Thursday, September 29, 2011


I secretly think that dandelions are beautiful when they set seed- especially these ones because they are so big (I think they're actually Sow Thistles),  they're like dandelions on steroids, and their seeds are so perfectly defined, they filter the sunset light to nicely.

Here's an example of how big they are- which you can't quite tell in the above photos:

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday Inspiration: Cindy Sherman

Cindy Sherman, Untitled, 1990 (source)

Cindy Sherman, Film still #13, 1978 (source)

Cindy Sherman, (source)

Cindy Sherman, (source)
Cindy Sherman is a living artist, she was born in 1954- and is an inspiration to me- in that she eschewed 'high art' (the big well accepted mediums and styles- painting and sculpture) in favour of doing something that was slightly off the wall- at the time in the art world. I love the way she talks about her work- the way she allows it to stand on it's own, even to the point of leaving it untitled, which allows the viewer to decide what her message is. I think that's incredibly gutsy. These images are some of her tamer works- she has several other series that are much more graphic, much more explicitly dealing with 'feminist' issues if you get what I mean- they're interesting as well- worth checking out if that's your thing.

Her works are self portraits- photographs in which she plays a role- some of these above are famous paintings, and others are film stills, or stereotypical characters like socialites. I think it's a strong comment on the role of women as 'subject'- by making herself the subject what is she saying? Is it actually a self portrait if you're playing a role in the photo? It's also an interesting comment on the role permanency and medium in art- it's interesting to think about what the end result of the art is- when is it art- when she's done making the scene and the costuming is set- or when the final photo is developed? Is the photo itself the art? Or is it just a document of the installation, which is itself the actual art.

I love the details that she's created in the photos- and sort of wish that there was a gallery somewhere that housed her 'sets', I think they're incredible. I also love that she can lose herself so completely within the roles- that there's always a second that you're not sure if it's actually a photograph of her, and that even after you've seen hundreds of 'self portraits' you're still not quite sure what Cindy Sherman looks like.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Inadvertant Gnome

The weather has turned this past week and it is well and truly fall here now, I think that the nice days will be few and far between, so in an effort to ward off the cold I've started knitting, this hat knit up really quickly- and because I sort of made up the pattern as I went, it ended up with this surprising point at the top (I decreased too much, and kept knitting when I should have just. stopped.) at first I thought I'd have to take it back, but after trying it on her I thought it looked so cute, and the addition of a pom pom, just made it so gnome/ 50's martian, that I decided to keep it.

I may possibly knit her another more decorous winter hat- we'll see, for know the gnome hat has just enough whimsy to keep it on her head- sometimes indoors, which is great because I refuse to turn the heat on in September, so it's a bit chilly at our place right now. Both K and I are lusting after a wood stove right about now, I think that may pass when we turn the heat on- but you never know- the idea of a fireplace is an appealing one- especially when the cold weather starts in September and lasts till May.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Monday Inspiration: Meret Oppenheim

Meret Oppenheim, Fur Covered Object, 1936 (source)

Meret Oppenheim, My Nurse, 1936 (source)
I'm not a fan of surrealism, generally speaking. I find it overly masculine, and somewhat simplistic, and it just doesn't meet up with my values regarding art. The emphasis is wrong for me- I like to focus on the craft of making an object, the skill required to make that object, or the love of material, and that's just not the main aim of surrealism. Perhaps it's just that in the photo shopped world we live in, I find that surrealism loses it's point, when magazines are surreal impressions of women and life do surrealist works really have any impact?

These works are the exception, they appeal to me because of their obvious female vantage point, and the referencing of female sexuality by a woman artist. I think the objects themselves are beautiful, the materials are carefully chosen and worked, the finished pieces have a carefully considered constructed feel to them, and I like that in art. They appeal to the senses as well the eyes- and they seem to be urging you to touch them. That tactile quality is rare in art. Meret Oppenheim was one of the first artists to make work that provokes that sort of physical response as well as a subconscious thought, as part of it's raison d'etre. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The harvest

Sunshine squash

Butternut squash

This produce is hanging out in the sun porch right now- it's a good spot for it all to ripen up, and cure before going down to the cellar or freezer, or sauce pot. The amount of food in there is amazing, and it's not even all of it- lots of things are already in the freezer- or still out in the garden braving the cooler temperatures. The tomatoes are ripening up fast and furious now- so I've been making sauce and soup, and yesterday I slow roasted some cherry tomatoes, and they are the tastiest things I've ever eaten, and so simple. I don't know if store bought tomatoes would be as tasty- but these ones have us drooling, I can't wait for them to ripen up and get into some salsa!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


An early hard frost came last night- and is supposed to hang around for a couple of nights, so we were on full time harvest mode, all the large green tomatoes came off (we're estimating close to 1000 tomatoes!), the sunshine squash and the butternut squash also came off,  because I couldn't find any info on whether they'd survive the frost- and apparently they'll ripen fine off the vine, same as tomatoes. The large zucchini got pulled, and man were they large, and the patty pan squash got covered up, some of them with the pulled zucchini plants (is there an end to that plant's usefulness?). We pulled the basil, harvested the beans, and cucumbers, and the meager supply of tiny eggplants.

We covered a few things- peppers, and cherry tomatoes, watermelon, and one cucumber vine, and there is nothing like trying to fit a king sized sheet over a patch of Cherry tomatoes to give you a sense of scale. It's really amazing how small things look out in the garden and then you bring something huge from the house out there- and it's completely dwarfed by the tomato plant (note to future self- prune tomatoes early- like before they try to stage an uprising).

Anyhow- fall is in the air here- and in the sniffly nose- and I guess that means summer is trying to end- though it's supposed to be 29 degrees (Celsius) on Sunday- so maybe my watermelon will ripen after all.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Monday Inspiration: Jasper Johns

Jasper Johns, White Flag, 1955, encaustic, newsprint, and charcoal over canvas (source)

Jasper Johns, Numbers in Colour, 1958-59, (source)

Jasper Johns, Green target, 1955, encuastic and newsprint over canvas, (source)
I was going to post about Frank Stella this week- his simple clean edges are much more in line with what I'm working on right now- (a simple illustrative painting intended for N), but I couldn't get into his work right now- and I googled Jasper Johns, and I was suddenly taken with that work instead. I've always loved Jasper Johns (it's a great name for a start- very artsy), I think his work is daring, and strong, and witty. I think it appeals to me right now because he manages to combine such a painterly surface with clean lines- or suggestions of clean lines.

I love the way he uses symbols in his work- the way he lets your mind fill in the blanks- despite a monochrome colour scheme- we still know what symbol he's manipulating- it's like he's hiding things in plain sight, and somehow by manipulating these symbols (that we frequently revere- whether consciously or not) his art seems more playful, and yet serious- full of contrasts. I love how his art is really seriously and heavily worked- without seeming to get any tighter, so that it still seems effortless. I actually feel a little silly saying that I love this art, because Jasper Johns works are so confidant and so effortlessly true, I don't know how anyone could not love them.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Still here

Nana and the babe, prepping dill and garlic for pickles
I'm painfully aware that I haven't posted in a while- with very little excuse- except that we've been soaking up the last few visits of the summer- with my mom, and sisters, and cousins, and aunts, and it's been delightful- but busy. We've been dealing with what seems like a few hundered zucchini, and pattypan squash ( we inadvertantly fed my mom summer squash at every meal- I only realized it upon her reaction to seeing what I planned for desert one night- Chocolate Zucchini Cake! oh, we laughed till we cried), and eating ripe tomatoes, and making pickles.

I'll be back with a few more regular posts next week- and I'm going to be making some changes to the blog too- adding a few pages here and there, about my own art, so keep tuned, and enjoy the last month of warmth!