Tomorrow, for the second year in a row, I will be enjoying the beautiful Idaho summer morning air in Ann Morrison Park with a cup of joe in one hand, and a large piece of chalk in the other, as I lay out my design for this year’s Idaho Statesman’s Chalk Art Festival.
Last year was Boise’s Sesquicentennial and my design featured a vintage firework:
As a “featured artist” you do feel a little like a circus act with people stopping to take your picture. But this is Boise, and everyone is friendly and chatty, so for an extrovert like me it’s not a bad way to spend the morning.
2014 is the 150th Anniversary of the Idaho Statesman newspaper — our Chalk Art Festival sponsor — and so to celebrate its birthday I am doing another vintage firework this year:
If you’re in Boise and feeling chatty tomorrow morning, early — I’ll start around 8:00 am — come on down to Ann Morrison park and say hello.
Then stay to cheer on the over 90 artists who registered to compete (as a featured artist I’m not part of the competition) for a variety of prizes, including the chance to be one of next year’s featured artists.
Being fond of patterns, it’s pretty clear I have one where my Four Favorite Book posts are concerned. First, I am always surprised by how quickly the month has passed. Wouldn’t you know — it’s almost June!
Second, I have been, yet again, too busy to read anything longer than other people’s blog posts. So, I don’t have a work of fiction to share with you this month. Lucky for you though, my third pattern is I truly love books, look to them constantly for inspiration, and have every intention of sharing my favorites with you each month. So, here goes.
Instead of reading novels, Mike and I have been spending lots of time in our backyard.
We have plans to transform it into our perfect summer “staycation destination” and one of the books which I have found inspiring is Inside OUT, Relating Garden to House by Page Dickey, Photographs by Richard Felber, Published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2000.
The book features 13 distinct gardens attached to homes in diverse settings — including an arroyo in Phoenix, a rooftop in Manhattan, a suburban hacienda in Austin, Texas, and a backyard prairie in Lake Forest, Illinois:
That prairie almost makes me feel like we know what we’re doing with our backyard.
(Not even close!)
We love summer, fall, and early winter in Boise. We are however, considerably less fond of full-on winter, and the inversion — endless days of cold, flat grey skies and dry brown vistas. We are also tired of the doldrums that set in with the inevitable cabin fever we suffer as we wait for spring to arrive fully, sometime around the beginning of May.
Because we have felt this way for a while now, and because we find ourselves in a position of more freedom now that Logan has moved out and we only have our wee pack o’mutts to care for, Mike and I are thinking of spending our winters elsewhere.
Which brings me to my favorite book of Interior Design for this month: New Orleans, Elegance and Decadence, Narrative by Randolph Delehanty, Photographs by Richard Sexton, Published by Chronicle Books, 1993.
Truth be told, this is much more than a book of interiors. It covers New Orleans’ history, explains the roots of her unique ethnic melange, and entrenched social strata, gives some insight to her celebrations, and to her melancholy. New Orleans is not a place for people who do not like to feel their feelings. New Orleans is as messy and as sticky-sweet as your beating heart would be if you were to wear it, literally, on your sleeve.
If things work out they way we’re planning, our next winter may be a lot less grey, and a lot more, shall we say, sanguine?
For my favorite cookbook I have a real oldie but goodie for you…Mmmmm A Feastiary by Ruth Reichl, Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1972.
I was reminded of this book earlier this month when Pat Oleszko turned 67. She is featured throughout in her wonderful, crazy ensembles — highly unusual artwork for a cookbook I’d guess, even in the early ’70’s.
To be honest, I don’t really cook out of this book but it makes for very entertaining reading. Ruth Reichel grew up to be a pretty good writer (Tender at the Bone; Comfort Me with Apples; and Garlic and Sapphires) and editor (Gourmet magazine) and it’s fun to read about her early days and see pictures of her real family and friends back in the 60’s. Kind of gives you that mellow, home-grown feeling, like a nice batch of fresh brownies.
Finally, my art book for this month is 1000 Artist Journal Pages, Personal Pages and Inspirations, edited by Dawn DeVries Sokol, Published by Quarry Books, 2008.
This book is just what it says it is — photographs of 1000 art journal pages (spread over 299 pages in the book) showing all sorts of artists’ personal thoughts, inspirations, methods of visually remembering really important people, places and things or, the slightest of ephemeral snippets of time.
One of the spreads features some pages by local artist Lisa Cheney. Lisa teaches people how to create their own art journals. She will be giving a workshop for TVAA which should be awesome, so you might want to hurry and sign up for it!
Lisa will also be on a panel of artists talking about creating and keeping art journals on Monday, June 2nd at 6:00 at the Creative Access Arts Center (500 S. 8th St. in Boise), along with fellow artists Beau Van Greener, Pam McKnight, Jeanette Ross, and drumroll please…..little ol’ me.
And now, it’s time to go enjoy my backyard — while it vaguely resembles a prairie, and the poppies are still taller than the crab grass!
I’ve been working on a woodcut for a collaborative print which I’ll be producing with three other artists at Wingtip Press. Our piece features a bird’s eye view of the Boise River which runs through each of our very differently patterned blocks and ties the four pieces together. Each of us chose a theme appropriate to the river — cottonwood fluff, a nest of goose eggs in the tall grass, trees along the river’s bank, and my block which has an overall pattern of feathers.
The process of creating the block has been really satisfying as I had forgotten how much fun it is to carve one, and then be able to make multiple images. I literally had not carved a block since I was 9 years old!
While all of this was going on, I got together with a new friend I met a year ago but had not been able to reconnect with until now, and who I’m sure I’ll be sharing more information about in future posts — Betsy Balch. Betsy designs scarves which she produces and sells, and I have one of her beautiful cashmere “bandana” designs (which is frankly awesome with my painted cowgirl boots!).
Betsy loaned me one of her favorite inspiration books (which I will also be covering in a future post) called The Printed Square which is a picture book of vintage handkerchiefs like this one:
Now, I don’t know about you, but my mind can’t help but make one of those “SET” combinations I’m so fond of out of all of these things. And then, throw in the Boise river too, and what have we got? We’ve got confluence!
Confluence: the coming together of 2 or more streams, people, or things; their place of junction; assemblage.
I LOVE this kind of thing! Birds of a feather coming together my peeps. Birds of a feather!
Every once in a while my art actually gets to serve a purpose beyond just looking good. I do decoratively paint things I use — boxes, spoons, chairs, doors, floors even — but this item has turned out to be useful in a way I didn’t anticipate when I painted it a couple of years ago.
Ladies and Germs, the Crab-Walker…
Yep. That’s a walker. A pretty cool one actually. It has wheels and brakes, and a cushy seat which hides a removable wire basket for carrying your picnic or art supplies.
Marilyn Cosho gave it to me on the off chance I might want to paint it for a show we both participated in called “Helpers” which was sponsored by IPUL as the opening exhibit at the CAAC.
Evidently it’s not the sort of thing art collectors collect however, so after the show, and a stint hanging around IPUL, it came back to my house where it provided alternative patio seating for the most adventurous of my guests.
Now it turns out this unintended Second Helping is really, truly “helpful” and even more serendipitously, “zodiacalogically appropriately” helpful because it now belongs to a Cancer!
So if you see the Crab-Walker and its new owner while you’re out and about in Boise give them a shout out, but don’t distract the walker. Service Second Helpings need to stay focused!
And to its new owner let me just add — Swift Recovery! I hope this makes it easier for you to “Walk-n-Roll” until your broken wing has mended!
I’m sure you’re familiar with this sentiment, and maybe even with this poster by Fred Babb…
which pretty much sums up the time that I have spent NOT working on this blog in the past few days, as well my excuse for what will probably amount to very spotty blog posting in the next couple of weeks.
I have a crapton of work to do for my public art piece for Treefort which needs to be done by the first week in March and I am simultaneously selecting, arranging, and hanging the TVAA exhibition “Metamorphosis” opening at the offices of Boise State Public Radio on March 7th. Plus I have a little project called “See Spot Walk” which needs my attention. Just sayin’.
So to inspire you to go to YOUR studio and make stuff in the hope that time will fly by for all of us, here are some photos from the studio of Marilyn Frazier.
We had Art Friday at her home last week and Marilyn let me take some pictures to share with you…
These are some papers which have been painted and stenciled and which will be used as book covers or on boxes.
You can always find a sharpened pencil in Marilyn’s studio!
Each of these books is handmade by Marilyn. She paints the papers, and sews the bindings choosing the beads the way you would decide which necklace best complimented your dress.
Lots of little boxes, some covered with painted papers.
Work in progress.
The view from Marilyn’s studio out to her garden and the chicken and duck run. The very happy chickens’ and ducks’ run. Marilyn is a vegetarian.
More beautiful books completely handmade by Marilyn.
Just in case you were wondering what you should make once you get to your studio.
My plan is to continue dervishing (I just decided to make that the adjective, whirling is so tired) away in MY studio and I will blog visual updates as I’m able.
Meanwhile I’m trying to convince Lula to take over the blog for me — just until I can get through the next few weeks.