January 21, 2009

A new beginning...

I very much liked the inaugural poem by Elizabeth Alexander.

It was so simple and real and effective at describing the small things in ordinary lives that make for big changes...

Someone is stitching up a hem, darning a hole in a uniform, patching a tire, repairing the things in need of repair.
Someone is trying to make music somewhere with a pair of wooden spoons on an oil drum with cello, boom box, harmonica, voice.
A woman and her son wait for the bus.
A farmer considers the changing sky; A teacher says, "Take out your pencils. Begin."

January 18, 2009

My approach to making artwork...

I think my approach to making art is best described by the terms:
chaotic: (despite my trying to make things orderly)
accidental: (lucky accidents seem to move things forwards for me... right in the middle of chaos)
stubborn: (believing in myself despite all the other opinions offered)
absurd (sometimes it seems absurd to persist)
astonishment: (when things actually work as planned)
dreamer: (when I continue to suppose I can create new ideas... I just can't stop really)
confusion: (a frequent state that goes along with freelancing for me)

I wish I could feel like I was a suave professional... moving forward in a smooth untroubled state of savoir-faire... but so often it seems to be just the opposite.

Usually it seems too complicated to avoid the ruffled feathers and doubt.
But I guess it's exciting in the final outcome...

January 8, 2009

Peculiar Obsessions

I finally FedExed the latest book off to the publisher. (Note I didn't say 'last'... just latest, there is a difference!)

I only had to re-write the label 3 times. I only had to tear up the box once and use a new box to rewrite the address on the box with magic marker.

I always have this obsessive worry about getting the address done correctly. This time I only had to rewrite the address form 3 times before I could live with it. I always worry that the 9 might look too much like a zero or a 1. Or I worry that the 5 looks too much like an S. This is a peculiar problem of mine. But I've heard lots of stories about artists losing their books in FedEx.

I lost a book in FedEx once. It was gone missing for 2 weeks and I actually started over again on it (after two weeks of agonizing and desperate calls to the FedEx call center in Tennessee). But luckily it was found, mistakenly delivered to an address in Colorado... and the recipient was away on vacation for 2 weeks until it was discovered.

I was so overjoyed that I went out and bought a new TV ... (I needed a new TV anyhow, so it was a big celebration). The thought of redoing an entire book was not a happy thought.

January 2, 2009


Messy studio? I wrote the book on that subject.

In fact now, I notice, I've added a new layer of studio-sclerosis-junk that rings around the edge of the room. But the really weird thing is I kind of like it like that.

I keep opened books lying on the floor of styles I like (such as the current Ernest & Celestine book by Gabrielle Vincent). There's something about leaving them there opened that works better than keeping them on a shelf. It feels like I'm experiencing them more deeply. Occasionally I'll flip to a new page.

I'll begin to clean when things get lost. When I spend more time looking for something than I do working, then it's time to get manic and clean.