Saturday, July 12, 2008

For Now...

The healing continues; the new blog awaits...
In the meantime, I AM posting on the Underground Artists blog, here.

This is the blog for my art group, and features events that we're involved in, places to find our work, and news about other local Tahoe artists. Come visit me over there!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Feel Good

A month or so ago, as I'd just finished the SmARTIST Telesummit, I was preparing to re-do my website and revise my vision for a new blog. Then life threw me a curve ball, and I've spent the last month in a major and very cool healing process.

So, a new blog hasn't materialized yet; it's waiting for the new work that is going to come out of all this. I'm so grateful to have been stopped in my tracks. It's given me time to assess their direction.

In the meantime, I've been watching old Northern Exposure episodes on DVD, enjoying the rest, and expanding my interest in footwear. The new pink cowboy boots are to die for, but here's a pic of my old studio shoes, inspired by the Secret.
Live well...

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy?

It's time to stop writing this blog.

I started it just over a year ago, and with the "blogiversary" a couple of weeks back, I'd hoped to end this one by launching my NEW blog, which I'm working on still. In the meantime, however, I was diagnosed with this autoimmune anemia, have turned a pronounced shade of yellow, and been put on medication that makes me feel, well, "unglued".

As I'm not feeling well enough to work in the studio, and would rather not bore you all with my medical details, I am officially putting an end to this particular blog, as of this week. If you'd like to find the new blog, check back here in a couple of weeks. I'll leave a "stub post" with a link to the new url.

Or, you can add your name to my mailing list. Most of you are on my mailing list already, and will receive an email when the new blog is up and running, like me. I hope it's soon.

Thanks so much for reading this blog. I've loved writing it, and really appreciated having your support. I'll be back soon...

In the meantime, I'm working on the name for my new blog... something more upbeat this time?

Monday, March 17, 2008

health update

This "autoimmune hemolytic anemia" is really kicking my butt... I don't have the energy to work OR write. And I think the medication they gave me is adding to the wierdness.

I didn't realize it would be like this.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Nevada Home features my work this month

Note to self: Never watch "Macbeth" (even if it does feature James McAvoy) and start taking insomnia-inducing medication on the same day...
I've been awake since 2 am.

But I did want to let you know that by clicking here, you can see my work in Nevada Home magazine! (scroll down the page) This came as a surprise.

Another surprise that I received yesterday was that ClayNichols, the store that features the aforementioned work, is going out of business at the end of this month. Starting March 20th, they're having a sale, so if you'd like to catch some great deals on some beautiful home decor, head on over. See link in sidebar for store hours and Reno location.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

I love you, Oprah, BUT...

A sick artist is not a happy artist. It's not like we get to miss "work", or get to take sick days... happy to sit on the couch and watch Oprah. To me, it feels more like a huge roadblock to getting back to our lives... our lives are our work, and to be deprived of that creates frustration, and probably a lot less healing. I plan to be in the studio every day, even if it's only for the hour or so that I can manage right now.

The work I was doing when, SURPRISE! I found out I was turning yellow was also going to be a surprise, but I'll tell you now:

I'm working on a short video... and here's a close-up of a the piece that I'm working on for it. Can you guess what it is?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No Passing Out in the Glue

The film fest is over, and now I've got to bring up that matter of the health issues I'm dealing with...
Or maybe you'd prefer a film about red blood cells?
Hmmm... probably not.

Well, it seems that I'm experiencing an auto-immune hemeolytic anemia (shh... everyone will want one). This means I'm very anemic and very tired... and jaundiced. (see creepy photo of my jaundiced eyeball.)

It's my intention to keep working and to keep blogging throughout the process of healing. I know that when I don't show up in the studio regularly, I feel like something is missing in my life. Creating grounds me. And I need to feel grounded now. I'll do short sessions, and I'll stop when I feel dizzy. No sense passing out in the glue.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Yet More Art on Film

I had planned to move on by now, but I'm still working out some health issues, and have been a bit distracted lately. So, if you can stand to watch yet another film clip, the one below is good for a laugh.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Art Film Fest, day 4

I wanted to find something really cool for you to watch for this final day of the Film Fest...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Art Film Fest, day 3

After you watch this clip, run right out and rent "Rivers and Tides", the full-length documentary about Andy Goldsworthy's work.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Art Film Fest, day 2

A friend of mine in Europe sent us still photos of Julian Beever's amazing sidewalk art a while back. Here's some video of him working on a piece for the Transformers movie.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Art on Film

We're having a Film Fest at my house this week, since I'm still dealing with some health issues and am very tired. I decided to have a Film Fest on the blog this week too. Here's your first one:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Happy Blogiversary

Is this a word? I don't know, but I saw it on somebody else's blog. And it is. It's my One Year Blogiversary of "Unglued". (Technically, it was March 2nd.)

I have to thank my artist friend Kristen, who, last March, unwittingly set into motion a chain of events that led me to blog obsessively by uttering these words (or something similar): "I'm going to try blogging four times this week".

To a normal person, this meant: she was going to try blogging four times that week. But to moi, that meant, "I must also try blogging four times this week. I must blog alot. I must blog more than her."

And I did. I blogged alot, and I learned alot. As a result, "Unglued" has undergone many changes. And here we are, a year later, and I've got something new in the works... I wanted to be able to unveil it today, but I haven't been feeling well. So, more details soon!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Proud to be a New Yorker

Here's something you don't see every day:

Even though I've been gone for 20 years, I'm proud to be from New York. Where else does it get this weird?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

me, sick.

Not feeling well today...

Here is a photo of me, taken this morning.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Family Heirlooms


I know it's not big news, but here's another post about one of the brushes I use. Say you're excited?

My mother was an artist too; painter, sculptor and sometime potter. I inherited her brushes: all high-quality; some unusable; most, antiques! This brush stole my heart, if you can say that about a brush. I wanted you to see all the years of paint that are built up on the handle. It's beautiful.

I don't use it as much these days; I tend to use flat, wide brushes. And it seems about time to retire it. Maybe I'll have a little ceremony for it, along with the "Harvey Berin" pencil (from one of my mother's fashion illustration jobs in the 1940's)...
these are my family heirlooms.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Birthdays are weird...

or maybe they're just weird when you get older. Not that I'm getting so old, but let's just say I'm teetering dangerously close, I can't even say it.

But my problem is that I always want to do the Exactly Right Thing on my birthday, and that puts alot of pressure on me. So you'd think I'd be in the studio. But I wanted to take a day off. So I chose to head out to the mountain and ski; just a few runs. And it's beautiful out there; absolutely gorgeous. But what I realized yesterday, after 36 years of skiing (and still a timid intermediate) is that it's not My Thing. Not anymore. I'm giving up trying to be a Cool Skier Chick. I am choosing not to invest the time it would take to improve my skiing, because I'd rather invest it in becoming a better artist.

For awhile after I realized that, I was mad at myself for going out there, but then I realized:

I did the Exactly Right Thing for my birthday. And I feel so much lighter.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Creativity Habit

I'm just at the beginning of choreographer Twyla Tharp's book, "The Creativity Habit" and already I'm realizing how much I need it. Especially the lying in bed at 6:00 and wondering if I REALLY need to go to the gym...she swears that if I do this all the time, it will become ritualistic and I won't question it so much. To which I say, "ha ha".

But the other thing, the studio time:
I really am finding that going into the studio at set times is the only way to get in there. The act of creativity brings up a lot of whiny self doubt. (It can get ugly). So to just GO and BE. Much easier.

Some days are better than others...
and today's my birthday, so I'm going to do whatever I want.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cave Art

It's snowing, AGAIN. My studio is regaining it's snow-cave status (ice coming off the roof is meeting snow stacked up underneath) and that sort of dampens my enthusiasm to be out there.
If I didn't have the Underground Artists meeting in there this morning, I think I'd just stay in the house and bake banana bread instead.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Full Circle

"Phoenix", 2008
7" x 15" x 12"

Yesterday's post included a small photo of this papier mache/mixed media piece that I started well over a year ago. It was part of a series called "Mystical Receptacles". The forms were organic and undulating and somewhat pod-like, and I liked the idea of them, because they were sort of purposeless.

They were difficult to make, though. The papier mache layering went on for HOURS (not my favorite part of the process.) Some of them went through several incarnations, too, as I figured out what worked and more often, what didn't. With this piece, there was alot of "didn't". But I couldn't toss it. It still held promise, and besides, I liked the hanger-wire legs. Every so often, I'd do something different with it; just enough to keep me interested.

Yesterday I finished it, using recycled foil candy wrappers around the inner edge. The bright colors are reminiscent of my aunt and uncle's groovy living room rug, circa 1967. I'm almost inspired to do another! Or maybe not...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Inspiration & Relevance

artwork in progress by Melissa Lanitis Gregory

This post revolves around two things:

inspiration, and relevance.

Last night I dreampt about Madonna. I dream about her occasionally. It's odd when you consider that I don't like her songs much, but I find her strength and drive fascinating. When I woke up, I had some of those half-formed ideas that sometimes turn into art pieces. I ran out to the studio to turn the heat on, and do some thumbnails for a new series. Are these connected? I don't know, but I may want to figure that out... I'm working on revising my artist's statement, using Alsyon Stanfield's new book about promotion: "I'd Rather Be in the Studio". In it, she uses a series of questions designed to help artists get clear about the inspiration behind the work. How am I going to incorporate dreams of Madonna into an artist statement? Should be interesting.

my shoes

And relevance: This photo of my shoes seems irrelevant, but the fact is, I love the way the light comes through that sliding glass door, and shines through the screen that's leaning there. Noticing things like this, I photograph them. That's relevant to the creative process, just as relevant as the ideas that flew out of my head and into the sketchbook this morning; ideas for pieces that spring from my love of this place I live, and from the losses of last summer's Angora fire.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alternative Gallery Spaces

As a born-and-raised New York girl, I loved this post on Alyson B. Stanfield's ArtBizBlog. (I just clicked on the link on her site that goes to the actual New York Times article, but as it's "yesterday's news", you have to register to read the whole thing. Read an excerpt at Alyson's blog).

It concerns a rather brave art gallery in chi-chi Chelsea. Here in Tahoe, we also suffer from a dearth of gallery space, and my friends and I are always trying to think of possible alternatives. If anyone has any great alternative gallery stories or suggestions, send it along!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Art That Goes "Boing"

Or, more specifically, Art That Goes "Boing" in Public.

The finished Underground Artists anniversary helmets, complete with a "boingy" bead at the top, were delivered to our "between-the-meetings" art meeting. This is a more informal get-together that we recently started doing, because meeting every two weeks is just TOO LONG a time to go without connecting with each other in person. Instead of getting together in my art studio, we meet at a local coffee house for a caffeine/sugar/support fix. Instead of focusing on art issues, we talk about "whatever". It helps.

Anyhoo, I brought the art helmets to Friday's group, and lucky for me, Kristen (aka "Scary") and Barbara (aka "Muddy") immediately put them on and wore them the entire time. (This is why I love these women.)

Reactions from other people in the cafe varied: I went up to the counter for something (okay, it was a cookie) and the young and humorless counter person pretended I was NOT wearing anything unusual. (Actually, I'm sure she sees alot of odd things in her job; maybe she's just jaded.) But other people looked over at us and smiled. One nice older gentleman came over and started talking to us, but by that time, I was ready to go and had on my Elmer Fudd hat (excellent for snowblowing!) and I think he commented on that first; but he did ask about the helmets. I loved that he was curious and open enough to start a conversation.

The intention was not to attract attention; the meeting was just the best way to deliver the art. But once we were there, and it became clear that we were going to WEAR them, it became an interesting experiment in people's reactions to my art.
What would your reaction have been?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Celebrating a Year of Underground Art

Okay, well, it was more like last week, BUT, the Underground Artists have been meeting for a year now, and as the founder, I felt like it was reason to celebrate. The group has been the most amazing experience, and it was important, I felt, to mark this anniversay, with, say, wearing a bowl on one's head.

Or, an Art Helmet.

These are the surprise I mentioned; I couldn't post photos here this week because Kristen would be reading. I made three of these; one for each of us. They're my unique brand of recycled paper/papier mache/mixed media art. On the backs, they're personalized. I'm actually running out the door right now, but here are pics!

This art group has been a huge gift for all of us. For anyone aspiring to move towards greater creativity, I highly recommend getting together with other like-minded creative people. It's been an amazing experience, and we can't wait to see what this year will look like...

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mutant Cantaloupe

For all you know, I might be creating mutant fruit in my art studio... (note to self: file "mutant fruit" idea for future use.)

You don't get to see the whole thing until Friday...
so here's a cropped shot of one of the new art pieces. I'm using a different paper for the texture this time, and I like it.
It reminds me of cantaloupe.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Bowls on Their Heads, part ii

Short post this morning; the boys are back from their trip and things are a bit of a mess here...

BUT... my friend obliged me by sending the photo of her Russian mother-in-law with one of my bowls on her head!

I love this picture, even though it's rather backlit.

See? Everybody likes to do this. Send me a photo of yourself with a bowl on your head and I will post it here! If it's one of my bowls, even better...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Artist Insomnia

Maybe you've experienced it: awake at 2:30 am, scribbling quick sketches or notes on the bedside pad...

Last night, my muse kicked in before I fell asleep at all, and quickly (and neatly, or so I thought) wrote a few lines before I forgot. Or worse, before I thought and thought and thought about the idea.

Later, I woke up again (or maybe I never really fell asleep) and thoughtfully turned the paper over, to write a bit more on the same subject. Brilliant! I then went to sleep.

This morning, I looked at the pad by my bed. Apparently, I'd had the super idea to turn the paper over BOTH times I'd written on it. It now says (and barely legibly, I might add):

"Absurdity? (arrow pointing down to illegible mess of words)
more 3D
new clockatforms 08
play w/MS
horns?dy art
nubby thing
(there's a scribbled design in here somewhere too)
pendulum less fits layers
within piece face?

I actually know what it all means. But alternatively, I could publish it as a poem.
(I'd show you a photo of the actual mess, but the boys are still gone with the camera!)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Oprah for President

No new photos today; Alan took the kids on a trip to Death Valley, leaving me camera-less and all alone... not that I mind. I love being left alone for awhile. (Although not TOO long... )

But that's okay, because I can't show you the new art helmets anyway... they're going to be a surprise, so don't say anything, okay? I'll post them for you to see when they're finished, which will be Friday, with some luck. It's somewhat of an excersise in how quickly an art helmet can get done, if it needed to... but that's not why I'm making these particular pieces.

(I can't tell you that either; it's a surprise, remember?)

In the meantime, with my noisy boys gone, I've had time to think about Alyson Stanfield's question she posed in her newsletter last week:

What does success as an artist mean to me?

I know I can answer this, but it's something that I FEEL more than something I can put into words, so I've been working it this week. It's been really hard to put the sensations onto paper. But there are some parts that are easier to articulate, like, oh, say: be on "Oprah". (ha!) I don't watch tv much, and never during the day, but somebody told me to tune in to her follow-up on "The Secret" last week, so I put it on while I made dinner....and you know what? I love Oprah. How can you not love Oprah?

But I digress. Success, my vision for my art; I'm still working with it. Got a couple more days before the boys come home and chaos resumes.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Papier Mache on Video

I found this beautiful video this morning, and wanted to share it. Leah de Prizio does incredible papier mache work. (Click on the arrow, then click again.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Studio Time, Skiing Time

papier mache and mixed media art helmet by Melissa Lanitis Gregory

Speaking of time spent in the art studio...(weren't we?), I didn't work in the studio on Tuesday. It was so beautiful and sunny and gorgeous out that I took the day off from making art, and took my kids skiing. But, art never leaves my mind for long, and I had one of those cool mini-epiphanies that's about something you already know, but it comes to you in a new and useful way.

I was watching my older son ski, and he's so comfortable and relaxed on his skiis; just looks like he was born on them (he practically was). And here's me: been skiing since I was eleven, now it's a few decades later (give or take) and I'm still just a solid intermediate. And (here's the mini-piph) I realize that it all comes down to the time one puts in. Even after all my years of skiing, he's got so much more time on his skiis than I do (especially since having kids!) that it's just second nature to him.

And, so it goes for the art. The more studio time you put in, the more you're going to feel comfortable on your skiis. No, wait... The more studio time you put in, the more comfortable you become with your art: how you make it, how you get it out in the world.

My husband is taking the boys skiing today. And where will I be? In my studio!

Bowls on Their Heads

Maybe I'm going to start a new blog. Maybe it will be titled "Bowls on Their Heads" and will feature all of the photos I can find of this phenomenom. Here's one. After all, that's how this whole "art helmet" idea started...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

You, an Art Helmet, and Some Chocolate

I finally got the gas stove fixed in the studio (couldn't get it going all weekend), which is a good thing as it's 5 below zero here this morning! I plan to go back in there today and start some new forms for a new batch of my recycled paper/papier mache art earrings....

Thanks, everyone, for all of your responses on the papier mache Art Helmets! (Seems like "My Viking Valentine" is a favorite.) If you'd like to have your photo taken with one of the helmets on, I am thinking of going up to Riverside Studios this weekend... I thought it would be fun to take some photos of people wearing the papier mache helmets. I'd like to be able to post them on the blog, if I can get folks to agree to that!

Whaddya say?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

History of Art (Helmets)

Paper Moon Studio

I thought I'd take a break from shoveling out the art studio to go on a bit about the art helmets featured in the previous post. What causes an otherwise sane person (hmm... that might be a stretch) to create a papier mache/mixed media art helmet in the first place? And why should we care?

papier mache and mixed media art helmet by Melissa Lanitis Gregory

To begin with, let me just say this: the Chinese were the first to make papier mache, and they used it to make helmets that were USED IN BATTLE. (Alot of varnish?) Pretty amazing. So we can all breathe a sigh of relief: these art helmets are (mostly) for decoration.

I didn't start out to make art helmets. But one day, my son turned over one of my papier mache bowls, and stuck it on his head. Okay, he's seven... these things happen. But then my friend's 60-something Russian mom? There was something going on here. People just wanted to put things on their heads, apparently. So, I make art helmets now.

This latest batch was completed under a deadline, so I finished all three of them in about two weeks. Things were going great until I decided to add pastels on top of the acrylic paints; they need a spray fixative (my acrylic varnish smears them) so I frantically ran to the college bookstore (only source for art supplies here) and hurriedly applied a thin layer under less-than-perfect conditions. It didn't work, but you'd never know unless I told you. Oops. I just did.

The best part about completing these, though, was when I delivered them to Riverside Studios last week; Lorien, the jeweler, came in and immediately stuck "My Viking Valentine" on her head. She turned around with a big smile on her face.


Read an article about the helmets at the Tahoe Arts & Mountain Culture website.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Art Helmets: Every Valentine's Dream

papier mache and mixed media art by Melissa Lanitis Gregory

papier mache and mixed media art by Melissa Lanitis Gregory

Well, they may not be dreaming of them YET, but these papier mache and mixed media pieces will soon replace heart-shaped boxes of just wait!

So here they are: "My Viking Valentine", "Sonnet Bonnet", and "Love's Labours", created for Riverside Studios' February show, "Cupid's Courtyard".
Riverside Studios is a cool shop/gallery located in Truckee, California at 10374 Donner Pass Road. Besides the month-long Valentine's theme, they are having a special "Wine and Chocolate" event on February 9th; if you're in the area, stop by, eat a bonbon, and try on a helmet! (For more info: (530)587-3789.)

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

It's the ART, Stupid

It's officially over, the smARTist telesummit... and it was so worth it. The panel of 13 diverse presenters was amazing; each brought their perspective to the table, and even though alot of the information overlapped, I found I responded to different people in different ways, so I was able to get so much out of the event. All of the information about "balancing your life" and "marketing your art" was inspiring and makes me want to go out and try everything at once.

But wait! I can't do that. In fact, I can't really do ANY of that. Yet.

Which brings me to my point:
it's the ART, stupid!

Okay, I've known this. I can't go out and promote something that doesn't exist. And while I HAVE made alot of artwork, I still don't feel I have that somewhat elusive "body of work". In other words, I've got to make more art, the result of which will be a better sense of my self and my art. Sounds good.

So the real work right now is the work.
(I knew that.)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Art with A View...

...of snow! Between the snow that's fallen, and the snow that's fallen off of the roof, this is the view from my art studio now... it's almost cave-like in there. At least there's a lot of light coming from the south side, with it's sliding glass door.

Here's another glimpse of the art helmets; they should be finished up today. I'll post photos of the full helmets when done, probably tomorrow. In the meantime, there's lots of shoveling to do!

Monday, January 28, 2008

For the Viking Who Has Everything

My new Art Helmets are themed for Valentine's Day! They're papier mache and mixed media, with a smidge of Shakespeare thrown in. (My cousin cringed when I told her I ripped up a book; but it was a weird edition from the fifties with some REALLY bad fifties-style illustrations; it had to be done.)

These helmets are heading up to Riverside Studios in Truckee for their "Cupid's Courtyard" art show during the month of February.

These photos are of the helmets-in-progress; visit later this week for the finished pieces and the titles...

Friday, January 25, 2008

SmARTist Telesummit continued...

I'm dashing off to the gym but because I listened to Claudine Hellmuth's telesummit class yesterday, I'm sitting down here, first! Listening to Claudine was like chatting with a good friend; now it's time to take some of her advice, and tweak a few things on the blog. Without being obsessive, mind you!

Gotta run; Underground Artist meeting here later this morning... think I'll listen to some more of the telesummit on my iPod while on the treadmill, instead of the usual kick-ass music...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Artist Person

I feel a little bit like Mr. Rogers this morning...
going out to my art studio in my "regular person" clothes, and changing into my "artist" clothes. It's only about 4 or 5 steps from the back door, but it's snowy and cold and I hate being cold, even for a few minutes. So I trot out there in my UGGs, and switch into my cheapo-Converse-rip-offs and sweatshirt... and become... "Artist Person"!

I haven't posted much this week, I'm too busy keeping up with the smARTist Telesummit. It's an over-the-phone lines conference on art marketing. So look for some (hopefully) innovative approaches from me this year....

Monday, January 21, 2008

Artwork-A-Week #2, Finis...

mixed media work by Melissa Lanitis Gregory

My second 2D mixed media piece of the year was really just an excersise, and like all excersise, it wasn't pretty. (Actually, that's not true, I just said that...although I am still sore from my workout on Saturday...)

But I learned a few things, and I did have fun using my mom's ancient pastels. And this time of year, I just need time to work back into working.

One of the things I learned, while doing this little piece, is that the Artwork-A-Week idea is not the best fit for my working style. I tend to want to work on a few pieces at a time, and even though it was a construct of my own doing, I felt bound to work on that one piece only. Silly, huh? Well, I'm not very good with rules, but I love a good deadline, so when I found out that Riverside Studios is doing a February show, I decided to go for some Cupid Helmets... deep reds, maybe some fringe?

So I'm shifting my focus, (I do this an awful lot) off of a single 2D mixed media piece each week, to just getting into my studio every day and working like crazy: 2D, 3D... maybe even the Fifth Dimension? I'll still post photos of the work weekly, and aren't you curious as to what a Cupid's Helmet might actually look like? Check back here next week.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Artwork-A-Week #2, Begun

Or, Art Workshops with Myself...

Aside from the "artwork-a-week" project, I decided to start 2008 with some "workshop" time... first, by exploring the "interference" acrylic paint colors that Golden makes. These are undeniably cool, (they sort of appear and dissappear in different light) and with the 3D work, I had a specific way of using them that filled in some areas with the interference color, and left other areas without. But the 2D surface is different because I don't have as much texture to work with. Or maybe I do, (one never knows!) but I want to master this paint on a flat surface too...

I started this piece from a cardboard base I made a while back; it's covered in papier mache. Just a plain square.... we'll see where it goes. I had to run to San Francisco over the past couple days, but it will be finished by Sunday. Although working on this second piece made me wonder if I can actually carry on with this "Artwork-A-Week" for the entire year! Yikes...

Also on the "to do" for this week is the SmARTist Telesummit (an art marketing conference), which I signed up for... On the way down to SF I listened to a recording of part of last year's telesummit, and it got me primed and ready for this year. So, look out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Artwork-A-Week #1

Beyond Darkness, mixed media by Melissa Lanitis Gregory
This week I started a project I'm calling "Artwork-A-Week". For the first piece, I chose to deconstruct an old mixed media piece I did a while back (admittedly awful!). Usually when I'm getting back to work after a break, I'll do something sort of personal to start, and this one morphed from the generic use of Marianne Willliamson's quote, to a piece about me and my mother (who passed away in 2002).

I used two smaller papier mache "frames", plus some wooden pieces with the quote, which I painted. I added the sort of creepy garaBeyond Darkness, detailge-sale ceramic angel at the top. (All from the original ugly piece.)

Viola! As Robert Stelson used to say...

Friday, January 11, 2008

Artwork-A-Week #1, in Process

I've been up for awhile, looking at various other artist blogs. I found a few interesting ones, but from there, you can look at their list of artist blogs that THEY read, and you would be sitting at the computer for the rest of your born days. Who ARE these people, this uber-race of artists, who have time to blog AND read oh, about thirty other artists blogs on a regular basis? Certainly, I am not one of them. I do plan on updating my links as I go along. At the moment, the only blog I read on a semi-regular basis is Luann Udell's. She rocks.

artwork-a-week #1: mixed media work in progress
In the meantime, I've been working on my first "Artwork-A-Week" piece. (This may turn into a separtate blog, or I may end up devoting this blog to the project.) I plan to have it done, and pictures posted, on Sunday evening. The two pieces I described in an earlier post have now morphed into one, partly because of the juxtaposition of the photos I posted on the blog, and partly because I was working on them at the same time...

When my mom died in 2001, I always thought I would do some sort of a shrine to her, but it never came together. It looks like this might end up being that piece. I'm using these words that I printed on wood from that famous quote (by Marianne Williamson) that begins: "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate..." and a tacky clay angel I found at a garage sale... Here's a rather out-of-focus photo of the work in progress. This is just me trying to figure out how to finish it and hang it, not the actual piece.

I took myself on my Art Date yesterday (a holdover from my Artist Way days) and went to a local used book store. I found a senseless old book called "20,000 Words". That's it. It's basically a list of 20,000 words. Whenever I visit a used bookstore, I'm reminded of Vik Muniz. If you ever get a chance to watch the movie made about his art, "Worst Possible Illusion", see it. It will remind you what life and art are all about.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blog Evolution Theory

I saw a man skiing in a banana suit yesterday.

How can you not love that? You don't see something like that every day. For instance, today I did NOT see a man skiing in a banana suit. On the other hand, if you were to see this every day, it would be a little weird.

So you see, life needs variation, and so, apparently, does this blog. I'm going to continue making periodic changes to it, as I learn more about blogging, and as my work evolves. I just changed the subhead to be a little less flip, and a bit more descriptive. I'm also considering changing the name of the blog, but not yet (simply because I haven't come up with anything). I used the word "Unglued" (haven't you ever wondered?) because I was doing a lot of laminated paper work (layered papier mache), and that requires loads of glue; plus, I like the word. But I'm working on presenting a clearer web presence, and I'm not sure "Unglued" works anymore. I'm also struggling with the use of my name, versus my business name. Anyone care to weigh in on that question?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Disruptionist Art

Well, THAT didn't work out too well; my "sacred studio time"...
And Lisa Call's post on a working a set number of studio hours is coming back to me now...

I didn't get into the studio at 11:00. And then, all sorts of disruptions ensued...and my younger son COMPLETELY ignored my clever "NO" sign, although there was no visible blood anywhere, and happily handed me the phone while I was working.

Fortunately, I had Lisa's words about remaining joyful at the forefront of my addled brain, and I managed.

Deconstructionist Art

Going back to the "challenge myself" mantra, I've decided to challenge myself to do a "work a week"; a mixed media piece, mostly of the 2D variety. (I plan on doing more helmets also, but it takes a while to make the forms, and I couldn't do one a week...maybe one a month though.)

So I got myself into the studio, more or less at the promised time yesterday, even after reading a blog post by Lisa Call about the perils of keeping set studio hours. She makes a good point about...well, I can't remember her point, you'll have to read her post here. (While you're at it, read her next post about the "resolution revolution" and courage.) For me, it's a decidedly good thing, because, for the rest of my day, I'm not anxious about getting in there: "Will I?" and if I do: "Can I go back later too?" I would just be in the studio all day, or at least thinking about being in there!

Anyway, the point is (yes, there IS a point) I started my first weekly piece. Actually, I started by deconstructing an existing piece that I never liked. The first photo shows the big ugly old piece. The next photos show the elements I plan to use to create two new, smaller pieces.

And lastly, to facilitate uninterrupted studio time, I put up the sign at right to serve as a reminder to my kids that they are NOT to interrupt Mom unless the circumstances are dire; ie: "Any blood? bones? No? Go away." I know, kind of cruel, but being a mom and an artist is about being able to set some boundaries. There is a "YES" on the other side, which is what I see when I'm working. And I can turn it over, if I'm in the mood to be interrupted, or if I feel the need to have somebody sing "Jingle Bells" to me in an annoying voice. So you see, there are options.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Art First!

After I finished that last post, I found Alyson Stanfield's weekly newsletter in my Inbox. Here's an excerpt:

"At the same time, I worry that you might be neglecting your art. I fear that you might get so caught up in building your mailing list, posting to your blog, and sending thank-you notes that you forfeit precious studio time. Don't let this happen. There will never be enough time in the day to do everything you want to do, so get over that fantasy right now. Realize that you will always have to squeeze in the business stuff while you continue making art. Sure, there will be times when one is weighted more heavily than the other, but your art should always take precedence. Your art should always be first. Without it, you are not an artist.You're studio time is sacred. You're an artist and artists make art. When they're not making art, artists think about making art. Artists talk about making art. Artists read about making art. Artists must make art in order to feel whole. Without the art, you are miserable and are without a career. Without your devotion to the rituals surrounding making art, your art suffers.You already know this, but I'll repeat it for effect: the art market is highly competitive. You should be concentrating on getting better and better at your art, not just on your marketing. You should put your art first.
Know This . . .Without the art, you are not an artist."

Copyright 2008 Alyson B. Stanfield.

Perfect timing. Thanks, Alyson.

Art and...


I want to talk about this topic in January, because after the holidays, which forces a break in the momentum of our previous year, it's time to regroup. And that is what I THINK I've been doing, although maybe I'm just continuing to disrupt my momentum. How much time do we need to regroup, and when does it turn into procrastination?

I told the UA last week that first and foremost this year, it's about doing the work. Making art. So what did I do? I spent all of last week organizing the studio. First, I looked back at last year's goals, and wrote up a list for 2008. I made up a daily schedule. I made up a weekly schedule. So far, so good. Then, I went through my notebook and my file cabinet. What I found during this process, to my nauseation (hey, I made up a word!) was the same notes, over and over. It seems I write alot about what I want to do. And then I write about it some more... Then maybe some more notes in a different notebook, outlining the same ideas...

It really brought me up short. The ideas are good ones (with a few stupid ones too, the ones that sounded good at 4am) but now it's time to DO. Stop taking notes and organizing notes, and talking about the notes and MAKE ART.


What are your organization rituals at this time of year? And do they help you, or keep you from doing other things?

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snowed-in Studio

A quick trip out to the studio ended when I got buried up to my faux-leopard-skin-pillbox hat!

Subscribe to this Blog

One of my "goals" for this year is to understand the whole blogging world better. So I spent alot of time on the Feedburner site this morning, reading about feeds...

and I still don't totally get it.

But what I did figure out is, they're a good thing, and I want you to be able to subscribe if you want to. So I added the widget (tiny orange logo thingie at top right) that, if you choose to click on it, will subscribe you. And I put back the email subscription option, only this time, not so ugly. If you're confused about this, go to Feedburner's article, Feeds 101. It gives you some basic information about feeds, which will leave you only slightly less confused.

Then, come back and subscribe!

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Virtual Reception Comes Full Circle

Here's the post I meant to sit down and write this morning:

Before starting into my 2008 blog posts, with all that wonderful "focusing", etc. I want to come full circle with my Virtual Open Studio. Carrie Cahill Mulligan was one of the winners, and nicely posted photos of her wearing the earrings here. Thank you Carrie! (And thank you for the "artisan jewelry" moniker; I like it!) The other pair is somewhere in Paris, possibly en route to Bangkok. I'm international!

The Fabulous World of Computers

Go ahead; ask Bruce. He's the owner of Charter Advertising/Design, the last design job I had before having kids. He'll tell you: computers are NOT my "thing". (And that's rather an understatement.) So why on earth do I torture myself by getting on this vile piece of equipment, first thing in the morning?

Well, I love blogging. There's that. The problem lies in the technical aspects. I tried, just now, to add a "widget" to this blog, and ended by teetering on the verge of angrily throwing the monitor out into the two feet of newly-fallen snow outside.

But I didn't; I have MUCH more restraint than that (see earlier blog post about abstaining from chocolate for TWO WHOLE DAYS). What I did succeed in doing, was deleting the Feedburner box where you could subscribe. This was not working and was ugly. And the last thing a former designer wants on her blog is something ugly. So that's gone. If you want to subscribe (which doesn't seem to be an issue for anybody) you'll have to figure out how to use the stupid widget that is, even now, NOT installed on the page. Unless you use the Technorati widget, which I did successfully install. Can y'all just use that? Or do I need another widget? (Picture, here, a woman on the verge of tears, crumpled in a ball under her computer desk.)

Maybe I'll try again after some breakfast, because NONE of this is remotely related to what I planned on posting today!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Challenges and Chocolate Deprivation Don't Mix

Somebody once told me that you can rid yourself of chocolate cravings if you just stop eating it for a couple of days. This is true. I challenged myself to NOT eat chocolate and did so for two whole days. Amazing! And I didn't crave it! But everyone got a little grumpy around here (I'm being extremely generous in my use of that word) and I made a conscious decision: I WANTED it. And then I ate some. Everyone was still grumpy. But it helped ME.

The moral of this story is not that it's good to stop eating chocolate, because that would be silly! The moral is this: challenging ourselves is empowering. I plan on challenging myself this year: to work "smarter" (thanks, Carole!) be more focused, and to just plain do more art. Which leads me to... (I know, bad segue, but I've been up since about 4 am...)

Blog news for 2008:

POSSIBLE LAUNCH OF A NEW BLOG (in addition to this...I know, I'm a nutcase...):

This will showcase my new work. I'm going to be revisiting my earlier 2D work that I never had time to fully explore. I'm really excited about this, as I got a chance to see some of that earlier work recently (it had sold) and found I was still excited by the possibilities they represented. So stay tuned for more information on that, later this month.


Next week I'm venturing into a more focused approach to this blog, with a 12 month series of sorts . The Plan is: each month I'll have a general focus on an art-related topic, although I won't be posting exclusively on that. As I write this, I'm thinking: "done to DEATH!" But we'll see how it goes. I've promised myself that I'm going to start trusting my instincts a little more. And Instinct said, "Great idea!"

If it doesn't work, I'll scrap it, and you can just pretend we never had this conversation, 'kay?

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Schedules are Meant for Breaking

Yesterday, I set up a schedule of sorts for least for the next few months while my husband has his mid-week days off, and the temperatures are hovering around 0 degrees in the early mornings. My intention is to utilize my time better by being better organized...

To that end, I'm going to try to blog only on certain days, and today is not one of them. But I did post here today... I guess that blows the whole plan... oh well.