New work coming soon

I've been working on several new small drawings, about the size of Tarot cards. Themes include Persephone, tango, and the Totentanz or Danse Macabre. Still have a way to go on the last one, but I hope to have them up this weekend.

In the meantime, while researching I found this wonderful illustration:


Otto Dix at the Neue Galarie

Thanks to the heads up from Ancient Industries, one of my favorite blogs, I was alerted to the Neue Galarie's exhibition of the works of Otto Dix (one of my favorite 20th century German artists, along with Max Beckmann).

I love this Portrait of the Journalist Sylvia von Harden. She looks modern in a very louche sort of way:

And look at the way Dix painted hands!

Portrait of the Lawyer Hugo Simons, 1926

Dix looked to earlier Northern painters for inspiration and you can really see the influence of artists such as Lucas Cranach and the Flemish painter Rogier van der Wyden:

 Lucas Cranach, Judith with the Head of Holofernes, oil on wood, 1530 (link here)

Rogier van der Weyden, detail, Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin, circa 1435, oil and tempera on panel (link here)

If you want to find out more about Neue Sachlichkeit works and the world of the Weimar demimonde,  check out the Metropolitan Museum of Art's wonderful exhibit from 2006 entitled "Glitter and Doom".

And just for fun, Bergdorf Goodman did a window in homage to the Dix Exhibit:

Pour yourself a drink, get your monocle, and enjoy!


On Determination and Cheerfulness

As I look out on my yard, which is chock-full of dandelions, I decide to use them as a model for survival. Here's my philosophical guide, from Richard Reynolds and The School of Life (I highly recommend you read the whole thing, it's short):

Taraxacum officinalis - the posh name for dandelions – even sounds unpleasant, like a demanding letter from HMRC. They are the definitive weeds but they are far from weedy. Dandelions are determination incarnate. “Be brave as a lion”. Fine. But “Be determined like a dandelion.” It’s not an ancient Chinese proverb, but it should be...
It’s the nature of a dandelion’s determination that is so infuriating to the lawn layer but of value as a guide to modern life. It puts down deep roots. Determination requires the confidence that comes from being grounded. This way you’ll be more resistant to the bluster above ground and able to grow and spread.
Besides, it's the basis of our tortoises' diet.

With this in mind, I am putting on some music and heading off into the studio.


More etsy!

I found these bracelets this morning, they are really beautiful.

I love the leather and this pattern. It's from sixtysixdegreesnorth.

And more beautiful Swedish Lapland bracelets from Grondstedt Design:


Etsy Finds

Here is a mixed bag of goodies from etsy:

Some of my favorite new clothing makers seem to be on hiatus right now, so I'll wait to post those finds, but I just discovered this shop, and everything looks great. Sounds like he really takes care with his work, and he has a good eye. Among other things, I really like this simple shift dress:

hannasboutique has all sorts of lovely things made from Marimekko fabrics (a favorite of mine):

figs and ginger makes "forest inspired" and really cute jewelry:

I don't know why, but I have developed a thing for vintage Soviet watches. This one is my favorite. Too bad I don't wear a watch very often these days, but I still love to check out ClockworkUniverse:

And while I'm on the subject of watches, how cool are these steampunk pocketwatch necklaces from de poppenkraal?

I got my son a flying tortoise tee shirt from misnopales. He loves it so much I have to yell at him to take it off so I can launder it once in a while! Lots of funny Day of the Dead-themed stuff at this shop, too.


What it is

I was first introduced to the concept of wabi-sabi in 1977 by my college boyfriend who was taking a Japanese brush painting class from Shozo Sato.  I have always been attracted to this way of understanding things, even if my western-mind understanding is imperfect. This is an interesting essay on the subject.

Perfectly imperfect. Beautifully transient/unconventional/intimate/simple. The evocation of nature. Also, it can be something so homely it turns all the way around into beauty. Here are a few images that evoke the feeling for me:

photos from top: zoe palmer; billyblue22 at etsy; painted metal at etsy; localamishfarms.com; national geographic robert parkeharrison



Humor is the enemy of authority.
 The Marx Brothers in Duck Soup

 Bugs Bunny vs Elmer fudd

Fry and Laurie as Jeeves and Wooster


Friday Night Etsy Favorites

I have some friends who really like my Etsy picks and have asked me to post favorites on my blog, so here goes.

Brown sleeveless dress from larimeloom. Her other clothes look equally beautiful and well-made.

If I needed another scarf, I'd love this charmingly hand-stitched linen one. Looks like it would be great for spring and summer. From Sandra Eterovic, who also made this very amusing French Beret Mirror:

Then there is this cute beach-cottage end table from Poppycottage:

I love this beautiful Wordy Butterfly Mobile from RoyalBuffet, made from vintage dictionary pages, french magazines, and a recycled record jacket. It reminds me of the Paul Villinsky butterflies I posted about earlier.

Handmade Turkish Towels from Istanbul:

Rose thorn necklace from jivita:

Enjoy your weekend!


I was hoping to post a few new drawings this week, but I've been busy trying to be a handywoman around my house, with mixed results. When I was growing up in the midwest, my parents did everything themselves, from fixing our car to putting a new roof on the house. I only remember a repairman coming to our home once during my childhood, when our washing machine broke down and my father couldn't fix it. My late husband didn't especially enjoy major repairs. He loved to tinker, though, and could work magic with duct tape and a few shims. Me, I was good at holding the flashlight. I spent quite a bit of time holding the flashlight for my father, and I could reach something with my skinny fingers that he couldn't get. But that was the limit of both my aptitude and interest.

I decided to change all that once I became a widow. So I picked a project: remove the ugly, partially working ceiling fan/light in our dining room and install a shiny track light from IKEA. Easy, no? I think you can already see where I'm headed.

First, I removed the fan, and instead of black, white, and green wires there was a mass of tan, red, black, white wiring. I pulled out all my trusty home repair books and the voltage detector and still couldn't figure out what the hell was what. So, roadblock #1, and I called an electrician to take a look. I still wanted to do the installation myself, so I just had him check over the junction box, make sure it was ok, and tell me which wires to use. 5 days and $90 later, I had my answer and was ready to drill holes in the ceiling to mount the track. Except the cordless drill stopped working. We spent a whole day trying to get the battery to charge with no luck. Roadblock #2. Spent another day shopping-- first at the battery store, where the young salesmen gawped and then snickered (just a little, but I saw it) at my ancient 15-year-old battery. No replacement available. Then it was over to Home Depot to buy a new cordless drill ($39.97). This DIY bit is starting to sound expensive.

So, next step (still) is to drill the ceiling holes and mount the track (using toggle bolts, I have used those before). But at least one of the toggles is refusing to open properly in the ceiling so we're still not done. Roadblock #3. I bought new toggle bolts. Last night there were 3 of us (me and my 2 very smart teenagers) standing on our dining room table trying to figure it out. But I am determined to finish this thing. This weekend there will be light. Just not so much art. Wish me luck.