Wednesday, January 31, 2007

So yesterday morning I was reading the paper and glanced at the ads in the food section. And there it was, one of our local grocers had a recipe with a picture of an elderly man proudly presenting a tray of food. The headline and name of the recipe:

"Grandpa Jim's Wiener Winks."

At which point I snorted coffee out my nose.

Monday, January 29, 2007

It's been years since I first saw the Experience Music Project in Seattle. I visited alone since John was working as I played tourist. I didn't own a digital camera back then and film was precious (expensive) but I took so many photos it was nuts. I don't even remember the inside of the museum or any of the exhibits. It didn't matter because I was so in awe of the building that made my visit complete. In fact, I spent more time outside than in.
That was my introduction to Frank Gehry. I had never been an architecture buff. But this structure rocked my world. I walked round and round and looked at every curve and angle. Trees filtered the sun and the cacophonous glint of shape and color was absolutely stunning to my eye.
Tonight we watched Sketches of Frank Gehry, a documentary by Sydney Pollack. Mr. Gehry says he envies painters because he can't paint. Well, I would tend to dispute that; I think he paints with different supplies.
I loved the movie; to hear conversation between these old friends is a treat. They share thoughts any artist will appreciate, ideas about fear and inadequacy, success and failure. Things I needed to hear today.

Artfeast was fun and we enjoyed the evening immensely although I think (actually I know) that I might have drank a wee bit too much cause I was pretty happy.
There was a hilarious incident after we first arrived. John was off finding drinks for both of us and I was circling the silent auction tables to review the items up for bid. I felt the presence of someone following me but tried to ignore it. I was looking at a child's toy, a huge box, The Erector Set, contemplating whether I should bid on it for the boys. I felt someone moving closer to me, kind of within my personal space, you know? Anyway, I glanced to my left and saw it was an elderly man. I tried to step aside and recover my space without being rude and he looked right at me to announce, "I could sure use an erector set." Blink.
Thank goodness, just then I saw John approaching with our drinks and I practically sprinted over to him, trying so hard not to bust out laughing.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I could tell you but I'd have to kill you

The judging was held over at the Kemp Museum which is where ArtFeast is being held. I met the other judges, Don Wiegand (sculptor) and Dan Younger (photographer). We are all pretty easy going so it wasn't too hard to come up with choices. We started individually and then eventually worked together discussing the top pieces. We relied on each other's area of expertise for guidance and that helped us to pick a well rounded group of award winners.

On the Photography in particular, it was very interesting to me to learn why one photo was better than another and I appreciated Dan's patience in that regard. Coincidentally, my naive eye also selected a photo that he ranked at the top.

Don is hard at work on a sculpture for UMSL which is where Dan is a Professor so he invited Dan for a studio visit after the judging. I happened to be standing there at the time and also snared an invite because Don is really polite like that.

Oh. my. God. To say it rocked my world is an understatement. Geez, I don't even know where to start. First of all, please check out his website to see the work.......Wiegand Studios and then check Wiegand Foundation to learn more about his mission. Simply amazing sculptures. His house/studio is absolutely the coolest place ever and ding dong me didn't have a camera with me. He built it himself out of rough-hewn wood, enormous windows and steps leading to the various levels within the house. You can ramble around and explore Don's hat collection, enjoy the historical artifacts he maintains, or simply bask in his indoor garden area. The place is magical with the feel of a tree house although it is on the ground of course.

And the sculpture. Oh my. Don talked about his process and I was fascinated by the steps involved in creation of these masterpieces. Experiencing the tour with Dan (Professor of Photography) made it even better as he asked intelligent questions, unlike me who stood there with her mouth hanging open as I was so much in awe. For instance, Dan asked about the lighting and it opened up a dialogue about the importance of shadow in the work. Then we moved into a 3D vs. 2D discussion and Don said it is difficult for him to see things in 2D anymore. I remembered back to the one time I worked in 3D which was the Marathon project 2 years ago when I made Leapin' St. Louie, the 6 foot tall running tree frog. And yeah, I get it.

What a great day though. I love that kind of artistic/intellectual/visual stimulation.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Here comes the Judge

There are a couple local arts organizations that I support without fail. I have a membership at both Chesterfield Arts (which is located a few miles from my house)and Art Saint Louis (in the city). These are groups which support local artists, where the employees sweat blood and tears over their jobs to help people like me show their art and get my name out. Do I believe I need to help them with time and money donations? You bet!

This weekend is the annual fundraiser for Chesterfield and I donated a piece of original art for the silent auction as I do every year. You may recall last year my donation won 1st prize which was not only a delightful surprise but financed my bidding and allowed me to acquire a terrific piece by another local artist who I adore, Paul E.

By virtue of last year's prize, I have now been appointed to the team of Judges for this year's auction. Today is the judging and I am so excited as I have never done anything like this before. The others are more experienced and I will try to follow their lead. But knowing me, I will blurt out whatever pops into my head and soon find myself with foot in mouth, in over my head. But that will be water over the bridge as they say (or not, I always butcher these cliches, much to the amusement of my companions). Whatever I do I know I will approach it with gusto and passion. And may the best artist win.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Just say NO to PAT

Sometimes I go through phases where I spend a lot of time on the computer. Not doing anything special; playing mind numbing games (Bejeweled or Spider Solitaire), reading blog entries. drifting from one link to the next or shopping.

You know how it is. If you're reading this blog, I must assume you are no stranger to the Internet. We all know how one quick Google (what did we do before Google anyway!?!?) can turn into a half hour or more. Let's be honest. If I added it all up I bet I spend several hours a day on the computer. Some of it legitimate work, but a lot is PAT.

What is PAT you might ask? Pissing Away Time, that's what it is (PAT sounds much more civilized, doesn't it?). And it's a crazy concept, not dissimilar to the phrase, "killing time." Why would we want to kill time? Time is our most precious commodity.

So today I am starting something new. I am just going to say NO to PAT. I am going to have to monitor myself as parents do with kids and TV time or video games. I may have to put a timer on my desk when I read email.

But first I need to check on this eBay auction I am steps, baby steps.....

Monday, January 22, 2007

Good good good good vibrations

The Daily OM today talks about Joyful Flow and the message is so appropriate for me right now. I would love to copy their email over here but no portion can be copied without permission and I want to respect them in that regard. You can go to their site by clicking the link to read it for yourself if you wish. But here is the MB notes (not to be confused with Clif notes) version.

Feelings vibrate. Anger, guilt depression at low vibrations; happiness and positive feelings at high vibrations, hence the phrase "good vibrations." So the Beach Boys had it right. Clearly, we feel better when we are emitting the good vibrations and when we are around people doing the same. When we are in this state, we feel more optimistic and energized and thus capable of manifesting our dreams.

I spent Saturday with a group of people all emitting good vibes. We went over to one of my collector's house. Actually it is a house she is trying to sell and she wanted to stage it with original art. She loves to support local artists and had this idea to rent art from us so she gathered some people to bring their art around on Saturday. She has a gorgeous home and the setting was amazing, just the kind of place where you long to see your paintings hang.

It was terrific fun, carrying art around and picking locations to display each piece. My client first picked the ones she liked best, careful to not reject anyone which was so wonderfully sensitive. I got to play decorator for an hour or so as I helped her.

By the end of the afternoon, the house looked amazing, classy and upscale, totally inviting. There were 5 of my pieces on display plus pieces from my good friends, Heather and Greg (click to see their websites). We all were paid up front for 2 months rental, how cool is that!

But the best part of the day was being around a group of people with such great energy. I met some artists I didn't know and we talked techniques which is always fun. My client and her husband are delightful; it was a treat to be with them in a casual setting. I felt completely surrounded by good vibes and my soul drank it all in.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Sunrise dreams

When I was down in Florida for the last show of the season I met a couple who wanted me to do an abstract commission for them. They are lovely people, the kind of people I could call friends if we lived closer and could hang out.
I haven't really done any abstract commissions before; all my custom work tends to come from my Common Denominator series. Where people furnish family photos and then I make a collage painting.
But I visited their home, took some photos, saw "the spot" and felt I had a pretty good feel for what they wanted.
Then the holidays hit and I was thrown for a loop. I really intended to ship the painting well before Christmas but one thing led to another and it simply didn't happen as I was so busy and simply felt too blocked to paint. I did stay in touch with the clients. I explained the situation, then sent them a holiday card and told them it was a top priority for the new year.
Voila. Here it is. Shipped out early this week, received yesterday and they are over the moon about it. Whew. I always worry you know. Did I really "get" their ideas? Will it look good in their home? Will it even survive the shipping? Blahblahblah.
This is a 24x30 by the way and includes some interesting navigational maps in the background along with vintage ephemera from their city and state. Plus cool player piano music with the word "Dream" exposed. And these folks really do live a dream, looking out at the ocean every day, with a backyard on a canal. I can't think of a better home for my painting.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

I like animation. I mean I'm not an obsessive fan, but I do like it, especially animals since I always imagine animals with human characteristics anyway(I mean they are human, aren't they?). Animated pigs are faves of mine; that little mouse in the movie with Geena Davis was great; fish can be fun. Heck, the cars are cute too.

But why oh why did someone decide to animate chocolate chip cookies?

With Tivo (greatest invention other than the iPod) we rarely watch commercials, but during the Golden Globes the other night, I watched live TV cause I was doing laundry and was up and about too much to patrol the TV. What is wrong with Cameron Diaz by the way, does she look like crap or what? That hair, that dress, yee gads.

Sorry, I digress. Back to animation.

Does anybody know what I am talking about here, that totally ignorant Chips Ahoy commercial with a bunch of chocolate chip cookies in a car. One of the cookies is driving, the others are passengers and they are snatched out of the car by a disembodied hand. It is just so ridiculous. Stupid stupid stupid.

It annoys me to even remember it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Iceman Leaveth

Our power came on yesterday, woo hoo, and we moved back home. The kitties were happy to see us and last night we had all three of them in bed.

Luckily, that is not our tree damage, but a property about a half mile from us. We were very fortunate in that regard, to have suffered no obvious damage. It will be interesting to see if our new landscaping survives though. The other shots are funny ones of John and me trying to survive our homeward bound adventure, these shots taken before we moved over to Beth's house.

All in all I feel so blessed. Although it was certainly disruptive to lose power, I am just grateful to have shared the experience with my favorite person in the whole world, that being my hubby John. He and I maintained our sense of humor which actually made it fun believe it or not. And spending time with Beth, Frank and the kids was the cherry on top.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

My Electric Outage

You may or may not have heard the Midwest suffered a big ice storm on Friday night. We haven't had power for 2 days now. After toughing it out the first 24 hours, we finally moved to my stepdaughter's house this morning. Despite the circumstances, we are having a really fun time.
Ameren, our utility company, has a website that we check frequently for updates on our situation. The site actually has a link entitled "My Electric Outage." Like My Summer Vacation I am guessing. It cracks me up every time we sign on. Then this lovely graphic pops up along with some very non-committal information such as they don't know why our outage occurred, when it will be fixed, etc.
So very helpful, our Ameren is.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

And even more potty talk

I have already ranted about women's bathrooms - see October entries . When writing the original cell phone post, I imagined a couple different scenarios that I know many of us have witnessed.

Say you are already in the bathroom and your phone rings. Whatcha gonna do?
First choice, hit the mute button so it stops ringing. Second choice, if you're.....well, you know....temporarily indisposed.....let it ring. And thus ends the choices.

Ok, so let's say you are on the phone and happen to be walking into the bathroom. There is one obvious choice here. Stop outside and conclude the call, then do your business.

So last Saturday night I saw a first (you knew I was going somewhere with this!).

I was in a nice restaurant with my husband and friends. After being seated, I got up to go to the bathroom. Another woman was also walking toward the bathroom. We both entered at the same time and, as I went ino the stall she proceeded to make a phone call. Of course I was temporarily paralyzed from the actual peeing process as I didn't want to make tinkle sounds during this woman's phone call. I finally slapped myself in the head, peed, flushed and then washed my hands. As I was leaving the bathroom, the woman concluded her call and also walked out.

She did not use the toilet, didn't wash her hands, applied no makeup. In fact she didn't use the bathroom for any of it's usual purposes. She used the bathroom solely as a place to make a phone call. Oh lordy, lordy.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


I am not big on resolutions these days. I don't know how many years I swore I was going to use the New Year to achieve Balance in my life. Um yeah, well......still working on that one. So I never seriously resolve to start exercising or anything like that.

But of course I do. Except I tell myself I am just trying to rebuild an exercise habit. Last year, during the hustle and bustle of my art fair season, this funny thing happened. I totally fell off the exercise wagon. Not all at once mind you. I first started missing my Monday night Yoga because we were always out of town. Then I dropped my walk/run down to only a few days a week, then maybe once or twice here and there, then one day I realized it was simply absent from my routine.

I was all gung ho to start back last week but The Universe apparently had other plans and dealt me a snarly cold/sinus problem instead. Totally sapped my energy.

This week I started for real, popped out of bed on Monday morning and put my pedometer on the belt of my robe because I am a dork like that. I had already walked 500 steps before I even changed out of my PJ's! Of course the moment I got on the treadmill was when the pedometer decided to stop working so I never saw my total for the day.

To get me all revved up, I have decided to pick a "group of the week." The Ditty Bops are first up because their music is fun and also invigorating; so many of their songs have a superb walking beat. I can walk and sing, sing and walk to my heart's content with The Ditty Bops. But when Sister Kate comes on, oh boy, that's a tough one because it is such a great dance tune. I only hope I don't hurt myself too badly when I fall off the treadmill.......

Sunday, January 07, 2007

We went to see Dream Girls yesterday and all I can say is go see it. Seriously, just go. It is good, really good. I wasn't even sure I wanted or needed to see the movie as we saw a great stage production of the show last year and I was quite content with that. But I am really glad we went as I tremendously enjoyed it. I think I probably need to buy the soundtrack because there was even more great music that the stage show including some tunes that will be excellent in the studio when I take my dance breaks, tee, hee, hee.

Speaking of music, I got an excellent CD for Christmas. The group is Paris Combo, the CD is called "Motifs." Super music, very upbeat and terrific for painting.

In other news, I have been working on new things, paintings that are a total departure from my usual work. After weeks of a creative block, I finally ventured into the studio and even got into a "zone," which resulted in some cool work that pleases me. I am not quite ready to go public yet, but stay tuned and I will post pictures shortly.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Frequent flyer miles?

All the dead bodies moving around the country is kind of wigging me out.

First there is James Brown with public and private viewings in three different states. Then Gerald Ford, also honored in 3 states. He was President so I can cut him some slack. But James Brown? Sure, I loved his music too, but enough is enough. Bury the man already, oh sorry, I guess they finally did. But I think I heard (this is one of those moments I wonder if I am delusional?) that his outfits were changed for each different venue.

That is so not right.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Gateway to the West

This is the 2nd time I have lived in St. Louis and until the other day I had never been up inside The Arch.
If you've never done it before, The Arch has a tram system built inside which allows you to ride to the very top. The tram is made up of tiny "pod" cars that rachet the entire 630 feet up to an indoor viewing area where you can peer out windows on both sides and if it's clear (which it was), you can see for miles. A bird's eye view so to speak except I don't think birds fly that high.
And what a way to contemplate the beginning of a New Year - looking out over the land and celebrating an amazing warm December 31st day. I wish I had such a crystal clear view of the coming months, but I guess that would take away all the fun.