19 November 2006

Reviews on fire

A few nights ago, I went to see Casa de Areia, The House of Sand. A Brazilian movie starring the real life mother and daughter, Fernanda Montenegro and Fernanda Torres as Mother and Daughter in the film. Incidentally, the movie is directed by Fernanda Torres's husband, with the leads written especially for these two women. You might recognize Fernanda Montenegro as the actress nominated for an Oscar for Central Station in 1998 and who lost out to Gwyneth Paltrow, who won for Shakespeare in Love.
This movie was really amazing in a lot of different ways. The pace, unlike American movies, is slow and takes its time to allow the story to unfold. When the characters speak to eachother-- it is in clipped, boiled down questions and answers. There is not a lot of dialogue but much expression between the actresses as well as between the people and the land. The film was shot in the middle of the desert- but a desert as strange, changeable and moody as its new inhabitants. There are some breathtaking visuals in the film having to do with the changing landscape. I thought it was really great because the filmmakers assumed that the audience is fairly sophisticated and would understand a crucial jump in time based on the actresses. (I will say no more as I don't want to be a plot spoiler). The film's thematic threads are circular in nature, Mothers taking care of their daughters who then become mothers and begin again. I could go on about other themes-- but it would ruin the movie. I would recommend it though- if you are in the mood for a slow paced that requires some mental energy. I've been starting to see previews for Almodovar's new film, Volver, with a very sultry looking Penelope Cruz-- can't wait for that! I guess I'm on a Spanish film kick.
In the book dept., I'm currently reading 13 Moons by Charles Frazier. So far I really like it, it requires a lot of attention and focus. I am a slow reader and sometimes get lost in my own thoughts so that I have to reread a page a few times. Frazier writes with a very lovely- aromatic sense of description. I love the first paragraph of Chapter 8-- which is where I am currently:
That next summer in Valley River, I was not much of a business man. Nor did I crack a lawbook. Mostly I concerned myself with the weight of Claire's breast in my hand, the echo of a new poem,........., the mute colors of long sunsets,........

Ahhh, to be young and in love!

Otherwise, I just finished baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
Here is a preliminary photo of the studio. There is another window on that wall with the window you see and a storage nook behind where I was photographing. I don't like that light-- but you can't have everything!

Well, that's about all from Western NY for the moment. Happy Turkey Day!!!

11 November 2006

AHHHHHH, now I can breathe a sigh of relief! Ever since the big snowstorm we haven't had internet service at our house which means I have to drive all over town trying to get online at all the places that offer it for free! Today, it's fixed! and I can post something new. I am majorly antsy because I feel like everything is on hold.....I haven't been able to move into the new studio space because the electricity isn't hooked up yet, my freelance gigs don't kick in till next week, my art materials are all packed up....so what is there to do? This past weekend I visited D and we had lots of fun in Pittsburgh! There was a praying mantis clinging to the outside of his house for 2 days. Aren't praying mantis's good luck?
We also went to see Borat. I'm embarrassed to admit I laughed my head off- especially at the unfortunate incident in the hotel where Borat catches his trusty companion doing a naughty deed, I don't want to ruin any surprises so I will say no more. This is definitely NOT a movie I would send my Mother to go see. It's thick with potty humor, raunchiness, and offensive to every religion and race. But, you've gotta hand it to Sasha Baron Cohen for going all the way and over the top. The best part was when Douglas turned to me in the movie theatre and thought all the people Borat comes into contact with in the movie are in on the joke-- which they are not! That made me laugh tremendously-- ah ahahah ahaha ......

Also, I'm embarrassed to admit I watched a small portion of America's Next Top Model. It's a bit of a guilty pleasure as I'm waiting for Lost.

I was struck by a Tyra-ism. She was telling the girl who was getting the boot that she didn't have enough confidence in herself, that the judges were stunned by her beauty and believed in her, but she didn't believe in herself and that it was apparent to them in the way she flaked out or felt silly in the challenges. She explained to this young, inexperienced girl that even if she didn't feel confident she had to act as though she did. Her exact words: "You've gotta fake it to make it." I really liked that and wrote it down for myself. Ah, words of wisdom from Tyra Banks (or the writers). (Don't you like the juxtaposition of the picture of beautiful Tyra Banks and hairy, gross thong wearing Borat! Clever! Anyways, I came home on Wednesday and have been checking in on the studio, going to the gym and playing with Smitty. For those of you who've forgotten about Smitty- he is our neighbor's Border Collie. He is such a sweet, smart dog but grossly neglected . So, sometimes we take him for walks or bring him to the house and play with him. 2 nights ago, I was giving Smitty a good petting- laying on the floor next to him when he laid down too and picked up his paw so I could scratch his belly. Dogs do not question their dog-ness. As I always like to say. Today, I started perusing some recipes for Thanksgiving. I would love to incorporate pomegranates into the mix.... Delicious!

27 October 2006

the times are a changin'

First, look how cute this graphic is. Second, I didn't see the finale but for a little while was obsessed with watching the marathon afternoons of this. And lastly, by chance I saw the 2 brilliant episodes of Casanova on PBS's Masterpiece Theatre and am craving more. Honey writes a beautiful description of the program to which I will add this: It is overthetop, forward thinking, musical theatre on tv, brilliantly and opulently designed...wonderfully acted by David Tennant as the youthful Casanova and told in remembrances by the older Casanova by Peter O'toole. Tennant has such spritely charm and charisma- you want him to fall in love with you. The story is told with imagination, extraordinary design, storytelling and acting. Don't miss out!
Otherwise, I spent part of my day today observing some highschool kids at the next table over in the coffehouse where I was working on my website. The kids were pulling out their phones, blackberries and talking about talking online last night. I thought wow, times have changed so much since I was in High School. I don't think of myself as old at all-- I feel very youthful and try to nurture my inner little kid if not for creative purposes then just to remind myself of who I was when things were simpler. As I watched these kids with their technology I felt like the world has changed so much in my lifetime and how it will continue to change. I used to be so fearful of change, I was afraid of the unkown, but I learned how to really embrace it and look forward to it because I spent so much time feeling stagnant and depressed in all areas of my life, that everyone was moving forward without me. If you think about it everything in the world is changing every second of every day...the cars keep moving, the people keep walking on the street, I keep typing a new word. We need change to keep growing and learning.

26 October 2006

happy thoughts

It's been a long hard week, or two. This is the pile of leaves and tree limbs in front of my house from the freak Friday the 13th snow storm. It just got picked up the other day. I went around and took a few pictures of my neighborhood. There are still a lot of fleets of tree trucks driving around picking up the mess. Although the sun is out and its beautiful-- it's really sad to see all the tree destruction and it's going to take a long time for them to grow back to their full green leafy majesty. We were lucky because we didn't lose electricity but a lot of friends did.

Otherwise, I have been spending my days at Cafe Aroma on the internet or working at odd jobs while I wait to move into my brand new studio space. oh yeah, did I mention I rented some brand new studio space!! on Exchange St. in Buffalo!! I will be happy to the point of doing the dance of joy when I can have a private studio with my own door. Then, I can make the little nook at home where I was working, into a reading nook and I won't feel so claustrophobic.
Otherwise, I am not feeling at the peek of happiness these days. But I'm working on getting my spirits up.

11 October 2006

Yay for Ernesto!

OK, Ani Defranco is in the cafe where I am and she's pregnant. I think I knew this but it's kind of interesting to see. This is my second brush with stardom in the last week, weird (Andrea Zittel was the first). So- I spent the day today giving my website a makeover. It's not done yet. I still have to add images to some of the pages and freshen it up a bit. I decided to take some of the pages away, like the about and calendar pages, because I don't think anyone really cares. I also made a very difficult decision to axe my stats counter. It was driving me crazy. Maybe in the future I'll add it again, but I didn't know how to transfer it over and I don't want to keep obsessively looking at it to see who's looking.
Speaking of looking, I am looking for new studio space! I called a couple of places today but nothing concrete yet. The studio space has to be cheap, with lots of light, clean, well cared for, and have a good vibe. I have to be able to fit my drafting table and a large table in it at least. .....
I had a crazy dream the other night where I was living in this very small space where all my belongings were crammed into a corner and all of a sudden I discovered all these extra rooms and hidden nooks. I turned a corner and there was a Chinese cabinet with all sorts of drawers, shelves, cubes, and again, hidden nooks and crannies. I think it has something to do with hidden parts of the psyche-- especially artistically, I have to inhabit more space. I also think it has to do with my constant qualm about my work of late- which is that I'm searching for a subject matter.
I am excited to see what happens on Lost tonight- it's a perfect dark and stormy day to watch a program like Lost. There is something in me that doesn't allow me to believe that Jack's wife would sleep with his father. I think Jack's paranoia pushed him to believe it but I don't think it really happened.
Anyhoo- I'm so excited that my good buddy Ernesto has found me-- and I hope you email me with your life story up to the present moment including where you live now and what you're up to.....as soon as humanly possible!!

06 October 2006

A Parting Gift

Last night, I went to a lecture at the Albright Knox Gallery by artist, Andrea Zittel. Then, this morning, I saw her in Starbucks and I told her how much I enjoyed her talk. I think she is really shy, and I'm sort of shy- so the conversation was a bit short. I asked if she would be around for a few days and she was leaving in 15 minutes. I think she is very smart and interesting and I would have liked to have picked her brain a bit and asked her more about her career. Maybe next time. The Gallery was MOBBED! It was a free friday and the opening of Andrea's exhibit, Critical Space, which I didn't have to time to see yet. She said something interesting about the back story/ stories surrounding her work being more interesting than the work itself-- because she is so engaged in the process of making the thing-- the audience doesn't have the same experience of the piece. She is constantly struggling with this disconnect. I thought that was a great point.

My Mom and I had a very intense discussion about Grey's Anatomy. I said that I know I should want Meredith to be with Finn, the vet, because he's the better guy all around and Dr. Shepard has just been a total asshole-- however, Meredith and McDreamy have such chemistry-- and the program has invested a lot more time into McDreamy + Meredith while Finn seems really new. I know Honey will not agree with me on this because she probably thinks Dr. Shepard is just a total jackass. oh well.

One more bit about tv-- I am so happy that Campbell Scott is on tv, while I was sick I watched Singles two days in a row. Then, Campbell Scott pops up on this new show, 6 degrees....which is produced by JJ Abrams, same guy that brought us Alias and Felicity. LOVE Campbell Scott!! I have no idea why I like him in this program, because to be honest, the one episode I saw-- really didn't wow me, but Campbell Scott-- his mouth reminds me of a snapping turtle. Cambell Scott is sexy with a snapping turtle mouth!
ha ha ha hah ahahaaaaaaa.
Ok, enough of all that!
I can't wait to get my haircut next week Friday! It is getting too long (for me) and poofy.
At 2pm today I will get in the car and drive towards the land of Pittsburgh to visit the one and only Douglas Levine. Very excited about that. I think we're going to a play tonight.

In Conclusion, I believe the mystery person from the past was the lucky recipient of one leggo phone many moons ago in a distant land called 'da cuse.' If I'm right, I would like to say I'm very excited to hear from you and would yell WHERE the heck have you been ???? because I tried to track you down many times without success. If I'm wrong-- then please leave another clue!


01 October 2006


Hiya-- I've added some thoughts and pictures in this weird purple color!
Hello Friends,
It was with mixed emotions and heavy heart that I drove home on Friday from Vermont. My trip back to Buffalo was one of the worst EVER -- actually, the first 2 hours or so were fun, beautiful because I got to see the fall leaves and I was ambling through the green mountains on a rainy day and the mist was hanging over the trees.
I stopped in Montpelier-- which is the cutest town, to go to Rivendell Books where I bought some postcards and a copy of The Mermaid Chair, (which subsequently, has been a disappointment, but a good read for someone who is sick! and stopping for photo opps along my ambling way. Here is a waterfall I happened to pass by on the road.....

It was the first peak fall color weekend and the leaves were really beautiful shades of gold, red and orange. However, the day just went downhill after mapquest told me to go right when I should have gone left and it took about 45 minutes to realize it....... so 45 minutes out and back plus a strong latte from a really adorable coffee shop called Jesine in Montpelier, meaning, I had to stop for the bathroom twice, let's just say I was a long way off course. I did get to also see this very cute hidden town called Warren (where I stopped to use the ladies room at the Pitcher Inn). Anyhoo- by the time I was on track I should have been half way home and I had only driven about 2 of my supposedly 8 hours. 13 hours later, I finally arrived home! Plus I stopped in two places in NY to see if I could stay the night in a hotel because I was exhausted-- just my luck though, all rooms were booked because of a dog show (of all things) and parents weekend at a local college. GRRRRR. I was not a happy camper!

Part of me thought it was an omen, that I should've stayed. The thing that stopped me from staying was the realization that the monthly turn over of people would be really difficult to get used to. You grow fond of people that are leaving in a few short weeks and spreading out over the globe. That would make me sad. Plus, Johnson is so removed from the world at large, I went for weeks without hearing any news. I don't know if I could handle that in the long run.

I didn't have as much motivation to write I as actually thought I would in the last two weeks at VSC. I tried, but every time I sat down to write, the words felt forced. I had such a great time, met so many wonderful, talented people and lived a very simple, (in a good way) focused life. I felt like I had a purpose every day and there weren't a lot of distractions to take me away from that purpose. The beauty of it was that there were all these like-minded people talking about art and day jobs and how much they can suck (the day jobs, I mean) and a whole host of other issues! If I got bored or nervous I could walk down the street and find a friend in a different studio, like the wonderful Patti, who lives in S. Dakota, who I visited on numerous occasions. These walks were a dose of inspiration and friendship that created a community. Now the question is how to recreate that community?
In the last two weeks I had an all girl posse to trek around with--named after the Bad Girls Cafe, which was right next door to my studio building-- the Bad Girls reeked havoc in Johnson and then blew outta town. Clarisse, Louise, Rebecca and I had a raucus evening at the Bee's Knees, an organic restaurant with live music and drinks- where we closed the place. I'm not at liberty to discuss all of our Bad Girl antics-- but just know that they were bad!
The day before we left, the Bad Girls Cafe changed their name to the Groovin' Beans Cafe-- a horrible - unbefitting moniker for a really cute place. The Bad Girls will live on even if its namesake is gone.

Otherwise, I got to see the Bread and Puppet Museum perform at Johnson State College-- some pictures of that:

I also put some of my new book work in a show at the gallery at VSC with some very talented fellow artists!

I had two studio visits with visiting artists. One was exceedingly unhelpful and downright dismissive. The other was kooky but helpful--

Meanwhile, I'm home sick with a cold, although finally starting to feel better today- and haven't gotten out of my pajamas in two days. I would write more now but just haven't got the stamina. So now the question of how to put some Vermont in Buffalo is nagging at me. Luckily, I received an email from the talented and lovely Ellis Avery, famous author whose new book is out in December.... saying the first two weeks back from Johnson would be difficult but it will soon get better. Thanks Ellis!

As for my mysterious person from the past who left a comment here-- please email me braunlauren@gmail.com!! I think it could be one of two people......??? I can't stand the suspense!

Bye for now!

16 September 2006

Making books is fun! I'm experiment with ways to make pages, binding, and imagery. Last night was open studios and then a visiting painter lecture. It's so cool to see how everyone is using their space and filling it. I had an amazing conversation with a woman named Bev last night at dinner. She made some very astute observations about me and honed in on our shared Judaism immediately when she asked me if my Mother wants me to marry someone Jewish..... It turns out Bev is a clinical psychologist and in the mix with our great conversation I did feel like she was psycho-analyzing me just a little in her head. The funny thing is that from a far she seems a little flaky and dreamy, she is a beautiful woman-- with silver curly hair to her chin. She always wears these cute red clog-like shoes with striped socks a some kind of hat that makes her look like a flapper. She's probably in her 60's?? Anyways, she just has a sparkle!

I am in a total news and world void-- even though Im at an advantage to those without a car here- I just have no idea what's happening in the world. My days are structured around mealtimes! I get up at 7:30, shower and go for breakfast. Then, I go to my studio around nine. At noon, I break for lunch-- three days a week I work in the development office from 1-4. Yoga is usually 4:30 to 6. Dinner is at 6. Then, there has been an activity like open studios, slide night, readings, lectures from 8-9. Then more studio time or sometimes the sculptors make a bonfire. And bed-- then repeat!

13 September 2006


Ahhh-- so much news and it seems so little time before I will become sleepy and have to trek through the rain to the house where I sleep.
My time here has been wonderful-- I think I had a eureka moment in the studio yesterday! One of my fellow artists in residence came by and I was showing her some things- and explaining how I have been feeling antsy in the studio-- that I can't stay focused and at some points I feel like I need to leave. She took one look at this little sketchbook I make collages in, usually first thing when I arrive to get me into the space, and said- you should try making books, and then.... i bet you're a book-maker. And it just made so much sense- and it was like something clicked-- I tried making books in grad school but it seemed like I got such negative and mixed feedback that I didn't pursue it. But that is such the way that I work-- cutting, pasting, assembling, designing.

Today, while I was working, I was in the zone. I had that tingly feeling I haven't had in so long that means things are clicking. I was engaged and immersed in what I was doing. And most importantly I was having fun!
In many respects, I have learned more in a week and a half here than I did in 3 years at grad school.
The beauty of being here is that you can see how other people start their processes, and fill a white room. Intuition and play are huge first steps in getting started- following that little nudge that says paint a bright pink square in the corner or rip a picture here or there. I am seeing that with so much more clarity than before-- both in other people and in accepting it in myself. It's not like being in an academic setting where every decision you make has to be explained, intellectualized, conceptualized and critiqued. Art-making is a mysterious, spontaneous, fun process-- I was searching for the work and I think I finally found it.
I was thinking about why I came here and the reasons keep changing and growing. At first, I thought it would be to make a new body of work. Since I've been here though, I've learned more about my own process- what works and where I am stuck- I've gained an appreciation for 'accepting my own style'- not forcing what doesn't come easily ( like painting), starting multiple works so that if I get stuck or bored on one,I can move to something else. Most importantly though, I wanted to figure out how to have a positive, lose all track of time experience while in the studio. Work by the motto, make it and move on!
The other artists and writers are such lovely people, open and honest- non- competitive, willing to share and talk about the balances of life and art- the trials and tribulations of starting something new or getting stuck on something old.

08 September 2006

the rhythms of daily life

I'm learning lots about the way I work, my rythms and habits.
I like to make a mess. Sometimes, I have a short attention span and like to dabble at several things simultaneously. I like to work in the morning and at 11 I get antsy and have to go for a hot drink at the cutie pie coffee shop next door and read or write to clear my head then return to do a little more dabbling.
I'm learning that it's ok to sit in the studio and read or knit or just stare into space without doing anything in particular. These are all things I never really acknowledged before.
It's ok to not have a grand idea to really sink my teeth into...there is freedom in exploring, experimenting, and having a sense of playfulness. I have felt a definite letting go since I've arrived here---
like a breath of fresh air blowing through all the dusty corners and cleaning everything out.

05 September 2006

Look Up Lift Up

Hello Friends. Here is a test pic for the bird beak pictures. I have taken a few pictures but still need to edit them. I think I might have had a mini breakthrough in my studio today. But first, let me tell you about the title of this post. I have a studio in the Church Building-- a converted church (one would assume) there are two stained glass windows in the front. One has a picture of an anchor and the other has these words, look up.lift up. going around a circle with a red plus sign. It's one of the first things I saw when I walked in and up the stairs. I've been repeating the phrase like a mantra. I take it to mean, look towards the sky or God or Heaven and feel brighter or uplifted or It's lighter than you think. I just really like the ideas it brings to mind and the first thing I did after I unpacked all my supplies was to cut up some brightly colored origami paper and make those words.

Anyhoo- breakthrough in the studio-- I didn't really have that much time to work today because I slept through my alarm (a whole other story) BUT I was doing some work and a fellow artist came in and asked to borrow a sharpie and complimented what I was doing-- I felt great about that and then I just had this major release- as though I could really play and have fun and throw caution to the wind and work instinctively. The work I made today was really loose and wild compared to yesterday's tight nervous work. It was very exciting- I can't wait to see what tomorrow brings. Everyone has meals together in a dining room and the conversations are really fascinating-- the general meet and greet is always what's your name?, where are you from? have you been here before? but sometimes, you get into a deeper conversation about process or materials. I listened to a writer talk about index
Meanwhile, I bought myself a present today-- there is a yarn shop in town and I bought a beautiful skein or yarn that has reds and greys. I plan on making a scarf.

So- I overslept and missed breakfast. I went for a bike ride and rode past a covered bridge over a river and some old New England-y run-down Victorian homes.

03 September 2006


Hello Friends. I am here in Johnson, VT. The drive was quite lovely-- america's farmland. I saw sheep, hawks, a fawn (Bambi), a pumpkin patch, the mist rising off the mountains, a moose crossing sign! It looks like the color is just creeping in to the green leaves- there is just a tinge of yellow- and some trees have red. By the time it's time to go home- the trees will be a sea of color.
Upon arriving here I had a quick look at my room and studio space and then off to a reception and dinner. The food is very healthy and delicious-- salad bar, and salmon, lots of veggies. I met a few people but not a lot- I felt very shy and awkward as I'm sure a lot of others did.
going to go rest now--- more soon!

02 September 2006

tomorrow, tomorrow

The time is approaching people...an adventure is about to begin. I will set out early in the morning and make my way to the East. My belongings are boxed up and stacked appropriately - hopefully, I have just the right amount of, for lack of a better word, stuff. Not too much, not too little. A lunch is packed and sits waiting in the fridge. The vehicle is in traveling condition. The morning awaits!
The next time I write something here I will be in the green mountains, under the 10 jazillion stars of the night sky and steeped in the artmaking process.
Wish me luck!

01 September 2006

Solid Gold

Happy September 1st!
I am puttering around surfing the internet when I should be packing up my belongings. I had a superb day today filled with riding my bike all over town. Having coffee at cafe aroma, my morning ritual, where the hot firemen stopped to get coffee and were flirting with all the girls. I went to the downtown library. I picked out two books on tape, and three books, Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Plant Dreaming Deep by May Sarton, and Mrs. Dalloway - Virginia Woolf. At one point this afternoon, the chain fell off my bike and I didn't know how to fix it-- I thought, maybe I should call Douglas or Jim, or go ask my neighbor across the street for help. But then, I thought I can do this-- and I figured out how to do it and felt like a super rockstar! Then I came home and made some chicken and threw all these different ingredients together!
If you want to see a feat of beautiful baking please hop over to Honey's blog and look at the gorgeous tarts she made for her best friend's baby shower.
OK-- I have to go get to it!
ps. i forgot to mention that the pictures are of my shovel for the Artspace groundbreaking!
pps.tonight, I went to the gusto at the gallery to catch the Petah Coyne exhibit before it ends. It wasn't really that compelling for me although there were a few moments when I discovered something up close that I wouldn't have seen had I not inspected closer-- like the angelic white face of what looks like the virgin Mary, hidden away beneath a veil of black silk flowers and feathers-- facing the corner closest to where the sculpture stood- so you had to walk around to see it. Or the giant woven hair sculpture with trapped taxidermied ducks.
Anyhoo, my FAVORITE moments of the night-- seeing the tiny paper and card board mock-up of the Jim Hodges sculpture that was trucked here and actually weighs about 9 tons and then walking oustide and seeing it in the courtyard-- and looking over it to see the light installation by Leo Villareal-- that is by far my most favorite thing at the gallery. They are white lights on a grid that are programmed to light up randomly and in patterns on one glass wall of the auditorium which looks black because of the treatment of the glass. This installation is so beautiful- I could watch it for hours. The other really cool, newly installed piece is the Rachel Whiteread sculpture of the fire escape. It's massive and commands your attention and inspection.
Now Im tired-- I know I left some details out of my descriptions, but I have to go do some more packing, more later!

30 August 2006


Things seen:
spider the size of a yo yo
hornet's nest broken open
Divine Intervention(about to see on video)

things missing
black skirt
green enamel earrings

things recovered
black skirt (at drycleaners)

things accomplished
1/2 of files
saw friends

to do
doctor's appt

29 August 2006

Howl's Moving Castle & feeding the muse

Good Morning,
I'm thinking about changing the title of my blog. Any thoughts? I was leaning towards Paper Tiger.... we'll see about that.
Yesterday, I got to leave work early. Yay! Susannah and I went to rent some movies. I found Howl's Moving Castle, Everything is Illuminated, and a third about Israelis and Palestinians which I can't remember the title of. Also on my way home, I stopped at the art store. I love going up and down each aisle and looking at all the colors and papers and pens. It's a delight to the senses. I ended up buying origami paper and metallic paper, a new lightweight sketchbook with a ribbon tie, and a starter set of gouache paints.
I got home last night to an empty house as the other residents are on their boat trip up the Erie Canal. I love being home alone! I worked on my shovel for a while-- making letters out of the metallic paper and gluing them on the shovel part of the shovel. I had this sudden vision that I need some googly eyes to glue on too-- I don't know what that's all about. Anyhoo, I had a late dinner of leftover thai and a fruit smoothie with cantaloupe, blueberries and raspberries and I settled in to watch Howl's Moving Castle which is based on a book. This is a beautifully imagined and animated film. It's on par with The Triplets of Belleville-- another winner! Something I liked about Howl's Moving Castle, I couldn't identify the voices-- and when I saw the credits at the end, I thought wow. It really takes away from the movie when you see the actor or actress taking over the character. Howl is a real hottie! I liked that as Sophie ventured out of her shell more, the spell on her started to dimish little by little. I didn't like when Howl says "there's no point to living if I can't be beautiful"-- that was just a little ridiculous- but it's a Japanese fantasy so it sort of made sense at the same time. I loved the scenes of the castle and all the pieces breathing and moving as it walked along the wastes. It was quite magical. Just what I needed.
Today is my last day at the gallery for awhile-- I am so looking forward to some quiet contemplation and art making in the coming weeks. I plan to read a lot, walk outside, start practicing yoga, eat healthy, and spend lots of time making drawings, objects, collages, and photographs-- and whatever else occurs.
Be sure to feed your muse today!
For ideas visit here, here, or here
til next time!

26 August 2006


Happy Monday and Greetings:

Please click here to see some pictures of my studio space. This is a great site for creatives of all types and is put together by an illustrator named Linzie Hunter.

After I took these pictures I realized that the feeling I've been having for a while now, that I have outgrown this space, has become a reality and I need to move into a different studio after I return from Vermont.
I have been grappling with this issue of 'feeding the muse' and sometimes not knowing how to seek out ways to feed her. I often feel like I gravitate back to the same books, places, pictures that have helped me in the past but I start to feel like I'm maxed out on those things-- I have recycled them too many times and need to look at something new. Does anyone else ever feel this way? I wonder how people who are always inspired by new and different things keep going-- Creativity is about constantly changing and experimenting right? Sometimes, I feel like my brain is stale.
I am in the mood to re-decorate my living space and make it more comfy and arty. I feel like this is part of the problem, maybe? Maybe I should start collecting art!

This past weekend was the Elmwood Festival of the Arts. Saturday, I worked. Sunday, Susannah and I strolled, and I needed some retail therapy because I was feeling blue. I bought a yummy smelling handmade bar of soap-- oatmeal, milk, and honey and I scored this awesome pair of earrings from wild things that are long pieces of abalone with a tiny blue green stone at the top. (I would include a picture but the camera is at home.) They remind me of spoons but they are smooths hunks. That would be a funny band name, the smooth hunks.

On my to do list:
finish painting my shovel
figure out how to spiff up my website
design a promo postcard
rent studio space in October and find two other artists to share!

Ciao people

21 August 2006

creative visualization

"Every set that I did in the gym, every repetition I did on chin-ups or on squats with 500 pounds, I never said to myself, ‘Oh my God, another rep.' I said, ‘Yes! Another rep, another rep,' because that will make my dream turn into reality."
--Arnold Schwarzenegger

There is a beautiful bunch of lantern flowers in a vase on the dining room table. They are a rich orange the color of fire and they're hanging there, off of each stem filled with air, completely still, delicate, balloon-like.

I sat outside today and the wind was blowing in the Poplars and making the leaves rustle.

I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday in Pittsburgh and had lots of fun with DL. Saturday, I did some work here:

at the 61c cafe in Squirrel Hill, or as I like to call it, Squirtel Hill.
Sunday night D performed in S'Carrie the musical-- based on Carrie the movie. It was equal parts funny but raunchy-- with some bad language! I had a few good laughs-- the actors had only one other practice run-- so I think they did a really good job.
Monday we had breakfast out and I ate a HUGE amount of food, eggs, 2 crepe pancakes the size of a dinner plate, and wonder of all wonders-- bacon....which I normally don't eat but it was so yummy. Then, after a little nap, I was on my way back to Buffalo. There is nothing better than a nap with your sweetie.

19 August 2006

fashion find of the week

Greetings! Friday, I went to get my haircut and this was my example photo. The lovely Ms. Jean Seberg from Breathless. I love her sixties style and the eye makeup.

Check out these totally amazing creampuff shoes Jill bought at Shoefly!
They are definitely the fashion find of the week. Friday night, I helped Jill at the Elmwood Ave. Block Party-- lots of people stopped by and my eyes got to soak in beautifully dyed yarns all night.

I am now in Pittsburgh for the weekend visiting DL. Last night we went to his friend's house for a little party for someone who just moved back to Pittsburgh from NYC. The house was really beautiful and I ate hor's d'oeurves (sp?) all night long! Everyone was asking how D and I met (on Jdate.com) and as I was explaining this a really nice young couple who met on Friendster and are now engaged told us their online dating success story. It was pretty funny. She is a costume designer and he is a filmmaker/film teacher. Again, proof that the internet is crazy!
Anyhoo, the evening continued with D's performance in the TV themesong show at the cabaret theatre. His friend Christine put this sing along show together with all the great old TV themesongs from the 60's through the 80's--- the Facts of Life, the Brady Bunch, All in the Family, Mary Tyler Moore, Wonderwoman....etc. This is the second time I've seen it and I couldn't help tapping my foot and singing along to some of the oldies but goodies.
This morning is a work morning while D is at a rehearsal for S'Carrie the musical, which I will see tonight. More on this later as it promises to be both funny and raunchy (according to D). I suddenly have a lot of work to do before my trip to Vermont. Thanks to Molly Jill and Jana for hooking me up with some projects!! It's funny how you can be going along hoping, wishing, praying that some money is going to come into your hands via artistic means and then suddenly, you're all booked up and busy...
I am very excited about this as I really want to expand my freelance skills and business and have even been seeing a counselor at the Small Business Association and writing a business plan. I am also getting SUPER excited about going to Vermont and creating artwork. My Mom told me the other day that my excitement is palpable. I can't remember the last time I was so enthused about something. It's gonna be SUPA!
Lata gators!

15 August 2006

good things

This is a picture of what that cutie pie DL brought me from the beach. I love it! Today I am a happy happy camper. If there was a dance of joy, I would be doing it now! First, I accomplished all but one of the errands on my to do list today. I finally got to the gym this morning. I finally braved the mall to go to the mac store so that I could use the gift card I got for my birthday (a month and a half ago) to buy a mouse for my laptop and had enough left over to buy some fancy cleaning chamois and spray -- because I can't stand having a grimy computer! I ran around everywhere- to the photo lab, the bank, the cleaners, the post office. I bought myself lunch at the mall, and best of all I came home to find that the mailman delivered my USB cord for my new digital camera that I am now able to use-- and have been snapping pictures all round my garden and work space because I'm so excited!

I took a 20 minute power rest- although I didn't fall asleep and then specifically inspired by this, I went to Amvets in search of a sewing machine. Does anyone have a simple sewing machine I can buy or have?? No luck at Amvets, but I did find a pattern for a cute drawstring skirt in a box of old 80's sewing patterns, two small flower pots and a glass jar with drawings of peas on it that I can use for water and paintbrushes. I don't even know how to sew that well-- I mean I did a little sewing when i was in highschool but I really want to start making some skirts! Everytime I pass by Elmwood Fabrics, there is this adorable skirt in the window made out of this vibrant colored fabric -- it's calling my name, and when that happens, one must answer. It would be so satisfying to go in there, buy that piece of fabric and be able to make my own skirt.

Can I just say, the internet is crazy! Every time I venture out to look at something online, it completely amazes me. What I find amazes me, but then the suggestion of what I haven't seen but guess to be out there somewhere also astounds and amazes me. I stumbled upon this pretty cool animation/design/illustration website.

Otherwise, the rest of this week is all about appointments, painting my shovel for the Artspace groundbreaking, helping Jill Friday night and preparing for my trip to Vermont: countdown 2 weeks!!

14 August 2006

p. 85

Esther's head was shaved like a boy's. Lying next to her, he felt he could hold that coconut head for the rest of his life. She could beat him in an arm wrestle and most arguments. She was bigger than he, and more beautiful. But he was tortured by the idea that she would grow old! He understood in all likelihood this sort of thinking would lead him to die lonely, without anyone. He told himself the story that this was the great tragedy of his heart. The great tragedy of his heart was that it always needed to be told a story.
- Zadie Smith, The Autograph Man

It's a gray day out today.

It was a lovely weekend, D visited and we walked around in the park, had a Saturday date-- dinner at a Thai restaurant where we ate lots of delicious foods and then we saw a movie, Scoop. Sunday, we went to the waterfront and watched all the spinnaker sailboats on the lake. The breeze felt so cool and the sun warm on our faces-- it was just a beautiful day. Then, we went to hear Jazz behind the art gallery which was nice until the people in front of us all started smoking. At that point we decided to go for a walk.

I am very excited to report that I have in my possession, thanks to Jen, a digital camera!! Thank you Jen!! Now I can make my top secret digital images! Also, in preparation for Vermont, I ordered some used books at half.com- These include: Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh, If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland, and 6 Steps to Free Publicity by Marcia Yudkin. I found these at Keri's recommended readings. I have been studying over her site these last week's for inspiration, information, ideas, and just to read what she has to say. She has a really accessible writing style and I feel like if we met we would be friends, which is I'm sure how lots of other people feel too. She is just one of those people who seems like a kindred spirit.

11 August 2006

the bulk aisle

I have never been one to be a prolific art-maker. I always wished I was but that's just not my pace. If I allow myself to, I get very self conscious and start wondering why I'm doing this, and what's the point, and I think it's not good enough, yadda yadda yadda. I end up sounding like Nicolas Cage's character in the beginning of Adaptation when he's psyching himself up to start writing while thinking of every excuse in the book as to why he can't.
Anyway, something really quite lovely happened this week, I have made a lot of work-- without acting as the judge, jury, critic, pie-thrower in the face, shusher, or whatever else you want to label the inner critic that often stops me cold. I just relaxed and made some stuff for the sake of making it, and it was pure pleasure! I thought WOW, if I could spend every day doing this and maybe even get paid for it, I would be the happiest camper ever!!!
I have been making lots of these wave pattern drawings, which then turned into color block drawings and then I decided to experiment. While working on these, I thought about how I could prepare a bunch, color the pages and then block them out in black-- I could do multiples and then etch the lines into them at a later time. This raised all sorts of other questions about the immediacy of seeing what I was doing, which has always been something I enjoy.
I thought about artists who make art in bulk-- they prep 10 canvases at a time, and work them all up simultaneously.....I've never worked that way, at least not that I can think of. I always get wrapped up in one project or piece and it want to nit pick and perfect it, but maybe this is something to try. Hmm, an epiphany??!
Back to the work table!

xx L