Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Needle In The Hay

Our long dry spell at the thrift store was happily ended by a sweet find last week. While looking for frames we spotted a cute little woodcut of a girl with some birds in a nice frame. It was not priced so when we went to inquire the lady said “Um, I don’t know, $1.50!”.  Around here when things are not priced they usually won’t sell it to you but Focus Flea is especially nice! She was not counting the art (which she obviously thought was junk) and just the frame. (plus I think she was just being nice because we were the only ones in there) So we bought it.  The back of the frame had a little piece of paper from the 60’s that told a bit about the artist and the print. Turns out our little print was by Kaoru Kawano, a very famous modern Japanese woodblock artist, and the print should have cost around a $250 (it is unsigned, but an actual impression from his block) The  monetary worth doesn’t really matter, since we love it, but it was exciting to find out about this really great Japanese artist  via a thrifting trip.  I also got a nice dress and a skirt. All of the profits from this thrift store benefit our local Focus women’s resource center. Score!

Kaoru Kawano was born in Otaru, Hokkaido in 1916, and studied at Kawabata art school in 1934. Because his earlier works showed such great promise, they were displayed at the Nihon Hanga Kyokai Exhibition (Japan Print Society) in 1944. He interrupted his print-making activities to join the army, but later was unfortunate to become a prisoner of war in Siberia. In 1949 he resumed exhibiting with Nihon Hanga Kyokai, and subsequently with Kokugakai in 1952. He moved to Tokyo in 1958, and participated in international competitions and solo exhibitions in New York, Seattle, Chicago, and elsewhere. His works are characterised by highly textured abstract representations of children.

biographical information taken from this collector's great website on Kawano:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

cabin fever!!!

As I write this more snow is falling in Virginia. It's the mean spirited kind, icy and prone to starting and stopping but never quite going away. Supposedly we will have this until late tonight and then more fluffy snow. I am ready for sun and spring gardening! We made our garden plan these last few days and we are excited to start planting. Jeremy made a beautiful map of what the spring and summer plantings will look like. I will look forward to posting pics of that in the coming months. We are going to try to grow some new tomatoes this year, ones that are still organic/heirloom but also disease resistant. (aka we learned our lesson last year with rare heirlooms & hours of disease management!) Over the weekend our next door neighbor's 60 year old willow tree came down... it was sad but also amazing, the thing had no roots and must have been dormant for a long time, its underside looked like the roots of a large houseplant. Pretty crazy. Jeremy took this picture with me in it for scale.

Last night, after a rather unexpected snow day, I embarked on making a 'scannermation' I am posting the first and last drawings and will hopefully post the whole thing once I figure out a bunch of computer technicalities! I was feeling a tinge of artist block and I figured doing something that I don't normally do (animation) and just generally messing around would be good... I think it helped. I have also been procrastination baking and cleaning... chocolate walnut banana bread and newly washed wood floors anyone?!!! I also did ALL of the laundry.

Lastly, I was super happy and honored to be asked to do a process/inspiration post at My Love For You Is A Stampede Of Horses blog. I showed some of the new stuff I am working on for Cinders in the fall, some in-progress stuff, and inspirational things like... Fricky! and the ocean!  I really admire Meighan and her blog and highly recommend checking it out on a daily basis if you don't already! Its awesome! Here's the link to my little bit:

wherever you are, I hope you are warm and safe!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

As soon as the ground is workable...

Hi all! Happy New Year! We have been really horrible about posting on our blog! For some reason the middle of winter always puts both of us in a weird way. I guess its just cabin fever, but with the recent bouts of snow in Virginia it feels like winter will never end! This is good for indoor projects like recording music, sewing, drawing (of course), alphabetizing the sock drawer... etc! But we Taylor's like to be outside and running around unhindered by winter apparel. 20 more inches of snow are predicted for VA this weekend, so I guess we had better brace ourselves! On the upside it is really pretty and winter-wonderland-y here and I have been able to show off my fancy WI native snow driving skills.
In the meantime, here are some highlights from the first month of 2010. Jeremy and I got snowed in right before Christmas by 24 inches of snow! we were stuck for 3 days. We ate every bit of food in our house! Then in January, J did some ghost writing/recording with our friend Thomas's band (very awesome!), we managed to get some good writing time in on our book (hopefully more of that soon) and I started work on a new sketchbook (made by Jeremy - best sketchbook ever!) and some new large drawings as I prepare for my next show at Cinders in the fall. This time of the year one thing that really keeps me optimistic about the weather is garden planning... phrases from the seed catalog like, "as soon as the ground is workable", and "will thrive after over-wintering" remind me how early gardening can start and its that wonderful, defiant, growing stuff in cold weather that really makes me feel happy amongst all of this grayness! After the 24 inches in December we thought our garden was toast. When it finally melted like a week ago we went to look under the garden cloth and cold-frames and were met with very happy spinach and lettuce! What a treat! Here are some pics from the winter...