Monday, March 26, 2007

Artfest here I come

Well, tomorrow morning I am officially Artfest bound. Travelling with a group of my buddies from St. Louis, I will catch up with some old friends from CA, meet some of my Internet pals for the 1st time (Shari for sure!!) and hopefully make other new friends as well. Plus make art for 3 glorious days, woo hoo, hip hip hooray, yippee ka yay, yee ha!!! And what a bonus that I get to play in the Pacific Northwest; I am hoping to carve out a little time to hike around Ft. Worden and enjoy the sites of Port Townsend. Ah to be around all that water, I can't wait. And if I am really lucky, THE mountain, that being Rainier, will be out when we land tomorrow.

Yes, I did get all my work done, or at least nearly all of it. I finished 21 pieces for Venus Envy, 1 short of my goal. BUT, 20 of them are already varnished with sides painted black and I seriously did not think I would get that done. The show entries have been handled, email caught up, other correspondence and paper work complete, commissions researched and ready for action when I get home.

I am good to go. So later gators....
Yesterday we attended Grape Arts, the yearly fund raiser for Art Saint Louis, of which I am an active member.
I am happy to report they served the caramelized bacon again, woo hoo. Obsessive girl had been talking about this bacon ever since last year, so my friends kept bringing me pieces of it and I believe I might have ate an entire pound. Along with my champagne.
My donated collage painting, Not my God, generated wild bidding, a "war" of sorts among a couple of my collectors and some other folks who I suppose just liked the piece. It was thrilling for me to actually see people fighting over my work, in a friendly way of course. I had an opportunity to talk to some of the bidders who had questions about my motivation for making this collage. The guys who eventually won the piece came over and hugged me (how sweet!) and promised to come see me at an upcoming show. They were adorable; I love it when my art finds a good home.
I even bought a piece, a collage on book cover by Baby Smith, who is a friend of my friend Robin. I don't know Baby personally as she apparently moved to LA before I moved here from SF, but her work is wonderfully smart.

I am afraid I was a little obnoxious in my efforts to win this piece....ugh, how embarrassing...You see, I have trouble with the mind games/power plays of an auction. Last year I lost a piece in the final minutes because I simply didn't have the _______ (balls, nerve, stamina - insert word of choice) to endure the endgame. At the time, I joked that my friend Claire wouldn't have lost the auction.
Well, Claire was with me yesterday. And, after seeing my distress at the idea of losing this piece, she suggested a strategy and coached me accordingly.
After a couple rounds of play, I was ready. When the opposing bidder walked up to put her new bid on the form. I pulled myself up to my full 5'0"(actually a little taller as I had on a low heel), threw my shoulders back and tried to assume a persona of power. I looked her straight in the eyes, never wavering and announced sweetly, "I am going to win this piece." At which point the girl dropped the pencil and simply walked away.
Geez, I felt so guilty about my blatant display of greed. I swear I had to stop myself from running after her groveling about how I am not normally like this.
And that, art fans, is how I won this faboo little piece that is now proudly on display in my office.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Gotcha Saatchi

Many months ago I was contacted by the Saatchi gallery with an offer to put up a free page on their site. It seems they are doing some artist outreach marketing especially geared toward emerging artists. I'm not sure where they got my name but they also contacted a few of my artist friends.

This week I finally(!) got around to setting it up and will have to say it looks totally cool. So, here is the link to me on Saatchi. When you click over there you will see a totally new look. A preview of my new series of abstracts called Community. You will see more of them in the coming months. And no, I'm not going to stop making the Common Denominator pieces, but I just love shaking things up a bit.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

So much to do and so little time

So why on earth am I dreaming of running away to NY to see a Rauschenberg exhibit? The NY Times article gives it high marks and I would love to see his early works specifically these drawings and transfers. I have never spent much time with transfers mainly because it has always seemed a dicey process to me. I fear I would be working on a painting then "ruin" it with a failed transfer. Perhaps that is the wrong way for me to approach this? Maybe I should instead welcome the outcome whatever it might be?

Bottom line, I simply could not leave town now. I have an awful lot going on. Suddenly life has clicked back into full gear.

This past week I have been working on new pieces for Venus Envy. I was pleased to be accepted as a 4th year exhibitor. The only problem is that I just found out (on 3/12) that I was accepted and I have to deliver the pieces on 4/04. Right after I get back from Artfest. And you know what that means - all the pieces need to be done before I leave. Twenty two of them to be exact, based on my proposal. I have a batch of 6x6's almost finished and I am pretty pleased with their direction. It seems that the extended "break" really helped me look at my Common Denominator series with a fresh eye. I am using new colors that are light and modern, quite a juxtaposition with the vintage images. I like the feel though and find they all hang well with the older work.

My new series will have to sit on the back burner for awhile as I finish the VE stuff and also work on 2 new commissions. Plus complete all the apps that are due through early April - seven to be exact. Yikes! Some are for art fairs, others are juried competitions.

Lots to do before Artfest.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Stars, stars everywhere

These are a sampling of my charms for Artfest. Now mind you I had announced (ha!) early on that I wasn't going to do trades. That was until I heard about charm trades and got to thinking how neat it would be to make a bracelet to commemorate my inaugural Artfest.
Naturally I had never made a charm before and really had no idea where to start.
Then, in a moment of synchronicity, I attended a meeting last week where a friend (thanks Kristin!) did a wonderful demo of how to fuse scrap fibers to paper. It was so much fun I flew home to play around with my left over knitting yarns. And these little stars were the result of my labors.
I just hope someone wants to trade with me.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

And we have a winner!

Wow, you guys are good. Lots of excellent entries and that made it especially hard for the committee. Of course the cats quickly lost interest because none of the stories mentioned birds or cat treats or any of their favorite things. But the people (me & John) agreed which was cool. We are running a little late because we were watching the end of the Xavier game, where my Alma mater (a slight under dog) beat BYU. Woo hoo!!! That is the good news; the bad news is they now face Ohio State on Saturday where they will be a hee-yuge under dog.

Enough basketball talk. Without further ado, let's get to the winner! Drum roll please.......

Izabella, for the following story:

Sleeping on Snow
She fled with just her dress and stockings, snow clinging to the bottom of her dress like weights. The life she knew was gone~

This story is so evocative, I especially love the description "snow clinging to the bottom of her dress."

Izabella, please email me with your snail mail address and I will mail your prize, one of my giclee prints. If you would like to go on over to my website, you can even pick which one you prefer!
Look under the Repro section of my website to make your selection.

One we also liked a lot was submitted by my pal Shari Beaubien:

The crowd parts. Our eyes meet. suspicions confirmed. He drops her hand, apology on his face. BITCH! I turn my back. It's over.

And I would like to recognize 2 terrific entries that seemed more "poetry" like to me. But I enjoyed them so much I want to share.

"In the Dark" by Beth
She was a dreamer
a dancer
have you seen her
she's on her toes
for her heart
to beat again

and Kim, a friend of Beth's who probably did a poem because Beth posted that it was a poetry contest, hahahahaha. You know I'm just teasing you Beth!! Here is Kim's entry:
"eyes wide shut"
a child is born
but taken away..
a girl grows up
but never learns
a woman wonders why
but never finds answers..
eyes wide shut...

Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to write something and submit to my first contest. This was so much fun I will have to do it again sometime.

Last chance

The contest is ending today, so don't forget to submit your entry. Scroll on down the page for more details....

And in other news, you all will be pleased to know that James Brown was finally laid to rest the other day. Yes, the man was still not buried. Died on Christmas Day, his body was first touring the country (see my January 03 post) then being preserved for paternity cases (I am guessing?). He was finally buried this week in a crypt at the home of one of his daughters.

The news article said, "the embalmed body has been kept in a refrigerated room." Well duh.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Contest Reminder

Just a reminder that the deadline nears for the Nanofiction contest. If you missed the specifics, scroll down to last Wednesday's entry for details. I would like to reiterate this is a short fiction contest. I have received several entries that look suspiciously like poetry to me. I have also received some really clever fiction entries so the competition will be fierce. But it is do-able, so challenge yourself!

The committee will pick the winner on 3/15 at 10pm central time, so that gives all you aspiring writers about 48 more hours to work on your masterpieces. Multiple entries are fine. Just post to this blog or email me. I will announce the winner either late Thurs. or early Friday morning.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

And another thing about cats, especially long haired chubby ones like Isadora, my darling calico......sometimes poop gets stuck to their butts. Izzy gets really embarrassed when it happens. I can usually tell because she is suddenly overly affectionate which is not at all normal for her and means that she needs my help for something. When she loved up to me this morning I suspected as much. After several tries, I finally caught a look at her butt and sure 'nuff there was poop matted in her hair.

Everyone knows what a princess I am and this job is better handled by our vet. We tell him Izzy has shit stuck on her butt and he takes care of it. She comes home all cleaned up with a fresh smell and then our boy cats hiss at her because they are convinced she is someone new.

But this morning something made me think we should try to do it ourselves. She was relaxing in the sun so I stroked her underarms and signalled John to help. He grabbed a paper towel and made one successful swipe before she caught on to the program and fled for cover.

Later in the day we tried again with John holding her. Once again, she was asleep in the sun when we approached. He grabbed her gently but she struggled so much he had to take a firm hold. I had the scissors and started to gently and slowly snip snip snip around the matted area. I got one hunk out and went to work on another. It was going smashingly well and I was about finished when John quietly says, "Honey, I'm bleeding on the cat."

I looked up to see blood from John's hand literally dripping onto Izzy's back. HUH? For an instant I thought I had perhaps clipped his hand then I realized she must have scratched him pretty badly. Of course drama queen MB, I immediately freaked out. Which is when Izzy took off like a bat out of Hell. And which is when she must have realized she had some foreign liquid on her back. Which is when she decided to remove it by rubbing her back against our foyer wall. Leaving a 3 foot streak of blood that looked like it was from a crime scene.


Friday, March 09, 2007

The thing about cats is they continue to surprise you. For instance, the other day, Gilligan was sprawled out on his back in the sun. That soft belly fur was begging for a petting. Usually this brings a curmudgeon meow that means, "Mom, I was asleep, leave me alone," as he rolls onto his side. But this time I decided to gently stroke his underarms. I was waiting for his normal response but he just purred deeply and stretched his legs out further - he loved it! I kept massaging under his arm with all my fingers, moving in and out of his fur in various rhythmic patterns. I was stunned by how blissed out he got. I swear he would have let me continue all afternoon.

This morning I tried it with Izzy. Every morning she's like that George Thoroughgood song, "You talk too much." as she tries to get my attention. So I stroked her underarms and Bam! she shut up instantly and started purring.

I am immensely pleased to discover a way to please these 2 cranky older cats. Nothin' better than a household of happy pussies.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Good stories & a Good Contest

On Monday night the guys (that being Bud & John) were going to the Tap Room to an event held by River Styx, a literary magazine of international acclaim (at least that's what their website says). I basically invited myself (I am good at that) because I thought it would be fun to hear the winners of the Micro Short Fiction contest. And, who's kidding who, I wanted Fish & Chips for dinner along with a nice Schlafly Scotch Ale.

What a great evening. The stories were happysademotionalfunnyweirdthoughtprovoking, not all at the same time of course. We heard some wonderful young writers - am I showing my age here - share their material and it made me wish I had paid better attention during creative writing class. Or that I had developed a more regular discipline with my writing so that I could use words more effectively. I mean these folks cast a spell!

The evening also included a NanoFiction contest. I think Micro was supposed to be 500 words or less and Nano was 25(!!!) words or less. Everyone at the event was invited to participate. Bud had told me about it in advance so I worked on my story before we went. It is hard to write a story in 25 words. Character, plot, conflict, resolution. Hmmm, it all started coming back to me as I worked except I needed WAY more verbiage. Here's what I submitted. It did not win (or even place for that matter) but I still liked my story.

Best Unfulfilled
Merlyn sleeps, sun fueling his dreams. An opportunistic rodent races across his belly undetected but for a turd path of evidence. And one abashed feline.

We have never had a contest here at the Common Denominator before. So it's damn well time, don't you think?

I hereby challenge any interested reader to write a 25 word or less(not including title) work of fiction. Submit it via a comment on my blog along with your email address. If you are uncomfortable being "public" about it, send me an email. But I reserve the right to put any fun stories on my blog plus I will be glad to link you up if you want.

I will consult with a team of experts consisting of me, John and the cats, and we will pick a winner on 3/15. There will be a cool prize. It will involve my art. But of course you knew that. You will want to win. Trust me it will be way better that the Pickled Okra that River Styx gave away. No lie.

So get started already. I can't wait to see what folks do.......

Monday, March 05, 2007

Can I crawl into his head?

My brand spankin' new obsession is Tim Hawkinson. Started just a few minutes ago when I was reading about him in the NY Times. Internet at hand, I Googled his name and found all sorts of interesting articles.

There are so many things to like about this guy, at least from my perspective, that being slightly skewed, ha, ha. The surprise and ingenuity of his work delights me; the fact you look at something and it is not what it appears. The suckers on an octopus tentacle that are actually repeated images of a man's lips pressed against the bed of the scanner. A delicate bird skeleton made of fingernail clippings. Things that gross me out to some extent, like a chicken skin sculpture.

I also love the fact he uses what is on hand so the found objects earn a new existence. That sort of theme is such an inspiration for me on this bright morning when I will finally venture into my own studio.

And of course the obsession..........I lovelovelove obsession, repetition rocks. Not to mention he was born the same year as me.

Here are a couple links: This is the NY Times article. A project at UCSD ACE Gallery - you can find the bird and chicken skin sculptures here.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I did not run away from home, really I didn't. My sister in law had surgery on 2/23 so I travelled to Memphis, TN to help out with the kids. I just returned last night.

I realize this is hardly a unique thought, but taking care of 2 kids(age 3 and 9) is a lot of work. I repeat - A.LOT.OF.WORK.

Stupidly, I packed tons of paperwork, thinking I could get some of my art biz stuff done in the evenings, during nap time, etc. Hmm. What the heck was I thinking?? Sure I had some down time, but I was usually so mentally and physically depleted that the most challenging thing I could manage was a game of Spider Solitaire.

The trip was good though; I am lucky my schedule allowed me the flexibility to help(although I did cancel a vacation with my friends Claire & Robin, so sorry you guys). What a gift to share quality time with Curtis and Cassie, shown here zoned out watching TV. And yeah, despite all my highfalutin NPR junkie ideals, I did rely on the television as babysitter from time to time.