Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Halloween photo shoot

One of my clients, Carisa Wenstrom, sent me photos of my Voodoo Bird Skull Mask used in this spooky photo shoot!

The atmosphere is great in so many of the photos!

And the rest of the costume is quite impressive!

This particular mask is a newer design so I haven't seen many photos of people wearing it.

The results of their photos are stunning!

Usually with a photo shoot of my masks I share 2-3 images, but with these I just can't help but share more....  I guess you get the idea.

Anyway This week we were invited as a family to our first Quinceañera! I'm super excited and can't believe that we have 3 daughters and have lived in Argentina and the southwest United States all these years and haven't gotten an invite sooner! Anyway it's for a friend of Naomi's.... Now to buy the perfect gift!

A Quiet Place to Read

I've also been working more on adding images to my Red Bubble page . It's been an interesting experience to try and build a new network and portfolio there.

Inside The Witch's Cottage

I'm trying to add a few new images a week. We'll see if I can keep it up. 

     In the mean time the fires that have been raging in California have been thankfully far from Phoebe at school in Napa. According to her and the school it is quite smoky outside and she tells me she's just been staying indoors in the art studios getting work done (yes, that's definitely a kid of mine!). Anyway, she comes home this Friday. I've been using her room to pack and ship masks so I'd better clean it up! 

Chloe isn't coming home from Scotland for Thanksgiving, but has been invited to Sweden by her good friend and suite mate to visit her hometown. Fortunately she found a super cheap plane ticket for only 20£ . Hopefully she won't be strapped to the wing for such a cheap flight!

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Halloween is over.... Phew!

    Recently I saw someone post online "I don't really like Halloween, there I said it". Honestly, this is like saying you didn't like the most recent "Shrek" movie. It's for children. Completely tailored to kids in every way. You are not the audience. It's strange how people don't get it. If you want to like Halloween, spend it with your grandkids. If you want to like Shrek, watch it with some children. I even enjoyed the "Teletubbies" when I saw how my one year old responded to it. Once Mike's grandfather put the show on for Mike and I while our daughter was sleeping. It was pretty awkward explaining that it's not our favorite show.

The lead up to Halloween was pretty hectic in my mask shop. I managed to finish these Pinky and The Brain masks in time and so, so many other masks that it would be tedious to talk about.

    This is Naomi on Halloween morning before school. She had on a cute black dress and went out that night with friends. She really seems to like her school now, which is great! She also seems to be doing well in classes.
     Phoebe's midterm grades came in and she's got all A's (as usual for her). She's also really liking her time at the Oxbow school. They have artists in residence who come work with the teens and she's created some incredible work! 
    Chloe is really enjoying her time in Scotland and has made it her mission to travel on weekends when she can. Apparently finding cheap flights within Europe from Europe is much easier than finding them from here. She went to London, and Paris with friends, and now her best friend from her dorm has invited her home to Sweden one weekend. Her friend helped her find a flight for 20€ online.
   It's an amazing thing to have all three girls happy at their schools at the same time. The last time this happened Chloe was in 3rd grade, Phoebe was in kindergarten and Naomi was at Humpty Dumpty preschool.... So it was a long time ago.

Cliff Hanger

In the meantime I've been trying to build a big portfolio on my Red bubble account. This piece is new to the site, it's called "Cliff Hanger" .  It's from my "Child in Peril" collection.

Night Fishing

This one is called "Night Fishing" There's many more images that can be purchased as prints, on t-shirts, posters, cell phone sleeves, laptop covers, bags,  and pillows. This particular site is the best one of these I've found, as the proceeds for the artist/designer is much more. A few years ago I tried to put up over 100 images on a site called Zazzle and I only received a few cents for each sale. It took over a year to make $50 and then for taxes I had to give up a third. If I'd done that on Red Bubble I'd have made hundreds in passive income.  Anyway I still make my pennies on Zazzle but I'm focusing on making some here now.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Lots of masks and a new school

        I knew it would happen sooner or later, but my youngest, Naomi, has grown very tired of online school. Spending days and nights at home all the time has become tedious. The lack of teacher interaction, and social interaction became isolating. So this week Naomi took the plunge and started at our local high school. We drive her in because for some reason mornings are hectic, but she has a student pass for the train and makes her own way home. She's back in guitar class, and is taking Spanish for the first time since we lived in Argentina! 

        In the meantime I'm making many masks. These two are called "Nite Nite" and "Peekaboo". They are very, very large. I also had a HUGE order from the TNT network's costume department for a series called "Tell me your secrets". They wanted 13 masks in a week. I had at one point 29 masks I was working on at once! It was so much I had to take my store offline for 5 days. Now unfortunately it made orders slow down to a trickle. I think I need the break though.

This is one of my other orders. A mask of the cat from Coraline.

A child size skull mask.

And these two are still in progress in my studio, Pinky and the Brain. As you can see they are quite large. (For comparison I put one of my plaster bases in the photo).

     Anyway it's been a bit crazy weather wise here. Lots of storms and so much rain on Saturday I couldn't make it to my drawing and painting classes in Peoria. The roads were so flooded I almost got stranded!! Fortunately I made it home and managed to cancel the classes.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Electric Desert and a break in

Most of my time these days is spent doing this. Mask making starts to spin out of control this time of year as Halloween approaches. Also my teaching schedule has been pretty intense, so I've been going non stop. I was really looking forward to a break.

Not this kind of break though. Unfortunately on Tuesday, during a dry spell in the storm,(Yes! A storm from Mexico hit us...It was fantastic!). We made the mistake of leaving our GPS visible from the car window and someone stole it again. The worst part about getting robbed, other than the inconvenience and glass EVERYWHERE, is the reaction of people you tell. You shouldn't leave things in your car, you should insure everything, blah, blah, blah. I can't afford to insure everything I own. I do insure my car, but like always with insurance this isn't covered.  Anyway it turns out some people have never been robbed, which is strange. The only place I haven't been robbed or ripped off is when I lived on a mountain in the Catskills of New York, 45 minutes from anything (even a grocery store). Of course, then we had bear troubles, which is a whole other problem.

The break I was looking forward to is this. We went to the"Electric Desert" event at the Desert Botanical Gardens.

The lights on the cacti was stunning.

The light shows were incredible. Especially the music and light on the mountains around the gardens, but most of our photos are as clear as this one.

I did get this nice shot of Mike drawing on the interactive mural though. This was actually painted and designed by my friend Kyllan Maney, who is an excellent local artist.

It was a pretty spectacular night and great to get away from my pile of mask orders!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Mike's 47 and a surprise from Morocco

This week started out very hot, like it usually is in Phoenix this time of year, topping 105ºF (40ºC) most days. After months of this, all of us in the valley start to drag ourselves through the motions of the day, spending much of the time in an unpleasant sweaty state. Anyway it all changed on Wednesday, which also happened to be Mike's birthday!

It was cloudy and rainy and a balmy 87ºF (30.5ºC)!!  We were so excited! We headed over to the Western Spirit: Scottsdale's Museum of the American West. An amazing art museum just over in Scottsdale.

This is a sculpture in the entrance.

This is a blurry shot of Naomi as she raced off into the exhibit about movie westerns. This is the last we saw of her for about an hour.

A more "in focus" picture of me in the same spot.

This is a recreation of sculptor and painter, Joe Beeler's studio.

This is a collection of saddles, guns of many sizes and even cowboy boots.

The museum was MUCH larger than I realized it would be.

Upstairs was this painting by NC Wyeth, one of my favorite artists of all time, and tragically it's an awful picture of this amazing painting. (I guess you'll have to go to Scottsdale!)

This statue is from the sculpture garden and was so realistic it was spooky.

Mike walking through the sculpture garden (in the rain!!)

I have to say this museum was well worth a visit. We'll be coming back. 
After this we wandered through downtown Scottsdale and found some dinner.

Then we came home and enjoyed some delicious cake. The weather on Thursday was not as great (back around 100ºF), but all week my students, and everyone I spoke to, remembered fondly the day of rain, always with a look of wonder and magic, like if they'd seen a unicorn walking on a rainbow.

This week I've been working on masks pretty constantly, but every once in a while I get an exciting custom order like this.

And this.  They're masks from Maurice Sendack's "Where The Wild Things are".

I shipped them off yesterday, but they were a blast to make!

On Friday I received an incredible surprise from Tétouan. The school in Morocco, Jacnito Benavente, that installed my sculpture (Night Over Tétouan), sent me an honorary diploma! I'm so excited. How cool is that?!

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A school report

To follow up on Chloe's many struggles arriving at school in Scotland, she finally got her luggage!! (That only took 8 days!) She had to return on the train to Edinburgh and go back to the hotel she had initially stayed at. They had kindly secured her luggage. It took all day, but she had just made some friends at her dorm and they were up for an adventure!

Chloe also sent me some photos of her time in Paris.and Scotland.

Here she is by the River Seine.

Goofing off.

On a brewery tour in Glasgow

An incredible mural near the school.

And here she is with her new friend Sam.

In other news Phoebe's been busy at school in California. Last week her class went into San Francisco to visit the MOMA

Outside the building


Phoebe's bus selfie

And they walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was windy.

She also has been sharing with me many school adventures. She and some friends found a wood and went exploring in their free time. Apparently they found a treasure chest, but had run out of time and needed to race back to school! (There's got to be more to that story, but I think she's holding out on me. ) Anyway she took this great photo of a hot air balloon flying over her school last weekend...

Now that they're both settled at school they seem to be enjoying themselves. Here in Phoenix, Naomi is busy with school, and friends and Mike and I are teaching and making art. Of course, the Halloween orders have begun. Here's an eyeball mask I made last week...

And the mask orders just keep coming.... Have a restful Sunday.

"People are willing to take these extraordinary chances to become writers, musicians, or painters, and because of them, we have a culture. If this ever stops, our culture will die, because most of our culture, in fact, has been created by people that got paid nothing for it--people like Edgar Allan Poe, Vincent Van Gogh or Mozart."-Kurt Vonnegut


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