Monday, July 31, 2006

Practically Sane

Most people seem to think I live this altered-reality existence of vision and art. I stand, paint brush poised, deeply (and somewhat wildly) focused on the panel before me—poster child for the mad genius at work.

There are plenty of times like that. And lots of just plain work. But sometimes life is pretty practical, as this past week with a visiting five-year old when either “Mom” or “Auntie Lisa” was to be heard every 1.5 minutes.

Oh yes. I clocked it. Of course I did---it’s me! The average was every freaking 1.5 minutes. They’re adorable.

I’ve spent the past two weeks painting and packing little poppets wrapped in bookmarks that read, “Wake Up.”Sometimes more than others, I know I mean me. Wake up, Lisa, wake up.

The fires here are out, but fires burn elsewhere in the west. Our temperatures are a lot better this week, but last week soared such that there were brownouts and even blackouts in some areas. Summer isn’t nearly over.

So, I ask myself exactly what I would do if we had to evacuate immediately. I’ve always had a fair idea, but fair ideas don’t generally work in serious situations. I’ve given this some thought, packing up poppets and dancers to send all over the world. Where things happen.

The best case scenario in the worst case scenario would be to have a firm and simple plan. Because a plan can be followed.Why must I make this plan? Because it’s absolutely illogical not to. No one expects emergencies, but they happen (surprise) every second. I can choose to be prepared or not.

For what reason would anyone choose to be unprepared???

I bookmarked a few of the better sites I found.

Article list for emergency preparation
American Red Cross
Prepare for Evacuation: Household Tips
Home emergency preparation tips & family disaster plans
FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency

There are lots of different scenarios and situations, but the basic idea is to have a plan. Most plans are very simple. No one has to reinvent the wheel. Plenty of information is out there to be adapted to anyone’s situation.

I look forward to the dreamlike states possible in the studio and the return of the artist who dreams. Today though, I’m a person who lives on this planet and, at least for the moment, wide awake.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday night...

Friday night wisdom. A word to the wise...


....Be good to your Poppet and your Poppet will be good to you.

In Between

I'm busily (still) packing poppets and dancing jesters for their journeys to new homes. I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio. Like a kid with coins in his pockets, I'm eager to spend my ideas.

I've got to stop watching the news. I can't stop watching the news. I try to take a larger view, seeing this as a stage of development for humans, that one day in the far future these centuries will be viewed as another sort of dark age and the US as another ancient Rome.
Historically, change comes with a hard price.

What I should be watching is Shrek II. But, I can't stop watching the news.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Aubrey.

Mid-wish. (we didn't even consider asking. no way. uh-uh)

Oh yes, Aubrey is definitely my offspring...

Monday, July 24, 2006

Poppets Don't Float

If you've missed me for a couple of days, it's because it's mostly too hot to think. Mostly. Everytime we go outside we go through these rituals we've learned to take for granted.
Like never leaving without water or hats.
Like wearing sunscreen.
Like covering seats in the car interior before locking up.
Like starting the car, opening all the windows, unloading the groceries, then putting the kid in. Like not touching anything metal, ever...

Right. It is the desert and temperatures are extreme here. We know this, yet we also see changes. More extreme temps and earlier, more storms, more humidity. It's hard not to speculate on what might come next.

Possibly it would help if I stopped reading books on chaos theory. But I doubt it. When we're putting up more canopies every year, spending more on electricity and experiencing brown outs, it's impossible not to consider how things might become.

Poppets Don't Float, II

And yet we keep thinking about all the trifling things we usually think about, and doing all the little things we usually do, not oblivious, necessarily, to the possibility that we may be struggling to survive in the not-so-distant future, but in conscious denial. As I type this, I'm sitting at my desk with my feet up, snacking from a bowl of fresh cherries and grapes. I'm becoming increasingly aware of things we take for granted. Things that others don't have, things that we could lose. Orion just tore through here yelling "potty!" Good boy. He's in a rush because he wants to get back to his video game. Outside the sky is ominous and changing. We'll swim tonight, when the air has cooled down to 96 or so, because the water is like a bath. But at least it's wet.

I don't understand it. The architecture is all wrong. Why don't people build at least partly underground? Why aren't there solar panels all over the place? These are questions that beg closer examination, after some research.

I'm packing Luck's Dancers and poppets off to their new homes. They were each dried at some stage of painting, in the huge convection oven that we live in at present.

Tomorrow is Aubrey's birthday.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Hot, Poppets and a Wave from Grim, part 1

ten P.M. and 106

Hot, Poppets and a Wave from Grim, part 2

Hot, Poppets and a Wave from Grim, part 3

Hot, Poppets and a Wave from Grim

Returning from taking Aubrey's friend home, Pete and Aubrey had a very near miss with a weaving Porsche speeding over the Gene Autry bridge in their lane, in the opposite direction and not visible until it was nearly upon them.
It was feet and fraction close, instinct and reflex close.

Pete was quiet, so I had a good idea of how close it was. He had four words about the experience:


Did I mention it's hot?

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Are You Experienced?

A Scanner Darkly isn't a movie for everyone. It is ever so very for everyone it is for.

I'm not sure it's possible to see everything in this movie in one viewing.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

What seemed a tiny intruder...

...turned out to be a major infestation.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday's Poppets

Though Gurtie hid in 'the cave', she too was discovered.

More Tuesday's Poppets

Poppets take Fisher-Price. Orion helped with this one. Long quiet day of working. It's cooled down to a nice 96 degrees. Time for swimming.

Good Night, Poppets

...but this is the one I send you to bed with.

Nighty night.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Sweet dreams

Imagine small. Very small.

Last night, there were lightning storms like nothing I've ever seen. The fires are mostly contained. Things could be worse, but it's heartbreaking in its own way to know over 85,000 acres were burned. The smoke and haze in the air cast everything in strange colors, including the flashes. Tonight's skies look ripe for more. More rain would be good.

Gurtie brought me a bat. I think she grows to love me, a little.


Addiction. Everything has a price.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Wrinkle Cream vs The MiddleEast Crisis (as illustrated with poppets), Part I

If you’re looking for the Luck’s Dancer and Poppet sale page, it’s here: Luck's Dancer

But you're welcomed to stay for the sermon...

I’m getting lots of questions about the Little Red Poppets. I’m fairly certain the following answers them all, so far.

Why poppets and not puppets?

Because lots of people insisted and persisted to call them poppets, even when I insisted and persisted to call them puppets. Ok. I caved. Still, it will help distinguish them from other puppets I make.

What they were:
Originally, the little poppets were pawns in a chess set I worked on several years ago. I decided it was the wrong time to make a chess set, and possibly the wrong universe, so I put the project aside.

I made a few for myself, and kept looking at them and listening. I began to like having them here and there, and took to leaving one or two around when visiting friends, who would call days or weeks or much later when they’d discovered them, more delighted than I would have expected.

Alone, or in little groups here and there, they invaded our spaces at home and in the studio. For me, the little poppet has come to represent that distinct and singular moment of waking. I’ve experienced it and watched it in others, as when children grasp concepts for the first time.

Sometimes this moment is joyful. Sometimes it is crushing. It is its own dichotomy, this little poppet thinking for itself. It’s an old story.

I incorporated the poppets into larger works. Lots of them. You can see several of these on the gallery page. One particular piece, Shift, (for which I must find an image for you) has 843 of the little fellows...

When I put the poppets into settings, as pieces of larger works, they become something else, though they still themselves represent a moment of realization (sometimes it’s a moment of realizing they’re in the soup!)

I find myself using them as a sort of language, stringing rows of them together like some strange alphabet.

Or pieces of a puzzle. This means something to me. Exactly what that is still unfinished and unclear.

But the search…..the search is its own engine. And my favorite playground.

I’m not done yet with poppets. I’m still working on what they are.

What they will be, I don’t know. But my favorite possibilities include many thousands of them, and movement.
At any rate, for the moment, they are mostly about paying attention.

That said, I wonder now if I could’ve said it just as well with the image below.

Wrinkle Cream vs The MiddleEast Crisis,(as illustrated with Poppets), Part 2

Thanks for adopting The Little Red Poppet, for helping me support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and especially for wanting to know more.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

Luck's Dancers are Here!

They are here: Luck's Dancer

Ravyn tells me that as of right now the Luck's Dancer Summer Sale is OFFICIALLY BEGUN. She has done an outstanding job.


Famous Little Red Poppets too...

Whew! Your Lisa is quite tired. She will go out and float in the pool and contemplate how lucky she is to be floating in a pool---face up, under stars. Tomorrow will be hot, and very busy.


Desert Burning

Last night I was going to try to get some photos of the fire. Desert WildfireWe can see it from our neighborhood---the place where we watched fireworks last week. There are fires here every summer. We're not threatened by this one, but Big Bear is.
My thoughts are for the 2500+ firefighters up there, risking their lives to keep it from reaching the forest.

And we watch from here in the bowl of desert, helplessly hoping.

I've been working on a stencil for the boxes the Luck's Dancers will be shipped in. Thought it would be be fun and work well with the SlaughterHouse theme. It is fun. We'll see how well it works. Online, Ben found a device that makes an imprint that looks like the old-fashioned livestock brand.

I was supposed to send "Guardian of Sorrows" out to Roland and Robert last week. He is propped against the wall here in the den, not far from where "El Maestro del Fuego" hangs over the fireplace. Last week, Orion asked me about the two. It's become a ritual, where I tell him the story of the two, each neither good nor evil. One must guard the gate with all his might. The other must enter with all his. A story is developing as we repeat what we know - Orion correcting me if I miss a detail--layers and history deepening and expanding.
So, though I owe them an apology for the delay in shipping, I wouldn't trade anything for creating a story with Orion. I'll pack Guardian up today, and print photos of both so Orion and I can continue our collaboration.

Ben is on his way. I'm sure he'll bring reports of how the fire looks from his end of the desert. We'll get back to making art because, what else can we do?


Our Gardeners Gardener in the sky

This is not our gardener. Our gardener says no amount of money would induce him to climb a palm tree. It's that time of year. There are men (and women!) performing feats like this all over Palm Springs this week.

He cuts away the old stalks. After the ladder, he climbs up with a chain he wraps around the trunk, and spikes on his shoes.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Palm leaves are big, and heavy and very pointy. Do not touch. It was about 113 degrees F when I took this photo.

Variation on a Theme, sort of. Tomorrow will be a different palette.

I like the Dancer at rest too. I'd thought to make some with juggling balls, but the little (juggling?) puppets are just more fun.


Monday, July 10, 2006

Examining the Choice

The last several days were spent painting Luck’s Dancers. Today, red ones. I could do this while watching a movie, or while listening to music---which is much more likely---but still I’d be thinking. I must be, because I don’t notice when the music stops sometimes. I get lost in the painting and lost in thought.

Today I thought about the discipline it takes to paint ten pieces exactly the same.

I’ve decided I don’t have it.

But then, surely I do?! I've had the discipline to repeat microbiology studies following precisely the same protocol---to the FDA approved letter---for exactly ten trials. To write every calculation in tiny grids on waxed papered notebooks that don't allow for mistakes or changes without signatures.
I have had the discipline to learn a Chopin piece, every note in every measure, adding or subtracting nothing. I have had the discipline to sew a quilt from hundreds of socks.

Then it must be a matter of will.

Or, if not that, it’s that I don’t see why ten Luck’s Dancers should be precisely the same. In fact, I believe it’s better if they are not. Just the same in spirit and color and basic design. Otherwise, of course I’m going to take sidesteps---a tiny figure here, an exploration of shading there, mismatched shoes, a teardrop, or a wink.

Do I have the discipline to succeed in the collectables market? I'd say, without hesitation, no.

I see things in the textures of the broken background colors of each of these little Dancers. They beg to be brought to the surface. I pull them up, like bodies from deep water.

There comes a time when an artist realizes she can create anything.
There comes another time, later, when she realizes she can’t create everything.
Choices must be made, priorities set, deadlines met. Long-term projects committed.

Then, there is the small matter of vision.

Some visions must be followed immediately, even at great cost, because otherwise they will disappear. Some visions may be contained in a notebook or shelf and will only ripen with time.

I am of the school that believes the ability to judge between the two comes only with time and experience.
I am of the school that believes that balancing the responsibilities of being an artist and the duty to the artist’s vision is an art in and of itself.
I am of the school that believes that, once in a while, you must follow a wild hare with joyful abandon.

Once in a while.

Now I’m painting Lucks Dancers and thinking, and thinking. Because in one hand I have a long list of things that must be done. In the other, I have an evilly divine

I don’t know what I’ll decide. But I can see it, this idea, peeking out of these figures as I paint, which are different from the ones I made before, and from the ones that I’ll make next time. One thing I’m certain of is that when the last of this bunch is painted, I’ll have my answer.


Sunday, July 09, 2006


Well, I'm back, sort of, after a week of supreme surreal. I will gather myself, plough through mounds of emails and tell you about it, in stages as I understand it.

I feel as though I've awakened from a long sleep under a roof pounded by storm. Exhausted, I fell into oblivion despite the mental clatter and upon waking, find my thoughts washed clean.

Now, for coffee...

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Faster than a speeding.......

Ravyn here again. Still no landlines operating in the desert. So.......

Instead of being good and posting, Lisa is being bad and going to see Superman, in IMAX/3D. i forgot to ask her if she could sneak a photo with her camera phone, heh.

And since i haven't been to see my baby recently (bad mommy!), i will leave you with two photos from my trip to Cancun in March. The photo of the beach was taken at night with no flash and no tripod. G and i took lots of photos that way, and some of them turned out rather well. Spooky but good. The other photo is not what you think it is, heh.

nitey night!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Where's Ernestine when we need her?

Ravyn here again, and you can guess what that means............


Silence has returned to the desert, in the form of no telephone service. Again. Even Ernestine's unapologetic attitude ("We are the phone company. We are omnipitent." **sic**) would be welcome right about now, heh.

Hopefully our Lisa will be back tomorrow. i will let you know if not. So for tonight, i leave you with a sample of the fireworks we set off at my sister's on the fourth. i love fireworks. i would love to design them. The ones being made now, even the little ground-based ones, are pretty cool. And it was a lot of fun to be *right there* front and center, taking in the colors.......

i'll have more fireworks photos on my blog later tonight.

Nitey everyone!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Cherries, Dancers and Two Bad Wabbits

I was wondering about the origin of the "Life is a bowl of cherries" quote. I looked it up, but didn't find any single entry that rang true. But these were delicious. I liked this image though. The background is part of the kitchen painting I'm working on. I decided that life is like a bowl of cherries only when there's actually a bowl of cherries. Anyway, I figure that if one's situation allows for a bowl of cherries, things can't be too awful.

Things are awful for lots of people.

July 4 approaches and I think of what I might do to celebrate with my family. After last week's Senate voting I thought a nice family flag burning might be fun. But really, I don't want to burn a flag. I just want to appreciate the right to do so, should that expression be called for.

I think I'll try to raise some more money for the CBLDF, possibly with my next sale. It's not a lot, but it's what I can do. Lots of us doing a little will add up.

Here is a preview of the seven different Luck's Dancer designs I'll be putting up on the sale page next week. They're all hand-painted, so each will be a little different, but I'll try to make each mostly like the ones shown here. I haven't decided whether to offer a 'surprise' one yet.

Two Bad Wabbits

Lastly, these two likely belong in the 'don't ask' category. I found them during a thrift store expedition with Ben last year and they just sort of seem to belong in the kitchen. I have a fondness for mean little cute things...