A Slab of Beef and My Little Book

A humungous, over-sized replica of a piece of steak won the Grand Prize at the 3rd Annual National Juried Exhibition of the Art League of Northern California in Novato. This chunk of cow was amazing; it must have been about four feet by three feet in diameter, and it looked exactly like the meat I buy at Raley’s, from the fatty marbling down to the hand-drawn bar code on the label and the cellophane wrapping stretched over styrofoam with the blood pooling inside under the meat. It was displayed low to the ground on a pedestal and had a “Do Not Touch” sign placed in front of it. Good thing too, because I really wanted to feel what it was made of. I tried to get a closer look at the display label, but there were always people standing in front of it. I think it may have said “resin.”

I dragged my husband and my long-suffering son to the artists’ reception last Saturday night. We actually had to drive an hour and a half out of our way to get to Novato because we were going to visit my dad in Sacramento after the show. My son didn’t want to be going to his grandpa’s in the first place, so he was rather surly and unenthusiastic — you know, a typical mopey adolescent.

I had really talked myself into schmoozing while I was there. I was going to mingle with artists, network, bask in the glow of my art work. But it was not to be. The gallery was crowded, mostly noticeably by the front door where there were serving brie and fruit and other interesting tidbits. I tried to appease my son by directing him towards the free food, but that didn’t do much good.

Meanwhile, my husband and I snaked our way along the walls of the little gallery, looking at the art work. Some of it I loved – a huge oil painting of a woman in a sheik black mini-dress lying on the floor repairing a dishwasher really stood out. As did an assemblage piece made entirely of discarded radio tubes. There was a nice variety of types of art, from collage and ceramics to oils, watercolors, and photography. My piece was the only altered book or book art piece. It was in the back gallery on the wall across from the meat. It looked tiny and forlorn by comparison. And a couple little matchstick pieces had broken off from the top. Directly below my book was a painting (or was it a photograph?) of a dog in a funeral home. I liked the looks of that.

When we got to the back room where Fear was hanging I noticed two women pointing at it and talking. I wanted to get close to them so I could hear what they were saying, but the room was too small and crowded and noisy, and that sirloin was taking up so much room! I wondered if it would be kosher to walk up to them and say, “Hi, I’m the artist that made that. What do ya think?” But I was too chicken. So I waited until they left and Michael took a couple of pictures of me standing next to my pride and joy. Did I tell you before that my son picked out that one to enter? I let him choose the three of the six books in the Broken Doll series that I would submit because I couldn’t decide. He may be a surly teenager, but he is my absolute best source for truthfulness — no matter how the truth might hurt!

It’s hard to try to wheedle yourself into a conversation with strangers when you haven’t had a drink and your son and husband are hanging on your sleeve. It’s hard enough for me to engage in small talk even without those hindrances. So after making one and a half rounds again, (with one last look at my book to make sure it was still there) we left and headed up to Sacramento to see my dad.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Yesterday I woke up at 6:30 a.m., which is what time I usually wake up during my work week. I don’t like to sleep late on the weekends because I use my precious Saturdays and Sundays to cram in all those things that I’m too busy to do during the week days. My perfect daily schedule would be to wake up early, stay up late, and take a nap in the middle of the day when my batteries start to run low.

So I woke up early, had some coffee, and started cleaning. Saturday was laundry-dishes-floors-pay bills-general straighten-up the house day, all in preparation for SUNDAY!, the day that I’m determined to dedicate to working on one or more of the dozen altered book and collage ideas that are pressing on my brain.

I did take a couple hours off from my housekeeping duties to get down to the library book sale. Yippee! And I had a wonderful impromptu lunch out with a friend who was working there. I filled three bags with books and paid $19.50. What a bargain! Of course, these new books have given me even MORE IDEAS for things to create, so there I go again, making more trouble for myself.

On a sad note, I received an email from the woman who bought Anatomy of Paradise, and she’s having buyer’s remorse. Unfortunately, her dog got sick and she’s having to spend tons of money on vet bills and wants to return Paradise. She said she loved it, but can’t afford it right now. While I totally understand and am willing to take the book back, I can’t help but feeling disappointed that things turned out this way.

Now, off the computer and onto an artful Sunday!

Altered Books Take a Journey

I mailed out three altered books today. It was sad to see them go. I shipped two books to the show in San Luis Obispo, and Anatomy of Paradise to a new home in San Jose. I am hoping the kind woman who purchased the book enjoys it as much as I have.

I had never really given much thought to how I was going to ship one of my wall hangings, especially this one. With the Reliquaries, I just wrap them up in copious amounts of bubble wrap and everything is fine. I couldn’t do that with Paradise because there were so many fragile three dimensional elements. I was worried that the flowers and vines and other paper parts would get squashed. So I decided to surround the altered book with those styrofoam peanuts that everybody hates receiving. I placed the book inside the box and buried it in foam popcorn until it disappeared from site. I just hope that Anatomy of Paradise has a safe trip to San Jose.

Accepted! and Rejected!

Saraswati Reliquary

Well, I’m batting one for three so far. During August I had submitted entries to three juried shows. First I got rejected for the Book Arts show in Oregon. I was disappointed, of course. But then, about two weeks later, I got a call saying that two of my pieces, Saraswati :: Saraswati Reliquary and Contemporary Wall Sculpture :: The King’s Garden had been accepted for an for the San Luis Obispo Art Center. The artist reception is October 15 from 6-8, and the exhibit runs through November 13th. As you can imagine, I was thrilled to get accepted into my first show. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to package The King’s Garden and send it down there safely.

Wall Hangings :: The King's Garden

Having been accepted into that show softened the blow of the rejection letter I received the following week from the Roseville Art Gallery. They turned down my three Dia de los Muertos altered books.

Last time I wrote about being rejected for a show, I had so many nice people write to offer their encouragement and support. Thank you all so much for that.

I’m heading to Reno this weekend to watch the Grand Finale of the 2000 Supermoto Bike Series. It’s not exactly my first choice of events to attend, but my son and husband are into that, so I’m going along for the great seafood platter and ciopinno they have at the Atlantis Hotel where we’ll be staying. I’m not the gambling type, but if I can find a $1 blackjack table, I’ll play for hours. Do they still have such a thing??

Handmade Paper Sculpture :: Anatomy of Paradise

I haven’t been keeping up with the blog lately because I’ve been trying to tie up some lose ends on my web site. Wait!! Back-up. Erase that. I promised myself that I would never be one of those blog apologists. Sorry. I won’t do that again. . . Moving right along . . .

I have finally added three more book sculptures to my Wall Hangings Gallery. I am particulary proud of the one on this page: Handmade Paper Sculpture :: Anatomy of Paradise.

Wall Hangings :: Anatomy of Paradise

I started it right after school got out last June, but then my mother’s alzheimer’s suddenly got a lot worse, and I was spending two to three days every week driving to my parents’ house and helping out my father. Coming back home, I’d always have a ton of stuff to catch-up with, and not only that, I didn’t really have the energy to devote to this book. It languished on my table, taunting me to come back and get it finished. But I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Finally in August, with the summer slipping past, I was able to pull all the many pieces of this book together. Flowers, leaves, dragonflies, hummingbird, butterfly, tendrils and vines were blended together to grow out of the book. I’m so happy with the way it turned out. Unlike so many other pieces of art that I do, this one turned out just the way I envisioned it in my mind.