Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 92

Orion and I are well into Lord of the Rings now. Last night we began with Merry and Pippin caught fast in the roots of a most disagreeable willow tree and ended snug in the strange and wonderful home of the strange and wonderful Tom Bombadil. I've always been happy that his character wasn't portrayed in the movie, because I'm very attached to the vision of him created by the words. I like the Tom Bombadil I know. He's bright and magical with hints of darkness.

We follow a routine. Orion reads a bit first, then he settles down while I carry on. I've developed a real sense of when he's becoming sleepy. I adjust my cadence and tone, growing ever more soothing, with spaces between sentences, so that it's like seeing him off, walking with him just a bit into the edges of his sleep. After the rescue from the willow, our weary travelers trudged through the last and darkest part of the forest, to find themselves suddenly in sight of the bright windows of Tom's home.

They began to feel that all this country was unreal, and that they were stumbling through an ominous dream that led to no awakening.

The chapter resonates with the reality of traveling through deep darkness that seems never ending, then, at last, seeing a welcoming light. I know this, and so do you. I feel lucky indeed to share this sort of experience with hobbits. I should carry it in my pocket like a smooth little stone, so that next time I feel myself lost I'll be reminded that the light is there, I have but to find it, and that is but a matter of looking.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 91

I tend to appreciate beauty most when it's found in unlikely places. Children will play amid rubble, given the chance. A smile breaking free in a dirty face is radiant as the sun. I love that children are natural makers. They will create from what can be found, when they have nothing. It's heartbreakingly beautiful, this. I aspire to be such a maker. I work like mad to search out and tap into the childlike vision hidden in the deepest secret pockets in my brain. Like time travel, like escape velocity, this requires an awful lot of effort.
The most difficult work of artists, I believe, is accomplished unseen, in silence and alone.
I find that the more my vision expands, the less I tend to travel.

But that may change. The world still fascinates me, and I'd like to see more of it. I'm not sure I want to become a mad artist recluse. Not just yet.
Aubrey took these photos, I added the sepia effects to a few. I like the timeless feel.
These poppets are Angel, Ghost and Monkey.

I've completed some wedding pieces. Here is a cake topper that will become a keepsake box.

It's for an Alice in Wonderland themed wedding. I look forward to photos from the event.

This is an anniversary piece for a couple who love science fiction and fantasy. There was a whole list of things they like, from robots to Gandalf. So I mixed it all up in a soup and distilled the spirit of it into this steam punk piece, including their three cats. I'm told they were very happy.

And this is a panel from the wedding dress I've been painting on. We'll get pictures of the entire dress next week. This couple is basing their theme on the movie Up, loosely, but mostly on a playful sort of joy. I'm looking forward to those wedding photos as well.
That brings you up to date on the last couple of weeks' work.

Now, off to make more art. Hope your day is good.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 90

What Saturday? It's mostly a blur, except for that one really, really good part. This morning I pulled weeds. The air was cool. Good time to think. Or not. I heard a noise and turned around in time to see six road runners tear by, just running down the road like it's their idea of having fun. Tonight has been for revisiting 2001: A Space Odyssey, having Chinese food and the lights out. Intermission has ended. Creepy good music. Today is good. g'night

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 93

I am an artist. I am not a factory. I see the world in a certain way. I am compelled to create. I create a language. I work at this very nearly every day. I am in love with the work. I am in love with the process. I'm in love with the exploration. A factory makes lots of parts. I am not a factory. I am not a factory. I am not a factory. I am a machine. A beautiful, beautiful machine. I am an artist.

Day 88

I like Aubrey's photos. I'd like to put this image on a T shirt. I plan to make one for myself.
What do you think? On black? White? I'm wanting a black baseball shirt with colored sleeves.

I have designs.
I need someone who wants to sew...know someone? Convo us on Etsy?


Today Aubrey took photos of Bunny Poppets. I can't say I'm a fan of Easter, though I have childhood memories of egg hunts on hilly church grounds. They were made less fun by starchy white clothes and threat of death for grass stains. The hilly grounds were carpeted in freshly own grass. We hunted gingerly, without joyful abandon, overseen by stern mothers made more stern by hats with netting. If grass stains were such a big deal, and they knew we'd hunt eggs and eat jiggly jello, barbecued chicken and potato salad after services, why in God's name did they dress us in white?
A few chose joyful abandon over threat of death. I wasn't one of them, but they were my heroes.

The Baptists I knew were sadistic, man.

But dying eggs is fun, and I loved dissolving those little tablets in vinegar. It was both chemistry and art!

I do associate spring with rabbits. There are bunnies all over our neighborhood. You can't walk a block without seeing at least one.

And I wouldn't deny any kid a chocolate bunny. BTW, I love this shirt design:

So that's it. We takes our holidays and we works them out. Then we have chocolate and bunnies and hunt eggs in jeans and tees, with joyful abandon and without guilt, or potato salad.
Today was about bunnies.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Day 87

I didn't skip Day 86. I was there. But no writing. There was much doing and not so much reflection. It was a day for problem solving. Not terribly difficult stuff, mostly juggling. Sometimes balancing resources requires extra energy, inventiveness, humor and quite a lot of optimism. This sort of work is hardly ever easy and always best performed to circus music.

Today I woke late, from a dream of someone or some thing talking intently, almost pleadingly. But I saw the clock and the day rushed in like water, erasing every trace of where I'd been. Here, I had lists, and I was late. But not so tired. Sleep good. Brain like sleep.

I thought about your comments.

I write my thoughts about art and life here. It's not always easy to write these sorts of things, especially those things that are personal and deeply experienced. But it seems part of the process for me and I feel compelled to include this medium. You're part of that, I enjoy a sense of your presence in the studio and you've chosen to be here.

I think it helps a bit that I've already announced that I'm an idiot. It's right there in the banner, up front. That takes a little pressure off.

Some people who read this blog are more educated, more talented, more enlightened and more literate than me. I also know that sometimes my latest discovery is old news to others. I figure, if I post about an experience you've already worked out, you'll enjoy the company. Possibly I'll say something that you haven't thought of and you'll appreciate the knowledge. Possibly you'll disagree with me and you'll enjoy complaining. Everybody wins.

It's not so different from hanging a new piece of art. I have no control over the viewer's experience with the art. I might be misunderstood. I might expose my deepest raw pain.

It can be risky business, putting words and art up for other humans to decipher. It can be worth the risk, because of the positive connections made. There's great comfort when human beings who are interested in similar things get together. It's as real as we make it, this medium. I know you're really not in the studio with me.

But, you really are.

We know that Poppets aren't really watching us.

But we know they really are. (yes, this is sometimes creepy)

If that means anything at all to you, stay here. You're among friends, for sure.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 85

Last night I was nostalgic for thunderstorms. They came as I slept. I didn't hear them. I was dreaming of lions.

Today the clouds show their new white in glimpses. Thick bright clouds roll over them in waves.

Here in the gym the air is cold. I breathe it in. Without my glasses, the class is a blur of black shapes against yellow. They are little windmills, jacks, black birds. They hop and turn in a loose unison, little bare feet slap the cold floor. Testing today. I watch Orion prepare himself, going through motions with the wobbly grace unique to nine year old boys. He must contend with a center of gravity that changes from week to week, confusing his muscle memory until it scratches its head and sits this one out.

Orion will have to rely on concentration tonight.

I'm a little nervous for him. But then, we've prepared, practiced, increased his chance of success.

I embrace the cold air. I feel it rise up from the floor, blow gently past. The gym isn't heated. Finally I can admit I've fallen in love with this desert. But I could leave it, for a while at least, for some place with seasons.

Some place with thunderstorms.

I'm nostalgic for thunderstorms.
As much as I love this desert, it may never be home.
Orion has traded his white belt for a yellow one.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 84

From Saturday. I love Soosi sauntering by--it puts everything into balance somehow. This morning I have a ton of work to do. Thanks for all your comments yesterday, to your apparently lonely and pathetic artist. silly human.
Off to it then.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day 83

I awoke from a nightmare from which I was begging to wake. Please be a dream, please be a dream, wake up, wakeupwakeupwakeup. Donned my scruffy old plaid robe, shuffled to the coffee maker, which was mercifully full and warm. Spencer left for work earlier, probably before things went bad in dreamland. Then, time is different there.
It's cooler today. No swimming. The sky is close and grey. The mountains are shrouded in thin blankets. No traffic and hardly even a hum of electricity. The birds sit quietly on the wires, paper silhouettes against the white. The crows are nowhere to be seen. If I spoke out here, it would be in a whisper. I go back inside. The news seems all either horrific or horrifically stupid. The anchor robotic, plastic and gleeful. Too bright. I turn it off. Silence.

Not a sound from you the last few days.

I'm compelled to ask: Is anybody out there? And, are you okay?

I can hear the kids playing down the hall, a happy cadence but muffled, distant. The only music to dare break this silence is classical. I'll put some on, not too loud, start bending wire for armature.
This is morning, day 83

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 82

Oh where, oh where is 81? It was yesterday.

Today Orion turned nine. We've spent the sort of day he asked for, with swimming, cake, pizza, Rango and games.

After dinner, we may camp on cushions for a round of pure silliness, including singing about things like greasy gopher guts.
I imagine that poppets enjoy this sort of silliness best.

I could be wrong. Poppets can be difficult to read. They volunteer information only in the smallest bits. These sometimes float free, only half-understood until they're connected to other bits.
It's Orion's birthday. Above all, he did/is/will spend quite a lot of it laughing.

Silliness is a ringing bell today. We shout over it occasionally. Only when it's necessary, like when dinner is ready.

I'm glad we saw Rango. I think it's good stuff. I read the reviews and prepped the kids for a couple of PG things. They're there, but none seemed inappropriate to my group and I'm pretty darned parental. The smoking was in the background in a saloon, the swear words are 'inappropriate' for kids in this house. A markedly higher number of usage and spelling errors were found in negative comments. I tend to agree with people who make an effort, so this factor is helpful.
And, it's good to count things sometimes.

I may have missed the answer to my question and I'd be happier if it's a guess. Is the modern city a metaphor or is Dirt? Or both, or neither?

I'm off to put eyeglasses on things in the most ridiculous way possible.

Happy Birthday Orion!


Of to play some silly games.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 80

This house smells like cabbage. And corned beef brisket, cooking all day.
Inside, the sounds of Robin Hood. On often enough to've become background. Comforting background. Is this a waste of electricity? Probably. It certainly is a luxury. But then, I'm in need of comfort. Or is it want of ? Something to soothe my mind so it doesn't run off on wild tangents. As things are, I'll stick to the concept of moderation. When I leave the room, I'll turn it off.
Sounds of splashing outside. First swim of the year. Carrying on Aubrey's tradition, first swim on St. Paddy's day.

Today, it's not as cold as last year, or the year before.
I'm not saying I'm celebrating. I'm not much in the mood to celebrate. But tonight I plan to be Irish, to have a drink, and to be glad of both. That'll do fine for now.
Happy St. Paddy's Day to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 79

I remember deciding I was tired of microscopes and was really an artist anyway. It was raining, hard. It was some time mid-March. I don't know the date. Aubrey was born four months later.

I wrote this fairly long blog about how I was going through some difficult personal stuff.
Isn't everybody? So I voted no.
What I'm dealing with is challenging, but not disastrous. It's human stuff. It's the somethings that always are.
I'm not going to write about it here. Later on, when it ages a little and if I glean something useful from it, I will.
I'll work it out in the work. I'll do my best to be part of the solution within my reach, and will not worry about the rest. I'll try not to anyway.
It's difficult not to look at the world and it's difficult not to worry. But I learn. The more I learn, the less I worry. It used to be the other way around. Somewhere, I turned a corner.
I finished another wedding piece today. I played Tak II with Orion. And tag.

.Now is for reading, then sleep. Sleep is good.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Days 77 and 78

were not so good. Much unpleasantness. Today I worked to make up for time lost.


more words and some photos later, promise.

Japan, heartbreaking. Changes in the Earth, worrisome. Another encounter with the X, hereto forth known as Inappropriate Avenger. Geeze.

Exit, stage left. To the sofa, with Orion, sleepily watching animation, where I will join him.


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 76

I thought a lot about yesterday's post. Thanks for your comments. I haven't thought it completely through, but it seems that I need to strike some sort of balance here. I suspect I might be working something out. It seems the sort of thing I need to process.
One thing that rings true is that the vision of children (and Poppets) is just as magical as William Blake believed it to be and every bit as real as "the ordinary light of day."
The trick might be to understand how to balance the two.
Possibly, many have learned to do this already. If you have, I welcome any comments or help sorting this out. And if you haven't, I welcome your wildest guesses. Who knows? You may have it.
In the meantime, I made this poppet, dressed in costume, reading a book with a fairy on the cover, and doing both with joyful abandon. I spent yesterday with it, working on these questions, reminding me that they matter in the longer run, even with tragic news around us.

Such sadness in Japan.

I believe that even in the worst of times, and possibly especially in the worst times, knowledge is the very key to survival. I believe there is knowledge of value in stories and those of us who can, should make them. And that learning is doing our part.

And I believe we should play and play and play. Because play is the brain's vegetables.
...and eat vegetables, because vegetables are the brain's vegetables too.

And because play brings happiness.
Happiness is as essential to humans as salt. That is to say, we can live without it, but not for very long.

I'm working on balancing some things, obviously. Thanks for being here with me as I shamelessly bare my thoughts to you. Today it seems the right thing to do.
All that said, I probably said it better here, in the quiet and simple language of Poppet:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 75

Day 75 took us past the windmills at sunset.

My fascination with them continues, so I took photos.

watched the sunset and thought about the troubling elements of the day.
Shortly after we met, Spencer began calling me 'inside out girl.' I get it. I've heard it said in other ways. 'Emotionally open' is another. I've resolved it as an unfortunate side effect of whatever drives the art. After all, mostly what I make is about human beings examining themselves.
Now I see it in Orion. Sure, it draws. It is an attractive force.
'It's like a light,' they say. Childlike, idealistic and naive too, sometimes. Poppet-y and in its way, beautiful.

I see it in Orion. What I've learned though, is that this sort of vision(like everything else) has a price. It's a double-edged sword. I learn this late. Is it late? It feels late, like evening.
Such honesty can lead to defenselessness.
Orion will be nine very soon. Is it time for him to gather some darkness around him? Shall I begin the lessons? I've been here before. Always reluctant to introduce fear. To pull back the curtain.

Always I've headed toward the light. I've gone with my head down, learning in books, learning my craft, communicating through art and written words. Finally I looked around to find the road is very dangerous.
Human beings are not at all like Poppets. In this world, one must wear armor. A balance then, of darkness and light. Always looking for beauty. Must I look for it now from behind a veil, one hand on my weapon? Is this where we are? If I grow a thicker skin, shut myself off a bit, will I still see what I see?
or rather,
Will I dream?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 74

Is Spencer's birthday.

A simple day of kids,
and Soosi,


and hugging.

This morning we awoke to the news about the quake in Japan. Hard news. Worry. Realization.

Life is short. Hugs are good. Love is everything.

Off to make art. Have a good Friday.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Day 73

Because I failed to make an entry for 72.
Continually. Not continuous. It's what I can do. Live with it. I do.

Aubrey took photos today. It is warm like spring. There's no hint of the coming heat yet and snow still on the mountains. The egrets are back, they dot the pines like elaborate corsages and strut around in grassy areas. It's hard to imagine mid summer right now. I'm not going to. Right now I can pretend it's ages away.

The kids are out of school for March. Today they ran around outside, sat with their feet in the pool and skipped ice cubes like rocks. It's tricky, but those crecent shaped cubes will triple skip with practice and luck.

We had some technical problems with our current batch of resin. Turns out it wasn't just quite right, so that in small quantities it didn't create enough heat to cure in the usual time. After a lot of trial and error, research and a couple of emails, we got things straight. New castings are coming out just fine and previous ones are basking in light, curing in the old fashioned way, which is to say, slowly.
Possibly marble dust is as tricky as pixie dust.

This house is full of kids and other small creatures.

Some are tucked away in quiet corners.

Others are perpetual noise and motion. Life on life.

And some watch it all.
As quantum mechanics is to the workings of the cosmos, I wonder if one human family, through several generations, can represent the general principles of humanity?

It's a reasonable theory, though sometimes we seem alien even to ourselves.
Seasons are good. Weather too, even of the uncomfortable sort. Anything that makes us look up and out and away, so that we see where we are and where we're going and what we must do.
Poppets tell me it's time for this. Poppets tend to understate too.
Thanks for the photos, Aubrey.