Everyone Has One Good Story in Them…

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Doodle on Manila Folder + PicsArt

Geek Love. Photoshop 7. Cartoon Character Mermaid Punch. I’ve got at least one good story in me, one great unforgettable female character. She takes center stage like an explosion, like a blazing fireball, glowing like St. Elmo’s fire only far more destructive. She’s worth staying up all night with no sleep and goddamn any work that needs to happen the next day, because letting her run loose in my imagination one more time is worthy work in and of itself.

Get me into the writer’s club! I can’t draw anymore, not unless there are words attached.

I need words like I need flowers and fresh sage leaves. I need poetry. I need to be a bard.

I need to be heard.

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Something from Nothing

To the best of my knowledge, only God (or whatever name you’d like for the divine) can truly make something from nothing. Maybe. We don’t know for sure how that works. However, to me as an artist, it is not only possible, but very desirable, to take something of “no value” and make it into something of value. I put quotes around the words “no value” because I’m pretty sure that all matter is valuable. Humans put value on things based on how useful we think a thing is to us. In any case, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.

Here’s a fun challenge to get you thinking about the value of the raw matter all around you: set a timer for five minutes and walk outside. If it is winter where you are (I am in Chicago), don’t even bother putting on your coat (but shoes are a good idea) and in those five minutes, gather as many useless items as you want from your immediate environment. They can be natural, as in a stick or rock, or something manmade, like a pop can tab.

Go inside. If you like, do an internet search for your objects: “stick art”, “pop can tab crafts”, “Oak Leaf properties”, etc. Especially check out YouTube tutorials. I”m pretty sure you will find that there are folks using these raw materials to make stuff cool enough to warrant posting a video. It is amazing.

Finally, make something from your objects. Just try it. How does it feel? Frustrating, confusing, liberating? Really pay attention to the inherent properties of your materials: texture, color, strength, brittle/flexible and so on. How easy is it to get your materials to do what you want them to do? Once you have your finished piece, how do you feel about the raw material you worked with?

If you do this exercise often enough, you will start to look at the world around you with different eyes. Things you disregarded as background noise, like weeds, dandelion fluff, rusted metal, bark and the like start holding interest. What are its physical properties? Would they lend themselves to a task I want to do?

This, my friends, used to be how humans looked at the world around them, until very recently (a few hundred years or less). There were no boxed solutions to search for in a special place, a store. The solutions and materials needed for survival were outside all around, and to be successful you had to keep your eyes open every time you stepped out the door.

I suspect that in spite of our pre-made conveniences, the ones that came from a factory and deemed valuable by virtue of costing money, it is still true. In order to gain real value from our immediate environment, we need to keep our eyes open.

I challenge you to step outside and see the world this way, and I’d love to hear about the results of your experiment!

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Raw stuff for this piece: Kentucky coffee tree seeds found on walks home from work, canna Lilly seeds from garden, dryer lint, pics from an old gardening catalog. Not found objects: white flour, baking powder, powdered soap, and glue. Paint, glitter, glaze, string and plastic beads.

Aw Yeah Comics!

My son loves the Tiny Titans comic books by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. This year they opened a comic book store in Skokie, IL called Aw Yeah Comics. These guys are the best. My husband and son go there a couple of times per month. It seems that every time he is there, Art draws a new Beast Boy for my son. Beast Boy from Tiny Titans is Victor‘s favorite, I’m not sure Victor realizes yet how cool it is for the creator of his favorite comic to draw and sign stuff for him.

Art drawing Beast Boy for Victor

Art drawing Beast Boy for Victor

On July 28th Art and Franco hosted the Kids Make Comics Day, an event they are hoping to grow to the scale of Free Comic Book Day. If you are a comic book fan, you already know what that is. If you aren’t, it is an official day where comic book stores give stuff away. Since I’m not actually a comic book geek, but only live vicariously through my husband, that is all I know about it. But I digress. Art and Franco hosted the first Kids Make Comics day and we were there. It was my first time at Aw Yeah Comics, and I was impressed by the friendly atmosphere and great selection of cool comic stuff. And, when Victor was stumped on how to draw his favorite character Beast Boy, Art once again drew an example for him to copy. Given that my son wakes up in the morning, drinks a cup of warm milk, and goes straight to copying pictures of characters out of his comic books and drawing random stuff from there, I think there is a decent chance Art and Franco might be stocking something created by my son in a decade or so. But I think that is the whole point of Kids Make Comics day, that is, to spark interest in the art form for future generations. Aw Yeah, Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani!

Making comics

What should I draw next?

Aw Yeah! Beast Boy!

Aw Yeah! Beast Boy…on the shop window.

Beast Boy by Victor

Canon EOS Rebel T3i!

This gallery contains 10 photos.

So I finally, after years of deliberation, I broke down and got a digital SLR camera. I’m in love! It has been SO long since I’ve immersed myself in photography and it feels like I just came home. The camera just fits right in my hands. I have to relearn everything, but I still love […]

I’m excited!

Less than a week to go before my first art fair as a vendor! My friend Rose and I will have a booth at What’s Blooming on Harrison, in Oak Park, IL. We’ll be street vendors on Saturday only, but the event is happening on Friday at the brick and mortar galleries in the arts district, too. For a little information about What’s Blooming, check out this link.  Personally, I’m hoping I can take a break from my booth long enough to check out the beekeeping demonstration.

As an aside, I like bees a lot. They keep me well fed, between all of the fruits and veggies made possible by bee pollination and the delicious honey they make, as well as all the things you can do with bees wax…what’s not to love?