Monday, March 31, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 10 V0.1, 2nd senior day 11

We had a slight mishap today, with senior #1, which is why it's day 10 V0.1

When I got there at our appt'ed time, she was still having breakfast and in her bathrobe. This had happened before and this time I was prepared — I brought my lunch! So I ate my lunch and went for a quick walk. But an hour later, she still hadn't shown up. I knocked on her door again, and she did come to the door, although apparently, she had taken a fall and spilled a can of coke on the kitchen floor. The floor was wet with brown liquids and very sticky. Well, I don't blame her for not being up to do watercolors after that!

After I cleaned up the kitchen floor, she asked me to go into the living room to see the watercolor she painted! She was very proud of it (and yes, it was the watercolor she did with me). (And yes, I reported the fall to the front desk.)

Senior #2, as always, was prepared with 2 drawings, 1 verse, and a watercolor. And we managed to print everything today. Next time we meet, we're going to hand color some of the prints.

The random movie tonight was Summer Palace, a Chinese movie. Except we didn't actually get to see it. We thought it was playing at the Livingroom Theater at 10:15pm, but turns out, they don't show movies late on weeknights. And it was too late to try for another movie.

There was a random movie last week, Mrs. Pettygrew Lives for a Day, which I thought was a magical fairy tale; the Good Prince, naturally, thought it was pretty dumb.

(And yes, all day, whenever I'm sitting at the computer, I'm listening to Andreas Scholl. Like right now.)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A new day, a new love

Yesterday, the orange tabby; today, the castrato! Well, ok, the countertenor, but I bet 'castrato' got your attention.

Listen to Andreas Scholl sing Stabat Mater in D Minor here, written specifically for him. And he looks to be a real cutie patootie too. Actually, he looks somewhat like Joshua Bell, if slightly bulkier and not quite as boyish looking. I got my 'Best of...' CD yesterday and have been listening to it all night as I worked. I'm going to have to get a real stereo. And more of his CD's. (Yes, I'm belatedly discovering Scholl, not being a big fan of Baroque music, but I'm coming around!) Kathleen Battle, Deborah Voight, and Andreas Scholl!

[Speaking of Kathleen Battle (the Divine KB), anecdote time: the Good Prince and I got married almost exactly 17 years ago, on our way into work. The next day, we both went off on business trips, on different flights. Although we were going to the same conference, and we did end up staying at the same hotel. We had no plans for a 'honeymoon,' a concept that always struck me as a little silly. Anyhow, people at work gave us so much trouble over that that, a few months later, when I saw that KB was having her debut at Carnegie Hall, we decided to go. So after dinner at Carnegie Deli, we walked over to Carnegie Hall. And as always, I was walking in one direction and looking in another. I looked back in time, just as I was about to bump into someone. I did a double take, because that someone was the Divine KB herself! I let out a surprised 'oh!' She was just as surprised, and let out a giggle. That was my brush with greatness.]

Work wise, finally got Pudding #23 finished, stuffed in the envelopes, stamped and ready to go. Evidence:

It is a miracle!

On other fronts—prepared for my day at rsm tomorrow, and more Portland Open Studios stuff.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The neighborhood Lothario an orange tabby.

When he was younger, he used to come running if he saw me a block away. It always made me feel like one half of those romantic scenes where the lovers run towards each other in slow motion; I could almost hear the music play in the air.

In the last couple of years, he's been less lovey dovey. Once, he turned, saw me, swished his tail, and then continued on his way to do whatever orange tabbies do. But tonight, just like old times, we had a good visit. He makes me smile, even though I'm worried that he's still out this late at night.

But so much for kitty talk. Today was a full day of Portland Open Studios business. The old web site needs to be updated while the new site is still in the works. All the various acceptance letters need to be updated (accepted, accepted as alternates, scholarship winners, accepted but no scholarship). That was the bulk of the day and I didn't make it to Kinko's to wrap up the notes for Pudding #23. Which gave me another opportunity to look over what I wrote for the technical data and evaluations, and I ended up re-writing much of it too. So it worked out ok. Should be able to copy that, and stuff the envelopes tomorrow.

MiT, 1st senior, day 9, 2nd senior day 10

I'm still not sure what I think of meeting with both of my seniors on the same day. On the one hand, it's fewer trips, and also it means 2 days a week I'm there, leaving me 5 days to myself; on the other hand, it's pretty exhausting. I was so tired and out of it by the time we wrapped up this afternoon that I came home without loading the equipment up into my car, leaving them all sitting by the front entry way at rsm — it was another day where I had to park in the lower parking lot, so I signed out and carted all my equipment out by the curb before I went off to get the car. But then I just got in the car and drove off! Fortunately, the story had a happy ending.

My rock star senior made more prints from her watercolors today, and also another verse. There are enough prints now that I wonder if the current model will still work, it might be too bulky. She's doing some beautiful florals in her drawing/watercolor class and we've been able to use some of the images. She's also been working on watercolors on her own, making images to go with the verses she writes. She's very positive and creative — today, she discovered a spelling error on a verse that we had already finished printing. Ten minutes later, she came up with a solution to 'disguise' the error and to make it more like a puzzle that a reader would have to solve.

My 1st senior is the polar opposite, although she seems to enjoy our time together doing watercolors, if she's made the colors blend, then she wants them not blended; if they're not blended, then she wants them to blend. In short, whatever it is that she's got, she wants the opposite. As a result, she has spent hours working and reworking the same pieces, going back and forth and back and forth, never satisfied. If she's asked me to scrub out some lines that she doesn't want, you can be sure that in another half a minute, she'll ask how she can put some stronger lines in. I'm not really sure how to deal with that, other than to just let her proceed, which is my current plan. She did produce a lovely watercolor during our first session, and she's very fond of it, she's not been able to complete anything since.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The short hair picture

So gl requested an image of me with short hair, and without the stubble, so here it is:

When it was first cut, it was shorter still; it had grown out some already in this shot. I did take some pictures at a photobooth right after I had it cut, but the background was black, and you couldn't see my hair against the background. I can vouch that I looked just like k. d. lang though, when her hair is really short!

This was probably around 1997-8. I saw a lot of women with their hair cut really short and it looked really cute, so I tried it. My hair stood straight up when it was cut that short. It was really easy to wash, 5 seconds; then I had to spend another 10 minutes trying to get it to lie down flat! It also required way too frequent visits to the hair place to keep it trimmed and stuff, so I grew it back out. Now I just have the lazy person's haircut.

OK, onto business. Today was the meeting to discuss the new Portland Open Studios web site, and it was a marathon 5 hour meeting! We got a lot done. There was also the wee bit distraction of a 3 months old baby...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pudding issue #23, day 3...and I'm a redhead!

OK, finished printing the cover page for Pudding #23. They should be dry and in the mail by Saturday! At last.

And the topic of women & facial hair (and no hair) seems to have struck up some interest (see comments in this entry). And gl—I don't just think I have a funny shaped head, I know I have a funny shaped head! But in either case, having just had my hair turned red today, I'm not going to shave it off any time soon

Especially since it took forever: I went in for my once every 6 months hair cut today. Unfortunately, the guy who cuts my hair, who's actually a neighbor and was doing it out of his house (and I could just walk there), had moved to a salon across town. And since I went all the way out there, I figured I might as well go all the way and have my hair tinted Scarlet (that was the official color name).

I thought this was something you shampooed into your hair and washed off. But noooooo. You paint it on with a brush, hair by hair by hair. Well, it seemed like that anyhow. Anyhow, THAT, took all afternoon.

So where my hair had turned white, it's now a coppery red; where it was still's still black. I think in the sunlight, you can probably see a red cast. The Good Prince, being color-blind, can't see anything different. I think you can see the copper in this shot:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The jury process, day 2

Today was the 2nd half of the jury process. Most of the work was already done by the jurors when they scored each applicant, so today's job was to balance out the sides (east/west). Also when you sort by score and, for example, you have the next 10 people with the same score but only 3 slots left, then you have to start looking at things like, is it a medium that's not well represented in the mix, or an unusual technique, etc. So that was an interesting exercise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

MiT, 2nd senior, day 9

After what seems like very long hiatus (2 weeks), my Rock Star senior and I got back to printing today. During these last two weeks, she made a bunch of watercolor flowers and wrote a few more verses to go with them. We printed one flower image with a verse, and a 2nd one just the plain flower, which I really thought was very elegant all by itself, without any words. I convinced her to just let it be without words, and I'm glad she went along. Here's the entry from our last meet.

On the open studios front—finished the score sheet database and I'm ready for tomorrow's final selection process.

In what is yet more of the one thing leads to another department—during which I cleaned up the upstairs spare bedroom, got rid of a lot of the junk accumulated over the years, got rid of the old sofa bed, and bought a more comfortable guest bed—I bought a dresser for the newly inaugurated guest bedroom today.

It's the tall thing on the left. The room is not very big so I've been looking for a high boy style dresser, which seems to be quite popular at the moment. I've been checking the thrift shops and 2nd hand furniture stores, and everywhere the same story, "oh, I sold one just like that yesterday!" Anyhow, saw this one on craigslist, and by the time I emailed, he had already had several responses, and it was first come first serve. I guess I got there first. It was pretty much the exact size I was looking for, perhaps just a tad on the taller side (the lamp now sits a bit high). But I'm not going to complain. It's in decent shape, although some dog obviously had a fun time with the bottom drawer pull!

Serendipitously, I think it goes quite well with the hand woven wool blanket the BiL & SiL brought for us last week from Ireland, which you see on the sofa.

And even more serendipitously, the blanket also goes well with the yardage that I had bought to make pillows for the sofa. The wall hanging is a Taiwanese aboriginal bark painting that my mother had for years and gave to me a few years back. I think they all go together pretty well, without having that 'matched' look.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The jury process

Today was the first step of the open studios jury process. There were 3 jurors, all uninvolved with the event in any other way. Each applicant submitted 3 images or 6 images (if they were applying for the scholarship). Each juror gave each applicant a single score from 1 to 6. The range of 1 to 6 was chosen (over 1 to 5) so that the jurors didn't have the option of doing a '3', should they be indecisive about which way to go; they had to commit to 1 direction or the other.

We went through all the images first, without scoring, which gave the jurors an idea of the overall pool. Then they scored the applicants on the 2nd go-around. It was a very quiet group, very little talking, chatting, and there were just a few questions. From my vantage point, I could see how a couple of the jurors were scoring, and I thought, "wow, I would never get in with these guys!" It was really very interesting to see how they were scoring, what their preferences were, etc.

After the scoring, the jurors left, and we stayed to tally up the scores. Now my job is to enter it all into a database, sortable by a variety of fields. Then we get together again to review the scores and other qualifying factors.

That, pretty much was the day.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The (not so) fat lady sings...and can she ever!

Being an opera singer gets harder and harder all the time. It used to be that they could just stand around and sing. But then people demanded that they act, and so they started acting. Soon people wanted more telegenic and not so fat singers, and so they slimmed down (most famously with Deborah Voight's weight loss surgery). And now, with the HD telecast in movie theaters, they must have perfect complexion as well.

Fortunately, so far, they all seem to! It's really quite amazing, to see these gods and goddesses, glorious sounds pouring out of their mouths, their faces 20' high on the movie screen, and not a blemish on their radiant complexion. That can't all be the magic of makeup, right? I mean, if they have a zit, or a wrinkle, it's going to show up...right?

I finally got to see and hear Deborah Voight today, the 5 hour opera marathon of the Met's HD simulcast of Tristan und Isolde, starring Deborah Voight as Isolde and a revolving door of tenors as Tristan. (Today's Tristan was her 4th Tristan in as many performances...I guess it's jinxed. One got sick, one got bunked on the head, not sure what happened to the 3rd. Glad to report that there were no mishaps today.)

And wow, wow, wow, what a great performance! I had only seen still photos of Deborah Voight before (and all from before the surgery), and I have to say that her size was first thing you noticed (well, I noticed, anyways). But in a live performance, she's a lovely, beautiful performer, as well as a fantastic singer, and you never notice her size at all (and I'd bet that even before surgery, she was just as lovely a performer). I'd love to hear her sing Turandot, although that does not appear to be on the list of roles she does.

[A slight distraction, during which I bought 3 CD, one with Deborah Voight, of course; a second of Rodelinda, which I've wanted to do for a while; and a third of Andreas Scholl. I also found a bunch of Andreas Scholl videos on youtube and fell in love!]

OK, so that was all so NOT in the studio today. I did finish prepping for the Portland Open Studios jurying process tomorrow. I guess I'm calling it a day.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pudding issue #23, day 2

Two days ago, I printed the StencilPro HiRes part of this issue and today was the gocco screen part. I used the identical test artwork, except for the label. The ink I'm using (the light blue) does not seem to be the fastest drying, so I'll probably wait until tomorrow night or Sunday afternoon to print the cover.

Picked up the yardage that I ordered to make pillows for the guest bedroom...if I ever get around to it, that is. As it happened, our guests brought us a nice wool blanket from Ireland, and the colors go really well with the futon cover, and the yardage I picked up for the pillows!

The day seems to have gone by without getting a WHOLE lot accomplished. I did spend some time looking for a dresser for the guest bedroom, and also picked up a pink girl's bike off freecycle, for when my niece comes to visit this summer. It looks so small!

Print Arts Northwest brown bag session

Print Arts has been running these brown bag sessions once a month, and I must admit that I'd not made it to them before. However, today's brown bag was being given by me! So I went.

When I got there, a videographer was setting up. Surprise! Yes, these sessions are taped! Which meant I really should've prepared. I had decided to just wing it since, well, I've given these demos a gazillion times. I also didn't prepare any art work, I just copied a page out of Guide to the Dissection of Domestic Ruminants, something I picked up a while ago for the animal anatomy drawings. These books are more fun than the clipart books for demos.

Well, I think it went ok. For the most part, I wasn't focused on the fact that there was a videographer there. Just a couple of times I suddenly remembered it.

Didn't get a whole lot else done after that. I decided to take the opportunity while I'm down at that part of town to check out a couple of furniture places. I'm still looking for a chest of drawers for the guest bedroom.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pudding issue #23

For a change, we had a sunny morning and early afternoon, and I was not already involved with another project, so I took advantage of the sun and exposed the StencilPro screens. And of course, I forgot to take pictures, until I was already all done. This is the StencilPro HiRes (SPHR from now on) screen (the red thing) mounted onto a previously used gocco screen. I cut out just enough of the gocco screen so that I can use double sticky tape to tape on the SPHR screen. The light blue part is the exposed area (I'm using light blue ink):

I exposed 2 screens, one using a transparency and a 2nd using 20lb weight white paper. I followed the exposure times on their web site. The screen exposed using the transparency exposed properly. The one exposed using the 20lb paper did not expose properly (I did the full 3 minutes, as instructed) and during the wash phase, all of the light sensitive material washed off.

So a quick comparison between the Gocco and the SPHR:

1. The 200 mesh Gocco screen is way, WAY, higher resolution than the SPHR. You can see the SPHR mesh very clearly, and those are some big holes in there. And because of the large/loose mesh of the SPHR, straight lines and edges end up jagged, if the line/edge is not parallel to the lines of the mesh. So my squares and lines came out with kinks in them.

2. Print Gocco is much easier to expose than the SPHR; but of course, most people need those disposable lamps to expose the Gocco screens, where as you use sunlight to expose the SPHR.

3. If you buy the smallest sheet of SPHR, it's actually more expensive than the Print Gocco (including both bulbs and screen); if you buy the largest sheet of SPHR (17"x11", on special at $18.99), than SPHR is cheaper.

Overall, I'm not happy with the SPHR print results. If you need to print small text or fine lines, Print Gocco definitely has it beat.

I still need to print the same image with the gocco, so the issue is not ready to go out, and probably won't be ready until after this weekend.

And, the Random Movie tonight was Penelope, which I thought was a very sweet movie, but the Good Prince thought it was ultra dumb. But maybe I'm just inclined to like it because James McAvoy is in it. He does look good with stubbles, which got me wondering...what would I look like with stubbles?

Back when my hair was shorter:

And take 2, back when my hair was WAY shorter:

He wears it better:

When I just now looked for images of him that I could photoshop, every single photo I found had him in stubbles. I guess that's just his look.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The guest bedroom gets inaugurated

Our visitors from Ireland have arrived, and as I type, they're taking the new guest bed out for a test drive. They're pretty exhausted, having been up for a full 24 hours. So this was the typical Sunday of chores, plus welcoming our guests. There probably won't be much studio work to report in the next few days, either.

I suddenly have a craving for hot & sour soup...

4 topics in 4 hours gocco class at IPRC

Today was the debut of the 4 Topics in 4 Hours class which I had designed specifically for the space at IPRC. It's a small room, but they wanted to offer an advanced gocco class that covered a lot of different topics, and to do it in 4 hours. It took me a while to come up with this class structure, but I think it worked pretty well. We were pretty much on track throughout the afternoon, an hour a topic.

It also worked out well that the 'gocco printing on food' section was the last section — I got them to clean up before we started the food segment, and everyone was hungry by then, so we were pretty much eating everything as they came 'hot' off the press. And what didn't get eaten, we left for the good folks at IPRC.

We wrapped up just a little late, but that included the final clean up, so not too bad.

Oh yeah, we install the blinds tonight. We have this really wimpy electric screwdriver, so we had to do a lot of it by hand. I'm not sure about this was incredibly difficult to unlock and let down the slats; and now that it's down, it seems to be impossible to raise and lock it again. Instructions were bum too. They had us install a center bracket, "evenly spaced between the 2 end brackets", which we did. Then we put the blind in the brackets, only to discover that the middle bracket, right in the middle, was actually in the way of one of the cords. Bah! I did like the magnetic valance though, that was a good trick. At least now we don't have to worry about exposing the guests to our neighbors.

Friday, March 14, 2008

MiT, 2nd senior, day 8

Not sure if I've mentioned this before, but I keep a database of what I do during the day in 15 minute increments. Yeah, kind of nerdy, but it's really helpful to keep me on track. I started this to keep track of how much time I spend either actively working on an art project or doing art related things, like having to go shopping for materials for tomorrow's class. But I also keep track of other things too, like how much I'm exercising, how much time I'm spending on email and web related things, and how much time I spend on dealing with household things. (If I'm thinking about art while I'm exercising, that still counts as exercising; although, I wonder—I sometimes get so much figured out while I do my twice daily 30 minute walks, maybe I should label it as 'art'?)

I set up a Filemaker database and everyday gets 25 rows to record my activities. And today, I used up all 25 rows (and I actually need 1 more. but I'm not gonna bother). This means the day is really scattered. Instead of spending a chunk of time doing something, it's been 30 minutes of this, 15 minutes of that.

The day started like that. I went to rsm for my watercolor session with my senior #1 only to discover that she had left with her family for a family visit/outing. I guess she forgot about our appt. I was disappointed, but glad that she was spending the day with her family. So I came home without getting that accomplished. The afternoon session with my senior #2 was also a short session, I just wanted to show her the model of her book and get her feedback. I think she liked it in general, although I'm not sure she thought the envelopes were necessary. She was excited that we could work on more prints, since she's been thinking about more images. I think she's hooked on printmaking now.

The blinds for the guest bedroom also arrived today, about a week before I was expecting it. I've opened it up and checked it out, but it's also so big that I can't install it very easily by myself (70" wide), so we'll do it this weekend.

Most of the afternoon was preparing for the IPRC gocco class tomorrow. Finished the class notes; packed up my bag; shopped for the foodstuff. I guess I'm ready.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

MiT update

After my critique group meeting today, during which my CritqueGroupMates (?) suggested that if I want to spend more time with each of my seniors, I should call RACC (the grantor) and see what they say. Many other people have suggested the same, so I finally did just that, and they thought that was fine. So the deal is that I will work with 4 seniors in stead of 6, with the extra time and materials I would've spent on the other two seniors now to be distributed among the 4!

I feel so much better about that schedule. And now that I'm back in the car again, I'll be meeting with both senior #1 and #2 tomorrow.

I actually got a lot accomplished today, although it's also kind of scattered. There were many phone calls, many unrelated to art, but still needed to be done. And I started to prepare for the gocco class I'm teaching at iprc this Saturday—4 topics in 4 hours. I'm almost finished writing the class notes; I need to go shopping for some materials not covered by iprc, and pack. Then I'd be ready.

On my way home from the GBW meeting at Muddy Waters last night, I stopped in at Powells to pick up a book that people were talking about, but couldn't find it. But I did finally buy the Penland book on artist's books and also Alisa Golden's Expressive Handmade Books. Both are gorgeous. I've just part way through the cursory look at the Penland book and haven't opened up Alisa's book yet.

The advantage of having fixed up the upstairs spare bedroom—I can now use it as a comfy reading room! Before, I've already just sat at the dinning room table to read, which is not the most comfortable setup.

Oh, almost forgot the Random Movie. We actually saw it 2 nights ago, but I keep trying to forget it—10,000BC. I swear we were just there to see the saber tooth tiger! The ticket ripper grinned at us and said, "oh, gooood movie." We kind of figured that we were in trouble then. I tried to tell him that we were there just for the saber tooth tiger, he grinned some more! What did the NYT reviewer say..."sublimely ridiculous," or something like that.

More bits & pieces

Well, I have the artwork for the next issue of pudding printed out, one on transparency, one on vellum, and a 3rd one on 20lb paper. Those are the different media that the stencilpro instructions say you can use to expose the stencil. Although I think I'll only do the transparency and 20lb paper, they are much more easily available than vellum.

Lots of admin/business stuff during the day. Had to write a fresh artist's statement for the open studios application. Since I'm focusing on artist's books this year with my projects with the seniors, my 'regular' statement didn't quite work; so I edited it to talk more about my books. In the evening, went to the GBW meet at Muddy Waters. Showed the mockup of the book around and got some good feedback.

Now that I have my car back, I hope to get back to meeting with my seniors again soon.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bit of this and bits of that

The big news, the new futon sofa bed arrived!

And the kitty has given her stamp of approval.

So now my guests will not have to sleep on the floor. However, looks like the window shades will not arrive until after they're gone, so we'll need to do something about that.

Otherwise, a scattered day. Wrapped up Alice's web site update. Filled out my Portland Open Studios application. And perhaps most importantly, started to work on the next issue of Pudding! This is 6 months late already. I keep thinking that I'll do a double issue, but I never got a good idea for the 2nd one. So I'm moving ahead with this next issue, which is testing the StencilPro HiRes product.

Already, the instructions are not that great. For exposure time, there's a table with different light sources and different opacity/transparency levels of the paper the artwork is on. But there are 2 times given for each, and no explanation as to what is what. I look on their web site, and there's a corresponding table, and with on 1 time given for each (an improvement), but it's different than either of the times given in the printed material. I've decided to go with the information on the web site.

I need to finish making an exposure frame, and rig up a washing tray (I don't want to use any food containers, naturally). So it might be Thursday before I actually do the printing.

Monday, March 10, 2008

MiT, book for 2nd senior, day 1 & 2

Finally got back to the studio today and did some work on the book.

This first image was from a few days ago—the map mockup. These are 9 of the 10 prints that my Rock Star senior made over the 4 week period that we were meeting. Based on this one attempt, I concluded that the map had to be much bigger for it to make sense as a map, and would be too cumbersome to deal with, both to print and for the viewer.

One of the other options was to treat each print as a 'letter'. So here's a modified concertina, held together with a 'piano hinge'. Each page is an envelope that holds a print that's attached to each of the concertina folds.

Opened up to one of the pages. On the left, the back of an envelope; on the right, the front of the envelope. I drew a little stamp on there; not sure that's what I'll do. I am going to print either the outside of the envelopes or the inside of the envelopes, or maybe both, just not sure which or what yet.

One of the envelopes opened up. This is all made from scrap paper and prints that had been rejected. So this one has an old print on it. And I kind of like having a dark print on the inside. I think it sets off her print nicely.

The piano hinge pin is removed and the concertina is opened up. Again, this is an rejected print, but here's probably where I'll be printing an image of a night sky with lots of stars, or maybe fireworks.

The concertina would be the same height as the envelopes; my scrap paper is just a little short.

I'm using a piece of cardboard for the hinge pin in the mockup, but I was thinking maybe using a glow stick or one of those fiber optic wands. I searched around for some options, but they all look pretty ugly, unfortunately, so maybe not. I also looked for some really thin candles, and they might work. I'll be putting words on the inside of the concertina, and maybe on the envelopes too, so the idea of the candles can be worked into the book.

Woohoo! I found out tonight that they're going to pay me for the Portland Open Studios web site work! What a wonderful surprise! And it's not a pittance either.

OK, on to the 7 facts about me tag that I responded to yesterday but did not propagate. So I'm playing along and tagging these fine citizens of the blog slog:

1. The Yarn Princess...she's probably got lots of weird little facts to tell, if you can read Chinese.

2. The Life and Times of Michael5000, who will hopefully regale us all with some of the lessor known weird facts about him.

3. And Sundry, who tagged me with my very first tag a bit ago, and now I get to return the favor.

4, 5. Hey, this one is good for two! Sven & gl at The Scarlet Letters!

6. And The Muse, who writes so beautifully, I'm sure that if she had extra pinkie toenails and wrote about them, it would still sound like poetry.

7. Chicken Hat tells all.

The usual rules play or not to play, that is the question, but I won't call you poop-heads if you don't.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Squandered my 4 'free' days...

Well, it's the end of my 4 day period where I had no appts, and I was going to get soooo much done...

Needless to say, reality didn't quite work out that way. Although I did have a few things that I'd forgotten to put on the calendar, so it wasn't a totally free 4 days. But either way, definitely nothing was accomplished in the studio today, this being full of the usual Sunday things.

So I'm free to respond to the tag from Amanda Watson-Will...7 facts about me! This tag has rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2 Post the rules on your blog.
3. Post 7 facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Drum roll please...

1. I have an extra toenail on each of my pinkie toes. When I was little, I was told that this was a Mongol trait, so I always figured Ghengis to be kin, since something like 90% of Mongolian males can trace their genes to the great Khan. A while ago, I googled it and turned up nothing. I googled it again recently and discovered a whole lot of conversations going on about it. Turns out, Cantonese claim it to be a Cantonese trait; Hakkas claim it to be a Hakka trait; and seems like every other Han Chinese claims it to be the indicator that you're a 'true Han.' And even some Norwegians have it. So my dreams of Ghengis kinship seems to have been very well dashed. Either that, or he's pretty much single 'handedly', ahem, populated much of Asia and some of Europe too.

2. I belong to the Haplogroup D. Now isn't that just fascinating?! This is the group that came out of Africa, went into the Middle East, through Central Asia, Siberia, and then into the Americas. The weird thing is, when you look at the map of human migration on the National Geographics Genographics site , this group is NOT, I repeat NOT shown as having gone into East Asia at all. And yet, the oral presentation says that many East Asians belong to this group. So I wonder why they don't draw the line as branching down into East Asia, and only as having gone into the Americas? Huh?

3. I'm bilingual...I speak both Emacs and Vi! And both Chinese and English too. Only I speak Chinese like a 15 year old in 1975.

4. I'm a belly dancer. I even performed once, way, way, way, way back in 1986, or maybe it was 1987. It was so stressful that I never did it again. Now I just dance for the fun of it. I even started violin lessons hoping to eventually play in a Middle Eastern band, but I've been too busy to play much in the last couple of years.

5. My first career aspiration, when I was 5, was to be an opera singer. European opera, not Peking opera.

6. This one is really about my cat: she knows her name, and comes when she's called (by her name, but not 'kitty kitty'). Sometimes when she's curled up next to my head, we play this game—I call out different names in sequence, and when I say her name, she whips my head with her tail! Occasionally, a name is close enough that she gets confused, but otherwise, she's pretty much dead on!

7. The last one. I've squandered 6 of them, so I better make this one a good one. Oh, The Pressure! Oh right, I was planning to include this one but forgot—I'm an Emmy winner, sort of. It was a technical Emmy, and they are really awarded to the product. So I was part of the engineering team that designed the product, which won a technical Emmy back in 1988. In 1992, another one of my projects was nominated, but didn't win.

So now I'm supposed to tag 7 people...this is like a pyramid scheme, isn't it? I'm not sure that I know 7 people with blogs, and they've probably all done this one already. And it's getting late, so I'll do that tomorrow.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

MiT review & book ideas

A quick background on the MiT project:

Moment in Time is the project name; I couldn't think of anything very original, and the grant application required a name. To see the full project summary, go here. But roughly, I'm working with 6 seniors with progressive memory loss at an assisted living facility to work on artists' books. I have until October 2008 to complete the project, and then the books will be exhibited at John Wilson Special Collections at Multnomah County Library, and at the assisted living facility. In addition, I'll be making 2 room dividers. (A cabinet maker will be making the structures, I'll complete them by filling in the openings of the lattice with gocco screens we used to make the books.)

The 2 months review:

1. Even though I have a family member with Alzheimers and I've attended a bunch of talks given by the Alzheimer's Association, one's not really prepared until one actually starts the work. So, although when I ran into some of the difficulties, I recognized them, I did NOT account for them in my project proposal. Which means I really should've given myself more time to establish rapport and trust with each person; instead, I kind of expected the same kind of working relationships I have had with others. So there isn't much room for anything to go wrong with the current schedule.

2. I thought each person would have a treasure trove of mementos to work with, but guess what!? By the time they move into an assisted living facility, they've shed most of those things.

3. I'm happy with how the situation has turned around with my mercurial senior #1. So perseverance makes a difference; and taking a 10 day break probably helped too (she didn't quite remember me when I came back). It was good luck that I discovered what she really wanted to do, but I'd like to think that it was also because I was paying attention to what she was saying.

4. So far, I'm on track to finish in time, but I have to keep working at at least the current rate to stay on track.

About the books in general:

The 6 books are intended to be a set, with some copies of each book going to each individual, and the remaining books to be in sets of 6.

Initially, I thought they'd be 6 books of different sizes, constructions, etc; they would go into a fitted box such that each book has a niche of the proper size. I rejected this idea because it seemed to be making a statement about their living arrangement, which was not what I wanted to do.

The next idea was to make 6 books similar/nearly identical on the outside, but wildly different on the inside. I want the initial glance to produce one reaction in the viewer, but a completely different reaction as they read the books. Chele left some thoughtful comments a few days ago, and I'm still considering it. I think I've been procrastinating on seriously mocking up the books because I am still trying to make up my mind. Although I suppose my first book is free to be whatever I make it, it's the subsequent books that I will have to struggle with.

Book ideas for my Rock Star senior (senior #2):

She has done a series of prints that read like little life's lessons. She started with pre-existing images (although she started to create original images towards the end) and wrote a sentence or two that related to the image.

1. Since they're like little notes, maybe to her kids/grandkids/friends/etc, with advice about life, one option is to create envelopes to contain the prints so that they're like letters. The 'letters' would then be housed in a slim box, unbound. The disadvantage of this would be the constant inserting/removing of the prints from their envelopes, which might damage them.

2. Since they read like sage advice, how about making them like the illuminated manuscripts—with her prints tipped in and decorative borders around the prints? The prints are not likely to be damaged this way. Disadvantage—I'm not sure her images will go with something like that. I will try one and see.

3. How about 'a roadmap for life' idea? This was the one I started mocking up yesterday—using a map-like background and a map fold, tip in the prints on the 'map'. The problem, I'm thinking, is that the 'map' needs to be pretty large, relative to the print size, to read as a map; otherwise, the prints cover up too much of it.

4. This one is about imagery, not structure. I want to use night sky as the background with bright stars, or fireworks, that light up the sky. Her personality is nothing short of luminous, and I want the book to celebrate that. I can see this working pretty naturally with either structure #1 or #2 above, but probably not #3. And since I've been working with fireworks, that's just on my mind anyhow! Is that lazy? As I'm typing in all these different options (and having to put ideas into words), I'm starting to gravitate towards option #1.

I got tagged!:

7 facts about me. I was going to do that tonight too, but it's getting pretty late, and this entry is already pretty long. I'll save it for another day. But here's a 'coming attraction'—I have an extra toenail on each of my pinkie toes. Almost like those cats with the 6th toe!

An hour later...

Now that I've had my snack, more caffeine (yeah, no wonder I have trouble're thinking, but really, it has noooo effect on me,, really), I think I have a solution to the 'envelopes problem' in book structure option #1!

And I wasn't lazy today, I did work, just not in the studio. Mostly worked on Alice's web site and Portland Open Studios web site updates. Once you get me seated in front of the computer, I just end up there for the rest of the day...

Make all the plans I want, but...

I had today's entry all mapped out in my head; it was going to be a 2 months review of the MiT project, plus a run down of the mockup options for the book for my Rock Star senior. But I am suddenly exhausted. So instead, I'll just mention the distractions of the day:

1. The Saturn died. Kaput. With no warning or anything. Yesterday, everything was just fine, and today, nada. The lights all still work, so that eliminates the obvious. The shop won't be able to look at it until Monday, so that pretty much screws up my schedule for early next week. I guess that means I'll have the time to focus on the book!

2. Alice needed her web site updated, and she only gave me a couple of weeks. Unlike Rebecca, who seems to have totally dived into updating her own web site after our lesson session and then picking up the Nutshell book, Alice still completely relies on me to do it. So I got about 1/2 of that done today.

Worked on mocking up the book a bit, and I think I can see that I'm not going down that road already, but I'll probably get it a bit more finished before I decide for sure.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Lake Oswego Chronicles piece, day 12

I didn't play hooky and go to the coast. I was a good girl and did my pruning (finished with all the barberries and then spent another 15 minutes digging little tiny thorns out of my hands), and then finished the Lake Oswego Chronicles piece. Well, I think I'm mostly finished with it anyhow:

Doesn't look like there's much difference between this and when I last worked on it, and there isn't. I added an undertone of orange to the window frames on the left, reshaped the bird's nest on the right, and painted out the lines that connected the flowers on the bottom. I like the fading away look of the 'winter' side of the piece. And yes, I decided to keep the bird's nest. When I took it out, it looked ok when I I had the image shrank down pretty small so that I could take it all in with one glance. But with it larger, without the nest, my eyes never would move over to the right side of the piece.

I might play with it here and there some more, but I'm mostly done with it. But we'll see what happens after my critique group meet next Thursday.

When I was out for a short walk this afternoon, it looked like someone had sawed off the top of Mt. Hood! The clouds were almost the same color as the sky:

I haven't been sleeping very well for the last week or so, mostly staying up half the night thinking about the book project with the seniors, wondering about format, structure, printing, imagery, etc. You name it, I'm worried about it. Then surprisingly, I slept well last night (probably because I'm just really tired by now), but then had one of my stress dreams—I dreamed that I woke up and discovered that I was 70 years old, except that I didn't look any different. I kept on trying to talk to people about age related issues, but nobody would listen to me, saying that I wasn't qualified to discuss the subject!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 8, 2nd senior day 8

Usually I try to meet with them on separate days, but my Mercury couldn't meet tomorrow and wanted to do today instead, and I had already made my appt with my Rock Star for the same day. So today was the double whammy. It worked out ok, even though it got off to an inauspicious start.

Parking is always trouble at rsm. Most of the time, I have to unload the car and then go park somewhere else. There's a circular driveway where I can pull up and unload. When I got there today, all the lots were full, so I drove up to the driveway. Wouldn't you know it, the driveway was blocked by 1. a giant moving truck, 2. a big UPS truck, and 3. unfortunately, an ambulance.

So I back out of the driveway, only to see a very aggressive driver coming up behind me, trying to cut me off and zip into the parking lot (which I already knew was full, the joke's on him).

So I was late for the appt, which I hate—I fear that it adds to the confusion of the situation if my senior shows up at the appointed time and place and I'm not there. Fortunately for me, my senior was REALLY late.

So my 1st senior, who's been so focussed on getting a soft, subtle pale pink/blue sky decided to go bold today! She added more colors to a piece she already finished before, and when she started the new piece, she started putting on a lot of colors. As might be expected, the first time you try something different, you don't always like the results, and that was what happened. She asked me to throw it away. I'm thinking that I'll bring it back for our next session and she how she feels about it then.

My 2nd senior is striding along, of course, as she has done pretty much since our first meeting. We finished printing her last 2 prints today.

Now I think it's too bad that I committed to working with 6 people for this project. With my 2nd senior starting to create original imagery to use, and my 1st senior seemingly just now stepping out and becoming more experimental, I find myself needing to move on, if I am to get this done in time.

Both my 2nd senior and I were pretty sad that the printing has come to an end, and that it will be a couple of weeks before I meet with her again to show her a mockup and get her feedback. She has been a real delight.

As I was looking at my calendar today and seeing the next 4 days without a single appt (yippee), I was going through the list of things I could accomplish. I could do this, I could do that, I could do this and that.

And in the mist of all this planning, I suddenly got the urge to drive to the coast tomorrow.

Got my pillow books back from the Tennessee show today. Everything arrived in good condition. I meant to add these pictures from the show, but never got around to it. So here they are, now that the show's over.

On the wall, from left: show title, Alex Hirsh's silver point drawings, and Diane Jacobs's prints; on the floor, my pillows and Diane's hour glass piece:

On the wall, Diane's map of the world (made of hair, and there's a tiny crystal ball that hangs in front of the map where you can view the map right side up), and Anne Greenwood's fabric pieces:

Helen Hiebert's handmade paper dresses & film:

On the wall, Anne's fabric pieces and Rachel Siegel's photographs; on the floor, my pillows:

Among other admin type stuff, I started seriously looking around for classes/lessons in Persian or Mughul miniature painting, for next year, or maybe the year after.

Found three in London!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Hanging shows

First, some garden pictures. This is the most amazing Viburnum ever. Yes, it's a huge family and I don't remember the name of this particular Viburnum, but the variety is called Spring Dawn. It set the buds back in October and has been blooming ever since! It does that every year. And the flowers smell wonderful.

Here's my Katy McFadden sculpture at the foot of the viburnum.

One of the many hellebores blooming right now:

The Chinese paper bush. It's supposed to bloom in December, but mine is always late. And in years past, it only set the buds but didn't bloom. We'll see if these actually do anything this year. They smell wonderful, when they do open.

The chard and the leeks are still standing! I wonder if they're still any good...maybe they'd be tough?

OK, the rest of the day: today was a 'medium duty' volunteer day, just PAN and the library. Helped Sarah finish putting up the March exhibit by putting up those adhesive letters/signs. I hadn't done that before and didn't know how they worked. So now I know! Good thing to learn.

No studio work today, just volunteer duties and some Portland Open Studios errands. Tomorrow, I'll be at RSM the whole day, meeting with both seniors, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Then, the Big Day—I'll start to mock up books for both seniors on Thursday, my first day in the studio this week. As I was walking from PAN to the library, I came up with more ideas for the books (walks are even better than showers sometimes). Here are my current thoughts, obviously subject to change once I get started:

1. I want all 6 books to look similar on the outside—same size and similar (if not the same) covers, but to differ drastically on the inside in structure and materials. Superficially, I see the elderly as a homogenous group (except for my American mom of course!), and I think probably most people do. They seem frail, forgetful, slow moving, & dependent on their children/helpers. And of course, they look old, which to many of us is something that is 'other' than our own state (which might be completely delusional). But of course, the reality is not so. My 2 seniors are as different as night and day, and I'm sure the others will be different still.

2. For my first senior, something ephemeral, delicate, and fragile (she is, I think both physically and mentally). For my 2nd senior, something bold, expressive, and sharing.

Not sure how I'll pull off the 'same on the outsize, drastically different on the inside bit' yet.

MiT, 1st senior, day 7

I met with my 1st senior this morning, which now seems like a LONG time ago.

Once again, we met for a watercolor session; she finished the one she started last time, and then started another. Also once again, she's spending A LOT of time trying to get a blue/pink sunset sky with subtle color shifts. She's willing to spend a lot, I mean a lot, of time doing that. We worked mostly in silence, but then once in a while, she would pop out some really surprising comment about her past. They would just sort of come out of nowhere. It's really interesting. There's something about these sessions, where she's really obsessed about this ONE specific image (sunset sky, grass, trees, a path), that seems to bring out some memories. This this entry for out last meet.

On other fronts, I'm still chipping away at the Portland Open Studios web site update. And on even more other fronts, I'm starting to feel really overwhelmed, with Alice asking for a web site update in the next 2 weeks and a gocco class being lined up. I probably should've said no to the class; and in fact, I still might, since they don't seem to have quite all the equipment necessary, which means I'll have to schlep a lot of stuff.

So I was feeling pretty down and out by tonight when we went for the Random Movie, The Band's Visit, and it really cheered me up. Again, nothing really happens, but a very sweet movie.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

MiT, 2nd senior, day 7

Today was a very fun day. After using existing images to form the basis for a print and then adding her words to them, my Rock Star senior is starting to branch out and creating original imagery to print. Last time, she brought in a watercolor that she had done in her drawing class, and that was a great success; today, she crocheted 2 little disks, wrote the accompanying text, and we printed that.

While we were printing, a group of Japanese women came through, touring the place. Not sure what it was about, but they knew all about the Print Gocco, of course! It was great fun to have them come in, all grinning upon seeing the gocco.

Got some more pruning done...I'm slowly getting the roses and barberries pruned. One or two more yard debris pickups and they will be done.

Lake Oswego Chronicles piece, day 11

I think I see another reason why I'm just not liking this—it's starting to remind me of a Thomas Kink*de painting! Although the Good Prince tells me not to worry, I'm 'no master of light', he said.

I worked on it a bit more after the photo was shot, but I'm not sure that I'll keep it. I'm definitely thinking that I'll probably, maybe, for sure, remove the bird's nest before it's all over. I like the quietness of the right side, and the nest rather breaks that mood. See this entry for the previous image.

Cleaned up the whole batch of gocco screens that I and my seniors have been using. I think using them in the room divider will be a fine thing. One of my better ideas of late.

I'm starting to have more concrete ideas for senior #1's book as well. The evening walk tonight was productive that way; figured out a couple of things. Once I get this painting out of my hair, I'll start mocking up the books for both senior #1 and #2.