Monday, June 29, 2009

A New Garden Goddess

This is Evelyn. Late this spring I took a one-day workshop from Lana Wilson and Claudia Reese. As you can see from Lana's website, I've come fairly close to being able to work in her unique style. Now my hard task is to use her techniques but rework them in MY style and not hers. This is always the challenge when you admire someone else's work and take lessons from them. Copying is the first stage in learning a new techique but you have to move on past that.

Claudia Reese is an Austin artist who has always been supportive of my effots. She puts in a lot of time and effort supporting ceramic artists. Her work is nationally recognized and if you ever fly into the Austin airport you'll see some of her work. She also has worked with children to make tiles for our library.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


I like to look for rusty metal pieces with character, which means they "speak" to me. Then the challenge is to make a head that also speaks to me. And the final challenge here was to make a head that looked like it had been around as long as the metal piece had.

Susan said, "What do you want me to type in for his name?"
I said, "Little Dude".
She gave me The Look and said, "You can't keep calling every piece you make the same thing. It will give them an identity complex".
His name is Rodney. Why? Beats me. It just jumped into my head. Or maybe he told me.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Angela Cunningham

One of the nice things about going to craft shows is being able to talk to the artists as you look at their work. When we were in Washington DC in April we went to the annual Smithsonian Craft Show. You have to submit your work to a jury to be considered and only 120 artists are chosen. Even if you were in before ,you still have to be re-juried in every year. So, the Best of the Best are on display.

Angela Cunningham's work is shown in these pictures. Be sure to check out her website. She is a very talented artist who does meticulous, unique work. Best of all, she talked to me about techniques and methods of working and shared some tips with me -- just as though I was a real artist, not just some guy muddling around in community college classes!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


My tribute to all those kids who spike up their hair. What do they do when they go to bed at night?

I built the head to fit around the metal pieces that I'd found in the trash can at the blacksmithing class area. The head will fit on a welded body-like piece I had. Because it's real tall I'm not sure now to photograph it for the blog. Robyn does well with pictures of her tall pieces. I'm thinking I need to make Susan do a video of the tall pieces I have. If she does, we'll be sure to make them short so my dial-up followers can easily see them.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Too Many?

Can you ever have too many books?
Not as long as Susan has an account at Amazon.

Her comment when she saw this picture: "We could get a bigger house. . ."

Late edit from Susan: Don got an email asking how the bookshelves were constructed. Sorry if you got the wrong impression -- this is
not a picture of our house. But I can dream, can't I?

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Head of the Game

I needed a ceramic doll head for a class I was going to take from Thomas Ashman. Susan taught me how to clink on the head to see if it was ceramic or not because most of the ones I spotted at Goodwill were plastic. Then, right next to my favorite Harbor Freight store, I found a Super Saver store (it benefits Easter Seals) and in the "Antique" area was a section of dolls with china heads. So I bought 3. And then decided I needed more. So I bought more. OK, it was for a good cause -- both mine and Easter Seals.

I ripped off their glued-on hair but they all had holes in the top of their heads! Their arms and legs also got ripped off. It's all a work-in-progress right now but this is an interim photo. Susan was sort of wistful about me tearing up all the "baby dolls" but understood that when art speaks to you, you rip.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Washington DC - Another Graffiti Guy!

April 2009, Washington, DC

Does this guy look familiar? Did Susan get yelled at twice by cars full of people while she was standing in the middle of the street taking this picture? Did I ignore her when she said "Don't let anyone hit me!" when she ran out into the street? [Like I was going to throw my body in front of the cars? Not a chance. I believe in Equal Opportunity near-death experiences and it was her turn.] This picture was taken on 17h Street, at the north corner of the Corcoran Gallery, right across the street from The White House.

In case you forgot, here are the pictures from April 2008 and April 2009, on 53rd street in front of the American Folk Art Museum.

April 2008 <------------------> April 2009 (New York City)

Anybody else find the Graffiti Guy on their streets?

Taken inside the National Portrait Gallery

We left Washington DC, to head down to Hampton, Virginia, for Art and Soul. No pictures from that, we were both too busy to bother. When we left there we had to do a lot of zig-zagging to avoid nasty weather so we were really tired when we got home. After 23 days on the road and being together 24 hours a day, we were still talking to each other. Barely. I missed my naps. Susan missed her pillow. Home, sweet home.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Washington DC - Overdose on Eye Candy

John Currin's The Pink Tree, Ron Mueck's Big Man

This photo was taken inside the Hirshhorn and Susan waited about 5 minutes for people to stop walking in front of her so she could get this shot. We loved the juxtaposition.

Actually, it's probably me in the corner there, pondering (and being fully flummoxed) how we actually have managed to stay married for 42 years. The easy answer is:

You just get lucky and pick the person who winds up making you a better human being. And poverty, as Susan would say, reminding me of the time we were living in California and she tried to leave me but she/we didn't have enough money for her to buy a bus ticket back to Texas.

Ritual Wine Container, 10th Century B.C., Sackler Gallery

Fill this guy up with some zinfandel (or a riojas) for me. How cool will it be to pour your wine out of his head?

This is a picture outside a exhibit that we did not see.

This is the city where the National Spelling Bee is held. Good choice?

What did we manage to see in under 4 days in April in Washington DC? Antonio Ole's work at the African American Museum, Louise Bourgeoise's art at the Hirshhorn, Phillip Guston's paintings and Robert Frank's photography at the National Gallery, stained glass at the Renwick, Anish Kapoor's sculpture at the Sackler Gallery, and New Deal Artists at the American Art Musuem. Also, Maya Lin at the Corcoran, the Smithsonian Craft Show at the Building Museum and the Vietnam Veterans Wall.

This is sort of how we felt by the end of the stay.

Actor in a Ruff, Jean Dubuffet, National Gallery of Art

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Washington DC - A Sad Reflection

We were getting our pictures read for our next few posts, pictures taken in Washington, DC, when we heard sad news. Once again. People shot because someone had a gun, an opinion, hatred, and no conscience.

We'd never seen ruffled tulips before. From the number of tourists taking pictures of these flowers (in April) I would guess we weren't the only ones. They were planted in flower beds right outside the Smithsonian Castle.

On Wednesday the tourists saw police, felt a lurch of fear, heard sirens and never even saw the beautiful gardens of the Smithsonian.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Today, 42 Years

To Hold

So we're dust. In the meantime, my wife and I
make the bed. Holding opposite edges of the sheet,
we raise it, billowing, then pull it tight,
measuring by eye as it falls into alignment
between us. We tug, fold, tuck. And if I'm lucky,
she'll remember a recent dream and tell me.

One day we'll lie down and not get up.
One day, all we guard will be surrendered.

Until then, we'll go on learning to recognize
what we love, and what it takes
to tend what isn't for our having.
So often, fear has led me
to abandon what I know I must relinquish
in time. But for the moment,
I'll listen to her dream,
and she to mine, our mutual hearing calling
more and more detail into the light
of a joint and fragile keeping.

Li-Young Lee
from "Behind My Eyes"

Photo from November, 1965.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Washington DC - The Corcoran

Blue Lake Pass, 2006

Water Line, 2006

Atlas Landscape, Rand McNally The New International Atlas,
Published 1981, altered 2006.

Maya Lin: Systematic Landscapes
". . . this exhibition explores how people perceive and experience the landscape..."

Somehow she brings the outdoors inside for you to walk through, to feel, to sense the space that you take up in the universe.

The exhibit is at the Corcoran Gallery of Art and will be open until July 12. Go. Or at least look at the video.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Washington DC - Smithsonian Craft Show

We made it to the National Building Museum in time to see the Smithsonian Craft show. These are just a few of the people whose booths we lingered at (and asked permission to post their work). Many of them have their own websites where you can see more of their work.

At the top and right below, Angela Cunningham's ceramics:

Akiko Sugiyama's paper sculptures:

Eugenie Torgerson's beautiful books:

Randall Rosenthal's books, all made completely from one block of wood:

Mike Libby's insects:

Jiyoung Shung's paper sculptures:
And last but never least, Talya Baharal's jewelry (both here and here). It never fails to enchant Susan, and I can only dream of being as creative or skillful.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

NYC - Adios to Graffiti Guy

Don, Fully Flummoxed by Video Art in the MOMA

What was accomplished in New York City this April? We came in via Amtrak early on a Saturday afternoon and left early on a Thursday morning. We made it to The American Folk Art Museum, The MOMA, The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan, the Super Runners Shop (new walking shoes for me), The Center for Book Arts, Strand Book Store, A.I. Friedman Art Supply, Cupcake Cafe, ABC Home and Carpet, Central Park, Borders at Penn Station, and Citarella for a Porcupine Cake. We also made it to dinner with good friends and coffee with a special friend.

Artwork above courtesy of MTA Subway line #1. We also had successful excursions on the #4 Subway line and the M72, M79 and M5 bus lines.

And, believe it or not, Graffiti Guy was still on the street in front of the American Folk Musuem. He's gotten a little worn down in the past year (click here for a comparison) but he's still there!

Tired? You bet, but we still have Washington, DC, ahead of us. No rest for the wicked.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Untitled, A. R. Penck

You Can't See The Forest For The Trees, Marcel Odenbach

After a lot of art we have to take a break. Susan can't put the damned camera down even while we're eating. For the record, we had cookies.

Susan speaks: I don't get it. The MOMA is a world-famous museum that zillions of dollars went into when it was renovated. So who in the h*&% thought up this stupid design for sinks? Not only does the water splash everywhere when you turn it on, the paper towels aren't even next to the sink. This sink design is probably called "Permanent Job Security" by the housekeeping crew.

Note: LinkWithin stories now appear on each post. Good idea? Bad idea?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

NYC - The Metropolitan Museum Children

Encaustic painting is moving up fast in popularity in today's art world. These two encaustic paintings on wood from The Metropolitan Museum were done 120 - 140 A.D. Nothing is really new in the art world (well, maybe video), everything else has already been done before and today's artists are just putting a different spin on it. The challenge, of course, is finding that "spin".

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

NYC - Disintegration Revisited

Oh, yeah. You thought I was weird because I posted pictures of dead things disintegrating. No, I'm not weird, just copying other important people. Like the important people who put dead things in display cases at THE Metropolitan Museum of Art. My dead thing (stolen by a really weird person) was ca. 2009 A.D., their dead thing was ca. 1450 B.C.

If you are a politically correct person you don't use B.C. and A. D., instead you use something else like C.E. But I don't know those details. Anyway, the museum's dead thing was about 3,460 years ago. I think. You can do the math for me.

I'd also like to think I'm relatively politically correct, am not a sexist pig, and am somewhat suave and debonair. However, I still get confused as to where Yugoslavia went, I like to refer to my female friends and acquaintances as "My Gals", and Susan has to remind me not to wear white socks with my brown shoes.

Note: Seth has the market cornered on Disintegration as an art form. Check it out.