Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pre-holiday blather

We've been back from Maine for about a week now, and I've been busy scurrying around trying to get holiday gifts together. I am happy to say that everyone on my list is receiving something handmade this year. (either the whole gift was handmade, or something handmade got included) These were either made by yours truly, or bought at a local holiday crafty event or ordered from etsy, etc.
Oh Drat, that's almost true. I forgot about the nieces and nephews of reading age. Those gifts were not handmade, but were personalized and stamped! Does it count? No? Well, I still feel good about the overall level of craftiness this year.
But certainly all those little things kept me busy.
So, I can't quite post up a storm about those little things I'm giving, but I can share this:

Major ice storm in Maine! The night before we left, freezing rain. I was walking (read: skating) along the sidewalks downtown in Portland where people were falling (with their loaded shopping bags) left and right. The sun was setting, the ambulances were whining down the streets. I needed ice cramp-ons for my boots, no joke.

I met up with A in the thick of it and we meandered on back to the b and b. We were hoping to stay in, but hunger dictated and so we used each other for balance and braved the few blocks to a wood fired pizza place named Bonobo. We are so glad we did. Let me just say that this place was once of the cutest, tastiest little pizza places I have ever been to. (In fact the only one that compares is the original American Flatbread housed in a barn in VT) Mushroom soup! Specialty pizza! Flourless chocolate cake! A great meal pretty cheap. Be still, my heart.

Another thing I can post with confidence is this:

For I know that my siblings-in-law don't read this blog. Those cute owls (by Big Pink Heart) are being given to the nieces and nephews of non-reading age. (You can also see the cardinals in this pic!)

Alright. We're off to FL soon to visit with my grandparents while madison is expecting 8-12 inches!
Happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Maine again

Here in Maine:

I should have taken a picture on one of the first days we were here; it was all picturesque and heavy with snow on the pine branches. It's just that it's warmer now, raining instead of snowing.
This is the same spot in maine, same exact cabin, in fact, that i stayed in just about 8 months ago when i holed up to write my masters thesis: "Art making: critical thinking and the disposition toward truth-seeking". It actually had a somewhat more put together title, it's just that I can't call it to mind exactly right now. How quickly the memory falters. Thankfully the content is still tucked away in my mind.

Anyway, A's work travel is sometimes good to me cause I get to travel along. Nice especially when we end up in pretty cabin-like settings. This one happens to be on an island that lies at the end of a mile long bridge. When I walk across the bridge later today: lo and behold: a cheese shop and a mug of hot chocolate await me.

I've been working this trip too; but this time it's far less academic: I'm making holiday gifts. It's my habit to blog what's being made as I make it but this time
it will have to wait until after the gifts are given!!

Friday, December 05, 2008


When we moved to Madison, I changed the location of my work space. It used to be in the back bedroom of our house in Rochester, but now that we live in a small apt, it's in the living room. For now, I'm happy that my art table is front and center. I once thought it was better to have the "creative space" sequestered away (for quiet, uninterupted creativity, of course), but I'm actually finding that I'm doing more work now that it's there to stare me in the face.
My mom feels the same about having her work space in the middle of everything. A few years ago I asked her why she wouldn't turn one of the old kid rooms into a sewing room for herself, now that she had the extra space. I thought it would be quiet, she'd never really have to put away projects while she was in the middle of them, and it would be a special space for her. But, no. She said "You know, I like to be where the action is." I guess I can relate to that now.
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Sunday, November 30, 2008

chilly here; busy being hermits

We got a letter recently from our friend Roy in Rochester. It was sitting on my art desk and we picked up this magnifying glass (which is actually a piece of an old photographic enlarger, if I'm remembering right) and Adam took this neat picture that I thought I'd share.

Otherwise it's snowing here in Madison. We went on a chilly walk (good for getting cold enough to further enjoy a cup of hot chocolate once you get home). We live on the edge of the isthmus, so if we walk about a 1/2 mile in either direction we come across the 2 big lakes and the river that connects them on the edge of the east side. The Yahara, which I think is a lovely name. Here my glove obession continues...

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Monday, November 24, 2008


The First Snow That Stuck!!! Through the kitchen window...

And working on some holiday ornaments. Alyssa (and her son Tenzin) helped me make these cardinals; we'll be making blue jays soon too.

The flock in progress...

Admiring the first real snow :)

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Light this'morning

at about 7:55 was pretty striking. Was blinding through the window- though the cameras eye is more restrictive than a humans, and so the results are'nt quite the same. But it's worth waking up for.

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Birds of a

Little drawings from my collection of objects. The feather on the bottom is from one of my friends chickens that she used to keep in her backyard. They made tiny, pale brown eggs. They ran around and kicked up dirt til' their feathers got scraggly. They were not all that friendly, but we liked them just the same.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Since I am taking a break from my oil painting attempts in favor of something less toxic, at least for the next year or so, I decided to try acrylic painting. In fact I even signed up for a class, and though we students spend the majority of our class time struggling right next to each other in silence, it's nice to have the imposed discipline to make you paint.
This is a painting in mid-breath:

Since I can't seem to be able to think about color and tone at the same time, I am trying again to just render the whatever-it-is-that's-I'm-painting, and then hope that glazes of various colors with help correct the ghastly greenish or muddy brown that I'd been imposing. In this particular picture, what he's holding will be a piece of bark from one of those birch-like papery trees where every year the outer layers just slowly unravel themselves from the trunk leaving delicate shards in varying puzzle piece shapes. This one lit a glowing red when held up to the sun.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

JOY!!! ....and Relief.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Catherine Ryan

I do always love images of wild animals interacting with our very own breed of domesticated human animals.
Catherine Ryan explores that place where intuitive nature meets analytical nature: fierce meets tame, fear and worship get together, power struggles happen, and we get to peek in.
I like these.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Long Lapses

I initially started this blog in the summer of 2006 with the intention that it would solely be for art documentation. I was hopeful that posting regularly would keep me self-motivated to make, and that it could serve, in some way, as a running document of my "artistic process": like an online sketch journal. It's worth mentioning that originally I was resolute to keep this blog "all-about-art-output" (and image-based); I was pretty resistant to it turning into anything that might resemble an online diary.

Mostly I've been posting on no set schedule: the occasional new picture, drawing, or print with little commentary. What I've been learning these last years of doing this is that this isn't necessarily the most authentic expression of my so-called "artistic process". It just isn't this rigid. It's become a little brittle from being solely for the one purpose of documenting my own art doodles.

Part of my rigidity has been seeing myself in light of my (outdated?) concept of what an art-maker is: a constantly creating, easily inspired, will-forget-to-eat-dinner-because-she's-too busy-painting, keeps-oil-paint-in-her-pocket-on-accident kind of person. I developed this concept as a teenager, when I actually was like this. As an adult I'm perhaps less of an "artist", but more of a fully functioning person. My process admittedly takes up less of my life now: there are so many other matters to fill up the space. Now, instead of feeling itchy or displaced when I haven't painted, I'm more likely to feel that way when I do sit down to work (though I hate to admit that). My priorities and desires have shifted, and my old mode of thinking about making has become somewhat outdated. I can't do it in the same way anymore. (and I'm aware that I may just need a back to basics test that I am taking a basic painting mini-course starting this sunday...)

This is simply a long way of saying that I'm going to continue to post things I make, but I'm also relaxing my self-imposed rules about what I can or can't blog about. I want to still document the output (not that there was terribly much of it) but also put some energy into posting about the input: things that I see that are inspiring- and let posts be a little more rambling, too. (You may have noticed this change in the last few posts, they've gotten purposefully more conversational lately). Perhaps this will mean more timely updates...maybe that's wishful thinking :)

I'll start by posting a link to this interesting painter/illustrator I stumbled on recently. The shapes are flat but textural, the gestures simple but dream-like.

Happy weekend***

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Mushroom Hunting...

I sense mushroom drawings coming on soon...

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Concord Season in washes



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Saturday, September 20, 2008

And we're here

(not exactly a document of a new artwork, but making, none-the-less)

So today marks surviving the move from New York to Wisconsin, and even settling in a little bit.
It's been one week, and of course we still have boxes lining our floor, but we feel free enough to go Out Into The World: visiting the fabulous Dane County Farmers Market, biking through the streets, catching Neko Case at the opulent Orpheum theater, gathering things that make apt life a little easier (shelving!) and even finding time to bake. I say you're not really in a place until you can start truly cooking again.

Those hefty boxes are being unpacked one by one, or are being kindly chauffeured up to the attic where they will loiter until our next move, presumably into a house.
But for now we are apt dwellers, getting used to neighbors music collections and hours, learning to live in smaller spaces. It suits us just fine.
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Sunday, August 24, 2008

once upon a perch

Though this is a highly unsatisfying picture of it (I'm a little ashamed really- such poor light!), I thought I show one of the things I was up to during that month-long posting haitus.
Perhaps people are sick of em', but I am still smitten. Also, I recently realized and remembered that my mother used a really similar pattern too; making birds for christmas tree ornaments in the early 80's.
I gave a few of these as love-bird house-warming gifts to dear friends who just bought their first home. Then I made a nursery mobile for Alyssa's new one. (Welcome to the World, Dorjee)

They're fun and fast and use up that great scrap fabric that you have that is too small for most other things. For the mobile I used velcro (soft on the bird side) so that the birds could be taken off to be played with. I imagine that Alyssa will be the one that plays with them the most! :)

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Friday, August 22, 2008


I want to post about the beautiful bounty that I skipped away with when leaving our farmer's market yesterday.
Karen and I had been meaning to trade; and man o man, I am so so so pleased.
Karen makes all manner of amazing knit things. We ended up trading one of my lithos for the above warm and wintery handbag. (Chilly Madison, cozy bag..)
It was Karen's day to sell at the market's second storie tent, and in addition to the bags she made these whimsical and lovely vegetables. The ones you see above were my choices from her "half bushel" option. I did originally think I was getting them for some new wee ones in my life, but: maybe not, I love them so.

Her shop is over at etsy.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

One moon, many changes

It's been a little over a month since I posted last, and much has changed in that one last cycle.
A month ago, A and I were happily getting along in Rochester, NY. Then, a job transfer opportunity happened, and we've since been whirl-winding: home updates, meeting with relators, putting the home up for sale, relocation arrangements, home sold, contracts written, trips undergone to ensure new places to sleep... all this, plus lots and lots of packing, and more to come.

We're moving to Madison, WI:

and we'll be renters again for a while:

But there are so many good things about Madison, notably this golden badger that acts as a sentinel inside the opulent capital building.

It's a funny thing to move just when you feel like your getting rooted somewhere; we'll have fond memories of Ra-cha-cha, Roc city, R-town, Rochester, the acquired taste. But Madison holds a lot of treasures we're excited to uncover too.

On our visit to secure an apt (which we just returned from), I found myself pretty inspired by the capital building. I usually don't go too ga-ga over ornate old gold and marble structures. Generally all that is too much for me. But this particular building not only has funny little badger guards, but it also has hidden fossils and excellent murals. There is a Goddess of Wisconsin, holding wheat and other bounty, as well as all sorts of virtues personified as Hellenistic-type God/Goddess in mosaics.

Especially I loved this mural on the ceiling of one of the state rooms. Reminds me of Maxfield Parish, and I've always been drawn to those oracle myths. The seeker of knowledge approaching wisdom; the Seeker and the Mystery meeting in a sacred space.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008


I wanted to show off my RoCo (Rochester Contemporary Art Center) 6x6 finds!
The first is a gum bichromate print by Milenko Grgar (no website, unfortunately...) It's called Tartarus. When A and I first saw this image, we thought it was so peaceful, the body floating; hovering. When it came home with us and we learned the took on a whole new (darker!) layer of meaning.
The second is from James Rajotte, he's a local teacher (RIT) and artist.
I love them both- images of water can be so satisfying.

I am really excited to have new art in our home. (Art not made by me because there's no other place to put it :)
It makes me really want to get serious about bartering for art with people I admire. It can be tricky, I realize: you have to love each others work, and then there's the nebulous concept of value and fair trade. But really, when it works, it's a simple and quite beautiful way to share and collectively create and pay back someone with your own "sweat equity"; and that feels good.

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Monday, July 07, 2008

Little by little

Though I have been meandering in a lot of different directions (including finally establishing a garden, with the help of seeds and plants from friend and green thumb Sharon), Things with the painting are coming along little by little. I am re-experiencing the mystery of color (and why I always thought it was so tricky to interpret) Still making washes (blue background) and starting to build up color in the face. I still need to develop the skin and work on the background, and no attention what-s0-ever has been paid to the eyes or hair yet.

Here it is before the aforementioned distracting trips, just after the green phase, with a wash of yellows and a made-up, approximately Adam-colored glaze on the right side of the face.

During the course of this painting, I already had the inevitable, early I-Hate-This-I'm-Stopping phase, which luckily turned into the This-Is-A-Challenge-And-I-Kinda-Like-It phase, and now I feel just on the cusp of the This-Is-Almost-Flow-Like phase. That's a lot to go through with a project that I've only sat down a few times with. This must be due to my history of love and loathing with painting. In any case, most of me is glad to be back to it.

New distractions include teaching two photography classes; one an adult intro course, the other is a youth program working with Rochester's city students.

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I've been distracted

I really did plan to get busy on that oil painting. It was the perfect time to delve into that kind of thing (slow, time consuming, measured). I had what was essentially a free month: (post-grad school graduating, pre-back-to-work life) and intended to really dive in, but... I got distracted. First with a business trip to Vermont earlier in June (business for A, and apparently beer drinking and drawing weird little faces in watercolor for me.)

Then I got distracted by another week long trip, this time to Virginia to visit my folks. A mid-process oil painting is not really travel friendly, so instead I spent time doing more fast, funny little watercolors of bottle caps and logs and things lying around.

I do think I'll do my collections next. Little 4 x 5 watercolor and ink odes.

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