Monday, October 29, 2012

festivals, festivals

On Friday was the Fall Festival at Naomi's school...
Naomi with the frog she won... and Mike.

They had a bunch of rides and a "train" pulled by a lawn mower like vehicle that filled the air with a gasoline aroma....

Naomi tackled the climbing wall, and some of Phoebe's friends from the middle school were there to keep her busy, Chloe also seemed entertained ...mostly.

On Sunday was the Dias De Los Muertos festival downtown in the park. We felt ready for more "festivaling" so we went to that as well!

This is man carrying a Mexican flag skull (in case your eyes aren't working today).

 Here are some of the dancers.
The dance stage/performance area was in the direct sun, but that's okay, it wasn't even 90ºF on Sunday (maybe 89ºF).
One of many alter skulls at the festival.
Two of the giant skeletons.

Did I mention it was a bit hot?  So we bought the kids some Mexican handmade helado.
 Also some water and expensive tamales...

Mike and I stayed in the shade for a while and decorated masks.  I made this one. :)

There was plenty to do though.  This was a booth where you could make a sugar skull.

There were dancers everywhere.  These are a group of children preparing to go on.

The costumes were great.  We missed the dance act that wore these crazy orange masks.

I'm not sure, but I think these staffs went with those dancers we missed.

There was certainly a lot to see.  "Dias de los Muertos" or "Day of The Dead" is more than just a giant skeleton festival however.

It's about communing with your dead family, friends and ancestors. In Mexico they cook the favorite dishes of the one who's moved on and commune with them at alters in the cemetery.  This is also the time of year in Mexico that the monarch butterflies complete their long migration from Canada.  As the butterflies arrive they believe that these are the spirits of their ancestors returning.  It's really quite beautiful. 

Also I love the skulls. :)

 This weekend we finally carved our pumpkins... We got them at Walmart (I know, lame).

Still they came out pretty good!!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Learning to live in the Sonoran Desert

 On Friday over at the High School they took Chloe and her classmates to an "assembly" in the sun (it was 95ºF), where 80 year old ladies put on a cheer leading performance for the students. The children watched in a stunned and sweaty silence.

Adjusting to life here has been interesting for us all.  When Arizonans make jokes about the dry heat there's almost no way you can understand unless you live here.  First of all my skin is dryer than it's ever been, even in the winters of New York and Argentina it was never this bad.

 When we first arrived I found an old plastic milk crate out on the patio.  As I was moving it around I dropped it and .... It shattered into 7 pieces! I picked up one of the pieces and it crumbled into tiny pieces.  All the moisture was just gone from that milk crate.  Then last week it happened again at the studio I was working at with some old plastic shelving.  Crumbling plastic.... It's just odd.

This is an outdoor eating area near where we live.  As you can see they have "misters" that fill the air with moisture.

It creates a more comfortable dining experience when it's 95ºF or above (which it's still getting up to even in late October). It also covers you and your food with a light coating of water... Something to get used to..

On Sunday we thought perhaps it was cool enough to do a daytime outing outside. So we headed to Encanto Park downtown.

We came prepared with some umbrellas for the sun.

Here's Phoebe trying out the carousel on Enchanted Island.

The rocking horse sculpture as we enter Enchanted Island.

It's a pretty park, but it's was still really sunny. Maybe in another week it'll be better.

Just in time for Halloween!


Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Amazing Artists...

It's showtime again, and this month we have some great artists to share with you!

©Diana Levin
This month on Art Of The Red River, we'll be talking with artist and dark visionary, Diana Levin. Originally from Belarus, but currently based out of Los Angeles, Diana creates paintings of fairy tale whimsy twisted through a dark lens.  The results are something to behold. She creates art, illustration and jewelry and is opening up a permanent market stall in "Crafted" a marketplace in San Pedro, CA.

Also joining us this month is Tuscon based sculptor and fabricator of steampunk, anime and horror themed props and costume accessories, Michael Sorenson. He graduated from Utah State with a degree in theatrical design and technology.  He designed for local theaters in Logan UT, and after moving to the Phoenix area became the Lighting Director at the Sundome Center for the Performing Arts in Sun City West. He is currently the proprietor of Peculiar Magpie, where he sells his creations.

Unfortunately our co-host Wade Zahares, from Kennebunkport, Maine will not be joining us this month due to the "Maine Earthquake" from last week....
... Ok, yes, I'm kidding... It's just a scheduling issue.   Anyway, don't forget to tune in!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A blow out, a helper monkey, and my last day on the mural

Over the weekend we went to visit some friends and as we were returning late at night we heard a rumbling noise.  We thought it was that truck behind us but.... We were wrong.

As you can see our tire blew out.  We sat for almost an hour on the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance that never came.  A very nice man stopped though and had us on our way! There are some really good people out there.  

Since we've moved to this city I've seen some really bad accidents.  Three in fact, and one where a man was being strapped to a board by the paramedics.  Since we've only been here a month that seems like an awful lot.

In other news we headed to Costco to pick up Halloween get-ups for the kids.  They didn't find any there but we did see an elderly woman in a wheelchair with a helper monkey!  It was perched on her shoulder and she  had a thin silver chain on him.  How awesome is that!! My kids were fascinated and followed her around from a distance. Note to self get helper monkey when I become enfeebled.

Monday was my last day on the mural project.  I'm subcontracted so it's not quite done, but I've done my part...

Here you can see that Bryan Relyea (the lead artist) finished off the moon over the weekend with the airbrush.

He still needs to finish off the rocket guy and paint in stars, but I prepped the other 3 panels for him. Then he'll fly to Naples to install everything.

Since I won't be there to get final photos I thought I'd share the design.   And now here's a gratuitous picture of another one of the rooftop kitties from above the studio...

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Painting "El Cantante" on his rocket

On Friday I painted the Mexican singer on a rocket who woos the moon lady (If you have no idea what I'm talking about please see this post)

Here we can see his white silhouette.

The blue background got a bit messy with footprints.

I used powdered charcoal again to transfer the drawing, so of course I was covered in soot. Anyway here he is with the yellows in place.

This is how he looked at the end of the day. 

There's still lots of work to do, but it's getting there.  The good thing about last Friday was that it was actually in the 80's (F) all day... but that was last week.  Today was a lovely 94º (F), but according to the Phoenix forecast that's called "Pleasantly Warm" (that's what they call it whenever it's below 100º).

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cats on the roof and the moon mural

This past week I've been commissioned to work with local artist Bryan Relyea on a mural project. It's for a Mexican restaurant in Naples.  The image is of a Mexican dude riding a rocket to the moon playing a guitar and singing.... Did you catch that?

The moon design
We laid on the design using a ponce tool (a pokey wheel) that traced the image and used powdered charcoal to transfer it.  It worked in the messiest possible way. :)

The moon
Bryan hanging the canvas
Once I had the circle and the design down we hung it up.

This is two thirds of the way done painting the moon.

 It's getting there.

When I finished that day.  as you can see there's a seam down her face.  I had to paint an overlap so it looks a bit off in the photos.  Anyway tomorrow it's the Mexican dude.

This is a picture of one of the cats.  They live all over the roof.... Cutest infestation EVER!!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Discovering Phoenix and a journey to LA

We spent the last couple of weeks exploring this city...
We made a visit to the Phoenix Art Museum, which really impressed us.

This one is called "The Artist that Swallowed The World" by Erwin Wurm

There was a special show up about paper. (Yes, this creepy sculpture is made of paper)

...And then there was this.

The naked mole rat lady, well, that's what we called her.  As Chloe and I studied her an older couple walked up to it and the woman said  "What kind of weird rodent is that! Like something from another planet! " Chloe looked at her and said. "It's a naked mole rat."
"Like nothing I've ever seen. Some kind of alien."
"It's a naked mole rat"
"Nothing from this planet."
"No, it's a naked mole rat."
"Yes. Some kind of alien."She walked away shaking her head.... Then, exasperated Chloe looked at me "MOM!!"  
"Yes, I know honey, it's a naked mole rat."
We also went to the "First Friday" event that's held every month here in Phoenix.  This is us boarding the trolley to take us downtown.  

Me on the trolley

Here's Mike looking at an interesting sculpture. First Friday is a packed citywide event that is mostly an Art Walk.  There are musicians and food vendors and craft vendors.

...And for the one we went to, zombies of course.

Chloe likes gnomes

We could only see a tiny corner of the art walk this month, but in the end we saw some interesting work, heard some good music and ate some local food.

We also saw some artists and bands perform live.

The girls and I with HP Lovecraft
We were sweating each day through 105º heat when we first arrived, so we were really looking forward to our weekend in San Pedro, California, where Mike was a guest for the Lovecraft Film Festival.  We've been going every year so it was nice to do something normal.

Cody Goodfellow leading the "Cthulu prayer breakfast"

 It was also good for me to finally watch the film that Mike worked as concept designer on "Stay at home Dad". 
Such a crazy, short film.  If it comes to a festival near you, check it out!!!

Mike's table

It was nice to be back in California for a day or two, but it wasn't much cooler. We were sweating as we walked about and in the end glad to be back when the festival was over.
“As my artist’s statement explains, my work is utterly incomprehensible and is therefore full of deep significance”-Calvin (Calvin and Hobbs)


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