A Physicist and Artist try to make it in Silicon Valley

A Physicist and Artist try to make it in Silicon Valley
In which a couple tries to thrive creatively and intellectually on and offline

Friday, April 30, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #3

This was part of a name piece I did for a friend's little boy. A for Antelope!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Dolly Project

A good friend of mine gave me this freaky hard page dolly book a couple of months ago.

As a side project, I've been painting in the book as the whims take me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Paintings can be like laws and sausages...Status #2

After a week's progress, I've finally figured out how to paint mountains rather than the symbol of a mountain. I'm not naturally a landscape painter, so this was not the easiest thing to do. A recent trip to Yosemite helped a lot! Whenever I paint something I've never attempted before, the effort is akin to taking a 3 hour long math test.

The difficulty of painting is one of the reasons I enjoy it so much, however. I enjoy the challenge.

No sales yet at my Etsy store. It's a lot more work than I was expecting, but I think that maintaining a presence online requires more social interaction than most people think. I love having my work viewed via Etsy, I get a lot more traffic that way. In some ways, just having my work seen makes it worth it.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Book of the week #2

This week's book is: Birth of the Cool: Beat, Bebop and the American Avant Garde by Lewis MacAdams

If you are interested in Jazz music specifically, and music in general, this is a great, if simple, overview of the 20th Century. MacAdams is a writer for Rolling Stone, and this book doesn't go into much depth (it also doesn't cover women much, other than Billy Holiday), but it is a great introduction to Jazz history, and an entertaining read, especially if you like Gillespie and Parker.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sketchbook Friday #2

This was created last year. Just a doodle while I was waiting for a meal to finish in the oven. I know that the wings are totally off, but I kind of like the torso!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day Craft: Muppet Masks made from Recycled Materials

Last year for Halloween my husband and I decided to dress up as members of Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem, the band from the Muppet Show. I made these masks by constructing the framework out of recycled materials, and then covered the framework with fabric, yarn, and feathers (I tried to recycle as much fabric as possible, also). The mouths even move when we talk!

For the framework I used:
Milk Jugs
Yogurt Containers
Old Baseball caps
Cereal Boxes
Duct tape
Hot glue

For the exterior elements I used:
Hot glue
Fabric Glue
Old clothing
Old Sunglasses (the eyelids on Dr Teeth)
Yogurt Container scraps (Dr Teeth's teeth)
An old sheer curtain (for the eyes)
a feather boa
I did purchase some fabric, also (muppet colors aren't exactly found in clothing)

I just joined the SF Bay Area Esty Team this week. They are going to have a Meet up soon in San Francisco, and I'm thinking of going. Will post how it goes!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Adding the Etsy mini to your site

I just added an Etsy Mini to the blog. This wasn't the easiest thing to find a how-to on, so here's the how to site if you want to try it.

Joined a great group called Indie Junction this week. It's a great way to meet other artists, and most of them have Etsy Shops, too!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day of the Dead Figures

My sister got married last October with a Day of the Dead theme for her wedding. As a Christmas gift, I created these skeleton figures! They ended up going on the cake table at the wedding, and looked fantastic!

To make these figures I used the following tools:
hot glue gun
hand saw
wire clippers
needle nose pliers
paint brush
conventional oven

The supplies used were:
wire (for the inner framework)
Baking Polymer clay
Acrylic Paint
mini ribbon roses
wooden dowels
hot glue
Wood for bases and coffin cases (coffin cases not pictured)

These figures were created in two weeks. I began by building a frame off of the wooden dowels by wrapping and shaping some thin, malleable wire. The arms and legs were created with thicker wire that looped into holes sculpted at the wrists/ankles of the hands/feet.

The heads, hands and feet were created using a bakeable polymer clay, which can be baked in a conventional oven. To prevent the heads from being too heavy, I formed them around balls of aluminum foil.

The clothes were created entirely with fabric and a hot glue gun. No sewing! Hence why these figures were finished so quickly!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book of the week #1

My day job is at a library, and after every shift I come home with a backpack full of books. Some are good, some are great, and others don't make it past page 10. The great books are pretty infrequent, and therefore I think they deserve to be recognized.

This week's book is: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and published in 2000, this fantastic work of fiction is written in an approachable voice while still retaining a depth of plot and character that is fascinating. It's pretty lengthy, but the clever dialogue and unique plot make it well worth a read!

My first Treasury List!

I've only had my Etsy Shop up for a week and I've already been included in a Treasury List! Hurray!
The treasury list is a curated shopping gallery of works hand-picked by an Etsy user.
Thanks to MissMuffetsTuffet for including my Perfume Demons Print!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sketchbook Friday!

This was probably the first ever sketch I created that I was truly proud of. I was a junior in high school when I did this graphite drawing of Ezra Pound.

I look at it now and and see all the proportional issues and inconsistency of line, but back then I thought I had created a masterpiece!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Cats vs. Me

Since we've moved out here, our cats have become obsessed with our porch. With the new Spring acquisition of birds coming onto it to get supplies (hair, leaves, etc.) for their nests, I now have a battle of wills on my hands.

Because we live on the third floor and neither of them understand that running out over the railing would be a bad thing resulting in possible....death, I have to play screen door goalie every time I go out to water plants.....

I think it is obvious who runs the house here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Paintings can be like laws and sausages...

You don't always want to see how they are made. It can be ugly. But I thought it would be a good exercise to document how my current project is coming along. So I'll be posting the progress on this little gem every two weeks or so.

Last week it looked like something someone would have spray painted on the side of a van during the 70s, so let's just say this is a marked improvement.

I started my etsy shop two days ago and am getting some decent traffic. This is so much easier than exhibiting in a gallery or a juried show! Every time I've had my work up in a gallery space I've thrown up opening night. Selling my art online is nerve-wracking as well, but a lot less terrifying.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


My husband and I made this awesome storage ottoman after looking around and realizing we weren't willing to pay 200 dollars or more for one that wasn't built as well.

We built it with pretty basic tools:
Hand Saw & Miter Box
Circular Saw
Staple Gun

Our Materials:
Decoupage goop
1x1 wood posts
Thicker wood for bottom and top
roller casters
Suede (for upholstered top)
Cushion Foam
Wood Trim

He used to be a cabinet maker, so we were able to put it together with relative ease. I'm sure even a beginner could do it, though. Just build a box frame with the 1x1s, adhere plywood sides (decoupage desired image on first!), and add trim. The lid was created by upholstering the suede and foam top to a thicker board and screwing it to the stained plywood. Then we hinged the top to the box form, and added the casters!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Trying to make it in Silicon Valley

My husband and I recently moved to San Jose, CA from Madison, WI so that he may can work at a lighting start-up here in Silicon Valley. So far we've been here about...3 months and the culture shock is starting to wear off.

Because he is Mister Physics and working his skinny butt off, I've opted to be the "home care technician" this time. We have a tendency to switch off being the wife depending on who is working harder. Thus, I am attempting to start an at home business online, to see if creative people can actually flourish online. We shall see how this goes.