Thursday, September 28, 2006

Would you buy this house?

We drove by it this afternoon (out of curiosity and since it was on our way to Glendale...) and I honestly can't believe the housing market prices in this area.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

I just wanted to post a quickie note here...whoever it was that helped us to find the students that we needed to fulfill 4th and 5th grade enrollment at Tristan's school, I wanted to throw out my arms wide and say "THANK YOU!!" We get to keep Tristan's teacher (YAY!!!) and no one gets moved around in complete disarray. So HUGE HUGE thanks because I was told it was because of blogging that we fulfilled enrollment. YAY THANK YOU!!!

Here are some journal pages...the "follow your heart" page is brand new-the first in a new journal I started yesterday.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Almost all of my Fall Samples (Oct-Dec) are in the stores now! The Art Bar will have their samples this Saturday as I'll be there teaching my Graffito Book. These little books are my Funky Chunky Book Samples. YES you will be painting all the pages in this class ;) Then we bind them into this cute little book that's the perfect size for throwing in your bag on the go!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Still am feeling under the weather. The "sick/cold" part of it seems to be diminishing, if only I could get rid of my sinus headache or whatever the hell it is you call it. ARGH.

I finished reading Che's The Motorcycle Diaries last night. It was hard putting it down. I really enjoyed it...what a fascinating read knowing that this trip was setting the stage for his future. I am hoping to find his Self Portraits book in my travels amongst L.A. bookstores (read: Used bookstores). Am also hoping to read:
Can you believe that the LA Public Library doesn't have Che's Self Portraits book?

Tristan has to write a report for "National Hispanic Month". They gave him a list of "notable" Latinos. OMG. The list is crazy-what says it all is that Christina Aguilera starts the list. Oh Come On Now. So I asked him instead of using someone on the list how about Frida? How about Diego? (He said no to Diego solely because "that's the lame character from Dora The Explorer, that baby show"...LOL. I showed him the REAL Diego). How about Basquiat? How about Che Guevara? Amazingly, he said yes to Che so now we have to track down some books that HE can read and use to write his one page report.

"Let's be realists, let's dream the impossible." Che Guevara

Sunday, September 24, 2006

These are some of the things that I made for Tejae, in exchange for a beautiful polymer clay nesting heart she made just for me! Her work is just totally amazing and unlike anything I have ever seen with clay-I love it!!

and still sick
Tristan has had it for a week. David and I have had it since Tuesday night.
We are all sick of being sick.
I have been in my PJs since Friday afternoon.

What have I accomplished? Ummmm not all that much. What do I need to do? A ton, of course!

I took Tristan to school Wed & Thurs even though I felt crappy, David was even worse and he never gets sick!! We are all slowly getting better.

Found out Wed afternoon that due to some stupid bureaucracy in CA schools, that Tristan may lose his teacher!! They are planning on dispersing his class (which has 29 or 33 kids in it-I forget exactly how many) because HIS teacher is brand new and low on senority at the school. So they will take those kids and disperse them to 2 other 4 grade classes AND then they will make a 4th/5th grade split by taking 15 5th graders out of their class and moving those 5th graders into other classes...and putting 15 4th graders into that 5th grade class. And Tristan's wonderful new teacher will lose her job.

They have until October 4th to find two new 5th graders. We managed to find one 4th grader. They are desperately in need of 2 5th graders. We spent Thursday at LAUSD offices speaking to them there and they were wonderful and ready to help. What angers and annoys the parents is that the principal (who is usually wonderful) is beyond speaking to and she wanted to move the classes around on Friday...and if they found more kids, then move it back the way it was.

The stupid thing is, we only need to find the two kids and keep them in our school until October 4th. After that date they can go back to whatever school they want. Isn't that crazy???

Any ways, anyone know any 5th graders in search of a great school in the L.A./West Hollywood area? If so, email me...We're trying our damndest to save all of those kids from being moved into even MORE overcrowded classrooms.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

(No photo today *yet* blogger doesn't want me to post pix at the moment...) but I want to post this right now:

Here's my question I'm throwing out to the Universe-

What's going on? Seriously. As far as art goes-What are you doing? What are you thinking right now? What are you working on? What are you interested in?

I'm asking because I'm really interested. I'm also starting to wonder and ponder. Local classes, out of state classes, art classes in general are on a roller coaster ride of sign ups. One moment you might have no one, the next you'll have a full class. The local stores aren't doing very well at all not just with classes but with business.

What happened to everyone?

Are you not interested? Are you buying online? Are you buying at the mass chain stores? Are you not buying anything at all?

Are you not taking classes because of the big retreats? Are you not taking classes because maybe you feel "There is nothing new to learn" (c'mon, you know that isn't true... ;) )?

What's up?

We're on the verge of not just losing one store but losing them all if this doesn't pick up. I hate to say that, if that happens, I don't know what will happen. Where will we have classes? Where will we buy our stuff? Where will be able to find like minded souls to share with?

I can go on and on and really rant about this, but I won't. I'm throwing this question out 'cause I want to know. I need to know.

What is going on in your art world right now?

Monday, September 18, 2006

This is one of my Avant Garde Journal books. I taught it yesterday at Paper Post in Agoura Hills.

It's one of my most favorite books I have ever made. It's also one of my students' favorites, right Lou Ann? Lou Ann has taken the class 3 x now. She's also shared her journals that she made in my classes-it is always amazing for me to see the "before and after". Afterwards, the journal
is her.

It's always fascinating to me that people can create something in a class, take it home and make it them. It's why I teach. I want everyone to realize that they are creative, they are artists. Everyone has a talent that is unique to them. You need to find that talent and nurture it.

Friday, September 15, 2006

here's some photos of my "Layered and Textured" Journal. I love the tactileness of this book.

It's one of the classes I'll be teaching at Stampers Warehouse in Danville, CA in November.

I've been busy the last couple of days drastically cleaning, revamping and changing my art area aka living room. How can 3 people gather so much "stuff" in such a short period of time. Since I wasn't home much this summer this apartment has become a pit, so I'm on a cleaning spree.

I'm also getting ready to go to Frenzy Stamper in Scottsdale, AZ AND the Stamp Act in Marshfield, MA to teach in October.

Also have several new classes in the works....more to come shortly...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

"do something. Start by saying something" Suheir Hammad

David and I watched an amazing documentary last night, The Fourth World War by Big Noise Films. It probably is one of the most powerful films I have seen in a long time, amazing that we were able to see it at all. It is powerful poetry in motion. It moves you. It shakes you. It enrages you. It makes you want to act, to speak out, to do something. It speaks volumes in a world, in a time, when so many in this country are silent.

Another website for the day:

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I've spent most of the morning (between loads of laundry, cooking and cleaning) getting my schedule ready for the rest of this year. It's the *tentative* schedule for the rest of this year. A few of the week day classes may change...I will post it on ArtgangLA later today, I hope. I also hope to have it on my website asap.

Anyone get the new Bob Dylan album yet? I love what I've heard so far...Diana (used to be NH now in Jersey) if you are out Dylan girl you, drop me a note so I know that you are ok...

Monday, September 11, 2006

Five Years Later...We Want the

Global Dimming

Have you heard of it? I hadn't either until last night. David and I watched a BBC documentary specifically about Global Dimming. Global dimming is the decrease in the sun's light reaching the Earth over the last few decades. This can be attributed to air pollution. The pollution reflects the sun's light back into space. What this means, in a nutshell, is that we are not fully aware of the real strength of Global Warming.

Global dimming is masking the true power of global warming.

We can't fix global dimming without fixing global warming at the same time.

Haven't heard of global dimming? Go look it up. Watch the BBC documentary. Also, PBS' Nova series also has a documentary. I haven't seen it yet.

This isn't meant to scare anyone (though it shocked the hell out of me), but please pass the info along. The more people that are aware of this problem, the faster we can start to change how we live.

And we need to change how we live, desperately and now.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My friend, Sarah, sent me this link tonight.
Erin is doing some of the most amazing, AMAZING mixed media work I have ever seen.
Thank you Sarah for totally making my day!
Check out Erin Currier.

More new journal pages coming soon...have been working to get ready for a new class this Saturday at Violets in Ventura...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bernie Berlin & A Place to Bark-They Need You!

From Bernie's Blog:

This is the official call for art for A Place To Bark's Artists Unleashed Auction.

An Artful Fusion of Hearts & Hands working together to benefit animals in need.
This auction will benefit A Place To Bark Animal Rescue.

The numbers of animals I take in every year continues to grow and so, a shelter & funding is needed to help foster the animals and keep our rescue alive. We have 20 acres here and plenty of room to build.
Since moving to Tennessee in December of 2005, we have taken in, fostered, transported and found new homes for over 100 animals. We will continue doing as much as we can, but cannot do it alone.
Our euthanasia rate in the area I live, is 95 to 98 percent. Animals being put to sleep every 3 to 5 days.
Lives needlessly wasted.
By coming together and sharing our gifts of art, you will help animals in need and save lives.
Together we can do great things!!!
Artwork does not have to be professional, we ask all levels of artistic talent donate, kids too!!!
Everyone can contribute in one way or another..
Help spread the word to others..
I hope you'll join in and help me, help the animals...

Specifics to donate art:
Please send your art to:
Bernie Berlin
c/o "A Place To Bark"
375 N. Jones Road
Portland, Tennessee 37148
(414) 732-3211

Art due date: October 25th
Enclose your name, address & e-mail & value of artwork.
I will then send you a receipt for your donation that you can use for a tax deduction.
All my paperwork for prior & current donations will be done by the end of the year.

The art auction will be advertised in the next Winter issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine.
Please look for it on the newsstand soon!!
The dates for the Auction will be: November 5-15, 2006.
Our auction will be done via E-bay so that no matter where you are you can bid on the art.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First Day of 4th Grade Jitters
I remember those days
not only was it "4th grade" but it was a new school! It was my first year at a private Catholic school. I loved my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Thomas. We called her "Mrs. T" The principal went nuts when we did that. She was a small woman with curly hair and a big smile. She always had this huge jar of goldfish on her desk.
Tristan's teacher also looks like a "Mrs. T", a happy smile. He was nervous since he was hoping he would get Mrs. Kennar as his teacher (she was his kindergarten teacher and he loved her!) Seeing other friends and the warm smile of his teacher eased his mind, I hope.
Hopefully we'll both be able to make it through the first day Tristan is the only one looking at the camera in the first shot smiling (He asked if he could wear his Patrick "Never question a genius" shirt the first day *sigh*)

Monday, September 04, 2006

I've been keeping a journal for 23 years now-since I was 8.

I read a post recently, someone who was commenting on a class that they took with me, and it really bothered me. First off, the posting was negative (not only about the class-but that doesn't bother me as everyone else seemed to love the class) but about the students, the attitude of the students and my attitude as an instructor.

First off, I've never considered what I do to be either "arts and crafts" or "scrapbooking". NOW, before y'all get defensive on me, let me explain. "Scrapbooking" (in my small opinion) is a wonderful way to document your life for yourself and those around you-leaving behind precious albums and memories. "Arts and crafts"-well there are a few different definitions of arts and crafts-there are artists and craftsmen (and women) who refine and perfect the glorious work that they do and devote their lives to it, then there are "arts and crafts" -fun things to do that keep us busy, and then there are "arts & crafts" -insert your own definition here. ALL of it has a place. ALL of it is "worth" something-something very "high and important".

but* when it is spoken very derogatively and negatively, then I need to adress something here.

I do not consider myself a "scrapbooker" or a "crafter". This is not something that *I* do for anyone else BUT ME. I do not document my day to day life. I do not document anything for anyone but me (that being said, Tristan, when your Mom's gone, she wants you to take damn good care of these journals that she's devoted so much of her life to). I am not a "crafter". I do not do this on weekends or from time to time. I do this daily, simply, because I "have to". I get all twitchy and anxious if I can't do art. I get bitchy and grumpy if I can't work in my journals. My journals are for ME. My journals saved me.

They are my place to "throw paint around" and "smear paint". They are my place to collage. They are my place to pour out my soul. They are my place to bitch about my life, the world around me and oh, so much more. They are my place to love and treasure my life. They are MY place to be ME.

I have been teaching art journaling, mixed media, collage, bookbinding and oh so much more for 9 years now. There are some students who take my classes wanting the comeraderie of those around them, there are some students that want to learn something new, there are some students that want to make a gift for someone or for themselves, etc... etc... etc... I love ALL of my students. The simple fact that you are there means that you are interested in something about the class. What I love even more so about my students is that most of them take the class, take the ideas, and go home and do something with them. THIS is where they "perfect" what they learned in class-THIS is where they find themselves. They take their books and their glorious backgrounds (and in all honesty, I don't consider what I am teaching you guys to be "just backgrounds" these are techniques that you can use in ANY kind of art and they can be "foregrounds" to. They
*can* be the work of art if you want them to be!)

I love it when a student has brought me back work that they have done in classes (like Judy S., Darcy, Mary Ellen, and so many of you) and you proudly say "LOOK WHAT I DID!" The fact that you TOOK THE CLASS, TOOK THE IDEAS, WENT HOME AND WORKED ON THE DAMN THING AND MADE IT YOUR OWN!!! THIS is what I want you to understand.
This is why I teach.

are extremely talented. I figured I needed to address this post in the open. I am not a crafter. I am not a scrapbooker. I do not teaching "Scrapbooking". I do not teach something called "Please your eye and whatever goes". I teach art. I teach painting techniques. I teach mixed media techniques. I teach collage. I teach bookbinding. I teach art journaling. Most importantly, I am trying to teach YOU how to find your artist, she (he) that is buried deep down inside.

Go smear some paint and have fun with it. Damnit.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ramblings on the
"Create, make a mess, paint the page, just do it and have no worries mentality"

Why would an artist want to think like that? Why would someone want to take a class and have the instructor tell them that?
Most people are paralyzed over the fear of "screwing up" or "not being able to do it right" or having their work "not look like 'insert Artist X here'".

Here are a few things I've learned over the years-

A. You can't screw it up. You can't mess it up. No matter HOW hard you try. It's paint. It's paper. You can let the paint dry and paint right over it. Remember-layer, baby, layer! Seriously, most people are afraid to even dive in and get their fingers messy and dirty. You can't be afraid. YOU WILL NOT MESS IT UP. I stress keeping an art journal. The more you are able to play in it, the more will come from what you learn by experimenting. Take classes-learn not only from the instructor, but from those around you in the class and from your own personal experiences. Take the class. Learn some new ideas and then take the ideas and see what you can do with them.

B. Most people compare their work to "Famous Person Artist X". Ok, in all honesty, you do not want to be, nor do you want your art to be looking like it was created by "famous person artist X", you want it to look like YOU did it. Make an art journal. Hell, don't even call it an art journal if that freaks you out, call it a play book. PLAY in the damn thing. Explore color, line, texure, composition, just PLAY. From playing, from creating, from finding the direction you want to take, the floodgates will open. But you have to PLAY. You can NOT compare what you do EVER with anyone else's work. You want your work to look like you made it. I cringe -utterly cringe- when my work is compared to someone else's. I have worked very hard to develop my own style and my own way of doing things. I don't want my work to look like "Famous Person Artist X", even if that person was Da Vinci! I want MY work to look like I made it. Remember, most of the stuff you see in the magazines and books has been tweaked-it is MADE FOR PUBLICATION. (not all of it, but most of it). Remember, true art journals are made FOR YOU, and you alone.

As an artist and an instructor, I work very hard so that you do learn new things in the classes, not only new techniques and new ideas but confidence. I hope that you will learn and understand that you *can* do it. You need to find that confidence that is deep down and buried inside yourself. Kick that inner art critic in the rear end and realize that you CAN do it. Just think of yourself as an art explorer...

Any ways, I'm rambling here but the thoughts have been going through my head over the years. Please take the classes-learn the ideas, share your ideas, PLAY, explore and experiment, but then go home and see what YOU can come up with. Push yourself. You *can* do it. Remember-everyone is an artist. Everyone has a unique way of doing something that no one else can do.

Now pull out that journal and go make a mess.