Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Drink Orange Juice

On Sunday I mostly slept. It's been a long time since I spent a day mostly sleeping. But the idea fairy wasn't taking any coupons this time. A brain marathon eats energy too. For some things you pay as you go.

On Monday I mostly floated on the water.

Today Orion, Aubrey and I went to the library. I always enjoy being in libraries. The Palm Springs Library doesn't have vaulted ceilings or ancient carved tables, but it's a cool haven from the sun, is airy and open and has signs on the ends of the bookcases that tell us to move away from shelves and get under the tables during earthquakes.

Orion spent a lot of the day on the sofa, reading. It's the season where we hunker down inside, out of the weather.

Aubrey took photos of recent work. I'll put those up tomorrow.

I encased a very large black widow, recently deceased, in clear resin. Strange and sort of tedious- tricky sort of undertaking. Dead bees are much more cooperative than dead spiders, but only slightly more cooperative than dead flies.

Orion's goldfish, not at all cooperative, has begun to outgrow yet another tank. hmmmm.


More sleep. Then, work. And lots of it.


Monday, June 28, 2010


It's 4:50 am and I am grateful for you, fellow stumblers.

That fine line between inspiration and insanity. It can be a tightrope, stretched thin across a wide chasm full of what scares us.


When your backspace key sticks, words disappear at a comedic rate.

Silly Human! Will try sleeping again.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Some Pictures from the Weekend

Orion jumps from the roof under a blinding sky. Until Orion, I never saw anyone rush with such joy into the blue.
A glorious moon crowns the tree disputed by crows and egrets.

A moment in the history of Zoya, appropriately framed by Paul Klee and Ron Brown. A tiny hand to play with.
A last touch for "Night Birds."

detail from "Night Birds."

This weekend there was time in the pool, and roasting of marshmallows. Mostly resting, thinking and tidying up, inside and out. Then floating on the water at sunset, watching the light change and not thinking at all. I have a familiar sense of anticipation. It's subtle, but distinct and I've learned to heed it. It could be the changing weather, or it could be a new wave of creativity. Getting things in order feels right, as always.
I weed out the superfluous, and care for the things that aren't. Whatever might be coming, I'll be rested and the path will be a little clearer. If it's a quiet something, I want to hear it.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Bright Light

There is quite a bit of new sculpture and landscaping in Palm Springs.
It's yawningly mediocre.

Scorching sun shines hard on the playground equipment.
It's dangerously hot.

Who in Palm Springs decides that decoration is more important than shelter?

Even animals with brains the size of walnuts shield their young from damaging light.


Humans are early in their evolution. Human beings are infants---and all that goes with.

Poppets wonder if humans will survive long enough to grow up. Sometimes when I look at The Poppet Who Lives on My Desk, I wish I were a dolphin.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Dirty work

I press my hand against the tile, fingers splayed, and begin scrubbing. Then the other hand, until all the studio stuff---even the bits under my nails--is gone. It's 1:30 in the afternoon. I'll be here again tonight, for sure, but this shower couldn't wait. The Wiggles tell us that floor dirt is germy dirt. This is true. Artists say that sculpture studio dirt is toxic dirt. This is true too. The hand scrubbing is automatic after the morgue and laboratories, the clean room and now the studio, I wonder how many times...I could do the math and get a decent guess. I don't want to know. I have the luxury of blanking out during, thinking of other things. Then, magically, my hands are clean, pink and minus a few million skin cells. It's okay. They were probably dead anyway.

Usually, I do all the 'dirty' work on one day. Casting and finishing resin pieces, cutting wood and metal for bases and armatures and sanding. It's hard work, but not difficult brain-wise, like working out a design. Physically taxing, brain relaxing. Still, you have to stay alert around power tools. Can't afford to drift off on some new idea. It's expensive too, power-wise. The lights, the tools, the exhaust hoods, shop vacuums. (We suck up the resin dust. It can go into castings of larger pieces.)

It's a huge noisy room with a lot of stuff. So yes, for sure, sometimes I wish I'd been a painter.
But then, that's not me. I'm in love with the dimensions. The textures, the tactile sensation of a smooth line here, a curve there, an edge.

There are two doors and a long hallway (we call it the airlock) between the studio and the house. I try very hard to keep the stuff in the studio out of the house. I made a choice to do this stuff, but my family didn't.

That was yesterday. Really focused and busy, except when we discovered a hummingbird in the house. Then everything stopped, and nothing mattered except getting the little fellow safely outside. It was the first time I've ever actually touched a hummingbird. It finally exhausted itself at the window. Spencer held it and I gave it a bit of sugar water. Then it revved up its wings and flew back into its world, bigger inside than out.

This morning is for different work. My coffee is done, so I'll get to it. Wishing you a good day.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Baseline and New Poppets

My coffee addiction has gotten out of hand. It happened gradually and, like other addictions, is related to dosage, which slipped up in small increments. I realized I'd gone from drinking three cups a day to drinking a cup in the morning, then sipping iced coffee all day. I caught myself getting a glass of iced water and then absently putting in a little coffee---so that instead of water I had a sort of coffee tea.

Effectually, this meant that except when sleeping, I've been maintaining a certain baseline of caffeine. I don't know what it is, but anything but zero is too much. Insanity!

So now I'm back to drinking my coffee in a cup, hot, at certain times of day and in between, if I have to have my 'security drink' (it is the desert, after all) it is iced green tea or juice or plain, wonderful water.

This is the kind of stuff that happens to us when we get distracted. I'll bet you have a similar story.

We took lots of photos yesterday. Well, Aubrey did. And put some of the new work on Etsy.

So now I'm off to the studio, with some green tea, to pursue my ongoing goal of working smarter and not harder.
Hope your day is good.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bright Somber

I've written before that the beginnings of summer always feel like the beginnings of a science fiction story. This year, that feeling is stronger than ever. We went out early to tend the tomatoes. Found four tomato bugs. At the moment, the bugs are in an empty planter with some leaves, away from the plants. They're freakin' huge, these things, and to me, they're freakin' adorable.
Except that just one can destroy an entire plant overnight.

You can see my dilemma.

It might seem a bit insane to try to grow vegetables in this climate. I might agree. Still, I think we need to try. It seems important. So we found the bugs, treated for mites and moved some of the larger plants outside, in part sun under one of the shades. The secret might be in finding the right balance---enough sun to grow, but not so much as to burn. A tall order in this place.

There was a 5.9 in Baja last night. Orion seems to have lost his fear of little earthquakes. He described the shake and roll of his bed like it was an adventure.

It's challenging to live in a place where you're constantly reminded that the very ground underneath your feet isn't stable. That life on this planet is fragile and changing and tenuous. It's a beautiful awareness, in that it teaches us to appreciate the now and the here. It's an awful awareness in that it can keep us awake at night, fearful.
There are many things to be fearful of, but then, there always were.

I don't really know which came first for me, poppets, or this awareness. I know that in my mind they are inseparable.

There are some waiting in the studio for me. I'm going there now, to see if I can get my thoughts in some sort of order.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An ongoing day of attempting

I'll be a guest at MadCon. Two programs--lecture on creativity and a more hands-on sort of thing. Bringing art too.

Today is for cleaning the studio. It's time. Can't think. Too much stuff. Everywhere.
Brain unhappy with clutter. Can't think right.

11:30: I can see the studio floor and it is now uncluttered. many things are put away. Still, my head is a maelstrom of what I could do, should do, wish to do, cannot do, must do, forgot to do, will do.
It's a process. And not even a perfect one.

3:17? That went fast. Lunch with Ben. Chinese. Discussed ways to work better, combat anxiety (goes with the job, goes with the recession, goes with life.) Talked about a collaboration we might do.
Then library.
Hottest part of the day. Kids in pool. Aubrey and I watch Star Trek. Break. Rest. Laugh.

8:10 I spent 2 hours working in the studio on 'things I must do.' Not as much as I hoped, but enough to check some things off of my list.
At about 4pm I realized that today I wasn't going to find whatever it is I was looking for. A focus, a particular inspiration, a particular 'room' in my brain. So I compromised and put in 2 hours.

The kids (mine and Spencer's too--School is out and Max is now 8yrs) are in the pool, the bats are flying about. I have a cold drink and Indiana Jones is flying about in a tux on the outside TV. And we have a rather long earthquake. Now I'm waiting to see where it happened. So many have happened in the Baja area that I'm beginning to be able to differentiate between shakes by 'feel.'
Which brings to mind a lot of what makes living in this desert strange and dark, brutal and beautiful, more Halloween in its way than any other place I've ever known and very close to magical.

Just today Aubrey said, "These clouds. These are Magritte clouds." I agreed.

I'm going to get the quake report, and deal with whatever news it is. Then, hopefully, go back outside and watch the stars come out.

This was today.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I like bugs

Here in the desert, spring can be eclipsed by preparations for brutal summer. But even with temps over a hundred, it's spring. There are bugs and butterflies everywhere. Beautiful, amazing, efficient creatures.

new stuff

Doctor and Lady Grey

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

more or less

Today was very hot. We tried to hide inside, but this house has lots of windows. It was built for the view, not for the climate. Who builds glass houses in the desert sun?
Silly humans!

I worked on a project that's important to me today, for a couple of hours. It's been difficult to work on certain projects. It's not the right climate for them. Silly artist!

Possibly humans could build things that fit our climates better, and then go outside to find the view. Possibly we could find time to do more of the things that matter to us.

And now, time for cornflakes and the science channel.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Poppets play chess. Lisa makes gumbo

It's an odd day. Really hot. More than one hundred hot. But quiet in the house, with cool air fanned about. A luxury, for sure.
I've finished the poppet chess pieces.
The last ones I made were the pawns. Significant, at least to me, the making of these poppet pawns.
They complete a circle. Poppet, who started as a pawn and became something else entirely, now pretends to be one. I don't know that the world needs poppets to play chess any more than it did then.

It's not even a beep on anyone else's radar, but I recognize this disjointed, uneasy feeling. I'm at a crossroad. I've been here before. We must be mindful when we tie up loose ends---especially dusty old ones. We can never be sure of what other connections have intertwined themselves over the years.

I expected to be here now, at this crossroad. But it's nothing like the place I imagined it to be. This one is silent, pristine, timeless.

So I did the only thing that made sense.

I made gumbo. Sauteed the onions and peppers, shrimp and sausage. Made the roux, put everything together to simmer and become what it will eventually be.

Making gumbo is a bit like making art---you've gotta skirt the edge of failure, right there in the middle, if you want to make it turn out well. (I apologize--but you just can't miss with a soup analogy. It's all in there.)

It was right for today, to cook something. I don't know why. I don't know why today's next step seems any more significant than that of any other particular day. I may figure it out later, why I went one way or another, or I may not. It doesn't really matter, does it? I'm going to let this one sort itself out. And then, it'll simply be what happened.