Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Expand My Vision [10-Minute Art]

Demure [10-Minute Art]

de·mure/dɪˈmyʊər/[di-myoor]–adjective, -mur·er, -mur·est.
1. characterized by shyness and modesty; reserved.
2. affectedly or coyly decorous, sober, or sedate.
[Origin: 1350–1400; ME dem(e)ur(e) well-mannered, grave < AF demuré, ptp. of demurer to demur; perh. influenced by OF mur, mëur grave, mature (< L matūrus)]
—Related forms
de·mure·ly, adverb
de·mure·ness, noun
—Synonyms 1. retiring. See modest.

The Little Chapel at Il Borgo

Yesterday I had an email conversation with our host, Alessandro's, brother named Claudio. Claudio is a painter, and I asked if he had ever painted this little chapel. It was the family chapel, back years ago when the whole Il Borgo estate was owned by one family. A lane of mature cypress trees leads to it from one of the main houses. I spent time every morning, of both my visits, leaning against one of the trees, gazing at that chapel, listening to the wind in the tops of the trees, feeling hushed, grateful, calm. I still return there mentally ALL the time. The photos are those I (or Mom) took on both of our trips.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Raptor Problem

Email/Photo from brother Cam:

Since we now have two gigantic hawks patrolling our back yard, we have decided to shut the pet-door during daylight hours. Our cats (prey?) will only be allowed outside during the night.

This is a temporary measure to avoid any carnage. We are hoping the hawks move on to other turf after they’ve eaten all the pigeons and bunnies and small dogs in our neighborhood. They are a formidable pair of birds!


Ciera's Punkin


Miss V scared me yesterday, just making a joke in one of her emails to me -- she said, 'Wait til you hit menopause full stride -- you'll be wearing a chastity belt!' Jeez cripe!!! (as my Uncle Sonny would say) ... so this is my 10-minute art from last night. I'm not going there, I'm not surrendering to that 'oh it's my hormones wah wah wah' crap. It's just about hormone adjustment, probably some dietary tweaks, and 100% about ATTITUDE. My libido is my business and not the property or domain of Mutha Menopause. I think women need to have conversations more directed toward 'here's what I do and it helps this way, or that way' and not just laugh and shrug as if becoming a libido-less walking cadaver for the last 3 decades of life is unavoidable. [Then again, there are many many women who can't wait to have an excuse, any excuse, not to 'have' to have sex. They are a species unknown to me and I don't want to go near any of them for fear it might be contagious.]

Italy Longings (again)

We had such a good bunch, such a grand time!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chris, Cam & Ciera's New Neighbors

Chris says: "I've named them Franklin and Eleanor. The male hawk is huge. This light pole they are sitting on is the one directly over our back yard. Funny thing, there have been ZERO pigeons on this entire street block for two weeks now. So I have a feeling these hawks may have moved into one of the big trees just south of our house." Chris and Cam have 3 cats, so we're all kind of worried for their safety. Two of them are bigger and faster and maybe could escape a hawk, but Shabba is elderly and frail and slender.

This Picture Reminds me of Melissa G.

Melissa is a good friend of my son, David's -- this picture is of the Indian actress Aishwarya Rai (I think that's how you spell it), but man!!! I did a quadruple take because it was as if Melissa were staring back at me.

Sunday's 10-Minute Art

I spent almost all of Sunday working on my travel doll again, so these 10-minute pieces really were 10 minutes, a nice break from bending wire to shape the doll's torso. I bought a new punch [the puzzle piece] - so the 10-min piece with '46' on it was an excuse to try out the new punch! The other one? I was listening to Led Zeppelin, Baby ... 'it's been a long time since I rock & rolled; been a long time since I did the stroll!' The Mighty Zep - I love 'em!

Saturday's 10-Minute Art

Ciera's First Grade Picture

[Notice the Cheetah headband!]

Thursday, October 25, 2007

It's Almost Fleece Jacket Season

The arrival of 'autumn' in Phoenix means the season for jackets has arrived. Jackets in Phoenix are, at best, a nearly extinct species. I say 'nearly' because there are those 5 or 6 days when a heavy coat is actually necessary in the early morning hours -- although by 2 p.m. you're usually wishing you were in your skivvies in front of a rotating fan. But! And! There are several days in October and November, then again in March, when the fleece jackets make their appearance.

I LOVE fleece jackets. Not every man is meant to wear one, alas! But thankfully, those who are seem to be the very same men who find their way to the jackets. Oh, bliss! Visually, they make for very nice scenery [the jackets, the men in them] because the jackets' shape seems to skim over just those particular areas that make for my favorite eye candy -- shoulders, the muscles of the back, a strong bicep on an arm. As well, they're cut to sit just above what is, for me, a man's finest hour: the TUSHIE. And, too, the fabric itself is a huge selling point - call it instant curb appeal for any male! What can I say, I'm a tactile wench -- I LOVE texture, especially when my imagination can put the nubbly-soft fabric of a fleece jacket together (in my mind) with the promise of a man's smooth, warm skin beneath.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. [Can you believe a girl can get twisted over a piece of material? Ya never know, ya just never know.] Oh, to burrow against a man wearing a fleece jacket -- makes a girl just wanna rub all over it, purring & arching! [Are you smiling? Are you wearing a fleece jacket yet?] It must be said: what teddy bears are to a 6 year old, fleece jackets are to a woman in her prime [provided she has any sense at all!] Soft but still strong, warm, alluring, welcoming - all this is conjured by a fleece jacket. Secure, but with that hint of an action man somehow hovering just beneath. They're also quite absorbent, perfect for drool catching, the final [& necessary] perk for a Twisted Fleece Jacket Junkie such as myself.

And then ...

A surge of sass, an 'oh please stop whining' blast ... an equal response, with comeback moxie: to myself, to my muse, to everyone & anyone who might have had a moment's doubt.

No Status Quo

I'm finding 46 to be a provocative, difficult age. It's almost as if being 16 again, adolescent, given the insecurities, the uncertainties ... when only a few weeks ago I wrote a poem about 'bones' and 'brave song of me'. The cycles of knowing who I am versus seeking external validation are killing me. This piece [45 minutes, not 10] is a cry to myself, a cry to my muse, a cry to my relationships one & all [established & new] -- I'm struggling to hold onto myself, so I need to be found, to be sought out, to be assured. It's aging, surely -- a very strenuous mental & emotional process of its own [who ever believes she will one day be 46?]. But there is also the intrusive knocking of menopause at my door, thrusting interruptions into a body & mind I had finally come to possess in an almost full capacity. Up down Up down the heart, along with a body sometimes so foreign to me in its changes that I feel like Mrs. Potato Head, as if some chubby little hand plunked my head down on the wrong spud but today I have to walk around in it anyway.

I will say that in my art [at last!!] I am finally learning to get below the surface -- it is no longer 'pretty pages', it is WHAT IS HAPPENING TO ME. It doesn't always feel pretty, I promise. I think it is the time limit on the pieces - I work much more spontaneously, more quickly, WITHOUT ALL MY USUAL EDITING -- makes all the difference in the world with outcome. Much more revealing. I like it. And I'm scared to death of it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Toni Afterthought

Had a bad evening last night with feeling isolated, left out ... Bobby called to say he was having drinks with some of the people from his new job. David at the gym. Kevin sitting hollering at his Xbox. This after a weekend when everywhere the guys went, they would say, 'Oh! Did you want to go?' as they were headed out the door. I mean, I'm standing there with hag hair & shredded jeans, paint all over my arms, shit drying on my desk, did it matter if I wanted to go? I want to be asked in advance, I guess, not just be an afterthought. So I said that -- "Hey, shoot, how 'bout you guys give me some advance idea of your plans, so I have the option of going without keeping everybody waiting, or being in the middle of a canvas!"

Miss Congeniality (10-Min Art)

As long as I'm smiling, sassy, talking, comical, life is good in everybody else's world (specific to work I mean). But let me be quiet, and 12 of the guys will ask, 'Are you pissed off?' ????????????? I've had a lot on my mind lately, including digesting this idea that others' have an ongoing expectation of my behavior, & constantly are interpreting it (I would have said NOBODY pays that close attention to me here). This morning as I sat putting on my makeup, I realized that there is actually a moment some [not all] mornings when I mentally visualize myself taking the Personality Battery off a wee charger beside my eyelash curler & slapping it into my thigh. I don't like to hear 'are you pissed off?' just because I'm in a quiet mood, or a fragile mood, or still half asleep -- but neither do I like explaining, 'Naw, I'm just feeling quiet.' I wonder why I, and most women, are always expected to be "ON". We must all be wearing a Miss Congeniality Sash that only men/others can see.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

10 Minute Art (Creating a Journal Page)

These pages are in my GBC-bound journal, covering over some stuff I didn't like and creating blank areas for future journal entries.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Anais Nin

Here I wanted to try making the TTC bases out of polymer clay, so I could see what would/wouldn't stick to the clay after I toaster-ovened it! I love these!!


Toni attemps fiber fusion, using Wonder Under -- [I know, I know, it's all foreign to me, too] -- a technique out of the Artist Trading Card Workshop book. Let's just say that my fibers refused to fuse so I ended up using bits and pieces as artfully as possible on these Paris! cards.

Chouette (Great!)

Tres TTC Card Series - Exotique

More in the Toni Trading Card series for Miss Veronica.

Inchies (Success!)

Trying again to stick to the parameters -- finished this much so far. I like them, they feel 'clean', and I've been following Mom's suggestion to just do one, maybe two, every day. I am trying NOT to rely on easy solutions like slapping down stickers. And for this Ace paint brochure, I'm following the name of the paint color, trying to do something related. My favorite on this page is Casa Blanca. It's not that doing these is 'mindless', but I find when I'm working on them (I do more than 1 or 2, usually), I'm mentally elsewhere, usually in whatever landscape the music I'm playing sends me to. I was listening to Memoirs of a Geisha when I worked on this page, mostly thinking about the movie. So doing 'inchies' may be a perfect, pure form of relaxation for me -- making art without concentrating on art. Kinda weird.

10-minute Art

Under the influence of 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. Now in love with Ken Watanabe. [This is Ken Watanabe as The Colonel, in the movie (sigh)]

Strep throat (pretty self-explanatory). Confession: this one only took 4 minutes - I did NOT feel good & didn't care what it looked like, really.. Sat in the computer room with Kevin as he played his new Xbox Live or whatever, couldn't believe either the game (kill kill kill) or what was coming out of Bub's mouth ...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Memoirs of a Geisha

It's hard to find fault with the fascinating story, which traces a young girl's determination to free herself from the imprisonment of scullery maid to geisha, then from the imprisonment of geisha to a woman allowed to love. Chiyo (Suzuka Ohgo), a young girl with curious blue eyes, is sold to a geisha house and doomed to pay off her debt as a cleaning girl until a stranger named The Chairman (Ken Watanabe) shows her kindness.
She is inspired to work hard and become a geisha in order to be near the Chairman, with whom she has fallen in love. An experienced geisha (Michelle Yeoh) chooses to adopt her as an apprentice and to use as a pawn against her rival, the wicked, legendary Hatsumomo (Gong Li). Chiyo (played as an older woman by Ziyi Zhang), now renamed Sayuri, becomes the talk of the town, but as her path crosses again and again with the Chairman's, she finds the closer she gets to him the further away he seems. Her newfound "freedom" turns out to be trapping, as men are allowed to bid on everything from her time to her virginity.

I've owned the soundtrack for months: traded Mom my copy of the soundtrack from The Talented Mr. Ripley for her copy of the Geisha soundtrack. I've owned the movie for a year, the book for longer than that, just never got around to it. I thought it was in subtitles, and honestly, my eyes just don't wanna do subtitles much.

DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB DUMB. I put the movie in yesterday (been recovering from strep throat) ... I watched the movie once through with my mouth open, I hit play again, I ended up entranced, enthralled, mesmerized by the film, the story, the scenery, the details of the Geisha life, training, costuming, dance, three times in a row. Then I went directly to my studio, inserted the soundtrack into my CD player, and arted for 2 hours while listening to the music over and over. My 10-minute art piece was 100% about and inspired by Sayuri, the main character.

News from Il Borgo

This came via e-mail from our Tuscany host, Alessandro, who has generously kept my family and me on his mailing list since Mom's and my first visit to Tuscany. Whenever he sends an email with a recipe in it, I try it, usually with acceptable results but nothing tastes like it does when eating it while seated on a balcony patio chair at Il Borgo, with such a view as Alessandro included in his email.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Greetings from Il Borgo,

Autumn is a great time to visit Tuscany, as the weather cools off, the colours of autumn warm up, the grape leaves turn gold, then russet and the countryside becomes a photographer's dream and not only for them !

The photo that you see is a view from Il Borgo of this morning.
In November many "sagre" or festivals that celebrate the new harvest with tasting, entertainment, demonstrations will be held in Chianti. In Montespertoli we will have:
Festa del Vino Novello 10-11 of November
PaneOlio and the White Truffle 17-18 November.
In this period the most popular is also the Chestnut Festival located in the neighboring area of Mugello, 45 minutes driving distance from Il Borgo, every Sunday in October (7,14,21& 28).Tourists enjoy the festivities while indulging in the many scrumptious, tasty desserts of the Tuscan region such as fried cakes and roasted chestnuts topped with honey.

If you like to cook here is a recipe:
This is a typical sweet made with chestnut flour, common to the Apennine mountain area of Tuscany. This is our version with rosemary. Its flavour is very special and not too sweet. Despite being a typically autumn and winter speciality, it can be eaten all year round because it can be enjoyed both warm and cold.

500 gr. sweet chestnut flour
½ glass extra-virgin olive oil
50 gr. chopped pine nuts or walnuts
50 gr. sultanas - rosemary - grated orange rind (optional)

Sieve the flour and knead with warm water or milk until the dough is smooth and even. Add the oil, the pine nuts or walnuts and the sultanas previously soaked in warm water and squeezed. Mix all the ingredients and pour in a baking tin greased with oil. Top with rosemary needles, pine nuts or walnuts, the orange rind (optional) and a drizzle of oil. Cook in a mid oven (150-160°C) for about an hour. Buon Appetito !

Sincerly, Alessandro Guerrieri.

Il Borgo di Villa Bossi-Pucci

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Toni's Trading Cards - Project for Veronica

Miss V doesn't like surprises, so I don't feel at all skeery about posting these pictures before I'm entirely done with the project. I finished these 2 'sets' of TTC's last night, experiments all. These are going into a 99-cent 4"x6" photo album from Joann's (yes, V, I got you four of 'em, too!). This album holds 36, so I'm doing sets of 3 - tre's ... using the same stamp, 3 different ways. [P.S.: I know it should be LE Seine, but I didn't catch it in time and I ain't doing 'em over.]

Continuation Inchies

This past Saturday evening, I 'arted' for about 2½ hours. I had an Ace brochure of paint color samples [the one called PLAYFUL] stuck in my GBC journal, several samples on a page, just about 1" x 1" each .. .I truly meant to stick to the 1" size, but I ended up ... well, let's just say I have dubbed them 'continuation inchies', because a) they ended up overlapping a lot and b) once I got started, I never wanted to stop adding and embellishing. They still look good, and gawd was it relaxing. I had gone to Michael's and bought a boatload of stickers just for this project, but I really didn't end up using that many of them. Things sort of hinted at what came next, & I found myself using quite a few of my scraps & bits, already on-hand. [I'm glad I save all of that!]
I've decided that due to the fact that I have a dad, 3 brothers, 5 uncles, 4 male cousins, a husband, 2 sons, and 2 nephews, plus I've worked in the male-dominated construction industry for 25 years, that my use of the Penis Ruler has become automatic. You know the one: LEGEND: 1" = 3" (conservative estimate = not necessarily to scale) -- so my not being able to stick to 1" x 1" has a ready excuse