Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The last 8 days in 4 paragraphs

This week we put in Phoebe's application to go to the local arts middle school.  It's connected to Chloe's high school, which is an amazing school.  Just last year they were one of a couple of schools that sent questions in to the astronauts in the international space station.  The day they spoke to the astronauts all the kids and faculty dressed for "space"  (space aliens, astronauts, space ships).  Anyway it's been a great environment for Chloe and I think Phoebe will love it too.  Also she's a pretty talented artist in my totally biased opinion....

In the mean time Chloe auditioned for the school play and is now going to be a "Goddess" in their production of The Tempest.  She's super excited.  She's also the only 10th grader I know who actually loves Shakespeare.

Last week Mike was commissioned to create prop comics (no, I don't mean comedians who use props).  He needed to draw comic book  art that could be printed and used in the TV show "Dads" and it all had to be drawn, colored and ready for print in 24 hours.  So he said "Sure. No problem."  Which meant I was recruited to color them and we pulled our first all nighter since.... um, college?  I don't know, ages anyway. It was intense, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

In other news I've been selected to be a featured artist at the annual "Tempe Marketplace Chalk Festival"!  So I'll be creating a mural in a single day on the sidewalk.  This is the sketch I wanted them to pick....

This is the sketch they decided to go with.....

So come find me on the lovely tiled sidewalk on Nov. 9th at the Tempe Marketplace!

Anyway yesterday was our show "Art of The Red River", other than me flubbing my guest's name it was a great show!  We had fantasy artist Gilead, pet portrait artist Susan Barken, and children's book illustrator Jamie Hogan.... Check it out!!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Hanging the Snails and the Festival on Grand Ave.

Saturday morning I dragged my butt out of bed and began prepping the "Tree Snails" for their debut at the Grand Ave. Festival...

 Ok, well, by "prepping" I meant I brought them outside and put them on the table.

Then I loaded them into the car (go me!).

 Snail #1 ready to go.

The snails fit a lot better than my mutant piñata did!

I'd been nervous all week that I'd have to climb a giant ladder and hang these guys myself, but then a very helpful man named Fred, got the ladder and hung them both in less than 10 minutes! 

I have to say, I though they looked pretty good up there!

Later that afternoon we came back to enjoy the festival with Phoebe, her friend Abby, and Naomi (Chloe was working at the library).

There were a lot of different art shows up in the different galleries, in the artist's studios and out on the street.

Here's Mike pondering this crazy face mural.

Here are the girls by the mural.  They're not really pondering... I don't know what they're doing exactly.

We slowly worked our way up the crowded street.

Phoebe found an art piece created by students from her school.

We also found this ride-able art piece by my friend Beatrice Moore.

This is one of the "Dias de los Muertos" paintings up at the Frontal Lobe gallery.  They had a whole "Day of The Dead" exhibit up.  Out front they had this...

Buckets of sugar skulls ready for decorating!

So the girls got busy!

They really enjoyed it!

We also ate pie at the pie factory and watch the mayor cut a ribbon.  It was quite an event!  If you missed it, though, they'll be doing it again next October!

Monday, October 14, 2013

If you move here, don't bring plastic hangers...

In fact, I think that's true for any desert locale.  Plastic just doesn't last....

I throw out at least one plastic hanger a week.  My kids probably throw out more.  Plastic gets brittle and starts to snap after a year.  Longer than that and it starts to crumble into small bits and sometimes even dust. It amazed me when we first moved here, now it just annoys me.

Last week Naomi's class and all the others in her grade put on a musical production called "Hats".

As you can see it involved wearing silly hats and the kids did a great job.

Ever since we lived in California, where art and music have been cut from schools, I've been so glad that Naomi and her sisters are in schools now that have programs like this.

This weekend the city has come back to life with festivals and events.  On Saturday Mike, Phoebe, Oscar and I went to the Shemer Art Center for their "animal" show. Which was opened up to people with their pets.  There was lots of great art and excited dogs and one terrified looking rabbit.  Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but you'll have to trust me it was a great day out!   

In recent news I've been commissioned to illustrate a children's book about Santa Claus, which means I'll be drawing elves and stuff.  Maybe it will get me in a holiday mood.  My daughter Phoebe has been singing Christmas songs for weeks, though, and all that's done is get on my nerves, so we'll see.

Monday, October 7, 2013

The Art Walk downtown and stuff about dogs

 The city's cooling down lately, but traffic is increasing and at the supermarket I found myself squeezing my shopping cart through crowded aisles just full of people.  The snowbirds have returned it seems.  Snowbirds, (in case you didn't know), are people who summer in the northern states and return to Arizona for the winter.  It used to be just retirees, but I've heard of whole families with school age children doing this. I'm not sure how that works for them as my kids are just now coming to the end of their first quarter at school and will be getting their grades very soon. In fact Chloe's school has started it's fall break and she's home all week.

On Friday night the evening was cool and comfortable, so after sending my 2 older daughters off camping for the weekend we brought Naomi and her friend to the Art Walk down on Roosevelt St...
On our walk there we passed this very interesting mural...

"Day of the Dead" is coming and festive dolls were on display...

The girls took turns posing with this billboard/ poster/art thingy...

Naomi was too short!

This artist was doing some great work and it was nice to watch him paint.

It was a good outing and nice to be walking around outside on a beautiful night. 

I brought Oscar to the dog park on Sunday, which was just full of dogs, including 2 very fat Huskies and a St. Bernard.  I was a bit in shock to see those breeds around here. My friends who had Huskies when we lived in the mountains in New York said their dogs wanted to be outside all the time even in sub-zero temperatures.  Huskies here in Phoenix spend half the year inside in the a/c trying not to move too much as I'm sure their owners don't crank the a/c to 60ºF.  It's no wonder they were heavy.

The St.Bernard wasn't fat but he reminded me of the ones paraded around the streets of Bariloche, when we lived in Patagonia.  They were bred to be mountain rescue dogs in the Alps, but the ones in this city in the Andes were all just for show.  People would breed them and bring them to town to charge tourists money to get their photo taken with the dogs.

I refused to do it.  The dogs often looked scraggly and a little underfed, and I didn't like how they treated them.  In the evening they would load one (sometimes two) of these giant dogs into the trunk of a taxi cab and drive off.  That's a lot of dog for the trunk of a sedan.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Autumn comes creeping in...

Fall has finally arrived here in the Valley of the Sun.  Not in that anything is actually "falling", but mornings and evenings are now quite lovely to be outside and I no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to walk to dog.  These days I have a cup of coffee and follow my 2 younger daughters around as they get ready for school, prodding them to leave on time (Chloe sleeps a bit later). Then I follow Phoebe to her bus stop with the dog, and we head off on a morning walk.  The daytime temperatures have dipped down into the mid nineties (F), and it's no longer a dreaded moment leaving the car in a sweltering parking lot as you walk across what feels like hot coals to the air-conditioned store or office 100 feet away.  When we first moved here a year ago, I laughed when I saw the weather report listing 95ºF as "Pleasantly Warm", now I laugh because I actually agree.  The other change is that our lemon tree is starting to sport some lemons that are much more yellow and less green looking.  I think in another month or so we'll be making lemonade, and lemon bars, and lemon cookies, and.... Well you get the idea.

This weekend my Chloe and Phoebe will be heading off to camp with their new Girl Scout troops.  It took about a year, but I finally found troops for all three girls.  Naomi's troop is new and her leader is still "in training" so they aren't going to encampment this year.  She's sort of alternating between being glad to have some time to herself, and upset about missing camp. The other two are excited though and have been packing, and packing.  I'm excited for them as I signed them up to try the zipline.... I've always wanted to do that!  Anyway, Happy Thursday!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

San Pedro and The Film Fest

Friday morning we woke, we packed and we drove, and drove through the desert, into some rolling mountains furry with brown grass, past a thousand windmills in Palm Springs, and into the stop and go traffic of Los Angeles.  On the way in, billboards lined the highway in stark contrast the the emptiness of the desert, including one billboard that featured a happy couple exclaiming "Billboards are cool!".
We finally arrived at our usual destination for this time of year…. The HP Lovecraft Film Festival in San Pedro, CA. 

Outside the Warner Grand Theatre in San Pedro
Cthulu greets Festival goers in the lobby.
We stayed at the cookie hotel (A Doubletree close to the water and the boats). It was nice to be on the waterfront... And even nicer to have an awesome balcony!

I love a place with a view....

 The girls were glad to be back in L.A. as it was quite a bit cooler than Phoenix.

A few years ago I took a photo of this guy, " The dinosaur lurking behind the gate." In the last year he's gone from rusted to a shiny green color with a fantastic new look.

After 2 days of selling books and art in the lobby, and helping our friend Cody perform another Cthulu Prayer Breakfast, Mike went onstage to participate in the Pickman's Apprentice drawing competition....

In just one hour the artists were asked to create a drawing based on a theme chosen by the audience members.
The chosen theme was "Willy Tsathoggua's Chocolate Factory". Tsathoggua is a creepy toad creature from the stories of H.P. Lovecraft.

This is Mike's finished drawing.  He didn't win this time, but the art will be up in a gallery in San Pedro for the next few weeks.

It was a nice weekend and now that we live so far from the ocean it was great to be by the water. A new candy shop opened across from the theater.  After a weekend of no, no, no...I caved and we filled a bag of gummy thingys for the journey home. 

“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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