Friday, September 30, 2011

Coming soon... Nunsense!

I've made some steady progress on the sets for "Nunsense". This is the bed frame for Sandra Dee's room (remember it uses the sets from "Grease)...

 Phoebe (and both the other girls) have helped a lot!!

I've also been working on the menu for the wall behind the lunch counter...
This is the design I sketched at home.

Painting it on the wall, while standing on an uneven chair.
This is it still in progress.

And it's done!

Today I paint the window on the wall behind Sandra Dee's bed, and then next week is the HUGE backdrop!  Then the show opens.... Panicked?  No not me.

Later today I'll be teaching my drawing and illustration class.  All three girls are coming with, because Mike's out of town.  He's at "The Alternative Press Expo" in San Francisco doing important things.  I miss him though.


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Red River Radio presents...

September is our month of book illustration tomorrow on Art of The Red River!  Our first guest will be Matt Tavares an author and illustrator of numerous children's books.  His first picture book, Zachary's Ball won an Oppenheim Gold Seal Award, a Massachusetts Book Award Honor, and was named one of Yankee Magazine's 40 Classic New England Children's Books. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of American Illustration at the Society of Illustrators, the Brandywine River Museum, and the Mazza Museum of Picture Bok Art. His books have won many awards, 3 Parents' Choice Gold Awards, a Parents' Choice Silver Honor, 3 Oppenheim Gold Seal Awards, an International Reading Association Children's Book Award, and an Orbis Pictus Award for Oustanding Nonfiction for Children.  We're thrilled to have him on the show. Matt lives with his family in Maine.

 The next guests on the show will be Beck and Frank from "Tiny Kitten Teeth". Tiny Kitten Teeth is a hand painted online comic that currently updates a couple times a week.  They are also the creators of "Tiger Buttah" a hand painted all-ages book inspired by Golden Books.  Our other published work includes anthology contributions to Popgun Vol. 3 & 4 (Image Comics), You Ain’t No Dancer Vol. 3 (New Reliable Press) and Discovered (Top Shelf). Becky is a graduate of Savannah College of Art & Design in Sequential Art and Frank is a graduate from Griffith University in Media Communications. After living in New Zealand for quite some time they have recently moved to Los Angeles, CA.


    Our final guest is artist/illustrator Nick Gucker. Nick  has been involved with comics, story boarding, painting and illustrating with a focus on horror and the Lovecraftian genre since graduating from The Art Institute of Seattle. In 2010 Nick became one of the many tentacled appendages of Strange Aeons magazine, working as the sole staff artist. Recent collaborations include illustrations for a comic and a short story with Los Angeles-based writer and raconteur Cody Goodfellow, artwork for a story by Sci-Fi mythos writer David Conyers for Perilous Press. Originally from Alaska, he currently lives with his wife Denise in Seattle, Washington.

Tomorrow's show should be great! Join us at 12:00pm central time for "Art of The Red River"!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lovecraft and blue men

Last weekend was the H.P. Lovecraft film festival at the Warner Grand Theater in Los Angeles.


This is a really cool poster that's hard to see thanks to my lame photography skills.  We raced up to L.A. after we picked up Chloe from school on Friday at 2:30pm. We arrived at our hotel at 6pm (this drive usually takes 2-3 hours) to discover that even though we booked a room for 5 people there were only 4 places to sleep and they refused us a roll away bed!


Mike was a guest at the festival and his art was shown as slides between films.  Here he is selling his art and books .  Though it doesn't look it this was actually a pretty crowded event.


After spending a lot of time in the "Green Room" eating the complimentary food for guests, and playing cards. I managed to get the girls to come for a walk around town with me.  Naomi found a skull. 

A dinosaur lurked beyond this gate.

The festival was great but exhausting.  Especially the part where we took turns sleeping on the floor.  And the part where my kids were so tired they woke each other up to fight and yell some more. That was the worst night in a hotel in recent memory.

On Monday was Mike's 40th so we thought we'd do something special...


In these lousy pictures we are posing in front of  the poster for "The Blue Man Group".  Which was an amazing extravaganza and if you have never seen them... GO!  


The Civic Theater downtown is a great venue. Mike and the kids are studying the massive chandelier before the show. Happy Birthday Mike!


This week I've continued to work on the sets for "Nunsense" which is opening horrifyingly soon!


As you can see I've started on Sandra Dee's bed frame.  Time's running out and yes, I'm a little panicked.

Today I start teaching art again through an afterschool program at a local elementary school.  They gave me a curriculum... I'm changing it (yes, I have permission), but seriously, lesson one is drawing 3 different kinds of lines!!  Forget that we're doing cartooning.


Today my heart goes out to our friend and team mate from the US Open Sandcastle Competiton , Kristen Clark Magnus, who was bitten by a baby rattlesnake in her garage yesterday.  She was kept overnight at the hospital for treatment.  Speedy recovery Kristen!!



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

More sets and props for Nunsense!

Now that the kids are in school I'm trying to catch up on my work. For "Nunsense" I painted this sign for the entrance where the audience comes in...

It will look better on the easel.

I also designed this layout for the backdrop.  

Yesterday I started painting this lunch counter.

Phoebe was helping me. This was built by Ray Evans.  It's still not finished though.

I also wrote two more articles for the Examiner.  I wrote a review called "Art Underwater" about the Art Glass exhibit at the Chula Vista Nature Center (which is an excellent day trip if you are in San Diego), 
and I reported on the Contemporary Art Fair we went to over Labor Day weekend (which you can see here).

Anyway, this weekend, Mike is a guest up at the Lovecraft Film Festival in L.A., so we'll be up there for a few days.  The kids are excited to get away! (I think I am too) :)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Taking down the towers

On February 26 1993, I lived on the Upper West side of NYC (E103rd St to be exact).  On this day I was oblivious to most of the world.  It was ancient times before internet and iphones, but we did have cable TV.  Well, the world had cable TV, not us.  Outside our building stood José, the super for our new apartment building and the reason for our utter cluelessness.  We'd just moved in a few weeks earlier and promptly arranged a cable hookup.  The day before the appointment we noticed José standing alone on the sidewalk with a cardboard sign announcing his strike.  At the time his scrawled sign and lonely presence seemed comical until the next day, when the cable company refused to enter the building and cross his "picket line".  So no, we had no idea the World Trade Center had been bombed until hours later when Mike's parents had called in a panic to see if we were "Ok."

In the beginning of 1994 we left NYC, moved to upstate NY and said goodbye to José (who for some reason thought we were now moving back to our own country).  We were still living upstate eight years later on Sept.11, 2001.  I was 7 months pregnant with my second child and painting in my studio, in our little house on the mountain, when my sister called.
"Turn on the T.V."
"What? Why?"
"Just do it."
Then I shared my afternoon (and evening) with millions of Americans, doing the exact same thing.  Glued to the T.V.  Running through an inventory of friends and family in NYC who may be in danger. Then waiting for that one phone call that said.
"She's okay.  She transferred out of the World Trade Center office to the uptown one just 2 weeks ago."

In the days that followed so many people I knew traveled three hours south to volunteer. Meanwhile I was turned away from donating blood (no one can use the blood of a seven month pregnant woman even if it is type O+), and even though the air in downtown Manhattan was white and gritty it was "perfectly safe".

Of course everything changed.  I lived on the far side of the reservoir, that supplied water to NYC.  Now the bridge was closed and the remote, and isolated mountain lake had patrols 24 hours a day.  My 35 minute drive to the hospital to deliver my baby was now over an hour as we wove through the back roads around the massive lake.  But, I didn't lose anyone when the towers fell.  I didn't decide on a new noble profession like doctor, or firefighter.  I just watched with sadness and shock as the world changed around us all.

Friday, September 9, 2011

The shortest week


 School began on Tuesday in the rain. It seemed cooler outside so I pushed some hooded jackets on the kids and sent them off.  By noon the rain stopped and the temperature spiked.  A record high here and in the hot and humid afternoon we picked up three hot and sweaty kids from school. They all were happy though, despite the fact that Chloe's middle school has 100 more students than last year and Phoebe's class is has a whopping 36 kids in it. This year the only complaint was the heat.

Which lingered into the next day... And the next.  As temperatures spiked, here and in Mexico and out into the desert, air conditioning was cranked across the region (not in my house though, ours is broken).  Which means of course a BLACKOUT!  Yesterday around 3pm the power blew. 

Here at our condominium complex people sat by the pool reading books, talking to each other, and playing cards and mancala.  All the kids jumped in for a swim and one neighbor gave them glow sticks.  Like everyone else we rummaged around in the cabinets for dinner, looking for things that don't need cooking, now that the public grill has been removed.  This place became an actual community!  I couldn't believe it!

 At 9:00pm last night (and again at 6:00am this morning) we received a call from San Diego School District.  All schools will be closed Friday due to the power outage.We spent the evening in candle light, and went to our very hot beds.  After finally drifting off our fan burst to life at 2:00am, signaling the restoring of our power and the end of the "crisis".  Oh well, back nodding to our neighbors as we pass them in the hall. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day weekend

As the weekend winds down and we prepare for a new school year I thought I'd share some our latest adventures...


We witnessed some amazing kite flying in the Seaport Village by the bay.


Discovered these froggy friends by a gallery in the Seaport village.


And ended the evening with some excellent pizza after a spin on the carousel.


On Saturday we took the girls and their friends to a Contemporary Art Fair on the bay front.


The art show was incredible. This head is a house that you can go inside of.  The kids all took turns and rang the little bell (that was also shaped like a head).



The ceiling looked like seashells (this was huge!).



This is a famous series of paintings of La Boca, in Buenos Aires by an Argentine artist, Poupée tessio. At this part of the exhibit the gallery had a big plate of flower cut watermelon out and all the kids lined up to stare at it.  The lady smiled and cheerfully offered the kids some.  It was such a departure from the underlying hostility we get from so many art museums and galleries that panic at the sight of children, but of course, she was from Argentina!


After the art show they had a drumming demonstration on the lawn by the waterfront.


Once the kids were all trained on the drums they did a big parade with puppets and kites!  All in all a pretty good outing. :)


Monday was the last day before school began so to distract the kids from this horrifying reality (as they put it) we spent the day at the Chula Vista Nature Center. Here's everyone (except me) before boarding the shuttle bus.


On display was their "Art Aquatic" exhibit.  Which as you can see here was some beautiful art glass worked into the fish tanks.

 Here we have "Mrs Puff".... ((Sorry stupid Spongebob Square pants))  :P

"Nemo" (Ok-I watch too many cartoons.)

Find the eel.
  I can't help but post pictures of jellyfish.
The girls with a very active snake.


Naomi studies the art glass with fish display.
The big sting rays with sharks tank was in a separate building.
Phoebe finds a place to nest... er, rest, I mean.
Loved these sea turtles.
Hiking into the marsh in the rain.
Near the raptors outside the center. It was a gloomy last day of summer, but my kids love the rain. 
Hope you all had an excellent Labor Day weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.....Last days of summer!

For the last week or so we've been trying to squeeze in some vacation like activities, even though Mike has a mad deadline.  Yesterday we brought the kids to the beach....

 This is Ocean Beach around 5pm.  (Yes, I bring my kids to the beach an hour or two before sunset).
Even at five the sun was pretty intense.
The girls went in the ocean and the sand!

Naomi attempted to build a sea wall.


After the beach the girls changed their clothes in the nasty beach bathrooms and we headed up the street into the town, (where there just happened to be a street festival making dinner super convenient!)
 
I've been busy buying up back to school items for the kids this week.  I took each kid out one at a time so I could think straight.  In the end though, this just meant I had to do three mega shopping trips instead of one.  Next year -different plan.
 
I just had another Examiner article published this week here! 
-It's about some of the amazing library programs we've been attending, and will attend this fall!
 
This week my thoughts have been with our friends and family on the east coast as they clean up from the massive mess of Hurricane Irene.  Fortunately no one I know was hurt, but flooding near our old house in Greenville, NY was very bad, and many people lost cars, businesses, and homes.  Much of the contents of our old house are still in storage in Greenville , but we have no news on it's status.  The good news is that the house in Maine just had some branches down, so that's quite a relief.
 
This is the first year that all three of my kids are upset about school starting.  Maybe I'll take them to that giant puppet parade this weekend. :)
 







"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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