Monday, April 30, 2007

Patiently waiting for someone special...

Been busy catching up on my drawing and creating for the courses I'm currently doing. I'm 'just about' up to date, which I think is the closest I've ever been to up to date, so I'm feeling good about it.

I'm also feeling good about my special blog guest. Yes, I am having a special guest visit me, right here, on Friday (US) or Saturday (if you're from Australia). My visitor is one of my favourite authors and creativity specialist Eric Maisel. He is going to be generous enough to answer some questions I have about his new book "Ten Zen Seconds".

I've had a copy of this gorgeous book for about a week and I'm excited! Well, you'd be excited too if you had a very simple technique you could learn in an afternoon that gave you the power to 'centre' yourself in an instant! That's right. Instantly. Well, actually, you can have it too. And I'll tell you how, right here on Friday/Saturday.

So far I've used the technique to help me with overwhelment about how much work I have to do in such a small amount of time, anxiety over waiting for my marks and feedback, and to give me self-confidence in an environment I would otherwise feel I didn't fit in. And yes, the results were instant. I've been feeling what Eric describes as 'centred' - calm, controlled and directed. And happy! Wonderful!

So, yes, I'm excitedly waiting too... patiently... waiting... I can't wait!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

One-eyed monsters

This is two versions of the same drawing. The theme was monumentality and it needed to include a change of scale. I chose the squirt bottle of shower cleaner because I thought I'd be able to turn it into a scary one-eyed monster. I didn't really want to include other objects in order to show its monumental scale. I thought I'd be able to show it by a careful choice of perspective and by the expression in its 'eye'. But as I drew, and gazed more intently into its real 'eye', I found it looked more and more like a chook or a turkey. Then its expression changed to one of foreboding and fear. The drawing began to make me think of Christmas Eve and the inevitable chop for the turkey. I could no longer help myself. I drew in the looming shadow of someone reaching for its neck! I hoped the drawing would show monumentality by inference, that the world and everything in it could be seen in the viewers minds eye as huge, the way the turkey-squirt would see it.

But no, it didn't work. And the drawing did need to show monumentality. So I left it for a week while I decided how to resurect it. My only solution was to add something or someone to show the scale, to increase the angle of view on its head so that it looked like it was looking down, and to make that one eye look mean again. I looked at the work of William Kentridge who often gives the effect of scale and monumentality in subtle ways. I looked in particular at a drawing inwhich the male subject (I believe it is a self-portrait of sorts) and his cat are alone in a monumental space; the words "HER ABSENCE FILLED THE WORLD' are written above them. I thought this was almost the exact opposite of what I was trying to show in my one-eyed monster drawing - her (the monster) presence filled the world! So I included Kentridge and his cat, tiny and in the foreground, to provide the necessary scale. I'm not sure if I like the second incarnation of this image better than the first, but I do like it, which is more than I thought I would when I started out to change it.

And I'll be quiet for a few days (digitally not acutally) because I'm off to Sydney to see my daughters, friends and some art. Sounds good doesn't it!

Monday, April 16, 2007

More Bookfest Bounty

Back to Bookfest and I'm so glad I did. Another inspiring stack. A couple of great pick-ups today. SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas for one. SCUM stands for Society for Cutting Up Men and Valerie is the sweet lassie who shot Andy Warhol. I'm giving this one to my daughter (for academic purposes only!). The two "Sam.." books will make a great present for someone I know (and there is a long tradition of 2nd-hand-weird-books-as-presents there!). The best repurpose-as-journal buys of the day for me were "The Choir-Boy in the making" (Oxford University Press 1923) with great advice included, like the bit on selecting boys. And "Our Hearts were Young and Gay" with delightful pictures.
Ahh, I wonder if I'll get back tomorrow?

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pile of Index Cards

I've loved Hawk's ideas and photos ever since I first stumbled across them on Flickr. I'm slowly moving toward organisation. I've read the book ('Getting Things Done' is the title elsewhere; here in Australia it is titled "How to Get Things Done" by David Allen). This weekend we put the finishing touches on a filing system Allen describes. It does feel good. Next is to dive into the index card world Hawk so elequently describes. Hawk hangs out over at Pile of Index Cards (or just click the link in my sidebar). He recommends gridded index cards for writing down each idea or to-do. I can't buy them here, so in these photos you can see my solution.

I opened the pack of index cards (I chose blank because I like blank) only enough to reveal one long edge. Then using a ruler and a fine red artline pen I ruled lines at .5cm intervals. Hawk marks the top edge of the cards to categorise them so that when they are in their box (dock) it is easy to see what is what. My red lines give me enough visual info to be able to make my marks in all the right places. And I don't have to worry about doing OS orders which is nice.

In search of the 'perfect' perfect journal

Look at this little hoard! What beauties! This is my booty from the annual Rotary Bookfest - day 1. And all it cost me was $5 for the lot!!! Some classic titles and books here. My favourite being from the "Teach Yourself Building" series and titled "Electricity in the Home". I can see these little gems rebound and reborn as quirky sketchbooks and journals. And that is really what this is all about. The 'perfect' journal was the subject of previous posts here and resulted in my Guide France, Perfume in Provence, Path to Rome and The Function of Voluntary Muscles sketchbooks. Each one 'perfect' for its purpose. But what about all those other purposes I might have? I feel the need for a 'perfect' book to contain each one of them. And so I hoard, because I also don't quite know what purposes I might think up in the future either. This gorgeous little stack will be taken upstairs to sit next to those other stacks I already have. Together they make a fabulous mound of future possibility.

Can't for Rotary Bookfest - Day 2!!! And it goes all week!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Another book

Another book made for my textiles unit. In this project we had to consider the themes Time and Space and using an aerial perspective, create a map. I've titled this "Every place I've ever lived: 1962 - 1978" which I think is fairly self explanatory and probably gives away too much personal information too! I hope one day to have some spare time to finish the series.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My diary

I've been making more books. This one is a complete change of direction and materials for me. The project required me to use processes of at least two artists whose work I had researched. I loved the work Astrid Krogh did with fine stainless steel mesh creating optical effects by layering and weaving ( I also looked at Jarg Geismar's installation with hanging books (

From these strange beginings came "My Diary". This tiny freestanding sculpture represents the way I use my private journal and the ideas I put into it. Each page of the Japanese fold 'book' is woven from a different material and the meaning comes more from it's surface qualities than from the actual material itself. There is a page of secrets, one of passion, one about my health and there is a page for when I feel good about myself. There is even a page that represents my virtual presence in my digital 'diary'. I tried to create an optical illusion like Krogh's by weaving stips cut from a plastic sheet magnifying glass. The magnifications and distortions it creates hold the rest of the book in place by forming the covers. This is my acknowlegement that a diary, my diary, any diary is just one perspective on life and its issues and can contain views we wish we could really 'see' in the real world.

And now can I ask you a question? As I sit here typing on my new MacBook Pro I find that all the helpful buttons along the top of the Create or Edit Posts window in Blogger are gone except for the spellcheck and the Insert Picture icon. That's why I had to type the web addresses above - I couldn't do a link because the link button is just plain gone! Are there any Mac-ers out there who can help???

Monday, April 09, 2007

More rebound books!

For those of you who enjoyed seeing my rebound sketchbooks (here, here, here and here) have a look at what Shirley has done. I love these books!

The good, the black and the white

Firstly, let me say it's good to be back! I've got a lot to catch up with here, but I'll start by letting you know about my special guest visitor. Eric Maisel is my favourite author on matters of creativity. And talk about being creative! Eric has come up with a fabulous idea to promote his latest book Ten Zen Seconds . Eric will be undertaking a blog tour of the world! He will be actually (well, 'virtually' really I suppose...) visiting my little blog on the 4th of May. Leading up to then, and for a little while after, I've got some special things planned so that you can enjoy Eric's ideas for creative mindfulness and some art all mixed up together.

And secondly, here are a couple of drawings I've done while I've been off-line, a black still life and a white one.

The black one was done on white A1 paper using paint and oil stick. I've never used oil-stick before and I must say YUM! It is almost delicious the way it moves and goes on.

The white one had to be a collage. I did both of these as part of my studies. This one was also done on white paper (A3) and using paint, shellac, cardboard, paper, masking tape, tracing paper, found paper, pencil and a stamp I quickly made out of craft foam. Lots of fun!