I've hired a studio assistant, who is turning out to be more like a Girl Friday and all that goes with.
Perhaps eventually I'll be able to start writing again.
It looks hopeful.
The circus train is moving. We have shaken some dust.
Hoping you are having a good entering into of the insanity that is winter holidays. And all that goes with.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Sunday, September 22, 2013
I learn new things every time I make a video short. It's fun being at the beginning of something again. Brain is happy.
And I fell in love with this image, so made it into a print:
I have to say that it works because of the music of Calexico. They are astoundingly talented and great company in the studio. More on John Convertino and Joey Burns of Calexico.
Posted by lisa at 4:11 PM
Friday, September 20, 2013
I wanted ferns for a box sculpture. I looked around and found these silk holly leaves. The fabric shading looked like it might work. I took out the plastic spine (it just peeled right off) and used a very sharp Xacto blade. Here are photos of that and where I used them. The box will be traveling to the World Fantasy Convention in October. I won't, but plan to be there next year.
|VERY sharp blade only|
This box measures about 9 inches tall. I'm a little concerned about shipping, but I installed layers of thin, dense foam around the inside panels and usually have good luck shipping glass.
And I made a Red Queen for Autumn
Posted by lisa at 9:55 AM
Friday, September 13, 2013
The hole. I started calling it that sometime in the blurry past. Somewhere back there, I remember learning that was Nora's word for it. Nora is my friend I rarely see anymore. I have a few of those. It happens.
The hole. Right. Found one, fell in. It was a long, slow fall. In fact, I was already falling when I realized what was going on. Before that was a clusterfuck of migranes, with a toothache between. Even that seems blurry now.
But not summer. No, summer is as clear as a bell. No. Not like a bell. And not clear.
More like a siren through smoke. A squeal of tires on asphalt. A train bearing down. The desert summer is always harsh, but this is an ugly heat, it locks us indoors as sure as a snowstorm but doesn't feel like nature. This isn't the desert I know. This heat feels WRONG.
Too much bad news and suffering among humans. Too many oblivious, selfish dumbfucks. Sometimes I'm one of them.
I can't look at the sky. It begins to look like a ceiling. It presses down. My heartbeat - if I looked at my chest, I might see it just so faintly. I don't look. I've seen it before. In my head, it's cartoony - a heart shape pounding against my shirt, stretching it to breaking. My skin prickles, my hands sweat, the floor tilts.
Then I hear it, in the wind or the whooshing pattern of a fan or the dishwasher's rhythm. "Wake up human. Wake up. Wake up human wake up. wakeup human wakeup human wakeuphuman. It's late it's late itslate itslateitslateitslate.
I don't look at the sky because it is a ceiling. I squint my eyes and look.
Ohhhhhhh. Un-see that.
I can do this.
I close my eyes and breathe. I know what to do. I have SKILLS.
Breathe. C'mon, girl, breathe.
All is quiet.
There. There, it's over.
there its over
there its over
there is no ver
there is no door
There is no door.
There is No Door.
The sky is a ceiling and there is no door.
And I'm falling. Falling, falling, falling.
It's not so much that darkness closes in. It's not so much a darkness descending.
It's more like the light receding.
I'm falling. Damn. And I forgot my tiny umbrella.
It's awfully quiet in here. And so dark. Outside are monsters.
I could sleep all day. Outside are dragons.
Everything I love is out there too. And not in here. And I could sleep all day.
Possibly we fall into these holes simply because we lean over and look into them. There are dark places, probably best avoided, but then, never looking in seems too much like denial.
It's not the one thing that gets me, usually. I can take the tragic news story, financial struggles, relationship stress or illness. The anxiety. It's the one-two punch - the combinations - that leave me feeling vulnerable, powerless and useless.
It gets awfully comfortable down there where we can just give up.
You are not alone, fellow traveler. And neither am I.
We all fall down.
Posted by lisa at 10:24 AM
Tuesday, August 06, 2013
I've begun to make October poppets. It's a practical thing in that it gives collectors time to plan. I have to think about what I spend my money on and plan ahead. I get that, wholly.
But it's also a thing of the spirit. I've said time and again that this desert summer is hard on me. I start to dread it in April and it never lets me down. This year was no exception and even harder. The air got so hot that I couldn't save my little garden, even with shade and water. The brutal desert summer. Yes, I'm still in it and it won't begin to cool until late September (if then.)
But at least I can now imagine relief coming and my October work leads to October thoughts, which are like a cool blanket of comfort against the oppressive heat.
I want clouds! I want rain and grey and gloom! Because against a steel sky, an idea shines like a bright yellow balloon. You see, it's not that I have anything against the sun. I have something against too much sun. Like too much of anything,(rain or snow) it can have us begging for relief.
Humans need change.
And those of us who feel sadness or fear don't feel so alone in grey as we do in an over bright place filled with leather skinned tourists in pastels.
The summer sun. That stone I talked about last time that for me has become permanently linked with my worry about the environment. I mentioned that sometimes I wake with this fear. Sometimes I take it to bed with me.
Coping with our fears isn't easy. You're probably sick of hearing me say I'm writing a book about it. I'm sort of sick of saying it too. I want to get the thing done! But the truth is that this is easier said than done and I chip away at it as I can, trying not to let the frustration of no-time-after-the-day-job make me give up.
But that's another issue.
I told you that when I wake up with these fears - fear for the planet, for us silly humans, fear of aging and dying - I talk myself down, make a plan for the day and focus on that.
And on other people. Something to do and love.
What do you do? When you're down, when you get discouraged, depressed or anxious. What are your very best coping tools? This is a good time to share. Let's help each other out.
What works for you? No answer is too silly. I promise. There are those who read here that could use the help and friendship right about now. (Those who write here too.)
Posted by lisa at 11:04 AM
Sunday, August 04, 2013
I wake with a stone of fear in my gut. It's a familiar stone. Hello stone, I think. It doesn't answer. The stone is a metaphor. But the fear is real enough and I'm not happy at its return. I don't know what time it is, but I can tell by the light it's earlier than my 9am Sunday alarm. I haven't moved yet.
I take a quick inventory of what hurts. My jaw, mostly. But not too bad. Four hundred, so far, saved for the cure that costs nearly two thousand. I can live with that most days. Once in awhile it will keep me in bed until I can get to the dentist with every 'extra' dollar I can earn from now until then.
Today seems to be one of the days I can live with it. That's good. There's a cat at my feet. I can feel it, but I can't tell which one. It makes its fuzzy way to lick my face. Hello Soosi. And there's still a cat at my feet. That would be Shoni. These two work as a team.
As soon as I get up, others will come running and for five minutes or so I'll be busy opening cans and wondering stupidly once again at how I ended up with this herd. Then I'll make coffee and start on the list I made last night of stuff to do. Poppets that must be sculpted, or painted or packed. School paperwork for Orion's new year. Notes on judging a podcast competition. Something to do is good. Takes my mind off the stone.
I open the back door to let a cat out (and another in) and hot air rushes in. I get a quick glimpse at my failed garden. This year, the shades didn't save it. Once the air gets to a certain temperature it eats everything. And the soil bakes the roots. Maybe if I'd spent more time... but there wasn't any to spend.
Maybe I'll try again in fall. But likely not, because this is the year we focus on leaving the desert. And that means simplifying.The stone. I know it so well. The fear has been with me since I can remember. I seem to have always had this sense that things were going horribly wrong with the world. I managed to distract myself most of the time – mostly with trying to make good art, but sometimes with screwing up my own life and cleaning up the messes.
So finally, it seems I've at least learned not to make new messes. There's that, but I've also learned that this desert has become toxic to me. The heat is too much. I can't help but think that eventually it will be inescapable. And the wealth. Too much here. So much blind materialism. So much vanity. I want to be with people like me. By like me I mean well-meaning idiots, more interested in learning than acquiring.
I want to be with other kids who see the monster. Or at least I want not to be surrounded by aggressive denial. Where are they? I don't know. There may be others here in the desert but I can't find them. I'm too blinded by the heat. And the bling. And dentists with leather couches and marble counters who won't take half now and half later.
In the meantime, there's only one way to deal with the stone:
Things To Do and Love for Others.
I don't know which one this entry is. Possibly both. Possibly neither. But I do want you to know I'm thinking of you. I thought it might be worthwhile to let you know what's going on with me.
Tell me what's going on with you. Are you afraid sometimes? Do you have a sense that humans are on the brink of royally screwing themselves? Are you hopeful? Busy with your own dental issues?
I haven't forgotten you. Things have changed since I was writing here every day. I've never fully recovered from Ye Olde Great Recession. So I spend a whole lot more time working and, unfortunately less time writing, even though I've begun to figure a few things out.
I'm still here, being your artist. And wondering how you're getting on
Posted by lisa at 10:18 AM
Friday, July 12, 2013
Summer in the desert is hard on me. This year is no exception. True enough, I'm your classic introvert, so long stretches of quiet time at home suit me. It's different though, when it's too hot to go outside and the light is blinding and the air is oven hot. Yesterday was thick with dark clouds. Even though it was humid, it was cool enough for Pete, Orion and me to get out for a bit to plunder some thrift stores and get ice cream. We found a few treasures and butter pecan ice cream is always good for a lift.
I made this image by photographing a small poppet sculpture against a painted background and softening up the edges with photoshop. It makes me think of other creatives 'out there' working in relative isolation. It's not a bad thing at all that technology allows us to signal to each other. Sometimes that's all I need. I'll know when it's not and I'll head out somewhere to dream and conspire with others like me.
This is my choice, to be what some refer to as 'self-contained.' Most of the time it works fine.
It might be your choice too, or you may find yourself isolated for the moment by circumstances.
Either way, this is me signaling to you that I'm here and I know you're there. I hope you find a bit of inspiration today.
Sometimes, that's enough.
Posted by lisa at 10:15 AM
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
It's been weeks and weeks of head-down, focused hard work in the studio. Not the painting room, but the dirty, dusty, messy room where casting, carving and sanding take place. And not the "difficult" work of metaphor or story lines but the "hard" work of chemistry and physical labor. Because that's a lot of what being a sculptor is. Chemistry and physical labor.
And it's been good. Mostly.
My hands don't look great but my mind is clear. I've told you before that sometimes this job doesn't seem like a job at all. Sometimes this job is a couple of hours of thinking while floating on a raft in the pool. But other times this job is a thirteen-hour day in my own personal sweat shop, doing repetitive labor.
But oh how, after all these years, I am an expert at what I do. On all sides. From conception to execution to managing to marketing.
And everything in between.
And no, I haven't been here. I think sometimes, that I've already said everything I had to say on this blog. Other times, I think whatever I have to say will be better said in some other format - like books.
Mostly I don't think that much about it. When I have something to say, I put up a blurb on FaceBook and have done with it. Because it's easy and fast. There's immediate gratification of "likes" and comments.
It's not the same as writing here. It's sort of like the difference between reading a book and reading an electronic version of a book on Kindle.
The satisfaction of reading a paper book and writing here is deeper. Somehow.
So yes. I'm a well of information on the limited subject of being a sculptor, being an artist, making a living at it and managing to find inspiration to keep it all going.
I can tell you how to avoid air bubbles in a mold, how to pull an idea out of thin air, how to cope with depression, how to skin a catfish or grow squash. How to create a profit and loss statement. How to sell prints at a convention.
I'm coming up on 25 years. Twenty five. Of making art and making a living at it. Of finding meaning in it.
Ask me something. How can I help you? I want to, if I can.
Posted by lisa at 11:52 PM