Life with pet goats isn't always pretty.
Since 2007 photographer Matthias Schaller has photographed raw, abstract paintings. The paintings however are not found on canvas, but rather smeared onto the tools used to craft each work of art—the palettes. His series, Das Meisterstück (The Masterpiece), claims these behind-the-scene objects as portraits of the artist, while also giving a direct insight into the detailed techniques performed by each painter. (You can read the rest of the article on This IS Colossal here).
I wonder how my palettes stand up? It never occurred to me to save them. I used to flatten out beer carriers to use, and they had a handy handle. I've felt guilty because I don't use glass and then scrape it clean , like I thought you're "supposed" to do.
Don't get me started talking about my chickens, because I may not stop....
Any commission that involves tequila is my kind of project. So I was thrilled to be one of the 10 artists chosen to transform a barrel for Herradura.
It used to be that when I felt "blocked" (sitting in front of a blank canvas with nothing coming out of me), I concluded that I wasn't a true artist - it wasn't really bound into my guts. Now I realize that it's something almost all artists (and writers, musicians, etc) suffer through. It's so reassuring and liberating to know that.
But being blocked still sucks. I had some great quote from Chuck Close scribbled in a notebook, which I now can't seem to locate, but the gist of it was that creative block was for amateurs, and the real artists just keep working through it. So I tell myself it's okay when I feel blank, but don't allow myself to wallow in it anymore. Since I have the attention span of a gnat and am always trying different mediums, it's easy enough just to start working on something completely different. So last week I just walked away from painting for a while, and pulled out the clay again. I made a big pile of little pieces and filled up the kiln - how exciting! It's such a roller coaster of the joys of discovery and the disappointment of screw-ups in this learning process.
I heard a fascinating podcast on Radiolab yesterday about color perception. I knew that most animals see less colors than humans, but never knew that some animals can see vast amounts of colors we can't. Humans normally have three types of cone cells and are therefore trichromatic…. however it has been suggested that as women have two different X chromosomes in their cells, some of them could be carrying some variant cone cell pigments, thereby possibly being born as full tetrachromats and having four different simultaneously functioning kinds of cone cells. One study suggested that 2–3% of the world's women might have the kind of fourth cone that lies between the standard red and green cones, giving, theoretically, a significant increase in color differentiation.
This of course made me wonder and hope… could I possibly one of the chosen few with super color sense? Researching the phenomenon online I found a test here, but after taking it my hopes were dashed with a crappy score. Of course, I do have a pretty dirty laptop screen.
There was so much amazing information in this podcast (here's a link)…. they went on to talk about someone who noticed in Homer's Odyessy his odd descriptions of colors. And then that he never once mentions the color blue. Studies of ancient texts reveal a pattern: across all cultures, words for colors appear in stages. And blue always comes last. Theories are that it's due to how rarely blue occurs in nature and the fact that it's the most difficult pigment to create for paint or dye. Because of this, many cultures have no word for blue.
I think I'll paint something blue today.
Just got the news, and I'm so excited to be accepted as one of the 10 Los Angeles artists in this years Herradurra competition to make a sculpture out of an old oak barrel! They chose 10 artists in 8 different cities, and will have a big event in each one. They haven't set the dates yet, but in Oct-Nov they will deliver a barrel to me and I have 6 weeks to finish it. I have a lot of ideas, but they're complicated, so I better get to work on a prototype… I'm picturing protrusions (like the piece pictured below) that have windows to the inside of the barrel, that will be lit from within.
Here's a link to last years event - http://www.herradurabarrelart.com
Yesterday I gave my two donkeys away to what I hope will be a better home, where they can act as guardians to sheep and graze on 20 acres. I gave them the best care I could in the near year that I had them, but I felt like they were really bored. They loved going on walks, their goal being to sample every growing thing they could fit in their mouths. But Ethel was so hard to control - one time she kicked the lead out of my hand and galloped down the road to visit another donkey (also adopted by a neighbor, they had come from the same place). And dragging them back home was always very difficult, involving lots of pulling that left me with a backache, despite carrot bribery. The final straw was being told that the new owners of the house next door might be coming after me to move the existing coral five feet back.
I didn't know much about their past - as the farrier I hired to trim their overgrown and damaged hooves said, between spits of tobacco, "it ain't like you can call up carfax and get a history on these animals." I was told they were adopted out after being captured wild by the BLM, and received paperwork from their captures about seven years back. According to the vet, they're about eight or nine years old, so they must have had a few years of free roaming. Enough to remember what it's like (another farrier wisdom: "donkeys don't never forget nothin"). How strange that we (humans, that is, not me and the farrier) tamed and bred these animals for mining work over 100 years ago, set them loose when they were no longer needed, and now decide to round them up to either be shot or shuffled around to screwball caretakers like myself. Now supposedly the "Wild free-roaming horses and burros act" of 1971 declares them to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” and stops them from being slaughtered, after a long letter writing campaign started in 1959 by a woman known as "wild horse Annie". However, there are reports online of National Parks and the BLM hiring out hunters to shoot as many as they can find, as well as videos of inhumane treatment during round-ups. A particularly painful one to watch shows a donkey being yanked up by it's ears. It still refuses to budge - a testament to how incredibly stubborn they truly are. Donkey advocates say that they are being unfairly vilified without scientific evidence as destroying habitat. That seems a likely bandwagon for me to hop on, except I can't help but wonder that the BLM must have better things to do with their time than pick on these stubborn creatures for no good reason whatsoever. And I've seen how they can eat. With similar gusto as the folks I've witnessed (and joined) at the Pizza Hut buffet up here in Yucca Valley.
At any rate, I'm heartbroken to have them gone and hope the pain of the empty corral passes soon. Twiggy had gotten very affectionate, and would nibble kisses on my face with those big fuzzy lips in the photo above. Ethel was essentially a b*tch, but did love her ears rubbed and quickly learned some tricks like this one: http://instagram.com/p/qNqF3oNPI-/?modal=true . She was mean to Twiggy, biting her and blocking her from the hay at feeding time, but I would sometimes see them being affectionate (only out the window when they didn't know I was looking). Last week I caught them sunbathing together, and got some photos of Twiggy annoying Ethel by deciding to take a dustbath. I'm glad I could find a home for them together, and just hope they are happy.
What a stroke of luck that I came across one of Lisa Wood's insect dioramas on pinterest, because it led me to follow her there and on instagram, which rewarded me with a steady stream of amazing. I'm going to have to buy one of the bug creations, I just can't seem to settle on one. Here's a caterpillar getting an eye exam by a lady bug (click through to etsy shop to find it for sale):
I've also been seeing some pretty cool things on her instagram feed from her shop in San Francisco, The Woods. The place looks to be chock full of treasures - can't wait to check it out next time I'm up north.
Tom Waits had a walk on singing cameo in my dream this morning, completely unrelated to the (now forgotten) rest of the dream. I woke up and realized it was actually my donkeys wailing for their breakfast. Now when they bray I relate it to his voice and it's a little more amusing/less annoying. This video below catches the tail end of one… they always stop when I come outside.
I'm so glad I bought this book by Austin Kleon, Steal Like an Artist. Actually, I kindle-bought it, which is something I wonder if I'll ever get used to - I love the immediate gratification and saving-of-the-trees, but after I finish reading something it feels kind of like a cheap one night stand, with no book to sit on the shelf and pull out at a later date.
But I digress, as usual. The book is short and to the point, filled with great quotes (like the one in this posting title) and simple genius from the author. I wish I could have read this so many years ago when I was in art school. But then again, maybe facing that brick wall of "everything has been done before" is an excellent (despite frustrating) way to grow and innovate.
I liked the book so much, I immediately kindle-bought (sigh) his next book, "Show your work" , which is also a valuable read. And if you follow those links, you'll see a cute dog video promoting the book. I'm a sucker for cute dog videos.
I realize I should tread carefully and probably shouldn't make comments like the one in my last blog post "I hate Facebook, I really do.". Besides, I kind of want to eat my words after just finding an article about their artist's residency program. Sounds really interesting and sheds an impressive light on the company. And I should admit, I mostly hate it since my mother joined and started barraging me with comments and tags (me with my cousin on the toilet at 5 years old? Thanks a lot.) It may be now defunct, because I can't find any application info or recent news, but here's an interesting article from 2012.
I doubt I would ever be considered for an opportunity like this, after I made and sold t shirts several years back on Etsy that said "Facebook ruined my life" :
(I'm no longer making these t shirts, but if you do a search you'll find someone has copied the idea and design exactly and is selling them now)
Now to say Facebook ruined my life is certainly an exaggeration. But I do have a story about how it upended my life for several years by prompting a relationship that led me to pack up my life and move 3000 miles across the country. But that's another post, I think...
A new website means I also need to start all over with my blog. Ah well, that's okay.... It was a bit sparse anyway. I think no matter how hard I try, I will always be a sporadic blogger at best. And truth be told, I hate facebook. I really do. But Instagram and Pinterest are very addictive, to me anyway.
As amazing as Wordpress is, (not to mention FREE),I just didn't have the time to commit to figuring out how to use it to it's full advantage. I switched over to Squarespace and so far am really enjoying their format.