The holes

Most of the time, I feel pretty good about my brain: it is flexible, can even be quiet now and then when asked, enjoys playing with numbers, and does a great job keeping all the random things I want to remember well sorted.

Then there are days like today.

I was continuing to work on pulling the wooden silhouettes for my new pieces, laying them out on their matching tape (already on the canvas, under the paint).


Here is the church, here is the steeple.


Turn around the canvas, and here are all the people.


They’re neatly taped up in back so I don’t forget which people go with which painting.

So I’m working away, and it’s going well, but then I realize some people seem to be missing.


Can you see the tape silhouettes in there? If not, believe me, they are there. All of the pieces were missing one or two people.

And of course my brain helped me out by thinking through the process and immediately came up with the problem: I used the tape from previously cut people to create these. I then had the same batch of people recut, assuming I would have everything I needed to match them. But when these people get laser cut from basswood, they are always taped on BOTH sides.

So in this case, 1 + 1 = I am a big dodo with too few wooden silhouettes.

And this big dodo will now embark on organizing the vector art for all the people I need to have recut and getting them sent over to Pagoda, my friendly neighborhood laser cutting service.


On the bright side, I was excited to get some new containers this week, after assuring myself that it’s okay if I occasionally throw something away in the studio, like the plastic containers I’ve been reusing for over a year that are now leaving tiny specks of old paint in my new paint – argh.

Here are the little beauties.


I immediately put one to use mixing a new brown.


Including leaving my version of color bread crumbs: notes on how to remix this color.


I also got to use this.


No, I don’t really paint with Moose Juice! This is actually painting medium I found languishing in my storage closet when I cleaned it out this week, one of those tasks that I’ve been so handily avoiding since my daughter was born (thank you, brain).

The Moose Juice bottle was called into use because it is smaller and will help keep the medium from drying out now that I’m opening and closing it and letting more air into the sucker.

So paint, medium, action!


I feel like all of these canvas pieces are getting pretty close to being done.

For a little perspective, here’s this piece when it started.


And here are its wooden people.


For a break from arghing and painting, I got to say hi to the wonderful folks over at Root Division and pick up a recent project of theirs that I’m included in: a catalog of artists who’ve chosen not to get an MFA.


I had decided to put in this slightly older piece of mine, Twine.


And I was happy to find myself in quite good company in this catalog, with a number of artists I’m very familiar with and respect, like Carrie Lederer.

MFA Never is especially close to my heart because of my strong feelings against the current pressure for artists to get graduate degrees.

I have no problem with artists who get graduate degrees. In my opinion, if you want one and have the money, by all means go ahead. But the idea of them being required is just silly.

I will admit that at one time I felt this pressure myself and was lucky enough to have the head of graduate studies at CCA ask me these important questions: Are you working? (Yes.) Are you showing? (Yes.) Then you don’t need a master’s.

I agreed with him, and still do.

So this week, here’s to finding the holes in your thinking, whether it’s about wooden people or art degrees, and not being too hard on yourself when you find them. I’ll be over here, trying to do the same!

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