Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Moving Day Has Come to My Blog

I now have a beautiful new website which includes my blog, galleries, a workshop schedule and other stuff. Be sure to click on the RSS feed so you'll know when I do new posts. Here's the new address

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A Day in a Computer Frenzy in Phoenix

Yesterday I drove to Phoenix to meet with Patricia Sahertian, artist and friend, who also happens to do web design work. I'd been thinking for some time about creating a cohesive look for my blog and website galleries. The idea of having it all in one place, easily accessible and all my own really appealed to me. A month or so ago, Pat and I started working together to come up with a design. As it turns out, the whole thing is way more complicated that I had imagined even though I should know, having seen Jim at work on our newly designed US Route 89 blog.

Pat's patience with me is amazing. She really deserves a medal. We worked real hard all day and made lots of progress. There's still some stuff for her to fix (coding, a total mystery to me) and lots for me to rewrite, plus images for me to upload into my galleries. The whole process has been hard to me to grasp, but now I'm able to envision the end product, and I'm excited.

The two hour drive home was spectacular. The desert was gleaming, the air was crystal clear, and there was a beautiful sunset. A nice reward for a long day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Book About Death–Memento

I just sent my postcard submission to ABAD–Memento. In a previous blog post I mentioned this exhibit, which is being organized by Patricia Sahertian in Phoenix. For information on how to get involved, and/or to see the postcards Patricia has received so far, you can look here.

My submission is an original intaglio print I created a few years ago, showing my Dad sitting beside my Mom right before her death. The other side is a poem I love by Lucie Brock-Broido. I typed out the poem on the typewriter that was a Christmas gift from my son Jeremiah and Corinne. It took me a few tries, while my fingers adjusted to using the right amount of pressure on this old-fashioned typewriter, but once I did, it felt great. And I love the way the text looks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Springtime in Oracle Arizona

Planting trees is an act of hope. Especially if they are very young trees. We planted four bare root fruit trees in January. They looked like no more than twigs. Shortly after planting them, Oracle experienced some of the coldest weather in its history. 12 degrees. Nothing compared to lots of places, but for some of the plants growing around here, it was way too much of a shock.

Consequently, I've been watching these four like a hawk. They're right outside my studio door. Finally, several weeks ago, I thought I could see some buds forming. Then there were actual green leaves and some tiny pink buds. It got so that I was going outside every few hours to check on their progress. At last several days ago, blossoms! It seems miraculous that these dead looking branches have burst into life.

Life is peaceful here in Oracle. I wish we could send some of this peace to other parts of the world.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

How Old is an Old Painting and When Does It Die?

A funny thing happens in the art world. Really, really old paintings can be worth quite a lot of money. This is particularly true if the artist is no longer living. In fact, even not so old paintings become more valuable after the artist dies. It makes perfect sense from a market standpoint because there were a limited number of pieces of art produced by the artist within his/her lifetime. And as that limited number gets sold, there are even less available making the remaining work even more valuable.

On the other hand, a living artist just works away and who knows how much work will be made in his/her lifetime. Strangely, art by a living artist that is more than a few years old is considered old work, at least by the art world. And old work isn't as desirable. Artists who enter shows almost always encounter the rule that the work can't be more than two or three years old. Those older (more than three years old) unsold pieces tend to hang around in storage because they just aren't shown anymore. There they sit. They are probably perfectly good, maybe very good, maybe excellent. But they're "old".

Reed Calligraphy I (circa 2008)

A while back, I was ruminating on the "older" paintings hanging out on my painting rack. And I got to thinking. One painting in particular, Reed Calligraphy I, had a fairly successful life. It was in several shows, but alas, no one opted to make it their very own. The fact is, there was something about it that had always bugged me. So I thought, well, why not see if I could make some changes to it just to see what might happen. So off the rack it came, and I began my attack.

Reed Calligraphy I (2011)

As you can see, I made significant changes. So I added the recent date to the painting. I think that should make it eligible as a new painting. Anyway, I'm satisfied with the changes I made. What do you think?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Scarcity of Snow Shovels

View out the bedroom window this morning (my studio is beyond the table)

It snows in Oracle every year, or so I'm told. And as nearly two-year residents of Oracle, it has indeed snowed each winter. The thing is, it snows, it goes away, and it's hard to believe it's ever going to happen again. Today, we woke up to snow. It's really quite pretty, and I'm not complaining (too much),after all, this is nothing compared to what the people on the East coast and in the Midwest have had to deal with.

View out the window in our TV room

One thing, though. I bet they all have snow shovels galore. And even those neat little snow plows. Granted, we should have investigated the issue of the snow shovel before this latest snow event. Neither one of us did. So Jim got on the phone this morning. We discovered that obtaining a snow shovel in this part of the world is quite an elusive endeavor. Jim started with the logical place, our local hardware store. Alas, they had some kind of big shovel for the removal of horse manure, but no snow shovel. On to the hardware store in Catalina (about 10 miles down the hill from us). Nope, no snow shovels there either. Ever persistent, Jim tried the closest Home Depot, located close to Tucson. He was told that they never ever carry snow shovels.

A vast expanse of driveway, and this is only part of it

I suppose we could drive up to Flagstaff (about 4 hours away) and be certain to be able to buy as many varieties of snow shovels as exist in the world. Or, perhaps the most logical thing would be to order one online. Of course, by the time we get it, the snow will be long gone. But at least then we'll have it for the inevitable next time.

Meanwhile, a warning to visitors: watch your step. We'll be having lots of snow and ice on the driveway for the next few days!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Studio PS and A Book About Death

Patricia Sahartian is a Phoenix based artist with a lot going on. In addition to creating wonderful hand-constructed books, creative collages, and films, Patricia has a knack for getting involved in interesting projects. Her most recent book, now on it's way to a show in Italy, can be seen here. Be sure to watch the short video; it's great to get to see each page and listening to the music puts you right in the mood. What a creative way to exhibit a book online! More information about the contents of the book and the research that went into it can be seen here.

Currently, in addition to her own work, she is hosting a show called A Book About Death. This is a postcard show that anyone can get involved in. The idea originated in New York City at the Emily Harvey Foundation in 2009 and a series of postcard shows have been produced all over the world since then. Patricia has created a blog with information on how to participate. She's also posting images of the work as it's received. The Willo North Gallery in Central Phoenix will be the place in which the work will be shown, May 23-28, 2011.