Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year's Eve

Another low energy day, just like last New Year's Eve. And another day of chores and catching up on reading. Let me try something new, a to-do list for the coming week. Not New Year's Resolutions, which I don't do. So this coming week I will --

1) take the violin to the shop
2) try the Lenox with the plexi
3) finish the magnolia drawing
4) finish Byzantium, Faith & Power

That should be pretty doable. I'm meeting with a critique group this coming week too. I'm joining as a new member into an established group, with some fairly well known artists, so I'm pretty thrilled that they've accepted me into the group.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Artist statement, part II

So this was what I ended up with for the Rake exhibit. I hate statements that are academic gibberish, so I hope this is perfectly clear.

Multiple voices and narratives have been a cornerstone in my work, a reflection of both the world at large and my personal history. Visually, this has translated to my use & manipulation, and re-imagination of traditional Asian symbols and ideas in a contemporary context. In this process, making art is about search and contemplation.

I have recently started to construct symbols of my own, by observing natural forms and making unscientific leaps of faith about their nature. In doing so, I am creating my own 'folk wisdom'. In this process, search and contemplation continue to play important roles, but so does personal expression.

The moths series represents my first constructed symbol.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Artist statements

...and I'm not so good at writing them. Spent the afternoon/evening writing up something for Karen, who's giving a talk on the GBW's centennial exhibit and she's including Fatherland in her talk! This is very exciting for me, of course, except for the fact that I have to write about my work! I've spent a few hours on it already, and am still not finished; I spend as much time deleting what I've written as I do writing. And I still need to write up something for the Rake exhibit, which I should've done already today.

I did have a surprise visit with Eliza today, and then the b-day dinner with Mike, at Higgins, his favorite restaurant. So I didn't get as many hours to work as I had figured.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Overdue library book

Having renewed Byzantium, Faith & Power twice (or maybe it was 3 times) already, and finding that it's due again (tomorrow, yikes, where does the time go?), I spent the evening reading. I'm afraid I'll have to renew it yet again, if they'd let me. I'm just getting to the good part -- the intersection with Islam. There's probably a limit on how many times you can renew library books.

Dropped of my 6 pieces at Rake this afternoon. Of course I forgot to do the artist statement, something I hate to do. I'll have to work on that tomorrow, when I'm fresher.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Lotsa framing going on

First of all, it's bye bye Garden Shed. Jill is buying this.

I also framed up the 2 violin studies and the last of the moth series for a show at Rake in Jan. Here are some views of them. The movie last night was The Good Shepherd, one of the better movies in a while, I think.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas chores

Mostly cooked today, both for Bend and for leaving with Mike while he stays behind during Christmas break so he can work. Made 2 pans of lasagna (yum). Wrapped presents, decluttered, got some treats for my mom. Looks like Rake wants 6 pieces, rather than 4, which means I'll have 3 pieces to frame when I get back. Hopefully the frame shop won't be out of the frames that I need.

Friday, December 22, 2006

..And a little bit more

The plastic shop surprised me by calling me first thing in the morning and telling me that my order was ready. I figured it'd be end of next week before it was ready. Picked it up later in the afternoon and was surprised at what a little box it was. I figured I'd barely be able to carry them, but there they were, just a short stack.

Had a bunch of back and forth in email with Jeremy about the show at Rake next month. It's coming up and I still don't know for sure which pieces. Hopefully that will be figured out in time for me to frame, and with me out of town for 3 days.

This is why I should never knit, I get started and I can't stop. I decided to get some yarn to make a felted hat, this is so that I'd have something to do while I'm in Bend for a few days. Stopped at the yarn shop in the afternoon. Came home, made the swatch, felted it, measured, started knitting, and knitted half the evening away. At this rate, I'll be finished with my hat before I leave for Bend.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A little bit of work

Finally ordered the plexi today; also got some quotes for having small pieces cut, possibly to use as tags. But small pieces turned out to be much more expensive ($3+ a piece, at 1"x2.5", about twice the price of the 5.5"x5.5" pieces), since they need to be laser cut. So out with that idea. Spent the evening flipping through Found Object Art by Dorothy Spencer, a very fun book. Particularly liked the baskets woven with bottle caps, some of the jewelry, and some of the quilts made from various materials.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

...And it's 5 days in a row

that I've not worked in the studio. Overslept. Unexpected phone calls. Library. And the movie of the week was Charlotte's Web. Spent a little time crafting an ad for craigslist for the art book club, but the post was rejected for some reason and I didn't have time to investigate before leaving for the library. Will have to deal with it tomorrow at this point.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday distractions

This is a record, I think, 4 days straight without working in the studio. Bad. I must get some work done tomorrow, before I head to the library.

But what was good -- the 2nd roofer I called yesterday showed up today and replaced the damaged skylights already and swept off the roof. So take that Oswego Roofing.

Had to revise plans for Mike's b-day party due to everyone's travel plans for the holidays; changed the restaurant reservation, sent out another invite, etc. Then I ended up 'holiday shopping' today. Got a gift certificate from Mike's Mom, so I did some shopping on Lands End. Then I remembered I wanted to buy a food processor, which then reminded me that I wanted to get something more suitable for the sipping chocolate that Sundry introduced us to (like espresso cups) instead of the tea cups that we've been using, their shape allows the sipping chocolate to cool off too quickly. Not finding anything online, I ended up at Uwajimaya's, getting even more teacups but shaped so that the contents would not cool off so fast. We'll try them out tonight and see how they work. Of course, we may not have enough sipping chocolate tonight. I did stop in at Trader Joe's to get some, but they were all out.

In the mean time, I meant to go in the plastic shop to order the plexi this afternoon, but was completely sidetracked by all the shopping.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Where's my roofer?

So the roofer was suppose to come today to make an estimate and then schedule repairs. No Roofer. When I called and found out that there will be no roofer today, but they'll be here tomorrow, I said they might've called me and informed me of such. All I got was a lot of lip from the customer service person. So that put me in a foul mood. No matter, there are lots of roofers in the sea.

Groceries (dang that Oswego Roof), coffee (dang that Oswego Roof), gym (dang that Oswego Roof). Grrrrh! Some eye of newt and toe of frog. There, that should put them out of their misery!

Right, here's the Maryhill 2007 exhibit web page with Fatherland.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Storm aftermath

It was a bit warmer today so I ventured out and cleaned up the fallen branches and also cleaned up up the mound of cut Siberian dogwood after pruning. I still have a much bigger mound to deal with though, from the flowering plum. Then this evening was the play, a one man It's a Wonderful Life. Looks like we'll have to reschedule Mike's b-day dinner, too many people are going to be out of town between Christmas and New Year. I guess I should've thought of that.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Our own private rainbow

Here's one of the broken skylights; you can see the Doug Fir that towers over it. When the sun came out this afternoon and came through the water filled skylight, we had our own private rainbow show in the kitchen.

The windstorm must've blown off this magnolia seed pod from the tree. I found it on my walk this morning. I thought it serendipitous since the drawing I just started has the magnolia blossoms. When I found it, it was partially covered in frost, very beautiful.

It's been a very sleepy day. I had wanted to get some yard clean up done, but it's too cold for that. Instead, I caught up with the 3 short stories that Shane had sent along for me to read a while back. And now it's dinner and opera time.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Storm damage

The windstorm hit last night, just as they promised. We woke up this morning to 2 broken skylights and a lot of 5"-6" diameter, 10' long Doug fir branches on our deck. I haven't had the chance to walk around the yard yet to see what else is there. So it was a flurry of phone calls -- insurance, roofers. The earliest a roofer can come out is Monday, not surprising given the amount of damage all over town. Good thing the sky lights are double paned, although water is collecting in there, we're at least not (yet) exposed to the elements. This would be the 3rd time a windstorm has brought down branches which then broke the skylights.

Then it was another flurry of calls because I've been asked to co-curate a printmakers' bookarts show! Of course I accepted right away. And there's not a moment to lose, since the show is going up in March. Did some research online, trying to locate, contact, and just plain trying to remember some names.

By the time I was ready to head out to Wong's King to put down the deposit for Mike's b-day, the weather was turning bad again. It was snowing and hailing as I left the house, but turned to rain and slush shortly after. I'm not sure why they wouldn't take a credit card over the phone; I had to go in person. Stopped in at the bakery to see about ordering a cake. I know, yet another errands day on Friday, what bad planning.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just drawing

I haven't drawn for a long time, maybe for a couple of years, and tonight I suddenly got the urge to draw. Probably because both paintings are stalled and I'm still in the experimental stage with the book project. So tonight, I dug out my pastels and started this drawing. Not sure what it's about. I picked out something from a clip art book (the one on the left) and just started working intuitively.

Once I got going though, I started to work in the dream from last night. I dreamed that our house was connected to our neighbors house. When you looked out the window of our house, you saw a stone wall; but if you walked next door, you saw a highway. And if you walked out the backdoor, you were in this really lush garden. I also dreamed that I told my mother that I had a dream of my father sitting on a chair, and a snake came out of the cushions. The snake had 2 arms; it walked to the backdoor, looked at me, and opened the door and walked into the garden. Huh?

Anyhow, about the book -- I got a sheet of Stonehenge to try with the plexi, and I don't like it as much as the BFK. It's slightly lighter weight, and personally I just like the feel of BFK better. Although the difference in weight is very minor, Stonehenge is 245mg/sq. meter and BFK is 250mg/sq. meter, it feels lighter to the hand. I still need to try printing on Stonehenge and see how it takes the ink. I know BFK doesn't gocco all that well without dampening, and that's kind of a drag. I was also going to try Lenox, which I completely forgot about tonight, so will do that tomorrow.

Spent part of the day putting together Mike's b-day party -- booked the room at Wong's King & sent out the invitation. I'll need to go in to drop off the deposit tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Drawing parallels

Started to mock up the cover for the shadow book. Experimented with sanding the plexi and using a cosmetic sponge to apply the gel medium, and it helped a lot in terms of making the adhesive less visible. This means the plexi covers will cost me a lot less -- I won't need holes drilled, and since I'll sand, I won't need the polishing and all that; I won't even want the scratch resistant. The paper I used was a scrap piece of BFK, and you can see the toothiness somewhat. Got out a sheet of superfine coverstock but it isn't heavy enough. I'll need to go paper shopping tomorrow.

Gocco'ed some text on the smooth side, and it casts a nice shadow on the paper below. (This is why saving all those old gocco screens is worthwhile.) To get a better idea of what a full sheet (5.5"x5.5") of plexi would look like over paper, I used a sheet of mylar and hand wrote some stuff on there. Imagination is necessary to pretend the mylar is a sheet of plexi and is glued to a piece of paper the same size. The colored squares are supposed to be pans of eye shadows, which is how I might print the cover page, but I'm undecided at this point.

Started to organize the words I've received so far, and also picking out words and phrases from The Affair blog. It's very serendipitous -- the words people have sent are dovetailing with the blog...I couldn't have come up with more perfect parallels.

Dry afternoon

Dimsum day again; comes around once a month, but a month does go by awfully quickly. After that, I took advantage of the dry weather and got some yard work done. Did a little planning for Mike's 50th birthday party...

Anne brought over a small jar of eye shadow that Lauren had gotten her for a 'mom makeover'. The movie tonight was The Queen.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3...

One of the packages of eye shadows I got was one of those free samples, so I decided to use that for my tests. I want to reserve those that had been 'invested in' and used for the actual book.

I used an X-acto knife to release the eye shadow from the pan and pulverized it with a small stone. Then I mixed a batch of egg medium (egg yolk + white vinegar + water) and mixed up just a blade's worth of the pulverized eye shadow with about equal amount of the egg medium. This was used to paint the 4 test patches, the lines, and the dry brushing on the left page.

I then mixed another blade's worth of the eye shadow pigment with about an equal amount of matte medium, and this was used to paint the 4 patches, the lines, and the dry brushing on the right page.

Both seem 'permanent', ie, couldn't be smudged nor lifted with water after drying (don't know about 'archival'). The egg medium resulted in a smooth surface -- the painted area did not feel much different from the unpainted paper. The matte medium definitely had a texture to it. I'm liking the smoother surface better, and it would definitely be the better choice if I was to paint the paper first before printing the text. I used both a brush and a makeup applicator (a spongy thing) to paint the 4 patches.

I also tried adhering paper to the plexi with pva and gel medium. The gel medium made a good bond but the pva did not. Both left visible marks. Also, every little bit of fuzz stuck on there was visible! If I glue, I can only glue a portion of the paper to the plexi, and I would have to cover the other side too to hide the glue marks. I'll try scratching the surface of the plexi to see if I can create enough of a 'frosted' surface to hide the glue marks. The alternative option -- having holes drilled and then sewn -- does not really appeal to me, both in terms of the visible sewing through the plexi and how I visualize the book will open -- if I can't glue at all, then the end paper will flap around, unless I come up with a solution to that.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Holiday mode

This was Carolyn and Dave's 19th annual cookie exchange today. I took over about 15 persimmons which pretty much took care of the persimmons. Brought a few cookies back for Mike to try, but not too many. Picked up more unwanted eye shadows from Giao at the party and Barbara promised to put some in the mail to me. I'm getting a pretty good collection of colors and brands. Tomorrow needs to be another errand day, but I should have time to experiment with making some paint with the shadows.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Art book club, anyone?

Spent the whole day cleaning the bedroom and bathroom. Dusted off the books & the bookshelves in the bedroom, reorganized them. Now all the books on Islamic art and the Mid East are are at eye level (no longer have to stoop over to find them, yes!), as are most of the art books. Why didn't I think of this earlier? Looking at so many of the yet unread art theory/history/crit books, I'm thinking that I should start a book club for art books. The problem with reading these on your own (ie, not in a theory/history/crit class) is that there's no one to discuss it with. And I find that ideas don't stick if I don't have a chance to discuss it with people.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Correspondences, errands, mistakes...

Another day where little was accomplished -- some correspondences, errands, picked up someone else's gocco order by mistake, had to go back (it was most definitely my mistake, and it was funny, at my expense). Bonnie and Richard came over for a mini persimmon tasting party. They brought over some locally grown fuyus and I supplied my hachiyas, and we compared them. They're trying to decide which kind to plant to replace the cherry that died. I remain loyal to my hachiya (I love that custardy texture), but they might go for the fuyu.

Tonight is the Omneon holiday party, so we're about to leave. I don't think anything will be accomplished today...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm a hero

Again, didn't get much sleep last night but this time, due to a sort of upset stomach. I was so sleepy this morning I didn't even remember Mike's leaving for work, and he claimed he said goodbye. Had lots of correspondence to do today, and it was noon before I knew it. Picked up the supplies to frame Jill's piece, put together a CD for the Rake exhibit, and then I visited neighbors, giving out persimmons! They're all ripening at the same time. Now I'm a hero.

Dropped off the CD at Rake's, stopped in at Print Arts for the reception, and at Broderick's for that reception (plus pick up my piece from the show). I guess I'm calling this a day.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Library, and one more idea

It's been 4 weeks since I've gone in; first the foot, then the cold. Helped Jim inventory what he had for the "A Message to Garcia" exhibit. Also asked to see some books that had parallel story lines, but he didn't really have very much there either.

Got to town a bit early because I was on auto-pilot and found myself driving in rather than heading for the transit center. By the time I realized it, it was too late to turn back and still catch the bus. So I got into town rather early; while deciding what to do, came upon the idea that I should make cosmetic bags or evening bags as enclosures for the shadow book. Stopped in at Josephine's to check out their velvets and got 1/4 yard to experiment with.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

On a roll

I hardly got a wink of sleep last night, thinking about the shadow book, tossing and turning. I did come up with a lot of usable ideas. So helped by a little caffeine today, I did some research on using plexi for book covers; found a plastic shop and got some quotes. They also gave me a scrap piece so I can experiment a little. Checked with Jim to see if they had examples of bindings using plexi and imagery painted/printed with cosmetics, but turned up nothing. Did find some examples of plexi binding on the web, but it was hard to see what was going on.

Picked up a couple of packages of eye shadow today. I wonder what you call those -- a tray of eye shadows, a compact of eye shadows, a box of eye shadows? What is a unit of eye shadows?

I'd been waiting for a chance to use this anonymous diary that I came across that documents an affair (yes, someone was blogging about their affair), the link to which was sent to me. I hadn't had quite the right vehicle for it, but now I think the 2 stories can be interwoven together -- the eye shadow's trajectory from object of desire and glamour to something that gets stuffed in a drawer, and the affair's trajectory from passion and seduction to 'boring', as the blogger wrote in one entry. I'm not going to lift the diary straight, I'm looking for a few words here and there as starting points. And 'shadow' fits this 2nd story as well. But a lot still depends on what words the contributors will send along. I might get distracted yet.

Ordered the frame for the small painting that Jill is buying. Will pick up tomorrow.

The movie of the week was Babel.

Monday, December 04, 2006

A good day

I think I made pretty good progress on the Monkey/King piece. Had to run to Kinko's again because I forgot to left-right reverse the map, but didn't have too much traffic problem.

Am getting good responses for my call for eye shadow; will be picking up a couple of them tomorrow and next week, plus Eliza already put hers in the mail. I had been asking for eye shadow that was no longer being used, and turning down the 'I have so much of this stuff, you can have some' type, although I didn't really know why...until Rebecca asked. And I had to put into words something that had been wordless before. It's always good to be challenged. In the end, I think there's just something about the transition from being something desired to something no longer desired that I find interesting, and sad. Especially in cosmetics, always so seductive at the beginning -- the surface all velvety and the color so rich, and its purpose to make us more desirable, in theory.

I regret being so harsh with the plum tree yesterday. It looks pretty sad, just bare branches and hardly as tall as me, all the trimmings left in a big mound next to its stumps. I most certainly hope it comes back ok next spring.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Off with their heads

It was a nice day today (cold, but not raining), so I took the opportunity to finish pruning the grape and the peach. Then I got to work on the plum. Now this is a tree I've been tending to for a few years, careful to follow the instructions of pruning manuals. But every year, it grows more and more scraggly and blooms less and less. So I'm fed up with it. Today, I chopped off its head. Head and torso, and maybe the hips too.

Now the studio is much more exposed to the houses up the hill across the street. And that's how this entry is connected to the studio.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Memorial service for Roxanne

Today was Roxanne's memorial service. I made a quince, apple and blueberry crisp for the dinner after the service and headed down to Salem. Rick put together a beautiful service, there were photos and videos and many people who paid lovely tributes. I didn't know Roxanne very well, and I'm sorry that I didn't. When they first moved out to Oregon, we saw them more, but as they got involved with the community and made friends closer to home, we didn't see them as much. Mike and I are like hermits ourselves, and tend not to be very social at all, so that didn't help. She sounded like an incredible woman, a well loved physician, very involved with the community and many social justice and political causes. After the service and dinner, some of us went out to their house and visited with the extended family. I didn't get home until late in the evening.

I had my one and only dream about Roxanne this morning. It was a real surprise, and it was a dream within a dream. I had woken up and fallen asleep again, and I dreamed that Mike and I were headed down to the memorial, he was driving and I was asleep and dreaming in the passenger seat. In this dream within the dream, Roxanne was sitting in front of me in the passenger seat and said "see, I told you there was a lot more room in this car than it looks". Then I woke up from the inside dream, and then I woke up from the dream.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Out and about

I've been slowly catching up on errands and chores this week, finally being able to drive and am mostly over my cold. And luck was with me today on my errands. Things went smoothly and there wasn't much traffic to speak of. But my foot was pretty sore by the time I finished my errands and got home.

Reorganized my studio this afternoon. It seems like I'm always rearranging my studio, but I have so little space that I'm having trouble figuring out how to do what I need to do. I had my easel against the long wall, which meant I could only get as far away from a piece the length of the short wall minus the table width and minus the easel thickness, which was only maybe 2-3 feet. Which isn't enough for the larger pieces. I swapped the chair with the easel, so now I can step back at least the long length of the room, something like 8-9 feet. Took the opportunity and cleaned up some, especially the entry way which has become so cluttered with mats and frames and it was a fire hazard. It's still not that great, and I'll probably have to move some of the mats into the guest room, but tomorrow.