Sunday, December 30, 2012

book list 2012

One day left of 2012! Here is a roundup of some of the books I've read and liked this year. Last year's list (see book list 2011) I prefaced with the sighing, "Oh, and so many books I didn't get to.." which is neither here nor there, so I need not lament again. Nor must I add, "Of course, my reading material included periodicals, blogs, text messages, etc.."
I've attempted descriptions of each, but look them up online for better summaries, if interested.

Conversations With Artists (Selden Rodman)- Circa 1950s, 35 American painters, sculptors & architects discuss their work

Love Begins In Winter (Simon van Booy)- Five impressionistic stories about isolated, sensitive people finding connection

Ed Ruscha, Photographer (Margit Rowell)- overview of Ruscha's '50s-'70s photography and how it ties into his work as a painter

Truck: A Love Story (Michael Perry)- Here's a post I wrote after reading this super book: garden-variety nostalgia

How To Sharpen Pencils (David Rees)- "A practical and theoretical treatise on the artisanal craft of pencil sharpening for writers, artists, contractors, flange turners, anglesmiths & civil servants"

Lee Krasner, A Biography (Gail Levin)-A long-overdue, thorough portrait of this formidable Abstract Expressionist- before, during and after being with Pollock; fascinating in her own right

Look Me In The Eye: My Life With Asperger's (John Elder Robison)- A dark and funny and significant memoir of a different sort of life, thoughtful and straightforward

Imagine: How Creativity Works (Jonah Lehrer)- Accessible neuroscience and demystifying creativity- Here's a post I wrote after reading this book: firing up the neurons

By Nightfall (a novel) (Michael Cunningham)- see Amazon link

The Marriage Plot (a novel) (Jeffrey Eugenides)- see Amazon link

A Moveable Feast (Hemingway)- So glad I finally read this memoir of his early Paris days

The Snows of Kilimanjaro (short story- I'm reading a book of them) (Hemingway)

The Paris Wife (a novel) (Paula McLain)- From the vividly imagined perspective of Hemingway's first wife, Hadley, in the '20s

NW (a novel) (Zadie Smith)- see Amazon link

The Ecstasy of Influence (Jonathan Lethem)- A hefty collection of writings and ideas, look this one up on Amazon too

Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer (Novella Carpenter)- The author starts a garden & 'urban farm' in a vacant lot in Oakland

The Consolations of Philosophy (Alain de Botton)- presenting the wisdom of great thinkers as a solace and advice for life, thoughtful and witty

Travels With Charley: In Search of America (Steinbeck)- the terrific account of the writer's road trip across America in 1960; see this post

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (a novel) (Michael Chabon)- can't believe I just got to this book now, but I'm SO glad- I LOVE it (nearly finished)

Air Guitar: Essays on Art and Democracy (Dave Hickey)-how the arts function in the drift of everyday life & our cultural landscape; I'm currently reading and digging it

Also on my shelf for Jan-Feb:
Love (Stendhal)
Sutton (J.R. Moehringer)
Stand Still Like The Hummingbird (Henry Miller)- a revisiting
A Place Of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams (Michael Pollan)
Dandelion Wine (Ray Bradbury)
Telegraph Avenue (Michael Chabon)

Oh how I love reading. 3"x3" collage/acrylic on canvas.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

sugar cane

I buy candy canes mostly because I like looking at them. I crushed a few over cookies, dunked one in cocoa,  and put one in my bag which I promptly forgot about, but there were plenty left. 
6"x10" oil on masonite. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

go by in your car

I was gratified to see, in the NY Times Westchester section, the listing for my show at the Drive-By Gallery (part of Lift Trucks Project) in Croton Falls. It's run the past two Sundays, and if I'd been more persistent in the past 3 months, I might have gotten them to publish a photo of a painting. But it's no secret that my attempts in self-promotion can use some polishing. The show, as I have noted, runs through Dec 31. It's on 3 Cross St (also Rte 22), right by the Metro-North train station and a short drive from 684.

As it's Christmas Eve, here is the Beacon bicycle tree. 
 Warm wishes for a peaceful and happy holiday.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

cookie friends

The sort of story I compose shortly before midnight when I have decided to make maple gingerbread people and decorate them with melted chocolate because I wanted to see some smiling faces.
hi how's it going? we are three friends.

we have fun together.

hey.. where did my friends go?

wait where did our friend go?

there you are! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

a minor scuffle

A new small piece, only 4"x4", collage/acrylic on canvas. I like integrating paint and the photograph, to find a continuity in the textures without laboring too much. Of course this is easier in tiny works where a few scuffles of a cheap brush will produce the hoped-for effect of not quite being able to tell where the collaged element meets the paint.

Monday, December 17, 2012

pick me up

Though my blog isn't intended to be any kind of discussion of news, politics, heartbreaking or horrifying or frustrating events, or any such things, even when that means I might not post because some terrible thing that happened elsewhere (not far from here, this time) but pervades the national consciousness with its profound sadness and horror makes me feel sad and disinclined to post for a few days. That was an appallingly-constructed sentence but I can't fix it because I'm too tired right now. 

My friend gave me this blue metal toy truck, which was nice. It is giving a ride to my little red car picture.

Below is a photo of my studio tonight, a partial view, in all its mess. It is like a sitcom set, with all the activity on one side, and just the door and things on the wall on the facing side. I hadn't spent a whole day there in a while, and it cheered me up. So did going out to parties and drinking over the weekend, but today was admittedly more productive. (Unless stacking wood while hungover is productive.)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

half lit

I was pleased with myself for procuring my candles early, instead of the last-minute scramble. At Candlestock (yes, in Woodstock), no less. But then I could not find my menorah anywhere. After batting around a few ideas-- drilling holes in a piece of wood? Nine oranges?-- I inverted an egg carton, covered it with foil, and pierced holes with the wooden end of a paintbrush. The first night, I omitted the foil, and turned around a moment late to see- big surprise!- the carton aflame. So while this might look like a lazy kid's craft project, it has been thoughtfully constructed. However I am not taking my eyes away this time. I will ponder what it means to be resourceful, to use what is at hand, to appreciate what we find and the possibilities within humble objects. Plus, I could have eleven nights of Hanukkah this year.

Monday, December 10, 2012

2013 calendar is here

Here are images of my calendar, 8.5"x11" spiral-bound, 12 months= 12 lovely pictures and 365 days included, some holidays noted. As I have already mentioned, I am selling them directly (please email to order), for $16 each. If applicable, shipping & handling $4 or 5 extra, or can arrange for local (Beacon) pickup or possible delivery. They are also for sale in Beacon at 133 Main St AND at the online shop of Clay Wood and Cotton (click link to order).


the first 31 days

the year at-a-glance

Friday, December 7, 2012

the night away

What could possibly be a suitable follow-up to the last riveting post? I finished my knitted scowl and threw some more paint on the bicycle tree (getting more in my hair). Library's doing renovation, so they nixed installing my book piece there- I'll have to book some other window. I went to the opening at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie tonight, where my painting was in a group show. As suspected, it was a mild event, but I enjoyed walking through the museum with my mother and seeing some Winslow Homer paintings, then a stumble around the adjacent library clutching a cup of wine and a fistful of cookies. Sure enough, while walking down the street huddled under an umbrella we heard horses clip-clopping behind us, jingling their harnesses and pulling a wagon full of people wincing in the drizzle. "We can't call it a night; it's only 6:30," I declared, before gaily breaking into a chorus of "Winter Wonderland". So on the way back we stopped in Sharon Springs at the grand American Hotel and settled into a couple of cozy chairs before the fireplace, amid twinkling lights, for drinks and a bite. "Now we can call it a night," I proclaimed with a yawn, though it was only 8:30. I was looking forward to going to sleep again, as if sleep is a place I step out of and return to- and as the nights grow as long as they'll be all year, it practically is.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

put together

For the "day in the life" file. Today also happens to be the birthday of my older brother, one of my favorite people in the world.
I awoke and made almond-flour pancakes with last summer's frozen blueberries. I wrapped some calendars and mailed them (they arrived last week and I've begun to sell them, either directly- sold four just walking down Main St yesterday- or from Clay Wood and Cotton- at the shop, and soon to be for sale online). I went online and ordered insulated overalls for working outside in cold weather, and fancy black party shoes. Needless to say, not to be worn together. I did not have either of these items and they suddenly seemed essential.
I inquired at the library whether they'd let me re-install my big book in their window for the holidays, since it has Christmas lights inside (creating the infinity effect) and I thought it would look nice. Waiting to hear back. I started working on my telephone booth, cleaning it up and trying to figure out the lighting situation. With more indispensable help from another friend (I would be nothing without my friends) I began to understand how it is put together "by how it comes apart". I naturally want to place it somewhere on view as soon as possible, for fun, but I do not know where.
I began to help spray-paint the bicycle tree that my friend is constructing for a Beacon holiday display, to be installed in town. I think words will not aptly describe this structure made of bolted-together bike parts- rims, tires, wheels and frames- so I will photograph it this weekend when it is lit, with strands of solar-powered lights and topped with a small twinkling disco ball. The wind blew back the paint and coated my face and hair with a light silver mist.
I made a small work (6"x8") on paper- acrylic and collage (which was both spurred by and  the reference for an earlier piece, Red Record Player (if that makes sense), for a party/fundraiser auction this weekend for Re>Think Local. And I almost finished knitting my Ambitious Cowl Project, which taught me a few new techniques. There have been no photos lately because I left my camera upstate, but we are not missing much; truly, most of the photos would be of stacks of wood, since that's largely what I've been doing recently.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

arkell museum show

This Friday, December 7 from 5-7 pm is the opening for the 2012 juried art show at the Arkell Museum in Canajoharie, NY. The basic theme was 'artists with ties to New York State', so it could have been any number of my paintings, but I entered this one:

 Riviera Marquee (2010), acrylic, based on an old theater facade in Geneseo, NY.

Canajoharie is also the home of another rare dummy light, if that provides further enticement. The Arkell is a beautifully designed space, adjacent to the library, with a mix of permanent and changing exhibits including American painting and works from the Beech-Nut archives. According to their website, that evening is also the town's holiday celebration, including horse-drawn carriage rides. Since it is always very quiet when I drive through, I'd like to attend the reception if I can (though it is a couple hours north of me) and check out this festive scene. Lately, my steady wood-stacking work does not permit many day trips. Nor studio time, for that matter, but I am always looking and thinking; as my blog's profile says, I do various things, some times of year more or less of one than another.