Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year Roundup Blather

I am sure many of my friends and various pundits are happily summing up the departing year and making certain pronouncements about the next, with a big nod to wishes and blessings. I won't. I spare you, and by that I mean me, this exercise. Instead I will take out a piece of paper, a pencil, a thought... and until then, see you in 2012.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Seasons of Small Changes in Poems, Photos, Sketches

I am at work on my next poetry collection, just in case all the visuals on this blog had you worried I'd forsaken words. I frequently walk to a small urban pocket park near where I work. You could walk by it in a hum-de-dum and not notice it was there. Or glance quickly at the slice of trees and reflecting pool and just as quickly have it fade from view as your thoughts or smartphone claimed your eyes. But by going there through the seasons of my first year on this job, I am in the habit of observing this sliver of the universe. I worry, who will want to read my urban pastorals; what can I bring to this place that has not been wrung out of far grander minds and views? But that way of thinking never did me any good. I go, I respond. I send the poems like brief letters to the friendly ears of the world.

This is my true meaning of being "observant" since I don't frequent any churches or temples... The spirit is mine, in the end, my tenure on the bench, my allotted days... and it is good to slow down enough to see and feel a place with my particular collection of associations and skills. I write, I draw, I photograph the park. My eye is at the center but sometimes I push beyond myself and it is in those moments I hope to reach you.

Good News comes in Twos

Nice. My portrait show at the Cornelia St. Cafe is extended by up to a week into January 2012 as next person not ready yet to hang their show. Hooray! Join me for drinks there.

I just sent the last issue (in paper) of Alimentum to press. It contains wonderful spot drawings by my very own artist daughter Caitlin Allen–her first time in print (I didn't let the editors know she was related to me until they said yes after seeing her sample art!) and another fun food map by me. Doing this map illustration/cartoon I discovered I can use real photos as textures in photoshop to add to my drawing instead of drawing them. I like the effect! Here it is:
My Jewish and Christian halves enjoy T-Day entirely.

Please buy this issue, it will be the last of 13 of this gem-like magazine. I am genuinely sad it is leaving the land of print. It fit so nicely in the hand. I won design awards for this one... But the marvelous publisher Paulette will continue the project online, however I am not the designer of the online incarnation. So goodbye paper Alimentum...and long live digital Alimentum.
Some of the spot drawings by Caitlin Allen for Alimentum, issue 13, published Winter 2012.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Miracle of Glass & Wood

I've been sketching people for years. Especially at readings where the expressions and gestures of the poets and my need to do something with my hands led to my art show currently on display at the Cornelia St. Café. There are nearly 40 framed watercolors and drawings on the wall. It is rather like putting together a chapbook, one general theme, lots of white space around the content, and the act of framing the work, in a page or under glass, makes it feel more real.

It makes me want to venture out with a glass and wood frame around my head, surely this would make me more real to others, define and sharpen my appearance? But a bit difficult to maneuver in rush hour. At the very least a hat does this and I am fond of wearing hats that don't shatter easily.

Tuesday is the opening, please come if you are in the area. The food there is good too. I'll be staying for dinner and a glass of wine. I am so happy to have this moment. So many friends helped me focus my efforts, Flash in particular for pushing me to show my work to Robin Hirsch at the Café. And Deborah and Sarah and Caitlin and always, Jim...