So This Happened.

February 14, 2012

I sketched this guy up while I was in my sick chair the other day. True story.

There has been a severe, mutant flu-bug scuttering around Michigan. It's inspiring. What can I say.

Well, that and I’m about to launch my second class on it. 

I've found that one may purchase Reader's Digest by the bag at second-hand stores.

I think I'd like to use a book precious to me, creating its "essence," if you will. For now, though, in my experimental stage, I'll stick with Reader's Digest.

There are some purist book sculptures using ONLY books, but I dig the multimedia approach. I might have more to say after I finish samples #2 and #3 for the class.

yes, it's done.

Finally, the tree has been integrated. The painting painted. The canvas delivered. I am left with a void in my living room and unspeakable relief.


So this copper tree painting…probably trickier than I thought. It was a wonderful challenge: an exercise in multimedia integration. I sat on my stool, staring at the painting upside-down, right-side up, tweaking this, changing that, and finally decided that I should probably just say “uncle.”


I have never had an art project end any other way.


And I can’t wait to tackle another.


On a different note, remember the illustration mentioned a few entries ago? I’m almost done! I’ve decided to use the second panel to display an excerpt from Little Big, although I haven’t decided which yet.

Just so's ya know, this pic was taken from

So, as informally displayed:

The fridge gallery.

This is mainly for preview. It's a very light artwork, but it's good that way. Once the text is in panel two, I will properly photograph and upload both.


Here is the Kate Towers dress I referenced:

All the glory be to Kate Towers for the photo and actual dress."The End" for now, I suppose.




Studio Check-In

December 5, 2011

The painting still goes! ETA: by Christmas, by hook or by crook. Working on Roman-style columns, which include all Greek elements, vague Middle-Eastern, and follow no rules.

Deviant Art

November 1, 2011

I am now a Deviant. Please come visit me. I would love your input!


Here are some new things:

Pencil and Ink on Illustration board.

Experimenting with Etsy store branding ideas.

Since it was beautiful outside today, much progress was made.


The stretcher bars have arrived for the painting portion, but the canvas is still on its way. The next step: finishing out the tree. Highlighting, smoothing, shaping. Once it’s roughly mounted on the painting, the vines and arial roots will happen. The goal is to seamlessly integrate the 3D portion into the 2D without losing the texture, but also without seeming bulky.

While I hurry up and wait for the missing canvas, I’m working on several illustrations.



So, anywho, here’s the preview that tells you nothing:

The rose really has nothing to do with it. It just fell off my skirt.

But here are the influences:

Ficus Tree + Faeries + Kate Towers + Blix-It + Whichgoose

Blix-It's beautiful hand-painted watercolor illustrations. Click the pic to see the Deviant Art site!


Whichgoose's ethereal hairpieces. She's at the pic to visit.


Kate Tower's dress sculpture creations. Clickety-click! The website's pretty fun on its own, let alone visiting the dresses.



Over and Out.

New Painting!

October 27, 2011

Getting Started

I tried to work intuitively at first, and that led to a disaster (not picture here...ehemm....). Anywho, I tried again, but this time with paper templates. I folded, cut, smooshed, and pinned until I was satisfied, then used that paper sample as a template to do ANOTHER paper sample (just for practice).

Well, honestly, it begins with a copper tree. I found a banyan tree in the midst of my Spanish travels and….BAM. Next thing I know, I have a commission in which I can use said lovely tree. The lines of it are quite unlike anything else. It’s like a liquid tree.

So I’m attempting to render it in copper, using a combination of copper fabric and thick copper foil.

I carry a torch. Heheh....ahah....heh....eeeeh.

After a bath, the colors are beginning to show through. My special artists' tool of choice: old toothbrush.


As for the whole tree…I’m keeping it for the Big Reveal! I hope (against hope!) to finish the painting the first week in November.


As a follow-up to the last post (one hour ago)…

Now WordPress is letting me upload photos. So here's the book cover that was meant to grace the last post.

Another passage in Brand’s book describes the ill-effects of tight, well-developed renderings as a passage into the construction of a project:

The effort is to make everything perfect and final for each of these opening nights. The finished-looking model and visually obsessive renderings dominate the let’s-do-it meeting, so that shallow guesses are frozen as deep decisions. All the design intelligence gets forced to the earliest part of the building process, when everyone knows the least about what is really needed (63).

In my past life(job), last summer, this was a constant point of struggle between me, my boss, and the welders. I would develop sketchy drawings, hashing out aesthetic only, and run them down to the table to the welders to help me develop. Many times, though, I would be stopped short and requested to write up some technical documents, such as cut-lists (lists of exact lengths and types of iron needed) and joint drawings.

Well, knowing next to nothing about welding and metal structures (although at this point I had signed up for lessons, realizing just how darned important it was to know the material you were designing for), I would throw in, as best I could to my knowledge, metal joints (some I made up) and jig techniques.

Only then could I plumb the depth of experience from each blacksmith, who would study my drawings, and explain how it could be done better. Sometimes, though, they and the company president would study the drawings, scratch their heads a bit, and go with “what the designer decided,” ending up in a mess that needed to be corrected afterwards.

Although my mistakes were probably part from ignorance, and I ought to have developed more detailed schematics, I also needed to develop those schematics as we built, with the technical expertise of the welders, also letting the iron have a say in how it was to be used. Another quote from the book, taken in turn from Chris Alexander, struck a chord with me: “The more at each stage you can approach being able to experience the contemplated reality, the more it will give you feedback and you’ll be able to intelligently develop it”(63).

That being said, I need clear schematics and renderings as a springboard, but I also need to clearly and loudly (especially on the smithy floor) state my purpose: I want their critique! I want their feedback! I lust for their insane stockpile of knowledge, dating from the sixties, when their pa first placed the arc-welder in their  chubby little six-year-old hand. It’s like exchanging a sacrifice on my part of premature technicality for refining.

I used to think this was a sign of weakness and ineptitude, my inability to do everything myself and perfectly for the first time. Time has revealed a phobia of “final” renderings which seem unchangeable, which seem to carry an authority and promise of perfection guaranteed by ME.  Now, I believe, my mind is changing. I need to take the power back from the renderings and show them their place. They are not the final product.


You have no power over meeeeeee! XD

I hope to develop this topic later, as I will probably need to refine my process in a way that I will be able to explain to future teams/employers. Always a good idea if you are proposing something different.


May 24, 2011

Excerpt from How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built, by Stewart Brand:

Art begets fashion; fashion means style; style is made of illusion (granite veneer pretending to be solid; facade columns pretending to hold something up); and illusion is no friend to function. The fashion game is fun for architects to play and diverting for the public to watch, but it’s deadly for the building users. When the height of fashion moves on, they’re the ones left behind, stuck in a building that was designed to look good rather than work well, and now it doesn’t even look good. They spend their day trapped in someone else’s taste, which everyone now agrees is bad taste. Here, time becomes a problem for buildings. Fashion can only advance by punishing the no-longer-fashionable. Formerly stylish clothing you can throw or give away; a building goes on looking ever more out-of-it, decade after decade, until a new skin is grafted on at great expense, and the cycle begins again – months of glory, years of shame.

I also recently discovered a BBC series based on this book. I’m about halfway through, but plan on watching it as a review. It really is a good book – very readable, and full of interesting info.


Mumbo Gumbo

May 24, 2011

So here’s a fun recipe from

Cajun food is sooo good, from po’boys to gumbo to chickory coffee. And fusion gumbo cooked by a Northerner who doesn’t ever actually visit the area, ergo doesn’t know exactly what it’s supposed to taste like….even better! Well, for me. A Louisiana native might disagree with scatter shot.

Eating outside makes it better. 🙂

Anywho, I’m still working on making brave roux. I’ve gotten it to a bright brick color, but I’m told that I need to be bolder and cook my roux for upwards of twenty minutes versus my cowardly ten.

It seems that a lot of the key to cajun cooking is walking the fine line between an extreme, toasty, deep taste and a massive kitchen fire.

So this has been my (and my dad’s) favorite recipe, with several alterations.

Firstly, I learned to have everything chopped and ready to go in advance. Monitering roux and chopping onions simultaneously...well, let's just say that one ball drops eventually.

I also use my mom's home-canned tomatoes from the garden. And instead of andouille, I use spicy Italian sausage from a local meatmarket. I haven't actually tried the right sausage because we have so many of these in the deep freeze, but it cooks up wonderfully spicy and my family enjoys it.I brown the sausage before making the roux in the same pan. It adds all the little burnt pieces leftover from the sausage and the oils, which adds to it all.

I brown the sausage before making the roux in the same pan. It adds all the little burnt pieces leftover from the sausage and the oils, which adds to it all.

Also, I substitute chicken stock for about 1/2 of the oyster juice and steep about seven or eight anchovies while it simmers (with a tea strainer).