Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Blue. (photo by Mimi Ko)

Blue. Red. Blue and Red. Red in Blue. Blue on Red.

For now, a simple nod will do.

Time enough, later, for why.











Monday, August 28, 2006

March of the Hours

"Psychopede "

Three things that happened this busy day:

I received a package from Gene Wolfe. The Catalog of Cool got lost from the package I'd sent him. I'd asked him to sign page 88, which was where Pete discovered his work, years ago. In true Wolfe style, he sent us his own copy complete with wolf-paw and library stamps.

I begin to believe that Gene Wolfe is the catalog of cool.

I first heard a weird scritching on the tiles, and then saw the biggest date beetle I've ever seen. It wasn't scurrying across the floor, but was...sitting(?), hunched-over and cleaning itself.

Oddly like a cat.

Ok. I'll be honest. Even I am disturbed by this. I waited until it... finished, then swept it outside.

In the water, Orion and I had a diving accident. I'd thought we were clear but we sure put our heads together. He got a nosebleed for a moment or two and is fine now. I am too, but am terribly happy we have Tylenol 3 in the house. It looks as though I might end up with a dramatic new eyebrow.

Perhaps people will stop telling me I look too sweet for my work.


Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'm back. It went well. You were missed. Time for sleep. More later. The photo is of "The Comic", which is about a foot tall. g'night

Monday, August 21, 2006

Over and Under

It was a good idea to put these strips of muslin over the pool. They soften the sunlight enough to survive it for more than half an hour.

We started out calling them 'canopies', but over time, we've all taken to calling them 'sails' because that's exactly what they look like in the wind.

Underneath them we tried some underwater photography. We had absolutely no experience and learned that it takes some real coordinating to make this happen. The morning session was more funny than productive, but by the nighttime shoot, we'd figured a few things out and the three of us became a team: One to be the subject, one to shoot and one, wearing weighted shoes (ummm, not recommended attire for the inexperienced swimmer) to keep the photographer from floating to the surface.

One, two, three...GO.

We used film, so couldn't know immediately what we got, but....really, it didn't matter that much at the time.

And still doesn't.



Mimi was here.

There were many creative adventures (including some underwater ones) and precious little sleep.

Already we were friends.
Now we are friends with stories...

The World Con is two days away. Work now, photos later.

Friday, August 18, 2006

At least there's soup

Tomorrow Mimi Ko will be here to do a portrait of me. I'm not feeling very photogenic. I'm spending lots of time in the studio---which is a very good thing---but that means I haven't spent any time on me and have lots of scratches and a manicure to rival Big Foot.

I was starting to get really down last night, likely from exhaustion. I decided to go for one of my favorite comfort foods----a big handful of Cheez-Its floating in a bowl of Campbells vegetarian veggie soup.
I sat cross-legged on the sofa with my bowl. Pink Floyd played from the ipod and CNN was on, without sound.

Thankfully, I had my soup. shudder

Earlier, I got this in an email from Jordan's Mom:

This is an interesting quote from a blog essay by Jamison Foser, quoted in an article by Peter Daou on the Crooks and Liars weblog....

"The defining issue of our time is not the Iraq war. It is not the "global war on terror." It is not our inability (or unwillingness) to ensure that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Nor is it immigration, outsourcing, or growing income inequity. It is not education, it is not global warming, and it is not Social Security.

The defining issue of our time is the media.

The dominant political force of our time is not Karl Rove or the Christian Right or Bill Clinton. It is not the ruthlessness or the tactical and strategic superiority of the Republicans, and it is not your favorite theory about what is wrong with the Democrats.

The dominant political force of our time is the media.

Time after time, the news media have covered progressives and conservatives in wildly different ways — and, time after time, they do so to the benefit of conservatives."

On a happier note. The order form for the Balticon DVD is up. Just to remind you, it has all the GOH speeches and panels from the main hall, including Gene Wolfe's lecture and a very funny Neil reading of his new "Orange" story.
You can get it here:

Now, off to make art.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Yes, there are birds in that brain...

"Psychopede" detail.

When I get back from the World Con, I'll post photos of new work. In the meantime, I'm working...a lot...and swimming twice a day. Pete has developed the habit of bringing home interesting different kinds of chocolate. This is a good habit, so long as I'm working and swimming twice a day.

I'm supposed to tell you that I'll be signing copies of Strange Birds (that have already been signed by Gene Wolfe) and any other things of mine you bring to the DreamHaven booth in the Dealer's room at 1:pm on Friday. I'm also supposed to tell you that the first fifty people who get copies of Strange Birds from DreamHaven will get a Poppet(in a nifty little bag with a bookmark) too.

Orion's quote of the day: "I'm NOT freaking out! I'm freaking IN!" Somehow, this makes more sense than it should.

Last night I finally saw Days of Heaven (1978) directed by Terrence Malick. OK. This one deserves to be brought back to big screens.

It's 1:36. g'night

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Naked Truth

I got nothin'.

C. S. Lewis writes in The Silent Planet, "The love of knowledge is a kind of madness."

Perhaps this is true.

What I'm more sure of is how it feels to start to get the faintest idea of how much I don't know.

It's a bright void.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Six Legged Things

That account of flies:

We were looking out the window of Neil’s attic, years ago when the attic was just an attic. These wonderful big blue bottle flies lay dead on the windowsills. Neil told me they were from the previous summer, when flies had been a real problem. Naturally I asked if I could have them, and Neil said okay and fetched a jar to put them in without (to his credit) even making a face.

They were lovely dead flies.

I knew I wanted to use them but didn’t know for what. The little jar was nearly half full. I liked the way the jar of flies looked so didn’t mind that they sat for weeks while I worked on other sculptures.

Finally, I decided to make a sculpture with a fly lollipop. I opened the jar to choose flies for the lollipop only to discover that the jar had been a grape jelly jar and that the flies... smelled exactly like grape jelly.

They’d become a bit dry and some of the heads fell off so that I had to glue them back on. That was okay. But they smelled like grape jelly.

I realized too late that I’d glued a couple of the heads on upside-down. I didn’t care about that nearly so much as that they smelled like grape jelly.

Now, you might not see this as a problem. I’m guessing that most of you haven’t worked with flies that smell exactly like grape jelly. Maybe you won't take my word that it’s an experience you want to forget, but can't. You might try it yourself and never ever eat raisins again.

I don’t have a photo of “Lolly and Her Insignificant Angel” on hand. Possibly Ravyn does, or Robert and Roland, who live with Lolly.

Bug's Back...Top?

Here's the back view.

I’ve heard that Neil has found a dead cicada for me. It’s possibly time to make a new bug piece. If you find any very cool dead bugs, of course please send them to the studio address.

If you do send me a bug, please make sure it’s absolutely dead. Thank you. Waking up in a box of cotton balls would suck for the bug, and opening the box with the bug that woke in a box of cotton balls would suck for me.

Here's another shot. What? It's for scale.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Pieces of Sunday

This is why I like thrift stores.

Pete, otherwise known as aquaman is still in San Diego, so it was me who played follow-the-leader with aquaboy. This mostly consisted of following him all around the pool, to the drain on the bottom, out the sides and in again via a variety of slap-sticky maneuvers that required words like uh-HAAHT and burrrrrfurrrglalalalalal and ffffffWOITTTT and made my suit ride up.

I should sleep well tonight, finally. I’ll be sore tomorrow and glad for it. I haven’t worked that hard underwater since my last real rescue lesson. I’ll admit I’ve been in a weird state for awhile. The conflicts in the Middle East grow more disturbing as does other news. Ben has been quite sick for several weeks and I lost an old friend to a car accident. I hadn’t seen him recently, but we were good friends and next door neighbors for a number of years. Ed helped me build some of the early Dark Caravan pieces, and the Ferris wheel is made from parts of one of his boats.(Ed’s boats were very nearly ships.) Later on I’ll dig out photos and tell you more about that.
But not today.

water rain snow ice blues grays blacks whites

These things make me feel ...right.

Pieces of Sunday

The bug is real. If anyone hasn't heard the "Neil's Grape Jelly Flies" story (and I sort of doubt it) let me know and I'll tell it....again. I'm motivated. I'd like some new bugs.

Pieces of Sunday

Red invades the kitchen. I did at least get more of the painting done. It now extends into the space under the sink. Aubrey, noting that, says that when she writes of me in later years, she’ll mark this as the moment I’d gone officially over the edge….until a better one comes along.


Pieces of Sunday

Forgive me---but they wandered in while I was working and I couldn't resist snapping a photo.

I’m still reading the Chaos book to break up the Henry James. It cleanses the palette. I don’t do that with every author I read. Only those with such distinct voices. If not for the non-fiction, I’d find myself describing certain paintings as intolerably vulgar, or calling people ‘darling.’
So a bit of non-fiction after seems to keep authors' voices out of my head and off my keyboard.

Thanks for your thoughts on formal art education vs self teaching.
No one said a word about the rattiness…go figure. Well, I will: Ravyn, cool little animation. Thanks!!!!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Rattiness, Rat Expertise and other things

Ravyn has posted an animated avatar from the now (infamous?) Rattiness that introduced my Guest of Honor program. It’s right here: Lisa in a Rat Suit

If you’d like to see the rest of the rattiness, what Gene Wolfe had to say, Neil Gaiman reading new stories, Peter S. Beagle in concert, and panels with all the guests, you’ll be very happy to know there is a DVD now available. The price for the two-disc set is $20 ---I’m not sure about shipping---and can be ordered Monday on the Balticon site.
I’ll post a link then, but here’s your ‘heads up.’If you can’t hold out until then, you can email Dr.Gandalf at

It’s very likely I’ll be getting together with Debbie Ducommun, elsewise known as “The Rat Lady.” Rat Fan Club She currently has 16 pet rats, has written books on caring for pet rats and is actively involved in changing how people view rats as companions. I’m looking forward to meeting her and will keep you posted.

I got an email from a young man I met at Balticon. I gave him some thoughts, which included things to consider, but didn’t include an answer. I did,mention that readers of my journal have a lot of experience between them and offered to post his question here. He happily accepted:

I am having a tough time deciding what to do right now in my life. I am a painter, I love drawing, but I am most passionately a sculptor. This is what I want to do. I have taken classes at my local community college for two years, have shown many of my sculptures there and have even had a piece purchased by the school. I applied to both the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, NY, and the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn NY. Pratt was the only one to offer me scholarships, so I chose to go there. I realize I will have to take out $50,000 in loans. Do you think this is wise? Is it worth it to go to a school of supposed high quality to learn of sculpture and pursue a career of such renowned poverty And pay such high loans? I love sculpture and nothing feels better than creating, the school is supposed to be one of the best and it is in New York which is all very exciting and cool. But I am fearful that it may not be worth it if I go and also I am afraid that I won't learn enough or be successful if I don't. Or maybe I should study something else and do art as a hobby?

I’m happy to say I am now re-entering the creative zone. As usual, I’ll show you what I find there. I'll drink more orange juice in the studio, listen to more music and feel more like I do in there than I do out here, even underwater. Which reminds me. Time to go.


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Midnight Blues

Orders packed.
Plan outlined.

Schedule for LA Con: art show exhibit, panel with Bob Eggleton and others about making a living as an artist, panel with Vernor Vinge, Rudy Rucker and others on future anthropology. I'm especially looking forward to that one.

Off for a post-midnight swim under a finally clear sky. Hope it will remind me of why I don't hate the desert. Likely it will be a good seque to the rooms inside my head where art gets made.

stay cool out there