Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Make your New Year's resolution something you can actually achieve without starving or sweating -- recycle creatively!  Go here to get inspired. And definitely here. Eventually I'll figure out Tumblr.

Celebrate safely and have a Happy New Year!

Susan, The Blog Wrangler, speaks:
Here's a Resolution for you -- This year try not to mess up the environment with your acrylic paints.
Here's how to make that easy for yourself -- get yourself a teflon oven liner (sample here). Cut it in half. Or maybe not. (It all depends on how much table room you have.) Use it as a paint palette, as spot to squeeze out your glue/medium/goop, as a backdrop for your adhesive spray. It will work much better than the knee of your jeans or even the back of your hand. I know this and don't ask me how. When you are finished, let the pain/glue dry. When it's dry, use the edge of an old credit card or stiff piece of cardboard to scrape the dry stuff off and dump it in the trash. Ta-dah! A clean surface to use all over again and you didn't have to wash it.  Even Scotch brand Super 77 spray adhesive will come off this (use masking tape to sticky it off). And, if you are a really creative person, this is the best way to make acrylic "skins" to reapply to stuff.

P.S. No, Don won't figure out Tumblr. He's still struggling to figure out just where the clouds are that are doing computing for him.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth

"There are 48 women presently working along the volatile front lines of the war in Afghanistan deployed as the second Female Engagement team participating in a more active role, gaining access where men can't. The women, many who volunteer for the 6.5 month deployment take a 10 week course at Camp Pendleton in California where they are trained for any possible situation, including learning Afghan customs and basic Pashtun language."

Wishing you and all the men and women
 in our Armed Forces
 a Happy Holiday Season and hoping for Peace.

photos: Life/Paula Bronstein/Getty Images. More here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tuba Christmas 2010

Please don't tell me you missed it again! Mark this website now, check it next December, find your location and go.

Tuba Christmas players come in all shapes and sizes and often by the school bus load. They rehearse very hard every year - for the one hour before the show.

They play on the front steps of our Capitol Building. Go here and here to see previous tuba festivities. The big buttons they wear/carry indicate each year they participated. The kilted player in the first picture has probably played in every one they've had. Just for the record, if you wear a kilt in the true Scotsman style, it is probably not a good idea to settle for a TSA pat-down at the airport.

We neglected to gather up Janis and Mike this year but they went anyway and looked for us. With a good-sized crowd of course we didn't find each other. Janis emailed me the picture below just in case we hadn't shown up.

We had sunny skies, temperature in the 70's and happy tuba players. A perfect Tuba Christmas concert.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Yes, We Did Have Thanksgiving Dinner

But first, some more of my work, specifically a very small (4") cup. Many artists make test tiles to see what a glaze looks like. I prefer to make something that might be useful, like a cup. I wanted the Celadon glaze to be a little darker to accentate the Limestone White glaze areas so next time I need to apply it thicker.

On Thanksgiving Day we went to the National Gallery of Art to see some of our old favorites (me looking at Philip Guston's Rug).

As a special treat, the featured exhibition was an Arcimboldo show, Nature and Fantasy, that was fantastic.

At the galleries where the works were displayed were ropes and posts marking off the areas where you had to wait in line to get it (the galleries were small so they had to limit the viewing). You know, sort of like those long lines at DisneyWorld, where you snake around forever until you get to the front. Ha! Because it was Thanksgiving there weren't any lines at all and the rooms weren't even crowded.

Outside the galleries was an enormous 15-foot high statue, Winter (After Arcimboldo) that had been created by Philp Haas. Susan waited about 5 mnutes for people to stop standing in front of it so she could get this photo. The atrium area in the East Wing of the National Gallery is about 5 stories high so the sculpture looked great in it.

We didn't miss our Turkey dinner, or actually, I didn't, thanks to the Cascade cafeteria in the National Gallery.  As you can see from the photo below, Susan opted for the vegetarian choices, topped off with chocolate.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Raku And More Artists

What should be in my Blog? My art or the art I see? Do you want to know about what art I'm making or do you want to know what pleases my eye and permeates my mind? How about both?

These two small pots (about 6" high) above are raku clay and raku glazed (go here for the unglazed view). They are not exactly what I wanted as they came out a little too muddy looking with not as much contrast as I'd like. I'll try again in the future

Still more Thanksgiving pictures, here at the Renwick, from their Permanent Collection:

Daniel Essig, Book of Nails II :

Michael Sherrill, Yellowstone Rhododendron (porcelain and steel):

After the Renwick we went on to the National Museum of Women in the Arts.

4 Seated Figures by Magdalena Abakanowicz is a favorite of mine. It probably could be renamed "Waiting at the Doctor's Office" or "Renewing Your Driver's License.

Chakaia Booker's sculpture fills an entire wall in one room.  "Her current work presents a level of acknowledgment to her African heritage and its influential artwork".  Go here for more information on her. I especially like the fact that she makes art that is big and guy-like, tearing down lots of stereotypes as she does.

Lee Bontecou's pieces are even more mysterious when you peer into them. We were lucky enough in the past to go to her retrospective show and she became one of our favorite artists. These are for you, Robyn.

Susan speaks, just to say that Anna pretty much got it right:

  "The chief obstacle to a woman's success is that
she can never have a wife.
Just reflect what a wife does for an artist."

Anna Massey Lea Merritt, 1844-1930

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gaman, Wood, Red and Blue, and Otto

Yes, it has to be about me sometimes. This is the face of Otto, raku clay, bisque fired. Otto is about 18 inches high and I'm still thinking about how he'll be glazed.

And now back to our Thanksgiving trip to Washington DC.
We always have a list of the museum shows we want to see but then there are the ones we think we'll just walk fast through. Of course those shows are the ones that catch us by surprise and make us linger and get behind schedule, the shows that make us wonder why we ever thought we could skip them.

At the Renwick we thought this show would be boring:
The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese American Internment Camps, 1942-1946.

Gaman:  To bear the seemingly unbearable with dignity and patience. 

"After Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the infamous executive order 9066 in 1942, some 120,000 Japanese Americans were interned in concentration camps. The Renwick Gallery's Art of Gaman exhibition displays the arts and crafts of people who lost homes, businesses and professions during this dark chapter of World War II history. "

We couldn't have been more wrong about the exhibit. If there is one thing the Renwick does well, it is their signage. We read and looked, looked some more and read more and lingered longer. The small birds shown above are just one example of what the internees ( a polite word for prisoners?) made.

Also showing at the Renwick was:
A Revolution in Wood: The Bresler Collection

I don't do turned or carved wood but Michelle Hofzapfel's pieces (Table Bracelet: Promenade Suite), above and below looked like something I could try to "translate" into clay.

Other pieces interesting pieces were Todd Hoyer's Sphere

and Stoney Lamar's Self Portrait.

Finally, those utility boxes in this last photo are right across from the White House (you can see it in the background) and we've decided they are Red and Blue to represent our Red and Blue states. If you aren't from the US, here's the deal: Based on the majority of the votes received in the last major election, a state is designated either a Red or a Blue state. One means the state is majority Republican, the other means the state is majority Democrat, and I'll be damned if I can remember which is which.

I saw one of our Representatives at Whole Foods the other day and was thinking about shaking his hand and telling him "I'm not sure if I'm supposed to be mad at you or not, and not only that, I'm not sure if it makes a difference anymore." But I let him have his coffee in peace.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

School Is Out So Let's Party!

For our last day of class we threw ourselves a party. Mike, our instructor, was happy to relax and not have to try to make us learn anything. We'll all be back next semester but in the meantime I can work at home if Susan decides to give me this for Christmas:

We do know how to party:

Friday, December 10, 2010

Alexandria and Susan Makara

We flew out of the Dallas-FtWorth airport on Sunday before Thanksgiving. All the news had been about the new full-body scanning and pat-downs, accompanied by newscasters predicting chaos/trouble/crowds at the airports. Our flight left at 8:00 a.m. so we prepared for the worst by arriving at the airport at the Crack of Dark, approximately 6:15 a.m. WHAT!?!?! There was NO ONE standing in line at the security checkpoint and we were waiting at our gate by 6:30. Needing coffee desperately.

Once we got to Washington DC it was an easy hop on the metro to Alexandria where our hotel was. From there it was an easy hop on the free trolley to go down King Street to the Torpedo Factory.  Go here to see what it's all about.  [Note to Washington DC people: You have no idea how fortunate you are to have such a convenient metro, bus, and trolley system. It is a big deciding factor in us choosing to be tourists in your area.]

Our original plan was to first find a nice restaurant by the river to eat a late lunch. Susan took one look at the menu that featured Lunch Entrees starting at $26 and pivoted over to Starbucks where we got more caffeine and sugar goodies and found a public bench by the river to sit on. The leaves do turn colors in Texas but usually not this bright of a red.

At the Torpedo Factory we found Susan Makara painting an interesting piece.  Go here to see more of her work. We enjoy talking to the artists there and they are always helpful and informative about their art.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More Of The Modern Art Museum

The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is a beautiful museum and it has a secret stairway. In the picture above there is a stairway from the second floor to the first that takes you along the north side (side facing the hill in this shot) of the building beside the water.  The next two shots show the stairway. If you ever go to the museum here's how to find it: Go to the elevator on the second floor, far north west corner. Walk behind the cement wall to the left of the elevator, as though you were looking for a janitor's closet. You'll be in a narrow hallway, go down that hall and turn right (behind the elevator shaft) and there are the magic stairs.

It was cold the day we were there so we didn't sit outside. We love the look of these chairs.

And, faithful Blog Readers, in response to some queries, Yes, I have been working with clay. The proof is below. There has not been much to show you lately as I have been working on some pieces that are not for "public consumption" yet. Stay tuned.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

We left town for the Thanksgiving holidays. Our travel began with a long drive to Fort Worth, testing the back roads which added an hour to our drive time but reduced the traffic by about 80% and nearly eliminated all the 18-wheelers.

The Modern Art Museum is relatively small and in our minds that means we can slowly walk through the whole thing in under 2 hours. Or more, depending on the exhibits. This year the feature was Vernon Fisher and the exhibit was great but the signage was lousy. We like to read about the works shown and get more information about the purpose and focus of the exhibit.  Susan went down to the bookstore to look at the book featured for the exhibit and discovered the reason for the poor signs was that the guy didn't talk much about his stuff. Sort of "here it is, take it as it is." Okay by me.

Their permanent collection is full of familiar favorites displayed with a lot of space for looking.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Getting Nowhere Fast

The Blog Wrangler speaks:
This is a clock I gave Don many years ago. It works but the ticking and the chiming ruin his afternoon naps so he doesn't often wind it. It stands about 24" high.

So why are you seeing this picture instead of the pictures from our recent trip to Washington DC? Or some of his work? Or the pictures he took in Greune? Or anything reasonably current in the blog? Because, instead of downloading pictures or typing up what he wants on the blog, I've had to spend the whole freaking morning trapped at my desk dealing with Maintenance and Logistics:

1. Called the colonoscopy doctor. Yep, it's time again.
2. Called Health Insurance company. Glad we have some.
3. Called the physical therapy office about the bill.
4. Called Health Insurer, they paid the claim wrong.
5. Called the Doctor, to pay the bill.
6. Called the radiology clinic to pay the bill.
7. Called The Wall Street Journal (4th call in 4 days) to renew the subscription. They keep screwing it up.
8. Found a card, wrote the note and sent off with the money order to gift the newpaper guy, who always delivers neatly to the middle of the driveway.
9. Called The Wall Street Journal, the online record is still wrong.
10. Found and addressed birthday cards for my brother and sister-in-law. Locating stamps will be another day.
11. Called the Health Insurer, the latest claim online is wrong.
12. Called the haircut salon, rescheduled haircut, he's cutting it too short again so I'll just save money by pushing the date farther out.
13.  Janis called - Yes! finally a phone call that doesn't involve "Press 2 if you want....". Thank you, thank you, Janis, for willing to be on alert as Plan B.
12. Out of printer paper and can't find more.
13. Running Time-Warner internet speed tests. No reason why it has to be as slow as dial-up.
14. Found some paper and have printed 17 pages to submit for health insurance reimbursement.
15. Looked at the list I'm typing so I can complain to Don when he calls in. Noticed the numbering is off. Well, just pile it on me!
16. Symantec calling for the 6th time to see if I've resolved my product problem. No, for the 6th time, it's a problem with my account. Actually, the 4th call shouldn't count because they didn't speak English well enough for me to understand so I hung up on them. It would be great customer service if they understood my English.  In case you are interested, it's the middle of the night in Mumbai but they expect sunshine.
17. Don - Calling in to see if I'm enjoying my quiet morning at home.

#$%^ %$@#* % &^%* #%@ &!)*^^+?!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

I'm Vaguely Famous, But Mainly in My Own Mind

This was shown in a special "Glossy" section that comes with our newspaper once a month. Susan is my Go-To newspaper scanner and she missed this. She defended herself by saying she doesn't look at the stuff in Glossy because it's all too "frou-frou". Well, excuuuuuuse me!

Thanks to my fellow student, Andrea, for letting me know I had my 15 minutes of fame.

Sunday, November 28, 2010


Disclaimer #1: Therapists are good. Therapy is good.
Point to Remember: A sense of humor is good.
Disclaimer #2: I don't have GEICO, I'm not affiliated with them, etc, etc.

That said, this commercial has me laughing out loud every time I see it.

The ending toss is perfect.