Monday, April 28, 2008

The Written Word

I sit here and write out this blog entry long hand with a fountain pen and a jar of ink. I have no cell phone, I do not drive and feel far more comfortable writing long hand. In college I used to write 40 page history term papers long hand and then transpose. I think better as I the cursive letters form quickly and smoothly, artfully transcribed upon my paper.

As I record my thoughts to be broadcast to the world, there are children staring at me who have only written a letter on a keyboard. My handwritten record could be found three hundred years hence and be a part of a history rather than a random sampling of computer code stored onto an obsolete machine. Tangibility is vital to understanding character, reality and life view. Examining my hand-writing could tell you I'm left-handed, female and a practiced correspondent. A tangible record proves I exist, where I exist and my station in life. Will history understand us as we really were or rather as the virtual reality we now strive to create?

I yearn to provide a living record of my life through my art--how I live, why I live and whom and what I live for. It is that which we physically leave in our wake which proves our existence at all. Those whom we celebrate in our collective social memory are those who left physical tangible remnants for later generations to venerate. With such few examples left to date those that are existant are invaluable regardless of the life lived. In the digital age, a time of infinite information stored onto countless pieces of plastic, what will prove valuable long after our demise?

All of my images are now available as original paintings, ready to be hung. Each is painted in gouache onto Plywerk, a handmade substrate board created by my wonderful friend and colleague, Kjell van Zoen. Pictured is "Farewell Kabarista" painted in gouache on Plywerk and available through my Etsy shop.

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Thursday, April 17, 2008

This Old House

I was born and raised in the beautiful state of New Mexico. Hailing from this "Land of Enchantment," I believe, creates part of my need for space and time. I deplore the notion of being caged in by my surroundings; and the open sky and few people, endless desert and cowboy mentality allow me to breathe freely, openly and privately.

Everything is old in New Mexico. Not like in Portland where everyone lives in a Victorian, but rather old as in "old as dirt," literally. Many homes are built of mud and straw and many date back three hundred years and more.

The image pictured, done in the style of a 1940s postcard, is a piece commissioned by one of the members of a Boston knitting group that was screen-printed onto Eco-totes for use as knitting bags.

The retreat was held at her family home in Tularosa, New Mexico. This southern New Mexico home was an actual military fort used by the Spanish and has served as the family's private residence for three generations.

Listed on the National Historic Register, this centuries old adobe is essentially a fortress with walls three feet deep and window slats used to aim rifles through. The illustration pictured is based on this historical and architectural gem and is my first foray into architectural rendering, Art Deco style.

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Monday, April 14, 2008

My First Album Cover Part II

First approached by Brian of Jive White Boy (don't let the name throw you) through my myspace page to illustrate his debut album, I held zero reservations as this has always been a dream of mine.

Part Eliott Smith, part Leonard Cohen, this local Portland singer songwriter's music is darkly folky, sweetly biting. A fan of Art Deco and Art Nouveau style, he felt my illustrations lended a classic yet slightly sinister quality to his indie rock musings.

The inspiration came from listening to his songs on repeat whilst sketching. The 1920s Jazz Age style image seemed an appropriate one and was also reminiscent of Brian himself. The CD should be available sometime this summer, hopefully in a wide release (or at least it may be purchased globally through the internet; I will provide a link on this site when it is released).

I am most proud to present this illustration as well as the back cover song list (all fonts wrought completely by hand in the Art Nouveau style of the early 1900s and of my own alphabet, of course) as it has been long in the making. I can't wait to see it on the CD itself. A dream come true. Thank you so much, Jive White Boy.

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Most Tragically Hip Art Show

The blooming of the daffodils and tulips here in Portland signals the beginning of art fair season. This past Monday and Tuesday were spent inside one of Portland's largest office buildings as a group of independent designers, crafters and artists displayed our wares through the newly created artist group, HandmadeNW.

Friday and Saturday will be spent at the school of indie rock star's children (The Shins, The Decemberists, Sleater Kinney, Modest Mouse, Stephen Malkmus and the scions of other famous rockers), Buckman Elementary. The Buckman School Art Show & Sell on Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12 at Buckman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon benefits the Buckman Arts Focus Elementary School and will be featuring the work of more than 100 Pacific Northwest artists.

Already written up in Pitchfork, the most popular online taste making music magazine, the Buckman Art Show and Sell is kicking off the event with a benefit concert by The Shins' James Mercer and Pavement's Stephen Malkmus held at the tragically hip Jupiter Hotel next to the tragically hip Doug Fir Lounge.

I am very excited for this event and for the rest of the summer art shows as well. Art fairs provide me with a sense of community, belonging and conversation. I enjoy chatting with customers and artists alike and come away feeling renewed and inspired.

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Venus in Spring

Today my tulips bloomed and I finished a painting inspired by said tulips. Entitled, "Venus in Spring," it is one of a series that I am currently at work on. In addition to a full-size painting, each image is burned onto a screen to print from. The canvas is a Moleskine notebook, favorite of DaVinci and Hemingway. Each notebook is screen-printed with one of my Art Deco inspired illustrations (Grandpa Charlie and Venus among them) and then hand-painted. They are for purchase in my Etsy shop.

Last weekend friends visited from Williams, Oregon, a very small town in the Rogue Valley (a most romantic name for a locale). Living in the country they see little of civilization, thus the opportunity to shop at the garage sale going on across the street was of immense excitement. Filling two cars full with garage sale wares, they made their way home. I picked up a stash of 1980s movies and spent the day painting Moleskines whilst conducting my own personal Christian Slater marathon.

Unlike many artists, I usually do not listen to music whilst at work. Rather I have a little television and VCR in my studio and I listen to movies. The dialogue allows me to focus whereas music zones me out. Funny where inspiration lies.

Thus, four new Moleskine designs and nine new paintings are almost finished. I'm not sure if the '80s movies rubbed off as my usual fare are black and whites, Hitchcock or James Bond (the action keeps me moving quickly), but needless to say I most assuredly enjoyed myself (Mr. Slater in Pump Up the Volume makes me swoon. Sigh.).

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