Friday, November 30, 2007

Portland Art Center fundraiser piece, day...n

I uploaded the photo from yesterday, but now I don't see it; not sure what happened. But here's the photo from today, the finished piece:

As far as title, I can't decide whether to go with 'Blue Magnolia' or 'Ruins', or maybe something else all together. 'Ruins' was kind of what I had in mind from early on, back when it was still on paper. I had the sense that it was an abandoned/burnt out building, but the magnolia tree had come back and was blooming. Here, on the panel, I don't so much have the sense of something abandoned/burnt a while ago, but rather, it's in the middle of the process of falling apart now.

See this entry for day n-2.

Went to the frame shop and found 2 ready made frames the right size, already fitted with uv conservation glass. Goodies, I thought. Brought them home and started framing, and realized that the frames were plastic! I thought about it and thought about it and thought about it, and decided to return them, which I shall do tomorrow.

Ahhhh, blissful day...

...of painting. After doing the MUCH needed grocery shopping in the morning, I spent the rest of the day working on the PAC piece. I did take a photo, but then worked on it a lot more, and decided to not bother uploading the photo for tonight. I am making good progress, although it's still not finished, which I was hoping it would be by tonight. Tomorrow is the absolute last day as it's due back on Sat. So game plan for tomorrow -- frame shop first, then back into the studio to finish.

The Random Movie tonight was Enchanted, a lovely, lovely, lovely fairy tale...sigh...makes this Ferry Tale Princess want to Sing and Dance around the room, IF ONLY MY PRINCE WOULD, TOO!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

December shows

Today was a 'business' day for dealing with December shows. I'll be in 3 shows -- at Print Arts Northwest, at the Chinese Garden, and at City Hall. So there are emails to respond to, artworks to deliver, and plans to be made. Since I've already committed to doing a gocco demo at the Chinese Garden during the December First Thursday, I can't participate in the 'vending' at City Hall, which is too bad, since that might be more lucrative (there will be free beer!), I don't know. I might try to scare up a helper for that.

And, visited Susan to check out the free fabric. I brought home 16 yards of lycra that I can use for the pillow forms. Although once I got them out to better light, one of the pieces looks more like a dark olive green and not gray, but the 2nd piece should work fine.

So now the next few days, until Dec 6, is looking to be a bit crazy. I had thought maybe I wasn't getting into the City Hall show, since I hadn't heard back from them. But now I did, and I'll need to do some framing, and planning. Still have at least 1 more day of work on the PAC piece, so that's tomorrow, which looks blissfully empty on my calendar!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Portland Art Center fundraiser piece

With the fundraiser piece due back at PAC this Saturday, I've procrastinated until just about the last moment on this, as usual. Last I left off, this was what it was like. After running some errands early afternoon, I came back to the studio and started working on it again.

Here it is, part way through the afternoon. It's acrylic, and I had to use the camera flash, so the glare.

And here's by early evening. Doesn't look like a big change, between the two, but as each piece goes along, it takes longer and longer to do anything, for a couple of reasons—1) making a mistake becomes more costly, and 2) you start to work on the more subtle or minute details that are harder to see. Again, glare.

And I'm now thinking that the red across the magnolia is a mistake. I guess I'll sleep on it and see how it looks in the daylight.

I do like it better than the original drawing, which you can see here and here in its previous incarnation.

Monday, November 26, 2007

New toy...oops, new tool

So I went out and bought a Serger today. Even though I decided serging the tulle was not the right thing, it will still be useful for finishing the pillow books nicely. I didn't go the ebay route with this, since I really need the machine as soon as I can, and I already got some demos at the sewing machine shop, so I figured I owed them the business. It's an used Jenome 204D. Afterwards, I searched on ebay and found new ones for just $20 more (and free shipping too), but doesn't matter. I have it in my hot little hands now. Plus I get free lessons with the purchase. Not sure that's necessary, but I guess I'll give it a try. I do also have some other projects that I can use the serger for, so it will be a welcome addition.

Looked at more fabric for the pillow books. Not sure why I didn't consider wool before, but found a nice piece of medium weight, medium gray wool remnant that would work nicely. Also bought some medium weight gray silk.

As I was going through the accumulated emails from the last 10 days or so, I discovered one from Bonnie about a local clothing company giving away some black and gray fabric. Now that's news I can use! Hopefully I can arrange for a visit to the warehouse to check these out.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Back from Thanksgiving hiatus

A long Thanksgiving hiatus for me. Got back from my Bend-Hines trip last night, having left on Tuesday morning. Now I'm caught up on all my chores, mail, email, and even the Random Movie too, which was Beowulf, the 3D digital projection version. The 3D was good, but the animation wasn't so good. I don't understand why though, they used real actors with sensors and recorded their motions, but their gaits (and the horses' gaits too) were definitely off. And another strange phenomenon—while the male characters all looked distinctive, the female characters all looked somewhat alike. All had similarly shaped faces and noses, only their eyes and lips were distinct (although Angelina Jolie's lips were greatly reduced). I wonder a) if that means the range of 'acceptable looks' is smaller with actresses than actors, or b) presumably the animators were male majority and they were just more attuned to male faces?

A couple of garden pictures from before Thanksgiving. We've had a leak in the gutter for a few years, and last week, the leak turned into a deluge. On Monday, it poured cats and dogs so I put a big bucket under the leaky spot, figuring that I'd have to empty the bucket couple of times a day. It filled up after 10 minutes! So on Tuesday, before I left, I set up a little drainage thingie. I knew the roof tiles and tiles that I've been collecting would come in handy eventually:

And here's a shot of the persimmon tree:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Blade Runner!

Obviously, that was the Random Movie selection tonight. It was a pretty “Blade Runner”-ish night here—wet, slick, and dark. Really notice the 80's fashion on Sean Young now!

In the studio—all papers/envelopes/gocco supplies put away, all equipment/tools cleaned and in their storage boxes. I'll be ready to print pillow book III when I get back from Thanksgiving. Caught up on all the loose ends from Portland Open Studios (phone calls, reviews of documents, etc). And now I'm ready to go to bed, and the kitty decides to crawl on my lap...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Do nothing day!

And I'm happy about it too! I didn't really 'do nothing' of course, I did do my usual Sunday chores. But outside of that, nothing was accomplished, and I'm glad. I guess this qualifies as a sorry excuse.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Last gocco class of the year!

So I'm done with teaching for the year, now the living can return to normal, and I need to concentrate on working on the pillow books, and also finish the panel I'm doing for the Portland Art Center fundraiser!

The gocco printed puff pastries were a success at the iprc text ball, and they went well with Gretchin's mini pancakes gocco printed with unnecessary quotation marks!

I left the text ball before the costume judging (and there were some quite fancy and clever costumes, I must try to put something together for next year!) to go see No Country for Old Men. As always, a great movie by the Coen brothers, but it was a bit more violent than I could stomach, had my eyes closed half the time (but the dialog was good).

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More printing with food

Tomorrow is IPRC's text ball (theme is Elements of Style). Since I'm teaching tomorrow, I made the food tonight—more gocco printed puff pastries, which I'll serve with the lemon curd:

The pastries are printed with a mixture of hershey syrup and sour cream, and say: Question? Pause, Full stop. Bang! and #!@!%)!! (or something similar).

I learned something new: mass production is not the same as making a few for a test. When I ran my tests, and also when I taught the class at IPRC, I/we only printed a few with each combination. For this, I was printing a lot, and as I printed, the mess became bigger and bigger, and it became harder and harder to get a good print. So periodic clean up was necessary. Here's another shot of some of the later ones, after I figured out that interim cleaning was necessary.

I also had no idea that you could break a pyrex bowl by running warm water on it too soon out of the oven. I thought it was supposed to be able to handle that, but now I know better.

Spent the bulk of the day cleaning my studio, which now is now much more tolerable. It was getting to be hard to walk around in there. I need to figure out something though, either get rid of some of the books or put in more shelves.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Pillow Book II, day 1

I won't be able to play with structural issues until next week (after I get some space cleared up, which I can't do until I finish teaching this weekend), so I went ahead and printed the image for book II today. Here's the image printed on Rives Lightweight:

Here's the first printed tulle. I used some saved ink which I spread in the middle, then I opened a fresh tube (of the same color). When I opened the tube, I noticed how runny it was, and you can really see the difference the consistency of the ink makes. Where it's stiffer (in the middle), not enough ink came out to print the newsprint behind the tulle (the tulle is printed, I checked); where the ink is loose, the newsprint printed. You can also see the difference in the photo above -- it almost looks like a reverse vignette.

When I inked it, I spread the saved ink in the middle and fresh ink around the edges, then I took the palette knife and moved the fresh stuff around. Here's a tulle print in the middle, and I'm guessing that some of the fresher ink is now coming through and therefore it's printing onto the newsprint behind the tulle in the middle. You can also see where it's starting to run out of ink on the edges.

Towards the end -- the edges ran out of ink, leaving just the middle visible. I'm really liking this.

The used screen. I'm leaving this to dry with the ink on as well.

To see pillow book I up to this point, go here.

Picked up the goodies that I'll be printing for the IPRC text ball, and that's what I'll be doing tomorrow. On the garden front, the birds are back! It took a couple of days after I put the feeders back up, but we had quite a few of the more common backyard birds -- chickadees, finches, juncos, sparrows, a spotted towhee, and a flicker, and a jay, of course. The squirrels are back too.


Ooh, an extra entry today. This is the kind of language problem that my sister and I used to have all the time—the perils of speaking in both Chinese and English, switching back and forth in mid-sentence. She forwarded this from a friend, not sure if it's autobiographical or not. You can of course use Google Translate, which provides further entertainment value. Just note that it's an elevator that he's talking about, not an escalator.


在某一層電梯停住了,門打開,看見一個衣著性感的美女,一手挽著 LV包,一 手扶著電梯門,身體斜靠著,用挑逗的語氣問我: 夠淫蕩嗎?[Note, these last 4 characters are: gou yin dang ma?]


我平靜地說: 淫蕩是淫蕩了點,但我喜歡 !!

我知道我說這句話的樣子也一定很酷,作一個有骨氣的受傳統文化薰陶男子漢 ,要在新時代新潮流面前努力轉變思想,不能甘於落後。
突然間那美女用手袋猛地向我砸來,一邊還說:你這變態! .....


GoingDown 嗎? (下樓嗎 ?)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Potential solutions to pillow books

OK, I think I have several different possible new formats (still involving pillows) to try, and I might do each of the books in a different format, rather than using the same format as I originally planned. These, I hope, will give me the Didn't have a chance to physically try any today, which was a hodgepodge day. Lots of art related phone calls, little updates/emails concerning a couple of web sites, a gocco demo for an art critique group, and then a visit to Reed College's special collections. Librarian Gay Walker gave us a 'tour' of the collection by selecting a wide variety of work to discuss and pass around. I love these events, where I get to see all these wonderful books, but they're inspiring and depressing at the same time. As in, "why do I bother?" I must be an optimistic person though—I think, hey, my NEXT book is going to be just as good! That's right...just wait until I finish my pillow books.

But anyhow, lots of wonderful books at the tour. Hard to pick a favorite, but I loved the Ian Boyden books, and the Tim Ely, Inge Bruggeman, & Sarah Horowitz.

You know you're getting old when...

Walking from the parking lot to the movie theater at 10:30pm, you think, "hey, it's cold out here, and I'm tired, I should be in bed, what am I doing going to the movies?"

Then you get up to the ticket counter and it costs $20 for the two of you, and you remember when the two of you could get a pizza and see a movie for $10.

It seems like not that many years ago when I was lamenting that they stopped the midnight shows, but now I'm thinking, who wants to go to the movies at that hour anyhow?

Well, this all leads to the Random Movie of the Week -- Gone Baby Gone. It was very good. Only quibble is that the 'associate'/girlfriend didn't really do much, except for tagging along. And she was in a lot of the scenes.

I really did not feel like working today, for some reason. It was a perfect day for working too, no appointments, no phone calls. I did have to go to the post office to ship out a few things, but then after that, just couldn't get myself together. Managed to get a little computer stuff done, but really should've been in the gocco room printing away.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pillow Book I, day 3

Well, it counts...I did some reconnaissance for the pillow book today, so I'm counting this as Day 3. After Shu-mei's suggestion (more like insistence) that I look into a serger for finishing the edges of the tulle pages, I went to Montavilla Sewing today with a few sheets of my tulle scraps. The sales person thought the serger would do the trick, and I got him to finish the edges of 2 sheets of the tulle so I can test them out.

The result — it worked, ie, the sheets no longer get caught up in each other and I can turn the pages just fine. But there are still a few problems:

1. The tulle stretches, and it's very hard to finish it with the edges all lying perfectly flat.

2. The sheets don't want to lie flat against each other, both because there's no added weight and because the edges are no longer flat. With the silk bindings, the binding added enough weight that the sheets would lie flat against each other, but with the serged edges, the sheets don't lie flat. And the sheets must lie flat against each other for the image to appear clear enough to read.

3. I'm now questioning my original concept of a linear sequence, of the pages turning as in a book. Although memory loss is progressive, it does not happen in a linear fashion like that, at least not Alzheimer's. So I'm thinking something that works more in a non-linear, comes-and-goes fashion would work better.

So it's back to the drawing board. In the mean time, I'm going to start printing the next image. For the previous entry on this pillow book, see Day 2.

On other fronts — there was more business stuff to take care of, phone calls/emails to return, prints, cards, & Pudding to pack up and ship out. I have 1 more phone call to make, then all of the dangling Portland Open Studios stuff is taken care of, for now.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Look at these notebooks!

Today was the Beginning Gocco — Small Notebooks class, and look at these notebooks! From top right, clockwise — a tiger, a kitty, and a funny looking fish.

On the left, a line drawing from a book that Karin's husband is working on (Karin printed this), and a bird and some fishies.

The class ended pretty much at 5pm on the dot, then I changed, grabbed the cheese and crackers and ran off to the Portland Open Studios wrap-up party/debriefing. So no work on the pillow books today. Tomorrow, I have more business stuff to deal with — calls to return, stuff to send out — so probably no pillow book tomorrow either.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Lucky birds

Two weeks go by quickly and Monday is yard debris pickup again. Cleaned up the pile of branches at the base of the Douglas firs, and also cleaned the bird feeders and bird baths, which had all fallen out of care in the last 6 months or so. Unlike previous years when I'd had sightings of a few of the more unusual birds, this year has been very quiet in the bird front. Hopefully we'll get the birdies coming back soon.

I spent a bit of time trying to figure out a solution to my pillow book problem (see this entry), but I'm not really happy with anything I've come up with yet, so didn't work on that at all today. Went to the Boxlift building's open studio event...they really know how to do it up, with a band and all. I bought a small drawing of a geranium from Mulysa Melco. I sold my geranium painting a couple of years back, and I thought it would be nice to have another, this time by another artist.

Tomorrow afternoon is the small notebooks gocco class. I'm off to bed early so I can get up early and get ready for the class. (But I now see that it's past midnight already.)

Pillow Book I, day 2

It's a Good News/Bad News kind of a day. Good News first — I peeled the printed tulle off their newsprint backings and they looked fine. I stacked them up and the image appeared!

Here's 3 sheets of tulle (printed with the same image) stacked together; you can still see the newsprint underneath.

Here's 8 sheets of the tulle stacked together, and you can't see the newsprint underneath anymore.

The same stack of 8 sheets over the gray silk, which hopefully will be the pillow covers. So you can read the image well. With just 1 sheet over the gray silk, you can not see the image at all (which is why there isn't a photo of it).

Now the Bad News. From previous experiments, I knew that the edges of the tulle pages needed to be bound by something, otherwise they stuck to each other easily. So my solution was to bind the edges with the same gray silk that the pillows will be covered in. Only there were several problems —

1. I chose a very thin silk because I did not want to introduce a lot of thickness to the edges, which would make the center of the pages sink, and the image not line up. Well, the silk was hard to work with. I spent 5 hours and almost finished 6 edges...and my back hurts like crazy.

2. It took a lot of working with the silk and the tulle, and the tulle pages were pretty much stretched out of shape by the time I bound 3 of the 4 edges.

3. But the worst problem is that, well, it looks pretty bad! The edges are not straight, they don't line up, and I had a very hard time finishing the corners (hard to work on those 1/4" edges with that slippery silk).

Here are the 2 sheets I bound, stacked up. I only bound 3 edges per sheet, leaving the 4th edge open for now, since that will be the spine edge of the book.

So back to the drawing board. Now I'm thinking I'll finish the edges with a thin paper, maybe the Japanese tissue paper. But that introduces another problem...I won't have a ready solution for the spine edge. With the fabric binding, I could sew through the fold easily. If I laminated it with the tissue paper, I won't have the fold to work with. I suppose I could laminate all 4 edges with the tissue paper, but also use the gray silk for the spine edge.

Here's the previous entry on this project.

Well, time to go sleep on it.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Watching the ink dry...

Well, the printed tulle still felt a bit tacky today, so I didn't do anything with that project. Moved on to get ready for this weekend's gocco class — printing and binding small notebooks. Trimmed all the paper and punched all the holes, clipped all the spirals...for 75 notebooks! Takes longer than you might think!

Then it was onto the critique group meeting. With the Tennessee show coming up Real Soon Now, we actually got a lot done tonight, like what we're going to use for the postcard image, and what we're going to call the show (Six Points). Rachel will be mocking that up, so an image later once I get it. Worked on Shane's site's layout some more, based on the feedback I got from her.

And I almost won again! This time on a real Honest to Goodness Thursday Quiz (which is supposed to be The Hard One). I got a silver star...I got confused about where Kinshasa is...

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pillow Book I, day 1

No, it's not that kind of a pillow book.

These are the books I'm making for the Tennessee show next Jan; they'll be printed on tulle and sitting on pillows. I did the prep work yesterday -- taped the tulle to sheets of newsprint. From my first experiment with printing on tulle, the tulle came up with the screen every time, so I was hoping that taping it down to the paper would prevent that. And it did. Here's the pile of them:

The screen is half inked up. I decided to use the silver ink, to go with the gray silk that I'll use to edge the tulle pages, and also for the pillow cases. Gray was chosen initially because 'gray matter' = brain, but I also now realize that 'gray' & 'silver' are often used to describe the hair of the elderly, who are the majority of those suffering from memory loss.

Here's a print on paper:

And here's the screen after I finished printing and scraped up the ink. I did not clean the screen, I wiped up the extra ink and I'm letting the screen dry with the ink on there. I think I'll use these screens for part of the project. How, I'm not sure yet.

And this is the mylar that I put down on my lightbox so I could photograph the screen, and I'm really liking this. I'll see how I can us this as part o the project too.

And here's a sheet of the printed tulle...hard to see that there's anything on there! I peeled up the tulle and held it up to the light, and yes, it's on there. Hopefully, when everything's dry tomorrow, I'll stack them up and the image will actually be visible. Some are more visible than others, which is fine; I'll use the less visible ones as the last pages.

On other fronts, worked on Shane's web site. Have the initial layout done; now I wait to get some feedback before I put much more work into it.

What I did yesterday

I'm slipping...I've missed a couple of entries in the last month or so. We got home very late from the Random Movie last night (American Gangster) and I just wanted to go to bed. I started out pretty tired last night and almost decided to not go, since it was 2 hours and 40 minutes long, and didn't start until 10:10pm. But it was worth it; an excellent movie. Both Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe were riveting. And I know I'm very late to the game, but I'm becoming quite a Russell Crowe fan (I'm always years late on these things).

I started prepping my 'pillow books' yesterday. These are the books that I'm printing on tulle, and constructing as part of pillows, for the Tennessee show next Jan. I cut the tulle and attached them to sheets of newsprint using double sided sticky tape (otherwise I'd get ink all over the print bed, and it makes the tulle much easier to handle too). I have one image ready to go, so that's what I'll be printing today...

Monday, November 05, 2007

Catching up on the business end of things

I let a lot of work emails slide in the last couple of weeks, so today was mostly catching up on that. And as part of that, was my application to join the Portland Open Studios board. They had asked me several times and I had said no, but now feel that I need to help support and advocate for other artists, as others have done for me. This means that I may not participate in the open studios event itself next year; I haven't decided yet, but it maybe that I won't be able to do both, depending on how much work there is as a board member.

Visited with Theresa in the morning (my partner in the 2 person show at Hillsboro earlier this year and now has her own web site) and had our little "Portland Open Studios debriefing." I'm always surprised that her work doesn't just fly out the door, but apparently it doesn't; I think she's feeling pretty discouraged.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The living slash gocco classroom

Today was the impromptu intermediate/registration class I held with just Sundaye and Matthew. It was pretty relaxed. They just managed to get done a little after 5pm, and had to catch a flight out at 8pm, so they left their prints; I'll ship them out once they're dried:

Looks like the prints are starting to fall over...better fix that before I go to bed. Needless to say, teaching two people is A LOT different from teaching 15. I got to sit for part of the afternoon, and there were times when I didn't have much to do. I got to have my afternoon snack, even.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

First Gocco class held at my space

New this fall -- I'm offering Gocco classes out of my own house/studio, and today was the first class. One person cancelled last night and I wasn't able to fill it, so we had 4 people instead of 5. Which worked out ok, I was still working the whole time. I had 2 of those work tables set up in the living-room which was a good size for 4 people. The 5th person would've been in the hallway, which is ok for the 5th person (more light, more room), but I would've had to run back and forth between the two.

Two of the students came from out of state (southern CA and WA -- hi guys!) and we're doing an impromptu intermediate class tomorrow. One of the other students asked about painting classes...others have asked about that too, so maybe I'll start to put something together and figure out how it will work. It will have to span several weeks, so maybe one night a week for 5 or 6 weeks. That, was pretty much the day.

Friday, November 02, 2007

APA Compass on KBOO

Una Kim and I were the 2 interviewees for the APA Compass program on KBOO this morning. It was a brand new experience for me, live radio, with callers too. They don't have a podcast that you can listen to, which might be just as well.

In the afternoon, after visiting the Chinese Garden with Josephine, we went on to see Helen's exhibit at the Portland Art Center, and then to 23 Sandy to see the Photo+Construct exhibit (nice exhibit, btw, go Mrs. 5000!). Finished preparing for this weekend's Gocco class. My first class that I'm holding here, we'll see how it goes.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A bit of everything

Lets see, a run-around day -- had Portland Open Studios business to tend to, gocco supplies for classes to organize and pick up, Portland Art Center painting to work on, and the KBOO live interview to get ready for. And in between, a retirement party for my dentist! I've had the same dentist since 1984, and now he's leaving us for better things. OK, I'm off to finish prepping for the KBOO thing and then it's off to bed. It's across town first thing in the morning.