Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Some Doodle ATC's

I did this a while ago but then lost it, and I just found it again. I think it's cute. I sort of did the altered text thing on it, but then I mostly circled partial words like "gry" and "der" just to be contrary. I'm so clever.
I call these "Arranging the Stars." They are supposed to be moon-themed and I didn't want to do a moon face, so instead I have the moon busy doing something.

tiny shrine

I made this for a friend who was having a really crappy week. It's only 6 inches tall, so those pom-poms are eency. The text says, "O I'm so happi for you." My friend loved it, which makes me very happy.

Betadyne not so great?

So here's the inside of the box, showing the back and side that I've put a couple coats of Betadyne on, as I mentioned in an earlier post. It's supposed to work just as good as Alcohol Ink.'s very faded from when I first put it on. I don't like it, it just looks dirty. Now I'm wondering about this shortcut. How many coats am I gonna have to put on? Bother.

See, here's the side I have not painted at all yet with the Betadyne. It looks nice and clean. Now I kinda wish I hadn't done the other sides. Argh! Well, this may turn out to be a big experiment in techniques. I think my problem is that I was so eager to do a lot, because I've been so sick lately and haven't had a chance to work on a project of this scale in a long time, that I went a bit nutso. I bet you can all relate to doing this at some point. Maybe I'll grow out of it. I know I'm much better not than I was 10 years ago at now doing this kind of thing when I'm writing. I mean, if I do pack too much into a sentence or paragraph or even the whole piece of writing, I'm very good now at editing myself and letting go of those bits which don't belong. So maybe I'll get better at editing my art in time.

The Iron Paint and Rust Patina

So here's a better look at the rust patina, over the iron pain, which I splotched (technical term) over black paint. I really love the look of this. I'm just not sure it's working with the toy theme. I just couldn't resist trying the iron paint while I was in the workshop.

The back panel

Here's a picture of the thingy I was describing that will go in the back of the inside of the box. The black things are the lights. Well, the mounts that hold the lights, anyway. The lights themselves are pretty tiny. I hope they all work, they've been bent every which way just from me carrying it home and then taking it out again to show my art group. Aren't the tiny pencils just darling??

Thursday, July 22, 2010

That stuff on top of the box

The stuff on the top of the shrine is all loose right now, just piled up there. There's some chess pieces that I colored with alcohol ink and then there's a big square pegboard from the game Battleship that I've mounted lights onto and also glued an array of tiny colored pencils I also have saved from my childhood. I'll get a better picture of that later. It's hard because it's transparent and it will look much better mounted but I'm not done painting the back of the box behind the swing yet where it will be mounted.

Here's a tip from Jane Wynn: instead of alcohol ink for the color Butterscotch (one of my faves), use Betadyne from the drugstore. It's a little tacky to the touch at first, and you do have to do more than one coat to get that rich color, but it's waaaaaaay cheaper! I'm using that on the inside walls of my box and it's working well so far. Oh, and I don't know if you can tell but the sides of the box inside have puzzle pieces glued on. See, here's another mix of themes: toys and games. But I really don't think I can separate those two. They are intertwined in my life.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Shrine Box

So, it's not done. But here's what is going on: The swing with the toy queen. I found a little wooden chair and cut the legs off and spray-painted it gold. Then I glued a bunch of metal gear things on it and on top, the Fisher Price Mommy, who is the toy queen. Jane kept calling it a weeble, which made me unaccountable annoyed. She's not a Weeble. I had Weebles, they are oval-shaped. There's a big difference.

See, this is why I need to have a toy shrine. Because I am obsessed. With my toys. MY toys. Not my daughter's, MINE. That Snoopy wagon is from when I was a kid. I also have a Woodstock one. I've kept them this whole time. And I have some Hot Wheels and some other stuff. I want to make a couple ramps in the box to have the cars on. And on the bottom, which I've painted kind of ocean colors, I wanted to put some of my ocean driftwood and shells. Because I spent a lot of time outdoors as a kid at the beach, and also making little roads and landscapes for my cars to play and drive in.

Er, I might be trying to do too much in one shrine, I am realizing. Jane told this great story about trying to put too much in one piece of art, how one of her tough art teachers said to her, looking at a piece of art she brought in to review, "Oh, you're one of those girls who puts on all her jewelry to go to a party."
I might be doing that. Maybe I'll make a separate beach shrine. Or two. I love driftwood.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Power Tools

This is my box. I made it. I made the box! This was one of the best parts of this workshop. Jane first showed me how to figure out what size I wanted for a box, and then once I figured that out, I ripped apart the crappy milk crate I had bought from Michael's, and then used a power saw, actually a jigsaw, to cut the boards to size that I wanted. Then I drilled holes (Valley Ridge has a fab toolbench in the workroom with drills just hanging there waiting for your little hands to hold them and your feet to hit the power pedal--kinda like a sewing machine). Then I hammered in the nails, and I had my box! So, I built it! I know, you're probably like, big whoop, but this felt really good to me. I felt like my Dad, the tool King, would be so proud.

Then I painted the outside black, which you can see I'm in the middle of here. After that I used this iron paint that Jane brought, and then painted patina over it so it has a rusted look. I'll get a better picture of that later. I gotta go buy some of that fun metal paint. It's so fun, it makes it possible to patina any surface, basically. I had to fiddle with my box because it was new wood. Other people had fabulous old boxes with wonderful color already built in.

Okay, more later, I have to go run Mommy errands now.

Valley Ridge Art Studio class

No, I didn't make this. My instructor Jane Wynn at Valley Ridge Art Studio did. Isn't it cool? I just couldn't resist "The New Meat Rules." I love the thing that looks like a potato and has an eye, too. And the lights. Who doesn't love tiny lights? So this thingy, a shrine, I suppose you could call it, is like what we were attempting in her class, Hunter, Gatherer, Maker.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Yeah, I wrote an article about this topic a while back, and now MOQ is re-posting it so more readers can enjoy it. If you're curious about this outdoor art sport, or you just find my writing captivating in general, check it out.

History through Donut-Flavored Lenses

I just finished reading this fabulous little zine called Scam #5 1/2 The Epicenter of Crime: The Hunt's Donuts Story, written by Eric Lyle. It's my favorite kind of zine, which is the kind that tells me about something I never would have known about, especially about a particular place, in a fun and interesting way. In other words, I guess it's history. But history always bored me when I was in school. Now I'm fascinated with the whole WWII era, and I love reading pop culture histories, like Finding Betty Crocker and Something from the Oven, and of course James Lileks' irreverant take on 70's interior design, Interior Desecrations.

But I digress. A little. The Epicenter of Crime is about San Francisco's Mission district, which I know very little about. I once took a vacation in San Francisco by myself and I think I walked through it. I took public transit everywhere, so I'm sure I was there. And I think I even went there on purpose to see some museum or something. But I don't remember it that well, because it was a depressing vacation. Or I should say I was depressed. And I walked my legs off every day, determined to see as many cultural high points as possible.

My mom and older sister lived there for a long time, so I hear about it sometimes. But that was in the late 50's-early 60's, before I even existed. So I sort of inherited this fascination with San Francisco, without ever having lived there or even really visited there much.

Lyle's history in this zine takes place over several decades, starting in the 50's, when the Hunt's Donuts shop was built. It's a political history, really, which would normally bore me to tears. I'm just not a political animal. Oh, I'm sure I am when it comes to certain things. And I always vote. But I grew up after Nixon, when politics became a dirty word. And it's still dirty. I remember I got this board game in the 70's from my San Francisco-living aunt called Lie, Cheat, and Steal. You're a politician, and guess what you do to win the game? I learned new words like graft. I look back now and wonder if this was appropriate for a 10-yr old. Probably not. Of course, this is the same aunt who gave us a dartboard when we were about 6 years old. This wasn't the kind with velcro ends. These were the real deal. Bit deadly for small children. She might have still been drinking then. Mom took it away.

The Epicenter of Crime is about the changes in the Mission district from post-WWII, when it was a thriving center of industry, through the turbulent 60's and 70's, when the old immigrants (Irish) fought against the new immigrants (Latinos) for control of the community, to the 90's, when gentrification came up against decades of crime and finally killed a landmark, Hunt's Donuts. When I read the description of this zine at Microcosm, I have to admit that what attracted me was not the political stuff, or the punk history. It was the donut shop.

Donuts have some special draw, don't they? And the shop that donuts come from? It's a cultural beacon. My Dad used to get us Winchell's every weekend. I think it's what we did instead of church. Every Sunday, a box full of beautiful donuts. Sprinkles, chocolate, glazed, jelly. They were more lovely than jewels. And full of happiness.

So I love that Lyle's history is told from a donut shop. I love how the donut shop owner became a "donut tycoon" and helped get a mayor elected, and did things like sponsor a city baseball team for kids. That's the American dream.

I'd never heard of "Los Siete de la Raza," seven Latino boys who were blamed for the shooting of an often drunk and violent cop who instigated a "raid" on one of the kids' parents' house because he suspected that the furniture that some of the boys were helping move into the home was stolen. These were college kids. Yes, they hung out at Hunt's, where a lot of criminal types hung out. But they were there to recruit kids to go to college!

Lyle is good at making history come alive, because he tells about each of the players in the story, makes them all humans. Fits them into a history they might not even suspect they are part of, like the Cambodian couple who escaped the Pol Pot regime and took over Hunt's in the 90's, unaware of its reputation as a gathering spot for all kinds of criminal types, most notably those selling stolen merchandise.

Librarians, real estate agents, they're all caught up in Hunt's and its history, as Lyle finds out when he interviews them. He gets yelled at and lectured when he least expects it, just for asking about a donut shop. How fascinating is that?

I highly recommend it.

I definitely have a thing about donuts. We got this new picture book for Lily called The Donut Chef. I love it because it's about how these two donut chefs compete for making the most fanciest donuts ever and then this little girl just wants a glazed donut. And everyone is like, "Oh yeah, those were good." I suppose you could say it's political in some way. I think it's against gentrification and the $7 cup of coffee that isn't really even coffee anymore. Some of the messages I get are 1. simple is good. 2. stick with what works 3. kids are smart 4. freakishly different is not better. And of course, Donut Good.

Whose Blog?

I have been wanting to write here lately but felt like I shouldn't because I've gotten so used to posting about my art and showing pictures, that when I want to write about something else, I feel like I can't.

Well, whose blog is it anyway? I will not be compartmentalized, in the spirit of The Prisoner. If you're lost, well, go wiki it. What I'm trying to do is claim my blog and write again. I'm not just an artist, I'm a writer, too. So there, me. I gave myself a good talking to. Hope you won't be bored if I don't have eye goes.