Well, last weekend at a festival I happened upon a booth that caught my attention- Bay Area Alternative Press. What caught my eye was an illustration of a man running a printing press. So I signed their list, and Art and I walked around the corner to look at the physical address on Alcatraz Avenue. I went over on Wednesday, then again today, to volunteer, and found myself printing posters on a giant Canon plotter, and cutting edges–this is what I do. There are offset printers, binders, typesetting machines, computers, cutters, all sorts of professional equipment. It got me to thinking about my history and experience in the industry, and I decided to list what it is I have–it’s astonishing. I learned process colors from my Dad, a cameraman at his own Litho Shop–CMYK, as well as red, yellow, blue, green, before entering school. In first grade I got an F in coloring for trying to make purple from red and blue crayons. In high school in the late 1960’s Akron Ohio, I was involved in underground press layout and mimeograph printing. In 1970 I was a stripper at my dad’s shop Summit Litho Process Company, Akron Ohio. Tucson Arizona, 1972-4 I did cut and paste layout for the New Times newspaper. In Oakland CA, 1975-1984 at the Peralta Colleges– Laney College, I studied drawing and photography. At Merritt College, pastels and acrylic painting At Amsterdam Art: classes in painting from photographs Somewhere in here I took classes in Framing, and cutting mats for art. 1984-1985 CCAC, I studied watercolor, anatomy, textiles. At Dharma Publishing in Berkeley, volunteer hand bookbinding, case binding, signature sewing machines Independent study: botanical drawing, lettering, acrylic painting, photography, photoshop, color printing, editing, writing, layout, publishing. 2002-2008, editing, formatting, printing many articles and letters from prison, for Sara Olson. 2008-2011 Calligraphy studies at Albany Adult School. Owner, Berkeley Screenprint Co., 9/1/2011-4/4/2013
I haven’t been here blogging in seven months–well, who’s counting? Just me. A lot of time spent in Canyon (https://travelswithstevie.wordpress.com/canyon/) which is all the way over in my Travel blog. I may have to sort that out, drag it over here with a copy function–which isn’t available there, it appears.
I have begun a practice of drawing or painting–only once, actually, last weekend in Hayfork. I am still searching for my watercolor sets and Kaweco and other fountain pens. It doesn’t matter how many boxes and types of art supplies I have if i don’t use them. It turns out what I really want to do is sit in bed and read. I used to spend so much time in front of the TV just to be next to Steve, all that time is now my own.
Posting here a photo of less than half of a 4×5 foot canvas that is stored next to my bed, a painting that I call Dark into Light, sort of a self-portrait of me (off-camera) embracing the darkness–which is another post
What happened to Verteran’s Day? Well, I’ve already had a 4-day weekend, so I am going back to work tomorrow. Blasphemy! But I’ll post a shot of my dad with his war injury (motorcycle accident) if I can find it.
Big change, though, hope it worked. We moved the Furniture today, as per the drawing below–(Oct 7 post)– a little snug over here with 2 printers, but maybe that means more room on the other side of the studio. i am pretty exhausted. But also happy I am finding things I didn’t know I was looking for. Consolidating the sewing stuff in the acorn dresser. Didn’t move that, though. It’s crowded enough here without moving it, and leaves room in the far south west corner for guitars.
My Friday client called to say the painters are almost done, and I sussed it that it was better if I don’t come and stir up dust and leaves near the fresh, new, wet paint. Mr A. has gone to a guy’s-party-induction-afternoon in the canyon. I suppose it entails drinking expensive whiskey. Very great! that he is spending quality time with his neighbors. He has been doing a lot of work on the foundation of the building that will be his home, and someday, maybe, my studio, in a remote pocket of wilderness over the hill.
I decided to stay home and untie some of the knots that are keeping me in a state of confusion. I repaired the extension cord to the hall closet and moved the clamp lamp, rearranging clothes onto one-rod-only, which has opened up a clear space in the back. I have been very slowly sorting and rearranging things, which often results in an increased level of clutter for a good while. I can never seem to find an optimum arrangement for paints and things.
The proximity of urban neighbors impinges on my sense of free access to outbuildings and what I have in each of my many hidey-holes. I wish for a better arrangement, although I know that nothing external will make a difference in my personal behaviour. I like to be reclusive, secretive, I hide myself from myself. There is an incredibly long arc of creative intent. I repainted the red leg of my turquoise stool a lupine blue–very satisfying and calmer–but to do so I opened up the cupboard where I keep tubes of paint in a suitcase, begatting a wild reshuffling of magazines and calligraphy notebooks between armoire and book case.
I have many collected boxes for art supplies that often replicate each other. Pens dry out, blades corrode from neglect. There are five open receptacles on the round table now, none of which have a clear purpose, except to be lovely useful objects in their own right. Last week after smoking some weed I found myself in the kitchen working over a sketchbook like in the old days when this was my studio and we cooked in the kitchen in Steve’s apartment next door. I suddenly decided it would be perfect if I moved the calligraphy toolbox into the cupboard where the tool-toolbox was, but now that seems a futile exercise. Have I DRAWN anything in ever so long? I can’t despair, though. I always make some headway, somehow.
October is blastingly hot this year, with rare and spotty rain days. It is normal to have Indian Summer in October here in the Bay, but the unrelenting heat is something new, i think, and the drought is deepening. I have made a couple of trips to the Framing Garage, not sure what to call it. Last week I spent most of Thursday afternoon, an hour or so indoors, an hour trimming the roses and clearing dead wood out of the hedge, then back in for an hour or so. This is a good procedure, so I get some fresh air. The subtle stink and dust are still limiting the amount of time I can spend there, with or without a face mask. Ew.
Visually, though, it is a lovely space, and with the sun moving southward, the light is intense through the big window. There is a paper-bark Eucalyptus trunk right out the window, which I find meditative. I got quite a lot done, and really have a new approach–I have a select array of supportive audio clips, KPFA archives and New Dimensions shows, to keep my monkey mind distracted. I am listening to an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and Caroline Casey on creativity, and it has finally made a dent in my woe-is-me routine.
Painting is a communication, writing is a magic spell. Ugly paintings are healing, revealing places where work needs to be done. I know all this, but I still approached these crates of frames and glass and scraps of paper as an outsider, as to a foreign language. Today I realize it is a collaboration, and began by pulling out a crate to SEE WHAT IS THERE. Some cut glass, some frames with glass, some frames without glass. I added a few more sheets of small cut glass I found in other boxes, and marked the sizes on them. I pulled out frames in odd formats. Labels on the drawers of hooks, pens, small nails, tags, etc. I sorted two boxes of clippings, paper, drawings, prints, so that one has original art and archival paper, another has 8.5×11 copies and prints. All sorts of clippings and articles are filed into folders, stacks of magazines sorted, and a sheaf of recipes! well, they go back home, to the kitchen. The last thing I did was to put work-in-progress into a large drawer with sketchbook and supplies, so when I return I can pull them out and continue that project.
I drew out a plan for my tiny studio so that I can arrange to have an area (a 5′ x 8′ space I call the Annex) to use as an office/drawing space. Currently there is a shelf behind the table with things I can’t really reach, which would be a handy receptacle for boxes of pens and paints and whatnot if it was under the window, and the desk, right next to it, on the other side of the table. The supro amp and printer shelf are currently switched, the desk and commode (a pine cabinet I use as a file cabinet) are also switched. The table is where it is pictured, and my armoire and bed are off to the right, just past the commode. I am not sure the wiring will work, but it can hardly be worse than the way it is now.
Two or so hours most every Tuesday night, three other people plus me come together here for band practice, crowding in from the door and sitting around the table. Over time, I have figured out how to arrange things so I don’t have to do a major rearrangement every week. What has happened, though, is that things get jammed up into an impermeable pile so that i am always searching, or climbing over STUFF to get to what I need, often without success.
I am reverting to a state I was in about a year ago, when my tag line was I CAN’T FIND ANYTHING! Madness.
I have been playing music three or four nights a week, plus working at my gardening business, and then there is the new Love in my life, crowded into my very small studio apartment. He has his own tiny space, in a large room that is 1/4 full of a stack of boxes he used to have in storage. I don’t have the luxury of having put much of what I own into a discrete space, and I find it very distracting and confusing to have four different places where I have belongings that I don’t really need or use packed in boxes. No, make that 5.
Ok, that took six weeks. One thing I appear to be very diligent about is acquiring new objects to lose, unused, somewhere in the clutter. I finally got a nice new glass cutter with 6 wheels. I just have to get it over to the framing studio, but now I can’t seem to find it. There are a great many sheets of glass that I could use to fill odd-sized frames I have there. I plan to drop by to look for my very small Cotman traveler watercolor box to take on our trip to Iowa- I have a beautiful valise filled with stuff for watercolor class, but neither of my paintboxes is in there. There are other options if I can’t track them down.
Last week at a bookstore in Santa Cruz (right by the Saw Festival jam) I bought a book on hand lettering, so I am putting together a set of pens and stuff to use in my daily journal– hoping I can sit still long enough to do some drawing. I seem to always have enough time to write almost every day, but even then there are long stretches without entries. I got a subscription to the S.F. Chron, thinking I could emulate a friend who copies a photo from the newspaper every morning, but I usually can’t find a thing i want to draw.