Thursday, August 29, 2013

Painting "snail #1"

As you may recall (in my last post) I was just starting to paint this guy....



As you can see he's a lovely pink color.  Anyway that's no good, so I started working on making the shell more.....ummm, shell like....


I also painted his light bulbs, I mean eyes, to look like eyes.


This is the other side.  It was nice painting indoors on the kitchen table with the a/c going, but the green paint was for the centipede sculpture and shouldn't be used inside, so out to the patio I went.


Here I am adding the green.


It certainly made him look more snail-like.


It was a lot more unpleasant to paint on the patio in August, compared to February.


Anyway it started getting dark (you can tell as my camera's taking fuzzy pictures), so this is where I stopped.

This is after I finished yesterday morning.


As you can see I added a bunch of highlights.


Another monsoon blew through here last night so now he's stowed away for safe keeping, while I prepare to build the second snail.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our first Haboob, the first snail takes shape, and Naomi is 10!



Yesterday evening a massive dust storm rolled into Phoenix.  The sky went from blue to brown in an instant.  The wind picked up and the palm trees bowed and, as my neighbor puts it, "The clay rose to the heavens".

 Minutes later warm, brown drops of rain began to fall and I rushed outside to save my snail, who's been making progress in the last few days...


These are his eyes (reusing light bulbs) and tail, drying in the sun.


Here he is drying after adding the wire to attach him to the tree.


Starting to resemble a snail...


And after a pink base coat.  He needs lots more painting, though.

This weekend Naomi turned 10 and she had quite a celebration at Peter Piper's pizza.  She also made her own cake (from scratch) and decorated it herself....


3 layers!


Needless to say, she had a great time.


This machine was paying out.


All the kids had a blast.

This morning was a stressful one when Naomi (who bikes to school) got trapped in the parking gate as it was closing.  My neighbor came along with her car and freed her. Everyone who witnessed it was horrified including my middle schooler who couldn't stop crying. Anyway,  Naomi's okay, but a bit scraped up and is taking it easy today.  

Yesterday was our radio show "Art of the Red River".  We had some incredible guests from all across the country.  You can listen in here!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Building a snail, a wet cat and other random moments



This week I began my work on building the first snail for the "Hanging Gardens, Woven Fences" festival in October.


I began by using paper mache on this old beach ball (all the art in the festival must be recycled).


....And believe it or not this is part of his head drying upside down in a bowl (it will look more like a head later. )


This is Isabella after a bath.  She was most pathetic.


Chloe turned 15 last week-She had quite the weekend with swimming, a sleepover, and an amusement park.. (And,yes, that fruit tart was very tasty!)



Last week was also  a back to school open house over at the Middle School. We went around and listened to Phoebe's teachers talk about stuff (mostly school related stuff).  I drew this picture while we sat through math (some things never change).  During the social studies class Mike flipped through the textbook.  Later he told me he learned the meaning of the Australian phrase "It's a three dog night".  Apparently they're saying it's cold enough that you need at least 3 dogs to stay warm.  Dogs are outstanding.


Friday, August 9, 2013

The 4th Day of School, the snails and the centipede



Here it is!! All three girls on their fourth day of school! (Yes, I forgot on the first day, got lazy on the second, and felt bad about it on the third).  Anyway it's kind of difficult, as they get up at different times and go off in different directions to 3 different schools.  Naomi on the right is about to hop on her bike. Phoebe's running out the front door to catch her bus, and Chloe gets driven by us downtown.  I put Chloe on the carpool list in the hopes that I'd be able to split the driving with someone.  All that happened is that now I drive another girl from around the corner as well, but at least her mom's paying me gas money, and money is always good.  The only problem is that this kid is NOT a talker so twice a day it's a fifteen minute ride in nervous silence.  I've tried talking and so has Chloe, but now we just play music.

Today I picked up this guy from the Middle School library where he's been on extended loan....


He took a tumble during the hanging process so I'm going to repair him and see if I can get him into a consignment gallery downtown.  I'm also starting on a new sculpture this weekend....


I'm making some big snails for a festival on Grand street next October.  I probably won't be making this many.  But it should be fun, as the whole project needs to be created from recycled materials.  I have a couple of old beach balls and light bulbs for eyes.  I also have a new recipe for paper mache I've been dying to try out!



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Pieces of the past and school begins

My father's first boyfriend was a man named Bruno. He was attractive and in his mid-twenties or a well preserved 30.  Their relationship ended abruptly when Bruno took a trip to Boston and emptied my Dad's bank account.  This resulted in two things for me....

1.  My father came out of the closet to me on the eve of my flight to San Diego to spend the summer with Mike and his parents. At that time I'd only met them once before- briefly in a cafe on the upper west side of Manhattan.

2. I took out my first student loan of several, to finish school.

This is a fragment from my old journal that turned up.  It was from my twentieth year while I was attending the School of Visual Arts in NYC.  It's not much fun when the past comes up, like yesterday's lunch filling up your mouth unwelcome and unpleasant.

Anyway, the good news is my kids started school on Monday.  Unfortunately I didn't get any good pictures.  Maybe I'll take a fourth day of school picture tomorrow. This weekend is Chloe's 15th birthday, so we're scrambling to get a celebration organized.

This is one of my circle paintings that I created this week, currently on eBay...

"Hair Crows" by Carolyn Watson Dubisch





Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Heard Museum and the hot wind

 Last Sunday we finally made it to The Heard Museum, the only museum of it's kind in the United States.  A museum of aboriginal peoples, mostly of Native American peoples.

It's a fascinating place and is a usual destination of anyone who visits this region.

It's full of things that you'd expect to see in a museum about Native Americans.

 But some things took me more by surprise.

Like this guy... Wasn't he in "Adventure Time" on Cartoon Network?


The display on the "Indian Boarding Schools" was disturbing to say the least.  In the east we solved "The Indian Problem" by giving them blankets of smallpox and then marching them west (like with the Cherokees).  Once settled in the west, the government took their children.  They vowed it was to "educate" them and brought them to schools in Phoenix (and other locations).  They cut their hair and shut them off from their tribes and families for years.


Another twisted story from the history of this country.



There were many amazing looking sculptures in the courtyards.


...And there were many courtyards.

Serene looking spots that seemed perfect for sitting and drawing or writing, but the heat is too much this time of year, so visitors would just quickly cut across them in search of an entry to a different section of the building.


I was drawn in by this showcase in particular.  It reminded me of when I lived in Bariloche, Argentina. Often I would see aboriginal women, from Bolivia I think, wearing native woolen dresses and strapped on their backs were what looked like rolled blankets.  It wasn't until I was standing next to one of these women while waiting for a bus that I realized there was a baby in there. The baby was crying  from inside the blanket roll and she was swaying back and forth in a motion that is familiar to mothers all over the world.  I have no idea how she managed to get that baby on her back, as I couldn't even manage not getting tangled in a baby sling when my girls were small.

This baby carrier even came with a little dream catcher.


I really enjoyed this mural in progress.

In fact all of the contemporary Indian art made the Heard Museum more interesting than I'd ever expected.  In fact, we'll probably be back sometime.

 Late last night as I set out with the dog for his nighttime walk, I was blasted, instantly with the hot wind.  While I pushed my way through this scorching onslaught, with my hair coming untied and flying in my face, I began to realized that I felt exactly no cooling effect from this blast, it still felt just like 100ºF.  It was because I wasn't sweating.  One of the many benefits of the fabulous dry heat with low humidity is that you don't sweat unless doing something strenuous.... Which makes the wind just a bunch of hot air.

In other news I took out my 2 youngest kids out for school supplies.  They were both flabbergasted by the fall display in the next aisle, full of jack-o-lanterns and faux autumn leaves twisted into wreaths.  Here in Arizona it's a real slap in the face, because we're so far from when it cools off.  In fact we have three more months of these temperatures!
"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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