Friday, February 29, 2008
i began thinking that i wanted there to be a bunch of writing in between the pieces of paper. private journal-style writing. but when i started to think about what to write, quotes came out. some favorites that are simply in my head, but then a bunch of those i've been collecting in my little black books for ages. at first, i had intended to paint completely over the writing so that it can't be read, but as i began to scatter the quotes, it seems like now i want them to show, at least to an extent. i'm not finished yet, writing on it. and i've only thought about the painting. what i want to do is extend the pattern again with paint--sort of make the ripped paper whole again using paint. i think that i can learn something about mixing colors and also get to the bottom of what pleases me so much in these papers--what it is that gives me that feeling of molecular alignment .
maybe painting will be the thing that helps me through after all...
Thursday, February 28, 2008
what i failed to recognize (or admit) is that there is some part of me that craves order. although i am currently living in a torn-apart house (building project) and many of my belongings are in boxes, i don't really like chaos. i make lists, for god's sake, of course i like order, why didn't i see this before? (husband said i wasn't ready.) i actually really like having a frame within which i work..and create, as it turns out. which i suppose is why knitting is appealing--that's VERY organized--i just need some help from an experienced knitter (or two) to get rolling on that and it will come.
but, my painting class has been a bit of a source of frustration to me, since i feel i can't adequately let go when i'm there. it was worst the first week. i've done a bit better since then. but last week, one of the other people in the course told me that i just needed to "slip hestene løs." basically, i just need to let go of whatever it is i'm clinging to...and that seems to be the frames. those blank canvases stretch before me in a WAY too wide-open, intimidating manner. the possibilities are limitless and some core part of me wants limits. i would like someone to say, today, we paint fish. and then i could contentedly paint fish like crazy. fantasy fish. colorful fish. fish that don't exist in nature. fish like you've never seen. but to stand there and say, "hey, self, what do you fancy painting today?" that's totally paralyzing.
same with the scrapping. i adore the supplies. the pretty paper makes my heart sing and my molecules align. but to imagine cutting it, or worse yet...ripping it! no, don't make me do that. it's because it's not mine--metaphorically speaking, it's mine, i've paid for it (tho' most of it was on massive sale or bought with the very low dollar--and i can show you the money i saved, husband, don't worry).
what i've been good at, creatively-speaking, is taking someone else's idea and making it mine. like when i painted the wooden stools for our little bitty apartment on elmelundevej. i took the shapes from the matisse paper cut-out poster hanging in the living room. i chose my own colors, i made custom stencils and i painted colorful, wonderful stools. it was a creative act, but not a wholly original act. and that was OK!!!
or when i painted 63 little viking ships around our dining room on baldersgade. they were lovely. and they were an adaptation of a little ship from my big world of art coffee table book. again, an original twist on something that i didn't originate. but totally creative. and wholly mine in the end.
so, what i need to do is find MY interpretation of scrapbooking. what attracts me are the supplies (have i mentioned that i love those pretty papers?), the notion of preserving memories (that whole nature of memory thing has been a preoccupation of mine for years...it's there in the choices of what i read and i would have written my dissertation on it had i gotten around to writing one), and actually, the camaraderie that seems to surround it (even if it's only in cyberspace). but why it's been so hard is that it hasn't felt like MINE. i'm trying to do someone else's thing. i need to stop that and do MY thing.
same with the painting. tho', i've made a modicum of progress there. i've at least been experimenting with color and brush strokes and not trying paint a picture per se. what i need to do there is take the prettiest of my pretty papers, glue them to the damn canvas (preferably after having the heart to rip them a bit) and then paint off of them. try to dig into what it is that makes my molecules align and hum in perfect pitch (which i swear happens with the best of those pretty papers--basic grey biology, i mean you) and try to create it MYSELF on the canvas. combine the things that have been preoccupying me and make them mine.
i can do this. all it took was recognizing what it was i needed to do and letting go of all the angst. excuse me while i go make a list now of the things i need to bring to painting class tomorrow...
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
my favorite bit of journaling says, "listen to your inner voices and to husband's out-loud voice."
i mixed handwriting and small sticker letters for variety and to keep it from being too squarey and perfect. tho' i admit to feeling strangely nervous about writing on the beautiful little journaling tags--they're so pristine and wonderful, i hate to mess them up! i'll have to get over that feeling.
the picture was taken at ephesus in turkey. i'm sitting right below the statue of sophia, the divine wisdom, although you can't see her in this picture. that serves as another reminder for me to be wiser. if we don't learn from our experiences, then they are for nothing. i will be wiser and better to myself this time around.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
i guess for me it's a bit like walking through the neighborhoods between the train station and our house on the way home from work. i'm there, bundled in my coat, walking along in the darkness in my solitude. in the houses that i pass, lights are glowing and families are gathering around the dinner table. i see plants and flickering candles on the window ledges. i might catch a glimpse of a painting on a far wall. i see a father and daughter with heads bent over the table and imagine that they're working on homework. there's a glow of a t.v. or computer screen on a boy's face. i get a warm flash of insight into that family's life. but, i stand outside of it, an observer. that's what i'm doing in the blogosphere as well. catching glimpses of people's lives and especially of their creativity (since those are the blogs i most frequent), but enjoying and in some cases being positively effected by their thoughts and observations on life.
i guess for now i will lurk on and perhaps eventually begin to participate with a comment here and there...
the world is full of inspiration. the crocus are already in bloom. the air is filled with the very texture of spring. it awakens feelings of invincibility--i can clean, i can organize, i can make things, i can cook, i can paint, i can write, i can knit (ok, that was going a little too far). i don't need sleep. to sleep would be to waste this feeling, to lose my grasp on it. the feeling has a strong green color--a spring green--i note this because i'm working on strengthening and broadening the band of my synesthesia.
a note about synesthesia (tho' you can go read the wiki link yourself)...dictionary.com defines it as: a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound induces the visualization of a certain color. my experience of it most often comes with smells--i get a strong visual of a color with certain smells. but it can also be more abstract--a feeling can give a strong sensation of color for me. i'm working on tuning into those moments, as i think it happens more often than i realize, but because it's second nature to me, i'm not always conscious of it.
they say it runs in families. i think my sister has the number version of it--where she sees something in certain number combinations (2s and 7s anyone?).
anyway. it's an interesting notion. and it seems to be keeping me up this evening....
Monday, February 25, 2008
i haven't been there since november of 2004, when i had only a few hours before my sailing trip to get some sunglasses, so i can't really say i've seen much. i mainly remember the street performers and a very cool shop where i bought a colorful glass ring.
Sunday, February 24, 2008
- elizabeth gilbert, eat, pray, love (twice)
- donald c. johanson and maitland a. edey, lucy: the beginnings of humankind
- dubravka ugresic, the ministry of pain
- francis wheen, hoo-hahs and passing frenzies
- josé eduardo agualusa, the book of chameleons
- stewart lee allen, in the devil's garden
- nigel slater, kitchen diaries
- nigel slater, real food
- nigel slater (are we detecting a theme here?), appetite
- nigella lawson, feast
- simon hopkinson, roast chicken & other stories
- simon hopkinson, second helpings of roast chicken
- sam and sam clark, casa moro: the second cookbook
- paul cunningham, madjournal
- tamasin day-lewis, good-tempered food
- j.k. rowling, harry potter and the philosopher's stone (read to sabin)
- j.k. rowling, harry potter and the chamber of secrets (read to sabin)
- siri hustvedt, what i loved
- bill bryson, the life and times of the thunderbolt kid
- natalia rose, the raw food detox diet
i know, you're thinking, hey lady, a bunch of those are cookbooks, people don't read cookbooks. but you would be wrong. i actually DO read cookbooks. cover to cover. when the cookbook writers today write as well as nigel slater and nigella lawson, it's silly NOT to read them cover to cover. and be inspired.
i'm going to keep updating this list throughout 2008 and see how many books i manage to read. i've never really thought about keeping track before, so thanks tara, for the inspiration!
i was going to restrain myself today, but instead, i found myself strangely drawn to my computer at 7 p.m., right when this week's posh yarn lovelies went on sale. how could i possibly resist? i resolve to learn to knit properly this week so that i'm worthy of this yarn. either that or sit around and stare at it all day long in the yarn basket and just enjoy how completely beautiful it is.
Friday, February 22, 2008
the picture doesn't do justice to how luscious the colors are (i'm trying not to use the word "gorgeous" so much).
and of course, it's all very, very soft (which is in and of itself a sign of superior quality).
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
i love pretty papers. i love quotes. i love expressing myself. i love creativity. i love chipboard letters. i love those paper clip thingies and brads. i love alphabets. i love bling and bits of ribbon. rub-ons are cool. and i've been journaling for years in beautiful books. but does it have to result in utter sap? where is the authenticity? where is the rawness? where is the art? where is the inspiration? these people think they're artists. they're not. they're housewives with no lives!!! i SOOOooo don't want to be THAT!
ok, in all fairness (to myself if no one else), i'm pretty sure i'm not that. i mean, it's totally clear that i have a life....and quite a lot of yarn. and scrapbooking supplies. but no sentimental nostalgic sap here. leave it at the door, baby.
the internet may be killing me....
"The Internet promotes a form of cultural obesity – its vastness, often heralded as an unparalleled good, now threatens our intellectual health," says Lee Seigel in a book called Against the Machine: Being Human in the Age of the Electronic Mob.
as i've found myself whiling away hours and hours in the blogosphere of late, i've been pondering whether the internet is good for me or not. it's so vast. one site leads to another and another and another and pretty soon, it's 2 p.m. and i've spent 6 hours surfing from one source of inspiration to the next and i haven't eaten lunch or gotten dressed. (not that i really mind those days where i stay in my pjs, there's something decadently liberating in that.) and i haven't really created anything either. i get tons of inspiration and impulses, but what am i DOING with these things? at the moment, not very much, other than acquiring the supplies necessary to do some creative projects myself. i haven't done a whole lot of creating, just a whole lot of reading and of imprinting impressions upon my brain.
which is why mr. siegel's comment on the "cultural obesity" of the internet spoke to me. i'm sitting here, day after day, gorging myself on impressions and information, but not really doing anything with them. at least not yet. as long as i'm sitting here at my computer and not sitting upstairs in my creative space, what good does it do? it's high time i stopped surfing and started creating. i need to go on an internet diet. no more than 1 hour a day. or maybe 2. max.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Thursday, February 14, 2008
at last, i feel i have acquired enough of the necessary supplies...pretty papers (i know, i'm obsessed with those as well), embellishments (including, but not limited to ribbons, brads, little eyelet thingies, felt, flowers, rub-ons, alphabets and stickers), stamping supplies, paints, canvases, brushes, gesso (that's cool stuff!!), pastels, chalks (i have yet to acquire those, but i've had them in my hand several times)....you get the picture.
i have sought inspiration. (the internet is HUGE, by the way, and totally chock full of inspiration). i have a good idea of what i like (authenticity) and what i don't (sentimentality and bits that are too straight and squarey). i have spent an inordinate amount of time looking at things and not enough time MAKING things.
but now, i have begun. i have an old (but nearly brand new) moleskine journal that i began to use two years ago at a meeting in singapore. i took notes in about 4-5 pages and then abandoned it. not sure why. i have gessoed over the first two pages...it feels cathartic to blot out those notes. they weren't relevant anymore anyway...and then i used some of my new pastels. i mixed a gorgeous blue-green over the gesso, which made an almost canvas-like pattern, thanks to the brush i used with the gesso. my fingers got stained blue-green, from smooshing the pastels around, which i love, because in my synesthetic moments, it's always blue-greens i see. and purples (but i digress..and will elaborate further in another post). i don't know yet what i'll write in it, but what feels good is to cover those old, now meaningless words. to watch the ink blur underneath the gesso and to blot it out with the pastels. very cathartic.
it was a lovely day today. valentine's day, perhaps that's why it just generally feels good. went to the national museum with sabin. although all of the other people there were either aggressively perfect families (2.5 children, bright blue eyes, long lashes, the right clothes) or single moms out with their kids and their new boyfriends (who were trying valiantly to pretend it was ok with the snot-nosed brats who were crawling in among the mummies) or the grandparents who were near the end of their ropes, entertaining 5-year-old oliver for the 5th day in row...we had a great day. sabin fell madly for the sun chariot, an artifact from 1500 BC (or something like that), found in a field in Denmark here at the beginning of the last century. she asked questions and then didn't want to see any more of the museum, but wanted to go sit in the cafe and try to draw it in her new art notepad (who could argue with that?)
eventually, we came home and made gorgeous filet mignons for dinner, along with some of those yummy green beans i make with bacon, onion and almonds. we had a salad of spinach and mango (that makes us talk SILLY) to go with. and then the gorgeous (i can't make that look spelled right) chocolates husband brought home for valentine's day (along with flowers). with a bottle of south african pinotage (spiers, of course, we've been there!). it was a great evening.
anyway, back to the pretty papers...i'm sure the second to last one will come tomorrow. it just has to!! :-)
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
after watching these this evening, i'm soooOOOOO branching out. i'm freeing myself and i'm covering those first few constricted pages of my moleskin with paint and lovely bits of text that i tear from the newspapers i read every day. because life is too short to be so restricted.
my art journal is an actual place. thank you, suzi!!! you totally rock.
Monday, February 11, 2008
Sunday, February 10, 2008
- time spent at buresø
- cape town in november
- gorgeous beads i bought in cape town in november
- hugo boss suit
- the silver ring i got from husband for christmas
- my chunky pilgrim drama necklace
- leaving maersk
- being headhunted
- the great people i worked with (irene, jacqui, richard, claus, merel, alison, kerttu, monica (x2), michael, møller, jens, all of the guys and girls from headstrong, jari, tomas, erling, henk, søren, i could go on and on...)
- our super-charged eLearning workshops
Wednesday, February 06, 2008
Tuesday, February 05, 2008
we have had the spring light here in denmark for a couple of weeks now. i noticed last week in oslo that it hadn't really reached that far north yet. i remember reading about this spring light in the vilhelm moberg series of novels--the emigrants. kirsten longed for that spring light which she remembered from sweden. now that i have seen it myself, i understand why.
so we were out walking, it was a very still late afternoon, no breeze at all. the sun had been shining, but it was a bit clouded over and grey again. the temperature was probably 3-4 degrees (C) and so with coat, mittens and hat, it was good walking weather. as we walked past one house, with a very 70s-looking front garden--one of those with lots of those low evergreen bushes so popular in that decade--a smell hit our noses. it was a particular combination of laundry softener, bathroom cleaner and cigarette smoke, underlying it there was the faint mustiness of carpets that hadn't been changed in 30 years. the mormor (grandma) smell. that house at the top of the hill was fairly exuding the smell. we didn't see anyone, so we couldn't confirm the age of the residents, but the lace curtains at the windows confirmed it. grandparents lived there. maybe even great grandparents.
Monday, February 04, 2008
- i filed the paperwork to start my own business today! it feels so exciting. so liberating. so liminal! on the threshhold of something new and exciting.
- i just got a new cut and fabulous color!
- i have all kinds of gorge-i-o-us scrapping papers and supplies on their way (think tinkering ink and love, elsie...ooh, ooh, i can't wait!!!)
- monica's coming back today (with prezzies!) from spain.
- i'm making a delicious pot of The Soup.
- i've got yael naim's new soul playing on repeat on the iPod through the henry kloss. i will only stop once i reach 600 times!
- the sun is shining. at least i think that's what the big bright fireball in the sky is...it has been awhile since we've seen it.
- it's almost time to go pick up sabin from school/sfo.
Sunday, February 03, 2008
sabin and i have both been scrapping and we made these:
sabin's mini book about herself
two fun matchboxes made by me.
a funny page about monica's escapades in manila in '07. that's limoncello she's licking up in the top picture.
very picturesque blue ice cream from ljubljana. it seemed like the papers i bought made it absolutely natural to make this page!
such a deep, thinking look on her face, it seemed perfect for the question she asked at dinner on her birthday. "what is the difference between princeton and berkeley?" pretty cool question for a 7-year-old.
we're going to continue making pages today, now that it's started, i don't want to stop!!
Friday, February 01, 2008
- made a very nice pair of earrings
- learned something about painting
- and finally made a scrapbook page
i think i'll give the earrings to moneek
what i learned about painting was something about colors and the difference between treating the canvas with linseed oil before beginning and not doing so (can be seen in the attached picture--the one on the right was treated, on the left, not so much). when you use plenty of linseed oil, the paint becomes more transparent and glides onto the canvas. for me, it almost sings beneath the brush. but there's something about the vibrancy of the colors when you DON'T use it that's also intriguing. i used these blues and greens because in my synaesthetic moments (which i'm working on expanding), these are the colors i usually see.
another thing i learned from painting today was that the best canvas i made was actually the one i was using to dry off my brushes on. so, there's something to not trying too hard.
as for the scrap layout. it was so liberating to finally begin after days and days of looking for inspiration on blogs around the world. now i finally made one myself and the ideas for more are tumbling in my head. i have two kits on their way...label tulip and red velvet girls. i can't wait to dig into those materials, together with the 134 pictures i had developed today. yeah!!
hoorah for creativity!!! it feels like a real breakthrough. and now i'd better go knit! :-)
ok, i know this isn't the greatest picture in the world, as it's all flashed out, but i was anxious to get this up...this is the first painting that i made in my painting class. the one that stymied me initially and caused all that painting angst and frustration. it's a small piece of a kandinsky, so that's where the weird fish-like thing came from, so no worries, it's not some monster residing in my head.
what i learned from it...something of how the paint moves on the canvas and how colors blend together. and how it is in general to work with oil paints...quite different from acrylic, what with the long drying times. but i learned a bit about the magic of linseed oil (more about that in a minute) and how it makes the paint fairly glide across the canvas. that's a good thing. what i like about it is that in general, i got the colors right or could fix the ones that were wrong (there was white on some of those dots at one point and that really didn't work). i might still add a little bit of gold leaf, just to pep it up. what i'm also learning is that you never really HAVE to be done with the painting.