Thursday, April 28, 2011

Big Picture

Here's a nifty screen shot of Claudine Hellmuth's Big Picture Online class-featuring some of yours truly's artwork. Note my little shout out to myself.....yes, I did that. Anyway, things have been tossed up in the air around here with my being allergic to the whole month of April and the fact that my daughter has entered the "trying 3's" doing her best to stay up well into my studio/exercise (or veg on couch with sketchbook watching House or Modern Family) time at night. I was so needing some alone (away from kids) time last night that when I got turned away from donating blood (a tad bit under the the iron levels) I was disappointed. Also, not being able to help, with giving blood too (of course).

Anyway-it's funny that I am included in a composition class as that's what's bugging me right now on about 10 pieces I have been working on forever.....I was going to post them but then thought, um, no.....but soon.....

Monday, April 25, 2011


still lovin' my magnum sharpie
 "Conversely, expectations based on the work itself are the most useful tool the artist possesses. What you need to know about the next piece is contained in the last piece. The place to learn about your materials is in the last use of your materials. The place to learn about your execution is in your execution. The best information about what you love is in your last contact with what you love. Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work. There is no other such book and it is yours alone."

Exerpt from the book Art and Fear (I highly recommend reading this-I don't know why my first college art professors didn't require we read this. I so wish I had read this in 1994. If I ever teach at the college level, it will be a requirement and those hipster art school kids will thank me from the bottom of their 19 year old hearts-ha ha, well, in about 15 years post-graduation perhaps.)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What the Living Do

What the Living Do  
by Marie Howe

Johnny, the kitchen sink has been clogged for days,some utensil probably 
fell down there.
And the Drano won't work but smells dangerous, and the crusty dishes 
have piled up 
waiting for the plumber I still haven't called. This is the everyday we 
spoke of.
It's winter again: the sky's a deep, headstrong blue, and the sunlight 
pours through 
the open living-room windows because the heat's on too high in here and 
I can't turn it off.
For weeks now, driving, or dropping a bag of groceries in the street, 
the bag breaking,
I've been thinking: This is what the living do. And yesterday, hurrying 
along those
wobbly bricks in the Cambridge sidewalk, spilling my coffee down my 
wrist and sleeve,
I thought it again, and again later, when buying a hairbrush: This is it.
Parking. Slamming the car door shut in the cold. What you called 
that yearning.
What you finally gave up. We want the spring to come and the winter to 
pass. We want
whoever to call or not call, a letter, a kiss—we want more and more and 
then more of it.
But there are moments, walking, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the 
window glass,
say, the window of the corner video store, and I'm gripped by a cherishing 
so deep
for my own blowing hair, chapped face, and unbuttoned coat that I'm 
I am living. I remember you.
I loved this poem so much when I read it that I bought the whole book. 
I read and re-read it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Little Things

Having fun with the Gregg Speed Building books....and of course, I found one of my favorite artists using them too.  There truly aren't any original ideas anymore but that's okay-I think of it as great minds think alike (a ha ha-evil laugh). 


Saturday, April 09, 2011

Works In Progress....

Drawing with white ink is's a small batch of fun (unfinished but fun).

Friday, April 08, 2011

Loosening Up

The other day I had one of those in the FLOW them. Made so many light pieces, unlabored, new , exciting (to me)'s one. More to come....

P.S-Chanel No. 5, I know it's famous and all but I put some on my wrist (a sample from a magazine) and I now I keep thinking there is someone else in the room with me-she's an older lady, with a purse that snaps shut and suit with matching jacket and skirt, hair coiffed and such and she doesn't like me very much.
It's a weird feeling.....

Monday, April 04, 2011

Expert Advice

I smacked myself square in the lip today with the remote control. Yep, you read that right. It's swollen and broken and bothering the begeezus out of me. How does one do this to themselves you ask? While swinging it wildly at one's son, of course. No, I wasn't planning on hitting him with it, really, c'mon people. I felt like it though. But instead like some kind of weird irony I hit myself and hard.
And that kind of sums up my last week, never ending stomach bug, someone dying, someone being born, smack-life being life that it is.
My beautiful precious part time job is growing up, filling in and becoming more full time. I find myself torn between being with my children and well, being with my 12 year kids. I'm just going to hope that it all works out and that I can continue having the best of both worlds. Is it too much to ask?

I found this piece in my old emails the other day (it's pretty bad when your inbox is in the four digits-all pretty much read, mind you, just not deleted) just hits the nail on the head, smack. Enjoy.....

Written By Anna Quindlen , Pulitzer prize-winning columnist and Author

All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow, but in disbelief.

 I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to  keep their doors closed more than I like.

Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.

 Everything in all the books I once pored over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach , T. Berry Brazelton , Dr. Spock . The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education - all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are , they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the play-ground taught me, and the well-meaning relations - what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.

 Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement , another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome .

To a new parent, this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.

Every part of raising children is humbling. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the 'Remember-When-Mom-Did' Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums , the bad language - mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, "What did you get wrong?" (She insisted I include that here.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?

But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only  in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less.

Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world, who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts.

It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

9 Things

Click here

I can't say enough about the link above.....artist, writer, friends do yourself a favor and read the post above. Wow. Sometimes I wish I had read writing/advice like this circa 1994. But, oh well, I'm going to go make some stuff.......

Saturday, April 02, 2011

No Worry, Life Short

something blue until I find something better...

I took my two sons to the Blue Man Group last Sunday at the Warner in Washington D.C (a.k.a "The Blue Heads" as my five year old likes to call them). I have a habit of doing things like this with my kids. My enthusiasm grows itself a giant head much like a fun balloon (the kind you bop with the rubber band) and then POP.....but this time I kept my mantra of "high hopes, low expectations" at hand.

I fully expected that they would enjoy the show but perhaps not as much as me. Which is a funny thing to say when the guys on stage are munching Captain Crunch, covered in blue paint, banging on drums and catching paint and marshmellows in their mouths. I'm sure they'll include this brief synopsis on their website soon.

And so I've realized lately that I don't always get to be the parent I want to be...sometimes I just have to be the parent they need. And that's really hard when the kid sitting across from you in the "touristy hip" Hard Rock Cafe has his jacket up to his ears all mutant style and the kind maitre de (is that what you'd call him at the Hard Rock?) keeps coming over to ask if everything's okay. Is there anything he can do for us? Just ask. "Yeah, can YOU tell me why my son is mad at me?" I'd like to ask. Big tips for that.

And it turns out he's upset at me for telling him that I didn't have any cash so he could buy a  Washington DC sweatshirt off a vendor outside the restaurant. Now, I'll tell you if I hadn't come down with another awful stomach bug on the two preceding days I would have had cash in my pocket, extra water in the car, self inflatable raft, tissues, gum, notebooks, crayons, the Flip Video,  and anything else a Boy Scout would be proud of. All of this to ward off all fronts the boy could throw. Be Prepared is a motto on my flag I never planned on flying-I was a fly by the seat of my pants girl until I had my oldest.

Now, some of you who don't know my son might be saying-ungrateful child, he should just be happy going to the show and eating at a pretty nice restaurant and believe you me, I'm thinking the same thing. But almost 8 years of this has taught me that it's not about the sweat shirt and it's never about the socks. It's about something else-taking him out of his comfort zone, and his acting out to gain control. Our back and forth, our relationship, me and my oldest son. I know, I'm starting to sound like an expert on the subject, well, I am.

And so I gave in. Found a place that would take a debit card, griping the all the while that we are going to be late and how stupid it is that he wants the sweat shirt which looks just like one he has at home. He's pushing me and I am giving and rising like homemade bread dough. My guard is down.

I'm not feeling well. I just want to get to the dang show. Credit card machine goes down, temper up. But I contain it enough. Woman behind the counter (small, Asian, sweet) says in her choppy english, "You know, sometimes you have to think, hey, life short. Don't worry much." As she takes my 15 dollars, smiles. She's right though.

I still can't help barking at the boys to pick up the pace, the theater is still 3 blocks away. I wonder why they run everywhere except when I need them to. We arrive safely and plop ourselves in line, enter the theater with no more tempest. Calm. Our seats are in row TT, way up in the clouds, a.k.a the balcony.

And now, my oldest can't see. I am beginning to kick myself, I should know better than to do things like this with young children. What to do, what to do.

"Look Mom," he shows me his prize winning sweatshirt balled up in the bag, " I can sit on this." And he does and he can see over the man's head in front of him.

And  because of that whole debacle, it allowed me to the be the parent I want to be, one that shows my kids creativity, fun and encourages them to use their imagination and shake their money makers (you have to see Blue Man to understand).

I swear sometimes there's camera on me.
"See Mom," he says grining, "We really DID need the sweatshirt."

I look above at the elaboratedly decorated theater ceiling along with a massive chandelier that will soon be covered in dangling toliet paper, really, see the show and silently say a thank you.
The boys sit on the edge of their seats loving every part of the show. And I think to myself, Beth- no worry so much, life short.