Thursday, March 27, 2008

stephen's guitar

Last Sunday night I was at a concert in a great old church in Kitsilano and became fixated on the guitar. Have I told you lately how much I love the magical interwebs? From that initial fixation I was able to find some photos of it on Stephen Fearing's website, then find a few video clips of him playing it on YouTube. Finally, I found a link to the luthier (I just learned a new word), Linda Manzer, and found the exact guitar, the Cowpoke, in her brochure. This drawing is my stylized version of it, done before I found Manzer's website.

Great concert, very intimate. This video clip of Johnny's Lament, Stephen's ode to Johnny Cash, at last summer's Ottawa Bluesfest is not the best quality but is a glimpse of his storytelling skill as well as his musicianship. And what a nice guitar!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

pet peeves

Pet peeves -- you can't escape them. They invade every aspect of daily life.

My pet peeve is the pot calling the kettle black. That would be like me criticizing people who are late -- four days late for Illustration Friday!

Now that it's done, though, I may have to waste time elsewhere.

ink drawings coloured digitally

Sunday, March 23, 2008

speaking 'nerd'

I came across The Nerd Handbook today, just surfed in from who knows where, and enjoyed it so much I had to share it. I suspect that anyone whose IQ is in triple digits can recognize themselves to some extent, but it's the accuracy with which the author has described specific nerd characteristics that's quite remarkable. You can swap out 'computer nerd' for 'art nerd' or whatever your focus is. If you read the comments (do!) there are discussions about the precise definitions of the words 'nerd', 'geek', and 'dork', and even analyses of how nerdism applies to social, intellectual and even psychiatric categories (e.g. Asperger's Syndrome and ADHD). The question is, is it like reading your horoscope? Do all categories apply?

cartoon by Dave Walker

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Got this video clip from Rudy. What struck me most is that, when listening to the accents that are most like mine (and other west coast Canadians), regionalism is more important than citizenship. According to this, I speak more like an American from Seattle than a Canadian from Toronto, though her take on Toronto does seem a tad too T.O. East (i.e. Newfie) to be accurate.

And because I couldn't go without including a little bit of art, check out the Migraine Art Slide Show.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

on teaching

Do you ever read a phrase or sentence or paragraph that answers a question you never even knew you wanted to ask? That just happened to me and it was so surprising that it made me stop reading so I could roll around with the idea awhile. The book is Double Vision by Pat Barker. ("Double Vision is about war and the ravages of violence on the human mind — but with a provocative twist, visceral and thought-inducing". ~ Gordon Hauptfleisch) One of the protagonists is a sculptor who comes up with this little nugget:

The trouble with teaching is you're using the same part of your mind. It's creative if you're doing it properly. Worst possible job for an artist. Or a writer I suppose.

So why is it almost assumed that artists must teach? It can't be purely economic, compelling a reason as that is. There are many reasons I found I couldn't both teach and paint, not the least of which is that I'm no one's idea of Superwoman, but this is something that never even occurred to me. I just accepted the fact that my range was severely limited. And I was exactly that sort of teacher: I loved curriculum development more than anything, making my own resources, covering all the bases, trying to make it interesting for both the students and myself. It was totally exhausting, and after I'd taught something once I hated teaching it again, setting myself up to repeat the pattern. I'm surprised I didn't burn out sooner than I did. No wonder I balk at the idea of supplementing my piddling income with teaching. Pondering the question lately I thought it might be kind of fun to get my Class 4 driver's license so I could drive one of those mini buses for the elderly and handicapped. Those of you who do both creative work and teach are way out of my league.

Interestingly, of all the things I've taught (secondary art, secondary Social Studies, elementary ESL, adult ESL, Adult Basic Education, Grade 1 and Grade 2) the one I found most challenging was teaching art!

(As for the image, I'll be putting a few of the Oceans Ten series in my Etsy shop over the next week or so.)

Monday, March 17, 2008

looking for my mojo

I'm back. It's been a weird few weeks without my window on the world but now, finally, I have a new (to me) laptop, far less thrashed than the previous, so hopefully it has a long future as my right-hand man. I had no idea how much of what I do requires specific files and programs! It's not the latest MacBook, but meh! I don't really have a choice as I get my huband's office hand-me-downs, so I'm pleased as anything to have a laptop period, let alone a sturdy workhorse like this (IBM ThinkPad T60).

One thing I noticed in my absence (and, truthfully, beforehand as well) is that I have stopped thinking like a blogger. You know how, when you're posting frequently (or at least regularly), you start sifting your experiences through this kind of blogger's lens? If you're objective enough I think it makes you a better blogger. If you lose it it can be hell getting it back. Works that way with painting, too.

Speaking of which, I have started a new series of large paintings (more on imagery later) in which I'm trying out a few new ideas. Here I am adding some collage elements to the one I'm currently duking it out with. I also bought some lino-cutting supplies (this stuff is perfect for my needs) and am creating stamps to use for background patterning. The results are irresistably unpredictable and irregular -- kind of like blogging once you've lost your mojo. (D'oh!)

On the business side of art, I decided to try a new approach to marketing that has been somewhat less-than-successful. It occurred to me that a lot of lovingly-restored older houses on Vancouver's west side might like to have their portraits painted, so I had these cards printed up to drop into the boxes of likely candidates. Last week, in posh Kerrisdale, I test drove my idea. I avoided homes with front gates as the message there is pretty obvious, but at one house the gate was left open and I had a clear shot at the mail slot in the door. So I did the dirty deed and was halfway down the block when a woman came storming out the door, marched up the path and slammed the gate shut so hard my teeth rattled. Guess I won't be getting any of her custom.

Without a laptop at my beck and call, and when not working, I have mostly been carrying on with my conventional suburban routine of playing traffic cop to active boys, going to the gym, etc., but I also rediscovered The Printed Word. It started when I read two novels in two days (by Ian McEwan and Pat Barker) and has continued with Michael Chabon (thanks to a glowing recommendation from Girl Work Studios -- she was even generous enough to let me borrow The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) though I've had to take a recess to go back to Barker and McEwan as three books I ordered just came through at the library.

Finally, today is a day of celebration for this blog. The post-with-the-most, Andrea Needs Help Finding Stalker Songs, finally got its 100th comment! It's not all Andreas (mostly, though) and about a half dozen of them are from me but still, I feel all happy and such (as Adam would say) anyway.

Monday, March 10, 2008

what is art?

Friday, March 07, 2008

illustration friday: garden

Cycle 24"x 24"

Even though I still don't have access to my regular email I remembered to check the Illustration Friday website for this week's theme, just in case it tied into the painting I finished a week ago. Well, what do you know! If you look counter-clockwise around the sun symbol in the centre you'll see that this painting is about the cycle of seasons ~ and there are several garden elements included.

But so as to make my posting time do double-duty while technology (or lack thereof) hangs me out to dry, I thought I'd actually do a fun, easy meme that I saw at Kelly and Sylvain's blogs.

Scattergories challenge ~ your first name and words that start with the same letter:

your name………………Andrea
4 letter word……………………arse
boy's name………………………Alastair
girl's name……………………Anastasia
alcoholic drink…………absinthe
occupation………………………artist (of course)
something you wear……………athletic support (well, not me personally)
celebrity……………………Angelina Jolie
food…………artichoke (how I feel when I'm not making any money)
something found in a bathroom……aftershave
reason for being late……………asthma attack
cartoon character………………Asterix
something you shout……………arsewipe! (yes, I changed it)
body part……………………ankle
word to describe you……………artistic (of course again!)

If you do this, please leave a comment so we can go and read your answers. (Or you can answer in the comments section.)

Sunday, March 02, 2008

in and out

I'm still pc-less. Because of that, my online time has been dealing mostly with necessaries, and my only access to email has been through my gmail account, so I'm thinking this is the break I probably needed. But it's hard! So, to make sure you don't forget me, I have a few choice Rudy links, some about blogging and a couple about art.

art suites at the famous Icehotel in Sweden
this one's a little too close to home