Friday, June 25, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Salt Lake City has a neighborhood clean-up in which residents are invited to put all the garbage and yard waste they can carry out of their homes and yards on the curb for pick-up. The piles are not supposed to be larger than 20 feet long and 6 feet from the curb, but having larger piles is quite common. The piles remind me of some kind of free-form modern sculpture you might find in the corner of some avant garde gallery. This year I decided to take pictures of my favorite pile, which I have been walking past everyday for the last week while on my way to the park. You can literally see bits and pieces of the last four decades laid out on the side of the road. When I take photographs for the sake of art I tend to gravitate toward small details and things that often go unnoticed. I think there is a lot of beauty right in front of us that is usually not noticed. Here are some of my favorite photographs:

Green Case
It's amazing how rotten people will allow things to become before actually throwing them out.

Red Rotary
I love seeing the odd mix of nature, concrete, and discarded household items.

Barbie Car
I think I had that same Barbie car back in the 80's

A black and white selection.

Ian saved this image for me and tastefully named the file Boob, thanks Babe!

And to finish, a topical Haiku:

Garbage piles are full
Useless crap from decades past
Gross stuff kept too long

Thank you, thank you, no applause necessary . . .

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Chalk Art Festival 2010

I went to the annual Chalk Art Festival, which is held at the Gateway mall, on June 19th. The event benefits the Utah Foster Care Foundation and is always a lot of fun. I love that these artists are willing to pour so much time and effort into something so temporary. I plan on trying some chalk art on my front walkway sometime soon and will definitely post the results.

Here are a few favorite photos from the event:

This woman is at the event every year it is held and always does something big and amazing.

I love the contrast in this one.

I really admired how this group was able to work so effectively in such small quarters.

I had four of my fabulous 9th graders sign up for the junior section and was oh so proud to see them doing such an amazing job.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


We have recently introduced Aven to coloring and painting and she really loves it for about 5 minutes at a time. For the above picture Aven went crazy with the watercolors and once it was dry I filled in all the empty space with Prismacolors. It's always fun to see how delighted Aven is by random scribbles.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Worst Craftsman . . . Ever

This post deals with a different sort of creativity. The kind of strange ideas that people sometimes get and decide to carry out despite the fact that they really have no idea how to do whatever it is that they want to do. The house across the street from me is an illegal duplex. The upstairs tenant is the owner's daughter and the downstairs tenant is a really nice single guy who retired a couple years ago and spends a lot of time sitting on the front lawn tanning and reading the paper. Recently, the owner showed up and cut a new "front door" in the side of the house and then proceeded to "frame" the front porch that was about 3'x3' for a new closet (I put "frame" in quotes because I had never seen anyone frame quite like that before- levels do exist!). He did all of this without asking the tenant- the one who has lived there and paid rent for over 10 years. The whole thing is just really weird. Below is a picture of the house in the state it is currently in. Unfortunately I don't have a before picture, but if you click on the picture to enlarge it you can get an idea of where things were before.

There are a number of "creative" features I would like to point out:
  • Notice how the paneling under the window doesn't quite match the rest of the paneling. At least it's the same color as the rest of the house now- it used to be brown.
  • See the mailbox hanging near the window? See the panel it used to hang on? That panel used to be the side of the porch. I guarantee that light rectangle will stay just as it is- very Post-Modern/ Abstract.
  • Look at the left edge of the house and notice how the panel hangs over several inches. I'll be surprised if that gets cut to the the proper length.
  • The last feature I would like you to notice is the color of the house, a color my dad refers to as "the most hopeless color you could possibly choose to paint a house".
Aren't I lucky to get to look at this gem every time I look out my front window, sit on my porch, or walk to my car? At least they keep their yard in good shape.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Oil Spill

Over the weekend about 30,000 gallons of oil spilled from a pipeline into Red Butte Creek and made its way to Liberty Pond at Liberty Park and to the Jordan River. Since I live a mere four blocks from Liberty and go there almost daily during the summer I find it upsetting that this is happening so close to home. When I took Aven and Grace to the park this morning I also took my camera along:

The top image is the original image and I modified the colors in the bottom image using Photoshop. I was trying to go extreme enough that the image looked more abstract than the original and possibly more surreal. In the end I think the original has a much bigger gross-out factor.

The top is the original and the bottom has been modified in Photoshop no more than I could modify it in a traditional darkroom. While the top image is definitely yucky, I think the bottom image does have a sense of beauty- especially if you have no idea what the photograph is depicting.

Here's to a quick and complete clean-up!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Fire Hydrants: photos by Ian

Photos from a night out flushing fire hydrants for the full story of these photos see our personal blog at





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Thursday, June 10, 2010


One thing I really miss when I am working is being able to try new recipes. When I'm teaching Ian and I usually prepare all our meals for the week on Sunday afternoon to avoid having to cook during the week and that doesn't leave a lot of time for experimenting. About two weeks before school got out I started looking for some new recipes to try and found a great vegetarian wonton recipe from Alton Brown, Ian's favorite foodie. I served them with some udon noodles topped with peanut sauce and chopped vegetables. I think it turned out quite pretty. They were so much fun to make and eat I'm contemplating serving everything wonton style from now on.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Beginning

I have a degree in Fine Art, I teach art to middle schoolers, and I'm starting to come out of the fog of my first year as a mother. The only art that I have made is the last two years, with the exception of a single series of photographs, has been specifically for my middle school students- examples of stuff I want them to do. I have been feeling the need to get back to making art for myself and for my own enjoyment. In other words, I need an outlet. I have also been hearing my art professors in my head repeating statistics like "90% of people who leave college with a B.F.A. never make art again", or something to that effect. I don't want to be that person anymore. I hope that this blog will be a humble way to display some of my efforts to get back to my creative side in many different mediums.

While I was working on my art degree I painted, drew, photographed, and made pottery. The professors over my program had a very post-modern mind-set and didn't seem to have a lot of respect for anything that could be described with the term "arts and crafts". With that in mind, I share my first Creative Exploit:

A few months ago a friend of mine posted a picture on her blog of a stuffed animal she had made for her daughter. I loved the idea, and since I am tightly wrapped around my daughter's finger I was excited to make something for her. I had never worked from a pattern before and have very rudimentary sewing skills, but I did it. Not perfect, but pretty dang cute.