Thursday, February 8, 2018

Phoebe's application and another vanishing cat

This week my high schooler, Phoebe finished a project she's been working on all year. It's a self portrait for her application to the Oxbow school.



I'm just floored by how beautiful it looks all together. She eliminated something like 20 other images that were nearly as great.  Oxbow is a visual arts boarding school in the mountains near San Francisco, where students attend for 1 semester of high school. They offer many scholarships and hopefully Phoebe will be so lucky. Either way I'm really proud of all the work she did!

In other, sadder news our new cat, Rorschach, has vanished. He must have gotten outside. We've been searching and posting signs, but no luck. It's been pretty disheartening. I also have a lovely head cold, which is making things a bit on the miserable side.

I do have some good news though. Right now I'm making some monster masks for Sean Penn's new show on Hulu. Pretty exciting resume stuff. Also prepping for my teaching artist job next month at Copper Canyon Elementary. I'm running mask making workshops with the kids there and introducing them to my work. So March will be a busy teaching month worked around my usual teaching schedule.

Anyway, have an excellent Thursday!


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Drawing in the Gardens and the Woman's March in Phoenix


Last week we picked up some passes to the Japanese Friendship Gardens right here in Phoenix.


It's literally right down the road and this is the first time we've gone over!



At the entrance they sold us some fish food. We only bought one bag as I was focused on my goal, which was to draw from life here.


Feeding the koi fish was surprisingly entertaining though.


The fish swarmed with their mouths gaping. They were a throbbing mass in the water.


The fish are actually quite large. Here you can see them compared to a duck on the surface. The ducks liked to swoop in and grab the fish food.


We took a look at some of the monuments and found a spot to draw.

This is a drawing I did of the pond


Mike's drawing of the waterfall.


And Phoebe's drawing of everything!


Also last weekend we participated in the Woman's March at the capital.  On social media I've seen a lot of backlash about people marching so in response this is my list of why I decided to go:

1. I believe women should get the same pay for doing the same job as a man.
2. I think women should get the same care and attention to their needs and concerns in medical facilities as men do.
3. I think the police should properly investigate the disappearance of large numbers of Navajo and Hopie Indian women.
4. I think women should get paid maternity leave in this country that lasts at least 3-6 months.



It was packed full of people marching.


Me walking in the sun.


Another shot of people marching.


A gathering of Navajos and other native peoples.


Oscar found a quiet hill to sit on.

In other news I've finished up making the last of the musical instruments from Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Fish Accordion 


Sax from behind


The Saxophone

So now I'm back to teaching and making masks most of the time. Last week in my classes I introduced oil painting to elementary school kids!! It went surprisingly well.









Saturday, January 13, 2018

Rorschach the mystery cat and our next adventure is set in stone

On New Years Eve in a burst of weakness on our part and sympathy for our daughter we went ahead and adopted a new cat from a PetSmart rescue group. Rorschach was an 8 year old black cat, who's adoption fee had been waived due to his age and color (black cats are hard to adopt out. People are still weird and superstitious them). Mike and I had seen him 2 weeks earlier while shopping and hoped he'd be in a home for Christmas, but alas there he sat in his cage on New Year's Eve. He'd been in a cage for 2 months.

The first week in our place he hid constantly. The second week we ran out of food for him so we bought new food that gave him the runs. He made an effort to use the box but also used Naomi's carpet near where he'd been hiding. So now we've been scrubbing and scrubbing but the carpet may be a goner. Anyway I hope he comes out of hiding soon. He is getting better.


Chloe flew back to Missouri into the cold.


She said they had an ice storm yesterday, but her new classes are going well.


I'm super busy with finishing these musical instruments from Nightmare Before Christmas for a client.


This one is finished but two more to go!


I've also recently finished my sketchbook for the Sketchbook Project. This was so much fun, I'm looking forward to doing another one!




The big news is that I've bought our tickets to Ireland for our art residency at Shankill Castle. We are SOOOO  excited!! Here's to 2018!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 -A most fabulous year!

Young Simba in progress

From head dresses for the Lion King

Scar finished

To crazy cow skull masks for a film in California.


My mask shop kept me very busy as the year began. I'm never doing just one thing though. I was also  teaching art to the children in this region and was gathering support and funds for my summer artist residency in Morocco. 


In May I traveled with my family across the globe to Tétouan, Morocco to work at Green Olive Arts on my sculptural installation "Night Over Tétouan".

Working at Green Olive Arts

The sculpture and our time there was a smashing success and was truly a life changing summer for all of us.

Night Over Tétouan un the the black light
It was an amazing journey exploring Morocco and meeting other artists and people from all over.

Drinking smoothies in M'diq, Morocco

This year I kept up with more than just teaching and mask making, I also continued with street painting for various events....

"The Moon Cat" at Phoenix Chalk Art Festival
I even traveled to the International Festival in Florida and met artists from all over the world.


Circling Fish at the Sarasota Chalk Art Festival, Florida


With Mike and I accepted into an artist residency at Shankill Castle in Ireland for summer of 2018 we have so much to look forward to this coming year, and we're so thankful!

Shankill Castle, Kilkenny County, Ireland




Tonight for New Years Eve we're following our annual tradition of catching the new Star Wars movie! As we enter into 2018, I'd like to wish you all a

Happy New Year!!


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Home for the holidays and drawing the mandala

 Last Friday Chloe returned from school in Missouri. Last semester was pretty intense for her as she managed to get pretty sick from a virus she actually had at Thanksgiving when she left, but ignored until it got very bad.

  Fortunately she kept her grades up and even took on some modeling for Stephen's Life Magazine.


She even went to a release party for it.


Anyway, when she arrived here in Phoenix she was finally feeling better and ready to draw with me at the Cholla Library on Saturday.


Drawing at the library for the "Around the World Mandala Project" was interesting to say the least.


     Naomi came along as well to film our progress and rescue us when I realized we'd forgotten paint brushes and sunscreen.  Fortunately the library was next to the mall. She kept texting us that she was almost to the Walmart. Then she wrote to say that it was just a wall with Walmart written on it....Ugh. Eventually she found it though and I only got a mild sunburn.

    The funniest moment came when mall security cruised past and asked if we'd seen a man on a shopping cart scooter. Apparently he took off from the store in it. 


In the end we managed without paintbrushes, and made this awesome video....





Now to get ready for the holidays!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Around the World Mandala Project

   Ever since I went to the International Chalk Art Festival in Sarasota, Florida I became connected to street painters from all over the world. I even met real Italian "Madonnaris" (which means, essentially, professional street painters from Italy). It's big deal in the world of chalk art because it's a very old art form in Italy and to become a Madonnari you must be invited to participate in festivals there.

Gary Palmer with his mandala in Venice, Florida

  Anyway since I've returned my new friend,Gary Palmer, has invited me to participate in a event call the Around the World Mandala Project. Where street artists from all over the world simultaneously create large-scale public artworks in the form of mandalas in their home cities as a symbol of intentions of peace between peoples.


So now this is happening on Saturday, December 16th. Chloe will be back from college and has agreed to help me that day . This is great because she is the master of the mandala, she draws them incredibly well.

Here's my color sketch of what we'll be doing....


I have a lizard in the design because we're representing Phoenix. These are the other artists and their locations:

Vero Gonzalez in Monterrey, Mexico
Gary Palmer,Jessica Blumenthal and Ava Kasrabod in Venice Beach, California
Limnesh Augustine and Jincy Babu in Manama, Bahrain
Nathalie Berthon in Nice, France
Floya Jam in Toulon, France
Tim Ritter in Orlando, Florida



I'm looking forward to seeing all these amazing mandalas!!

In other news, Phoebe has secured a caricature job next week (her first!). She's been hired to draw the attendees at the Middle School Winter Formal. I'm really proud of her. Caricature is tough to do.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Cirque De Soleil and more on the horizon

Our time in Las Vegas was short. We spent our day milling around the Tahiti Village resort. Using the hot tub and running to the mall nearby for warmer clothes (Las Vegas is much colder than we thought it'd be!)


This is from a walkway in the resort, which had a lazy river, a pool and two fancy hot tubs.


At sunset we took the shuttle to the strip to get over to Treasure Island for Mystére, a Cirque de Soleil production.


It wasn't hard to find so we were early. We hung around taking photos.


The girls outside the theater.


Mike and I before the show.


The gift shop was impressive. This statue was near the ceiling.


In fact these statues were all around.


They're pretty amazing. 


         Finally we went in, and the show itself was astonishing! The things these performers do are hard to even believe. In this day and age of special effects it's easy to be jaded, but the feats the artists were doing became all too real two thirds of the way through the show when a trampoline artist was injured. The show stopped and he was taken offstage by medics. The rest of the show had an edge to it as we watched and became very intense. Anyway after the final act they announced that the man who was injured was responding well to treatment. I hope he can perform again soon.
        That night we slept for 4 hours and then hit the road at 4am so Mike and I could both be home to teach our final classes before Thanksgiving.


While we were in Vegas I was notified that Mike and I have been invited to another artist residency in Southern Iceland! We had to postpone until the summer of 2019, but I so hope we can make it!  We're so excited!

  Today we head into the mountains to see family for the holiday. To all my friends here in the United States:

Happy Thanksgiving!!


"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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