Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mural Making

I'm finally sketching some ideas for a new mural to go in the dining room our new house. I've been pondering it since before we moved in. I am a bit challenged since the walls space is more than 32' in length and quite narrow in height. I'm really wanting to choose a theme that is new for us, and that is congruent with the style of this house. I've had a few inspiration pieces taped up on the wall so I can get clear about what I want, and what I don't want. I think I'm getting closer.

I really love landscapes. I did a large scale landscape mural seven years ago at a private residence and I keep coming back to a wide expansive landscape as a subject for this room. I'm imagining this "land" to be Alameda before it was developed. There is marsh, small stands of trees, brush and native plant life. The Oakland/Berkeley hills are in the background. In the center, there is a small cottage and a rough road leading to it. On the first panel there is a young girl, sitting and sketching (or reading) that is either my dear Annie, or a Native American girl. (Maybe they are one in the same!) In the foreground of the first panel there is a small white heron hunting in a the marshy grass. (Annie's request.) Overall I want the time of day to seem either early morning or right after sunset.

We'll see. Next step will be to transfer the sketches to the walls and see how it feels. Ahhhh!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Love Fussy!

When we left Santa Cruz to move to Alameda fourteen months ago, we placed our wonderful hens with our dear friends Alison and Olivia. It was hard! We knew Alison and Olivia would love them and care for them so that helped our decision a lot! I told Annie that someday, when we settled in Alameda, we would get hens again. And now we have! There was a man in Fremont looking to thin out his flock and he gave us three little Bantams hens. I think they might be Aracuna Bantams. I will look it up and try to identify them. Annie has named hers Fussy, since Allen said she was the most verbal and "fussy" of the three. Bill named his Yolkie and mine is Nell. Nell is the most calm and is featured in the photos.

We are helping them settle in to their new home with fresh hay, nesting boxes, hen scratch and a big water bowl. So this morning, before Annie could rub the sleep from her eyes, she dashed down to the hen house and scooped up the first hen she could reach. She loves these chickens!

Friday, September 19, 2008

My Seventh Heaven

To commemorate the seven fascinating, exhilarating and wonderful years of living with Annie, I am painting her seven-year-old portrait. I haven't done one of her since she was five as a gift for Grandma Jane (see very bottom photo).

Can you picture Annie and I, working side-by-side in the studio, listening and singing along to Van Morrison and Annie keeps ohhing and ahhing about how beautiful the painting looks with every brushstroke I make? It is so fun! She is really excited about the whole process. Today she wore the tutu I sketched her in so she could pose for me. (Right! If she would only sit still for a minute!)

My hope with this painting is to capture the young woman I keep getting glimpses of and still show the wild little girl that I'm so crazy about. I'm showing her wearing her kitty ears and her kitty tail, and of course the bright turquoise tutu that Molly gave her that looks so good on her.

I've painted portraits before and I find it very challenging. And this portrait is doubly hard! Annie's face is one I look on day in and day out and I know it well, so while I paint it, I can see it looks a bit like her, but it doesn't capture her magic. I'm going for the magic! I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Enjoying Frida

Annie and I went to San Francisco today for the highly anticipated Frida Kahlo show at the MOMA. Wow! It was better than either of us hoped for. It included works from Frida's entire career, and so many pieces I never expected to see in person. There were huge powerful works, some dear intimate paintings and some pieces that we'd enjoyed through books that surprised us in person. Each piece is so full and vivid and I loved hearing what Annie noticed and thought about each one.

Just take a look at the photo's and you'll see that Annie went in full Friday regalia. Before we even got to the will-call counter, MOMA employees came up to us and asked if they could include photos of Annie in some of Frida press that they do. Annie said yes. Throughout the very crowded show, in the lobby, cafe and in the parking garage, at least a dozen other people asked Annie if they could take her picture. I kept checking in with her to see how it all felt to her and if she was enjoying so much focus. She said she was OK and that she liked how happy everyone was. I am so proud how she handled herself. How graceful my little girl has become! A few elderly folks came up to her and told her how much joy she had brought to their day. Oh, she really seemed to love that!

One thing that I really loved was spotting Ulla from ULLABENULLA in the crowd. I had never met her, I just recognized her from her blog photos. What a thrill! She's very glamorous and warm in person. I love when blog-world turns into real-world!

Photos from top to bottom: 1.) Annie's self portrait of herself in the car, on the way there. 2.)Holding up the camera and taking a portrait of the two of us in the bathroom of the MOMA. 3.) Taking a breather outside of the show. 3.) On the drive home taken from over my shoulder.

Here's the link to the MOMA blog photos.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Knitting Ideas

I accidentally left my camera in Santa Cruz last weekend and it has surprisingly heightened my desire to blog. I guess what I can't do, I then want to do? It's usually a photo in my camera that inspires me to post. So, without my camera I am leaning on others, and tonight I saw these knitted dissections and I thought I'd share them here since it gave me such a big tickle. Living with Annie, who is drawn to dissection and anatomy, I've stood by and watched her do a fish dissection and she always wants to identify the organs that sometimes come with a chicken or turkey, but I've never dissected anything, and I hope I never do. I think this knitted version is as close as I would come.