Lisa's Musings

there's little i control

issue2cover_small Originally uploaded by dressform.

a few months back the very sweet katie from 3rd floor emailed and asked if i would want to contribute my tank project:

my felt tank project

to their issue #2.....

i just got my copy in the mail today... it's a GREAT publication... cool art - all art - it's inspiring! we should subscribe to support such endeavors!! yes... subscribe now!!! thanks 3rd floor !

so tomorrow is the last day with the kids.... we had a big show of theirs today (each class gets part of a wall in CCA's gallery - so it's a "real" show for them!). parents come... meeting the parents is so fun - of the kids that you love that is.... there are always those few that you just LOVE and would want to take them home with you (at least Sydney and i want to take them home with us - or borrow them for short periods of time!) and when the kids are excited the parents are excited... and you feel all warm and fuzzy as they thank you and you keep saying - NO! your kid did it - i didn't do anything - they are AMAZING! they are so talented and focused and can draw better than many adults i know.... it's a good time! and then bam - tomorrow it's over.... long weekend and UCB beginning painting class comes next.... (is there any way to EXPAND time?? anyone?? thank goodness it's a LONG weekend - otherwise i might not make it)

p146128b Originally uploaded by dressform.

so quickly wandering thru urban outfitters yesterday (don't ask why i was there....) i spied this little section of "art".... silkcreened images on fabric stretched around regular stretcher bars.... the imagery was quick - striking! my immediate reaction - warhol has finally reached every nook and cranny imaginable! part of me is excited - art for everyone! at $34 you too can have something a bit more interesting than a poster but not as high brow or expensive as a "real" piece of art.... but part of me wonders what we constitute as art and what makes up decoration. cute and stylish things are good and art can be cute and stylish, but no one can expect an artist to sell something unique in that size for $34.... or can they? or should we? or? or? or?? nonetheless - they make some nice eye candy.... see them here

i have FINALLY gotten around to expanding the design section of my website (uh no - the pro one is not done yet, but.... baby steps). you can now see some more invites, etc. from my design page!

oh! i just did this (it's pretty cool - and i found it via rosa's blog)

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

minipoppy Originally uploaded by dressform.

is my new desired state of being...(calm and thoughtful or inclined to be this way). like the mini icelandic poppy above ( tania for you!) so small and so so lovely - eager to soak up the sunshine (which is also sorely lacking - although i think our fog may finally be wearing off for today).

how to achieve this contemplativeness is the rub. this weekend i have felt the utter lack of motivation land on my head like one of those cartoon pianos falling from the sky. i look around my house that needs to be cleaned and i can't quite get motivated to do it.... i feel practically lucky to have gotten out of bed and into clothing other than pajamas.

i am in a mode of comparing.... where i am in terms of the next guy? am i doing too much? not enough? not planning wisely? wasting time? am i wrong/right/boring/too ironic/silly/not funny enough or just plain dumb? and i HATE that - it is icky and unhelpful.... but it sneaks its way in anyway (how is it that XXX is getting that show when XXX is one of the most lazy, transparent and not so nice artists/people that i know???)

it is time to build a contemplative state - where you acknowledge all the crap, but can move past it (and hopefully learn from it).... where you practice what you preach, where you are OK even if you aren't perfect because we should leave it to the poppies to be perfect, where you focus on what you make so that it can exist honestly in the world, where you find beauty, love and trust your friends and family, where you can laugh at yourself, where you LOOK - find those small (even microscopic) moments - the inspiration, where you can only hope to touch or inspire ONE other person (and revel in that when it happens).... mostly don't despair when you can't manifest this state constantly.... (beware of the doldrums ocean).... is this sounding too much like a mantra? i apologize, i think i might need that today....

lovely_bird Originally uploaded by dressform.

at the end of class today i realized that my head was up in the clouds and that i had very little sugar in my system... thank goodness i came home to ripe nectarines to munch on!

ohh the kids are so cute.... today we worked with sumi ink - which ended up on the floor, on hands, noses, pants.... they were drawing w/ sticks and bamboo skewers.... if they only saw what i saw.... some of them hate their crazy lines but i LOVE them... one girl spent all this time drawing a tiny little head on a big body - it was so incredibly wacky! the best, though was that one of the kids informed me that he has shakey leg syndrome which means he can't sit still for any longer.... hee hee... he kept looking at me saying i SWEAR it's a real thing!

above is one of the final scrap drawings for the lovely scrap project.... i fell in love (again) with the poppy pods from my yard.....

here_comes_the_blimp Originally uploaded by dressform.

or should i say MY blimp?!? today was a red letter mail day for sure.... the above came from amy of angry chicken fame! how how lucky am i?? how i love the internet and the meeting of all these incredible folk who actually want to swap goodies with me!!! (these exclamation points could go on and on and on!)in real life the french knots are divine... and the blimp.... sigh.... inside the package was a sweet little bundle of other treasure too:


sigh.... it's so satisfying! i think i have the PERFECT place for it too!!

p.s. there are a few new blogs on the left there.....

p.p.s. i posted some of the student work from my CSU spring experience on my teaching page

StretchingGuy.100.3480 Originally uploaded by dressform.

lebowsky that is.... having a project room show at the levy gallery . i love this photo.... it is like fabulous minimalism w/ a narrative snuck in there (and those little feet!). apparently this was taken at the Tate in London... sigh.... someday to see that myself would be grand....

started with the kids today. do they know how darn cute they are?? the first day is always hard - i can never quite remember how long it takes to do things... if only i had realized as a kid that the teacher was probably just as nervous as me! i am always shocked how when they sit down and start to draw it's pretty magical. it comes so easy for them most of the time. the cutest thing? one of them said - i'm just so so tired now - there is no more drawing in me! can i just sit here??

what would happen if i said that?

tweed and gingham flower Originally uploaded by dressform.

i made a flower! i have a pair of pants that ended up w/ a funny mark on them. i love the pants and didn't want to stop wearing them and thus i made this flower to cover the spot up! it was a spur of the moment what scraps do i have around kind of thing - and luckily i had the pin back (i have a whole bag of them!).... with this post i feel like i'm a little bit more in line w/ all the talented crafters that post about all their creations day after day after day, but i can't fathom doing it on a daily basis... i wish i could.... but there isn't enough time.... or more accurately i would have to give up art time (which i just can't do since i don't feel like there's enough of that!). what has happened is that i'm not teaching 3 nights a week so i do have some time in front of the TV to make little things time! yay!!

which leads me to.... i joined a critique group of practically all women artists (one guy - who happens to have also graduated from mills - my alma matter - a year ahead of me and who is a DEAR DEAR fellow). i was finally able to attend my first critique on thurs. evening. it is really humbling and wonderful to be around so many talented, smart, edgy (in a funny good charming way) creators who are earnestly trying to give each other support, feedback, encouragement, advice, suggestions, etc. i actually even showed my work - and i'm super jazzed now - so many good thoughts, reactions, things to ponder...... too bad i have to go back to more steady work next week.... less studio time.... sigh....

which leads me to... (sensing a theme here?) something that came up. i was talking to one of the gals about why is it that we are all just completely INSANELY busy - beyond what we all think is humanely possible. the answers we came up with? 1. we are all that age (30-something) where we are trying to balance career, life, etc. and figuring out what the heck we seriously want to do with our lives (these are the INCOME EARNING years - excuse me while i laugh) and 2. since we are all artists, if we are not in that limited percentile that has enough money to live comfortably (insert envy and hope for some rich childless uncle i don't know about here) we all have to have jobs that PAY - which essentially means we all have at least 2 jobs! (and if you are me you have like 20). i know i've thought about this before, but all of a sudden it hit like a ton of bricks. if you are a banker, you go to your banker job 9-4 (remember it's bankers hours). you go home - you have a family, you have some hobbies.... you may even have a passion for quilting which you spend doing in all your spare time - which is great! .... us artists? we have the paying job and then we are constantly thinking about what we are making, and why we are making it and if we are serious we are looking at what other artists are making and think about why they are making. and we worry about if anyone cares about what we make and why does that matter and do we want to show our work and if so where, and sending out packets and proposals is a whole nother JOB (i'm up to 3 here) where you have to look and act and write professionally and be organized..... hmmmm.... once again can i just say i wish i had a minion?? (this never gets old).

which also leads me to.... i start the kid teaching again next week - which means.... this blog is OFFICIALLY a year old!! holy canoli. can you believe it?? i can't!! who knew that i would manage to have something to say every few days for a year straight..... and have picked up a few readers besides family (hi family! happy father's day tomorrow!).... feels good.... thanks....

pendant light Originally uploaded by dressform.

please excuse the break from our regular programming... this is a bulletin of consumerous desire: completely lusting over these pendant lights from west elm . the lime green one is particularly nice (in the catalogue it's not as washed out looking as the photo from their website)

um... where was i? Oh yes.....

these are soon to be off to a new home in a new state! they have sealed the deal on a trade yippee!! i'm going to wait until i have my part to show you what my prize is, but let me just say that my heart is pitter pattering in anticipation... i'm clucking like a hen (this is a hint)

pinkflower Originally uploaded by dressform.

my studio was waiting for questions asked, no chiding, no eye-rolling.... thank you studio for receiving me back into the fold as if not too much time had passed....

i made a flower! (above) - it is so thrilling to now have enough targets around to just try things out for the darn heck of it! new color combos, new stitches to try, stitches to try again in other ways, sizes, threads.... it is lovely to feel like there is no limit, no ceiling no barrier.... room to play, room to try (this is an unusual state, i know... must relish while it's here!)

that said, even though my grades are calculated (still have to post them), and i snuck away into the studio for a whole day - my calendar just looks ickily packed... no rest for the wicked. does that make me wicked?? (i am winking). what i really really really want to do is a bit fat nothing! imagine that - me - nothing! but really - i would actually enjoy a beach day, a long hike, a mental release.... but not possible yet.... still have clients to please and things to make and syllabi to re-write (almost done with that one), and student work to post (why did i think that was a good idea?? no it is... it's nice to see them all together....), and t-shirts to print and sell (i think we just got a big order! woo hoo)

speaking of which... THANKS to everyone who visited Abby-Normal and purchased or commented so sweetly or BOTH!! so nice to have such a response....

oh! in response to the whole ambition thing someone mentioned Rilke.... good point....questions are good. having all the answers would be dull - tis true tis true (maybe there could be one day where you feel like you know - a little i know what i'm doing holiday!) I have been thinking about other inspirational writings to help when the going gets rough... Agnes Martin's Writings .... i'm in the middle of Ben Shahn's The Shape of Content (part of this will be read for the painting class) any other good ones??

and i've been thinking of putting a resource list together - to hang out there on the left... all the funky places on the web that could have supplies for craft/art making - and not the usual ones (no michaels, no dick blick) - the hard to find really cool ones.... good idea? i can't even find them all in my bookmarks anymore b/c my bookmarks go on forever and ever.... any thoughts on things that REALLY should be included??

ambition Originally uploaded by dressform.

the above photo appeared when i querried "ambition" in google's image data base.... that small dog has got some gumption, huh?

at lunch today w/ the lovely s.c.... who i will be teaching with (ok, not with, but we will be in the same room back to back!) in about a week from now.... we talked of ambition and the art world. yes, our stomachs turned. how to deal with the messy icky business side of making the things that we want to make and finding a way to show them, sell them, share them, unload them... what is it exactly? who sets the bar? what are we supposed to actually be DOING as artists (besides making the art. i *think* that is the one part that at least makes sense part of the time)? it is ultimately about making art right? however, all but the very very small minority of us have to have at least one if not numerous other jobs to support our "other" life.... and why is it other? what is glamorous about this exactly? why do people want to know about the "life of the artist"? how exactly is it that the struggle gets turned into moments of sublime bliss, or awe or quickly inhaled breath (this is my favorite - when you just see something and you inhale - and the longing for it starts.... and realizing you can't actually own it the desire to be close to is festers and grows and you can feel something in you altering - either slight or supreme as the case may be). miss s.c. - who i really like - she is honest - completely - she says what she wants in a heartbeat w/out overthinking or suffering consequenses.... and i, we have an amibition problem. or do we? can i still believe that if you do things your way that it will be noticed for what it is by someone somewhere and that in and of itself is enough? are we communicating? pontificating? making pretty things? making grand statements of or to the world? who exactly is interested or listening?

we ran into an aritst at the art store while buying supplies for our classes who was burnt on teaching - who had run out of potential teaching positions and who was catering to make money.... and who said he was happy because he had studio time. did i believe him? i'm not sure. he talked of an old professor of his who warned: don't get into teaching. you won't have a career and you'll regret it. do we all just say what it is that we want to believe is true? does that matter? what career? art career? inspiring teacher career? which is better? if you repeat it enough is it true? and how do you balance the important things in your life so that none teeter the scale in an all too precarious way. do we all want to be doing what people think we should be doing? or do we seek what some inner source whispers us to do?(uh yes, this question has been the bain of angst ridden human existence since the dawn of time but i ask: has anyone really answered it??)

ambition? too much is tacky. too little and you are lazy.... not enough and nothing happens... too much and you loose all perspective.... what is it that we want or need to happen? recognition? acceptance? if mikey likes it is it good? oh where or where is my secret stash of the magic potion? is that what all this proposing is all about? what is it that i want? and why??

it is amazing how one word can trigger such round aboutness in the mind - and how you can actually spend a whole heck of a lot of secondary time (i mean like multi-tasking brain time - where you mind goes when you are driving.... looking at the purple brown haze of the late setting sun or while not really watching a program on TV) trying to figure out what one word means to you and your life and whether you have enough of said word to do whatever it is you think you should be doing.....forgive me for i have babbled.... and now i should sleep.....

vintage apron1 Originally uploaded by dressform.

amy this is for you!! all the vintage aprons my pal from paper monkey grabbed from a clean out session of her grandmas.... they rock! you can see them all in a flickr set . i love your idea for people to tie one on and make their own aprons.... hopefully at some point i'll have a moment to participate!

i spent a good portion of yesterday and today outside in the garden. we now have our tomatoes, sweet bell peppers, basil and hot peppers planted and some flowers to fill in spots - still more to go! i'm dying to do a mass planting of ladybird poppies this year... i think i have the perfect space! if i can't be in the studio i'll take being in the garden. playing in the dirt. other than the occasional spider freak out it's all good.... i did get a bunch of grading done today too.... of course there is still more, but at least i made a dent.... phew! i had this funny feeling while debating between giving a B or B- to a student - who KNEW that someday i would be trying to assign a value to someone's work.... it's not really too fun, you know? sometimes it completely obvious that something is an "A" or a "C" (not enough work!) but then there are all the inbetweens, and if you like the student and they don't do so well it's hard to stay objective and not cut them some slack....

i got an email from a very dear person the other day and it contained this story about a woman named "rose" who was 87 and went back to school at UC berkeley. she apparently made friends w/ all the students and they had her speak at a banquet.... even though this borders on the sappy - it really got to me! so i'm going to share it:

"We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You've got to have a dream.

When you lose your dreams, you die. We have so many people walking around who are dead and don't even know it!

There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don't do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn't take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don't have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."


Abby-Normal Originally uploaded by dressform.

a quickie!

FYI - our (me and studio mate) store is online! yay!! (does anyone hate coding a paypal shopping cart as much as me??)


robot girl in her new home Originally uploaded by dressform.

here's my new robot at home on my dresser.... does she fit in or WHAT?? thank you thank you thank you hillary! but if you think it ends there oh no! look what else came in my package:

goodies from wee wonderfuls Originally uploaded by dressform.

is the fashion sketch pad just about the coolest thing you've ever seen?? the pages inside have a peachy colored 50's lady that you are supposed to draw the clothes onto...some drawings are going to have come out of that - oh my studio! how i miss it!! i haven't had a really full day in there in who knows how the heck how long. bad artist. i am a bad artist! i did, though, finally update my portfolio on the website. all the target pieces and the patchwork piece from the beginning of the year are up there.... if you click on the thumbnails you'll get a pop-up w/ all the details. of course now i just want to make more!! i think i am finally going to sneak into the studio by the end of next week - once classes are done (oy the grading! so much to do!) and although i do have to prep for the next round of classes i think i can squirrel a few days away! WHOLE DAYS!!

well, i've already received a few rejects from the first round of proposals... sting. ouch (but i wasn't really expecting anything so it's not too bad. really. i am growing tougher skin.) time to just turn those around and send out some more!! the more the merrier - the more the possible - the more the more! (i was telling the countess that i lost my head - my body has been running around with no one to direct it. the whole chicken running analogy. at least that's how i feel.... chug chug chug.... i hope my head isn't saying or doing anything embarrassing while it's out there on its own. if you find it - there's a small reward. maybe it's off traveling and doing all the things that i don't have time to do. it better come back rested and ready to work).

1974_AlamedaGranTorino.jpg Originally uploaded by dressform.

so while i ran around SF the other day i popped in to see the Bechtle show at SFMOMA um WOW. i am not a huge fan of photorealism per se - and while i have always respected Bechtle's work i wasn't a real fan. the show has changed all that. for sure. seeing room after room and decade after decade of his work was just mind blowing. slight shifts in palettes and techniques that match the decade in which they were painted (there were chairs that were just SO 70's painted in the 70's of course - these paintings could be used by historians eons from now to point out how big sunglasses were the rage in 77 and what a 1966 cadilac looked like). what was most fascinating to me though, was that it wasn't really the hyper-realism that was so impressive (although of course it was). it was that the light in them was dumbfounding. that the colors and situations were so "frozen", too real.... that they were vibrating and humming and glowing - almost like film - or like slides (old ones - super saturated) - which could be beacuse he uses slides to help him paint them?? my eyes started to water and get blurry if i looked at them for too long.... and then there were the little water color studies and the charcoal drawings. sweet, intimate, gorgeous touch.... and places i recognized - like 40th and West in Oakland - that is RIGHT down the street from me - i KNOW that tree.... sigh..... inspiring yes. bought the catalogue. good for my students! ;) all for now.... i'm going to eat a yummy slice of zucchini, sweet onion, tomato pesto pizza before i pack up for school

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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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