Thursday, February 25, 2010

Mostly Pictures

Occasionally, the Poppet Who Lives On My Desk wants to
get out.
So, we took it out.We found some kids along the way,
who had teeth in various stages of
coming in and going out. These kids are from Palm Springs, which is a riot of gardens this time of year.
It can be easy to forget, among the flowers and palms and swimming pools, that we live in a desert.
And that a desert is a harsh place of brightest brights and darkest darks.
We don't forget.

Crows won't let us.
Still, it seemed a good idea to go out where landscaping and cell phone service don't reach.
To get a bit of the natural desert.

Past the fields of big white flowers that spin.

And even past the dinosaurs. Those sneaky dinosaurs.

So now they were three amigos, explorers, braving sudden winds and dust devils.

Desert flora that offers little shade and hides little bitey and stingy things.

Past strange beardy men in weird hats and icy cold rapids.

And unexpected spots of low gravity.
Whole palettes of grays.
And horizons that want to show up in art.

We returned in the afternoon to vibrant color and warmer temperatures. Still wanting to be outside, we explored our own yard. We discovered an astonishingly beautiful and sculptural old tree disguised as an ancient and imposing old shrub. Once I started trimming, I didn't stop until the light was nearly gone. I've been working on it for a week since, about thirty minutes a day. That tree wanted to come out.
Clearing the growth was a bit like fast bonsai, like slow sculpting, and like being on a treasure hunt.
Inside the tree disguised as a shrub for some thirty or so years, there were things hidden. A sea shell, a very rusted but not broken light bulb, half of a bamboo flute, about a dozen sleepy beetles and the best of all, a very well-preserved rodent skeleton that also wants to show up in art.
I found a niche for this little garden fairy. I sculpted it a long time ago in the Big Blue House in Georgia, sometime before I started The Dark Caravan and after my very first art show exhibit, which was at a Dragon Con, in 1991. Probably about the same time the rat found itself in a great deal of trouble in the tree that was already hidden inside a shrub.

I got some frames just because they were square. I like squares. . I didn't know what I'd do with them exactly. I sometimes find things like that and put them away, knowing that they belong to the work, but not knowing exactly how. I find authors and artists like that too. People I connect with and want to find the right project for. Sometimes it takes years for the project to make itself known. This would be a strain on my patience, if I didn't do other things in between. But I do. Because there are so many objects and people and ideas milling around, and there's always art wanting to be made.


Special Foppet for Charity

Hello everyone, Ravyn here with a little shameless Foppet promotion :-)

Things have been quiet for me on the Foppet front, mainly cause i'm still working on my house in between working on work. (Um and almost destroying my right shoulder in the process, ouch!) But a friend of mine asked for my help, and it has lead to a special Foppet.

Some of you familiar with the podcasting community have probably already heard of the sudden death of Tee Morris' wife Natalie, leaving behind Tee and their 5-year-old daughter Serena (a.k.a "Sonic Boom"). My own involvement with the podcasting community goes back to 2005, when i chaired my first Balticon (39), and my good friend Paul Fischer suggested we do a Balticon Podcast. It's since been my pleasure to get to know such a warm and generous group of people.

Which brings me back to Foppet. An auction is going on right now to raise money for Sonic Boom's future. All the details can be found here on The Boom Effect site. During my talk with Paul, the idea for a SONIC BOOM Foppet solidified in my head, and soon after that, i started painting her.

When i mentioned my idea to Paul, he said it would have to be LOUD to be a SONIC BOOM. i told him, it just has to be loudly PAINTED....

So here she is, a flaming fireball of a Foppet:

For some reason the photo makes the bright yellow look more like mustard, but it really is a bright glowy yellow. SONIC BOOM FOPPET's listing gives a few more details, including the current proxy bid which stands at a mere $20. SONIC BOOM is one of a very few OOAK Foppets released into the wild without a matching Poppet companion (though i may be updating the listing to add a classic Little Red Poppet to it, courtesy of Lisa).

The auction ends this Saturday, so please check it out!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finnegin Beginnegin, Nobody Owens and Phoenix Stories are for Humans

There once was a man named Michael Finnegan,

He grew whiskers
on his chinnegan,

Shaved them off and they grew in ag'in,

Poor old Michael Finnegan (begin ag'in)

Did you sing that song as a child? I did.

I sang it to myself once more as I twisted wire for armature, to begin again the process of sculpting the piece I accidentally destroyed.

It's a good song, that.

Stephen King writes that Hell is repetition.
He's right too. Still, repetition seems part of human life.
We wash the dishes, go to work, brush our teeth, wake up in a cold sweat.

Recreating destroyed work is a different sort of repetition. It carries the burden of loss.

Both kinds of repetition bring experience. Any twelve-year-old practicing scales, no matter how reluctantly, will become skilled eventually. Same as coping with setbacks.

So. The sculpture that was destroyed was this one. It wasn't so much the hours and effort lost, or that it was to be the next The Graveyard Book sculpture.
Sure, that was loss, but the truth is,
I loved her.

I glance at The Poppet Who Lives on My Desk...
Right. Silly human.

Real, after all, is relative.

Sid commented about losing written work. Over the years I've lost both written work and art. Some through error, some through no fault of my own( &^$(*&@!! computers!) and some in spectacular fashion such that demonstration would require stunt doubles. Each experience was unique. Each work, whether words on a computer screen or a work of art, carries whatever life we've ascribed to it. After all, in everything we create, there we are.

Possibly this experience---loss and recreation---as Syd and Melissa P commented---the Phoenix--possibly it's part of the human curriculum. Is that idea at all comforting? Tell me your stories about losing and recreating work. The more brains, the closer we get to figuring things out.

As Poppets are fond of saying:

"How many humans does it take to answer a single question?"

"All of them."

There's still snow on the mountains, but spring has arrived. When it comes, you just know. If the weather hasn't reached you yet, not to worry, it's coming. Equinox soon.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ups and Downs and Sideways too

It's amazing how quickly things can go wrong. Yesterday I accidentally destroyed a little piece I'd worked on for about six hours. It wasn't so much the time in, but that I loved the little creature. I even kissed her when I put her into the oven I've used to fire originals for years. Then I pushed the wrong button and went away.


When I returned, she was a blackened husk and I cried for a bit, like a baby.

The discipline to let it go and move on has been hard won, for sure.

So. Moving on:

I want to share this exercise with you. One of the difficult aspects of sculpting is to get both sides of a symmetrical work to match. In the case of the piece I destroyed, and am now recreating, the symmetry is for the face, and wings.
I've done no research on this, but in my own experience (this is my disclaimer) this writing exercise helps. It's not a hand thing---it's a brain thing. And I believe it works.

You can do it anytime you have a doodling opportunity. Even if you're not an artist, it may exercise a part of your brain that might be a little out of shape. Write anything, then write its shadow. Have fun.

I did have a bit of success this week, in finishing this mirror box. It was on my 'long overdue' project list, and is for friends and collectors, Roland and Robert, aka guardianalien. I thank them both deeply for their outstanding patience.

It's titled "The Magnificent and Marvelous Doctor Crow, and is truly bigger inside than out.

Another small success---the tortie came within two feet of me today. She very nearly took a bit of chicken from my hand. But only nearly.

Sigh. My kitty I cannot touch.

I've bought bulbs---hyacinth and tulips and daffodils.

I'm going to spend the afternoon outside, with creatures not human and likely smarter.

Have a good Saturday.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Snow elsewhere. Twittering for real in the desert.

Adrienne sent me this photo of Poppet and snow.
I like snow, though some of you east of me might not share that sentiment right now.

It was more like Spring here today. Birds are everywhere. So for those of you in the cold, here's a bit of warmth, compliments of Spencer, who got some nice shots of the little fellows.

Tomorrow we will all be busy gathering Poppets, patting their heads, wrapping them up and sending them on new adventures.

I should probably tell you that if you want something from the shop for Valentines, tomorrow (Tuesday) is the last day to be sure it will arrive in time.

This weekend was sunny. I spent some time outdoors. The hummingbirds are lively and many these days. We don't have a good count, but it looks like between 12 and 20 at our feeders every day. The Mystery Tortie still visits us daily. Yesterday morning it was still rainy, so I moved the dish to the patio. I held my coffee and pretended to gaze out over the mountains, paying no attention. Pretty soon there was much munching. I think she may be a girl. Not entirely sure yet.

I got some real work done on Poppet Stories. Mostly the delay has been a time thing, but too, I've let my own questions about Poppets hang me up. Recently I've accepted that I'll never know the nine-billion names of Poppet. And that I don't need to. That no matter when the book gets written, it will still be written only with what I know about these creatures so far.
If I continue writing on Sunday afternoons, then Sunday afternoons will become time for writing, and that will be a good thing.

No school today, so Monday seemed like a second Sunday.

Hope the rest of your week is inspiring.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

We've talked before about spending less. It's a popular topic during this recession and always amongst artists and other such professions of unpredictable income. I'm remaking a useless basket as an example of making more of things I already have at hand. This idea often strikes me in the dressing room, staring at the tired clothes hanging there. True enough, I'm an artist with a home-based studio. I get dirty painting and sculpting. I dress the part. But I'm still a girl. I like clothes. They're just not in the budget at present. As I look I see pieces hanging there that would be fabulous if combined.
A baggy old rabbit hair sweater and silk tee could become a fur-trimmed one-of-a-kind. I stand there, longing to design and stitch. I even have a set of very cool metal cast rat buttons that Ravyn sent me forever ago...
Then I hear the very sound advice from Jane Frank:
"Lisa, just because you can do anything doesn't mean you can do everything."

It's advice that's helped me stay on track, and not feel 'guilty' for the things I don't do. We must pick and choose our projects, in reality. We have to learn (yawn) time management.

I know this. True enough, I'm a artist. I'm my own boss. It has its obvious advantages. If I get a cold, or a case of the 'fuck-it's' or get completely caught up in, for instance, Daphne Du Maurier's The Scapegoat (highly recommended) I can take the time. I alone am responsible for the consequences. But when I'm at the top of my game as a professional artist, I behave as a well-compensated executive for a company I adore. You can call this a mental trick and perhaps it is. Self-motivation is difficult and I'll take all the help I can get. Try it, if you haven't. If you're working on a project, from writing to cooking a meal, look at your work from the perspective of an employer. It's sort of like playing chess with yourself, in that you must switch roles. It's also very informative. Neatness counts. Presentation counts. What sort of employee review would you give yourself? Not to mention that a job well done is very rewarding.
Then there's balance. Priorities. Realizing that sometimes playing is the most important task at hand. Or making something for the pleasure of creating. Which reminds me, the tomatoes need looking at. The seeds have all sprouted.

Scheduling helps. I have a list of things that must be done today. Then a blank space for about 2 hours when I can do as I wish. We'll see how that works out.

Have a good Wednesday.