Tuesday, December 30, 2008

More Twilight

Kids falling apart as the holidays wrap up (no more new presents or cousins to play with), packing up the holiday decorations, eating leftover tamales and cheese dip, the last of the pecan pie…
Here’s what Super Kloe-Martha made for gifts: pillow hats stuffed with scarves (fleece remnants), and scarves out of antique handkerchiefs. Don’t know if they were appreciated, but at this point I can’t care. I’m done with 2008.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Twilight, 2008

These days between Christmas and New Years are a sort of No Woman’s Land. Nothing happens, only too much family, eating, and sleeping. The weather has been typical for Socal Winter: bright sunlight, clear air, and cold (for here—come on, you know we’re wimps).
I’m nostalgic for Christmases Past, when my grandparents were alive. My grandfather was the most generous person I’ve ever met, bar one, and he delighted in extravagant presents. He had four daughters, and would buy my aunts and mom fur-lined coats one year, pearls another. We ate prime rib and drank homemade eggnog.
Now we’re so casual, sandwiches and cheap wine. The presents were few this year, except of course for Santa, he came through with shining colors. As did our football team...
I don’t want my kids to suffer this resession. I want them to be nostalgic about their childhood holidays, just as I am.
And how was your holiday?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

I wish you all a Beautiful Christmas.

With love,
Kloe Among the Turks

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Heard a fascinating Terry Gross interview on “Fresh Air” with Lawrence Lessing about the internet, blogging, copyright and culture. The conversation focused on how people, mostly amateurs, upload creative content (writing, photos, video on every subject imaginable) to the web for free. Big sites like Google and YouTube make money off all this free content. Some well-created sites, including blogs and MySpace music pages, make small amounts of profit for the artists, but not on scale of the late 20th century.
Lessing thinks this is OK, because the idea of the amateur contributing to culture, as opposed to passively consuming mass media as we did through television and large publishing organizations, is coming back into vogue. Just as before the phonograph and radio many people played instruments and sang, now everyone can make a movie, create their own newspaper, or self-publish a song. Quality isn’t an issue, the action is what is important.
I fit into this argument. I write several blogs and am putting free drawing lessons on the web. I want people to draw as they did before photography was invented, because there is a hunger to create. Plus people miss Bob Ross…
However, I do want and need to make money eventually, because I am not an amateur. The question is how to do that. In the coming year I’ll be telling my Kloe readers more.
I hope all your holiday plans are going well.
And Happy Hanuka!
(student drawing combining Michelangelo with a Picasso portrait)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

More Fun Student Work

Here’s another group project, from a Color Theory class. The theme was “Battle of the Cools vs. the Warms,” so the class decided to make a video of Mario vs. Luigi. Many of these students are video game design majors.
They did a great job: directing, acting, making props, creating sound, and shooting and editing this video. Thanks guys!
Here's my YouTube channel, if you want to see more videos...

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ships Passing in the Night

I have been very happy with my students this semester—terrific effort and creative work, many times from students who didn’t seem that interested in art at the beginning of my courses.
Here’s the final project from my Beginning Drawing course. They voted on the theme “Ships in Space,” and then created group projects to reflect the concept. They could use any media, and so I got a performance, a painting, and several interactive installations. Working in groups, on completely open projects, opens up students’ minds to the possibilities that art can offer. It shows what drawing can lead to.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Cooking

In my quest to get my mind off my horrible school situations, I’ve started my holiday baking. I like to buy beautiful produce and display it on my kitchen counter to get me in the mood.
My mom has a Meyer lemon tree, so that’s why all the lemon stuff (these are a beautiful, very yellow, sweet fruit)
Here’s what I’m up to:
• Meyer lemon marmalade
• Garlic and rosemary jelly
• Challah with candied fruit and pecans
• Homemade applesauce with lemon rind
• Latkes (for Hanukah)
• Roasts (to show off my marmalade and jelly)
• Tahini sweet rolls (for holiday mornings)
• Deviled eggs with anise
• Pecan pie and chocolate mousse pie (for Christmas Eve)
• Raisin pie, for myself, and to remember my gramps, who loved this pie
What about you? Any suggestions for anise, as I have a beautiful plant in my garden?
(plate and jars from Ikea)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Crazy, Sick Artists

I had to go to the rheumatologist for a problem with my hand (which he fixed, bless him). He asked me what I did, prompting an interesting conversation on medicine and artists. His anatomy book has a portrait (by Picasso?) of Renoir, who suffered crippling rheumatoid arthritis, on the cover.
The doc tried to tie artistic vision to medical conditions, like manic depression. For example, he’s fascinated by the colors used by Gauguin in his South Pacific paintings, done under the effects of third stage syphilis. I disagreed that much artistic creativity is the result of a physical abnormality/condition. I think artists teach themselves to see differently.
Apparently many medical professionals are worried that the huge number of people taking anti-depressants (one in three American women?!) will hurt America’s creative power. When I suggested most artists don’t have health insurance to get meds, the doc said that soon China will be making cheap, generic happy pills, and the problem will get worse.
So when we’re sad do we make better art? Sometimes, for some artists. But many, like me, make art when we’re sad to get happier. If that makes sense.
Lovely colors of Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keefe, both from 1925

Monday, December 15, 2008

Shoes Fallen and Thrown

And yes, they have killed the charter. They, the majority of the teachers, backed by the elementary school superintendent, have voted to become a “district” school again.
Can you imagine it? To take a unique, autonomous, successful learning environment that is focused on project-driven learning, and throw it all away? To become another No Child Left Behind cog in the giant testing wheel that is public education?
What steams me the most is that the consultant and higher-ups are saying “it’s no one’s fault,” that the school, viciously divided, must heal itself. When it most definitely is someone’s fault. Just as the Iraqi who threw the shoe laid the blame on George Bush, the loss of the school charter is the director’s responsibility. Now she must face the mess of teacher vs. teacher and parent vs. parent. It can’t be fixed.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ever get that feeling

of a big dead fish hanging over your head?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Speed Skating

I’m still skating a couple times a week. I got intimidated a while back when I met some “real” speed skaters, and they literally left me in the dust.
Other setbacks:
∞ Quality skates cost at least $300 and must be ordered online.
∞ Wheels constantly wear out and must be replaced.
∞ Oh yeah, the little matter of safety—when your main object is speed, you can have some pretty nasty accidents.
But another part of my turn-off was the macho sports culture of the online posts these uber-athletes make. All about training and times and race routes. Just too much testosterone for a poor blond like me, who only skates to keep her rear end in shape, and to get out in the fresh air.
I guess I’m just not competitive. ;)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Wildlife Painter

I heard a radio interview by Canadian wildlife artist Robert Bateman, so I went to see his exhibition. I expected to be wowed by his technical prowess, but instead found the acrylic on panel paintings rather dull. He uses photographic sources and spectacular settings, but the work doesn’t “glow” (luminosity created by layers of paint).
I was interested, however, in how Bateman makes a living, and a good one; the museum information stated his paintings are “loved by millions.” He sells paintings at galleries. He makes lithographs of his drawings (such an old fashioned thing, but I guess it still works). He writes books. He takes people (collectors? amateur artists?) on wildlife safaris and cruises. I imagine he gives painting workshops.
I guess I could understand all the hoopla over this career if the paintings were better. For example, I do like some of the Western or Cowboy style artists, if they paint with bravura. I thought the best piece in his show was a painting he did of birds when he was a teenager.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


This double gift was sprayed on a friend’s garage, on the house next door, and on the house across the street. Two guys, probably, declaiming their territory, like dogs. Real subtle. My friend called and told the landlady (90 years old and ill) the problem, but she hasn’t yet provided the paint (again) to cover this new artwork. Not exactly little-old-lady content, anyway.
My students are totally influenced by graffiti. And I can appreciate good street art. But really, this is so rude.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Real Art History

I gave my last art history lecture today, on the Gothic period in France (about 1100 to 1400, if you’re interested). Some of my students have done well enough on the first exams, that they don’t have to take the final, so I said good-bye to them.
My honors history student, an older guy who is well traveled, stayed after class to chat. He asked me if I will teach the Renaissance to Modern art history survey next semester, to which I replied, no. And anyway, he should take that course from a “real art historian.”
And then he said something so nice: that it is refreshing to have art history explained by an artist who sees things in practical, and sometimes emotional, terms. And who isn't boring. It meant a lot to hear that from an intelligent, well-read person, because I often feel like a sham who shouldn’t be teaching this class at all.
Anyway, small triumphs are just about all adjuncts have, right?
Painting by Sargeant, lovely cropping

Monday, December 08, 2008

My Thoughts Turn to Beans

The semester is winding to a close. My last lectures this week, and then tests and final projects. I have seven courses at four schools scheduled for Winter/Spring 09, but am I counting on them? No, I am not. I have no idea what will happen, but it will not be good. We are living in a dream that education will not be cut.
It will.
And so, to beans. And crock pot food. My old pot is not fancy, it cannot be submerged in water. It has only two heat levels, low and high. And it cannot fail. Cheap food stuffs in, amazing, hearty stuff out.
Sit and eat a big bowl of beans with salt and tomatoes, maybe rice and tortillas. Cold beer. It will calm you, I promise.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Hope and Glam

Last year I participated in a performance directed by Grown Man Naked Projects. About a dozen artists agreed to be “interviewed” in public by a panel about artmaking. The interviews took place inside a gallery, like in a fishbowl. The conversations were projected onto a screen, so the public outside could read what was happening. It was a great piece, technologically, and content wise—about how we talk about art, promote ourselves, interact with those who judge us and our work.
I dressed in my best 1950s outfit and wore a mink stole, and of course the panel pounced on me for that. I’m nothing if I don’t make a visual statement…
My new studio will be in this neighborhood, and I’m hopeful and excited about moving in early next year. With all the depressing conjecture about the future, I need to concentrate on something positive.
I hope you all can find something bright in your future, too. If nothing else, try on some bright red lipstick and your grandmother’s old hat and gloves.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sad School Story

Once upon a time (12 years ago, actually) an elementary school was built, in a small suburban neighborhood. The original teachers decided to do things differently, and wrote a charter, about teaching to the "whole child." These were the Clinton years. The school got its money directly from the State, bypassing the local school district. It flourished, and attracted kids from all over the city.
Times change though, and a new principal came, who was not so friendly to the charter. She believed in lots of assessments and No Child Left Behind. The little elementary school started to slip in quality. Why? The neighborhood got older, the original children had grown up, poorer children came for the opportunity, and many did not speak English.
The charter came up for renewal. All of a sudden the district stepped in with politics, scaring the younger teachers, and many voted to revoke the charter. There are rumors of massive pink slips to go out in January. The parents are shocked to find their efforts to rewrite the charter are being laughed at as a waste of time.
Will apathy prevail? Will tests make our kids into zombies who can’t think creatively?
To be continued…

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

This from a NYC gallery website.

We do not accept artist submissions at this time. Unfortunately the gallery is unable to process the overwhelming volume of submissions, sent by email or regular mail. The gallery stable is full and our schedule is booked for the next year. Any materials sent to the gallery will not be opened or reviewed.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Rose Colored Glasses

Did some holiday shopping today. Kids must not suffer because the sky is falling, or will, in January. California may as well just break off now, and sink into the sea.
Note to self: Don’t listen to news. Too depressing.