Sunday, January 29, 2012

Studio Sunday

Greetings, All! How was the Sunday? Mine was a studio Sunday, after a long spell away, so it felt swell, thank you very much. More about that shortly, but First Things First:

I'm happy to announce the winner of my first print contest! Thanks so much to everyone who emailed me, shared post links/links to my blog on Facebook and Twitter -- I saw a nice bump in blog traffic -- and even if temporary, it all helps, right? You just never know where new opportunities come from! Really nice to hear from readers, too :)

The lovely and talented cook and chicken owner behind the Daily Dish is the lucky winner! Congrats! Email me with an address and I'll wing that llama your way!

To get a rich purpley shade, I added black to alizarin* crimson
Ink is so delicious, so luscious.
So today was a return to Maestra's studio and printing press. The way that the geese print has been selling, I decided it would be provident to do another run. I didn't feel right about doing another with the black ink, so this time around I decided to go for a nice eggplant shade, printed on a pleasing off-white brushed Kozo paper. It has the tiniest almost ripple texture to it, and has a nice smoothness. Since I have printed from this block a few times before, it didn't take me too long to get in a flow, after an initial handful of ruined prints before I remembered the particular oddities of the press drum and how it interacts with this specific block.

*Isn't that a great name? Alizarin, alizarin, alizarin. I used to mispronounce it, as I had only seen it written. Think "lizard" and you've got it.

Often interesting to see the difference in how ink takes

It snowed all day. Made the studio feel cozier.

On the reverse side, before the paper has been lifted from the block

new signs in the studio! lots of flying corn.

Glass art mingling with pencils and wire brushes

More and more!
After an hour or so, Maestra popped in with hot tea and we got to catch up a bit. Perfect combination: art, productivity, friendship. Respite.

And now there is a studio filled with drying prints! A great way to start the last week of January. In case you're in the market for some suspicious geese, there are maybe 5 left of the black version. Otherwise, I will list these in a week or so...

And then there was Milk Stout

On an entirely different note, I recently picked up a six pack of Left Hand Brewery's Milk Stout. I'm happy --and quite surprised -- to report that it holds its own against stouts from Founders, which have been at the absolute top of my list ever since a friend brought one of their (pricey) four packs to my house a couple years ago. But LH's stout is rich, nicely balanced and not in the least bitter. Kudos!

The only thing I can complain about is that they don't list their graphic designers anywhere on their site, which I *get* --the brand prettifiers and illustrators are frequently like celebrity ghost writers. BUT. Just saying I'm a fan. 

The packaging did indeed lure me in. Plus Plum beer guy said, Oh yes, that's good."

Can't imagine the cow's happy about all of this.

And then the logo is strong and simple

So that's all for this evening. Hope Everyone is well. Here's to a good week! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Pinot, Picture Books, Chocolate Cake. I Need Lots of Things Like a Hole in the Head

Well, this is probably a bad idea. Pretentious, to say the least. I've hopped onto some free wireless in the cute Red Brick bar/restaurant in Dexter, MI because I wandered out this way to visit my favorite frame shop and ostensibly be productive there, which didn't really happen. Instead I drank tea and eventually ordered what's going to be a gorgeous frame for a Frida Kahlo photo that has been tucked into the side of a bookshelf in my kitchen for the past several years. I tried to find the photo for you, it's great: she has a silver bowl on her head, traditional embroidered Mexican blouse and dangling puffy earrings. The best part is her sideways glance: a secret, a sly joke, barely suppressed impatience?  It's from a battered exhibit program from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, from 2006(?). I desperately wanted to go to the show, but did not make it; Mom being Mom sent me the exhibit handout (along, most likely with a newsletter The Galloping Ghost from my high school, which I never read, but probably still have in some envelope or other).

[Update: the fried pickles at Red Brick are very good, nice and crisp. I feel less pretentious. Life tip --> fried pickles make you feel less pretentious. Tuck it in your hat!]

Last night I went to the grand ole Michigan Theater to hear the glorious and quirky Maira Kalman, who if you are not already familiar has written (/blogged/painted) a ton for The New Yorker, published numerous children's books (including! a book about mobile/sculptor Alexander Calder's circus! I had no idea! Love him and love her even more now!); has designed umbrellas and fabric for Isaac Mizrahi; and more recently has collaborated with Daniel Handler (of Lemony Snicket fame -- have yet to read any of those, but assume I'll really love 'em).

The book I own from her is In Pursuit of Happiness ; it's a celebration of democracy, as shown through lavish, free paintings, accompanied by cool, hand-written details on every blessed page of the satisfyingly heavy book. She explores D.C., its public institutions; interviews Ruth Bader Ginsburg and basically writes [/paints] mash-notes to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, etc. Her adoration of Matisse comes through the fluid lines, bright color palette and breezy style. The other fantastic thing about this book -- and any of her work -- is her investigation of and engagement with any given subject through appreciation of evocative, random detail. I think this is the same way my brain operates, so naturally I love it. She paints Lincoln and his favorite cake; memorial grave sites and the red, painted-on eyebrows of a guard.     

[there's a crush of people by the front door. I asked my waiter if he would like me to give up my table, but he was blase about it. Perhaps the crush is annoyed, but they don't know me. Two little blond girls with ringlets are having a meltdown around the corner. Intermittent wailing, in competition with Florence & the Machine (yay!)/Alanis Morisette (ugh)/Jackson Five (hey!) Wailing has transitioned to NO!! NO!! NOooooooOOOOOOooOOOo!!]

SO anyhow, she and Daniel Handler appeared together and OMG if you EVER get the chance to witness them even in the same room, MAKE IT HAPPEN. They were their own little comedy team. His wife would probably say otherwise, but judging from his appearance last night, it's impossible for him NOT to be funny. They started their slideshow with a painting of fish and warned us it would end with a painting of onion ring stains on a table cloth [/tea towel]. Earlier in their friendship, she would send him totally random vintage photos and he would write vignettes in reply. They read some of those, which were awesome [I was going to embed a photo in this spirit, but googling vintage photo/cross dressing was a.)too distracting b.)brought up way too much c.)this borrowed internet connection is sllllooooow). They eventually read from their new illustrated young adult book about failed romance Why We Broke Up. I can't wait to pour over this! In order to establish a starting point for their project, they started tooling around all of her collections and making a list of things that held appeal for both of them to write about and paint. Then (at least Handler) was thinking about the weight that things acquire in connection with romance -- > and these objects all became signifiers of an ended romance, dumped on the front door of the dumpee. Neat!

A few minutes in, Daniel Handler paused: "Now. There IS a concern, since this is a youth book-" [and I should say here that there were clearly some college students assigned to be there by teachers, though they were quite enthusiastic] "-that young people will read this book and DO EVERYTHING THAT IS FOUND IN THIS BOOK. Because that's what people do. That's what adults do. They read Macbeth, take up witchcraft and murder the King of Scotland. This ALWAYS happens. This has NEVER NOT HAPPENED. So." This led to a warnings against drinking beer and kissing.

[And now the blond girls have miraculously recovered and are seated with their parents right by me. I really thought their restaurant time was done, as the weeping had devolved into Exorcist-sounding screaming and muttering, but now we have become more civil and happy about straws and are using our mini-Care Bear to mop the table. The older one turned her attention to me, to admonish: "It's DINNER time, it's TIME to eat dinner." I now have chocolate cake and pinot noir. "I already had dinner."* She frowned at me. "WHY do you have a computer with you?" I shrugged cartoonishly. Girl-child, you aren't the boss of me.]

 *Lies. Fried pickles aren't dinner.

So, his disclaimer was pretty much indicative of the evening. They were funny and smart and random the whole way through. I want to have cocktails with them. They gave a True/False quiz at the end to help us determine whether we are romantics. Statements included:
  • "I would have so much fun if I lived in the 1920s that I wouldn't care there were no antibiotics."
  • "You know what's a good birthday present? A doll with real hair."**
  • "Dive bars are full of beautiful dreamers."

[The younger blond one is finding it quite difficult to eat while steadfastly holding her red balloon. But she is unwilling to put it aside. She lifts strands of spaghetti individually, between thumb and forefinger, to drop each into her mouth.]

I decide I will get my book signed and maybe foist a couple of my little woodblock moo business cards on her (what with her being quirky and a HUGE fan of cake). The line is even longer than it seems and snakes *through* the empty screening room, where we seem to stand still most of the time. The young, cool couple behind me seems strangely familiar, though I know I haven't spoken with them before. A woman comes through sticking post-it notes of our first names in our books; at this point my hands are shaky and I realize oooooh, silliness, dinner have should have happened before this reading. She asks the first names of the couple and I suddenly put two and two together: they are the joint creators of A Sick Day for Amos McGee! I have an interview of them posted on the wall of my study, which I tell them and which maybe strikes them as stalker-y. Especially because I then ask them lots of questions before settling down. But, honestly, I think we were all bored and a little cranky by that point. I think the line took an hour and a half. Though it was lovely to have Maira Kalman sign my book; she looked so tired at that point, poor (fabulously talented) woman. And she has a few moo cards, whatever she may choose to do with them. If they even make her happy for a moment, that's kind of cool, hey. 

So that's that. Favorite customer quotes from the week:
  • "I need your print like a hole in the head. But I couldn't stop laughing, so I had to buy it." (The Geese Suspect You Are Withholding)
  • Enthusiastic Etsy feedback with began," Oh, my goodness! I think you must be the spokesmodel for marauding geese. Why can't we see your little fat face in the picture you sent with the print? The goose print is the cutest darn thing I have seen in a long while and I smile everytime I look at it. I especially like the goose that is craning his neck to the side to see what's going on." (geese, natch)
Well, it's a tiny business card. Hard to fit a fat little face on there! I suppose I should leave this place. The crush is no longer a crush, the chocolate cake was QUITE lovely. Oh! And I'll be back tomorrow, about the Llama giveaway! Happy Friday night.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I Know, I *Know*~~

An indication of how drawing has been going this evening
Criticized by doodles.
This was before my new laptop didn't start until the third try, and only then after cogitating for 15 minutes. The Apple Specialist consulted with the Family Room and now I get to go in after work tomorrow and hope they can do a quick fix, or exchange this one for which case I am told data transfer could take up to 48 hours again. Peeved. But maybe this won't be necessary. The day will start with a plumber coming at 7 AM; well, not starting, as I will have been working for two hours at that point.  From this Tuesday evening, Wednesday does not look to be fun-filled. Shore up on the fun now!...I guess I should at least return to sketching.  

Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's Not a Pumpkin, It's a Horse? That's a Great Horse!

It began as one of those embarrassingly obvious dreams where later you can't help but wonder when your subconscious started calling it in. I go through phases of remembering my dreams, but it's been a long while since I *had* remembered one upon waking*, so it was a bit of a disappointment for the dream to be all, "Hey, check it out, you're frustrated. And this is going to be boring AND frustrating." Well, thanks. How very illuminating. That also makes for a nice weekend wake up.

*except for one last week, which was also obvious. But rocked. So, subconscious: it's ok to be straightforward sometimes. No elevators needed.

The second part of the dream I think was a carry over of frustration, though it didn't really seem to fit for me as much. I was walking into an instrument shop, except all of the instruments were made out of clay, with a nice shiny glaze on top. The proprietor was perched on a stool near the entrance and he pounced on me as I had just become his only would-be customer. "So what kind of instruments do YOU play??"

"Oh, no, I don't play an instrument. I'm not really musical~~" [Which is true to life. I love love love music and always have it on, but have never really excelled with playing anything and singing, I can't carry a tune.] My dream self, internally: Here we go. I glanced around the shop, but no, there still weren't any other customers.

"Ohhhhh, no!! Now EVERYONE is musical, you just haven't tried the right instrument!!" He beamed smugly and foisted the clay box hybrid instrument at me that he had been making assorted folky noises with. I tried to sidestep this larger instrument. I picked up a smaller whistle-accordian clay combination and blew into that. Nothing came out but a blousy breath. I tried blowing with assorted holes covered; nothing. The whole time, I was highly irritated with this guy and the situation.

Waking up, I thought about how this is really no different than my firmly held belief that EVERYONE is creative**, and how annoyed various people I have run across must have been when I tossed this their way. And yet~~ I'm saying some creativity somewhere (I'm not saying you're suddenly going to be Michelangelo, if only you had faith~~) and this guy was insisting on innate musical ability, which seems unfair to corner it into this one discipline.

I don't know readers, was the dream guy a tool, or are we both tools? Or must it be the second option, since he came out of my brain?

And maybe, for me, this is merely my brain trying to work out how to broaden that generalized faith in potential from certain areas of my life (pretty comfortable with printmaking, at the level I'm at~~) to other areas of life...

** Along these lines, while talent falls within a spectrum and genius levels of talent-from-the-get-go are rare, I think that when art and creativity tend to be minimized or seen as frivolous at home, growing up, it's only natural that most individuals would be less likely to play around with these things extensively. I remember one rainy day afternoon with my first childhood friend who lived a block and a half away; my Mom had set us up with total kid crafts: we were either covering glass windex bottles or Aunt Jemima bottles with tiny scraps of masking tape that we then rubbed all over with blue shoe polish OR covering the bottles with different scraps of colored tissue paper that we had run through watery ELmers. You know: ugly vases! Along the lines of ugly ashtrays that I made in some early elementary grade***! But still, it occupied us. We smoothed the bits and bit our lips and hunched our upper bodies closer to them, in concentration. We waited for them to dry. At the end of the afternoon, Mom started to pack up friend's vase.

[***A shellacked shallow shell with tiny smooth pebbles affixed all along the outer edge. Ash away!]

"Oh no, Mrs. X. My Mom won't want that in the house~~"

"What! Of course she will!"

"No, she'll think it's silly. She'll just throw it out." Her delivery was firm. I didn't get it at all. Nor did my Mom, really. How must this feeling have shaped the afternoon, or any of her time in art class over the years? Maybe she was ok with it. I remember drawing with her during afternoons, she was very fond of princesses, girls with very carefully feathered hair, girl-boy teenagers walking together with their hands in each other's back jeans pockets. But here maybe we have arrived at the old nature vs. nurture impasse... I guess what I suspect is that often this kind of background lurks behind someone saying, "Oh, *I'm* not creative, Noooo." It could also be lifelong indifference/heightened abilities elsewhere.

And to bring it full circle, I suppose some of those well-meaning folk who don't believe me when I try to explain my dearth of navigational capabilities could also be saying to one a other, "Geez, did her parents just raise her in a box? You've got to actively teach children direction..." So, so, so.

Maybe the other direction I'm leading in would include the fact that lots of parents embrace the ugly vase, fawn over the addled papermache man who has a left foot as big as the man's head and a menacing golf club; and put countless scrawled drawings on the fridge that nod at elephants and firefighting squirrels and godawful amounts of smiling flowers. And this encouragement is the gateway to further creativity and eventual discipline, which yoked to spark begets something meaningful. And this is something we need to continue with ourselves, when we're first faced with own initial attempts at whatever new task or discipline faces us. Possibly projecting, but perhaps many of us need to cultivate a certain grace and gentleness that is more easily directed at others... In any case, here's to a better night if dreams and a good week for Everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Llamas, Laptops and (Kings of) Leon

Happy Weekending!

Thanks to Everyone who has sent emails my way ( for the llama print giveaway, or has otherwise contacted me! For those of you who are interested, you still have a chance to A.) win a unique Llama woodblock print by yours truly and B.) help a blog get a little more love! Deadline is next Friday, January 27th.

For details, please swing by this link:

Share it on Facebook, tweet it, be a pal.

Otherwise, hmm, what's up? On my end, it was a motley week: stressful, random, but not without its redeeming qualities. Last night I was super excited to go into Detroit to hear Hand in the Ocean record their first EP, but after speaking with friends who had spent two+ hours stuck on the highway, due to snow/ice/Winter nastiness, I melded with my couch to watch middling TV.  I averted my gaze from the picture window area, where the Christmas tree has grown increasingly sullen. Its tall red glittered star leaned to one side, as the tree silently began: "Do you feel festive? Because *I* don't feel festive anymore. One of us ready for the box."

I finally gave into my first ever purchase of a brand-spanking new computer -- a sweet little macbook pro, which I expect I'll love as soon as I become totally used to the lack of mouse. It's certainly purty and the screen resolution is fantastic. But things still randomly disappear when this certainly wasn't my intention. I took part in the "Meet Your Mac" hand-holding session at the local store. The session consisted of myself, a dignified woman in her 60s or 70s, and a thin young guy with a floppy, died black mohawk, two lip piercings and black nail polish that needed some touch up. Naturally, the latter was our specialist/trainer/newbie whisperer. He had a suitable nightclub pallor and I strongly suspected he must have crossed paths with Ginger through all the DJing, but kept myself from diverting the session.

He was working a soothing, placating tone, which I was mostly cool with, though I eventually protested after he had said, "Now, don't panic!" to me one too many times. Not panicking, just irritated at not immediately having it down/having something do the opposite of what I wanted it to do. His delivery was almost a little too honeyed, though he gets points from me from only betraying the tiniest bit of impatience by the end. He was ready to be done with us. "So! Do you have any more QUICK questions before we end?" He said this just as experienced waitresses will prompt with: "Is everything good?" rather than "And how is everything?" He smiled at us and looked from one to the other: "Anything quick?....Hmmm, THAT sounds like a One-on-One. Any other last thing? No? Ok, Well ENJOY your new computer!!" Cue: speedy exit.

Prior to that, though, I was naturally focused on whether everything had transferred over properly. I asked about itunes and he said, "Great! We haven't explored itunes yet! Shall we take a look at itunes then?" He looked at the older woman; through a mix-up, I wasn't present for the beginning.

"No, I don't care about that." The woman said flatly.

"No? So you don't care about listening to music on your computer?"

"No." I think we both had to digest this. But maybe she's not on computers all the time. He tried again, with the streaming radio stations. No she didn't care. I mentioned free podcasts, like from The New Yorker, Bob Edwards. "Yes! NPR!" said our Whisperer. Surely she would brighten at that. She still wasn't won over.

He gave up and turned back to me. He noodled with different viewer settings and I played with the Genius playlist maker, which I know has been around forever, but haven't really bothered with before. "What do you think, do you love it? You're going to love it!"* It was my turn to nod noncommittally. "Try again!" I searched for Headhunter, thinking about an updated running mix; it didn't seem to be coming up. "Do you mean Headhunter by Front 242?" He enunciated carefully and it was at this point I refrained from getting huffy. Why would I need to explain to him that I TOTALLY know that, for heaven's sake, other than that weird propensity many of us exhibit to be liked by waitstaff~~

{on a related note, an older This American Life episode included an informal study where they had waiters be inconsistently friendly/indifferent/even mildly hostile or cold -- and they got better tips. Oh, humans are a screwy, contrary bunch.}

*It's so interesting, all these customer programs, and the juggernaut that is Apple, where everything is simultaneously service and further sales, inculcation. I guess that's the way of all business, really, but few where it is so blatant, even as it's successful. **

** Which is probably the only reason I was nodding noncommittally. No, I will now refuse to be enthusiastic. Though I probably said Yay! and clapped my hands at least once while I was picking up the old and new computers. This happens. I already love Genius, am listening as I write this(Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs, Florence, Kings of Leon, Black Keys, happy-happy).

So here we are, I have a bunch of new mysterious icons on my computer, plus the promise of increased mobility. I affixed a couple tiny Cakeasaurus decals on its cover, but have yet to purchase a spiffy carrier. I haven't named it or anything precious. But I'll probably take it with me on vacation next month. Because, you know, I wouldn't want it to get lonely.

Monday, January 16, 2012

My People, My People: Who Wants a Llama? (Readership Drive)

My People, My People! This phrase periodically floats through my head, irrespective of circumstance. Basically, whenever I'd love if a few of us pulled together. Do you feel me? I feel you. To connote kinship, right, but then it's also kind of presumptuous. The whole inaccurate sense of ownership, compounded by this idea that if you vaguely feel close to others, an understanding of others, that this feeling is naturally answered: Boom! Magic.

And in such a scenario as this, where I'm blogging and I may or may not have the pleasure of knowing you? Are you my people?  Are you spambots? I know some of my loved ones stop by for visits, and this alone is gratifying. But the idea, too, that you, stranger-to-me, want to read this: it's cool and mystifying. According to blogspot stats, Cakeasaurus Lurking definitely has some U.S., Swedish, Canadian, Australia, U.K. Russian, Brazilian readers. Smaller numbers: Guam, Germany, Guatemala, Moldova, India, Thailand? True or false? I'm floating in the ether, here. But! Today I present you with a challenge! Show yourselves (a little) and/or help me grow my audience! That's right, folks, it's time for a print giveaway!

Llama Repetitions
This print is a detail from my Destiny Llama design, printed on bleached mulberry paper, with Daniel Smith oil based ink. I used my favorite wooden spoon to press the ink from the wood block into the paper, deliberately varying the pressure from one to the next: variety within repetition. Measures approximately 5 3/4" x 14". This is not part of an edition. Special, special!

If you like printmaking/art/my blog, I need your help in the spreading the word. If you choose to accept the challenge, here's what I ask:

A.) Get social.
  • Sign up to be a follower/blog member of Cakeasaurus Lurking (to the right of this post)
  • and/or Facebook like/tweet my blog in the upper right hand corner of my home page 
  • and/or share this post with your friends via your preferred social platform, so they can read my blog, iffen they want to, or try to get the Llama print. 
B.) Send me a direct email -- > listed in my profile ( heading: "Llama Giveaway"
  • Tell me which route you took in A.
  • Let me know what you have liked about past posts and/or what you'd like to learn about on my blog. 
That's it! You could be the lucky recipient of this one-off Llama Repetitions Print! This opportunity ends on FRIDAY JANUARY 27TH. Winner will be chosen under my own discretion. There is only one winner.

Well. I, for one, am *rawther* excited. Good luck, Sally forth!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

After the Floor Mopping, Before the Dancing

[The post that would never finish. I started yesterday morning/popped in yesterday evening and now here we are Sunday afternoon. Apologies.]

Hey there, Saturday Evening, you're lookin' mighty groovy. Myself, I'm feeling busy-day-post-nap mellow, but I think a good few hours of dancing will cap this week off nicely. Dancing is in order.

I began a post this morning which went something like this:

It's snowing outside, a white fluted bowl of coffee is to my side and I suspect I could stay in flannel (pajamas) all day. An older friend from down the street has organized a small group outing to see my print show at the hospital, so I can't dally too long, but wanted to at least pop on.

A somewhat stressful week, with refreshing bursts of excitement. Yesterday around lunch I sold a Geese Suspect You Are Withholding print on Etsy, which added spring to my step. I re-listed it. Within a couple minutes, it sold again! What the! Turns out Etsy had included it in their daily email blast of "Etsy Finds." The power of Etsy! My shop views shot to 2,000+ yesterday. Maybe it'll sell a few more times, who knows? I sent two packages yesterday, have three more waiting on my dining room table, with four more to be packaged up. Woohoo!

To boot, destinations include: Skiatook, OK and Tasmania. And this on top of selling a few framed prints from the hospital this week, and another framed print to a lovely woman in Ct.

Best name of the week: Ermalinda.


And then I was off to the hospital, with two friends from my block. We met a third neighborhood friend (who's a doctor there) and they asked me questions about woodblocks and reacted to different prints and just made me feel really pampered and honored.

I know it's easy to feel grateful when good things happen and people are so kind and generous with their time and regard, but days like this (and yesterday with the sales -- and the fact that Etsy would give me a shout-out -- plus a long, really connected phone call with my sister) remind me that life can feel so *abundant*/full of kindness/full of potential.

It's so easy to fall into a head-down kind of drudging existence, with the twin burdens of obligation and self-imposed  expectations of how things ought to be, but there's such a broad spectrum, every day. And you never know when you'll be surprised by unexpected twists, good or bad~~

And certainly, going to one's first solo show is a perfect time to reflect on how much you can achieve incrementally. Forty five minutes here, half an hour there, over years can bring about the realization of hopes/dreams. Or, if one is braver (or manages time better, or borders on the obsessive), you can astound yourself within a year, even...

Book artist Barbara Brown had incorporated snippets of a Goethe quote into the binding and pages of a beautiful (and complex) book that she displayed at WSG Gallery last year. I had heard parts of it before -- and doubtless you have encountered it -- but here is a translation. I can't profess that I Iive my life with the desired level of commitment, but the passage is a wonderful one to contemplate and revisit. And perhaps it seeps into one's life the more you call it forth:

"Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back-- Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth that ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now."

I like that they thought to put the partial pint below the original full print.

So that's that. The show is up through February 6th. Lovely things have come of it, so far and it was certainly great way to end 2011 and begin 2012! 

Nearby, the jewelry of Birmingham Michigan based jeweler Beth North graced several cases. Sharp, swanky and tempting! Kerrytown hairdresser-cum-boutique Heavenly Metal calls her "adorable and cool and has it totally going on..." The wildly popular Berkeley Yellow Door Market featured her as Artist of the Week last April.

Blue chalcedony+sterling silver bracelet, $188.

Down the hall and closer to the cafeteria, we find the stunning mosaic beadwork of Betsy Youngquist. The closer you get, the more fantastic it is. Delirious color, almost lost to gaudiness, but for how beautifully and meticulously it's carried out. 

Her web site informs readers that her artwork "reflects a fascination with the intersection of humans, animals, and mythology. Stemming from a life-long love of all creatures great and small, Betsy’s work weaves together the human and animal spirit through a surrealistic lens."

I must confess, her pieces featuring human faces on animal and insect forms freak me out a bit, but the ones within the hospital are wholely animal -- or at least not displaying a baby/baby doll aspect to them. The finished pieces represent collaborations, as Youngquist's exquisite beading is layered on top of forms created by sculptor R. Scott Long.

Sister Loon


I also fancy her eye jewelry. The most bad-ass (or cheesy? I can't tell, because I never stopped loving it) ring I owned in high school featured a completely realistic brown eye, cupped between two sterling silver hands. My teen self would NEVER have abided Youngquist's profusion of color, but I can appreciate its rewards now...

On my end, my body's still sore from dancing and my head's a bit hazy. It may be the day I finally take down the Christmas tree. Here's to a great Sunday, Everyone. May your surprises be only the best kinds...

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Manservant, Bring Me My Wine. Is the Dog's Suitcase Packed and at the Ready?

In the spirit of scientific studies that conclude, yes, bullies select unpopular kids as targets and no, meth is still not good for unborn babies, I'd like to begin by saying that why yes, bra shopping is still atrocious and NO I won't be detailing that. Trying on new fuzzy pajamas helped me get past it. They may or may not have little white dogs sitting expectantly on suitcases. But you're probably already aware of my gear -- tonight's writing feels cozier, doesn't it?  Alas, I don't have too much time to write as I need to be getting to bed.

In any case, thought I'd revisit the last outing to the DIA. I *do* wonder if you're like For heaven's sake, how many times is she going to write about that museum?? But there's always something new that catches my eye. And it's usually part of a larger, wonderful day. To wit: this time around, Compatriot and I met for Indian buffet to start. We should have found hammocks afterward, but blithely thought the chai would kick in. Silly us, it was clearly immediately absorbed by all the rice, naan and curried awesome.

So we arrived drowsy and in need of tea. But what a scene we encountered! We knew it would be busy, being one of the last days of the year, but figured the Rembrandt's envisioning of Jesus would take in most of the crowd. We-heelll, no such luck. Called that one wrong. People: everywhere. Children: everywhere. Sweet little separate expedited members line: mysteriously absent.

We looked around in a confused fashion as we were funneled into the slowly shuffling rope maze. But that's the only time I ever get to go in a separate line! One or both of us said to the other. Airport comparisons murmured their way along the line. I thought of the irritating, officious men who are still, after years, affronted at having to take their shoes off; naturally they are wearing nicely buffed shoes with tightly tied laces. Luckily, no one suspected we would be knifing the art; and we eventually made our way. The crowds really didn't thin out in most galleries, but at least this was more of a niffing-around visit than a visit with intent, so we bopped around until we grew weary from visual stimulation and marble floors.

In between, some discoveries...

Moods of Time: Evening, by Paul Manship
This was my absolute favorite piece this time around. We trudged up one set of stairs and boom! There it was! I can't ever remember seeing it before, but how could this be? I must have exclaimed, because a man walking past with a little folding artist's stool said, looking back over his shoulder, "It's one of my favorites!"

I love the composition with its satisfying arc of movement, the rewarding roundness of the cloud bed, the stylized owls. I had never even heard of Paul Manship.

But apparently my ignorance didn't prevent him from having quite a fine, illustrious life before all of us were born. Imagine that! Born in 1885 in St. Paul Minnesota, his artistic schooling included the Institute of Art there and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (my Mom went there! I think. Am pretty sure.)
At 23, he became the youngest sculptor to be awarded the American Prix de Rome, which translated into further study at the American Academy in Rome (1909-1912 ). Even though John Singer Sargent was some 30 years older, they eventually became great friends -- he named his only son after the painter (plus his father). Manship was initially a painter, but decided to explore sculpting, due to color blindness. More artist history here.

This sculpture was one of four Manship created for the 1939 World's Fair, all depicting times of day and erected within a reflecting pool in New York City. According to text on The Pygmalian Syndrome Art Gallery's site,

"Time and the Fates Sundial and the four Moods of Time were in many ways Manship’s favorite works. They summed up his obsession with time. He believed that a major purpose of art, especially of art in the classical tradition, was to reconcile the passage of time with permanence. The monumental groups, which were executed in staff (a plaster of Paris compound) for the world’s fair, have been lost; but the working models of various sizes were done in bronze after the war, and they are among Manship’s most ingenious, complex, and inventive works." [Also at above link].

 You can see black and white photos of the sculptures together in the reflecting pool here.

Wikipediasts tell us that Manship created over 700 works during his lifetime, including busts of Teddy Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller and Robert Frost; a site for the restoration of a Manship work at the United Nations informs readers that at his very first exhibition, he sold all 96 bronze statues shown.

It would be lovely to view outside, wouldn't it?

Bonus Manships
Group of Bears: Patt Hoffman Friedman Memorial Playground

Dancer and Gazelles, 1917 (not at DIA)

Portrait of a Lady, Nicolaes Pickenoy 1630

And then there was "Portrait of a Lady," just inside the entrance to the Dutch paintings. I don't have much to say about it, because what's left to say about a masterpiece? I always like taking a moment there. It's kind of wrong to even have photos of it, because your camera/photoshop/everyone's monitor can do nothing but mess up the exquisite coloring. Whether it's your thing or not, standing before her, you can almost feel the pulse in the veins of her hands, the chill weight of the jewelry, the restraint and comfort of the opulent stomacher. 


...And then there was THIS bastard!
Seriously. All he does is sit on his little day bed, eating grapes.

His man servant comes and goes, pouring libations. Very nice posture.

 No acknowledgment. Not that he expects any.
 Amassing all manner of vessels and then tidying up and putting them away.
Whew, I love this feature. One of the great interactive spots that the museum rolled out, in line with its huge overhaul a few years back.
A few more assorted museum snaps here.

Otherwise, I'll end with two other things:

Geishas in the Gift Shop
Remember how the Threeorfour and Five got *really* excited about ice bat and I conveyed through K that he had moved into the gingerbread house? Well, I took it one step further and sent them a postcard, ostensibly from ice bat, about eating candy in the house and watching me draw. Would they believe it? Would they suddenly become sensible and pooh-pooh it? Last night I found out that not only were they totally amazed -- but based on the postcard's front, of a Chihuly sculpture in Japan, they have concluded he has TRAVELED TO JAPAN. I had NO IDEA! Perhaps I'll go back to the gift shop. 
The night ended back at Zola's.

La Coloniale was quite nice.