What is a true eclectic to do when her passions lead her in different directions?
This is a blog for the unfocused, the round pegs in the square holes, the short-attention span types, and all those who just can't bring themselves to join the ranks and adhere to a single category of activities or interests...whether sketches, drawings and comics, fixing an old farmhouse in Oregon, or whatever else strikes my fancy.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Sketchnoting Workshop (10-26-13)

After the Sketchnoting workshop, we went to an interesting storytelling event about race at Hipbone Studio, ranging from discrete black-on-black discrimination, childhood memories, to blatant job discrimination, to end with civil right era memories.

Here are my "sketch notes," as done listening to the speakers, Willie Welch, Donna Kelly, Paula Small, and Judith Mowry. My conclusions about the experience? I still rely on portrait sketching to get an insight about the person, while jotting down some abbreviated notes and using devices (arrows?) that somewhat follow the ideas of sketch-noting.
At left: the organizers; at right: Willie Welch

At left: Donna Kelly

At left: Paula Small; at right: Judith Mowry

Sketchnoting Workshop (10-26-13)

I attended an interesting-sounding event sponsored by TEDxConcordiaUPortland I found on Eventbrite: Sketchnoting. Of course, I got there late, despite my good-willed attempts at being on time, just for once...
This part of the workshop taught at On Your Feet was instructional, with a few exercises tossed in. The practive part will involve listening to people telling stories about their lives. So far, pretty straightforward stuff: create small and neat visual devices to shorthand the spoken word. Heheh...fun for someone who likes drawing!

Here are the notes and exercises from my sketchbook (Notes on pages 1, 2, and 5 copied off workshop instructor Doug Neill's notes on the board).

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Sign Painters and Large-Scale WeMake Event (10-12-13)

Busy afternoon and evening today, as part of Design Week PDX!

I watched an excellent documentary about sign painters at the Hollywood Theater in the afternoon... Never mind that I got there a half an hour late. There are times when getting late because I feel anxious is really a drag. This film consists of interviews with some old-timers, such as members of the Letterheads, as well as present sign makers. It was ironic to hear about the 70s as if it were a quasi-Prehistoric very long time ago, the "Golden Age" of sign-making, etc.

On to the WeMake SketchXchange organized by Yvonne Perez Emerson. This month's featured speaker was Nelson Lowry from LAIKA animation studio… There were over 300 people at this very enjoyable presentation (I was very glad I could attend since I had been wait listed). We saw photos of various stages of sets buildings from Paranorman, paintings, small models of monsters, etc. I particularly enjoyed the animation figurines on display.
From Paranorman animation story

The opportunity to hear an artist talk about his or her work, struggles, successes, thought processes, etc., is invaluable to people like me. Creative work is a solitary pursuit, and it is just plain "nice" to be in a room and to enjoy the openness and willingness of participants to draw in other people's sketchbooks...

Nelson Lowry drew a little creature in the small format sketchbook I used for sketch exchanges. However, the space was too big, too noisy and distracting to find anyone to exchange sketches with this time.
Nelson Lowry

With nothing else to do for a while, I tried out a Wacom Intuos Pro tablet… I had never tried one before (the small one I had many years ago does not count because I never used it even once). I liked how it worked, despite the sales rep exclaiming in fake wonder at the results, the same way he probably does for everyone.

…And the day ended with the WeMake Put a Bird in It party during which very imaginative interpretations of birdhouses made by various designers and creatives were auctioned off.

Two of the birdhouses caught my attention. One had a roof made of peacock feathers and bird feet, but my favorite was the one by illustrator Rory Phillips, with carefully painted details; it was lovely.
I now wish I had taken more photos of some of the other birdhouses, especially the lucite see-through birdhouse. And a photo of the Beetlejuice-style birdhouse... Or the wood drop birdhouse...
Rory Phillips birdhouse
Baba Yaga inspired
One of the Design Week-related item that caught my attention was the clever poster for the event. How close can one get to say something without saying it?

And it's funny... how one can ultimately feel alone in a crowd.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Designing Women and a Fancy Auction (10-10-13)

All right, a Ladies' Happy Hour for Design Week PDX! Driving all the way from Raleigh Hills during rush hour isn't for the fainthearted, so I arrived at PNCA when drinking was well underway on the mezzanine and the mood was chatty.

I am not naturally outgoing, so rather than make small talk with strangers, I walked around the room looking at the PNCA alumni artwork hanging on the wall. One large a monochrome landscape in reds immediately caught my attention, and I regret not having noted the artist's name. Carl Annala's tree in a decaying forest also caught my attention.

After much socializing, we all moved en masse downstairs for the Designing Women Panel Discussion co-sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary Craft with Bitch Media.

This was a well-attended events, with mostly women present. I was curious about what insights we would gain from the panelists (Julie Beeler, Kate Bingaman-Burt, Sara Huston, and Carrie Strickland).

In the end, a lot of time was spent, so it seemed, with each women presenting herself as "so-very-normal-and-down-to-earth-for-Heaven's-Sake" type.. And, no matter what, the rebel in me considers that the person sitting on a stage, by the very focus of being on a panel, is NOT normal and average, and no assurance about growing up "poor" or "disadvantaged" convinces me otherwise. This went on for a while, and started to reach a level of slight absurdity that almost mimicked the "We Had it Tough" mood of the famous (Four Yorkshiremen) Monty Python skit where four well-to-do guys try to overdo each other in describing their hard early lives.

I drew a few of the women sitting in the crowd or on the stage while listening.
My scanner is on strike

And on and on the panel went on, and then it was over, with no revelation that would have somehow enlightened us all, or made us feel embraced in our shared commonalities.

While Q&A was underway, I got impatient and decided to walk a few blocks over to Good Mod where the Portland Design Auction was taking place, one of those Pearl warehouse-style set-ups, with trendy mid-century furniture stored in the back of the huge space.

Beautiful people, creative types, and money-types were present and busy bidding. I won't bother trying to describe anything Art or Design here because I don't understand contemporary stuff. Well, okay, an ottoman covered in what looked like flocked made me puzzle over the final destination for such a piece.

On a final note, good food was served: figs, capers, almonds, Swedish crackers, pâté, olives...

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

A Tepid Party to Start Design Week (10-07-13)

As part of Design Week PDX, ADX was the host site for the launch of the Design Museum, and a tepid affair it was. So tepid that I didn't even fell like pulling out my sketchbook.

The "museum" site consisted of, from what I saw, a smallish room with a custom mini trailer finished in wood, a couple of sleek wood and metal tables and three or four paintings on the wall. Very nice workmanship.

There was free food and drinks. I can't speak for the beer, since I didn't taste it, but the pizza from Hot Lips Pizza was disappointing, barely lukewarm, quasi-impossible to cut with a fork, and consisted of a hard crust topped by a thick bread cushion topped with a thin layer of meager toppings. It was like biting into a pillow.

Despite the nice mixes by DJ Gregarious, people stood around looking bored; frankly, I have seen more animation in a cemetery.

Let's be positive and tell ourselves that other Design Week events will be more exciting.
Bore me to tears...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

A wedding (10-06-13)

My daughter Moso asked me to accompany her the wedding of one of her friends, Chrysta F. It was lovely in everything. The bride's dress, -made by her grandmother-, was elegant and fir the 1930s theme well.

I took the opportunity to do a few sketches of things that caught my attention... such as the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, a vase of flowers, one of the bride's sisters (whose face, framed by feathers was very reminiscent of the 30s), the lovely draping of the wedding dress, a vase of lilies with a lovely phrase the bridegroom said during his wedding vows.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

A new group meeting: Illustrators (10-06-13)

I was very excited to find a new group on MeetUp: PDX Illustrators. The first monthly meeting, organized by Tora Stark took place at Pappacinos on Woodstock. I got there late (a recurrent theme in my life), but nevertheless heard some valuable information to follow up.

Conference speaker (10-05-13)

I really enjoy working on caricatures and to draw out the odd elements in a plain face (in this case, the rigid pose, the small eyes and the felt-like hair).