Saturday, February 28, 2009

Whoo Hoo!

Painted floor today, a lovely chocolate brown! Now the space is empty potential, waiting for all my supplies and paintings.
Start of a new chapter!!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Today was full of contradictions.

I got called into talk with one of my bosses cause I got a “less that favorable” student evaluation. I almost laughed. She may have sensed I didn’t take it seriously, but really, a few failing students say I’m a bad teacher, should I care?
I graded my art history test. Several students got perfect scores, but many more got less that 20% correct. Does that mean I’m a bad teacher?
Anyway, what I really want to say is that my studio floor is in! And the landlady paid for it!!! Yeah! Tomorrow I’m going to paint it, then I can move in.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Student Work on Steroids

Sometimes a student goes so far beyond what I ask for I am stunned into silence. The other students aren’t even jealous, they just stand in awe.
One-point perspective “Retail Space” assignment.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Studio Still not There

Still no doors. Defective windows have to be replaced. Floor turns out to be sub-flooring, and I have to put in my own (am I supposed to take it when I move out??). Got a quote for plywood, but will look into linoleum tiles.
Loved this show of photos by Lee Materazzi: funny, naughty, scary. A Francesca Woodman for the 00s. Feel like doing just this right now.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Kloe Talks Sculpture, Sometimes

Daniel Ruanova’s sculpture “DEFEND” is a shiny crystalline structure welded together inside a small gallery. It barely fits in there; you have to duck to get around it, and the wall is scratched where the metal scraped white paint.
The work is supposed to be about violence, “a monstrous, multi-spiked barricade…bomb frozen in mid-detonation,” especially in relationship to the American/Mexican border. I found it more comic book, a phallic explosion rigged by some crazy frat boy in the middle of the night in a professor’s office. Cool and silly, not scary. I don’t think it would read as well in a large space, it needs confinement.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Fun little show by Jennifer Bennett. I love how flat the paintings are, surface and form. She is mostly interested in abstraction, but sometimes we all need to paint something sweet and silly. And because they are small, she selling, quite a feat right now.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I promised I wouldn’t complain.

I did.
My legislators are locked up trying to cut thousands of state jobs, and it’s very real I might soon have time on my hands.
But today I was stressed. I taught four hours of linear perspective, hopped in my car for a half hour drive to my next school, eating en route, to teach another three hours on the same subject. Which, if you’ve ever tried it, is hard to learn, let alone teach. Vanishing points, cast shadows (did you know that sun and artificial light function differently when rendered in 2D?)…
So I’m taking roll in my afternoon class, and notice a student absent for a second day. Maybe he’s dropped. I call his name to make sure he’s not there. A moment later another student comes and whispers in my ear that the absent student died last week. Some kind of accident. He was 18.
And then I had to continue to teach the class in a shock at the loss. Sort of put things into perspective.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Not-Quite-White Studio

My studio is almost finished. I’m pretty tired of being in the downstairs space, totally exposed, no heat, no light. Details remain: no door or jams yet, no screens in the windows, worklights to be installed. I’m going to stain the floor.
I was surprised a few days ago to find the walls painted tan; I’d assumed they would be left raw and I’d do white both for looking at artwork and for easy touch-ups. But it’s too late now, I’ll just repaint when I can.
It’s a scary thought to take on such expense in this economy, but I’ve needed a space to make art for years. If I can’t handle the rent I’ll sublet one of the rooms.
I’ve so many projects to finish, start and store, I just wish I could be in there, tomorrow…

Monday, February 16, 2009

Short Blogger

The other day I met a friend at an opening. He’s been reading Kloe, and it helped him to start his own blog about art and stuff, something he’d been meaning to do. But after his initial post, which was great, he found himself intimidated, thinking each entry had to be perfect, well thought-out, and lengthy. I murmured that some blogs, like mine, are more like twittering, little ideas about what I’m thinking or doing. I told him I like blogs where the writers post often and regularly, if sometimes cursorily.
My friend complimented me that I write about so many different topics, but may have just been being polite…
However, he got me thinking about my “lack” of long, in-depth posts. I used to believe I could be an author, that I enjoyed writing and had something to say. Keeping Kloe for the past two and a half years has cured me of literary aspirations. I don’t care about words enough—I often find them burdensome.
What Kloe has helped with, whether I have readers or not, is clarifying the important threads weaving through my life…

Sunday, February 15, 2009


I had a dream that my grandmother came back to us as a physical spirit. My mother, aunt and I waited for her in a house, and heard her walk up to the door. We opened it to find a woman, about the right height, with little glimmers of her about the eyes, but it was not her. She told us that she was “soft” and unformed, the product of our shifting memories. That she’d come into focus as we thought about her in more concrete terms, like the shape of her eyebrows, or how her wrists were boney with arthritis.
I think I’m missing the way she saw things so clearly.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Chocolate and Perfume

Happy VDay.
I hope you both gave to and received kisses from the ones you love.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Why Teach

I just love it when I reach a student. Sometimes it takes most of a semester, but gradually I can tell they are INTO what they are creating. They hang after class an extra minute, they make eye-contact, and say, “have a great weekend.” I hope I give them something that will stay with them, a passion for making or thinking, or maybe the confidence to do what they want to do in life, in spite of what others want or expect.
Drawing by a student, based on a Bouguereau and “Princess Mononoke.”

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Have I mentioned how much I strongly dislike Elizabeth Peyton, artwork and artist both?
And what is up with the redesign of Art in America? Don’t they realize sans serif type hasn’t gotten easier to read?

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Beautiful Rainy Weekend

I’m still getting used to my new schedule, which is crazy: five different courses at four locations. I have to look at my calendar each day to remember where I’m supposed to be.
For the first time in a while I have Saturdays off, so I can work in my “studio.” I continued on with my plaster experiments, drawing and sanding.
I also went skating in the rain, which was lovely, and walked in our big park. Everything is turning green.
The only sad thing is how many businesses are vacant, in both ritzy and poorer neighborhoods. The tourists are almost non-existent. What are people doing? Staying home and watching tv? Twittering and Facebooking? Self medicating? Where is everyone?

Saturday, February 07, 2009


My Greek Series guardians.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Plaster Experiments

While I’m waiting to get into my studio I’m starting to play with plaster. The Greek paintings were supposed to be white, but I couldn’t really get them there, so I’ve decided to try working with white material.
I got the idea from a documentary about Chartres Cathedral, which I teach in my art history survey. Apparently the 13th century architects etched their floorplans and elevations into plaster trays, creating a sort of primitive blueprint. I’m also interested in the idea of sacred geometry, circles inside of circles, the golden proportion and such.
Anyway, have no idea how to finish it yet, and it might not work, but the plaster is dusty and fun.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


In my sunny corner of SoCal we have a new art complex. Lux Institute, ultramodern architecture tucked into an exclusive canyon neighborhood, is a small museum, a learning center, and an apartment for artists. It’s our first residency program, and it ain’t for locals… not that I’m complaining…
The two shows I’ve seen have displayed exquisite workmanship, in both 2D and 3D work, and dealt with landscape. You can’t take photos, so see them here.
My problem with the place is its exclusive nature. Openings are by invitation only. There’s a free day each month, but it’s “family night,” which is off-putting to many artists, with good reason. And regular tickets are $10, for one small gallery.
I complained, and they invited me to bring a class of students for free, which was nice… We met Jolynn Kristosek and talked with her as she cut paper (this is the concept: meet the artist and watch him or her work).
Kristosek makes low-relief sculptures based on Dutch flower still lifes. They are impressive, if a bit funereal. She’s only 26 and has been making this work for five years (started it as an undergrad and continued it through grad school). And now she’s hitting the bigtime in NYC. I wonder if she’s painting herself into a corner that she’ll never get out of. The sculptures are a bit of a trick: the wax mold is cut away and re-added intact. For example, she gouges out a petal and then attaches that petal.
It remains to be seen if Lux will reach out to the local art community, while keeping its prestige and ambitious charter. After all, it’s not every day you see this kind of investment in art.