Saturday, May 31, 2008

MiT book, music

My senior #2 loves music. She played the violin (as a child, maybe), but not for a long time now. She mentioned quite often that she wanted to play the violin again, or maybe get a keyboard for her apartment. One of the image she printed was a drawing of a violin that she had made for this project. So I thought it would be appropriate to have a 'music' page.

I also started to introduce some text on this page — vivace (lively), dolce (sweet), and animato (animated), all musical expression terms but I also mean for the terms to describe her.

I'm still undecided if the envelope pages will all be some sort of a pattern, or if a few of them will have words (as in lines of words, not just part of the pattern like this one). So my plan is to just keep printing patterns until I decide other wise, or until I'm finished. If you can call that a plan.

Yesterday was a long day of helping friends and volunteering. My friend Helen Hiebert is having a show at Reed later this summer (yay!), so I went over to give her a sounding board on some different ideas. After that, it was onto Print Arts to hang the Monothon show (lasts just this weekend). By the time the day was done, I was pretty much done for too. All I could manage was a movie, a non-random one — OSS 117, a spy spoof. It was pretty good, except that's pretty much how I imagine our current so called president and his henchmen are. And that's not so funny.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

MiT book, chrysanthemums

After finally finishing the Portland Open Studios minutes yesterday, I was able to print the next page of senior #2's book:

Also made some progress with the text I want to add, and image for the spine (the inside).

Went to the Creative Business Basics class at IPRC tonight. (It was very helpful, gl!) It could've been a 4 hour class though, instead of a 2.5 hour class.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

William Park's profile

After a few days delay, I finally finished the profile for the Portland Open Studios blog. That was the big accomplishment for the day. Still haven't done the minutes...tomorrow, tomorrow! And I'm also hoping that I'll get to the next stage for senior #2's book (the next envelope).

MiT, 4th senior day 2


So now you know the day had a happy ending. And now I will tell you about the sinking feeling at the beginning.

My appt with senior #4 was at 1:30pm. I was pretty sure she was going to be there with her daughter or son-in-law, or maybe both. Nobody there. Knocked on her door. She answered and was happy enough to see me.

"I don't think I want to do it today."

Hmmm...not good.

"Ok, you just don't feel like it?"

"No, I just don't feel like it."

"Would you like to meet another time to work on the project some more?"

"Yes, I would like to."

I've been here before, and I recognize this behavior. My heart just sank. But I couldn't exactly force her to work on the project now, could I?

Since I was already there, I decided to stop in and visit a few of the seniors that I've come to know. After about 20 minutes or so, I made my way back to the arts & crafts room to pack up and go. And what did I see!? My senior and her daughter, sitting there, going through a giant binder of old family photos and documents!

That was exactly the scenario I envisioned when I started this project. Her daughter had found all kinds of things and they were talking about family history and sharing them with me as we printed. Again, we made 3 prints today. When my senior went off to dinner, the daughter and I stayed and chatted on for another hour and half. I didn't get home until almost dinner time (and was REALLY hungry), but it was totally worth it.

Her daughter plans to be there every time we meet, and says if by chance she can't make it, I should not take 'no' for an answer from her mother! So we'll see how well I do that.

So yes, a very happy ending today.

And I deserved a Random Movie, and Indiana Jones and Something or Other was the lucky pick. I couldn't really exactly figure out what was going on, but it was fun romp. Not as fun as the very first movie, but good enough. We also saw Son of Rambow the other day. Cute.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A working weekend

This was a pretty full weekend — the advanced gocco class at IPRC, 4 Topics in 4 Hours, yesterday and then yard work (in the pouring rain!) and Portland Open Studios web site today.

I'm too much of a cheapskate to miss the Monday morning yard debris pick is already paid for. So I was out there in the downpour deadheading the pieris and pruning the pine that was getting in the way of the mailbox and newspaper box. Spent the rest of the day finishing the web site. It needs final proof reading, and at least 1 document still needs a group discussion, but other wise, it's done.

The gocco class yesterday went pretty well. We went half an hour over — the printer prints so very slowly, one group waited a long time for their first project's printout and that set us behind. As always, people loved the food segment. And I got smart, instead of using the sour cream+hershey's ink combo for the class, I brought the pb+hershey's ink combo. The pb lasts from class to class; the sour cream, I had to get fresh each time and I end up with these tubs of half used sour cream that go bad in my refrigerator. Why didn't I think of this earlier?

Of course, I didn't do everything I hoped to do this weekend...but yeah, right, like there was any hope of getting them all done. Didn't get to the Portland Open Studios board minutes at all, and didn't get to William Park's profile, but I do have that started in my head, at least.

Friday, May 23, 2008

MiT book, folded envelopes

So here are the first 2 sets of 'envelopes' folded up. I just want them to resemble envelopes, but without the cumbersome flaps, and here they are. The stacks on the left is what they will look like as pages in the book; both sides will look the same so there are really 2 'envelopes' per page. On the right, is a page opened up — the inside of the page is printed as well. This will be sewn down the middle to the accordion spine, and then the 2 sides glued together, attached at the unprinted flap.

The rest of the day was a whole lot of Portland Open Studios business. There was a movie this week, although not random. We saw The Flight of the Red Balloon last Sunday, the Hou Hsiao-Hsien movie. It was excruciatingly slow. I don't mean the plot was slow, which it was (what little there was), but that doesn't bother me. But I mean everyone (except Juliet Binoche) moved very slowly. One scene a woman was learning how to make pancakes; she worked so slowly, Oh, My, God. I could've had the pancakes made in the time she cracked 3 eggs! I kept on thinking, just give me those eggs. And it wasn't like she was moving with such beauty and grace either. But I'm sure I completely missed the point, not having seen The Red Balloon. Or maybe I was just grumpy, but I shouldn't have been...I just ate the season's first strawberry swedish cream at Old Wives' Tales right before the movie!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 16, 4th senior day 1

Phew, what a long day. Met with my 4th senior at 10am. And contrary to what I feared when I met her first time, she seemed much more enthusiastic today, and made 3 prints. I think she's just not a very effusive a person, and has a pretty dry sense of humor. Turns out, she's really into mahjong (the Jewish lady's version). And more good news, her son-in-law showed up to visit while we were working, so her family seems to be pretty involved with her. I've invited him and his wife (the daughter of senior #4) to come for our next session.

She continues to say, '7 copies? What will I do with them all?' Referring to the number of the books she'll get. And today, the son-in-law said, "well, we want a copy!" So those are all great things.

Met with senior #1 in the afternoon for our weekly watercolor sessions; she decided to go back to a piece that we thought was finished a couple of weeks ago and add more pink to the sky.

I ran into the assistant director and we talked about my senior #1. Apparently, they (the assisted living facility) have been trying to fix up my senior #1 with a buddy for about a year, but she's not been interested in anyone. Anyhow, I think we might've found someone for her — she really admires one of the watercolors hanging in the arts & crafts room. She talks about it often, and says that she walks down every day to look at it. Well, today, while we were working, another resident came in to see what we were doing, and mentioned that she painted that watercolor! So I bet senior #1 would be interested in friendship with her.

Rounding out the rest of the day — critique group meeting, and returning the finished cameos to Marie Watt. Got home at 11pm, tired, hungry, and slightly disoriented from trying to get from Alameda to Milwaukee. I just about decided that it could not be done.

The sad story of the night — saw a young opossum in the middle of the road, just been hit by a car. It was still on its feet but the head was gashed open and bleeding. I almost stopped, but decided I was way past my hunger threshold, and I didn't have anything to catch it with. I guess all I can hope is that it died quickly after that.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

More MiT book printing, and a studio visit

Hey, today was an exciting day. William Park is participating in Portland Open Studios this year, and he's also showing this month at Mark Woolley's, so I went to interview him for the Portland Open Studios blog. I love the show and have been somewhat intimidated about interviewing him (I'm always intimidated by artists whose work I really like). But he was super easy to talk to and had lots to say. I have about 2 hours of recording to go back and listen to. There were a few things that really jumped out at me as we were talking, so there will be plenty of things to focus on.

In the afternoon, I printed the 2nd envelope for my Rock Star senior's book.

I really wasn't sure at first how I liked this, but seeing it now, I rather like the old fashioned look it has. And she loves pink. The whole time I've known her, she's had her nails painted bright pink (more like a magenta though, not a pale pink).

The sheets from yesterday are not 100% dry yet (it's been humid and rainy here) but I folded 1 envelope just so that I can see it. And I'm almost regretting that the way the sheet has to fold, you can't see the inside part, which is fully printed. I thought about leaving it open so it's visible, but in the end, I think it will be sturdier if glued shut.

I figured out a solution to a small little problem that's been nagging me about this book — how to include an introduction page and the colophon page. I want all the pages to resemble envelopes, but I didn't want those pages to be like the rest of the prints which will free float inside the envelopes. These pages must be the first and last pages and shouldn't end up in the wrong envelopes. So now I have a solution. Great! And it uses the extra paper that I had to buy for the spine. Double Great!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

MiT book, bonus day

Jim at the library didn't need me today, so I got some printing done! Here's the first envelope for senior #2's book.

I made a screen with an image measuring 5"x8.5". But for the first 2 impressions, I only needed a 5"x7" segment. Here you can see that I put down a strip of artist's tape at 7", which gave me the 5"x7" area I needed.

After that, I pulled up on the artist's tape and inked up the remaining 5"x1.5" of the screen. This was used to print the other side of the 10"x17" sheet of nepal light, in 4 quadrants. Here with 2 quadrants printed. The print bleeds through the thin paper, which will be just fine for these designs:

And here with all 4 quadrants printed. That the quadrants don't all meet up exactly doesn't matter; you won't be able to see that. They'll be either on the wrong side, or on a fold:

Here they are on the drying rack. I love seeing them all together like that. I should maybe think about printing up some full sheets of nepal light, or medium, to use (or to sell) as cover paper.

Monday, May 19, 2008

MiT book: flowers and ferns

Finally! After weeks of delay and interruptions, I started on the envelope designs for my Rock Star senior's book. Following her lead in her image choices, I started out with some florals. Here are two from today. Took half the day to create these, and I didn't have time to image the screens or print them.

A path lined with fronds:

And a meadow of flowers:

Each sheet of nepal light will need to be printed 5 times (paper measures 17"x10", the images measure 8.5"x5" which will fit comfortably the larger gocco screens) — 4 times on one side and once on the reverse side. Then a 2nd, smaller sheet of nepal light will be printed; after folding the larger sheet down to an envelope, the smaller sheet will be attached to the envelope as a liner. So all the visible surfaces (plus some not visible ones) will be printed.

Right now, I'm thinking each envelope will be different. But I need to come up with 9 of these, so we'll see if I do all different.

After some experimentation, I'm staying with the accordion fold with the piano hinge, but rather than glued, the envelopes will be sewn into the valleys of the accordion.

Unfortunately, tomorrow is another full day of volunteer activities so looks like Wed afternoon is the earliest that I'll be able print.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Obama:75,000; me: 9

After spending days with my nose in the computer working on the Portland Open Studios web site, I got a break from that this weekend and taught the beginning gocco class at Rake Art today. But of course, it's a whole day to get ready — cleaning all the gocco's, making sure everyone is in working order; cut & trim all the paper; making sure there's a good selection of inks; print all the notes; pack, etc, etc. So it did take the whole weekend.

As it turns out, there was an Obama rally here in town at the same time! I was picturing there being no parking space available in all of Portland, but it wasn't bad at all. I was sorry to have missed the talk, and I thought I might lose a couple of students to Obama, but nope, everyone came. And they came early! This was the first time that a class actually got started early because everyone was already there.

The Good Prince just now reported that while I drew 9 people to my class, Obama drew 75,000; and if it wasn't for the class, Obama would've had 75,009! Well, at least I held my own.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 15, 4th senior meet & greet

After days and days of Portland Open Studios web site work (and I keep finding more stuff buried deep in there that needs to be ported over), I had a break from that and met with my seniors at rsm.

Don't know if you all remember this, but I had a rather rocky start with my 1st senior way back when (she thought I was trying to sell her something and did not like me at all). Today, she told me that her grandson, her cleaning lady, and me are 3 of her very good friends! How about that!? We've come a long ways.

And she's come a long ways with her painting. She added animal forms on her watercolor today. There was a bird, and a mysterious shape which she later decided was a crouching cat and added a tail. We've not quite left behind the pink and blue sunsets though, she still has that going on this piece.

Met my 4th senior. Her daughter volunteers at rsm, doing beading with the residents, so I'm hoping that she'll be very involved with senior #4. I think that really helps, when they have support from their families, when the kids encourage them, they seem to do much better. Not too surprising, I suppose.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The end is in sight!

I'm getting close with the Portland Open Studios new web site. That's all that I've done for the last two days (including the first workshop meeting tonight). All the artist images are up. Most of the main pages are up. A few of the secondary pages still need work. A sneak preview here.

The Sort Of Random Movie tonight (picked by the time, it was the only movie we could still see by the time I got home from my meeting) — Redbelt. I have no idea what transpired in the movie, except that it was a con from the very beginning. But it has Chiwetel Ejiofor in it, so it was good.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Photo day

I went over the mountain and through the woods to spend Mother's Day with my mom this weekend. No work in the studio to report, but it's a good day to catch up on some photos.

First, in the Play With Your Food category:

I'm taking guesses as to what the food items are. I'll even give one of them away: lemon. You just have to guess the other one. (Another hint: this was part way through my dinner at Koji Osakaya tonight.)

In the Garden. This is the corner of our yard; the dogwood, irises, and azalea are blooming:

The tulips by the front steps:

The Things-Are-Falling-Apart-Here spot:

Dogwood and bachelor's buttons, I think. It came up by itself:

The crabapple:

And a bleeding heart tucked away between things:

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Isn't that romantic?!

The other day, after my senior #3 decided to pull out of the project, I was moping around all evening. I put my hand to my forehead and declared, "my life is over." The Good Prince said, "well, if your life is over, I guess my life is over too."

Isn't that just the most romantic!? And there I thought he was going to say,"well, then all the rest of the chocolate is mine."

Speaking of romance, the Non-Random movie of the night was Made of Honor, which was really not a very good movie, but I'm a sucker for movies where the girl gets to marry her best friend and live happily ever after. Someday, they're going to make a movie about the Good Prince and me, and the whole time, he'll be going, "what a dumb movie."

Seems like after we got the AAA discount movie tickets, we've been going to more movies (not much money saving there). We've seen Ironman (Non-Random, and it was ok) and My Blueberry Nights. My Blueberry Nights was a bit disappointing; I think it could've been much better had Norah Jones been a better actress. But the movie also lacked the painterly beauty of In the Mood for Love, my favorite Wong Kar-wai movie (although admittedly, I have not seen them all).

Picked up some Nepal Heavyweight, which will make a much better spine than the Rives Lightweight. I did have to buy more of it than I needed for this project in order to get it wholesale, but I think I'll eventually use it all.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

MiT, 1st senior, day 14

My first senior continues to gain confidence. She's using bolder colors, creating marks purposefully with her brush strokes, and experimenting more. I think I will continue to meet with her once a week, or maybe every 10 days, just on a fairly low key, relaxed way. She's usually only good for about an hour for each session, and it's pretty relaxing for me. We're not exactly working at a manic pace.

I'm hoping that my 3rd senior will change her mind still, but if not, the coordinator has someone else that she thinks would be suitable, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Life is easier with Photoshop

First, a couple of garden photos. I couldn't do anything with these until I had Photoshop up and running again. See what I mean about life and Photoshop?

This is the view as I get out of my car. Shot at the height as I'm sitting but trying to get up enough oomph to eject myself out of my seat. From front to back: barberry, tulips, spirea, pieris. I love the combinations of reds, oranges, and pinks here.

This is a very fragrant viburnum (yet another one) that blooms April-May, pretty much picks up when the other fragrant viburnum finishes.

OK, I've got my Photoshop CS3 trial version up and running, and life is definitely easier, or at least work is progressing. Made a lot of progress on the Portland Open Studios web site today.

I got to look at one of Mare Blocker's earlier books that used the piano hinge binding. I went into the library for my volunteer gig yesterday, but Jim didn't need me. But since I was there, and I've been meaning to look at some examples, that was a good time to do it. Turns out, it was the only example of the piano hinge binding there. But anyhow, got some different ideas for how the hinges and the cover boards can come together. Mocked up some samples when I got home. I was originally thinking I'd use Rives Lightweight for the accordion part, but now think maybe a slightly thicker (but not as thick as the BFK) and more textured paper would be better. So I'm still looking.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Leopard and Photoshop don't get along

A few weeks back, I decided to make a big effort to spend less time on the computer, and also to make sure to put the computer to sleep mode when I'm not using it. Computer use is probably one of our remaining 'biggies' in terms of our use of resources. We already bus or bike a lot, produce relatively little garbage (more about that later), reuse, recycle, compost, ripped up the grass, and planted a gazillion trees. Most of these things I've done all my life, or at least all of my adult life, so it's not a passing phase. Although I have to say that most of these things also don't seem to take a lot of trying either, but maybe that's just because I'm used to them.

When I started looking around to see what else we can do to reduce further, computer use was the first candidate. We run several computers at home; we both use them a lot; and they stay on all the time. Certainly for me, there's no professional reason why I need to be on the computer a lot, it's just a leftover habit from before. When I have a free minute or two, I check my mail, and then I get distracted by other things, and before you know it, I've been on the computer for half an hour doing nothing.

So I've been trying to limit my computer use to just twice a day (unless I'm doing real work that requires computer use) — once in the morning to check mail and to read news/blogs, and to respond to anything that requires immediate attention; and once in the evening to finish doing what I didn't finish in the morning, and write my diary. And in between, I put my computer to sleep and turn off the monitor.

Well, this has worked out well enough EXCEPT that the automatic backup no longer backs up my computer, because that runs in the middle of the night when the computer is asleep and can't be backed up. This lead the Good Prince to set up the backups to happen another way, which required upgrading my OS to leopard. And of course you already know the rest of this story.

Photoshop puts it quite delicately though. It says something like "I will now exit," instead of crash-n-burn and taking the rest of the computer with it.

This of course means I will have to upgrade to Photoshop CS3 for $200. I don't know how much electricity we'll be saving when my new less-computer-use routine, but I bet it's not $200 worth!

Anyhow, this was the long way of saying that I tried to work on the Portland Open Studios web site today, and discovered that I couldn't because I could no longer run Photoshop. I did finish trimming all the paper for senior #2's book though. (Oh yeah, and on the days that I'm doing real computer work, or at least trying, I also allow myself some fun time on the computer too.)

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Two steps forward, one step back

I've been trimming paper for days. This is for senior #2's book. I finally chose a paper (Nepal Light). I chose it because it's fairly lightweight, and it's neutral in color and I know I can gocco print on it pretty well. Lightweight is necessary because the folding required to make the pages look like envelopes creates a fairly thick page, so I want to start with a really light paper.

The disadvantage is that the paper is handmade and has very irregular edges and most are not even really rectangular. The advantage is that I know the person who's the importer and so I was able to buy 100 sheets wholesale! And 100 sheets was just about exactly what I need (with enough extras to cover for mistakes).

Of course, the paper being very irregular and very thin mean that I can not stack them up and cut several sheets at once. So I've been spending days trimming 100 sheets of 30"x20" Nepal Light down to 200 sheets of 10"x17 and 200 sheets of 6"x7". The corners have to be squared, and there's just no shortcut for this step. And I'm still not done.

Consulted with the cabinet maker who's making the folding screens. I wanted to make some changes, and he said no problem. Yay!

That was the 2 steps forward part.

The one step back — my 3rd senior has decided to not participate in the project. She says she's not sure she wants to have her images be in books that go into library collections. Valid enough, but I'm hugely disappointed. Especially since her prints have come out so beautifully. Which is another thing — she said she's been showing her prints around...and then her sentence kind of trailed off there, leading me to think that she's not getting very encouraging feedback from her peers or family? I can't imagine why, because all the people that work there who have seen the prints just think they're super.

So now I'm down in the dumps.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

MiT, 3rd senior, day 2, 1st senior, day 13

OK, I have a nickname for my 3rd senior — my Magical Senior. We made a 2 screen print today. She paired 2 images that I wouldn't have paired together myself; chose the colors she wanted (and was pretty firm on that, even though I wasn't so sure), and worked on varying the printing pressure until she got what she had in mind. And it is a fabulous print. She called it dreamy, but I call it magical.

The last time we printed, we pulled a few extra prints to give to some of the folks at RSM, people that work there that I've met and interacted with. Today, there were people asking us for prints!

The afternoon was spent with senior #1, and she's getting more confident. This new image is starting to differ from the others that she has worked on. She's adding flowers (something she had pooh-poohed before), and she's more willing to just put some paint down and go with it, rather than going back and forth and being indecisive. I think I need to work with her more, even though we've met so many times already, I feel that she's just now coming into her own. For example, I think today was the first time since we started the watercolor sessions where she did NOT point to the watercolor hanging on the wall and say she wanted to do something like THAT.

I'm still experimenting with paper choices and folding options for the book for my 2nd senior. Checked some prices, and am hoping to be able to purchase wholesale, since I'll be buying so much of it.

I didn't quite make it to the museum yesterday, as I had promised senior #1 that I would. But she had forgotten all about it, the topic never came up today.