Friday, December 29, 2006

Goal 4, 566...

To create something like this by Ljudbilden

If you know what software they use...let me know! I'm still researching it.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Sleeping Soundly.

I’ve been taking improv classes in the evening at The Groundlings twice a week. The drive has been daunting, but two days ago I had an extraordinary experience. George Clooney let me stay over at one of his apartments in Hollywood. I met his assistant, a tall and striking Asian woman in her late 20’s at the apartment complex. She helped me with my luggage and opened the door to a modest one bedroom apartment. It looked a little haphazard, but she explained that the cleaning lady had not been there to clean since the last guest, Eva Hesse. Holy Crap I thought, Eva Hesse, wow! As she gave me the tour, she pointed out an orange and yellow patterned comforter that was shoved under a bench and said “Don’t use is dirty...from the time with Molly.” She opened the closet with some of George’s clothes shoved off to the side. I noticed a couple of brown v-neck sweaters and something particularly peculiar. There were about 20 pairs of men’s white underwear hanging on pant hangers. She pushed them aside and said I could hang my clothes there. I couldn’t wait for her to leave so I could call my friend Alicia! She handed me the keys and her card with the added note to call if I needed anything.

All I can say is afternoon nap dreams are vividly specific!

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Melissa Borders-Stevenson

I’m standing on the edge of a retreating lake, a wide open mouth with blackened, jagged stumps as teeth. I’ve walked into a crowd of people who know and love each other. I’m seeing the hippy youth behind the character lines of hugging, crying and laughing people. I see Tim, the only one I know...I walk up to him, hug him and re-introduce myself. It has probably been two years since I’ve seen him and only briefly at that. He’s wearing a leopard print beret and a mimosa stain on his shirt. I hug him, look in his eyes and weakly say, “I had to come.” He tells me to grab a red nose out of the box on the beach.
I do, and self-consciously put it on my nose. Draped over two tall mannequins made of PVC pipe are the costumes of Sojourner Truth and Amelia Earhart. These two famous women in history were brought back to life by another famous woman in history, Melissa Borders-Stevenson. I was standing on the beach of her memorial. Her life was brought to an end on October 15, 2006 in a car accident.

She is the new “famous women” in history. Melissa, an actor, performed 39 diverse women who made an impact on history and women through what she called, Biologues. She researched a women like Sojourner and weaved the woman’s history, accomplishments and thoughts into a monologue as Melissa put on the character of this women. Melissa, a tall, slender blonde in black leotard seamlessly slipped into the great woman of Sojourner for children, adults, corporations...anyone that wanted to see and hear a one-of-a-kind experience.

Melissa is the new famous women in history because she took her passion for women who made a difference, her art of writing and performing and her need to educate and made it her life’s work. She, as all women, have come far since the 20th century when most nations first won the right for women to vote. Most importantly women fought for the reevaluation of their traditionally viewed role in society. It wasn’t until as recent as 1963 that the Equal Pay Act required equal wages for men and women doing equal work.

I remember when I first met Melissa. I worked with my company to hire her to perform for our celebration of Women’s History month. She stood in a bland, gray blue room in her black leotard in front of a sedate group of office workers and blasted us with her energy and passion. She made us weep and laugh. She did the same for thousands of children and adults throughout the United States. This was the first time I truly felt hope as an artist. Melissa showed me more than just my need to know my own history. She inspired me, by living the fact that I had the right to choose my own creative path.

I’m standing there on the beach of a mountain lake when a smiling women walks up to me with her arms outstretched. She introduces herself as a childhood friend of Melissa’s and wants to make people feel welcome. It was the first time I could share my grief with someone that also knew and loved Melissa.

Tim walks toward the center of the crowd and rings Tibetan style bells. The crowd stretches out wide in a circle while Tim’s Sister, Prairie Flower and Brother-in-law, Cactus Bob strum their banjo and fiddle and sing. About 250 of us grow quiet and I turn to Melissa’s childhood friend and we grab on to each other. My throat grows tight, and tears run freely as 250 of us, with red, sponge noses honor the memory of my hero, Melissa-Borders Stevenson, a famous woman in history.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Stolen entry.

This post idea is stolen. I stole it from my new blogger friend, Deanna. However, I am hoping by openly professing my kleptoblogo tendencies, that I will be forgiven.

Moo cards! They are all the rage and you need some too. They are tiny, easy and fairly inexpensive business cards...and did I say easy?

So, here is what you do:
You get a account
You upload your pictures
You click on
You follow the three easy steps
You get your precious little cards in about 10 days

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I have an art crush!

Periodically, I get art crushes. They hit me hard. You know the feeling when you lock eyes with someone and you feel a connection that makes your chest expand...well, I get that with art.

I (heart) Josh Greene's art projects! While attending a recent “Agency Team Member Development Conference” in Phoenix, Arizona I couldn’t stop thinking about his art projects. With a name badge placed boldly on my breast, I am tasked with finding my “new buddy” to get to know. I have a sheet to fill out that asks important questions such as:

What’s Your Name?
What can you tell me about your family?
Do you have any pets?
What are your hobbies?
What is your current work responsibilities?
What is a little unknown fact about yourself that you would like to share?
What else would you like to share that I haven’t asked?

I find my buddy, we swap answers to our questionnaire and dutifully complete our task for our report out session during the morning meet and greet.

But I find my mind wandering to my very real art crush. My buddy is chatting away about golf, children and three dogs, but he can’t compete with my scrolling images of frolicking in and out of a Josh Greene project. Maybe I could do dishes at his apartment after his weekly dinner, or take the photo of him handing out a leisure check, or make the phone call that you have just won a Service Works grant.

My mind now reaches deeper into the darker regions of my fantasy art crush...I need more, I want to reach out to my crush. Is it too daring?

I’m going to do it. Reach out via a sensual virtual touch. I figure there is a reason my thoughts went to Josh’s work during my “new buddy” exchange. I will send the above mentioned questions to Josh and will post if he chooses to make that connection.

I will sum up my school girl art crush with one word: Giddy!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Wax Works - O'Hanlon Center for the Arts

Wax Works
Oct. 3 - Nov. 3
  • O'Hanlon Center for the Arts

  • Mill Valley, CA

    Sponsored by the artists of the
  • West Coast Encaustic Artists Organization

  • Entrance to Main Gallery

    My political piece..."When Silent"

    Tuesday, September 26, 2006

    O'Hanlon Art Center preview!

    It has been a tough weekend with my Groundlings Theatre audition coupled with studio time. However, I'm closer to being ready for my O'Hanlon Center art show in Mill Valley.

    By the way, I passed my Groundlings audition and now I am granted the honor of paying them money to take their class!

    Here is a preview of two of the three pieces going into the show. Unfortunately, I had to hold up my laptop to get the photos so keep in mind they are blurry and backwards!

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006

    Two steppin' never seemed so hard...

    Two steps to my studio. That doesn't seem so far. It is just across the hall, but stepping into it has reminded me of my need to go to the gym. Once you get there and step on the elliptical machine, take a few steps, get into a groove and 45 minutes later you feel thinner and sexier. That is what the studio does for me. Maybe it doesn't make me feel thinner, but definitely sexy. Dipping my hardened brush into the hot, silky pool of wet pigmented wax makes me melt. The heated sweetness intoxicates me. Once I get into my studio groove it is my Prozac, my St. John's Wort sprinkled with a tad of Horny Goat Weed.

    I have two weekends to finalize my work for an upcoming show at the O'Hanlon Art Center in Mill Valley, CA. I am excited to be included in a group exhibition of West Coast Encaustic Artists.

    So, I putting on a little Kenny Rogers to set the mood for some two steppin' right into my studio.

    Sunday, September 03, 2006

    Studio Muses

    Zoey and Ella Mae are resting up for a big day of cleaning the studio. They have a pretty big job ahead of them!

    Thursday, August 31, 2006


    I have a history with the word "dumb." Frankly, it haunts me. Not haunt in the Oleander N.L. Belardes scary way, but in a traumatic childhood learning lesson way.

    I was in 3rd grade and there was this awful girl named Tina. She was tough and had a mouth full of sass. Now, I wasn't a frail little imp, but I didn't like to fight. I would hold my own, but never initiate. As my father said, the only time you hit is if someone hits you first...then nail em! (Dad didn't say the "nail em" was inferred.)

    We were in line in the gym waiting for PE class to begin when she started in on me. She shoved me and I said stop it. I know words were exchanged, but our scuffle was broken up by the start of class.

    After PE we went back to our country classroom. I was still fuming about the shove. I looked over at her tootheless snarl and scribbled my anger on a piece of paper. When the timing was right, I dropped it on her desk. Scared, but excited about how I was giving her a punch that would scar.

    The teacher gathered us back to our desks and stood in the middle of the classroom. She had a look on her face like we were in big trouble...or someone was in big trouble.

    "Tina had this note dropped on her desk. Does anyone know who put this on her desk?" Blank and innocent looks flash. "Well, the person who wrote this should be embarrassed because they are truly the 'dumb' one. For that person's information 'dumb' is spelled 'D-U-M-B' not 'D-U-M!' The class giggled, Tina snarled and I faked the yeah, that is stupid huh look.

    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    My first dumb movie!

    Credit: This dumb movie wouldn't be possible without the amazing photos of San Francisco artist Jan Stevenson

    disclaimer: the twilight zone title is a work project title...this was made as a test/practice run to see what I could do with photo stills on iMovie.

    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    My muse...

    My cat Potsina died on August 1st. I took her into the vet because she just didn't seem herself and two days later I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. My heart broke. I had left for the weekend to be with a friend knowing she wasn't feeling well. Work also called on Monday. I was slated to take a mandatory curriculum development class the entire week so no taking off to tend to my cat. I called in late to take her to the vet on Monday morning and went to the vet after the first day of class to be told she might have cancer. Tuesday morning I received the call that she did have cancer and it was at a level 10 on a scale of 1 - 10.

    Tuesday afternoon I held her in my lap for 2 hours and wept. She went from growling to clinging to me in my arms. I sat huddled in the corner with her on my lap and 6 other cats staring out of their cage at the two of us. For two hours I told her everything I loved about her even when she was at her shittiest. (Which secretly and sometimes not so secretly I rewarded with my pride.) When it was time to make the decision I held her in my arms and cried openly in front of the vet and the assistant. They let me stay with her until I was ready to go.

    So, what does this have to do with art? Quite frankly, I'm not sure. I think I secretly want to be more like my cat. As some of you know, I work a Monday - Friday job as a Corporate Trainer. I always do and say the right thing. I coat my words with sugar and have thin relationships with my co-workers. Again, what does this have to do with art? Well, in my Monday - Friday job I am a team player and work with my team at coming to consensus. Being a team player and coming to consensus doesn't inspire good art. In fact, it inspires mediocrity. This goes to making nice for a paycheck or making art for the sale.

    I had a conversation with an artist who talked about how he only looks to the master's and that contemporary art is basically, bunk. I disagree. I have seen a lot of art either going for the shock/gross out value (think B horror film) or for the walk in the field of daisies sweetness (think of the sappiest chic flic). That seems to be the struggle. Who or what are you making art for...what group of people/thought are you trying to come to consensus with in order to validate your existence as "artist?"

    I think to my cat Potsina and the 12 years of attitude she displayed. She was teaching me a lesson and I didn't know it. When she was happy, pissed, uncomfortable, hungry, needy...I knew it. I know, I'm putting human feelings to an animal. I think I need to have animal feelings toward my life and art. Lately, I have been reaching out to old acquaintances and new acquaintances because I have been feeling needy. I have been speaking frankly at work. I am not pursuing relationships that make me pissy. When I like someone I tell them. I am looking at my artistic direction through a new, more critical lens. I am working toward being genuine in my person and in my art. I'm taking naps when I need them.

    Potsina is inspiring change in me and a new self-evaluation that goes deeper then I have gone.

    Thank you for the life you lived on earth my precious little muse.

    Sunday, August 27, 2006

    A note of admiration...returned!

    It seems I am playing badminton with good karma. Clive King wrote me a kind letter in response to my note of admiration.

    I had an interesting conversation with my friend Bess last night about that 6 degrees thing that seems to be going on regularly in my life lately. We had a late night conversation about the evolution of consciousness in mankind, the Indigo children, UFOs, The Dead Sea, Atlantis, art and cellular trauma. In the middle of all this we talked about connections. Connections from our dreams, what we read, who we talk to and what does all that mean...what message is being placed in our lap to say LOOK at ME!

    My note to Clive made a mini-connection. He happened to mention that he was opening a show in Jacksonville Florida with an encaustic artist Tim McDowell and wanted to know if I knew his work. I thought I did, but googled him. Well, he was featured in my professional acquaintance Joanne Mattera's book, "The Art of Encaustic Painting" an amazing detailed book on encaustic medium. I made a connection with Joanne after visiting her website and asking to consult with her. She gave me some good advice and direction and hooked me up with the West Coast Encaustic Artists. Now, I'm participating in a show in Mill Valley, CA at the O'Hanlon Art Center.

    Again, it is about connection and reaching out to your chosen community. We can encourage connections to happen, but also need to pay attention to the small connections that present themselves.

    So, I have my racket and a bucket of those rubber-nosed, mini-dog satellite collar thingamabobs and am ready to play a little Karma Badminton!

    Wednesday, August 23, 2006

    A note of admiration...

    I believe that it doesn't matter where people are in their career or how untouchable they may seem it is good karma to pass along a genuine compliment.

    I happened to actually pull away from my recent addiction to MySpace to actually search the internet for something useful for my art career. While searching for grant and fellowship opportunities, I got sucked into the never ending twists and turns of the hyperlink warren. No furry dead things found, but I did find an amazing artist. Clive King. Wow, his work is big, obsessive and captivating. His drawings were so captivating that I googled him. I found very little about him online...a shame. I did, however, find that he is a Professor of Drawing at Florida International University. So, as I drilled down further with my seemingly stalker tendencies I found his bio page. At the top of his page was his email address, so I just simply emailed him my admiration. That simple. I had nothing profound to say, nothing seemingly bright or witty just plain...hey, man...I dig your work. OK, not in those words, but that was the basic message.

    I'm not expecting a return message, maybe it won't get to him but I did send the love out there because it was just something I had to do.

    Check his work out here:
    Clive King

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Puppy Papers Needed!

    Like a puppy, I was eager for some verbal petting. Squirming in my chair I downed a plastic cup of white wine before heading up to my time in the spotlight at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. Normally, I prepare and practice what I'm going to say, but I thought I would wing this one so I would come off comfortable. My heart was pounding and of course, I started sweating again. I'm not sure what this recent trend of me, my art and sweat would be but I'm not a big fan of it!

    So, I swagger up to the front and do the obligatory (but sincere) thank you's to the museum for the show and hosting first Thursdays for the community. In a classy artist fashion, I pull out some materials from a plastic grocery (Von's to be exact) bag. I start off by telling them my background then into my imagery and finally my process in making my work.

    It was interesting to see the difference in my presentation from work Julia to artist Julia. Work Julia doesn't smile as much as artist Julia. Work Julia certainly wouldn't make four references to dead animals as artist Julia did. Yep, dead animals. Now, I'm not a fan of hunting but I found myself referencing my father's need to blast poor defenseless animals to hang on the wall. Now, in his defense he eats the meat and hunts within the legal boundaries but that doesn't make me appreciate carcass filled walls of the family home. I then referenced my favorite tool I use in making my work...which is also used to skin seals in Alaska. Nice, huh. Yep, artist Julia mentioned that lovely bit of trivia too. Luckily, I believe I humored the audience with the strange, artist Julia persona and I had a brief, but ego stroking moment at the end of people wanting to continue conversation. Unfortunately, there were no more mentions of dead animals and the puppy in me finally calmed down.

    Wednesday, July 12, 2006

    Me and Laddie John Dill!

    During the Bakersfield Museum of Art Small Works Juried Exhibition, I got to hang with juror Laddie John Dill! The anticipation during the awards ceremony was grueling, but the result was grand. As Laddie was discussing why he chose my work for the award my mind was racing. He turned the mike over to the second place winner, Betty Finch to ask about her process in making her fanciful gourd work. All I could think about was please don't turn the mike over to me. Now, I'm not one to shy away from public speaking opportunities, but for some reason I thought please not now. Well, Laddie must have noticed the fright in my eyes and the fact that my face and ears turned bright red and spared me from a case of stage fright.

    Thank you Barbara Reid (another artist included in the small works show) for purchasing my favorite little baby piece on the right "Falling" and taking the photograph below (if you look closely at my neck you can see how red I am - thus the reason I included her very cool, combo black and white/color photo):

    Photo Credit: Barbara Reid

    Monday, July 10, 2006

    How do you do that?

    The most common comment about my work is “Is that wax?” followed by, “How do you do that?” I have a short spiel that I have refined that goes something like this: “The medium is called encaustic spelled e-n-c-a-u-s-t-i-c. The medium is made out of beeswax with dammar resin which is tree sap. Encaustic is a molten process which means I have to heat the medium on a hotplate and use a heat gun to fuse each layer of wax to the next layer. I paint with the encaustic using brushes like you would oil or acrylic.” If the person looks intrigued or like they want to know more I will give a little more detail on history of the medium as well as describe details from the pieces I have displayed.

    What do you think? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?

    I recently became a member of the West Coast Encaustic Artist group. It is a budding organization that is working at helping each other network, get gallery shows and lecturing opportunities.

    I have also been researching artist residencies and grant opportunities. I will start posting the opportunities I find interesting.

    Two great links to lists:
    A Giant List of Artist Stuff! (Check out the Residency list!)
    A Small List of Residencies

    Join this: Women's Caucus for Art

    Sunday, July 09, 2006

    Bakersfield Museum of Art almost calls the Whaaaaaambulance for A.S Ashley!

    A celebration is in order and a big Thank You to the Bakersfield Museum of Art for hosting a small works exhibition open to all California artists. Each year they up the caliber of jurors. Last year’s jurors were curators of the San Luis Obispo and Fresno Art Museum. This year the jurors were well respected artists from Los Angeles. The show was heavily populated by local entrants due to the submission guideline of bringing in the artwork as opposed to the usual submission of slides. The show gave the locals a chance to have their work viewed by an outside eye…a good way to give feedback without the murmur of “Oh, they won because they are a local darling of the arts!”

    One local artist, A.S. Ashley, pouted outside the museum in a performance protest with his big artwork. I’m sure you are familiar with his work as you have seen the work at Barnes and Noble and in multiple shows at The Empty Space Gallery, well those were the same pieces propped up in the back of pick-up trucks. He stated, "I'm waiting for the big show!" I think he was waiting for another “Big Repeat” show! I did give him a phone call to remind him to get off his little duff and submit something to the show. He whined about how he doesn’t work small and that he didn’t want to participate. As I walked into the small works show, he sat there with his cowboy hat and lawn chair hoping for someone to pay attention to him. I told him I would come out and pay attention to him later and walked into the show for the awards ceremony.

    Well, later didn’t come soon enough as the curious A.S. walked into the show to give me some whiney love. He congratulated me for my “Best of Show” award like a gentleman and spent some time chatting with me and Betty Finch (a superb artist making fanciful creatures out of gourds) also the second place winner of the show. All three prize winners were local and given generous financial awards. There were 270 entrants and the jurors selected about 25% from the entries. This was a hat tip to the local artists as the jurors judge the artwork without knowing the name or location of the artist. Thank you Bakersfield Museum of Art for opening up your prime wall space to local emerging artists!

    Tuesday, July 04, 2006

    You Must Feel So Violated.

    “You must feel so violated!” was the number one response as I reported to my friends, family and co-workers of my recent burglary. After my performance in Brittany Spears’ former mansion, prancing around with boobie bravado in front of Rob Thomas (Dawson’s Creek and Veronica Mars…yes, I am name dropping!), his wife and a smattering of friends I came home to my fondled and raped home. In the ancient language of cat, my little one described in great detail the invasion down to the specific comments made by the perps about the state of my pig sty I call home. Yep, I was robbed of all things of perceived value (computer, stereo, cameras, jewelry etc…) but my response wasn’t to the missing items. Electronics can be replaced, but they touched, pushed and ripped through everything in my home…they didn’t leave anything free from their fingering. I waited 9 hours for our finest guardians of all that is good in Bakersfield to knock at my door to hear, “Yep…they were here for a long time. Here is your report number…” That was it. He didn’t even pull out his rape kit. Nope, just sorry…not sure if others have been violated in your quaint little central neighborhood, this isn’t “my beat.” So, I avoided the retelling of the violation because I just wanted to suppress it, bury it deep…which I successfully did until today. As I stood at my sink washing my dishes I broke down in tears. Those fucking assholes saw how filthy my kitchen was.

    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    More Tit Than You Can Take!

    Ms. Martini takes the stage at Brit Spears’ old home in Hollywood Hills!

    By the way, in case you didn’t know… “all teta’s have hair!...Boys, get over it!”

    But unlike Brit…Ms. Martini was all woman and ALL REAL!

    Tuesday, April 18, 2006

    The I come...with my checkbook.

    Oh the joy, the excitement, the small deposit made into my bucket of happiness! I took my first class at The Groundlings theatre with my good friend Greg. It is a basic class, costs $250 and happens for five more Saturdays. We are doing the basics, but it feels good, safe and fun. I, of course, was the first and the only to go south with my improv bit. We were playing "Man in the middle." This game has three people on stage. The two outside players are given individual topics that are intentionally boring/plain such as Q-tips, cardboard, twigs etc. The goal is to get the person seated in the middle to pay attention to you. My topic was laundry detergent. My instant thought was that I love the way it feels when you get a little powder on you hand and are scrubbing in a spot...the detergent gets all slippery. So, of course I had to talk about how I love to rub it all over my body...I got the girl in the middle's attention, but was lovingly spanked by my instructor on going south. Lesson learned for this dirty minded, baby Groundling wanna-be.

    Monday, April 17, 2006


    With a giant red wig and an amazing costume made out of bras (thank you Jo and Jayne!) I will be making an appearance in Titsling this Saturday in Hollywood Hills! Read all about this amazing new musical comedy by AJProductions!

    Thursday, April 13, 2006

    I'm a cheater.

    I cheated. I’m posting to the world in an attempt at a karmic apology. Many of you may remember my BIG art project for the year. This project was to start on January 1, 2006. My project was to do a piece of art a day. Then I asked you, my kind readers to assist me with my project calculations so that each piece would be the same size and then become a part of a bigger piece representing everyday of 2006. I think you may know where this is going, but it is a bit more disheartening then you may think…

    Excuses starting here: January 1, 2006 approached with much anticipation. I ordered 31 small wood squares (4” x 4”) from Dick Blick adding in the additional cost for speedy and on-time delivery. The day before the project…no squares and I was to leave town for a work trip. I already had planned to take my project on the road but didn’t account for being squareless.

    Here is where my deviance reared its ugly head: I didn’t do a project on Day 1 or Day 2…waiting for the squares I thought, I’ll just do a bunch on they day they arrive. Day 3 arrives, squares arrive, but I was tired. They can wait for Day 4 as I will have time to crank them out and no one would be the wiser. Day 16…still nothing but the broad strokes of guilt. Maybe I could take a long weekend and just get an assembly line started and then stay true to the project’s description of doing a piece a day. I started sifting through old drawings and putting the wood squares over interesting parts of them, x-actoing them out…yet, I was too lazy to even glue them on the wooden squares!

    Then I thought, maybe I’ll wait until my birthday and begin the project then…May 31. So there you have it, I’ve come clean. You have my word I shall not cheat you again on my grand artistic endeavors. I will be true to all pre-described project guidelines. I will come clean on all failures and publicly note all deviations to said project. I will not try and sneak in any of the pre-cut drawings I made for the former back-dated project. Promise.

    My next project will start on May 31st and I will do a piece for each day of my birthday year.

    Sunday, March 26, 2006

    Hard Core Cafe, Sebastopol CA

    Hey man, Ron sent me (Hippy faker), Ron says, “Hey!”(Why can’t Ron say hey himself?), Ron told me this is where it is happening (totally lame), I’m Ron’s friend…he says, “Hello.” (So.), Ron told me this was one place I had to stop in at while I’m in town. (Shit, can I be the biggest dork here?)

    Searching for my inner coolness, I drop the rehearsed Ron intro and just order a 20 oz latte…clean and simple. I even dropped my normal “with two sweet-n-low” because I didn’t want to seem like a Starbuck’s weekday’r and a cool, hippie coffee café poser weekend'r.

    The Hard Core Café is located outside of Sebastopol, California on Highway 116. This little haven was a much needed Saturday stop after a soul-sucking week at the daily grind in Northern California where I display a fast, flexible and focused façade of feeling 100% fabulous!

    Each morning was a small respite to my day as I was greeted by Ron during my DoubleTree Hotel breakfast dining experience. I liked him instantly. He made goofy faces to the kids, had long wild hair tucked in the back of his shirt and instantly won my heart as he placed small bits of liberalism on a dainty hook to see if I would bite. Oh and I did! Sneaking secret squats next to my table we swapped stories. I find out a number of nuggets about Ron that keep me engaged throughout the week. Each morning he would ask, have you gone to Hard Core yet? I would reply maybe tomorrow. He said the morning is when you will hear the radical rants and hip-deep musings of the county’s best.

    I decided to stay an extra day to recover from my week. I had plans to hang out with a friend, but he dumped me (this would be the second and last time!) for another woman. I hop on down to see Ron before I go...he warns, you have until 11:00 am to go to Hard Core before you miss the “crowd.” He insists I tell them Ron sent me and that I seek out Jim or Turby for good conversation.

    So, there I am…parking at the much anticipated Hard Core Café! I knew it was going to be good when my first experience was a mini-honking war between me and a cute, bearded fellow. I accidentally honk as I’m getting out, he then honks, then I lock my car which gives a mini-honk, he honks again, then another guy warns me to watch it or I would start something…so I sassily beep my alarm and get the last honk in. He just smiles.

    So, I didn’t drop Ron’s name during my order, but I did plop down in the middle of some folks with my journal putting on my cool, calm and collected character of coolness. I browsed the paper, sipped my coffee in the eclectic outdoor café. Sitting on an old diner booth amongst a dental chair, a folding chair, a giant wooden spool all scattered under a plastic awning, I was surprised at the warmth of the people. I even had a gentleman from Chicago tell me he would post my bio there to hook me up with someone interesting.

    Although I didn't hear radical rants or find Jim or Turby, Ron was right, this was a place where anyone could have good conversation with open-minded people over a hot cup of joe.

    By the way Mr. Chicago, I'm 5'3", like folk music, artistic, love a bit of radical ranting and sometimes I like to get the last honk in.

    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    Kinkade Scandal!!

    As you all know, I so admire the painter of light, but it seems Tommy has been a very bad boy. Gutterboy has captured this titillating Kinkade news in his recent blog entry at his site:

    Very scandalous!

    Saturday, March 04, 2006

    Spurs optional.

    I know you have known it, but finally a study that proves artists really do make the best lovers! A new study plublished in Proceeding of the Royal Society says us artists are heatin' it up under the sheets. Oh yeah..., we are said to have a big appetite for the low down lovin' and we know how to rock the run-of-the-mill joe schmoe's world. I have my chaps. Do you feel like kickin' it? Yeeeeeeeehaw!

    Oh, they also said we also have genes linking us to schizophrenia.

    Well, I'm going to bed now...I have a headache.

    Friday, March 03, 2006

    Systems Thinking

    We are all part of a system whether it is a human system, a corporate system, a community system or art system. A system is defined by its function. As Dr. Russell Ackoff described in a recent seminar I attended, a system has three defining characteristics “1. A system is a whole defined by its function(s) in one or more larger systems of which it is a part. 2. Every system contains at least two essential parts without which it cannot perform its defining function. 3. Every essential part can affect the system as a whole, but the way an essential part affects the whole depends upon the behavior of at least one other essential part. This means no essential part of a system has an independent effect on it, at the same time, the essential parts all interact either directly or indirectly.” (Beating the System, R. Ackoff 2005)

    So, what does that mean to an artist? Well, as artists we do our work in the social system which means that when we create work, it is part of its own visual system that lives in our intellectual system that lives in our human system that makes our social system. So when doing work that effects a system is should have the following characteristics: 1. Be defined by its function. 2. Contain two essential parts. 3. The essential parts interact directly or indirectly with the system for which it is a part.

    As Russell said in his recent talk, a car is defined by its function. If you were to dismantle a car and lay out its parts in a room it is no longer a car. Each essential part depends on the other. The engine does not move unless it is connected to the other parts. This also goes to the point of improvement of systems. You have to think of the system’s function as a whole prior to making improvements. As Russell describes, you can’t take all the “best of” parts of a car to make the ultimate car. The parts don’t fit or work together. That goes for artwork. You couldn’t take all the “best” pieces of an artist’s masterpieces and fit them together to make the best masterpiece in the world. Sometimes, there has to be weaker or less dominant parts to a system to make it strong.

    When systems go sour or become self abusing, we need to start over. This is called Idealized Design. Every work we do should aspire to Idealized Design. That means that you clean your palette and start with a clean mind. I have found that my artistic ruts come from making a good piece of work. I get so enamored by a piece that works, then I try to duplicate it. However, my art system continues to change and how it works within the larger system changes, and those attempts of duplication always fail. I have yet to create something “good” from trying to take the “rolls Royce engine” from one piece of work and putting it in the “Toyota Camry” of another piece. It never fits and is a waste of a really good engine.

    Saturday, February 11, 2006

    Irvine Hilton Hotel

    Vignette 1 (1 of a 3)
    (Irvine Hilton Hotel Elevator)

    Woman 1: Thanks for holding the elevator! 5 please.
    Man 1: No problem.
    Woman 1: Thanks again...have a nice evening.
    Man 1: Inaudible response.

    Vignette 2 (2 of a 3)
    (Irvine Hilton Hotel Room 538)

    Woman 1: (Woman 1 struggles to pull in her black, laptop pull case with a large, black boxed brief case with combination locks balanced on top of the laptop case. On top of the black brief case she has her black make-up case. In the other hand she pushes her new, select-a-gift Christmas or rather holiday gift given yearly by her company, small black pull luggage through the heavy door of Room 538. She walks into the room and sets her purse and room key on the double bed located closest to the window. She carries her black make-up bag into the bathroom and unpacks her toothbrush and toothpaste. She uncovers the glassware’s white, paper lid and places her toothbrush in it. She lines up her moisturizer, small, zippered make-up bag, hairspray, dental floss, hair wax and zippered jewelry case. She places her razor and shaving cream in the shower. Takes the soap out of the small, white carton and places it next to the sink. Stripping down to her underwear, she throws her clothes in a pile under the sink. Walking into the bedroom, she picks up her luggage and places it on the bed next to her purse. Unzips it and takes out the clothes left on hangers and still in the dry-cleaning bag. She walks over to the mirrored closet, looks at herself up and down, frowns and opens the closet door. With one quick movement, she hangs up her clothes and leaves the door open. Moving around the bed located next to the closet, she pulls back the white comforter and tugs the sheet roughly from under each corner of the bed. She clumsily crawls into bed and sighs.)

    Vignette 3 (3 of a 3 )
    (Irvine Hilton Hotel Floor 5)

    Woman 1: (Walking into the hallway from room 538, sees man across the hall outside his door)
    Man 1: (Looking slightly confused, glancing to his left then right) Which way is the elevator?
    Woman 1: This way. (She smiles) A little disoriented?
    Man 1: No, just confused. Forgot where I was for a second.
    Woman 1: Stayed in one too many hotels?
    Man 1: No.

    Saturday, January 28, 2006

    Random Thoughts, Dreams and Musings While Hunkered in Bed with a Chest Cold

    Although I am not a fan of musicals, wouldn’t it be fun to go into work on Monday to my Corporate American job and have everyone working in musical style…breaking out into song during our 2006 Business Planning Meeting.

    My feet can do impressions and I think they are rather clever.

    I had a dream last night about having my body parts exchanged with others. I had from my belly button down exchanged with my friend Lisa’s lower half and my eyes were exchanged with someone I don’t know. I remember looking into the mirror and hating my new eyes. I looked down when my pants were off and realized I had man legs that needed to be shaved. I looked at the person who got my lower half and I felt sorry for them. My friend Lisa does not have man legs. I had 2 TBSP of Nyquil before bed.

    My cat snores.

    The one thing that makes me smile everyday before work is about 25 ft. from the office door. There is a family of cats that likes to use either side of the beginning of the walkway as a kitty litter box. Every morning when I see the meticulously scooped piles of poo I say, “KITTY POOPIEEEES!!!!” That makes me laugh.

    It takes approximately 20 minutes for my neighborhood dogs to stop barking once a police, fire truck or ambulance passes by. I estimate there are about 8 dogs relatively close to my bedroom window.

    I have already made three to-do lists today. I like drawing a little box next to each item so when I'm finished I can check it off. I always check beyond the lines of the box.

    I like to watch myself write. I especially enjoy writing a’s.

    Saturday, January 21, 2006

    Save me!

    Recently, I gave up my title as Gallery Director at The Empty Space so that I would have more time to devote to my own artwork. I have complete shows detailed in my mind of all my future projects and let me tell you they are grand!

    However, my new position at my paying gig in corporate America has decided to take up residence in my just cleared out, “reserved only for art” mental space. I was recently certified in the Kepner-Tregoe Problem Solving and Decision Making systematic process. I can teach a three-day class on PSDM or I can facilitate meetings to assist business units in making decisions or solving problems. I know, my “Art Speak” title tricked you didn’t it.

    As I sit here and type, I have a pile of magazines surrounding me: Harvard Business Review’s Special Issue on Decision Making, Harvard Business Review’s issue on Focused Thinking, Harvard Business Review’s issue on The Human Factor, Fast Company’s issue focusing on Netflix and Fast Company’s Issue focusing on Google. Along with this pile of magazines I have my business unit’s 2006 Business Plan, Strategies and Metrics along with my Diversity and Inclusion Council’s Business Plan and Structure outline.

    But guess what I did? Oh yeah, I rebelled and rebelled big. I purchased the newest issue of Art Review with a fascinating article on The Business of Art and Corporate Collections. Guess what I have been reading all afternoon. Yep, articles on art, art and more art! Oh, I’m a sneaky rebel, procrastinating, not so secretly typing about my rebellious procrastination on my work laptop that is to be used mainly for business purposes only, real-time Artist. Uh huh!

    So, what I was thinking was I could maybe write a business plan on improving my company’s art collection so it can create a congenial atmosphere reflecting a shift in cultural and professional values within our corporate world, increasing staff pride, creating a clearer corporate image with increased and differentiated brand awareness…OH MAN, I think this calls for a Decision Analysis!

    Sunday, January 01, 2006

    You asked for it.

    The Best of Art Speak, 2005:

    I am not Greg Brown's Stalker received much attention from what I now know are called "Brownies" (I love you guys, but you are FREAKS!) just kidding...not really. Also, some blogger referenced it as if I was some sorta freak...although I am not and NO, N.L. BelardASS you are wrong for saying I wrote it hoping that Greg Brown himself would read it and in return send me a little note or something saying he was charmed and the next time I come to his concert just come up and talk to him because he really actually found me to be totally adorable and cute and smart....anyway, next:

    I hate Thomas Kinkade got a lot of hits from people who really love Thomas Kinkade. I have received "Painter of Light" hate mail.

    I refuse to Ossify just made me sound sorta like smart ya know.

    Brewing Rant made me come off as gay which is OK.

    Your Arts in the Mail; Now THAT'S Funny! was just a show that was really the best damn show Bakersfield has ever seen! (Recently winning The Empty Award for the Best Damn Gallery Show of the Year!)

    A Farewell...

    Two years ago, I enthusiastically took on the challenge of Gallery Director and turning The Empty Space lobby into a professionally run gallery. That included sprucing up the paint job, begging for new floors, getting a whopping $50.00 budget for wine and vinyl lettering for each show, developing a much needed consignment agreement between artist and gallery, conducting a training day so any volunteer could sell art at the gallery, painting and patching after each show, developing new and exciting exhibit ideas, refining my press release writing abilities and generally drumming up enthusiasm in the local community for forward thinking, contemporary art exhibits.

    Some highlighted art exhibits included the Spirit Companion group show that invited artists to make a spirit doll, Women’s Work art exhibit highlighting women artist from California and Illinois, Exquisite Corpse group exhibit, and my favorite, You’re Arts in the Mail; Now THAT’S Funny! mail art exhibit.

    I’ll be honest; it wasn’t all fun and games. I had artists not showing up when scheduled (this happened a lot!), not putting the appropriate hanging wire on their work, not showing up for their opening, audience members complaining about the artwork being too disturbing, my $50 budget getting cut but me adding it to my personal budget, The Californian not putting our gallery opening in the Things To Do column in our local paper, improper lighting, music no-shows and last minute art show cancellations.

    Like all the volunteers at The Empty Space, I put in 10 – 20 hours or more a week working on the monthly art exhibits sometimes even more. All the heartache and sometimes growing bitterness wasn’t a waste. Nothing is better than having more people show up than expected, repeat gallery goers, artists selling their first piece and celebrating, hearing a thank you, helping build an emerging fine art collector’s collection, helping new artists increase their professionalism, meeting talented artists and making new friends, and having the personal fulfillment of curating some amazing art shows.

    With two years under my belt that equates to a MFA in curatorial studies, I bid The Empty Space farewell and pass the torch onto new blood with new enthusiasm and unique ideas for the gallery. I am thankful for a great two years as The Empty Space Gallery Director and Curator!