Wednesday, February 21, 2018
I taught a Publishing for Creatives class at Little Paper Planes the other weekend and it was fantastic. A dozen enthusiastic students full of great ideas came to learn about the publishing process, how to pitch a book, and so forth, and we had a lovely time. Here are a few sneak peeks of the class hard at work.
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
The Top Ten things that have been inspiring me just lately:
1) The cover design of Mastering the Art of French Cooking
2) Pop-Up Magazine (just, wow!)
3) Mabel, throwing herself body and soul into starting karate classes
4) Nancy Pelosi
5) The annual Watson / Watson Payne valentine-making party
6) Cherry Blossoms
7) Zelma Rose and its founder Lisa Anderson Shaffer
8) The good work being done by Oasis for Girls
10) Always and forever, the divine Ms Kahlo
Monday, February 19, 2018
The deadline for the journal I'm illustrating continues to loom, and I continue to churn out pictures. Today we have here: a tiny plane in the sky, french fries, a goldfish, a Wham! cassette tape, a stop light, and a collection of nonfiction books.
Friday, February 9, 2018
I've written before about how I became obsessed with the paintings of Richard Mayhew in a single instant late last summer at SFMOMA. That in turn sent me on a quest to find the Mayhew canvas I'd heard tell hangs somewhere in the de Young Museum. And let me tell you, it took some tracking down. You wander all through the permanent collection painting galleries on the second floor, which are filled with things about 99% of which were created prior to the Twentieth Century. You wander and wander thinking there's no way a Modern painting is going to be lurking up here somewhere. Until suddenly you come down a long hallway of traditional landscape paintings and - boom! - right at the end, there it is (above). A revelation in purple, peach, and olive green. It's called "Rhapsody," was painted in 2002, and acquired by the museum in 2010. It is perhaps one of the oddest hangings of a picture in a museum that I have ever seen, and in many ways one of the most effective. It's fun to compare it with how Mayhew's work is presented at SFMOMA (see photo just below this paragraph). Both amazing. But could hardly be more different. For your viewing pleasure I enclose below large images of the four Mayhew pictures I've now seen in the flesh. My semi-crummy phone photos don't begin to do them justice, but they do jog my memory to their wonders. Now I'm on a quest to find out where I can see more of these in person. It's relatively easy to find out what museums have pictures from a particular artist in their permanent collection, but can be a bit trickier to know where actually has what hanging on an actual wall on view to the public when. But I'm keeping my ear to the ground for leads. Because my eyeballs and my brain and my heart need more of this drug.
Thursday, February 8, 2018
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
I'm teaching a class at Little Paper Planes on Saturday, on Publishing for Creatives. And I therefore had the honor of being interviewed on their very fine blog. Here's that interview, for your reading pleasure!
Dreaming of seeing your work published in book form? Curious about publishing opportunities? Art and design book editor Bridget Watson Payne will help get you closer to that dream, explaining the range of different publishing opportunities out there and offering strategies on how to approach each one. Take a deep dive into publishing and learn how to develop your best idea, craft a compelling pitch, get in touch with a publisher, connect with your book’s audience, and so much more! A talk followed by interactive activities, this class will demystify the publishing process and help get you ready to take your project idea to the next level. This workshop will be on Saturday February 10th from 3:00- 5pm at the LPP Workshop (855 Valencia Street). Light snacks and drinks will be provided. Limited to 10 students. All workshops include 20% discount in the LPP shop the day of their workshop.
LPP’s Dylan Johnson asked Bridget a few questions about her life in publishing and her creative practice!
Did you ever think you’d end up in the world of publishing?
When I was little I always wanted to be an artist. Then as a teenager I became a theater nerd and wanted to be an actress for a while. Only in my twenties did I start to realize that my career path needed to follow my deep love of books. I toyed briefly with the idea of academia, and about the same time that I realized becoming an English professor wasn’t for me I also realized I wanted to get into book publishing. In truth, I had no idea what that really meant, at the time. I just knew that where they made the books I loved was where I wanted to be.
What inspired your latest show Everyday Objects?
I feel really strongly that there is magic and beauty around us all the time if we just open up our eyes and look. People tend to say that sort of thing about the natural world, but I think it’s just as true of the manmade. The mundane day-to-day things we surround ourselves with—household objects, bits of the city—can shine for us if we let them. For me, drawing is one kind of close-looking that allows me to glimpse some fragments of that wonder.
How do you balance your work life and creative life?
Very carefully. I am meticulous about my time. Over the past several years I’ve methodically carved out very specific days of the week and hours of the day when I do my creative work. I have certain standing weekly and biweekly appointments with myself for writing and drawing that (barring big important exceptions like vacations and whatnot) I do not miss. I also hold myself to a strict schedule at the office and rarely bring home work from my job on weekends or evenings. The amount of scheduling and structure I use wouldn’t work for everyone, but it works for me.
What are some of your favorite art books you’ve collected throughout the years?
Oh god! There are so many! So hard to choose. Ok, a few faves:
Golden Gate Bridge by Richard Misrach
Leap Before You Look: Black Mountain College 1933-1957 by Helen Anne Molesworth
Collect Raindrops by Nikki McClure
Inside the Live Reptile Tent by Jeff Brouws
Broad Strokes: 15 Women Who Made Art and Made History (In That Order) by Bridget Quinn
Tantra Song: Tantric Painting from Rajasthan by Franck Andre Jamme
Lorna Simpson Collages by Lorna Simpson (ok, so this one’s not out yet, but man oh man it’s going to be good!)
Do you find your creative process for writing and painting similar or different?
I find writing both easier and more daunting. That may not make sense at first, but if you drill down a bit, it actually does. Part of what I really enjoy about drawing and painting is the challenge – I’m often not confident that my technical skills are up to the task of achieving what I want to achieve, so the whole thing becomes like this thrilling high-wire act to see if I can do it. Whereas I’m much more secure in my writing abilities– I’ve been writing forever, I know how to make a sentence. But, as nearly every writer will tell you, there’s just something about writing that breeds a certain quality of dread and procrastination. Even if you enjoy writing and find it relatively painless, which I do, there is still some weird perverse part of you that dreads sitting down at the desk to do it—that would rather be doing just about anything else. It’s weird. Making art feels risky and weird and joyful for me, making sentences feels more like work. Enjoyable work, but still work.
Tuesday, February 6, 2018
Last Friday night was the opening party at Rare Device for my first-ever show of my drawings, Everyday Objects (shameless self-promotional plug: the drawings from the show are available for purchase online, right here, and 10 of the 20 have not yet sold! just saying). Regular readers of this site will know that normally I have lots of words to describe everything that happens to me. But when it comes to this evening I'm still a bit dumb-struck. It was amazing and surreal and utterly delightful. I have wanted to be an artist from the first time an adult asked me "what do you want to be when you grow up?" How old are you when that first happens? Maybe three? So this is a dream I've held, sometimes in the most secret part of my heart, for nearly four decades. And it happened. So. You can see why words can't quite express it. Pictures will have to do: