Lisa's Musings

there's little i control


ok wendy for you.... she asked to see my lists.... not really exciting, but... here they are!

quick quick... have a very special visitor this weekend... i'm sure i will get to hear many many good tales.... but it means i'll be a bit absent the next few days....

so... don't forget ash is posting on ship of fools today. i can't wait to read what she says. i'm loving the complexity and beauty of this book!

and because i can't resist:
secret pals

i think tonka and chini are secretly friends - but they don't want us to know about it. i caught them like this the other night. my guess is that when they are sure we are asleep they are snuggling like bugs in a rug!

have a great weekend!

flowers {with a victorian feeling}

above is how i see and hear the world at the moment. my ears are so clogged i'm not sure what to do. this sick purgatory is for the birds man. not sick, not well... i wander around in a semi-fog of semi-exhaustion faintly recalling what it's like to hear, breathe, smell, taste normally. [all things i have been taking for granted. lesson learned!]

i'm on that edge. the edge of almost dropping all the balls i am juggling. i have lists with sub-lists and post-its attached. i have my ideal order of things to do and the reality check of how things will get done.

i have deadlines and trips and visitors all happening with-in days of one another. i have art to make, art to pack, art to pick up, art to ship.

sometimes i think being reliable and dependable is also for those birds. but i know i'd feel bad if i didn't do what i said i was gonna. maybe i should go the way of lisa and close the computer except for work stuff [i know that would never stick, but i can contemplate it]

to temper all this wallowing in my own self pity i do have a bit of good news! i was just offered a drawing class at another institution for spring semester. i won't say anything more until i have a contract in my hands, but i'm excited that i most likely won't have to take a break from teaching and that it's one class [so that maybe i can catch up], and that i know i'll have a bit of steady income in the months to come. thank you job gods....

and for your listening pleasure try these two tid bits:
cat power &
neko case both from morning becomes eclectic . neko's is particularly funny as she has a giggle fit at the start of a song....

have a good wednesday - i HAVE to find a good suitcase i can check in that is big enough to hold some art [ gwen - i should have bought that green one!!] and BTW - if you haven't read the comments to the art babble post - there are some really thoughtful responses there.... thank you!

in the grass

if you haven't gone already - be sure and check out shari's post on ship of fools . i want to sit and finish this book so badly - but i can't.... sigh

so i didn't get full blown sick, but i have a lovely hacking cough. everything always goes right to my chest.... not what you wanted to know about huh? at least i have a decent amount of energy and don't feel ill....

the title of this post you ask? well.... liesl asked me how i felt about the whole drawing a day experience. how my drawings had changed or what i might have learned. it's hard to verbalize the experience. it became such a part of my daily routine and i have really noticed NOT making the drawings the last 2 weeks. NOT thinking about what color was coming up next... what i feel most grateful for was that it afforded me the opportunity to experiment in a way that i don't normally feel comfortable doing in the studio. i took risks with imagery and ideas. i left things alone. i left my mistakes - i left a lot of empty space - i put down the first or the last thought that popped into my head. i didn't over think things.

in terms of my other work i think it made me open up my visual vocabulary. it definitely sparked the doily installations and the bed/chair drawings. drawing {almost} every day made me realize that as an artist my biggest desire is to work everyday. that i wish i could somehow have the luxury of more time to dedicate to my studio. that discipline can be a big part of your practice.... and hightly motivating. meaning when you really force yourself to do something - even if you are tired, even if it doesn't come out well - you sort of stay on track. i was able to get into studio mode much quicker when i did a full day to be there. that in a way you CAN think of artists like athletes [oh mr. barney] and that the drawing a day was my training.

i am definitely going to figure out another project to do - but i don't think it will be daily. maybe weekly? because the other thing i learned was that as much as i enjoyed doing this - it's nice to have that little bit of time back... i can use it for other things!

i also have been thinking a lot about contemporary art and conceptualism. this was sparked 1. by the panel i was on thurs. evening. and 2. by the BFA critique i went to at school yesterday. thurs night we talked about how in current art practices conceptualism to some degree is key. how we all in essence want a piece of art to MEAN something. two artists on the panel do work that is performative in nature so what we SEE is a residue or a documentation of the work. a question was raised: is this how we KNOW that you've done the piece? is the piece in the residue or is it in the performance itself or both? can you then "fake" the documentation and would that matter? could you lie about a doing a piece and still get "credit" for it? could that add a layer to the work - enhancing it? can any discipline "fake it" [or is it harder to fake a painting??]

speaking of faking - in the critique a very genuine hard working student is in the throws of a dilemma - he's a painter who loves lucien freud but doesn't think that his work is to that level. [it's not - but it's rare that someone's IS]. what does he do as an aritst who loves painting, but is unsure of painting's relavance in the world? and if he wants to get into to grad school what should he use to apply with? how can he engage in a contemporary art practice that is interesting? so he was working on the idea of the diptych trying to express one thought in two ways - and also with his heritage - as a chinese american - he started bringing in propaganda poster imagery. but the painting that was the best in his studio was one the corner of a mother and daughter. [at least myself and 2 other teachers thought it was the best]. and he didn't like it. he said it was borning and not honest. that's when the discussion really got interesting. boring b/c it looks like other paintings? but it was beautiful and arresting and full of emotion. not honest b/c he didn't take the photo or it wasn't about someone/something that he knew. how to convince him that THAT PAINTING was more true and spoke about his love of paint and narrative in a much more honest way than the other works that were derived from his own photographs or had asian people in it ??? .... and because of that it WASN'T boring. i think he also thought it came too easy - that little painting - as if great work has to be a struggle. sometimes... most definitely, but other times - when you are free and in the moment and it is easy - the best things happen. in a way, though, he's at a great point - confused, biting off more than he can chew... floundering through what it means to be a young artist in the world. i really felt as though if he could wade through this muck - his art would be better for it.

and so.... i guess we all need to keep wading through the muck, huh? sorry for such a long art babble post.... i'll leave you with one photo [anyone know what kind of plant this is??]. i'm going outside... it's 85 degrees and breezy and i want to feel the grass in my toes!

secret garden

hint of fall

the light late yesterday was just so gorgeous. here comes fall. it's really here.

so many of my students have been sick. and this morning i awoke with a tickle in my throat and feeling a bit wobbly. i'm going to keep this post short as i think i should just go lay down and try to think good thoughts about not getting sick [and take some oregano oil - do you guys know this trick? it kills bacteria/fungi and has prevented many a full blown sickness in my life!]

but before i concentrate on wellness.... 1. THANK YOU all so so much for the kind kind comments [and for those of you that posted about it: jan and kelley !!] regarding the drawing a day series being finished. you can see the whole series of them here and i'm working toward getting them all on my website. if you are feeling really adventurous you can watch the set as a slide show ... i'm not going to respond to each of you in the comments because it would just be thank you thank you thank you.... liesl asked a great question, though - and i will address it once my head isn't so foggy.

2. big thank you to christine who sent me such a perfect b-day gift. i coordinated my outfit to match it on tues! it's so perfect for me i can't stand it!!


3. big thank you also to camilla . her package arrived after what felt like the longest day ever.... it was wrapped amazingly as well [but i couldn't wait to take a picture - i just had to open it....] LOOK:


camilla - yours is a bit closer to being airborne.... i promise some extra sweets thank you for your patience... and i'll give you a tiny little hint....
in progress

ok. i think that's about all the excitement i can handle... see you friday when shari will be posting for the book club . be well all

drawing a day ~ week 52 ~ the end!

belive it or not i've completed my year of drawings. so strange to be done. it was really nice to end with black as i felt it really emphasized the line quality of the thread itself. i think i'll show some of them in the upcoming show at mira costa college in oceanside. i have to think about how i might curate a series out of them. a few weeks... specific imagery... ??? a couple of people have suggested making them into a book. i really love that idea, but not sure how feasible it is to self publish a 260+ page book... anyone have a thought on that??

the opening on sat. went well. one kid kept running up to my wall attempting to jump on the floor platform. his mom kept saying you can't do that - and he kept saying but i want to TOUCH it.... there was a doily right at his head level... in a way i found that to be the ultimate compliment.

and now for some random tidbits:

a photo that i took of some rosemary was just included in a photo essay on this old

kokeshi book from lisa congdon
this book from sweet lisa congdon is high on my inspiration list this week!

new pens
these pens that wenders turned me onto arrived today! i got them here

i have a few more lovely gifties to show you.... but i'm saving those for next time.... hope you all had a great monday!

yellow fire

first things first.... i'd like to all welcome you to shari and ashley and my new book club blog. ship of fools . go check it out if you are so inclined. [and ashley has some GIANT news on her blog! so exciting!!]

while driving home yesterday after what felt like the longest day teaching - the word "shift" kept rolling around in my brain. i am really liking my drawing class and yesterday i tried to get them to shift their perspectives. i asked them to ONLY draw the negative space in a still life - not outline what they actually see. usually there are 1 or 2 for whom this is actually EASY - but for everyone else it's a stuggle. what excatly IS negative space when one object butts against another - how do you move from one section of negative space to the next? there is always the student who is SO fearful of making a bad drawing that they take no risk. even though i assure them that it's not a "good" drawing that i'm after. and yesterday i had the pouty student. the one who didn't really get the assignment and because they are naturally talented and have always been able to draw well they get frustrated and shut down. my job is to attempt to get them to re-focus and actually do the assignment. part of me wants to just yell at the top of my lungs - you are SO LUCKY to be able to spend 3 hours drawing today. i won't have 3 hours to draw today. it's a luxury. enjoy it! of course there are those that struggle and struggle and then voila! all of a sudden something clicks and that SHIFT has been made.

i have been thinking alot about what i might need to shift and change in my life, in my work, in my studio, in my brain.... [big things and small things]. i think part of this is surfacing because i'm unsure what i'm going to be doing after Jan. 1st for a job job. i have plenty of jobs, but i always like to have something steady so i have an idea of what my income will be.... and i don't have that lined up right now. and that is nervewracking. but i am trying not to focus on that. i have things to grade, stores to update, websites to build, artwork to make, applications to get out [one due monday!], gardens to weed.... [need i continue?]. yesterday mav was talking about life being like chapters in a book. i like that metaphor very much.

so - if you are local and have nothing to do on saturday - come to the the richmond art center from 4 to 8pm. i'll be there and you can see the new doily installtion. i'll post pics of the show soon....

and if you are curious - above is the yellow fire alarm box at the macarthur BART station. i used to pass it every day when i worked in SF. i loved it. and never photo'd it. got to that finally!

have a great weekend!


so... in case you missed mav's announcement when she was the guest blogger on design sponge i figured out a way to make nice prints of my polaroids and have decided to sell them in limited edition. all the info on what kind of print [dye sub] and the cost, framing options, etc. etc. is on polaroid page of my shop . and in case polaroids aren't your thing i've added a few fabric drawings and dipped dresses that i found around the studio too.

it's a BIT tricky to order the prints - i tried to make it as easy as possible, but you do have to visit my polaorid flickr account to get the name of the image you might like. this seemed like the only way to handle the increasing/changing images since i don't have a good inventory shopping cart [i'm working on that]. also - i'd like to extend the 15% discount to any bloggy/internet friends. just email me and i'll send you a separate invoice.

in other news ::
shari , ash and i have decided to make the book club more "official". the current book is the history of love by nicole krauss.... i'll announce the book club news on friday here....

and b/c today is all about the polaroid... one for the road

see you friday!

drawing a day ~ week 51

ONE WEEK. holy cow. a year. big changes and little changes. one thing is for sure... time marches on. this week felt very concise. what you see is what you get. next week is black.

telling stories

i got to spend the whole day friday with miss gwen . we started our day at the de young checking out the gee's bend quilts. they are just stunning in person. i was so glad gwen was there to try and peek at the backsides with me.... and we discovered our favorite quilter was loretta pettway. there were MANY pettway's in the show - and they had great names.... but loretta has an innate sense of composition that got me EVERY TIME [and she said she hated sewing]. i could not get over the wonky edges and the use of materials and the stains and the love that these quilts embodied.... oh and from gwen's grub i learned that the de young as a bulding is BRUTALIST ! [which in a nutshell means you have a hard time determining a sense of scale]

we then went around town thifting.... she has a fantastic eye. i wish she lived out here so we could go shopping together all the time [although it could be very dangerous....]. heck i wish she lived out here period.

we ended our day at lisa's ... where shash stopped by... it is so so exhilertating to be in a room with these women [not to leave you out grub - you are fantastic too!]. they have style, they have grace, they have taste.... and they are FUNNY!!

gwen lisa margaret

from bugheart

gwen also made me a bag for my birthday. um yeah wow. pink w/ a hippo. and i have to say - this year was pretty swell in the gift department. if you haven't peeked - check out some gifts on flickr .

trying to gear up for the opening of "geographic premonitions" at the richmond art center on saturday. it's a really long one.... and i also agreed to be on a panel discussing art on thurs. the 19th there. yes i might be crazy.

i'm also trying to organize and photograph new t-shirt and stationary designs for underdog ink . stay tuned.... i'm dreaming of having an intern.... or a robot.... or a stunt double. yes i need a stunt double....

and if you didn't know already stephanie moved her blog - it's like a step over a crack.... go reset your bloglines or goggle reader or whatever, K?

lacey roberts

last night i went to hear don ed hardy speak at mills college. i happen to know him and his lovely wife from when i worked in galleries. there were 2 things that stuck out to me.... 1. he spoke of your art life being like a tornado. it's active - it's swirling - it feeds upon itself... and if you look down you can see and use bits and pieces of things that have come before. i happen to really love this idea of re-using and re-claiming iconography. of your artlife being something contained and powerful and yet influenced by other forces too... of it starting small and gaining momentum. that's nice. 2. he made a little tile that said "stay free" - yes based on a song - can you name it? [i've used a few more lyrics of it for the title of this post]. he said he made it as a reminder to himself. i could use that tile.

it made me think of lacey's piece - pictured above.... stay warm.... stay free.... it's the basics, right? what it is that you REALLY need to be happy? and if not happy to at least feel sustained?

lisa has been talking about superheros.... people doing what they do in their daily lives... well i have a pic for that too!

mark newport

mark newport's knitted batman costume.... swoon....

more art [from the show "embroidered stories/knitted tales at the bedford gallery ]:

patricia dahlman

by patricia dahlman. i loved this piece from the second i saw it. i had that suck in the air god i want to take it home feeling.... how lucky am i to be in a show with art like this?

mended targets {3 more}

three more mended targets

it ain't fittin' to be sittin'

this is a piece i made for my MFA show. it's a blanket that i made out of crocheted wire granny squares. you can turn the piece on and off and if you turn it on you get to hear my grandma giving instructions on how to crochet and telling tales of her crafting history.... i'm actually really happy to have this piece see the light of day again. it normally hangs in the lounge area of our studio - but i like it out in the world. it's called "it ain't fittin to be sittin" because my dad would always say to my grandma: it ain't fittin to be sittin with out knittin kitten.

after tomorrow i will have my own "superfriends" adventure to report on.... looking forward to it. teaching has whipped me again. i am beat - my first class starts at 8:40 and i am NOT a morning person. i put my underwear on inside out this morning at 7am. i kid you not.... and i didn't discover it until i went to pee around 10:30. yeah. i rule. ha ha

have a great friday! [and hey - thanks for all the b-day wishes!!!]

drawing a day ~ week 50

hello?? it's only been a bit over a week and somehow that seems like both an eternity and a blink of an eye. i'm going to have trouble keeping my thoughts organized, so i apologize in advance for the strange turns this post may take.

first... i can not properly express how important and wonderful and appreciated your comments and emails and continuing "check-ins" with me and the moe situation have been. your words and understanding and sympathy and poetry have been helpful in ways i can't possibly explain. thank you all from the bottom of my heart. i started catching up with your blogs this weekend, and i hope to get back to my regular reading and commenting this week. flickr is a whole nother matter. i don't know how i'm going to catch up there, but i'm letting it go.

second... above are the drawings from 2 weeks ago. i couldn't do them last week. i just couldn't. but it's sort of funny to look at these with fresh eyes. the first one is on some amazing grid paper that shari sent me a bit ago. she also sent some bingo papers [amongst other goodies] and my brain is spinning on how to use those.... i'm hoping that you still want to do a show and tell with those bingo pieces when they are finished? [she kept some for herself and sent some to another pal] yes shari yes?? other than that mostly i keep thinking about how this drawing a day is almost over and i'm tempted to go back and look at what i was drawing one year ago on this day.... and what - if anything - i should do with this years worth of drawings. should i try to show them all? what would that look like? should i curate the doilies out... or the floral ones... what other themes would i find in the midst of these stacks of papers with dangly threads?

third... also w/ shari in mind. i have the history of love in my hands. it's the new "book club" book. should we start next monday? for those of you that asked... the book club is this really loose idea. we all read a book at approximately the same time [and the pace isn't too fast since i don't have much time to read fiction anymore]. i will post quotes or thougths about the book as we go along. if you are reading feel free to do the same on your blog. it's a less organized, less structured version of a book club [although honestly i'd love to have a pot luck and get us all in the same room]. if you've already read the book and have something to contribute to the discussion at anytime... PLEASE do... we could try and have us all bringing up the book on the same day.... like fridays? or whatever.

so what else happened this past week? let's see.... i met the fantastic gwen .


she not only came to my bedford gallery opening with me - staying the ENTIRE time - she made incredibly astute comments. and carried knitting around with her [cute cute cute]. it's hard to describe what she's like other than she's MORE than what she is on her blog. because you can see her eyes moving in thought... and you can feel how caring she is [plus we talked about coats.... apparently she has a collection that might rival mine . she returns at the end of this week and i'm really looking forward to spending more time with her. on friday it will be a bloggy evening with my name twin [who's apartment was featured on apartment therapy! ] and shash [whose last post on being in-between really spoke to me]. above is gwen and myself getting ready to devour our gimlets. i KNEW we'd be fast friends as we debated what to order and settled on the gimlet...

what else happened? i turned a year older. [hands down the best card i got was from abee. other folks celebrating birthdays? tracy , karen, arc , and tomorrow.... eireann . yay for libras!! i got some nice crafty gifts from hubby. i got myself a zoom lens for the nikon [yeah swoon]... i got a few other nice things from nice folks.... i'll try and share soon.

what else?? natalie is* sponge opened a shop [this is incase you've been under a rock - like the one i've been under]

...and i started teaching. i have a drawing class and a design class for this quarter, but learned today that i most likely won't have any classes for next quarter. due to budget restraints and low enrollment in the art departement they cut the classes to the bare bones. as an unentitled lowly lecturer i get the short end of that stick. time to pound the pavement i guess. i know that these things come at you for a reason - so maybe i'll find a great design gig for the winter - or maybe i'll sell some art... or?? i guess we'll have to see what life throws me....

i leave you with some sweet italian peppers from my yard.... [goodness it's almost time to do the big fall overhaul back there....]


i hope to be back to more regular posting again. thanks again for everything my friends! xo

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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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