Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Circus of the Spineless

My caterpillar-posing-as-worm-for-art found its way to this month's Circus of the Spineless!

See here to enjoy the backbone-less fiesta, and the mighty work of Jeremy Bruno:

And see there to view the invisible (almost) worm (not quite.)

(Apologies for the limited formatting, know how it is with me and posting right now.)

Color bound

I'm not as fast working on Murry's system, but lookie! I can do a little prep and upload photos!

(If you know how to import Camera RAW images into Photoshop, I would be most grateful for advice. iPhoto kicks in and loads them but I can't see them, and I'm not sure if I need a Plug-In for PS CS -- the "Help" files haven't been.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Partially recovered

Thanks to Murry, I can manage scanning and posting!

It's odd using someone else's machine -- just like a brush or a pen, or a hand, my computer began to feel like a seamless extension of my thoughts and intentions.

I'll try loading and massaging some photos tomorrow.

The images I'll be posting may be a little less "clean" because of my awkwardness with an unfamiliar keyboard and monitor...but I'm so happy to have the ability to share again! Three cheers for the tech-supportive hubbie!

Double-Teamed and Tagged

I must be special to have been tagged for the "Six Weird Things About Me" meme by not only one person, but by two people -- Bill Zeman and Trixie.

Six weird things about me, or "just doing my part to Keep Austin Weird":

1. I've taken a class (no fewer than three times) that empowered me to eat weeds.
2. I won my age group in a power-lifting meet.
3. I played a very crazy woman in a movie that became widely distributed -- Slacker.
4. My wedding was held at a VFW Post (photo representative but not ours,) complete with neon beer signs and a mirrored disco-ball.
5. I learned how to do the Fosbury Flop at age 29.
6. I worked for a man named Nostradamus, who runs an ad agency and does political consulting (as well as having the most incredible polka site around.)

Since this particular meme is spreading at an exponential rate, I'll refrain from tagging anyone else -- but if you want to post your own "Six Weird Things" in response to mine, just leave me a comment telling us where to find your weirdness!


Mac update -- it may take up to two weeks to get my magic graphics tool back from Apple -- it needs a new processor or a new logic board, if not both. My husband has set me up as another user on his computer, so I might be able to share images in a day or so.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Alas, more fubarbarity

One addendum -- it looks as if it's a hardware issue after all. Wiped the drive, reloaded critical applications, and more !@#$%! kernel panics. My tech support-ish husband thinks that's a sign it's a hardware problem, and I'll have to ship my Mac back to the mothership for repair.

I am still sketching, and if the weather holds tomorrow will get some extra memory for the camera so I can wander. But sharing is painfully limited to words-and-hyperlinks only for now, since I preprocess images in Photoshop to get them fit to post.

Will post another sick Mac update when I know more...
Meanwhile, I'll see you in your comments-kitchens, and when the random poem hatches.

Tabula rasa

Back home, tired out post-work-journey...and after three hours with kind and diligent people from Apple tech support, we determined the only way back to any kind of usable computer was to erase my hard drive and reinstall my OS.

I'm in the process of reinstalling applications and drivers, so will be limping for the next couple of days.

My last back-up?
Not so long ago as to make this tragic, but long enough ago to make me feel rather stupid. Thank goodness I've not yet gotten to that "first 10,000 photographs" Cartier-Bresson says are one's worst.

So, if you've not:
Do back up your files, now, today, please.
For those Mac users out there, please think carefully before using FileVault. The encryption made it impossible for tech support to do certain things they might otherwise have used to preserve my files.


I'll be limping a bit in email as well -- if you'd like me to be able to email you directly, please drop me a line so I have your e-address (yes, everything is gone, including that.) Now, off to check comments, since I've been disconnected since Thursday. And I will wander by everyone's blog this weekend -- y'all are the best supportive, smart, and caring blog-friends I could wish for.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Still traveling, but a poem happened


An angular momentum, my slant
point of view draws me away
from center: look up and clerestory
windows slice a high-rise into
tangrams, look straight ahead
and meat-and-bone geometries
jay-walk across my field of view.
Still, I’m looking for something
more elusive, that place where “eye”
and “I” shimmer like the mirage
they are, rush and recede along
longitudes tethered to every
vanishing point, converging on
something infinite and whole.


Another day of travel and work, and back home very late. I hope I'll be able to troubleshoot my poor sick Mac and resolve the issues by the end of the day Saturday. Then I could resume sharing images as well as words. Stay tuned...and thanks for the support, y'all!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Am still posting, in however fragmented a form, from a friendly working laptop. I'll be winging out of town early Wednesday, and I thought I'd share some contrails with you.

And thanks for the comments and support while I'm wrassling with fubarbarity. It's very much appreciated.

Fubar! !@#$%^&!

Major crash upon crash (my husband said it was "kernel panic")...and after some fix attempts, he suggested I reinstall the OS. Of course, I left all those CDs in my laptop case at the office.

So, much to my freaked-out frustration, no images will likely be posted today. And with another business trip tomorrow (no ice in the forecast) I may not be back among the land of daily art until this weekend.


If this is the worst life offers, I am indeed a lucky woman.
(But !@#$%^&! nonetheless.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Leaf duff

Having some trouble with crashes and my scanner this morning, but no time to trouble-shoot. As soon as I fix it, I'll post some more sketches.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Poem written for a back-ache


Chalk spools clatter
on a golden cord, worn
pinions gnashing burr
on calcium burr with each
flexion, rotation.

The Oracle burned scapulae
on holy fire and studied cracked
bones for auguries, now he’d need only
put his hands on my spine to learn
what’s coming: those precipitate shoals
where I ran aground, tossing my dice,
chasing the god.

After setting up to work

Little paint-box

Cakes of color like fondant, like toned keys on
a toy piano each one an essential sweet note made
creamy under that wet brush, lifted by touch and
thought and light to an iris all candy-chorded.

Friday, January 19, 2007

At lunch Thursday

Much as I'd love to post a fresh photo, being kept indoors through an icy four days has thinned my selection of new pix. It's supposed to rain this weekend, but if I can get out for a bit, we'll see what I find.

Oh -- there are poems baking as well.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

When to say "enough"

I took a pretty ambitious path when I decided to paint Keith.

And although I could tell my preliminary sketch -- laying in the "bones of the painting" -- wasn't as accurate as I'd like, I went on.

Of course, it was a bold and crazy thing to attempt watercolor -- the first in years.
But Laura's work and my memory of James McMullan's work made me want flowing color.

I may have wanted flowing color, but flowing color was more like color-wrassling.

The inner creative dialogue went something like: "Yikes! Wassat?! No don't flow...argh! Dang it, now what will I do?"

I haven't worked with massed tones and areas in so long, it's like learning a new language -- with all the feeling inept and being unable to communicate that entails.

(My apologies for any formatting distractions on this post. Blogger is limited for page layout and I'm just not ready to move to Typepad yet. You should see the small Keith images above as a cascade, from left to right -- and these larger ones stacked top to bottom.)

Anyway...I reached for a tool I knew better. Or so I thought -- colored pencil on highly-textured watercolor paper is not the same thing as colored pencil on smooth vellum Bristol.

After teetering back and forth between my eye, my mind, and my hand, it was time to say "enough."

Dim orchids

When I went inside the greenhouse, the warm moist air fogged my lens...but I still saw things, dimly, to catch and share.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Out of the loop

Ice permitting, I'm off on a business trip and won't be back posting until Saturday. (And if ice does not permit, I'll be looped back in sooner...)

Happy creative energy, y'all!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Almost Famous

I'm almost famous!

Marly, of The Palace at 2am, was kind enough to interview me!

If you've been amassing burning Witzel questions, or wanted to delve deeper into all things Trivial and Witzel, her thoughtful and fun interview may provide the answers you seek.

But you should go to The Palace for other good things -- deeper dives into mid-list and neglected-but-good books, Asian poetry and their sensitive translations, and much more.

Thanks, Marly!

Jeweled lantana

Courtesy of the ice-storms in Central Texas.

After Hans Holbein's Jakob Meyer

There was something about his mouth that reminded me of Dave MacIntyre's, so it was time to study.

I love Holbein. His gift for the essential and for the salient detail helps me understand forms and faces better, no matter the quality of my copy.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Lost and found

New BBQ joint

The BBQ was very distracting and seemed to inspire the crowd to fidget, so there was lots of seeing/little catching.

(Genuine bit of Chinese BBQ sauce on the image of the solo woman below.)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Monumental kale chard

What was I thinking?
Of course this wasn't kale, it was chard.

Thanks to my free-floating editors Dave and Laura for helping me fix what posting before coffee wrought!

Breakfast meeting guys

While waiting to meet someone for an early breakfast, opened up my pad and caught some other breakfast-meeting people.

I keep telling myself that practice will help improve the proportionate eye and fluency/speed.

I know it will. I'm just not very patient with myself.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"Indelible" / Ink

It was a long busy day in Witzel-ville, and my thought -- "When I get home, I'll just sketch the cats and Murry" -- turned out not to be a good one. Those silly rascals were zipping in and out of my line of sight, or posing like fur-covered meatloaves with their backs to me. And Mur was cranky and grumbly related to some after-work work he had to do.

But I needed to sketch at least one time.

Then I recalled some amazing photos of homeless people I saw on Flickr by a man named Tom Stone, and found one that my pen said "Yes!" to.

I hope you'll click on those links -- you really should see Tom's work.


Thursday, January 11, 2007

Wrinkles and boots

Cafeterias are the best place to find people who wear both belts and suspenders and indoors-fedoras. But I need to study and practice hats more -- there's a geometric truth in a hat that I'm struggling with.

I'm not a particularly fashionista sort of person. But her outfit was amazing -- full-on "These Boots Are Made for Walking" without the retro-chic tongue-in-cheek.

Invisible worm

I stopped to look and catch because I was very attracted by the backlight making stained glass windows of the greens.

But when I cleaned the image up in Photoshop, I saw the worm.

Of course it made me think of Blake.

See it? If not, click on the image and look for a very small curve -- a tiny green crooked finger -- at the lower center.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Infant Joy

And for Blake's poem "Infant Joy" you can go here and here.

Working and practicing

Remember him?

I did see him at that life drawing class, but he was busy working in the studio space above the session and decided not to come in and sketch.

Went to see his work when the model took a short break, and it made me think "what if Georges Braque were mashed up with Luis Jimenez and some cartoonists, and they decided to paint rodeo cowboys?"

But he has nothing posted online, so I need to ask if I could take a pic of one of his paintings.

In any case, I got crazy-brave and decided to try watercolor, in order to dig a bit deeper into color practice and to begin/restart my painting experience.

First, I roughed in the "bones" of the drawing using a light colored pencil on watercolor paper.

Then, sitting on the couch while Mur read and the cats hovered, I set down some marks and areas. The intense attentional focus left me reeling a bit -- for me, at least right now, there is no automaticity without a high degree of effort-filled attention.

More to come.

Monday, January 08, 2007

It was a busy Sunday

It was a very busy Sunday, what with photo wanderings, restaurant sketching and life drawing -- I may have to pull back on some sketch time to recharge. Or maybe that's just the next-day soreness talking.

We shall see.

Surreal time

Life Drawing / Costumed

Went, for the first time in years, to a life drawing session. The day I went, they were working costumed. (Please click on each image to see the detail.)

22 people packed into a smallish room, and judging by our sketches we each saw a somewhat different woman -- it was as if the model had become her own cousin, multiplied 22 times, a fractal version of herself endlessly branching through our pads and canvases.

Some of what I experienced:
1. An unexpected performance anxiety that déjà vu'd me right back to those college art student moments. So that's what I was feeling back then...
2. Physical intensity -- standing for two hours with just a couple of short breaks, combined with item one above, put me in a state similar to a very high-output workout. I am very sore this morning.
3. The feeling of being "all thumbs," since my conté and charcoal were too blunt for portrait detail despite sandpapering.

It was good to work large again, to use those bigger muscle-movements.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Piling on at a grocery store café

It was hard to find and catch photos yesterday, given the low dark clouds and grey cold rain. But I spent time with pen in hand, so there are some things to share this morning...

Large women and slender men x 2.5

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Looking back

Waiting to meet someone for a breakfast business chat, I thought, "Well I could draw right now." And so I did.

I like the flux that flows between the "looking forward" and "looking backward" points of view.

Cling / Wrap

The implied object

MB raised a good point in a recent comment about the summary quality of line and its tantalizing relationship to photo images. In Scott McCloud's wonderful book Understanding Comics, there's quite a bit of drill-down into the perceptual roots that underly our ability to see the whole from the essential detail.

Whether the thing shared is encoded in the most minimal yet evocative line or a data-rich full rendering, I'm seeking (and of course I'm not always up to the task of) salience, radiance and understanding.

Looking at this little sketch the morning after made me think about the implied objects all around us -- the internal maps we have of the details of highway as we drive, the corner-of-our eye perceptions that our minds parse or discard.

What do you think about this?
What are the implied objects in (and of) your own creative work?

Some lagniappe: when I searched Google using the terms "'internal maps' perception art," here's what I found -- and liked.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Busy daze pile-on

Where does the time go? I suspect a small crack in the universe lets it leak away, leaving me with only the nubbins in which to draw. (You can see proof I've even lost track of the month.)

Big sky

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Step by step

Some days, this work, these paths, seem as windblown as the leaves in this image. Some days, it seems as much a process, a step-by-step-by-step, as climbing those granite stairs was.