Friday, October 29, 2010

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pluto Forever

Before and after pictures of an iron tile I designed for a pour this summer.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bandana of the Everglades

Rogue cannas flower floating in the lily pond at Como Zoo. In other news, a botanist at Kew Gardens has just saved the world's smallest waterlily from extinction. Way to go, Carlos!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Red Things That Are Not Usually Red

I was waiting around at the hospital for my mom, who was having wrist surgery, and got to wondering - what is all of this red about? I (of course) wanted to try everything out and see what happens. I'm sure there's a logical explanation for all the redness, but I don't want to know what it is.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Unter den Linden

Die Linden blühen! The linden trees are blooming, which always reminds me of Berlin.

Heute werde ich also auf deutsch schreiben, weil die Linden mich so sehr an Berlin erinnern. Irgendwie kam es mir immer so vor, als düften die Linden nachts mehr als während des Tages. Ich weiß nicht, ob das stimmt oder nicht. Kann ja auch Einbildung sein...

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Epic storm the other night! I was compelled to run around the neighborhood barefoot taking photos of the approaching tornado. I felt like a stormchaser! Actually, it all came to nothing where I was at, but the sky was amazing. Not pictured in the darkened foreground: bowling alley-turned-Latino-church-and-sometimes-car-wash and Mega-Tan-Ultra-Wash (the combination tanning salon/laundromat).

Love you, south Minneapolis!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Viking Einstein & Orphan Annie Earhart

I was in Iowa this weekend for the wedding of my friends Matt & Kate, i.e. Viking Einstein & Orphan Annie Amelia Earhart. Needless to say, there is a story here, most of which is apocryphal at this point. For reasons none of us remember or understand, Matt has been joking since college about getting a Viking Einstein tattoo. Gradually, this has morphed into me just thinking of Matt as Viking Einstein. So when it came time for Matt's wedding to the very awesome Kate, I decided she would definitely need an alter ego to keep the formidable Viking Einstein in check.

And that's Orphan Annie Earhart. She can sing, she can dance, she can fly airplanes! She'll try out new karate moves on you if you get too close! That's what I'm talking about.

The artwork was based loosely on a completely epic photo taken by Kate's photographer friend Alexa, which they used as their wedding invitation. The card at the bottom goes with the artwork, and features Einstein's handwriting. Minus the heart around the = which kind of makes it look like a card for a gay wedding. Oh well, Kate's a self-proclaimed gay man at heart, so I guess it works. Besides, it was Iowa!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Almost a Cucumber Pirate...

Cucumber card for my friend Amanda. She gave me a facial for my unbirthday, which was pretty amazing. I have to say though, I was disappointed by the lack of cucumbers on the eyes...I was really looking forward to being spackled in mud, then cucumbers on the eyes, like some kind of napping garden pirate! But no. Oh well, still awesome. Also awesome? Duotone! (the flip side of the chartreuse is hot pink).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Random Studies in the Romantic Chaos

Wedding card for a librarian couple. This book title seems to capture the notion of marriage pretty well, I imagine. Hopefully they won't take the cracked liberty bell between the hearts as a bad omen. (Their ceremony included a lot of Irish bell-ringing...) and this, from the poet Gwendolyn Brooks:

Exhaust the little moment.
Soon it dies.
And be it gash or gold
it will not come
again in this identical disguise.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cowboy Ikebana 2

I asked my japanophile artist friend Season if it's real ikebana if I selectively cut leaves off. (I wanted to know how I was doing on the cowboy-to-geisha scale of flower arranging). She said yes, but I quickly ascertained that she was just trying to make me feel better. "What you're doing is more chabana, which derives from nageire...people who do real ikebana spend hours finding exactly the right flower...then there's wabi-sabi and the principle of asymmetry..." she trailed off.

Loud and clear, Season. With Season dropping the c-bomb, I was forced to do some research on the tea ceremony, during which I determined, unsurprisingly, that I was light years from real ikebana. Which, for all my blather, is totally fine.

Pictured: Bangkok orchids and trash orchids from last week, mystery foliage, grape hyacinth, tulip stem.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Billie Holiday (Lady Sings the Blues)

I just finished reading Becoming Billie Holiday by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Floyd Cooper. It's a fictionalized biography in verse of the jazz singer Billie Holiday, known in another life as Eleanora Fagan. I've always loved Billie Holiday, so I thought I would do a portrait of her. I spent about a half an hour in the room with a blank piece of paper before nerves made me finally do something about it. Here's the portrait after an hour's work. More later!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Faux Ikebana 1

I practice a kind of cowboy ikebana every week in my studio. And by that I mean freestyle flower arranging, as opposed to wrassling cacti and tumbleweed into submission. (Although that sounds like an interesting challenge). Any resemblence to actual ikebana is purely coincidental, since I know next to nothing about it. That being said, who knows what kind of wabi-sabi madness might creep into all of this?

Pictured: orange orchids from the co-op trash, fuchsia orchids from Bangkok?, tulip stems from the garden.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Progress vs. Perfection: Death Match.

Eugène Delacroix (1798-1863)

Today I'd like to share some French art wisdom from Eugène Delacroix, which I encountered, hilariously, on a Yogi teabag:

"The artist who aims at perfection in everything attains it in nothing."

And this guy looks like he
knows. Check out that stance, the gaze fixed on some distant invisible object, the hand on the breast. Actually, I like to think he is about to pull out a pistol for a surprise duel with his nemesis, Ingrès...

But I digress. The point of invoking Delacroix today is to point out that anyone who does art (or anything creative) knows that perfection is the enemy of progress. Now, when I say knows I mean
intellectually knows. Like you know the alphabet or that George Washington had wooden teeth.

Ok. But that's not what I'm talking about. What I'm interested in is the kind of knowing that bypasses mere logic and stabs to the still-beating heart of realization. As in: you know, you understand, and that understanding grounds your experience of reality, like gravity.

In art, I find myself going way over the edge of perfectionism all the time. I want everything to be awesome! To the point of denying the process, all the wrongness that has to be sloshed through to get it that way. It's like the Think Method in the Music Man...such poetic bullshit.

To subvert the Think Method, I have decided to assiduously post my art projects on my blog for awhile. I'd like to invite you, internet vigilantes, to follow along if you are so inclined. I will be in my studio, kept company by the ghost of Delacroix, death knells of the Minuet in G in the background.

P.S. It might interest you to know that some artists follow an artistic lineage, like a family tree. I technically belong to the artistic lineage of Delacroix, as in: I was taught be artists who were taught by artists who were taught by Delacroix. Except I don't really care about that.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


A&E by Goldfrapp

It's a blue, bright blue Saturday, hey hey
And the pain has started to slip away, hey hey
I'm in a backless dress on a pastel ward that’s shining
Think I want you still, but it may be pills at work

Do you really wanna know how I was dancing on the floor?
I was trying to phone you when I'm crawling out the door
I'm amazed at you, the things you say that you don't do
Why don't you ring?

I was feeling lonely, feeling blue
Feeling like I needed you
Like I'd woken up surrounded by me

It's a blue, bright blue Saturday, hey hey
And the pain has started to slip away, hey hey
I'm in a backless dress on a pastel ward that’s shining
Think I want you still, but it may be pills at work

How did I get to accident, emergency?
All I wanted was you to take me high

I was feeling lonely, feeling blue
Feeling like I needed you
Like I hoped you'd call,
I hoped you'd see me

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Heart and the Bottle

I'd like to introduce the artist Oliver Jeffers and his amazing new book, The Heart and the Bottle.

Photos here by me, begonia seeds courtesy of May Day cafe.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Our Lady of Moisture

Strong Arms Shiraz by Mel Kadel

Our Lady of Moisture by Mel Kadel

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Deep Cuts

This is a card I made for my friend Amanda who just graduated from her massage program. She works really intuitively and I wanted to make something that conveyed warmth and healing, maybe also for the heart, our most important muscle. Top to bottom: front (cut paper windows, with a random orange splotch, which happened when my housemate asked me for census info while I was painting...); inside (acrylic); envelope (cut paper).

Listening to: Heartbeats (The Knife, Deep Cuts), Retrograde (Leo Kottke, One Guitar, No Vocals).

Friday, March 26, 2010

Alice Neel: happy to look wrong

This is the painter Alice Neel (1900-1984). Doesn't she look sweet? Not what I was expecting from the artist of such intense, unflinching portraiture. I've never been particularly drawn to her work, but after reading more about her in Eleanor Munro's book, Originals, I've become very interested in her.

"I had what it takes to make a good artist: sensitivity and tremendous willpower. Hypersensitivity–because in order to be an artist you have to react intensely. And then you must have the will. What is it, really–character, belief? The power to stick with what you believe? I had a very strong, adamant self. That is proved by the art I produced. Now, I don't know how you arrive at that. But in my case I believe it came about because other people had such a strong effect on me. I was a hypersensitive child. If a fly lit on me, I'd have a convulsion. A real convulsion. There was a stuffed cat I live in terror of. For all I know, my human images originate in terror. It may be I need to exorcise something.

Other people loomed too large. Everybody could knock me off base, so that it was hard for me to be myself. I'd made such an effort to be what they wanted, a pretty little girl, that I wouldn't be myself at all.

I never knew what I wanted in the small things. My mother would say, 'Coffee or hot chocolate?' and I wouldn't know, but not only would I not know, I'd go into a fever of trying to decide. My whole life was a matter of never knowing what I wanted. Why? Because I didn't give a damn for any of it. But later on, on white canvas, I was free. It was my world. It was mine." -Alice Neel

Here's Alice Neel's only self-portrait, at age 80!


Thursday, March 25, 2010

broken heart.

the heart breaks and breaks
and lives by breaking.
It is necessary to go
through dark and deeper dark
and not to turn.

-from "The Testing Tree"
by Stanley Kunitz

I was at May Day yesterday and I decided to do some drawing. I found this begonia so strange and beautiful; I didn't know they bloomed like that, all tall pink translucence. The leaves, too were amazing, thick blood red and delicately veined. They looked like organs, particularly like the heart, which is what I'm thinking of these days.

These two plants were weirdly entwined–I tried to move the begonia onto the table to see it better, but it was somehow entangled in the calla next to it. At first I thought it had actually rooted itself in the next pot, the way it was draped, but now I'm not sure. There was a dead calla lily tangled between them, which might have been holding them together. Too complicated to tell.