01 July 2016

a REAL vacation

when it's a milestone birthday for your dad and you ask your 7 year old where they would like to on vacation to celebrate.... you end up in HAWAII. Oahu to be exact.

the first absolute NO WORK vacation I've taken in I don't know how long. it was a wonderful wonderful trip. it was worth it solely for the colors of the ocean alone. but there were other amazing things. a couple of friends definitely steered us in great directions [thanks to maybelle, rori, and kelly]!

the smell of the plumeria really is like no other [i got a cutting approved for import at the airport and am crossing my fingers it will thrive in my greenhouse like 1/2 bathroom]

diamond head is a steep, but not not unmanageable hike .... the view is pretty stunning. [go earlier in the day so it's not so hot].

some of the steep stairs at diamond head

found this perfect nest at diamond head too. 

there are "wild" chickens EVERYWHERE. and a lot of stray cats around too. where we were staying you could hear roosters crowing all day/night. 

these brazillian cardinals were everywhere too. 

definitely definitely definitely book a tour to shangri-la if you are going to oahu. Doris Duke amassed the largest collection of islamic art outside of the middle east/asia - and allowed her home to be open to the public upon her death. it's an amazing estate. so beautiful. 

the tours leave from the honolulu museum of art - which while isn't particularly large, has some good pieces. the grounds are the most impressive though. several "themed" courtyards, one of which had the biggest lotus flower i've ever seen. 

another fairly easy hike - just a bit muddy and bug infested was manoa falls. this hike is shady the whole way. the entire time we were there we stayed on the winward side [which is the wetter side]. these amazing lush hills/mountains surround us and i kept wondering what it was like ON those mountains. this hike gave me a clue. 

the trail is really well maintained and you get to see a lot of vegetation. banyan trees are particularly cool.

it's amazing to be surround by tropical fruits. the little and my mom got into this game where they'd scream out MAGOS every time they saw a mango tree. this happened a lot. 

tried dragon fruit. very light. beautiful color. 

also near where we were staying was byodo-in temple a replica of a japanese temple. 

complete with a big buddah. there were also a TON of koi, some black swans and doves that would eat out of your hand. so pretty. 

the ho omaluhia botanical garden is gigantic. we only made through one part. but the little fished for the first time [they give out bamboo rods and bread on the weekends for people to catch and release fish] and caught TWO fish [almost 3. one got away]. no one else in our party caught a single thing. the fisherman juju from my papa sidney must be strong with her. 

we went to hanauma bay and it IS impressive, but for snorkeling with younger children or not super experienced swimmers i'd have to recommend sharks cove over the bay. with pools that are still and warm like bath water, crystal clear, and basically standing height for a 7 year old - it couldn't be beat. 

and across the street are a bunch of good food trucks [and a foodland - which has the cutest graphics on reusable bags] it kind of can't be beat. we even got a pineapple drink !

the drive up to the north shore is really beautiful as well. and if you want to get sucked into tiki/polyneasean heaven you can stop at the polynesean cultural center [yes it's touristy, but it's actually fun].

this is the state fish - Humuhumunukunuku─üpua╩╗a. we spied many. and a giant sea cucumber and so many butterfly fish and just all around neat looking sea creatures.

the beaches are also just fun to comb for treasures. 

ok yeah. pretty darn great. 

01 June 2016

a month \\ stitch sampler class

a whole month has gone by. how can that be ?? it was filled with the end of the semester crunch. the end of semester grading crunch. and now i'm in the throws of organizing the studio for the summer of madness... or more like the summer of getting ready for 2 shows and working with an arts institution to do some community work [grant procured !]... more on all this soon.

stitch sampler packaged all pretty

for now, i just wanted to let you all know that i'm teaching my embroidery sampler class this Sunday from 10-1 at handcraft studio school and there are a couple spots left. so if you, or someone you know wants to come stitch... sign up !

ok. happy June [how is it already JUNE?]

03 May 2016


if you know me... you know i am a FAN of a daily art practice.
[some of the one's i've done? look up and down , day-to-day - where i drew things left around on a table/desk every day, or the one that started it all - drawing a day - where i drew with a thread color 5 days a week for 52 weeks...

so when CreativeBug asked if i wanted to do a Draw a Day challenge for them - uh YEAH. 

when they asked what i wanted to do, i immediately thought about this thing i'd been re-visiting in my own sketchbooks - shadow drawing. i thought it would make a really good contrast with the drawing challenges that came before mine.

first was lisa congdon's - where you draw things from your imagination - in a stylized line drawing way. then heather ross and molly hatch talked about drawing things from life. and then pam garrison showed people how to draw from imagination again - in a different stylized way and started inserting color too [yay color].

in shadow tracing you don't really have to know how to draw. you find an object whose shadow interests you and you hold it above your paper with an overhead light or some bright sun and you trace it. if you want to, you can insert areas of observational drawing, but you don't have to. shadow tracing allows you to play with materials [because you aren't so focused on drawing something correctly.] it allows you to play with media [because why not?]. it allows you to play with composition and layering [because it's so easy to do so when you are simply tracing a shadow]. 

it's something i've been doing again and again in my sketchbook lately because it's so freeing. it's fun and liberating and fast. so... if you want to come play with me EVERY DAY [but hey - you don't have to do it daily. or yeah it's already may 3rd, but you can catch up !] then hop on over to CreativeBug. 

if you aren't already a subscriber - it's $4.95 a month ! and you'll have access to 700+ classes. and you can SAVE classes [1 a month] forever [meaning even if you give up your subscription you can still watch them]. they are also having a mother's day sale  - $25 for a whole year.... 

if you do join in - upload your drawings to instagram and tag them with #cbdrawaday and tag me too ! @lisasolomon so i'm sure to see them.

i hope to see some shadow drawings of yours !

28 April 2016

chroma doilies - redeux

so remember chroma? and a small doily installation i made for that show?
well, walter maciel gallery has a booth at artmarket [FRIDAY + THIS WEEKEND - are you going?] and there was room for me to install it in their booth. of course i decided it had to be in a different configuration this time. red row on top to white/black row on bottom [instead of left to right]

being silly, just about to install

first row up ! so... they use plywood walls at these fairs. because they are temporary and durable. pins into plywood = not so fun. but i was ready. bandaids and wrist band....

a little over 5 hours later...

voila. [the air was on and kept moving the strings. leaning strings]

the whole booth flows pretty nicely. 

if i didn't show you the shadows you would think there was something wrong with me right?

if you have a moment - go. there will be a lot of art. from a lot of places. i'm in good thread company in walter's booth with robb putnam and nike schroeder, but there are other GREAT pieces too. 

happy almost weekend

19 April 2016

kelly inouye at in*ter*face gallery

i had the pleasure of viewing kelly inouye's recent show at in•ter•face gallery last week. 

kelly's recent watercolor work is all about the television sitcoms she grew up watching as a kid. if you are of a certain age [and i am], many of her depictions immediately cause a swell of nostalgia... afternoons, evenings, after school slots filled with plot lines, characters that became surrogate friends, or enemies, or objects of desire or admiration.

as anyone who has used watercolor knows. it's a fickle medium. capable of producing effects like no other, but with a HIGH potential mess up threshold. in fact when talking to kelly she mentioned that sometimes she needs 5 hours straight to complete a work [or at least get it to a place where she can leave it], because anything less will generate a failure.  

kelly always divulges that she uses a light box to paint on top of screen/image stills from the shows. i find this part of her process intriguing. it allows her to be very free with the medium, and as "accurate" as she chooses. it solves logistical problems - no pencil to erase, no struggling with proportions. i'm always amazed at how she is able to both create a likeness an distort it. 

part of what haunts me about her work is that it hovers in this space of almost realism. just as the characters and plot lines of the shows hover in my memory. the materiality and the fact that she removes the characters from any background forces me into an even more sentimental space. 

i love, too, that kelly often chooses scenes or characters that speak to personal issues that are meaningful to her and thus meaningful to an audience - feminism, family love/dynamics, loneliness, social constraints, motherhood all come to mind. the fact that some of these shows can be both so behind and so ahead of their times is an interesting socio political point to contemplate. 

for this exhibition kelly chose to hang her palette pieces. these are created simultaneously to the figurative work, and clearly evoke and contain the same colorways at the "final" pieces. abstract in nature they often record her attempts to get a color "just right", or a practice run of generating a pool of paint to operate "just so". since i'm a closet wanna be abstract expressionist, they appeal to that sensibility in spades.

she remarks that she loves the freedom and immediacy in them. i concur. they are beautiful as color stories. they are so much freer and open than the figurative work. when they hang side by side a completely other narrative develops. the figurative work can not be made with out them, yet they can clearly exist separately. i'm intrigued by this notion of "pre-work", not the "real" work becoming a thing in and of itself. i also love how they inform one another. 

isn't the light and the brick wall in in•ter•face so lovely??? 

i was so excited to see the hanging system that was developed for these. they are mounted on foam core and "floating" on the wall. this creates the idea of a frame without having to place the work behind a frame. of course watercolors are more fugitive and fragile than other mediums and these would need to be framed for long term viewing - but i was so happy to be able to see the work up close. to sense the tactility of the paper; to view up close the means by which water alters the density and path of the pigment. 

in a new twist kelly actually put some of her palette markings ON this good times piece. this was definitely one of my favorites in the show. first because of the scale. watercolors taken out of their plein air, tight, small tradition always make me giddy. the way kelly rendered the clothing in this one makes my heart swoon. [that plaid ! OMG. i actually saw other versions of this piece in her studio and every time i had the deepest desire to steal it.]. the tenderness in this scene is also just so genuine. there is nothing sticky sweet or over the top about it. and the addition of the abstract marks - the joining of two practices that had to this point mostly been kept separate is very exciting. she mentioned that it was partially an aesthetic choice - the piece just needed more... but i also think it's a development that could serve her well in her next body of work. 

sadly last weekend was your last chance to see the show, so i can't encourage you to go get some artisnal donuts or ice cream in the temescal alley an check it out. but you can for sure look at kelly's website. or if you are headed to the sunset you can support irving street projects [yes ! where i completed the keepsake project] and go to an amazing event - kelly's studio is also there. 

05 April 2016

the morning i ran through the broad

the other weekend i was down in LA to celebrate the TEN YEAR anniversary of my dear friend and gallerist Walter Maciel. it was a very fun evening, great art, great food, funny toasts. i was only there for one night and had a few hours to kill before my flight sunday morning. all the paid tickets to The Broad were gone, but i heard you had a good chance to get in if you stood in line. so at 9am i got there. at 10am the opened at 10:15 they let the first 70 of us in. hurrah.

i wasn't able to get into kusama's infinity room - wait time 2 hours - 2 hours i didn't have. but luckily i experienced that in NY at the whitney years ago, so i didn't feel too bad.

it's amazing to think that this is ONE couple's collection. talk about grand. but the museum is FREE. and the inaugural exhibition is quite literally an art's greatest hits. there are no duds. no nobody's on display. and the building itself spectacularly showcases the work. 

here were some of my favorites:

chris burden

ed ruscha. [an imagine my happiness to see this NORMS piece in particular]

robert therrien - this is actually a GIANT table. you walk under it. i couldn't help but think about how when i was a kid i graffitti'd under our coffee table [my parents didn't know]. this sculpture could have used some gum or writing under it to give it that final touch.

oh jeff koons - there was a kid that made a beeline for this. totally cracked me up. 

an amazing selection of joseph beuys work. paired with anslem kiefer - an obvious choice, but none the less made a pretty engaging room.

the surprise for me was how much i really loved the john baldessari's - somehow i always forget about him. 

christopher wool [that drip did it for me. i forget how much he reminds me of lichtenstein. the whole i've done this by hand, but it doesn't look like it, but in case you don't believe me, here's a slip up thing]. 
glen ligon [these are really moving in person]

keith harring - paired with 

basquiat - another obvious, but still good pairing. 

kara walker

the big bad boys damien hirst and andreas gursky seemed so very right together too. 

i will never tire of julie mehretu - her work is a mass of a million small perfect moments that become a mass of a perfect giant moment. 

 el anatsui

a panorama of when you enter the top floor. it's so massive. 

exiting through the gift shop i couldn't help but wonder what keith would have thought of perfumed candles decorated with his imagery. if they were ironic i think he might have been OK with them? but there was NO IRONY to be found. 

and then this moment. caught right before the ensuing tantrum, i was blessed with the sighting of one small princess, gingerly assisted by her father down the stairs. 

it feels like both the LA and san francisco art scenes are being infused with new energy. it's exciting. go west coast. [come on people throw up the hand sign with me].