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An oldie from the 60’s

I majored in painting and sculpture at the University of Cincinnati. Recently found this tombstone that I made; it used to have the epitaph “she dug it” on one of those bottom panels. I was a Louise Nevelson copycat and spent a lot of time in the room with the lathes and table saws. I’ve also always wondered why in my time girls took home economics and boys got to do industrial arts. (My high school also had only one girls sports team: bowling. That was before Title 9 and was really deeply unfair!)

A closeup of one of the rocks. I’m going to try this as a painting.

Random page from sketchbook. I’ll post some more of the swoopy paintings later when they are done.

Have a great day everyone. Nina.

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A Beautiful Collection

I visited my cousin yesterday and with her permission photographed some of their art. Then I asked if she minded if I posted it on the blog. My cousin and her husband have travelled extensively and their collection is astonishing. The first image is made of small glass pieces. Even the hair and eyebrows are glass.

I didn’t get the names of the artists and I’m sorry for that. They offered to find their list but I was already being overbearing. This couple is all handmade clay, fired and painted. It has a real impact when you stand in front of it. All these pieces are quite large.

Hard to see that this is layered and etched glass.

Some comic relief.

This one knocked my socks off. Probably six feet tall and very imposing yet soothing.

This was by a student of Robert Arneson. The bowl holds faces of this artist’s teachers. There’s also a face on the back.

They have a lot of great painting too. This is a closeup of one I wanted to tear off the wall.

I hope you enjoyed the brief tour. There was so much more but these were some of my favorites. Have an A-1 day!

Blood From a Stone

blood from a stone_still my shivering s

My words repeat. Nothing. Your ears are closed like frozen air. You always move away, shrinking me, disappearing me into invisibility.

My words repeat. I am naming flowers. I am calling the names of birds. They remain unretrieved, hesitating on the edges of sound.

My fences are broken. My guard is falling deeper and deeper into the ground. My map shows no return.

Whispering, I stand
trembling with the elements,
my cells unmoored.

The currents swim without me,
expanding the gulf between.

blood from a stone close up

Jilly at dVerse asked for an unconventional haibun this week.  That was easy–all my writing seems somewhat alien to me right now (or maybe my poetry is just always strange and I’m only now noticing it….)

The drawings are from photos of ancient Roman sculptures that have been broken by time. Amazing how much depth and emotion hidden inside the stone was revealed by those artists.



met light 3s

Shapes appear
reflected, freshly
into place
like the Fool’s card—zero played
openly, surprised.

met light 4s

I’ve been neglecting the Secret Keeper’s prompts the past few weeks for lack of time, not interest.    They are always like a puzzle for me, coming together in unexpected ways when I start to write.  The appearance of the Fool, after a few drafts of ideas, was definitely a surprise.  But serendipity is always part of the work I do.  The end is never where I thought I was going.

lunatic s

I took the photos of Japanese ceramics with the beautiful window light reflected on the glass display cases at the Metropolitan Museum last spring.  I was reminded of them by Marcy Erb’s post a few weeks back of a photo with reflected light on a Buddha, and I think they fit with this poem.

met light 2s

And I’ve resurrected a few Fools from past posts.  The Fool (Zero in the Tarot) represents for me a capacity to be surprised and delighted, to leave an empty space to be filled by life.  Wonder is everywhere; we just need make some room for it occasionally.

joker s


Tree creature with three eyes

Part of a root which readily came out of the ground. I saw some kind of bug in it but it became a weird creature with three eyes. 

My cute neighbor’s giraffe

My next door neighbors are very cute kids. They asked to see my art studio this morning (which is a mess). The middle son asked to borrow my hot glue gun and a little while later came over to show me what he had made! I offered him some paint but he said he liked it as it was–natural. I am happy that maybe I inspired him with my crazy skulls and stuff made out of wood to make something of his own. Made my day!

Found Objects

I love picking up rusty junk, odd pieces of wood and other detritus. While waiting for the paint to dry on the next painting, I started playing around with some objects. 

It’s not glued down yet. Here’s another version. I think I like the one with the skull better.  

Here’s hoping you find something interesting on the road or in the woods today!

Netsuke with Nibs

sleeping shojo s

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.”
–Shunryu Suzuki

This Sleeping Shojo was drawn with a Sheaffer Viewpoint calligraphy fountain pen with a 1.0 nib.  Good for a loose and bold drawing I think.

Shojos are sea spirits with a red face and hair, who often wear skirts made of green seaweed.  They love to brew and drink sake.  If a good person drinks this sake, it will be delicious and healing; but if a bad person drinks it, it will be poison and kill them unless they repent at once.  It seems Santa is not the only one keeping track of your naughty or niceness!

fox mask netsuke s

The fox mask netsuke was drawn, in contrast, with a .3 nib.  Here the details are easy to produce, but solid darks not so much.

You many remember that Kitsune the fox is a shape-shifting troublemaker that likes to disguise himself as a nun.  This mask definitely seems to take the frightening side of Kitsune seriously.

oni nembutsi comp

With my quill pen I drew Oni Nenbutsu, a demon in the guise of a Buddhist monk.  These Onis have horns and fangs, and often wear tiger skins as they wander the country banging the gong on their chest and begging for money.  My advice:  be generous.

oni in monk's robe s

Another Oni, done with brush and ink.

You can see my other netsuke drawings here.

Egypt: Hands

egypt hands 8s

I was on the east side yesterday, and having a membership to the Metropolitan Museum (a yearly Christmas and birthday gift), I stopped in for the Members Preview of the new Egyptian exhibit.

egypt hands 2s

The museum was really crowded!  Lots of groups…not just children, but adult groups.

egypt hands 3s

The Egypt exhibit itself was very crowded at the start, but the crowds tapered off as I moved along.  It’s huge!  Lots of great and interesting pieces.

egypt hands 4s

I decided to focus my camera on hands.

egypt hands 6s

egypt hands 7s

The guards weren’t sure if photography was allowed, but everyone seemed to be doing it, so they said OK.

egypt hands 1s

egypt hands 5s

I did get a chance to do some sketches, too, near the end when there were less people looking, so I wasn’t blocking the view (or being blocked).

mummy mask s

a mummy mask

mourning figure s

two views of a mourning figure

repaired statue head s

a repaired statue head

crocodile god s

a crocodile god

bovine deity

and a bovine diety…lost the horns somewhere, though

Tom Otterness

real world cat comp

On Wednesday, I joined the NYC weekday urban sketchers in lower Manhattan for a few hours drawing the “Real World” sculptures of Tom Otterness in the playground in Rockefeller Park.  It’s an amiable group, and I hope to join them again.

real world bear comp

Otterness has his own unique vision of the world, and his animals definitely have personality.  They are also joined, surrounded and covered by little creatures, a challenge to draw so that they “read” as separate beings.

real world ape comp

I spent the most time working in pencil on the apes.  Each sculpture has so much going on;  I only managed to capture a small piece of it.

real world hand and foot s

The children played all around us, and included Otterness in their fun.  Some of the pieces incorporate water…a necessity for enjoying the playground on a very hot day.

nj skyline s

It was mostly shaded, though, with a view of the river and a breeze, so not too unbearable for the sketchers either.  I also did a quick drawing of the New Jersey skyline…can you see the sailboat?  Lots of building going on over there.

You can read more about Tom Otterness here.

Enjoy the last gasp of summer…back on Tuesday for Draw-a-Bird Day.