Archives for the month of: October, 2010
Some months ago ShirleyMelly and I were viewing a Picasso exhibit somewhere (I don’t remember if it was MOMA or The Met).  We figured that since he was able to successfully interpret another’s painting via linocut, (see Shirley’s blog – she remembers the details better than I do), there was No Reason At All why we couldn’t do the same using Fun Foam. Right?  Sounds reasonable.  We put this brilliant idea on our list of Things To Do at Shirley’s Apartment.  Ah ha – I just remembered – it was The Met – because we passed by a painting of Judith with a severed head and decided that painting might be a likely candidate for interpretation/abstraction.  A couple of other paintings appeared possible also.  Ahem – a bit of a pause here while I “toot my own horn” –  Check out Sept/Oct Cloth Paper Scissors (pg. 28 etc. ) to see how we went about it.
Yesterday was the big day.  We gathered at Shirley’s earlier than usual, drank coffee and chatted and finally took out our art supplies.  Melly and Shirley used Judith as their inspiration.   I found inspiration elsewhere – El Greco’s “Jerome as Scholar”.  I do believe one would be hard pressed to tell which are the originals and which the copies. 
It was more difficult than I expected – we had to constantly bully and threaten, um, encourage Shirley which was exhausting. Instead of throwing us out she fed and ignored us and finally made some tags so we would have a complete set.
The workmen outside the dining room window provided entertainment – they nonchalantly peeked at us as they walked by.  As soon as we broke out the fun foam and concentrated they seemed to walk by more frequently – openly looking at us.  Joke’s on them though.  One of them appears in my 100 Faces (#30) and Shirley hid in the shadows one day and drew two of them.  
By the way, Rayna, you are #83.

In September I drew 100 faces – as per Carla Sonheim‘s Drawing Lab book.  Faces are drawn from life, from magazines, from photos of people I know, one is from my imagination.   It’s interesting that, even though I was doing the drawing, all the faces turned out different.  Gratifying.  I decided to only use pens – no pencil at all.  There were only  two that were so horrible I HAD to rip them up and start again.  I found that I really like drawing with Sharpie pens – orange, green, purple, red – and a tiny fountain pen I bought at the Japanese bookstore on 6th Avenue between 40th and 41st Streets.  Even the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen failed to scare me.  I didn’t cut squares of paper to work on – that’s a pain  and a bother and would just give lazy me an excuse to not draw.


My friend Shirley is also doing this lab but she is strictly drawing from life.  If you sit opposite her on a bus or subway you are fair game.  She has a few squares of pre-cut watercolor paper, a pencil and a tiny set of paints all at the ready.  On her face (which I drew three times, by the way) she wears a perfect expression of nonchalance and no one ever suspects that she is scrutinizing their nostrils, wrinkles and sideburns.






Yes, tags.  50 tags with faces on both sides.  And, made into a book.
I’m resting right now – I needle felted my finger – ouch – using this as an excuse to extend the procrastination.  I’ve come to the realization that, like now, when I know exactly what I want to do next, have settled on the layout/design/format/medium – whatever -, chosen the colors, have everything set up to go go go – I like stretching the process out.  Just as I do when I’m reaching the end of a good book or are reading a beautiful passage – just slooooooow down and savor.  Maybe I don’t procrastinate at all.  Maybe I’m really actually doing something and it just looks like I’m farting around.  This is going to be my story and I?m gonna stick to it.


Ok, back to the farting.
On Saturday I got up at 5 am and arrived in front of  Benedicte’s house at 6:40 am.  She said she was leaving 6:45/7.  I was gripped with terror as I sped along the dark, pre-dawn  parkway – not at my record breaking speed but at the thought that I would be LATE.    When I reached the New Rochelle tolls I went all the way to the left for the EZ Pass  which is what I usually do when driving up to Connecticut.  But as I went left I saw through the toll booths that my exit was immediately after that – just a few yards!  All the way to the right!   I passed through the booth, saw that there was no traffic and zoomed across 7 or 8 lanes almost horizontally.  Yikes.  I was so terrorized by the thought of being late and of Benedicte driving off into the sunrise that the thought of having to go to the next exit and turning around was just an impossible option.

Benedicte drove us up to the Rhinebeck Sheep & Wool Festival.  It was the day after a nor’easter blew through and the skies were clear but the temperature had dropped considerably and there were still frequent gusts of wind.  On went the winter coats and layers underneath.

I paid no attention to where I was – just let Benedicte lead me in one door and out another.  We must have gone through hundreds of doors.  She seemed to know where we were at all times and I couldn’t tell which door I had just walked out of.  All I know is that I would spot something, show it to her and ask if this was a good price and either put it back or whip out my credit card.  


There were two other common activities – squeezing hanks of wool and taking photos of sheep, llamas, alpacas – I left the puppy & bunny snapping to her.


She spent a lot of time with this glassy-eyed, open-mouthed expression.  


We ended up in the tasting barn and went down the line, armed with toothpicks, munching on one cheese after another and finally finishing up with a bag of fresh made popcorn (Kettle corn?).  Footsore, stiff and broke we headed home.


Look at that face.  Now do you understand my morning terror at being late and rousing her wrath and impatience?  



Yesterday the usual suspects spent the day here  thermofax-ing our way into Nirvana.  


Bright and early I drove into the city and picked up Shirley at her apartment.   We got through the Lincoln Tunnel with ease and found the designated breakfast diner right where it was supposed to be – thanks to the expert navigation from Shirley I just drove and didn’t have to pay a whit of attention to where I was going.  When she said “left”, “right, “stay in this lane, I turned or stayed – complete Picture of Obedience, that’s me.  We had a yummy breakfast of French Toast and lots of coffee.   In retrospect, I can’t help but think that Shirley is a Terrible Influence.  As a reminder check out my irrefutable evidence from a previous post:




Upon reaching  Rayna’s studio about an hour later what is the first thing we see?





In the studio we found our spots and soon Debbie and Kate joined us.  Rayna assisted Benedicte and Shirley in planning and making their first screens since this was new to them.  Soon we were all quietly reducing/enlarging images at the copy machine, cutting, arranging, copying again, burning screens and taping.  




The only sound was the ripping of duck tape.




Of, course, some of us needed to cut precise edges instead of ripping but I won’t mention who that was.


We were all so enthused with making “screens, need more screens”,  that poor, beleaguered Rayna had to rush home to get an additional supply to keep us from becoming violent.


Before that a halt was called so that she could show the newbies how to print using the thermofax screens and fabric paint.  




Ok, we were now ready to get the show on the road.  But first, I had to nip a potential problem with Shirley in the bud.  She had a certain Tendency so I was forced draw the line.




Yes, I am aware that those red-taped screens, which are mine, are crossing the line. 


Off we all went, printing, printing, printing.    Out of the corner of my eye, on the other side of the Border, I saw that Shirley had quietly printed her first screen on a looong strip of cotton and it was PERFECT!  Phew.  I really wanted her to like this process.




(see how long that is?  good thing I nipped Ms. Wanderer’s tendency) (and, yes, I quickly moved my journal back onto my side before she looked up) (and my paper towel and palette)


I was pleased that images I was uncertain about printed perfectly.  Yay.  This is just a mish mosh sampling of what I did. The doggie on the tag is from Benedicte and the yellow it is printed on  is from a background screen that she successfully used to cover an old drop cloth.  




Appearances can be deceiving.  Believe me when I tell you that in that messy, confusion there are some (drum roll) Very Serious Ideas.  Trust me.  


While Benedicte was printing along, layer after layer and cloth after cloth, Shirley and I went back to making more screens which we could use for printing at home.  Between us we must have burned about 7000+ images, 5500 of them by me.  Here is some of the evidence – you can see her fondling some of her new freshly burned screens:




And thinking, thinking, thinking.


Here Shirley is standing in front of her looong strip and behind her is a peek at one of Benedicte’s multi-layered cloths.  




As the clock ticked down even Benedicte started preparing new screens for home use.  Intense purpose and concentration is evident as she doctors up her copy.




Eventually we had to stop.  I th
ink Rayna would have let us go on forever but we all had quite a bit of traveling ahead of us and rush hour was looming.  We were all very tired and very happy 




and obviously much younger than when we arrived.  


Benedicte drove off in her direction and Shirley and I were able to leisurely  admire the Manhattan skyline as we “strolled” up to and through the Lincoln Tunnel.  After I dropped her off I headed down to the 59th Street Bridge:




Now, I’m going to check the Big Dictionary in the living room and see if “Quirky” has any secret, hidden, obscure meaning that I should be aware of.