Kim’s Last Weekend

Medford Kim’s – a place glamorous and practical, exotic and so familiar, a place so many people carry special memories of, a place that has gotten more beautiful with age –  is being torn down, beginning Monday, Nov 10, 2014.  I’ve painted this spot twice before, and went out today to get make one last effort at documenting this place.

2014-11-07 14.21.36Kims Last Weekend

Kims Last Weekend

Kims Last Weekend  Kims Last Weekend

The demolition of this Southern Oregon landmark is a big deal here, so I even got a nice news piece – see it here.

I AM a Sensitive Artist

There is nothing as fun as making fun of artists. 🙂  But it’s like a brother – sister thing – it’s ONLY OK if you’re also an artist.  Or artsy enough to be deeply moved by art.

Distractions

I know so many new babies and babies that will soon be here and the last few months I’ve been going nuts making baby dresses.  Not the kind of creating I usually do, a great obsession for the evenings.  Here are just a few things for my new niece who will be born in about a month!

Green Bee Iris Dress
Green Bee Iris Dress
Green Bee Iris Tank with Oliver + S  Puppet Show Shorts
Green Bee Iris Tank with Oliver + S Puppet Show Shorts
Oliver + S Apple Picking Dress
Oliver + S Apple Picking Dress
Oliver + S - Apple Picking Dress
Oliver + S – Apple Picking Dress
Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress
Oliver + S Family Reunion Dress

The Pendulum Swings

At times all I do is spend time painting and working in my studio and resent ANY intrusion that pulls me away and at times I suffer guilt because I’m so lazy or distracted that I can’t get in there.

In the car and on walks these days I’m listening to Amy Chua’s Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which is about a Chinese American mother raising her girls to be musical prodigies in the US.  It’s very good, read by the author, and she conveys a nice mix of believing in the way she approaches parenthood and being aware of its’ insanity and pitfalls.  That book makes me want to drill and force my daughter to do better (she is an A student who sometimes gets B’s) and to have that kind of diligence as a painter myself.  Last night I watched A State of Mind – a British documentary about two girls preparing to take part in the Mass Games (watch this link, the picture in the background isn’t a huge jumbo tron, it’s thousands of people holding colored squares all changing in unison to create a huge moving image), a North Korean spectacle like nothing else on earth.  It’s about extreme hard work and sacrifice in order to make art.  You can almost forget that the government must have put as much effort into putting on a show for the filmmakers as it does in putting on the Mass Games, because the story about how hard these girls are working is so engrossing, their effort and sweetness is real, and yet while the story is moving you, we all know there is a horrifying side to North Korea.  The girls innocent and creepy worship of the Great Leader (or whatever they call him) is so strange and foreign and familiar that it serves as a mirror where we could see our own nation’s patriotic fervor.  But anyway, both of these stories are making  me commit to being more disciplined and yet what to I do next?  I wake up at ten am and lay in bed reading David Foster Wallace’s A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again.  Just now I was reading his essay on E Unibus Pluram television and U.S. fiction where he seems to be saying people should pay more attention to the 6 hours of television we watch a day, and the mood it’s creating within me is to just enjoy the ridiculous indulgence of being in my PJ’s at noon.

Perhaps I’m drawn to watching and reading things like these because as of Jan 1 I am going to draw and paint and teach full time.  I’m a little scared!  I’m scared it won’t work and I’m scared I won’t work hard enough!  I feel so undisciplined lately, but I’m hoping that’s because it’s the end of two weeks that have a lot of time off involved.

I’m sure as Don Draper says, “Everything is going to be fine.”

Way Back Machine

I’m  ALWAYS tempted to get rid of everything I’m not using RIGHT NOW, but I’m sure glad I can control that sometimes.  While moving my studio I ran across these little pieces of personal history.

We’ll begin at the beginning.  I’m pretty sure I drew this before I started school…?  It’s me and my dad feeding the sheep.

I don’t remember going to this circus.  I do remember Mrs. Jones and her wonderful handwriting – See the “Very Good”?  She was really a dream of a teacher.  I loved her.

I thought Jr. High would stop being embarrassing to me by age 35.  Nope.   This is from 8th grade, I think.  I don’t remember the teacher’s name, but I do remember thinking her glamorous – she had bleached blond hair with a hair style after all.  This project was a scratch board.  I think we used crayons to cover the paper, then painted it with india ink, let it dry and doodled away…

I’d forgotten about “ROY”  – it was the name on a bowling shirt my hoodlum friend Annemarie had?  It seemed so cool at the time to me.  Annemarie – what was the story there?

Fast forward to high school.  I don’t know where my school stuff went – much went to friends and family – thank goodness!  (I painted huge paintings during those years.  What a hassle to keep around!)  Anyway, I went over to take Life Drawing classes in the evenings at the local college (now SOU).  This shows the influence of both the teachers I studied with – Bob Alston always wanted us to sit down and look waaaaay up at the model who would be on a really tall pedestal.  Later I saw his paintings at an art show and they were all of sky scrapers seen from the street.  The other teacher was Jim Muhs who had a zen approach – he wanted us to be convinced our brush and ink were actually on the flesh of the model and would travel over and around it.  His paintings were large and distorted but interesting.

After high school I went to Pacific Northwest College of Art for two years, until I dropped out to have my dear little daughter.   I have many fond and embarrassing memories of college.  The embarrassing ones I blame on the fact that I was gearing up for a nervous breakdown.  Anyway – I imagine I’ll regret all this spillage – but the recent studio move and a friend’s addiction problem is causing me to drop normal barriers today.  Here are some Life Drawings – this one is of Ed C H King – another student at PNCA.  He, our friend Jacq and I modeled for each other to make up for some classes we missed.  Look up their art on the links I posted – they are fantastic.

Here are some quick sketches where the model came wearing some striped long underwear and Tom Fawkes, our teacher, asked her to keep them on so we could draw them.  I borrowed this exercise when teaching kids at the Ashland Academy of Art.

This whole post kind of started – in a round about fashion this morning when I saw that I had written “Notan” on a file folder on the kitchen counter.  I’m pretty sure that was something Steve LaRose told me to look up because something I’d done at Life Drawing recently reminded him of  or something ?  –  (why is my memory so bad?)  Anyway – I looked up Notan and then went to go organize the stacks of old art work I had to deal with when I ran across this – an exercise from like Design 101 or something – I guess this was a Notan exercise.  I think the teacher was Christy Wycoff.

So PNCA was big on printmaking – and during my last semester in school I made this wild thing – I was feeling exactly like this at that time.

And finally here is a self portrait I did at home – but during the time I was in college at PNCA,  I think it was right before I spun out of control.  It would be many, many years before I seriously took up painting again.  (Well, many years for someone who is 20.  Really I guess it was only 5 or 6.) I look like a boy in this piece – and that’s not the first or last time that my self portraits look masculine. weird.

Fast forward – This painting was something I made looking back at the time I’m referring to.  It’s supposed to be serious and sarcastic – painful and angry and funny.  It’s how it feels to know people are “worried” about you and how it feels to be grieving, how it felt to me to have embarrassing things get public.  Believe it or not, Judy Garland was an inspiration for this piece as well.  I painted this in like 2008 or something, not long after finishing four years in the Gulag.

OK!  Enough about me!  Share a memory or two in the comments.   Was adolescence embarrassing for you too?  And if you were there for some of the events above – please chime in.   oxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

PS – And the Gulag thing is a joke – and not as mean-spirited as it probably seems.  I learned a lot at that institution and I respect the instructor and classmates.  There was some unnecessary art-police brutality though.  That’s all.