Archives for the month of: December, 2010

On Wednesday, as I was making – yes! I was actually making – a second cup of coffee (coffee bag coffee), I suddenly got a BLAST of ENERGY.  Hmm.  The coffee bag was still in the microwave.  Wonder where this elusive energy is coming from (btw it reappeared on Thursday).  Before I could say “I hope I have some milk”, four hours had sped by. 

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Twenty-seven (yes – 27) thermofax screens later and I was walking around with a big grin on my face.  There were a lot of successes and a few failures.  On Thursday twenty-three (23) other screens were used.  I printed on everything, even beeswax.  Right before I started I had a brilliant idea and so Step #1 is working out according to plan.  Later today I will see if Step #2 is feasible and, if so, tomorrow will be the perfect time for the final Step #3.  But, I just remembered – Step #1a still needs to be carried out.  Energy, don’t fail me now!

(In case you all are wondering – that’s the boardonironingboard printing studio annex pictured above.)

But, I promised the Real Truth:  I was supposed to be in the city on Wednesday,  playing, chatting and laughing with my friends.

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I woke up this morning and discovered that the oil burner had decided to take a vacation while I was asleep. Second time this month.  I bundled up in lots of clothes, the guy arrived in a very timely fashion, fixed it, and I was only one hour late for my appointment. 

I think this is a good excuse to post some things that were done in warmer times.  I have a big backlog of journal spreads and “etc.” things. 

On one occasion Shirley and I were at MOMA.  She took me to a window which overlooked a building that she admired across the street.  This is what I spotted in one of that building’s windows:

 

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We parted ways and I decided to walk down Sixth Avenue instead of taking the subway. 

At one point I happened to look up and spotted this:

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I have a habit of randomly taking photographs of the people around me.  This is useful reference material when trying to sketch out an idea. 

A photograph snapped on 6th Avenue led to a blind contour drawing:

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Which resulted in a hot August silkscreen monotype using water soluble Caran d’Ache crayons:

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Well, well

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Look who I spotted!
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Keep at it.
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Practice. Practice. Practice.
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Someday soon you will have to open a video on that phone.

1.  LAST WEEK (after the “drippy nose” train episode) I arranged to meet Pamela (The Pamster) on an East Side corner at 10:45 am.  We had only met once before so I told her I would be wearing my red winter coat with the hood up and she told me to look for a purple umbrella.

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I arrived a bit early finding shelter out of the storm in a convenient doorway and fortunately she sort of recognized me because there were several purple umbrellas in the area.

We headed toward Loop of the Loom which was only one block up and 1/2 block across.  Nobu met us at the door and gave Pamela the one-minute weaving lesson and she was off and running.  Not a peep came from her for the next two hours.  My piece was a bit rougher than the first one I did.  I experimented a lot with weaving two or three fibers at a time and interlocking from the right and left simultaneously, occasionally also with multiple strands.  I also used nubbier yarn in places.  It is hard to express how much fun this is. 

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When she wasn’t needed by us, Nobu was quietly weaving a piece for her “Angel” series which she is preparing for a March exhibition.

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I think that during my next visit I will try some of the fancy techniques I saw her doing that day.

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These are the already finished companion pieces of the one she was working on.

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The end of the two hours – sob – and we had to cut our weavings off of the loom and tie up the warp fringes.

Next we headed downtown a bit to Grand Central Station where we stopped in at the Holiday Fair.  There was booth after booth of original art/jewelry/leather/woolens/ornaments/etc.  Everything of very high quality and affordable.  I fell in love with a bag made out of colorful vinyl from Argentinean bus seats but managed to control myself (obviously I’m still thinking about it).  It is the perfect size to tote around art supplies when I’m going to the monthly JSG get-togethers.  

At Booth #25 we stopped and spent some time with my friend Michael Leu – I etched with him in Huntington for a few years.

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We both walked away with some of his photographs – not all of them paid for.  Shhh.

2.  YESTERDAY I met Shirley, Melly, Benedicte, The Pamster (going back to California at the end of the month) and newby Teri at Le Pain Quotidien on 84th-ish and Madison where we had “brunch”.  Teri gave us all candy canes so we immediately accepted her without reservation and forgot that she was “new”.  Shirley entertained us with her day-before acquired “smart” (ahem) phone.  

We had an ambitious agenda:

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–19 E. 82nd to see Sargeant paintings (not my cup of tea) but there were absolutely fantastic watercolors by other artists – see Melly‘s blog for the n
ame of the most impressive.
–18 E. 77th Leo Castelli Gallery where we saw Jasper Johns prints/paintings on top of prints.

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Oh, they blew each and everyone of us away – for me the first Highlight of the day.

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(I think Teri is going to be a Major Face-Making Competitor of mine.)

–945 Madison – Whitney.  We went there for the Hopper exhibition and then four of us went up to the third floor to see Workworkwork (?).  At the elevator we ran into a friend of Shirley’s who is a docent in the museum.  She had just finished preparing a talk about the exhibition and was going to give it for the first time the next day.  She agreed to “practice” it on us right then and there.  Wow. Wow. Wow. What a lucky break for us.  I, personally, would never have been able to catch the nuances, etc. without this talk.  I came away mucho impressed with this artist’s work.

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Yes.  In the middle of the Whitney Museum’s lobby Melly and Teri decide to exchange shoes.  Which inevitably led to the rest of us:

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Pamela left us at this point.
–Since we unexpectedly spent so much time at the Whitney we skipped goingto the next stop, 21 E. 70th.
–1 East 70th – Frick – we viewed the Spanish Drawings.  First Shirley gave us a whirlwind tour of the other galleries which resulted in two notable things:  An extensive and ongoing discussion of codpieces and I was able to compare my “St. Jerome as Scholar” masterpiece in fun foam with the original painting.  I whipped out my sketchbook – which caused the guard a moment of apprehension – and all agreed (even said security guard) that one would be hard put to distinguish my work from the original.

Benedicte left us at this point.  The last Goya drawing she viewed was about a family’s concern for the non-pooping of their dog.  This reminded Benedicte that her little pet at home was probably walking around with crossed legs and anxiously watching the clock.
–23 E. 67th for Giacometti(?) – we were running out of time so we skipped this.

–Time for a coffee/tea/sweet break.  The galleries were closing and our next stop would not be open until 6.  Teri showed us her sketch book which had a wonderful acordian/tunnel spread.  Shirley sketched the wall behind me across the room and did a portrait of Teri.  We examined Melly’s new sketchbook and I showed mine.  

Melly left us at this point.
–47 E. 60th – The Grolier Club – “Hand Voice & Vision”.  This was an exhibition of artists’ books created at Women’s Studio Workshop.  There was a special talk starting at 6 pm in which the books and processes were described.  

Around 7pm Shirley, Teri and I split and headed out in three different directions.  Totally Plum Tuckered.

(Psst Shirley.  One more thing happened but I’ll save it for tomorrow or the next day.)

Chapter 1:

Because of the rainstorm the train ride into the city was more crowded than usual.  As a result, I was forced to sit in the middle of the car where two sets of seats face one another and knees knock with strangers.  Soon, too soon, a very tall, well dressed (crisp trench coat and sharply creased pinstripes) young man in his late twenties or early thirties sat opposite me.  He had the largest, most padded and expensive looking backpack I had ever seen.  I shrank back in my seat trying to make my legs shorter than they usually are and stuck my nose further into my book as he spread himself out.  I realized I needn’t have worried.  He was conscious of his knees, feet and whenever his backpack slid across the space separating us he quickly pulled it back.  I hardly had to make a face at all.  He played with his phone for awhile and then took out a spiral bound notebook and arranged some papers.   When he finished with that task he took out his iPad and settled down.

BUT THEN

His nose started to run.  No tissues to be found anywhere in that voluminous, stuffed bag.  He spent the next 40 minutes prodding and poking his iPad, sniffling and snuffling.  I learned that he is ambidextrous – he used both his right hand and then his left hand continuously to wipe his nose and then to clean his fingers on the side of his backpack.  

Chapter 2:
Since it was going to be a day of heavy rain and strong winds I planned to travel light.  I chose a slim, unread, used paperback from the “to be read” shelves.  It is an Ellery Queen mystery written in 1929 but this was a reprint from 1957.  The pages are yellow and brittle and characters “pounce” on ringing telephones; “fling” their coats onto chairs.  Lots of action takes place at dinner:  “… Ellery attacked… this meal”, “The Inspector dug viciously into the fruit salad.”  “… threw down his spoon…”, and finally “crammed his nose … with the contents of his snuff box”.  (An aside – he does this at least once on every single page.  Why do/did men stick snuff up their noses???)

Anyway, I came to the following passage:

“At Friday noon, while Inspector Queen, Ellery and Timothy Cronin were deep in their search of Monte Field’s rooms, Sergeant Velie, somber and unmoved as usual, walked slowly up 87th Street…”

Hey!  I was on the train as I read this and I was on my way to 87th Street!  

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I’m gonna get me some snuff tomorrow and fill up all my Altoids tins.