December 30, 2012

Year in Review

It's a sips of this and that kind of Sunday. Mugs of things lie around in lazy rotation. Between the ginger tea for health and the last of the killer pot of beet beef borscht made and then frozen a few weeks back, I'm set. And in between all that table to mouth action, there is a goblet of Kentucky bourbon at ready: Maker's Mark (it spoke to me the moment I tasted it). Big fan of whiskey. Big fan of bourbon. 

Out with the old! In with the new. Happy nearly New Year!

The moon is as over-full as two pregnant mama's-to-be out there. Oh women! Strong thoughts to you these days wherever you may be. 

Tracy are you in labor? 
Nikaela are you in labor? 

Thinking of you two as the time draws near. 

Today seemed like a good day as any to sit down to write. Here is a photographic review of the year 2012. 

I made a choice at the beginning of the year to spend more time with children and family, get to know my neighbors, make more food for people, sit around as many fires as possible, ride like the wind and worry less. I definitely made a good amount of soup and sat around plenty of fires.

This coming year I plan on challenging myself more in the darkroom, making a lot more roasts, baking bread, finding an art job and getting involved in my neighborhood because it's one in a million.

Smell ya later.

Photo. Andrea M

December 17, 2012





JO- I work in a button factory. 

It's been weeks stacked on weeks since I last sat to write. Muscle memory improves with practice.

Letters sit by the door waiting to get out there. Liza Mail. Be still my heart. Steve Mail, you beauty. Thank you for the letters. Deep bow for the postal service.

A kind man came by and fixed up my fridge door real nice today. Now it opens in such a way that is conducive to production. Hallelujah. The kitchen appliances are teaching old dogs new tricks up in here at the Maxipad. Slow down, regroup.

I am taking my own advice and slowing down to regroup. Balance is key. Kitchen work you filled my brain up just right. Enough! I am wearing out at twenty six pick up sticks. For what good? Time to slow down, sing a baby to sleep, sit in the sun, wash the floor with vinegar, read in the doorway.

While working one of many jobs over the course of this year, I met a great family. Their little boy struck a chord in me. "Meet Leo" said dad. Chalk one up for Great Coincidence. The rest is history. I look forward to walking around town with that kid in the new year. And here I thought my nanny days were behind me. Not so.

Off to the Sugar Shack for a good winter's sleep.

December 4, 2012

Ode to Arbus

Pages pulled from books lay underfoot at home. Mon dieu! This blue portrait studio stopped me short while whipping through the stacks looking for something just a minute ago. I decided to scan the image and share the wealth. Looking looking looking for ________ these days. For what? A thread of ingenuity/ clever direction? Looking for new ideas. While the whir of the light table is a quiet reminder of work left wanting, the warm light in the main room at home is too good to leave. I should just drag the stencil out here and be done with it.

November crept out like a dog in the night. Adieu! December, I find you all long dark and bright light. No complaints there. It was nice to spend a day at home today. Doing whatever whenever, moving around the house, turning the potted plants just as they got comfortable in the warmth of high noon. Grow!

I completed none of the projects on my list except for a quick visit to Martha Street Studio. Handing over the Hotdog Teens stencil to Suzie for submission left me feeling free as can be. Details regarding the upcoming Manitoba Printmakers Association member show to come. Looking forward to seeing those familiar stenciled faces hanging by pins on gallery walls.

November 26, 2012

Carte de visite

Roasted cauliflower and hummus pita lunch on a Monday. Cat Power spins, her old croak and beats of yesteryears warm the home. I write from the kitchen. Snow keeps coming and somehow the windowsill plants keep growing. Days off are BLESS-ED. Good night!

My latest room is a milk white cave. I am slowly morphing into a polar bear, all winter white and lumbering body. Snowy adventuring on foot led me right to a box of old photographs early this afternoon. Something needs to be done with all those fading faces. Five dollars hooked me a little toothy lady vignette as well a hard-bordered wedding couple with the bride in a fancy headdress. These folks cried out to be stenciled. D'accord.

But first I must finish what has long been started. The Seal of NY has gone from a two inch stamp to a foot and a half square stencil. That stamp caught my eye about two years ago from a No. 80 bus window while roaring down Parc in Montreal with Leo. We jumped off the bus and ran for the stamp shop, stroller and all. That's what I miss most about life with Leo, he was such good company; always ready for adventure at a moment's notice. No tears from shocking weather or quick decisions made on his behalf. Somehow that little crest has become an extension of myself, passed from hand to hand traveling this country letter by letter. That I like. Naturally, it transformed itself into something new. From rubber to muslin, art grows!

S L O W   A R T   I S   S U B V E R S I V E  . 

And so the cave is transforming my work. All that fits now is a bed, sewing machine and light table. Gotta choose those projects wisely. Work then sleep.

We sleep when we're dead.

Speaking of the dead, I have a crush on Man Ray. He was a wizard alternatif.  √ √ √ √ √ √

Lisa justified new work last night as we stood in my room looking at the progress of a piece I am working towards (slow as molasses). Her input re-ignited the fire to create. Thank you. King for the win. It can be a discipline to sit there for hours on end, carving away to let the light shine in. Once the image takes shape and begins to reveal itself there is no turning back. The process is lean and the result rich. Turning portraits into stencils. This is my art these days. An exhibition of sorts to come.

Winter is in. Here we come.

"A creator needs only one enthusiast to justify him."
Man Ray
American Artist and Photographer

November 21, 2012

Cards in the air

The Maxipad has been shuffled cardlike and our home is coming along nicely. Lisa and I have switched rooms! Big to small, small to big. Change is good. I gained a window in the move, what a bonus. Solid listening station, alls we need is a rug.

My watch reads 10:18 in the morning. Pot of tea, good results, getting things done. I can feel the nerves rising for the noon shift. Changes in the kitchen now have me cooking dinner two nights of the week beside Walkman Tim, a real character. He is fast and moody. Gotta smoke those cigarettes. I am trying/ learning to keep up to his rhythm. There are moments of high stress but then the phrase 'it's just food' floods doubt and I relax into it again. Line cooking is for the wacky, no question there. It's not all stress. It is magical to feel the rhythm of three bodies working together sending out plate after plate of nice food. It hurts to send out shitty eggs, it does.

Kitchen waltz with really, really hot pans in hand. Arm hair, adieu. I like my place there, whatever it is.

Cheesecake. Arctic Char. Swiss chard. Herman's eggs. Bocconcini. Parsnip.

Looking forward to walking around Winnipeg with Leo II in the new year. Cameras ready.

What is coming? Here we come.

Image picked up over at Miss Moss.

November 16, 2012

November 12, 2012

To Code

These two photographs were shot in and around Point Douglas before the snow arrived. Early October. When a roll sits around either mine or Craig's houses long enough waiting to be processed, the memory bank looses detail like quarters through floorboards. When the contact sheet developing in the tray revealed the middle girl in the hedge, I was beyond delighted. She is art. I think that is the main reason why processing film and developing photos has hooked me so, the unveiling of mystery is so worth the wait. Little details the eye tracks and freeze frames are remembered later as the image comes up like an apparition. I didn't think twice when those kids climbed into the hedge, camera at the eye in an instant. Whatever caught me then now long forgotten. The darkroom just makes sense. The more I work, the more I look, the better photography is understood. Art school restricted everything that the first image represents in me. None of it.

There were eleven usable shots in all from that long awaited October roll and after the contact print was developed (direct copy of negatives sandwiched between glass and photo sensitive paper) these were the two I started with despite more obvious gems. Save the best for later. I only had a few hours of darkroom time before work picked up and this is the fruit of my labor. No rushing art.

I love this nieghborhood. You never know in PD. Pow! The dappled light just melted me while working away. Brother and sister bookend a real wisecracker. Sweet faces. Peace, love and character. Triple threat.

The second photo is of a house in progress in my neighborhood. It was discovered long after the framing was up, but something to it hooked me good. Shooting the progression of projects excites me.

This house belongs to a wonderful couple on Grove who I met the fourth time around. This shot was the second visit when I was lucky to find them working hard on the roof. These two inspire me as they have done all the work themselves. The contrast is a little strong for my taste (pretty clear this was the second project as my tolerance for any and all grey goes out the window after the first hour or two of printing; something I am working on). Tolerate GREY, it only adds to tone of interest. There are little details that should have been dodged, and others burned. Rafter detail for example: Dodge Margot! There is so much to work with there in that little peak. The giant window openings in the center? So much hidden detail lost. Attempt two will reveal the innards of the house and hopefully more detail on the neighbors house and that big old Winnipeg sky. Burn! One thing I appreciate about Craig is how he appraises my darkroom work. There is honesty in his critique and always a lesson for better production. My teacher, my love. I groan while he laughs at my efforts.

The Dragon Year has been a hell of a ride. Winter arrived with a great big dump. C and I cruised to Stony Mountain in the calm before the storm to pick up his latest project--a beater sled from the 70s. I so appreciate his faith in mechanics. My mechanic. The older the better in his books. I named it Marj the Sled after laughing my HEAD OFF zipping up and down the back alley at the Victor House around midnight. I am sure she heard us, wherever she is and delighted in our delight. It's a real beast. The neighbors must love us. No disdain for the new season, just delight and prospect. Winter getaways reeking of exhaust and wood fires.

The dark is welcomed, no sense in wrestling with it. Utilize! Production season is in. Social life lies flat, the community buried. In the light hours I work with my head down in a bright kitchen, happy, hurried, nervous, relaxed, mysterious, calm, relieved. In the dark I sit by the fire, rocking away, sipping whiskey and looking at that fat stack of bikes lined up like a gang just waiting for the light to change once more.

What a wise move it was to come back to this place. Follow your guts, they know.

Bundle up, it's sled season! As Maya would say, Bag up, it's going to be a long one.
Amen sister.

November 4, 2012