Saturday, September 27, 2008

We are going to the Harvest Fair

Maybe I should call this photo "How I spent my summer!" I started this "family" back in May, inspired by the early Popeye Cartoon drawings by Elzie Crisler Segar.

On Monday, I yam goingz to takes them to the Harvisk Faire! If ya goes, be sures to stopsk by an sees them!


and a close-up of Alice:


I think Cornsnakes are beautiful. Of course I do; they're orange. So I made this one out of wool. Her body is basically wet-felted, and her pattern is needle-felted on top. My friends Ron & Carol have a real one, but I'm not that brave. Today she got to go outside and play in the grass, the redwoods, the cactus and the apple tree.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Our Town

Once a year, Graton closes down the street, opens its doors and throws a party. There's a creative, bohemian spirit to this little town. The highlight of the day is the parade, dominated by dogs and Burning Man vehicles.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Alice The Goon & Swee'pea

Alice the Goon appeared in the Popeye cartoon in 1934. As slave of the Sea Hag, Popeye's eternal enemy, the idea was that the horrible beast would eventually battle it out with Popeye and be disposed of. The nude character with hairy legs and arms struck fear into the readers. She spoke in oscilloscope language, proving that she was not of earthly origin. Newspapers received so many letters of protest - that she was frightening small children, that a stop order was received from the syndicate to drop Alice. This was a blow to Segar, Popeye's creator. After a respectable length of time, Alice was brought back clothed in a polka-dot blouse and skirt with a red hat and perky flower. She became attached to Swee'pea, and became the family baby sitter.
It is because of this character that the word "Goon" is in our language.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wow! Totoro Auction raises $201,236!!!!

This is a correction to my earlier post -- I had read some incorrect information, and just now found out that the Totoro Auction raised well over $200,000!

I first heard of this on June 21, at a Sketchcrawl, when Enrico Casarosa asked Amelia & I if we might be interested in contributing something. We worked furiously hard to meet the deadline (we were definitely afterthoughts) and turned in our pieces on July 15th.

Enrico, Ronnie, Dice and Yukino (and hundreds of others) have worked long and hard on this project all year. Can you imagine? Herding over 200 artists, and then organizing all the logistics and collateral material and resources to create an auction? There must have been over 500 people there last night. Lots & lots of volunteers working the floor - serving food, monitoring the bids, doing the sound, checking i.d.'s, etc. All their hard work sure showed. What an amazing feat to pull this together -- and they all have full-time jobs to boot! I hope they all slept in today!

It was like a night amongst the stars of the art world. The caliper of art was amazing. I wish Amelia would have been able to be there, because she knows who these people are. Me, I was just wandering around oblivious to who's-who, because most people didn't have name tags. But I knew for sure I was in the company of greats based on the art on display. Of course, I recognized John Lasseter, Mark Andrews,Pete Doctor, Ronnie, Enrico, Dice, and a few other artists I'm familiar with. Mostly I recognized names on the art -- and had no idea which face matched the name.

The food and drinks were amazing; from smoked duck pizza to seared sesame halibut with white miso aioli, green tea macaroons, white peach cheesecake lollypops, sake, etc etc etc. It was a beautiful, casual evening, with wonderful company, and we were treated like kings. They know how to throw a party!

The art was mostly silent-auctioned, with certain pieces set aside for live-auction. A select few hot-moving silent auction items were then moved into the live auction. It would really get interesting when a certain section of the silent auction would get near closing. Mark Andrews and Derek Thompson would wander around with wireless mics describing the art and pumping up the crowd. They'd give a 5-minute warning, and then do a 30 second countdown before closing.

The silent auction was amazing. There were 18 pieces - the cream of the crop, and most went for $2- $3,000.00 Some went for over $4,000. It was fun watching Lasseter bidding - he ended up the winner of quite a few pieces last night. Ronnie's was one of the silent-auction pieces. Although he obviously has nothing to worry about, he told me later his heart was pounding. Can you imagine? That's really putting yourself out there - to be up in front of your co-workers, peers, executives of your company --- hoping that somebody will bid a worthwhile price on your art! Of course, his painting of "Nina" went for over $2500. I can't imagine doing that. I was so happy to wander around being an unknown nobody, and if nobody bid on my piece, nobody would know it was mine! Something to be said for anonymity!

Amelia's watercolor -- I'm so proud -- sold for $200.00! My felt piece scored the lowest bid of the evening at $65.00! Which is completely appropriate, based on the caliper of the other artwork. I'm just glad somebody bid on it -- thank you very much. I would have hated to have to bid on my own piece, or worse yet, have no bids at all! I really felt, and still do -- that I had no business being involved in this thing. Enrico just has a heart of gold to invite us. I enjoyed the process, the anticipation of the event, the online gallery and bidding action, and the event itself. It has given me a huge boost of enthusiasm for creating my art, and with Amelia being gone, this is a great time to dive into something and give it my all. I feel more motivated than I have in a long time.

Pixar does not allow cameras, so I can't post photos like I usually do... boo-hoo! But there were plenty of professional photographers wandering around, so I'm sure there will be photos up on the web soon.

All the art is still online at

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Saying Goodbye

Whoo - what a weekend. It had to happen someday! Is it easier if you have more than one kid? In the realm of potential heartbreaks between parent and child, I guess this is a relatively easy one. After all, she's off to the College of her dreams. She's dreamt of this day since the CSSSA summer of '06. She had to be there. She's hungry to learn. And I feel confident that she's amongst enthusiastic, like-minded sponges like herself. I think she'll be happy at Cal Arts. And, after this weekend, I feel confident that she'll be safe.

But the house felt empty this morning. It wasn't easy waking up realizing that, not only is she not here, but she won't be here till Thanksgiving. I don't know yet whether that will get harder or easier to accept as time goes on... we'll see. We'll sure miss her, that's for sure.

We went out to La Vera on Sunday night for a farewell dinner with Mary, our "other daughter."

A couple of Sonoma Cownty Girls:

Monday morning, we took off for the long drive down I-5. Amelia drove the whole way.

Here's the dorm -- can you tell she's in Southern California?

One of our biggest anxieties was ... the roommate. What if she got stuck with a lunatic? What a relief it was to meet Tahnee! She's a total sweetheart. Cal Arts did a great job of pairing them up, I think. We hit it off immediately with her parents, and found that we all have a whole lot in common. Both girls are only children, both musicians, and both in the Character Animation program. We loved the two girls next door, too - who are also practically roommates, since the two rooms share a bathroom! Here's Amelia, Tahnee, Adeline and Sabrina: (All four in Character Animation) "Go Girls!"

And if it gets too hot, there's always the pool.

Dave & I took a tour of the campus. We discovered so much that we hadn't seen before! It was soooo cool. We wish we could turn back time and go to school there ourselves!

Here's Dave in the Shop. Yeah - she chose the right school.

Check out this way-cool shop floor: (Wood ends!)

This is a "Cube". Each character animation student is assigned one of these (although I think freshmen may get more of a "group-cube." This is where they practically live while working on their film projects. This one is empty. Apparently students get pretty creative decorating their cubes. Amelia already has a rug for hers. Probably so she can sleep on the floor.

This is Cal Arts' new Amphitheater; named "The Wild Beast"

and back at home ... Somebody's missing you, Amelia.