Thursday, February 19, 2015

A day at the Renaissance Festival


On Saturday we headed out of town to check out the Arizona Renaissance Festival.


It was pretty hot walking in from the huge, dusty parking lot so we stopped in the shade for some lunch.



This lovely lady played the harpsichord while we cooled down and ate some festival fare. She was really quite talented.


Mike found the Cthulu ride.


The girls took a ride on the flying machine.  Then they felt bad because all rides are powered by the people running them with various cranks and mechanical systems.


We found a fire breather performing next to an ironic sign.


All the buildings seemed very authentic.


I particularly liked the tree man at the broomstick shop.


The broomstick shop was full of Firebolts and Nimbus 5000's  as well as some very practical looking brooms.


This is the funeral cart, complete with corpse inside.


Naomi and a beastly companion.


Naomi and Chloe and I waited in a long line to ride the elephants.  They were orphaned and rescued in Botswana and spend 30 weekends a year raising money for their animal sanctuary by giving rides. It was surreal to find myself on the back of one of these incredible creatures!


Naomi, showing off her "Mona Lisa "smile.


Chloe and Phoebe posed like this because, as everyone knows, the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows.


Naomi took on the climbing tower.


I've obviously been neglecting my other calling.


This is the outside of a fantastical creature shop.  I wish now I'd gotten some shots of the creatures inside!


Near the end of the day, the girls joined in with some dancing.


The man in the hat was a demanding partner and kept all three of them dancing.


This is a woman with an owl near the end of the bird show. By six o'clock when the cannon blast told us all to leave we were pretty exhausted.  Then we saw this at the exit as we entered the massive parking lot....


It says" We moved all your cars - Good Luck" (fortunately they were kidding).

Anyway last week I also completed another sculpture for my gallery show....


This one hangs on the wall and is titled "The Gift"


He is one of many odd birds that will be in my solo show. 

Anyway this seems like the best way to end this end...

"Parting is such sweet sorrow that I shall say good night till it be morrow. "



Saturday, February 7, 2015

How Breed Specific Legislaton is messing with my life

This is my dog Oscar.....


He's a sweet little guy, but what I try not to say publicly is that he's part pit bull.

He's also part dachshund,  or "weenie dog".  It makes him very short, long and much smaller than a pit bull.  He's very lazy and sits on our couch when he's not following me around to make sure I'm still there.  He's as harmless as they come and is more than a little afraid of our cat. He's actually really obsessed with us and me in particular.

Yesterday I was invited to be a resident artist for three months at a museum in Denmark on the north west coast.  I was to get a studio and my family and I could stay in the guest house, then I was to exhibit at the museum the work I'd completed while in residence.  Needless to say it was an incredible opportunity.... but I had to turn it down.

Denmark has the most extreme breed specific legislation in Europe.  They would destroy Oscar upon arrival, and if we left him with friends he would just give up, stop eating and die.  It's a bummer but my family comes first.

I'm also angry. These laws were put in place to reduce dog bites, but both The Netherlands and Italy have repealed their laws noting that for some reason dog bites increased significantly after they banned these breeds.  I'm so tired of this nonsense.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Working on the bird and a publishing deal

This weekend is the Superbowl and sports fans and prostitutes are flocking to this city like fleas to a dog (according to the radio-I haven't noticed any change, but maybe that's because we already had a lot of those sorts around here).

I'm really excited to announce that I've signed my book "The Hiccup Monster" with a fantastic Canadian publisher this week.
Fuzzy Belly Books will be releasing it soon to North American audiences!!

I've also been trying to get another sculpture finished for my solo show "Books of Whimsy".  This one is called "The Gift"....


I'll start painting this bird today I think.


      Anyway, I'm teaching more, which means I'm driving a lot, which means I'm spending a lot of time staring at the crack in our windshield that we haven't fixed yet.  We got it during our travels in Mexico after Tropical Storm Simon hit.  We haven't fixed it because we teach and work and take care of three kids and probably won't do anything until bits of glass start flying into our faces when we drive. On the other hand I notice about three or four other cars each day with the same or larger cracks in their windshield.  At least we're fitting in.



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The books, the bug and learning about cacti

The last few days I've managed to finish my sculpture "Neato Mosquito"



As you can see he's still sitting on my desk.

He's about four and a half feet long and 3 and a half feet wide, which makes him too big for the "away" spot I had in mind.  I can't drop him off at the gallery until March 2nd.

When I hang him for "The Mutant Piñata Show" I'm planning on stringing his wings up in a flying position. Until then, this giant mosquito will perch on my desk.

Yesterday I got some proof copies of my new book!!! YAY!

In other news, it turns out that if you ask a group of four year olds in Arizona if they know what a Saguaro cactus is first they nod eagerly, then they look at you like you're an idiot for asking. It's then followed by a list of cacti, "There's the barrel cactus and it looks like a ball and the desert jewel cactus and it has those things like this, and the organ pipe cactus..... " Ok, ok-you guys know your cacti.  The children in my class have also fallen and sat on numerous kinds of cacti.  At least they all knew just what kind of cactus it was!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Neato Mosquito -my giant bug



In the last few days I've assembled and started painting my Mosquito piñata for this year's "Mutant Piñata show" at The Frontal Lobe Gallery.


I was going to make my piñata smaller this year, and while he is smaller than last year's he's still pretty big for my working space.


Here he is with some underpainting done from the side.


And from the front.


And here I am working on his wings.


The wings flop back and forth and will be suspended in a flying position with fishing line when he's hung at the show.  Anyway I still have quite a bit of painting to go! 

 In the mean time we're loving the perfect weather we get this time of year.  I even switched to shorts the other day after walking outside in the sun. This winter in Phoenix almost makes up for last summer's misery.  

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The octopus and the mosquito

In the last few days I finished my octopus.  By that I mean I completed my sculpture...


Here he is from the side.. 


... And from above.
  The title of this one is "Reading in The Bath" and it's the first time I had to mimic water in a sculpture.  I was tremendously nervous about it.  I used something called gel wax that can be heated on the stove and solidifies to a clear gel.  It was nerve wracking to pour this on my finished art!



Anyway I've moved on to my next sculpture.  This one is for "The Mutant Piñata Show" at the Frontal Lobe Gallery. It's called "Neato Mosquito" and will likely be very big,  even though I was trying to go a little smaller this year...


Mosquito in progress.


Just the tail.


Many legs. 

I'm trying to get him finished quickly this year so I can keep up with my other sculptures!

In other news I'm back teaching and the kids are back in school.  I also have a new book out...

It's a picture book for kids ages 2 and up!  You can get your copy here.




Saturday, January 3, 2015

Snow Tourists and a New Year in San Diego

On New Year's Eve we got up early and headed off in the rain to San Diego.  The storm let off as we entered California then turned to snow flurries when we entered the mountains outside the city.  The snow was thin layer over the mountains and very picturesque.  By then we were in need of a bathroom stop. So we pulled off the highway in a tiny mountain town and there were people everywhere, playing in the 2 inches of snow along the side of the road.


We stopped at a convenience store and people were lining up to buy chains for their cars.  The place was hopping and the really odd thing was that there was barely enough snow to make the road wet let alone have need for chains! Someone had even built a snowman on the roof of their car.  As they drove down the highway it flew off piece by piece. We took a few minutes to walk the dog and then made our way off the mountains towards the coast.

That night at the hotel the power went out.  The four of us (Chloe was at winter camp with her youth group last week) sat in the dark and played a goofy game called "Heads Up!"on Phoebe's phone.  Then as the time approached midnight we drove out to Shelter Island to ring the Yokohama Friendship Bell as was our tradition when we lived in California.



We waited in line only briefly as we were running quite late.  It was one of those moments when you wait all evening to go do something and then all of a sudden you're late!!


Phoebe and Naomi ready to ring in the New Year!


It was rather cold but the sky was clear and 2015 was upon us.


Our hotel was next to dog beach so Oscar spent the next morning running on the sand.


New Years Day we managed to meet up with family.


This restaurant actually allowed Oscar (our dog) in.


It was good for Mike to connect with his father.  

Phoebe in Ocean Beach

On our final day in California we stopped in to visit some old friends.


It was finally warming up like one would expect from San Diego.


All in all it was a great New Year!


Last week I also received my copies of my new children's book.  Too late to send them as Christmas gifts, but it was great to see the publication!


In other news, my octopus sculpture is making great progress, soon he will be ready for my exhibit.

Hope you all have a happy 2015 !!
"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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