Monday, September 26, 2011

Ah ha Moment

I have wanted

to paint faces

for the longest time.

I've tried to imitate the work of others

that I admire

until I realized that I do paint faces.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Creative Space

My studio has seen better days.  Agree?  So today I am hard at work clearing space so I can create.

Much better!   Among other things I found old poetry I had written, the cake toppers for my wedding cake, plaster of paris imprints of Alex hand when he was maybe 6 months, from only 23 years ago, my social security card and the wind up tune from Alex's crib! While my space looks tidy now, the truth is I am more comfortable in my own cozy mess. It is where I create best. Time to accept this about myself and use my time creating. What does your space look like when you work?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Have You Noticed the State of Book Jackets?

Walking through my local library I was stunned by the creativity on some of the book jackets.  I hadn't looked at books since I started to use my ipad  to read books after I injured my wrist and it became difficult to hold books in my hands.   

Photos do not do these book covers justice.  I am saddened that book stores are becoming a thing of the past.

These were a treat for my eyes.

I am getting ready for my partner in crime, Lorraine to visit for an art date.

My little mind jumped up and down and shouted yipee!  I brought out potential stuff to play with so we'd have lots of choices.

We picked our project and got to work.  I was so excited I forgot to take process photos but will show you the books we started.  I even made BLAT sandwiches on thick french rolls slathered with a spicy aioli and arugula mushroom salad.  
I'll leave you with this from Billy Collins, horoscopes for the dead


The woman who wrote from Phoenix
after my reading there

to tell me they were all still talking about it

just wrote again
to tell me that they had stopped.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

First there are the pages, then the journals

I like including black and white ancestral family photos, serene, serious Japanese faces watching over me.   Here are my Iwataki grandparents, my aunts and uncles an my dear mother.

She is diving into a pool of raspberries.  How bad can that be?

Two busy pages ready for my words to be squeezed in.  I admire Judy Wise's journals, so full of her life with her meticulous printing.  I asked her how she writes so neatly.  Years of practice.  When I told her I often can't read my writing she suggested I write slower.  I am trying that but often have to catch myself writing fast and illegibly.

I am a regular early morning customer at neighborhood Malaga Ranch Market for my cup of coffee, writing, dreaming while looking out the window at this view.  It is usually Noone (an Armenian name pronounced noon-e) or one of her family members and me greeting each other and catching up on the comings and goings of our life.

Page by page,  journals by journal.  These were made in 2008 and 2009.

Journals and poetry chap books together on an end table waiting to be picked up and read.

A special place for my recent journals.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I never played with dolls as a little girl.  I don't know if it was because I was never given any or if I was too busy playing with animals.  But I had this mannequin in my studio, a little tissue paper and  a little paint.  My first thoughts about what to do were serious, color, line decisions.  

When I found happy face tissue paper among my stash I couldn't resist.  I just had fun and she was transformed .

On  to a journal page.   I brought out all of my red paints.  You can't really tell in this photo but there are five different reads and pinks.

And added more.

I wanted to keep these stencil people from Teesha Moore's workshop.  I like knowing that a touch of Teesha is walking through my page.

Too much red for me today so I toned it down with titan buff.

Then it was too dull so some dots were in order with stencil brushes.   Tanya does large, exuberant  paintings with dots that fill the canvas.  But it was still not complete.

Hangry and Angry, a Japanese fashion duo had to be added to finish off the page.  I love them as they are and didn't alter one thing about them.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Sketched faces

I completed sketching faces in the little book I made from Home Depot paint sample brochures.  Some faces were drawn from magazine photos, many from illustrator Lisa Berning's faces, most were sketched upside down or with my non dominant hand. 

This exercise stretched me and resulted in erasing insecurities of drawing a face.  

I like to imagine what is behind a face, who is there, what thoughts might inhabit their world.

Now,  I will never be famous for my faces but I do enjoy drawing them and will continue.   Speaking of famous, I thought you would like to read one of my favorite poems by Naomi Shihab Nye


The river is famous to the fish.

The loud voice is famous to silence,
which knew it would inherit the earth 
before anybody said so.

The cat sleeping on the fence is famous to the birds
watching him from the birdhouse.

The tear is famous, briefly, to the cheek.

The idea you carry close to your bosom 
is famous to your bosom.

The boat is famous to the earth,
more famous than the dress shoe,
which is famous only to floors.

The bent photograph is famous to the one who carries it
and not at all famous to the one who is pictured.

I want to be famous to shuffling men
who smile while crossing streets,
sticky children in grocery lines,
famous as the one who smiled back.

I want to be famous in the way a pulley is famous,
or a buttonhole, not because it did anything spectacular,
but because it never forgot what it would do.

from Words Under the Words

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Itching To Paint

After a long day of frittered away doing the business of life, my fingers were itching to paint, to try the new colors I bought at  Michaels and Aaron Brothers sales.  But after cleaning off my desk top yesterday,  I had to take time to search for things I needed.  You know how frustrating it is when you are used to everything being right there in plain sight instead of tucked away in an organized spot.  Where did I put my water container?  Where did I put those paints?  Where are the paper towels?   But finally, I started to respond to a simple inner request.   Put down some color on a journal page.  

I found a new serrated scraper and etched into the paint.

And with a new pointed Japanese brush I painted some curley ques.  Ah, I am  beginning to lose the world and sink into the welcoming arms of the paint.

I turned my journal sideways and found this face.

With one eye brighter than the other.  One to see with clarity and one to see with within.

And a set of yellow wings to fly off when ever she wants.  And a pretty pink body.

Conclusion:  always leave supplies out for the ready.  You never know who will come to visit and you have to be prepared to be delighted.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Artist's voice

A journal page written with my non dominant hand.  It always feels like a message from within and I never know what will come from this independent left hand.  "Wait for me, she said. . . .  No, don't.  I'll find my own way. "  Isn't that what we artists do, we find our way.  We experiment, we ask questions, we find our tribe, we say what if . . . . , we try it our way.  We were the child that our parents shook their heads and did not know what to do with or we were the quiet ones in the classroom with a full life within.  (That was not me.  I was not the quiet one in class.)  We see it differently, we translate the world in our own ways.  We say,  this is how I see it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Before I Move On to a New Journal

I have written in the last page of this journal.  I have a couple of rituals I have developed over the years.   On the first page I now write about 'how this journal came to be' after my friend Judy Shibata's suggestion.    I usually write a simple good bye on the last page or on the back cover.   I  often make journals with a simple cover.  The contrast between a simple cover and the riot of color inside thrills me.  This is covered with Flora Bowley paper given to me by my generous  friend Lorraine.  I  never tire of seeing other people's journals so I thought you might like a peek into a few of my pages.

I wrote how the journal came to be under this look again flap.

My aunt Aiko wrote a farewell poem to my father. I added it to the clouds.

I always feel a little sad that there are no more pages to write in  but I also love  the feel, the heft and the fullness of a finished journal.  

After a time when I look through the pages I feel like I enter the world of a dear friend and sometimes a stranger sharing secrets.