Occupado

"Occupied", a Nancy Drew poem block

Day 355: “Occupied”, a poem block

I went to stock up on meat at Whole Foods today (I tend to get most of the other stuff at Trader Joe’s to save money) and discovered that everyone has this week off from work, as my Whole Foods is right smack next to the Galleria in Roseville- a giant mall that was shut down lastΒ  night due to an overcrowded turnout hoping to see a Christmas-caroling flash mob. Thankfully they evacuated the place before anyone got hurt, but I have to say the headlines would have been interesting… “Mall collapses under weight of Christmas spirit”… “Capitalism implodes local shopping center”…”Sad Santas stuck with empty sacks”. Hee hee!

Today’s piece reads “occupied by doubt/ searching for belief”. I am plum out of refills for my wall space, so I’ve got to get into high gear in the studio again. Here’s this green-blue guy from the side:

Put away

"Put away", a Nancy Drew poem block

Day 354 : “Put away”, a poem block

Today’s combination of wood, paint and paper reads “put away sympathy/let me see possibility”. I’m a solution-oriented gal. That is, when I’m not distracting myself by baking up bread, cake and cookies in the kitchen. Stacey left a great bread recipe in the comments around Thanksgiving that I started using last week and it’s AMAZING! Thank you Stacey!

In other news, only 11 days left! Here’s this piece from the side:

All that time

"All that time", Nancy Drew poem block

Day 353: “All that time”, a poem block

It finally feels like a California winter with rain coming down in one direction and hail in the other. This morning was full of what I call “Disney wind”, the loud, gusty kind that howls like a Halloween cartoon. I decided to make a trip to Trader Joe’s along the back roads this morning, an impressive reminder as to why we live in what’s designated as a “flood plain”. Every couple of minutes, I’d end up slowly maneuvering around a giant, lane-sized puddle. I saw another surprised driver realizing they’d just entered a little lake about 10 feet wide by 1 foot deep.

It reminded me of the time we drove back from visiting my grandparents up in Paradise (a real town in Northern California, for those of you who aren’t familiar with it) along those very same picturesque agricultural roads I’ve been depicting on my landscape woodblocks, essentially racing the rising water down the two-lane highway and trying to beat an impending road closure. I remember realizing those were treetops in the flooded orchards, not bushes, and having my own private little panic attack in the backseat.

Today’s piece reads “all that time/ lost/ waiting for living”. It has a great whorl mark in the wood on the side, and it’s going to the city along with a few other poem blocks in progress.

Rolling along

"Tumbleweed Lane", acrylic paint on woodblock

Day 352: “Tumbleweed Lane”, acrylic landscape on sliced fence post

One of my favorite things about moving to Sacramento are the tumbleweeds. They’re really quite delicate, airy and pretty when they go rolling through the streets. And now I can recognize what they look like when they’re green, like this bundle of fluff standing sentinel at the path through the straw field in the foreground. I really liked how the saw marks and grain pattern of this piece complemented the cloud pattern. This one’s also in the City Art Gallery. As of the very moment I’m writing this, that is. There’s no telling if it’ll still be hanging around by the time you read this. πŸ˜‰ Only 13 days left! Here’s “Tumbleweed Lane” from the side:

Hey Hay

"Hay Field", acrylic on woodblock 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

Day 351: “Hay Field”, acrylic paint on sliced fence post

Only 14 days of ArtProject2010 left! This is another example of how I enjoy compositions that combine organic shapes with man-made shapes. {Note- new landscapes are going on the same round-edged stock I’ve been using for the poem blocks, as opposed to the square-edged ones I used before.} This scene shows evidence of the farmer in his zen garden, scooping up lines of hay and stacking baled cubes of it by the hillside. This little guy and a few friends are now on the walls of City Art Gallery.

In the midst of my 6 hours of driving through dark, drizzly fog pockets (doesn’t it seem like the rain should somehow dissipate the fog?!), I got to say hello to a couple of amazing fellow artists at the gallery, Hadley Northrop who builds vibrant scenes of atmosphere with a focus on light in her oil paintings, and Brenton Bostwick, a wicked sculptor/assemblage artist with an “alien archaeology” aesthetic. I’m always inspired by being around the work at the gallery and of course, the artists who make it. And I was thrilled to see how many pieces of art by the other artists showing this month had sold as well. Hooray for art lovers!

After the rain

"After the rain", acrylic landscape on woodblock 3.5" x 3.5" x 1.5"

Day 350: “After the rain”, landscape on woodblock

I love the patterns that nature and farming make when they commingle. I think this is some form of irrigation with the deliberate ploughing of the soil beds, but it also happens after the rain. The shallow fields fill with gray-blue reflections of the sky, banked by fluffy straw-colored bushes in a beautiful composition I would probably not create on my own. But I enjoy borrowing them for these little landscapes. πŸ™‚ This one and a few more will be going up to the city this weekend to fill my empty wall space. Here it is from the side:

Hands trembling

"Trembling", a poem block

Day 349: “Trembling”, a poem block

Today’s piece reads “hands trembling/ I made up my mind/ to share her”. I’ve decided to stop imparting my own impressions/interpretations for these mini poems to allow the viewers to make their own. πŸ™‚ I don’t want to cloud anyone’s personal connection with a piece based on my own. Here it is from the side:

Thanks for the feedback on the junk mail tree! It was a fun project, and I definitely recommend it. For most of us, it only takes a day or two to collect enough source material to make one anyway. πŸ™‚ Next year I’m hoping to learn how to recycle paper so that I can turn it into more exciting stuff. Wow, how weird to say “next year” and realize that I’m essentially saying “some time after the next couple of weeks”. That reminds me- only 16 days left!

Bonjour to blocks

"Proud", a poem block

Day 348: “Proud”, a poem block

I’m back in action with blocks today, as I’ve got a few spaces on the gallery wall to fill. 5 out of 7 of the landscape woodblocks I put up are sold (that means only three in total of all the original woodblock landscapes are left! congrats to those of you who nabbed some before they got snapped up), and 4 of the 5 new poem blocks I put up this last Saturday are also in new homes! If only BART ran from Sacramento to San Francisco. Then I could even make art on the way there and back! I’m pretty sure the Amtrak cost ends up coming out pretty close to gas and bridge tolls.

The prettiest drips are on the top edge of this one

Today’s piece reads: “very proud/ of a by-gone age,/ they quietly departed.” It even has the right punctuation. Thanks, Nancy Drew! While my dwindling mystery book will serve to fill many more of these guys, I’m definitely musing about what should be my next source material. Right now I’m leaning towards Wuthering Heights. Although I’ll probably end up reading it first. πŸ™‚

Junk mail Christmas tree!

Junk mail Christmas tree

Day 347: Junk mail Christmas tree with how-to

18 days left! Today’s artwork is this junk mail Christmas tree with a full how-to on Instructables. A few days ago, I realized:

1. I had a huge pile of junk mail taking up valuable real estate in my art studio, and
2. I wanted a Christmas tree.

I also don’t have a lot of spare cash for a tree, am morally conflicted with supporting an industry of tree-killing, and am constantly on the lookout for daily projects. Et voila! Junk mail Christmas tree was born.

Using a pile of junk mail and some pages from a copy of the Iliad, I made a half & half tree so I can go with the colorful side or frilly white book page side depending on my mood. πŸ™‚

I’ve seen a lot of arguments over the years about craft versus art. I consider craft and art to be equal in expression, creativity and viewer enjoyment. Crap is still crap, whether it’s defined as art or craft, and you know it when you see it. In my opinion, all good artists should consider their work a craft anyway requiring skill and quality. So I hope with that explained, y’all don’t mind my use of this piece as today’s daily artwork.

Plus there’s something so satisfying about upcycling projects, where you can take something that would normally be useless and magically transform it into something pretty, useful or both. Believe it or not, writing a comprehensive how-to for something like this actually takes a lot longer than you’d expect. But people have posted photos of their completed efforts from other Instructables I’ve published before, and nothing makes my day like seeing concrete evidence that I’ve inspired someone. So here’s hoping you can use this info to make your own lovely little free tree! Happy holidays, darlings!

The truth

"Truth", a poem block

Day 346: “Truth”, a poem block

19 days left! Wow! It hasn’t yet sunken in to my brain that I’m about to wrap up a year of this daily art project. I’m so thankful for all of the encouragement I’ve received from family, friends and strangers along the way. I’m also very grateful for the art sales I’ve made that have allowed me to keep supplies flowing into the studio so that art can keep marching out of it! This philosophy of feeling joy, abundance, and appreciation is essentially summed up in today’s piece, which reads: “the truth/ is that everything is beautiful/ be grateful”. If it doesn’t sell in the gallery this month, I’ll probably keep it, as this is a message I would be happy to remind myself of daily. Here it is from the side:

It's hard to tell, but I glammed this up with some gold. The metallic flecks kind of settle into the rough grain of the wood, which is rad-looking with none of the infectiousness of glitter.

Hope you had a great weekend! See you tomorrow.