Sunday, November 29, 2009

grey gardens, colored dresses

Two years ago, my mom and I rented the original Grey Gardens, a documentary on the peculiar lives of Edith Ewing Bouvier and her daughter Edith Bouvier Beale (pictured above), also known as Big Edie and Little Edie. As most of you by now know, the two spent their lives together in a crumbling estate named Grey Gardens.
I remember my heart went out to Little Edie, who seemed to have fallen prey to the large house and the good intentions of her mother. What I remembered from the original documentary was that Little Edie had wanted to be a performer, and for various reasons was held back from doing so. Any fame bestowed upon Little Edie was for her relation to Jackie O, but Edie was very worthy of her own spotlight. I love the picture of her above - she was so proud of the documentary on she and her mother.
Big Edie in her home with a portrait of herself as a young woman.
The original film poster.
I was so excited to finally get to see the sort-of remake of the original documentary when I came home for Thanksgiving. My mom and I have been wanting to see it for months! I love Drew Barrymore and am so glad she is the one who got to pay tribute to Little Edie.
It was so neat to see the back-story behind their lives, since the original documentary was filmed when Little Edie was in her 50s and Big Edie was quite old.
A lot of people have written Little Edie and her mother off as being eccentric or crazy, and I think this movie was just such a beautiful portrayal of them (especially Little Edie) that brings understanding and sympathy to their temperaments.
A lot of people can understand that when the world feels too big, one delves deeper and deeper into small things for comfort. For some, that ends up being everything.
The acting was spectacular and the costumes were insanely beautiful. I definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn't gotten the chance to see it yet!!
I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings. I added some photos of our sweet Spotty to his post below.

Monday, November 23, 2009

for Spotty

My computer isn't letting me post pictures (due to a complete lack of memory left), so I will have to wait until I can to do a proper post. Anyway, Spotty, one of our family cats, had to be put to sleep today. I didn't get to go home to say goodbye. He was such a wonderful cat. He acted more like a family dog. He spent all his time in the main parts of the house where he could "talk" (with loud, chirpy meows) to anyone who entered. He was always purring and smiling (you know how cats smile). I love him so much and miss him already, and hate the thought of going home to him not being there.
In honor of Spotty, who always lived for the moment (and loved forts made of blankets), I thought I'd post this poem I love (I'm not sure who it's by) on being an artist:
How to be an Artist
Stay loose. Learn to watch snails. Plant impossible gardens. Invite someone dangerous to tea. Make little signs that say "YES!" and post them all over your house. Make friends with freedom and uncertainty. Look forward to dreams. Cry during movies. Swing as high as you can on a swing set, by moonlight. Cultivate moods. Refuse to "be responsible." Do it for love. Take lots of naps. Give money away. Do it now. The money will follow. Believe in magic. Laugh a lot. Celebrate every gorgeous moment. Take moonbaths. Have wild imaginings, transformative dreams, and perfect calm. Draw on the walls. Read every day. Imagine yourself magic. Giggle with children. Listen to old people. Open up. Dive in. Be free. Bless yourself. Drive away fear. Play with everything. Entertain your inner child. You are innocent. Build a fort with blankets. Get wet. Hug trees. Write love letters. 
I love the smallest things. It's hard to find people to talk about small things with, like standing under a big tree in the dark waiting for yellow leaves to fall on you, white porches with twinkle lights lining the windows, and the trotting of dog feet. If you find someone to talk about small things with, you shouldn't let them go.
I hope you all had lovely weekends, and be sure to kiss and love all of the animals in your life. They are so special.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

gypsies, tramps, and thieves.

Last night, my friends Sarah, Chris, and I did Dr. Sketchy's at Mass Art, and it was so much fun! There were two models, and they did a circus theme for their outfits and poses: trapeze artist and lion tamer for the one minute poses, fortune teller and fortune receiver for the five minute poses, and conjoined twins (!!!!) for the 20 minute pose!
(there was also a band playing. I loved the way the bells of her sleeves mirrored the shape of her trumpet.)
The drawings didn't scan very crisp. Perhaps someday I'll try to rescan them. Anyway, I really liked doing Dr. Sketchy's in the evening and in a college setting (the last time I did it, it was in the early afternoon in a bar). They also had Emperor Norton's Stationary Marching Band performing, and they were amazing. The way they were dressed reminded me of characters in songs by The Decemberists. Yesterday I bought my 5x7" masonite to begin all the 5x7 portraits I owe! I hope to start them tonight. :) I hope you're all having an excellent week. xoxo Amanda

Monday, November 16, 2009

pretty numbers (the giveaway winner)

numerals sketchbook page
 I've loved drawing numbers in that old-fashioned magician-y typeface for a few years  now. The numbers two and nine and seven are my favorites for that style of number writing. 
As promised, it's time to announce the winner of the 5x7 portrait giveaway. I decided to draw two names. And those names were...Andi and Madeleine!!! I'm so happy they won. I love reading both of their blogs.
I want to thank everyone who entered the giveaway, and especially Madeleine, Debbie, and Amy for writing about it on their blogs. And happy birthday to all of you who also have november birthdays (there were so many!), and especially Claire, whose birthday is today. :) I hope you're all having a wonderful start to your week! My big project is coming to its close, and that means new paintings and more normal posting soon.
Love, Amanda

Thursday, November 12, 2009

black eyed dog, he knew my name. (slovly)

A portrait of me by the lovely Sabrina of "Slovly" creations! We decided to do a portrait trade. I love how it came out! I am dreaming with blue dogs. I especially love it because the little teal dog in the top corner looks so much like Gizmo. :) Thank you so much, Sabrina! Your portrait is certainly next on my to-do list! And I'll post it as soon as it's done.

flappers and philosophers

If you live in Boston, you have to see Sleep No More. I went tonight, and I can't even begin to describe how amazing it is to you! It's a performance based on Macbeth and set in the 1920s. It's held in an abandoned school just outside of Brookline Village. I didn't know what to expect when I went but I am completely blown away and am definitely going again.
When you arrive, you enter a casablanca-type lounge with a bar serving rum punch. The bartenders and ladies are completely in character. You are given a white mask which you must wear throughout the entire show and a card from a deck. When your number is called, you are allowed to enter. (they nicely give out the same number to groups so we all got to go in together). You're taken up in an elevator and then released into the school.
It is so surreal. Everyone is wearing a white mask except for the actors. The actors are dressed in beautiful clothes from the 20s and 30s. Every room on every floor of the building is elaborately furnished and decorated. Some of the rooms are beautiful. Some of them are creepy. All of them have boxes and books and notes you are supposed to look inside of. Some look like rooms in houses, others like bizarre installations. It is just beyond cool. 
My two favorite rooms: The school's old auditorium, which has been filled with real pine trees, glowing blue light, orchestra music, and fog. And in the basement, one of the small boiler rooms has been turned into a beautifully cluttered child's room (the details are impeccable, right down to vintage crayola crayons and a notebook filled with horticulture type flower drawings laying on the bed, a lit dollhouse, and a giant rocking horse).
The actors are running throughout the rooms and floors the whole night, and you can choose to follow them and see what happens or stay behind and wander through the rooms. The actors never speak - it's all performed physically and emotionally. When you finally leave, you exit into the casablanca bar, which is now in full swing with a billie holiday-esque singer performing on stage with some men and a piano.
It. was. so. good. 
I can't wait to go again. I had to tell all of you in case you are in the area, and in that case, you just HAVE to go!!!
I also saw Neko Case last night, and she was amazing, per usual. Her concert was held at the Wilbur Theater (no seating on the floor), and my friend and I were lucky enough to be right at the stage! I loved it.
I hope you're all having an excellent week!

Friday, November 6, 2009

strawberry coconut morning

Last night my roommate got home from a trip to Japan, and he brought me back these beautiful Japanese brush pens and a woodblock stamp carved into a flower!! Above is my sketchbook page where I tested out the pens and stamp. 
Yes, the lady at the bottom is singing Paparazzi by Lady Gaga. Rachel and I were talking about how much we like Lady Gaga last night. The video for Paparazzi was made like a short film. It's a little disturbing, but it reminds me of a modern take on Porphyria's Lover by Robert Browning.
Right now I am working and watching Shop Girl again. :) Today was fairly warm, so I took advantage of it and wore tights under shorts and got coconut-strawberry ice cream for breakfast on my walk home from errands. I figured there won't be many more fairly warm days! Tonight I'm going to make rosemary salmon for dinner! I hope you're all having a good start to your weekends!
xoxox Amanda

Thursday, November 5, 2009

why I love lucy

I grew up watching I Love Lucy. My mom loved to watch it because it reminds her of my Nana, who also loved the show. I was reminded of Lucy when a man came into work last week looking to buy a dvd of Mame starring Lucille Ball. I had no idea she'd done that musical! When I found a copy of it, he was so excited (I love when the customers are so happy that we have something!) and it made me want to see Mame myself. It has a neat art-deco-esque cover, so I plan to rent it sometime in the future. 
Anyway, thinking of Lucy in Mame reminded me of her 1940s theater/radio background (a scene that I love), and I rounded up some beautiful pictures of her. I remember once when I was 11 getting to stay up a little late once to watch Lucy on Nick at Nite because we knew we were having a snow day at school the next morning. I love happy winter memories. :) Do any of you watch I Love Lucy?

en route

Thanks to everyone who entered the give-away! I'll announce the winner on November 16, so you have until then to enter. And thank you to Debbie and Madeleine for writing very sweet posts about my art/the giveaway. :) As some of you pointed out, there ARE a lot of November birthdays! So interesting.
I'm almost done with certain projects and am getting excited to work on new ideas. Last night during work-time, I watched Breakfast at Tiffany's twice (once the normal way and once with the producer's commentary), and Shop Girl (one of my favorite movies, deserving of its own review sometime). I had forgotten how good it feels to watch movies you love so much that you can watch them several times in a row and never be sick of them! I hope you're all having a wonderful week!
Love, me

Monday, November 2, 2009

november giveaway! (portraiture)

In honor of November (one of my favorite months, and not just because it's my birthday month!), I'm doing a giveaway: I will paint a 5x7" portrait of the winner and mail it to them! To enter, leave a comment on this post. For your name to be entered twice, write a post on your own blog about the giveaway and let me know! I'll announce the winner on monday November 16th.
Thanks, everyone, and happy November!!