Tuesday, November 27, 2012

orange you glad

I'm learning to be a little more bold.


That's so fitting: A little bold.

I tell myself I should do boldness is one grand gesture, but usually it's the accumulation of small moments of daring, adding up over time. I'm profoundly annoyed by this.

 I found the artwork of Ruth Shively, and the gears in my mind went clink clink clunk and I've just been staring at her portraits for weeks now. I'm so inspired.

A little blue here, a little orange there: gradually my palette is opening up, becoming more interpretive.

My mantra: do the work now, tell the story later. 

I want to hole up in my studio and just keep charging ahead, I have so much more to try.


Monday, November 19, 2012

peas in a pod

I did a couple of portraits for some good friends recently. I made a conscious effort to get back to the loose brushwork of earlier pieces, and to stop perfecting every minuscule detail. I was so relieved and pleased with how they came out that I had to dance around the house a little bit.

I had to remind myself constantly to work quickly and to stop dab-dab-dabbing in order to get it just right.

Instead: commit. Then let it be. Doing less is so much harder than doing more.

But I feel like I'm finally getting the hang of it, and these two did a lot to restore my confidence.


Friday, November 9, 2012


When I was struggling with the portraits of my cousin's daughters, one thing that helped me break out of my funk was The Quick Study.

I've been doing these all along, to test out my colors and get a feel for the composition or facial expression. Mixing colors is time-consuming and kind of mind-boggling, but when I get the colors right I don't have to fight with the painting so much. Jason says he prefers the studies most of the time -- and I'm starting to see what he means. They're looser, fresher, uninhibited.

While I was working, I wrote on that page: make paintings the way you make sand castles. 

In other words: Quickly. Without attachment. Fill the bucket, turn it over, start again.

I like that these pages represent the struggle, too -- they show HOW MANY times I mixed colors, trying to get them right, trying to match what I'd mixed before. How dark, how light, how purple?

I toyed briefly (and jokingly) with the idea of just selling the palette pages. This is your child's face, in essence; abstracted, rendered in pigments. Maybe when I'm rich and famous. But I did sign this one, just in case:

(Only kidding, I was just practicing my signature. Yes, I have to practice everything)

The months I spent wrangling with those three paintings were kind of agonizing, because I just wanted to get it RIGHT, and I knew I could, so why was I tripping up so much, and why was it taking so long? 

Now I see how important the practice is.  Being impatient and perfectionistic, I'd rather not take the time to do that, bothersome practice. I'd rather be great right away. And every time. Sounds silly when I write it out, but that's the unspoken belief I carry whenever I approach my paints. And that's why I get scared and anxious and full of doubt.

It's this: I want to know before I do. But more often than not, I do, and then I know. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

orange polka dot

Amidst the homework, the portrait-painting, the Halloween costumes, the hurricane, the election hullabaloo... I have found time to make teeny tiny slippers for Isla. One has to have priorities.*

Last year at this time I was up to my eyeballs in slipper-making, and pining for my paints. Now the tables are completely turned, and I find myself looking longingly at my sewing machine and keeping lists of all the projects I want to start...

I really need to make a new pair of slippers for myself -- and I need to do my homework and make dinner and oh yeah portraits -- but I cannot be reasonable when taken with the need to make adorable things for children.

The toddler version was so much faster, and then also gave me the excuse to appropriate these little clip-on puffs:

At first Isla was mad that I put the flower fabric on the inside, and then she insisted that I make them BIGGER, like the vintage turquoise heels of mine that she loves wearing around the house.

(I made that ridiculous skirt, too... I am totally nuts)

But eventually she warmed up to them, and willingly puts them on herself. If you have ever had a two-and-a-half year old, you know this is a Major Accomplishment.

So now maybe her feet will stay warm, even if her legs are bare. In November. In our drafty house. Because, SKIRTS, mama.

*In all seriousness: I don't post about politics, because it's complicated and I just don't make the time to do it (plus I feel like it would necessitate a long back-story about my radical street theatre days, which includes dancing in my underwear in downtown San Francsico, so consider yourself spared), but today I feel compelled to say: waking up with the promise of affordable health care, the right to decide whether and how to procreate, the right of my gay friends to get married,  the financial relief of income-based student loan repayment, among many other things -- all of those hard-won social policies still in tact, is joyous indeed and worthy of celebration. I'll save my thoughts about bank-bailouts, nuclear weapons, drone strikes, Guantanamo prisons, etc, etc. for another time.

Now, back to painting!


Thursday, October 11, 2012

sisters three

I started these portraits, my cousin's three daughters, back in June... and finally finished them a few weeks ago.

They were the most difficult portraits I've done so far. They're a little bigger than the others, at 8 x 10 inches, so I think much of my initial fumbling was solved by investing in some bigger brushes. But all the fumbling that came after that... I don't know.

It took me a good amount of time to settle in to my palette -- and to mix my 37 different hues each and every time. And while there were some exciting moments, like that electric orange on the eyelid, there was also a lot of fighting with exactly how dark that shadow should be on the cheek, the chin, or the neck.. and is it more purple or more brown?

I'm really good at reading all the nuances in one tiny spot, but I struggle with the bigger shapes, the relationships within the whole. What good is the perfect highlight on the lip if the whole mouth is too wide? And then the more I work into it, the more blended the paint becomes, and the initial vitality & expression of the brushwork is lost.

I think they turned out beautifully, don't get me wrong; I'm too much of a perfectionist to allow the piece to go unresolved. That's my problem, though -- the perfectionism is steering me toward ever-more-detailed realism, and what I really want to see is a looseness and economy of brushwork. This is always my challenge: doing less.

So now I'm trying to scale back: fewer colors, fewer hours, fewer moments of despair. I'm experimenting with collage too, and doing quick studies. Confidence, restraint, balance... these things just take all kinds of blasted PRACTICE.


Friday, September 7, 2012

dear you, dear me

Dear Auden,

You know what I just realized about blogging, after all these years? It's that I've been trying to hew to a formula and the formula is bullshit. The markers and milestones and cheesy "letters" are bullshit. The trying to record my relationship to you in a way that is lyrical, genuine, and also amusing... it's bullshit.

I realized that tonight as I went in to your bedroom to check on you, and you had fallen fast asleep, and I put my hand on your bare chest and felt your heart thumping, and I marveled at your slim shoulders and the curves of your nose, your cheeks, your perfect sleeping mouth.

I felt fiercely in love you with right then, and I realized I had been unknowingly assuming that that kind of fierce love was reserved for infants, or maybe just specifically YOU as an infant. It was as if I had been subconsciously telling myself that I could never have your infancy back, and with it, the raw and enormous and lucent love that sharpened those months.

Isn't that silly?

I still love you that way.

It's just easier now to get distracted by every-day logistics, new challenges, your healthy and infuriating defiance. And it's not your birthday or any other milestone, but right this very minute I am watching you grow, I am watching you sleep, I am watching you kick and tumble, I am watching you become yourself with the same amazement and pride that I felt four years ago.

This thing of being your mother is so huge. I am humbled and exhausted and pried open.


But all of this writing is really for me, so maybe the formula should be more like:

Dear Robin,

You know what you did today? You fed and dressed your children; you scrubbed poop out of a jute rug; you went to your two classes and bent your mind around the art of Dynastic Egypt and then around the mathematical rules of angles that compose a two-point perspective drawing.

You squabbled with Jason about discipline and consistency in dealing with tantrums and tearful snot-smearing bids for attention at the breakfast table, then you apologized, and Jason took the kids to school and you had a nice breakfast alone. You felt guilty about this transition to full-time day-care for Isla; you vowed to be more present and more patient.

You lost your patience about that whole poop-in-the-jute-rug thing.

You took the kids to a PawSox game, their first-ever baseball game in a real stadium, and watched as wide-eyed amazement gave way to sheer glee which then devolved into sugar-and-popcorn fueled shenanigans, but all of which was purely awesome to experience vicariously.

You got frustrated about painting; then you finally resolved the piece and rejoiced and called your dad.

You took a call from a friend who was struggling, and you gave her the very thoughtful and loving support that you yourself needed to hear.

You had a hard morning, and then a good afternoon; or maybe a good morning and a hard afternoon, where you couldn't quite put your finger on what made it hard, but you were distracted and let the kids tear up the house and draw on themselves with marker while you tried to talk yourself out of quietly falling apart.

Still, you managed to put together a healthful and delicious dinner, with all of the places set and silverware and drinks out and everything, and after dinner you took the kids to the park, where at first you felt like a lump of pity-clay because of that Hard Afternoon, but eventually you warmed up and played monster, chasing and tickling. You delighted in the crazy goofy dances Auden was doing to evade your grabbing monster hands; you threw your head back and laughed because he was laughing so hard -- and there is nothing at all in the world like the laughter of your son... that one particular laugh, the one when you tickle him just right, the fullest and realest and laughingest laugh, the one that rises like a wave, going up and up and up, until it crests and tumbles out over everything -- which of course was the perfect balm on your over-worked and worked-up thinker.

You will do anything for that laugh, even when it's no good getting Auden all riled up like that, and the fall-out is that you are done playing sooner than he is... But you realized today that you won't always be able to make him laugh that way, or to laugh at him doing his monkey dances in his little lithe four-year-old body, and how gorgeous is this one night, with its air so soft and your heart so tender.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I'm going back to school.

I'm turning 35 in two days.

I'm not sure yet how quickly I'll be able to do it, but I'm going to complete a BFA in painting... and I get to do it for free!

I saw my husband's name in the course catalog when I picked out my classes. (I'm not taking his class, though I secretly kind of want to: he's teaching one on MONSTERS.)

I went to the orientation for transfer students, and the Fashions of the Youth -- my god. The '80's are back.

I had to submit a portfolio for review, in order to waive the basics like Drawing 101, and to qualify for the BFA program. I had lots of work left over from figure-drawing classes of years past, and of course lots of my own personal work, and of course all of my portraits too. I enrolled in a design class, because I've never taken design, and I want to dork out on font styles and learn how to do, you know, hi-tek stuff on the computer. And I was absolutely certain I would not have to take Drawing 101.

But the professors who reviewed my work gave me credit for the design class. And credit for the figure-drawing class. And not for Drawing 101.

At first I felt righteously indignant, like, Do you know who I am? I am an Accomplished Artiste, and I shall not stoop down to your two-point perspectives and still lifes with plastic bottles painted gray! I voiced my indignation on Facebook, and got some responses from friends that really surprised me. One said, Don't Take It Personally, and the other said, I Think Everyone Should Take Drawing 101 Again and Again Forever.

And then I remembered something my high school physics teacher wrote in my senior yearbook: "Can you calculate the altitude of that attitude?"

So I promptly got over myself. I realized that school is only going to enrich me if I allow it to, and also that I have a lot to bring to a Drawing 101 class. And I also googled the professor, who is himself an accomplished artist and whose work is amazing, and suddenly it didn't seem so bad to be hunkered in a basement studio with a motley bunch of 18-year-old Art Education majors.

Stay tuned for some value studies of apples, people!


Wednesday, August 22, 2012


Back in the spring I hatched this harebrained idea that my dad & step-mom would drive to Providence in early July, and the kids and I would ride back to Michigan with them and spend a few glorious weeks there. I knew Jason would not want to be gone that long, and I knew I would not be satisfied with anything less... so he joined us mid-way into our vacation, and we all rode back to the east coast together.

I have a lot of harebrained ideas, but most of them never come to fruition. This one, I'm happy to say, worked perfectly. And it also featured lots of glittery water and naked children:

Long hot days at the beach, discovering Uncle Matt's REAL bow and arrow at the cabin, lazy naps on nana, real live sink baths, outdoor concerts, hanging out with both my siblings, fireflies, sleeping in late, seeing my kids and their grandparents so in love with each other...  I want to go back and do it again because I'm not sure I enjoyed it enough while we were actually doing it.

I'm not mentioning the sporadic crabbiness or how hard it was to operate without Jason for 10 days, or Isla's total pre-nap-meltdown-pee-on-the-floor incident at the store, because despite all those things this vacation was Perfect.

I also surprised myself by truly missing Providence. It was good to realize that I've made friends here, settled in to a nice rhythm. I guess the only thing to do is find out who to petition to remove all those pesky states between here and there that make these visits few and far between.


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

blue skies

I painted this one, my friend's daughter, back in March.

My palette is so confusing right now with 37 different hues including 14 varieties of purple that I wanted to look back on simpler times. Simpler brushwork.

I feel like I'm tripping over my own efforts to "get better," when really, the first portraits I did are the ones I like the most. The ones where I wasn't trying so hard.

How do you try not to try so hard?  Riddle me that.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

how I complicate

The more I do this, the stranger it becomes.

I mix colors, then I push them around on a surface in the shape of a human face. The exact shape of which means something impossibly important to someone. I have my own fastidiousness about getting the curve of the lip just right, or the space between the eyelid and the brow, and loosely, and painterly, and without muddying, but also because I know that if I don't get it right, it'll feel like just an imitation of a face -- that face, that one you adore with your whole heart.

It's gotten kind of heavy.

I started out with maybe four or five colors on my palette, and it took me an afternoon to create a portrait from start to finish. Now there are approximately 18 colors, arranged in minutely varying gradations, and it takes more than three full days to finish. I've complicated things, and I can't uncomplicate them. I've always been better at trees than forests.

But just look at these gorgeous trees! Saplings, really:

What a peculiar trick it is to translate light touching on shapes into daubs of color, arranged just so. So that you recognize her, her mood, her weight, her next gesture.

I would like to think I am getting better with each new portrait... but right now it's hard to tell. I do this to myself a lot: I charge into a project, I fantasize about its proportions, I drive myself toward these challenges, and then I stop abruptly short of going over the cliff with wild abandon. YIKES, I think. Don't want to go down there, with all of that unknown stuff.

I'm terrified of making mistakes.

Therefore, painting portraits of people's lovely children is the most convolutedly perfect thing I could be doing.

I will learn to make mistakes and not see them as mistakes. I will learn to make mistakes and keep going. I will learn FROM my mistakes.

I will learn to simplify.


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Here are the older siblings of the darling baby boy I painted a few weeks ago...

 Big sister:

And big brother:

I thought doing two siblings was hard.... three was a whole new challenge. I went back and forth choosing the images to use, because I wanted them to look good together without being too similar. Composition, coloring, expression... I feel like I'm just guessing and learning as I go. That kind of sums up my whole career as an artist, actually.

This is how it goes: fumble fumble fumble fumble... A HA! Fumble fumble... fumble. Fumble, fumble FUMBLE. Fumble fumble, fummmmble fuuuhh-huhhhhmble fumble fumble...

But lucky for me I get to fumble with super cute kids as subjects.


Monday, May 28, 2012

sensing a theme

I've had the same colors on my paint palette for ages. When I organized images for my website, it was like I had turned every single canvas to the same sand-and-cerulean channel. I guess I had been aiming for consistency, but it kind of made me panic.

I've started some new pieces that radically and deliberately diverge from my comfortable creamy ochres and sage-y blue-greens, but then I noticed that combination showing up in my recent fabric purchases:

And on my bed:

And a little pen holder I re-painted:

And a bag I sewed:

I just can't help it. I love it so much I want to LIVE IN IT. And clearly, I do.

As if that wasn't enough, I started a painting based on the first fabric, that sweet deco floral design, because it's a smallish, odd-shaped remnant that I couldn't decide what to do with, and really couldn't bear to do anything with, lest I waste it, the horror.

So, back to the painting palette I went, and the colors fairly mixed themselves:

After this, it's fluorescent pink, promise.


Saturday, May 12, 2012

time lapse

Meanwhile, the portraits continue.

This is the youngest one to date, at 6 months old. What a little dumpling!

I attempted to create a time-lapse movie while I was painting, which was a little laborious and the quality is not that great, but here it is anyway:

I think I spend about 75% of the time terrified of painting and wanting to run away. I have to tell myself over and over just to bring the brush to the surface and keep going. Eventually the piece starts to come together and I find some confidence in placing the paint just so, but MAN. The first hour I'm like a pre-schooler hopped up on sugar and can't sit still... Maybe I'll check the mail! Maybe I'll make a phone call! My fingernails need cutting! The books need alphabetizing!

Most of the work happens on the palette mixing colors, and then in my head as I wrestle with self-doubt. Too bad there's no time-lapse image of that.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

art party

The RISD Art Sale last weekend was my very first, and it was kind of exactly what I expected, plus physical and emotional exhaustion. And trying to look engaging but not over-eager. That's a facial expression I'm going to have to work at for next time. IF there is a next time. I don't know how people do this for a living.

My mantra gearing up for this event was that it was all a learning experience: It doesn't matter if I break even, I'm LEARNING! It doesn't matter if I spend too much money on prints, and varnish my paintings at the eleventh hour, and change my mind a hundred times about what I'm going to hang... I'm LEARNING.

It was overcast all day and a little misty, but it never rained outright, so there was that to be grateful for.

I shared a table with my friend Elizabeth, who is the real RISD alum, and the maker of these great ceramic rhino heads. I decided to show my five remaining kami kami pieces, from the show I did in Kyoto in 2007.


I was mainly there to drum up more business for the portrait project, so I made postcards to advertise and created a portfolio of the pieces I've done so far. Maybe a dozen people took a card... not as many as I'd hoped, but better than none. I sold a few prints, and an original mixed media painting, so it was not a total loss.

I think we had some overcrowding issues at the table... Elizabeth's daughter was showing some of her prints, too, and it made our space a little busy. There's too much to look at and no central theme. See? I'm LEARNING.


People saw the mints, though. Those were gone by the end of the day.

Now I'm going to go hawk some cheap prints on Etsy...


Monday, April 30, 2012


I'm going to participate in the RISD Student & Alumni sale this weekend, which means that I am procrastinating by completing projects that have nothing whatsoever to do with that event. To wit, an adorable ruffled skirt!

Nothing inspires me to sew like being totally out of my comfort zone.

I know, that kid is pretty adorable too, but watch out. She whines.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

pat your head, rub your tummy


There's been a flurry of portrait painting over here, and I'm being my usual lazy self about getting the new pieces up. I keep thinking that I'm going to do some actual writing first... you know, fascinating details about Auden's 4th birthday (!) or the way Isla calls oatmeal oh-pi-noh. Very necessary details: the things that take up all the spaces in between portraits.

But I can't get the writing muscles to flex these days. I think in hues and values... so much so that after a day of painting, when Jason is talking to me at dinner, I can only think about what particular color I'd mix for the cool part of that shadow under his nose. I'm sorry, what were you saying?

I can't pat my head & rub my tummy at the same time, so I'll just post pretty paintings of babies:

This was commissioned as a gift for her parents on her first birthday. I love how her gaze is so direct and yet everything about her is still so soft.

And I can't believe that Auden is FOUR all of the sudden, and that Isla now says things to me like, "Don't freak about it, mama." Little wise maddening geniuses.


Friday, March 23, 2012


When I selected winners for my portrait project, I hadn't considered what to do if the winner had a sibling... but of course it only made sense to paint this sweet face after I did his brother:

I think this is my favorite so far. I love the brushwork and the softness of the expression. I worried at first that the down-cast eyes would make him look asleep, but no.

There are more coming along, too, stay tuned!


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

two and some change

Isla, my sweet,

You turned two a few thousand moments ago, during which time I have been caught up in my usual whirlwind and too busy to write. Plus you keep changing, and I forgot that all this amazing growing up happens at two -- TWO -- so suddenly you're ferociously independent and stubborn and dramatic and some of the whirlwind is your making, my darling.

So don't think we didn't notice that you turned two. Or that you didn't notice, either: all the presents you got were immediately dubbed your "happy birthdays" and if anyone asked you how old you were, you emphatically stated, "Ah FOUR." We celebrated by taking you bowling with our friends, and you said, "Ah knock-a down-a PINS!"

I wish I could bottle up and preserve your little voice, how it sounds right now -- and the way you say certain words, like "more", which sounds like "murr" but rounder and sweeter in a way I just can't imitate. Pockets are "pocksit" and blankets are "blanksit," and if there are more than one, there are "one two free four five sick seven eight nine TEN! Dat how many, mama?"

You are very patient with us when we ask you about things:

"Called RED, mama."
"Called juice, papa."
"Called cra-cra, mama."
(Jeez, don't we know by now?)

You are adorably affectionate:

"Ah laafv yoo OH much, mama."

And you are suddenly well-versed in the art of the stall at bedtime:

"LAST book, papa. Dis a LAST book."
"You sing murr song, mama? You sing a song an' DEN stay a me?"

You just started saying "because," which, you seem well aware, makes your sentences so sophisticated. But you pronounce it "pahcuz," so it just sounds ridiculously cute:

"Ah gatta get it, mama, pahcuz I gatta see it."

Speaking of sophistication, you say words like "actually" and "frustrated." Maybe you really did turn four? My sense of time is totally skewed, so it could be possible.

You love ballerinas and princesses, and The Little Mermaid has been playing on endless loop for the past week, but you also like pirates and monsters and super-heroes along with your brother.

Most of the time you play along patiently when he wants you to be his squire, or Rogue, or a Sentinel, but you have a fierceness about playing -- and being -- your own way, too, which usually manifests in spitting matches or in arguing about every last detail. You don't even know what you're insisting on, but you know you must insist:

Auden: "It's a shark!"
Isla (wearing a shark shirt): "No is NAHT a shurrk!"
Auden: "Yes it IS, Isla!"
Isla: "No is NAHT!"
Auden: "YES IT IS!"
Isla: "No is naaaaa-ottt!"
Isla: "No is naaaaaa-ott!"
And on and on. It would be cute if it weren't so annoyingly absurd.

You eat like a sumo wrestler and still weigh only about 22lbs. You are a tiny little lithe thing, and you love climbing and hanging from monkey bars. We've been going to open gym at a gymnastics club, where you "hang onna bars and jupp onna trampLEEEN!"

You are smart and goofy. You get the hiccups when you laugh. You hug everyone with your whole body. You like to hide under my covers in the morning, pretending to be a cat.

ABC's? SO two thousand moments ago.

The other day we went to the park with some friends, one of whom is six years old. You were watching her play, and you said to me, "Mah grow up like Jane, mama?"

Not just yet, okay?

Doing my best to keep up with you,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

winner #2: King

Here's my other contest winner, Katherine's son King:

6 x 6 inches, oil on board

It's been really exciting for me to see how these turn out... I did his brother Zane, too, I'll show you that one next!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

winner #1: Laird

Here is one of my winners from last week's contest, Aaron's son Laird:

6 x 6 inches, oil on board

 It's nice working on this small scale -- I can get a painting done in an afternoon! It turned out so sweet, I'm really pleased.

More portraits on the way... and I want to do one for you, too! Contact me for details.


Monday, February 20, 2012

contest winners!

I forgot to tell you when the winners of the contest would be announced... so here they are! It's right now!

I wrote a numerical list of your names, in the order they appeared in the comments, and used www.random.org to generate two numbers.

The winners are:

Aaron Schiller
Katie Green

Congratulations! I'll contact you both with more details.

Even if you didn't win, I still want to do a portrait for you. Please contact me at:

robinsleftwing (at) yahoo (dot) com

Thanks for all your comments & support!


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


I am switching gears entirely. I love sewing, but I am a painter and I want to paint.

I've had this idea for an enormous piece I want to do of the kids in the bathtub, and I did some sketches and some mock-ups, and the momentum is still there, but I decided to shelve that particular piece for now. Instead, I want to do portraits.

I started with my kids, but I want to do yours, too.

They'll be small, around 5 or 6 square inches, rendered from a photograph, and painted in oil on canvas or board.

It was just a coincidence that both pictures I chose of the kids show them with their heads slightly turned to the right and looking either wistful or pensive. That they're cropped exactly the same was my artistic license (or laziness! you decide!). Side-by-side they look a little "matchy," so, live and learn. I won't hang them next to each other.  

They turned out beautifully, even more so than the pictures here can capture. It's a great way to turn an ordinary photo (or one with a strange prop, like a red shovel) into an original piece of art unique to your family. 

These two are basic and straightforward, but I'm excited to try some more experimental stuff, with collaged layers and more abstract, artsy elements. I'll post more pieces as I go, so stay posted.

To jump-start this project, I'm going to host a contest to win a free portrait!

To enter: just leave a comment with your email address. I'll close the comments on Saturday, February 18th at noon (EST), and randomly choose two winners from all the comments. You supply the picture, select the surface you'd like, and specify any color preferences.

Stick around even if you don't win, though -- I will be available for commissions starting at $50 for small original portraits. 

Good luck!


Thursday, January 26, 2012

apropos of nothing

I've noticed this weird driving etiquette in Providence: if someone is trying to turn left and there's an unending stream of on-coming traffic, some driver will invariably slow and flash their brights so the left-turner can sneak through. Actually it goes for right-turners, too, and buses, and pretty much anyone caught in a tight spot.

This city has some serious traffic-flow problems -- lots of one-lane streets, wonky five-street intersections, and chutes-and-ladders interchanges -- so it strikes me as a creative and uncommonly civil solution to give a fellow driver an extra inch to squeeze in.

There are plenty of assholes on the road, don't get me wrong (high on my pet-peeve list are those who sail through red lights just because they feel they've been waiting long enough), but the courtesy of other drivers trumps them. Incredibly, it's the perfect antidote to road rage. I've actually started looking for opportunities to let people in, and I feel bad when I miss them.


I have a head cold and feel like I'm wearing a diving bell, which may be why I'm writing about traffic and seriously contemplating further research into it.

Carry on, then!


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

from the workshop

Here's a little sample of what I was up to last month (you know, aside from weatherproofing):

 (well, this is kind of like weatherproofing, if you're like me and have feet that are basically never warm from November to April)

All of these were made to order, so they're not for sale, but I still have most of these fabrics so if you see something you like, give me a holler.

I haven't been painting lately, which is frustrating, but at least I still get to play with colors and textures.

It is satisfying to have warmed & prettified lots of feet this winter, though.