Sunday, May 20, 2018

Dreaming of Ireland and Irregular Jellybeans

Tree tunnel in Dublin

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

I admit that I'm a dreamer. I spend my free moments obsessing on countries and cities across the world that I must see someday. I've read 38 books set on the African continent, because I want to learn more about Africa. I can't possibly see the whole world, but I will learn all I can about it.

We are now just over three weeks away from our trip to Ireland, where Mike and I will will spend June and July working at an art residency at Shankill Castle in the countryside.  We're bring all three of our daughters and it's kind of precious for us because as my kids get older and their lives move away from us, I'm not sure how many more family trips there will be.

I have just 2 more days of teaching at the school. So far my only "end of the year" teacher gift is a bag of irregular jellybeans. They're kind of lumpy, some taste good, others are a little off.

I'm also making masks for a prop comic (please let him send me customer photos!!) and another production of Midsummer's Night Dream, and my mask making workshop begins on Tuesday for teens and adults, aside from all that I need to get us all ready to leave for a month.... No problem.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

An exhibit in Mesa

Last weekend we went to an art opening at the Mesa Museum of Contemporary Art. The art of Patti Warashina was in the first room and it was truly unusual.

A smiling cat.

Mike and Phoebe studying a sculpture.

The way she sculpted animals was unusual and very human.

This is a picture of Max Ginsberg's piece unfortunately it's at an extreme angle. This artist was there and had flown in from NY. He talked to us for a while, and it turns out he actually taught at the School of Visual Arts in NYC where Mike and I both attended and met.

Here's the painting from the internet. It's a typical cross section of people that you'd see all the time in New York. Amazing to see in person.

An incredible and disturbing sculpture of a middle aged woman throwing a tantrum.

The sculpture in the courtyard by the band.

The opening was a huge event with music and food and a cash bar.  I was watching the band and realizing I really wanted some water but the food line was pretty long. Phoebe says "Don't worry I'll text Naomi. " (who was already in line.)
"No, no, I'll go." So I waited and got some water and a few snacks.
2 hours later I was sitting and painting a mask at home and Naomi rushes out of her room and gets me a tub of paint water. "Phoebe texted me to get you some water. "

This week I was contacted by a buyer who purchased my sculpture " An Intelligent Breed".  She sent me a photo of his new location in Sun City West,  Arizona. She said they call him Paco, and I think he looks fantastic here!!

Anyway coming soon is my next mask making workshop at the Cholla Library. I'm really excited because this time I'm working with adults! 

A Moroccan Iftar meal (or break fast meal)

Lastly, Ramadan has begun again and I'd just like to wish my friends in Morocco a Blessed Ramadan!!  

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Another Chalk festival and a trip to Seattle

While the teachers continued to strike downtown, Phoebe and I spent a day at Westgate Entertainment Center creating another chalk mural of Bast.

For this festival we were asked to draw our mural on an oversized canvas so it could be auctioned later on.

Since this was a one day festival we started early and basically worked continuously all day long.

Unfortunately I had forgotten my phone and camera, so all of these photos are "borrowed" from people at the festival.

This is late in the afternoon.

This is nearly done, but not quite.

And this is the final shot. We took till about 6pm to finish. It was 97º that day and then when we went to look for our car it was no where to be found. We wandered through the parking lot for 40 minutes, until.... well, it was just where I left it, but the parking lot just looked so different at 6:30pm than it did when it was empty early that morning.

        Last weekend Mike and I traveled to Seattle to visit with my brother, Duncan and his wife Kristin. 

They took me out to the Space Needle, which was under construction.

The view from the tower was spectacular.

Even with all the building going on.

Downstairs was the Chihuly exhibit and a couple of Star Wars. :)

Chihuly is a world renowned glass artist and the exhibit was an incredible experience.

The exhibit wove inside and out into the garden.

It was nice to be outside, as the temperature in Seattle was about 20º cooler than Phoenix right now.

There was so much to see at the exhibit.

Red glass horns.

Boat full of globes.

Duncan and Casey, their dog, on the beach.

It was a great visit, but Mike also came to launch his new magazine, Forbidden Futures, at Crypticon, Seattle.

I didn't make it to the con, but I did swing by the after party for the magazine.

This is Mike drawing one of the attendees who was dressed as Vampirella .

It came out pretty good!!

Anyway it was great to see Duncan and Kristin again and get out of the city just as it's heating up.
The teacher's strike has ended now and I'm back to teaching and mask making this week! In the mean time we're trying to get organized for our big trip to Ireland this summer.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Chalk it up Prescott and a teacher's strike

This past weekend was a busy and a bit exhausting one, as Mike and I went up to Prescott, Arizona for their annual chalk festival. When I say up, I mean up! They are literally a mile high city up in the mountains.

Early on Saturday

On the plus side this means that temperatures are only in the high 70's (unlike in Phoenix, which is hitting the high 90's).

Even so working in the direct sun takes it's toll. I burn a lot faster at a high altitude.

This is where I stopped for lunch that Saturday. 

Later in the day Mike started sitting with me, shading me with the umbrella.

We definitely worked fast and made good progress on this 8 foot mural on the first day of the fest. Unfortunately I couldn't sleep that night at the hotel, thinking about this mural and distracted by my aching drawing hand which I managed to severely burn. I just didn't think to put sunscreen on my hand and it wasn't shaded by the umbrella.

So we came back at 6am as the sun was rising.

I cut up one of my socks that I'd packed and made it into a glove to protect my hand.

Anyway, I was done by 11am. Which was good I didn't want to work any later as I was exhausted.

I dedicated this mural to my friend, Stacey Aragon, who liked this original painting so much she bought it. She also supported me through my work for years buying my comics and paintings and even commissioning art. The she passed away last year because cancer always takes the best people.

Drone photo of the festival.

All in all it was a really nice event and if you're ever in the area in April it's a great day out!

In other news this week has been a strange one. It started off normally and then the teachers of Arizona have gone on strike. The school system I teach after school art at, has shut down today and tomorrow and for possibly longer. My daughter, Phoebe's school is a small charter school that can't afford to close, but she had an excused absence today. Naomi's online school is business as usual, but all the big public schools are shut.

This morning teachers and supporters gathered downtown. They are all dressed in red because it's called "Red for Ed".

We managed to find teachers and students from Phoebe's school and march with this packed crowd of 70,000 people in 97º heat. It was one of the biggest marches I'd been to (and I've been to quite a few this year alone).

Here's Phoebe in red!

These people are obviously experienced marchers. They wrote their phone # on their child's arm in sharpie. Anyway it was intense. I hope this strike doesn't last as long as the last teacher's strike we witnessed. The one in Bariloche (Argentina) lasted weeks and weeks. Of course the teachers in Arizona are paid appalling low salaries and most work several jobs, so I hope this goes well.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sedona and an Art Show

 For Good Friday we traveled north to Sedona, to show Chloe's friend Makayla, from Missouri some of Arizona.

It seemed like a good idea at the time because everyone was off from school.

Except everyone really was off that day and we headed to one of the biggest tourist spots in Arizona so traffic was awful and it was pretty packed. We stopped off near this gallery for lunch and found this amazing sculpture in the rocks!

They in fact had a lot of beautiful southwestern art on display.

Then we headed out to hike in the Peace Park.

This is the site of the Amitabha Stupa that we'd hiked to before.

We hiked to the mandala where people were participating in some kind of new age ritual. A lot of people were walking around with a tour guide as well, searching for "vibrations".

Chloe with Makayla, Cayenne and Oscar near the rock towers.

There were fields of rocks towers throughout the park.

   In the end it was a good day out, even though I didn't feel any magical vibrations or whatever. Unfortunately that day Chloe's friend Cayenne was pretty sick and the next week we all found ourselves hit pretty hard with her cold (except Chloe who left back for Missouri the next day). 

    Of course while being sick (again) I was hired by a ballet company in Chicago to make many masks for their production of "Thumbelina", and was in a mild panic that I would feel this awful while drawing at the chalk festival in Prescott. Fortunately I feel much better and the festival is this coming weekend.

Also last week at Phoebe's school they had their big annual art show. This is a paint pouring demonstration put on by the art teacher and students.

It actually looked like a lot of fun!

They really coat it in paint.

This is Phoebe's table. She actually sold quite a few paintings, including the one of the lady in red, so it was a good night!

      The big news this week is that Chloe's been accepted into the study abroad program and will be spending her fall semester at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.  The crazy thing is that she's not allowed to have a layover in Ireland on her ticket there and back or she will no longer qualify for the program. We'll of course be in Ireland this summer, but instead of traveling on to Scotland, she'll come home with us and fly out again later (annoying and expensive).  Still, I'm thrilled for her!!
"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut


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