That’s the Hard Part

January 7, 2018

In 2003, I started writing an art journal to myself, just documenting where I was with certain pieces and shows. I sucked at it for the first two years. I think there’s two entries in 2003 and maybe three in 2004. Then about halfway through 2005, I calendared it. And then started writing weekly because my computer told me to. Occasionally outside stuff slips in, personal life stuff, stuff that doesn’t even make it on the blog. The journal is where I document all the time on any given quilt, plus all the shows I enter and whether I get in or not. I write almost every week…with a few lost weeks due to computer glitches and a few lost weeks due to brain glitches. I started teaching full time in 2003 as well, so there’s documentation of the effect that work has had on my other work. I can search through the main document for mention of the old quilts I just pulled out of the pile to finish…I can find BirdFoot, but not the other one…mostly because (a) if it has a name, I don’t know what it is, and (b) I think it’s older than 2003. Then on top of all that, I’ve been writing the blog since 2004…although again, I didn’t start a regular schedule until 2006 I think.

I’m reminded of all this because this week is the first week of the new year. I used to just keep one huge document, but every time I opened it, it took forever to load, so now I write one year in a document and then add that to the main journal at the end of the year and start a new one. An 11-page document is easier to handle than a 150-page document. I also download a copy of it onto the computer about once a year, just in case the Google Doc (which is where I write now, because I can access it from multiple devices, even if I’m traveling) has some issue and disappears. There’s something important to me about the documentation. I use it a lot to remind myself of how things went, what I was thinking, where I was going.

So where am I at right now, the day before school starts up again? Well my right hand is still speckled orange and red, which will freak my students out (I’m OK with that). The left hand is barely green. I ironed a bit yesterday. I drew a bit yesterday, but more for fun than for an artistic goal. I had a meeting. I’m not ready (I’m never ready…this shouldn’t surprise anyone who hangs out with teachers. We never feel ready. We don’t sleep the night before school starts…sometimes every Sunday night is troubled.). We’ll get some planning time tomorrow, because we’re starting the week with more professional development, so that means we can figure out what the hell we were thinking before break (probably not very coherent thoughts, honestly). I looked at the calendar and my head hurt, so I stopped reading. I need to run some errands today, write warmups for the week, send the parent email, grocery shop, prep lunches for the week, and get my teacher brain out of storage. I can do all of that.

I ironed for a little bit yesterday. The tree leg is horrendously complicated. It’s not hard to do…just time-consuming.

IMG_0691 small

I went to an art group meeting…so far, being in this group has gotten me into two shows, so I feel good about it. I stitched during the meeting, because I don’t know how to sit still.

IMG_0726 small

Strangely, now I’m wondering if the face was supposed to be back stitch or running stitch. I finished the Palestrina knots around the body and then started the running stitches.

The meeting was at the Mingei Museum, which is one of my favorite museums in Balboa Park. They’ll be remodeling in 2018 though…so fewer shows. Too bad. They have a great kantha exhibit in there right now, plus a Navaho rug exhibit.

IMG_0692 small

I had seen this show already, but Arline Fisch is in our group and talked about her work in the museum, which was cool.

IMG_0696 small

Her wirework is fascinating.

Then I had to hang around for a while in Balboa Park, so I drew in the Sculpture Garden bar area…

IMG_0702 small

No sunset…too many clouds.

I started working with that skelly back and a front-facing figure, seriously trying to work stuff out, but it quickly devolved into whatever I felt like drawing. Hence the antenna I guess…

IMG_0703 small

I didn’t really finish, because I had to go wait for my ride. We were going to an opening downtown, so we didn’t want two cars down there (parking is awful) and there was no point in my coming all the way home.

The exhibit was Seeing Is Believing at Sparks Gallery (you can see most of the show at the link) and had some cool work in it…Larry Caveney’s Wonder Woman

IMG_0708 small

Polly Jacobs Giacchina’s Spiral Progression

IMG_0710 small

Cheryl Tall’s Couple from Madrid

IMG_0712 small

and her Horseman.

IMG_0714 small

Christopher Polentz’s William.

IMG_0716 small

David Cuzick’s Stop Yelling at Me #2

IMG_0718 small

Marissa Quinn’s Connection In-Between…

IMG_0720 small

And Alexander Arshansky’s Life of Pi

IMG_0722 small

Perry Vasquez’s Florbeza dominates the front window of the gallery…

IMG_0724 small

It was an interesting show. I went because of the surrealism aspect, although honestly, I’m not sure how surrealist it really was. Lenore Simon’s show is still there, so that was nice. We had a good dinner at the same place we keep ending up at when we’re in that area and then hightailed it back here for an early night. Sleep has been the mantra this break…which should tell me something. But trying to fill weekends with art seeing and making seems like a good goal for the next few months. The stress of work is always there…being able to mentally escape it for a few weeks is a relief. Now to continue that mindset throughout the rest of the school year. That’s the hard part.

Advertisements

And You Got to Take a Little Dirt*

December 10, 2017

OK, even though I finished a thousand things yesterday, I just made a real live post-it note for today, and it’s full. That’s not fair. Really not. Grades are due, the basic school stuff still has to happen, other things have popped up. I need a clear space for my brain.

Not happening this week. Obviously.

That said, you know when I said I had 30 minutes yesterday? This is what I did…that head.

IMG_9777 small

And then we went to the opening of Lenore Simon’s solo exhibit at Sparks Gallery downtown. You can click on the show catalog to see more of her work, but here’s what fascinated me…impossible to get good photos due to the glass. This nude is made of screen material with what looks like wood behind it. Amazing piece…

IMG_9778 small

This is Torso I…and a detail…that might be cardboard under that part…

IMG_9779 small

This was a detail of a print she did called That’s Why They Call Them Fellowships…with a rejection letter from the 1960s…because women couldn’t be printmakers. My ass, right?

IMG_9781 small

And this Torso II, which had amazing designs caused by the interactions of the layers of screen material.

IMG_9782 small

Really cool…

IMG_9783 small

She did printmaking for a while as well, many examples of those. This is Eve and Moses.

IMG_9785 small

I miss printmaking.

Sparks upstairs always has other artists’ work…this is James Hubbell’s work…

IMG_9787 small

A view of Lenore’s work from the upper level…

IMG_9794 small

Another of her screen works…On the Go

IMG_9795 small

Lenore is turning 90 on March 8, 2018…she has been making art for a million years. We all want to be 90 and still making art. She’s even moved on to digital art recently. The creative mind is always changing…

Then we came back and I kept ironing…

IMG_9797 small

Another head, another arm…

IMG_9798 small

And the third head…only two to go.

IMG_9799 small

But I have to finish all the stuff on the post-it note first. Damn. Well. Get on with it then.

*Tonic, If You Could Only See


I’m a Challenge to Your Balance*

August 24, 2017

I’m starting to get caught up with some stuff. That’s good. Nothing to check off the to-do list really. I admitted to the girlchild last night that I had just shoved some stuff in her room because it was more than I could handle…this as she’s showing me her dorm room…where she’s shoved everything into the corner. Yeah. So there we are. I’ll have to deal with it before she comes home in December, but I don’t need to be looking at it every day and stressing out about it. Maybe pick a day when I don’t come home after 6 PM because the dentist couldn’t make the filling fit. Sigh. My poor mouth.

I did clean some stuff yesterday, and then I tried to box up some of the older books and I couldn’t. My family is made up of bookaholics. I figure if I’m getting that much resistance to what I’m trying to do that there’s a reason for it. And maybe it’s not worth fighting it. I mean, cleaning the garage? Lots of resistance for that. Still needed to be done. But old Kipling and Stevenson books? They are not the problem. I don’t buy a lot of new books these days…mostly check them out from the library. So I’m trying not to add to the problem. I did actually get rid of some books. Like what do you do with the books that you tore apart for an art project? They’re missing pages? (I recycled them…but it took me a year to figure that out.)

Anyway. I try. That’s all I can say.

That’s what I said last night when I finally cooked my dinner at 8 PM or so. I forgot to do my daily stitching until almost midnight, and then I decided peeing the dogs and going to bed was more important. So it didn’t happen.

But I did trace stuff…not for a super long time, but you know, it just takes a little time every day to make art. I like it better if it’s at least an hour, but 30 minutes is good too. Just do it though.

All I’m doing at the moment is tracing Wonder Under…it pretty much looks the same to you guys every day…but I can tell the difference between tracing huge base pieces to tiny background stuff. I was wrong yesterday about being almost to tracing the head. I had to do the other arm and the three octopus tentacles coming off of it first…and that was a lot more pieces than you would think.

IMG_7491 small

So I’m still on the female figure…I made it to her neck, finished that (also had more pieces than you would think). So tonight I can start with the chin.

IMG_7492 small

Because I tried to keep this thing simple, it’s meant drawing fairly large pieces on Wonder Under. I have four yards out, because I keep needing a big section for a large piece, so I cut a new one and then try to fill in the old one with all the tiny pieces. At some point, I remind myself that this stuff only costs $3 a yard and I always buy it on sale. It’s not the end of the world if I throw some of it away. Although then the environmentally responsible part of me gets irritated with me. That part also doesn’t like disposable floss things (although it’s the only way I can floss parts of my mouth…gag reflex) or my new diabetes pokey thing (it’s really wasteful, with a new set of pieces each time I poke).

Then again, making art is almost always going to be somewhat environmentally troublesome. Unless you’re just using the stuff you found outside and you don’t disturb a living organism’s environment by making it. So. I try to reduce my impact, but I am not great at it.

I forgot these two art-related things. Catherine Segura of CAS Photography took this awesome picture of Sonya Sparks, owner of Sparks Gallery, and my quilt is on the wall. It even looks good in black and white…Segura specializes in tintype photography…so this is over a 10-second time period…Sparks sits still but my quilt is apparently moving. OK, not really. But a great photo…

IMG_7498 small

And this was my staff meeting drawing earlier this week…

IMG_7499 small

It’s got some environmental stuff going on right there…

*Natalie Merchant, Wonder


Read the Lines in My Hand*

April 20, 2017

AAAAAAAAAAAACCCCCCCKKKKKKKKK.

OK. Yeah. Better. Nope. Not really. Realizing how many things are on the to-do list while simultaneously realizing how little time there is to do them. My right eye is twitching again. It’s not supposed to do that on break. And it doesn’t seem to matter that I got a ton done yesterday…today it has multiplied into a monstrously larger amount, I don’t even know how. Part of it is trying to manage four different shows (maybe more?)…finishing work, putting labels on, suspect I need to go shopping for slats or dowels, plus shipping them off…gotta get all that done today and tomorrow. Plus the parentals are gone, so I have their dog on top of mine. And I’m supposed to be deciding what quilts will be in my solo show in July, because I need to know by next Friday. Aack. Double Aack. I have some that are definites (including the one I haven’t finished, oh shit), but I’m blanking on some of the others. Not sure. Need it to fit with the title. Maybe. Maybe it all fits. Who knows? I can’t wrap my brain around it right this minute. Realizing that this weekend is busy as hell, all of a sudden. OK, the realization was all of a sudden…it’s been booked for months.

All I can do is start banging through the list, as always. This is how school stuff doesn’t get done, though…because I’m trying to finish the personal stuff…and that doesn’t even include my original Spring Break goals of finishing all the weeding (ah ha ha ha) and figuring out where all the quilts should be stored and getting my bedroom chaos under control. That shit’s just not happening at all.

So. I got up yesterday and graded one of the longer assignments. Then I started cutting, and I did that for about 4 1/2 hours…

IMG_4175 small

And then I was done. So 9 hours plus total, I think. And my hand isn’t even that stiff. Good deal.

I had two dogs on the couch with me for most of it…not sure why. I know I’ve been the most boring owner ever this week. Sorry guys.

IMG_4167 small

Then the third dog showed up and the shenanigans began…

IMG_4180 small

I ignored them and went on to sorting the pieces out…

IMG_4184 small

And then came in here and started ironing…

IMG_4185 small

I am doing all the stuff around the bathtub first…it seems easier that way…

IMG_4186 small

Well, this tree wasn’t really easy…but it was logical…sort of.

IMG_4187 small

And I got the cat done after midnight…and that’s where I stopped.

IMG_4188 small

200 pieces ironed down…only 500 to go. That was my goal for today…I think. I’m not sure I can pull it off though. I have 5 quilts to pull from the pile, check all of them for labels, put labels on those that don’t have them, ship 3 to one location, put 2 in a pile for another location, and then there’s another that’s still in a box that needs to be shipped back. Each batch, I need to look up what else needs to be sent…artist statement? Slats? Return shipping? Who knows. Pain in the ass. Except the work is gonna be out there, so that’s a plus.

Two of the pieces are in this show…which will be up until July 10, I think. The piece on the right is mine, and there will be another smaller piece of mine in the show. I won’t make it to the opening though…it’s free, but you need to register. I think that gets you a free wine ticket though, so you should go.

IMG_4172 small

And then I’m in this one…but I’m not sure whether it’s just the one piece on the announcement or not. I should be at this opening…

FPG 05.21.17 California Fibers blog 3.5

Anyway, wasting less time here and trying to get everything done without panicking. This is the part where my counselor tells me I must like being overwhelmed because I keep getting into that space. WTF. I don’t know how NOT to get there. Sigh.

*Elliott Smith, Miss Misery


Again. As Usual.

May 18, 2016

Busy day yesterday. One car in the shop. Got a ride home and the second car’s battery was dead. Got that replaced, then drove out to UCSD to pick up a dog that needed a home…this is Simba…

IMG_6533 small

A very tired Simba. I’m sure coming here was probably a bit overwhelming. Another dog, cats, a yard. He’s been pretty good about it, although I don’t think he’s eaten anything yet but two chicken treats, and it took a while to get him to go to sleep in his own bed.

He needs some shots and to be neutered, which girlchild will handle when she finally gets home.

IMG_6534 small

Simba showed up because of the girlchild and one of her friends…and it’s funny, because I just had this conversation with the boychild, who would love to have a cat, but can’t have one in the dorms and doesn’t want to get one until his living situation is more stable. And sure, shit happens. You could have pets and then have a stroke and be in the hospital for months. So have a plan for that. We have multiple backup plans for pets in my small family circle here in San Diego. And I suspect most of my friends know (from past experience) that I take rescue animals most of the time. Some of my best pets started out as an oops that some kid picked up outside a grocery store, a freebie that couldn’t be in the apartment or whatever.

Anyway, between the car and the puppy (because he is still a puppy), I didn’t get any art done. I was so exhausted by the time I got through dinner, I couldn’t focus. So I eventually went to bed.

However, I have some photos from a couple of openings I went to last weekend (there were 4 in two days…I actually missed the 5th one due to exhaustion).

First of all, I went to the Allied Craftsman show at Sparks Gallery, in downtown San Diego. I know a few people in the show, so I wanted to document for the two groups I’m in with them (I still have to write posts for those two blogs…tonight!). But I also saw this artist at the show…by Alexander Arshansky, this is Native American

DSCN0037 small

His work is very detailed…this is Born in Fire

DSCN0039 small

His work was upstairs in the gallery, separate from the Allied Craftsman show, but definitely a joy to look at.

You can see all the Allied Craftsman pieces on the Sparks Gallery website. Here are two quilts that were in the show, the one on the left by Viviana Lombrozo and the one on the right by Charlotte Bird (who is in one of the groups I’m in).

DSCN0047a small

Below, in the middle is Jeff Irwin’s Circulation, flanked by his Pump and Vanishing Point plates.

DSCN0050 small

I photographed other work, but it’s for those blogposts. I’ll link to those here once I actually get them written.

Then I went over the the Cohort Collective’s show at Subtext Gallery, also downtown. The show is called Tiny and the pieces were all…small. These are all by Dolan Sterns, Creatures of Dirt

DSCN0053 small

They seem to be on old metal lids, apparently done in white out and ink.

DSCN0053a small

Stearns is a skateboarder and usually does much larger pieces…on walls. Like the whole wall.

There were two pieces by one of my favorite fiber artists, Jaclyn Rose…this is I-breathalyzer.

DSCN0054 small

And Leave the Way You Came In

DSCN0055 small

Then a new artist for me, Christopher Konecki…this is Last Glimmer (of Hope)

DSCN0057 small

He has a wide variety of work…this is Staying Inside on the left and a side view of the other one.

DSCN0058 small

And then he and Spenser Little teamed up for some great little pieces…this is Cat on Leash

DSCN0059 small

Mermaid Bubbles

DSCN0061 small

And my favorite, We Used to Write Love Letters

DSCN0062 small

A detail of the wire work…

DSCN0062a small

Then Spenser Little’s wire work…this is Multiface

DSCN0064 small

Mini Deity Number 2

DSCN0070 small

His larger deities are bloody amazing; the detail is boggling.

This is Mini Deity Number 1

DSCN0072 small

And the back side of Schizophrenic on Coffee Multiface

DSCN0073 small

It’s amazing how little line you need to convey expression. The Tiny show is up until June 10. It really is a tiny show, but there’s a lot of value in seeing it.

Well. Art tonight? Maybe. We’ll see. I’m a little buried at the moment by life. Again. As usual.