Tuesday, April 26, 2011

H2O | Reapa.

H2O is one of my favorite taggers to spot, and they seem to be popping up all over the place lately. Have I ever mentioned that I am obsessed with street art? Graffiti? Whatever you want to call it, I just love it and I love starting to recognize the work of certain individuals around town.

I love imagining how they pick their spot, choose their paint, carry materials to the destination. What time of day is it? How fast do these things go up? Are they working alone or with a group? How do they get up there? Over there? I love seeing a really detailed train car, and I love how they suddenly appear along the expressway randomly one morning and are just as quickly painted over with beige paint by some city worker. So quickly, usually, that I have no chance to snap a picture of them. Then it always makes me a little depressed that all their effort is just erased.

This one has been up (on the Ohio feeder ramp) for a couple of days now and the traffic was so terrible this morning I was actually able to grab it with my cell phone. This pic is crappy but click here to see more work by H2O/Reapa. It's so bright and detailed. I hate it that there's not more information out there about these people, but perhaps that's why it's so fascinating to me too.

This Gaper's Block article (from 2007) tends to come up when I do a search. If you find any of this interesting at all, something else you might like is this Chicago Street Art Flickr Group, or this blog.

If you want to take it a step further, and see a really crazy documentary on/by the UK's Banksy and this really random "film maker", rent Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Invisible by Paul Auster

On Saturday, I woke up at 7 am and started this book. I took my first of three naps around 10 am. I spent the entire day just reading and napping, until I finished it at about 7 pm.

I don't know if I've ever read a 300-page book in one day. I decided to make finishing it Saturday my goal – er, excuse for doing nothing but reading and napping all day. When that wasn't enough I just told myself I HAD to finish it for Book Club.

I have never read Paul Auster before, but I think I'm going to have to read another one. Or, as the NYT review states in the first sentence, just go ahead and read this one again. My review: Huh. Or maybe, Double Huh.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Oh, Joy!

My best friends brought a little boy into the world today. Theodore Bradford, "Teddy", was born at 6:42 this morning. Seven pounds of perfect. I'm in love.

Photo via Even Cleveland. Source Unknown.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It happens every year.

But it's still a shock. Snow?! And 12 days before May? Rude.

Photo courtesy of Mary Bradbury.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Always sorta wanted one of these...

Every once in a while I take a look at these Tonke Campers. Just for fun. Aren't they cool? I love the woodwork and the colors. They kind of remind me of a sailboat we had growing up that never really got used and just sat looking perfect and pretty in the garage.

I think I would find an excuse to use this.

Monday, April 11, 2011

If you're lucky enough to have a house on a lake – you're lucky enough.

Even if it's just for a week. We got the place! I'm so excited I find myself daydreaming about it constantly. I can't believe I get to do this every day for an entire week. Joy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Linoleum Block Prints.

Working my way through my 2011 "goals" list, I finally ordered some linoleum blocks, tools and paints. They arrived on my doorstep and I unpacked them excitedly and then they sat on the dining room table for a couple weeks. I couldn't figure out what to carve into the block? It felt so permanent and as if it needed to really be something I'd want to make a zillion prints of and I couldn't settle on anything. Then I reminded myself that the blocks are only about $2 and I'd probably screw it up anyway, so I bit the bullet.

Copying a saying from some prints I'd seen on Etsy seemed like a good idea even though I knew it was totally cheating to not come up with my own original concept. I printed out a template, reversing it and everything, but then I couldn't figure out why I was reversing it so I righted it again and started to carve away. I had been disappointed when I removed the cellophane that the old smell didn't hit me, but thankfully it came out strong, just how I remembered, once I started cutting. Oh I love that smell!

Anyway then Katy stopped by and said, Um, you're doing that backwards. And I said, Crap! and gave up for the day. The next morning I realized I could save the ruined block and fall back on my original idea: A Moose. (A friend of mine recently asked if I would do a blue moose for her kids room).

So these came out really bad, but I'm happy to report I made a dent in my list and had a lot fun doing this exercise. Well, I loved the carving and the anticipation and the SMELL – just not the result so much. And now that I've gotten my feet wet with this, and kind of remembered the limitations and stuff, I need to come up with something original to make prints of and start a new one.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

MoMA - Motherwell.

Elegy to the Spanish Republic – 108, 1965-67

"Motherwell described his Elegies to the Spanish Republic series as a 'lamentation or funeral song' for what was lost in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s. 'It seemed to me that something beautiful and marvelous had died, at least temporarily, in that conflict,' he said. All the works share a visual motif: black ovals wedged between black rectangles. The compose the central chapter in the artist's career; between 1947 and 1968 Motherwell created more than 100 works in the series."

The Little Spanish Prison, 1941-44

Personage, with Yellow Ochre and White, 1947

"The thick, encrusted surface of Personage reveals that Motherwell created it through countless applications of thick paint. Describing his working process during this period, the artist wrote, 'I begin painting with a series of mistakes. The painting comes out of the correction of mistakes by feeling. I begin with shapes and colors, which are not related internally nor to the external world; I work without images.'"

I really enjoy Robert Motherwell (American, 1915-1991), and especially that description above. Exactly.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

NYC Trip - My Dear Liz

Friends, it makes me crazy I don't document what I see when I am with this artist. It is literally a physical internal struggle I have within myself the whole time I'm having the experience. The truth is, I can't diminish what's happening before me by trying to document it. And while I'm struggling with a conscious need to grab my camera, my desire to be and stay in the moment ultimately wins.

This last trip to NYC, Ruth and I met Liz for brunch. When she invited us up to her apartment afterward, we about died it was just a few doors away, and then we sat gasping as she spread out her incredible quilts across her bed, starting with smaller "baby" blankets and broadening to this incredible "He/She" sided Wedding masterpiece.

I do not use the word 'masterpiece' lightly. The "She" was entirely white, however, on closer inspection was comprised of the most subtlety decorated white fabrics, one after the other more detailed beauty.

I almost literally had a heart attack when she just casually sat down on the top layer later. Had I done the same thing, peanut butter, or subway soot, or some other indiscretion would have undoubtedly ended up smeared across it. But to be welcomed into such an environment and to see such things... I am sorry I can't show you. And I'm more sorry I have nothing but my own memories to call it to mind myself. That was my conscious decision at the time. To not show you, or me later. I love just remembering a great afternoon, and two dear friends who shared it with me.

"Diagraming a Fold x9" drawing and "Red and Orange Docks and Ladders" by Liz Jaff.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

MoMA - Picasso.

Les Demoiselies d'Avignon, 1907

"The result of months of preparation and revisions, the painting revolutionized the art world when first seen in Picasso's studio. Its monumental size underscored the shocking incoherence resulting from the outright sabotage of conventional representation. Picasso drew on sources as diverse as Iberian sculpture, African tribal masks, and El Greco's painting to make this startling composition. In the preparatory studies, the figure at the left was a medical student entering a brothel. Picasso, wanting to anecdotal detail to interfere with the sheer impact of the work, decided to eliminate it in the final painting. The only remaining allusion to the brothel lies in the title: Avignon was a street in Barcelona famed for its brothel."

This was a gasper for me. I'm pretty sure I've seen it before, but then it shows up surprisingly, and wakes me up inside.