Wednesday, April 29, 2009

coming attraction

There's been a definite slump in the Adventure posts, long enough that I wondered if I'd ever do another, but in the past couple of days a new one has found its way onto four pieces of 6x9 heavy paper. Reminder to self - Don't try eating chocolate while doing pen and ink work.

Anyway, this is one of the illustrations for the next story which is about a couple of odd experiences I encountered back when I imagined showing paintings in galleries would lead, if not to fame and fortune, at least to a regular income. Hah! Even so, I learned some stuff about what matters but you can read that after it's been written, which at this point is still in my head and not in my documents.

I never envisioned doing Adventures and before I knew it I'd written 14. Some of them are better than others but that's the way things go, isn't it? It's difficult to tell both true and honest stories.. and there is a difference.

Not everything we experience fits into neat, entertaining anecdotes but it's an interesting way of reviewing a life. You can judge whether they're worth the reading time.

Be back soon :-)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

people are crazy

I've often complained to Crow that I should really be able to fly too. He gets to go to the coolest places and meets some very strange characters. Sometimes I get a bit jealous.

Speaking of which, here's an old picture I found of him with one of his college friends many years ago. It was so long ago it may have been painted by Breugel. Well, in reality it was painted by Rudi Hurzlmeier but I think he copied it from the Elder.

Anyhow, I wanted to fly so Crow took me to Norway to meet these guys. It's about the craziest thing I've ever seen people do and I was far too scared to try it myself. Still, it wasn't a wasted trip since I now have a contract to paint their wingsuits.

wingsuit base jumping from Ali on Vimeo.

Maybe we'll move there to set up a concession stand to sell hot chocolate and bandaids. Is this what's called a leap of faith?

I found the embed link so now it's here. Yow!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

a little blue

a robin's egg
the sea
a pool

my soul explores a sphere of blue

cornflower azure
midnight royal
cerulean cobalt
indigo true

evoke in words some shades of blue
while my paint box hints at other hues

seen from space the world is blue
seen from earth the sky is blue
above the clouds is endless blue

Krishna is the Lord of Blue


'oops, sorry, apologies, regrets, remorse, couldn't help myself, won't do it again, repentant for waxing poetic among experts', she says with rueful simile.. er, smile.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

rewarding preoccupation

A question posed this week through an award given to me by the very talented yet insufficiently well known writer, Utah Savage, was to describe why I love blogging. The fact I post on a reasonably regular basis should indicate my interest in the pastime but I don't think I can honestly say I love doing it. There have been any number of posts in the past six months that could have heralded the final one.

I stay because of the connections I've made with all of you. Rather than putting my paintings in a portfolio never to be seen by anyone other than my husband and a few close friends I'm able to post them up here where you're kind enough to come by and say you like them. That means a lot to me. I don't think paintings are any more important than baking a nice cake but they're a different way of feeding people and no creative effort is done in vain.

It's the same with the scarves, little bags and jewelry. I have enough stuff around to stock a small corner on Etsy but that concept makes me very nervous. My reaction to being rejected by the formal arts community has always been to go back to my job on Monday morning where I'm appreciated for my ability to put in a good day's work and for my occasionally droll sense of humor. The regular paycheck has always been enough to fund the necessary supplies. That time will draw to a natural conclusion in the next year or two so I wonder about selling things I make (other than the paintings which I won't sell at all) but I can't be a factory.

Although I'm usually working on something I'm inconsistent about what I feel like doing on any given day. The purple scarf at the top was started last winter but was so time consuming I got bored and put it away for four months, only finishing it when I was home recuperating for a week. You can't very well have a business that way: 'Where's my scarf?' 'Well, I got bored and decided to paint two pictures instead.'

The other problem is not having a real workspace for the projects. Our apartment is a decent size but having a nine foot stretcher frame and all the accoutrements set up in the living room is noticeable. Fabric arts are like that and the only worse occupation I can imagine in that regard is weaving. If you weave you need a house and that's all there is to it. Watercolor supplies don't take up much space and I've spent more years working at a kitchen table than I ever have in what could be termed a formal studio. You just need some good lights.

I do appreciate the award, Utah, but won't be passing it on since my blog roll is so small. I enjoy visiting your site and a few others but I'm no natural at electronic communication and don't go round visiting linked blogs very much. I tend to be a bit reclusive and jealous of my free time (of which we all have a limited and diminishing amount).

I did finish the turquoise and olive scarf which now looks like this. It's next to impossible to photograph a doubled over and sewn 8.5 foot long piece but it is pretty.

PS: Crow says he's very glad I have a blog because his last bid for a tv show was rejected by Fox :-)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

do you remember?

We loved Max.. hard to find the videos. I wonder why?

Max Headroom: Have you any idea how successful censorship is on TV? Don't know the answer? Hmm. Successful, isn't it?

Max Headroom: Now, I'm no librarian, in fact, I don't know what star sign I am. But, as a famous person once said, You can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. And as I - another more famous person - once said, If you don't teach them to read, you can fool them whenever you like.

Max Headroom: Well, most people would agree that censors are a silly breed. In fact, it surprises me how they ever manage to breed at all.

Max Headroom: Say, would someone mind checking the ratings? I seem to have an audience of two.

Max: And then there's politicians. It's easy to tell when a politician is lying: their lips move.

(and if you look closely you'll see Ignatz the Cat, Dr. Who's Tardis and the baby picture of my closest friend as interpreted by Mark Mothersbaugh)

Monday, April 13, 2009

who wudda thot?

This was the neatest find of the weekend and I'm sure any of you who come by would be as charmed as I am (except Randal who enjoys his reputation as a grump). The robot can only move in a straight line and has a little flag with the name of its destination. Please check out her web site.

Robot/People art by Kacie Kinzer

"In New York, we are very occupied with getting from one place to another. I wondered: could a human-like object traverse sidewalks and streets along with us, and in so doing, create a narrative about our relationship to space and our willingness to interact with what we find in it? More importantly, how could our actions be seen within a larger context of human connection that emerges from the complexity of the city itself? To answer these questions, I built robots."

* Tuesday update: They've taken the video away but it's still a cool site to link to since the map of how far it got is pretty amazing and the video is embedded there too.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

you're what?

It's always hard for me to hear people say they get bored when they're home. My problem has always been getting bored at a job where not just a few coworkers seem content to be caricatures who can't escape the meager roles they've accepted. At home there's always so much to do there are times when I'm not sure which to choose but today I decided it was time to begin work on a new silk scarf.

I have a nice set of Swiss stretcher frames for silk that when not in use can be packed neatly into compact nylon holders. I set them up this morning to hold an 8.5' x 15" wide piece of fabric. I diluted some Pebeo dyes in olive, cyan and Caribbean blue then grabbed some small house painting brushes and a spray bottle of water. Oops, I forgot to mention the plastic drop cloth on top of my favorite little persian rug and newspaper on top of that. Then there's sea salt.

This is the result so far. What do you think?

Hope you enjoy your Easter baskets :-)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

maybe we won't notice

I read a story in today's NY Times describing the new government plan to rescue the economy will be to sell 'Bankruptcy Bonds'. Yes, those same people who brought disaster to the masses are out to profit from even more misery.

Yesterday I got to the dentist's office earlier than expected so ended up paging through magazines while listening to the reception staff try to help people make payment arrangements for upcoming appointments:

'You can have the full cleaning done and pay it off in 3 equal monthly installments without interest being charged. Will that work for you?'
'Okay. Should we have the doctor come in that day to examine you?'
'Okay, you'll see him another time then. We'll send you the billing plan for your cleaning and you can tell us when you want to come in. Have a great day.'

Has anyone else noticed prices for so many of what used to be normal things have gone up? A loaf of good bread at Whole Foods costs nearly $5. Manufacturers are either making or planning to make smaller sized versions of products we all buy like rolls of paper towels, bottles of ketchup and cans of soup. What used to be 32oz is now 28oz for the same cost or more. If they can come up with a way to make a 5lb bag of potatoes less than 5lb they'll do that too while hoping you won't notice.

Hard times for rich people means putting off buying the extra Picasso for the new summer home in the Hamptons. We all know what it means for the rest of us.

This picture by Michael Sowa says it all.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

some days you do

and some days you don't..

I admit I have very high expectations of myself which rarely come to fruition in reality. I'll start with an idea and limitless possibilities then get bogged down. I can't think of anywhere else to take this one so it's done for now and as is my usual habit I'll put it away for a couple of months so I don't give into the temptation of tearing it up.

I'm out of practice and it shows. I see the mistakes wish I hadn't made. Why couldn't I have taken a little more time? Why did I take this approach rather than that one? Am I in control or just hanging on for dear life?

That's it. Too much control and watercolors don't allow rewrites. Good thing everything else is perfect but I wanted this to be much closer.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

not forgotten

Just in case you wondered work is progressing, albeit slowly, on the most recent painting. Nor is it typical of the way I usually do these things since this is more of a combination of the pen and ink style of the 'adventure's ink' things with color added.

So far I've been having fun and may even have finished it but for the fact of getting involved in a 2000 page over the top, hilarious, heart stopping sci-fi space opera novel by my favorite intelligent adolescent, Peter Hamilton. I needed a little vacation from normality because normality nowadays is scaring the hell out of me. I have to admit having read them as they were originally released but just for the hell of it decided to read them consecutively now that nearly five years have gone by.

'Pandora's Star' and 'Judas Unchained' describe Hamilton's vision of the late 24th century, hundreds of worlds within hundreds of light years from the Earth have been peopled (collectively known as the 'Commonwealth'), not by way of space ships, but through man-made stable wormholes connected by giant trains. People have continued to do what we do best and that's repopulate and consume. Virtually all of the one hundred billion human beings are connected by instantaneous communication - the Cybersphere, which is built into the brain along with other electronic enhancements.

The other great human advancement concerns mortality: specifically, every 20-30 years or so, those humans who can afford it get 'rejuvenated' and restored to physical adolescence with full memories of the previous 'life'. People work to pay their rejuve insurance. Dying in an accident is no problem since most have available a dormant clone. With this technological 'advancement', Hamilton asks some very complicated ethical questions about aging, and what it really means to be an individual person.

Everything is seemingly blooming and nice, but a secret brotherhood, The Guardians of Selfhood, keeps insisting that humankind is being manipulated by an invisible alien, whose ship was found on one now inhabited planet - Far Away. The brotherhood is making preparations, smuggling weapons and weird pieces of equipment in order to face the alien. Of course, no sane people would listen to their blabber.

But things change when an ageing astronomy professor discovers the disappearance of two distant stars. The story gains steam as an FTL starship (obsolete tech in this age of wormholes) is built in order to learn why the double star system known as the 'Dyson Pair' has been shielded by some sort of force field. Is it meant to keep the natives of that system within, or to protect them from something outside? As if that weren't enough, the brotherhood decides to prevent this excursion.

Even as this is going on, the author continues his journey through genres - a murder mystery is solved (yes, I know I explained that people can be rejuvenated here, but wait for it); a low-tech fantasy theme is introduced (a funky inn on a planet where high-tech doesn't work, a native boy who wants to join the explorer etc.) that at one point presents readers with a trek across a frozen planet, and there's even a priggish dad with an ickily cute family (complete with dog) on one of those impossibly utopian planets. There's a helpful AI (or is it?) and aliens too.

About 700 pages in, we finally meet the creepiest villain(s) alien of all (eek! hive mind!), after which the tale cascades on swiftly on to the end of part I. If you want to know about part II you may just have to read it for yourself because I'm tired now.

I had implants * done on Thursday with the result I'm still not feeling my best.. but I'll get there and I'll get back to the painting too.

(* dental, not flotation...)