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Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 15, 2020. 9” x 12”

I return.

With some scraps pasted on watercolor paper, with a draft of a poem. Like a pater familias who periodically abandons the domestic domicile and neglects his duties to answer the siren, wearing only a backpack.

Wanderlust. It’s in my blood.

Five minute Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”
Ten minute response Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 14. 2020. 4”x 4”
Ten minute response collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 14, 2020. 4”x 4”
Three element collage . Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 14, 2020. 4”x 4”
Five minute collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”
Five minute collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”

So, before they shut down California and closed all her beaches ( I can just see the headline of Italian newspapers: California Surrenders), I attended a mixed media workshop taught by an empowering teacher, Crystal Marie.

These are the outcomes ( and voyages ) from Collage and the Intuitive Voice — A Collage and Writing Collaboration , hosted at the idyllic Way Art Yonder Studio, owned by my friend Jana Freeman. My heart rejoices when we take the right turn to the house on the hill, where my spirit can sing, where it is okay to play.

My station at Way Art Yonder Studio ❤️
Taking shots for the ‘gram.
By the way, you can see more process photos, work from my fantastic colleagues, read the quotes I collected – aaand follow me and my wanderings live – on Instagram : @sketchbloom
Laying down the pieces from the “piles of possibilities”. This collage prompt came from our morning pages.
Finished piece! It is very joyful to me.
How to grow an artist. How to grow SketchBloom, my digital studio. A process that requires support, mindfulness and grafting, as in growing a new type of fruit.
“ How To Grow An Artist.”. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 15, 2015. 9” x 12”

I was able to join Crystal last year for an encaustics and collage workshop last February , with exciting results and exposure to new techniques. I posted my work from that workshop on Instagram and will feature it here next.

This time the experience was deeper. I came away with sooo many lessons, quotable quotes and insights: the journaling/writing aspect of the workshop was incredibly soothing and therapeutic in personal fraught times ( Italy was preeminent in my mind). I love returning to writing, my first love. Most importantly, I was able to reflect and share and CELEBRATE what it means to be an artist.

Redacted morning pages. Quedate con lo bonito = Only keep the good. Quotes on being an Artist.
Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 9” x 12”
A small tribute to the most beautiful country of the world, now mortally wounded.

Now, I could berate myself for only producing artifacts at this intense levels once a year when I attend these workshops, but let’s not do that. Other duties and career and life commitments vie for time..I just enjoy the return each time. Like a soldier returning from war, knocking on a door— as as they say in Mad Men.

Dichotomy: my architecture world vs. my art world
Response Collage (10 minutes) Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”

Each day is a new beginning, like the title of the little book I found in the alley of my building, full of smoke and the story of a recovering alcoholic. Each breath. Each spring.

These are the days of stasis — the dormant days or deepening ones.

Collection of 5- minute Collage. Mixed Media, Golden matte medium and glue. March 13, 2020. 4”x 4”
A work in progress, beautifully unfinished.
My wonderful teacher Crystal Marie!
One of Crystal Marie’s motto : Just Glue It.
What I see of my work/myself ….
How other people see me/ my work or … what I let people see…
Here my work and my desk — all cleaned up— on Final Presentation Day ( pardon my archi-speak).
Ciao Way Art Yonder Studio! See you soon!

Before I leave you to my draft poem ( upcoming post ) and artifacts from my latest retreat — and a retreat it was, from life and obligations…Art is always a refuge…before I push publish on these collages of words and paper and sticky stuff, I just want to say that this is the time to finally read ”La Noche que Volvimos a Ser Gente”or “The Night We Became People Again” by José Luis González, inspired by the big New York blackout of 2014.

The night will be longer this time.

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I finished my visual journal a week after Roxanne Evans Stout’s beautiful workshop, but left right away to Oaxaca, Mexico ( photos forthcoming 😊). Here are some photos taken outside of Jana Freeman’s fabulous Way Art Yonder workshops (above) , Day 2 of the workshop ( details from Roxanne’s teaching table and my work area with “preparatory piles”) and, finally, my completed journal.

At home, I had to co-opt my kitchen ( I need my studio back 🤪)… but thought this would make a nice tableau, so I’m sharing it here. This is how things looked deep in the night, two Sundays ago..

And finally…c’est fini! My first art journal – and first video posted here on SketchBloom.

All of the lovely journals from the workshop:

A closing plen air celebration at the end of the weekend. Can’t wait for my next (February) art workshop…

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A Thousand Churches (Your Eyes). Graphite, Watercolor, India Ink. August 12, 2017.


Dear Single Reader,

You might have thought I had disappeared, and would be the third person in a week to ask me what happened to my sketchbloom…but I’m back for the summer.

An international conference in Hong Kong , research writing /presentations and academia have absorbed me until the end of June…not to mention that thing called life, and heart, and two moves in two months ( apartment renovation). It has been CRAZY. 

I just got back from two amazing weeks in Puebla, Mexico where I was part of ArtFest17 and went to teach at UVM (Universidad de la Valle México) a workshop called Myth of the City.  

Here you can see all the work done with my students and read about Puebla, the “Second” city – the first being of course, Mexico ( Ciudad de). It was an incredible experience, after having co-taught the course in Santa Fe, New México in 2013 and 2014. One could say I went from New Mexico to “Old” México with this.

In Puebla i was surrounded by “my people”, migente, artists, intellectuals..the bohemians and the romantics, and got back my creative juices!  Now, a new beginning…

I have lots of travel photography and new poetry to share so stick around 🙂 

Thank you for reading me and not forgetting about me ❤️ your support means everything to me, as art is and always be my first love- and the true love of my life. 

I am on an art-recovery program but I don’t know what to do about those pesky writing deadlines…#thestruggle. Life is so full, and exciting new design opportunities –like being a juror for Orchids and Onions in San Diego and a Pecha Kucha presentation on Storage Cities — keep presenting themselves. It’s accelerated, beautiful life…yet art needs the half-time of dreams.

Well, wish me good luck, there are some posts in the pipelines so I will see you soon and… work in progress as usual! 

I do hope you are having a glorious summer.

Below are some photos from lovely, lovely Puebla… two of my students’ models and the City that is home of so many incredible riches. A true treasure of humanity/ patrimonio de la humanidad. 

PS: I have been posting on Instagram but have to confess I always feeel guilty if I don’t post drawings/sketches/watercolor/collages… after all it is called Sketchbloom not Photobloom ( but you can follow me [@sketchbloom] there and it would make me so happy😊.) 




Puebla, Estado de Puebla, México:

What a magical city: Baroque churches where Tllaloc and Quetzacoatl are venerated, the fusion called Barroco Indígena ( San Francisco de Acatepec and Santa María de Tonantzintla – Barragán’s favorite church), Aztec temples and cities, 400 year old stone buildings, the tallest church towers in Mexico and the greatest covered stepped pyramid in the world ( Teocalli de Cholula)…finally the oldest public library of the Americas. Puebla is where the battle celebrated during Cinco de Mayo took place and where the Mexican Revolution started. Wow. 

Take a look…




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Another month of quickening days, of white skies, of scorching heat, of California monsoons has gone by.

The weather in San Diego has been positively schizophrenic.  Life has been full (I dislike the word “busy”), heartbreaking and healing at turns, magic, adventurous, challenging and with an overall trend of daily progress towards balance, harmony and mindfullness. Things are good.

I have been blessed to have crossed paths with soulful fellow travelers.

Since the beginning of 2015, the posts here at Sketchbloom have been so sparse…it’s embarassing. I miss my days before my professorship where I had the luxury of being an artist full time. Yet there were, of course, different struggles at the time.  I always heard that with privileges come responsibilities, and I felt those, so much, this past school year. Although the school year ended, culminating with Graduation at the end of June, I feel I am only (sort-of) beginning to breath now.

I completed my six-week five-credit Arabic course yesterday. I signed up for the class on what must have been an adrenaline rush from the tough Spring I had. The course started during Finals week at my University, which meant a seamless, yet intense/insane transition! I have some calligraphy to share from the course, and I am happy to say I can finally read and write in Arabic!

This month also saw me in Ciudad de Mexico DF for few days. I will post soon  some photographs  and recollections from that city of thousand faces. Alas, no drawings. (no time)

How to sum up a whole year? Only through recollection in tranquility. I am finally on break, and I plan to catch up with all the posts from my travels. I have notebooks full of thoughts and words, that might become verses, once distilled. Yet, this is also the time to make. I read that, a year from now, you will wish you had started today. SO I am starting, again, today. Every time I post here it feels like a new beginning. For those of you who have been following this blog (more than a thousand!), thank you for your patience and for the kind forgetfulness, and forgiveness, of promises not (yet) kept. I started running behind in 2013….no comment. My art and this blog can hardly catch up with my life and travels. I guess that is a good problem to have. Maybe you want to wander here, and see why time flies.

Annnyyyyhow…..Here are the rest of this spring’s nudes from Monday nights at the San Diego Arts Institute.

I noticed, going through the various drawings done there, that I tend to experiment with a different medium and paper each time. I guess I really miss my collages. I had the time to scan these drawings (i always feel quick and dirty when I post shots from my phone), and, well, what a difference.

One good piece of news is that I will get back my art studio in the Fall. I was part of the Brokers’ Building Artist Colony from 2003-2008 and I cannot wait to have a special place for my art again.

This summer – this year, really – feels like the long backward run, the gathering momentum

overdue

of the pole jumper.

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On Saturday, I participated to Dr. Sketchy San Diego, a fun artistic encounter involving life drawing.
This month’s event was centered around ‘Animal Instinct’ :).

We had a very fun model.
I realized I need these ‘art dates’ to keep me engaged with making art as I find my way back… back to my art studio.
Also, I may just, finally, have found my tribe.

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Thank you mamma for letting me draw on the walls with permanent markers, for drawing our profiles in the moonlight, for the watermelon eaten with spoons on a beach still asleep, for all the walks,  for the picnics in lawns amongst the highways, where you would bring my net, so I could catch butterflies.

I’m still catching butterflies.
I love you.

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I went to my Sunday practice at the Self Realization Fellowship yesterday, and during the retreat we did some visualization exercises – which was perfect because one of my goals for this long weekend was to do art and post here…since…ehm… we are almost at the end of the month (yikes!).

Below, a project I (finally) completed yesterday…the manuscript for my second book of art and poetry.

Here is the first…planning to put both on blurb.com after some design decisions are made.


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Off to a good start …happy, vibrant and loving 2014.



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Above, my Christmas presents from my students.
The ‘one hundred small books’ were a project for the Advanced Presentation course I taught.

To start the conversation on small scale binding, I brought some of my mini books to show.
How did I end up with these? 😛


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My students could choose their own narrative and learned how to bind books using different techniques and materials.
We covered layout through a discussion on portfolio graphics and blog and website design –and used some color palette tools–
so for the final project I wanted to do something different and strange, inspired by an artist in the 70’s who created one hundred little books.

Some of them are portfolios, some poetry, photography…a couple are on love and music 🙂


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There is even Dostoevsky’s novella ‘White Night’ and a book entirely on coffee and quotes, both done by Anastasia, a fellow artist (someone knows me!).

You can follow her beautiful work here.

I will post more pages from the little books once school resumes. I also (shocking, I know) have a little book on coffee quotes at home, bought in Italy few Christmases ago. I’ve been meaning to write a post about it, and now I will share it with you – and Anastasia 🙂

Also there were lots and lots of sketchbooks from my History of Architecture students (!).

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I. love. them.


Before I go (get coffee), some coffee quotes from my little coffee book:

If asked: ‘How do you take your coffee’?
I reply : ‘Very Seriously’

Unknown


Coffee is a language in itself

Jackie Chan


Wake up!

Drink coffee…

Then think.

Unknown


Coffee is the favorite drink

of the civilized world.

Thomas Jefferson


Black as night,

Sweet as sin.

Neil Gaiman ‘Anansi Boys’


Deja Brew:

The feeling you’ve had

this coffee before.

Unknown Coffee


It is inhumane, in my opinion, to force people who have a genuine medical need for coffee to

wait in line behind people who apparently view it as some kind of recreational activity.

Dave Barry


Black as the Devil,

Hot as Hell,

Pure as an Angel,

Sweet as Love.

Charles Maurice De Talleyrand


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My Bounty. Merry Christmas.

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“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?” 

Vincent van Gogh




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Fall Bouquet {and a button}. November 26, 2011.

 

Think in images, not sentences anymore

or better, fill yourself with food-sounds

against hollow silences.

Colours are a kind of music

and music pours a red-yellow wine here.

Drink it.

 

Sit like a cat in the Sun,

this warm December Sun that heals

this warm December Sun that lights

all dusty corners of the soul

and renews.

My California, My South,

My brilliant blessing, I thank you.

 

Year, rush to an end.

Is it Spring when the birdlets leave the gilded cage?

Open all doors.

Is it Spring when the starlings return from Southern latitudes?

Then burst open shutters and windows

They never do close here.

 

In the photograph, the hand is like a wing that shelters

It is always there,

in the heart-home

that has no doors

like a nest.

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Wire Crochet tubular bracelet. This can be made in pure silver wire. November 20, 2011.
Wire Crochet tubular bracelet.  November 20, 2011.

Wire Crochet ring. This is a cocktail ring that can have a rounded or flattened look. November 20, 2011.

Wire Crochet ring. This is a cocktail ring that can have a rounded or flattened look. November 20, 2011.

Wire Crochet and Ring. November 20, 2011.

I have been busy conjuring up objects from wire.
As architects, jewelry is the smallest realized design we can create. Next of course there are the futuristic 3D printers, but I like the analog character of crochet, using my hands, painting with metal and ending up with wearable art. I have been crocheting since the age of eleven (thank you, Salesian Sisters!) but this is the first time i produced jewelry. I remember at 14 using pliers, crazy glue and metal wire to create very small butterfly earrings. My parents must not have been impressed, because i was not immediately pulled out of my Linguistic Lycaeum and redirected to the Fine Arts and Jewelry institute.
The bracelet, a simple tubular structure, and the ring (my design),  can be made using pure silver , copper, gold or various wire colors. I used No. 2 Crochet Hook and 34 gauge wire.
Cannot wait to experiment further, the Amazon fairy shall visit again soon (she brought me really good books on wire and hook jewelry this time).
Merry Christmas to me and here is to more jewelry and sculpture with a hook!


Wire crochet ring- Rounded position. November 20, 2011.

Wire Crochet Flattened look. November 20, 2011

Wire Crochet Ring - Flattened look. November 20, 2011

Wire Crochet Bracelet and Ring. November 20, 2011.

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Thoughts set free. Ink on paper and trace. November 9,2011.

“If neurotic is wanting two mutually exclusive things at one and the same time,

then I’m neurotic as hell.

I’ll be flying back and forth between one mutually exclusive thing and another

 for the rest of my days.”

Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, Chapter 8

 

I have to thank my colleague Alan Rosenblum for sharing the concept of thinking with one’s hands and the visual poetry of The Mystery of a Murmuration. His advice is to watch this in silence.

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Ink on Miquelrius paper + Digital collage. October 2011



I want to share these two poems by Ilyas Abu Shabaku, which were given to me as a gift. Poetry is a candle in a dark room: our job in this life may just be to burn as bright as torches, as bright and as alive and loud as we can, for each glorious day we have left.

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened,

Happiness never decreases by being shared.

Buddha



YOU OR I?

By Ilyas Abu Shabaku, Lebanese poet (1903-1947)

This beauty, is it yours or mine?

In you I see a person beautiful in love

Like me. And which of us has given me life?

Is it your shape or mine that i love so?

When in my dream I see love’s images

Is it your shadow in my soul or mine?

Love, all of love, dwells in all I see

Whence all this light? Your universal soul?

Did I create you in the world of fancy

Or are you my creator?

Am I the first whom inspiration blessed

Or was it you? Who writes this verse?

Did I write it for you or you for me?

And who in love can be dictated to

And who dictates? Our imaginations blend,

Your soul within my soul, your mind in mine

When things appear obscure to me I see

A doubting shadow dawning in your eyes

When we met first I found my beginning

As if you were a lost part of my being.

Translated by Adam Haydar and Michael Beard




I LOVE YOU


By Ilyas Abu Shabaku, Lebanese poet (1903-1947)

I love you more than human heart can bear

More than a poet dreams or lover feels

You are the perfumed cloud from heaven sent

To rain upon me your enchanted dew;

I feel your heart, your veins flow into mine,

No gap to let the impure world creep in;

My heart confronts your heart, finding its twin,

As two cups meet in one eternal vow;

In us when wine is made to mix with wine,

A blend of perfume, breeze, and dew combine;

My inspiration dwells within your eyes,

And swells when lip on lip instructs my art;

For us the fire rages, though unfed,

Though we are calm, a storm erupts within.

Translated by Adam Haydar and Michael Beard

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Everytime it rains in San Diego, I get giddy.

I used to dislike rainy days but now, they are just…”Paris days.”

The city acquires a new depth, a warm, poetic melancholy.
That feeling of being inside a Caillebotte painting, where the real city, what I see, what i inhabit, what i fall into, is the image in the water; that wet,beautiful canvas. The rain on the asphalth, rivulets, currents, puddles become a mirror that scrambles, abstractizes, seduces….

The rain on the windows when you are sitting in a literary cafe’, and the place becomes a haven not only for the soul (as it usually is), but a toasty, welcoming,peopled orange-glow that will shelter the body in the intemperate, stormy weather. So seeing the sign of the cafe’ in the rain, in the mist,  is what the ship, no longer wreck-bound,  feels at the first glimpses of  the watchtower in the fog, keeper of her dreams and saviour.

It is as though the rain is inside the cafe’. The window panes are frosted and dewy. We could be anywhere. We could be in Paris.

Or all of it sunk in an ocean, a majestic  ruin overgrown with algaes and debris. All of it, wooden tables and chairs from Lebanon, credenzas and tapestries from Jordan. The wine, the coffee, the tea jars. They are all tubling down. And us with them.

It is as though we are sinking in a sweet, decadent oblivion. We drink in the atmosphere while we happily drown in a vague past with no memories. Where everything is possible, allowed, forgiven. And everywhere else, outside of this retro submarine, is desert.

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Fill in the blanks. Ink on Miquelrius paper. October 2011.

This drawing was inspired by this one , by my blogsister Ghadah Alkandari.

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Paris,2011.

Paris,2011.

Paris,2011.

Paris,2011.

Paris,2011.

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Ink on Miquelrius paper. October 2011.

Halloween: A day of rest for those who wear a mask all the time.

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October 2011

Strangers

by Huda Ablan

 

1.

No one belongs to the path

except a pocket

stuffed with the leaves of the night.

It keeps steps in stock

from a shop at the crossroads of the will,

patched with the skin of an old dream.

When yawning,

it invites them to a dance

with few feet and much madness.

When hungry,

it devours their warm, ripe whispers.

When thirsty,

it drinks their cries washed with holy water.

When lonely,

it forsakes its lenght and shrinks

to a remote corner of the heart

leafing through pictures of those

who have passed away

ensnaring with their song…

It will cast glances,

and tremble with the silence.



2.

No one belongs to the rose

except its melting

in the hand of a sad lover

who plucks it from slumber

every morning

and plants it in the vase of a tear

overflowing with pain.

He teaches how love sings

and how to breathe the secret

hiding behind the eyes

so it may reveal itself

without words.



3.

No one belongs to the heart.

Immersed in opening its chambers–

Shut tight with red forgetfulness–

It stirs the beats of a love

over which a curtain has been drawn

for a thousand nights,

and shakes a cup of blood

freezing as it faces circulation.

It alone

stabs the rug of a wound

made ready for crying

and prays

facing death.



4.

There is no one in the house

is dozing cracks obscure

the rounded journey of a small sun.

In the enclosure of the spirit

its walls bend in the face

of blows from the winds.

Its warmth ages and shrinks

in the coldness of waiting.

With the eyes of the absent

it soaks up warm places that flow

at the very edge of the passage

and melts in the shudder

of an endless beckoning.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .     .

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Three Cups. Summer 2011.

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Namaste. Ink on paper, digital manipulation. October 2011.

MENDING WALL

Robert Frost


Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn't it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.'  I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, 'Good fences make good neighbors.'

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Ink on hand.book paper. Paris, 2011.

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Ink on Miquelrius paper. September 20,2011.

Ink on Miquelrius paper. September 20,2011.

You can write anytime you like,

But you can never reach.

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Various Graphite Media, depicting 'Dwelling for Imaginary Civilization of Little People,1998' by Charles Simonds. Made in clay, adobe, paint and housed in the New Mexico Museum of Art. August 2011.


Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete.

It is a beauty of things modest and humble.

It is a beauty of things unconventional.


From
Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers


Photo via minecaching.tumblr.com. Click for source.



Charles Simonds began building clay villages, ruins and what he termed ” dwellings for imaginary civilizations of little people” in the 70’s, in New York.

His microscopic urban interventions at one point could be found, among others, in Paris, Venice, Shangai, Dublin.

They are now housed as prestigious artifacts in art collectors’ homes and museums (like the Whitney in NYC).

Photo via whitney.org. Click for source.

Photo via whitney.org. Click for source.


Click for more Charles Simonds’ dwellings

Watch the video: Dwellings 1972

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Simonds and Sarah



Salmon kisses,

I knead  essays at night

dream perfect poems–

lost silver strands become your hair.

I make collages of languid bathroom quotes,

images and cities.

Night drunk with words,

your eyes are full of them–

nestled in the cup of your arms

like Simonds’ tiny city in a new york warehouse.

A word thief,

of raspberry essence–

the poetry of portugal:

“Your toes are

little ducks

Sita to Shiva…”


You say I’m used to you like my mandatory doppio cappuccino,

Sarah’s velvet voice,

heaven in Corcovado nights.

You say my poems always have three words:

almonds, apricot, oil.

Here you go:

Downtown is on fire

Your almond eyes float like moons

Your skin is oil on water,

Apricot lips.


Berkeley, August 2011

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Thinking of Valerie. Ink on paper. August 10,2011.

From 'Art and Anarchy', Edgar Wind. 1965

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La Gattamorta. Digital Manipulation. May 19, 2011.

 

 

As I Walked Out One Evening  
by W. H. Auden
 
As I walked out one evening,
   Walking down Bristol Street,
The crowds upon the pavement
   Were fields of harvest wheat.

And down by the brimming river
   I heard a lover sing
Under an arch of the railway:
   'Love has no ending.

'I'll love you, dear, I'll love you
   Till China and Africa meet,
And the river jumps over the mountain
   And the salmon sing in the street,

'I'll love you till the ocean
   Is folded and hung up to dry
And the seven stars go squawking
   Like geese about the sky.

'The years shall run like rabbits,
   For in my arms I hold
The Flower of the Ages,
   And the first love of the world.'

But all the clocks in the city
   Began to whirr and chime:
'O let not Time deceive you,
   You cannot conquer Time.

'In the burrows of the Nightmare
   Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
   And coughs when you would kiss.

'In headaches and in worry
   Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
   To-morrow or to-day.

'Into many a green valley
   Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
   And the diver's brilliant bow.

'O plunge your hands in water,
   Plunge them in up to the wrist;
Stare, stare in the basin
   And wonder what you've missed.

'The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
   The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
   A lane to the land of the dead.

'Where the beggars raffle the banknotes
   And the Giant is enchanting to Jack,
And the Lily-white Boy is a Roarer,
   And Jill goes down on her back.

'O look, look in the mirror,
   O look in your distress:
Life remains a blessing
   Although you cannot bless.

'O stand, stand at the window
   As the tears scald and start;
You shall love your crooked neighbour
   With your crooked heart.'

It was late, late in the evening,
   The lovers they were gone;
The clocks had ceased their chiming,
   And the deep river ran on.

 

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The Creative License by Danny Gregory. Click for his blog and links!

Everywhere I turn these days i see the word Creativity..could this be a sign …cause I have not been posting that much???

This post is more like…four…but so be it.

The back of the book. Do you dare to be creative?

A dear student let me borrow this fantastic book: The Creative License: Giving yourself permission to be the artist you truly are. What a wonderful title. So this post, like the book is dedicated….

From Danny Gregory's book The Creative License.

This book is full of helpful suggestions, assignments and encouragements for artists, wannabe-artists and artists-to-be.
There are helpful tools, techniques and a great section on negative space. The style reminds me of Michael Nobbs and his ‘Start to Draw Your Life’ [find link to download his e-book here]
I love this quote:

I believe in the energy of art, and through the use of that energy, the artist’s ability to transform his or her life and, by example, the lives of others.

Audrey Flack

Inspired by the ‘sketch your life’ vibe,I finally got around drawing something that has been giving me JOY lately:

Ink and watercolor on paper and tracing paper. A bit of digital manipulation. Feb. 09,2011.

Yes! These magnific Illy concoctions have come to a freezer near you…I love these babies.
I also picked up the Oprah magazine…i do enjoy this publication…as a reader said ‘it brings a little magic into my life’. I devour news and ‘serious’ books ( I love novels, but have started a stack of non-fiction and architecture-related books in the past four years …and I am determined to finish it by the end of the year)…so sometimes Oprah reminds me to feed my spirit. Go ahead and judge:P
This month’s issue caught my eye, for the focus was creativity.
This is the un-quiz I am taking…designed by filmmaker Miranda July and Artist Harrell Fletcher, creators of the website Learning to Love You More. Click for creative assignments!
The results will be uploaded at oprah.com.
If you are so lucky to have an Ipad, you can check out Oprah’s own sketchbook app, SketchBook O.
Here are:
7 WAYS TO SPARK YOUR CREATIVITY:
(from designer Anna Rabinowicz)
1. Read Not a Box by Antoinette Portis
2. Go Outside
3. Start a collection
4. Touch Stuff
5. Travel Solo
6. Go Analog
7. Grab every opportunity
(read about this on this month’s issue of O, the Oprah Magazine)
One of the things I am always reminded of when I read Oprah is to give gratitude. It has been difficult lately, between my hypercritical mind, a full-out technological meltdown and a string of missed yoga classes. Nonetheless, I would like to give a shout out to these three creative individuals who are an inspiration!
1. Ghadah Alkandari @ prettygreenbullet: my blogsister, who elevates blogging to a religion, source of daily inspiration. I love you, woman.

Ghadah Alkandari, Goddess of Daily Goodness. This is her post from February 5,2011. Click to Ghadah.

2. Abbey Ryan @ abbeyryan.com

From Oprah's February Issue: the blog abbeyryan.com. She has posted an oil still life every day since 2007. WOW! Click to find Abbey.

3. St. Loup and his Secrets and Lies
Always thought-provoking…my virtual literary cafe’.

From St. Loup's Secrets and Lies: Maurice Ronnet Le feu Follet - Luis Malle (1963)

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This has started to be a weekly blog, and I am not too happy about it. This Quarter has been so intense in a stupendous way: I am involved in a myriad of exciting projects at the school and became involved in new committees – and that has meant less free time, but an overall brand new meaning in what I do. And did I mention the books ? In my studio class we are talking about designing negative space and casting shadows and in history we are in the Golden period of Classical Times : Greece (what have the Greeks done for you lately) and Rome. Who could ask for more?

Throughout it all, we have ‘got to keep the heart’ as Wanda, my sweet ex-neighbor said. Brain food needs to be augmented by daily spirit-food, soul-food…heart-food. As fully-realized human beings we have to ask an incredible amount from each day, but I believe it’s the only way to go…or you could just go on auto-pilot and become numb. Art and what happens here is just that for me, an outlet and inlet of pure ‘heart-stuff’, to balance the facts and seductive theories I’m immersed in everyday. Could we say this is my Dyonisian to the Apollonian? The days that I don’t get to post or practice are somewhat overcast, a bit stuffy, as though not enough light or air was let in.

I finally completed my Viva La Revolucion post and a related ‘revolutionary’ piece {see previous}. It took FOREVER. I don’t know why I keep giving myself homework. But I hope you enjoy that line of thinking, always trying to put it all together in a somewhat cohesive way that has to do with the nature of this forum.
The Holidays are coming and I am looking forward to post more frequently and produce more work. And I have a long list of things/topics so definitely stay tuned!
I finally had some time to do a new collage today.

It all started with this catalog of this year’s Arab Film Festival in San Francisco, and an image of the Salk Institute in San Diego.

I knew I wanted to make a collage using the two for some time, and the inspiration came from a dream last night.

I did not know the word part would materialize. Using the titles of the movie in the Festival, I created a game for myself, a sort of stream-of-consciousness poem generator. Here is one of the early results.

Here is how it all came together, unwritten an unspeakable words, fragments of poems, figments of my imagination…

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Reissued Dec.10, 2010


From the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego site:
For the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population lives in urban communities. The urban setting and its corresponding lifestyle are major sources of inspiration in contemporary culture. This is an historic revolution in visual culture, in which the codes and icons of the everyday—found on the streets in graffiti, signage, waste, tattoos, advertising, and graphic design—have been appropriated and used as an integral part of contemporary art-making. The urban landscape inspires and serves as both a platform for innovation and a vehicle for expression for many artists. The city itself, its buildings, vehicles, people, and advertisements, are not only the surface where the art is applied. The city fuels the practice.

A multifaceted exhibition that explores the dialogue between artists and the urban landscape, Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape features works both in the Museum’s galleries as well as at public sites throughout downtown San Diego.

The exhibition includes a diverse range of 20 artists from 10 countries that are linked together by how their work addresses urban issues — Akay (Sweden), Banksy (U.K.), Blu (Italy), Mark Bradford (U.S.), William Cordova (U.S.), Date Farmers (U.S.), Stephan Doitschinoff [CALMA] (Brazil), Dr. Lakra (Mexico), Dzine (Puerto Rico), David Ellis (U.S.), FAILE (Canada), Shepard Fairey (U.S.), Invader (France), JR (France), Barry McGee (U.S.), Ryan McGinness (U.S.), Moris (Mexico), Os Gemeos (Brazil), Swoon (U.S.), and Vhils (Portugal).

Viva la Revolución: A Dialogue with the Urban Landscape is curated by guest curator Pedro Alonzo and MCASD Associate Curator Lucía Sanromán.

Bologna-based Blu took 10 days to film the stop-motion graffiti film 'Combo'. If you enjoyed the opening animation of the Monthy Python movies, you will LOVE this.

If you only see TWO works from this show, lucky you, they are only a click away. You MUST check out these videos. Guaranteed to blow your mind.

1. Blu. Combo. 2009
2. Blu. Big Bang Boom. 2010


Thursday, December 2. Thursday always seems a good day to start a revolution. And we are already in December, so why not set to flame this problematic year?

I have taken an unjustified leave of absence for sketchbloom, but life and the mind have been in a state of ‘good’ intensity. Lots of good words, good books…hopefully good thinking… GREAT conversations.

So I missed Nablopomo, Nanowrimo, annhilated my phone (hence no internet)…but I am still here. New replacement phone is here, and I am plugged in.

There are lots of possible revolutions. There is one going on right now (subject of next post), maybe I was waiting for just this.

I am going for a revolution of the mind.

Two weekends ago  I went to see ‘Viva La Revolucion’, the incorrectly titled but intriguing show at MCASD. That is our museum of contemporary art in downtown San Diego. GO.

This show will last till January…then it will be gone.

SO what is it all about? Well, the relationship between urban (graffiti art) and the built environment. SO here you see, there is a nexus of what I am trying to do (or say) occasionally.

What do you think of the Space Invader project?

The Space Invader Walk. Video. 10 Minutes. Invader, best known for his use of ceramic tiles to recreate the Space Invader video game. The walk in downtown San Diego, once mapped, reveals the outline of a Space Invader. A sort of Urban Etch-a-Sketch. The artist uses GPS tracking technology.


Here is a trailer of the Space Invader Walk.

Banksy. West Bank barrier, Bethlehem. 2007

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the uber-famous Banksy. Always eye opening to see his provocative work.

Just really wanted to poke my head in and say ‘ I’m back, have a nice ‘night’- because more than two weeks of silence (and silent art) pain me.

Then leave.

 

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John Hejduk. Sketch from Lake Baikal, part of the Vladivostok oeuvre

John Hejduk. Sketch from Lake Baikal, part of the Vladivostok oeuvre

John Hejduk. Sketch from Lake Baikal, part of the Vladivostok oeuvre

John Hejduk has been called one of the most influential architects and educators of our time..
He was also a poet, an artist and the Dean of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture of the uber-prestigious Cooper Union in New York.

I am reviewing couple of his books, Vladivostok and The Mask of Medusa and thought I would share some of the ear-cornered pages.  Like Marco Polo, John Hedjuk’s travels start from Venice. Some of you may know my mother is from the Venice region, Treviso to be precise, and it was endearing to find the Serenissima in this book, a fascinating fusion of East and West, and even Milano, my birthplace. From the foreword:

 

The journey I have been on for the past ten years followed an eastern route starting at Venice, then moving north to Berlin through Prague, then northeast to Riga, from Riga Eastward to Lake Baikal and then on to Vladivostok. This has been, and is, a long journey.

Bodies of water mark the trek. Venice of the Adriatic, the lagoons, the Venetian canals, the river Vitava of Prague with its echoes of Rilke and Kafka, the waterways of Berlin, the Gulf of Riga, Lake Baikal, and the Sea of japan in Valdivostok. The elements giving off their particular atmospheres, and sounds, impregnate my soul with the spirit of place, place actual…place imagined.

The works from this journey are named and form trilogies.

In Venice;

The Cemetery of Ashes of Thought                                                                                                                                  

The Silent Wtnesses and

The 13 Watchtowers of Cannaregio

In Berlin;

Berlin Masque

Victims, and Berlin Night

In Russia;

Riga,

Lake Baikal, and

Vladivostok

[  ]

I state the above to indicate the nature of a practice.

[ ]

I have established a repertoire of objects/subjects, and this troupe accompanies me from city to city, from place to place, to cities I have been to and to cities I have not visited.  The cast presents itself to a city and its inhabitants. Some of the objects are buit and remain in the city; some are built for a time, then are dismantled and disappear;some are built, dismantled and move on to another city where they are reconstructed.

I believe that this method/practice is a new way of approaching the architecture of a city and of giving proper respect to a city’s inhabitants.

It confronts a pathology head-on

John Hejduk, 1989 

Hejduk’s work is provocative, political, polyedric. Read Errand, Detour, and the Wilderness Urbanism of John Hejduk, part of  Paroles d’Architects, an excellent collection of writings on architecture.

Also Sorkin on the Mask of Medusa, in Exquisite Corpse: Writing on Buildings.

Reading this book, at the nexus between literature and architecture reminds me of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. One of the future anterior projects: to illustrate Calvino’s cities. But it’s been done.

Cultural Minister

The Minister of Culture reads the works of Hawthorne, Flaubert and Hardy.What impresses him is the extraordinary love of women by these authors. Somehow the three writers are related through the strenght of Zanobia,Madame Bovary, and Batsheba. The Minister of Culture is aware of their seductions. He imagines, fabricates, and sews the dresses they had worn. He folds each garment and places it in an oblong box and waits for sundown. He precisely selects his victim, follows her, commits his crime, redresses herin the dress from the box, and places the body at the edge of the water. At Dawn he reads from the appropriate passages in a trembling voice.

 

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Made on Illustrator and Mac

My second board for the faculty display wall. I now have a list of new art to add to my portfolio tabs, as this was a great opportunity to curate my artwork.

It feels great to be done (for now). Happy Halloween!

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Today I wanted to share these incredible paintings by Gregory Thielker, a hyperrealist painter.

The world seen through a rain-soaked windshield becomes an impressionist kaleidoscope of colors.

To paint water…..

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Toolenburg- Zuid. Steven Holl

All images are from a research project completed by my student, Mariam Thomas, on Architects as Artists and their rendering/design techniques.

The relationship between architecture and art, and the study of practitioners who are also artists (with the mindframe of artists), whose design process transcends design practices and pragmatism to include enlightment, discoveries and art- wonderings is of immense interest to me. Not only because I come from Italy , where the greatest architects of ‘our’ Rinascimento where first and foremost artists, but because I believe Architecture (with the capital A) is meant to embody Art and , in the best cases, become visual poetry (or frozen music). The relationship between the word and the built, i.e, literature and architecture, and architects/artists who are poets and writers…all these are dynamics that not only fascinate me, but give me hope and recharge me. I would love to one day explore these themes through one of more courses.

It’s fantastic to see the relationship between Steven Holl’s initial sketches and watercolors and his buildings, which preserve intact the spirit of their inception. I saw one of his works on the water in Amsterdam: it was similar to an e. e cummings poem, minimal and undeniable.

The line is so thin between his grayscale watercolors (an obsession of mine lately) and his white-grey walls. Holl’s book ‘Written on Water’ is one of my favorite books in our library, I steal it often.

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful. I need to complete some collages soon, semi-architectural, archigram-style.

I have only been collecting ‘collage material’ for eight years. I hold on to fragments that could one day be part of a piece, it is time to justify these attachments.

I can hear the words in my future memoir:

At the end of the aughts, beginning of the twenties, there was no work. We were all doing collages….they were beautiful. We had time to think, sometimes not, but we still had books, and paper, and ink.

 

Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum(1992-1998). Steven Holl

Kiasma Contemporary Art Museum(1992-1998). Steven Holl.

Nanjing Museum of Art & Architecture (2002-2009). Steven Holl.

Nanjing Museum of Art & Architecture (2002-2009). Steven Holl.

Knut Hamsen Museum (1994-2009). Steven Holl.

Knut Hamsen Museum (1994-2009). Steven Holl.

Knut Hamsen Museum (1994-2009). Steven Holl.

Chapel of St. Ignatius (1994-1997). Steven Holl

Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1999-2002). Steven Holl.

Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CAD drawing. (1999-2002). Steven Holl.

Simmons Hall, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1999-2002). Steven Holl.

Toolenburg- Zuid. Steven Holl

Toolenburg- Zuid. Steven Holl

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How to pin a heart to a sleeve. Ink on Paper. 2002

A Time for Everything

There is an appointed time for everything.  And there is a time for every event under heaven ~
2 A time to give birth, and a time to die; A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted.
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to tear down, and a time to build up.
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, and a time to dance.
5 A time to throw stones, and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, and a time to shun embracing.
6 A time to search, and a time to give up as lost; A time to keep, and a time to throw away.
7 A time to tear apart, and a time to sew together; A time to be silent, and a time to speak.
8 A time to love, and a time to hate; A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes

Watch: {Buddha Bar IV – Agricantus – Amatevi  in Sicilian and Armenian}


“Know

The true nature of your Beloved.

In His loving eyes your every thought,

Word and movement is always-

Always Beautiful.”

– Hafiz

 from poetseers


“Amare, non significa convertire,
ma per prima cosa ascoltare,
scoprire questo uomo,
…questa donna,
che appartengono a una civiltà
e ad una religione diversa.
L’amore consiste non nel sentire
che si ama, ma nel voler amare;
quando si vuol amare, si ama;
quando si vuol amare sopra ogni cosa,
si ama sopra ogni cosa.”

Charles de Foucauld

 Prete cattolico e religioso che visse tra i Tuareq nel Sahara dell’Algeria

 


“To Love, does not mean to convert,
but first of all to listen,
discover this man,
this woman,
who belong to different civilizations and religions.
Love consists not in feeling we are in love,
but in the will to love;
When one is willing to love, she loves;
When one is willing to love above all else,
she loves above all else.”

Charles de Foucauld

Catholic religious and priest living among the Tuareq in the Sahara in Algeria

 

Happy Eid, Cammellino.

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Love Beyond the Seen. Amina Alkandari. Ink on Paper. July 2010

Posting from the road, The Gipsy Cafe’ in Los Angeles. The surrealist drawing is by Amina Alkandari, part of her series ‘Love behind the Seen’. This bohemian cafe’ is located within the alternative Anti Mall in Costa Mesa.. a place uniting local businesses, local artists and designers and clever public space. Love at first sight- and more on this soon.

Here are some shots.  I could go back everyday.

Lastly, drawing my students drawing.

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Dr. Gregory House. Watercolor on Paper. June 3, 2010

I am a huge fan of House, MD, not only because the writing is refreshing and clever  (Cuddy:  I have a case! House: Beer? )and the ‘hero’ is an anti-herowith serious flaws but a rugged, sarcastic way of caring — I love the show because there is a link between House and Sherlock Holmes – and you all know how much I love the British sleuth (no, not the recent ‘action’ movie…eek).  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fashioned the character of Sherlock after his mentor, an eminent surgeon in Britain: with House, MD (whose name reminds us of Ho(l)mes)  we come full circle.

As I watched the Season Finale last night (go Huddy :)) I caught a bit of the making of the stage of the collapsed building. MMM…models! You can never get away from architecture.

PS. If you have never seen House in your life ignore the writing and enjoy the painting of the strange man above.

The Set Design in House’s Season Finale

Image via official website of House, MD. Is that a model??

Image via official website of House, MD. Yes, that's a crane. It would be fun to recreate movie or show sets in studio.

Image via official website of House, MD. Building the set.

Image via official website of House, MD. The final disaster scene.

If you like this sort of thing, here is a fantastic book, or three, on the relationshio between architecture and TV and movie set design.

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The Art wall I assembled last night, right in front of Adam's Futo Coffee Cart. Sit, sip a chilled coffee and enjoy.

I spent the better part of last night ‘curating’ and putting up a small show of my students’ work.

Last quarter I promised my Neoclassic to Modern Art students I  would organize an exhibit of their art in the main foyer of our school and I am happy to announce that that’s one promise kept:)

My students had the choice to either write an essay or pick a painting of their choice, research its symbolical meaning and attempt to blow up a detail reproducing  it in the same media of the original.  It was a way I thought students of an art lecture course could get closer to the art.

You can see the results of their efforts here.  My objective was not to have a typical gallery show, but combine all the work as in a collage, interspersing the canvases with the prints of the full scale work the students provided. It was a challenge to combine different shapes, colors (art curating and gallery display being an artform of their own) and be true to some sort of grid. The wall is bursting with energy. This was an Art intervention/injection for our architecture school!

I especially loved the documentation of the process. One student wrote what looked like a blog entry, taking photos of his painting at different stages:

‘It is so strange, I found, once I started painting,

I could not put the brush down.’

Well, my work here is done.

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What you see here is a prime spot, the little urban ‘piazzetta’ we have for drinking coffee @Futo’s, hearing Adam playing guitar (or his always interesting music selection), talking, scheming etc…..

As my professor Francisco Sanin would say, this is a place for moments of urbanity.

It’s a  bit of a clandestine show, art that just shows up during the night….as I did not clear all the red tape forehand, but I am hoping we are going to be able to enjoy these for one or two weeks.

So here, to all the students that asked me in the hallway, or staircases, or doorfront : When is our show?

Here you go:)

Oh, I will be at the San Diego ArtWalk in Little Italy (where else) this weekend, with artists, musician, street performers. My kind of people.
Want to come along?

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This book awoke all senses in me. 

Keri smith possesses a truly remarkable voice; she embodies that Fellini quote:

 

Put yourself into life and never lose your openness,      your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that is life, and things will come your way.

Federico Fellini

Take a peak of the book here and check out Wish Jar, the blog of Keri Smith.

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image courtesy of photobucket.com

image courtesy of photobucket.com

To the Moon

Moon you are sand.

Moon you are the sweet sultry night breeze that cools skin,

Dances with the crinoline curtains on my roof,

Where I sit and think,

Sending sweet-flavored spirals in the air–towards You.

The City skyline falls,

Someone is playing the oud near.

The cafes fill with light and music

…and fragrant coils,

become an oil painting.

Although I sit here

Among damask pillows

Waiting for your rising

Love,

You are Always.

miti

san diego|nov.20,2007

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