Monday, December 29, 2008

The New Year Approaches

Today was another day spent creating new monotypes. I did not have a particularly productive day. Some days you just don't have the "spark". Today was like that for me. To be honest, I think today I had the "uglies". Everything I did seemed ugly. Which, of course, is not a nice feeling. I do think there might be one monotype that I like, but then again, maybe not. It's okay. I still am glad I got a chance to be in the studio. You never know what might come out of days like today. I have also noticed that sometimes at the end of the day I hate everything I did, but when I go back in a day or two, I find that the work is better than I thought. So maybe that's what will happen. I hope. I hope.

The holiday for me was fun. A little quiet. My husband is gone until January 7th, and no celebration is quite the same without him. I was fortunate to have friends who invited me to celebrate with them, so I wasn't completely alone. I don't mind being alone, actually. I get my best art done when I have alone time. It's good to have friends, too. I will never complain about friends!!! I think it's hard for others to understand how valuable my solitude is to me. I seem to need the quiet in order to really find the deep parts of my creativity. It is hard to explain, but I really have to climb into myself. (if that makes any sense)

Here is another monotype from last week. It measures 8 x 10 inches, and so far the title is "Three Gold Spheres". I might change the title.

I am not feeling eloquent, so I will put an end to this post. Maybe tomorrow the words (and the good art) will flow like water from a spring.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Monotype Printmaking

I am happy, because yesterday I got to spend the day with my friend Shant's printing press once more!!! I just love making monotypes. For those of you who are new to my blog, or don't know about monotypes, I will give you a quick overview. A monotype is essentially a cross between painting and printmaking. Each monotype is a one-of-a-kind original piece of art. The artist will paint on a non-porous surface, like a plexiglass plate. Once the plate looks the way the artist wants it to look, a sheet of dampened paper is placed on top of the plate. Pressure is applied to the paper and plate. (I use a printer's press, which you can see a photo of here.) I am currently using a smaller press than the one in the photo, but it is a similar idea. The pressure of the press causes textures and effects that would be impossible through paint alone. Once the print is dry, it can be reworked with pastel, watercolor or oil paint. I usually use pastel. The plate can be run through the press again, but much less ink will be on the plate, and the second print will be much lighter and very different from the first one. This second print is usually called a "ghost". Because the plate (or matrix) is not carved or etched, there are no editions like there would be with an etching or wood block. The word "mono" means "one".

What I love about monotypes is the spontaneity. It seems to suit my impulsive nature. Here is one of the prints I did yesterday. It is small, measuring only 5 x 7 inches. I titled it "Wheels".

The snow is pretty much completely melted now. Even though it was beautiful, I am not sad that it's gone. I guess maybe I got enough of snow while living in Colorado. I was told that snow is not that uncommon here, but what was unusual was that it lingered for so long. It took almost a week before it melted. I am waiting for my 80 degrees and sunshine to return. It was sunny today, but only reached 52 degrees. I am still wearing two sweaters in the house. I really have become a desert lizard, cold-blooded and in need of a warm rock to sit upon!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow the Next Day

Here are some more photos from yesterday. The snow is melting, but not as quickly as I thought it would. It was only 26 degrees when I woke up this morning! Am I sure this is Southern California??? No. I mean, I guess it is.

The snow looks so wonderful and sparkly in the sun.

Oh, and graduate school. Well, I have been thinking of getting my MFA in studio art (painting) for a while now. I can't seem to make up my mind, one way or another. Sometimes, I really want to do it, sometimes, I really don't want to do it. Finally, at the suggestion of my husband, I decided I would apply to some schools, and see if I actually get accepted. If I get accepted, I can still decide NOT to go, but I can also decide to go. Is it some kind of mental disorder that I can't make this decision? Three years just seems like a really long time. And of course the money is a bit daunting. And yes, Priya, I do have an undergraduate degree in art. The thing a Master's degree would do for me is it would enable me to teach art at the college level. That would be fun. So, we shall see.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Snow in the High Desert

When we moved here, a little over one year ago, I was told it did snow here. More than once. Coming from Colorado, however, I guess maybe I didn't believe them. I mean, this is Southern California, for cryin' out loud!! This is the desert!!! I figured it maybe snowed like an inch and then melted right away. Something. Well, today, we have had snow ALL DAY LONG. Wet, heavy snow. And it's still snowing!!! It's really quite beautiful, even though a part of me is still in denial that it snows in Southern California in the desert.

Pono thinks the snow is just great. He bounds around in it, and then when he gets tired, he just lays right down. He also has fun when we make snowballs for him to catch, which he catches and ends up with a mouthful of snow. He doesn't seem to mind. I love watching him in the snow.

Here is a photo of our cactus this morning, and you can see this afternoon it was a much different story. I am sad to say that we lost one of our new trees. The top half of it broke from the weight of the snow. We have been going outside to shake off the snow from the new trees probably every hour, but we didn't get out there early enough to save this one poor tree. We also lost one of our Joshua Trees to the heavy snow. That makes me a little sad, but I am so glad for the moisture! This is a reminder that even good things aren't without their share of sorrow.

I am busy, filling out applications for graduate school. I am not entirely convinced I am going to actually ATTEND grad school, but I figured I would apply, and then if I get accepted I can make my real decision.

I hope you are all enjoying this winter evening. I am. Staring out the window at the snow which is still coming down, shaking my head in continued disbelief.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Not much to say

Hi Everyone. I am sitting at my laptop, looking out at the night sky and this amazing full moon. I can't seem to focus on anything else but that moon, and even these words are typed with many interruptions, so that I can look at it again. What is it about the moon, anyway? I love it. I love it in all stages, but when it is full it seems to lay a claim on me that is inexplicable.

I haven't posted much lately, mainly because I don't feel like I have much to share of interest. I haven't been doing any art that I want to share. I haven't been taking any photos. Maybe I am just waiting for the days to lengthen and the year to turn over. I really can't say. I just decided I should touch base with you all tonite to say hi. I miss you. I love your comments. I read your blogs (for those blogging souls among you.)

I don't think this brief post is complete without an image of some kind. So I leave you with an old photo. This is a favorite monotype I did while we still lived in Colorado. It is 7 x 5 inches, and I called it "Opulence". Happy weekend!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Cowboys in Vegas

Matthias and I went up to Las Vegas last week, because his motorcycle was finally fixed and ready for him. We took Mr. Pono with us, because it's getting to the point where he gets so traumatized when we leave him with the pet sitter. (Even though I know he loves her - he just hates being left behind.) Pono is a really good traveler, and mostly just sleeps in the car. Plus, we found an inexpensive hotel room that takes dogs. Pono was a really good dog in the hotel room, although he did bark at a drunk guy that made too much noise in the hallway. Who can blame him for that? I was proud of him.

We did go to our favorite hotel, Southpoint, because we like the breakfast buffet there. When we got there, the parking lot was packed full of big diesel trucks, and there were cowboys in wranglers all over the place. As it turns out, the 50th Annual Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was taking place. Southpoint has an equestrian arena inside of it, and during the first weekend of the National Finals Rodeo, there was a horse sale at the equestrian arena. Walking into the hotel felt to me like walking into my past. I grew up in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and cowboys ran rampant there. It very comfortable for me, being around all of those cowboy hats!

Breakfast was delicious, as it usually is, and we were glad we stopped. It was fun people watching, with all of the cowboys there. One thing I noticed about the women was that they were sparkly. They either had sparkles on their belts, on their purses, or their shirts, or for some, all of the above. The women were not as likely to be wearing cowboy boots, which is something I found interesting. Personally, I love cowboy boots. (I have two pairs!) Of course, I am nothing more than a poser, since I have never lived on a ranch or had a horse. My sisters and I did ride horses in South Dakota, growing up, and I did learn how to barrel race when I was in high school at summer camp, but I don't think that qualifies me as a real cowgirl. (I am only a cowgirl in spirit.) It's too bad we didn't know about the rodeo, in some ways. I think I would have enjoyed seeing some of it. Of course, with Pono along, we weren't about to leave him in the car while we went to the rodeo.

After breakfast and a bit of shopping, we did finally pick up the motorcycle. Matthias rode it home, while Pono and I followed behind at a much slower pace in the car. We didn't take Gordita the wondervan since we knew we weren't going to camp. It is a beautiful drive, going through the Mohave desert, but I didn't take any photos. I haven't been good about taking photos lately. You will notice that even my cowboy photos are all blurry. ??? I don't know why. At least you got some cowboy shots. I will make a concerted effort to take more photos next time. I promise! Maybe I will even be able to hold the camera still.

Five things I am grateful for:
1. cowboy boots
2. diversity
3. People who appreciate my art
4. my blog readers and blog friends
5. That my friend Nora introduced me to the Griffin and Sabine books

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Wednesday night

5 things I am grateful for:

1. warm slippers on cold nights
2. real mail (letters and postcards from friends)
3. my aloe vera plant
4. that my husband and I never fight about money
5. yoga

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Gordita

5 things I am grateful for:

1. charcoal pencils
2. good food on my plate, especially if someone else prepared it!
3. our adobe house in the desert
4. Gordita the wonder van
5. road trips