Lisa's Musings

there's little i control



drawing a day ~ week10 Originally uploaded by dressform.

we are painting... the dining room... first we did 3 walls in chocolate - today we are tackling the trim and the ceiling... tannish white... the last two walls will be a nice tan.... this in and of itself would be fun except for the fact that i've been sneezing all day.... i guess the upside is i can't really smell the paint!

the week of drawing... the last yellow.... bye bye birdie? by the by i'm onto green [granted the first one is kind of yellowy.... don't say i didn't warn you]. i'm thinking that even though i can't smell them, the paint fumes are getting to me....

i have been meaning to post these links for weeks, months.... almost eons now. so here they are... go click around [i'm sorry some of these came from somewhere, but i can't remember where...]:

if i could own a cool new bike i'd get one from here

a very nice magazine the drama

shop local [for me] doe

this one came from nebo.... do you need color advice? or just want to look at pretty colors? of course you do!

your pet deserves swank gear.

i'm a sucker for all things mini... someone on flickr pointed these out... sorry again for the brain fart, but... yes i dig their clothes [is it so wrong?]. but you have to check out these mini sweater holiday ornaments.

when mav sent me that lovely package chocolate was included. she sent the barcelona bar which was heavenly... but all the options look purty darn amazing!

this morning in the new york times was an article on alzheimer patients and their responses to art. my dad emailed it to me too... knowing i would like it. the gist... the art had a calming effect on the patients. and those that had lost ability to communicate about other things in life somehow managed to speak clearly about the art they were viewing. i think all people who think that art is a waste of time or would like to cut funding for art in schools need to read this article. repeatedly. rinse and repeat until they get it! [ok it's probably hopeless that they'll get it. but.... worth a shot, right?]

and finally for all you book loving folk... the open library . granted not the same as holding a book in your own hands, but.... sigh.... tara i particularly thought of you for this one....


chinaski Originally uploaded by dressform.

started by p2p ... i bring you chinaski [named so because charles bukowski's alter ego was hank chinaski - and this cat would drink red wine if he could]. aka chini, carahu [spelling? peruvian for "asshole"], cha-cha, mr.chini, pig-pen [because he barely ever cleans himself and comes in covered with motor oil. moe always licks his head clean for him], mo-fo [as in cool mo-fo].

we got chini as a TINY little kitten. he was dropped off by a cop at a vet hospital hubby used to work at. cop said he found him behind a chinese restaurant downtown. he was covered in ants and fleas. bad sign [if you are covered in ants you have a very low body temp - they think you are dead!]. hubby was going to euthanize him because that was the humane thing to do. got the drug. was holding the little guy in one palm... and he opened his eyes and started purring.... oh man! so he got washed under warm water - put in a cage with a bunch of blankets and a heating pad.... fed fake mama's milk and anything else he'd gulp down.

chini has this way about him. he is just a cool cool cat. he has the best purr ever. it's like a low rumbling motor. he'll start purring if you look at him and say his name. he'll roll around for you if you do that too! he LOVES being outside - he loves being the garden. he's our resident mouse/rat/bird catcher [once he had a whole pigeon. eewww!]

he has also used up a few of his 9 lives. a while back he didn't come in at night. frantic the next day i went looking for him and couldn't find him. i finally ended up going to the grocery store just to have something to do. as i put the groceries away i heard him screaming in utter pain. i opened the door - a neighbor had put him on our porch - had seen him dragging himself across the street toward home. he was badly badly injured.... one leg hanging by a thread.... stomach covered in maggots [eeewww!!]. a leg amputation and months of recovery later [we set up a kitty hospital on our dining room table] he was back meowing at the door to go outside. he let's garb sniff him up and down [he's incredibly patient with her - she is a rough sniffer. it takes a good minute before he swipes her nose]. he's best friends with our neighbor mr. major [who feeds him fried chicken]. we are so lucky to live on a cul-de-sac so that we can let him out w/out fear of reckless cars....

he and hubby are best buds. as he's aging he talks more and more... and he's got arthritis in his one good back leg... and he hates feet [if you touch him with your foot he'll bite it]. but he's definitely the coolest pet we have. by far. inately cool....

if you can believe it, we have ONE more pet for me to introduce you to - next week!

and OH! we went to see nagativland last night.... they are best are known for the casy casum/U2 song that they got sued for.... very smart. very funny.... performance art/radio/noise is the best description i can think of

self portrait ~ my day 10/25

determined to document myself all day today.... here's the run-on sentence of what happened.... didn't want to get out of bed.... garb either.... feed dogs... check email/blogs/flickr... prep for class tomorrow.... yawn... go to studio and pack up things for kt to choose.... sugary snack since i'm early, there's a starbucks and i have a $5 giftcard [yay!].... drive back to studio w/ unchosen work.... that truck looks like it has crosses on it! [oh they are to hold glass].... print things out at studio.... go to trader joes [my night to cook]... drive home w/ groceries.... take off nail polish that has chipped beyond belief.... work on images to send to ben.... start dinner [brussel sprouts]... cook dinner.... make plate and eat dinner [yum! fish tacos]... pet chinny... take shower... put on slippers... do drawing a day.... and if i finished taking photos.... more computer work... and then sleep.....

why does so little take so long???

so i didn't really say anything about the party at the deyoung i went to the other night. one of their opening parties. the building is AMAZING!!! really really beautiful architecturally. there's a tower that you can go and see a view [it's in golden gate park.... sigh....]. there's an entire room of ruth ozawa pieces [no images online] that took my breath away. they are so stunning. i must find a book of hers. they are intricate woven lovelies that hang from the ceiling... wire? i think so... anthropormorphic biological shapes.... delicate and hollow and structurally intriguing all at once! and then the shadows they cast are mesmerizing.... sigh.... the party was for artists and dealers in the area... it was fun [there were a few "wacky bay area artists" that dressed up... someone had blown up rubber gloves all over them.... i'm not sure why??] i want to go back during the day and really poke around. there were all these nooks and terrarium like areas that you couldn't really see at night. and the architect seems to be into contrasting materials... wood w/ glass and textured concrete... granite walls?? they have an OK contemporary collection [i'm not sure why they hung certain things together] - but the galleries themselves are spectacular... some with 30 foot ceilings? [at least that's what it seemed like!] and they have all the cool archeological stuff.... egyptian artifacts and the like.

today i took some of my work to trawick . she is going to have me do a wall piece for her wall-works show jan/feb of next year. yay! i'm excited. i had an idea to do a doiley thing and she totally loved it! so now i just have to know what wall.... and i can start to plan. this will be fun. she also helped me strategize. i've been nominated for this thing - which is an honor - but it's nervwracking. 6 slides. they look at 6 slides to decide if you go onto round 2. ugh. but after talking to kt i feel much better... she helped me at least weed out what NOT to put in... and good thoughts on what TO put in. i will debate this until the very last second i am sure. as is my libra nature.

OK... i still have to prep for class tomorrow... the basics of illustrator.... a program that can do a million and one things. what in the world are the basics??


lotus chips Originally uploaded by dressform.

i got to see the lovely princess of the dessert, miss e, who has moved out here to go to school. she came to my studio [she's in curatoral studies]... and then we went to lunch... at a new asian tapas place that lives smack in the middle of the path from my home to the studio. they served us the above lotus chips which neither of us had tried before - on the house! they were so beautiful we had to photo them before they were devoured. it was lovely to chat with her about theory and her goals for getting art into the world and what it's like to be in school in a stimulating environment. they sure do get all the curatorial stars coming to talk to them! the list was astonishing!

drawing a day ~ week 8

this weeks drawings. i showed them to miss e... she's the first person to see them all together in one sitting in the flesh.... it was nice to have them looked at actually. i wasn't sure about that. this week i kind of meandered all over the place. i think they got a bit goofier. not quite as "clean" - although they still have plenty of white space.

i was thinking about process and change and that sort of stuff in the car the other night. i kept listening to song lyrics and feeling their poignancy to my immediate life. i am acutely aware that i am nearing my limit. i won't be able to sustain my life as is for too much longer. change is good. institute it! and then i thought - wow - it'd be nice to do drawings based on song lyrics. not a new idea, i know, but.... it could be like a game... like musical drawing [instead of chairs].... wanna play?

OH! if you are in the NY area, the richard levy gallery will have some of my work at the affordable art fair from Oct. 27-30. oh the king and queen of the dessert gallivanting around with the countess.... i am there in spirit if i am not there in actuality. hopefully they think and therefore i am....


pookie Originally uploaded by dressform.

ever a sucker for tradition.... i bring you segment 3 of pet to blog day [started by the illustrious p2p ladies.

this is pachuco [yes like gangster].... aka pookie, choochky [it took me a minute to try and spell that], patuuuko, norman bates [huh? explanation shortly]. he was our very first pet.... a roommate [yes, hubby and i lived with roommates at one time.... oh thank goodness that was long ago] and i heard incessant meowing one evening. this in and of iteself was not too strange seeing that we lived next door to the twisted and aging three's company couple. it was one woman and two men who all lived in this house together. they looked to be about 70. they fed every single stray cat in a mile radius. and none of them were spayed or neutered - ever. this led to even more stray cats in the mile radius. and some of them were frightening! missing eyes, matted fur. if only i wasn't so young i would have tried to figure out a way to trap them - or get a kitty group involved. but i was in my second year of college [?] stressed out and didn't know what to do! we actually tried to talk to them about it once and they looked at us like we were from another planet. if you tried to wave and be friendly they would turn their back on you and pretend they didn't see you. back to the meowing... it was kittens, we could tell... where were they?? we hunted and hunted and hunted.... flashlights were involved.... finally we found 3 little ones trapped between our garage and their fence in a space that was maybe a foot wide.... maybe. room mate reached in with his long arm to try and grab them... two got super spooked and got magic powers and were able to climb back over the wall into land of the lost kitties. hissing the entire time - he ended up grabbing pookie.

i give you all the back story because we honestly think pookie is a bit inbred. he's a BEAUTIFUL looking cat... he has large eyes and is perfectly svelt.... but he is a bit off. even though he has lived with dogs for eons he insists that he's never seen one before. in fact he has peed on dog beds to show his hatred of them [we now spray them with kitty pharamones... did you know those existed? it's working!] he tends to over-react a bit when he gets spooked.... meaning he'll launch off of you with claws extended [i once had to physically remove him from my arm - from which he was hanging - by one claw. ouch.] he should probably be living with a little old lady who gives him saucers of milk. on the other hand.... he gets REALLY sweet and lovey at night. he likes to climb right on your chest. and purr.... but his purr isn't "normal" either.... it's like he's having an asthma attack.... it's kind of cute.... thank goodness our house is big enough. he loves sitting on this red desk in hubby's room. he has the sun and the window all to himself. no dogs... he sits in that window most of the day [hence the norman bates].... if you drive by the back of our house you can spot him!

opened up goodness!

its a p2p kind of day.... mav sent me the above.... l@@k my name letterpressed in wood type!! cute huh???? and her polaroids are so great! and the postcard is lovely, and those russian dolls!?!? edit: i'm a dum dum it's the russian dolls that were made by nebo... who sent them to mav, who sent it to me... and apparently it was her last one - so i am the lucky lucky duck! nebo - you are amazing! i can't wait for our trade!! [i'm working on it!] and that chocolate is AMAZING.... it actually has salt in it - so you get the salty sweet craving taken care of w/out the potato chips..... sigh....i came home from teaching tired and not wanting to do the grading i had to do - and there was her package - waiting to greet me! thank you thank you thank you!

spt 11 ~ 1

spt 11 ~ 2

spt 11 ~ 3

spt 11 ~ 4

spt 11 ~ 5

so i meant to do this last week... but couldn't get it together..... this is me at the wedding in mendocino [so yes some of these will look familiar if you've look at my flickr stream ]. after i looked at all of them i realized that there were these interesting pairings that i could make... like me w/ the tree "filling" me out... and my shoes w/ 2 other sets of shoes mimicked in the shape of the berries.... the red stroller matching the red coat of the dancers.... life is full of small coincidences if you dare to spot them, no?

crit went OK... i think one woman was a bit hurt by the criticism. i tried to check in with her in the hall and she said - well, you are being critical of everyone so at least it's not just me. and i know you are just doing your job.... this is her first art class ever.... yikes. if you aren't used to the nature of a critique they can be harsh. if you've done the work you are very vulnerable... and if you haven't you are probably embarrassed.... i reminded them... this is school. school is for this. you have to decide what you are going to take from this and what will be useful for you in the future.... the thing that makes me sort of sad is how they some of them don't even realize how lucky they are... that even though it is so much hard work they are lucky! they have allotted time to spend.... they are in a stimulating environment full of questions and answers. it gets really sad when a student doesn't even put care or consideration into something and then makes up excuses when they don't like their grade. like i'm NOT going to notice that?? do they think i'm blind?? or stupid??? do they think that flies in other aspects of life? oh i'm sorry everyone on the plane - i meant to tighten that bolt, but it seemed tight enough and i had to go make a phone call.... i didn't think that it would fall out and cause any problems.... YIKES!!


drawing a day ~ week 8 Originally uploaded by dressform.

oh it's monday again.... since i now actually have a job job on monday i can say that! tonight is our first critique in the drawing class. we'll see what happens. i have more a mix this time - a mix of "studio" art and "electronic" art students. i think this will actually help.... the first crit is usually the hardest because it's all about setting the tone and the students get a real sense of what you are looking for.... what's expected, what you notice [yes i notice the small things] i have to go get snacks. i always bribe with snacks! [heh heh]

the yellows in the drawings are slowly getting darker... i think there are only 2 left?? it's funny because i look and say - oh no only 2 yellows left - what do i want to do with yellow that i haven't done yet.... when really yellow has been kind of hard... hard to see... hard to think about what to do since the impact is so much more subtle. why does the mind work like that? it's the want what you don't have syndrome....

busy week, but i'm feeling a bit more on track.... thank goodness! i'm actually going to do SPT tomorrow.... and there's the big de young museum re-opening [they've been closed for renovation] thurs. night... there are several events, but this one is the "artist" one [what does that mean?!?!]. i can't figure out what to wear! - but i'm looking forward to seeing the new building!


Hung Liu Originally uploaded by dressform.

i'm taking a quick break... i'm in the studio... i'm on track... i have a goal... prep all these frames so that in a couple of weeks i can drop some work off to someone - YAY! not sold yet, but hopefully to be so.... maybe off to an art fair... in florida - maybe not?? who knows - but i'm happy to a place for things to go go go....

i have already suffered a paper cut and a cut from glass - but i don't even care... it just feel so good to be in here... i even finished 2 paintings yesterday - after weeks of neglect...

of course i'll have to make up time over the weekend... stacks of grading - oh right those websites.... but whatever! i'm here, the dogs are here, no one else is here.... [is this like a 180 from the last post or what?!?!]

the above is an image of Hung Liu's who is having a show at the rena bransten gallery this month. hung was a teacher of mine in grad school - she has a dynamic overflowing personality and her paintings are often large [think over 6 feet tall].... they often deal with her heritage as a chinese woman growing up with communism.... in person the texture is overwhelming.... if you at all love paint you love these. just for the paint quality alone. her opening was last night - it was fun to see her and other old grad school friends.... from whom i rushed off to participate in our monthly group crit thing.... it was amanda's turn. her new work is just so stunning... it made me breathless... she's using mylar for a series of drawins which instantly made me realize i need to look into materials to make larger doily drawings. oh yes i do.... can i just say how envigorating and supportive and fun it is to be in this crit group? super sharp women [and one lovely man] all coming together to pool resources, offer support, make suggestions... a piece amanda was struggling with changed before our eyes as we joined 4 separate things into one on the floor... it was magical!

break over....but before i go.... rori sent this link.... go drool at felt lovliness!!


white buddha Originally uploaded by dressform.

this morning i awoke to that chill... soon it will be too cold to dress in the morning without a shower or some heat.... the doggies are staying in bed b/c they have blankets.... as always fall and winter come when they are good and ready!

i also awoke with a start.... there is just too much going on in my head and in my multiple endeavors.... i shouldn't even be typing this for i can feel my list screaming at me, but i'm hoping it will serve as mini-therapy....

i want this photo to embed in my mind for today. i want to embrace the idea of calm, the idea of breath, the idea of smallness [little buddha is only 3 inches tall], the idea of closing your eyes and letting go, the idea that rust [metaphorically] will magically place itself in wonderful and beautiful ways...

i think part of my problem is that i have not had a good studio day [whole day] in far far too long.... thus i am feeling resentful. resent quickly leads to regret... neither of which ultimately does any good. buddha buddha be my guide!!


drawing a day ~ week 7 Originally uploaded by dressform.

the funny thing about routine is that it sure documents time... i mean week 7 of drawings?? WEEK 7?? already?? [it's the same with self-portraits]. how'd we get here so fast?? the good news? it's not a rut yet -- for sure!

someone asked me what inspires these.... i've been thinking a lot about that and here's the answer thus far. i see these as a way for me to play. with the other stuff i'm working on at the moment [i.e. targets and a wall installation] although there is wild room for differentiation i'm sort of on a pre-determined path. there are certain elements and philosophies that i'm attempting to work with. having parameters is something that i really find enjoyable and necessary to my process. but often i have these sparks of an idea and don't feel like i can follow thru on them because they stray from my "plan".

with the drawing the day, although there are definite parameters i'm much more free and open. i don't feel the need to stick to a certain set of images - i don't feel like i HAVE to repeat something until i get it right.... [although of course i've fallen in love w/ the drawn/sewn doily so those are making a weekely appearance]. i am inspired by many things :: how much time i have to make the drawing :: the color of the thread of the week :: the associations of that color [think red=blood, yellow=sun] :: what is around me - and i mean literally - plates, shoes, trees, origami paper, books, TV, music, my garden, my own body [what aches or is having problems] - or other's ailments for that matter.... it goes on and on.

it is also a way for me to stay linked with my studio. with all the diverse means of employment i am currently juggling it is easy for me to make my studio last. in my heart and head i know it should be first, but life doesn't really allow that. with these i know i am making something that helps my studio practice on a daily basis, but the pressure for them to be successful isn't there... so i can fail - or i can like just part of something, or i can just learn something and feel simiply good about that. honestly i can tell that these are influencing the rest of what's going on.... and they are building bridges to what i'm going to work on next.....

i would welcome other's thoughts on this sort of process - or would love to know how other folks set up a routine to get things done....


globelights - color Originally uploaded by dressform.

hello moon

this weekend we went to a wedding in mendocino.... weddings can be nice.... weddings can be gruelling.... lots of repetitive info shared with almost perfect strangers.... if you know the couple really well and are happy for them they are magical. our wedding now 2 years ago [!!] was a great day for us... i can still call up small moments and grand feelings....

i did not know the bride and groom so well for this wedding... and there were 238 folks there. it was still nice - but me being me - i just had to find something to keep myself occupied... the bad? it was cold... and the band played a cover of U2's vertigo [i almost lost it there - i can handle predictable sort of middle of the road music when in this type of situation, but that sent me over the edge. i was reminded that i can be a wholehearted music SNOB!!] and so i looked for small moments to photograph. i thought - why take the "normal" wedding shots?? so i took very few of people... instead i looked for what i liked in the surroundings. if you want to see them all you can go here

i am trying to recoop today... i am trying to get ready for class tomorrow where we start working in photoshop... i am so unmotivated - it's not even funny. i would rather sleep.... i'd rather poke around on flickr.... i'm being a bad bad teacher.... the plan? eat dinner and then pull it together....

drawings hopefully tomorrow [like i can manage to photo those?? :) ]


me1 Originally uploaded by dressform.

me2

me3

this is me after teaching.... it was about all i could muster to document [technically it was tuesday since it was after midnight].... i can't sleep right after getting back from teaching [all the talking and thinking on my toes.... my brain is wound up up up - should i have told them that? was i harsh enough on the lazy student? did i repeat the homework enough times??] thank god for ondemand cable... i just watch 3 episodes of sex and the city - easy • brainless • semi-funny.... kath's documentary series is phenominal...

so now i'm thinking about how to convey the idea of work ethic and dedication to my students. i know it's partially just by example, but i've really been thinking about those moments when professors shifted a paradigm... when i saw something different or clearly or from a completely unknown perspective. i find this harder to convey in the design class i'm teaching. design seems so much more technical [and i'm having to lecture lecture lecture...] and at the same time oddly unteachable. i mean i stand there and talk about balance and rhythm and symmetry and i think: but holy canoli you have to have some sense of aesthetics too... and where does that come from? certainly not from the computer [which they are oh so anxious to get on]. i can't necessarily tell you why it is just accepted that eames is a good furniture designer.... that he innovated and used materials in a new way and that the eiffle tower chair is just sublime.... and of course not EVERYONE agrees... so how and where does the consensus happen? and how do you get young eyes to "see"?? part of it is language and having the vocabulary... and the other part?? plus obviously i'm biased... i like certain colors, certain layouts.... mine is not alwasy the best way.... there is not really an objective perspective... [thank god for the other students who can give other opinions] and why do i find it easier to confront these issues in a studio art class?? there i feel much more sure footed.... hmmmm....


week 6 ~ drawing a day Originally uploaded by dressform.

so.... pale yellow after intense red is like jumping into a cold cold pool.... not easy, but probably worth it [at least theoretically worth it!] i also just noticed how 3 out of 5 of these are nature themed.... hmmm... what's going on in my brain? is it because it's fallish and i look in the garden and see things about ready to go to seed or to hybernate for the winter [even though it doesn't get so cold here]....

p2p postcard {more arty photo!}

this little treasure of goodness came from p2p . thanks maria! i love it! i can never get enough of the texture from letterpress printing... it is sublime and lovely and subtle.

i have a stack of mail going out tomorrow... little goodies to go across the land, sea, air... i still need to finish a couple more things for swaps... especially the return gift for my cute cute kitty from craftapalooza

my new kitty!

it is so darn cute in person.... like 50 times cuter than in the photo....

i feel so behind... like i'm just running and running and running but staying in the exact same spot... well, that's not entirely true - i manage to move, but then i am presented w/ more hills to climb.... it's almost like lists aren't helping.... just keep going. one foot in front of the other - this works, right?? [although i'm kind of clutsy so i'm liable to trip over a crack]. at least i'm not completely stressed beyond belief. i have learned that i manage to get through things and that i just have to maintain a pace.... [like a heartbeat]

i've been thinking a lot about space since nebo mentioned it the other day {and you should RUN not walk over to her blog b/c she's selling some drawings for a RIDICULOUSLY low price}.... it's like i'm hyper aware of negative space [especially since we just talked about it in my design class too]. how the negative has to balance the positive... how it took me FOREVER to allow there to be empty space in my work. that was such a HUGE HUGE struggle... how finding the empty and the calm can take just as long or longer than actually putting something down.... it's about looking, breathing, balancing... one slight shift and the house of cards tumbles tumbles tumbles.... is our sense of space inherit? meaning are we kind of born with a spacial aesthetic that we are drawn to? i definitely spend a crazy amount of time slightly shifting, turning paper, drawing something in light light pencil to be erased.... are there space rules??? hmmmmmm

and thank you !! for all the lovely wishes... i had a very nice birthday.... and it will continue into next week [my favorite way to celebrate! in our family we call it a polish b-day - when you keep celebrating past the date - not sure why that is, but tis true!]


My Photo
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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