Tuesday, December 14, 2010

December days

"Expectancy is the atmosphere for miracles." -- Edwin Louis Cole

Friday, December 3, 2010

The good with the bad

One of the amazing things about life is how the darkness and the light are intermingled. This is an essential teaching of many faiths and at no other time of the year is it more acutely felt than in December. Right now many people in my circle are going through difficult times and there have been losses that break the heart.

And yet.

At the same time there are small joys and reasons to celebrate. One tiny candle illuminates the darkness and sheds a light that gives us hope. If we can add to that light incrementally, one small candle at a time, we can illuminate the world. If we can be that candle, we can lift one another into the light.

Wishing you light and love this Chanukah.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The attitude is gratitude

"Gratitude is when memory is stored in the heart, and not in the mind." -- Lionel Hampton

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gotta fly now

Times are tough, there's no doubt about that, but rather than give in to setbacks I'm trying to see them as fresh opportunities. A chance to soar, not wallow. An opportunity to brush off my skills and put them to work in new ways. I may not succeed, but I'll never fly if I don't start flapping.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's get small

Where has the year gone? It feels like it flew by while I ran to keep up, but much of it has been good. Certainly I have no problem counting my blessings in spite of a few extremely difficult patches. I'm still in a holding pattern here, hoping to get my computer cleaned out and backed up so I can share new adventures in art and photography. In the meantime, I'm using photos from my recent archives. There's something fresh and relaxing about keeping things small and light. I often tell my writing students to "go small" when a story gets away from them. Nice to know my advice works here, too. Does it work for you?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Halloween girl

I've been gone from here for so long just trying to keep all the balls up in the air but this is my birthday weekend and I wanted to share it with my art friends and thank those of you who wrote for your good wishes. I have so much planned for this blog and hope to be back in the saddle soon. Meanwhile, have a safe and sane weekend!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Missing you

The summer has flown by without a word from me as I attempt to balance all that is going on in my life. I am well, but a bit overwhelmed. Computer problems have compounded my absence from Bloglandia and the friends I have made. I miss you all. How has your summer been?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Trying to balance

Still planning my plans and dreaming of having enough time to actually make them a reality, but the sundrops have opened and the garden is blooming. Where do we go to make the essential part of our lives match the things we must do to survive? The only answer I can see is to be present every moment, free from stories that would block our view, and drink it all in. As someone once said -- "Life is what happens while you're making other plans."

How do you maintain your balance?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Searching for your own authentic voice

What is it about having the courage to be authentically, truly yourself that scares the bejeebers out of people? Is this why it is so hard for artists to find themselves creatively? How much are we willing to invest in searching for a style, a tone, a message that is entirely ours? And can we ever not be ourselves, even when we are learning by imitating?

So many questions. It's time to start looking for some answers.

What do you think?

Friday, April 30, 2010

Something new is coming

I've been feeling a lot like this old truck lately -- tired, rusty, stuck in place. Maybe it's because I've been working hard, or because it took me six weeks (!!!) to throw off most of my respiratory illness, or all of the things I'm trying to juggle in my life right now, but whatever the reason my creative mojo has been AWOL. In fact, I've been so exhausted that I've fallen out of Bloglandia. I don't have the time or energy to comment on friends' blogs and haven't participated in the Street Team for a long stretch. I feel badly about this and miss everyone.

So I'm going to try something new. I'm not going to say anything right now but all will be revealed in time.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Perfect Bass note

I'm still sick but I'm getting better.

Today's design crush is master designer Saul Bass. I've seen his work my entire life but had no idea who he was. I am nuts for his clean, bold hand-cut look.

Bass designed more than movie posters. He was the genius behind some of the best title sequences in the movies -- think of Good Fellas, Age of Innocence, Around the World in 80 Days, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, World and West Side Story. He also illustrated a charming children's book by Leonore Klein called "Henri's Walk to Paris."

On top of all this, Bass designed some of the best known logos from our childhoods: Girl Scouts, AT&T, United Airlines, Continental Airlines, Traveler's Insurance, Lowry's Seasongings, The United Way, Bell Telephone, Minolta and Kleenex.

But it's his posters and illustration that speak to me the most. I love the collage-like style that puts me in mind of Sister Corita, also from that period. Isn't it wonderful?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Out sick

I've been sick.

The 10-day Cold from Hell has a cousin it seems, and this one comes with a week of fever and a deep, hacking cough.


I haven't been good for much but I have had a little time to catch up on my favorite blogs. At the top of the list (besides the wonderful people in the right-hand column) is Book by its Cover. It's the brainchild of Brooklyn illustrator and pattern designer Julia Rothman who shines a spotlight on wonderful art books of all kinds, from the commercial art books to personal sketchbooks. If you don't know her blog, you must zip over there immediately. Just click the magic button and be transported. I'll go make a cup of tea and wait for you.

Back already?

Great wasn't it? If you scrolled down you would have seen a book about the brilliant collage art of Brazilian artist Beatriz Milhazes. Totally swoon-worthy.

Look at this.

And this.

I immediately went to Amazon to look for the book and stumbled across American artist Rex Ray. If you are already familiar with his work, forgive my gushing, but I'm totally crushing on his geometric abstractions and powerful sense of design.


Yum again.

So between sleeping and coughing and watching movies on my Netflix list, the time hasn't been totally wasted.

Now I must go have my tea. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Color Happy

A rare Monday off. So many items on my "to-do" list, top of which is to share more of my explorations in color with you.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lucky charms

Pink stars, yellow ginko, orange moons. I've taken a break from my daily photos to offer something else that has seized me in its grip -- playing with color. It all started with laying down a few backgrounds for a new 2010 journal. I was going to get off to a rousing start and do a page a day.

I did keep that promise. Sort of.

But the laying down color sort of grabbed ahold of me and before I knew it, all 70 pages were filled with my mad experiments, with only about six that could really be called collage. Before I am overwhelmed again with the work that has kept me from my blog, I want to share a few of my paintings. I'm not sure they deserve that title, but for lack of another word, let's go with that. Paintings.

Works for me. Does it work for you?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help comes to Haiti

Even as I weep and gnash my teeth and pray for the people of Haiti, the roster of compassion grows. There are 27 search-and-rescue teams now on the ground in Haiti. The list of countries warms my heart. Name someplace at random and they have sent rescuers -- Iceland, Brazil, the Philippines, Israel, Mexico, France, Spain, Honduras, the UK, the list goes on and on. Rescue teams with their valiant dogs are on their way or on the ground from every corner of the US. As someone who was in New York City on 9/11, I am particularly moved to see New York's Finest and Bravest answering the call. These heroes going willingly into the jaws of Hell to try to save lives once again deeply moves me. They all move me. If only the world could pull together when there isn't a tragedy of epic proportions.

I know you want to do all you can. The best place to find a charity that is reputable and gives the majority of its proceeds to help the people of Haiti is HERE. It's the American Institute for Philanthropy's watchdog Web site.

Please keep in mind that once the initial phase is past, there will be a great need for help. When the call goes out for food, water, clothes and supplies, please keep the specific needs of women and babies in mind. Diapers and personal feminine supplies are often overlooked during donations. They will be much needed. It will be up to us not to let news fatigue make us forget that the rescue has only just begun. There is so much more that needs to be done.

And thank you for all you are doing.

Friday, January 1, 2010

The 12-month challenge

Over at Dispatch from LA the always inspiring Mary Ann Moss celebrated the New Year by sharing just one image from each month of 2009. As a fan, I know how many fabulous photos she takes and admired her restraint and choices. I began to wonder -- could I do that, too? Could I encapsulate 2009 with just one photo a month?

January: We greeted 2009 with Cousin Kyle and Benji's half-sister, Abby. Guess who Abby has a crush on?

February: It was tough to choose between Benji's birthday and this, the fittings for his role in The Music Man, but this won out. Here's Benji with the leading man (far right) and his comic sidekick selecting shades to hide from the paparazzi.

March: Mayor George Shinn (D-River City, IA) and his lovely wife, Eulalie.

April: An unexpected heat wave made us decide to have lunch at the seawall. Big brother gets a hug from a tired Abby who thought the day was just beachy.

May: It was a day of zipping from one state to the next but I managed to see my father lead the Memorial Day parade in the tiny town where I grew up and still catch Benji playing with his middle school band at home.

June: Fathers Day.

July: Another opening, another show. Believe it or not, Benji performed in three shows in 2009, not to mention serving as sound technician in two others.

August: My best friend since the second grade, Rod, came up from Florida for his niece's wedding and we got to visit after a separation of seven years.

September: Benji started high school and got his first band uniform. As his Spanish teacher exclaimed: "Muy guapo!"

October: Another reunion! My friend Karl Stephan, whom I hadn't seen since we graduated high school, was part of the Open Studios in New Haven. It was great to see Karl and his work.

November: My birthday celebration with the family was delayed by a couple of weeks so we marked it in November. This scrumptious pumpkin chocolate chip cake had it's candles put out unexpectedly by the soccer ball in the background. It didn't bother the cake a bit.

: An early Chanukah celebration with my folks before they set off for Florida helped end the year. Looking back, it was a quite a good year, even better than I realized.

So I challenge you: What 12 images speak for your experiences in 2009? Can you edit your year down to just 12 photos? If you take the challenge, let me know. I'd love to see your year!

And here's to a Happy 2010!

The first mitzvah for 2010

Happy New Year, my friends!

It's pretty exciting to think that we're in a new decade and can make a fresh start. The two cuties above are my son, Benji, and his cousin, Sarah. This was taken at Benji's second birthday party; Sarah was about 20 months at the time. This was how I spent the 90s. This past decade was dedicated to raising my son, building community and work. It had its highs and lows, but all in all, it was good. I know I was blessed and I want to give back.

One of the ways I'm going to do that is to contribute to a diaper drive started by Julie at Tangobaby. Her story is pretty extraordinary. She's a single working girl living in San Francisco who stopped for a homeless woman and it changed her life. The woman had three children, including an infant, and Julie felt compelled to do something. She checked things out to make sure the woman was legit and found a dire need that is going unexpressed. Disposable diapers are too expensive for the poorest women, those who have escaped abuse and must spend whatever money they have just to survive.

A young mother read about this on Julie's blog and wanted to help. As she looked into it, she discovered that even social safety-net programs such as WIC and foodstamps do not cover diapers. So she and a friend founded Help a Mother Out (HAMO) to begin a diaper drive to get disposable diapers to shelters and agencies that help this population. It's an opportunity to do your first mitzvah (good deed) of the year. What a great way to start 2010!

And to thank you for reading this far, here's a more recent photo of Benji and Sarah from the decade just past. By the end of this decade they'll be out on their own, conquering the world.