July 5, 2009

Sparkler Painting

For a self-portrait, set your shutter on the low low and go to town. Then flip the image horizontally. If someone is taking the picture for you, set the shutter to Bulb. The shutter will stay open for as long as they hold down the button, allowing you to write a really long message. In either case, amp up the aperature to 22 or higher.
Try different lights: laser pointers in different colors, flashlights. I experimented with a square shaped light that produced thick white strokes like graffiti.
Don't let those sparklers go to waste. Try writing a love note or drawing a picture (especially contours) with light!

June 12, 2009

The First Day.

Agent Pineapple and I were the only students to show for the first art class; it was just usthe two of us, JT (teach), and the model.

The rope thing did make sense once he demonstrated it and it's actually quite brilliant, functioning as a sling for your drawing board. It's a cheap way to let you draw anywhere comfortably and hands-free without a costly and bulky easel. The rope is fed through the clips that hold your paper and than over your shoulder around to the other side of the board.

He provided us with torn and crumpled pieces of paper which caused an interesting texture on our first drawings. I love that teach encourages us to repurpose and recycle: instead of spending money on costly drawing paper, we are encouraged to bring recycled paper bags and kraft paper.

We began by shading the pieces with charcoal and blending it with both a piece of paper towel and a piece of kraft paper torn from the corner to learn how each blends. The model was illuminated with high-key lighting to emphasize the lights and darks of her face. Then we erased the light areas of her face with a kneaded eraser to create a general guide for her features.

Charcoal pencils served as our measuring tools. This part was tricky and awkward; with so few people it was weird to hold up the pencil and squint. It was quite awkward in general actually. Whenever we would look at the model she would look at us and flash a nervous smile, so I didn't look too often.

We learned that less is more when drawing a portrait, that it's better to have fewer lines and to not concentrate on details. This was the most difficult part for me, being a perfectionist. I erased a lot and had to rush at the end to create a "finished piece" (to Rage Against the Machine). I expected to begin with 30 second timed drawings or to simply concentrate on light and dark values but he threw us into it in order to gauge where we are. In that respect, Agent P. and I were glad that it was just the two of us.

Another great tip learned: to yoga breathe as you draw. Breathing from your belly puts less stress on your shoulders and arms, drawing endurance!

JT was very supportive and was surprised that neither of us had taken a drawing class before (my internal sensor scoffed at this!). He encouraged us to sign our work and was excited to provide the hold on to our first portrait. As scary as it was, we both enjoyed the class and are looking forward to next week. In the meantime we will be working on noses, drawing each other's and ones from magazines. And I will be mindful of not aging the model by twenty years, I have a thing for skeletal faces.

I think it looks better inverted, it really picks up the texture.
Thanks for reading!

June 11, 2009

Potato Play.

A couple of weeks ago my mother, Mama Marshamallow, raced over and knocked on my door practically out of breath to tell me about potatoes. She was about to fry up some potatoes when she discovered that they had quirky characteristics. I love that she looks at vegetables differently now that I've been taking pictures of them. Well today she wanted to make potatoes again and eat one of these little characters, so I had to take pictures.

Abstract potato love:

Doodles the duck.

Wally the walrus.

Look at that face!

And last of all a butt. Potatoes have cellulite too!

Have you eaten your vegetables today? We ate the butt potato.

June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Agent Pineapple!

She turned the big two-one today! We're going to dance to some live music and eat taco dip. My 2-layer heart shaped red velvet cake is on the cooling rack, begging to be slathered with fudge frosting and sprinkles.
The cake in the picture is from one of her creepy old regulars that's in love with her. He lit it in the store and shelled out big bucks for a fancy perfume set. Creepy! But it's my perfume too so I'm not complaining because it smells delicious.
Happy Birthday baby! xoxo

More Graffiti Inspiration

It's here! It's here! A HOPEful graffiti clutch by Alisa Burke! If anything could serve as inspiration This. Is. It.

Photoshoot on a beautiful blue vintage Volkswagon Beetle.

A little man with curly back hair and a bald spot on the crown of his head in corporate attire drove it into the parking lot at Agent Pineaple's work and then left for a prolonged period of time. He didn't patronize any of the businesses and disappeared down the alley, perhaps he is a traveling salesman.

I worked up my courage, looked for him walking down the drive, and then went to town taking pictures of the clutch all over his car wherever it would stay propped up. My adventure for the day, silly fun!
**This just in: I posted one of the pictures while leaving feedback on etsy and Alisa loved it! She even posted them on her blog :)

Further inspiration: I have been eyeing this Montana spray paint at Blick for a long time. It comes in the most beautiful colors...bright, painty, messy, lusty. My list of personal imagery and visual fetishes is growing: stencil fodder.
Art class starts tonight. We're supposed to bring ten feet of rope. When I inquired about the rope, JT told me that we were going to tie it around our necks and then to our drawing board in lieu of an easel. He also said that it would make sense when we did it. Hmmm.
Since I rarely have occasion to carry a purse and this beauty needs to see the light of day on the regular, it shall transport my charcoal set to class. Whoo hoo.

xo Lara

June 2, 2009

Taking Back the Night

We rang in June 1st with a northerly drive. Unfortunately we were sucked into a vortex of industrial parks which is all too easy to fall victim to living in the burbs. We chalked it up to a faulty quarter toss and went in search for a caffeine injection, it didn't take long though since Agent Pineapple works in a coffee shop: I can pick 'em! Coffees in hand we stepped out the door to discover that the wind had shifted and the sky had turned pink, an eerie pink. It was clear that the only way June 1st could be salvaged was to race home and grab the cameras for some night shots. Ms. Agent helped me set up the tripod and I went to town taking shots of this stone factory that I can't get anywhere near in the day. The passersby were very intrigued, perhaps they thought we were terrorists.
Surburbia is better in the dark, it gains a slight veneer of intrigue. My mother and I used to go for late-night drives down the side streets and count the number of houses that actually had their lights on. The results were very disappointing :) I encourage everyone to take pictures at night. Live dangerously. Take a walk on the wild side and all that jazz! Night is when the ideas fly in for a visit.

I am slowly digesting Taking Flight. I love this book, it's like a personal cheerleader that congratulates you every time you crack the spine! I'm on chapter 2, which prompts you to identify your fears. "If I wasn't afraid, I would": take art classes, lots of them! I have been terrified of taking art classes since it was drawing at the local park district in elementary school. Sometimes I wonder what happened to that girl, the one who danced on stage, talked in class with eyes on fire, and went to art camp. She has been neglected for some time but is jumping up and down for June 10th, the first day of my first grown up art class! First stop portraiture, next stop Stencilry in August! I'm so excited that I'm "stenciling" on the computer as you can see above. Sometimes I feel like I'm growing up, but not in a bad way. I cannot express how cathartic simply identifying that thing that slowly gnaws at the ankles of your being is.

xo Lara

May 30, 2009

Saturday Artist Date

Open flowers, open doors.

Welcoming us to our favorite cafe. The one owned by our favorite saucy Italian lady that we've set foot in only once before in search of authentic gelato.

It is such a dream inside. Cerulean, turquoise, rust, burnt sienna, bronze, and sunflower yellow adorning the textured walls and authentic tin ceiling. Adorned by delicate swag lamps and crepey curtains this cafe is truly a romantic's haven.

Ahhhhh my house will look like this.
Looking at the pictures again is both calming and invigorating, like remembering time spent in a far off place. We are thankful for a warm place that tickles and arouses our creativity, amps up that drive to make.

Discovering the bathroom was also a treat. The door looks is a magical portal, sky rimmed in gold. Another self-portrait in the bathroom: Rosie the Riveter came out to play coaxed by the promise of a starry night.

Agent Pineapple and I made lists, plotting future projects. I'm going to make the perfect journal that can both withstand mixed media artwork and transport detritus as well as cute little albums for our photo booth strips. The list became increasingly general from there: print-making, assemblage, collaborative projects. I have been waiting for a project to find me. Something to explore through multiple mediums and formats. Something to be consumed by. My eyes are peeled, I'm on a stakeout, and Saturday artists dates will become a weekly affair!
And maybe if we become regulars at the cafe, Saucy Italian Lady will let me take some real pictures with tripod and all, with models, and ponies!
xo Lara

May 25, 2009

Incubation and Face Play.

I love faces. I love painting them. I love drawing them. I love collaging them. 
I need to get out more so that I can take pictures of them.
Talk to strangers, take their candy, and then their picture.
Make new friends and make art with them.
Walk on the cracks in the sidewalk.
Before taking pictures
and making rubbings
and stuffing art
finding the time
to reach within
scoop out the pulp 
and synthesize by feel
that which cannot be seen.
Crouching in the dark with lightbulb suns
and incubating my dreams.  Birthing saturated
works of self to set free: prayers. New forms, new mediums,
new ways to set things free. Finding it hard to find my groove,
to scoop out. But, an art class is forthcoming with a new face each week to draw.
And it's free and very chill: paper bags are encouraged as an art surface and our friend who teaches it uses the scientific principles of DaVinci to make sense of the line and the eye-hand connection. I need to buy shellac today, you'll see what I mean. And last night I found my googly eyes. Whoo hoo.


Thank you Robin for posting about these digital canvas boxes. I can't get enough of them! 

May 17, 2009

Lily/Booger/Coo Coo Cachoo The Baby Raccoon

Agent Pineapple and I have become an animal rescue team in the past few months. First a feline escapee from the animal hospital and last week: this little hunk of burning love.  Little booger was standing in the middle of the opposing lane of traffic, bobbing her little head, not moving an inch. The next street to pull over on was a few blocks away. We sprinted through the grass on the side of the road dodging protruding pieces of rusted metal and hubcaps. When we got to her she was curled up in a ball and despite all of the cars that had passed, very much alive! Agent P. scooped her up and checked her for injuries before . She affixed herself with her barely-there claws to my bosom and stayed their for hours. She loves boobies, they're great for naps.
We took her home and managed to coax her into drinking water from a tiny baby bottle (only four weeks old we estimated) and kept her warm while we waited for the Wildlife Guardians Network to find a rehabilitator for her. Baby raccoons need to be rehabilitated with other raccoons their own age in order to be reintroduced into the wild.

(Click and smile wide)

Booger and I napped, snuggled, and watched the Ellen Show and Gray's Anatomy. 
She preferred the Ellen Show of course, me being her mama and all.
She made the cutest squeaky noises when I scratched her a certain way.

Baby slept in a Converse shoes box lined with t-shirts and awoke with a sqeak the next morning when I turned on the light. We passed her on to a woman with a raspy smokers voice who specializes in rehabilitating small woodland creatures. With a rustic carved sign on her door that read "Welcome to the Nut House," a door concealing squawking birds and barking dogs, it seemed like the right place. She was very sweet and even encouraged us to call about Booger in the future. We smiled the whole way home.
It wasn't until a few hours later that it hit me, lots of tears and lots of hugs. I miss little Booger but I'm so happy that she's going to be able to return to the trees in a few months and play with other raccoons. 
I love what my mother wrote: "Though we would have loved to keep her--in this case loving meant letting her go. She came to give us all 24 hours of love and a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world. Bye baby!"

Animal Rescue Update: Last night we found a little injured bunny, Josephina, in the front yard. Her arm was injured by another animal who we must have scared off. I think that the plastic bunny that sits on our front steps functioned as one of those Helping Hand signs that people used to post in their front windows. The post-scoop consisted of water, grass, and love. At first we tried to release her a few blocks away so that the predator couldn't finish what it started but Josephina wasn't up for walking with her injury. She scooted around the cage though and hung in there overnight for her Mama Pineapple until we could take her to the Wildlife Center. 


On the way back the universe high-fived us with free Starbucks (their computers were down).
And then their was magic. I went outside to take pictures of new collages but decided to go back inside in order to apply pants. A few minutes later I opened the door to find a plastic bag hanging on the knob filled with stuffed animal gifts, a precious blue bunny waiting to be scooped! I like to think it was a cosmic thank you from Josephina :)

At this rate, I wonder who will find us next week. We're official animal rescuers now!

Lara and Agent Pineapple


It's good to be back friends! The spring term has officially ended and I have a week before summer term begins. I'm taking two online courses which means I can stay nice and pasty in the privacy of my own digs.
Despite all of the hair pulling, a lot of good things happened during my blog break. In no particular order:

  • Finished my research project in which I constructed Deborah Kampmeier's dramas as feminist horror films
  • Kait and I rescued a baby raccoon, our little Booger
  • Celebrated my 21st birthday with sushi and padthai and homemade taco dip, yum!
  • I was invited to contribute to a book in pictures and words
  • Won an award at my job for the second semester in a row
  • Witnessed a prairie burn

  • Watched the magnolia tree and lilac bush bloom

Whoo hooo!
It's heART time and I can't wait to get dirty with those photostrips.
xo Lara

April 13, 2009


I'll be taking a break from blogging for about a month to concentrate on my studies, particularly the research project that I'm jazzed about (let's just say it involves Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and controversial film director Deborah Kampmeier). I hope to become so impeccable at managing my time that I will be able to satiate my need for blog consumption and perhaps produce a post once a week. Despite the trade-off of art for academics, focus feels goood.

Thank you for reading! See you soon.
xo Lara

April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Missing fluffy Easter dresses and hats with ribbons but looking forward to brunch and spending time with family. Steel Magnolias anyone?

Update: found a hat with a ribbon, just the ticket!

April 10, 2009

The International Photo Booth Convention.

"Since the invention of the photobooth, artists around the world have used photobooth photos in painting, collage, film, and video, taking advantage of the photobooth's uniquely expressive qualities."--from the Center Portion website

Enter through the yellow door for a day of photo strip art, film, talks, free photo booths, and a workshop.

Center Portion is a unique artist project space imbued with Celtic, folksy energy emanating from the home of a talented poet in Logan Square from which the space has been "carved." The theatre space was especially folksy with eclectic purple and blue seats watching the oldest photobooth at the convention on the stage. The younger booths were in the gallery space but "Betty's" had admirers from as far as England paying homage to her introspective gaze, these hardcore convention revelers were friendly and engaging. Laid out to dry, our strips were an invitation for conversation. One woman was fascinated with her feet that day and dragged a small table toward the booth to lean on so that Betty could capture them properly naked. She had quite a few pieces in the gallery show.

Works created during the "Altered Photography" workshop are on the left. The (kraftacular) convention poster hangs center. On the right are the beginnings of the exhibition of photo booth inspired art. From the literality of strips mounted in their original form to strips scanned, blown-up, remixed, and reprinted culminating in the transcendental: strips knitted punched and juxtaposed with found objects. I was especially drawn to the last permutation of photo-chemical strips and found objects; neither element has a negative, their union singularly normative yet abstract.

I love this piece by Andrea Vizzari, my photo does not do it justice. Andrea and Anthony Vizzari run 312photobooth, a company which provides photo booths for weddings and other events along with their case of costumes. They generously provided their (three!) photobooths and costumes for the convention furnishing all attendees with free strips!

Various wigs, specs, & hats in a vintage suitcase.

I foraged for the bunny ears, feather boa, feather mardi gras mask, tiger print cow boy hat, red bandana, giant scissors, and kitchy black specs but was a little disappointed at the lack of fairy wings. 

I went into the color photobooth with my journal where I had pasted a copy of a photobooth picture of myself as a child holding my Puffalump soul mate and when I walked out there was a little girl staring at me who looked just like me in the picture and at five she could already work a room.  She had her parents, Agent Pineapple, and I doing pirouettes and swaying like trees. I discovered that we had more in common as she gravitated towards traditionally masculine costumes like a clear mask with a painted mustache and a knight's helmet. I was a ninja three times for halloween and a knight once. The mustached little girl instructed her father to go in a booth solo with supersize hot pink sunglasses and a feather boa and of course he complied with a big grin because there was no saying "no" to this cutie. I hope she discovers the strips ten years from now and smiles.

Some people didn't realize that the curtain was see-through when they did cute kissy face pictures...ahem.  Nothing wrong with a little tasteful relationship documentation, we saw 60 year olds doin it. Needless to say if I ever get married there will be a photo booth and an espresso bar with those barista-artists that make designs in the foam!

I think those are the feet of Carole from Photomovette (cute little feet in cute little shoes). The duo flew in from London and encountered a stuffed monkey during their travels who was featured in his very own photo strip. I pointed out that he had a belly button.

Rummaging through costumes and smuggling them into the booth, drawing the curtain, hastily assembling inside away from curious eyes, the count down, four chances, tearing off the disguise, waiting to snatch the print, joy.
A sample of the results:

I can't wait to burn, scratch, and generally deface them some more. Transfer, glitter, paint, and cut. Journal journal journal fodder, oy!

xo Lara