Thursday, January 31, 2019

Color Poem #73

a buttery yellow and a pale naked white
a red like raspberries a red like beets and
the orange we know as the orange of carrots

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

I'm Teaching Publishing at Handcraft Studio School This Weekend!

I'm teaching Publishing for Creatives at Handcraft Studio School in my very own hometown of El Cerrito this coming Saturday morning, and there are still a few spots left! If you're dreaming of seeing your work in published form, this is the class for you! Registration is here if you're in the Bay Area and would like to come along join us.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


I spent a few days in London a week or so ago, staying with a pal, attending a workshop by the very fine Do Lectures folks, playing the tourist, looking at art (about which more later), eating food, shopping for books, and just generally having a grand old time. It was a privileged and a delight to get to pull off a trip like this. Here are some peeks.

Monday, January 28, 2019

The Albatross

Here's a drawing of the Albatross Pub -- part of the loose series I made a couple of years back of buildings that I personally consider to be Berkeley landmarks.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Impressionist Ladies

I'm sure I've mentioned many times before here how I have a hard time seeing famous Impressionist paintings. I look and look but instead of realizing their revolutionary qualities (which intellectually I know are there), all I can see are a million coffee mugs and mouse pads and faded posters in your dentist's office. This has sometimes led me to make blanket statements such as saying I don't "like" Impressionism. But I have to admit that lesser-known works are another story. When I look at one I've never seen before, I can sometimes start to glimpse how amazing the whole thing really was. Then again, I do also have a difficult time looking at pictures that a bunch of men made of women. And of course that's what plenty of Impressionist pictures are. We know the deal -- the male gaze and woman-as-object is just problematic. All of which is to say I found myself liking these minor American Impressionist pictures of ladies (plus, ok, one by Mary Cassatt) that I stumbled upon in a random gallery at the De Young Museum, almost against my will. But like them I do. There's just no accounting for what number art is going to do to your brain through your eyeballs on any given day.

above: Louis Ritman

Everett Shinn

Robert Henri

Edmund Charles Tarbell

William Merritt Chase

Frederick Childe Hassam

Mary Cassatt

William Glackens

George Hitchcock

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Color Poem #72

heart open
shoulders back
face in the wind
and the vast expanse
of the ocean before us
blue as blue as blue in all
its fist-unclenching bigness
whispering and roaring to us
as we grow and the year begins

Start as you mean to go on

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Secret Art of Being a Parent: Big Box of Books + Pre-Order Links

The feeling of getting a big heavy box full of copies of your very own book that you wrote delivered to your apartment is a related but different feeling to the feeling when you hold a finished copy of your book in your hand for the first time. Both experiences share that holy-crap-this-is-really-real vibe, but whereas your first copy floats in on a cloud of fairy dust, your box of author copies (or "gratis copies" as they're known in the trade) plunks down with all the force and heft of an adorable baby elephant entering your life -- this thing is going to need your time and attention, people, but it is also going to provide you with glee and delight.

If, by chance, you'd like to pre-order The Secret Art of Being a Parent (perhaps you know a pregnant person who needs friendly, practical, you've-got-this-babe encouragement as a gift?) you can do so at any of these fine retail outlets, or your local indie bookstore, and get it in your hands when it comes out on April 16th:

Chronicle Books:


Barnes and Noble:



Tuesday, January 8, 2019


Yesterday was my forty-third birthday. I took the day off work and did many nice things (visited a bookstore, listened to Phoebe Robinson's new audiobook, did some painting, had pie and presents with Bill and Mabel). But perhaps the most inspiring bit of the day was an early morning date with myself for cinnamon toast and coffee at The Mill. For those not in SF, this is a very popular cafe that is usually jam-packed, but if you get there at 7:45 on a cold gray Monday morning you practically have the place to yourself. And you can write in your notebook about your big hopes and dreams and plans for the coming year (one of the beauties of having an early-January birthday is that your own personal year ahead, and the calendar year ahead, are one and the same, so you really get a jolt of  motivational and inspirational energy). It was grand.

And here, in case you're wondering, is what my forty-three-year-old face looks like, without makeup or any photo adjustments, but with the benefit of really good diffused natural light:

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Donut and the Donut Hole

Here's a drawing I made of one of my favorite publishing metaphors: the donut and the donut hole. When making art books for a general readership you have to make something that appeals to both the small but passionate audience of serious art lovers (the donut hole) and a broad audience of more casual readers draw to the topic, subject matter, or gift-giving occasion (the donut). Neither one alone will do, you need both.