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!!

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Yet another Spring break

  Over Easter Chloe came home for her Spring Break. She brought a friend, Makayla from school to visit as well. The day they were set to arrive, Mike was in LA for Wondercon and Phoebe and Naomi set upon the state capital with their youth group for "March For our Lives". The kids who marched that day were face to face with a counter protest of a large group of "open carrying" men, wearing their AR-15's like purses. Because of this group there was a swat team with their guns at the ready on top of the state capital. In the middle was thousands of very brave young people and my daughters. I was proud of them for marching, but that was a lot of guns.
  After that day of cleaning and airport visits we all headed over to the Desert Botanical Gardens to show Makayla some of what our city has to offer.

Me and the girls at the entrance

There were a lot of sculptures on display inside by an interesting artist named Jun Kaneko.

This one was called "Untitled Head"

Visiting the gardens is always a great day. This time the butterfly aviary was open as well.

On the path near many cacti.

Naomi took a break from the sun and stepped into this wigwam, a replica of, I think,  a Hopi Indian shelter.

Anyway after Mike came home we also went to check out the Pompeii exhibit at the Arizona Science Center. This is the statue at the entrance.

The exhibit was full of interesting artifacts from the city before the volcano erupted, like this snake statue.

This is a portable furnace. I think a slave would set it up in a room with hot coals inside. It looks a lot like a foot stool, but that would be a painful mistake.

And this is a very phallic wind chime photographed from above. Phallic symbols were everywhere during this time, it was a good luck symbol. People gave them to children to wear around their necks, though ultimately not such good luck for Pompeii.

These are theater masks. Theater was a big part of their culture and one form of entertainment, another was of course the gladiators....

... And here's one of the gladiator helmets

Anyway after learning about their lives and civilization we were brought into a room that shook, filled with smoke and projected a show of the destruction of Pompeii. Then we were sent into the after part of the exhibit. The castings of the bodies...

This is a woman and child. They were found hiding in their home.

This was a guard dog.

This man was crouching by a fence. He's holding a cloth over his face to help him breathe. 

There were more, but it was pretty creepy. The most accurate casting was of a child and the skin on top of his head had been burned off. It showed a very detailed cast of his exposed skull. Apparently the people didn't run during the early earthquakes because they got earthquakes all the time. By the time ashes were raining down it was practically too late to get away on foot.

During the week I also was finishing up as Artist in Residence over at Copper Canyon Elementary. I did finally bring a camera to take pictures of the kids at work making masks

Here we have 2 dogs masks and a carnival mask made by some talented 7 year olds.

A lion mask and some creative designs.

One of the students at work on a princess mask.

And my absolute favorite, a crow by a young third grader named Nina. I'm so impressed with all these kids it was great fun to work with them!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Chalk Festivals, mask making, and animated comic books

It's official, in a few short weeks I'll be recreating my painting "Journey down the Nile" at the "Chalk it up Prescott" event as an 8'x8' sidewalk chalk image. They even have me on their website.

     Anyway, I'm pretty much over the pneumonia now and am about halfway through my residency at Copper Canyon Elementary. So far I've worked with about 100 second and third graders. For the second half I will remember to bring my camera!

     Phoebe spent last week in Missouri visiting Chloe, since it was her spring break (Everyone's spring break in this family is staggered through this month). They had a great time exploring Columbia, Missouri together.

Professor Dario Bava Pre-Launch Video 1 from Phil Mucci on Vimeo.

   Mike has been very busy as well, teaching and working on comics. This is a video to promote one of the projects he's been trying to get done before we leave for Ireland this summer. Anyway on Thursday he leaves for Anaheim, to work at Wondercon and sell things and such. Also this weekend Chloe comes home for Spring Break and is even bringing a school friend, so we'll be doing visitors from out of town stuff.  In the meantime I have mask orders to fill....

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Matsuri Fest and getting back on my feet

A couple weeks ago was the big Japanese festival downtown aka "The Matsuri Fest".

At the time I wasn't really feeling up to it, but I was tired of being home sick and trying to keep up mask orders and teaching and everything else, so we went out. Also I should mention this is the most beautiful time of year here in Phoenix and I hate missing it!!

We parked around the corner by the Science Museum and these huge bronze bug sculptures were outside. So of course we took pictures!

Some of them were attacking tiny people!

Naomi walking by the bugs.

The festival was packed as usual, but we did see this incredible Japanese drumming group perform. After the show they said they give me a free CD if I could answer their trivia question. So I gave it a shot ... "What is the capital of New York?"
 Laughing I said "Albany!" (we used to live there). So cool new CD.  

We also wandered through the bonsai area, sampled Japanese cuisine, and I just had to buy this:

It's a disposable bidet (or as the lady standing next to me proclaimed "It's a bum wash!!").

We had a good day out, but I was exhausted. The next day I found out why at the clinic. I had pneumonia. After a week of postponing obligations, canceling classes, and of course taking antibiotics. I'm starting to feel better.

Last weekend though, with my mask store offline, I decided to refurbish these bookends we bought at a thrift store.

This is before painting.

This is after painting. I went for an Alice in Wonderland feel.

They came out quite nice, I even added felt on the bottom.

Anyway I'm feeling much better and yesterday I started my Artist Residency at Copper Canyon Elementary School. I'm running mask making workshops with the children all month between my other teaching. The staff and kids were incredibly welcoming, so I'm quite excited!

Friday, February 23, 2018

The sick house

I've been sick for nearly three weeks. I wanted to pretend it was just a cold, but now I think it may be the flu.

Last weekend Phoebe had two caricature jobs for 2 nights in a row. then she had an overnight with her youth group. Then, she came home sicker than I'd seen her in a long time. I brought her to the clinic and the physician jumped up and put on a mask before she finished greeting us.

Anyway, she tested positive for strep and is on antibiotics, and now Mike was up all night vomiting! At least Naomi seems fine....

Having our new cat be missing was getting everyone down, so we wound up adopting this little kitten. His name is Gigi.

He's only 6 months old and is a ball of energy. We're so paranoid now about disappearing cats that we put a bell on him, so he jingles his way around the house all day and night.

He chases Oscar's tail a lot, so even though he's five times his size, Oscar is afraid of him (silly dog).

Hopefully these colds will pass soon. Have a great weekend to all my friends!

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!

"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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