May 2005 archives

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May 29, 2005

poem: welcome home

by gl. at 11:35 pm

i wrote a poem yesterday to celebrate maya's birth. i thought of the first three lines as i was weeding the garden:

welcome home

for maya

everything is born in the dark
seedlings underground
heartbeats hidden in eggs and wombs
stars waiting for spark
but nothing will stay there for long
always pushing into the light
knowing dawn when it floods
the room and becomes heat
becomes life becomes

everything that happened
when you were born is true
even the impossible things
you don't have to see the sun
to know how a flower glows
to know a light breeze
will crack the petals
open, light spilling
like an invitation

...may 27, 2005...

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: writing

May 27, 2005

on word and art word

by gl. at 11:29 pm

oo! i'm going to exhibit four pieces in the "on word and art word" exhibit at gresham city hall in july! my calligraphy teacher introduced me to the guy who's hanging the show and he said yes! the pieces will be the four i still have framed: "aliya's tree," "blue fish," "tongue far from heart" and "a grace it had, devouring." of these, only "tongue far from heart" will not be for sale. not that i expect them to sell, but "tongue far from heart" is the first piece i executed from a late-night calligraphic epiphany, and it was my first insight into how the artist's way was finally working for me, so i consider it irreplaceable.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: artist's way, calligraphy, exhibits & events

mhcc calligraphy: class 8

by gl. at 11:20 pm

more on blackletter. i still really like it, but it seems too formal for most of the projects i want to make, like something for maya or the commission i'm currently doing for joanne. we also did some dry embossing (stars for me, of course!) & i got samples of silver & copper foil that i missed when i was sick.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy, classes & workshops

1000 monkeys w/ 1000 typewriter ribbons just make a tangled mess

by gl. at 12:33 am

an exciting day here at scarlet star studios: with some spurious disassembling, sven has managed to replace the typewriter ribbon for the old remington noiseless i have! well, i'm excited. and just in time for the cacophony party, too, if i want to go. but it's great just to get clear, legible letters out of it, and i got a dual-color ribbon, so i can get black and red out of it. oooooooo!

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: printing

May 26, 2005

reviewing the MAC space

by gl. at 1:01 pm

on tuesday i stopped by the MAC to turn in a tax form, receive my "entrance authorization" form (also known as a "nanny pass"), and review the activities room space for the summer, because i remembered it being tiny & long. good thing i looked again, because it turns out the space is huge! 17'x33'! so now the challenge has moved from "how will i fit 8 people in a circle?" to "how will i make the space a comfortable, inviting space?" seriously. linoleum tiles=easy cleanup, but doesn't make me want to sit on it.

because there is so much space, the movement exercises will go better, like the authentic dance and "find your mother like a baby penguin." but my plan to do blind painting may not work because there's a large radiator blocking direct access to the window-lined wall, and the other wall is cabinets & sink. i'm still working on a format that works for me, too: i don't really like just making it faster, nor do i like the "optional book"approach.

got a chance to meet the new activities director (the person who found me apparently left after her 90-day trial period), and got to say goodbye to jackie, who has been very, very supportive of this endeavor. she's amenable to the artist's way open studio, but probably can't do artist's way sacred circle because she's getting her master's in special ed.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: artist's way

May 21, 2005

mhcc calligraphy: class 7

by gl. at 2:51 pm

it rained so hard we got leaks yesterday. combine that with the monotonous strokes of blackletter, and it's like chinese water torture. :) actually, i like blackletter; it comes out of my fingers really easily and in a rhythm unmatched by any other hand.

it also turns out we were not doing spanish round gothic last time (though the handout said we were); instead, we were doing "rotunda," and this week we did spanish round gothic. the ironic part is that spanish round gothic is a "rounder" hand than rotunda.

during the last half of the class we carved stamps, the neat part of which was coloring them w/ crayola markers instead of using a stamp pad. in this case, it turns out the second impression is much more detailed and beautiful than the first one.

there's a calligraphy show july in gresham. the instructor has asked me to bring in some of my stuff next week to possibly submit. ee!

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy, classes & workshops, exhibits & events

May 17, 2005

artist's way open studio (may)

by gl. at 9:45 pm

just me & sven tonight, but we got some good collage out of it, and i even finally got a chance to practice rotunda (spanish round gothic). yum.

(click the picture to see the other art.)

the tiny text is a goreyism: "the Ulp is very very small/it hardly can be seen at all."

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: artist's way

mhcc calligraphy: class 6

by gl. at 4:59 pm

eep! almost forgot to write about the last calligraphy class! we covered versals, which i always love, (especially roman capital versals), and i smiled a little at the juxtaposition of using fluorescent gel pens to create ancient letterforms. we also began spanish round gothic, which also has a wide pen manipulation (from 30-90 degrees), but it's not as schizophrenic as rustics and really has a flow and density that's similar to uncials. i've been jonesing to practice it for the last few days.

we also got to go to the student art show. some very nice calligraphy books and pieces, but the work that really got me was a boxy installation covered with pine boughs, and the inside was red and lit and as huge as a giant's heart. two doorways were flanked with maroon velvet curtains and inside were golden buckets filled with inky blackness and a crack in the ceiling had text i don't remember peeking out.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy, classes & workshops, exhibits & events

masarie open house/create the world

by gl. at 4:03 pm

i already wrote about this on my other blog, but it was mixed in w/ star wars and this is an interesting enough event that it's worth mentioning here in case i ever get around to doing something about it here at the studio.

the "create the world" party was an "open house" of sorts, an all-day event in the raleigh hills area where we talked, ate, and drifted between mini sessions about things people were interested in, like wire-wrapped bracelets, non-violent communication, or ukranian cooking. not that it was as agenda-heavy as a conference, mind you; instead, it was a celebration of passions and discovery, complete with a game room, meditation room, a no talking/reading room, and a treehouse to explore. it's a format i find endearing and exciting, and probably the perfect place for a creative curious introvert like me to meet people.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: exhibits & events

May 13, 2005

LSGL setback: harddrive failure

by sven at 10:16 pm

On April 30th, the night after a black out, I discovered that my external hard drive "Hal 9000" -- the drive with three years worth of movie work on it -- was making grinding sounds.


Miraculously, though, everything was saved on the back up drive! So... The experience was merely horrifying, rather than spirit-crushing.

Today I picked up a replacement hard drive: a LaCie 200Gb D2 -- pretty much the exact same machine as before. Whether or not the old machine is ultimately salvagable is still an open question... But how could I ever really trust it again?

It'll still take a little while more to get the new drive up and running. I recently purchased a Uninterruptable Power Supply that I want to install first -- and then there's about 180Gb of data to download from the back up.

I think I have to admit it: the movie isn't going to get done for the Lovecraft Filmfest this year. My fall-back position: I'm going to try to get a teaser-trailer completed.

Sigh... I never thought this short, 15 minute film was going to take four years! I'm telling myself that it's OK -- that this year is really about getting the studio up and running. And that I want the movie to be the product of working at my own pace -- not killing myself to meet other people's deadlines.

I have to remind myself that when I started this project, I had just bought LightWave -- I've had to learn alot, and am still learning. It's unreasonable to expect a linear process and steady forward progress. The natural rhythm for projects like this is sporadic spurts: you run up against some sort of block, and it takes a week of the problem composting in the back of your mind before the solution suddenly comes to you.

Still. Four years...?

posted by sven | permalink | categories: let sleeping gods lie, movies

May 12, 2005

Portrait of Alison Dunfee

by sven at 7:03 pm

Last month I painted a portrait of Michael Hall for his birthday. His wife Alison liked it so much, she asked if she could have one too. How could I say no?

Michael passed two photos on to me, as possible references. The first:

first photo

And here's the second:

second photo

I liked Alison's expression in this second one -- but I needed to have a full shot of her head, like in the first. I wound up stitching the two images together in PhotoShop. The angles aren't a perfect match -- but I don't think anyone will ever really notice. Here's what the image looked like after posterizing and a lot of tweaking:


Alison and Michael liked the image at this stage. They gave me the go-ahead to do the painting.

...It took longer to do the actual painting of Alison than it did for Michael: 6 hours. This was largely due to the paint itself. I hadn't realized just how much different colors of acrylic can vary in terms of coverage, runniness, etc.!

Phthalo green is my mortal enemy. It's all gloppy -- whereas the white-ish color was pure joy, rolling off my brush. Phthalo also winds up looking like black, except in bright light. I might recommend that this painting be hung in a breakfast nook.


Since I wasn't doing this painting for a birthday, I got more of a chance to sit and look at it...

I think there's maybe a bit too much contrast in this one. If you put lightness/darkness on a five-point scale, then Michael's colors were 2, 3, & 4 -- whereas Alison's colors are 1, 3 & 5. Michael's is the more subtle of the two pieces.

I also sort of wish I'd compared the sizes of Michael's and Alisons faces in the source photographs more carefully -- so that the paintings would be a better match when hung side-by-side.

Oh well. Here's the finished piece framed:


As with Michael's portrait, the side rails are simply hot-glued onto the base. I used a better mitre-box this time... But figuring out how to get the perfect lengths for the sides of the frame is still eluding me.

Bottom line: More time-consuming than I'd expected, and there are minor details I can quibble about -- but all told, I'm pretty darned proud of this one. Half an hour from now I'll be at Michael & Alison's and I'll present it to them...

posted by sven | permalink | categories: painting

May 11, 2005

iprc: gocco printing

by gl. at 9:14 pm

tonight i went to iprc's gocco printing class. i've been interested in gocco printers since the summit scribes had a christmas card exchange and many of the fabulous ones had been printed with a gocco printer.

making a gocco print is like creating a cross between a silkscreen and a stamp, but also endearingly includes a tiny explosion: first you create a screen based on a photocopied image, then dab ink onto it, then squish the screen against the object of your desire. several times. you can get a heck of a lot of prints out of an inking. afterwards, it looks like this:

used gocco screen
a used gocco screen

gocco print
a gocco print: bronze ink on sage linen

i even saw someone do a photograph, and there were examples of printing directly onto a blank cd and paint swatches! so now i'm really intrigued and i'm glad to see dick blick carries them with a reasonable selection of accessory stuffs, as the workshop instructors said they were difficult to get and one had to be referred to "the gocco lady" to find one. think ink also looks like a good supplier, especially since they offer metallic inks, which i had fantastic results with. the fabric kit, which is really what makes the whole thing into a giant stamp, would be an essential add-on. of course, i'm looking at the b6 kits, not the huge b5 kits with the price tags to match. yikes.

one of the instructors was using the gocco to make flyers for her typewriter party may 29! god, i love portland. it will give me an incentive to get a new ribbon for the typewriter i got via freecycle....

[update may 12: that ribbon has been discontinued. i've just ordered this one. and i forgot to mention i left iprc a box of decorative border tape i got from chas when i picked up his letterpress. i can't imagine a better home for it.]

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: classes & workshops, printing

May 9, 2005

portland society of calligraphy: first meeting

by gl. at 10:33 pm

alas, the weather was bad and i was sad to have made the almost 2-hour round trip to watch a 1-hour long lloyd reynolds video. a youth group kept interrupting and giggling and running up the stairs and playing their thumpa-thumpa music below us (god, i'm old!). i'll become a member, but i'll wait to attend until there's a slightly more interesting program.

there were about 9 or 10 of us in the room. i met linda, who was attending her first meeting in 10 years. she was an active calligrapher and teacher and wants to get back into it now that her children are in college. the president seemed nice and she said she'd send me an application form; i got the impression things were in disarray when i called the first time and they're trying to smooth out the rough spots.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy

May 6, 2005

mhcc calligraphy: class 5

by gl. at 10:42 pm

i was sick! i didn't agonize over it too much because i have no interest in rustics, anyway, but it means i missed my chance to contribute to the student art show. meh.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy, classes & workshops

May 1, 2005

mhcc calligraphy: class 4

by gl. at 4:26 pm

we're beginning rustic letters, and i -hate- them. hate hate hate. they don't like me much, either. they're 7.5 penwidths tall and as awkward as a fawn learning to walk but not nearly as cute. it's got a steep angle and there's major pen manipulation involved, which in my opinion is an advanced topic.

however, i used sven's unbirthday card as my uncial project due last friday. the instructor liked it so much she asked me to participate in the student art show next month. she also spoke a little disparagingly about calligraphers who deliberately write illegibly. my most recent work w/ the soda pop pen falls into that category, so i wonder if she'll accept "tongue far from heart" or "a grace it had, devouring"?

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy, classes & workshops

a very merry unbirthday

by gl. at 4:13 pm

it's sven's unbirthday today, so i made a card for him:

sven's unbirthday card
(click the image for a larger version)

technical details: this is modern uncial done w/ a speedball c2 nib on a strathmore card. the counters were filled w/ watercolor pencil and a gold paint pen left the shiny raised dots this picture doesn't do justice. i left the pencil lines because sven finds them charming and i adore ephemera like that.

posted by gl. | permalink | categories: calligraphy