Friday, August 24, 2018

Lea Redmond, the First Ever Artist in Residence at Chronicle Books

A really cool thing that happened way back in the Spring, but that with all my travel and whatnot I forgot to blog about, was artist Lea Redmond's week-long residency as the first ever Artist In The House at Chronicle Books. Lea did a great many wonderful interventions in our space -- sent us all tiny mail, gave workshops on gift-giving -- but perhaps the most magical of all was when she set up a little tea room in one of the elevators. When the elevator doors would open there it was! You could book a time to come and sit down with her and chat about things while the elevator continued on about its usual business. Then she would pick out a special teacup that spoke to whatever you'd told her about and make you a cup of tea in it. It was a pure delight

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Color Poem #59

it is not the purple of grapes
not the purple of a purpley
octopus in a children’s story
not the purple of violets or
wisteria or eggplant or ink

it is the purple of a dream
a purple born in the mind
of a girl about to turn eight
when she sees herself as
she herself has decided to be

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


I got to review color proofs recently for the not-one-but-two new projects I've got coming in Spring 2019 from Chronicle Books! And let me tell you it was a sheer delight. The wonder of the book making process never gets old.

Above - proofs of my very own drawings (mind still blown about that) for the guided journal How Was Your Day? 

And, below - proofs of the inimitable Rachel Harrell's utterly charming illustrations for my book The Secret Art of Being a Parent. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Oakland Retail

Did some retail exploration in Oakland the other day, and found myself quite inspired by the vibes of several shops. Places that, yes, you want to spend your money in, but also you just want to be in.

Above: Good Stock

Below: Long Weekend

Above and below: Lucky Penny Parlor

Above: Neighbor

Above and below: The Hanged Man Co.

Monday, August 20, 2018


Here's a drawing of bandannas I made in early 2016. At the time I thought perhaps it was too fussy and precise - not messy enough - but with the passage of time I've come to like it just fine. Which just goes to show ... something or other.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Mabel and Ellsworth Kelly

When Mabel and I went to the museum the other day we discovered we agree that the Ellsworth Kelly room is one of the best rooms at SFMOMA (not the best room - that, of course, is the Agnes Martin Chapel - but one of the best). She asked me to take a picture of her looking at each of the six giant artworks on display there, from the bench in the middle of the room. And that is what I did.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Color Poem #58

I was sluggish and had the urge
to see a whole bunch of yellow
all in one place
I rarely arrange
objects and take picture of them
but this was more like the shot of
espresso you
drink standing
at a zinc bar footsore and glazed
in the midafternoon as a tourist

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Manuscript In!

The other day I completed and turned in the manuscript for my next book project! It's a follow-up to How Art Can Make You Happy, but on a completely different topic, and will come out from Chronicle Books in the Fall of next year. This one was a bit of a race to get finished, and when it was done we celebrated with pink champagne.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Sumber Party

We were so bold has to have a tiny sleepover party for Mabel's birthday in our very small apartment this past weekend. We've never been outnumbered by children at home before, but it was all a great success. Dancing, crafts, ice cream sundaes, story time, and the surprise hit activity of decorating the dinner table with glitter and fake flower petals, not to mention, of course chattering and giggling away in sleeping bags until 9:45 were all indulged in with great pleasure.

Monday, August 13, 2018


I drew some malachite, a stone I've been thinking about a lot this summer. Drawing it turned out to be remarkably challenging, but also remarkably fun.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Jim Campbell: Tilted Plane

There is a whole lot to be said for going with several people you like to see Jim Campell's installation Tilted Plane at SFMOMA before it closes in September. This is one of those artworks that's both somewhat hard to describe and also somewhat hard to convey fully in photography (and no photos are allowed while you're inside of it). Here's what the museum's website has to say about it:

"Renowned San Francisco–based artist Jim Campbell’s mesmerizing light installation Tilted Plane (2011) explores the threshold of perception. The immersive work features a suspended grid of hundreds of incandescent bulbs whose filaments have been replaced by custom LEDs. Each light represents a “pixel” of information from an ultra-low-resolution moving image of birds in flight. Visitors are invited to step inside the room-sized artwork to experience the angled image plane from different perspectives and see how the flickering patterns of light may be discerned as shadowy forms in motion."

I'd say that both gets at, and does not get at, the magic of standing within this dimly lit space while this angled field of lights, arranged in quincunx rows wide enough to walk between, gently twinkles all around you like soft stars.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Color Poem #57

pale green leads the way
deep green co-creates
darkest green emboldens

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Teaching at Handcraft Studio School

On Saturday I taught my Publishing for Creatives class at Handcraft Studio School, a very cool workshop venue that just happens to be in my very own hometown of of El Cerrito. I only took photos while we were setting up (because once the class got started I was far too busy chatting about publishing), but they do give you an idea of how utterly charming a place it is - from the decor to the refreshments right down to the Kindah Khalidy mural in the bathroom. And you get to see my little materials set-ups (featuring Chronicle Books notebooks with art by Hartland Brooklyn, Rifle Paper Co., Jane Kim, Virginia Johnson, and others) of which I am inordinately proud.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Sunday Outing

Usually my family goes elsewhere on Sunday afternoons and I get work done writing books and stuff. But having recently turned in a manuscript I am a bit more free and easy at the moment, so Mabel and I had a ladies' day out this weekend. We had coffee (well, chocolate milk and cookies for her) and watched the passing parade. And I officially indoctrinated her into one of my own great childhood pleasures: Archie comics! And we went to the museum and found a new piece of art by an artist neither of us had ever seen before: Elizabeth Murray. It was great.

Monday, August 6, 2018


A picture of tape I made in 2016. Drawing plaid is really fun.

Friday, August 3, 2018

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair

I was busy recapping and recapping my New York art experiences, but then I went on vacation and got sidetracked by the art I saw while traveling. So am just now realizing I never did put up my final NYC 2018 Art Friday post which is this one right here. And it's a humdinger! So here we go!

As is usually the case with big art fairs, during Frieze weekend in New York, other art fairs happen too. I went and saw the 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair and it was utterly fantastic. Here are some of the amazing things that caught my eye at the several dozen galleries exhibiting.

Above: Alice Mann (this photos series of South African drum majorettes--called "drummies"--was my absolute favorite thing of the show, and a good deal more of it is woven in below for your enjoyment)

Elias Sime (detail)

Elias Sime (detail)

Sanle Sory

Uthman Whaab

Thameur Mejri

Lawrence Lemaoana

Lawrence Lemaoana

Alice Mann

Fredric Bruly Bouabre & Alighiero Boetti

Fatoumata Diabate

Kassou Seydou

Ruth Ossai

Derrick Adams

Senzeni Marasela

Kyle Meyer

Kyle Meyer

Ralph Ziman (those are beads)

Ronan McKenzie

Ronan McKenzie

Yinka Shonibare

Yinka Shonibare

Rahima Gambo

Rahima Gambo

Rahima Gambo

Elias Sime

Pieter Hugo

Kassou Seydou

Kassou Seydou

Ralph Ziman


Pieter Hugo

Ibrahim El-Salahi


Malala Andrialavidrazana

Omar Victor Diop

Alice Mann

Alice Mann

Alice Mann

Alice Mann

Ralph Ziman (beads! 70 million of them!)