Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Me and Kara Walker, ON THE SAME POSTCARD!

Not only that, my name comes right after hers! You know, '...Walker, Wang...'

Exhibit A:

Yeah, it's hard to read cause I make the images pretty small, but if you click on the image, you'll get a slightly bigger picture and you can almost read it!

How did this come about, you ask? Well, a few months back, out of the blue, I got an email from the Exec. Dir of the NY Center for Book Arts, asking me if I wanted to be in this exhibit. Well, do I ever! So of course I wrote them back right away and said yes. I'll be showing Nigrum and and Pocket Atlas for Travelers.

I was thrilled to be asked to start out with, but then when I got the image of the postcard and started reading the list of artists in the exhibit, my heart just about skipped a beat. So how about that? Me & Kara, on the same piece of paper.*

*Assuming it's THE Kara Walker we're talking about.

On other fronts, mainly my current Relay Replay Press book

I'm getting ready to go out to The Dalles to spend a week there working with my senior. I went out for an afternoon visit on Thursday last week, and his wife had given me a lot of personal items to take with me—high school year book, old photos, etc; and I also gave him a replica of a Model T that I found at the Goodwill, still in its original packaging, and all metal parts. He has a Model A, and I thought maybe the two will be fairly close. As it turns out, the two were not all that close, but he was thrilled with the Model T replica because his family had one when he was little. 'The family car,' he said. It brought a big smile to his face.

The yearbook was also a huge hit. In fact, we spent most of the visit looking over the year book and we didn't have time to look at anything else.

I'm very glad for this turn of events, towards more personal items. Previously, I had been pretty focused on his navy career and his interest in all things mechanical. This is because, well, of course, I haven't known him for very long, and due to the long distance (hour and half drive each way to see him), I have only visited him 5 times or so.

This is very different from what I did last year, with the four women who were local—I saw them once or twice a week for six months.

But with the personal items that his wife found, we're having a different kind of a conversation, in addition to talking about ships and cars.

And remember that airbrush I bought half a year ago...

All so I can mount my paintings (gouache on paper) on board rather than framing them, but I want to give them some protection too. So I finally got that out of the box, put it all together, and put it through its paces—just some tests then followed by clean-up—so far so good, but I haven't gotten any further.

And those college students came back!

The Good Prince was predicting that they wouldn't be coming back, after their fist strenuous encounter with me (get your minds out of the gutter...which by the way, we're also having to replace). But come back they did, and they were clearly paying attention—last time, the only tools they brought were shovels, and so the only thing they could do was dig. And digging those bamboos was hard work.

This time, they came back with a variety of tools, and so there were more options. I set them to do some pruning, but there was still more digging to do, although perhaps not quite as strenuous as the last time.

And now I must go deal with the roofer...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The plumber, the roofer, roofer, roofer, and the last roofer

Yes, that's how many home repair/maintenance people I had out to the house today. Pretty much took me from 9:30am to 5pm.

In between, I made a small photo album for my senior out at The Dalles, whom I'll go visit tomorrow. I went out to the family home yesterday and took some photos of his antique car and of the garden, printed up the best dozen and made a small spiral bound album for him. The photos will make a good jump off point for conversation when I go visit. HIs wife also gave me a whole bunch of things that I can take with me either tomorrow or next week, or for when I go out for the week in July.

The spiral binding machine has been a good investment. I was originally thinking that I would do a sewn album, but by the time 3pm came around and I was on my 3rd roofer with 1 more to come, I figured my best chance of getting something put together was to spiral bound it. I used a rejected inkjet print of one of my paintings for cover and some left over Canson for pages, added a sheet of mylar over the front cover, and it looks pretty cute.

Monday, June 22, 2009

You know you're getting your money's worth...

Given that I have one month to catch up on two years worth of yard work, I hired the first set of college boys that came knocking on the door looking to do yard work. Today was their first day.

A long, long time ago, I scored four metal poles (cement balls already attached to one end of each pole), two of which I installed here:

It's hard to see, but there's a chain of bells that goes across, and it looks kinda nice. But I have two more poles, and installing the first two pretty much took all the pole-installation I had in me so the other two poles languished in the yard.

Today, I set my college boys to dig me two big holes and install them:

Also a long, long time ago, back when I was at Tektronix, they chopped down all the trees in the area between Bldg 58 and Bldg...55?—Well, I can't remember, that's how long it's been.—to build a Starbucks. Anyhow, there was this particular Poplar branch, it was nicely shaped. I noticed during lunch one day that the chain link fence that went around the building site was unlocked, and there was no yellow caution tape wrapped around the opening.

Well, that must mean that we could go in there then!

I convinced my long suffering coworker to go in there with me to get the Poplar branch.

While we were poking around, four very large men with hard hats came around, "HEY! YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN HERE!"

"Oh, sorry," spoken very meekly.


"Er, I was thinking that I'd like a branch..."


"Er, that one?" I pointed to the object of my desire.


How about that!? The world is my oyster and it's all mine but for the asking! And I've had this branch now for even longer than the poles, I think.

I had this idea that the branch can top the poles and make a nice little gate-like thing.


It would appear that the branch is just bit short for what I had in mind, and for where I told the boys to plant the poles. And as you can see from the picture, the ground was not exactly level and so we have one tall pole and one short pole.

So now I have to come up with a better idea.

Now I'm finally getting to the Getting-My-Money's-Worth story

After they dug the poles, I set them to dig up some bamboo.

"I hear that's really hard," (That's why I hired you to do it.) "but we're up to the challenge." (Excellent.)

I set them to deal with the bamboo and I went back to the other side of the yard to continue with my stuff.

Not too much after, I heard this big scream, "oh f*ck!" (I think that was what I heard...I was all the way across on the other side.)

Uh oh, somebody chopped off their foot? But the scream did not continue. I sauntered over to check on them. "You guys ok?"

"Yeah, he's just frustrated, it's really hard work."

So that's how you know you're getting your money's worth. And just think, someday, they'll be long out of college and they'll get together and reminisce. "Remember when we had to dig out the bamboo for that crazy lady?"

Here's the bane of their existance:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A relative of the bowerbird discovered in N. America?

It would appear that the bowerbird may have a relative in N. America.

See here, an attractive structure built from branches and twigs and decorated with rocks:

Judging from the size of the bower and the diameter of some of the branches and twigs used (not to mention the size of those rocks), this would be a very large bowerbird, perhaps with a wingspan of over 5 and half feet and weighing as much as 120lb.

I feel very special that this bowerbird has decided to build a bower right HERE in my yard!

In other parts of the garden

Yeah, those weeds are all over, but I thought it made a nice hairdo for the guy:

And the orange daylilies go nicely with the blue Atlas Cedar:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Website, website, and more website

I've actually been busy working on a couple of websites, mocking up a website update for myself, and also reading a CSS book (although so far, 30 pages in, I'm not overly impressed with it). My website skills are pretty rudimentary—although it's not bad for being self-taught by reading an O'Reilly html reference book—so I've been wanting to learn more CSS and try more javascript.

Not officially launched yet, here's the GBW's Marking Time exhibit online catalog. Because Stanford decided to shut down their online support for Conservation OnLine, where the GBW web pages were being hosted, the online catalog's launch is delayed until GBW moves to a new host. Hopefully, that will be coming up pretty soon now.

And, again, not officially launched, the 2009 Portland Open Studios website, complete with a javascript slideshow. Not quite as elegant as a Flash slideshow perhaps, but I don't have Flash.

Today was also a big garden day. I've started to clean up around the perimeter of the house (see Ant!), which not only involves trimming & pruning plants, but also means removing all the tree branches and trunks that I've been saving for a variety of vague and undefined garden projects. I ended up using the trunks and branches to build and define a path. Maybe picture tomorrow.

Friday, June 19, 2009


We've got ants, which is common enough a problem I suppose. About a week ago, though, the mailman came knocking on the door. He handed me our mail and said "your mailbox is overrun with ants and eggs." Sure enough, I looked, and the box was just crawling with ants running around like crazy, scurrying about with eggs. It was a pretty scary sight alright.

I hosed down the mailbox—yes, I do feel bad for the ants, but I'm not sure that there's a better alternative—and left the mailbox door open. Well, some good samaritan neighbor came along and closed the mailbox door, and the next morning the mailbox was overrun with ants again!

So this continued for several days, and coupled with the fact that we've been dealing with small ants inside the house for years, medium ants since earlier this year, and really big ants outside for a few years, I decided to call a Professional.

The Professional (not to be mistaken with The Professional, or the other two Professionals here & here) showed up yesterday. The first thing he said was, "I could tell from a loooong ways away that this house was going to be a problem."

Well, yes, the garden is a bit over-grown.

The first rule of not having bugs in the house—plants must not touch the house.


He says he'll do the best he can, but I really need to get as much of the plants away from the house as I can.

Phase I: Indoors

He asked me to show him where I see the ants. Mostly in the kitchen, of course, but I also pointed out the trail of ants in the hallway, which I thought were coming in through the door that went out to the deck.

He looked at me and said, "you know, ants aren't like people, they don't need to come in through a door..."

Phase II: Outdoors

Well, implementation of Phase II is delayed until end of July, giving me a month to get some of those plants under control.

It's never, NEVER, going to be bug free around here, but hopefully, at least the carpenter ants will be taken care of. But in the mean time, we really, really need to replace that roof...

Thursday, June 18, 2009

What we did on our month-long vacation

Lets see, Central Oregon for a few days, NY/CT/RI for a week, plus shorter day trips around OR & WA. Back East, saw the NY Botanical Gardens (thanks to Dr. Russ's recommendations), the Cloisters (it's just about my most favorite place in the world), the Frick Collection, the American Museum of Natural History (a close 2nd favorite), the Breakers, the 'summer cottage' of the Vanderbilts, and drove up to Albany to visit some friends. It was not an action packed trip, which was just fine for us.

I also managed to work on a new business card. I'm just about out of my gocco-printed cards and haven't had time to print any more, so I finally just had them printed at psprint.com, which I can recommend (and it was REALLY reasonably priced). They did the postcards for the Relay Replay show at JWSC back in December and I was really happy with them. The actual card is a bit darker, but here is the design. I used a detail from my last painting for the background:

Friday, June 12, 2009

We're back!

The Generation Gap or the Cultural Gap?

I noticed while my parents were here that a great deal of importance is placed on whether someone is male or female. It is something you must specify at the beginning of a story. For example:

Me: "I meet with this group of artists once a month to discuss..."
Parent: "All women, or mixed?"


Me: "My neighbor..."
Parent: "The husband or the wife?"


Or we're driving down the freeway and—
One parent: "Hey, look at the passenger in that car, they've stuck their feet out the window!" (They're constantly amused and amazed by such behavior.)
The other parent: "Is it a man or a woman?"


In short, you simply can not talk about anyone without having to specify whether it's a man or a woman. Yes, it drove me slightly nuts. And it makes me appreciate that here, people care slightly less about that than perhaps in other countries.

So this reminds me of another gender related story

In one of my visits back to Taiwan, when my brother & his wife still lived with my parents, my s-i-l would collect my laundry every morning and by the evening, my clean clothes would magically reappear on my bed. That is, everything except for my socks. I didn't say anything, thinking that the socks took longer to dry in the humid weather. After 7 days, I was out of socks and had to enquire after them.

S-i-l: "What colors are your socks?"
Me: "Black."
My father, quite surprised: "But why do you wear black socksl?!?! You're a girl!"

But back to work

After a month of traveling with my parents, life is more or less back to normal. I'm trying to finish the GBW's Marking Time website, which I did manage to work on while my parents were still here. I should be finished this weekend. And not a moment too soon, I had said I'd be done mid-June. Here's a sneak peak. I'm further along than that, just haven't uploaded the latest yet.

And for something unexpected

Check out the video on our (the critique group) exhibit For the Love of Food at Cedar Crest earlier this year: