Easels, vertebrae, drawing, etc.

haptic,charcoal,newsprint,twig charcoal
“Feather Haptic,” oak twig charcoal (from a controlled burn) on newsprint. 3/18/2013.

Got my MRI results, and looks like I have an “acute” fracture to L4/L5 vertebrae (“acute” sounds scary, but in Dr. talk apparently means “one time,” not chronic) rather than “really bad” in lay-person talk). Likely happened while moving furniture, dragging, twisting my body, to move this huge easel that someone donated to me. Good news is that it’s healing now. Much less pain, no osteoporosis — although I have a bit of arthritis, not unusual for someone my age. Will start core exercises in 2 – 3 weeks to help fend off this sort of injury.

Also thinking about the fact that doing larger works involves larger movements. I tried doing large haptics on a table, but it made my back sore from bending over the surface. It’s easier to do that kind of drawing standing straight up. Repetitive painting movements involving just one shoulder can become an issue too, creating stiff/sore shoulders. I think of Trisha Brown’s performative drawings; it would be great to have the flexibility/stamina/training to do something like that. Could be interesting to try both left and right hands/shoulders for haptic work; see what happens. Then of course, one can go smaller, as I’ve mentioned previously. Aging is, after all, a process of getting physically  smaller, and — well, finally disappearing.

Or perhaps you get bigger, even as your physical frame gets smaller? As a woman and a Filipina, I feel I’ve spent enough time (so much!) suppressing and compressing over the years. Basta! I’d like to stretch out to my limits, or fly past them.

Tiny #Sketchbooks

Tiny sketchbooks.
Two tiny sketchbooks. Photo by Jean Vengua.

Treated myself to a couple of tiny sketchbooks. The Pentalic is a gem, with a pocket on the inside front cover, but I really like the Myndology one, which has its pages on a ring (it can also be used to create flashcards). If I collage the pages, there’s plenty of room for expansion, and I can remove the pages easily, or shift the order. In high school I once made a little book containing some small ink drawings that illustrated a poem, and I “bound” it using my mother’s sewing machine (it wasn’t very thick). Something about that process was really satisfying and fun.

Nowadays, I like small or tiny sketchbooks as non-intimidating spaces of art practice. Yes, occasionally I find blank canvasses or large, blank pieces of paper to be intimidating. Besides, large canvasses take up a lot of space; and I don’t have a lot of space. Also, I like the way that a tiny sketchbook makes me see spatial values differently.


Continuing with my collage experiments, now using wood panel instead of paper. Ahh, much better. “Brett’s Last Dance.” Collage, haptics, and acrylics on wood. 12 x 12.”

Collage by Jean Vengua
Brett’s Last Dance. Collage by Jean Vengua


#Poem for Marthe Reed by Eileen Tabios

I mentioned in my last post that I’m doing a reading at Studio One today in Oakland with other Black Radish Books writers. Sadly, the beloved Black Radish poet/publisher/editor Marthe Reed passed away several days ago. The reading will go on tonight, and will include readings of her work. You Brought Me to the Mangrove Forest is a recently written poem for Marthe by Eileen Tabios. Click on the link for the poem and images.


Staging Art in #WallApp

I’m at a cafe today, escaping from the jackhammers and the dust of street repaving nearby. So while sipping my green tea latte I discovered OhMyPrints’ WallApp, which is used for staging art in virtual rooms. And hey, it’s free. So I’ve been having fun placing some of my art in rooms that have a simple, modern feel.

“Labor Day” (digital print).

Although my digital images can be blown up to larger sizes, most of my paintings have been fairly small. So it’s interesting to see how some of the smaller pieces would hold up when staged virtually as larger images.

Bull Market

“Bull Market,” a painting on paper, is only 25 x 25.5 inches. This image is blown up, and I think the boldness of the dark and light spaces work in a larger size. So this is making me think, yes — I could work larger, especially since a lot of my work is bold.

The Trickster Returns (Amanita Maki)

The actual size of “The Trickster Returns (Amanita Maki) is 20 x 16 x 3/4 inches.

Black Leaves

“Black Leaves” is tiny! Only 8.5 x 8.5 inches. But it’s fun to play with the sizing in WallApp. It’s helping me to revisualize my art and think about how the size of my works relate to areas in which they might be placed.


I’m here…somehow

I managed to put this site together today, despite some of the worst hayfever I’ve had in awhile — thanks to the City’s construction project to tear up Larkin St., just a few yards away from my house. And I mean tear it up — digging a huge trench down the whole street, and sucking gravel and dust up into some nameless monster of a machine, and shooting it out again into a truck, and also into the air for me to breathe. They started at 6:30 this morning, with a jackhammer, and it’s now continuing into the night. Oh, well, it’s for a good cause, repairing the streets…

Still, still…somehow I managed to do this (and worked today, too). And now maybe I’ll get some painting done. Or some writing. Or maybe I’ll get some sleep. That sounds good.

…and suddenly it’s quieter out there. I hope they’ve knocked off for the night.





Not yet, but…

Forecast 12-26-2017_small_JVengua

I still haven’t shifted my art stuff to this site, but I think I’ll begin in small steps, beginning today. The painting above (ink on Arches paper, 24 x 22.5 inches) is titled “Forecast,” which seems appropriate. So, expect the next few weeks to look like any move from one house to another — boxes piled up; trying out different #wordpress themes, design changes, etc. You may even see a different layout every day or so — I can never decide just by reading and looking; I have to try things out. I may even go back to a blog front page instead of a static front page. We’ll see…



Seriously thinking about upgrading and redesigning this site, and shifting all my art stuff from OkirAnalog to over here. LocalNomad can still focus on mostly poetry. But I think three domains is my limit, for cryin’ out loud. If I could shift it to two, I would.