Sunday, February 17, 2013

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 32

And the video is finished!

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project adventure has come to a close.  It started as an idea and became real with financial support from the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery and the participation of a talented group of international artists.  I’m delighted to share with you this video and all the information on this blog which serves as The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project archive.  May the spirit of this fun project live on through everyone that watches the video and visits the blog!  Have an “exquisite” day!  Thanks for being there.

Friday, January 18, 2013

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 31

The “stage” is pretty much done, and work on all the little parts is underway…

The “stage” in full color.
The Player name signs on the studio floor with “Lu-Lu” and “Lolo” keeping watch.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 30

Work on the upcoming Exquisite Doodle video is progressing.  The “stage” is getting more color and the “hosts” have finally arrived.  

“Lolo” and “Lu-Lu” hanging out around the stage.
“Lolo” and “Lu-Lu” up-close.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 29

The Exquisite Doodle video stage is starting to look like a “machine”… things will turn, spin, and slide into place for the video.  What fun!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 28

by Alex Mitchell

And this is how we go from cardboard brown to base coat white… Preparations for the Exquisite Doodle video continue!  

Friday, November 23, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 27

Preparations for the Exquisite Doodle video are under way!  Here’s a sketch capturing the idea of the background for the video, and also the cardboard construction in the making.

It’s the Exquisite Doodle Machine coming to life!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 26

The Exquisite Doodle boxes have all made their way back to me in Madrid, Spain!  If only they could talk for they’ve been with the most wonderful artists, in their studios and homes, quietly waiting to be worked on.  And now they’re back and I am faced with the task of conveying to you the magic they are made of.  

The first returned Exquisite Doodle box I received was from Bob Seal (Australia) who created a jubilant scroll with loving messages.  Bob’s amazing drawings make his generous spirit bounce off the paper.
Post 17 shows how Bob’s ED box went out (“Eye Am What Eye Am”) and post 18 shows how it came back (Trust in the heart!).
And when I first laid my eyes on Tom Haney’s scroll (Atlanta, Georgia), to my surprise I saw him staring back in vibrant colors.  He left his magic touch on every inch of the paper.
Post 14 shows how Tom’s ED box went out (“To Be Or Not To Be A Flea”) and post 23 shows how it came back (Setting the stage, where magic happens).
Kristine Suhr (Denmark) was all too happy to make her scroll into a murder mystery.  I hear she is searching for more clues, but the butler is not off the hook yet.
Post 11 shows how Kristine’s ED box went out (“Target Practice”) and post 21 shows how it came back (The butler did it!).
Keith Newstead’s scroll (England) gives an endearing lesson in perseverance through his delightful drawings.  And I must say that I have no doubt that Keith can build himself a pair of wings to fly with if he was ever inclined to do so.
Post 12 shows how Keith’s ED box went out (“Give The Rifle To The Hare”) and post 20 shows how it came back (Learning to fly).
Paula Joerling’s scroll (Atlanta, Georgia) made me smile and think about how nothing is more comforting than spending time with good friends, especially when there’s cooking and dining involved.
Post 15 shows how Paula’s ED box went out (“Onion Rain”) and post 19 shows how it came back (Going to lengths to be a good friend).
Lisa Kaser (Tigard, Oregon) filled her scroll with little characters that seem to sail and drift their way across the paper.  The contentment they exude makes me wish I could be there on that scroll to hang out with them.
Post 16 shows how Lisa’s ED box went out (“Starlight Serenade”) and post 25 shows how it came back (I recommend pleasant, and have you seen my Pooka?).
When I opened John Frame’s scroll (Wrightwood, California) I was struck by the smell of damp wood.  It was similar to that familiar “old book smell,” and it gave me the special feeling that what I was holding in my hands surely had some treasure within its drawings and cryptic writing.
Post 13 shows how John’s ED box went out (“Go Inside”) and post 24 shows how it came back (It is to this life I belong).
And I happen to know that Mary Lou Zeek chose a rainy day to stay inside and work on her scroll.  Just looking at her drawings I can see she did them with a joyful heart.
Post 10 shows how Mary Lou’s ED box went out (“Night Flight” ) and post 22 shows how it came back (Dream harvesting).

All the Players have given something which is most precious to each and every one of us, and that is time itself.  I wish to thank them from my heart.  They inspire us every day with their boundless creativity and devotion to their art.  And just like all great artists and performers, they make it look easy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 25

Lisa Kaser - I recommend pleasant, and have you seen my Pooka?

I was thrilled to receive Lisa’s Exquisite Doodle box which made its way to Madrid from Tigard, Oregon.  Her work enchants me and I think we are kindred spirits in the way we express our feelings through our art.  Photo: “While Balancing, A Little Fish Whispers In Her Ear,” ©Lisa Kaser
For one thing we both love to tell stories and to use text to accompany the images we create.
Lisa seamlessly wove a ribbon of text and images across her scroll incorporating the little drawings I had started for her.
Lisa’s beautiful giclee prints are like scenes from a story and so it makes perfect sense that on her etsy site, where she sells her illustrations as prints and cards, there is a caption for each one.  The caption for this print which is called “Pup's Pooka” reads:  “Pup’s trusted guardian offered sound advice in the realms of both fashion and life's pursuits.”

And now that we are on the subject of Pookas, I can’t help but write a few lines from that marvelous movie based on a play called “Harvey.”  

“P-o-o-k-a.  Pooka.  From old Celtic mythology.  A fairy spirit in animal form.  Always very large.  The pooka appears here and there, now and then, to this one and that one at his own caprice.  A wise but mischievous creature.  Very fond of rum-pots, crack-pots…”  It is easy to see why my own pooka is very fond of me.

“Harvey, A Comedy in Three Acts,” by Mary Chase, ©1944, 1971 Mary Chase.
Photo: “Pup's Pooka,” ©Lisa Kaser
Looking at Lisa’s sculptures on her website ( I observe how they act human although they look like animals which gives them a whimsical air.  They seem to be frozen in time.  They are delicious moments we can savor with the help of their narrative titles.  Photos, from right to left:  “Marguerite Holds Fast To Her Dreams,” “Do Like This,” “Two Ships Passing In The Night,” ©2008 Lisa Kaser

And now, back to “Harvey” because his way of being comfortable with himself fits so perfectly to Lisa’s own characters:

“Harvey says that he can look at your clock and stop it and you can go away as long as you like with whomever you like and go as far as you like.  And when you come back not one minute will have ticked by.
- And does he do this for you?
He is willing to at any time, but so far I’ve never been able to think of any place I’d rather be.  I always have a wonderful time just where I am, whomever I’m with...”

“Harvey, A Comedy in Three Acts,” by Mary Chase, ©1944, 1971 Mary Chase.
Here is the way the scroll turned out after Lisa doodled in the white spaces I left for her!  See Post 16 to compare.  Scroll pic 1 of 3,
scroll pic 2 of 3,
and scroll pic 3 of 3.
Lisa’s caption for this giclee print which is called “Charmed By Life's Little Wonders” reads:  “Early morning kick ball in the courtyard, dappled sun shadows across the weathered tiles, a breeze that ruffles one's hat strings and pompoms and an unexpected glimpse of Marilyn on her superlative overland descent.”  Taking time to marvel at the little unexpected things as we go about doing whatever it is we do, now that’s a good plan.  Can I just say I want a hat with pompoms too?  Photo: “Charmed By Life's Little Wonders,” ©Lisa Kaser
To my delight Lisa also added her magic touch to the interior of her box by including tiny handwriting all over.
“… my mother used to say to me, ‘In this world, Elwood, you must be oh, so smart or oh, so pleasant.’  For years I was smart.  I recommend pleasant.  You may quote me.”
And so I have.  May you have an extremely pleasant day!

“Harvey, A Comedy in Three Acts,” by Mary Chase, ©1944, 1971 Mary Chase.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 24

John Frame - It is to this life I belong.

I was very much looking forward to John’s Exquisite Doodle box arriving from Wrightwood, California.  To me, John is a fearless and tireless warrior on a quest to fulfill his dream - the making of a very special film.  And John’s scroll reminds me very much of his work.  Photo: “This is my Body,” ©John Frame
John’s amazing film is called “The Tale Of The Crippled Boy,” and I can see how his is a mind for directing - setting the scenes, laying out the storyline, playing with light, creating emotion, creating mystery.  Truly marvelous.
A while back when I was creating the cover for John’s Exquisite Doodle box, I decided to make a little paper base with the words “the world is within you.”
And now, looking at his drawings, I find myself being pulled in and into the deep waters of my mind.
The artist Agnes Martin once said “not to know but to go on.”  Reading John’s tiny writing on his scroll with a magnifying lens, I felt as though I was deciphering a riddle.  Using some of his own words, I wrote down these lines below.

This photo is a still from "The Tale Of The Crippled Boy":  Photo: “O-Man,” ©John Frame

not to know but to go on

the earth abides
but we must go
where to one wonders

and when we’re gone
only our deeds remain
what for one wonders

and so it is that although soon
I shall be gone and forgotten
it is to this life I belong
it is for this life I go on
Here is the way the scroll turned out after John cut his own paper and started from scratch!  See Post 13 to compare.  Scroll pic 1 of 3,
scroll pic 2 of 3,
and scroll pic 3 of 3.
In deep waters and contemplating the riddle of life itself, I got to thinking… we arrive at those moments of feeling illuminated not by our thoughts at all, but from the inside by some ancient internal instinct.  It’s a little voice that whispers and reminds you that you belong.  Paging through my Agnes Martin book, I came across what she said about those moments and about art.
This photo is available for purchase on his website:
Photo: “What Is and What Might Have Been,” ©John Frame

(On The Perfection Underlying Life, from “Writings” by Agnes Martin, book published to accompany the exhibition Agnes Martin: Paintings and Works on Paper, 1960-1989 at the Kunstmuseum Winterthur, 1992.)

…”there seems to be a fine ship at anchor.  Fear is the anchor, convention is the chain, ghosts stalk the decks, the sails are filled with Pride and the ship does not move.
But there are moments for all of us in which the anchor is weighed.  Moments in which we learn what it feels like to move freely, not held back by pride and fear.  Moments that can be recalled with all their fine flavor.
The recall of these moments can be stimulated by freeing experiences including the viewing of works of art.
Artists try to maintain an atmosphere of freedom in order to represent the perfection of those moments.  And others searching for the meaning of art respond by recalling their own free moments.”
I have a somewhat memory of...
feeling inspired… I got out my old typewriter, typed my lines, and then pasted them on the interior of John’s box.
And now I’ve come to the end and I’ve filled this post with many words.  Too many perhaps.  But it’s all good.  Photo: “Words, Words, Words,” ©John Frame

On John’s website you can not only watch the completed film so far, but you can peruse photo galleries of stills and available photos:

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The “Exquisite Doodle” Artist Project, Post 23

Tom Haney - Setting the stage, where magic happens.

I was excited to get Tom’s Exquisite Doodle box all the way from Atlanta, Georgia.  Within my curious imagination, I envision Tom on a stage where I see him taking a bow with his top hat in hand, while gesturing with his other hand to his automata which fill the stage all around him.  And then in turn, all his little figures within their automata stages take a bow one by one.
Photo: (Portrait of Tom Haney) ©Gregory Campbell; Photo: “Innocence Revisited,” ©2006 Tom Haney
I was delighted to find that Tom had doodled on every white space available and that he also painted the interior of his box.  I had started his scroll with a few drawings of a tiny flea musical, and then ended it with a toy ship in a bottle…
and as you can see, where he took it from there is just wonderful.
This is one of Tom’s electric works.  On his website you’ll find he has categorized his sculptures into electric, crank-operated, and motor-driven works, and also figures.  You’ll quickly note how well Tom documents his process.  Once you’ve clicked on an image to see it enlarged, you automatically get access to a series of photos showing how the work was made:
Photo: “A Collection of Thoughts,” ©2008 Tom Haney
Tom also creates static figures.  Even when they don’t have cranks or motors, they are so full of life.  Makes me wonder if maybe she doesn’t come to life in secret when nobody’s watching.  I’ll never know, but there are plenty of videos to watch other works in action on his website and on YouTube:
Photo: “Serene,” ©2011 Tom Haney
Here is the way the scroll turned out after Tom doodled in the white spaces I left for him!  See Post 14 to compare.  Scroll pic 1 of 3,
scroll pic 2 of 3,
and scroll pic 3 of 3.
On Tom’s blog you’ll find the story behind recently finished work with great pics like these:
Photo: “Mixed Signals,” ©2012 Tom Haney
Looking at Tom’s eyes here as he beholds the little flea, the magic behind his work becomes apparent to me.  The beholder is captivated by the work and is magically transformed into storyteller.  For the story in Tom’s imagination that led him to create a work fades to the background as the beholder gives new meaning through what he or she sees.  The stage has been set, and the story finishes in the beholder’s imagination.
See, I told you he painted the interior of his box!  I separated the box parts to show how he didn’t leave out a thing.
And this beauty is Grace.  She’s powered by an 8mm camera motor.  On Tom’s website you can watch a mini video to see how she moves:  And so I close this post with Grace, now you see her stand, now she curtsies and bows her head, and now the curtain closes on the stage…
what happens next, well, that is entirely up to you.
Photo: “Grace,” ©2006 Tom Haney