Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Finally, a normal day

OK, we're back in business. I'm almost finished with mocking up Calypso, should be able to cut paper tomorrow. Started putting together the postcard for the Print Arts show (another one of those things that should've been finished by now).

The movie tonight was Pan's Labyrinth. It does not disappoint, although it did feel a wee bit on the long side.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

What's going on? ?? ???

Get up. Feel fine. Eat. Feel bad. Go to the library anyhow. Librarian sent me home because I looked like I was '...about to fall over.' Come home. Eat again. Sleep again. Wake up again. Feel fine again. Pick up my pieces from Rake. Come home again. Feel bad again. Almost went back to bed again. But decided I must, must, get some work done.

Started to lay out the pages in Photoshop. Now that always seems to put me in some kind of a trance and it's almost as good as napping! I have the cover, opening page, and the next 2 spreads almost completely done in Photoshop. Which means I only have about 5 spreads to lay out, and probably another 2 to write. Then I'll still have to gocco, do the back side, and actually put the books together. Oy! I only have 2 more weeks. (Actually, 3, since I'm the Exchangeanator, I really have a bit more time, but still.)

Here's the cover page. In real life, the text will be almost invisible. The definition of Calypso will be printed in gel medium, which is clear, and the word Calypso will be printed in white on plexi, over white paper. You will only be able to read it by moving it relative to a light source to create shadows and reflections.

Here's the opening page (little round pans of eye shadows). This will be gocco'ed. And of course, in real life, neither of these pages will look as neat and clean as they do here. There's always that human touch to make it a bit more, eh, 'lively', shall we say?

And I just realized that this last Sunday came and went without the making of a to-do list. I'll blame it on being sick. I will blame it on being sick. I guess I'll skip it for the week.

Monday, January 29, 2007

More up than down

Definitely on the mend. Met with Roberta for a bit today and tried to pick up my pieces from Rake, but didn't manage to connect with them. Ran some errands, but now I'm exhausted at 9pm, and still somewhat queasy. Haven't done any work in 4 days. Couldn't sleep last night either; all I could think about was all the work I wasn't doing! I think I did work out a few kinks in the shadow book though, while tossing & turning in bed.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Up and down and around

Better today. Had a few small meals and managed to get to the play tonight (season tix and too late to change dates), although now I'm feeling queasy again.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

No apple cheeked, I

In fact, I'd say I'm quite the color of cement.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Woman on the verge of throwing up

Sick. In bed all day. Feeling somewhat better now, but still pretty achy.

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I learned two things today --

No. 1 -- Get in the studio, and you shall be rewarded.
No. 2 -- Look things up, and you shall be rewarded.

I was really dragging my feet getting into the studio today. Partly because I was just tired, but also because when I left the shadow book, I was kind of stuck. After much hemming and hawing and doing all kinds of non-essential chores, I finally got into the studio at 3:30pm.

For lack of better things to do, I read over the text that people had sent along with their eye shadows, and saw that one of the shades Giao had sent was called Calypso. Now there's a word I've been meaning to look up for ages, not knowing the origin of it (I thought it was a Greek island). So I did just that, and I was rewarded for my efforts.

Calypso, a sea nymph and daughter of Atlas, falls in love with Odysseus, who is of course already married (to Penelope)! On top of that, the Latin and Greek meanings of the words (Calypso, Kalupsō) mean to hide, to conceal. To make secret!

How perfect is that! So now I have a title for the book (Calypso), a cover design, and something that unifies the 2 parallel story lines.

Also, I'm thinking that I'd use the eye shadows just as they are, ie, not mixing in the egg medium, thus allowing the colors to smudge over time. At least some of it. Also, I think I'll do graphite drawings on the back; I'll smudge and smear those too. I'll use graphite paper to trace each of the drawings so they're more or less the same for the entire edition.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


There it is, on the table. Finished assembling it and tried it out (actually did this last night after I already updated my entry from yesterday), and it worked well enough. We'll see how long it lasts and how well it cuts a really big stack of paper. Filed away all sorts of copies, magazine cutouts, etc, that I've been saving and now feel a bit more organized. Cleaned up the detritus of making Constant Reaching, got out all the experiments and mockups of the shadow book, and now I'm back in business.

The movie tonight was Notes on a Scandal, a most excellent movie. We were actually going to see Pan's Labyrinth at Cinema 21, but boy oh boy, the line wrapped around the block! I hadn't seen Cinema 21 this popular in a long, long, long, long time.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My new guillotine cutter

I cleaned the studio, found a place for the cutter (aka stack cutter, but I still prefer guillotine cutter), and started assembling it. I can't say I'm impressed with the assembling instructions. I'm also wondering about a couple of things -- there are no manufacturer's marks on there, nor did it come with a warranty card (it's brand new). It's a COME SG-3988 cutter, and I bought it off ebay. The seller seems to have a lot of happy customers who have bought the same cutter, so I guess I'll finish assembling it and at least try it out. I hope I don't have to ship it back, that would be a real pain, and I'd be $85+ in the hole.

Went to see the 18 Painters show at Mount Hood Comm College with Alex. It was a fun morning, and it was a good chance to get to know Alex a little bit. Got hear a little bit about the frustrations of teaching art (not about the teaching part, but about the insecure nature of the job, and no benefits, etc). Illuminating.

Stopped in at the Powells that just opened up in Cedar Hills (they moved it from down by us to up there, phooey). It's definitely nice and big, but I still prefer that it's closer to us instead.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Constant Reaching

There it is, all strung up. And it's final title is Constant Reaching. I like the overall shape, rather like an ice cream cone, the rounded looping top tapering down to a narrow and flat bottom. The ring is made from the foil wrapper of a Dove Chocolate Square. I re-read the call for entry again and it's All Day Snacking and not Constant Snacking. Memory is funny sometimes, I could've sworn!

I still have to solder the loops closed, but otherwise, it's finished. Here's a close-up of a cookie.

Work stoppage

Absolutely nothing was accomplished today. Read the papers, went out to meet Mike for dinner, did some chores, went to see A Night at the Museum (ho-hum), and started watching The Emperor's Shadow (the same story that the opera The First Emperor is based on), which Sarah loaned me. Since this is Sunday (again!), a review of the to-do list from last Sunday:

1) Oil change, oil change, oil change! (Made the appt, but it won't happen for another week or so.)
2) Finish the Constant Snacking piece (I'm close, but not quite there, probably by Monday.)
3) Try gocco'ing the gel medium on the plexi. (Oops, completely forgot about this one.)
4) I have to get a pretty good idea of how the shadow book will look... (I think I'm about half way there.)

I'm afraid I have to say this week's to-do list looks a lot like last week's to-do list.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

The Big Five-O

So today was the big birthday party for Mike at Wong's King. We booked the private room at Wong's King and had about 30 people there. The food was delicious and the service terrific. Everyone loved the food. Dessert was from Baker & Spice from Hillsdale; we got 3 different cakes, 2 chocolate and 1 carrot cake, and they all got good reviews, too.

No studio time today, but I did pick up more supplies to finish the mobile.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sometimes Plan B is just better

Inspired by what Shumei said about k. d. lang's song Constant Craving, the hand is now covered in texts that say 'Constant Reaching', 'Constant Desire', 'Constant Snacking', & 'Constant Craving'. The palm is similarly covered. I tried using a few of the test strips right on the finger tips, and also just 1 strip on 1 finger, but in the end, decided I like it like this the best.

The ring is made from the foil wrapper of a Dove Square.

I started to hang the cookies up on the wires from takeout boxes, but I think those are just too short to have much swing, and I really want the movement to make it seem like the hand is reaching. So now I'm trying regular wires. I'll need to get more crimping beads before I can finish hanging and see how it works.

But I'm also really liking how it looks on the drying rack...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Good enough to eat

Check out these 'cookies'!

The hand, however, will require Plan B. Plan A was simply to glue the test strips on the hand. Not only did the gel medium not hold well, it was difficult to do it without making a big mess on the strips' surfaces. It dawned on me while I was out shopping for wires that I should use the wires from takeout boxes as hangers.

Made a few small changes on what I've already done for the shadow book, but no real progress. The exciting news today was Laura's new gallery on Sandy, to feature photography and artist's books, opening in April!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


There's just too much snow to not have some fun with it.

And I even made good progress with the shadow book today. Here's one of the pages mocked up. The eye will be under the cut out; there will be a sheet of mylar in the cut out, and the eyeshadow and eyeliner will be printed on the mylar. The text for this page is not yet decided.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

It doesn't take very much

It doesn't take very much to snow Portland in, and we got 4" this morning. Kids were all out on the streets sledding. I had figured that I'd be eating leftovers tonight and that Mike would get stuck at work, but then he came home early and we decided to make a grocery store run instead. That kind of knocked me off my original intention to work on the shadow book this I say, it doesn't take very much sometimes. Plus, my new Mimi Spencer and Mary Ellen Donald CD and sheet music arrived already from Much sooner than I had anticipated (wonderful service). I spent the afternoon listening to the CD and following along in the sheet music.

And of course, immediately after I decided that I wasn't going to pursue Western classical violin lessons any more because more and more I found it boring, I heard Joshua Bell's performance of Bruch's Violin Concerto No. 1 and loved it. Ended up buying the Itzhak Perlman version of it, and am now eyeing the sheet music too. It's probably way too hard for my skill level, but what the heck.

Monday, January 15, 2007

The Stink of the Golden Flower

Oh, oops, excuse me, The Curse of the Golden Flower, the movie tonight. It's possibly the worst movie ever made! OK, got that out of the way. Didn't spend much time in the studio today, this being errands/chores day. Did pack and ship out a copy of Fatherland, and did a little studio cleaning. Went to Wong's King for dinner tonight, along with Jian and Gong so they can help pick out a menu for Saturday.

[Addition: This is now a snowy Tuesday. Given that someone's already come here searching for "The Curse of the Golden Flower", I thought I'd elaborate on my claim that it's possibly the worst movie ever made. Maybe that's an exaggeration, but it's certainly the worst movie to come along in a long time.

The so called palace intrigue -- well, yes, everyone in the royal family wants to kill everyone else in the royal family, but nobody seems to have a plan that goes beyond just the next step. And certainly nobody seems to have a Plan B, and their Plan A's were all pretty bad. The movie is made up of sumptuously costumed/coifed/armored biomass in the forms of servants and soldiers, of which there were thousands. It's almost like they knew their screenplay wasn't going to impress anyone, so they've decided to send waves and waves of people at you instead. The whole time I was wondering if Zhang Yimou's point was only to demonstrate how many Chinese people there are. His explanation of the movie's title in Chinese -- something that is beautiful on the outside and rotten on the inside, actually describes his movie pretty darn well.]

Sunday, January 14, 2007

ATC for Portland Open Studios

I left it to the very last minute, of course. I completely forgot that I'd said I'd make an artist trading card for Portland Open Studios thank you notes, and they're due tomorrow. So I did that this afternoon. I used trimmings from a painting (the moth) and a rejected screenprint (the gold swirlies) collaged on the back of a playing card.

Worked on the Constant Snacking piece a bit more; two more days of drying then I can gesso and paint. Stared at the magnolia drawing some more and I think I know how I'll trim it.

It's Sunday night again, a review of the to-do list from last Sunday --

1) Deal with insurance for skylights. (Done, although I've yet to receive the difference.)
2) Finish magnolia drawing. (On going, I did make progress.)
3) And most importantly, start laying out and mocking up the shadows book. (Got started, but I also got distracted by Constant Snacking.)

This week's calendar does not look quite as full --

1) Oil change, oil change, oil change!
2) Finish the Constant Snacking piece (slides/CD due on Jan 25th).
3) Try gocco'ing the gel medium on the plexi.
4) I have to get a pretty good idea of how the shadow book will look, at least know how many pages, as I'd need to order the paper if I don't have enough on hand.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

The First Emperor

The bulk of the day was taken up with Chinese breakfast with 60 people and then attending The First Emperor simulcast with hundreds! The Met opera got a scathing review in both the NYT and The New Yorker, but it seems like everyone at the theater audience enjoyed it. I certainly liked it quite a bit. Domingo really didn't have that big of a role, considering how Tan Dun was making a big deal out of writing an opera for him.

On Constant Snacking -- the molding paste was not yet dry on the hand so I couldn't do the other side. I did do the 7 cookies and they should dry over night.

On the magnolia drawing -- I added a bird (Sally, your observer!).

And I think I'll crop it down a bit. I'll sleep on it. This is starting to feel like stumbling upon an abandoned home site that has been taken over by plants and wild life.

Friday, January 12, 2007

It's gonna be a mobile!

It's a hand constantly reaching for the chocolate chip cookies! Right now they're are just museum boards cut and glued together to form a slightly 3D substrate. I'll build them up with molding paste and paint them with some appropriate base colors. The hand will still be covered with the test strips, and the cookies will be collaged with pictures of chocolate chip cookies printed on Nepal light. I really like the mobile idea, I should make a book mobile.

Spent a whole lot of time shopping for a stack cutter today. I've wanted one for a long time, and the shadow book will absolutely need one, so I finally did the deed today. Here's the one I'm buying, except it will be gray instead. Well, I've bid on it at least. I think I'll get it, they all seem to have just gone for the base price.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Studio visit day

Visited Sarah and Diane's studio to pick out work for the March show. I definitely have a favorite piece for putting in the window so I hope Roberta and Barbara will agree. Got home in the middle of the afternoon and tried to go out for a walk, but it was cold and the roads were slick. I came back after 15 minutes and took a nap instead! Really, the walk was no competition.

Played with some ideas for the Constant Snacking piece:

Those are test strips and lancets for the blood sugar meter. I save them. Why do you ask? The blue things are unused lancets. Used lancets go into the hazardous materials container and I can't get them out again.

From left to right -- a hand built from test strips (I'm thinking a hand reaching for a cookie on a white plate), a clock built with a dinner plate (I actually do need a clock anyhow) and test strips, and just something geometric. The geometric one looks pretty boring. I'm liking the hand reaching for a cookie idea, I'll have to figure out how to make a cookie with femo or something. The clock would be very practical. Or maybe the cookie can be a drawing, with the hand built up a little bit with the molding paste, and it would be on paper rather than a plate.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Shadow mockup

Ann wrote today to say her books were ready to be shipped, a whole month (and more) before the due date! I just today started to layout the pages. I'm pretty sure how I want the book to open, but after that, I've tried a couple of things and didn't like them. Didn't get as far on the book as I'd like, but I got caught up on all the leftover chores that were missed Mon and Tues.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Constant Snacking

Between the monthly dimsum lunch and the library, I squeezed in a visit to the museum to see the Mahaffey show. Parked in the parking garage and discovered that they charged outrageous prices after 4 hours, but luckily, I finished at the library in time. Decided to skip Froelick and Augen, and the book artists meet tonight and came home instead. It was just too much running around.

Picked up some molding paste and Golden Retardant, both for the 'Constant Snacking' call for submission and also to try with the Gel Medium and see if I can print the gel medium with the gocco. The movie tonight was Dream Girls, sweet movie but I would've been disappointed had I not already read that the music wasn't so reminiscent of Motown.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Lots more 'business end' of things

Spent almost 4 hours today dealing with emails & phone calls about the March exhibit, the Abu Ghraib prints, and also putting together some images and information for Karen who's preparing for a lecture about artist's books. Didn't get to a couple of the chores I wanted to do today, but did take care of the insurance thing.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

No, it's not finished

And no, I haven't a clue what I'm trying to do.

OK, Sunday night, time to deal with the to-do list. Last week's list:

1) Take the violin to the shop.
2) Try the Lenox with the plexi.
3) Finish the magnolia drawing.
4) Finish Byzantium, Faith & Power.

Did everything except 3) finish the magnolia drawing. I did also do a lot of stuff not on the list though, mostly leg work for the book arts show in March, and now possibly helping to put together the Abu Ghraib prisoners prints/wc show. Started a new book (German Expressionism), and did the Jan gallery walk (well, haven't seen Froelick and Augen, which I will see this week).

This week looks super busy, my calendar is full of writing. So here's a not too difficult list for the week:

1) Deal with insurance for skylights.
2) Finish magnolia drawing.
3) And most importantly, start laying out and mocking up the shadows book. I have some of the text done, but still have more text to incorporate.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Fiddle, bow, and me, together again

Picked up the bow from David Kerr's this afternoon, and proceeded to play for two and half hours straight. I'd thought that after a year long break, I'd be all relaxed and my playing would be better. But nope. The good news was that I'm not any worse either. I decided to tune it GDGD, in the Arabic tradition, rather than GDAE. And other than the first few minutes, I wasn't confused about the fingering, which was surprising; it felt pretty natural, actually. I am going to focus on my original and real goal of playing ME music, and for the time being, not return to my classical lessons (more and more, I'm finding Western classical music pretty boring). Continued reading my German Expressionism book, but otherwise, not much studio time. Dealt with some correspondences for the shows at PAN.

Friday, January 05, 2007

German Expressionism

Got started on a new book today, German Expressionism, 2nd Generation. The day was another busy day, but didn't get much accomplished. Started with a coffee with Terrie (my 2 person show partner), and by the time I went to the grocery store, ate lunch, went to the weight room, and showered, it was the middle of the afternoon, and I was ready for a nap (didn't sleep too well again last night). Managed to get into the studio just for a bit of reading before it was time to get dinner started. The movie tonight was Volver, a disappointment after so much good press. It was fine enough a movie, but not Almodovar's best, as so many are saying.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

What a busy day...

This was a productive day doing all kinds of art related stuff, but no time in the studio. Had some correspondences dealing with the book show at PAN, set up a blog for Portland Open Studios (which won't get going probably for a little bit yet), and went in and met with Barbara in person. Then I did the First Thursday thing, because I have some pieces at Rake Art Gallery.

And what a fantastic show Jeremy put together for Rake! I was blown away at the entry by 4 giant figurative drawings by Samantha Wall, whom I didn't know. I hoped for an introduction, but by the time I finished talking with Susi Bennett (another wonderful artist whose studio I hope to visit later in Jan), she had disappeared. Jeremy told me to go walk around and come back later, which I did, and that was good advice because Samantha had come back and we met up. Turns out, she's Korean-American, talented, and lovely to boot. And, she liked my work, too, because she came up to me to introduce herself. So how wonderful is that!? You can see her work here.

It was a good gallery walk tonight -- learned about a material that I hadn't heard of before, Sintra, which I though Rachel might be able to use for what she wants to do for the Rake show next month. Found out about the Jordanian printmakers show Barbara is planning for April, and fortuitously, there was a printmaker at Blackfish who has a series of prints of Iraqi Abu Ghraib prisoners that he interviewed at Amman, Jordan, and he's looking for opportunities to show them. Maybe two and two can go together and something can be done in conjunction.

Ran into Horatio and found out he's about to leave for France to teach for a semester!

The Portland Art Center show is wonderful too. A young artist has an artist book there, so I've asked her to email me some images.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Critique group

Met with the group for the first time at Helen's house. They had just started a round robin, so there was show and tell. It was interesting to see how some elements keep coming up in everyone's work -- the use of strings (or hair, in Diane's case), and the use of negative space. Minimalism seems to be the prevailing sentiments here, which of course is very different from my own work. Although the shadow book will start with a minimalist front cover, it will work its way into a color frenzy. We will meet at my place next, on Feb 9.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

If the material doesn't want to work with you...

...then you have to work with the material.

I found the small piece of scrap of Lenox that I had, sanded down a piece of plexi, sponged/brushed on the gel medium, attached the fairly smooth Lenox, and didn't work! You don't see the brush strokes, but you definitely see shiny and dull spots. I am guessing this is caused by spots of the gel medium being dryer or wetter. Since I'd be working on larger sheets of plexi than my test strips, there's no way that I'd be able to control the dry/wet-ness of the gel medium as I worked. So I decided this wasn't going to work.

But if the material does not want to cooperate, I will make it work for me, in its own way. I tried writing using the gel medium (a clear acrylic medium) and then attaching it to the clear, unsanded plexi, and voila...I got something! Here are 2 views of the result. Depending on the position of the light source, the text ('text', how original) can be almost invisible, mirror like, or matte. I did get a picture of the almost invisible version, but it just looked like a piece of white paper. This is great, less work for me, I don't need to sand the plexi.

Then I gocco printed some texts and solids on the plexi. Based on this test, I will print just text on the plexi and no graphics. the texts were printed in white and pale green. And the white was great! Again, in some light, you can barely see that there's printing on there (white ink on white paper). With the light coming from the right direction, the white ink casted a nice shadow on the paper underneath.

On other fronts -- took the violin to the shop today. They adjusted the tail piece, checked the sound post and put on new strings for me. The bow is being rehaired and won't be ready for another few days, this being 'high season' for bow-rehairing!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Cross this one off

Finished Byzantium. Tomorrow, the violin shop, and Kinko's (to copy a few pages from the Byzantium book for reference). Should also have time to dig out the Lenox and sand some plexi.