Monthly Archives: June 2006

A Scanner Darkly coming soon…

(Click on image to view link in separate window)

My latest obsession (amongst many, I’m sure) is what has come to be known as the graphic novel. This in turn has led me to cultivate an interest in animated films. Not the stuff that I can take my ten-year-old to… stuff much like Aon Flux and Ghost in the Shell… and then there’s A Scanner Darkly (which is based on Philip K. Dick’s novel by the same name), a movie that was shot on film and then “rotoscoped”, a technique which involves drawing over the film to achieve an animated effect. I’ve seen video clips and the results are nothing short of stunning. The cast is quite a-propos, too, headlining Keanu Reeves, Winona Rider, Woody Harrelson and Robert Downey Jr. Perfect group of “heads” eh?

I finished the book last weekend, the whole reading catapulting me back to those mind-numbing years of my youth. I can definitely relate to these characters in a way only someone who, er, has been there can. Thankfully, those days have come and gone, and their memory fades into the fuzzy past. And I wonder… whatever happened to those people who dotted the scenery of those, cashmere-‘n-sensi-smokin’-mushroom-‘n-acid-popping-mesc-and-coke-snorting days…? Wonder how I’ll feel after watching the movie… midnight showing anyone?


Another SoS Journal

Sisters of the Soul Journal Round Robin
My entries in Tera Leigh’s book
Left: Image transfer with acrylic medium, taken from a print that I’d “doctored up” with paints and texture
Right: Linocut print, hand printed with watersoluble ink and painted with watercolor
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

I’ve been working on these for several days now. The linocut was great fun to do; I wish I had a printing press to work with. Instead I just transfered the image using a barren. I have a hand press, but the first print that I tried with it ended up being too pale. I’m not sure whether I just didn’t ink the plate up enough, or whether the pressure was insufficient to transfer properly. In any case, the second print (the one above) transfered much better. I’m not so sure about this water soluble ink. I like the permanency afforded by the oil based inks that are traditionally used in linoprinting.

And now… it’s time for bed… I’m tired… hope I sleep better tonight, even with the muggy air. *sigh*

June ATC swap… self-portraits

I haven’t participated for some time in one of the monthly ATC swaps on the Belle Papier board, so this month I decided I’d send some cards in for the “self-portrait” themed swap. I’m sending two different sets in… on is a linocut that I started carving a while ago, but didn’t finish until today. I printed the cards using pigment ink onto Bristol. The other is a series of cards I’d printed using the Gocco, pearl paint on black cardstock. I trimmed the images down to the 2.5 x 3.5 inch ATC format. I’m always curious to see what I get back in return. Sometimes the work is really cool, other times it’s a piece that’s been copied onto paper and cut to size, and there are cards that are somewhere in between. The spirit of the ATC has changed much over the years.

The idea was that artists could create little pieces of artwork and then trade them amongst themselves. The pieces were original works, normally, not copies, and sometimes a departure from the artist’s normal medium. Playful, even. But, due to their massive popularity folks from the crafting and scrapbooking camps have all but changed the face of the ATC… originals have for the most part been replaced with layered papers cut to size and glued and ’embellished’, as well as copies of original artworks, reduced and cut to size. I’m guilty of utilizing both, when in a crunch, but I often have gone the extra mile so as to try to maintain the original spirit of the Artist Trading Card… which is why I’ve stopped trading, for the most part. I’d spend a whole lot of time and energy on my cards and would get some in trade that, well… weren’t very time intensive… so I’d feel a bit gyped, if you know what I mean. Let’s see how this one works out…

Art School Confidential (beware: spoiler!)

My friend Bonnie and I went to see Art School Confidential this weekend over at the Edwards theatre by UCI. The film was a hoot… partly because I soooo remember my first (and last—ha!) year of art school, with the wacky teachers and the equally wacky assortment of students. One of the teachers, who taught my color class, was sweet but so messed up… she’d shared with many of us the fact that she’d tried to commit suicide after her husband left her, and she’d frequently be stepping out with us for a toke. And looking back on it now, she had what appeared to be symptoms of a manic-depressive. My sculpture teacher was hot… and famous. He was also an egotistical asshole. An older and well-established member of the faculty was rumored to seek ‘extracurricular’ activities with her newly assigned male students. Not sure whether that improved or impeded their grades, perhaps both, depending. And I fondly recall the ‘vernissages’ (opening receptions) that I attended, scarfing the free food and drinking the wine. The more prestigious the artist and venue, the better the fare. Few of my teachers left a particularly lasting, positive, impression on me. Only one, my printmaking teacher, Freda Guttman-Bain. She dished no BS… told us we needed to read “Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and taught us the systematic process of printmaking. I suppose it’s less abstract than color theory, or sculpture, but nevertheless, she was much better at articulating the process than the others were. The others made it out to be some sort of arcane skill.

The nude live model scene in the movie was just classic! We started with a male model too, and I remember the anticipated chatter beforehand when we were informed that we would get live models posing for us. When the female model showed up and dropped the bathrobe, many of the boys were similarly discomforted… some blushing bright pink. It was great. Meanwhile, I was the 17 year old virgin (much like the main protagonist in the movie), awaiting the right opportunity to (cough) ‘remedy’ the situation, however impatiently. While I didn’t end up in jail for murders I didn’t commit, all hell certainly did break loose shortly after my first semester was done, but that’s fodder for a whole nother-other post.

I was teetering on the brink, at the cusp of childhood and adulthood. I experienced a great deal of disillusionment… I grappled with the predicament of possibly ending up the ‘starving artist’… was I good enough to make it as an artist or would I have to pan-handle my way to the next meal? How much of art creation (in the “aht” world) is just a crock of bullshit… large egos pumped full of even more hot air by critics and art ‘connaisseurs’? I wanted to be authentic, but I didn’t know who I was and couldn’t pull it off. I know more now, but still struggle with some of the same issues. And yet… art keeps me sane; it helps me purge… and whether I’m telling my story, or what I think someone else’s story is, I hope it retains meaning and authenticity. But I promise I won’t be smearing body fluids on my canvases… not much, anyway. 😉

Damned blueberries…

Left to right: my dad, as Tarzan, my mom (not the Jane type), my cousin Zoli’s first wife, my cousin Zoli and my sister in the foreground
Circa 1960, four years before I came ’round
Where? Maybe up in the Laurentians somewhere… Rawdon?

I peer down at my nightdress and see a couple indigo spots. I’ve had this “nightie” for ages… in fact, it’s one of the ones my mom had bought for me during one of her few visits to California—after the third time out, she quit travelling… she was, after all, 76 years old, and the long travel time just took the wind out of her sails.

It’s been a strange weekend… I haven’t gotten a good night’s sleep since Thursday. Gabriel went over to his friend Justin’s for a sleepover on Friday night, but was banging at the door at 1AM to be let back in, since he said the other boys were yakking and not letting him get to sleep. The truth finally spilled (another half hour later, when he reappeared like a spectre next to my bed, after I’d finally dozed off once again) when he admitted that he had now developed a fear of the dark since they had watched Saw 2 earlier in the evening. Hmmm… can’t help but wonder how the mom (fucking bimbo) let a couple of ten year old kids watch this sort of an “R” rated movie. Come to find out that the mom had insisted they watch the movie because they’d already paid for it on PayPerView. As Steve pointed out, porn is “R” rated too, but would you let your kids watch that if they ordered it on PayPerView? But I digress…

So we went to state beach at Huntington Beach yesterday afternoon to hang by the water and soak up some rays. It’s been a while since we’ve done that, and I love going to the beach… I just hate exposing my pasty white and what I can’t even call “bodacious” bod anymore… I feel like a beached shamu… but I’m working on changing that, before I get old and decrepit and have to stay this way (remember when your mom told you if you pulled that expression too many times, your face would freeze like that? …same idea).

After grilling some steaks and throwing together a salad for dinner and making motions to head to bed (including getting Gabriel showered again, since he had sand in places I don’t want to describe), he’s about ready for bed when there’s a knock at the door… it’s 10:30PM and our little neighbour, Justin, is knocking on our door, freaked out about his brother taking out his anger on him. His brother, Jacob, is a bit older, skinnier and scruffier looking, and mad at the world. His parents split some time ago, and they get shuttled from home to home, and the “step mom to be” is of the evil variety, while their mom is obsessed with nailing another man… or getting nailed, I can’t tell which. Jacob looks like he could double as a young Joey Ramone, slack lip and vacant look—he’s got it down.

Grandma was babysitting last night and she comes over about ten minutes after Justin stops in, wondering where Justin had disappeared to (this is comforting, ain’t it?). He wants to sleep over at our place, because he’s afraid of his brother. Hmmm… well, I relent and he stays over, but this alters my whole sleep experience, see? I get up at least once during the night for a pit stop, and so my usual lack of sleepwear is an issue at this point—I know… this is either TMI and/or you are free to gasp in horror at the visual—so I pull out my old nightie that I wear around the house only when I have to. I’m hot and uncomfortable, with the door to my room closed, because the cross-breeze that usually cools the place off is stunted.

I got up this morning at 7:30 and put on a pot of coffee to brew. Thank the lord for coffee. It’s about the only thing that gets me going in the morning. It’s nice and quiet and I’m surfing the ‘web… I love it when it’s quiet and no one is up yet. Gabriel and Justin were up and about at around 9-ish and are clamoring for breakfast… eggs and toast, they demand. So I start making breakfast and decide I’ll have myself a bowl of oatmeal… with frozen blueberries and maple syrup and almond slivers… and somehow, I manage to get two splashes of indigo on my nightie—damn! Hope the stain remover gets it out… otherwise it’ll be another relic that makes its way to the trashbin. Still can’t seem to rid myself of my dad’s “Tarzan” shorts though… the bikini underwear that would masquerade as his swimsuit. Ahhhh… such a funny man he was. It’s father’s day, and I still miss him, though it’s been almost 15 years since lung cancer took him to some other time-place continuum. I think I’ll pull out the bottle of Hungarian plum brandy (don’t let the fruit flavor fool you… the stuff’s 94 proof) and toast his memory with a shot of slivovic…

Who says I can’t feign cheer…?

Sisters of the Soul Journal Round Robin
My entry in Kathy O’Bryan’s book
Pencil, watersoluble colored pencil and watercolor
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

I finally unearthed enough of a work surface on my workbench to be able to, uh, work on it… what a concept. I’ve been feeling blah and not much like creating stuff (except for writing, which I’m sure you’ve been entertained with… but I digress)…

So, I searched for a photo that had some happy heads in it, and found something. My rendering skills when it comes to perspective really suck, but I’m too tired to worry much about it at this point… the heads should have been more even in size, but I have two larger ones in the composition… so I’m hoping I can BS my way into claiming that it’s because those two are in the foreground and the other two were further away. I’m a real big fan of suspending reality… c’mon, work with me.

My 10 minutes… or something…

How cool is this?! A while ago I ran across a blog by an artist for artists called Thinking About Art. The post was entitled “Artists Interview Artists” and the concept was simple… you submit five questions and you reply to five questions. The questions are distributed randomly… and only once your interview is posted do you find out who the questions came from (or where yours went to). This sounded fascinating to me… I always wonder what place other artists create from—are we all so different, or pretty much the same?

So I submitted my questions, got some to answer, and my interview was posted today, in all its glory… enjoy! (Or not… do whatever you damned well please…)

Pondering the economy of the soul…

Ever feel exhausted? I am…
All the time… some days more than others.
And when the sun shines, I feel wild with unrest.
Looking out at the blue through my glass cage,
Longing to be out and smelling the musty ocean
And tasting the green of late spring.
So I muse while I multi-task,
Reverie my companion while I put my nose to the grindstone…
My bare feet digging into wet sand, skipping rocks…
Pretending that I have a lover who
Is not so economical with his soul,
Whose sultry stare burns through all of my extra pounds
And sees the glorious being buried beneath the layers…
A soul that is wanting, waiting, wondering.
Has age made us unwilling to share
The bits of ourselves that have no meaning
If kept to ourselves? Bah humbug…
I am not embittered, just hopeful…
Perhaps a light will flicker on within us all.
How lucky we are… we have so much,
Yet so little… but such great possibilities.