Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Brown Cousins - Teens & Above

On the occasion of my niece, Ashlee's, 20th birthday: From left to right:
Kevin, my youngest male child - 17, 6'-4"
David, my oldest male child - 21, 6'-3"
Ryan - age 21, 6'-5½"
Ashlee - 20, 6'-0"
Jordan - 16, 6'-3"

Eesh Blimey Shite, are they not all FREAKIN' GORGEOUS?!!!! It absolutely stuns me to look at them all together like this!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Softness, Anew

Australian postage stamps, Toast catalog woman image, B&W paper from Patty in swap, poem by me.

Nude 1 & Nude 2

Source of inspiration for these two efforts: Casey at rue Manuel bis I scrounged through all my files to find nude images to attempt to sketch. They are in short supply, it seems - hence these two were copied from photos in a book of black and white 'erotic' photography! For 47 years I've been telling myself, "You can't draw. You can write, but you can't draw." Pfffft. I think that was a serious untruth. PRACTICE! PRACTICE!! I was giddy Friday night after finishing these two watercolor/ink/pencil sketches, giddy I tell you! I DREW THESE! I DREW THESE!!! Crazy happy with myself! That mood inspired the Me & My Dance visual journal page in the previous post!

Me & My Dance - Easy!

Written Journal Backgrounds

Airy Afternoon. Moliere postcard and wallpaper scrap from Mercedes at Alterado; photo of bed from Cote Sud magazine; rubber stamps and stickers. Simple. scrap papers, rubber stamped images, rub-ons, journal sticker. Patterned Daydream ... Anthropologie catalog page, text/ribbon from Mercedes at Alterado, papers - mine, flowers - mine. A Night Without Sleep. papers from Patty at the Tuscan Rose. Skeleton/martini image - the Pottery Barn catalog. Bed photo from a Smithsonian catalog. Autumn is teasing me ... all papers from Patty at the Tuscan Rose (via a swap). Photo is actually linens offered in a Smithsonian catalog.

Lap Ornament

I spent the weekend out at my bros', Cam and Chris', and Miss Ciera, along with My Lovely Mother. This is the wee Patchy, pooped and comatose in my lap.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Eyes See Everything (Wisdom, Silencio)

A co-worker of mine left his house early two mornings ago, and on a tree in his yard sat an owl, speaking to him. This guy, however, has been taught the superstition that sightings of an owl mean death, and it spooked him the remainder of the day. When he told me about it, I listened, then quietly told him, 'I think you've been touched. To me, owls are an ancient, pure, strong symbol of wisdom - to have one find you, and speak to you? Amazing.' It caught his attention, at least. Last night, I made this visual journal page, thinking about it.

Please note: the beautiful owl sketch is one I found on Google and did my utmost to copy, with the help (head, feet) of graphite paper. The artist responsible for originating this winged wise creature is Rebecca Latham -- see her sketch, right.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Music Alert!

Duffy, Rockferry
Jenny Lewis, Acid Tongue

Wayward Thoughts (Like A Secret Garden)

Anything is Possible

My Path

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Saturday, September 20, 2008


A canvas for my friend Benita. She loaned me, with enthusiastic recommendation, the book A Perfect Stranger, by Danielle Steele. I've never read a Danielle Steele book -- got 41 pages into it and was flush with the ideas for this canvas. Reading can now continue, at least until the next canvas idea takes over my head!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Simply Love You

Happy Anniversary to my Double BB!! 22 years today ... ... and since I don't know if he'll permit me to shoot any photos, I'm posting this one [Googled], which makes me laugh & feels quite appropriate!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Put 'Em Up!

Written Journal Backgrounds

Survey Says?

It's My Turn

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Page by Page #3 Is Available

Of course I'm telling you this because the Zine (I have issue 2; and have ordered this issue) is kind of a newborn, and I want to support Kira's efforts.

And of course I'm telling you this because the Zine has wonderful interviews/ profiles -- in Issue #2 it was SuziBlu, who I'm seriously going to marry after I marry Tim Holtz. In this issue, it's Roben-Marie Smith.

And of course I'm also telling you this because the journal pages sampled, contained, will have your art-chops slobbering down to your kneecaps!!!

But of course I'm also letting you know this because, ohmygod, this is the first time yours truly has been published! Yes, I have an article in Ms. Kira's Page by Page zine, and I'm SO EXCITED!!!!!! It's about keeping a traveling journal -- not a travel journal, mind you, but a journal that travels with you wherever you go, like the one I tote in my Big A** Purse.

So skip on over to Kira's site, here, and be ready to be tempted!!!!

... & doesn't truth always follow resistance?

Mentally, many many days, this is what it looks like as I approach the door to my studio. Even though I love my studio, even though Zoe awaits me, and all those delicious supplies ... it's still lonely. Yes I can focus. Yes the music is always exactly what I want to hear. But the only other voices are those in my head. I don't want to resort to an imaginary friend.

And I don't want to hold my own hand all the time.

Art takes energy, effort, community, courage, stamina, concentration, playfulness, enthusiasm, start-the-list-over. How can anyone do it alone, let alone always?

Isolationista, my a**!

I've always experienced the MOST resistance when it comes to what I really really want and somehow believe I can't have, am not allowed, not worthy of. And then?

BEWARE THE BLUSTER!!!! But like any storm, it has to gather, grimace & groan & growl, then finally, expended, grovel at the knees of awareness, rinsed & revealed by the furious flow ...

... leaving me where I began, it seems,

knowing what is (facts)
and what also is (my personal fictions)
and what also STILL is --

I'm sitting, somewhere, alone.

[all photos from the A/W 2008 House&Home Toast catalog]

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My Peculiar Right Angles of Resistance

NO PATIENCE. Raw and gritty on the inside. Read blog after blog after blog today about the bliss experienced at the SQUAM Art Workshop in New Hampshire. Same names. Same faces. Same sisterhoods. I'd love to have the instruction without the estrogen surround -- the beautiful locale, the learning, but all those women? -- I've never had the skill set to navigate such a gathering, not baby showers, not clubbing, not office politics, not church associating, not Tupperware or candle or cookware or stamping parties. All the infrastructures feel ready-made to me, and I'm the one having to ping-pong in an attempt at penetration.

I'm sure this is why all my learning takes place in my studio, from books and blogs, tips & techniques practiced, gleaned, adopted, music of my choice, no need to carry on conversation, just FOCUS.

POINT: I 'do' art the same way I do writing and exercise: in my own head, internally, deeply & quietly inside. And I want peace for that, solitude. I had the same challenge in the fabric painting class I took -- felt crowded, hurried. At at the Stampin' Up! class I took -- rush, produce, get out. And at THAT time, I had hoped for some exchange! Good god, my timing really sucks. All this isolation began in me in 4th grade, when we moved from Omaha to Washington, D.C. I've already sourced that. And then in 10th grade, when I moved cities within Maryland and had to change high schools. That got the mortar stirred, mixed, ready. . When we moved from D.C. to rural Nebraska, halfway through my senior year, the mortar locked me in. Fences. A defensive but immediate detachment, a stand-alone posture that is automatic to me now. I had to build a Central Operating System independent of all things external, because the external could NOT be relied upon. Ever.

For the last week, I've had this internal sense that my work is ON PAR, this sort of meeting of latitude & longitude about MY art pieces [ + ] dead center on/in MY center. Then all this blog reading today and with it all the doubt. I want to learn, but not in gaggles and groups. That shuts me down because it triggers every last one of my insecurities and depressive switches. The ART inspires me, followed so many times by, "How did she DO that?"

But ...

I copy too much, still, and don't want more of that. No Misty Mawn or Kelly Rae Roberts or Claudine Hellmuth faces or women or collages. I want to learn the technique then SELF-INTERPRET, or -- extrapolate -- for me, it's STILL all about the journals I'm creating. So it's still all about my internal experience, that Central Operating System I want to comprehend, hone, then effect, but without exposure.

Without exposure..
Can I be a great artist, as defined by that C.O.S., as defined by ME, if I'm a solitary artist? It repeatedly occurs to me to stop ping-ponging, stop the notion I might penetrate the infrastructure "out there", and develop the one I have, my family & friends & associates. A canvas for Dad or Bobfather, cards for Mom and Ciera and others. It's not hollow, to practice intimacy. I know these people's likes and dislikes, the issues in their lives, their faces & voices, the right timing for any art offering. That prevents my art from being GENERIC. Or DISHONEST. [The two things I fear most of all.]

I can't make art/canvases like _________ makes -- I don't experience my world the way ______ does. But those are the ones that collect the comments, the swoons. WHO IS MY AUDIENCE & WHERE THE HELL ARE THEY? And why do I care if I'm an internal artist, an alleged 'isolationista'? Why am I blogging, then? Panting after belonging, I suspect, as I have since I was 9 years old. Hard hard hard hard habit to break, harder still because my art of camouflaging it has become enhanced with every passing year.

The bright colors of the pages I'm writing this on don't suit or soothe my mental positioning right now. Maybe it's to do with the cooling & softening of the air & light, a hint of the Septembers I yearn for from Maryland. It was still over 100 degrees here today. I ask, "Why am I here?" but it's become a rhetorical question, hasn't it? Because my life has sprung up, and rooted, here. All of my family is here, and most of Double BB's. My job & my obligations -- here. And the nesting part of me, so disrupted as a kid and a young adult, has dug in. I don't WANT to pick up and start over, again, at the age of 47. Been there, done that, 80 million times. Ocean or no ocean, somewhere else. Seasons or no seasons, somewhere else. Greener grass or no greener grass, somewhere else. It's just a scenario to launch an entirely new set of displacement variables. I'm frankly NOT up to that. I expended so much of my resilience before I turned 25 -- the REAL stuff, underneath the bravado I sported to keep propelling myself forward every day. NOW, at least, the choice is mine, or so I believe in my own head.

I love to travel, but I surely also want to come home. My routine, my cat, my pens and paper and place and CDs and books and baths. Streets I know, actually, better than any I remember or imagine. My energy has to be parcelled carefully; I know that now. And I'm willing. I'm not reactionary in the old ways -- jump & run, hopefully catch up later. No thank you. These days, I'd rather spend some of my time chomping at the bit then at the end of it, yanking it, or finding myself wholly untethered. I'm much better with some kind of grounding, and tolerate no more illusions about that.

Here's what's strange to me -- having been told the better part of all my adult life how I "light up the room" whenever I enter one -- but privately writing and feeling the reality of how contagious I'm NOT. If I'm 'on', sure, but I've come to hate the artificiality of that. There are certain behaviors I'm expected to manifest whenever in the company of anyone else -- strength, boldness, sensuality, creativity -- oh, and humor. Mustn't forget that ha-ha's. If I'm quiet, EVERYBODY asks me if I'm pissed off, and then I GET pissed off. [The 'who died and left me the Miss Congeniality sash' syndrome'?]
Maybe I'm sleepy.

Maybe I'm contemplative.

Maybe I'm composing a canvas, a journal page, in my mind.

Maybe my husband just lost his job.

Maybe, at the very least, the assumptions could just -- I dunno -- fuck off? I'm not the official hostess, the entertainment director, whenever or wherever I step out my front door.

And besides, who is ever available to listen to ME, when I need it, without immediately, categorically, changing the subject?

So --
I'm waiting for the Squam Art to start being posted, then I can get inspired in lieu of twirling in my inadequacy cape and you-don't-belong stilettos, and then all this bashing into my peculiar right angles of resistance will diminish and I can get some art done. [all photos my own]

Monday, September 15, 2008

My New Secret (Sorta) Crush

Hill Harper, age 42. A short blurb from Wickiepedia: "As an accomplished film, television and stage actor, Hill Harper captivates audiences with his charismatic and authentic style, which he dedicates to each eclectic character he portrays. A Magna Cum Laude graduate from Brown University and recipient of graduate degrees in both law and public administration from Harvard, Hill Harper continues to excel by receiving nominations and countless awards for his acting in independent film, international film and television projects." I first saw him in the movie, The Nephew (1998), still a flick I own and enjoy watching. Last week, I saw Mr. Harper again on a Dr. Phil episode about using the N-word, an episode which Double BB and I ended up following all the way through. Reminded me that a) the N-word is not and never has been and never will be a part of my vocabulary, or even my thought processes, and b) Hill Harper is brilliant and stomach-tingly gorgeous.

Canvas for Dad

Desperate for the Ocean

Using several of my Madrid surprises to express this longing ...

Magazines Come to Life

One of the most exciting, surprising and LIBERATING pieces of advice I've ever encountered, I found on Teesha Moore's website which explains her journal page techniques. She said, "Look at magazines upside down, to take the page contents out of their context, and then FIND THE UNEXPECTED." Yesterday, late afternoon, I took my new issue of Vogue outside and did exactly that. Below are the results, on unfinished written journal backgrounds. Plaza de Toros con Pajaro -- including some of my surprises from Madrid! Swan. La Muerta y La Mariposa I LOVE THIS ONE!!! I LOVE THIS ONE!!!! I LOVE THIS ONE!!!! I honestly can't wait to see what becomes of this page. [This background actually came out of an Anthropologie catalog] Don't these tree-like, Sasquatch-looking thingies remind you of that child's book, Where The Wild Things Are? I loved, and still love, that book! Outer Space Visitor. And Toni plays with one of two new templates! Owl. SO darn cute, too. Second new template, all circles.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Surprises from Madrid!

Magic! Bliss! Excitement! Tingles! Dancing in place!! Look what my blogging friend, Mercedes, sent to me!!! Feathers to accompany a private greeting. Wallpapers! Look at these, two of them almost looked stenciled (spraypaint stenciled, I mean). Gorgeous stuff, shimmery too! Fabric and paper-wrapped bundles, tied with ribbons. This is such a treat, my goodness!!! Pinned lengths of lace -- are these not INCREDIBLE!! I adore the pins, actually, what a sweet touch! Lovely, gauzy fabric remnants. THIS is where Mercedes so inspires me - they way she incorporates fabric pieces like this onto/into her canvases and journal pages. Old pages in beautiful handwriting and several languages, and more twine-bound surprises! They are truly a matched couple, aren't they? POSTCARDS!!! I love them! Shells, playing cards, ephemera! Faces by Modigliani, in postcard and brochure form. I don't really know very much about this artist, but now I'm curious. Botanical and bird playing cards, which I'll scan so I can keep the originals forever. And ooooohhhh!!! I opened the tiny bag of SEASHELLS! Mariposas! Butterflies! These will definitely flutter to rest in my written journal! I know what this is ... & my hands are shaking with excitement! Mercedes' gift of loveliness and friendship ... ... in the company, now, of my cherished Italian gypsy.