December 30, 2008

Perhaps I will discover more time in 2009.

Twoth (2009)

I am SO behind on things, but I'm also trying to have balance, which is why I cut out of the studio after accomplishing a task. I met a buyer while I was in Nashville and we got in a nice little chat about recycled products and the green economy. I was eyeballing the English Retread purses when she approached me, and after cooing over those bags, I told her about my Used Rubber bag which still looks brand new after 10 years. One thing led to another and as we were exchanging numbers I pulled out one of my homemade memo pads, which immediately caught her eye (she's a buyer) and led us into another discussion which ended with her recommending a site for me to check out, called Like Etsy, but curated. Hopefully I'll get in. It's very design-oriented and I am anti-design-oriented, but who knows, maybe my anti-design will be considered design this year. This would be for my multiples and odds and ends stuff. I put that package together today. I make it sound like a huge deal- scanning the work, taking the pics, writing the bio, etc; It's not, but for some reason, I always have a Eureka! moment in the middle of doing something, which leads to either to an improvement or an offshoot idea, which I am compelled to implement on the spot. The printer also ran out of ink. I finally finished up that task and the offshoot brainstorming ideas that came with it, and called it a day. I am well aware I over-used and possibly mis-used 'which' in the above paragraph. My apologies to the grammar cops.

I'm behind on posting the new old stock of smaller works over at the smaller works site and I still have 4 paintings living in the studio without titles, not to mention that I've got to get rolling on those works again. I don't diversify easily.

So, I cut out of the studio after accomplishing one task, in order to make Matt a Red Velvet birthday cake. I'm still 5 days late. To be fair, his birthday was on Xmas day and I was in Nashville. It's my first RV cake and although I would rather have made it vegan, it's not my birthday, so I'm following my friend, Martha's recipe, and going full-on dairy.

I've left out the part about trying to troubleshoot a brand new answering machine from 2000 miles away.

December 28, 2008

"TV is dead. Run for your lives."

That is a quote from my dream last night. It was just a voice, but I believe it sounded like Edward R. Murrow. Upon hearing this announcement, I calmly went to my chest of drawers and tried to quickly decide whether I would be more comfortable spending eternity running in cords or jeans. I decided on the cords and woke up.

Make of that what you will.

December 27, 2008

Christmas week recap:

  • Nice Christmas. Excellent dinner with my mother at Prime 101 at Union Station in Nashville. Pricey, but worth it. Fabulous food and they made a special vegan menu for me that rocked. My mom enjoyed being there since she remembered when it was a working train station.
  • Way too many chores to list, but I got the converter box in place, the gas logs working again, a new answering machine/caller id installed and some routine housework done. It sounds pretty simple, but for various reasons, it wasn't. I am what is referred to as a long-distance caregiver. There's a lot to learn and organize. Plus she has a horse dog that's adorable but nuts.

  • Made some time to meet a couple of people for coffee, but could not fit in everyone I wanted to see. That's the tough part, finding balance. Not my strong suit.
  • Did manage to get to Radnor Lake and do some hiking. It's my little Walden.

  • Worked on some watercolor sketches of the living room furniture. I've had this thing about furniture my whole life. I think next trip I may work on larger paper and make them less sketchy. Or not.
  • Saw Keith Urban at the grocery store on the way back. I was picking up some vegan cookies for the return flight. He was buying flowers.

December 19, 2008

Get your pre-flight separation cold-weather visiting mom for the holidays travel anxiety here NOW.

Yep. Today is the day I cast aside all my other identities and focus on being a daughter for the next few days.

Fun Facts:
I don't drink anymore, so getting loaded on the plane is out.
LAX to BNA is a 3-sharpie drawing flight.
I don't drink anymore, so getting loaded once I land is out.

Okay, that's enough of the fun facts.
My flight leaves this afternoon and I'm almost done packing. I have a hefty to-do list once I arrive, but it will get done. I need to shift focus and think about relaxing and being slightly social over the next few days.

Big surprise, I am slightly compulsive about making art. I always take my watercolor travel set and sharpies. I know what my next lino cut is going to be, so I can work on the sketches for that. I don't actually sketch, so that's just a phrase I'm loosely using. One of the sketches will BE the drawing. It's more a matter of spacing issues and which time I'll nail it without using a sissy ruler.

After Christmas, I will upload some new works to the Smaller Works site. Have been thinking about trying the eBay thing, but should first try sending out an email announcement telling people about the site. I also want to put some work priced in the $20-100 range but feel a little like I'm trying to have a fire sale when I think about pricing works simply to get them out of the flatfiles. Still, the flatfiles are full, so what the hell. Stay tuned for the fire sale, without the actual fire.

December 16, 2008

Welcome to my Printmaking Factory

Let's face it, documenting me painting would be as chaotic and boring as it sounds, but the printmaking process just begs to be documented. I forgot to document the process of drawing and carving the linoleum block, but next go round, I'll grab some images of the drawing and the carving and the thing.

I have to admit, as a painter who flies by the seat of her pants, doing something that has orderly steps was a fun switch. The first batch was a little wonky because I wasn't concerned with registration or consistency, but the next batch I decided I'd make a jig using tape and go for some accuracy. I get the feeling master printmakers might be a little more concerned with those pesky details, so as a caveat, I am not a master printmaker, I am a painter.

December 15, 2008

Mary feels like facebook might be too claustrophobic and other things today.

There are some things I'd rather not have to keep repeating in my life, and on anther note, I'm beginning to feel like having a presence on the Internet is akin to going through Lacan's mirror phase, and I thought I had moved past that, too...

I was actually all set to write an lengthy treatise about privateering, but after I wrote about it in my personal journal, I decided I was having too sad of a day to want to post it in it’s entirety, so here are a few paragraphs in no particular order.

Putting a work on exhibit with a price tag attached to it is a gutsy thing to do. On more than one occasion, I have taking solace in hearing a well-known painter I respect here in L.A., say that his/her paintings do not sell. He/she has said this publicly, which is even more of an amazing thing to cop to in a world where you’re a pariah if your work doesn’t sell. People want to equivocate sales with success as a measurable yardstick. If your work is priced (I'm having some grammar issues here, pay no mind, I'm tired) the price of your work is based upon experience and works similar to yours in street cred, and it sells, but doesn’t sell out, does this mean it was priced too high? If that same work was priced at half and it still didn’t sell, what would that mean? What if you priced your work so cheap that anyone with an extra $25 on hand could buy it? And it still didn’t sell? Would you give your work away? Or conversely, what if you priced your work so incredibly cheap and it sold through the roof, would suddenly you think you were onto something? Would that mean you were collectible if you then raised your prices? I have no answers.

Another friend of mine makes ceramics. She has cultivated a collector base and mailing list since day one. Her work is not radical and she makes work priced from $15 to $130,000. Everyone bought up the $15 work at her studio sale. I would also add that she is the second ceramicist I know who set up a studio immediately after school in order to go into business. That was not my training. No one told me as a painter that as soon as I finished a work I should plop a price tag on it, set up a shop and go into business. It was about showing the work and making art that was critical. If I were to dwell in the past, I might wish that I had the benefit of more of a practical background. My experience is what is was. There are deficits and assets.

I have received way too much flack over the course of my lifetime for making abstract work. This ranges from people who say they don’t get it, or think there is something that they are not getting- to educated art world people who think that abstraction is either too elitist, too emotional or irrelevant for our current times, to most recently, a beginning drawing student of mine I overheard ask, “Does it mean anything?” This doesn’t take in account the host of people who think anyone can paint abstract work to the recent letdown of hearing that a collector was more “curious” about my work than actually interested in collecting it for reasons that deal with things beyond my control.
I have been passionate about my role as Defender of Abstract Art and Champion of Awkward Painting, most of my adult life. For me, abstraction and text are as real as someone else’s painting of fruit. Steven LaRose used the word, ‘pure’ and ‘pre-linguistic’ in conjunction with his image-based pencil drawings. That’s how I feel about my abstract work. Occasionally I will paint a recognizable object or words, but it’s all the same in my world, and it comes from the same point of love and investigation. That’s my purity.

I finally set up a site, (without the eBay auction system, so far) in order to sell smaller works. I priced the works on paper at what people have spent on them in the past. When a gallery sells the same work, they take 50%, leaving me with 50%. They take that 50% because they are the ones marketing the work, exhibiting the work and hopefully cultivating a collector base for the work. If they’re doing their job, it’s fair. It’s hard to do two things really well. I paint. I suck at selling. I would rather just make the work and leave the selling to someone else, but this is not as practical as I once thought it might be and it's why I’ve become a privateer and set up a site for selling the smaller works. I’ve made a commitment to follow through with this, not because it's a holiday gift extravaganza or only in response to the economic crunch but because it's a step toward realizing a simple goal of just being a working artist. Simply put. Of course, it would help if I would actually publicize the site, so I suppose that is next.

December 12, 2008

My short history of printmaking.

My grandfather on my daddy's side of the family died well-before I was born, so I never knew much about him other than his name was Mose and that he was an engraver for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. This has always fascinated me, as he was the only person in my family that was remotely connected with the arts as a profession.

I took a printmaking class in college. Since printmaking was closely aligned with drawing, and at the time I was not closely aligned with drawing, I did not pursue printmaking other than the occasional monoprint, lithograph or woodcut here and there. I still have all my woodcut and etching tools, and I thought I had my lino cut tools, but they may be in Nashville. I have a vague recollection of seeing the lino blades in the little green Speedball box sitting in the drawer of my nightstand last time I was visiting.

So in making the one-of-a-kind, mass-produced journals and notepads I made yesterday and today, it dawned on me that maybe block printing might be the way to go. And then I got even more excited because although the idea of block printing abstract work does not appeal to me one iota, (Scratch that; suddenly it appealed to me very much)— what does appeal to me is doing a bunch of text-based works. Perfect! Yes, perfect. I have a bunch of text-based work I've done over the years, but since on the surface* it's pretty much the polar opposite of abstract work, I've only exhibited them a couple of times. I can't really explain my new found enthusiasm succinctly in a blog post, but I'm very excited about doing some block printing.

* Regarding text-based work being polar opposite abstract work: I find it amusing that my first foray into one-of-a-kind, mass-produced items would be a journal. The slightly amusing part is that my abstract work references my day-to- day life, but obviously using the language of painting and some personal iconography, instead of flat-out words and language-based images. So, really, my text-based work is not opposite of my abstract work at all. So how funny I would choose the outside of a journal as an image. Or maybe it's an inside joke and you had to be here. I am so funny today.

December 11, 2008

First of all, I would like everyone to know that Time Warner Cable SUCKS and if my Internet ever becomes reliable again, I intend on getting credit for the entire week of spotty frigging Internet service. The recorded message says that they’re doing their best to resolve the problem. 4 DAYS and counting, and you can't resolve the problem?!!!!

Fang was doped yesterday in order to get his nails trimmed by the vet. The sedative was supposed to wear off after 4-6 hours, but it lasted almost 24 hours. I spent yesterday monitoring him and making sure he could get around without falling down. It broke my heart to see him so out of it. I love that dog so much. On the bright side, his nails are trim and he can walk without sliding around.

This morning, I thought I’d shift gears in the studio and do some monoprinting. If I’d had the right kind of paper on hand, it would have been fine, but since I’m not a printer, I don’t keep printing paper on hand and I wasn’t motivated enough to leave the house to get paper. If I sound lazy, it’s true. Last night I did yoga at home for the first time in forever and I was wiped out this morning. Good feeling, but tired. So back to being lazy... after I aborted monoprinting, I began working on some homemade gifts for my mom. I don’t know if anyone else out there has a parent who’s getting up there in age and writes EVERYTHING on post-it notes, but that’s what my mom relies on now when her memory falters. (Post-it note to self: pitch something to 3M about this.) So every time I go home, there are all these post-it notes with my mom's perfect 19th century cursive handwriting lying all over the place. And they’re not organized, at all. So I’m not sure how she knows what note is current, but apparently she does, cause everything gets done, more or less. Anyway, I decided to make some memo books for her, as opposed to getting her a new tracksuit, although I still may find her a new tracksuit. The front has a nice handy place for the dates and the back is monogrammed. I was slightly unfocused today, so lettering and filling in the letters was a pleasant activity for me and I made a bunch 5; they're actually rather labor intensive. I am going to make some to sell on the smaller works site. I make them all the time for my own journaling needs, but I thought the monogram was a nice touch. The one above was my prototype.

December 06, 2008

Really, I'm sitting on my ass now, not doing a thing.

And although I'm missing a couple of openings, I'm enjoying being relatively otiose.

Today was the last day of the semester. I didn't really put 2 and 2 together until last week, but because I was teaching on Saturdays this semester, I decided that my studio days would be M,T,W,R, and F. I can't say I was performing at 100% capacity in the studio for 40 hours every week, but I showed up 5 days a week for the last 16 weeks and got work done. The 2 + 2, well, duh factor is that last week, I hit my threshold. I heard someone say TGIF and I realized that for 16 weeks I was attempting to work a 35-40-hour week in the studio in addition to teaching on Saturdays. Only Sunday was designated as my official day of inactive nothingdom. Hence, a slight low-grade feeling of all work and no play. And on top of that, I'm also thinking that because I'm working on smaller canvases right now, I'm running through a lot of ideas at a faster clip than when I work on large canvases. It's that 'I'm a factory mentality' again.

Anyway, I'm inert now, save for knitting my tweed skirt, and next semester I'm taking Mondays off.

December 04, 2008

Win some, Lose some, Wait for some

Still waiting for a grant app.... but in the meantime, received a little more PR over at Culture Pundits.

I was out of bed at 6:17 am and yet....

The good news is that I am physically in the studio and about to scan some work. The other good news is that I ate breakfast, so I won't be grumpier and the other good news is that I can use the word, "vacuum cleaner" in a sentence.

There is no bad news, just that it's 10:41 AM and I feel like I haven't done much.

My last class of the semester is this Saturday. It was a good group for the most part. I find that students who commit to showing up at 8:30 am on a Saturday morning in order to spend the next 6.5 hours honing their observational skills are usually dedicated. Usually. Some students never really got the 8:30 AM start time down pat and a couple never understood "lunch break" meant that class would resume after a brief interval and after awhile, you realize you're preaching to the converted when you remind everyone that most drawing requires some sort of presence of mind and body, but other than that, it was a successful class.

And I just remembered I am out of white oil paint. How did this happen? UGH. I do not want to traipse across town to save a buck at Utrecht or Dick Blick, so I will pony up the extra couple of bucks and go to Graphaids in Culver City. Damn.

December 02, 2008

I'll be blunt: the new site is called Smaller Works

My studio table is clean and I'm ready to work.

As I was cleaning my studio I became annoyed with myself for "waiting" to work on large scale paintings until I had another solo lined up. How lame. I'm on the books with a collecting group for a studio visit next year and I suddenly realized how silly of me not to have any new larger works available to show them. It also made me realize that as of now, I am boycotting writing exhibition proposals. Obviously, if you work methodically or your work is so painfully conceptual that you'd fold without a blueprint, I understand. Or conversely, if you really like to write about things for the sole purpose of coming up with cutting edge ideas, that works too. Or if you're fresh out of school, I suppose it'll make your bones stronger. But I am so sick of being on the computer right now, that spending time trying to put a group of sentences together about unpainted works would be an exercise in anachronism.

November 30, 2008

Damn, today was grueling.

Sunday. I do not work on Sundays. But because I am helping a friend out tomorrow and I had a little deadline, I hauled ass and got my Smaller Works on paper site up and running. Please check it out. It's a place to buy smaller works, primarily on paper, directly from me. Not trying to cut out the middle men and women, but I make a beaucoup of smaller works on paper and it seems most galleries like to focus on showing the larger works- as do I. The works on paper are like calisthenics for me and instead of stacking them in a flatfile for the rest of eternity, I'm proactively selling them. Also, as I've mentioned yesterday, I was inspired by other artists who are not sitting on the sidelines during this economy.

Tracy Helgeson summed it up quite succinctly-
"The economy is tough and those of us who (try to) make a living selling our work have been greatly affected. Obviously, I hope that if one has limited funds, they will pay for food, insurance, mortgage, etc. first, however perhaps there are still a few folks who can squeeze out a couple of bucks to buy a piece of art to enjoy or to give as a gift. If artists aren't selling anything, they are also not buying anything either or paying their bills or the mortgage and the dominoes will keep falling. I realize that not every art buyer wants to buy my art (what?) so I'd like to offer some alternatives and hopefully somebody will make a few sales, even if it's not me."

I was just really touched by that and I'm not really a group hug kind of person. Her project is The Fine Arts Department.

November 29, 2008

I am thankful even though I made some mistakes along the way

Brand Library Submissions are due. The Brooklyn Museum is also looking at submissions. I'm still at the computer. That's the I-might-as-well-focus-on-shows-since-I've-never-concerned-myself-with-sales attitude that I've had all of my adult life.

Umpteen years ago, I quietly accepted the equation, day job=money, and I never tried to "sell" my art. Not only that, I've even (silently) taken offense when people from the civilian world who know nothing about the machinations of the ART world suggest I participate in art fairs, not Art Basel art fairs but like, you know, artisan fairs. This was so snobby of me. I almost did one once. Back in 1984, I was invited out of the blue by a woman who was in charge of the Art in the Parks thing in Nashville. It may have even been the first one. I had like a week's notice. I may or may not have hung unstretched canvases from trees. I have a brief visual, but am not sure whether I followed through. I was fresh out of college and unlike the smartypants graduate of today, I had no career navigational skills. I also have a poor memory of the 80's. Briefly remember having some appointments to show work with some galleries and then grad school wiped out any modicum of desire I had to make commodifiable work. Honestly, my grad program was such an ivory tower. It falls on and off my resentment list. But I digress.

Natch, I think my work is quite handsome, but I'll admit it looks best in a white cube where it's not competing with texture and patterns and furniture and people. Thus my dilemma. Even before I was groomed in the discourse of conceptual gymnastics, I made art for myself and have assumed that people like me, only wealthier and with climate controlled spaces would collect my work. It happens, but not enough. And what's more, I'm tired of being stuck between pretending like it doesn't matter on one side and on the other, the admission that my works sells at a snail's pace at relatively modest prices. I mean, when my plumber tells me he wants to be an artist because he has an artist client whose works sells for 100,000 a pop, I want to scream.

My goals are simple: I am happiest in the studio. I just want to keep making work, make enough money to make more work, support myself through the work, have enough left over to save for a future and spread the wealth.

I've decided the whole day job=money thing needs some retooling. So this week, I am rethinking my approach. Hard. Since I'm not independently wealthy, a tenure-track professor, or a kept woman I am coming up with my own plan. A while back, I almost got my Smaller Works site up and running, but bailed and did not follow through with marketing or even word of mouth advertising. Not out of laziness, but because I wanted to believe that some gallery sales might happen as the result of a couple of fine shows and good press. One check arrived. Actually two, counting a stipend for doing an artist talk. And in looking at the domino effect of gallery closings, this doesn't seem to be the time to find additional representation, though optimistically, that's still on the to-do list.

So now I am shameless. I have been inspired by others who are selling works on websites. I am going to get off my highfalutin horse and get the Smaller Work site up and running. The work will be affordable, and I'm looking at it as an opportunity to dig deeper into my bag of tricks. There will possibly be some slightly representational and P&D work, and I know it sounds crazy, but I'm also thinking FLOWERS. Specifically, I see designs from my mom's garden club fitting in here somewhere. I'm excited. It's kind of like my version of Michael Graves for Target mixed with the FAP, but you know, non-functional and probably still a little esoteric.

Whee. Off to get that paypal button.

November 28, 2008

Why yes, I was on the computer all day niggling at my website

Revamping my website is what I do when I'm restless. I've been waiting with baited breath about a small grant I applied for, which means I should apply for more stuff and be proactive instead of sitting on my ass waiting for the postman to bring me news. Sitting on my ass and waiting also refers to standing on my feet and painting. As much as I would love to wait for checks to roll in, I still need to hustle.

November 25, 2008

Why yes, today IS Studio Coffee Break Day.

I happened upon a Professional Porch Sitters Union website yesterday and Eureka! realized that's what Studio Coffee Break Day was. I like this. I'm now thinking of merging the as of yet to be established Professional Porch Sitters Union 4343 with Studio Coffee Break.

In studio world, I've got 6 paintings in various stages of completion. I'm digging a little deeper into Romanticism thanks to my love of Ruskin and Turner and am delving into my secret past as a Transcendentalist wannabe. For a brief semester in college, I was lost. Well, actually, more than a semester. I knew I wanted to be an artist, but had no idea what media I wanted to concentrate in. The art dept threw me into Communication Design, because, and I quote, "At least you can make money." I harbor no resentments whatsoever, but my heart wasn't in it. I plodded along. Oh sure, I loved all the tools and even liked coming up with solutions to problems, but something was missing, which I later discovered was a quote I subconsciously live by in the studio: “Design is about solving problems. Art is about creating them.” I create problems. This is what I'm really good at. I excel at this.

So during this time of idealized soul searching, I got hooked on Emerson and Thoreau and eventually found my first painting class, which changed my life. Yeah, I know it sound dramatic, but it's true.

November 23, 2008

I will renew my membership to MOCA

I am not much of an activist, though on two occasions I protested the war by demonstrating all by my lonesome on the corner of Sepulveda and Culver. I'm not agoraphobic, enochlophobia, demophobia or ochlophobia. I just get flustered around semi-organized groups of people. So instead of showing physical support today at the Geffen, I will renew my MOCA membership. A couple of weeks ago, we politely informed the membership telemarketer that we were going to have to bypass the membership renewal this year. Like lots of artists and arts professionals, I have alternated which museum to support from year to year. This year, I was going to let them all lapse. Not honorable, but true.

The fact that I'm going to shell out a membership fee might seem financially insignificant, but it's not. I've been acting all hopeful about the economy, like it was maybe some kind of group consciousness that would self-correct in a few months.

I was on a roll in the studio and was beginning to think that being partially self-employed was a small coup during these times. I had already been offered a class for spring AND the summer intensive, plus I got wind that they changed the rules so that adjuncts could teach more than one class per semester and was told my name was brought up as a possibility to teach one of the additional classes. I was on the verge of actually being comfortable, optimistic and bullet-proof. I thought about the phrase, "Everyone's got to eat" and figured that without art, life would indeed be very bleak, so I was thinking to myself, "Everyone's got to have art."

Then for some reason, seeing the 'Mandatory Budget Cuts' sign posted in the fine arts dept. mail room on Saturday, along with not hearing back from a couple of people who had recently inquired about my work, and a couple of other things, triggered a dive into the abyss. Ironically, logging onto Fidelity and seeing I still had a few token dollars in what is the last vestige of my retirement account a.k.a the reminder of my 4-year-participation-in-the-civilian-world-back-in-the-90's-and-why-that-didn't-take, was actually a surprise. Not pleasant, just a surprise.

So, um yeah. The MOCA renewal is a big deal and this is a post encouraging others to join in support. Please read the Christopher Knight letter linked below.

And while I'm laying stuff on the table, I'm also looking for additional teaching job(s). Preferably painting or watercolor, but drawing's cool too. And commissions, I'm still good for these too. And if all else fails, I suppose I will paint fruit, because I'm pretty sure everyone likes fruit, although I was hoping to wait until my 70's or 80's before I trotted out the fruit still lifes. I'm only half-kidding about the fruit. The one above was done while demonstrating gouache techniques.

Open letter to MOCA trustees from Christopher Knight

MOCA Mobilization group on facebook

November 20, 2008

I discovered where the human eye can detect between 1,000,000 and 10,000,000 colors and I feel much better, even challenged.

Last night as I left the studio, I was fascinated by my use or misuse of color and was suddenly in awe that, try as I might, I had not yet exhausted the world's color combination supply. It was a good feeling cuz although my palette changes somewhat frequently, I sometimes get stuck on certain colors like a bad penny. I was at a point where I thought I had tapped the color wheel well almost dry and was doomed to repeat myself or go neutral. (Still an option). So having a little epiphany via my minor color breakthrough was inspiring and then to find out that the human eye can detect millions of separate colors nailed it.

November 19, 2008

Why can't I let this painting die a respectable death instead of torturing us both?

Oh wait, never mind.

I cannot let go and admit defeat and yet, when I look at the photograph, it's absolutely perfect. It conveys exactly the right amount of sadness and pathos that is wrapped up in that painting. I am brilliant once again and can now move on. Thank you, rusty paint cans.

November 13, 2008

Today is a two-post day. Post #1

I am always amazed at the generous responses I receive from my work. Occasionally it's from a guy, but more often than not, it's from younger women artists. I'll assume that everyone and their mother gets kudos for their work, and I'm the only one who's constantly caught off guard, but for me there's something significant in making abstract work that connects to other people, because it's not the outward stuff I talk about that people connect with and it's not the artist statement or the fumbled talks- it's the inner stuff that resonates. That's the crazy part- the stuff that's on the canvas still manages to convey, long after I've left the scene. I received a link this morning to a blog post about my work and it made me feel good about being a painter and doing what I do. Which in turn made me want to keep the goodness cycle going, so I went to the Hammer show to soak up some more paintings.

Today is a two-post day. Post #2

Oranges and Sardines, Conversations on Abstract Painting.

I'm pretty much a sucker for any painting show, but especially ones that take a critical look at abstract painting. Since my blog makes no pretense at striving to be a source of cutting edge reviews, I'll just gush over a few paintings and artists in list form. Dry, but to the point.

Francis Bacon, Figure with Two Owls, Study for Velazquez.
Those 2 owls have always looked liked pointy-toed boots to me in reproductions and I always laugh at myself for forgetting they're owls and thinking they're boots. Then again it's not like the piece is titled Figure with Two Pointy-Toed Boots, Study for Velazquez.

David Hockney, Little Splash.
Amy Sillman.
Howard Hodgkin, After Matisse.
Paul Thek, God is.
Albert Oehlen
Chris Wool (According to his list, we're art very art compatible.)
Dieter Roth
Charline Von Heyl
At this point I'm realizing I'm naming half the show.

November 12, 2008

Upward and onward

I just lovingly placed the RFQ for the Los Angeles Intl. Airport project in the mail. I don't know why organizing the elements and resizing jpegs seemed so time-consuming yesterday. Some days are just molasses. It felt productive though and I've always envisioned some of the watercolors translated into tiles, so it was doubly good to throw my name in the hat. As a painter, I'd actually like to do public art, but I sell myself short thinking that my work is too chaotic to be adapted for a public space. No more. I'm beginning to see the possibilities.

This week is going by fast.

November 11, 2008

Back to work

Brief video coffee break on Skype, followed by testing iChat for possible multi-chat. I officially prefer Skpye for audio clarity and ease of menu navigation. I almost got in a virtual fisticuffs with a friend who is seriously lacking in social skills- over an error message I was receiving on iChat, so I disengaged before I needed to apologize for anything. I don't deal well with mean people, know-it-alls, and condescending arrogant cads. I mean seriously, who does? ( I guess that wasn't very nice of me to refer to my friend as a mean person, but I'm pretty sure they'd consider the rest of the description a complement.) Anyway, enough of the hurt feelings.

I'm working on a project proposal for LAX and my ADD kicks in while working on the computer. It's an easy app- I already wrote the proposal, and the tedious part seems to be just putting all the elements together and burning a disk. Silly, because it's not that tedious.

Next up is developing a small portfolio specifically for a corporate client and then after that I get to reward myself by putting together some ideas for a solo show.

Life is good, I just need to remain focused.

November 09, 2008

Okay, so I wasn't working late at the office afterall...

Being somewhat of a geek, I'm trying to figure out how much Internet presence I want to maintain. I like keeping a blog, not because what I say is so very important or even informative, but simply as kind of a record of my process and influences, or possibly even therapy, depending on my mood, but whatever. Then there is Flickr, a place to dump images. I tried Twitter, but felt too self-centered broadcasting to no one in particular and frankly I didn't care about following or being followed. Then after ignoring several requests, I broke down and joined Facebook and feel slightly more connected to various communities since I actually know most of the people I'm friends with (at least at this point). But to be honest, I feel like I've been cheating on the blog by spending time on Facebook. Facebook knows the happy, cheerful, sound bite me because whenever I log on, I'm so excited to see Facebook. The blog knows most of my little mood swings, temporary setbacks, and victories. I'm leading a double life. One's abbreviated, the other's a recap.

Anyway, that's where I've been and it's out in the open now. No more pretending I've been working late at the studio, when really I was slutting around over at Facebook.

Except this coming week, I have a ton of stuff to do: 2-3 proposals, for starters, followed by a couple of mini-projects. That's like a full week right there. Plus remember, Tuesday from 2-3PM is my Skype Video Conference Coffee Break Which is Also a Real-life Coffee Break For Anyone Who Wants to Stop By.


November 06, 2008

So easily distracted, I am.

I am prepping 2 works on paper for shipping. Easy, though it's slightly time-consuming as I have to cut forty, 7-inch squares of glassine. But really, it's a breeze as far as prep work goes. After getting the first set done, I realized my streamlined method was neither streamlined, nor methodical. The works were a recently commissioned piece for one of my dayish jobs if you will. It's too complicated to explain the logistics, but for the first painting, I gridded it out and simply clocked in and painted each square separately. It's somewhat of a copy of an older work, except, smaller, longer, and different media. I swore I'd never copy myself, (my line in the sand) but it's actually hysterical to me that I did, and the only reason I did was that there's a possibility that the original was going to be sold as well. AND they're going to further alter it by framing each square separately. Like I said, it's too complicated to explain the whole thing. I still have some reservations about copying myself, but not too many at this point because I've discovered I really like money and find it useful in order to purchase things and pay my bills.

Plus, If you know how I paint, it's hysterical to see how I tried to reproduce coffee splatters, drips and general mayhem using a computer, a lightbox, pencil outlines, and a tiny brush. The only wild card was mixing colors. I always have to eyematch, because there's no way in hell I'm EVER going to write down some formula or even the names of the damn colors I use in my work. Anyway it was so meta.

The second piece was guided by the first piece, only I didn't grid it out, I just winged it. My experience was that for the dayish job work, I prefer being routine and methodical, but it's nice to be able to summon both of my superpowers when I have to.

November 03, 2008

The next big thing.

I've been ambling in the studio lately, so I got all social and ventured out on Friday to do a studio visit with another painter and drop off some smaller works at the gallery. While doing the studio visit, the concept behind small paintings vs. large paintings came up and he referred to his smaller paintings as "one-offs." I related, but for me the concept of one-offs function as a larger body of work in and of itself. Index, catalog, atlas, and bulletin board come to mind.

At the gallery I talked about small paintings, and tried very hard to avoid or validate the use of the word "sketches," a term several people want to use when discussing the smaller paintings. I am defiant this way. The term sketch implies an incomplete or roughed out thought, one that serves as a basis for a larger or more complete work. This is my anti-sketch point: the smaller works are complete, in their incompleteness. On the other hand, I will acquiesce to the use of the word sketch as, "a comical or amusing person or thing." The exception to this rule are the small paintings that want to be bigger paintings but can't quite seem to make it. And again, this would be the point in my world of frustrated narratives and dystopian wonderments.

I anthropomorphize the paintings way too much.

The whole point of this was really to say that I need some quiet time to think about the next big thing.

November 02, 2008

It's raining.

Actually, I've decided to bake a coffee cake rather than blog this morning.

October 30, 2008


Kristi Engle podcast.

I am posting now becuase I will be too tired later.

I managed to practice yoga this morning for the first time in a loooong time. I am always surprised by how unbendable I become when I stop practicing yoga. I also forget why I stop practicing cause I always feel so good afterward. Always. It would make sense then, to continue my yoga practice uninterrupted.

The studio. Yep. I was there today, but nary a brushstroke did I make. I'm dropping a few smaller paintings off to the gallery tomorrow and decided NOT to rush the other 3 that I think I'm finished with, because I may not be finished with them after all. They need sitting time in the studio. I need to stare. On the way to the gallery, I'm stopping by to do a studio visit with another artist.

I had an impromptu coffee with a consultant friend as I was writing this. She was in the neighborhood. Call me a philistine, but as a producer of art, I am so utterly fascinated by the collector of art side of things- the serious collector side of things, the hardcore, that's-equivalent-to-my-entire-mortgage kind of collector. We discuss this kind of stuff and I secretly think that maybe I should spend more time educating myself as a collector. A few weeks ago when the economy hit the first bottom and WAMU was up for grabs, I thought seriously about cashing it all in on one major painting. I didn't, but that gives you an idea of what kind of collector I'd be. Or not. Maybe it just gives you an idea of how disillusioned I am with traditional investments, such as real estate, 401K's and my FDIC insured savings account. It should come as no surprise that "Masterpiece" was one of my favorite games as a child. Maybe there's an art world version of The Sims version out there. If not, there should be.

I also like the idea of dressing up, coiffing my hair and wearing sexy pumps.

As a reminder, next Tuesday is the studio coffee break at 2 PM PST. Unfortunately, I will not be wearing sexy pumps or coiffed hair in the studio. Maybe one day, but not next Tuesday.

October 29, 2008

Community Outreach Report.

Yesterday I downloaded Skype and from 2-3pm PST, covertly implemented my Tuesday afternoon coffee break with anyone who wanted to participate.

Steven LaRose, who suggested video conferencing via Skype, was my first caller, albeit earlier in the day when I was still setting up, but I'm still counting it. Another woman I know, who is not an artists and who knew nothing of my project, just happen to call during the posted hours and I was able to suggest some resources for her. I'm counting that too. An artist in LA commented that it was a good idea and wanted to know my address.

So, all in all, I think I'm off to a good start. I'll be posting the event on Facebook, seeing as that seems to be the place to reach the most people instantaneously.

For now, I'm committing to being here on Tuesdays, but I may open it up more for the video conferencing thing now that I have that in place.

Currently, a couple of paintings are drying out in the sunshine and I'm going to begin another. I keep hoping to find out that I received a grant I applied for, but when I wait like this, it usually means I didn't get it. I tend to get grants when I forget that I applied for them, which means that I should probably start applying for some more....

October 27, 2008

My Attempt at Community Outreach.

I am a painter. I work in a studio by myself. In a perfect world, I would have a fancier, bigger, studio like I did in Chicago. My present studio is my drywalled garage and I have a patio. My studio is rather small considering the kind of painter I am, so I like to think that what doesn't kill me will make me stronger. If I had a larger studio, I'm pretty sure I'd never want to venture out and I suspect I'd rule the world cause my paintings would be so fantastic from all the daylight and unlimited white space surrounding me. I long for the day when I can have a comfy painter's couch and huge windows in my studio again. I see it. I do.

But I digress. My point is that being a painter who enjoys working alone, I have to make an effort to be social and have meaningful dialogues with others. I thought the patio might be a good place to start. And I thought that since I take a coffee break at 2pm every day, I would open up my studio one day a week, for anyone who wants to stop by and join me for coffee between 2 and 3 pm. In reality, I only take about 15 minutes for my coffee break, but I'm thinking an hour might be more reasonable for someone to stop by for coffee.

This is my idea of community outreach: conversation and coffee. It's art project within a studio practice. I'm instigating it tomorrow. For the time being I'm calling it, Tuesdays at 2 on Tuller. A bit droll, but it contains the necessary info. Not sure if the idea will take, but I figure I'd give it a shot. And who knows, perhaps vegan cupcakes will be served in the future.

AND, since I am no Luddite, if the real world coffee thing is slow to take, I will be open for IM chatting during that hour as well. I have to work out the details, but I'm thinking I might have found a way to make Facebook accountable.

(Feel free to forward this artists, and others interested in art in the LA/Culver City area.) Interested parties may email me and I will post a map.

I will report back.

October 22, 2008

Today's Eureka!

I obsess. I've been obsessing over how I wished I had said this or that in a public forum, and why I get that weird empty feeling when I sometimes talk about the work, and I just figured it out.

It's NOT about an individual painting! Taking about an individual painting doesn't feel right for me, because the work is not about an individual painting; it's about painting as a verb, rather than painting as a noun, and because that's so integrated in the act of painting, talking about the finished painting forces me in an uncomfortable position of speaking about it as a noun.

Well duh!

That, and the existentialist question of whether I paint to record the world around me or whether the world around me is an excuse to paint.

I'm going out to the studio and I'm not coming back until I've accomplished something.

I need to show three paintings some love today. The subject of scale came up the other night and scale is always fascinating to me. I've talked about the different physical aspects of the gesture, wrist vs. arm, but the zero-to-sixty factor is a challenge as well. Painting on a smaller scale is sometimes like being a Ferrari stuck in 5 0'clock traffic. Not that I've ever been a Ferrari, but whenever I see one, they're always, and I do mean always, going under 30 mph cause it's L.A. and there's always traffic.

But back to painting. One of the reasons I went back to painting, was because of the limitations. It's all about navigation.

October 21, 2008

I had a nice time.

I still get nervous speaking in front of a group of people about my art. I always forget what's currently important and try and remember what was important, which comes out kind of flat, cause in a way it's like remembering what it was like being in love with an old boyfriend, but talking about it after you've moved on. I mean I still seriously LOVE the paintings I made last year, and worked really intensely on them, but it always feels rather scientific to discuss them from a distance. Or I could chalk it up to being socially inept, which is a bit closer to the truth.

Kevin spoke about his work,

then I spoke about my work,

then Eric spoke about his work,

then Lester wrapped it up.

Eric said everything about his work that I wished I had said about mine, but Eric managed to actually express it succinctly. I, on the other hand, recall making some obscure point about how in painting I'm trying to come up with the flavor equivalent of peanut butter and sardines rather than peanut butter and chocolate. Plus I always try and pretend It has nothing to do with formalism and paint. So sometimes under pressure, I'm just a blatant liar.

The weirdest thing- and this happens to me occasionally and it creeps me out, but in an okay way-a woman came up to me almost as soon as I got there and told me she recognized me from my paintings. I was a little confused, because they're not many pictures of me AND my paintings floating around, but she went on explain that she "knew" that my paintings belonged to me and she wasn't able to connect the other artists to their paintings. It gets weirder. After I spoke, she came up to me again and told me my paintings were really self-portraits. And she said it in one of those knowing voices like she knew something I didn't know. Very X-file. It's true of course, but like I'd ever admit that in public.

Big thanks to Kristi & Daniel and Chris.

October 20-November 26: “More Than a Feeling”, contemporary abstract paintings by Lester Monzon, Eric Sall, Kevin Wingate, and others.

Also, turns out that I was the "others"- funny.

October 18, 2008

"Why the fck doesn't everybody love me?"

True that.*

More stuff from the Side Street podcast... this time via Jeff Poe. The D.I.Y. thing was brought up again; some Lilliputian ray of hope for older (35 up) and mid-career artists who are still emerging, (a phrase that needs to die now) and a lovely re-quote attributed to Hirsh Pearlman, "Good artists embrace their symptoms."

* I've been watching too many episodes of The Wire.

October 17, 2008

Upcoming show-

More Than a Feeling
Group show of contemporary abstract painting, curated by Chris Acuna-Hansen
Rio Hondo College Art Gallery
3600 Workman Mill Rd., B-13
Whittier 90601-1699
October 20-November 26
Reception and artist talk: Oct 20, 7-8:30 PM

View Larger Map

October 14, 2008

Podcast Synopsis

I'm so into podcasts now.

I linked to Side Street Projects podcast series a few posts ago. Mostly geared toward uber-emerging artists and mostly redundant info if you're over 23, or live and breathe art, but still some interesting POV's. I just listened to Irene Tsatsos, currently, the Director of the Artist's Pension Trust, formerly of LACE, formerly of Whitney Biennial and formerly of N.A.M.E. where I briefly met her through my friend, Mary Claire, who also worked at N.A.M.E., where I did a closed-circuit video performance and received my first review, starting with the great sentence, "My art school training prepared me well for the 'nirvana through monotony, John Cage would approve' style video of Mary Hackett. "Dart Board Maintenance" was the first piece that people got up and walked away from...." Okay, now that I've gotten that 6 degrees of separation out there and relived a minor review from grad school.

Juried shows. I used to tell students that maybe, maybe a juried show was okay just to test the waters, and although I did a few myself, say, when I thought all hope was lost and there was nothing to live for- I think juried shows suck. I am whole-heatedly against artists paying to show their work and I think fees are a big scam. I also think it's mercenary to charge artists for information that can be had for the price of a cup of coffee.

But that's my opinion. And thankfully, Irene and Jon believe this also. The sad thing is that smaller and not so smaller institutions in the hinterlands and people who need to rely on other's opinions seem to place importance on juried shows as if they seriously means something. And in some places, it's the only opportunity for artists. So, I guess it depends on your goals. Or how sad you feel.

D.I.Y. Yes, go D.I.Y! D.I.Y. shows get big points. I am so D.I.Y. at heart. Like, right now, I want to organize a D.I.Y. event! Yes, let's!

, a good website. Some curators would rather look at a website than a disk. I could probably simplify my website. I hate to choose favorites, so I use my website as an archive or an atlas of sorts. If I had to pick just 10 images, I'd go crazy. So sad, because I'm a good editor. I just think the bigger picture is more interesting for me. My website is too big. I know this.

Auctions. Sure, selectively donate to auctions, but set a reserve price.

The usual stuff about networking and getting out to meet and mingle, except us artists over 30 and 40 get a break from traipsing around parties all night long. Thank God.

Kristi's going to be interviewed in a couple of weeks, so that's pretty cool.

October 13, 2008

The Power of Porridge

A hot bowl of oatmeal is the greatest food in the world. Just saying.

I picked up the smaller paintings while in Nashville and on my way home stopped by a friend's restaurant to say hello. Long story short, she hung the work impromptu in the restaurant. So, if you're in Nashville, specifically at the historic Belle Meade Plantation, have lunch, enjoy art. Martha's at the Plantation.

Was supposed to continue working on website for someone this morning, but they've pushed it to this afternoon. The commission piece is almost done, so I'm going to continue tromping around the studio with the latest set of smaller paintings, until I have to shift gears.

October 12, 2008

Gallery Hop

More of a leap, than a hop. I'm such a west-sider.

Made a brief stop at Kristi Engle Gallery for the Karl Erickson & Andrew Falkowski show, Age of Empires, then back to Culver City for a terrible dinner at Natalee Thai. The food was ok. like, o...kay, but the table next to us was a foursome of amazingly obnoxious self-obsessed and apparently shallow, but loud individuals.

And for the record, I officially do not like coconut juice. Yes, on a desert island, I would drink it, but otherwise, nope.

October 10, 2008

I've got to get to work, but first...

Chain of events:

1. Needed to find out how to exchange 3G power adapter with the least amount of effort.

2a. Done √

2b. Intrigued at prospect of seeing a laptop on fire.

3. Saw link for NYT Elizabeth Peyton article

Will report more later, but have to go smog the car and get in the studio.

October 06, 2008

The kitchen sink post from BNA

Good Daughter review:
I am trying to be a good daughter and take care of some things around
tmy mom's house.
Difficulty level: 5

Art review:
a) Art in the Airport programs may not be pushing any envelopes, but I
have a great apprciation for seeing art as I'm departing and art as
I'm arriving. I don't care what your cup of tea is, art is neccessary
and if you can't get to a gallery to see art, let the art come to you.
Difficulty level: 0

b) Since TAG closed its doors, I picked up some unsold work and
dropped it off at a friend's place temporarily. The suitcase sized
works I'll bring back on the plane. I'd like to find homes for The
Tornado Face drawings. Bartering for needed goods and services is an
option. Current needs include landscaping and custom shelving in LA,
and a studio rental for next summer in Nasville.
Difficulty level: 2

c) Got my dander up over the arts incentive program in Chattanooga. In
order to qualify, you need to make your living from your art, and ONLY
your art. Teaching art does not count. On the other hand, if I was a
floral designer, graphic designer, fashion designer, or involved in
one of the other arts that are service-oriented, I would qualify.
Apparently I am not a member of the creative class afterall. Bummer.

Difficulty level: 3

Food review:
a) Mom and I went to the Pancake Pantry for breakfast. The hashbrowns
are vegan. I miss pancakes.
Difficulty level: 3

b) Met a friend for dinner at City House. Very accomadating for vegan
eats. No soy milk in the house. I am spoiled in LA.
Difficulty level: 1

c) Starbucks: here in Nashville, in Green Hills, SBUX wants me to fork
over an additional 40 cents for soymilk. I can buy a whole container
from Trader Joes for 3 bux.
Difficulty level: 3

Campaign review:
Great timing! The debate's tomorrow night at Belmont College University and I'm
going volunteer for one of the shifts. Will report back via Twitter
Difficulty level: 0

Sent from my iPhone

October 01, 2008

The secret is emotion

I may have used that heading before. It's so apropos. 

It's rather tepid in the studio. I made pretty good headway on paintings # 2, but needed some drying time, so took a break. I'm still working as a hired gun, more or less. I gridded out painting #1, and thus knew what it was going to look like, more or less. Everything is more or less around here. 

For painting #2, I played around on Photoshop, cobbled some images together and came up with 3 images and gridded them out, and then for some insane reason, decided to ignore them and just do painting #2 as a response to painting #1. It's going fine, but I realize that for commissioned work of this nature, I think I preferred knowing what I was doing in advance. Or not. I'm just happy to be getting paid to do what I do, more or less. 

Okay. I just "spilled" coffee on painting #2. Whew. Feel better now. 

Artists for Obama

Just a few links. 

The Obama Art Report
Anoka Faruqee's fundraising event
Artists for Obama print portfolio at Gemini G.E.L.
Artists for Obama group

September 26, 2008

Slow start this morning.

Still working on a commissioned project. It's going well and I'm actually enjoying the process even though it's quite different than how I normally work. There's a beginning and an end. What a concept. Using a grid to plan something is mildly amusing to me, which is good, because it keeps me amused. I'm geeking out with a time tracking app on my iphone, which not only keeps me amused, but also keeps me aware of the time:hourly wage ratio on said project. What a trip. I love what I do.

Yesterday, I did NOT pull out all of my savings and stash it in a cookie jar. I wanted to, but did not.

I have decided to knit a tweed maxi skirt in honor of the economy. I'm half way done with the pocket.

September 21, 2008

Avoided the crowds, but slowly making the rounds.

Kerry James Marshall at Koplin Del Rio

Alexander Lee at Kinkead Contemporary

Also of interest... a 10-part podcast series produced by Side Street projects, featuring Aimee Chang, Julie Deamer, Kristi Engle, Lisa Melandri. Lorraine Molina, Aram Moshaydi, Jeff Poe, Karen Rapp, Tyler Stallings and Irene Tsatsos.

Also of non-interest, I broke down and joined Twitter. I'm into the banal moments between things right now.

September 18, 2008

Measure Twice Cut Once.

I am a hopelessly visual person. I have to draw little squares on a piece of paper in order to calculate square footage. Even with a calculator, I still have to draw the damn boxes and write numbers above them and to the side in order to trust the numbers.

So now, I wait for clarity. More accurately, I wait until I can wrap my head around some numbers before I call in my cuts to the paper store-again. It's slightly more complex as I'm trying to calculate the excess needed for making deckle edges for a square. Many of them.
I could measure a one inch border 3 times and still be off by a 16th of an inch each time, yet if I eyeball it, I'm good to go each time.

September 13, 2008

I know both of these people.

The first photo was emailed to me. The second, I found when visiting Beth's blog.


The following email arrived in my inbox, so I'm passing it along:

Yesterday afternoon, a Metrolink commuter train carrying 225 people collided with a freight train in the Chatsworth area of the San Fernando Valley, killing at least 23 and leaving at least 135 injured. Survivors have been rushed to several local area hospitals and many are in critical condition.

Many of you have asked what you can do to help. The UCLA Blood and Platelet Center will be open Monday through Friday to accept blood donations. Healthy donors of all blood types are needed to donate blood. Appointments can be made by calling 310-794-7217 ext. 2. Contact the Red Cross at 800-RED-CROSS or visit for other information about blood donation or ways you can help.

Thank you, and please keep your thoughts and prayers with the families and victims affected by this terrible tragedy.


Mitchell Schwartz
California State Director
Obama for America

Plus, here is a direct link to setting up an appointment.

Sat lunch documentation

No banana. Forgot.

September 12, 2008

Really, it's not that bad, but maybe one day it was.

Well so much for happy, shiny art. In truth, I'm in a good mood today. Feel good. Have purpose. Drank a wee bit too much caffeine, but otherwise, I'm rating a 92/100 today.

Was scheduled to meet someone for coffee today, so I suggested a not-so-new-place in Culver City called Royal-T. Not the typical coffeehouse or tea room. Ian Schrager meets MOCA meets Tokyo Pop. The maid/waitress outfits seem a little overkill, but there is an air of efficiency. Surrounded by some serious art, cordoned off by the largest Plexiglas cubes I have ever scene in my life, I had 2 lovely cappuccinos with soy milk and the Avocado Toast, which sounds much more dignified than a scoop of guac on bread.

September 11, 2008

Funk minus one, right about now

A commission came in, so most of October's taken care of for now.

DJ: WBCN who's this?
Brad: Hey this is Brad (this is Brad this is)
DJ: Now uh who's your favorite artist, who
do you want to hear?
Brad: Well m my favorite artist right now is
Fatboy Slim, that guy kicks ass.
DJ: How tremendous is Fatboy Slim?
Brad: The band of the 90's, if you want to call
it a band because it's a one man name.
DJ: Wow...fatboy, and you want to hear that
new fatboy song?
Brad: Absolutely.
DJ: Which one?
Brad: The um funk soul brother check it out.
DJ: Sing it, I don't know which one.
Brad: Right about now, the funk soul brother
check it out now, the funk soul brother.

Right About Now
The Funk Soul Brother, Check It Out Now

The Funk Soul Brother, Right About Now
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September 10, 2008


Yes, I've been in one. You probably hadn't noticed. I've been covering it up so well with all the glam shots of my vegan baking and the incredibly dry, Saturday Lunch Documentation Project.

So I'll play armchair psych with myself and make some observations-
Food is comforting.
Cooking, and especially baking is comforting.
Routines are comforting.
Knitting is comforting and I'll more than likely be starting another skirt very, very soon.

There does come a time when even a gesture is not fast enough and there's too much lag time between squeezing out the paint, picking up a brush and making a mark. Or when paint is simply not enough. I guess my comfort level depends upon how much space is between me and my art, between me and my life. Writing comes to the rescue when painting is too mute a form of documentation. Video, readymades and photographs can fill in the blanks.

September 06, 2008

Sat. Lunch documentation

On the fly here, no edits...

This weekend in L.A.

Too many openings to list this evening: Bergamot Station. Culver City, China Town, Mid-Wilshire, and a slew of others.

But then on Sunday, there's the "Peak of Summer" Tomato festival at the Hollywood Farmer's Market.

I know this because I caught Huell Howser on TV last night interviewing the tomatophiles.
When: 09/07/2008 from 08:00am to 01:00pm

Where: Hollywood


Hollywood Farmers' Market
City: Hollywood
Location: Ivar and Selma Avenue between Hollywood and Sunset Blvd.

The Hollywood Farmers’ Market will host its annual Peak of Summer Tomato Festival on Sunday, September 7, 2008 during the normal market hours (8 am – 1 pm). This annual event, featured in 2004 on PBS’ Visiting with Huell Howser, celebrates the plethora of tomatoes available during the summer season at the market. All events are free and open to the public.

  • Free samples of 30+ tomato varieties, 9 am – 12 pm. As an educational opportunity for the Market’s customers, free samples of each of the tomato varieties will be available for sampling.
  • Chef E will prepare fresh Green Zebra tomato juices, 10 am – 12 pm
  • From 11 am – 1 pm, Heirloom Gardener and author Amy Goldman will sign copies of her newest book Heirloom Tomatoes, from Garden to Table.
  • Cooking demos of delicious and easy tomato recipes, 11 am – 1 pm
  • Tips and information on how to can and sun-dry tomatoes, 9 am – 12 pm
  • Recipes and information on the art of preserving and canning tomatoes will also be readily available.

The Tomato Festival episode of Visiting with Huell Howser will be rebroadcast Friday, September 5th at 7:30 pm on KCET.

The Hollywood Farmers’ Market is located at Ivar and Selma Avenues between Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards every Sunday from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Limited free parking is available at 1623 N. Vine Street in the Doolittle Theatre parking lot until 1 pm. Parking is also available at the Arclight/Cinerama Dome parking structure at Sunset & Ivar. 1st Hour free with market validation.

September 02, 2008

From the archives...

I was thumbing through issue #4 of Plastic Ass, trying to see if my life had changed that much since 1997. Plastic Ass was the D.I.Y. zine precursor to this blog, except being a zine, it was somewhat organized into sections revolving round various aspects of my life. If I get energetic, I'll make them available for downloading.

Meanwhile, here is an section I wrote that was inspired by looking at about 2 hours of McDonald's chroma key footage of an international version of Ronald McDonald popping out of a blue screen offering fries to no one.

Plastic Ass Presents
The Chroma Key Caper.
A Tale of intrigue and boredom. Mostly boredom.

It was a day just like any other day. Only something was different. Something funny. Funny I thought, but I didn't laugh. The sky was blue. Real blue, if you know what I mean. There was something strange about this blue. Something funny. I couldn't quite put my finger on it. It was there all right. I just had to know where to look. "Look here," I said. To no one in particular. Right about then, some clown walked by making little swooping gestures with his fingers.

I went back to the studio. I had to think. The phone rang. It was the dame downstairs. She was calling to complain about the toilet overflowing. What am I, a plumber? Funny, I thought, sometimes I am. But I didn't want to go there now. Sure enough, water was running all over the floor. I couldn't think in these conditions. I made a half-ass attempt to mop it up. I couldn't get that clown outta my head. I had seen him somewhere before.

I decide to pour myself a drink. I needed a strong cup of joe, hovering around 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Something that would produce 3rd degree burns within two to seven minutes of hitting my skin.

A hit of java was just what the doctor ordered. Not really. Nor did he order all these french fries. But I was onto something now. I was obsessed with finding the perfect fry. According to the rules, all French fries should be perfect. Upright, bright, cheap and free of mold. Yeah, upright and cheap. Fries like that are a dime a dozen.

To be continued...

Of course, it was never continued and it's rife with typos and such, but my hard-boiled dada story made me laugh today.

August 30, 2008

The Banana Guard

Ok, in keeping with still lives (freudian slip, I mean, lifes, still lifes, and such, I'm going to document my
lunch break during my Saturday drawing class this semester.

August 29, 2008

Bear with me while I hijack my art blog into a teaching resource blog.

I've been trolling for images for my drawing class and came across this site, called Tracey:
  • Is the teaching of drawing distinct from the teaching of art and design?
  • How much can a finished drawing tell us about its evolution?
  • Should notions of composition, inter-relatedness and 'pictorial balance' be taught to students?
  • Does the worth of the drawing reside in the viewer? Does it reside in the context of the production or use of the drawing?
  • Do famous artists ever make lousy drawings? Who's going to tell them if they do?
I like questions. They're good.

Oh wait, I just found this one:
  • Does representation have a magical function?
hehehe. That cracked me up.

August 27, 2008

Bear with me while I hi-jack my art blog into a food blog.

Heath-shaped pan from Becker's Bakery, remains of my vegan heart-shaped coffee cake, and M.A.H. melamine test plate

Another secret confession: I almost went to cooking school instead of grad school.

I can't believe I just outed myself like that, but it's true. One of the day jobs I landed after moving to Chicago was working in the kitchen for the catering company that provided the food for the cafe at the Museum of Contemporary Art. I made pastries. I also pulled the tendons out of 60 or so chicken breasts one day, and apparently have not been able to erase that task from my memory, but the pastries were fun. In one of those flash moments of what the hell am I going to do with a BFA, I applied to cooking school and was going to learn to be a pastry chef for my day job. In another one of those flash moments of what the hell am I going to do with a BFA and a degree from cooking school, I applied to grad school and sold all my fancy cookbooks to Powell's Bookstore.

My mom bought me the heart-shaped pan from Becker's Bakery on 12th ave South, Nashville. ALL of my birthday cakes, everyone else's birthday cakes, 2 wedding cakes (bride and groom's cake) came from Becker's. My sole reason for living was to have another birthday cake from that bakery. After like 79 years, Becker's closed its doors at that location and sold all their pots and pans, tables and racks. If I had been living in Nashville, I would have furnished my entire studio complements of Becker's Bakery.

Okay, enough of the butter and white sugar nostalgia. I've been doing my vegan cooking thing this week and am now experimenting with dairy-free baking. I modified the coffeecake recipe above, substituting a banana for eggs, reduced the cooking time by 5 or so minutes and voilá. I suppose next time I should take the picture BEFORE we eat. Obviously, a food photographer, I am not.