Archive for the 'art' Category


Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

I actually have memories of fingerpainting myself. Unfortunately, those memories are not made up of feelings of excitement as my artistic self was awakened, of the infinite possibilities before me as I contemplated my paper and palette. Sadly, the memory brings back a fingers-on-the-chalkboard sort of cringe as I remember how it felt when you ran out of slimy paint and the thin skin on the inside of my knuckle dragged against the scratchy dry paper. I have goosebumps right now as I’m writing this; I’m not kidding.

Nonetheless, I decided quite suddenly the other day that Ronin’s brain was going to shrivel up and fall out her ear if I didn’t get her some Craft Projects immediately. Enter the fingerpaint. Maybe she’ll like it. Maybe it’ll be a mess. I’ll certainly use better paper than they gave babies back in the 70s. Plus, I’ll make pretty colors (I also remember the paints being dark drab colors: forest green, navy blue, burgundy, brown—bringing home papers with a slurry of blended green/brown/black smeared in the middle).

I found this recipe on the internet and cooked up a batch earlier this afternoon. Cooking it was fun—sort of like making cream of wheat where you stir and stir and stir for a million years and still it is just watery milk and then, suddenly, in the span of 15 seconds, all hell breaks loose and you suddenly have a pan full of porridge. Corn starch and water is a very curious porridge indeed.

After it cooled, I portioned it out into baby food jars and added food coloring. That was fun. It’s pretty thick with the recipe above so I added more water to make it a more paint-like consistency and stirred it all up with a chopstick. Even more fun, Ronin discovered the food coloring tubes and how to twist off the caps and while I was off neglecting her, she opened up the red, blue, and purple and squirted the stuff all over her hands. I was sort of flipped out and she repeated after me as I ferried the food coloring tubes out of reach “ssit ssit” (bad mama!).

The setup. All neat and tidy with cool and warm colors separated by dinner plate. I stripped her down and planted her in front of the paper.

Ronin tests the waters. Hmm. Colors pleasing… Paper smooth…

She was a little weirded out by the Stuff! on her hands!! It can be nice having a neat-freak toddler (she is a relatively tidy eater—partly because she doesn’t like to eat) but it is also alarming to take said toddler to the beach all, “BEHOLD: THE BEACH,” and have her totally freak out when a grain of sand gets stuck to her hand. She mellowed out a bit but I got her some tools anyway.

Palette knife and paintbrush.

Paintbrushes are for lamers.

Of course, nothing is better than simply cutting to the chase and eating the paint straight off your palette knife.

I’d say it was a success mostly. I’ll do it again at least despite the fact that food coloring does not just wash off of hands (or anything else) and her fingers are now stained purple-green-pink. Hopefully this fades quickly. I have to get better at ‘letting go’ as far as smearing paint in hair and eating it is concerned but I’m working on it. Ronin seems to enjoy the painting just fine but the real standout is getting to stack and rearrange the plates (between sneaking nibbles of turquoise or fuchsia), dumping the paper out on the grass and then arranging it back on the blue bin. And I sit back and dream wistfully that her future memory of fingerpainting will be happy, cathartic, and with zero spinechills.

Cirque du Cycling

Monday, June 15th, 2009

It’s pedalpalooza and there are dozens of rides and gatherings every day. We haven’t been on a bike with Ronin yet, but I finally ordered a kid carrier and helmet for her so we should be on the road by the end of the week. She’s still pretty small so we decided to start with the ibert and move on to a trailer or maybe an extracycle when she gets too big for it.

Anyway not having a way to transport Ronin, we drove to Cirque du Cycling, which is pretty lame I know. We watched the parade, met with friends, juggled a little, and left when Ronin started to get grumpy.

1 candle power

This trike is pedaled with a running motion. A few other bikes in the parade were built by the same person including the wolf bike below.

Wolf Bike.

There are lots of home built tall bikes in this town.

Whenever bikers gather in Portland on a sunny day you can bet it won’t be long before a bunch of naked riders show up.

Aphex Twin?

The parade was followed by Criterium races. We watched the warm up laps but had to leave before the start because Ronin just couldn’t take it anymore. I liked watching this guy on the rollers. Going full speed on that looks pretty scary.

Slush Angels

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

snow angels on lauralhurst pond, portland oregon

Persons unknown were brave enough (or stupid enough) to step out onto the thin ice of Lauralhurst pond.

Granite Tower

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

granite tower sculpture, dix island, Maine

Dix Island, Maine

It’s hard to tell the scale in this picture but the thing is about 20′ tall.

Portland Juggling Festival

Monday, September 22nd, 2008

The 16th Portland Juggling Festival is this coming weekend (Sept. 26-28). In addition to local talent, performers at the Saturday night Vaudeville Extravaganza include Kaori Matsuzawa, Thomas Dietz , Tony Duncan, and Reid Belstock.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell