Monthly Archives: May 2005

Color Journaling

My first layout in Doreen Grozinger’s color journal
(Click to see overlay in separate window)

I’ve been working in Doreen Grozinger’s color journal, who chose copper, turquoise and ultramarine as her theme colors. I’ve finally completed the spreads, and love the results. I wanted to play with ‘interactivity’ with these pages, and decided that I’d make a page that would have an overlay of transparencies over it, which would change the look and feel of the page.

Detail of copper and transparency pocket in Doreen Grozinger’s color journal

I love pockets, and couldn’t resist using some copper mesh I have… and the ever-present eyelets. I inserted a tag that I’d decorated.

My second layout in Doreen Grozinger’s color journal

My final page is also ‘interactive’ in that it has a transparency pocket that slides out to properly reveal the image below. I started these layouts with two images that I found in my stash. Turquoise brought to mind the Caribbean sea off the coast of Mexico (or Cuba, for that matter). The other image is so contemplative; I wanted to build a ‘secret garden’ around it.


A matter of principle

No art again today. I’m working on the next color journals but I’m consumed with creating and so haven’t taken any photos or scans yet. In any case, I’m feeling verbal lately, so I’ll indulge myself with spouting off a bit more again today.

I don’t particularly care about physical beauty. I think, perhaps, I would feel differently about it if I felt that I *had* physical beauty… or any to maintain. However, I’m sure that as some sort of karmic lesson that I must have needed to learn in this lifetime, I have put on weight that simply refuses to come off, and has put me amongst the ranks of the obese. And as society continually reminds us, there is NOthing quite as UNbeautiful as being too fat.

I’ve been having this back and forth email dialog regarding a piece that was selected for publication for the ezine that I donate time to. I expressed my concern regarding the piece which in my opinion misrepresented (or exaggerated the effects of) the product produced by the company I work for. What bothered me the most is how the female character was portrayed in the story-superficial, though just as she was about to reclaim herself, she was once again coherced into believing her lack of worth by a husband who was playing the closet misogynist. In any case, in the end it was decided that the piece was satiric in nature, and that due to this it was obvious that the portrayal of the product was not meant maliciously but rather was poking fun at the foibles of human nature. I made my pitch and it was rebuffed, but the reasoning startled me. The main reason for the go-ahead was that the publisher felt that her publication was established in order to publish works that otherwise would not get published elsewhere, due to their potential “controversial” nature. Okay, I can accept that as good enough reasoning. A woman who sticks to her principles-I can dig that.

Somewhere during this flurry of email activity between the two of us, a discussion began on beauty and aging, and society’s perception of both of these seemingly abstract concepts. The letter was signed with her name and “who’s earned every wrinkle she’s got and is proud of them.”

I feel the same way about aging. I love that I am approaching crone-hood. I may have been “beautiful” in my late teens and early twenties, but never was I more insecure and unsure of who I really was. Living made me “become” and I believe that is a beautiful thing. Of course, being at the “middle” of my life, I certainly have a different paradigm on all of this. Youth seems incredibly young and old age is much closer now than then, but is still a foreign concept. Aches and pains whisper their occasional presence but they can be swept away with some pain meds and a concentrated effort at indulging myself in beloved past times.

I think that the *value* of aging women in society is largely overlooked (and not necessarily the 70-yr old grandmother but the 45 year old powerhouse of a woman who has money, experience and some measure of power that she is able to wield).

I went to see Star Wars III last weekend and while I liked the movie overall, I was pissed that Padme was killed off to tie off the loose ends. She didn’t die of medical complications during childbirth… she died because “she lost the will to live.” Oh come ON! We’re talking about a young woman who was a warrior, trained in combat and groomed since childhood to become head of state (a role which she stepped into just barely at puberty)… how is such a change in fundamental character even believable?!

Anyway… I’m ranting about something that is totally on a tangent, but somehow oddly related to this whole woman bashing thing.

As an aside, while I work for this huge corporation, I don’t ally myself with its affiliations or its politics, or those of the majority of its employees. When looking at where the company’s charitable donations would be heading, it isn’t a huge stretch to figure out which color they lean toward. Would you believe that the legal department nixed selecting Starbuck’s coffee for our coffee brand not because the marjority didn’t like the coffee but because they didn’t like the political affiliation of the company, and didn’t want to support its business. Well…. I’m a socialist liberal… doesn’t sit too well with me, because I think what Starbuck’s is doing for the world is hats off. They are being a socially responsible company… can’t say that for most of ’em. And they have an excellent product to boot.

Oh… and in a weird, perhaps indirect way, Anakin turning to the dark side of the force can almost be perceived as being Padme’s fault… because he wanted to save her from certain death (which he foresaw in visions), he felt he needed be able to wield the power to overcome death–to SAVE her, and in order to do so had to turn to the dark side of the force… and in doing so lost the very thing he cherished the most.

But… is there really a dark side, or is it simply an opposite side… not good or bad, just a different and necessary part of the whole? This is what I’ve learnt to embrace about myself. That my shadow side, though not as appealing and/or socially acceptable as my light side, is an important and integral component of the whole of who I am, and to love all parts of myself is necessary for transcendence.

Again… off on a tangent… seemingly unrelated but oddly fits into this puzzle somehow. This strange and twisted puzzle of woman’s place in the world (and we really should count ourselves lucky, I suppose, that we are part of a “Western” culture, because in many other parts of the world-Middle East, Asia-women are not only NOT revered… they are vilified). I think we need to make good, strong medicine for this world… I’m just trying to figure out what the brew should be and how to dispense it.

Communing with my inner geek

This weekend was the opening weekend for Star Wars Episode III, and since my nine year old has been anxiously awaiting it for months now, I decided to brave the heat and crowds this Saturday, rounded up the crew and go see it. We went to the Spectrum Theatre in Irvine, and as we were standing in line, a line that wound around the side of the building to some sparse shade afforded by diminuative olive trees, I was thinking back to 1977, when the first Star Wars movie came out, and how I’d obstinately refused to be sucked into the hysteria. While girls swooned over Mark Hamill, and kids all over were crying “may the force be with you” and reciting lines from the movie, I was busy saving up my pocket money so that I could buy a new pair of disco pants and spend my Sunday afternoons at the roller rink getting down and boogie-oogie-oogie-ing.

I honestly don’t remember when I finally saw the Star Wars movies, but I’m sure that I didn’t see any of them in a theatre, at least, that is, not until Star Wars Eposide I. The advances in digital technology are startling, and the special effects have come a loooong way. If this is how far we’ve come in the last 30 years, imagine what it will be like in the next 30?

Anyway… back to my standing in line story, with a few hundred of my fellow movie-goers. This weekend was also the KROK Weenie Roast, which was also happening in the area, and I was chuckling to myself that I had truly blossomed into my inner geek self, because instead of sweating in the sweltering heat, getting sunburnt to a crisp but not caring one bit because of the massive quantities of alcohol (or other unmentionable substances) that I would perhaps be consuming while further damaging what is left of my eardrums, I was standing in line to go in to see the final episode of Star Wars on an IMAX big screen.

I’ve come a long way, baby.

[Me]… the slug…

May 11, 2005 journal entry
Pieces of Me collaboration – Deb’s Journal

When I was in college, there was a guy that was part of my group of friends called Doug. We’d nicknamed him Doug the Slug, for various and sundry reasons, but probably mostly because it rhymed (and I seem to recall a band that was quite popular at the time called Doug and the Slugs).

Well… I feel like a slug these days. I’m tired. I don’t feel like creating. I am in a slump, but that’s not to say that my brain isn’t brewing on ideas and planning the next assault on my art workbench. I’ve also been doing some reading–checking out art books and periodicals for inspiration, and reading newly purchased books. I’m a sucker for a new book, mostly of the art and self-help kind, and if both subjects are somehow combined, oh boy, move over ‘cuz here I come!

I picked up (and also ordered on Amazon) some books in the last few days. I pre-ordered the sixth Harry Potter book. Then I ordered some books relating to art and its use in therapy, not to mention a few more that relate to journaling and art. I found another book yesterday at Barnes & Noble entitled Creative Utopia: 12 Ways to Realize Total Creativityby Theo Stephan Williams. I started reading the book last night, and am enthralled. I will quote a passage which struck home with me, because it recounts an experience which almost identically replicates my own:

“I was twenty-three, in love and moving in with my soon-to-be fiance. I knew it all. In the basement of my old apartment building, I hurried to purge my belongings. The dumpster outside was totally empty; this would be a piece of cake. I had forgotten about a large unwieldy box that I had stowed away in my assigned storage area. On rediscovering it I was horrified to see that all my diaries, their keys now rusted, my spiral notebooks, old pens, sketches, memories–everything I had so carefully document from an early age–had become stained and mildewed because of a leaky window nearby.

Without another thought I heaved the cumbersome box into the dumpster. Daunted for just a second, I peered into the rubble resting at the bottom of the rusted steel cave, which would soon be picked up by a colossal blue truck and carried to the incinerator. I shrugged away the dismay; I simply didn’t need that stuff any more. Wrong, oh, so wrong, foolish young girl.

I have regretted that loss for many long years and I have become quite a pack rat, keeping everything containing even an inkling of a penned memory, reflection or inspiration from my past. Erasure is impulsive and the result is immeasurable, irretrievable and unforgivable. Enough said.”

I could have written that passage. I did a similar thing in my early 20’s, reading through the diaries that I’d kept from fifth grade through my teens and became so embarrassed by all the blathering about boys and such that I decided that I’d “outgrown” them, and tossed them out, including a bunch of poetry I’d written. To this day I regret that moment of bad judgement, that moment of being so full with my “adult” self that I couldn’t look past the embarrassment and find the strength to keep all of those writings for my future self. I, too, am a consummate pack-rat, in my middle age (just ask my husband).

It’s muggy this evening, although it’s cooled down; I still haven’t quite adjusted to the higher humidity levels that we have here, living closer to the coast, even though it has been almost two years since we’ve moved here. It’s more humid but not quite as cool as it gets closer still to the coast, so we get the muggy without the cooler temperatures. We used to live inland, where the temperature was HOT but it was really dry. In the evenings we’d get the coastal winds blowing through the valleys and it would cool down really nicely (although during the day it would be so hot outside, even at this early time of the year, that I would hole-up inside and not want to venture out much, if it could be avoided). But… the lack of humidity was definitely a plus. The heat combined with the humidity remind me of home (Montreal). I hated it then, and I don’t feel any different about it now.

It’s Sunday night and there are only a few hours left of the weekend. I’m ready for a shower and will read a bit more of this wonderful book and then slumber off. Tomorrow is the start of another week, and there is no such thing as a slow week for me these days.

‘Vegas, motos & losing my artsy mojo…

Supercross Practice at UNLV Stadium
Grant Langston
Photos shot by Gabriel Giberson

We got back from ‘Vegas yesterday afternoon. I’ve gotta say, I was in no mood to resume work this morning, particularly since Gabriel (my nine year old) slept in the bed with me and ended up kicking me, repeatedly, from about 2:30AM til I got up at 5:30 or so. Normally, my husband will move him back to his bed when he comes to sleep a bit after midnight, but last night he ended up falling asleep in the living room, and didn’t get to bed until after my alarm went off. So… I was pretty bushed this morning, to say the least, and already suffering from the normal after-vacation-first-day-back-at-the-office denial.

In any case, ‘Vegas was fun. The racing was fun to watch… though through some snafu, my bank account became off-limits and minus the bit of cash that I brought with me, we were pretty much on a minute (did I say miniscule?) budget so not much was done beside watching the racing and hanging out at the hotel. We stayed at the Fairfield Resorts, which was just one block east of the Strip, off of E. Harmon and north of Tropicana. Nice place. We had a one bedroom suite, and if another bedroom would have been added on, it would have been larger than our apartment is. The only catch was having to sit through a time-share presentation on Sunday morning, and the ensuing pressure sales… but we got $40 in chips for Harrah’s casino, so it made it a bit less distressing.

The MiniMoto Supercross was on Friday night, which was built inside the Arena at the Orleans casino, though we only went out to the track during afternoon qualifying heats and ended up vegging at the resort in the evening and missing the main event. I had a gnarly headache that kept me from wanting to do much of anything.

I pulled out my sketchbook and decided to play with the paints I brought along for the trip and ended up with the above piece. I think it’s mediocre at best, and I’m half tempted to pull it right out and trash it. Which leads me to my next thought… I can’t seem to create any art when I’m travelling. I pack everything up and bring it with me, but then I feel totally weird without all my other “stuff” to pull from, and creating in an unfamiliar environment. Not sure what that’s about, but it is what it is. I brought my camera along, thinking I’d shoot a bunch of photos, and didn’t even pull it out once. My son shot more photos than I did!

MiniMoto Supercross at the Orleans Arena
Photos shot by Gabriel Giberson

Saturday, we dropped my husband off at UNLV stadium, where the supercross race track was set up. Gabriel and I had “media” badges, so we were able to tag along with my husband to a Berik press conference, unveiling their new line of boots for next year. They had a really cool RC signature line (their top end model was the bomb).

Sharon Richards who is General Manager and Director of Client and Customer Services at OMS Sports as well as and co-President of the WMXF (Women’s Motocross-Supercross Foundation-see was there on Saturday, and was also at the MiniMoto exhibitor booths at the Orleans, on behalf of the WMXF, selling those rubber wristbands that are so popular these days. The wrist bands sell for $3 and have the name/number of some of the top MX riders. Proceeds go toward helping out riders in the motocross community, including support of the Asterisk Mobile Medical Unit, Motor Racing Outreach, injured privateer racers and others within the motocross community. Gabriel’s fave rider is Chad Reed, and so he was rooting for Chad throughout the race on Saturday night, and was stoked when Chad won. It was a close and exciting race, with Kevin Windham leading for a good portion of the race and then crashing, allowing Chad to pull ahead for the lead. Ricky Carmicheal came in second and Kevin was able to gain third place.

I missed the awards ceremony on Sunday night because we had no one to babysit Gabriel, so the two of us just kicked back at the hotel for the evening, hanging out in the pool and jacuzzi and then watching the Disney channel (they had “Motocrossed” playing-how apropos). The fun part about having a husband who is a photographer is that I get to see all of the cool shots he takes. He had some really awesome shots of Ricky from Saturday night, as well as some funny shots of Tyler Evans and Todd Harris, who was spoofing Evans’ tattoo of his name on his belly, and some pix of Chad Reed and Nate Ramsey, who where stylin’ in their pinstripes, looking very retro.

Me and a fellow traveller, who was riding the Goldwing (while Martin and I were on the -smaller- Suzuki)

All of this excitement makes me once again think that I ought to go out to the Learn to Ride day… I really would love to ride; in fact, in my late teens I’d repeatedly asked my parents for a motorcycle (the roadbike kind) and they refused, figuring I’d not make it to 20 if I got one. Perhaps they were right, since I really liked to go FAST, and ended up with a string of boyfriends with bikes. One year a boyfriend and I went on a long tour that went from where we were in the suburbs of Montreal through to Maine and then on to the Canadian Maritime provinces. It was cool to see some really beautiful country, but a drag as well, since it was raining a ton, and I ended up getting soaked and didn’t have appropriate rain gear. I spent weeks with garbage bags over my feet, stuffed into boots which had soaked through and never able to fully dry out. And leather pants, while they looked really hot, weren’t meant to be worn in lieu of rain gear. Ahhh… there’s just something about speed and the smell of leather… 🙂

Cinco de mayo

Artwork for Staci Allen’s Sage & Violet Color Journal
Mixed media collage on canvas

The title ought to bring tidings of merriment on what should be a festive occasion, particularly here in California, but for me, it brings mostly the end of another very busy work week, from which I am left exhausted, but happy that I am taking a few extra days off. We leave for Las Vegas in the early morning, and I’ve been busily packing this evening, and made it to the post office to finally mail out my Pieces of Me journal to Deb. I feel such the flake about the whole deal, but I’m also very glad that I have finally sent it off.

I worked some more in it during this past week, and find the process all at once enriching, liberating, frightening and enlightening. Glad it’s already brought me so much. I hope Deb will enjoy working in it as much as I have. I’d chosen a book to alter as a journal, and I find I quite enjoy having the text and images as background, whether integrated into the background, covered up entirely, or showing through in a ghostly specterish way. I’m inventing words… I think it’s time I went to sleep now. 🙂

But… not before I post some of the pages I’ve worked on…

Artwork from my “Pieces of Me” journal collaboration