Saturday, June 26, 2010

House Art

If it's outside, it's Yard Art. But if it's on your house, it has to be House Art. Right?

Very small and subtle. Very perfect.

Late edit, in response to an email received: No, I'm not making a religious statement here, it's an ART statement.

House Art courtesy of Bloo Plate Special, Austin, TX

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Zach Anner Auditions for Oprah

There are days when I think it's just too much trouble to get off my lazy butt and do something. Zach would probably think that is pretty funny.

Go here to see what Zach is up to. Be sure to check out his "Thank you, Internet" video. Go here to vote for him.

Late note: Somewhere, somehow, in a perfect world videos would show up centered in the blog and not whacked off at the right. Maybe your view of it works. Maybe not. Something to do with the format so I fiddled with Object Width. Nada. Beats me. Guess you'll either have to tell me how to fix it or else just live with it. I'd like to play around with another blog format now that they have new templates but... if it ain't broke, don't fix it. ----- Susan, The Blog Wrangler.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Susan Finsen

On our recent trip to the East Coast we spent an afternoon wandering around the Torpedo Factory. One of the artists we met was Susan Finsen, a very articulate, interesting artist who graciously spent a lot of time answering questions from both of us.

The artists in the Torpedo Factory usually don't want you taking pictures in their studio spaces but Susan had no problem with us taking this video as she worked:

It's nice to be able to wander through many studios in a short period of time but it's even better to be able to watch them work. The images here are of Susan's work, so be sure you check out her website.

The picture below is from the installation she did for The Crystal City Art Walls project.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Today, 43 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-November, 1965.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Choosing the right bag to carry as a tourist can be a tough decision for a guy. [Susan is rolling her eyes and sighing.] Man-Purse or Bicycle Bag? Fake it with a big tote bag? Small bag or bag large enough to carry a lot of the extra stuff Susan somehow manages to gather during the day?

To solve the problem I've always carried a plain black Man-Purse type bag so I can tote my share of maps, water bottles, camera batteries, umbrella, Advil, kleenex, sketchbooks, pencils, Metro cards, and all the accumulated what-ever we seem to accumulate. When you walk out of the hotel room with a long day of sightseeing ahead of you you really wind up carrying a lot of .....stuff.

But now I'm considering this fashion statement. What do you think?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Fade to Black

Susan speaks:
At Art and Soul I took a Journal Spilling class from Diana Trout. She provided very good product information and had lots of stuff for us to sample. One of my favorites was pens that provide a very strong resist so you can put watercolor or washes over them yet they still shine through.

She spent some time talking about being sure you banish your "Inner Critic" from your art environment. This was pretty much contrary to what I do. My Inner Critic stands right behind me and she talks to me constantly, telling me I can do better, or that I should try something different, or that something sucks and it's time to throw it away ("The horse is dead. Get off."). She often tells me "Damn, that's really good!", although by the next day she'll often say What was I thinking?" My Inner Critic is the one force that keeps me from thinking that I'm finished, that I've successfully conquered Art, and now I can move on to other things. I really like my Inner Critic.

If you've seen some of my other work (here and here) you'll know that I like to use dark colors. No, I don't have a dark side to my personality, I just happen to think black and raw umber and navy blue are really great colors. And don't forget dark grey and Payne's grey. Some of the class supply lists this time said to bring some of your favorite paint colors so I thought this would be a good opportunity to get outside of my "comfort zone" and try some paler colors and "lighten up" my art work.

The picture above is an example of what I was doing in my pages for this Journal Spilling class. The object of the class was to experiment with all sorts of media and try different methods of applying acrylic paint, watercolors, markers and ink to make a background page to later do journaling on. The theory seems to be that if your page has background stuff on it you won't be as reluctant to mark or write on it.

I thought I was doing pretty good with pale (for me) colors. Not happy with them but trying to use them. Diana came by, took one look, and said, "Oh, no! You need to get out of your comfort zone. Use more intense colors!".

Yes!!! Little did she know, I was out of my comfort zone. But who am I to argue with an instructor who just gave me a break? I dumped those wimpy colors and went straight for my favorite black:

For the record, I don't journal. If I write something that is journal-like you can be sure it is 100% fiction.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Signs of the Times

Well, did you miss me? You probably didn't notice I was gone because the blog has been in Future-Post mode for the past month. The Blog Wrangler and I have been on TBRT (The Big Road Trip) to the East Coast. We spent most of our time in Washington, DC, and Alexandria and Hampton, VA.

The sign above greeted us on our first Metro ride. Take that, you New York subway riders.

We still aren't sure how to take these two signs (above) that Alabama displayed together at a rest stop. However, Alabama had very clean rest stops and friendly staff at the state line Welcome center.

But we definitely got the message on this sign, posted at the back of a rest stop on IH-20 in Texas.

We spent 5 days in classes at Art&Soul in Hampton but for some reason took very few pictures. Susan is still storing out our boxes of supplies and junk and dirty clothes and will eventually get a few pictures on the blog to show you what we did.

We are glad to be home but are commiserating with Risë and EGE on their road trip pain - we've been there, seen that. Just in case you were wondering, Risë is actually more colorful in person than in her blog picture. And, according to Susan, Earl really is Ever Gorgeous.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tap Your Toes

Our nephew, Chris (second from right), played in a Brass Quintet at a State Competition here in Austin this week-end. At the last minute we were able to get into the room where Susan surreptitiously took this video. I was tapping my toes too!

They did great and we had fun visiting with them. It was also amusing watching them change in just minutes from t-shirts, shorts and flip-flops to this polished looking group.

After it was all over we had the guys include their Director in a picture -- but Susan asked for their Goofy faces on this one.