Monday, May 31, 2010

Poppet Inspirations

Poppets tend to inspire. It might be my favorite thing about them.

There are creative images to be found on the Poppets On Tour Project.

I truly love this work by Rob Johnson:

And this animation created by James Bolan:

also found here

Hope you're having a great Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Asleep at three, for sure. I hope.

This morning I awoke at 3am on the dot. No noise, just woke up. As usual, when I get up in the night I have a look in on Orion. He was awake too. Said he just woke up that moment. I didn't really make any noise, but perhaps he sensed me. I stayed until he fell asleep again, then lay awake for the longest, mostly trying to listen to the fan and fall asleep, but mostly telling myself to stop thinking.
Putting thoughts in boxes. Putting the boxes on shelves. For later.


Sleepy by afternoon, working anyway. A nap would throw me off for. The untouchable Tortie is sleeping near the back door.

I could read. Or I could put the sleep timer on and nod out to a National Geography program. Except that lately, some of those have made me wonder what the hell happened to National Geographic. Oh, right. It became Nat Geo. And started doing shows about how other planets' weather conditions would destroy buildings and topsoil on this one. Ok. not that. It's a stupid premise, and not at all the sort of stupid that makes me laugh.

My brain wants to write. But it was a two-shower studio day. Work tired is good tired, but it's still damned tired. So. g'night.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Work spaces, inside and out.

Sometimes it can be very difficult for me to focus on one thing. At times like those it's not easy for me to sit still and concentrate on one project. Frustrating, yes. I've learned not to fight against it. Even with a deadline, I won't get good results by forcing that sort of creativity. It doesn't mean I can't be productive.

I spent most of Saturday in the greenhouse. Each plant got checked and attended. The stages of a greenhouse seem to be a bit like those of a studio, or any other work area. When it's new, it's oh so 'pretty.'
Then reality and functionality step up. The space becomes much more about the plants (or work) than the space. So things get moved, and changed, and undone and redone. After that, more plants (or work) are produced.
Have you looked at your work space recently? If you're working in it, eventually it will most likely evolve to fit you. If you're working, but not in the space you want to be, it might be time to rethink some things.

Anyway, this weekend I did a lot of work in the greenhouse, and a little work on several art projects. I told myself that any work I do is useful, and contributes to the whole. True enough, what I'd wanted was to be 'in the zone.' Here I was, with time on my hands, an empty, quiet space to work in. A few years ago I would've forced myself to work on whatever 'the thing' was. And work on 'the thing' would have been accomplished. But, at what cost? It takes a lot of energy to get from 'here' to 'there.' Sometimes it's necessary----as for a performer when the curtain opens. But if it's not, I can be flexible. Like spaces, it's better for me to let my work rearrange itself to fit the energy that's there to put into it. To focus on projects that fit the moment, or the state of mind. It's taken quite a number of crappy choices--including stressing and spinning wheels, to convince me that this looser approach works better.

So I spent my weekend with plants, a Sunday hike with Spencer and dinner made with stuff grown right outside my back door. I worked in between and ended up with a couple of little pieces I truly like and a mental start on a new painting that came easily, very possibly because I was relaxed and open to the process.

Summer is coming. It's the desert. Practicing calm now will help me when the sun makes us all a little crazy. I hope, I hope, I hope.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Poppets, Reading Poppets, Zombie Poppets

Today was for catching up on a lot of photography. Thanks Aubrey!

We shot the Zombies first, because they became impatient and quite unruly and were upsetting the other Poppets.

The brains were nowhere to be seen.

Charming Little Poppets for making other things Poppety.

Fairy Light

Poppet Reads The Invisible Man

Poppet Reads Fruits Basket

And finally, Poppet Reads The Mists of Avalon. What a great way to end any day.

Whew. Now for food and rest.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


For some exceptional Poppet photos, go here: Poppets CM Webb.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Painting and Alchemy

Artists tend to be their own worst enemies at times. I am an artist, and I'm no exception. Sometimes I must work against an immobilizing force. It will take a powerful ritual to overcome it.

First to create the space; easel and light.
Then to gather elements; canvas, paints, tools, music, water, coffee, food for energy.

Then to gather the will to create when I feel I cannot.

I have only the most vague and fleeting notion of what I'll make. Only the emotion. Fear.
I'm feeling it too. So I'll start there.

(Fear is personal. Don't underestimate your courage when visiting difficult inner places. It's not jumping from a plane, but it's not less. The world needs soldiers and poets both.)

I vow to to laud myself for the effort, regardless of what is produced.
I draw on memories of past works, completed successfully.
I trust the process, which is proven, and living and present and more than just me.

The ritual. Signal to begin. Painting the canvas black.

Which I stare at for awhile.

Then I coat it with crackle medium, because I know I'll want texture. Where I don't can be painted over.

First to describe the direction of movement.
What do I know so far? That there is a fence, a night sky, and someone very afraid and with good reason.
I rough in the fence. The crackle medium has begun to dry. My brush strokes will determine the pattern of the breaks.

The medium doing its thing. I'm here for awhile. Struggling with how to paint the thing to be afraid of. There are so many fearsome things.

I decide that I'm more interested in the fear than the creature. Scared rabbit.


Scared rabbits.

Now I know where I'm going. I accept the fact that the finish will be somewhat different than I expect. Do the work and see what happens.

The process is in motion, now I must execute this idea. The dance between emotion and skill, right-brain and left-brain, is begun in earnest.

I know the fence needs more space, so I extend it by over painting in black/crackle/gray and I lay in the background light, in layers from darker to lighter.

I work on perspective. Which begins to give me a headache.

I take some food and coffee. Look at the birds. Gather the will.

Experiment with some texture. Gesso makes the black too light, so used some white glue, will dry clear and leave the black, black.

Close up shows textures, paint strokes.

More detail for background.
I am pulling in things, both real and imagined. Memories of planes and dragonflies, war and monsters.

Roughing in a closer glimpse of a creature.

Roughed in the rabbits.

The finished rabbits. I like this crop. It may be stronger than the whole painting. That's for another day.

Dragons at Dawn.
It feels right. I'm okay with that.

This is where I laud myself for all efforts, fix myself a drink and watch SNL.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Tips for Touring with Poppet

My Touring Poppet rides in this little pouch on my bag.
Sometimes Poppets have to perch in precarious places for a good shot. I carry a few glue dots with me. Museum wax or another inventive sticky thing would work too. It wouldn't be a good day if Poppet had a big fall.
And, supremely important--keep yourself safe. Be aware of your surroundings while shooting or have a companion to look out for you so you can concentrate on getting the shot.

Many of you have posted remarkable photos on the current Poppets On Tour site. If you have tips to add, they'll be much appreciated.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Poppets on Tour art project

We are opening a call for submissions for a Poppets On Tour art project. You can get all the details here at Poppets on Tour.

Your Poppet wants to be famous!

We've also put our classic Little Red Poppet on sale for a limited time.

Hope you'll join us as we take our Poppets for a look at the world around us.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Arrrrgh. Gray Inertia

Some days flow by, smooth as a stream. Others not so much. Those days are chopped up by inconveniences and difficulties.

And some days just don't feel right. Nothing terrible happens, but little things are worrisome and it's hard to put one foot in front of the other.

Those are days of sad inertia. They can be brought on by lots of things but for me, it's generally burn out. Usually the burn out comes when I take on too much. Silly artist!

I tell students and fellow artists that the best thing for this sort of day is to treat yourself as if you have a cold. Rest, PJ's, good book or movie, hot chocolate or chicken soup. Those sorts of things are very effective if you can do them. But sometimes that's just not possible because of your job or other obligations.

Today was one of those days for me, when I had to push on. So I compromised and took a couple of short breaks. Put my feet up for a few minutes and read.(Robert Wexler) And while I worked, I listened to an audio book (Tender Morsels) to keep my mind from wandering to places it didn't need to go.

If you have the sort of job that doesn't allow that freedom, sometimes the best you can do is stop now and then and do some good deep breathing, promising yourself that at the earliest opportunity you'll do something to recharge.

And throughout all, remind yourself that these days happen to everyone and that they eventually give way to other sorts of days, that move as smoothly as cool spring streams.

All that said, I am taking myself to bed early, after finishing the few things that absolutely needed to be done, like tucking Orion in with a bit of reading.Because today was certainly one of those days, when I felt used up and gray and not at all shiny and writing it here, as I live it. Because my story is your story too, fellow human. Poppet told me so.


Sunday, May 09, 2010

Steam Punk S u m m e r

The air. The desert. There is no longer any pretending that summer isn't coming. And this one is going to be all about making. How to and so forth. The air is hot.


Yes, I will hang shades. And yes, I am not afraid.

We've started with Steampunk Mini's on sale. For a week. Then stuff they can play with.

For sure.

Have a great mother's day. And all that goes with.

Your artist started this day at 7:30am. It's now 1:54am. Time for sleep.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Armida, Dragons and Poppets

Last Saturday, Orion and I attended a HD simulcast of Rossini's Armida. I didn't think I'd love watching opera on screen, thinking not being there in person would make it lacking. But instead, it was glorious. The camera work was amazing and seeing Rene' Flemming up close as she performed was enough to make me swoon. And it felt live. It was a nearly full house and we applauded along with the audience at the Met. Yay for technology. I was happy to see Orion's rapt attention (this is his second opera.) I was just as happy to see him get a little restless at times, because he's a kid, and it would just be too weird if he didn't.

I'm a fan, for sure. It's been days and I still hear the music and long to paint Armida at her darkest.
I shall, on another day when I either have time or make time because I simply can no longer wait.

In the meantime, new stuff got photographed today (thanks Aubrey!)
My Backpack is Pink, sort of a companion for My Balloon is Black, who seemed to want a companion.

A little dragon, because I made a different dragon for a custom reading poppet and loved it so much I wanted us to have dragons too. So, now we do.
And a new steampunk piece with Spencer, called "Fly Boys."

And now, I shall come up for a bit of air, see the sky and feel the wind, which is quite warm today.

have a great Thursday night.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Poppets Sometimes Watch TV

In case you haven't seen them elsewhere...

Summer Reality

Definitely I have to accept as fact that summer is indeed on its way. I'll be a bit sad when it's too hot to paint outside. For now, I'm getting as much time in as possible, mostly in the mornings.
I like these close detail photos, because they show the texture of the canvas underneath. It's a bit of trouble not to fill the textures in with paint. It means I have to paint in very thin layers. I think the most difficult aspect of this is that too much paint can't be undone. It's a discipline thing. I'm learning, learning, learning. Thankfully, I have years of dry brushing three dimensional work behind me. That does help. But as painting on canvas goes, I feel a little like an intruder, a child with my hand in a magician's bag of tricks. It doesn't belong to me, I don't know how to use what's inside, and it could be dangerous.

I always get paint on my hands. Sometimes on my face too, but always on my hands. Likely I could change this. It would be a matter of concentration to change my methods. Or I could accept that this is who I am, an artist who gets paint on herself when she works, and put the energy into the work instead.

I choose "B".

Have a good Wednesday.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Sand. Sun. Wind. Inspiration.

Went out into the desert to get photos for MadCon website. ( I will be a guest in September.) Found lots more there as I always do. Came back inspired, again. Spencer got photos despite the crazy wind.
The best part was that it felt like the desert belonged to me, and I to it.

Now for painting.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Morning. Coffee. Black.

Thank you, no, I didn't sleep well.
You woke me with your kitchen foray,
Then the boy with his dream.
I nearly drifted off,
But my pajamas got twisted.
The fan got a squeak.
I got a drink of water
Then up again to pee.
The air was too still,
The moon too bright,
The mattress hard,
The pillow my enemy.
And then there was the ghost,
Tapping ever so lightly at the window.
I opened my eyes to look,
And have hardly blinked since.
I'd gladly welcome back all those
Other things, if to forget the one.
If only.
If only.