Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Dance Show and the Science March


This last week Naomi has been going to rehearsal after rehearsal for the Spring Dance Show put on by all the dancers at her school. As it's an arts school there are a lot them, so this was a big event!


Here's Phoebe waiting for the show to start.... After this cameras had to go away till the end.



The performances were actually fabulous and the kids are really talented. It was a really entertaining night out! This is Naomi after she had changed from her costume. She had to turn it in backstage.


Yesterday while the girls were busy at their shows (Naomi dancing for the second show and Phoebe working crew at the Secret Garden again). Mike and I decided to check out the March For Science down by city hall. Because it was Earth Day we took the light rail.


Since we needed to drive our kids to various activities in the morning we missed the actual march, but we made it to the rally and festival.


There were a lot of tents with science displays and info.


This one was encouraging young people to try some science experiments.

Unfortunately this is Phoenix in April so the temperature is already 95ºF and after about 40 minutes of the rally/festival we were wiped out and hot! So we got some warm water from the "free water" truck and made our way home.  I'm glad we went out though, I need to acclimate to the hot weather, as next weekend I'm drawing at the Phoenix Chalk Art Festival!



In other news Mike's new comic, Mystery Meat, is now on sale in Japan! Here it is on the rack. YAY!









Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The list

“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

I have a list tacked to the wall in the kitchen that says "Things to do before we leave for Morocco". It's really quite long and it seems every time I cross something off I add two more things to the bottom.



I did manage however to get some things done. Most of us have gotten our vaccines (except Phoebe who never seems to have any time).  Unfortunately Mike and I had to get hep A and B jabs. These vaccines weren't available when we were kids and every night since my arms have been throbbing (though last night was much better). The typhoid we'll be taking some pills for 2 weeks prior to departure.

Also I confirmed our "riad" where we're staying in  Tétouan (see the gorgeous photo above). Phoebe studies architecture and fell in love with the photos of this place. It's right in the medina so we can go wandering through every day!

Anyway I'm trying to cross off a few things each week on my list as we're down to just 5 weeks till we leave! In the meantime Phoenix is doing it's usual warm up. We're hitting temps in the 90's again. Believe it or not it will be cooler in North Africa when we leave than it will be here.

Today I have a class to teach about painting surreal images and masks to complete for clients here and abroad. Have a fabulous week!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Revisiting the Secret Garden

   For quite some time now Phoebe has been busy working backstage doing makeup and pushing around sets on a local production of "The Secret Garden"at Valley Youth Theater.  Just this weekend the show has finally opened, so Naomi and I went together on Sunday to check it out.


The theater was packed with little girls in pretty dresses. We had pretty good seats though.


This production was the musical one. There is also a play version that I worked on a few years ago. I was curious to see how they were different.


   This is the opening set, after this no pictures allowed, but it opened with an incredible scene of all the people dying of cholera, and introduces all the ghosts that haunt the main characters throughout the musical.  I should say it was astonishing how completely different the musical version was. 

First of all there was not just a few songs, they were singing throughout. In fact there was hardly any speaking. They had ghost characters everywhere, acting out scenes from the past intermingled with the present. In the play the dead characters are referred to, but they are dead and not in the show. It created such a spooky and haunting atmosphere. 

The cast from The Secret Garden (the play)

      In the play there are SO many animal characters and there were literally none in this production. It was amazing to see how the same story, and source material was a charming little play full of animals in one show, and spooky gothic opera in another. Not to say we didn't enjoy it, we did. The cast was amazing, and I loved the sets! Phoebe's clearly having a great time being part of it.

   Anyway this week I'm swamped again with work making masks for a show in Austria and a film in NY.  Today I'm bringing Naomi in for her typhoid vaccine for our trip to Morocco which is getting closer every day. Happy Monday!







Thursday, April 6, 2017

TBT: Keeping them alive.

Phoebe in 2003

                       In the last 24 hours I bought a new mac laptop (with our last dollars) and shipped it to my panicked daughter at college, who's crappy Chrome book has punked out during finals.  Picked up my high schooler and middle schooler from school at 4pm and drove from North Phoenix to way downtown Phoenix in rush hour traffic to get Phoebe (the one in high school) to the Valley Youth Theater where she stays until 10:30pm at night working on crew for their musical "The Secret Garden". At 10:30pm, in a daze, I picked her up to a litany of complaints. "You weren't supposed to come inside to get me", "I didn't get any homework done and I'll have to stay up till 2am!" 

         Kids are work. All the time. In the beginning it's all about getting through that minute, that hour, that day. In the winter of 2003, Phoebe had a cold. Then her congestion seemed to get better, and then it got worse. A lot worse, so we brought her to the doctor. He saw her in the office and told us it's nothing to worry about then he sent us on our way. The next morning I had a book signing/event for my children's book at a library 4 hours from our house. That sounds like a long distance, but we lived in the Catskill mountains in New York, 45 minutes from just about everything.
I read my story to a massive group of 90 kids, ran an activity and signed books. Then they told me another group as coming in in an hour, so I called home to check in. Mike was a wreck. Phoebe was struggling to breathe and we had only one car, the one I was driving. I apologized and ran out of there. I drove through the crazy Bronx traffic up to the mountains and all the way home. 
               
         She wasn't blue, but she looked bad. Really bad. I grabbed her and drove in to the hospital, while Mike stayed home with our preschooler. The whole drive there I talked to her "Keep breathing, baby, Mommy loves you!" She was barely responsive. I paced the waiting room in the ER for 40 minutes, till they finally saw her and then promptly admitted her. She had pneumonia and yes, she nearly died. 

             The first night was awful. I was stuck in my heels and little black dress with a lingering cold of my own and 2 months pregnant. Nights in the hospital are misery, as most people know, nurses come in and out all night.  Finally the next morning our only neighbors agreed to bring Mike and Chloe  ( my preschooler ) in to see us. He brought me clothes and I gave him the car. 

Phoebe 2 weeks after getting discharged.


   By the end of the week when she was discharged, both Phoebe and I were a thousand times better, but poor Chloe came down a stomach flu and spent the next week vomiting and becoming alarmingly thin. Then that was over too. Back then it was all about keeping them alive. 

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Dragon Boats and an art show


Last week Chloe was home for spring break, so we headed down to Tempe Town Lake to check out the Dragon Boat Festival. 


I know very little about Dragon boat racing but it seemed that teams came from as far as Canada to race here last Sunday.


Here you can see the teams lined up to race.


There were a variety of interesting food stands. Phoebe picked up this Filipino treat called a halo halo. It was surprisingly good with a little of everything in it!


It was a beautiful day but REALLY hot and sunny so before too long we headed back...


Last week was also Phoebe's big art show at school.


This is Phoebe's building project.



Her blue Saber Tooth Tiger.


Chloe looking at art.


Phoebe's texture project. She had many more art pieces in the show and was one of a handful of kids who sold art that night. The show was pretty impressive, but it is an art high school. :)


Yesterday, Chloe flew back to Missouri to finish off the semester. Here she is having a coffee at the airport cafe....


In the meantime I finished up this custom mask of a green alien rabbit from Star Wars...


The cosplayer who commissioned it was pretty excited. It's always nice to hear from happy customers. 

In other news, Mike is currently in California for Wondercon and he's coming home tonight! Yay!













Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Rat Factory

The last five days I've been fairly miserable with the most incredibly sore throat, fever and now a cough that won't stop, however I keep at it here in my studio. This week the mask orders have piled up like a second Halloween and I'm of course very busy making rat hats.


These rats are for a production of "Coraline" To be performed by a ballet company in London.


As you can see they have red crystal eyes. All the rats in this picture have already been shipped to London.



From my design you can see that they have a pocket on top of their heads for a soul (the ball) that the dancers present to Coraline at the end of the dance.



The lead dancer will be wearing this rat mask. The ears are detached because they will be fixed to a top hat for the performance.


I'm making 13 head dresses and each one fits a specific dancer.


This is one of the labels I use while it's in progress. While I make each rat I'll refer to them by name. Such as "Flora needs her eyes painted" or "Grace's ears are drying"...


...Or "Oh yes, Sonia over there is still in pieces".

Anyway I have shipped the mask and the first 3 head dresses 5 more are in various stages around my desk. That leaves 5 I haven't even started.... It's going to be a long month!

In other news- today marks 10 YEARS since my very first post on this blog. Everything was different then... Take a look!


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Vegan Food Festival



On Saturday we headed out to the Vegan Food Festival down the street.
It was strange as a vegetarian to go somewhere that we could literally eat anything at any food seller.




Naomi was quite happy as well, as she's our resident vegan.




The festival was packed with people. When we arrived, about an hour after it started, most places were out their free samples.




Fortunately it was a beautiful day.




On the walk home we found an amazing park with this statue of jumping children. I was amazed that they were off the ground. It's almost a floating statue (just one or 2 of the kids are touching) and it creates an amazing illusion.




Naomi and I in the park on the way home.  As you can see I tried something new with this post, using Facebook images. I'm not sure if it's better.

The Lion King job has finally ended and now I'm on to the next. My new job is for a production of Coraline, to be performed by a ballet company in London. I'm making black rat head dresses with red crystal eyes for the dancers to wear. It's a tight deadline so March is bound to fly by!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Finishing The Lion King




The last couple of weeks I've been working hard on lion head dresses and shipping them off to New York. This is my Simba head dress.


                           Scar, Young Simba and Queen Sarabi on the table and in progress.


This is the Scar head dress finished and ready to ship.


Another picture of Scar. 


This is the Young Simba head dress after painting.


Here it is finished.


And Queen Sarabi (Simba's Mother)-is almost ready to ship as well.


It's been a rather intense few weeks trying to get all these in for tech week, but the last go out on Tuesday. 

In other news I've been featured in the Arizona Artist a Day blog!! You can check it out here.

Also I had a panicky time this week where I was having a rapid heart beat and pain in my arm, so in my dazed fatigue (it was 2:30am) I rushed off to the ER only to discover my heart is fine (phew!), though they did dose me with morphine for my pain (crazy stuff).

Today it is raining, which is not so common here in Phoenix so I like to bring it up whenever it's happening, which is why if you read my blog you'd think this is the wettest desert you've ever heard of. :) Anyway have a great holiday weekend if you're in the US (if not Happy Sunday!)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

The perfect time of year and work, work, work



As far as I'm concerned this is an amazing time of year. The weather in the city is a bit chilly in the morning (it never is in the summer), and then by afternoon I wear a light sweater outside, but if I forget it, that's okay too. 
Last night Mike and I took a walk with the dog up Roosevelt street during First Friday. It becomes a festival with musicians strategically placed on the sidewalks and food vendors and artists, and of course college students everywhere. It was fantastic and we even made it back to our car just before they towed it (phew!). I thought to myself why does this time of year zip past and we hardly get out of the house, and then I remembered all the work piling up in my studio. Work. Right.


At the moment I'm filling quite a large commission for a production of "The Lion King" in NY. As you can see here are 2 more head dresses in progress. I'm also getting quite a few regular mask orders as Mardi Gras is inching closer. 


I'm also in the midst of illustrating a children's book called "Hockey Toes" by writer Sharon Enck, and teaching 3 classes.
... And just because I have piles of work doesn't mean I'm not applying and submitting for various opportunities. Just this week I applied for a 2018 residency in France (fingers crossed) and to be a featured artist at the chalk festival in Phoenix.
Mike has also got a very full slate and it looks like his teaching job at the Academy of Art in San Francisco will be expanding. So that's pretty exciting!

The girls are full swing in their various classes at school. Recently Naomi went out to the World Wildlife Zoo with her 7th grade class. I had hoped she'd have some photos I could share here, but all I've gotten was a text from her after she arrived saying she just spotted a monkey's penis. I guess we'll have to go for ourselves if we want some pictures.  


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Masks, a head dress and a search for the typhoid vaccine

Chloe has already gone back to school in Missouri. Her last day in Phoenix was a hectic one, as she hadn't really packed at all, but I'd made her an appointment at the Walgreens on the corner to get her vaccine for our trip to Morocco. She wasn't sure yet about coming home on Spring Break so I wanted her ready to go when she arrived home before our trip in May.

It sounded like a good idea. She has a quick appointment then gets her typhoid vaccine and home again to pack and get ready.....But all good plans.... Anyway upon arrival she had forgotten her ID, so a quick trip home and back was the very first step. Then it turns out they like to prescribe the oral vaccine which is taken every other day for 3 days and is stored in a fridge, except she was leaving on a plane in the morning, so that won't work. The clinic nurse prescribed a shot to be given at a pharmacy across town (that Walgreens didn't have it). So we got on the road to next Walgreens. Upon arrival we learn that while they have the typhoid shot in stock, the pharmacist there isn't certified to give it to her. After much waiting and many phone calls we are sent off the Scottsdale to a pharmacy there. Now it was inching towards rush hour so getting there took a good long while but once arrived she was whisked to back and voila!! Chloe won't get typhoid!! (She did get a sore arm however.)

Phoebe and Naomi are also back in school of course. Though it's a slow start with the holiday weekend last week and I've been busy with many mask commissions.


This is an in progress photo of a head dress I made for Nala for a production of "The Lion King"



Here it is finished. I sculpted it attached to a baseball hat, but still had to add a strap. They may want me to work on more head dresses, but I'm still waiting to hear.


This is a cow skull mask I'm still working on for a film in California. It's mostly finished, but the director wants some changes on the horns. I've also been filling tons of other orders and illustrating a children's book called "Hockey Toes" (I'll share some images soon.). Next week I go back to my teaching schedule as well.

The weather here is gorgeous however and we've managed to take some great hikes with the dog around the city.  This is one of the best times of the year in Phoenix, so I hate to spend it all at my desk! Anyway, Happy Wednesday!
"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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