Friday, October 3, 2008

Flat tires make dachshunds sad...

Humans who need to paint murals too.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

out of the bag, onto the wall...

so, it's out of the bag... i'm painting on walls again.

look familiar?

well, the mural "that never was" is now the mural that IS.
(except, it'll be the mirror image version).

after all the hubbub and hooplah, crying and complaining, the mural that never was found its new home... a happy home... a home that genuinely WANTS it.

starting yesterday morning, the wall on the side of the home at 539 E. 21st street, became the official home of the mural entitled "our roots, our community". the wall is over 50 feet wide and over 30 feet tall. and that's REALLY tall. trust me.. i have pictures to prove it.

the process will be a relatively slow one--- since the wall is so big and made of some sort of incredibly flakey, crumbly non-brick brick, the primer (which you see here) is very crucial... and is being absorbed by the devil-brick at record pace. it took me about 4 hours yesterday to protect the lower half of the wall with butcher paper and drop cloths and to mask off the corners (no one likes a messy mural), and then to apply primer to the bottom 3 levels of the two right side panels. 4 hours later, i had blisters on both hands and a raging need, well, i'd consumed a lot of water.

today, i got the left side panel primed (a slightly harder task, due to the super bumpy nature of that side of the wall, the spiky sawgrass plant that wants to cover me in tiny cuts... and was successful... and the fact that the scaffolding ends about two feet too soon... looks like i'll be doing a lot of stretching on this one!). the weather is PERFECT for painting. i'm hoping it holds. sadly, i had to cut short today's painting love, because Edison drove over a nail at some point and his back right tire has been leaking air for, oh, weeks. So, today was the day we took advantage of his warranty and got him some new rolling shoes.

anyway, back to the mural...

it's very exciting to have this opportunity. i felt/ feel so strongly about this image and was so sad to hear it wouldn't have a wall to live on. But, as i believe and as so many of you shared, everything really DOES happen for a reason. And i think in this case, the reason is the beautiful community of the Greenmount/Boone Avenue on E. 21st. EVERY single person i met yesterday was so sweet, so kind, so gracious--- so enthusiastic and supportive. It's the first mural i've ever worked on where from day one you could literally see people coming out to embrace THEIR art. And that's why i love doing this--- art for others.

Now, i'd be remiss (and i'd be withholding information from you) if i didn't share this with you...

I'm scared to death of the top top top of the scaffolding.



it doesn't SEEM that high, and really, its not all that high. I mean, it's less than 6 of me tall, right? but before i left yesterday, i climbed up there just to do it once and sort of "conquer" it. well, im not sure conquering is what happened. i mean, i came back down, which, really, is job one. But i was knock-kneed and shivery the whole time, barely looked around and could hardly imagine actually PAINTING up there. Alas... i have not much of a choice. I have to look at the design now that i have actual measurements for the wall, but i'm thinking the top level of scaffolding will only cover the tree area, which should make things easier (theoretically "less work" in just painting foliage). I'm also thinking i should go ahead and start at the top. I dont usually, but...

it's only going to get colder and windier and i think i'm thinking getting it "over with" would be a smart way to go. plus, you tend to get tired the longer you work on a mural and i think that in a month when i'm trying to finish this up, i'd rather be tired on the first or 2nd level of scaffolding than on the 6th, yeah?

this is the view from up there. ok, maybe that doesn't quite show it.
how about this?

i can see the city... and the top of the roof! i could SIT on the roof (except there's a good 18" between the wall and the scaffold, and that's too much for me).

wish me luck.
wish me balance!!!

I should be painting every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday & Friday for the next few weeks. If you happen to be in the area, stop by and say hi!~
xo, danamarie

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Slowly but surely...

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

and now for some animals...

it's been a very long day.
very long.
i am exhausted.
wednesday, for me, means teaching from 11am to 9:30pm; two different classes; two very different kinds of students.
my back hurts and my brain hurts. i had planned a very different kind of posy for today, but frankly, i am too tired to be witty or say anything terribly inspirational.

BUT, i remembered that i forgot to show you the pictures we took at the dc zoo the other day.
because, really... who doesn't want to look at super special animals?

komodo dragon. if you haven't seen the freshman, waste no time... a young matthew broderick & a komodo dragon.

a capybara--- like a giant guinea pig. fantastic.

hippo. you know how you "know" certain things, but you don't REALLY know them?
i *knew* hippos were big... but i didn't KNOW hippos were that big. do you get how big that hippo is? it's like a mini-van.
oh, and it can hold its breath underwater for 6 minutes. and its feet were super cute and squishy.

possibly the cutest thing ever. panda. napping. covering its eyes. amazing.

these two otters were totally performing. they did everything together; including jumping up on this rock so people could photograph them.

green magpie (yes, it's actually blue). i'm sorta completely in love with this bird. if i could DESIGN a bird it would look like this. i love it to tiny little birdie pieces.

um, i waited outside of here, but i understand it's a good exhibit (if you like those sorts of things)

soooo... on a non-zoo animal related note; we were getting pretty hungry and hadn't really planned to eat anywhere in particular, but the idea of chicken fingers and ice cream had become pretty attractive to us as the day wore on. we were going to stop by the concessions and get "real food", but having recently completed a marathon home viewing of the stephen king miniseries, kingdom hospital, in which a gigantic anteater named antubis (anteater-anubis) decides who lives and dies,

we were pretty keen on going to see the anteaters (who, as it turns out, had already gone to bed, and thus were not seen), so we kept walking away from the concessions and found ourselves super hungry around the same time as we found ourselves face to face with a hot dog vending machine.

i KNOW!!!

like a glorified microwave. hotdogs (rather "sausages") live in the machine and are heated when you select one. a bun is moved across the inside of the machine and opened by these little tong-things.

only moments later, a very hot hotdog is plopped into a bun, and the whole thing plopped into a plastic tray, and that whole thing rides a little hotdog elevator down to a doorway of magical wonder. and presto-- hotdog. there's even a little sliding door thing to access packets of condiments.

it was good.
it was really, really good.
also--- to be quite honest, even if it tasted crap, it still would've been good because i really like automated things and things in vending machines that don't belong in vending machines--- like shoes and underwear (which i hear you can get in japan).

speaking of hotdogs & amazing animals, i'll leave you with this.

xoxo, danamarie

Monday, September 29, 2008

keep believing, keep pretending...

i'm not a terribly weepy person, but i cried like a baby this past sunday (some of it in public, and some of it privately), when AJ and i went to see the Jim Henson exhibit in d.c.

it's hard to explain... actually, it's not hard at all. i was raised on the muppets. i have very early memories of NEEDING my ernie doll in order to function. i still have my first kermit. i (it's true) have a little bit of a crush on kermit. i watch the Muppet Movie more often than most children probably watched it when it first came out. I still dream of reenacting moments from Kermit and Piggy's wedding when AJ & I tie the knot.
(can you imagine if we had a bunch of penguins and bears singing "somebody's getting MAAAAAAAA--WEEEEED"?)

jim henson and the muppets are childhood. they are dreams and they are possibilities.
seeing the 1970's Kermit puppet in a glass case was like seeing, i dont know, maybe the Mona Lisa for some. They were there! Bert and Ernie, and Rowlf, and these guys:
Mahna Mahna.
(man! i love that video! thanks youtube... this song, these muppets... this is the oldest "inside joke" my mom and i have).
To this day i can not listen to The Rainbow Connection without sobbing from the pure faith and hope in those lyrics--- "it's something that i'm supposed to be...." ; its a mantra i must have adopted before i ever knew what i mantra was.

i have no doubt that growing up with all that dancing & singing; all those happy, optimistic felt and feathers and eyeballs; all that love really affected me. it's not a coincidence that i make dolls, (as an adult) whose main audience happens to be adults. its not a coincidence that i try every day to find things i love and ways to share them and even more, ways to make a living sharing them. admittedly, it's hard to stay optimistic and positive every day... it's hard not to give in or give up and i know i get affected by that a lot more than i'd hoped to when i was younger, but all in all, i think i've handled adulthood pretty darned well, and i can't help but want to credit this amazing man, who only ever did what felt right and did it because it made other people happy too.

Henson once accepted an award and thanked the academy for allowing him to share his work, or rather "his fun", and i think i'd be happy to say the same to anyone who asked.

i found myself smiling in a full grin the entire way through the exhibit (occasionally singing along with the video clips, oohing and awwing at sketches and notebooks of Henson's private thoughts and plans) and managed to stay completely sober and calm until the last wall of the exhibit, when a poster with a slightly different version of this photo (this is the one i am familiar with from the commemorative stamps--- the one they had showed Henson face to face with a Bert doll),

and above the closing remarks were the lyrics from the song that closes The Muppet Movie. And this is when i lost it. I felt an actual lump moving up in my throat, and luckily, my sweet boy was there to hug me (and shield me from any strange looks or children my outpouring may have frightened). We left the exhibit, after watching an 18 minute wrap up film about Jim Henson's life and proceeded on with our day (including a trip to the National Zoo... amazing photos to come), and the rest of the day just felt B E A U T I F U L.

maybe it was the weather.
or the company.
or the animals.
or the fact that we barely paid for anything all day.

or, maybe it was the sensation of weightlessness that comes from knowing Optimism is Power and everything happens for a reason, and Anything truly is Possible. all i know is, i can't get these lyrics out of my head and i am determined to keep them there.

thank you kermit.
thank you mr. henson

"Life’s like a movie,
Write your own ending
Keep believing, keep pretending
We did just what we set out to do –
Thanks to the lovers
The dreamers
And you"

xoxo, danamarie