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Saturday, April 25, 2009

How can it be

How can it be that I spend so much time making art these days and I post so infrequently anymore? Dunno, but I'm glad you're here.

So for my illustration class, we had to make an illo and page layout for a magazine article. I picked an interview with Springsteen, and tried a few of different drawing styles, including the one you see here -- sort of. After I discarded it as not quite ideal for the story, I played with it in Photoshop. So here it is in posterized form. Kinda fun.
I'd love to show you the final layout, but the color in the illustration goes absolutely haywire when I upload it for some reason, so you can't begin to get an idea of what it really looks like.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Speaking of fun ...

For my 3-dimensional design class, I had to design and make an object that could be a permanent or temporary home for a living thing. Voila, the Storybook Arbor Apron. Yes, this is very "art school," by which I mean an object that isn't likely to be found in the real world. Still, I had a blast making it.

I started with the concept of the body as a trellis for a Concord grape plant, then played with the notion of kids and grapes and magical vines. I rewrote "Jack in the Beanstalk" as a story about "Jill and the Grapevine," a tale in which the heroine outwits the villain by getting him to climb the vine then trapping him in the clouds. Then I gessoed/dyed the fabric, hand-wrote the story on two sides (the one not pictured is in a nice grapey purple, as you see in the detail shot up top), engineered a pocket to hold the actual grape plant, which ties to the body while you're wearing it, and embroidered certain letters for emphasis (again, the detail shot), such as in an illuminated manuscript. I sewed the whole darn thing together (which involved getting reacquainted with my sewing machine) and then made a pamphlet that explains the project, talks about Concord grape history and care, and tucks neatly into one of the illustrated pockets on the flip side of the apron.

I conceived the thing as a kind of elaborate prop for a children's story hour.
Whatcha think?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Strangely familiar

If some of these images look strangely familiar -- yet not -- it isn't your imagination. Drawing class this week included a homework assignment that involved collaging old sketchbook images into something new. It was a lot of fun -- which probably means I didn't do it right.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Get over it, already!

These drawings, humble as they are (and they are), took me a while to get down in my sketchbook. I actually started it on April Fool's Day, then other obligations got in the way and, well, this sort of thing just takes me a while.

Anyway, you can read the story better by clicking on the images. Do your best to ignore the pencil marks I couldn't erase, and to admire the ones I intend to be there.

This was my attempt at exorcising an old, dumb demon.
We all have these stories we carry around about our parents -- slights, mistakes, things they did wrong or should have done but didn't. They can be hard to let go. What you find when your own kids get old enough to start talking about the past is that the things that make an impression a child can be staggering to the parent. My kids tell me about things I said and did and I think, "Geez, what an ogre I was," while at the same time having NO RECOLLECTION OF SAYING OR DOING THAT THING.

So now comes this story of my father -- a story I have told people through the years as a way of explaining my disdain for practical jokes, which I think tend to be meanspirited at their core. And, truth be told, I felt I could get vengeance for the-kid-that-was-me if I told the story to other people.

It is true that many decades ago, Dad played a really ill-considered practical joke on me. It is also true that I wore my survivor's story as if it were some badge of honor.

What's honorable is forgiving your parents as you would wish to be forgiven. Maybe that's not even honorable. Maybe it's just a different kind of survival tactic.

In any case, it is easier to forgive people after they've died. In this case, it has taken, oh, 10 years for me to sort of look at myself in the victim role here, and say, "Uh, Karen ... you might wanna retire that story."

So here it is, my last telling of the story. Well, at least my last telling in this context. Maybe it will become a new kind of story. I tell it in the spirit of exorcising the demon one last time and of saying, "Dad, that was a really dumb thing you did. But no dumber than anything I've done or will do. So I'm sorry I've trafficked in this story, and I know you would be sorry for this if you could be."
(At least I think so.)

By the way, this doesn't change my view on practical jokes. Check your motives in the mirror before you step out with that far-out story you're about to pull on someone, that's what I say.