Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The two year anniversary of my younger brother's passing was last week, and so I have been thinking of him constantly. Oddly enough, other people who have no knowledge of this anniversary have spoken to me about Paul, finding his letters while cleaning out drawers, or mentioning that they found a photo of a memorable occasion they shared with him in the past. It's almost as if the Universe is gently calling attention to his memory to mark this milestone.
I came across this scrap of paper which I have saved. Years ago, Paul and I took Dad to a Taco Bell which he loves, and while we were finishing our lunch, Paul sketched this bucking bronco and cowboy on the receipt. I was charmed by it! I think I'll find a tiny frame for this monumental treasure.
Thursday, February 23, 2012
DO YOU THINK I HAVE ENOUGH MARKERS? Sheesh. And you know what, I would answer, no. It's like having too many old clothes in the closet and you still can't find anything to wear! I have markers from the 80's made by a California company that went out of business many years ago, but I still cling to those markers and mix up the ink refills like a deranged chemist. I have the original Tria markers, and they too, are no longer produced. I hear the second generation Tria markers were not as well received as the first, so I cling to mine, trying to mix the refill colors from the existing dyes that I have. The Prismacolors are nice, but since they are non-refillable, they are in all stages of depletion. I'd like to pare this mess down to a simple palette, but I'm not sure I have it in me. We'll see.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Did you know that almost every country celebrates a version of this holiday in their own fashion, sometimes on another date? For instance, in Japan, the tradition is very ritualized and is all about the giving of chocolates, so much so that on this date chocolate companies make half their annual income. The Western customs of giving of candy, flowers and cards and are uncommon. But here's the part I find most interesting - only the women give chocolate to the men, and it's all about giving just the right amount of chocolate. There is good chocolate, and the not-so-good, and in offices, every man is presented with his appropriate type of chocolate. What a great way to tell that guy what you really think of him! Then the men are expected to return the favor in March, on White Day, the color of the reciprocal chocolate. They must return a gift two or three times as valuable as the one they received. (excellent idea) To ignore this custom is viewed as an act of superiority, and a gift of equal value indicates he is cutting the relationship. I must confess, I gathered this information from the Internet, and we all know how reliable THAT source is, so if this is outdated or incorrect, please let me know!
These illustrations were preliminary sketches for an assignment I received several years ago.
I hope you find time to do an act of kindness today, we all need a little love in our lives.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
What's so special about this photo, you may be asking. BLUE SKY, that's what! It's been so gray here in the Midwest, it really gets to me. I was standing in the grocery store parking lot when I looked up and saw this sight. Even though it was 17 degrees below zero (counting the wind chill factor), seeing this sunny blue sky warmed me right up!
Friday, February 10, 2012
Nothing says suspense like a volcano on the horizon!
A very odd story accompanies this painting: I painted this several years ago after seeing this lovely location (minus the volcano) in a travel magazine. I made up the rest of the composition, the image came into my head without any other source of inspiration. Six months later I hung it in my studio for an Open Studio event, and a woman came up to me and said, "In my country (she was Japanese) we have a children's fairy tale in which two rabbits get in a boat and row out to a volcano. Have you read it?" I had not - and I was amazed that somehow I must have channeled into that ancient fable!
I have a "thing" for bunnies.....have you noticed?
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Here it is February, and for the last month I've been meaning to write about my new-found heroine in the arts, Eva Striker Zeisel, who sad to say, departed from this world on December 30, 2011. Eva Zeisel was a master of modern design, yet I must confess I had never heard about her until I read her obituary. Ms. Zeisel, trained initially in the industrial arts, created every day objects that fundamentally changed the look of American kitchens and dining rooms. Her work was often described as "human, sensual, voluptuous", words not usually associated with tableware. She was quoted as saying "I search for beauty. I never wanted to do something grotesque. I never wanted to shock. I wanted my audience to be happy, to be kind." And that is the feeling I get from viewing her creations - they make me happy, they make me smile!
Born in Budapest in 1906, Ms. Zeisel led a long and colorful life, worthy of a screenplay. She began as a (first ever female) journeyman in the ceramics industry. After a series of increasingly evolved and respected positions in the design world, Ms. Zeisel eventually was hired as the artistic director of the Russian republic’s china and glass industry in Moscow in 1936. It was during this period that she was falsely accused of planning to assassinate Stalin. She was imprisoned for sixteen months, twelve of those months spent in solitary confinement where she feared for her life. She endured torture and brainwashing, and at one point attempted suicide. She was unexpectedly released in 1937, and by 1938 had made her way to Britain where she married Hans Zeisel. Late that same year they emigrated to New York (with a total of $64 between them) where Ms. Zeisel's extraordinary talents would soon be recognized. She was the first female designer to have work honored in an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, and many commissions and design opportunities soon followed. In spite of her "dark years" and stressful life challenges, Ms. Zeisel's work remained playful and sunny, eccentric and biomorphic. After the birth of her children John and Jean, her creations became imbued with a feeling of nurturing and togetherness, a tribute to the family. Very appropriate for tableware, I must say! She once stated, "All of my work is mother-and-child”. She remained productive right up to her death at age 105, acquiring honors for outstanding achievements in design. For more information and links, you can read her obituary here.
Photo credits: (1) The Washington Post, (2) The British Museum, (3) The Museum of Modern Art,
(4) Berkshirefinearts.com, (5) designlinesltd.com, (6) design2share.com