Tuesday, April 27, 2010


one more thing to add to my list of i'll nevers: i am actually enjoying making digital art, and i never thought i'd say that. while it lacks some of the depth and subtlety of a hand-done piece that is irreplaceable, it does have the ability to use text in a seamless way AND lovely graphic images that i can transform into a "photocopy"or "stamp." i also like the fact that i can age an image or turn it into something more pop-arty. i've taught myself a few techniques on photoshop by playing around, following other peoples' directions, and making lots of mistakes. there are so many tutorials online, but i found Elise Hennen's advice particularly helpful this time aorund. i still don't entirely understand masking, but as i stumble along, i may accidentally begin to understand...when all else fails, i can just call my sister, the photoshop princess of the universe.  seriously, she wears a tiara in her studio.
so i started with these three separate images:




i can't get away from the fact that the pointing girl looks like the actress who plays Bella in Twilight. the bottom line is it feels so good to be playing with imagery, color, and collage regularly. i forget how happy and whole i feel when i indulge my creative self - digital or otherwise. plus i love learning, and given my state of mommy-mush-brain these days, it feels particularly good to do something new.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

sometimes spontaneity is all you need.

this morning my mom called, and in a voice laced with excitement and a little mischievousness asked, "can you take care of maizy tonight?" when she sounds thrilled about leaving her little furless wonder, you know something is really up. she loves that dog. maybe even more than she loves us! it is sometimes easier (and i speak from experience) to love a dog. i mean they are always happy to see you, they don't talk back, and they sit when you say sit...at least when peanut butter is involved. anyway, my mom apparently woke up this morning and decided she and my dad needed to get out of town. so they did, and i have her dog. for a moment i felt a pang of jealousy....i wanna just get up and get out of town! but 2 dogs, 2 1/2 cats, a baby, and a planner of a husband keep you pretty homebound on spontaneous saturdays.
but i just realized i had my own little burst of spontaneity this morning. we went to a 3 year old birthday party today, and i woke up with a penchant to make him a collage. not necessarily what a dash around ball of energy gets up and asks for on his birthday, but something i hope he will appreciate later. lying in bed a few images danced around my sleepy head. then i got out my scissors, photoshop, and my "collage items" picture file - all before a cup of coffee! and voila! my whirlwind spontaneous burst of creativity! so i didn't hop in my car, windows down on a breezy saturday, and head for the hill country, but my imagination took me away. and you know, sometimes i love what gets born in a matter of minutes as much as i love the piece that evolves over months. check it out...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

happy b(earth)day!

today is a great day for 4 (four!)...count them...1 - 2 - 3 - 4 reasons.

1.  4 = 2+2
i love little number sense things like that. like when i turned 27 on 03.03.03 and 3 cubed is 27.

2. it's one of my bestie's birthdays! happy b(earth)day janie-poo!

3. caleb is exactly 7 months today. his new trick is sitting tall and doing the cutest little shrug maneuver with his whole arms.

4. it's earth day! what are you doing to commemorate the earth? i am sending you a collage made in part on a fabulous website brought to me (now you!) by my very own sister.  MOOMAH is a wonderful little cafe, art space, child and parent or caregiver hang out spot in new york city (of course). all i can say is wow. i want to open one in houston. do you think they'll let me pirate their idea???

go forth and PLAY!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

you come back....

i wonder if i am really ever going to be a good blogger. funny that i even wonder because it's not like anyone is grading me. but perhaps since i have spent roughly 30 of my 34 years in schools as a student first and a teacher later, i think along the lines of being held accountable somehow. it would be nice for me to do something without thinking about it attached to a letter or numerical outcome. does anyone really ever do something just because without thinking about what someone else will think? without wanting some kind of feedback on it? everyone who has a profession of some sort seems to be "graded" in some way by returns, marks, raises, or how others respond. maybe it is precisely school that orients us in such a way of thinking. so if i were to give myself a blogging grade based on how many times i have actually written something and how hard i have worked on getting more readers, i would have to say i am only getting like a c-.  and i have never been a c student. in fact, i only made one (ONE!) in my entire life. so i wonder if i can do this just because it makes me happy without thinking i have to "get" somewhere with it.... so far, this blog is way too esoteric for the image i want to post. can you do a 180 real quick?
a few weeks ago while walking with my dogs and baby, i passed a little house in my neighborhood for like the hundred and eighth time. and on this 108th day i noticed the beautifully aged paint and wood. in terms of homes it probably would not be considered "beautiful," but with the eye of an artist who tends to be drawn toward urban decay, it was the picture of beauty. i made a point to walk back by with my camera (iPhone just didn't cut it) and snapped a few, complete with a pink plastic horse in front. as i took snapshots, a man came out in shorts only and barked, "why you take a picture?" he must have thought i was some city official or a complainy neighbor, complete with my dog and baby entourage...but when i answered i simply liked the colors, he smiled, patted his bare belly and replied, "oh! well...it needs to be painted. you come back when it's painted?" no thanks, i like it just the way it is! "you come back, you come back," he kept demanding. he only seemed satisfied when i said i was an artist, but even that explanation still got a kind of quizzical half smile. maybe i'll give him a digital copy of the collage i made with his crackly little house.
oh, and yes, the non-legible sign on the garage does say (in bright red letters) NO TRESPASSING. so maybe that's why the belly man came out. in my defense, however, i stood on the very edge of where the street meets his property... maybe my armed stretched out with the camera in hand did the trespassing.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

nothing more

when i spend time with women i really love - my sister, katy, jane, nektaria, elizabeth, angela, my mom, alison to name just a few - i am reminded of how lucky i am to have girlfriends in my life. especially the kind who aren't competitive or catty, who love you because they love you. the kind who when you are together, 1 hour easily becomes 4. the kind who could keep me laughing in a dark closet. the kind i trust with my life, and most importantly, my son's.  these are all women for whom i could buy underwear. i know whether they wear thongs, briefs, or bikinis. i could probably even guess whether they prefer lace or cotton. but don't worry, ladies...you won't be getting a mysterious pair wrapped round your doorknob anytime soon.
i find it harder and harder to meet new friends as i get older. perhaps it is because we are beyond our school days, beyond college where our lives were literally stacked on top of each other...where we literally went to the bathroom together. but in this new stage of mommy-hood, i am so grateful for my newest friend, nektaria. she is witty, smart, compassionate, and generous. our 5 and 6 month olds are besties and they simply beg us to go walking together nearly everyday. through their bond, where they have deep discussions about poopy diapers, cloth or disposables, the milk flavor of the day, nektaria and i were brought together. my fears of growing lonely or restless during my year at home have completely quelled owing largely to the many laughs (and coffees while walking dogs and pushing strollers) we've shared over the last 4 months. the women i know are amazing people. they keep me real. and they are all things feminine: nurturing, compassionate, stylish, sexy, creative, and also leaders, brains, independents, and visionaries. for all of you, girls, i made this digital collage...because i could wish for nothing more than amazing people like you in my life.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

a different kind of resurrection

it's no coincidence that so many life giving, important events happen in spring time. two major religions celebrate arguably their most significant days: passover and easter. both offer capitulating moments of reflection and redemption. in the wild animals come out of hibernation, often with new cubs, pups, hatchlings, etc. the days get longer so we can enjoy the magnificent rays of the sun until the evening hours. families come outside with their kiddos, shaking off the winter frost and blinking back the bright sunlight. cocktails on the porch swing anyone? sign me up!
perhaps the reason all these things happen in spring is because the season itself is all about renewal. who doesn't love the chartreuse of new blooms? or the fact that a bud in the morning is a full fledged flower by noon? my garden took a serious hit this winter since houston had some epic below freezing days - very unusual for us. 

i took this photo on a bleak day in february when i had to trim back all my dead, blow torched plants. i cried real tears. i worked really hard in my garden over the years to get it lush and green and colorful, and 5 straight days of sub freezing temperatures and a surprise snow took it, quite literally, to the ground.
i like to call this photo "armageddon." and yes, that is an entire small tree lying breathless on the ground. sigh. 
BUT lovely weather and the renewal of spring has allowed me to get my hands dirty again. i replaced several very dead plants, this time (jaime, my friend, i hope you're proud) with natives or adapted plants and grasses. soon, very soon, butterflies and perhaps even hummingbirds won't be able to keep their little nectar suckers out of them! they will become very fat and happy...already i saw two swallowtail butterflies flirting with the columbines. the companion photos i like to call "resurrection."

watching nature unfold is perhaps the most real experience of god i have on a day to day basis. even the hibiscus i cut all the way to stumps is coming back with trembling little leaves. 

r   e   j   o   i   c   e   !