Monday, June 30, 2008

Party Animals

Today is Hank's birthday but we celebrated last night. The menu included grilled fresh rainbow trout (me), green salad tossed by Hank with Hank's Famous Salad Dressing, potato salad (Jan, Hank's wife), sesame-gingered asparagus (Susan), Anthony's Chocolate Mousse Cake (from Central Market, Hank's choice) with vanilla ice cream and Chocolate Marbled Rum Pie (Susan). And, of course, copious amounts of wine and cheap champagne. There would have been pictures of the desserts but we were too full to get up and find the camera. And the ice cream was melting.

Hank is very active, even though he is now older than dirt. He desperately would like to be thought of as a curmudgeon but loses out because he is basically a nice guy. He is a perfect house sitter and neighbor. He walks for miles nearly everyday, sometimes in the afternoon when intelligent people are staying out of the 98 degree heat. I think he does it then just to make the rest of us look like sissies. He tutors student athletes and is avid about keeping track of the many different sports they participate in. He is an author with several books already published, and contributes to a number of publications. He is very, very smart, reads all the time, knows big words, and does the New York Times crossword puzzles every day without erasing. He also wears good-looking aloha shirts.

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday......Hank!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Why Heads?

Someone wanted to know why I make so many heads. Here is the answer:

A few years ago I was new again (after 30+ years) to ceramics. A local class with James Tisdale gave me a running start and I followed that up with a week long workshop at Arrowmont taught by Debra Fritts. The first day of the workshop Debra had us all make 4 small heads. Fast. Without thinking about it. Without really knowing what we were doing. Because they were small we were able to see the finished product on the last day of class. Arrowmont is in a beautiful area and as the picture shows, it was spring. We all set our heads out on the wall by the dining area and got lots of compliments from the other students at Arrowmont.

Debra told me she often makes heads without thinking about it, just to keep her hands used to working with clay. So I took her advice. I've made a lot of heads.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Head Stands

My ceramic heads need bodies. Hobby Lobby has houseware and garden stuff 80% off this week and the dings and dents on their discounted stuff don't matter. Susan bought me these 4 stands for a total of less than $12.

I planned to cut off the top finial on the short, round black one so I could put a head on it but decided to leave it just as it is. The medium one with brown will have to wait for its head because nothing seems right on it yet.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Graffiti Guy

It was a hectic, fast-paced tour of New York City led by Andrew in late April. Susan and Andrew first met via the Internet and later in person at Art and Soul in Hampton, VA. They both have similar interests and I just tag along, trying my best to keep up, both physically and mentally!

It had been a long day at the MOMA and we went next door to the American Folk Art Museum to slow the pace down. Their little coffee shop looks down on to the street so we took a break there. Andrew and I were pretty much ignoring Susan who kept saying, "Look at the street graffiti guy." Finally, we both realized what she had noticed and had to rush down and dodge traffic to take pictures.

I wonder if he is still there.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cast a cold Eye

Wondering where that strangely familiar quote came from? Check out the source:
W. B. Yeats, Drumcliff Church, in Sligo, Ireland.

Wondering who that strange fellow is, hanging over the stone, frowning at you? He is the world-famous Wynn Anderson, creator and Botanical Curator of the Chihuahuan Desert Gardens at UTEP's Centennial Museum in El Paso, TX.

There isn't a plant alive (or dead) in the Southwest desert area that Wynn hasn't studied, drawn, painted or classified. Or tried to educate me about. To little success, probably due to the fact that his botany lectures were always accompanied by great quantities of alcoholic beverages.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Lyle Lovett Comes to Life

One of my earlier metal art pieces. He's copper, about 30" tall. Never got around to giving him earrings.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Gelatin Plate Printing, Part 2

Lisa and Susan needed something to brayer their paints on for the gelatin plate printing. The table is covered with cheap plastic sheets but they wanted something that would be smooth and not show wrinkle marks. With a 20% off coupon from BB&Beyond Susan bought a teflon oven liner that she cut into 4 squares. My heavy-duty contribution to the art effort was to punch holes in the sheets and hang them on a nail.

Gelatin Plate Printing

Our niece, Lisa, came to visit last month and she and Susan experimented with gelatin plate printing. Susan made three different pans of gelatin and they completely wore one out (we threw the pieces in the back yard rock pile, NOT down the drain), one wasn't used at all and one was almost worn down. Those two remaining pans wasted a lot of refrigerator space for the past 3 weeks and I thought I could claim a partial victory when the almost worn down one got to the completely shriveled up stage. No such luck, Susan just poured boiling water over it to remake it.

Finally she did some experimenting with one of gelatin plates and wanted to use a heavy chunk of shaped rubber to print with. She came to me and asked me if I could cut the chunk down from 6 squares to 4 plus 2 separate squares. She had no idea it was soft rubber and it cut easily with a box cutter. I like it when I get to pretend I've done the manly guy-thing when it really was something she could have easily done herself. The rubber chunk came from our AC repair guys, Louie and Eddie. They love to bring Susan stuff to mess around with.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bike Junking

This morning before most of the city woke up I rode my bike to my favorite (sorry, undisclosed) site for finding unique pieces of metal, better known as "found objects" or to some people, "junk". It is a large dirt and gravel lot where huge trucks drive in and out. The metal pieces have been beat down by the truck traffic and the weather. This has given them some unusual texture and weathered effects that I couldn't possibly duplicate. Yes, I could fake it but it still wouldn't be the real deal. I'm hoping some of these pieces will be reborn and find their way into a sculpture. If not, the fun of finding them was enough reward.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What's on the menu?

Our water heater had to be replaced recently. When the installer showed up we went to the sidewalk to turn off the main water valve to the house. When we lifted off the cover I wished Gomer Pyle had been there to say "Surprise, surprise, surprise!"

I told the installer he could take care of that dining scene himself or we could take a coffee break for an hour or so, off the time/labor clock. He opted for a coffee break. It probably was an easy decision for him because he stayed about 20' back while I took the pictures. The snake posed politely, probably because he was in the middle of chewing. Susan wasn't too anxious to watch the digestion process but wondered how all of this fit into a vegetarian scheme. I thought that providing dining privacy was the gentlemanly thing to do and an hour later they were gone.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Too Hot to Weld

I never take welding classes in the summer. I've taken them in the fall but it is still hot out there at the welding lab until about November. Instead, last summer I took a jewelry class. I was inside an air conditioned classroom and best of all, I stayed clean. Susan doesn't wear much jewelry at all so I'm not too motivated to make much but I do like making rivets. Later this summer I'll be taking some workshops from Richard Salley.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Running Around in Tight Circles

Nailed this to the front of the garage today. The large part is the top of an old air conditioner, the center is a ceramic grid I made, about 1" thick. I may have to make some more grids, I'm liking how they look on the wall.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Shoe

Two years ago I took a "Shoe Shrine" class from Michael DeMeng at ArtUnraveled and came home with two different shoes that I put outside at the front of my house. Several neighbors mentioned how ugly they were. And then one of them disappeared. But the other one has stayed. And stayed. And stayed. It is sitting on a utility cable box which has been worked on several times. The workers always replaced the shoe after working in the box. The Shoe is falling apart, fading and crumbling. Yesterday, while I was doing yard work, some people walked by. "Nice shoe!" I think so, too.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Too Many Choices

This is what I look at everyday. It is supposed to be inspirational but sometimes it is overwhelming.

Monday, June 16, 2008

How It All Started

Once upon a time I was a student. A degree in Finance naturally led to a career in Air Force Rescue Helicopter maintenence. I got to travel to exciting exotic places like Vietnam and New Hampshire. After 5 years I became a student again. An Elementary Education degree naturally led to a career selling life insurance. I worked very hard. I got to meet a lot of interesting people, some of whom actually liked me. After 32 years I became a student once again. I still am a student. I will always be a student. I make things. Some of them are people. They talk to me. I listen. We have conversations. I am very happy now.