Lisa's Musings

there's little i control

drawing a day ~ week 42 Originally uploaded by dressform.

monday monday... and the last day of august [how can that be??]

i was a full of trepidation when i hit publish that last post.... i almost immediately took it down. i mean i really went back and forth --- too personal? is this too much?? and all i can say it that you guys are so incedibly grand. your sincerity, your concern, your genuine heartfelt responses really got to me [and my grandma by the way]. so thank you thank you thank you. did i say thank you? i did again in the comments....

i guess in the end for me i just had to think about if i'd publish what i wrote as a story or in a book [as if i could ever write a book - HA] for anyone to read... my answer then was yes. and if i'm ok with it in that context then i'm OK with it here....

week 42 - 10 weeks left?? gulp. these drawings have many eccentric personal thoughts to them. i guess i should say that usually the drawings do, but this week there are even odder little details that i think i put in there for my own state of mind. i started to think about those little things. those moments of insertion and how they are what often fuel artwork [even the kind that looks like 2 colors and 2 lines]. then i thought about how i don't really mind exposing or talking about art i make b/c i can be more cyptic - where as words - words seem right there on the surface. no beating around the bush with those pups. even in poetic circumstances - yes open to interpretation, but little letters make up words make up sentences and BAM - there it is.

mail call:
from posypress
amy had a little contest on her blog - and i WON! woo... how did that happen?? i got the above PERSONALIZED box of goodness from her. so if you've been on the fence about getting a box of goodies for yourself hesitate no longer. skip over to her shop

from bara
coral has been a big inspiration lately. the color is so unique - not red, not orange, not even right betwixt or between.... so when eireann made these shirts.... i was hooked. and lucky me she sent a little drawing to match [and a grashopper felt tag which went with me to the studio for company so is missing in this photo]. you can get your own ohbara goods too

and just because.... the mug shot polaroids [been meaning to post these for a spell]

tonka - mug 1

garbo - mug 2

mug shot

a young papa

this past weekend we had a memorial for my grandfather. when my grandma pulled out the above photo i knew andrea would flip out, and that i'd have to post it for photobooth friday.

my mind has been flooded with memories of my grandfather and i have been thinking about what i wanted to say about him. i re-read something that i wrote last year and i don't think i can really do any better. it was too hard and too raw to post it last year - but i think i'm willing to share it now... so..... here goes:

In one of those very weird twists of life – I started writing this remembrance of papa on the day that he died… while I was riding the bus. Apparently he had died just a few hours before, but I wouldn’t know that until 6pm that night.

There once was a little girl who was much more quiet and shy than she is now. She used to love to spend time with her papa (she was responsible for the name – couldn’t say grandpa when she started talking). They would often ride around LA in his car (the most memorable one ~ a brown Celica). In the car were punch label signs in red about wear your seatbelt, the alternative is deadly (oh how he loved to label! Everything had his name inked {what did he do before sharpies??} or engraved into it: S.S., Sid Solomon, Sidney, King Sol). He would sing her songs about red being on top – it means stop stop stop, green below means go, go, go, yellow in the middle means wait a little… He would teach her how mispronounce (but accurately spell) Sepulveda (SEP-HUL-VEEDA), aluminum (AL-YOO-MIN-E-UM), cinnamon (SIN-A-MUM-MUM-MUM).

They would drive to get secrets (shhh – code word for donut – his favorite was jelly, she didn’t have a favorite). He would let her be the ball girl at some of his tennis games. He once took her to kid’s theatre (this was normally Grammy’s job) and fell asleep snoring LOUDLY… she elbowed him in the ribs to wake him and would forever joke that he couldn’t take her to anything unless he promised not to fall asleep. He took her sailing on his boat. He tied her in knots (he was so strong. Strong and Proud). He’d let her win in gin rummy (but not too often). They’d play black jack for pennies. He shot pool with her (this is how you put English on the ball). Any game that made you think was good. He loved coming up with puzzles for her to solve (can you draw this picture only lifting your pen 3 times? More recently he was captivated as she tried to figure out how many 5 1/4” felt tanks she would need to cover a 12’ x 12’ wall – how big of a space do you want between them? What kind of pattern are you making? How are you adhering them?)

She would watch as he fixed things – why buy a new one when you can fix this one? If you can take it apart you can put it back together. Why pay someone when you can do it yourself? He taught her so well that she can now fix things. One of his favorite tools was the rubber band. Big ones. Almost anything could be made better with a rubber band – your wallet, your lamp (because you could use a rubber band to attach an old medicine bottle to it – to hold pens of course!), your key ring, you could keep all your bills/important papers together (who needs a filing cabinet?)…

He told good stories about the Navy. He told good stories in general. So good she couldn’t believe them (unless she got the nod of yes from Grammy, or until she got old enough to tell them right back). He once tried to convince her that Smirnoff the vodka was really called Smirtorchnoff because they were using a picture of a torch for an “i” in their ad campaign… Smirtorchnoff was just too long to fit on the billboard. He was quick witted and sharp tongued (traits she also found and loves in her husband). He was a character – if you met him he wanted you to remember him…. Because of what he said (he could talk about almost anything), because of how he acted (he demanded and gave respect), because of his talking watch, because of the butterscotch he gave you…. Just remember. He loved catch phrases (his or anyone’s): if I’m up everybody’s up, how’s the baby (his tummy), pretty good chicken mom, show and tell time, let’s go to YOUR favorite restaurant (which was Changs – and it was his, not anyone else’s), humph harrumph humph (your head must be tilting back and forth while you say this. And you must be the last one to humph)…

As the little girl grew older in many ways her papa grew younger…. He needed much more help with things as he couldn’t see or hear so well. She laughed as he couldn’t believe she could run so many errands in an hour, or move his computer monitor on her own (it’s too heavy!). She was quite pleased that he would allow her to help him. Recently she cut chicken for him while they were out at dinner. He wasn’t going to admit that he couldn’t see or cut the meat and thus she tried to do it on the sly so that he wouldn’t be embarrassed. He always seemed to enjoy kibitzing with her – and she was glad to give Grammy a bit of a break (he could be quite demanding of her if not anyone else!)

Although she is quite sad that she didn’t get a chance to say goodbye, she is grateful that he was such a big part of her life. She has so many good memories of time spent with her papa. She was and always will be his #1 granddaughter. She always felt like she was #1 with him. She knows she just has to think of him for him to be with her.

Papa I will miss your wet kisses and big hugs…

have a great weekend i'll be back with drawings on monday....

drawing a day ~ week 41 Originally uploaded by dressform.

a day late... oops. after teaching yesterday i went to a lovely dinner for a former professor for her birthday. we dined at a large table while a diebenkorn painting watched over us. as i sat eating the most amazing food [bread pudding w/ black currents for dessert!] i couldn't help but love that fact that in this world [at that table] words and thoughts were currency worth more than gold. everything can be viewed through an academic lens... i was surrounded by artists [a half japanese dancer!], historians, authors [books on hell and courtesans and feminist scientific philosophies]. although personally i can't bolster that type of thought and conversation for days on end [the intensity!]- for one lovely evening it felt enchanting.

i was also enchated by a visit with my family this weekend. more intense thoughts and conversations there.... i will speak more on this another day as i think i am still processing.

so above are the drawings for last week. they seem very sparce. i mean i know all my drawings have a tendency to be sparce, but.... i wonder if it's partially due to the lack of intensity of that color....

one polaroid:

and a bit of news:
figurines - large size

i have updated my website . finally. there are some new images in the portfolio section and i dug out the above figurines in my studio. they are now in the shop section. i'm also thinking about making dye sublimation prints of the some polaroids in limited edition. but i'm not sure about that yet. just thinking.....

i will try to post regularly, but i am beginning to feel the strain of all the things on my plate... so if i am a bit absent here, or on flickr, or on your blog i hope you forgive me.... i do have some mail goods to show off... soon.... happy tuesday!

colors for wall work 2 Originally uploaded by dressform.

last night i had a critique with the art group i'm part of. it was incredibly helpful. i feel energized. i also feel confused - so many possibilities... i'm in this tenuous place where things could go in several directions. good and bad time for feedback. seeing that i'm interested in duality in all it's shapes and sizes i'm going to just try and let all these thoughts and voices simmer. actually maybe they need to boil since i have to start installing my new wall work in the middle of august. [what is that? 3 weeks away? oy!]. above is the colorway for it. softer. blues and grays and whites.... and interference paint [ooh sparkley]

time for polaroids:

lacis . the best store for crochet thread. ever.

me_white pickett fence

fox glove

dani asked what polaroid camera i'm using. i have just started using a spectra camera [given to me by abee ], i also use 2 SX-70 land cameras.... an old one that is fully focusable and has a light/dark meter adjustment [not sure which model - but it's one that folds down flat]. i use the time zero almost extinct film in that one... and a sonar one step that is both auto/maual focus and that i use w/ an ND filter and 600 film [it's suppopsed to take SX-70 film].... this is the one i'm carrying around b/c it's sturdy and it cost me $3 :). i'd be happy to go into more detail in you want! this site is a GREAT resource for all the polaroids thru time....

if you want a fun photo project you need to join shari's compound word project . i can't wait for not only the words but maybe even sentences?? a visual sentence. so nice! have a fabulous weekend!


meet livia. she comes to me via the amazing and fantastic girl who loves green . since i know you want one... you can get a warm cuddley softie of your own from her etsy shop

so mr. barney is a hard nut to crack. i'm still trying to figure out what my real reaction to his exhibition was. i want to see the movie too before i make up my mind. first thoughts: i'm intrigued by artist as athlete. i've fallen for the sheer materiality of his work. but... is spectacle enough? too much?? i do love walking the galleries of sfmoma with students though. it's like i get to see some things with fresh eyes... and speaking of fresh... mati is such a dear. she is so earnest and involved in her making it's delightful. she's making big decisions about her art and life and work and it's all there - openly and honestly. you HAVE to admire that! speaking of which i want to get this book as i'm on the hunt for some new to me books about making art and being an aritst for a class in the fall.

and no more words for me.... just pics:



bird from natalie

i had to turn word verification on. the spammers got to me... bad.... sorry!

drawing a day ~ week 40 Originally uploaded by dressform.

bye bye blue... hello purple. 40?? 40?? only 12 more weeks? no way. how did that happen? i felt like i was rushing on these. but oh well. i was thinking that it might be nice to bust out and do something "crazy" - but i don't know what that might be. you usually can't force that....

OK - so before i become a word recluse... i have formulated a few thoughts on artemesia... [i think lisa is also reading... not sure if anyone else is? but pat asked about it in the comments]

:: the idea of torture. of course with rendition and the like in the news it seems even more prudent. i find it amazing that BOTH sides - defense and procecution - were tortured to see if they were revealing the truth. somehow thru pain you are supposed to expose your true nature? being a pain wimp that gives me the heebie jeebies.

:: art patronage. i think it's funny how art patronage has shifted - away from religion - but is still tied to an extreme upper class. at least mostly. big artists demand big money and only the rich have that. this goes against a fundamental desire of having art for the masses [museums sort of fufill this need, but.... that's another discussion]. i also have been thinking about how artists are ultimately tied to this patronage. how does that influence what you make?? reading the demands / agreements between artist and patron were quite interesting.... 3 figures... the size of the canvas.... any specific colors [color indicating wealth]. things are slightly different now - but how much so?? i touched on this idea of patronage a bit ago. in some ways parameters are nice - whether they are set by the artist or by an outside force. sometimes i think the parameter actually allows for freedom. freedom within confinement [oh that sounds deep]. i'm also completely fascinated at how religion seems like this front for wealth gathering. the pope wants bigger and better churches and bigger and better art.... religion as government. also poignent in the current state of the world, no?

:: intrigue and scandal. i find it funny that both of those only add to the desire of artemesia's artwork. the same still holds true. so many artists ride that train.... some with success [koons, duchamp]. to me this is tied closely to the culture of celebrity and infamy.

:: the whole feminist aspect. of course i am interested in the first woman painter to gain such notority. it makes my stomach churn that she's basically property [can't be admitted into the academy w/ out daddy's permission]. i love that she reached for that - felt as though she was deserving. i also love that she was strong - aware of herself as an artist and a woman which leads me to...

:: beauty. [this kind of relates to the intrigue part]. would artemesia have become so successful if she wasn't beautiful? or surrounded by a sex scandal? beauty is a double edge sword. i think people are drawn to beauty, but it can also breed confusion and jealousy. in some sense i love that she used her beauty - painting herself nude - to further her career.... but i also kind of hate society for being interested in that. this feels very current in our culture.

:: jealousy and relationships. i like all the backstory in artemesia. who is jealous of who and why. why was artemesia's father somewhat left out of the history books [his rival not including him when he wrote a pretty extensive "history" of italian artists]. i wish i could say that all artists are friends and supportive of one another [seems that way here in the blogworld], but alas we are an emotional lot. who doesn't like a bit of gossip? who isn't interested in complicated human relationships....

so there you have it. i have about 1/3 of the book to go. i'm curious to see what happens when father and daughter re-unite. plus all the polictical stuff is funny. i love the notion of artist as spy and secret message carrier [painting portraits of bigwhigs put you in the right position to this!].

because it's summer and pretty darn hot here... polaroid #1:


the whole set here

tomorrow i take my class to SFMOMA and i'm meeting the lovely mati beforehand for lunch. yay!

south :: east :: dining room Originally uploaded by dressform.

it's been a while since i posted a corner of my home....

the mail gods have been amazingly kind to me of late. wanna see??

from photo bird

jen is an amazing photographer. every time i visit her photostream i am in awe of her sense of composition and color. she really epitomizes the phrase making the ordinary extraordinary to me.... she suggested a trade and i lept. she has an etsy shop as well.

from  girlhula

music from girlhula

from andrea . miss hula and i have encountered more big and small coincidences in our lives than i can feasibly count. [the latest one being that our dads are both twins born days apart]. she sent me amazing goodies.... including the glove form in the home photo. [i have always wanted to collect them, but thought that the last thing i needed was another collection - and speaking of collections have you seen gwen's ? i love all of hers!]. anyways, andrea also sent me music [which i love] and her daughter ava made me [yes it's for me b/c it says so!] a fantastic drawing about learning to fly and jump::

from ava

supercapacity music swap

ali [another flickr favorite] sent me her divinely designed music CD and some buttons. [now of course i want a button maker - like i need another obsession?] you can get some of her fab buttons from her shop

it looks like i'm going to miss out on a wenders visit. sad sad.... but hopefully next time

OH! if you are in Raliegh, NC [ shari are you??] i'm in a summer group show at Bickett Gallery that opens tomorrow night.....

i'm thinking my posts for the next week might be shorter.... more visual? i've been lugging the land camera around with me so there are lots of polaroids.... i'm feeling kind of drained from the long teaching hours.... we shall see.... [i know better than to make promises or predictions] mav wrote about falling into the cracks.... i'm liking the idea of that. although some of my cracks feel like giant fissures....

drawing a day ~ week39 Originally uploaded by dressform.

this week i felt like i went back to LINE. it might be because i was talking to the class about line - about it being the foundation for everything - for shape.... the idea of line quality and how different lines can operate... divide space, make space, decorate.... i also feel like these are kind of sparse... like i was emptying out.....

have you ever felt like your brain was full? that if you had one more extraneous tid-bit to process that you'd tip the scale. shut down. i think i'm about 10 tid-bits away from that. so i'm purging. useless info please step aside. don't force me to dig you out and add you to the trash heap.

the problem is you don't always know when a tid-bit might be usefull, right? it might just blossom into a full fledged idea or inspiration. plus i'm a pack rat. so purging is not my forte.

i have also forgotton a bit what i's like to be out in the world. face to face w/ john q. i'm actually kind of liking the extra stimulation [although it does make me more tired. must build stamina]. i love little observations :: the 60 + man in a fake fur bowler hat w/ a toothpick and polyester suit. where is he going?? in the brim of his hat is the spare [toothpick of course] :: or the man with dreads to his knees and 5 brightly colored plastic water guns... not the $50 kind.... he's sitting on a bench inspecting each as if he was an army corporal caring for his weapon.

but what i also realized is that my bus ride :: this time of year :: sad songs on the ipod :: jolt me back to last year when i lost my grandpa. it's certainly less painful now, but it is amazing how the mind works. one note of one song and i remember sitting in the same seat [back right if it's available] silently crying behind my sunglasses.

but those are the things that i want embedded in my brain for keeps. because i think that within our biggest joys and sorrows lies our humanity. and you can't ever have too much of that.

chipmunk -view 2 Originally uploaded by dressform.

i joke with my students that we are in painting boot camp. the first week is always this giant adjustment. i have to get used to riding the bus [i get carsick for the 1st week and 1/2 or so and then settle into it]... i have to get used to being "on" or avaiable for the 4 hours of class 4 days a week. here's the funny thing. i sometimes have to teach 2 almost 3 hour classes back to back with a short break between and somehow that is LESS tiring than the 4 hour stint. is it the days in a row thing?? what is it??

that said. i am loving this class. they are all smart and willing to experiment... and talkative [thank goodness].... this is going to be a good summer.

i promised some mail right?
above is the 3-d chipmunk puzzle that came in an amazing package from alison !! so, i knew that i'd be in for a real treat here, but golly does she make gorgeous detailed things.


the pin cushion and needle holder button INTO the basket bag. incredible..... she took some cool photos too here, here, and here.

also - vicki was offering some scraps from her sewing... all i could think of was more zakka beads!

fabric from turkey feathers

thanks vicki!

EDIT: i forgot to mention the incredible mailorder from the fabulous amy k that you can get on her website . #3 has an embroidery stitch booklet to put together. so ME or what?? we also did a little local store goodies swap which was really fun. she says she doesn't leave the house much, but man when she does, she does it in style!

seeing that i have a wedding invite to design, a website to attend to, my drawing for today and some sketches for an upcoming show due... i think i should motor [remember that phrase??].

i definitely want to talk about artemesia and other things... but i get to get back into gear/routine first....

drawing a day ~ week 38 Originally uploaded by dressform.

bet you thought they were gone right?? oh no... they are back. i'm making it to 52 if it KILLS me.... [quite possible??]

so here they are. week 38. i felt rusty again. oh well. i am kind of fond of the bird one. i drew it w/ a nib/quill and 2 colors of ink and it just kind of flowed.... i'm wondering if that blue jay should be a t-shirt.... he's got such attitude....

on the idea of framing... wendy brought up theatre/film... and shari brought up music too.... so true so true. i guess that all of our senses can help us remember or re-frame a moment/idea/thought. in fact speaking of music.... when i saw lisa c the other day it was right before the neko case show she was going to in SF... so i thought i'd check out if there were any tix... and they had added a day.... so i went last Wed. night. um. her voice is more amazing live than you could possibly imagine. it's too good to be true - i could feel it in my chest and my toes and there were moments where she'd hit a note and you'd feel like all was well with the world. since it was the last night for the encore they played some songs that i guess they don't usually play - they even played "dressmaker". during the regular set they played 2 of my favs - "wish i was the moon" and "deep red bells"... the only song that was missing for me? "pretty girls".... they ended with john the baptist - so of course i was singing that for the next 4 days.... oh.... john the bapist.... oh... joh divine....

first day of class went OK today - i sent them off early to buy their supplies. i even got a little giggle or two - that's a good sign. i always feel like a blabbermouth the first day... blah blah blah.... the beginning painting boot camp has begun!

here's wishing you and yours a happy fourth of july [if you are here in the states and are feeling like celebrating a date randomly chosen to be of significance.]. i think we're going to BBQ here at home... and i have tote bags to line for a wholesale order - doesn't that SCREAM independance day?? oh yeah it does. i have some cool books and cooler mail to share, but i think i'll be a tease....

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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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