Thursday, December 21, 2006

Somerset Studio

In the Jan/Feb 2007 edition of Somerset Studio are three articles/projects about assemblage of various styles. I was inspired by all three of them, and decided to try my hand at it. Below is the result -- a "hybrid" of the techniques in two of the articles ("Victorian Vignettes" and "Suspenders" something).

I didn't have any glass-lid-wood-boxes such as the article on the "Victorian Vignettes" suggested, so I made my own using a glass slide holder and some foam core board. Rather than drilling holes in the box and the photo, I mounted it on several small pieces of foam core to lift it from the background (that foam-core stuff is coming in handy).

I may still add something to the apex of the piece -- originally I had glued a pink rose from a piece of junk jewelry, but it just didn't fit the rest of the "pink" in the piece -- it wasn't whimsical enough (such a serious rose).

The box is just the bottom portion of a cigar box.

Also, I have a piece, "Ten Tag Sampler" on page 112 of the Jan/Feb 2007 issue.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

White Chunky Update

A quick update on the White Chunky Book project -- all of the books have been collated and are ready for binding. I'm also doing a "QA" on each of the books as I bind them, counting pages and ordering them alphabetically by first name of the artist. If I had it to do over again, I'd do the counting and ordering as the pages arrived.

Above: Ten White Chunky Books collated and bound (and a huge basketful of the rest).

The first couple of books I bound took me over a half an hour to bind, now I'm down to about twenty minutes per book. I may not get them all done before the weekend, but it will be close!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

ATC Challenge: Rubber Stamps

I did these pretty quickly, in less than an hour, in part because I had the faces/eyes stamped for a previous project. These didn't scan very well, they are much more interesting in "person." For this self-challenge I wanted to use rubber stamps for both the background and focal point.

For the background, I started by gessoing the card, then applied a coat of beige paint. I then stamped an image from Above the Mark in white pigment ink, then clear embossed it. I then applied a wash of copper paint, and the color pooled into the un-stamped areas.

For the focal points I stamped faces/eyes in sepia on glossy paper (ARTchix Studio). I edged both the focal points and backgrounds with a sepia Pitt pen.

The embossing resulted in interesting texture. Like I said, they are much better in "real life."

Friday's Work

Here's what I did yesterday (Friday) -- no particular challenge in mind, except for the color part. I wanted to do the background with layers of paint in primary colors, but that looked like mud. So I gesso'd over that, and started layering with blue only, because I liked the look of the blue that "peeked" through the gesso.

What this ended up being was the result of one of those "happy accidents." I had put a couple of layers of different blues on the backgrounds, and they weren't quite dry. I still wasn't happy with them, until I knocked over my water glass and they got soaked. Now I actually like them :)

I'm doing a QA on the Chunky Books, counting the pages, checking for doubles, etc, and then ordering them alphabetically by first name. Am I nuts?? More pictures of the Chunky Book project later today.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Thursday's Challenge

Yesterday I challenged myself again to work quickly. The other variables were that I had to use "good paper" from my stash, and again, use ARTChix images. I wanted to confront the part of me that wants to save the good stuff for my good art, such as the Basic Grey papers and other scrapbooking papers I have collected at the 4/$1 sales at Hobby Lobby.

I am not sure what my challenge for today will be, but I'm thinking maybe working fast and using transparencies or rubber stamps.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

More ATCs

For these I gave myself a challenge: work quickly, use painted backgrounds, and ArtChix images (I have a stash of ArtChix images cut out and ready to go that I haven't used.)

For the most part, I didn't embellish these, except for the one red one, onto which I put a shrink plastic clock lady head (Stampers Anonymous). I just thought she fit there.

Don't know how much time I'm going to spend in the studio today -- seems like there is a lot of other things to do: White Chunky Book stuff, put up Christmas tree, job-search related errands.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Don't have much to say today, have been mostly in the studio and cleaning around the house the past few days. Put together six ATCs. I have *got* to be able to work faster....

Hopefully I will have more to post soon!

Monday, December 11, 2006


I heard Michael Kors on Project Runway describe one of the dresses that Jeffrey (the designer) made as "ugly-beautiful," a kind of aesthetic. (An interesting column on "ugly-beautiful" as part of the Bohemian style: Bohemian Rhapsody: Embrace Your Style Song.)

Much much closer to home is the calendar page below. I've heard it said that "if you want to make a transition in your style of art, you're going to make ugly art." But this is ridiculous. I don't think this qualifies as ugly-beautiful, it's just plain ugly, but I like the term.

This didn't start out too well, even with the beloved Cara Mia stamp (Acey Deucy). Wrong choice of background paper, the bottom tip of the heart under the calendar portion. Then adding various magendas, reds, and pinks in the form of watercolor crayons, watercolor pencils and colored pencils--I couldn't get those related colors to work. I tried to salvage it with deep pink rick-rack and red seed beads but to no avail.

Why would I put this on my blog? It's good for some Monday morning humor.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

White Chunky Update

Just a brief update on the White Chunky Book -- I've begun collating, and below is a picture of what that looks like on the ground. So to speak.

I just began collating yesterday, and so far it doesn't seem to be going too badly. I did bind one of the books, and that definitely proves to be more of a challenge. Wasn't it my goal to have these done and out before Christmas? Stop laughing!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

2007 Art Calendars

I was totally inspired by Belinda Schneider's art calendar in the Nov/Dec issue of Somerset Studio. Having just bought a coil binder, I knew I was going to make a bunch of these. I've made two so far, each with a theme and a color palette. I too miss my stamps and want to find more ways to use them.

This one is for my daughter, in a sort of purply-green color scheme. All of the stamps I used were by Zettiology.

This one is for David, colors are red and black with gold accents. The theme is "nudes" and the stamps are either by ArtChix Studio (as is this one), or by PhotoArtStamps, which sadly no longer exists.

Which raises another issue for me -- I seem to compulsively need consistency and "matchy-matchy." I want to break out of that. So for the next one I am using some wildly varied background papers from my stash, and see how it works out. Of course all of the stamped images will be in black and white.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Art Making as Conversation

Years ago, at least 20-25 years ago, I stated (to myself and others) that making art is a conversation with myself.

I still experience art making that way.

In Art and Fear, the author(s) write:

"Between the initial idea and the finished piece lies a gulf we can see across, but never fully chart. The truly special moments in art making lie in those moments when concept is converted to reality -- those moments when the gulf is being crossed." (page 51)

The metaphor of "crossing the gulf..." is a useful one. It certainly implies a leap, a bridge, movement and process.

On the other hand, I like the conversation metaphor better. To put it more into the Art and Fear authors' terms, perhaps this conversation is between the self as art viewer and the self as art maker.

Many times I have had the experience, in both writing and art making, of surprise in what I've written or made. That's me the art viewer. Sometimes when I've made something and set it aside overnight or even longer, re-viewing the work generates even more surprise. It can seem as though there are two distinct sets of "eyes" in me. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that making art and viewing art engage different parts of the brain.

Later, in the same chapter in Art and Fear, the authors describe the tension between the artist as viewer and the artist as art maker. The author is describing how he felt when he first saw an Edward Weston print:

"That photograph was mine to experience. But neither it, nor anything like it, was mine to make. Yet it took a decade to dispel the gnawing feeling that my work should do what that work had done. And more years still before I thought to question where the power of such art resided: In the maker? In the artwork? In the viewer?" (page 53)

I'm not so sure I agree with the statement that "neither it, nor anything like it, was mine to make." I *learn* by imitating other artists, not having the benefit of a formal art education. On the other hand, perhaps the work that I do in imitation isn't really "mine", nor is it "art". But it *is* a conversation between *artists*, whether or not the artist as viewer and the artist as maker are the same person.

Interesting question.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Art Making - Art and Fear

This afternoon I had a job interview at the University of Nebraska Department of Modern Language and Literature. On the way back to the office I stopped at the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery and saw, among other things, a Cornell assemblage, and a show called Anxious Objects: Willie Cole's Favorite Brands, 1988-2006." Everyday objects -- mostly shoes, iron imprints, and hair dryers, made into Art. Oh, and one chicken made of wax and matchsticks (safely contained behind glass).

The authors of "Art and Fear" state that the Art for Art's Sake school of criticism expends a lot of energy on the topic what art is, but not a whole lot about what art making is (page 25). So what is art making?

I'm looking at Willie Cole's exhibit and there are a couple of massive pieces of images consisting of prints from a regular clothing iron scorched onto fabric. Would the act of scorching a piece of cloth with an iron constitute "art making" (of course it does - the result is art)?

Last week I finished the last of 200 1 x 1" square collages for the covers of the White Chunky Book I'm hosting. Did the act of gluing 200 1 x 1" pieces of watercolor paper onto vintage book pages and trimming them out constitute "art making"?

What's the difference between that and gluing macaroni onto a tuna can and spray-painting it gold to make an ashtray (a Kindergarten art project I'll never forget, and one my mother still keeps in her junque drawer).

Willie Cole's work resulted in "art" (clearly by way of validation from the "Art Network" -- it's in an exhibit in a museum!). My work may or may not be resulting in art. My project as a Kindergartener resulted in an ashtray -- a craft project at best.

Which gets us back into the question "what is art"? The authors differentiate between the two questions "what is art" and "what is artmaking" but clearly I can muddy the water with some circular reasoning. Art making results in art. What is art, and who decides?

I remember having this discussion about poetry as a freshman in college. It makes my head hurt.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

More on Art and Fear

(Sorry if you're reading this and discover that I'm not going "in sequence" in "Art and Fear". That's just how non-linear I am.... :))

"Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty.......Making the work you want to make means setting aside these doubts so that you may see clearly what you have done, and thereby see where to go next. Making the work you want to make means finding nourishment in the work itself." (emphasis mine) Art and Fear, page 2.

I remember when things at work were either boring or awful, that I'd come home and do art work, and I would say to myself: "as long as I can make art, life is worth living." It really is that fundamental to who I am, as is writing and reading poetry.

I find that I use all parts of the process of making in nourishing myself. Although these things may not be exactly "making art", they are part of the process. Cleaning my studio prepares me mentally to start something new, and I get a sense of accomplishment when I can see the floor for the first time in days. If I need to relax and am low on creative energy, I cut stuff out, or sort stuff, or look for new images for collage work. And I read read read -- Somerset Studio, True Colors, Cloth Paper Scissors, and Collage Discovery Workshop to name a very few -- all of these things fuel the fire.

I can't say that, while it has always been so for me, that I have consciously *recognized* the actual making of the art (rather of the supporting processes above) as nourishing. I didn't "get that" until this year, when I took the Wabi-Sabi workshop from Lynn Perrella. Now one of my greatest joys is slopping gesso and paint onto red rosin paper. And while the results may not always be "art", they are always interesting.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Art and Fear

I've been hearing recommendations and raves about this book for a while now, so I decided to buy it and read it. Last night I read a bit on "Art and the Outside World", about the "Arts Network" (capital A capital N) and competition.

It's not that what the authors write about art and the outside world is so surprising, after all, I've been in academia and been in and around the arts establishment for years, even though I haven't participated as an artist.

A little anecdote. I took a rhetorical theory class at the University of Minnesota around the time the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition was at the Corcoran in DC. I did an extensive research paper on the Mapplethorpe controversy. When we travelled to DC in 1990 to meet my (then) fiance's parents, we visited the Corcoran. (The Mapplethorpe show was no longer there.) Anna was cranky and fussing when we went into the Gallery, and an associate there quipped, "another unhappy taxpayer."

What I am struck by is the difference in spirit between the "Arts Network" and the community of artists and crafters I belong to on the Internet. Lynn Perella, in the workshop I took from her in August, mentioned the same thing, that we don't engage in the competition that is so prevalent in "Arts Establishment", that we are a community and we share our ideas and processes.

Anyway, the authors in "Art and Fear" assert that artists must "make peace with the Arts Network." I'm not sure what that means for me. I do know artists in the community I live in, I know photographers and mixed media artists and a sculptor or two, as well as one of the gallery owners. THere is less a spirit of competition here in Nebraska than I sensed out East, and more a spirit of community. However, the elements of the "Arts Network" are all there: the once monthly gallery walks where the artists dress up and schmooze and wine and hors d'oerves are served, blah blah blah. (I love those evenings by the way.)

OK, but where am I in all of this? When I finish a piece of work, I generally scan it, throw is up on my blog or Web site, and toss it into a box of finished work in my mud room. The point isn't disrespect or disregard, it's just that when I finish something I'm done with it. I don't need to display it or sell it or any of those things, I'm just interested in what happens *while* I'm making it. Which is on target with what the authors of "Art and Fear" discuss about the process of art making earlier in the book (more on that some other time).

I suppose that when I'm published in Somerset Studio or one of their other publication that I am in effect "exhibiting", and that bit of acknowledgement is absolutely THRILLING. But it's dessert, really. Or gravy. Whatever.

The community in which I participate is really about validation, not about competition. I'm comfortable and productive there.

But is "comfortable" a good thing for an artist?

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Little Clown

I am making a couple of extra pages for the White Chunky Book, as I have lost a couple of players the past couple of days. This one is a little on the "cute" side for me, but it's not too bad of a cute. Y'all know how I feel about CUTE. I am struggling with an idea for covers, as I am in love with those little 1" squares (tiny art), and made about 150 of them for the white book. But I just can't seem to get them to come together as cover art (three squares per page). I may end up having to scrap them (haha) and try something else.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

White Chunky Project

Last night I finished tying vintage mother of pearl buttons on all 50 of my pages. I then pasted "backgrounds" onto another 50-60 1 x 1" squares for the covers. I'm not exactly sure what the covers are going to look like, but I'd like them to all be originals. Well maybe I'll do a transparency that I'll copy, but otherwise, they're original from the background on up.

Beautiful beautiful work coming in for this book.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Brief Side Trip to Enchantment

I wasn't feeling particularly inspired by anything today so I decided to make an ATC for the ArtChix Enchantment lottery, hoping it would get me going. It's kind of different, but was fun to put together. A little oriental sprite or something taking a ride on a bird. ***twinkle*** I was really just putting off cleaning my studio, the floor of which I can't see. It's the cat's fault, they chase each other onto and off my worktable and scatter things all over the place. Yeah...that's it...the cat's fault...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Hallmark Greeting Card Day

The weather doesn't get much better for October than it was here today. Low seventies, lots of sunshine. It was kind of disorienting when the sun went down so early in the evening.

Here are some more of the tiny art squares I've done.

I have been working more on the Shades of White chunky book, did 50 4x4"collages backgrounds over the weekend. A couple other participants that I know of are also doing all original pages for the book. It's going to be flippin gorgeous.

Our mailman said to David last week: "sometimes I hate this F(*&ing job", as he was delivering several packages. He has no idea what he's in for. Ha!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

New Writers Group & Izzy

Last night went to a new writers group in South Lincoln, and it looks like it's going to be a productive group. I talked a little bit about trying to start fiction, and that my first "main character" is refusing to come out of the journal.

Her name is Izzy and her work has something to do with color. Not an artist, that's almost cliche for a Romance Novel, but something to do with color and she makes a lot of money. Last time I left off with her she was naming various shades of the color white, which coincidentally is the Chunky Book I'm hosting. Then a particular color white throws her into a reverie about a weekend with an ex-lover (the hero? maybe not), which sets up the relationship and suggests a conflict. What if....she said no *to begin with*.

The hard part is not making it autobiographical. My life keeps creeping in and I want this to be fiction, and in fact quite a bit different than my own life (my life is hardly fit for a romance novel. Wait....maybe it is....)

In her book The Passionate, Accurate Story, Carol Bly states that the first assignment she gives her students is a 7000 word autobiography to get it out of their system. I'm wondering if I should do that before I attempt to write any more.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

More White on White

Here's what I'm thinking of using for my page in the White Chunky Book swap I am hosting. I'm so excited about this, I have a new Rubicoil and coils and the packages are starting to come in. This is going to be a gorgeous book.

On another note, this week I was given a 60 day notice for my job. My job will end right before the holidays. I'm actually not freaking out too much at this point. I suppose I should be, but I have felt so stifled and underutilized at this job it's a relief in its own way. The other side of that is that salaries in Lincoln pretty much stink, especially for women, and finding something that pays enough to live my life might be hard (and I live on little enough as it is).

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

White on White

Last week some time, I visited Chrysti's Blog, and saw some of her latest work, including her TINY SQUARES (go check these out).

I decided to try a few on my own, and have so far made at least 50. These here are done in "Shades of White", as I am hosting a Shades of White chunky book swap (it's full), and have been playing with this theme.

All of the images in these 20 squares are from Artchix Studio.

Needless to say these are addictive. Speaking of addictive, I have to stop writing because Project Runway is on . . .

Friday, September 15, 2006

Long Time No Blog

Today I went and shot a bunch of photos for the local newspaper -- what a riot! It's for a story on color palettes, and a really interesting designer took me to her "show home" and let me take pictures. It looks better than a lot of the stuff you see on HGTV.

Artwise I have been making paint messes on red rosin paper -- took a workshop with Lynn Perrella in August, "Wabi-Sabi", and that's what we did. I can't stop! It's addictive. I like using cheap paint, too, I don't mind if I slop it all over something and then don't like it. Yeah Lynn! Thanks for sharing your ideas and inspiration.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Writing Weekend

Busy, high energy weekend, with lots to do. I am finishing up a feature story on poet Nancy McCleery for the Prime Time supplement of the Lincoln Journal Star. On top of being an extraordinary poet, Nancy is an inspiration and a generous soul. My interviews with her digressed into a conversation between two poets so often that I've had to call her to get basic information that I forgot to ask. Like, when did she get her degrees....that kind of stuff. We talked today about both being ADD and that it really isn't a disorder, but more of a personality type that doesn't get validated in this culture. I've thought that for a long time anyway.

So to keep myself on task (which is hard for me to do in the unstructured environment of hoome), I make myself write for at least fifteen minutes, then I go play with art for fifteen minutes, then I go write's slow but it is steady and I usually end up writing for more than the alloted time. Funny how I need to trick myself into doing stuff that way. Same thing happens with cleaning.

The image is of some "artful flash cards" I'm making to submit to Somerset Studio's 10th anniversary edition. I've made about six sets of these already, and am working on a 7th. I'm playing a lot with color layering and embellishments, and having a grand time. I don't know what I'd do with artful flash cards otherwise, so I hope the folks at Somerset like them.

Back to work.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Collage-Hippodrome-Slam Poetry

I actually finished a collage this weekend! Not my best effort but it was something. Was watching a History Channel special on the Hippodrome/Constantinople while I was making it. Funny how art is such a mnemonic device from me. I used to doodle while I talked on the phone and could remember the details of those conversations when I looked at the doodles. I can't remember exactly but I think I did this in college as well.

Went to hear Matt Mason of Omaha read tonight at the Crescent Moon. High energy poetry. I am feeling so disconnected from "real life", I needed to get out and connect with poetry/poets people on that level. I was glad I did it, although there's always the "why aren't I writing poems right now...." thing going on in my head.

I have been thinking about the idea of healing wounded memories -- as if memories are something we can transform or heal. If that's a choice, or are we stuck with the feelings that the events actually evoked? Can I remember something painful and not feel that pain again? Or is that just plain therapy? Therapy for me is more like learning to deal with the present in new ways, not transforming how I think and feel about the past. Although I think it can be that -- healing the past -- it just isn't that way for me.

Memory as as thing, an organic thing, that can grow and change and heal. Just had an image of hanging memories on a tree like Christmas ornaments. Which means more than anything else that I need to go sleep. More on this some other time.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back in the Blogger Again

I tell you, there is no better way to block my desire to blog than to show my blog to someone I work with. Ack!

I have been in a total creative block lately, as well, and am scrambling to get through it. I sit at my studio table for hours, looking through my stash of images and cutting things out, and looking at magazines for inspiration, etc etc. I think it might be time to get out of the studio and stop immersing myself in *other* people's art to "fill my well" so to speak.

I've started a visual journal, and carry that with me in my backpack. I'm 47 years old and I still carry a backpack like I was a college student! I love it.

In a few weeks I'll be taking Lynn Perrella's "Wabi-Sabi" workshop, and I'm hoping that will open the floodgates.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Things to Remember

Things I want to remember from a weekend trip to Minnesota:
The red-winged blackbirds on the mile markers
The martens at Dad's house, and the one squatter sparrow
The scraps of mother-of-pearl I found on the shore of Lake Pepin
There was a button-factory across the river
My great-grandfather was a barber, but my grandfather didn't follow because he didn't like cleaning manure out of peoples' heads.

There's more, but I'm trying to avoid pathos.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Productive Weekend

Wow, did I have a productive weekend -- I finished 3 collages and got a good start on a couple more. I don't think I've ever finished this much in so little time. I'm not going to post them here until I decide whether I'm going to enter them into an online "show" with ArtChix studio (if I do, they don't want them posted elsewhere). If I don't post them with the ArtChix show, I will be taking them to a recovery event that features artists, musicians, and writers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Butterfly Man

Stayed home today with a cold, and after I slept a whole bunch got up and finished putting Butterfly Man together.

I was going to say that it was a really tough piece to put together, that I must've laid down and ripped up the background about three or four times, but I do that with every piece. I am really happy with how the background turned out -- the weathered and aged look -- lots of layers of paint and gel medium and spray matte medium. I got the text from an old instruction book on learning to type (1938) -- it has writing exercises with a heavy business work-ethic theme, which I think are cool. In this case it fit perfectly.

This didn't come together for me at *all* until I put the wings on him. I must've been inspired by the new issue of "Somerset Studio". Anyway, the wings came from the cover of a vintage book on butterflies. Anyway, I've never really worked much with images of men before, so this was new for me - working with a more masculine theme. David thought I should put a tutu on him for dramatic effect but I said "no". The image is from a collage sheet from

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Mary Collage

Here is the "Mary" referenced in the previous post in her full regalia. The biggest challenge of this piece was finding the right background. There must be four layers of "background" work on this canvas. I ended up with a bold and busy background, but at first Mary kind of disappeared into it. So I added black backing so there'd be a solid margin around her, but her wings still disappeared into the background. Since I had already glued Mary to the black backing, I needed to find a way to make that work. First, I transferred buff and then red paint onto the layered background, trying to unify it. That helped, but the wings were still an issue. So I found a red paper heart doily, and tried to work that in. It didn't really work for me until I turned it upside down.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

What a Face

I absolutely could not resist this photograph. Picked it up at an antique/junque shop on Sunday, and got her all dolled up last night.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More Saturday Art

Saturday mid-afternoon: just put together another collage. This one seemed to come together in a hurry, but it had really been simmering all week. I should be cleaning, but I haven't even gotten dressed yet. Many Saturdays are like this, I wake up, make coffee, sit down in the studio and not get up until it's time for church at 5:30.

The Blue Graces

Have been working on a collage for the past several days, and notice that destroying what I do is an important part of the creative process. It isn't the way it sounds -- it's more a process of discovery than it is of destruction, although I do get to a point where I want to pitch what I'm working on into the litterbox.

Here's the first version of the collage I'm talking about (this happens with most every piece). I was happy with the focal point (the three graces on the tag w/ the lace and raffia), and I liked the other elements, especially the eyes with the veil, bu† the whole didn't work for me. I was ready to let it be the way it was, and scanned it for posting on my gallery.

I went back to my studio with it, planning to put it on the "done" (abandoned) pile, when I decided that, although they looked cool, the eyes had to go. Then, re-working the background around the tag seemed impractical, so I lifted that off too. Then the blue button background came off, and so on. Pretty soon I was back at a blank, albeit very coolly distressed, background. Did the paint transfer technique I used in the Angel piece from last week, and went to bed.

Picked it up again this morning, and started doing the Lynn Perrella "tying stuff around other stuff with string" thing, and ended up with this. Much better, I think, even though there is a lot of Perrella derivation in it. I don't go to art school, so I learn by imitating the artists I love. : )

Back to work, I have a 4 x 4" canvas with a similar background that I want to get started on. I'm supposed to be cleaning mwuuahahahahaha.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Still on a White Kick

The last couple of weeks I've been taking a break from my desk and going to a coffee shop to read/work on poems for one hour during the day. It is helping me stay sane and somewhat connected to what I'm about while I navigate these uncertain times. I run into a couple of people that I like seeing, but don't usually converse. It's obvious that we're taking a break from our desks to have our head to ourself for a few minutes.

The coffee shop employees start making my double-shot medium coffee as soon as I walk in the door.

On the art front I am pushing myself to produce -- and am working on a couple of canvases vs. canvas paper. I'm still on a white kick, that colorful background technique side trip didn't start me off in another direction. Not yet anyway.

May be picking up some freelance work this week, which would be fun -- it's been a while.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Stormy Weather

The image is of the new background technique I tried based on an article in "Cloth Paper Scissors" yesterday, and I guess it's OK. I'm not really into the "put wings on anything and make an angel" genre of craft/collage, so I'm not too excited about it. Although it's not bad.

Am making more collage business cards and doing laundry today. Am going to start going through paper and shredding stuff in the dining room in a bit.

Stormy day -- it's 2 pm and looks like twilight. It's about the right kind of day for staying in PJs until 5 pm.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

No Fooling

Am doing some spring cleaning today, boy am I a mess. The dining room has become the "catch-all" for "stuff I don't know what to do with". I don't think HGTV would touch it with a ten foot professional organizer.

While I'm cleaning, I'm doing short breaks in the studio -- am playing with some textured background techniques that are outlined in the current issue of "Cloth Paper Scissors", and am having some fun. What to do with the backgrounds is another story.

New poem in the works, it's used a Linda Gregg poem as a jump-off point, so it's not completely "mine" yet. But it will be. I stole the title from the a painting I saw at a show at the Burkholder Project a couple of years ago.

Horizon Therapy

From the empty hill overlooking the prison,
something was stretching. Filling the horizon
and making it empty. The light pushed me to stillness
as I moved forward. Now,

I understand why I left the coast to come here. And know
the story of the ragged bird clutching branches in the wind,
using it to help him climb higher.

I understand going to the sandhills in August
and believe, as in seeing the ocean, in loving
the illusion of lasting forever.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Poetry Reading

I read at the Crescent Moon Coffee House last night, and it went very well. Two women from my writing group showed up, and someone from work was even there, although he didn't know I was reading when he came. I read three new pieces, which is the first time I've done that in a long long time. Then David played three songs as "part two" of the featured reader(s), and that felt good too. I called him my "special friend" when I introduced him, and he razzed me about that all evening.

"Razzed me" -- that's a term from the seventies, weird how vintage slang pops up once in a while.

I think I am moving back towards poetry, can feel it rather than just "think" I should do it. Which is good. When I give myself a break this afternoon I'm going to read some Stephen Dunn (Different Hours, the Pulitzer Prize winner).

Here's one of the new poems I read. I don't think it's finished, but David thought it was perfect.

On Seeing Harrison Ford at the Lincoln Municipal Airport

Oh Harrison Ford, you are smaller in person. Craggy,
magnificent all the same, your robins egg blue jacket
a bit much for Lincoln, Nebraska.

Now I'm on a tarmac when you come after me
telling me you want complicated life, or

We're in the adventure movie, on a plane, and
you don't know how to fly, saying
"how hard can it be?"

In a moment, I'm on Bravo and you're telling me
to be available to the moment.

My daughter and I will be leaving soon,
She to Minneapolis, I to New York.
In airports our lives can shift and change
from one place to another,

Oh Harrison Ford, where are you going?
I want to walk off a plane and into a movie
like you walked off a plane and into my life.

Copyright 2006 - Kim Tedrow

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Sunday Musings

It's kind of strange to me to be making entries into this, knowing that I haven't shown it to anyone, that no one is probably reading it, but that it's available to anyone on the net. Are we overloaded with the personal thoughts and musings of others?

Who the hell cares what I ate for breakfast (peanut butter out of the jar) or what I think about Consumer-Directed Health Plans (they're good for employers and insurance companies but suck for consumers, esp working people)?

Or that last night I dreamt that I was supposed to play guitar in a jam session, knew only three chords and barely remembered them, that my boss was playing an accordion, and that I wanted to learn "Amazing Grace" before I flew to Paris for three days?

It's like standing in the middle of an empty four-diamond baseball field talking to the birds while a freight trains roars around the perimeter.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Still Waiting on Spring

Now I know why people go south to retire -- the older I get, the less I can tolerate winter. At this time last year, spring was here, I could smell the dirt, and I was getting that burst of energy that comes with longer days and warm weather. Now I just want to sleep until it's over.

This weekend I am going to polish some of my writing, do some art work, and work on the Web site. Tomorrow I go to Omaha to pick Anna up at the airport -- she's been in Madison since Wednesday, staying with her biological grandparents, whom she's never met. They're good people, I'm comfortable with that because I've met them several times in the past. Then Monday is the reading.

I'd like to start selling my artwork online -- am I good enough? David says I already am good enough, I'll never be completely satisfied, always wanting to do better. Well, I guess if I were satisfied, I wouldn't need to keep doing it.

Stopped at the antique store yesterday, picked up some linens (complete with a cross-stitched apron with huge pockets -- CUTE!), 1968 and 1954 Life Magazines (the 1968 had a cover story about Picasso!!!!), some lace collars and a couple of vintage photos.

I just discovered that I can't upload images to the blog from my Mac. Again, obsolete software on obsolete hardware. I couldn't figure out why the blog looked so bad on the Mac until I figured out that the layout was done in CSS, not in tables. Got that fixed for the Mac side easily enough, but I'm going to have to either figure out a way to do the images with HTML (probably reference them from my Web site) or do images files from work.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Learning Curve

I am just beginning to realize what a learning curve I face to get up to speed as a Web producer after almost five years out of that role. Today I spent my noon hour studying the blog template code, and was mortified at how little I recognized, even with the blog tag list in front of me. I need to find a focus, and I think I will have to zero in on content and useability, and leave development to the .... developers.

A harder thing to acknowledge is that my current computer and OS is obsolete, and I'll have to upgrade before I can be completely functional from home. Which is fine, except I once again face the decision of whether to abandon the Macintosh environment for Windows. The biggest hurdle on either side of the debate is expense: if I stay with Mac, I will have to spend more on the hardware than if I switch to Windows. If I switch to Windows, I will have to spend more on software, as I am not on an upgrade path with Windows software like I am with Mac software.

Actually, this is the first time I've seriously considered switching -- I've always been a staunch Mac person, and I'll likely stay that way. I like having a computer that looks like a Volkswagon. I am just tiring of having to wait to be at work in front of a PC before I can do a lot of things, including work on this blog's "look and feel", since IE for Mac OS9 doesn't handle most of what this blog tool can do.

Monday, March 20, 2006

First Day of Spring

About a year ago I started a blog on another service (that has since vanished), and my first post was "I smell dirt". That wonderful refreshing smell that comes with Spring.

Except today, first day of Spring, we're getting the first snowfall of the season. I have to laugh because, it would've been a snow day for Anna had she not been on Spring Break.

I am working on a new set of poems for the reading I am doing on the 27th. I haven't pulled stuff out of my journal and worked it for a few years, except for the poem about Anna being 16, which was a crowd pleaser at a couple of open mikes. Anything about being sixteen is probably good fodder for a slam.

Finished two collages this weekend, and did a couple of banners for the Web site. One of them I will use as a banner here. There are so many "should be doings" in my life, but I can't seem to stop making art. It's the only thing - besides David and Anna of course - that makes life bearable right now. I remember thinking that a few years ago, when things were tough, that art was the only thing that makes life bearable. So it's a coping behavior as well as being for its own sake.

Back to work.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Setting myself up

Setting up my Web site today, adding a blog, a gallery, writing samples. Cold and gray Saturday, good for falling into the computer all day. David playing at a St. Patrick's Day celebration in Havelock - I will go listen to him later.