Forever Young

"Youth", mixed media on 5x7" canvas

Day 293: “Youth”, mixed media painting

While I do have a new lineup of cityscapes in the works, they generally take longer than a day. So today’s piece is a mixed media on canvas mini painting. Using thread, yarn, snippets from sewing patterns, Nancy Drew, a children’s reader and a thesaurus, I used “youth” circled from the thesaurus as the theme.

Detail of upper half

The bright yellow dress-clad girl is awfully happy looking. But when I think of youth, I think of having moved past it. I think we become more nostalgic for our youth the older we become. I enjoy remembering my naivety, but at the same time I’m glad to have matured into a different person. Once you go down the rabbit hole, there’s no going back, right?

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Detail bottom

Honey…aww Sugar Sugar

"Honey Corn", acrylic landscape on woodblock

Day 291: Honey Corn

Today’s piece is a landscape on woodblock. This scene is from the Tracy, CA area and shows a cluster of bee boxes in front of a corn field. It kind of made my inner cynic cackle because I had to think of the stupid “corn sugar” PR campaign for high-fructose corn syrup going on right now, but anything with bee boxes always makes me smile in the end. I just got a fresh crop of woodblocks (thanks dad!) so more of these will be on the way in time for the Dec/Jan affordable art show I’m participating in, and of course for YOU GUYS to get your hands on too. 😉

To everything there is a season…

The wood grain radiates down from a knot in the sky in this piece.

Day 287: Pumpkin Patch

Ah, pumpkin. You can be a jolly jack-o-lantern, tasty pumpkin pie and toasted seed snack all in one. You jazz up the farmlands with little festive dots of my favorite color, and your squash cousins are so brave with their warts-and-all attitudes. I still remember my mom’s if-you-can-carry-it-yourself-you-can-carve-it-rule from our childhood trips to Ardenwood, our local pumpkin farm. And today, my brother-in-law sent me this photo of my sister with baby Emmett practicing for Halloween:

"I like toitles"

It made me remember all the things I loved about the coming holiday before it meant not purchasing the compulsory childhood-diabetes-fodder and posting a note on my door that I refuse to buy GMO “corn sugar” candy because I really do care about your brats-in-drag. 🙂 That’s right. I’m the Halloween Grinch. I might as well throw “We’re hippies, egg our house” in there while I’m at it with that sign, huh? Sigh. (Seriously though, 90% of Halloween candy this year will have genetically modified high fructose corn syrup. Make caramel apples and organic cider instead. 🙂 )

So although it’s still darn hot and not very autumnal out here, I painted this pumpkin patch scene on one of my few remaining woodblocks to get into the spirit of fall.

"Pumpkin Patch", acrylic painting on woodblock

She’s a brick house…

From the side, it's almost invisible! 😉

Day 285: Fleshless

I’m still juggling work on a few pieces at once in the studio that aren’t quite finished, so it’s another mini painting for today’s piece. Rob & I were watching The Apprentice last night (can you believe Trump wants to run for president??) and this crazy mean bitch on there starts trash-talking, saying that another woman is “the weakest member of the team and the biggest”. Her target was not a heavy woman at all, but the rest of the women on the team are total sunken-eye-hole-waifs in danger of snapping in two from a hefty sneeze.

"Don't worry, Denise. I got these ADHD pills from my brother. Now Billy will ask you to the dance for sure!"

As a large lady myself, it got me thinking of weight issues. And then I picked up this 1973 pattern from Simplicity which refers to sizes 10 & up as “Chubbies”. How charming. :/

“Okay, so that’s 2 yards?”

“Make it 2 and a half. I need the extra yardage for my little Chubbie here.”

“Mom!!”

“Well honey, maybe if you helped out with the housework, you’d be normal-sized and mommy wouldn’t have to spend the extra dollar on fabric to cover your big behind every time.”

At least that’s how I imagine a standard casual mother-daughter fabric-store conversation would have ensued in a time when the patterns were labeled “Chubbies”. I also imagine fabric was $2/yard. *shrug*

Today's and yesterday's together

This mixed media mash-up includes snippets from vintage books (children’s storybook, dictionary, thesaurus) and sewing patterns. The illustration is kind of off-beat; I think the girl in green is supposed to be checking her nails, but it looks like she’s peering into a cup or something; that next to the rhyme “8 and 8 are 16 pills the doctor’s mixing” fits together nicely as a reference to our bombardment with weight-loss pill commercials. The yellow yarn is tied like a waist-cincher. And if you look closely, you can see that the part from the dictionary with “fleshless” coincidentally has “flawless” right next to it. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

"Fleshless", mixed media on 5x7" canvas

If you’re going to San Francisco…

Side view; wood grain radiates upwards in this piece.

Day 282: Docile

It’s back to the woodblocks today with another pastoral scene from the Angels Camp area. This one features an oasis-like strip of green and trees between the meadow and hills with a tiny little orange building and windmill.

Detail shot

Hey you! Do you live in the bay area? What are you doing tomorrow? Unless you have a really cool answer like “crepes and horseback riding”, you need to get your butt to the city! San Francisco Artists’ Open Studios are on! Hundreds of amazing artists have spent months planning and prepping to put together great shows, wine, food, demonstrations and generally welcoming parties for art lovers like you! I recommend 1890 Bryant Street Studios, where 25 artists have gathered to make life easier on you (i.e. parking/driving) including three of my favorites, Trish Tunney, DK Haas and Catherine Mackey. Read more about this month-long event and get maps here: http://www.artspan.org/sf-open-studios

"Docile" acrylic on woodblock, 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

In case you’re wondering, I’m not participating as I live out here in Sacramento. Sacramento’s recent Capitol Artists’ Open Studios only included artists within 4 miles of the Contemporary Art Center, which excluded me. So we’ll see about next year. I mean, I’m not moving or anything, but perhaps some industrious organizer will expand that radius. 🙂

While Frank Sinatra sings stormy weather…

This woodblock has a battle scar

Day 280: Rumble

Today’s piece is another mini landscape on woodblock (I am almost out of them, so I’ll be borrowing my uncle’s mitre saw pretty soon). This particular block has some extra character- two knot marks in the face and some kind of groovy “bullet-hole” mark in the corner. That plus the scenery made me think back to this wonderful road trip Grandma & Grandpa took my sister & I on when we were teenagers.

We traveled all the way out to the Midwest. I brought my sketchbook and thoroughly enjoyed the rocks, bluffs, fields, hills and dirt. It was one of the first times I voluntarily drew a landscape, now that I think about it. I’d always thought landscapes were boring. And a useless subject, at that- nature itself is already so lovely, why try to compete? But something about the thunderstorms in Wyoming and the Badlands of South Dakota was truly inspiring. Now I enjoy the quiet effortlessness of nature in a spiritual way I didn’t as a punk kid. But I’m thankful for that experience and think of it often. 🙂

"Rumble" acrylic on woodblock (sliced fence post)

“Rumble” shows telephone poles wading through dead grass into blue-tree-speckled hills under a sea of rolling clouds. Is the storm really coming or just making idle threats?

P.S. I’m considering using song references for all of my post titles from now on. I’ve been doing it for a couple of days. Today’s is from the song “Frank Sinatra” by local-to-me greats Cake! I might just start including these bits of trivia in some kind of art giveaway game. Hmmm….stay tuned!

House of the rising sun

 

Detail shot. I am slowly mastering the cheap liner brush.

 

Day 279: Angels Camp

I doubt I could have dreamed up a more picturesque landscape on my own if I’d tried. The tiny red building in the sea of gold, the curvy little red dirt pathway, the blue-green trees dotting the hillside and edging the horizon….this was the scenery I ventured into on the way to visit my dad at an alcoholic recovery center in Angels Camp. Being surrounded by nature like this always helps us humans get a little closer to being at peace with the universe, so it’s a good location for rehab. Then again you can always visit a place like this without needing the aforementioned reason for being there. When’s the last time you visited nature? (Walking across the lawn from the car to the house doesn’t count. 🙂 )

 

"Angels Camp", acrylic on woodblock

 

Grazing in the grass is a gas…

Day 278: Horse Fence

..baby can you dig it? Jukebox brain back in action. It’s the lyrics that mess with me. Perhaps this is why I’ve been drawn towards instrumentals lately. That string quartet version of Radiohead’s OK Computer I nabbed for 2 bucks the other day has turned out to be pretty darn awesome, by the way.

Detail shot

This morning I couldn’t find my flash drive, which I instantly blamed on my husband because he generally likes to put things in places other than the designated storage locations I’ve assigned to them, but later I found it piled under fabric stuff in my sewing area. *Sheepish grin* I was able to find one more of the spring photos to use for another woodblock painting in my oh-no-I-lost-the-flash-drive panic stuck to the back of another print. This one features horses grazing in the meadow after the rain, and I’m pretty pleased with it.

"Horse Fence", acrylic on woodblock 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

Down by the banks of the hanky panky

Sideways wood grain in this one

Day 277: River House

Today’s piece used one of the remaining printed reference photos I had ready to go for the woodblock landscapes. And it didn’t happen until late in the evening because I’ve been working on some custom order dog costumes (it is that time of year, after all), but I’m glad because now I have to print out the new ones!

Those of you who make art yourselves will identify with that obsession about new art. For many, it starts with an idea. You mull over the idea for awhile- maybe a few days, months, even years in some cases- then eventually begin the thing and by the time it’s done you kind of hate it for all the life it’s sucked out of you- even if the end result is good. It’s the daydreaming about what’s next that’s exciting. What’s done is old, old news by the time it’s finished. 🙂

That’s what’s nice about working quickly. I have less time to become enemies with a piece from inception to completion. Maybe that’s why these little guys are so fun for me, even if they do feature cloudy days. “River House” shows a lone building hidden behind the bushy river banks in the hills. See you tomorrow!

"River House", acrylic painting on woodblock 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

Butts to nuts

"In the Weeds", acrylic painting on woodblock

Day 275: In the weeds

We had a good turnout at the gallery opening last night. It wasn’t completely “butts to nuts” (thanks to Amy’s daughter for that lovely turn of phrase, which she illustrated by asking “you know, have you ever been on Muni?” [SF public transportation, for you out-of-towners] hee hee!), as it often is, but sometimes I like that better because it means people have a little more elbow room to look at art and avoid knocking over sculptures. It was an exciting day all-in-all, as I sold 4 minis and became an auntie! My sister and her husband just had their first baby, a beautiful little boy named Emmett. Yay!

Detail shot

Today’s piece is “in the weeds”, another landscape on woodblock using an image from the Delta out here in the Sacramento area. “In the weeds” is another figure of speech those of you who have served some time in the service industry will probably know. For you lucky folk who have not been a waitress/cocktail server/bartender, think back to a time when you were “butts to nuts” 3 people deep at some bar, frustratedly waving your cash at the exasperated barkeep. That dude was “in the weeds”. Probably because his jerkoff co-bartender was in the back carving a bong out of an apple/making out with his horse-faced stripper girlfriend instead of restocking. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. 😉

I picked that title for two reasons- one, because I took this reference photo from the riverbank literally standing in the weeds (and reeds) and two, because my to-do list has been piling up and I have a plateful of projects and not enough time to do them all in.

Now that your vocabulary has been expanded with two colorful phrases, I’d love to hear what your favorite expressions are! I know I have a handful of logophiles reading this blog, so cough ’em up in the comments! The odder, the better, I say!

From the side