Monday, February 29, 2016

The Gang

This is not all the children of all my friends, but it is a good many of the children of a good many of my friends, on the steps of the house I grew up in, just as dusk was falling on the evening of my mother's annual tree-trimming party. A good day.

Louise Fishman

I was very happy to discover the work of Louise Fishman the last time I was in New York. And then not long after enjoying her wonderful show at Cheim and Read I happened upon this great article on Artsy about her feminism, and how it intersects with Abstract Expressionism. Together with how much I like the work, the smart things she had to say helped convert me to a full-blown fan. Here is a sampling of images for your enjoyment. Big, bold, cool, dynamic. Love this stuff.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Next Up in the Ongoing Poem Saga About the Summer of 2006

August 16, 2006
Here are three things I saw on my walk to work this morning

tiny purple flowers growing out of a in crack in the sidewalk
four faux kelly bags
two black one gray one red
in the consignment shop
a box of pastries and donuts in the window of that one bodega

And walking to lunch today there was music
Two guys playing a saxophone and a banjo together
You could hear the sax a lot better as you approached them from behind
and the banjo a lot better as you walked on past them and away up the street

image source is here

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Book + Outfit Coordination

The very lovely people behind the Chronicle Books Blog invited (or perhaps the better word would be: allowed) me to do the most hilarious and super duper fun little project--for 4 days I dressed in 4 outfits inspired by the covers of 4 of my new Spring 2016 books and had my photo taken with the book in hand by our utterly fabulous in-house photographer Irene Kim. Amazing! Such an entertaining little challenge to undertake, and really such an honor. I loved doing it. I want to do it more. Here's what I had to say about each book + outfit combo:

Day 1 Today’s book is Feathers by Robert Clark—soon to be beloved near and far as a gorgeous marriage of art and science—but perhaps less frequently appreciated as fashion inspiration. Robert, an award-winning National Geographic photographer, has created a fascinating look at bird feathers and their evolution that’s as smart as it is stunning. Bird plumage is one of the most brilliantly colorful things in all of nature, and, for me personally, brilliant color is one of the most wonderful things about getting dressed, so this was a perfect book to start with. However, this one actually caused me to tone things down a bit, color-wise. Normally I might pair other bright colors with my bright red sweater, but our super graphic and striking cover design led me to pair red with just black and white—and it totally worked out. Very happy with this pairing.

Day 2 The book of today is Create Now!, a systematic guide to artistic audacity by the amazing Marlo Johnson. This little book breaks down the creative process into a choose-your-own-path adventure—you answer a series of multiple choice questions to get you over any and all hurdles in your way and get your creativity flowing. Thus, it seemed particularly apt to pair this creative book with an article of clothing made by two of the very most creative authors it’s ever been my pleasure to work with: Michelle Blade (of The Circadian Tarot) and The Thing Quarterly (of The Thing The Book)—they collaborated last year to create the Aura Scarf I’m wearing today. The blues, oranges, and yellows go perfectly with Create Now!’s cover. Add a yellow-and-white dress and a turquoise cardigan, and there you go.

Day 3 This book is The Little Pleasures of Paris by Leslie Jonath, with illustrations by Lizzy Stewart—a celebration of all the wonderful small joys that make Paris the oh-so-delightful place it is. I love that we chose an image for the cover that shows the Eiffel Tower at night—of course there are a lot of books about Paris out there, and a lot of them have the Eiffel Tower on their covers—but you almost never see the nighttime view, and it’s just so gorgeous and glamorous and romantic. I knew right away I wanted to wear my rather glam night sky print blouse (I bought it for the Chronicle holiday party last year and it has cut-outs on the sleeves!), and added a yellow skirt to match the lit-up tower and red necklace to go with the cute red spine treatment. This one might be my favorite yet. Maybe. So hard to decide!

Day 4 I thought The Joy of Swimming by Lisa Congdon—an utterly fabulous illustrated celebration of all things related to our collective love of getting in the water—would the easiest one, because the colors on the cover are basically all the main colors in my wardrobe. But when I started putting my outfit together, I realized that it was a lot of colors: pink, red, orange, green, blue, yellow, black, and white. Wow. Pink cardigan, blue shirt, and green watery-looking skirt were easy enough, but to get the rest in there I had to get a bit creative with accessories—hence the orange, red, pink, and white scarf worn as a belt, and the big round yellow button to go with Lisa’s sun (it’s a vintage button my husband found in a thrift shop that says “Have you Farquared today?” and no one, not even Google, seems to know what that means).

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Ladies Drawing Night SF!

This feels like a tremendous victory! Ever since I visited Ladies Drawing Night in Brooklyn last year (an utterly amazing experience) I've been yearning to have one of our very own here in San Francisco. And now we do! I give you #ladiesdrawingnightSF! Turns out it really is just as easy--just like the nyc ladies say in their (utterly amazing) forthcoming book (which, full disclosure, I edited for Chronicle Books)--as gathering a few ladies you like who like to draw and some snacks and some drinks and some art supplies! We had everyone from novices to professional artists drawing and chatting away. It was utterly fabulous.

Top photo is by me, next three are by Christina Loff, last one is by Maggi from the internet.

Cottage Life

I take a lot of photos of these three together. Almost inevitably one is sitting quietly while the other two are spazing out. What I love is that you never know ahead of time which ones are going to be which.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Portrait of a Lady With a Unicorn

When we were out at the Legion of Honor the other day, in addition to enjoying the Bonnard show we very much liked getting to see Raphael's Portrait of a Lady With a Unicorn. It's pretty rare that a high Renaissance masterpiece of this caliber comes to town, and they've installed it with fitting pomp, giving it a dark-red-painted gallery all to itself way down at the end of one of their lovely enfilades. You can spend quite a long time looking at it. Something of a revelation.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Very Long Poem Sequence About the Summer of 2006 Carries On Today on Poetry Thursday

August 15, 2006
This morning

for the first time in
I don’t know how long
maybe ever
I was the first person in our part of the office

I’m usually among the first
but there’s always one or two people
often though not always the same people
there before me

But today
it was dark
and silent
with very clearly no one else around

I can’t even begin
to tell you
how deeply
I enjoyed this

I had some moody music on my headphones
and it was foggy out making it dim and gray inside
and there was just something so enjoyably peaceful
about the shadowy early-morning quite office

image source is here

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Good Day Out

The other day I had a meeting at the Mexican Museum in the morning, about an art book of theirs I'm editing for Chronicle Books, and then lunch at the California Academy of Sciences to chat about this and that. Both were really good work meetings, but what was maybe even more fun was walking to each one (can I just say how much I adore not driving but rather walking all around and seeing my city? a lot, that's how much). I had to take a strange detour up a secret staircase to get to Fort Mason because the usual path was closed, and man this new path was a thing of beauty. Then I got to sneak a peek at a very cool show of abstract paintings by Peter Rodriguez. Then a walk through Golden Gate Park where the magnolias were going insane. And last at the Cal Academy I popped in real quick to say hi to the penguins and Claude the albino alligator.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Drop Forge & Tool

You guys! I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! For three months later this spring and summer I'm going to be taking sabbatical from Chronicle Books to work on my own creative projects (writing and drawing, mostly) and as part of that, in April, I'm going to be doing a week-long creative residency at Drop Forge & Tool in Hudson New York! Can you believe it? So cool! So very legit. I will get to stay in the space you see here and make things. Damn! Feeling incredibly lucky today.

all images here are from the lovely Drop Forge and Tool instagram feed

Xmas Shopping

In the tricky way of memory, this day--taking the new camera along on a family Christmas shopping outing and snapping Mabel in front of the Union Square tree--seems both incredibly recent and incredibly long ago. I'm tempted to say two months is a funny period of time like that, except that I know nearly every period of time is funny like that these days.

Pierre Bonnard: Painting Arcadia

I really enjoyed the Pierre Bonnard show at the Legion of Honor. Not being as familiar with his work as with that of the Big Name Impressionists widely received as rock stars in the 20th and 21st Century art cannons is really a blessing in this case, because it meant I could actually see the paintings. Whereas when I go look at Monet or Renoir, personally I find it a huge struggle to see past all the million mouse pads and coffee mugs and hotel room framed prints featuring their work that we've all seen a billion times and actually look at the pictures as pictures.