work.place.

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I was just browsing Carson Ellis’ blog and was linked to her featurette on an awesome website called work.place that aims to capture artists in their habitat (I make it sound like National Geographic, lol).

I feel that an effective, comfortable workspace is the most important element in being productive. I am really missing the privileges of working in school studios, where sturdy easels and wide desks sit available for use. Working in cafes and at the kitchen table works okay for the time being, but it’s definitely not optimal for bigger projects. Carson’s space looks like a perfect balance of comfort and functionality–plus, she has an entire room available to set aside for her craft’s purpose. I admire her ability to work at home without getting sidetracked, as that’s always been a problem for me.

Note that nowhere near her working desk sits her computer, which is stationed on the other side of the room. This is the number one step in being able to get things done, art-wise. I also think it’s a great idea to pin up an “inspiration board” of sorts that involves not only your art, but individual elements that make up whatever you’re working on–color swatches, source imagery, thumbnails of your final draft, whatever else.

Another thing–look at all the natural light flowing through! Also, air. Nothing sucks more than working in a dark, poorly ventilated area, even if you’re not working with any toxic materials. She’s also fully dressed (mainly because someone’s there taking pictures of her), which is essential to getting out of the “being at home” mindset. Holly DeWolf discusses about this problem in her book, Breaking Into Freelance Illustration.

Getting down to work for me means showering, eating, grabbing a coffee and getting dressed. Early on in my career, working at home was casual to the extreme. Why get dressed up? I’m at home, so why bother? Funny how much I didn’t get done…when you’re “on,” it comes across to your audience. I may be at home, but I feel I need to project a certain image to maintain professionalism. My advice: A bit of structure helps you get into a professional and creative frame of mind.”

More pictures of Ellis’ workspace can be found here.

Carson Ellis’ blog is here.

8.5.10

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roads wind in your hands

holding deep to the roots

of a lonely gray year

and the crossing of our routes

those sparks crossed California

followed dotted lines on a map

the geography between you and me

was a vast expanse

the currents

the topography across your face

a refusal of apathy

when you leave me in the morning

i’m still your bird

covered with sparks you left

in my nest that night

New Bohemia Signs: Sign Your Life Away @ Guerrero Gallery.

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Yesterday after work I got the chance to attend the FREE live painting event at Guerrero Gallery. It was great to see art in person after having such a dry spell. I’ve gotten really interested in hand-drawn/painted typography and lettering since living up in San Francisco. I tend to stay away from digital art, and the work here really shines.


Andres, the owner, was super friendly and invited me to take a look around the office/the reserve racks full of work from past shows.

^ Hilary Pecis!

The artists from New Bohemian Signs were there doing free demos and takeaway “free” signs. They use the rod with a rubber roller on the end to keep their hand from rubbing up against the work. It admittedly took me longer than it should have to figure that out. This guy was painting “SUCKA FREE” for Andres. Freehand. Pretty badass.

If you think this one’s an eye trip, it’s ten times more powerful in person. The complementary hues combat each other to the point where looking at this sign is like staring at the sun.

My “free” sign.

The BEST quick mac ‘n’ cheese ever.

You’ll need:

1 package of Trader Joe’s Shells with White Cheddar

garlic salt

pepper

2 tbsp butter

3 tbsp soy milk

VIP ingredient: 2 slices smoked gouda cheese, sliced into small bits (I can thank my awesome boyfriend for this idea)

Cook pasta according to box instructions, and before adding the cheese powder (or any cold ingredients), stir in the bits of gouda until melted in with the drained pasta. This makes a world of difference by itself and is a great way to spice up dinner from a box. Comfortably serves 2.

Personal thoughts: Next time, I’m going to try adding scallions and/or Morningstar bacon strips. Yeeeee.

Portobello Mushroom/TVP Tacos.

One of my hands-down favorite foods: tacos. Pretty much any and all Mexican food, for that matter. I grew up eating homemade tacos and enchiladas and the love for it has stayed with me through several kitchens. When I first gave up meat, I was introduced to the world of TVP (textured vegetable protein), which can be found in several forms in your average market (seitan, tempeh, Morningstar products, etc). It’s derived primarily from soy, and can also be formed from wheat, oats, This is a pretty versatile ingredient and really worthwhile to keep in your kitchen, especially if you’re new to the meatless life.

 

Yves Meatless Ground

By itself, this stuff smells strongly like dog food. The ball is now in your court to make it actually taste like something, and that’s where this recipe comes in. It’s quick, semi-from scratch, and a great way to make sure you’re getting the protein you need with a veggie diet!

Portobello Mushroom TVP Tacos:

You’ll need:

  • 4 to 5 portobello/crimini mushrooms, chopped (I had some spare crimini mushrooms, so I threw them in. Make sure you mainly use portobello, since that’s your main source of meaty flavor.)
  • 1 12 oz package of TVP ground “meat”
  • at least 1/2 an onion, chopped and diced
  • 1 can sliced olives (optional)
  • 2 to 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 packet taco seasoning or 1 can El Pato tomato sauce (I tried a combination of both of these, which was on the spicier side. Will try to make my own seasoning next time!)
  • Several scallions (garnish)
  • Shredded Mexican cheese
  • Corn tortillas
  • Limes
  • Lemon juice (optional)

Get out a large saucepan or skillet and sauté the onions, mushrooms, and garlic for 4-6 minutes or until the onions become transparent. Add the TVP, olives (if you like them) and tomato sauce/seasoning and simmer for several minutes until the mixture has absorbed the sauce. Taste test it to see what it needs…I recommend adding a touch of lemon or lime juice, garlic salt, pepper to taste. I also chopped up a few scallions and threw them into the mix.
Your filling is done! Wasn’t that fast? Heat up your tortillas directly over the stove flame if you aren’t totally inept at anything involving fire. Stuff them with filling first, then cheese, scallions, sour cream and taco sauce!! YUM.

I should mention that I originally found a similar recipe for enchiladas, which is fantastic. You basically make the same filling, but instead:

  • drizzle the bottom of an 8 x 8 baking dish with enchilada sauce
  • roll the filling into tortillas
  • place enchiladas into dish (squeeze them together, 6-7 should fit in one dish)
  • drizzle them with enchilada sauce.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes with or without cheese (potentially vegan!). Also YUM.

“White Moon.”

Another work in progress by me and the guys can be found here. It reminded us of “White Moon” by the White Stripes, hence the nickname. You’ll literally have to turn up your volume (preferably when listening through headphones) to max level to hear it (recording issues blog 2011). We’ll try and get a much better recording soon.

Happiness, and how to find it.

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Question of the day: How do you define happiness in your life?

I define happiness by the process of creating and absorbing. I normally try to have 2 or 3 concepts for pieces going on at once so I’m never lost on things to work on (or able to make excuses not to). When I don’t have the time or wherewithal to sketch, draw or paint, I look to lots of art blogs and social networking sites for inspiration. Sometimes it’s a very positive distraction–art blogs like My Love For You and BOOOOOOOM provide eye-catching photos of quality work by artists, designers, architects, and a vast array of multimedia delvers. This often times leads to nowhere but me sitting alone in a dark room, accompanied only by Red Vines, unhealthily transfixed by Tumblr’s endless scroll of internet cat pictures or the “Surprise Me!” button on my favorite cooking blog Smitten Kitchen. Not the most flawlessly proactive method, mind you. 

I also play music every week or so with my boyfriend and my good friend Thom. We’ve been kicking around 5 or 6 songs for a couple months, and while the writing process is quite slow-moving due to our daytime commitments, it’s always refreshing to run through the gritty, organic elements of our almost-songs. 

I also find unadulterated happiness in food and cooking. There is nothing that calms swelling tides or lifts sadness like it. Learning about different cuisines, trying new restaurants, always always getting the usual favorites, even messing up a thing or two once in a while is all part of what makes eating so much bigger than just something you do for survival. Moving to San Francisco taught me to see food very differently. It also turned me vegetarian pescetarian. I’ve been trying to be more nutritious lately, but me being a sweet tooth (and living with one) balances this belly out. 

This was sort of a random post, but I wanted to switch it up and make things more personal.

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