Saturday, May 30, 2009

Do Poppets have Nightmares?

What if Poppets dream? I'm not sure, but I can imagine. This one is inspired by one of mine. It was an extremely cathartic and satisfying piece to work on. More and more I tend to use Poppets as tiny canvas. Definitely bigger inside than out.

And, then there's Moonlight.
As for the 'fixing Lisa', I've resumed my long-neglected morning exercise with stretching. Today I'm extremely sore, but I've been here before, and know from experience it will pay off. I'm making my daily list more realistic, with time for breaks and an afternoon swim. And later today, I'm headed over to Studio Two to work with Bent on a collaboration.

It's at least a hopeful start. Will let you know as it goes...

Hope your Saturday is good. Do something for yourself.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

a tiny speck of blinding light

Today was mostly an administrative sort of day, in the office and not anywhere in the studio except to measure or count something. Yesterday was like that.
And the day before.
I don't remember what happened the day before that, just that everything seemed more difficult than it should be.

And today, Aubrey and I began to get on each others' nerves as we worked. So we took a break, drove to the post office and as a treat, let someone else make coffee for us. By the time we returned we'd worked out a couple of things on 'the list.'
At six we took a walk around the neighborhood. The heat was still cloying, so it eventually evolved into a trudge around the neighborhood. But the conversation was lively.
Each activity proved useful.

Not working in the studio for days tends to have a negative effect on my mental state. Not working in the studio for weeks makes me nuts --not at all in the good way.
It occurs to me that it's a stupid thing to put such a burden on my work. There are other ways to achieve a similar end result (balance, peace of mind, the zone, zen, any alphabet of terms). Swimming, for example. Any activity that allows us to concentrate on that all-important "one thing" can serve as meditation. There is indeed such a thing as too much thinking, after all.
It also occurs to me that I've stopped doing these other sorts of activities that used to 'tide me over' until I could get back to studio work. I can look back (now) and see how it happened, gradually. I stopped seeing swimming or relaxation as productive and valuable activities. It's classic anxiety-driven over-working behavior. It seemed that if I had time to do other things, I should be in the studio, even though a vigorous swim can be accomplished in twenty minutes.

This is not good thinking. Or logical.

But loads of us tend to be illogical when it comes to caring for ourselves.

It doesn't matter so much why we do it, as recognizing that we do and fixing it.

I've spent a great deal of energy and time trying to fix a lot of things. I've spent little time enjoying.

Most of those things we fret over will very likely seem to fix themselves if we fix ourselves. There's a reason we're supposed to put the oxygen mask on ourselves first. Silly humans!

I need to fix me. For sure.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

This sort of Memorial Day is for Teaching

It's Memorial Day

I'm hoping mine looks a bit like the above. Still, Memorial Day is for honoring those lost in service, and is cause for reflection. And of course, your artist is reflecting. Thinking about wars and soldiers past, wars and soldiers present, the state of our country, the state of our world, the state of Palm Springs. And in the background the children's voices. And Zorcon, in his little rodent bliss.

And from these sights and sounds and thoughts a little theme, a leitmotif, arises.
We can teach them to teach themselves.

Help them develop a love of learning, of making.
Do I suggest the answer to the world's problems is education? You bet.

My challenge to you--
Teach a kidling how to find something on the internet. To use a library.
To put something together by following instructions, to follow a simple recipe.
Make marshmallow treats. Build a lego toy from instructions.

Explain what a television commercial is.

Teach them to ask questions.

(If you don't have a kidling of your own, possibly you could borrow your sister's, or your friend's.)

And, have some fun.

Wishing you a good Memorial Day.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

New Summer Art

Today's blog entry is to showcase new summer season work. If you're on our mailing list, you'll likely be receiving an email with a link to this post. These new Poppets and other works are available on Ebay
or Etsy or both. There's a lot of new work, from dark and gloomy to bright and sunny.
You never know what I'll be in the mood for. It's funny too, that the work doesn't necessarily match the weather, inside or out. I've been taking lots of photos lately in the studio, for new 'nuts and bolts' info. Originally I'd planned to put these on the forum, but I'm looking into some more interactive formats. I'm open to suggestions to where we might move the forums. Or if you even want this sort of stuff... ? Anyway, despite the heat, there's loads of inspiration around. Go figure.

Strawberry Poppet and Flower Power Poppet on Etsy.
Our dissenting "WTF" Poppet is on Etsy.
Poppet Reads Alice in Wonderland on Ebay.
Poppet "Locomotion" on Ebay.
"Outside" is an open edition on Etsy and Ebay.

Mermaid is on Ebay.

Butterfly Car is available on Etsy.
"Spook" is on Etsy.

There's a lot of other new work you may not have seen if you haven't checked in for awhile. Hope you enjoy seeing it. We're working away, swimming, and contemplating the state of the desert, the rest of the world and reading like the autodidacts we are.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Poppets are watching. Outside. Inside. Silly Humans

Sometimes I hear people complaining about Wii and other game systems and virtual reality programs. I hear them say that people should get outside and do the real thing.
True, lots of people don't spend enough time outside and possibly, they're missing something that we take for granted.

Outside. True also, that I read an awful lot of science fiction. But it's not a huge stretch to imagine a world where outside is no longer an option---possibly for generations, possibly forever. In such a place, virtual reality will be viewed quite differently. In such a time, the meaning of reality will have to be reconsidered.

Can we truly imagine an Earth where walking on the beach isn't possible?

Nowhere is this possibility more evident than here in the desert. At the beginning of every summer we get a stark reminder of how uninhabitable our world could become, and of how fragile our environment is. We hang shades everywhere to protect our children, animals, plants. Many materials, like all plastics, can't survive for long in this sun. I'm not finished exploring this concept in my work. How could I ever be? It's a large part of my daily life, and that of my family and friends here. I know it's possible to get a chill in punishing heat of the star that gives us life and destroys us too.

For now, Outside comes awfully close to capturing this feeling for me.

Outside is available as an open edition on both Ebay and Etsy.


Nothing is more healthy than asking questions and speaking out
against the things we disagree with.

We've created our WTF Poppet to remind us. Poppet carries its own
version of the maledicta balloon.

Poppets are always watching and sometimes, WTF is the only applicable and appropriate response. I'm keeping mine near the television, for when I watch the news, because, honestly. WTF?

You can find WTF Poppet on Etsy.

"Spook" is back, and even better, with a new 'tail' and angle so that in the right light, it seems to glide.
Spook is also available on Etsy.

And finally, a word from Gurtie, escaping into the shelf she's claimed.
....what word escapes me at the moment.
Got any ideas?

All that said, I'm taking the rest of the day off, (with plenty of sunscreen) to enjoy and appreciate Outside.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A train, a book, water, two boys and poppets

This weekend I made a steam locomotive Poppet.

It looks like this.


I made another Poppet reading.

Eventually, we all must read Lewis Carroll. How
could we understand a thing if we didn't?

It looks like this.


I did a lot of other things too that I didn't take photos of, including watching Orion and Max sit by the pool eating ice cream sandwiches with joyful abandon and without a care in the world.

That image is safely put away in the room in my head where I put important things.

I spent some time underwater, where it was quiet.

I hope your weekend was good. I hope you move through the coming week on your own steam---if not, I hope you can find some here and there.


Friday, May 15, 2009

well spent

I wanted to show you this underpainting technique. Very likely, painters use it all the time, but I thought you might like to see it applied to sculpture---in this case, this little wave-riding Poppet. I decided the imagined light would be coming from the front, so I underpainted warm lights everywhere the sun would touch, and cooler, lavender hightlights in the shadows. Since red is translucent, the final color is affected as if by external light. Suggesting an imaginary light source isn't for every piece, but the right application can be very effective.

There are lots of billboards in town for McDonald's new line of gourmet coffees, McCafe.

Weren't we stupid enough for Starbucks? Now McDonald's is charging $2.50 for a cup of coffee worth about $.35. We really don't need coffee in the car as often we have it. And we don't need our coffee to be desert.

Sheesh. This is one bit of phoof I can do without. It's not that I'm giving up all phoof. Humans need a bit of phoof, after all.
But I'm certainly more aware of the 'invisible' sort.
And the ridiculous sort. If I want something with 900 calories, I'll go for a slice of cheesecake, enjoyed and savored, not a faux coffee full of syrup and fat absently gulped on the freeway.

I don't mean to harp on this one thing, but I'm a coffee drinker from way back and this crap is making us look bad.

Is it possible we've been taught to think we need an awful lot of things we don't?

I can make lists of 'em. Can you? What a bunch of sheep.

It's true, these last few months have made us more conscious about what we spend our money for. They've made me think about a great many things, not the least of which is what it means to be a professional artist.

For the last six months, it's meant being willing to work about twice as hard for less money, making some difficult decisions and becoming a lot more flexible about my views on business, success, balance and goals.

It's also meant learning to stay focused under pressure---not to lose sight of the work or the inspiration behind it.

The key word here is 'learning.' Sometimes I still panic. Sometimes I still don't want to get out of bed.

Oh yeah---sometimes I remember it's not about me at all.


We finished a new bell jar, this one a sort of nursery for small brains. I like the idea of little brains creating chaos of the joyful abandon type.
Untrained ideas can be dangerous.


I like the idea of having one's own little death in possession, sitting innocently as a vase of flowers on the dresser.

And finally, there's a new "Cosmic" Poppet in our Etsy Store.

There are links in the sidebar, but I'm told that some of you get this blog via rss feeds and the sidebar doesn't show.

It's the weekend. I'm going to do my best to be productive, but to take some time out too. Like money, it's probably a good idea to watch what we spend our time on. Maybe I'll dust off my thermos.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

shimmer and shine

We could keep it light today. Think good thoughts. Put darkness in a box for a while and air ourselves out in the sunshine.
It cleanses the mental palette, its rooms of cobwebs and dust, making space for things that will serve us in dark places ahead.
We could feel the wind, the water, the music, the laughter.

We could do this. Pull out of the subroutine and come up for air.

We could look around ourselves, examine what we see free of the moorings of past and future, free of assigned values.
This exercise requires effort, as any beneficial exercise would.
As with any exercise, it's important to breathe.

It's helpful to remember that whatever costume a Poppet may put on, including board shorts, Poppets are still Poppets.

Poppets are always watching.

Silly humans!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Sun Outside, Poe Inside

Today is the first truly hot day of the year.
It's actually scarier than it sounds.

Already the shades have been going up and, following true, more this year than last.

In the summer, when the kids are out of school, we'll shift the studio hours so that we're closed during the hottest hours of the day. This will save some energy.

Poppet and raven read Poe.

Poe's Poppet

Truly we hope that sometime this year we'll make the switch to solar power for the studio.

Today I stood very still for a few moments, watching waves of heat shimmering off the decking outside, feeling the approach of another summer.

Some work was done these last few days. Don't know if the titles will line up with the pieces, but you'll match them up.

"Turn it off, read a book."

It's the weirdest thing, living here in a desert with goth sensibilities. But it's an odd juxtaposition of opposites that creates an energy, maybe a specific one.
I hear children in the pool. That means the water is shaded now, and calling. ---------Later

"Saffron" carousel tiger

Friday, May 01, 2009

I watched the news. I watched a documentary on global warming. I thought about a world where kids get taken shopping for the latest in cool gas masks.

So I went to the studio and spent a little time in that other place, that sort of steampunk, Victorian place where Poppets are extra cool.

Tonight a bit more escaping, just for a bit, into some science fiction on dvd.
Because I need not to think about the kids gas mask aisle.
The adults of every generation seem to agree at some point that the world is headed to the proverbial hell in the proverbial basket.
Should I find that oddly comforting?