Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sketchy New Haven

While I wasn't blogging I was beginning more new projects, including getting involved in burlesque and starting a local branch of an international "burlesque life drawing event" called Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School

Once a month I round up my talented friends, think of a theme, ask a performer to model in a great costume, build a set, collect props, put together an atmospheric musical playlist, and invite artists to come draw for 3 hours at a bar while they drink and play art games. 

It's sort of a cross between a vaudeville show and a more developed Bad Art Night. I love doing these. I get to create small, still theatrical scenes that transform a rather rough bar into something surprisingly divine, and bring my friends from different circles together to show them off, and provide the initial spark for other artists who create amazing work and new collaborations with the people they meet at these sessions. 

People often arrive expecting to find something immoral, or obscene, or degrading to women, or generally "sketchy" because of the word "burlesque", but what they usually find is something sublime. I think it's extremely important to New Haven.

Some photos from the 7 Sketchy New Haven sessions I've had so far by various photographers including myself, Mike Franzman, Natalie Scarpelli, Jeremy Adametz, and Angie Chambers. Models are Dot Mitzvah, Kitty Katastrophe, Pam Terror, Stella Fawkes, Kiki Valentine, and Angie Chamberland. Many more on the Sketchy New Haven blog

Friday, February 26, 2010


Just finished "I am the one whom you have reflected upon" last night, sort of fitting for today's Illustration Friday theme, "Perspective". 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The title page for The Chiru of High Tibet, by Jacqueline Briggs Martin.

Monday, February 22, 2010

the presence of absence

I'm obsessed with fragmentation. The splitting apart of something whole, the dissemination of its pieces, the pieces becoming small wholes themselves, the contemplation of their unseen origins growing them into something new, and always carrying with them a sense of an absence of something bigger.

The 21 Stones project bothered some blog-readers because I never let the stone-finders in on what the sum was of all the parts, but the stones were about that absence. Because I'm pretty sure we ourselves are all separated pieces of a whole we can't fathom, but always sensing it and always longing to know it. We are dissatisfied creatures because of it. It's why we make art, and fall in love, and fly trapeze, and think of god, and all the other things that surpass our biological shells. All of us know, if we let ourselves, that there is more to this world, and more to ourselves than we can see with our eyes. We are disconnected, but always connected. Absence is the ever present body that stretches us to be able to do impossible things.  

I'm really into the olympics right now. Since the mono has forced me to stop my own fitness program for months now, I'm living vicariously through athletes on tv. I've never noticed how incredible bobsled and ski jumping were before. The olympic medals this year are all different from each other, no two are the same, and all were cut from a larger whole, a "master" art work of a whale. I think that is pretty awesome, even if they lack the mystery of the stones:  

The Vancouver 2010 medals are based on two large master artworks of an orca whale (Olympic) and raven (Paralympic) by Corrine Hunt, a Canadian designer/artist of Komoyue and Tlingit heritage based in Vancouver, BC. Canadian industrial designer and architect Omer Arbel, also of Vancouver, used his extensive knowledge of materials and fabrication processes to create the innovative undulating design of the medals, which are struck nine times each to achieve the distinctive look as part of the 30-step medal fabrication process. Each medal has a unique, hand-cropped section of the art, making it a one-of-a-kind treasure. A silk scarf printed with the master artwork will be presented to each medallist along with their medal, enabling them to see how their medal connects with those awarded to other athletes at the Games to make the whole design.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


I like this week's word at Illustration Friday. The propagation of chaos, perhaps. 

fresh hearts

Up on the heart blog, which was recently rescued from lost password oblivion and back up in operation.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

window wilderness

I was a bit early in planting some of these seeds, they are already all leafed out with no where to go, but I don't care. I love how much green there is in my studio now. I adopted a water bottle system from to expand the soil real estate, minus the water pump, (so far). Some ladybugs have moved in. The worms are getting to work. It's like a miniature state of Vermont next to my desk.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

prophetic art

There are many stories of artists whose art seemed to predict the future, sometimes even their own unusual deaths.

Michael Richards was working in his Twin Towers studio on a bronze sculpture of himself being pierced by planes like St. Sebastian when the plane hit his floor on 9/11.

Morgan Robertson, who in 1898 wrote a novel about the sinking of the biggest ship in the world after colliding with an iceberg on its way to New York called The Wreck of the Titan, died on the Titanic in 1912.

Joseph Campbell said that artists are the modern shamans. My mind is stuck on this as I resist the heavy pull of sleep despite sickness and all sensibility. What was Morgan Robertson thinking as he stepped on board the Titanic? Do artists sense the ripples of their future, or do they create it? 

Thursday, February 11, 2010


This book is finally done. I haven't yet counted how many years it took to finish, but a lot of life happened amongst these paintings, including the miraculous recovery of a broken hand, so despite everything I'm most proud of this book more than any. It'll be out in the fall, titled now The Chiru of High Tibet. The story is by the exquisite master of words, Jacqueline Briggs Martin, who also wrote The Water Gift

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


A pound of red wiggler worms from Rhode Island landed on my chilly porch yesterday, bound for a cozy new worm compost bin in my studio farm. The plan is it'll be easier for me to thin out the seedlings (always my most difficult task) if I can see them directly going to good use by the worms who are working to make some fine fertilizer for the farm. They looked listless and I feared they'd frozen on the porch, but one minute in the bin when I'd turned to get my camera they'd all disappeared under the soil. 

Meanwhile the beans are aiming to hit cloud base by next week, and the hearts are coming along a little more modestly. They'll be up for sale soon.

Monday, February 08, 2010


One of the ink and wood pieces I've been drawing in bed. The tomatoes and vines are growing fast.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

love blooms

It's not just plants growing in the studio, new hearts are growing too.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

growing spree

This morning:

This afternoon:

This evening:

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

a new (fluorescent) dawn

It's been a dark season. Metaphorically and literally. The former in a high number of challenges that came in 2009; the latter because I found myself for months unable to get out of bed much before noon, and as the days became shorter in early winter, and my few waking daylight hours were spent working deep in a basement, I wondered if I was in a self-perpetuating cycle of light-deprivation induced depression. But I also felt plain awful all the time with a series of alarming symptoms. It turned out I'd had mono for months. Mono? What?! I was prescribed sleep, which I was thankful for and took to heart, canceled all of my beloved projects, and stayed in bed 95% of the time for weeks.

I'm finally feeling a little like myself, and it's been strange learning to take my time with things again, like cooking, reading, drawing, and doing nothing at all. I started to remember the sort of life I had 20 or so years ago when I lived in a much quieter, slower place. I've started wanting to dig for those roots of me I left in the woods.

My mum gave me paperwhite bulbs which sprouted fast and with insistence. I succumbed and ordered seeds which I haven't done for years, and built a window farm with florescent lights which help the seeds, but also incidentally light my studio up like daylight in the evening, and this is good since I'm still waking up at noon and working in a basement. Plus the wet soil just smells so very good.

And by the way, I finally finished Chiru, and felt it was time to start the blog again. But more on that later. Right now, I'm wicked tired.