Monday, March 30, 2009


My etching press is here!  I'm in love, it's beautiful.  *sigh*  All that is lacking now are some C-clamps in the correct size to anchor it to the table, and then I can start pulling prints in my own basement.  In fact, I can pull prints at 2 AM in my pajamas if I want.  

I recently learned that the big spoked wheel that turns the press rollers is called the starwheel.  I think that sounds very romantic and lovely.

I am a big fan of complicated processes for making art.  Old-school arcane processes are the best.  Whether it's the steps involved in an etching, planning the colors in a batik, reduction linoleum block prints, making a fine botanical plate, I enjoy sorting it out.  Ironically, I also like to make acrylic paintings that take under 2 hours.  

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Nebraska as role model

Have you ever looked at your cat and wished you could have their life?  Like...that your job could be sitting about on a cushion on the sunshine looking pretty, while your person feeds and dotes on you?  Or that you could get away with being completely obnoxious (i.e. poaching bits of toast off your person's plate) just because you're cute?  Or that you could spend all day curled on the futon and no one would think you were a total lazy wastrel?  

On the downside though, they have to eat cat food.

This is Nebraska, and his brother (the one laying by my head in my photo) is Turtle.  

Thursday, March 26, 2009

New card designs

I'm starting the countdown until the Ithaca Farmers' Market opens on April 4th.  One of the ramifications of this is that I have one more free Saturday until next Christmas.  I am definitely in a business where I work when others are playing...but that's ok, because there are definitely worse ways to make a living than hanging out with cool farmers and other independent artisan types at a fantastic waterfront market, eating great food, while selling my own work and meeting lovely customers.  Another ramification of the market starting up again is that I will have regular income again, a good thing having just spent all week tallying up what I owe to The Man in his various federal and state disguises.

So I've started getting my act together to be ready for opening day.  Here are three of my new card designs for this season!  They are extracted from the desktop calendar I made for 2009 (The ones that are left will be on big sale at my market booth next week!  Get 'em while they last!).  If you are able to stop by the market (i.e. if you're in Oregon), these and my other 50+ notecard designs, can be ordered online at my website:  

Perhaps you will recognize the koi from a recent post.  I took some inspiration from these wee paintings for some of the large new paintings up at Korova.  The farm field will also look familiar when you go to the show.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For love of this world and everything in it

I dreamt St Francis sat on the steps
asking for change, but just getting wet.
And the merchants walked by, 
dressed in their cloaks,
muttering some hatreds about begging folks.
And me and George Fox rode back through the shires
over the fields and the ditches and the mires
over the hills and down through the dales
of England and Scotland and Wales.

And a voice deep within, it started to sing
about change, change, change.
For love of this world and everything in it 
and change, change, change...

-Pete Morton

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Changing my focus

I am deep in a sea of paperwork this week, working on taxes.  Always a big grumpy process when pursuing a self-employed life that doesn't fit tidily into the 1040EZ track.  But instead of complaining about financial frustrations and capoeira injuries (am hobbling), I'm going to make a list of ten things I'm happy about.  

1) My show looks "awesome and professional," in Ben's words.  I trust his judgement, and was happy to hear that.  Had much fun there on Friday too!

2) I've rediscovered how much I love love love Patrick O'Brian's novels, which I've been re-reading.  All those seafaring tales of Jack and Stephen, so funny and fascinating.  I love dreaming about those tall ships and blue-water sailing.  Must dedicate a whole blog entry to them sometime.

3) That coconut milk ice cream is fantastic, and it has no dairy or "sugar."  Flavored green teas are also good, especially Japanese green phoenix pearls.

4) Getting real letters in the mail.  You know who you are, thanks!

5) New music!  My brother let me troll through his collection when I was in Oregon.

6) We've had several sunny days in a row, joy.  Also, it now stays light until about 7:30 in the evenings.

7) My beautiful etching press has arrived!  Been waiting since last August.  Soon I will be set up for printmaking in my basement.

8) My woodstove is a perpetual source of joy, especially in these lingering chilly days.  I don't need to be cold ever.

9) I really love capoeira on so many levels.  The occasional injury is just part of the process and just lets me know I'm alive, aye?

10) Men who can dance are another source of joy.  All boys should learn at a young age that dancing is NOT for sissies...quite the oposite.  In fact they will totally impress the chicks if they can dance.  There's nothing quite as dreamy as a good lead.

Anything you can add to the list?  Would love to hear it.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Give or Take

I'm finding the return from the west to be a little rough.  It's hard enough getting up early and being cheerful and productive in the morning on a normal day, but when it's compounded by your body thinking that it's actually 3 hours earlier...suffice to say that my brain has gone rather pear-shaped for much of this week.

I've been focused on getting ready for the Korova show, and everything as of this writing is set to go except for naming the new paintings and making the labels.  Here's another of those paintings, this one has a name: Give or Take.  It's acrylic, on a board recycled from my dad's collection of wood that "might come in useful someday," and I love how the beat-up wood colors add so much to the piece.  Especially like the fingerprints at the bottom, behind the hand.  Interestingly, this painting revisits an old sketch of mine from the college days.  These new paintings came out so fast, I think I tapped into what I call my personal bones and enigmatic birds and trees that are vaguely human and stars and skies. 

I am also hanging a few older paintings that fit thematically, and a handful of small linoleum block prints. 

So I'm sending out the word that tomorrow (Friday) night there will be an informal gathering at Korova starting at 9:00, not an official reception but a change to hang out, see some art and enjoy a beverage perhaps if you wish...I hope to see my capoeira friends there!  If any of you fine readers are around, please stop by. 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Better than taxes

For those who care, the Scrabble grudge match stands at one game each.  A lucky last-minute use of "doze" on a triple score let me keep my self-respect but didn't let me win.  Since I spent most of the day dozing, that was appropriate.  Tonight if the pub isn't busy we will play the tie-breaker.  However, I hope the pub continues busy....not because I wish to avoid the game oh heavens no, but because I want to see my big brother be successful.

I've thought of two good things (better than taxes) to cushion the end of vacation and my return home.  First, my long-awaited etching press should arrive next week.  And second, I'll be hanging my show at Korova at the end of the week and I'm pretty excited about that.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Good Time Charlie... the name of a black diamond trail I peered at today while skiing at the Willamette Pass ski area.  It's a sheer cliff plunging towards a lake.  The trails out here are a whole different world from, say, Greek Peak.  Two mile intermediate runs, views of big snowy mountains, 1500' elevation change from the lodge to the top of the highest trail.  I've been a cross-country skier since the tender and impressionable age of four, but this downhill thing is fairly new (mostly because it's a fairly pricey habit for a self-employed artist).  Last year I accidently dropped a pole off the lift (oops, heh heh, silly me), and through that learned I was a better skier without poles.  

Vacation is winding to an end.  I'm starting to think about what has to be done when I get back home, but trying to not let too many thoughts of taxes loom in.  

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Not much activity on this blog this week, simply because there's not much activity in general.  I have been enjoying a few days of solid uninterrupted vacation.  Same root as vacate, vacant, vacuole, vacuum.  Empty, but in a good way.  The airplane flu has dissolved to a minor discomfort.  The sun is shining, the house is quiet, I've read three books, sipped countless cups of tea, hung out at the pub, and taken some nice walks.

I played Mad Libs with my eldest niece over the weekend, and we are still laughing over the sentence, "This apelike creature has weasels growing sneakily all over its house plant."

This is the view from my brother's porch this morning.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Na beira do mar

Here's a photo of my one energetic moment since arriving in Oregon (I came down with what appears to be the flu two days after arrival...airplanes always do me in one way or another).  Got out to the coast yesterday with my friend Debra, and we has the most beautiful sunny day driving between Florence and Yachats.  We saw cherry blossoms and daffodils.  Even though my lungs were barely functioning, I could not resist working on my aus on the beach, in true Brazilian style.  I know I'm looking at the ground a little, have to work on that.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I won.  The grudge match continues.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Different kind of clouds

I'm safely and happily in Oregon, although it always takes a few days when crossing multiple time zones to not feel like it's 4 AM all day.  I'm sitting in my brother's pub, the Brewer's Union Local 180, with my very tall nieces, looking out at the mist caught in the douglas-firs on the hills across town.  

Somehow the rain and mist in Oregon are very different from the Ithaca brand.  There the lead-colored winter sky is always "squatting so close over us tonight you'd think it was trying to hatch us" (Bruce Cockburn).  In Oregon, the mist and rain moves and changes, snagged in trees and hills, with sunbreaks and sudden clear patches.

My brother just walked by with a pint in his hand and threatened to get out the Scrabble board.  Those are fighting words, and I must go rise to the challenge.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Always pack a toothbrush

I should be on an airplane right now, winging my way towards my brother's place in Oregon, there to be joyfully reunited with both of my siblings and the entire collection of nieces.  But no, instead I am in a hotel room in Detroit, directly under the runway approach, with a rescheduled flight out tomorrow around noon.  My flight from Ithaca was delayed just long enough due to "technical difficulties" to make every passenger miss their connecting flights.  But it could be worse.  My brother reminded me as I whinging on the phone about this delay that it used to take ages and ages to get across the country with covered wagons and now we expect instant gratification.  So what's another day.  I have my toothbrush with me.  I'm looking forward to sleeping a long time tonight too.

I spent several prime years of my life being terrified of flying.  That stemmed from:
1) a scary flight through a thunderstorm in a DC-3 coming home from Haiti
2) all of those mysterious exploding airplane news stories where all it took was ONE LOOSE SCREW or an errant pigeon to take down a whole plane
3) my very vivid imagination of free-fall and nosedives

I learned to like trains, criss-crossing the country reading books and meeting cool people and making sketches.  But I also missed a lot of adventures, and the few times I had to fly during those years probably took a few years off my life because of the pure white-knuckle terror.  But then my sister moved to Japan, and I wanted to be able to visit.  My high school friend Belynda and I travelled to Tokyo, and in the process I faced my fears and conquered them.  Now I kind of like it...the view from up there is fantastic.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Temporary comas, etc

So usually winter is when I get to hang out by the woodstove, read lots of books, ski in the woods, travel, organize my life, do fun things with friends on weekends like a normal person, listen to smart and amusing NPR shows on Saturdays, etc.  However, this February which just ended has been the busiest one on record.  

I got back from a quick trip to Philadelphia on Friday (in my NEW CAR!).  I was there mostly for work, but enjoyed a bonus visit with my dear friend Laura, back from Indonesia and other trips around the world.  The pen and ink class went well, there were a few moments where all of the students were completely silent because they were all concentrating so much on their drawings...I took that as a good sign.  Thanks to Jake and Charles for being my roadies and support crew.  This class marked the end of an intense string of teaching, which was fun but exhausting.  After running so hard for several weeks in a row, I slipped into a temporary coma and slept for 12 uninterrupted hours on Friday night.

The new paintings are still flowing, six are done, one is still not working, and I hope to have at least one more done before boarding that westbound airplane tomorrow.  Oh yeah, and I have to pack too.