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art cars


"The shortest distance between two points is under construction." -- Noelie Altito

I love art cars.  For years, I have been swearing that I would pull out the paints and go for it, but for some reason I've always hesitated.  My heroine is Marty McGinnis whose car is shown here.  Her website address is happyart.com which certainly reflects her desire to make people smile.  Her car and  license plate do too.



Even the horse trailer has received some love!


My car, a 2005 Toyota Matrix, has seen better days.  For some reason it is an accident magnet with folks constantly bumping into it while parked.  The other week my friend Bonnie helped me remove a lower portion of my back bumper which was dragging on the ground.  Someone had started the process by backing into my car and I finalized its doom by backing into a unseen low mound of ice. Rather than continue to let it drag, Bonnie got out her giant pruning shears and chopped it off.  

I can't tell you how liberating it was to stand there with the bumper in my hand.  Somehow it was permission to do what I want with my own car.  So this summer I am doing just that, I am transforming my car from a boring, typical Chicago dinged-up mess into something that makes me smile and hopefully brings a giggle to others too.  

Now, I just have to decide on my design.  Check out these other forms of inspiration.  So many fun decisions to make!

positive thinking

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Positive thought

"A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist

sees the opportunity in every difficulty."  -- Winston Churchill

The other week I was lunching with a friend when she caught me short  -  "Tell me something positive."  Ack!  What?!  I was telling her positive things!  At least I thought I was.  I had become so wrapped in worry that I had lost sight of the very causes of that worry which are actually great changes in both my personal life and career.

Fast forward a week and I'm telling the story to another friend who made a great suggestion.  Write down one positive thing a day.  She does it for her business.  It keeps her from becoming plagued with self doubt when the dollars aren't flowing.  

This conversation followed on one with another friend who had experienced postpartum depression with the birth of her second child.  She had the energy for her children, but had lost the drive for her art.   She pulled herself out of it by thinking a positive thought each time the doubts and negative energy bombarded her.  It took time, but after a few months she was feeling better and back in the studio.  Take a look at this information from the Mayo Clinic.  It backs up how positive thinking can bring about more than a better attitude.  

How deceptively simple. Do it.  Write down one positive thing a day.  Even if it is only a great cup of coffee to start the morning or the five dollars found in the jean pocket when doing laundry.  I aim to fill my journal by the year's end. 

design lesson learned

©2009 Lindsay Obermeyer Two to Tango

"You learn something every day if you pay attention."  --  Ray LeBlond

I learned a lesson yesterday that took me battling the learning curve with Adobe Illustrator for it finally sink into place.  You can't work against your natural grain.

I've been pulling together a series of sketches for my first submission to Vogue Knitting. A dozen  sketches were sitting on my studio table, each requiring a schematic.  Normally I would draft this out on graph paper, but I decided it was time to have more professional look and submit them drafted on Illustrator.  So I spent the last two days struggling to learn the pen tool and how to apply the bezier curve.  I had some success, but mostly a host of failures.  

By mid-yesterday I was ready to toss my computer across the room, but I persevered.  Friends sent advice.  The folks of Chicago Craft Mafia offered assistance.  But you know what?  It wasn't my struggle with the learning curve that was defeating me.  I had sketched before swatching.  I didn't trust my designs.  I had worked backwards for me.  

So yes, I am still going to wrestle with the software until I have gained a comfortable mastery with it, but now I know that I must always start with first things first, the feel of the yarn as it works up on my needles.  

Here is the above sketch as it was printed in The Joy of Sox.  I went through 20 swatch combos before I found the right combination of stitch and yarn.  

©2009 Lindsay Obermeyer Two to Tango

they draw and cook, sam

"Vegetables are a must on a diet.  I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie."  -- Jim Davis

I have been in love with this recipe / gift card since I received it in the mail for Christmas.  How cute! What fun! And so tasty! I've been meaning to ask Sam about it, but never quite got around to it.  Well, today I came across the website They Draw & Cook and fell in love.  Great recipes and amazing illustrations.  They are even coming out with a cookbook.  Then as I sat here looking and reading, it suddenly dawned on me that the format of the recipes was similar to The Card.  And yes indeedy, there was her recipe card on the website.  

Don't take my word for it.  Take a look for yourself.  I've been wanting to illustrate my own recipes ever since reading a post on Oh Joy .  Now I have even more enticement to give it a whirl.  I can see my holiday gift giving in the making.  A series of recipe cards, or better yet, a self-published illustrated recipe book.  Oh, la, la! 

jim nutt, eric gill and balint zsako

Balint Zsako Scan_709

"If you only do what you know you can do - you never do very much."

 --  Tom Krause

Friday I took my first day off since the blizzard.  I was beginning to loathe my studio.  Time to step out.  A friend joined me for lunch, followed by visits to the Museum of Contemporary Art and  Loyal University's Art Museum.  

Jim Nutt is a legend.  His work was a shining star looming over my head during my studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  The funny thing is, I had never seen his work up close.  What a treat to see it at the MCA.  I was startled by the intensity of his seemingly simple surfaces.  The tiny brush strokes, the subtle changes of color.  I especially love his more recent work.  They are more subdued in color and composition, but they are as mesmerizing as his earlier work, perhaps more so as they don't have any obvious pop cultural references.  

After Jim Nutt, we ran over to LUMA.  I had seen a good review for the current shows, but didn't really know what to expect.  I was blown away. First there was the work of Eric Gill, a British artist who specialized in sculpture, printing and typography.  Silly me.  I didn't make the connection in my head until I was at the show that this is the very Gill of Gill font, famous on the London Tube and which I use on my own website.  His prints are exquisite.  How did he get such detail in his woodprint miniatures?  Maple?  Oak?  

But then through the next set of museum doors were the works of Balint Zsako.  My jaw dropped.  I kept walking around and around in wonder and amazement.   He collages images taken from three famous books of anatomy.  They are macabre, humorous, and incredibly well-crafted as you can see in the image above.  I've since looked up more information on him and am also in love with his watercolors.  The song "Pushing Up the Daisies" comes to mind as I look at this particular one.    

Balint Zsako Large4
My only complaint about the show would be the lack of information about the individual works. I didn't see titles or dates.  Was this at the request of the artist or a curatorial decision?

The work of all three artists encouraged me to work past my own restraints and look deeper.  A box of antique books are stored in my office.  They were inherited and aren't worth much despite being 150 years old.  The bindings are falling apart.  If the texts were rare I'd consider conserving them, but given the fact that many were printed and currently exist in much better condition than my own, I'm thinking of following Zsako's lead and using them as the basis for new collage embroideries.     


birds of hope mosaics

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Bonnie Birds of Hope "It is better to create than to be learned, creating is the true essence of life."

-- Barthold Georg Niebuhr

 Play isn't just for children.  Adults need it too.  It allows for creativity and spontaneity.  Bonnie Katz, an amazing artist with a passion for mosaics, stopped by my studio earlier this week to share with me her Birds of Hope project.  In response to the earthquake in Japan, Bonnie is creating a thousand mosaic stones, each with a bird.  It's a spin on the traditional Japanese belief that one's wish will come true when a thousand paper cranes are folded.  

She's asking others to participate, so she brought with her a basket of stones, bits of ceramics and fragments of glass.  I made one bird and two others that relate to the notion of peace, harmony and good health.  I want to make more, both for her project and to ring my herb garden.