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Sunday, March 20, 2011

I’ve just finished reading The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee, a history of cancer and cancer research, written in a style that kept me engaged from the beginning. I knew very little about the subject going in, and lest you be thinking now that such a book would have to be more boring than mud, think again. The word I’d use to describe it (if I must stick to only one) is compassionate.  
In my teen years, my household lived with and in fear of cancer. First my mother’s mother, then my mom died from it. In fact, we know in hindsight that my mom already had brain cancer the spring and summer of my senior year in high-school when she was caring for her mom. As a young adult, I had so much anger about my mom’s cancer treatment.  I knew intuitively that the treatment was futile. I experienced directly the long-term mess it made of my family. This was the 70’s, and as I now know, cancer research and treatment was entrenched in its own version of suckville.  So imagine me, four decades later, finding a book in which early-on the author himself, an oncologist no less, describes cancer research and treatment of that era as having been plagued with, hubris! Wow, hubris as in “overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance”. My feelings exactly! How could I not be hooked?
Segue alert:  I have also finished reading Pam Carriker’s just-published book Art at the Speed of Life. Check out chapter 4, pages 80-81. Just check the whole book out.  There is a connection to what I wrote above. Trust me, there is.
Pam, Lisa Bebi and I will be holding a 3-day, small group art retreat this summer.  A major theme of the retreat is art as a vehicle to healing. The retreat will be in southern California near Lake Hodges on June 27, 28 and 29. It has been approved by the California BRN for 15 CEU’s.  Email me if you’d like more information.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

This is life

I woke up last Friday morning to my usual drill of coffee and Face Book. That’s how I learned about the quake.  I have friends in Japan. Mina was on FB when it hit and she posted that her power was out. Then she posted that she could hear the evacuation sirens. A few more posts, then nothing.
This has been so flash-back. She and her husband lived in the house above us in 2007 when the fire came through. We woke them up and they evacuated with us to my art studio. My studio then was in downtown Escondido, and once we were settled in with their dog and ours, Mina and I went out for staples, water, toilet paper. I remember telling her to get cash-as much as her ATM card would let her take out. Those first 2 hours we still had no idea how long we’d be out, but news was not sounding good.  Back at the studio, we sat around our lap-tops and watched the constant-stream images of the fires. By that evening, the coastal freeway was back open and they went to stay at the house of their friends. The next day they watched their house burn to the ground on national T.V.
Our house was also on the national news. I got a call on evacuation day #5 from my cousin in New York that he’d just seen it. Our house was the “near miss” image, so incredible viewed from the air by helicopter journalists. All around us, every other house and lot had burned down. And there was our place, surreal as you please, looking like it could be on the cover of Home and Garden, roses and morning glories in full bloom. Unbelievable.
I learned yesterday (on Face Book) that Mina and her husband are safely evacuated to her in-laws. They were not harmed. They don’t know what condition their house is in. Tomorrow Mina will go to the hospital as planned to have their first baby, a little boy. Mina wrote me that at first, remembering the evacuation of 2007, they really didn’t want to leave their house and “risk losing everything again”, but then she thought of her soon-to-be-born son and decided to go.
This blog is intended to be about art. Life informs art. This is life. Believe it.
 Inside our house, winter season after the fires of '07.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Naming Art

I frequently have titles for my art before the work has even hit the studio table. Case in point, this artist book.
SPAM and Geisha existed in mi cabeza from the moment I bought the can of sugar-free Arizona green tea (with ginger). The tea was yummy; the image was a gotta-have-it moment. Yes, I do realize that the image is cliché, rather 19th century and all, but I am such a connoisseur of can icons, especially when they are printed directly onto the metal. And this one was a beauty in all its 3-colors PLUS metalics, PLUS black and white. Lovely.
Speaking of soda cans, did you know that you can cut them with a regular pair of scissors? They cut “like buttah”. The main trick is in not cutting yourself on the can edges. Regular scissors work well on metal food tins, too. Same note of caution.
Once you’ve used the scissors on metal, they won’t be good for fabric again until you have them sharpened. My motto is, keep a few pairs of scissors for each.
You can also sew the metal soda cans. As with the scissors, once you’ve used the needle on a soda can, it won’t be any good for fabric, so keep separate sets and change them as needed. The trick with sewing soda cans is that regular thread will break, so use metal or nylon thread. It’s made in nice colors for computers. Just saying.
Back to SPAM and Geisha. It goes on display this week at my art space in the Escondido Municipal Gallery building, 262 E. Grand Ave, Esc. CA 92025.
The opening reception is this Saturday, March 12, 5:30-7 p.m. All are welcome to stop by. Free parking and free eats. Does it get any better?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This blogging thing

Since I've joined the ranks of the blogger, I thought I should at least have some idea where the word "blog" came from. LOL. I'm just like that. Yep.
Anyway, I used the ever-excellent google search-engine, which took me to the Wikepedia definition.
So, so, BORING!!
Let me save you some time...Try this, say the words "web log" 10 times really fast.
Are we having an "a-ha" moment?
About a year ago, I donated this computer tower/art piece to the Escondido Municipal Gallery in S. California.
The idea was to  raise money for its many excellent, usually FREE, programs. The piece was purchased by Victoria Huckins, an incredible artist who's on FB (so go check her out there).
Fast forward a year, and I'm donating again, one of my metal books this time. If I may share one thing that's on my bucket list with you, it would be this: to create more publicly-funded art galleries.
Art saves lives. I believe it. Support your local non-profit art gally. And if you don't have one, make one happen!

Friday, March 4, 2011

I think I've finally done it!

My Face Book artist friends have been telling me for years to get off my tuckus and set up a blog. Why's it taken me so long? No clue.
Today's the day. Finally.
About the blog title: Ever heard of The Book of Days? Google it, you won't believe the hits. Get yourself past the Enya stuff and the videos and narrow your search to the Essene Book of Days. This is right up my alley: take a strong historically-referenced title, and mess with it. "Days of Books". There you have it. You'll notice that the blog template I picked contains, what else?Books. On shelves. Go figure.
I plan to be posting a lot of my own books on this blog shelf.
About the font I've chosen: I just loves me some Helvetica. It's a "sans serif" font that supposedly looks nice on-line. (Note to all you public presenters out there, it looks great in Power Point, up on a big screen, too--so easy to read).
But I digress. From me. And my blog.
Notes to self->figure out how to insert pictures. Figure out how to "share" the blog posts with my Face Book page.
So much technology, so little time.
Oh, wait. I did it. This is of me and my mermaid art car, taken last week.
O.k. That's enough for now.