Friday, December 15, 2017

falling on my head



And is way more plentiful, in way more shades, easier to squeeze out of bottles than those little watercolor tubes, and is especially better than the watercolor paint tube that must have gone bad it smells so bad, but I don't want to throw it away in case I need the color.
A surprising discovery to make after completing ~20 watercolor portraits.  

Hello, beautiful gray rain.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

art as a response to mistakes

I have been enjoying a book called Why We Write about Ourselves: Twenty Memoirists on Why They Expose Themselves (and Others) in the Name of Literature, Ed. Meredith Maran.
Some common themes emerge: the conscious shaping of a story without including every detail of the writer's life,  asking loved ones for permission to include particular parts, the discomfort that accompanies self-revelation, unintentionally offending a loved one and the rift and regret that follows, the conviction of entitlement to tell a story from one's own perspective.  

Potato stamps! Think the last time I used these my mom was doing the cutting.

On the subject of portraying themselves and others, a few authors make the point that at some point they commit themselves to showing the worst sides of themselves, while trying to protect others.  That is, they intentionally do not show mercy for themselves.  As David Sheff says, "If there was something I was afraid of telling about myself--because I was embarrassed, or afraid of judgment--I determined at the beginning that I was going to tell it."

Many of the memoirists are touched by the extent of connection their readers feel with their writing: the outpouring of letters, the personal stories readers feel compelled to share, the "me too"s, the universality that their particular story connects to.  Cheryl Strayed says, "Thousands--literally thousands--of people have told me that in reading Wild they realize their life is exactly like mine.  How can that be? And yet, it is."

Reading this book, I think about the ways we (including me) intentionally shape our stories on social media.  Through art, too, I think I intentionally shape something towards attractiveness, beauty, being well received.  In reading about an art form that culls up the worst parts of the artist, this morning I am more aware of how the process is not only a shaping of beauty but a response to mistakes.

So: The potato stamps were employed to distract from the imperfection of the lettering.

And, the paintings themselves to distract from imperfections in the wall.
I later changed the trail of the "p" because it looked too wonky.  So now it's thicker than I would prefer.

"Our stories are always somewhere within us.  We need only to get still enough to look." 
-Dani Shapiro

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Sometimes when I am doing art I feel like I am fed off of other artists' sounds.  
Recently, I've enjoyed the soothing tones of The Wailin' Jennys:
Also, I'm With Her: 
When I hear catchy lyrics, occasionally I think I'd like to create them in art form, but then I hesitate thinking a viewer will have that song stuck in her head all day.  Welp.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

repetition is not failure

only now do I catch a misspelling of repetition, twice
trying to get comfortable with water as a mechanism between watercolor paints
like the outer rim of the shadow produced by dragging paintbrush

And the moon is out,


Monday, October 23, 2017

pause to take note of the sky

In mental health class in grad school, our professor asked us to name one habit we do each day just for ourselves.  Or something like that*.  
(What was the exact question, Sarah or Celeste?)
*what is in our Wellness Toolbox; thanks, Celeste.

For me, it was eating yogurt, raw oats, and frozen banana for breakfast.  Another classmate who lives in a particularly mindful way said at some point during each day, she tries to pause to take note of the sky.

I have thought of her at rare moments during the last three years 
when I have tried simply to pause and look up.  She herself captures beautiful scenes with her lens  (

Her response inspired the wedding gifts below.  I usually buy from the registry because I think it respects someone's wishes and it is convenient.  However, sometimes I have the urge to give a more personal gift.

So here we go, abstract art.

what the sky looked like on the day of your wedding

Same concept, different wedding.  The sky was clear this day, so I decided to take shots from a few different angles and partition them out during framing for increased visual interest.  

Framing the sky: but which side is up?

Okay, and I was pleased with my wrapping job, too.  As a kid, I remember sometimes being embarrassed to bring a gift wrapped in newspaper comics to a birthday party.  In retrospect, I am grateful for my mom's environmentalism.  And due to my frugality/environmentalism/hunter-gatherer yearnings, I am reluctant to buy gift wrap supplies today.  

Kroger bags served the purpose.  I noticed the detached handles had some natural depth/shape to them, so it was easy to pair them up and then cut out a small dot of cardboard to stick in the center.  Ta-da: a bow.  Although before I did, I thought they looked like an infinity loop symbol for the wedding presents.  Getting pretty deep with this wrapping job, eh.  Besides schnitzel with noodles, this could be a new favorite thing.  

On the subject of sky, someone else can take up this project; I like the concept.  Over a specific time period, knit one row reflecting the color of the sky that day.  I think this would be a special gift for someone to represent a period of their live (engagement, pregnancy, cancer treatment).  

Fantastic idea. 365 day scarf, you knit a row each day representing the weather. How fun.