Tuesday, September 30, 2008

OK ... This Is Really Funny.

WHENEVER I check in with Judy Wise, I find something that looks like so much fun that I have to try it. But a few weeks ago she tricked me. Actually, it was my eyes that tricked me.
Here is Judy's page and I hope she doesn't mind that I'm sharing a small portion of it with you.
First of all it had this incredibly colorful face in the middle with lots of her little tiny handwriting, because she likes her journals to last F.O.R.E.V.E.R.
I saw the "stamps" with her in all those different hair styles and I thought she had done one of those computer downloads so ... well, you can guess. I wanted to do it too. (Judy always says to steal great ideas!)
So I spent at least an hour and a half taking head shots of myself and a side shot and downloading them into the Stellure "try on a hairstyle" program. When I finished I had a 3-D model of myself and I could try on some hairstyles and make them all sorts of colors. They were mostly ugly as sin, which you will see when I show you this page from my journal.
Also, when you took the photos you were supposed to NOT have hair in front of your ears in case you wanted to have a hairstyle that exposed your ears. If you had hair in front of your ears it would still be there in the form of werewolf ear hair when you "put on" a style like ... oh, say ... the ponytail. Don't I look cute with hairy ear patches?
When I looked back at Judy's journal page, I realized she had merely cut out women's heads from a yearbook, removed their faces and inserted her own. Smart Judy! Well, as you should know by now I can laugh at myself.
The Mister says these photos don't look like me. But if you ever want to do the same dopey thing that I did, and you have an hour and a half you don't mind throwing away, go to stellure.com and try it out. Actually, don't. It's faster to do it the "Judy way."
Today is the last day of September and I'm reluctant to say good bye but I guess I have little choice in the matter. This weekend I'll be attending the Oregon Press Women's fall conference in Cannon Beach with a colleague, JoAnn B. I hope to have lots of great photos to show you when I return - femminismo
p.s. No comments on my batik? Come on! Aren't you going to try it too?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Lotsa, Lotsa Fun With Wax.

YESTERDAY was the long awaited batik painting class with Lark Brandt. Her mother originated the process of using this particular daphne paper when she was in Nepal and didn't have many art materials.
The daphne paper came in three weights - from very light and thin to a thicker, heavier, coarser paper.
For inspiration Lark had flowers, fruit and vegetables set out. I pretty much stuck to my "lady face" theme. We took the paper, "saved" some areas of it by painting it with melted wax - using a paintbrush or janting tool, whichever we preferred - and then used watercolors to gently put down color. There was a lot of discussion on how to begin and what to draw, but soon we just all began to have fun and the art took care of itself. (Lark is in the first photo showing an example. Remember: You can click on the photos to view them larger.)
Here's my lady face after I waxed an outline, painted it with watercolors and let it dry and then "saved" the areas I did not want to be black - because that's the next step: We paint the image all over with India ink. So goodbye lady face. Ack! What have I done?
We'll see what happens when the wax is ironed out. This is the part where you cross your fingers. Leaving the edges unwaxed was a nice way to get a "frame" around your image. The ideal way to hang these is under glass or maybe between two panes of glass. Either side can be interesting in its own way.
Here she is after being ironed. (By the way: Lark used telephone book pages and then she uses those waxed sticks for starting back yard bonfires. She lives in the country.) Sorry the photo isn't rotated. Maybe I will come back later and do that.
Another couple of images and then I have to leave and turn the water off outside!
I almost have my art journal filled up - right at the end of September. So the next journal will begin in October. I can't wait to begin another one!

Friday, September 26, 2008

An Auspicious Day That Began Like Any Other.

LOTS of days start off in the usual, regular way. You open your eyes and sort of wonder where you are and what day it is. This morning I awoke - I was awake earlier at 4 a.m. and had fallen back asleep - and wasn't really ready to get up. That is usually the way with mornings. They come too dang early.
Then I remembered the tension-filled state of the world and the fact it is Friday again and the economic world was supposed to end last Monday (in my mind, that was a likelihood; it was nothing officially announced) and thought, "Oh, what the hey! Let's see if coffee doesn't make everything better."
Well, that and a hot shower sure did. Then I got to work and found that two people at our newspaper had lost their jobs. Uh, oh. Grim uncertainty again.
I even thought about the job I used to have before this one - the job working with secretive, manipulative liars. Hmm. Could I have stood that job until retirement? It was a pretty sure thing and at a good salary, too.
Nope, I thought. Decision made. Done deal. Not going back in time and driving myself nuts.
So it's onward and forward and hopefully upward. We're getting a taste of what our parents and grandparents dealt with and it might be a very, very good lesson.
I guess we'll see.
The sky picture above was what greeted me when I left the office building at 5 p.m. I do like looking up! The weekend weather in Oregon promises to be near 80 degrees. I could use some sun and warm weather.
This last picture is one from my journal. She just appeared from the paintbrush when it hit the page. Ready to go to a very nice party, she is.
And did you watch the debate? It's hard to understand why anyone would want to be president or hold any elected office sometimes, but thanks to those who go into it trying their best to solve our nation's problems - femminismo

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Never Too Busy For Friends.

WELL, Candace, my pal, when you left a comment I felt a little bit guilty for not being more on top of things and posting a little something extra on the First Day of Fall and telling you how our wedding anniversary celebration went.
I know you're all breathless with curiosity. (Insert grin here.) The massage left me feeling balanced; truly "square" and balanced. My heart rate and breathing rate were slower throughout the day and what a heavenly sensation to be truly pampered like that for an entire hour. I would like to do that at least twice a month!
The Mister and I spent the rest of the day on the couch. I am reading Joyce Carol Oates' "A Garden of Earthly Delights," so it felt absolutely hedonistic to simply sit and read for a change - something I wanted to read, that is. (Joyce, at left, and I are soul sisters. We both write grim, unhappy stories.)
As you may remember (for those who take notes on my life; I'm sure there's at least one of you - maybe an FBI agent or someone from the CIA), and you can insert another grin here, I am going to take Lark Brandt's class in painting watercolored batik pictures on daphne paper this Saturday. I am looking forward to the class and hope to come back with something to frame for a Christmas gift. I think this year a lot of us will be making gifts. (Sorry, Nordstrom! Apologies, LL Bean.) But after reading 401(k) "dollars" may be worth only 97 cents, you can't be too careful. But, hey, why spread bad news? It will get to us soon enough. I've always been the grasshopper, and not the ant, anyway. Thank goodness I married an ant.
I must go now. I am off to yoga practice and then to a meeting. Don't I have the gadabout life? I wish! - femminismo

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunday ... Day of Rest - Maybe.

TODAY should be a total day of rest for spiritual as well as bodily reasons. In theory, anyway.
However, after breakfast this morning with family, which was fun, we have a total body "couples" massage scheduled, since today is our 12th ANNIVERSARY - the Mister and me.
Thank you, thank you. Congratulations are greedily accepted.
And we can't decide if we should come home after the nice relaxing massage at 2 p.m. and then attack household chores and outside chores or fall onto the sofa and sleep until Monday when the stock market opens ... and then trudge off to work.
I think we'll wait and see how we feel after the massage. If we have turned into some sort of gelatinous goop then we'll opt for the sofa for sure.
I HAVE TO TELL YOU, the Chalk Art Festival turned out sublimely well. It was a great deal of fun and this year I actually got to do a sidewalk square.
Ben and Heather (not shown) Young, above, did a square together: an insect on a flower. They have both participated in Chalk Art since they were in the third grade. Here's another of the work further along.
Eduardo Tecum did a magnificent job as usual, portraying Barack Obama this year. So many talented artists!
Here's a photo of one artist contemplating his canvas before starting. Intimidating, indeed.
Erin Brist (I think that's her name) did the lovely lady with the flowing blond hair.
We had five featured artists and a few returning featured artists who just wanted to create something on their own this year.
Dan Chen chalked out an exact replica of his puppy - such a tiny thing to have such a large representation of itself!
My granddaughters had a great time. They brought a couple friends and dancing to Big Mama Gayle and her Sugar Daddies was something else. Woowee! The kids had inflatable "instruments" to play along with the band, hats, hula hoops, leis, and all sorts of enjoyable accouterments.
Joe Mishkin, the Balloon Man, Not Your Average Joe, created wonderful balloon hats and butterfly wings. He is a kick in the pants. I hope others followed the link to his space on the Web from the earlier post.
Here are a few more photos. The titles of them, if you click on them and open the larger shot, tells you just a little about them. The full link of photos will be at valleyartorg.blogspot.com as soon as I can get to it - femminismo

Friday, September 19, 2008

Just A Little Update.

RAN into Forest Grove tonight after work to ready the guest artist's kits for Chalk Art. Put in chalk, brushes, knee pads, whisk brooms, drinks and treats.
Things were looking good inside and out. The sidewalks in town were being swept - no fooling, with brooms - and students were unpacking chalk and getting things ready for tomorrow.
And some of the Living Leaves I hung are still on the trees. Yippee!
Tomorrow I need to be in town early to help set up signs and block off the street. It is going to be so much fun. Big Mama Gayle and Her Sugar Daddies are going to play, along with a couple of other bands and Joe Mishkin will make balloon hats. Just wait until you see the pictures!
While I was working on dinner, back at home, the setting sun caught my eye when it lit up the fence in the back yard. It looked as if someone sprayed it with red paint. Cool!
I also made a batch of Stomach Pump Cookies for energy tomorrow. Everything is in them. Oatmeal, chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts. So yummy you'll eat too many and need ... you guessed it! A stomach pump! And I put all the right ingredients in, unlike the biscuits I tried to make a few weeks ago. You can read about that by searching this blog for "biscuits."
One of the students helping at Valley Art had the greatest hair. If I were 16 again, I think I'd try it. How about you? - femminismo

Wish I Could Go ... Oh, Boy, And How!

GOT this in my Yahoo mail box yesterday from Literary Arts about Live Wire. Oh how I wish I could attend. That day is already packed full of things to do, however.
The event is described thusly:
Writer Sean Wilsey joins Dave Weich in conversation about State by State: A Panoramic Portrait of America. The brainchild of editors Wilsey and Matt Weiland and described as a "metaphorical road trip across America," State by State resurrects a project from the 1930s when the Works Project Administration (WPA) created the Federal Writers' Project, commissioning America's best writers to describe their states. State by State looks at the nation anew through some of its most articulate, insightful, and engaging storytellers.
Wilsey is joined by Carrie Brownstein (NPR blogger and former member of Sleater-Kinney); Daphne Beal (former editor of the New Yorker and writer whose work has appeared in Vogue, McSweeney's, Open City, and The London Review of Books); and Lydia Millet (award-winning novelist).
It would be very interesting to hear what these authors have learned from ordinary people across America - Steinbeck's people, Saul Bellow's people, Zora Neale Hurston's people.
And today, this morning, Pres. Bush stepped out onto the White House patio and described the economy as being at "a pivotal point" in history; in deep crisis. Finally an admission, by the man in charge, that we are up to our necks in serious doo-doo. I see any hope of health care going down the drain and lots of new taxes. The new president's time will be taken up with dealing with economic recovery and we will be dealing with more taxes and postponing retirement and working harder than ever before to shore up America's fortunes. I'm no economist, but I don't think you need to be one to see the handwriting on the wall. It's written pretty large.
On a brighter note, I have started yoga again, twice a week this time, and look forward to putting my warrior pose into practice. It's off into the future - with a brighter outlook - for me. I'm tired of saying "I'm so tired." I felt energized and relaxed - yes, all at the same time - last night and look forward to continuing my yoga practice and stretching in a regular exercise routine.
Here's a cool illustration I found in Project Gutenberg "children's picture books." It is "Struwwelpeter" by Heinrich Hoffman. (Have you ever explored there? It's an interesting project.) Do you think this is where Tim Burton got the Edward Scissorhands creation? I need to look up the story of Struwwelpeter.
Best to you all in these challenging times - femminismo

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's Coming Along.

I HAVE finished the "Lady Liberty Voting" canvas and took a photo to place it as background for our Valley Art campaign posters. The goal is to raise voters' consciousness when it comes to Voting For The Arts.
The wide blue sky will provide a nice, neutral background to the type (and information - dates, times, etc.) that will go into this poster. The Valley Art Annual Artist Event is coming on Nov. 3 with members' night and then Northwest artists will have their work on sale in the gallery during two weeks in November for the public.
I am hopeful this poster image will generate the idea that everyones' vote counts, especially when it comes to underwriting the educational benefits of arts and literature in school curricula.
Well, I am posting this on my lunch break at home. Must go back to work. May have more later; like an update on Living Leaves - femminismo

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Beginning An Art Campaign.

GREETINGS! We are well into September now and everything is drying up around Oregon. Fire bans in the forest have been in effect for some time and so there will be no more campfires up on our piece of woodland property. It's not that we've even been up there to enjoy the solitude and quiet - unfortunately - but we sure would like to camp overnight a couple more times this summer before our good weather is all gone.
I have been very busy and I have to tell Candace at EyeCandy that I don't know that I can continue the Javablu Award. I'm pleased she thought of me (more than she can know) and I see the good things that awards can do for blogs: More people connect with you, you pass on other's blogs, and they pass the blogs on to their friends and hopefully everyone finds some good thoughts or ideas that can help them along. However, I know the blogs I would nominate for a Javablu Award are probably in the same boat as I am. So I'm just going to ask Candace to understand and I'll let this one - and any feelings of guilt I have - go. OK?
As you can see by the photo I have posted I am undertaking an advertising campaign for Valley Art Association, the nonprofit gallery where I volunteer. Actually, the entire gallery's operation, since 1966, has been totally volunteer-run, which has to be some sort of minor miracle.
Each November the gallery has its Annual Artist Event and all members get in early to peruse the latest offering of Northwest artists. They have one night all to themselves to mingle, eat, laugh, drink, gab and buy the freshest stuff from really great artists. (Just in time for holiday giving, too!)
I was asked to produce advertising and the chairwoman's theme is "Vote for the Arts," since the day after the November event will be Election Day.
My thought was to have this American Lady striding through the fields (thank you, Candace, for alerting me to this painting by James Montgomery Flagg), carrying a paintbrush and a sign that says "Vote For The Arts." (The little box and scissors are only to hold down the matte gelled-image.) I was hoping also to somehow work in a "crop" of artwork "growing" in the fields.
I will do other collage on this piece and hope it turns out usable as a background for our posters and other advertising. I'm trying to combine art and advertising so I can do this in a little more "hands-on" way. I hope it works. I'll let you know.
In other news, we were saddened this weekend to lose a sweet man, a member of our extended family - Billy H. He was one of those men a girlfriend spoke of recently - a man like our own fathers, strong and brave. "Gone" is such a lonely, final word. Gone on a journey that others have taken before. Off to witness something magnificent, I truly hope - femminismo

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Today of All Days.

YES, today I must post something.
I went into Forest Grove to hang the Living Leaves - in memory - this afternoon. I had waxed several of them that were made by the children yesterday and I hung those up. I noticed that a couple that we hung up last night had evidently been torn down by passersby, but that is the way of the world sometimes.
I think if there were more art education and appreciation of art, people's creations might be given more respect. Or at least it's a hope. Anyway, for good or ill, the leaves are hanging on the trees now. One for my mother, one for the "Creative Bone" we all have and one for Rick Read thanking him for his service to art.
Later I sat in the parking lot at a grocery store waiting for the tow truck to come for the Mister's pickup truck. Yes, sometimes days just don't go as you'd planned. However, I saw a lot to give me pause. Some very sweet, tender things that I'll discuss another time when it's not so late and I'm not so tired.
I took a photo of the flag flying at half staff, and the day did feel somber to me. We have come a long way since that day in 2001 - seven years ago, but not even a flick of an eye in the time of the world. I hope your day that has passed was good and I leave you with wishes for an even better tomorrow - femminismo

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Making "Living Leaves."

TONIGHT I went to Valley Art and set up a small table during Wednesday's Farmers Market so others could make leaves with me in remembrance of 9/11 or in memory of family and friends.
(See previous post for more.)
Three or four young girls stopped by and colored leaves. The smallest one got her leaf into a tree somehow. I didn't watch, but I think she got something to stand on.
It was so pleasant to be with these youngsters. I had forgotten the happy chatter that goes with a group of kids like this when they're busy doing art. They were talking a lot about computer games and school.
A young boy stopped by with his mom and dad and the family dog and did a great job coloring a leaf and outlining it in a darker color. That's him above. I admired it so much I copied it. I should have told him that's what happens to great art: It gets stolen!
These are by far my favorite leaves tonight. Mama - in memory and the American stripes flag the young girl made. With "Love" and a heart - femminismo
p.s. Hope you are all well tonight. Sleep tight and don't let the bedbugs bite. (Mama used to say that.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

In Remembrance of Many Things, Many People.

ABOUT six (I can't believe that's right!) years ago I began making "Living Leaves" at Valley Art, the nonprofit, volunteer-run art gallery where I give my time. The paper leaves, with pictures, sayings and thoughts, were hung on trees down Forest Grove's Main Street in memory of two local men who died on Mt. Hood in a tragic climbing accident.
One of the men, Rick Read, was the driving force behind the annual Chalk Art Festival, and was responsible for getting markers put into the sidewalks to number the squares.
The leaves were also in memory of 9/11, then - the next year - the London bombings and Katrina. They have served many purposes, but are mainly put on the trees to honor the memory of others.

This year I guess mine will also honor the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
I construct the leaves from brown Kraft paper - trace around actual leaves, as you can see - and then start adding all sorts of things with wax, magazine clippings and Xeroxed images. I put some leaves on the hot plate and then add color with wax crayons that melt, adhere and give the leaves substance and waterproof them, so some extent. I also have beeswax melting on the hot plate and brush that on.
Some of these leaves fall into being without any conscious effort and some are planned out. Here are a few I made this year.
The latest headlines in the newspaper - which everyone should read; don't just depend on talking heads on television - were what I have been noticing, and even though I wasn't trying to "say" any exact, certain thing, there were some interesting thoughts that popped up or came together just by leafing through newspapers and magazines for words, letters and images.
We are all the tribe of man but we let our differences keep us apart - femminismo

Monday, September 8, 2008

Yes, It's Monday And I've Had My Cup Of Sanity.

THANK goodness for friends like JoAnn, who bring packets of tea to work on insane Mondays. It seemed like almost everything that could go wrong did this morning. All except for her kindness in giving me packets of sweet, flavorful tea that got me through until noon. Then work eased up a little and fell into a more routine pattern and was almost bearable.
Tonight I got my computer work space cleaned up and am feeling pretty proud of myself for this tiny, tiny step toward more control of my surroundings. I found the most interesting things while going through my piles of paper.
Maybe some of them will end up on journal pages and you can see them too - femminismo
p.s. Take good care of yourselves. My advice? Have a cup of decaf tea.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

There's a Soft, Warm Wind Today.

CAN there ever be too many of these soft, warm last-drop-of-summer days? I don't think so either. Here's today's temporary "water feature" in our front yard. The flagstones lead to the street and they look so pretty edged with these daisies. (I'm ignoring the dogwood to my left that is already turning color - just like EyeCandy's dogwood! What is up with these trees, anyway?)
I am painting, but it's not the sort of painting I envisioned when I left work on Friday. I was looking forward to gooping up some pages in my journal and celebrating with a stick of Uhu in one hand and a bit of ephemera in the other. However, autumn rains will be coming next month and there were areas of our house that needed "touching up." One area was the outside of the sunroom. Here you can see one side of it and if you notice the top beam you can see why it needs paint.
The Mister built the sunroom entirely from recycled glass and wood he already had. He is handy to have around. I love the sunroom. It adds so much more light and gives me a place to go warm up on cool days, since it's windproof and heated by sunshine. And the "touching up" actually consisted of painting all three sides of the building. Fortunately it's mostly glass so it only took half a day and my hands didn't turn into claws from gripping a paintbrush all afternoon.
I am very lucky to be able to still climb up and down a ladder and move my arms freely. I thank my lucky stars often for my health. (Knock on wood, because I'm very supersititious.)
And here he is - the Mister (ManCake for sure Mrs. G) - finishing up some higher places. We both have our aches and pains, but this weekend we were still part of the DIY generation. (do it yourself or dumb idiots yet - you choose)
Painting gives you a lot of time to think. Today my thoughts were monopolized by friends who live in Montana. I am thinking of J. & K. today, hoping they are doing well. I must call them. They are still living with dial-up and I'd hate to think how long this blog would take to emerge.
Hope my readers - who have now passed 3,000 - are all well today and for lots of tomorrows - femminismo
p.s. Ooh, ooh! EyeCandy Candace gave me a Javablu Award. I almost forgot to tell you. Next blog episode I will give you all the dish on it!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Much Anticipated Letter Arrives.

A FEW months ago I wrote a very personal article - a reflective piece, definitely - that was published in the newspaper I work for. It concerned a childhood friend and how she faced an unplanned pregnancy when we were in high school in the 1960s. (There never seems to be a good time for an unplanned baby, and high school in the 1960s wasn't a welcoming place for pregnant teenagers.)
So I wrote this article, it got published and I got a lot of feedback from people. One suggested I send the article to the friend I'd written about. So I did. I had planned to and then thought maybe not; she might be upset by it. Finally I sent it off. I thought I might hear back right away. Then as the days passed, I thought she might be upset about it and didn't want to have anything to do with me. Maybe she didn't want to remember those times at all. (I also thought maybe she didn't care. Maybe I'd remembered so many things differently from the way they'd really happened she'd just laughed, shook her head and put the papers in a pile somewhere.)
Well, today a letter arrived from her. I put it on the counter in the kitchen and looked at it for a while. I got no hints from it, except I knew by feel that it was more than one page. I went outside to tell the Mister it had arrived. "Open it," he said.
"I'm almost afraid to," I replied.
"Oh, go ahead."
Carefully I tore a small piece of the sealed flap.
"Well, no explosive device," I said. "Wow, it's three handwritten pages!"
I went inside to sit and read the letter. Twice I got a lump in my throat.
Once when - in talking about something my father had done - she described our fathers: "Our dads were so big in those days - and brave, too."
And then again when she ended the letter with "Miss you & Love you, P."
As young girls, and then teenagers, we always seemed either at odds with each other, our bodies, the opposite sex or the world - sometimes all four at the same time. So much confusion about who we were and what we would ever become. All of that contributed to a confusing sort of friendship and love.
Today that love is clearer. It's a love for a person who shares lots of secrets and memories of the person I once was and the person I could have become; the person who could have been a better friend, but she doesn't hold any grudges.
At the end of the letter I was in tears. Mostly happy ones for the friendship that is still there. I'll write back - femminismo

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It's Late - I'm Crazy!

JUST WANT to tell you to check out the ValleyArt blog to see what I did this afternoon and tonight. Mary W. and I were hostesses for First Wednesday Downtown.
After we got the reception food out and welcomed the artists I went out into the farmers market and had a tantalizingly good sope. (Picture of one above.) Yum. The Adelante Mujeres were giving away more free samples of their great cooking. They made 500 of them and gave them all away and had to run to the store for more supplies. I think they were up to 600 handmade tiny, thick tortillas with beans, cheese, salsa. Soooo good.
It was a wonderful evening. There where still blueberries and I didn't get any! Just these in the photo. What's wrong with me? Maybe on Saturday there will be some at the farmers market for us "should have boughts" - femminismo
Gotta go. Like I said, I'm crazy!