Sunday, September 28, 2014

29 Faces - September 2014

Soooo, I had originally not planned on doing the 29 faces thing this month. Then I found myself wanting to play around with sketching faces with the copics, which resulted in a page of faces and I decided it was worth trying to get to 29 in a effort to also im[prove my faces since the first page was a little... interesting. Not sure if I'll get to 29 by the end of the month, but I'll try!

In contrast to my last set of 29 (or.... 28) where I tried something different every time, this time around I decided to use the same medium (copic + marker paper), about the same size, looking at pictures in issues of allure magazine that I somehow mysteriously have a subscription to despite never buying such a thing.

After this first set, I wanted to do more because... well despite the somewhat exaggerated, cartoonish feature of some of them, I knew I needed more practice.  The ones on the left were drawn by looking at pictures, the ones on the right by tracing. Turns out tracing sucks. I didn't think enough about what was going on! Onward!

Little bit of tracing, little bit of looking. Better results, for the most part. Drawing with markers requires precision.

Scribble, scribble, then jumped to using C1, C3, C5 & C7. Much better.

!!!! ok! 10 more to go!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ciclavia Wilshire - 4/6/2014 Diana my recent productive sprees, I also managed to develop some film that's been sitting around for a while, including this one from Ciclvia earlier this year in April. And because the next Ciclavia is next weekend on Sunday October 5, I figured I should try to maybe sort of catch up on my photos from last time. The next month is so busy with the normal work in addition to Ciclvia, a memorial, music, possible trip to Knotts & a trip to San Francisco to meet up with my sister and, and and..... SO MUCH TO DO.

I have no idea what happened with this roll. I'm pretty sure I shot this with my Diana, but I'm wondering if I switched the counter window from 12 to 16 exposures or something because I had weird double exposures. Regardless, I was able to pull some photos from this roll. Joy! Click for larger versions

I love this one the most! I think it's was a few different exposures at or around LACMA

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Breakfast Shadows

Breakfast Shadows -Burning Man 2014

I saw this sight way more often than I should admit this year. My camp mates were awesome and made all sorts of delicious breakfast things like whole grain pancakes, eggs and bacon throughout the week. I cooked almost nothing the entire week (breakfast or other meals!), partially because of my knee, partially due to camp mates that were on top of it and partially due to other distractions, but I still ate well. Thank you!


...and in other news, I guess one camp was so horrible with moop (trash) at the end of Burning Man, that they got publicly shamed! It is pretty terrible to look at and I know I've been a bit frustrated at times at how badly some people don't seem to understand moop. It sounds like it was a plug and play camp gone wrong.....

Monday, September 22, 2014

Burning Man 2014 - Center Camp Holga

I've kinda skipped over the story of the first day of Burning Man for me this year, and I will continue to for now. The important part is that I  hurt myself and spent a great deal of time in camp just hanging out there, not doing all the biking and exploring and photography that I had kinda planned.

After going to the medical tent & getting a crutch and other fun things (SO MUCH FUN!), I couldn't deal with just staying around camp anymore and eventually made my way to the porto potties and then Center Camp. Getting there was it's own adventure, for another time. As it turns out, people talk to you even more than normal when you have a crutch at Burning Man. For someone like me, who would generally just observes and doesn't talk much until I can get a better feel for what's going on, what aspects of myself and my personality fit with the people/conversation and generally not making small talk, this was a rather weird experience. Normally I like to kinda quietly do my thing, but I couldn't go very far without getting caught into another conversation of some sort. After a couple spoke with me, adjusted my crutch and offered more padding for the crutch, I awkwardly just said I had to do something else because the social part of my brain just about exploded from overload. I knew suddenly why I liked being with someone I actually know semi-well and can feel ok with so they can share the social load while I just think for a while instead of having to talk and I can more easily read them and talk with them to help make things less difficult. I also like having something in particular to say (which is why I was fine working on radio stations and doing things like volunteering with the Greeters Station at Burning Man, even though I thought it would be one of the most terrible things ever before I did it.) The number of people and socialization is what kept me from going to Burning Man for a while until I found out how I could find some alone time with so many people around. This trip deprived me of some of that planned alone time and it had the kind of effect I had kinda anticipated. It's both good and bad to know yourself...

Regardless, I did manage to take a few photos in Center Camp!:

I believe this woman's name was Hummingbird. We were next to a huge book that had a prompt asking people to write down their first memory & she told me about trying to grab her boxer's tail.

......and for other random ramblings, this roll and another roll of film I developed this weekend have convinced me to not buy Shanghai GP3 Film anymore. While theoretically the weird shit this film does could be endearing, it just ends up making me frustrated more than anything most of the time, especially combined with the Holga being a Holga. On Saturday as I looked at the negatives I just kept wondering what I was thinking when I dropped it in the camera.... I know I was thinking "oh, yes, 100 speed! That is good for the brightness of the playa!", but this stupid 100 speed film almost looks more like 200-400. There's also the annoyance of it curling like crazy and how it's usually cut all wonky on the end. This makes developing & handling it in general a giant pain in the ass. This film is the reason for the random numbers, bubbley looking things and weird textures in the photos...

Sunday, September 21, 2014


I've been in one of those focused spots where I furiously work on one drawing, mostly finish it, prop it up someplace a distance away and look at it for a while, add a couple changes then hop onto the next drawing. Just going, going, going. I suppose it's somewhat intense at times, but I enjoy it. Flow, concentration, etc.....

These 2 are opposites in so many ways, which is why I like the first one and the second one just screams out "imperfection" and "fix it" to me. The ruler I was using for the second was dragging ink all over the page and making random black marks that were difficult to completely hide, despite the fact I used the same materials for both drawings. But then it also reminds me of why I like more organic, nature-like textures since many imperfections are suddenly ok, opposed to more technical things that need more and more and more and more refinement, without actually being able to achieve the technical absolute perfection. It's magical!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Burning Man 2014 - drive to

Some photos from the drive to Black Rock City from LA this year... Parts are boring, parts are beautiful. The first year I went, we were in the dark from Tahoe and through Nevada & I had never been in that part of the country before. On the way back from BRC in the daytime, I was constantly amazed that we had gone through all of this beauty and I had no idea! The best I could make out was the milky way above treetops in the Tahoe area. Yay for beautiful landscapes and nature!

 (I hate the crap in the sky on this one, but the landscape is so pretty!!!!)

The beginning of a longggggg night. Shortly before I shot this, I spotted at least one bat flitting around, which always makes me excited x 10000. The rest of the night and next day were spent in line with a good friend, sometimes braiding my hair, sometimes playing with needles, sometimes listening to the best pirate radio station ever with bird number-station like tracks & women talking about being in a flower for 30 min and other fun, eventually napping and already experiencing Burning Man way before our camp was set up!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Pico Doodles

Awww... something different! Quick doodles with copics on marker paper of my little rattie while he was sleeping. I like parts of each one better than others (except the head only... that was looking a little too guinea pig-like), but in general I would recognize it as my little guy. Of course, I'm not biased at all in such matters...

...on another note, since Monday night, my new set of copic markers has been hanging out in Compton & not in my hand making beautiful drawings, according to DHL.... boo

Monday, September 15, 2014

Calming storm

This morning is the kind of morning when I start mentally preparing myself to never sleep again.  It's 3am and it's still 80 degrees outside and somehow 86 in my bathroom and I have to go to work in a few hours. I'm cursing my non-a/c containing bedroom with my new comfy bed made from the fruit of organic cotton fields, the blood of trees and the outside flesh of bleating sheep... so no sleep, ever again....Yes! There's no such thing as being overly dramatic when it comes to sleep! All fans are on, clothing is minimized, just keep the windows fully open open and relax next to one, but no! No! The terrible smells and sounds. Construction vehicles "beep beep beep"ing out of time with one another as they dump asphalt and repave the 101 freeway just across the street for weeks on end.

Which is completely not how I wanted to write this post, but that is what is on my mind right now. Lost sleep & heat.

(best viewed w/ full screen)

Whiteouts during Burning Man are theoretically crappy at times, but when prepared, I think they are awesome and calming. They provide an opportunity to really just be trapped in the moment. Make sure to have water, goggles & some sort of nose covering, find a good spot and just wait and be enveloped by the visual experience of a wall of white with things gently coming into and out of view, the dust slightly pelting all your exposed skin, the piles and dunes gradually shifting around you. I wish I had made a longer video because I think this is becoming a default "calm yourself, M" video....

Sunday, September 14, 2014


copics on 11" x 14" mixed media paper

...and unrelated, but kinda, I really visually enjoy this video from GusGus "Crossfade". The framing and composition and surreal, yet unaltered nature of many of the shots are pretty awesome.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Embrace pt1, 2014

embrace, Burning Man 2014

...and I just realized that the style of the people in this art piece remind me of ash coated Pompeii people.....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Burning Man 2014 - colored1

A taste of the photos I shot with a small point and shoot Nikon CoolPix I picked up this year for Burning Man....

yay stuck in line in the rain......

yay bikes!

yay birds! during the day people could climb on it's back and pedal to make the wings open

yay perfect moments at the temple!

yay for beautiful moments during the seemingly undesirable!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

no such thing

copics and sakura pens on 11x14 mixed media paper.

A long a slow and tedious process working from the foreground background w/o sketching, abstract nature, done (maybe not), happy, bird reference guide, John Audubon excellent hunter. I don't know, make it up yourself. thanks for visiting this place (which place?)

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Temple of Grace 2 -BM2014

Temple of Grace - Burning Man 2014

Trying to enjoy today while simultaneous dreading the end of it. Tomorrow I finally go back to work after 18 days off. I'm pretty sure this is the longest I've been away from work in over 10 years, or since I was in college (!!!!!!!!) As it turns out, I do in fact keep myself pretty occupied when I'm not going to work every day. I'm looking forward to seeing coworker type friends, but I'm not looking forward to the rigid schedules, combative language & situations & frantic, yet predictable behavior that comes with going back to work. The stress seemingly for the sole purpose of creating stress. I'm not looking forward to reinstating the filters on myself and my personality for daily existence. So instead I will think about being grateful for things I generally ignore or minimize, like it doesn't take me 20 minutes to take a trip to the bathroom in my tiny apartment, biking on a relatively peaceful Ventura Blvd this morning to get delicious fresh fruits and veggies including the strawberries I already shoved into my mouth and the arugula strawberry salad I'll have for lunch and my cute squishy rat.

Temple of Grace 1

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Copically challanged

As a rather informally trained artist, my skills and knowledge are all over the place. A painting & drawing class and a few photography classes later, I know how to do way more than just those things and have spent an enormous amount of time since I finished my Bachelors of Science learning and practicing, but it's completely self-directed. When I worked a short walk from the library I was constantly checking out books and teaching myself new skills and getting irritated with the clerks at Dick Blick about qualifying for the student discount as I was a student, but in a way they refused to acknowledge. This is a long way of saying sometimes it takes me a while to get around to learning about things that seem like well known techniques/tools for the job. Copic Markers with their gigantic price tag and beautiful colors seem to be one of those things.

A few months ago somehow they appeared on my radar and around that time I started spotting them on super clearance at local stores along with some other alcohol markers, so I started collecting. And they sat. Until yesterday when I decided to pull them out and start playing (while listening to GusGus "Arabaian Horse" non-stop for hours)!

This one looks way better if you are a bit of a distance from it and let your eyes focus and unfocus...I like the general idea, but the execution could be better... I might try this one again at some point with different colors, larger paper & better/multiple straight you know, almost everything different.

I don't plan, I don't sketch, I just start drawing. It's a surprise to me to see what comes out of the end.

What do I regret the most? Deciding to do both on 8 1/2 x 11 sheets of cardstock vs. something huge with more space. I used to be super intimidated by a large empty sheet of paper, but this past year I want to make things bigger. I barely get through some ideas and I'm out of space. Definitely also looking to better round out my Copic collection because somehow I don't even have a red & have way too few greens and Copics are behaving as a marker of my dreams. Outlines were done with my beloved Sakura pens.

Weeee. And today we shall go to pick up more fixer so I can continue to develop film!

Friday, September 5, 2014


campmates, bikemates - Burning Man 2014

Yesterday I went out for my first bike ride since getting back to LA. And as usual, it's a mindfuck. The huge number of cars and lack of other bicyclists slams me with a feeling of foreigness. My favorite time to bike is first thing in the morning, partially because of the weather, the quietness, the birds, the light & photo opportunities, but also the emptiness of the streets. Some mornings on my way to the farmers market, I actually have Ventura Blvd. to myself. I suppose that was one of my mistakes yesterday in that I went out in the afternoon, to find streets filled with cars. I felt distant and removed from the people and yet more fully integrated with my surroundings at the same time. There's paved streets, semi-shaded places, more moderate temperatures and no dust storms, yet I am biking alone.  I like having time alone, but I enjoy having more people around me to casually interact with, especially when biking. During the school year if I go to work at a certain time, I always know I'm going to at least say hi to a woman & her kids while they're walking to school. When we're stuck at a light, we chat a bit more. Those are just the squishy aspects... my rambling on the actual logical parts of biking could go on for a while.... Sigh.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014


We got home from Burning Man last night... this year was definitely it's own experience that beat me up in new and exciting ways (tm). Some have asked how I was just getting back since it was shut down ( it was, but just temporarily & for us meant sitting in line within view of Will Call for 12 hours.) I battled with my body and injuries and pain and introverted nature and  ended up spending way more time in camp than I had wanted as a result, but it is what it is. I managed to make it out to shoot some pictures though, so I'm happy with that. I had made up some specific photo shooting goals and at least partially achieved them as well. I don't go back to work until next week, so I'm still trying to ride the wave of random productivity in the meantime - I stayed up late last night and developed some of my film from the Holga and this morning I was working on scanning negatives and hopefully will develop more this afternoon. Go, go, go!

One morning at Burning Man I just couldn't really force myself to even be around other people, so hid for a while and painted. It wasn't until I just scanned the resulting painting that I realized what way I wanted to orient it. Distraction by abstraction!