Sunday, August 29, 2010

My Love for Lake Geneva.

FINALLY got up there for the first time this year, on the next to last weekend of the summer before Labor Day. The weather was perfect. Cloudless sky, hot hot, strong breeze. Completely lucked out seeing so many members of the "old crew" who apparently hadn't all been down on the pier at the same time all year. Higgins', Landgraf's, Degnan's and of course Wendt's. We all ended up on the far end just like it always had been. People were sipping beers and reminiscing about past times. The Gaines' family, the Smith's, and Ruthie from the Congress Club (a group of white homes with green trim surrounding the central Clubhouse, build in the late 1800's by families who all had permanent residences in and around Congress Parkway in downtown Chicago) which had been in my back yard.

Much to my dismay, they no longer do the swim meet, or the pot luck dinner/family picnic, due to lack of participation. Super drag. My Mom's infamous taco salad was remembered yesterday – everyone missing it and remarking on how it was such a hit.

I literally cried when I saw the lake as I rolled into town. I really miss it and can't believe how time flies. My dear friend Jed has three children now. I met him when he was 10 years old. I remember his family adopting his brother after years of trying to get him, and bringing the little newborn up for the first time, and how excited we all were. Joe is in college now. Kelly is getting married. I remember when she was born and how I couldn't stop carrying her and her twin brother Brendon around every chance I got, quite possibly annoying the hell out of her mother with my obsessive interest in them, always begging for a chance to feed or change or dress them.

Lots of talk about how we'd walk to town for ice cream, and every kid would be invited along, regardless of age, because just, that's how it was. The big kids were bigger than me at the time, little ones quite young. All of us looking out for one another and just, having the best time being "bored" all summer.

I was so happy to see things unchanged and also sad to see what was so different. Adorable modest summer homes turned into places two or three times their original size.

But it was the smell of it that hadn't changed that got me on the drive in. And then later, it was the water, the damp, the stars, the noise of the crickets and cicadas and the same old faces that hadn't changed all that much. In the end it all felt very obvious, natural and familiar. I felt again like the kid I was back then, even though that's so obviously not the case any more. What a delightful childhood I had without really even realizing it. I love being able to swim off that pier more than any other swimming experience I've had in my life.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Made the difficult decision to paint over the first one I did of this series today – one I did last summer. My method changed while painting the other ones this year, and the inconsistency really bugged me. The problem was I really liked this one as it was. But being true to my process across the board when thinking about showing them as a group felt important. So far I am happy I did it.

I also headed out on the highway to get some final shots. After trying and trying to work with what I had, I knew I needed some new subjects. I really hate having semi trucks going by a couple feet away at 70 mph. The wind gusts are intense! It's also pretty terrifying to be reversing on the shoulder as they come barreling at you. But again I am glad I made the effort. Really like the images I got and it's way more motivating to look forward to painting what's meaningful rather than just making due with something that just feels average.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Camels Swimming.

This image of the camel in the water I saw recently on 2 or 3 Things (07.05.2010) is torturing me. I have an extremely vivid memory of seeing camels swimming laps in a swimming pool. Men with swamis and long white robes are standing on deck with large oars and they are sort of "stirring" them along, keeping them in their lines. It's so totally strong and clear – this image – that I feel as though I must have truly seen it.


Is that even possible? Why on earth would camels swim laps? Could it have been a dream? Although they are clearly not in a pool, the colors in this photo are so exact to what it looked like. I keep looking to find that image of camels swimming laps. I can't.

Image by Rick Smolan via 2 or 3 Things.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Leah Giberson.

I had to order one of these prints. Can you guess which one I picked? The Jealous Curator has been knocking my socks off lately. When I saw this artist (and others – this spider web repair is unbelievable) on her post recently on SF Girl by Bay, I just got lost in the looking. Blogs, flickr pages, personal sites, etsy... The world wide has made so many artists out there accessible and I truly love the internet for connecting me to all these amazing creative people and their work.

Pool season, summer, is slipping away from me, and glancing at this little reminder of good things to come might help me get through the winter ahead. Love that the pools appear to be empty.

It's dark again when I wake up and I keep thinking as my eyes are opening, It must be because it's raining. But then the sun rises through the window in the shower and I feel a little despair. Oh how I love Summer. The light, heat, humidity, cicadas singing, bonfires, fruit and vegetables, and an excuse to let all things just... SLACK. Thank god for September, who lets us ease into the holidays slowly. I'm actually looking forward to you too!

10 Years Old.

When I smell fresh, ripe cantaloupe like this, I am instantly transported back to the little pass-through breakfast bar at our cottage in Lake Geneva. My grandmother is on the other side of it in the kitchen, drying dishes with a hand towel, and my brother and I, sitting on stools, legs dangling, on either side of him, stare in disbelief as we watch our grandfather put black pepper on his.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


When I was in a sales job about a million years ago and drove around a lot, for some reason semi's drew my attention – but none so much and often as a Peterbilt. I've been in love ever since. If you've never taken the time to notice big trucks and you happen to be out on the road, look around. I swear, none of them ever look as pristine, have as much character or carry themselves quite the way a Peterbilt does. And if they ever change that logo, I seriously might cry.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken on the grill.

Steve showed me this cutting out the backbone/splitting the bird technique and cooking it on the grill Friday night and yesterday I tried it out. I think I finally made a really good, really tender, really flavorful chicken. All I did was split it, rub olive oil on it, and sprinkle it generously with salt, pepper and oregano. Also of course, turmeric, the wonder spice. Cooked it skin side down over direct flame for about 5 minutes, then on indirect rotating it twice for about an hour. When I brought it in I covered it with tin foil and let it sit for about 10 minutes before cutting it up.

I ate it with my fingers.

Not the whole thing.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Dalton Ghetti.

This is one of the coolest things I've come across on the world wide in a long time. Artist Dalton Ghetti creates these miniature sculptures carving carefully, slowly and meticulously into the graphite of pencil tips and sometimes their wooden bases.

This hand saw is my favorite. But seriously, these things take like, forever to create. And he has a "graveyard" of about 100 pieces that were broken close to completion. Can you imagine? It makes me smack my head in despair for him! Originally from Brazil, and a professional carpenter, he currently lives in Connecticut and is working on a commemorative piece for the victims of 9-11, carving single tear drops for the 3,000+ people who were killed that day. He's trying to do one a day, and estimates it will take about 10 years to complete. I shared this with some friends and we spent a good half hour tonight talking about this man and his work. HE DOESN'T USE A MAGNIFYING GLASS! It's truly fascinating.

He also does not sell his work, but instead, gives it away. I love that! To learn more and view more images, take a look at the Telegraph article.

Via the Jealous Curator. That colored pencil log sculpture is pretty rad too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sunday, August 8, 2010


I don't know why walls like this one make me happy but they do.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


This is one of my favorite trees in the city. Isn't it great? The house behind it is also one of my favorites. I have to stop and look at it every time I pass by. See how it's wedged between new construction on both sides? Developers tried to buy up the whole block but this one person would not sell. There is – no joke – at most about 2 inches of space separating it from walls on either side. Walls that now block windows, on all stories, the full length of the house.

The tree basically blocks any light that might get in the windows out front. But what a beautiful tree! You can stand under it's canopy and peek in the windows and imagine what could possibly go on in there – what kind of character lives there. It looks like there could be a museum full of treasures inside. And a little old lady with terrific stories.

I also love love that it's August and there are still Christmas wreaths out front. Isn't that wonderful?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Toys.

I haven't gotten or made Emerald a single present yet. I haven't even looked for anything until today. I don't know why that is. I thought at first it was because I haven't been there yet, had an opportunity to see her and deliver it myself, but on second thought I think I have an aversion to baby gifts in general.

I never really thought about it before but I typically don't buy kid stuff unless I have to because I'm going to a party, or it's Christmas. Of course I think the clothes and some toys are cute and everything - it's just not something I ever spend time looking at I guess. Well, that and the fact that I know they'll outgrow, destroy or ignore whatever I've gone and spent my hard-earned cash on!*

I like to joke to my brother that the only things I'll ever buy her are going to be plastic, neon colored, or make some terrible obnoxious noise. But I'm pretty sure I'll never really do that. So I started browsing. A lot of the toys from Hazelnut Kids are kind of nice. Simple and classic. I'll tell you what I really look forward to is buying her a plane ticket and shipping her out to visit me for a week. Pink tutu's and ballet slippers and wands.

*Probably subconsciously why I started giving drawings and paintings? That and they're free!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

One down...

Grass. 30"x 30". Acrylic, oil pastel and graphite on canvas.

Only 8 to go – 5 are currently in the process. Here's a new painting and a photo I took of the place that inspired it (my commute).