Saturday, January 28, 2006

Automatic Rat

Mostly I've buried myself in studio work for three days. Ben dragged me out to a couple of thrift stores, which was good. Sometimes I have to be reminded there's a whole world outside my door.

I found a wonderful sweater. It's nubby, warm and looks like something my grandmother wore when she did her housework. It will be my studio sweater and I love it already. Also, three molded plastic rodent forms that require batteries and do weird things. They will eventually become three very weird things that do weird things.

At night I work on Tiny Stories. Later, when everything is quiet and I can read with real concentration.

When it's time to stop thinking, I'll play Rez. Pete tried to get me to play Rez for months. I'm not a video gamer. It wasn't around when I was a tot so I never got into it. Then, he and Orion were playing and I saw the top notch art and music and the intrigue began. Now Lisa is liking the zone. Lisa is kicking robot ass. And shooting things. Oh yes, this is good...

Quick Shot

As I was snapping the photo of the Automatic Rat, Orion joined me for a bit of hamming. So this photo was taken about three minutes ago.
I love technology.

Today was Saturday project day. Ben and I worked on our Designated Saturday Projects. Mine is a storyboard that I actually begin to believe I'll finish.

Ben says he is a cookie with no sugar. I tell him to keep his low brow suggestions for my art in progress to himself. Why must he attempt to put ketchup on everything I create?

Pete is working a mystery gig here in town. Aubrey is most likely talking on her cell phone to Jordan, whom she just finished chatting with online. sigh

Time to read. No sermon. As I mentioned, I'm doing the art. It'll be in there.

Apparently I'll be doing a children's workshop at Balticon. Hmmm, I'm wondering if I might be able to find more automated rat form thingys. We could make critters that do things.

I'll breathe my last breath trying to subvert the young. If they don't learn to think for themselves, no one will.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Lisa's Wednesday Sermon

Be Mindful, we must. Always little ones follow.

In Progress: Wall

At this stage, I've built a cardboard wall around the clay original for the flyer, whom I'm not ready to call 'angel' and not willing to think of as a demon. We'll see what he reveals as things progress. I've sealed every seam and coated the inside of the wall and the clay original with mold release agent. (It stops the rubber from sticking.) Tonight I'll pour the silicon mold and in two days, will make the resin casting that will be the starting point for the final work.

The only serious equipment needed for making this sort of mold is a triple beam balance. The mold materials are measured by weight, not volume, and need to be fairly accurate for a good mold.
I work in my apron and latex gloves, an assortment of knives in front of me that smell of the alchohol they were soaked in. I'm weighing solutions and thinking how easily a studio with green tiles would put me someplace else entirely.

It's like (say it with me.) It's like time travel.

I begin to believe some other Lisa may be at the morgue still.

The resin cast will be permanent, and nearly as hard as stone, so I can carve and sand and polish it to a finish. The 'real work' will begin then, and the title will come about.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Kid colors Posted by Picasa

One, of Two

The desert sun is such that in winter, when the air is chilly, one can lie on the chaise in ones bikini and listen to the breezes rustle the palm leaves and contemplate ones troubles while gazing at distant snow capped mountains through tropical foliage busy with bright little finches. One can peel the orange picked from trees not twenty feet away and while eating the slices, watch sunlight dance through the clear deep blue of the pool.
There are two seasons in the desert. One is for basking like gods. The other is for fleeing, or cowering like rats. Each lasts exactly as long as the other, with almost no transition between them.

So yes, it’s a paradise in winter and Lisa is basking today…

Well, for a little while. I have a date with Orion in about half an hour for some Fisher Price B-ball. Swoosh!

I am making a mental note to do more basking like a goddess, while the basking is good.Even still. I’m anticipating a trip into some real winter weather in a few weeks. By then, I’ll be longing for cold air on my face and snow under my shoes. Change is good. Too much of anything, including basking, puts our brains to sleep.
Sometime next week Bob Podrasky will be announcing the stories chosen for the Tiny Stories project on his site. I’ll be sure to post a link to it.

Tomorrow will be a full on studio day. We have lots of things that must be done sooner than later. There will be work on our angel gone bad, painting of strange fish and engineering for kinetic fortune tellers. And, of course, the usual verbal Frisbees and shameless Bennisms.

You have indeed escaped another sermon. I’m disgusted beyond talking about anything. I can’t watch Fox news anymore without wanting to shoot the screen. So, if you were wondering where my soapbox is, I’ve put it away to clear my head. I’ll make art instead, for a while. It's in there.

Friday, January 20, 2006

It Lives

It's specific, yet indefinable, the change. When the figure in clay has a name and comes to be he.

Forgiveness, please.

First of all, I must apologize in advance to Roland and Robert. Of course,you did invite me to chronicle this commission....
I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but your angel seems, despite all his and all my struggles against it, to possess, well...
...a frosted side.
Ok, I'm kidding with the bow tie and horns... But I'm seeing who he is and...I think I'm in love.

So now, on this blog, before legions of our peers, I ask you to forgive me. Your angel has taken a turn to the dark side. Possibly it's my own doing. I'm not sure which came first----his turning or my coming to refer to him as "bad boy."

I don't hate the horns...

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Send in the Clowns

I’m very pleased to say Gene Wolfe has decided to write a story based on The Children's Hour from Halloween. (Yesterday’s post image is a detail from that piece.)
Gene Wolfe is so very cool…. He’s so cool that when I sit next to him I feel cool too. The chapbook is coming from DreamHaven, is called Strange Birds and will be released for Balticon 40.


I’m using a mix of hard green wax and a fairly firm modeling clay. (I get both from . Good stuff, nice catalog.) The wax has a low melting point and hardens almost immediately---even faster in winter.
I found it more difficult at first than soft clays like Fimo or even Plastilina, but keeping a bit of it warmed in a glue warmer, along with keeping tools warm there too, works.

The technique is a bit different, more carving than molding---so I’m using different tools. It has a low elasticity, so little stretch. Any techniques requiring stretching or pressing would have to be done quickly.

The advantage is that the hard clay holds even the sharpest edge detail well and can be finely finished. It’s nearly impossible to get this quality of original with softer clays. When using those, I’d have to make the clay original, make a ‘waste’ rubber mold, cast the figure in resin or wax hard enough to finish.

It’s a sort of trade off---. Personally, I prefer to put the time into sculpting the original, then casting it in the resin marble mix, which can be polished much like stone.
It’s my preference for figurative pieces.


So, yes, I’m making an attempt to take better care of myself. I’m told I’m horrible at it.
I haven’t really wanted any sugar today, and I ate leaves twice.
I’m not overly fond of leaves.


There were some real zingers in the studio today. Ben and I were on fire.
I mentioned that.
He said that all it takes is a bit of misery in both our lives.

Send in the clowns.

Tonight I have begun reading the file of what Bob Podrasky tells me are the best of the TINY STORIES, the project entries.

This is such a cool project. I'm enjoying the reading. I anticipate the work ahead. These weeks are and will be work intense. But then I'll play for a bit, put stuff back in my head and, like the Pretender, get up and do it again.

That's as good as it gets.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Coffee, Black

I’ve decided that I’d rather do without the taste of sugar than use any of the alternatives. They all suck.
Well, that’s it then.
We’re going to black and not looking back.
Splenda is for pussies.

I’ve been having sort of an ongoing discussion with Gene Wolfe about doing things with ‘joyful abandon.’ I think, if I don’t pay attention, I might forget how.

Fearless, happy abandon came so naturally back when I had a rubber skeleton, jumping from the roof of my parent’s house. Jumping with a bucket on my head took things to a whole new level.
It was worth the punishment.
Dessert is for pussies.

I sometimes paint with the same reckless joy I apply to dancing with Orion. Or, in really good moments, I think that way, getting completely lost in the color blue, or ‘seeing’ tonal music as shapes.

Mostly, making art seems to be about discipline. The work requires reason and deeper emotion, experience and skill, tools and knowledge. It requires being aware of cause and effect, and of actions and consequences.

Sometimes the discipline is a matter of keeping at that one thing until I get it right.
Sometimes getting that one thing right is more important than just about anything else. Sometimes that one thing---that light, that paragraph, that step, that angle, that inflection--- will define everything that comes after.
Once in a while, getting it right takes just about everything I’ve got.
Sleep is for pussies.

The real trick is knowing whether the matter calls for keeping at it, or for letting it go. Sometimes the right thing is to just paint a snowflake over it and move on.

There are consequences for choosing keep at it, when I should let it go, and vice versa.

I was told once that it usually takes about ten years to figure this out.
They were right, it does.

Currently, I’m keeping at it, and drinking coffee, black.


Sunday, January 15, 2006

Looking Outward While Looking Inward

Why it is, I’m not sure, but it’s always been the sky for me. My favorite, I think, is to be six or younger with my face tilted back while snowflakes flutter down to land on my eyelids. I can go there,truly, with some effort and at a cost. Perhaps it’s my favorite because I was raised in the Deep South, and snow and ice were fleeting and rare. But there are other skies--a whole mosaic of colors and temperatures and water falling in one form or another, or not at all. Out here in the desert it’s the wind, especially on nights like this when the air is cold and clean as the edge of a fine knife. It howls tonight. It screamed all day, giving such performances that we haven’t done much more than lie around together, playing or reading quietly, all in our own spaces, with our own thoughts, strung together by the constant roar.
We’re a little fuzzy on cold meds. I’ve gone outside several times to watch the palm trees whipping around overhead, thinking the life in the winds would somehow transfer their energies to me, opening a larger view and giving focus.
It refreshes each time, but the exhilaration ends when I come back inside. It’s too cozy in here for work, especially with Orion and Gurtie curled up napping on the floor.

But, work I must. There is much to sculpt and paint and think, to package and file and write. I’ll be back to it tomorrow morning for sure, with a vengeance, and glad for resting today.
Rebecca sent this one:

Agnus Dei,
Lamb of God

Crus de Agnus Dei con quilon menthae,
Leg of Lamb of God with mint jelly

I've just finished Gene Wolfe's "On Blue's Waters." If you're wondering, see the photo I posted as I finished "Exodus." I am reacting in somewhat the same fashion, but I know more than I did. I've concluded that Pete is right, it is imperative to read the Long Sun books before reading the Short Sun books. Elsewise, stroke is a risk. I'll not go to any of the message boards or sites. Not because I'm not geeky enough to, but because I just don't have the time.
I need cold air. I need intense studio hours. I need to rant on about things I tend to rant on about. Tomorrow. Tomorrow.

The blog is officially one year old tonight. That feels a little strange. It's fitting, really, that I post no bells and whistles, that I write about the wind. I'd thought, weeks ago, that I should write something profound tonight. Something stirring and inspiring. But that's not how this works, is it? It's the every day, as it happens. Some of you came in from the beginning, then more trickled in, then more and now we are legion, meeting here on this page every day.
I told Ravyn I'd give it a year, and I have. I'd kind of like to see where we go. This promises to be an interesting year. I'll be very happy, and very, very grateful, as always, to have you with me. So, let's try it for another?


Saturday, January 14, 2006

Friday the 13th and then some

So, it was indeed Friday the 13th, but we decided we were brave souls, and set out in plenty of time for the airport in Long Beach, only to become hopelessly snarled in traffic, or thwarted by some strange time warp (did I mention we left in plenty of time?) and Ravyn missed her flight by the merest of fractions. After about ten minutes of panic we took refuge in a cute little coffee shop with cookies and coffee to figure things out.
In the end, Ravyn's spousal unit found her a flight out of Palm Springs for Saturday morning, so we drove back home, had lovely conversation, made a silicone mold for "Emily", watched some wicked funny commercials on Ravyn's laptop, listened to Aubrey's afternoon epiphany and had a lovely extra day.
This morning I sent her off with a breathtakingly beautiful full moon hovering just over the mountains.

Now I must take care of all things domestic and studio-wise which were horribly neglected for the sake of art and friendship. I owe many emails, several packages with little sculptures and a number of phone calls.

Aubrey, Orion and I are all about half sick with colds, a little fuzzy but getting on with the fireplace and green tea. I shall tidy up a bit because soon Ben will be here for project work and Strange Fish begs for completion.

have a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Finally, Neil's sculpture in motion...

Ravyn and I mostly spent the day working on the new gallery site, which will be officially open on March 1. Then we took a break to work on Balticon Art. After that, she enjoyed a rare winter nap outside in the sunshine while I, back in the studio, had a nice breakthrough with the "Strange Fish" painting.

Orion, who is under the weather with a cold, is cocooned in his blankets with his juice and Samurai Jack for company. I can hear Ravyn and Aubrey playing FLUX in the dining room. It sounds like lots of fun actually, but the Lisa can't sit still just yet.

I did try the corset on yesterday. Ironically(?) the one Ravyn chose for me is made of lambskin, and was surprisingly comfortable, though it was a bit weird for someone who feels most comfortable in plain tee and jeans decorated only with bits of paint my apron didn't catch. I'll be seeing the Fabulous Lorraine Lorraine a' Malena again soon. I'll take said item with me so she can help me match it with something other than my frayed old Levis. Getting out of the corset almost felt familiar, perhaps a strait jacket or other in some incarnation or dream of mine ( which might explain a couple of things.) But, getting into the corset, as far as I can see, is a two-person operation at best. I can see I'll need an escort to the Goddess party, preferably someone who can pull and tie strings...

Aubrey got some video footage of Luck Be Nimble, Fate Be Quick in motion and fittingly coupled it with music from Kronos Quartet's "Black Angels". The lighting is a bit atmospheric and dark, so the colors are muted, but those of you who know this sculpture might like seeing it in motion.

Click here to go to the large animation, 4.6MB Quicktime MOV file


Click here to go to a smaller MPEG4 animation, 599KB

Gurtie is curled up next to me. She doesn't say hello. She says "Stop typing and rub me." I shall.


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ravyn is here. Orion made stars.

Ravyn is here! She brought, among other things, some fiber optic to play with, so we did. She also brought evil, evil chocolate from Columbia.

This morning we are up, still in pajamas, waiting for the sun to warm everything. Hmm. That should take about half an hour. Then we get to work, in the studio and on the website.

I hear corsets are coming out later...

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Sunday morning

I like waking early on weekends. It's still chilly enough to have a fire, but later will be warm enough for shorts. I can have coffee, listen to music and read knowing there's nowhere to go today. Ahhhhh. Not so many days like this anymore.

Aubrey introduced me to Neutral Milk Hotel. It wasn't until I heard the entire CD that I got a real appreciation for their In the Aeroplane Over the Sea. I love that each song is so surprisingly different from the next but mostly, it's the poetry of the lyrics and the raw honesty of the vocalist. Really good stuff.

Amity sent me a couple of CD's, one of Jacques Brel that I will so enjoy sharing with my friend, Methchilde who speaks beautiful French and goes to Paris at every opportunity, and the other a mix so eclectic I can't name it, which has been given a permanent home in the studio. Thanks!

My wet suit came on Friday. I think I'll test it out today. The water temp is currently 49F, which in my mind, definitely requires neoprene.

Ravyn arrives tomorrow morning for five intense days of remodeling the website. Some wacky fun too. And Ben cooking for us, Mexican and Korean.

The best part of the morning is watching Orion sleep. He's starting to stir now and soon the phone will be ringing.

If you don't get the Times, and are looking for an article perfect for coffee, here's one
Did Jesus Exist? Court Decision Sent to me from Rebecca.

Humans are so funny.

have a good Sunday.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Ben Jumps In

High Ho everybody, and welcome to my first post for Slaughterhouse.
Lisa suggested that I tell you a little something about myself… Hmm, lets see. I got married this last year. Lisa, being my best friend, was also my Best Man at the wedding. Which was beautiful by the way.
Despite (possibly due to?) having both a priest and a rabbi, the marriage died of complications 7 weeks later and was lain to rest in a tasteful closed-casket ceremony attended by close friends and family.
Single females may send their sympathies c/o this address.
On return to the SlaughterHouse, I’m back into the full time swing of mold making, sculpture casting and my personal favorite, engineering kinetic and animated art pieces with Lisa who seems happy to have me back.
You might be a little interested in how our collaborative process works. This morning it went down like this: We’re talking, cracking jokes and slamming each other mercilessly. During this little verbal warm up, I’m sweeping up about a pound of dust mixed with shipping peanuts. Lisa, for whatever incomprehensible reason she has, instead of biting the sandwich she’s holding, bounces a piece of it off me. I sweep it up. She bounces another. I sweep it up. Never breaking conversational stride.
After about the seventh bounce and sweep, nearly in unison, I say, “This would make a cool kinetic, and Lisa says “We could make this.”We start figuring out how to make it work.
Ahh, good times. I love working with Lisa.
Until next time.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Aubrey checks in

Finally, a hello from Aubrey, who is very often behind the camera and almost never in front of it. She is enjoying a monochromatic phase, so she actually let me post this one I took of her.

Sleep was indeed the fix, and I plan to get some again tonight. What a grand idea.

More studio work today, a carousel animal to finish and more wax work on the angel.

I've heard that Lost and Found is the next project in line at Cemetary Dance. I have lots of work ready to send for that. I'll keep you posted.

I now have the entries chosen for Tiny Stories on hand, all neatly packed into a tiny little data stick. Fitting, isn't it? I will begin reading those very soon, a few at a time. I'll keep you posted about that as well.

My father approached every project he worked on "like he was fighting fire." Everybody liked saying that about him, especially my mother. I am his daughter. I knew this month would be a little nuts and sometimes projects require late hours. But, if I can achieve it, balance is better.
Still, I remember his quiet, intense, "Always hit the ground running, kid. Hit the ground running."
Sure dad, I do. But not every time I jump.
Sometimes, I hit the ground laughing.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

No substitute for sleep

It occurs to me that when I mentioned Ron Walotsky the other night I should have put up links to his work. There are lots of sites, but I kind of liked this interview Crescent Blues Artist Interview: "Ron Walotsky: The Fine Art of Covers".

I've had two weird days in a row. Yesterday I started feeling a bit out of focus and conversations felt awkward. More of the same today, along with dropping things, tripping over things and just sort of staring when people ask me questions, particularly, "What the hell's wrong with you today?"

Any number of things could be contributing but mostly, when I start to drop things, it means I've gone for too many nights with too little sleep. Another night and my brain will start to get weird, and not in a good way.

Gene Wolfe has begun work on Strange Birds, I have begun work on Strange Fish, and the male "Relic" is shaping up. I'll try to get some photos up tomorrow and tell you about this amazingly wonderful wax from Monster Makers.

I found a copy of "Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony" (Blogger's dashboard has no provision for underlining titles---or not one that I've found.) by Lewis Thomas in the little used bookstore where I usually sit on the floor with coffee and read while my car is getting washed. And, I got an email saying my wet suit was shipped today.

Today's Bennisms: Remember, Thou art mortal. and I like endorphins, they're delicious.

Okay then. There's nothing else but to get some sleep. I'd prefer dream-free, but I'll take what I can get.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Why of it

I painted tonight. I had a list of things to do in the studio that didn't involve painting. Generally, I do the things that should be done. But tonight I didn't. I put it all away and painted.

Sometimes, the work is like this.

Once in a while, the work gets so much like this, all else disappears,
and the work becomes everything,
and, for just that little while,
I get it.

For a moment, I get it. It's one more brief glimpse at all that rings true.

I so miss Ron Walotsky. He was many things to me, layers and levels of artist and friend but, of all that, the most important thing about Ron was really that he got it.


Monday, January 02, 2006

Inhumi....the what, what???

One of the cool things about the new year is that it sort of comes with a clean slate. Yesterday it was January first. I was good, so no hangover, and hadn't had time to screw anything up! The day went brilliantly, beginning with great progress on the new Relic piece and ending in wondrous fashion with Orion and I sitting outside in the darkness, listening to a whole parliament of owls.

It's oddly rainy and dark and chilly today. I like it. A lot. But it's not quite enough of what my head needs. I'm not done with winter. I must have a bit more cold air and snow to finish what I'm working on, I think.

This morning began early, with coffee and the last twenty pages or so of Gene Wolfe's Exodus from the Long Sun. Pete has dogged me for the last month as I've traveled through 1500 pages or so. He's caught me at a number of plot turns, nasty surprises and what-the-hell-is-going-on-here rants. His glee at my discomfiture would earn him a good monkey outta nowhere if not for its innocent jubilance. He's been watching me take a ride he loved. He missed today's brain noogy. He was away when the last pages of Exodus took everything I thought I'd learned, twisted it, turned it inside out, painted it blue and stuck a cherry on top.

I understand only now why he wanted to see it, so this post is especially for him.

I adore Gene. I'm having a great time working with him and getting to know him better. If not, I'd be inclined to kick him in the shin. As it were, I'll hug him and tell him I'd like to kick him in the shin.
Still, I've got to say, if you enjoy a good ride, it's worth the aneurysm. I will indeed go on to "On Blue's Waters."
If I have any advice to offer first time readers, it would be thus:
1. You don't know Jack Shit.
2. They're all bastards.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Well. Here we go again... Posted by Picasa