more love for Lollie.

I started getting all weird and cramped up about money......and then I went back to just drawing what I love and how I love to draw it and I felt better again. Let that be a lesson to us (again!!). Muchos abrazos! And all that sweet stuff.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

can you believe it

It's June 1st. Just a day, a string of words, but it always signifies for me the real beginning of summery weather. Here in the Pacific Northwest, June didn't get that memo. We're in for another cool wet one like last year, where it rained all but three days. Did I already bark about this? I guess the weather has been pretty crazy all over the place. I'm trying to make peace with it, I really am, but I literally long for sunshine and warmth. I wore gloves today. And a rain coat. And a sweatshirt. And a long sleeve.

And two pairs of socks.

Well! Sure glad I have warm clothing! And, admittedly, truthfully, honestly.....I'm glad I'm not suffering in the heat and extreme humidity of South India as I was two years back. I have problems of the privileged, I do realize.

I think I may do a print of this. I'm back in love with printmaking. This term is nearly finished; next week is finals and then I will not have access to the print studio (no studio art classes this term for me, just math and an art history). But, I can still hand print from home! That is one of the coolest things about printing: DIY! No extra special equipment needed, at least with relief printing.

The other night I was out with a friend and as we left the coffee shop and strolled across the parking lot (we did not need to duck and run because......Gasp! wasn't pelting down rain!) we strolled, I saw out of the corner of my eye someone I thought I recognized. Isn't it interesting how without even really knowing someone, after only seeing them briefly, we can recognize someone from the back or the sideways just by the way they walk or hold their backpack? So I stopped and said, "Hey aren't you in my math class?" And he is, so we talked a bit.

Later I thought Huh. Why did I phrase the question that way? Why not instead say, "Hey, aren't we in the same Math 105 class?"

Today I saw the guy, Adam, at the library while I was working and I said Hi again and told him about my reconsideration of how I posed the question to him. "You're taking control of the math class!" he grinned. "And you're welcome to it!"

But really now. It's occurring to me that the reason I used an assertive statement like that was because I'd been on a date (yes really folks). And I'd been monitoring myself (yes really folks). And noticing that I was the one who was being assertive, in the sense that I voiced my curiosity in the conversation more than the person I was drinking tea with. Not aggressively probing or cross-examining. It's not that I had to keep the ball rolling, we laughed a lot and the conversation was easy and it was a good time.....but yes I think that I was continuing my assertive behavior.

Because usually, I am a very co-operative, inclusive sort of person so I was really surprised later when I realized how I'd posed that question to my classmate.

People! We're nutty! I love us!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Process Post

hey! hi!

The term is just humming along and all that stuff, it's good. Busy, challenging, etc etc. Have been working on a final project for relief printmaking, the independent study class. Yesterday I did a second print run.....and the registrations were off. By, like, a mile. On many of the prints. The press is all effed up and aargh. Felt really discouraged at the end of the day....I take that back. Not Really Discouraged. Just discouraged, with a diminutive d.

This morning I woke up thinking, I could do another very small print run, start from ground zero, and try another press. So I cut down some paper, called AppleCare (my computer has been freezing up; I am in the midst of troubleshooting right now pray for it pray for it, I don't have another car to sell for a new computer..), set some gears in motion, and then spent the day up on campus with a cadre of other printmaking students all trying to figure out their own processes.....

I figured some stuff out. And, I think the printing turned out really great! I still have a run of six to do that are half-finished but I was able to salvage a few good prints. Here's a quick breakdown:

The first block. I had originally planned out four blocks, but I accidentally cut out part of the red tshirt.......nix that block.

Fortunately I had three other good ones so I decided to print two colors on one pass, and it worked out pretty well - even though the orange marigold and the red shirt lie right next to one another. (Original edition of 12 was run, and I started another 6 today which are in this first stage here)

Yesterday I ran the second block through, blue. I wanted a bluish green, it looks more blue here -- to balance the warm colors, and the green would complement the red; the blue would complement the orange.

Third/final/key block. POW!!!!

Here's a proof I pulled; usually I need to ink up the block two or three times and run a print before the block is conditioned and the ink lies on properly, spreads evenly, and I get a feel for how much to put down for good coverage (but not too much, or it's gooey and the pressure of the press makes the edges fuzzy). I like this one too, actually!

I used the same press as I did yesterday because the one I wanted to use today was in use. The other other press I tried but it bounced all over and made my registration even worse. So I stuck with the Pelican (printing press name), and figured out its quirks (which seems to change as fast as the weather around here).

A satisfying day.

Prints are on Stonehenge, 16 x 20" and I am figuring out a price for them.

Here's the backstory: my friend Alex who lives in Leeds is the model for this one. I can't remember how many prints of him I've posted...but I've done a few of him. We both love Nirvana. Nirvana's song Marigold is also one of our favorites. I decided to see what, if any, symbolism surrounds marigolds. I found that they signify creativity and passion - cool! Alex is an artist! Also, some cultures believe that dabbing marigold water on your eyelids induces psychic visions; if you place the petals under your pillow you will have prophetic dreams. Awesome!

By the way, I didn't know that the End of the World had been predicted by, who, a Mr. Camper or someone? On May 21st? Which also happens to be Alex's birthday. RIGHTEOUS!!!

Friday, May 06, 2011

Undressed, dressing-down

The thing is, we are (by nature? nurture? both?) fixated on the pleasure principle. Standing in the light. Why is it so bad to be blind, fumbling, neurotic, unsure, desultory? (why would we want to dwell in lacklustery?)

Every time my focus locks on the next 'it' (the fun 'it', the soothing/acceptable/flashy 'it'), of recapturing the moment when I am groovy gravy, then everything else pales by comparison.

What I am saying is that I would like to be okay with boredom. Or average, pedestrian.

No okay that's not quite it. I am reading two books. One is on Vipassana. One of the principle aspects of the practice is learning how to step aside and just observe. Right. And to notice how we reject or ignore experiences that are displeasurable or average -- when in fact there is wealth residing in said means.

After a few weeks of intense study in panting (intense for me), I found myself once again becoming oriented towards not just improving and developing, but making The Next Greatest Thing. And guess what? My desire to paint has left the building. Part of it is frustration with my skill level, part of it is this weird belief that I'll never 'get it' so why bother. Part of it is......maybe I am in an ADD phase.

I read a quote somewhere, or a passage in that Vipassana book maybe? Or maybe it was on the tea bag tag, that boredom is fine, it's a sign that your mind is settling. In a time like now when I feel all jumpy, erratic and unfocused....maybe I should invite that boredom to tea (as Rumi suggests).

All I want to do is sit here and draw sketches of Tom Yorke dancing.

Radiohead - Lotus Flower

(embedding the video has been disabled at Radiohead's request but I recommend lifting your index finger, clicking on the link and watching the five minute video)

The other book I'm reading is The Undressed Art: Why we draw (by Peter Steinhart). It's on recommend from a fellow artist friend Jay Arrera. This neat little tome is like sitting down with a friend. I'm passing on the recommendation. From the book:

"I have been going to drawing groups for fifteen years. In these groups, I have made long-standing acquaintances and friendship, and it is clear to me that for many of us, drawing is a kind of compulsion. Every week, we drop family and work and go draw together. Most of the drawings end up in a trash bin. Few of us will ever draw the way Eleanor Dickinson draws. There is a dogged quality to what we are doing. We come back week after week, happy to see one another, grateful, I think, for our shared complicity in a doubtful activity. It is doubtful because its most noticeable attributes are nudity, desire, effort and failure. It's all funneled through a kind of meditative state that is internal and private, for the most part incommunicable except int he drawings themselves. It is by turns erotic and puritanical, social and narcissistic, uplifting and depressing."

He then asks, "What keeps us coming back?"

So, dear readers, what keeps you coming back, to whatever your art is, especially if you experience it at least in part as above?

I'm going to draw Tom Yorke.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

neverending grey

I seriously need to figure out what to do next winter. So far I have figured out two things I can do that sound sane and successful:

1. Move to a sunnier clime.

2. Stop pining for sunshine and warmth to last for more than eight weeks out of the year, buckle down, buck up, buy a happy light, and stay put.

I just thought of a third option:

3. Quit school for a term and go south with my friend Yona, who has been to San Miguel de Allende. I have seen pictures, we have Skyped while she is there, and she wants to go back (especially during the Oregon winter).

I tell you what. I am so sad with this weather I could cry you a river. I am aching for more than one and one-half days of sunshine per month (barring those eight golden weeks during july and august). I should stop looking at the weather forecast, because my heart positively soars when the forecast is for one measley sunshiney day above 60 degrees, and then it plummets el rapido when that one flaming day is bracketed by grey and chilly.

I want to put my bare feet on the floor, the pavement, the green and brown earth and I want my toes to be warmed. Something way down inside woman eases up in me when the sun is shining and the temperatures rise above 65. When the bite isn't in the air. When I'm not growing mold.

Yesterday it was warm and sunny. Glorious. Absolutely glory us.

Today it is grey and chilly. But, I had a great print run in the studio. I'll post the results at a future date, it needs to remain a wee secret for a bit longer.

I am in a big ol' painting slump. I find myself wanting to keep everything in mind that Mr. Teacher has told me in our bi-weekly critiques; I find myself wanting to ditch it all and just freaking PAINT SOMETHING. So I tried this evening, and what do you know, it was battery has run down or something.

Cheery little post, aye?

Oh, here, some sketchies. I'm actually enjoying the sketching without any pressure to 'make something good'. See where I go all the time? Do you go there? You do? Oh good well let's order a drink together.

So I'll while on a while longer......when I'm sketching these there is the usual run-of-the-mill hamster wheeling (monkey chatter, etc). But not so much lately. Not so much when I just listen to myself, my better half, and just kick back and sketch and observe rather than criticize (makes sense). I have to keep trusting myself to just explore and know I'll find stuff instead of 'you're wasting your time' nonsense.

Kinda wish I was more eloquent tonight, or maybe just wishing I could put something down I am sure to make good positive sense of later when I need a reminder about.....something.....what was that? 

Look I only drank two beers. And that was last night. I swear to god, I cannot hold my alcohol any more, it affects me for years after!

Monday, May 02, 2011

you better believe it

Ah! Twilight deepens! Finally, the time is ripe -or very nearly so by the time I brush my teeth or some other necessary maintenance- to return to The Walking Dead. It is so creeeeeeepy. Last night I deliberately watched it before going to bed to induce zombie dreams....and so I could have an opportunity to seriously squash some zombie heads. I had some dreams alrighty, involving a fake cowhide patchwork purse (from  high school???) and a few zombies. But I kicked no undead ass.**  I'll give it another go tonight, maybe glut myself on TWO full episodes!

** a couple of weeks ago some poor soul did not listen when I said shove off and so I deboned him with a cleaver still there, readership?

for an additional creative catalyst during your somnambulant dreams, I highly recommend the BBC series Life On Mars immediately before sleeping
Hello blogfolks. Thank you for sending me the wetsuit, fins and snorkel. I am not quite waterlogged but damn near close. Spring is long, wet, and mostly chilly.

It's also been a productive time yessiree. I painted up a storm.

Now, what happens for you, as a visual artist, when you hit a point where your own personal Mandelbrot becomes less interesting as it becomes more recursive? What do you do, or not do?

See I'm trying to keep in mind all these great devices I'm learning

- varying the stroke
- asymmetry
- composition (goes without saying, but......just sayin')
- draw outside the lines
- negative space needs to be interesting too (maybe not the same visual weight though)

And I listen to my instructor and remember that he has his own aesthetics, even as he's giving me some really great pointers. Interestingly enough, he does not find my paintings narrative; the story is one of the first things people tell me they like about my art. So I'm wondering what that is all about and am I losing some of my edge because I am trying to learn all these 'rules'?

Actually I am feeling supremely frustrated with painting, as in.......I am done. For awhile at least. Am I giving up too easily? I keep making the same marks, it's uninteresting, and it's really weird how I don't seem to be making any inroads to doing something different. True I am painting on paper (due to the amount of painting I'm doing: my postage-stamp sized studio apartment cannot hold an inventory of more than five canvases.....and my wallet cannot support many canvases either although I should investigate those canvases on rolls....).

So where was I?.......oh right, painting on paper. That can make a difference. Still don't understand why I can't seem to work the paint like I want to. UGH! It's just...........UGH!

Okay so this one was fun at times, I loaded the brush up. Was trying out painting light on light. Strong points (according to Tutor): there is both light and dark in the figure and the environment. Um.......okay that's all I can remember him saying that was strong. But, it was a pick for the ridiculous little competition for a catalog entry (I was not chosen to be one of six to represent Lane Community College).

This one looks nicer since I hit it with the iPhoto higher contrast controls. I am veering off into monochrome land, vagueness, muddy waters. Teacher says to include some personality in the figures. Fine, leave some features unrealized, but definitely render some features/elements in detail instead of furring everything.

Don't clump things (hands, etc). What's with the monochromatic? As a viewer I will want to see some story. Good advice, all. And, you see what I mean with the recursiveness......avoid redundancy! I feel redundant.

So, then:

A little Tom Yorke action, I'm sure you've seen him dancing? No? You might appreciate it. Radiohead's latest album is terrific. The sketching came at a moment when my observation/coordination was all in tune one with another so that was fun.

Mr. Teacher also said something about one of my favorite artists, who he (instructor) had initially been blown away by. Upon second look he had lost interest. Look, I have to fucking pump this guy for information sometimes and I just get so sick of the ego. It's fine to not like something but I am so fed up with the dismissiveness in the 'fine art' department. Anyway, excuse me.......I asked why, exactly, he wasn't all fired up anymore and he said something about illustration vs. art. Oh boy here we go again.

I love illustration.

I fucking love it.

I am going back to my roots.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Crumb!!

I left y'all hanging! Here we are, in the genesis of the fourth week of.....spring term...WHAT?! Already??

I pulled a B+ in that pre-calculus class. To say I'm overjoyed would be a hyperbolic understatement. And that I pulled that grade because Teacher grades on a curve.......well that tells you how difficult the course was (and/or how the majority of our class weren't math heads). So, that's done with. I keep finding evidence that it was real, like notes on asymptotic behavior and logarithms, and I just chuck them in the recycling bin and say a Hail Mary Thank You I don't have to churn through THAT material any more.

This term there is actually time enough for me to go to the saturday open studio figure drawing session (three hours! live model! free!). So into that!! Here's a 30 second gesture of Charles aka BlackBolt. I love that I could capture the motion......that gesture!

I'm doing Independent Study Printmaking again

And working on a new piece, a multi-block (five of 'em!! woo!).

Independent Study Painting/Drawing is the one I could fill a zoo with in terms of Process Notes. Tonight I feel the usual amalgam of trepidation, excitement, inspiration, doubt, aversion, desire, and optimism about art. More specifically, about my ability. Even more specifically.....about my ability to sustain an open heart and mind when I draw, paint, doodle, carve, or whatever. I approach and back off; I recommit myself to process over product; I re-affirm my intention to slow down and pay attention to not only what I am learning but how I am talking to myself; I re-evaluate why I am doing art; I re-orient towards befriending myself.

Here are a couple of examples, with cut and pasted text from my flickr account, in the interest of time because I really need to put in some carving so I can do a first print run in the studio tomorrow AND I promised myself I would bed down at a reasonable hour (read: before freaking midnight!)

At my instructor's behest, I am doing shorter-timed painting on paper. Studies. And still.....I regularly re-position myself to painting with velocity and firm intention (rather than noodling around so much).

the title also refers to what happened with me last night when I painted this: different aspects of me/my personality seemed alien to each other. I related this intense and disheartening struggle to my friend Yona and she reminded me of something really important: how my left hemisphere is bleating and my right hemisphere is praising.
So my left brain is saying, 'this is fucked up, it's dumb, you're not a real artist, you can't paint worth beans' and my right brain is saying, 'this is a perfect painting! it expresses my state of mind and look how many transformations it's gone through and look at this part here it's beautiful and......' "
We were talking about why we make art and I said tonight I was seriously questioning myself, and why am I doing this again? Is it to for the approval, the praise? Is it for discovering something? Translating something? Is it simply the act of creating? Well it's all of those things but I was pretty invested in 'getting it right' last night and Progressing and proving myself as an artist.
Yona said that one of the best and greatest reasons she does art is so that the left and right brain can communicate, and do it effectively, and not be at odds with each other so often.
Right on, Yona. I'm taking all that to heart.
acrylic, gesso, charcoal on paper
15 x 22"


ps - math is still difficult but far less this term and way fewer hours spent doing homework overall!