Lisa's Musings

there's little i control



schjeldahl_p Originally uploaded by dressform.

thats what all us art folks/snob/participants are according to mr. schjeldahl pictured above (photo from: black bird archive )

it is enthusing to be in the presence of someone who speaks his mind so poetically (and yes he was a former poet). for better or for worse the likes of Schjeldahl (maybe if i type it enough i will spell it properly with ease) and Hickey et. al propse an interesting way to look at and think about this diabolical mess that is the art world and art making. part of it is taking art and making it a "Regular" thing but still managing to talk about it with $10 words and concepts. it's demystifying and respectful all at the same time. the democratic portion of me likes this very much.

ultimately he is also a good story teller. he spoke of two Rembrandts and how he viewed them in this very loving and inspired way. down to the gesture.... and then in the next breath irony appears, arm in arm with humor to blow the whole thing out of the stuffy and murky water. i think this is how my mind works often actually, although i doubt i could put it all so eloquently. i look for those epiphanies (and what the hell are those anyways? dictionary definitions don't do justice to the curling of the toes and little time warps and leaps of heart beats that happen in those ultimate states of understanding and confusion) and then immediately look to debase them. to make them into something funny - or not so big - it's almost like stashing them away in my own little squirrel hole - by disarming them i can actually keep them for a bit longer and go back to them for fading returns. where as if i allow the grandness all the space it deserves it fades faster.... and becomes less personal. perhaps the critics and philosophers are the ones that get more bang for their buck when they put it all out there - share it to be devoured, chewed up, altered and spit back out in cycle after cycle.

the highlights from tonight (and i think the list format is appropo):
- the gates in snow have a series of yellow dog action paintings surrounding them
- things have snob appeal
- you learn things faster publically because they become etched in humility
- art is escapism
- art should make the world safer for poetic intoxication
- art is nothing but problems
- there is an applicable analogy between Kegan's notion of true war vs. real war and true art vs. real art
- artists are unhappy
- artists are courageous (or crazy) because they can look at the state of the world and decide that there really still needs to be ONE MORE OBJECT
- artists shouldn't really have to think about the state of making art. they should just be given contracts or jobs to produce things (after all how did all those cathedrals in Europe get painted?)
- painting is like jazz (not in a music sense - in the way it partcipates in the culture)
- freeze dried narrative
- innovation is overrated
- art is the technoligy of making beauty
- and the title of this blog.... which basically was presented by explaining that those of us in the room were self-chosen elite (and in a democracy ANYONE gets to be an elitist) - where most of america is in a big tent that watches TV we are greedy aesthetcists in a much smaller tent (you can be in more than one tent!) looking for that next life changing experience with an art object.

ahh the purr of a stimulated brain. tis nice on occasion..... plus now the lovely miss m and i have a collaborative project to start! tee hee!


garboburrito Originally uploaded by dressform.

garbo has been shivering cold... phooey on all the meds she has to be on.... but look at how cute she is. she managed to unzip her dog bed and crawl under the covers to stay warm.... if that doesn't define cuteness i'm at a loss!

i am blogging from my spankin' new and lightening fast G4 laptop... sigh.... it really is a dream. things open faster i can multi-task even better... the most fabulous part though was the transfer of my files. oh clever apple! with one firewire cable and a touch of a button ALL of my stuff (and i mean all - apps, settings, preferences) was transfered from the sad little ibook to the dream machine in a half an hours time. voila and yippee. i was so thrilled even the few glitches have really seemed like small stutter steps.

art note: i bought a bazillion (ok exaggerating) frames today for the new rifle pieces. if only i could dream of genie and my ponytail could make the work pop into them (and cut the paper they need to live on, and hinge them, etc. etc.). have i said LATELY that i could use a minion? any takers? i can offer yogurt covered raisens and access to a really cool and fast computer...... and oh! tomorrow is a grand lecture: Peter Schjeldahl at Mills.... hopefully will be good. will let you know!


cakestand Originally uploaded by dressform.

this is the lovely new - but quite old looking cakestand I got as a gift from my parents while they were visiting last weekend. it is in the prized middle of the dining room table spot... i look at it daily and it makes me happy. is it silly that mere things can be infused with such joy? i am sure avid aesthetisists would say of course it's not silly - design and funciton and form are what help to shape our interactions and reactions with the world. (side note: i have started a book by Cynthia Freeland - "But is it Art" - she is a professor of aesthetics. i think this is pretty swell and wish i had the opportunity to take an aesthetics class - the philosophy of what appeals to the eye.... sigh....). but i can't help wondering about objects in the world and how we place value on them. (of course this situation gets extraorinarily wacky and potentially icky when it comes to art objects). i don't proclaim to have any answers - i just know what i like! (and for an indecisive libra like myself this in and of itself can be a big thing).

i'm not sure if it's the weather, the creeping and everpresent tendonitis in my arm, or the lack of good sleep (there is a german shepard on the block that has been barking at the lovely hours of 2-5 am), but i have been a bit sluggish of late. i have taken a mini-poll and everyone i know is extraordinarily busy and so i just have to assume that the year of the rooster wants to start with a bang. all work and no play makes lisa a dull girl. maybe i should consider all of this an experiment. how far can all of this go??

i did see richard shaw's show at B/Q gallery. the one watercolor pallete house killed me. i did have to wonder though if his vocabulary is ever going to change? does it even need to? when you have been making stuff for 40+ years is it harder to change - or are you just so focused that you find new small ways to institute change. is this satisfactory - for you? for your audience? should this even be of concern as you work in the studio? it could easily be a dammed if you do dammed if you don't situation. (note: don't think of these things while actually making - much too stiffling!)

OH! exciting - my NEW NEW NEW brushed aluminum apple powerbook G4 shipped today. (drive faster UPS drive faster!). my wallet is upset with me but my heart and mind and hands are excitied! finally a hard drive with enough room to store my tunes and my images and all my clients' crap! yay! now i have to see about a sleeve for it (must protect it) i did see these amazing carrying cases at Casauri - the sun striped citra medium envelope is pretty nice.... and then if money was NO object how bout these pretty things at ACME alas money is an object.... maybe i'll make myself a little pocket for the time being..... it's still lovely to behold nice material things....

two more things (long post - i know - but it's been ahwile) 1- the show at Oakland Art Gallery is pretty good. Michael Arcega has a bunch of tiny balsa wood tanks (which OF COURSE I LOVE) and a fellow Mills alum Heike Liss has a nice photo series. 2 - if you are coming to visit CA and would like a dreamy place to stay my friends are renting their cabin in Marin County- it's actually where I got married. it's beautiful and serene and lovely. check it out


cherry blossom Originally uploaded by ruthness.



not my photo, but like one i wanted to take.... the little plum tree (yes the above is cherry - it's close - it's the spirit of it!) in my front yard is just starting to bloom.... it's like spring is stretching and getting ready to awaken.

why is it that when things are going well in one arena the universe decides that it has to throw you a little curve ball... just to keep you honest? i am happily on a little roll in the studio w/ the rifle targets. hunted animals in primary colors outlined with little needle holes (they are rifle targets after all)... coagulating agents in the forms of flowers... i'm painting! with watercolors which have this whole life of their own ~ out of my comfort zone ~ but luscious and transparent and alive.... pools of titanium white interrupted ever so slightly by a purplish brown ~ intermingling as the water evaporates ~ shifting before my eyes.....perhaps i'll post a little sneek peak? i'm not sure i'm ready to really share yet.... now i wish i could instantaneously build shadow boxes. that would be perfect - alas i might have to settle for regular frames that i can afford (ikea? utrecht? come to my rescue!)

so then comes the client call... oh well this might need to change and other people said this and they don't like that and now i agree with them and blah blah. ultimately no big deal - clients always need things changed or altered, but with this case I am particularly irritated. they approved the design forever ago - where were these naysayers then? there has been a test website live for 9 months and not a peep in terms of notes or changes. we finally launch and then.... BAM. good thing i have my catchers mitt somewhat ready! (get ready i'm throwing the ball back)

on a happier web front.... porch-light now has a little webstore. check out their vintage inspried section for goodies. i've been going cross-eyed looking at all the paypal code.... fingers crossed it all works. q/a is still underway!

is it spring yet?


carte Originally uploaded by dressform.

this is what i got when i looked for the space time continuum.... i'm still not sure i "get" it but i like the idea of time incursions....

i have been going back to Mills even though i'm not teaching this semester since m3 has given me a temporary admin position (thank goodness for paychecks). the last time i marched up the wide steps i realized how many ways i've interacted with that campus. as student, as teacher as this new office girl. i looked up at the grad studio and the memories of going to that place to work - of finding what i realize now is my real voice - of all the fear and challenges and complications of that; interacting with fellow students/peers/teachers.... and how now a mere 2 years later so many of those relationships are completely changed or non-existant or have devloped into something other than what they once were. 2 little years - they have gone by so quickly but i feel like i am 2 million miles away from the grad student that went into that building on practically a daily basis.

so either i'm finally charging what i should, or i'm off my rocker (in the design arena). i was too expensive for someone! normally i would be heartbroken, but this time around i am actually relieved. although this project would have been nice because it could have funded the rest of my spring i knew it was a big job and so i estimated a big job price. and now that i don't have it some future weight has been lifted off my shoulders (how to move the peas to fit the carrots?). i actually realize that it isn't worth it unless they realize i'm worth it. (and although it was a high price i still think it was fair - i wasn't gouging for gouge sake) can this translate into the art arena??? wouldn't that be a new tune....

i have had the fortune of chatting with a few fellow artists the last few days. it is nice to speak the same language. to find that your loneliness, confusion and wonder are simultaneously shared by another human in their own little studio. (the time continuum again) and we all hate marketing. surprise suprise (and we are all slightly sickend and perhaps jealous of those that do it well)

the enchanting poet sent me some prose. i need more time to read and digest it but i can tell it sings. in a lovely heartfelt voice.... and in this particular volume she brings 2 amazing women of the past into this century and in the first set of poems "i wished metaphorically to create a circle which is to say, create an archetype whose resonance is timeless. this archetype also may be called love" (are you getting the connectivity of this theme? time you slipery thing you - not only of the day are you, but perhaps the week?!) i'll look for you on the otherside of the incursion.....

uh yes, i'm aghast that the entire month of january has just run through my fingers (wasn't i making a tighter seal?). first things first - if you have a desire to see the lastest batch of drawings (the brothers and sisters to the robot piece below). i have linked to them from my home page in the news box. they are the patchwork pieces.....

i sort of feel like i've entered a cyclone wind chamber.... i received an email tonight - i had agreed to do this show with some friends and couldn't remember the date - well it's APRIL - show opens april 2nd... nothing like that to give you a big kick in the pants. now not only do i want to make artwork - i HAVE to make it. this is probably good for me as i was starting to make some excuses about my studio time - but also pretty darn scary. this delays any grand idea trips to NY until after that show. although we have promised to deliver big ben the dog to santa fe in March.... so that has to happen. yes yikes. does yikes even cut it? and so here i sit, typing instead of blissfully sleeping. did i agree to too many things? perhaps. and yet my mind and heart still yearn to do even more (yes i could be certifiable at this point - go ahead you can tell me) like make silly and lovely beaded jewelry inspired by a book called "wire jewelry accessories" i saw on ebay from this great store that seems to stock crafty books from Japan (the felt one is nice too). like i have the time to do this?!?!?!

breathe. must breathe slowly. inhale deeply. you have been in this place before. it is not all bad - you can balance and get it all done. one thing at a time. one big X through one tiny thing on that long long long list at a time. it doesn't matter that the list is 2 pages. and many of these things are enjoyable. you like doing them! i always think that my clients will rush to get me everything immediately and they don't and so there is always some lag. embrace the lag as your friend! and utilize the magic of simply saying it can't be done yet. because it can't. because my studio calls (what am i making? hmmm started those targets. could go somewhere - but they are still iffy. just buttons isn't enough.....i really want to start the mapping pieces. OK - tomorrow grid out at least 1 floor plan. it's possible!)

mabye i should do a piece about putting one foot in front of the other. or juggling. or trying to please the master of the universe and everyone else too. maybe i need to start meditating. or drink more caffine. or less caffine....

oh! one more thing.... my studio mate and i finished our first t-shirt order - it's being delivered to dish in berkeley this week! exciting! soon we will have a website where we will sell our wares. this is, of course, if i can build it.... time machine? anyone? and i could still use those extra hands!!


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Name: lisa s
Location: oakland, CA, United States

hello and welcome to my blog. i'm a mixed media artist living in oakland, CA with my husband, 2 dogs, 1 cat and my baby daughter. i try to post once a week about things that inspire me, what's going on in my studio, and little tidbits of my life. thanks for visiting, reading and commenting!



please please please :: i am happy to have you use an image of mine on your blog or somewhere else, but PLEASE just ask permission before you do. and please don't hot link. it really is important that we respect one another and the work we do. and if you are too shy or busy to ask, could you at least link back to me? thank you in advance!



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