Sunday, November 30, 2008

Winter Vacation, Part 4

The windows were at a store called Anthropology or something like that, as if you would dig up old clothes. Susan liked the old-fashioned paper chains made from book pages (good recycling!) and mixed in with old postcards.

Somehow this little bit of landscaping must have seemed welcoming to New Yorkers starved for anything that wasn't concrete. Unfortunately it reminded me of the battle between Mr. Gopher and Bill Murray in the movie "Caddyshack" and Susan said it reminded her of frost heaves.

In case you don't make it to the lighting of the big Tree in Rockefeller Center here's a Before picture. All I have to say is that it is in there somewhere and it is a LOT smaller in real life than it seems in pictures. Or maybe it's that the buildings around it are so big?

Rockefeller Center is a nice place to be a tourist -- lots of flags, skaters, and tourists taking pictures of tourists.

Tomorrow, a final very special post about our trip to New York City and then it's time to head back to my clay.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winter Vacation, Part 3

No, there is nothing wrong with your monitor.

There is a very special exhibit by Pipilotti Rist ("Pour Your Body Out") at the MOMA in New York City and we were lucky enough to experience it. On the second floor atrium a huge round couch is set up, if you take off your shoes you can cross the white carpet to lie on the grey couch (there are bright pink pillows scattered around) or crawl in to the center to lie on the black carpet, otherwise you just lie on the surrounding carpet area. By the time we left it was hard to find room to lie down. There were a zillion museum visitiors just lying on their backs, watching the videos projected on all the walls. And I promise, HONEST, I did NOT fall asleep while Susan wandered in to the other museum exhibits. I was just resting my eyes by closing them. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So why are you looking at a blurry picture? Because if you go up to the 6th floor of the museum and look down to the 2nd floor atrium you can see that the couch area looks like the iris of an eye. This is a secret fact and not advertised so you have to take my word for it and see that the picture does show this. Unfortunately, this is is the best picture we took but if anyone else has a better one we'd love to post it.

The cool thing is that for the first time since they opened the newly renovated MOMA the artwork exhibited feels like it belongs in the space. Originally they had Waterlilies by Monet and, beautiful as the paintings were, they were dwarfed by the space. Now, with this weird video and everyone lying on the floor, the space seems special and, strangely enough for New York City, friendly.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Here is Austin

I took an early morning bike ride but not any earlier than this guy on the lake. It isn't really a lake, it's a river that is dam-ed (?) up both west and east of Austin. It used to be called Town Lake but now it's been renamed Lady Bird Lake. A lot of people row and kayak on the lake and in the spring a number of colleges have rowing competitions here.

Barton Creek runs behind my house, feeds through Barton Springs and on into the Lake. This is a shot from the main bridge spanning the creek and heading to the Lake.

People who don't live in Austin say they like to live up north because "there are season changes." OK, we have season changes -- here's proof. It's just that our Fall season arrives unexpectedly, lasts 5 days and then disappears. But when it's here we do have beautiful colors.

Yes, there will be more New York City pictures but not many. Susan's camera is working but is a bit wounded so it didn't get much use.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Bedsprings Bob

You can have your Joe the Plumber and Joe Six-Pack. I have Bedsprings Bob from Ohio, spotted outside Athens on Hwy 50 early in the spring and very early in the morning.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Winter Vacation, Part 2

Here in the US it's called "window shopping". In France they have a different expression for it but the direct translation winds up being the equivalent of "glass licking". So we braved the cold to walk down Madison Avenue and do some licking.

I don't get it. Who wears tights with a bikini bottom? What the %&*$ is that bra thing? If it's cold she'll freeze her tips off, if it's hot she'll burn them.

Susan liked the scarf and sweater colors but I'm wondering about that saw. Do you carry that instead of a purse? Is that how you hack your way through the subway crowds?

This kind of stuff had me, as usual, Fully Flummoxed. Susan was no help whatsoever because she shops at Salvation Army or from Lands End catalog and just kept saying "Everyone in New York City is dressed totally in black. Who wears this stuff?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

What I Did on My Winter Vacation, Part 1

How does a Texan ice skate? Very, very cautiously. Here I am at Bryant Park in New York City with three of my new best friends. We had a great conversation - I spoke English, they spoke something else. As you can see, I know how to skate without falling down.

More to come.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bee Man and a Short Break

Susan started this piece in a class taught by Jacqueline Sullivan and it's one of her favorites. The man's head was cut from a postcard she received and she glued it down without checking to see who the artist was. If anyone recognizes the work, let us know so we can give proper credit. Those are washers she glued on and the top left area has some molding paste on it.

Note: We're taking a break for a few days. Posting (and Comments) will start back up next week. Why? Here's a hint: We are warm-blooded Texans digging around in the backs of drawers looking for our mittens and wool mufflers.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Naming My Work

This is Merope. Merope is a member of the Pleiades star cluster which is in the constellation of Taurus. I am a Taurus. Heavy stuff here but this is how I really came to name her Merope: Susan printed out a list of stars, planets and moon names and I picked Merope.

Monday, November 17, 2008

My Previous Life, Part 2

There seems to be an interest in my Previous Life. Maybe you'd like to know how it feels to sit in corporate meetings, totally bored out of your mind, listening to the Big Boys tell you how it is and how it will be and when all is said and done, you know nothing will change. Well, here's your answer.

The eyes are stones, the mouth has a plastic fish in it and it isn't glazed, it's spray painted. It's in the front yard up by the sidewalk and Susan is quite sure no one will steal it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Previous Life

For 32 years I had another life. This is how it was for me every day.

Now I make art. Don't waste your time asking me if I'm happy now.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Twin Brothers

We recently had our Student Art Sale. This guy came by, picked up one of my sculptures and said, "I have to have this! It looks just like me." If I ever need a model, he's my man -- Don Jonsson, Geography Professor, Austin Community College.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day and J. Clifford McKittrick

Today, November 11, is Veterans Day, a day set aside, both in the United States and other countries, to honor military veterans, but originally the nearly eight million who died in World War I. The impact of that war spanned the globe. For example, Australia sent nearly 330,000 soldiers to fight in Europe; over 53,000 never came home. Veterans Day was originally established as Armistice Day, "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace". Too bad that cause often seems to be misplaced.

We are still waiting for all of our military veterans to come home.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Ball Girls

These were outside the Guggenheim in Washington DC. I call them "The Ball Girls". I tried to make a ceramic piece sort of like them but since I'm limited to 26" in height in the kiln it didn't exactly have the same impact. I named her "Lucille Ball" and glazed her in shiny black. Looks good but is very difficult to photograph well.

She was in a show at the Dougherty Art Center, set in a very low box filled with black sand. A little toddler that came to the show with his parents thought she was just the right size for him and gave her a big hug.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Baby Books

These little ceramic books are a diversion I made at Susan's request. The template for the cover piece was an old credit card. Their color comes from paints of various types that Susan painted on and most have been rubbed with wax. The backs are similar, some have a color variation.

Susan taught me how to make an accordion folded piece of paper that I glued inside two ceramic covers to make the book, one book has some paper she had painted up. They are being sold today at the Austin Community College Student Art Show. She has about 10 more covers to paint for me and I may be making even more covers because they are fun to do. We are experimenting with different surface treatments, as glazing them is not a good thing -- takes up too much kiln space because they have to lie flat.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

I'll Keep An Eye Out For You

This piece of Susan's hangs right over the toilet, exactly at my (standing) eye level. Don't blame me, she picked the spot.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Tough Guy

I played high school football against this guy. I was the center and he was on the opposing team, right across from me. All I did the entire game was try to fall on his feet and live through the experience. You know the expression, "He ate my lunch"? Well, Tommy Nobis ate my lunch, chewed it up and spit it back out on me. But I lived to tell the story.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Little Hot Air Pocket

Susan, The Blog Wrangler, speaks:

I'm back! Life, Don, Google, and the blog will all start behaving again. Well, I can hope, can't I?

I was at the International Quilt Festival in Houston, taking classes, trying to help vendors survive our economic meltdown and looking at way too many quilts. A whole lot of inspiration and information came thundering into my head via Katie Kendrick and Maggie Weiss. More later but in the meantime you can check out Katie's blog.

A few years ago I took a basic 6-session bookbinding class from Wendy Hale Davis. Amazingly enough I came out of the class with 6 books of varying styles. Now I'm taking it again, but this time, as I told Wendy, I'm trying to pay attention. But I'm still not into the measuring perfection stuff. If the book doesn't fall apart when I open it (and if it does open) then I count it as a success.

Here's the nifty thing I learned from her when she taught us to make this leather book: Air pockets.

She gave us 36 sheets of paper, to be folded in half to make 6 signatures ("sets") with 6 sheets of folded paper in each one. Should you fold 6 in half together at one time? Or fold each sheet separately and then group them into 6 signatures? The answer is: It depends on what the book will be for.

If you will be pasting things in and making the pages thicker, fold 6 sheets together at once because it will make a sort of "air pocket" in the middle. You can see this in one of the signatures in the top view pictures. When you bind the signatures to make the book, it will be a fatter book but you will have room ("air pockets") to expand when you add things like pictures, receipts, ticket stubs, etc.

If you will be just writing, fold the sheets one at a time because then the book will be very neat and flatter.

What did I do? One air pocket, the rest flat. I'm not big on decision making or commitment on things like this so I just hedged my bets, so to speak. Regardless, Don got a new sketchbook out of the deal.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Art Car

"The Lizard King Car is a gift to Steamboat Springs from Rebecca Bass, Waltrip High School, Texas". Evidently this woman has her students making art cars every year.

No, I didn't get to go to Colorado, but my sister-in-law, Linda, did and took these pictures for me. I think she thought I'd be motivated by them but instead I'm overwhelmed. High school!?!?

All I ever did in high school was make a leather wallet in shop class. Art class? That was for sissies. Fast-forward many, many years. As the not-politically-correct saying goes, "You've come a long way, Baby."