Day 135: “Misbegotten” Art Card

Ah, Red. Poppy red- bright red with a twinge of orange in it- is my favorite color. To be fair, I love most colors. But there’s just something about red. That was fun about today’s piece- the textured red paper behind the drawing on the dictionary page, the red stamp and thread in the photo…the perceptive (and nerdy) in my blog reading crowd will also notice a unique bit of red in the upper left of the first photo- the distinctive red of the Star Trek officer’s tunic. Ah, Jean-Luc. Our illustrious captain is talking to Deanna Troy about a menacing entity they’ve encountered that just killed a crewmember (enson status + red shirt = trouble), and they are on red alert. See a pattern here? 🙂

Today’s drawing of a hillside in SF is on the “misbegotten” page, which has some other fabulous “mis” words that I hope remain in our beloved vernacular like “misadventure”, “misanthrope” and “misappropriate”. I have to wonder if the long-used prefix “mis” has somehow sunken into our social consciousness as being connected to its homonym “miss”. Maybe our ears have started to tell our brains that anytime we’re thinking of a “miss”, something must be wrong with her. After all, the title word on this page, misbegotten, hearkens back to its original definition of illegitimate birth- some “miss” who was “misadvised” and thought it was okay to pop out a baby without having become a “mrs” first. You came here for some art and ended up beset with an English lesson and geekery. That’s your “misapprehension”, bub! ArtProject2010 is like life- you never know what you’re going to get. 😉


Day 134: “Joviality” Art Card

You don’t have to take a color theory class to know that certain colors are associated with certain feelings. A sunny yellow piece of paper as a background for today’s SF cityscape drawing/painting on dictionary page card (wow, that’s a mouthful!) seemed appropriate for the page with “Joviality” on it. And kind of funny since SF is so frequently gray and not sunny at all. 🙂 This card is posing in front of my trusty Singer. How I love thee, sewing machine.

We’re having a garage sale tomorrow! It’s our first. Maybe it will somehow make us feel like extra-bonafide-homeowners. Then again, a monthly mortgage payment is pretty effective in that regard. I’m going to ‘clearance sale’ some old handmade jewelry to make room for new goodies. Yay! Oh also, I’ll get a little more room around here so I can set up my drafting table and get some of the stacks of canvases out of my studio. Maybe I’ll even set up a formal areas for paper, fabric and paint. MAYBE. 🙂 We’ll see how it goes.


Day 133: “Memorablemente” Art Card

'Memorablemente' cityscape on vintage dictionary page

Back in high school, when my last name was Ramirez and I was dating a guy with the same last name (unrelated, I assure you), I used to watch a lot of Spanish TV over at his mom’s house in San Jose. They used to keep the subtitles on (sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish) because his stepdad is hard of hearing. I enjoyed it because it helped me learn more Spanish, believe it or not. Ex used to get all pissed off when I tried to speak it to his mom, of course, because he’s an everlasting douchebag. (That’s like an everlasting gobstopper, except instead of hard candy that never runs out, it’s jerk-face-ness that lasts forever. There’s a lot of this out there in the world, ladies. Now you know- and knowing is half the battle.)

My favorite shows were the novelas, or Spanish Soap Operas. If you’ve never seen one, you really should. They are hilarious. Imagine a regular soap opera, but somehow even more over the top. Every spoof you’ve ever seen of a novela is probably not much of a stretch. You don’t really have to speak the language to tell what’s going on. Affairs, forbidden love, secret pregnancies, kidnapping, crazy ass moustaches, amazing hair- they all breach language barriers.

Today’s piece is another cityscape drawn/painted on to an English/Spanish dictionary page- this one with the word “memorablemente” at the top which I’m assuming means “memorably”. I know. Mad Spanish skills in action with that cognate there. This is another San Francisco hillside image; in fact, I’ve been able to use little portions of the same couple of photographs for multiple works. I’m probably going to do a couple more of these; at the end, I’ll show you how many different paintings I’ve made from just one photograph, and that photo. Not nearly as big of a cliffhanger as say, a character everyone thought was dead showing up to stop her fiancé from marrying her sister or something, but hey. I do my best. 😉

Day 132: City Art Card

Art card with drawing of SF hillside

So I realized the other day that I’ve got the promise of daily snark up there in my blog header, and to be honest- there have been plenty of snark-free days around here lately. This can be partially attributed to this quantum physics/law of attraction stuff I’ve been learning about that generally recommends being positive. But it’s also because I can’t seem to craft cackle-worthy moments of quality snark every day. Some days it’s hard enough just to get the art out. That said, I want to commit to more good old-fashioned mini-rants to help jokingly illuminate some of the dusty corners of the art world. So you have my word- more snark on its way!

And to kick that off, I’d like to make some comments about emo hipsters. What’s a hipster you ask? Take a look at this site for some fantastic mockery of this too-cool-for-words breed of art school dropouts. Warning- not entirely safe for work. Thanks for sharing that gem with me, Nick!

ATTENTION HIPSTERS- ENOUGH WITH THE MOUSTACHES. That’s right. I said it. Shave that junk off or grow a groomed goatee to go with it if you’re one of the few men in the world who can pull it off, i.e. this guy:

Food gets stuck in them, your hand-rolled cigarettes/joints stink them up, you look like a failed Vaudeville performer plunked into the 2010’s right in front of an American Apparel store adjacent from the film department at private art college. It’s like every single band I see on every late show recently has 6 dudes with dirty hair, tight lavender pants, ugly glasses, scarves and MOUSTACHES playing keyboard and singing in stupid high-pitched voices. That means you, MGMT. Ugh. Knock it off already.

Thinking about my upcoming show in July at City Art Gallery in the mission district of San Francisco today, I got out a photo of the city on the hill and did this drawing/painting on a vintage English/Spanish dictionary page. I drew it in with watercolor pencil, then painted clear acrylic medium over it to brighten up the colors and finished the lines in black pen. Sewn on to heavy cardstock with a piece of shimmery aqua paper, this 5×7” art card is an example of putting together two of my favorite inspirations- words and cityscapes.

Day 126: Corn on the Card

Today’s piece is an art card made with a linocut of corn. When I look at a nice ear of yellow corn, with its glittering kernels peeking out from nature’s green wrapping paper, I marvel at the beauty of the earth. But I can’t think about corn without also thinking about high fructose corn syrup, and I can’t think about HFCS without thinking about those commercials poking fun at us idiot consumers who aren’t even able to verbalize why it’s bad. With battered insulin responses as a key contributing factor to weight gain and diabetes in our country and in our youth, it’s truly insulting that this marketing campaign thinks we can’t understand why it’s unsafe. And that’s without considering the genetically modified organism issue!

In my Netflix queue is King Corn, a documentary following two eco-activists who embark on a mission to grow their own acre of corn and learn about corn farming firsthand. Some other movies that cover food health issues and farming practices in the US are Food Inc and The Corporation. Here’s a video detailing a study finding that GMO corn causes organ failure.

Printed on to another vintage cookbook page, this one featuring such corn-tastic delights as baked corn custard and surprise corn casserole. Yum! It’s sewn on to a heavy cardblank with olive thread. I think it would look nice framed on a wall too. What do you think?

Day 125: Spring Onions Art Card

Spring onions linocut printed on vintage cookbook page

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I hope you’re enjoying a plate of enchiladas and a nice cold margarita right now. I know there’s an actual historical event behind today, but I see it more as a great excuse for having Mexican food. I love Mexican food (it’s in my genes). I could eat it every day for the rest of my life and probably not get tired of it. Beans for breakfast? Hell yes! And what would Mexican food be without onions? Sadness, that’s what it would be.

Today’s piece is a bunch of spring onions printed onto a vintage recipe page from “Vegetarian Cookery” including such tantalizing tastebud gems as “Onions and Eggs in Cream Sauce”. Hurk. The bottom of this print didn’t come out as well as I’d like, but hey- I have plenty more pages of creepy gluten recipes to work with here.

If you’re tiring of the linocuts, I do apologize. But there are two good reasons I’ve been stuck on them lately. 1- I’m working on a big commission piece in a tiny studio, and I can do linocut work in the living room, and 2- if you want to get good at something, you need to practice it. Oh, and 2b- my lino carving tools get rusty if I don’t use them for awhile and they’re a bitch to clean. 😉

Yes, I may have a few nicks and cuts on my fingers. Yes, the ink and the palette and the brayer and the other thingamajig are kind of a pain to get out and wash up. But it’s really satisfying to spend a couple hours making a detailed carving knowing that I can re-use it in the future.

Day 124: Artichoke Art Card

Artichoke linocut stamped on to a vintage vegetarian cookbook page

Ah, the artichoke. Despite the inclusion of a violent verb in its name, this veggie is beautiful. I don’t really like to eat them, which seems sacrilegious since I’m Californian, but I am not a fan of mayonnaise and also they have spikes on the tips of the leaves plus a dangerous center. I like the flavor of artichoke, and I once had some crazy awesome artichoke bread at a roadside bakery near Santa Cruz. I’m just not into combat with my vegetables.

They make patient models for drawing, however. I stamped today’s linocut on to a page from the “Vegetarian Cookery” book I mentioned the other day. I included its cover in the first photo so you could see what I meant when I said it featured an unappetizing pile of slop. Seriously, who would pick this up and say, “mmm! That vomit-like slush bucket looks like a fabulous vegetarian dish! Sign me up!”. That’s right- no one. Which is why its recipe pages are best as the background for some sassy veggie linocuts sewn onto cards with olive green thread. 🙂

P.S. Is anyone interested in learning how to tackle linocuts? If so, I can put together a how-to for my curious crafters out there. Let me know in the comments. Thanks!

Day 123: Pomegranate Art Card

Recipe for a fun art card:

1 Pomegranate linocut stamped on to a piece of fabric

1 Vintage Joy of Cooking page

1 Cardblank

3 Strips of red rick rack

Red thread as needed

Use a paper cutter to trim the recipe page to fit the cardblank. Sew on with red thread, taking care to keep the paper flush with the cardstock as you go. Trim the linocut on fabric with scissors, close to the stamp. Sew the linocut on to the card. Snip strips of rick rack to fit the edge of the recipe. Sew on carefully; you’ll need to lift the sewing machine foot and change direction every 3-4 stitches to stay in line with the rick rack. Voila! You now have a lovely 2-in-1 hostess gift! Write a personal message inside the card, knowing that the recipient can later frame this conveniently sized 5×7” card as a nifty piece of kitchen art.

Clearly my brain has been affected by reading through this old Joy of Cooking book and some other retro gems I picked up at the thrift store recently, like “The Art of Homemaking” (published graciously by the Mormons for our enjoyment, ladies) and “Vegetarian Cooking”, which features the most hideous pan of slop I’ve ever seen next to some carrots. Yum. I spent ten minutes looking through the index for any recipe mentioning pomegranates, but I discovered that this fruit apparently did not exist in the 60’s, so I went with a “fruit pies” page instead.

The Blands have different view points on whether or not I should make these as art cards (so that they have two uses) or just as display art on thick paper (not an actual card). So help us settle this one and chime in. Would you rather get a card you could easily frame, or just plain old small-format art? One lucky commenter will get a free card! Winner will be chosen by Mother’s Day, so speak up for your chance to win before Sunday!

Pomegranate linocut fabric art card