Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Finishing the centipede and a walk in the park

Last weekend I unwrapped the plastic off my centipede piñata and was happy to see he survived the storm.

So I proceeded to paint the bottom half.

Here he is all painted!

After this it was just a matter of waiting till Tuesday to drop it off at the gallery.... Or so I thought.  Then, at 3am on Sunday, high winds started whipping through here, so groggy and barefoot I went outside to tie this guy to the table.  Tuesday could not come soon enough!

In the meantime Naomi finished up her piñata for the show.  She calls it "The Ball That Sees All". 

On Sunday we walked through the park and saw many unusual sights, including this crowd doing downward dog near some "Vitamin Water" vendors.

Under the underpass we discovered pigeons nesting, which was interesting as I've never seen a pigeon nest before.

They use the lights that have been lined with some very ineffective spines to prevent them from making themselves at home.  The other interesting thing I saw was a man dressed as a leprechaun, and a girl dressed as a washing machine. Unfortunately I didn't get a picture of that!

In other news I had a terrible toothache this week that disappeared when I got to the dentist's office, thus making me look like a crazy person.  He said cracked molars can sometimes be hard to locate, whatever that means.  It doesn't hurt, though, when I'm biting down-just the rest of the time!  Anyway, Mike has a new interview out this week here, and my centipede is safely sitting inside the gallery... finally!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another month, another show

Monday is coming up fast and so is the next show of Art of The Red River.

Shroom Skulls by Sinful Edge
Our first guest is the artist known only as Sinful Edge.From Phoenix, Arizona, the young visionary paints what he calls metal influenced art.  His disturbing imagery will haunt you as it inspires you be sure to see his horrific visions of other worlds.  To fully experience it I suggest you follow him on tumblr at and listen in to our show for his unique outlook.

The Zullo Gallery in Medford, MA

 Our second guest will be William Pope, the owner and director of the Zullo Gallery and Center for the Arts since 1988. Over the past 23 years the gallery has presented more than 100 art exhibitions. Shows have featured members of The New England Watercolor Society, The Copley Society of Boston, The Boston Printmakers as well as individuals from The Fort Point Arts Community in South Boston and The Brickbottom Artists Cooperative in Somerville.

An Ant's Day Off illustrated by Nina Laden

Our final guest is Nina Laden, an award-winning, best-selling children’s book author and illustrator who lives in Seattle and on Lummi Island, WA, but mostly she lives in her imagination. She grew up in the New York city area, the daughter of two artists and received a BFA from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts. She has over a dozen books in print including “The Night I Followed the Dog,” “When Pigasso Met Mootisse,” and “Roberto the Insect Architect.” She also visits schools and inspires students to be creative. Join us for great conversations in art.

In other news, my centipede piñata survived our big storm cocooned on my patio.  The storm was madness, it actually SNOWED in some parts of Phoenix!  This is the valley of the sun, we put up with living in a convection oven all summer-the trade off is no snow. No sliding on ice across the highway! Anyway the snow is gone and I'll be posting more pics of my piñata finished and hanging in the gallery soon.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Painting in a panic

Since it was a three day weekend I kept working on the piñata (I'm trying to only work on this project on the weekend.)  Here you can see on Monday I started painting his face...

Then I began working on his stripes....

Stripes from front.
stripes from side.

By the end of Monday that's where I stopped.  Then I learned of the storm that was due to arrive Tuesday night.  I had wanted to paint all the areas I could reach without moving him too much (he is only paper mache, after all.) So I decided to get all I could done on Tuesday.

So I worked for hours.  Here I've added the yellow (plus one purple dot).

This is the same moment from the back.

Hours after that I finished as much as I could.  I've added all his dots and black outlines.  Phoebe was home sick and has helped me paint many backdrops so she came out and helped me finish.

side view

from the back.
So now that he's done I was ready to move him.

If you look closely you can see his bottom half needs finishing.

 But that's a task for next weekend.  Right now I have to cocoon this guy.

So here he is wrapped in two dropcloths and pushed under the eves of our house.  Right now it's pouring rain and please keep your fingers crossed for me..... This centipede will definitely melt in the rain.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Assembling the mutant piñata

This weekend has seen a lot of progress on the giant centipede I'm building....

Me attaching his head.
After I added all the legs on Friday I propped him up and attached his head.

The paper mache dried quickly in the Arizona sun.

With all the pieces together he's really taking shape, now.

The next step was to paint all the accessible parts a base green color.

 It certainly makes him look more buggy (Is that a word?). I guess I should say insect-like- buggy's an old timey car.

Here it is from the back- ( My patio is a disaster, don't look at that part).

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Tying shoes and drawing the dog

I hate shopping, and since I do it all the time for my girls I never buy anything for myself. Lately I've been down to my old sneakers I bought when I lived in Argentina. As I walked over to the pharmacy with Phoebe 2 days ago we saw an old sneaker sitting on the edge of the road. Phoebe said "Look Mom! It looks like yours." "Kind of, except that one's nicer!" ..... The point of this story is I bought new shoes.

You'll notice that my shoes have no laces.  This is because when it comes to keeping my shoes tied I seem to be highly incompetent.   I remember being stopped, sometimes twice a day, when I lived in New York City by well meaning citizens who didn't want to watch me fall on my face on the sidewalk.  "Your shoes are untied!"  "Thanks." I'd mumble and put forth the effort once again to tie my shoes.  This is why it's highly ironic that I've actually written and illustrated a book for preschoolers to teach them this valuable skill....
22 pages of instructions on how to tie a proper bow...

It's pretty cute and told in rhyme (one that works), so repeated reading is a breeze.

It also comes with the "learning laces" that are half red and half blue and work with the book.

I spent the last few days dying them to sell my back stock of the books on eBay.

This week I also visited Madison Rose Lane Elementary School's 3rd Grade.  We drew monsters and practiced drawing faces.  The kids were great, they all wrote me thank you letters.  It was Naomi's class and the teacher made her write a letter as well.  It went something like this....

Dear Mom,
     I don't know why I have to write you a letter when I could just thank you at home.  My teacher says I have to, so thank you for coming to my class and drawing monsters.
     Love, Naomi

This week I've also been watching Mike grade his students' life drawings, which inspired me to do some life drawing.  I used the easiest model available, Oscar.  Mike says I get an "A".

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Giant Centipede is taking shape ....

I'm still building my giant centipede piñata and began work on the body this weekend....

First I linked some of the balloons I'd paper mached last weekend.

When they dried I linked the doubled balloons together to create a large curved body.

Then I added his tail piece.  Next weekend I'll attach the ten legs and giant head, then it's on to painting this guy!  I'm excited to be showing in a local gallery. In the mean time you can see photo's of last year's mutant piñata show here.

It's always an interesting experience getting involved in galleries.  I remember when my kids were babies (6 and under) we all went over to Woodstock, NY to meet a gallery owner who wanted to show Mike's work.  She was a younger woman with wild hair, by that I mean REALLY wild.  She had just rescued some baby birds and was keeping them in her curly locks.  My preschooler and toddler were fascinated and amazed. I was also amazed, but a little disturbed.  Perhaps it was because at that time I had babies of my own and I knew just how much adorable little things pooped and peed.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Howard's End

I made a little video. It's only 45 seconds long, but hopefully it's disturbing enough to stay in your subconscious. :)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Valley fever, sour oranges and centipede legs

Last weekend we went to First Friday again.

As usual it was quite crowded and exciting with more bands showing up to play on street corners this time.  Chloe and Naomi were both feeling run down so they skipped it, but we brought Phoebe and her friend and Oscar, of course....

First Friday was a much different experience with a dog. He couldn't go in most of the galleries, but he enjoyed the festival outside. Also we met SO MANY other dog owners. They were all so friendly too.  We met one dog that seemed older and I mentioned it to the owner.  
"Oh no, she's not old, she just has 'Valley Fever'".
"What's that?"
"Ahh! You're not from around here are you?"
It turns out it's a mysterious illness in this region that comes from when they cut into the desert soil.  It put microbes in the air and causes a respiratory illness in dogs and people.  Fantastic.

Never the less, Oscar, and the rest of us enjoyed our evening out.  The weather has hit a sweet spot lately, and most days are in the 70º's (F), and the nights never get below 60º(F).

Over the last month or so when Naomi walks home from school each day she passes by a big sour orange tree and reaches up and picks one.  Slowly my fridge has been filling with yummy smelling, but very sour oranges.  I tried juicing some and mixing them with sweet oranges and sugar, but while it tasted ok, we all wished the juice wasn't so sour.  Then I candied some slices and dipped them in chocolate.  It was like the original sweet and sour chocolate, but too intense.  Finally this weekend I candied the peels and gave up on the sour center.  I dipped those in chocolate and "Eureka!" Just like a chocolate orange!!

I've also been busy building my giant centipede for the "Mutant Piñata Show"!  Here you can see I started on some of his legs this weekend...

Before Paper Mache

After Paper Mache

Next week I start putting together all the body parts.  Stay tuned, and Happy Monday!
“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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