drawings

Over the last year I have been spending a lot of time getting back into drawing. I almost forgot how much I love it! I used to draw all the time when I was a kid, and even took a few classes in college (enough for a minor). But I chose to focus on music, and then when I was working full-time I ended up setting aside my drawing for a while.

A friend recently commissioned me for a drawing (can’t post, it’s a surprise gift for someone) and it was a real pleasure to create a beautiful piece of personal, original art for them to treasure forever. This experience has been wonderful! Here are a few of my recent pieces:

 

Please check out my new Drawings page on here for more. Thanks for looking 🙂

denver anniversary trip

If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ll know we’ve been through Denver before, when Nick was a fellow at the Aspen Festival in 2013, but we didn’t spend much time in the city—just passed through. This time, we went to celebrate our anniversary with a Slash concert, and we had a really fun visit.

We drove in on Thursday, and immediately went to the nearest brewery, Station 26 Brewing Co. They don’t serve food, but the Meatball. food truck was there. The next day we shopped at Tattered Cover Books and Twist and Shout and came out with a real nice haul of books and records:

tattered twitstmedia haul

After shopping, we hit up the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, which had a Marilyn Minter exhibit throughout the building (plus me in an egg):

mintermca 1

Before the concert, we had beers and dinner at Vine Street Pub & Brewery, just a mile from the Fillmore Auditorium where Slash was playing.
fillmoreThen on Saturday, we hit up Voodoo Doughnut for breakfast. Nick had already been to it in Portland, but this was my first time. We had the Pot Hole, the Diablos Rex, and a Memphis Mafia, which was so massive we saved it for breakfast the next day! Delicious. After the donuts, we wandered around the 16th Street Mall for a bit, where there was a zombie festival just getting started. There were djs, stations for makeup and accessories, fashion runways being set up, and tons of people in costumes all over the place. Generally, the area was a bit “touristy” for us, but all the zombie stuff was pretty cool.

saturday

After the mall, we went back over to Station 26 Brewing Co. to meet up with a couple of friends from grad school who had moved to Denver. We were having such a good time we stayed the whole evening.

I wish I could have had one more day in Denver! It was a wonderful trip.

it’s monday! what are you reading?

WELL. How is it possibly the end of October already?? So much has happened and IS happening. This time of year is always busy. I have been reading a bunch, but hardly finishing anything. One thing I did finish that I’ve been working on the past month is this drawing, a gift for my husband for our 5-year anniversary on October 16:

IMG_0040

Not bad for my first drawing in like six years, eh? Just pencil and paper, nothing fancy. I think it took me about 30 hours. This is a portrait of Werner Herzog, an influential, esoteric filmmaker whose work we enjoy. Nick was at a composer residency the whole month of September, and he said he drew something for me, so I was inspired. It was a great way to pass the time while he was gone, very cathartic and fun to draw again. I realized I had never done a drawing for him, it was about time! I want to draw more!

Rehearsals have started in full, taking me out of the house a few nights a week after work. I’ve also had two family visits and a few concerts these recent weekends… either playing in them myself or ones I’m working for my “day job.” And LAST weekend, my husband and I went to Denver to celebrate our anniversary… with a SLASH concert. It was epic! I have forthcoming posts about the concert and trip planned for this week, stay tuned!

Watching…

ROYALS! It’s so exciting to see them back in the World Series again! Game 1 is tomorrow night here in KC. While I was working on that drawing, I “rewatched” (had on in the background) almost all of The Sopranos on DVD. Damn, that was a great show. Nick and I also recently saw The Martian in 3D at the cinema—better than the book, and the book was great! We’re also getting back into The Walking DeadAmerican Horror Story, and The Last Man on Earth. Happy to see Tandy’s beard is back this season! I have EverestSelma, and Black Mass (even though I didn’t finish the book yet) on my list.

Reading…

Speaking of Slash, I’m still reading his autobiography, Slash. About halfway through at the moment. It’s a bit of a chunkster! I’ve also dabbled a bit in Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot (I don’t kid myself that I’ll be anywhere near finished by the end of the #SalemAlong), and I have a copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last from the library that I’m going to have to renew here soon since I’m only a few pages in so far. Nick and I also listened to the audiobook version of Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari during our Denver road trip.

Listening…

Still really enjoying our turntable. I have a bunch of classic rock records, and Nick is building a decent collection of all sorts of metal on vinyl. Stuff by Slash, of course, with his new band Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (Apocalyptic LoveWord on Fire), his eponymous first solo album, and revisiting Guns N’ Roses albums like Appetite for Destruction and Use Your Illusion.

This past weekend I dug out my copy of the Smashing Pumpkins’ Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness and gave it a listen, after seeing that Friday (October 23) was the 20th anniversary of its original release. I still remembered all the lyrics! My dad took me to see them on this tour in October 1996, their stop at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee. What a great show, great memories!

I wanted to jump in on this week’s It’s Monday, what are you reading? despite my not exactly reading (or rather, finishing) much lately. What are you reading this week?

just kids

I’m on a rock bender lately! Maybe it’s my awesome new turntable stereo I just got set up. In addition to reading Gregg Allman’s My Cross to Bear (almost done!) I started reading Just Kids by Patti Smith on my iPad. From Goodreads:

In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.

I am in the middle on this book. While I loved the illuminating look at life of the starving artist in New York City in the 70s, and I can totally identify with being in an artist-artist relationship, being each other’s muses, supporting each other, etc. There’s a lot of name-dropping—Bob Dylan, Andy Warhol, and numerous other artists, poets, and musicians—but that’s part of the allure of this book. Just Kids was a beautiful, loving tribute to Mapplethorpe. The last section about their last conversations and his death were intimate, poetic, and heartbreaking.

There is a lot to love about this book, however at times it felt weirdly sincere AND contrived at the same time. Does that make sense? I feel like, I can forgive her romanticism of New York and her relationship with Mapplethorpe, but that she was so naive about the lifestyle (drugs, mostly) and 70s NYC arts scene in general is hard to believe. There was a lot of “this happened, then this, and I did that, and he did this.” Her language is just a little too antiquated for me too, trying to hard to be poetic maybe. On one hand, I enjoyed listening to this on audiobook better, read by Smith (I split it up this time between audio and ebook), but I had to speed it up to 1.5x because it was a slog at normal speed.

If you can get past the quibbles I had, then I’m sure you’d like Just Kids. I do think it’s a must-read for fans of Smith and Mapplethorpe, or who want to live vicariously through two gifted artists in 1970s New York City.

Just Kids is my fifth of twelve books read for my Ebook Challenge.

Read/listened from July 22 to 24, 2015.

the art forger

I received a copy of The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro for Christmas and just now finally getting to it! I admit I cheated on the book jar with this one—couldn’t wait on it any longer.

The Art Forger is inspired by the infamous heist of Boston’s Gardner Museum. On the night of March 18, 1990, two thieves dressed as cops strolled into the museum, easily dispatched two guards, and in just over an hour stole thirteen paintings by the likes of Degas, Rembrant, Vermeer, and Manet. Nearly 25 years later, the heist still remains one of the world’s most notorious unsolved crimes, with no trace of the artworks—which are valued today around $500 million.

B. A. Shapiro’s novel, which follows three timelines, blends fact and fiction in re-imagining historical figures’ relationships and a chases a wild mystery surrounding the events of the Gardner heist. Claire Roth, a struggling Boston artist who found herself blacklisted in the art world after a scandal with her former professor/lover, makes her living painting copies of famous works for an online reproductions company. One day, the owner of chic gallery Markel G, Aiden Markel, approaches Claire with a clandestine offer she almost literally can’t refuse: make a copy of Degas’s After the Bath, stolen from the Gardner. He unveils the original for her to work from, and Claire, a self-proclaimed “Degas expert,” is eager to begin. Before long, though, Claire suspects this Degas is not what it seems.

I really enjoyed The Art Forger! It was an intriguing mystery and engaging story, and a bit of a love letter to Boston, even. I wish that Claire had been just a tiny bit smarter, especially with men… maybe a little less romance in the book would have made me love it even more (although I have admitted here before that I’m not much of one for romance in general). The techniques for art forgery were fascinating, and there were enough twists and turns in the novel to keep it moving at a good pace. I had no idea how it was going to end up—I was imagining several possible outcomes, and ultimately I was satisfied with the ending. In the afterward, Shapiro went over exactly what was fact and what was fiction in the book, which I appreciated. I would have had no idea about some of the relationships, personalities, and art history. No spoilers here; go read it!

The Art Forger was my selection for “historical mystery” on the 2013 Eclectic Reader Challenge, hosted by Shelleyrae at book’d out, and my fifth read of twelve books total for the challenge.

Read from May 7 to 11, 2013.

day twenty-three | 30 day book challenge

30 Day Book Challenge | Day 23 — Your favorite book cover

Again, always, naturally, I cannot pick just one…

I really love the brightness of the paperback edition of Lauren Groff’s Arcadia—the sunflowers (my favorite), the seafoam green VW van, the sun on the horizon with the birds—it just conjures a place of natural beauty and happiness for me. The hardcover edition of Paulo Coelho’s The Devil and Miss Prym is mysterious, and I love the contrast of the shades of blue, green, and teal in juxtaposition to the blackness of the mountain and trees.  I just find the hardcover edition of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl to be striking in its simplicity, and Deb Perelman’s the smitten kitchen cookbook I love not only for the super-delectable-looking food, but because it’s a two-fer cover. Pictured here is the jacket, but instead of a bare, undesigned hardcover underneath you find even MORE gorgeous pictures of the recipes (Perelman talks about this design choice here).

What is your favorite book cover?