Friday, December 28, 2012

Splat. Ow.

Fell off my bike Wed morning, and landed rather badly.

Left-handed self portait. A rough scab-map, if you will.
Broken wrist, broken elbow, cracked tooth, face full of scabs. I am quite certainly OK--but it's a distinctly uncomfortable and awkward version of OK.)

(And typing one-handed, as well as painting with the non-dominant hand, is slow work--so expect a bit of reduction in internetting from me over the next little bit!)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Fruit Bats

Winter at the Oregon Zoo. On a cold and rainy day, the cave-like structure of the fruit bat habitat can not only give you protection from the wind and rain, but give you tons of delight, too. * Oregon Zoo en el invierno. La cueva artificial del hábitat para murciélagos frugívoros nos da protección de la lluvia y el viento, y también nos da tanta diversión.
Watercolor and ballpoint pen. * Acuarela y bolígrafo.
Even when the bats are still wrapped in their wings, not wanting to face the cold, they are delightful. And the complex layers of wings and legs all bundled up for warmth is a fancy puzzle! Bat origami. * Aun cuando los murcielagos están aún envueltos en sus alas, no queriendo meterse en el frío del día ya, me encantan. ¡Las capas complejas de alas y piernas que están envueltos para conservar el calor hace un rompecabezas interesante! Origami con murciélagos.

 "He's like a sloth! He's a really fast sloth." * ¡Es como un perezoso--pero muy rápido!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The End of the World as We Know It

Tonight the Maya Long-Count calendar rolls Happy new baktun! Excited by the idea of this ancient calendar rolling over all those zeros like an odometer, and also vaguely amused by the "end of the world" notion that popular culture has absurdly layered over this calendar event, I have stayed up kind of late to crank out an art project that's been brewing in my head for a while.

See, I was reading about the mechanics of vision at my museum job, and found myself very impressed by the complexity of the eye structures of trilobites. When I carved the linoleum block of this critter (very loosely modeled after the genus Dalmanites, but I totally didn't count the body segments so it's not accurate in the slightest), it was originally intended as a statement about vision: the role of vision in the creative process, and the importance of being able to communicate one's vision in order to nudge a project into motion. 
But of course, as I was printing this linoleum block and watching all the internet chitchat about the end of the world, I couldn't help thinking of trilobites in the context of their mass extinction, 250 million years ago. 96% of all marine species were wiped out, and 2/3 of all terrestrial vertebrates went extinct. That would surely qualify as a variant on the end of the world, no?
A note about my printmaking process: I'm not sure if it's some change in the printing ink I've been using, or a factor of the microclimate here in Portland, but my "legitimate" printmaking ink has been taking about 250 million years to dry of late. Nothing so frustrating as a perpetually sticky print! Tonight I experimented with using a paintbrush to apply dilute acrylic paint, and then fairly thick watercolor paint, to my blocks. I am totally digging the resulting effect (as well as the much more reasonable drying speed.)
I've also discovered that the risers of the stairs that lead in and out of our apartment are a great location for tucking small prints to dry. Which, of course, reminds my silly brain of the amazing hieroglypic-decorated stairways at the Maya ruins in Copan, Honduras

And yes, that's a younger incarnation of me, clambering up the side of an ancient temple in a balam-print dress. Has it really been 14 years since I visited Copan Ruinas? Time is a funny thing. In some ways, there's no reason to not call tonight the end of the world...Because really, isn't every single day the end of an era, and the start of a new one?

Happy, everyone. May we all breathe calmly as the new cycle rolls around.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Baby Elephant

I am happy to report that the 16-day-old baby elephant at the Oregon Zoo is exactly as cute as you would expect. * Tengo placer en declarar que el elefante que se nació hace 16 dias en el Oregon Zoo es increíblemente precioso.

She runs around a lot but also trips over her own feet sometimes. * Ella corre con alegría, pero es muy joven y por supuesto se caye de vez en cuando.

And when she had explored for a little while, she runs back to tuck herself in the safe shelter of her massive mom. * Despues de explorar un poco, suele correr a la albergarse cerca de su mamá enorme.

The difference in shape between a full-grown adult (above) and a baby elephant (below) is very interesting! * ¡La diferencia del forma de un elefante adulto (arriba) y un elefante bebé (abajo) es muy interesante!

Thursday, December 13, 2012


Washington DC is a monumental city. I packed my black-paper sketchbook for last month's trip because I knew the dramatic marble would call out to be sketched. * Washington DC es una ciudad monumental. Llevé el libro de dibujar con el papel negro durante mi visita la mes pasada, porque supe que había un montón de edificios de mármol para dibujar.

Drawing all these giant pillars by daylight is certainly fun... *Claro que es divertido dibujar las columnas en la luz del día...

...but trying to capture the way they are illuminated after dark is an even more interesting challenge. * ...pero después de anochecer, con las luces prendidas en ángulos dramáticos--dibujando ésto es un reto aún más interesante.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


Washington DC last month. We had to pay a visit to the Lincoln monument. (And it's beautiful at night.) * La mez pasada, durante nuestra visita a Washington DC, tuvimos que hacer la peregrinación al monumento de Lincoln. (Es tan bello por la noche.)

I started off drawing in white pencil on black paper. * Empecé dibujando con un lápiz blanco en papel negro.

Then I switched to watercolor.* Entonces cambié a acuarela.

There's a lot of warmth and color in a stark white marble statue, after all. * Hay mucho color y afecto en una estatua blanca de marmol, al fin y al cabo.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sankofa Cafe

When we visited Washington DC last month, the place we were staying was near a little community bookstore and cafe called Sankofa. They make some of the best tofu breakfast sandwiches we've ever eaten. Wow. * Durante nuestra visita a Washington DC en noviembre, visitamos un café comunitario y tienda de libros llamado Sakofa. Hacen las tortas vegetarianas de tofu más ricos que he probado, y desayunamos ahí varias veces.

Our first visit, we watched the election returns on TV while eating breakfast. Our second visit, we took advantage of the sunny morning to eat on the patio, and I painted the big "justice" artwork on the porch. The real colors were much better than my watercolor sketch. * Durante la primera visita, miramos los resultados de la elección en el televisor. En la segunda visita, aprovechamos el sol y nos sentamos en el patio. Bosquejé una obra de arte sobre el tema de justicia--los colores originales son más bonitos que lo que capturé con mis aquarelas.

I also liked the fragments of mural on the wall next to the patio--a woman's face, and three tree trunks, hovering in the blankness of the bricks. A work in progress, or an old work fading away? (Or perhaps it's perfect how it is right now.) * También admiré los fragmentos de un mural cerca del patio. La cara de una mujer y tres arboles, supendios en los ladrillos vacios. No sé si faltan algunas detalles, o si es simplemente perfecto así....