Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Antique Finds

Antique chair for the office
with a lovely heart-like carving

It was a beautiful weekend.
I could probably just end the entry right there, but there is always inspiration packed into even the most simple and beautiful of days and I love sharing that inspiration.

My father has been watching out for me and fixing things in the new house. I arrive for the weekend and there are just things done. Things I either couldn't get to from the last visit or things he felt doing would save me time. He's even spared me the task of cutting the grass.

Bless him.

The best part of this weekend was having him help me with an antique chair I found for my new office. It was absolutely perfect in every sense for me. Perfect even down to the lovely carving of the heart-like shape on the backrest. It did, however, need repair and we went right to work gluing the seat back together solid. Spending such a quiet moment with my father in his workshop was soothing, rejuvenating and simply put, lovely. No amount of money could buy that moment. None. I hold it forever now and also walk away knowing how to fix a chair should I ever need to do that again.

Chair glued and clamped

The antique chair wasn't the only "old" find I stumbled upon this past weekend. An antique mouse trap thrown in a trash heap (yes, it's true I can't resist a good trash heap) was also a choice find and the moment I realized what it was lying there in that heap of junk my heart raced and my imagination just went wild. There was no doubt, I was taking that trap! For the entire weekend I marveled at it's barbaric simplicity. Even the petrified pieces of cheese in the hollows brought wonder. It also sparked some drawings. I'm sharing the best one from the session.

Antique mouse trap
now on display in my new office

"The Lesson"
Pencil and watercolor on paper

Shelves....glorious shelves!
Which, btw previous owners
had installed. They must
have known I was coming.

Everything else is coming together in the new home. Second floor is painted and my office awaits my secretary desk and hutch. The basement studio space awaits my drafting table and the many rolling bins I own for supply storage. My mind is wandering on this space and I'm finding it very difficult to even draw here in Brooklyn. This past weekend just did me in so I've decided to pack it all in and transport both studios (including furniture) fully this coming weekend. I have to close shop but in the long run it's probably best. I'm already comfortable working on art in the new home so the moment the desks are reopened I'll be out the starting gate. Everything is ready. It just needs a few more things and of course it needs me.

Friday, May 27, 2011

I Found A Box....

I found yet another gem in the studio storage room. A box containing nothing but old sketchbooks. What fun! I couldn't resist taking a few shots from within a few of the books. What an amazing journey each book revealed. It's good to look back and compare work then to now.

The box was shoved
in a corner on the floor.

Markers are fun.

Apparently he said, "Urg".
Dude, I hear ya!

I was onto something here!

Now, the next three are odd. I have no IDEA why I was exploring this subject matter and to top it all off, exploring it with mice. It's actually been bothering me all day that I found this exploration in the one book. I can't recall if the image just came to mind and wouldn't cease tormenting me till I drew it or if I was trying to hone in on human expression in an animal. Anyway, they are sad to say the least.

But thankfully I bounce right back and get on with the happy stuff and there was certainly a lot of it in these books. I found so many card designs and "mice" drawings that were crude but on their way to becoming something formidable. These books were done right after my very first illustration gig and long before I got to work on Milly & Tug. Now do I chuck them or cart them with me to PA? Yet another box to cart. I'm on the fence.

Happy Birthday!

Always happy to draw a tree

Pen on paper

Thursday, May 26, 2011

More Finds....

Deep within the storage room was a drawer filled with old illustrations. What a trip to revisit these pieces. Thought it would be fun to share them. My style kept changing during this period. I liked the look and feel of watercolors, but was still hanging onto the thickness of ink and my obsession with Authur Rackham.

I think there is room
for at least one more!

Mmm, blueberry pie.

I don't remember why this little
beetle was getting yelled at.

You should be centering in
on how lovely the spots on the neck came out
not how crappy the hands are drawn.

Marvel at how tiny!

Orange, it's what's
in this picture.

Entire piece was created just cause I wanted to
draw my grandmother's antique mohair chairs with the tassels

As this picture progressed, the creep
factor got super high so
I abandoned it.

I drew this idea several times.
This finish was the one I chucked in the corner

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

On Every Level...

On every level....this is just wrong....I know. I have grown tired of packing and am feeling lazy. I am quite sure I'll regret this "crate" decision. For now, it seems like a quick and efficient idea.

Don't worry, little Netsky at the edge of the bubble wrap can hold on. She's good!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sharing More Visuals

The weekend consisted of painting walls, and painting more walls and when I thought I couldn't paint another wall....yep, I had to paint yet another wall in another room of the new house. I can't complain though, I'm enjoying that little house. So with very little to share art wise (well, until I can sit down and finish the "Summer" illustration sometime this week) I thought it might be time to throw up a few more hearts I captured in my travels. Oh, I also threw in a few sketches cause those are quick and fun to share.

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Summer Plate...Cont...

I've spent the last two days working on building up a finish on the Summer plate and I documented the process. The work so far has been strictly acrylics (fairly watered down and layered). As soon as I flesh out the bottom corners I'll blend everything smooth with water based oils.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Peek...

A peek at
the new office/studio

The new home is wonderful. I can't even begin to express to you how very happy it makes me feel to be back home in PA and how bright and positive this new house is to me. Each room is filled with good lighting and very good energy. I'm overwhelmed with creative vibes no matter what room I venture into which makes me very excited to see what transpires in the next couple of months art wise.

My focus in the house these last two weekends was preparing my son's bedroom, the kitchen and my office. Art work will get disrupted for a couple of weeks while I'm in transition, but I need a work space that is both comfortable and ready to go almost immediately when I move in officially in early June. I couldn't resist sharing a sneak peek at my new area to create illustrations and where I'll be working on finishwork and of course sculpting (small things.)

Before I left for PA for the weekend I tried to upload some sketches I did while on the train last Wed., but Blogger was being difficult. My creativity has been on. I suspect because of the new home and all the excitement revolving around new beginnings. It's all good and I can't wait to be back in my little home this coming weekend again.

I captured her dead on.
I'm very pleased and this was
my favorite from the session.

She kept moving her hand
which made it difficult to draw her

Yes, it was a flowered shirt....

Hat intrigued but was
difficult to draw

Monday, May 9, 2011

And So I Jet...

Jet quietly waiting

Over the weekend my inbox exploded with letters and questions after I had posted a photo of my new home in another part of the internet universe. There were so many questions that followed that I got to thinking that it's probably time....

I started thinking about writing this entry months ago in an attempt to explain to family and friends, who didn't know that my marriage had ended, why my blog would begin to contain talk and images of a new house and studio. My goal was to let people know that this change, which brought the studio to a complete halt for months oh so long ago, eventually brought me to a truly happier place. I wanted them to know that I was ok moving on and that they should rejoice with me. That this decision made me and my x much happier people.

During this time of transition I learned that I loved running and ran around the bay every other night. At one point it dawned on me that the sights, sounds and familiarity of the bay and of Brooklyn would one day be a distant memory. I loved the bay because it was a slight taste of nature for me in a city that never ever did fit me or feel like home.

My favorite Thai restaurant and their tank filled with beautiful fish, the fusion restaurant's pretty neon sign and the fishermen hoping for that catch along the footbridge, were visual treats on each run. On the way back a little boat named "Jet" was always my favorite to stop at and take a breather. There was just something so powerful and free in that little fishing boat sitting there in the bay dwarfed by the yachts quietly waiting for 6:30 AM to arrive. Something so ragged and tough that I had decided early on that that boat would, without a doubt, be my visual for this entry. I felt an odd connection to it. Even its name painted on with yellow deck paint appealed. Jet would serve as a melancholy reminder of my time in Brooklyn and of the last runs.

I look back and can think of all that transpired, some of which happened while I completely stopped working in my studio and when people hounded me about why I had stopped offering ceramic pieces I just didn't have the strength to tell them. But at this time I feel like mentioning a few instances that stick out strongly in my mind because they are important to me for they helped mold the new me that stands at this moment in time telling you that yes, as you have suspected, my life has changed greatly but change isn't necessarily a bad thing. At this very moment there is a creative tornado about to touch down as I prepare to jet. Something that wouldn't be unless this change had taken place.

If I went to dinner with you and couldn't hold my tears back know that just coming to dinner with me helped ease my loneliness. I'm sorry if my emotions made you uncomfortable. It wasn't my intention. Know that as I jet off I am thankful for your presence and for the strength you were able to help me find again.

If I visited your house on the many holidays that passed during this process and seemed distant and my gaze far away forgive me for I was caught between the past and the future and that is overwhelming no matter how you look at it. Know that I treasured our time together and that your rich traditions will help mold traditions in my new home.

If you went out of your way to talk to me because you sensed something wasn't quite right, thank you for your concern, kindness and motherly love when my own was so distant from within my arm's reach. Thank you for also sharing your personal story. Know it inspired.

If we worked together and I seemed aloof on the job site know that the work you gave me helped meditate me into new realizations. Thank you for hiring me and for being stern on the days I needed a good slap. I can't imagine this transformation taking place without you and your constant interjection of wisdom, wit, loving support and of course work for my hands so they wouldn't stay idle.

If we had coffee together and I talked your ear off for over two hours know that those hours were some of the most special I've had and I thank you for showing up and listening. I'm eternally grateful for having had the opportunity. You helped me to dream again....to hope.

So now I fly away to a new state and begin again. New adventures in a new home and a new studio with new people. I walk away with a sense of renewal and believe it or not a better friendship with my x. My son benefits from this greatly.

I go back to my little home town in Pennsylvania where things are a bit slower and more simple. Where my new neighbors have already begun to question how the hell I can say I grew up there with the Brooklyn accent I now apparently sport. Frankly, I don't know what the hell they're talking about. They're the ones with the accent! ( lol ) Home to where my dreams all began. Home to where my mom and dad live. Home to where I hope to build something wonderful for me and my son. Home to where a new creative explosion is just bursting to take place. And home maybe one day, if I could ever be so lucky, to a new someone who will love me just the way I am and I him. I can only dream and hope; and I do....

And so, I jet....

Charcoal on paper

Friday, May 6, 2011


Building up simple washes

Well, it was time to take the plunge and dive into painting the season plate I've titled "Summer." I couldn't put it off any longer. It became more stressful to sit here and look at it and think about what colors I'd use and how I would paint the piece than to paint it, so I just took a leap of faith and dove in. My drawing is already getting marred by the washes, but that's ok. I'm seeing a vision beyond just a pencil drawing now and I can't wait to see it come to fruition. I'm going to try and snag more particle boards. I'd like to start applying wash to the other two season pieces while my mind is focused on blocking out light and form.

Individual shot of washes
being built up slowly

Oliver resin in leopard appaloosa

I'm also working on another little "Oliver" resin. The hairing pattern on this resin was fun to work with and quite possibly my favorite part. I've found that working on resins in general have kept my hand very steady and has helped my illustrating. I'm not sure how this is so, but the color palette I'm using these days is very different than it used to be as is my drawing. Taking a break from illustration turned out to be rather helpful.

Speaking of breaks I'm very excited to have been invited to take a break and see the play "War Horse" at the Lincoln Center Theater today. As I type this I'm bursting with anticipation. I've watched the trailer on the website several times now and am looking forward to the onslaught of inspiration this production will no doubt give me. (Thank you Donna!!!!)

Quick shot of work desk

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

My Sweetheart....

by Francesco Danza

.....drew me a picture today....which made me forget about the rain I got drenched in on the way to the work site.....and made me forget that the train took over 2 hours to get into Bay Ridge. It also made me remember what is truly important and that no matter how bad our day or what is happening we are here to love.