Friday, February 18, 2011


Landscapes from Dongchuan Yunnan, China. Pretty crazy. These images are from Tcyuen on flickr and to view more you can go here.

Ingredients for Great Blogs

My friend Arley-Rose Torsonne has just started to blog. I've posted about Arley-Rose and her sweetheart Morgan, a power couple I have a talent crush on, a few times. Arley's paid me a nice complement (took me by surprise) that she thought I had a very good handle on the blogging thing. I started to assess what works and doesn't work with my blog, how I can improve it, and what are the ingredients that make a great one. And PLEASE I would love any comments or recommendations at any time that will make colorgirl more enjoyable, informative or dear to you. This is kind of 101 stuff but hey a good reminder, too. Here's my list of ingredients-
OH I GET IT- I want to know right away what this writer is passionate about and who they want to hang out with. Description of who they are is a big tip off. If they were a club what would the name be on the door? Some clubs are more defined then others. No Girls Allowed, The Fisherman's Association or for a broader gathering and my favorite little dive in town The Westport Social Club. And if you're about selling don't be sneaky, get it out there right away. Two great examples of this is Lari Washburns artistswhoblog and Grace with designsponge.
TRANSPARENCY- This one can be tricking and we each have our own threshold of public exposure. But to build a friendship, connection which is what I'm after, a certain level of "hey this is who I am" has to be there. The extreme example of this- the queen of TMI, Heather Armstrong's theduce
AUTO-DIDACTIC- I'm a person who's cobbled an education together. Some part time art school, night classes, absorbing good design by looking at the best, just figuring out what works and doesn't. I appreciate a good search for truth and knowledge on my own terms. The best bloggers are sponges. Out there, and I mean often away from their computers engaging, doing what they love, as well as following leads on the web. Elsa Mora's elsita is one of my favorites for this.
GOOD EDITING- not too much blah blah blah Seth Godin. He's my touchstone for the quick hit, to get me back on track for both my business and my blog. I have preached the gospel of Seth to so many patient friends and clients. He doesn't pussy foot around so be prepared to cry a little. Seth Godin
PLEASE NO BUTT UGLY- Rather than get into the bad examples- a couple of hints... templates do work, stay away from the too muchies- too much color, type variations, backgrounds. Lot a eye assault happening out there. Give us all a break with less is- you know.
4 FOR YOU +1 FOR ME- We all know we start to blog to get the word out about me, me, me. But it's also a lot about finding our peeps and getting the word out about them. Share great how-tos, get some movement going to a new star on flickr, show the world your wish list on etsy. And yes tell us what you're up to. Anna's is a good one to study and she's very generous- annekata
WE'RE IN THE ROOM TOGETHER- Because I'm a digital immigrant, I need to make most of the digital world into metaphor. And a good blog to me should have a tone of not being talked at, but with. I virtually get to have coffee or hang out after work with someone I greatly admire, am not intimated by and I feel wants to listen to what I have to say. A seeker rather than a soapbox barker. Always had a talent crush on one of the masters in my industry, Ernie Schenck. And funny thing, the first person who informed me of what blogging was in the first place. Check him out here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Brindalyn's Performance Inside a Whale

Brin Webster's project MASS VENTRILOQUISM, performed at Göteborg’s Natural History Museum in Sweden, beautifully draws our attention to the connection between Jackie Kennedy, public service and (here's the best part) a taxidermied whale. The well appointed salon inside Carolina the antique whale, was the setting for this staged reading by 15 Swedish women who interact with the public daily. The video, available on Brin's website here, gives us a rare intimate peek inside and the history of this quirky extremely large object that is now only open to the public once a year, on voting day. Be sure and listen to the footnotes at the end of the piece. They tie all of these seemingly unrelated topics together and at the same moment give you a new admiration for two first ladies, public servants, our right to vote and the world's largest mammal. all fairness for those readers who don't know, Brin is my youngest daughter, an amazing artist, writer, listener, and pickler.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

James Turrell Makes Art with Sky

A remarkable by product of art is our connecting with the rest of the world. "If I love Mozart and you love Mozart, it's likely we won't try and kill each other" my badly paraphrased quote from Milton Glaser. I think that's what James Turrell's work does for anyone who sits in front of, beside or beneath it. A man with more tenacity than most of us, Turell has for the last 30 years been transforming an extinct volcano into a celestial observatory.  Taught meditation and the search for inward light by his Quaker grandmother as a small child, his fascination with the phenomena of light is driven by the search for mankind’s place in the universe. If you can't make it to his crater for some introspective time, I'd like to suggest your local Quaker meeting house. For some reason I usually reap the benefits of a Sunday meeting on Tuesdays. Sitting in a silent meeting with a small group of strangers for about an hour is a powerful thing. Below are some images of Turell's work and to read more on him you can go here. He's also included in the PBS series, available on netflix or Hulu called Art in the 21st Century.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Origami Meditation

I have a friend, going through a pretty rough time right now. Some frightening health issues have made a lot his friends, many artists, want to do something. So we've started secretly folding origami cranes for him. The japanese tradition of folding 1000 cranes as a gift, Senbazu, is often done for a couple to be married, or a wellness wish for someone sick. What we're all finding, that after we finally get the folding down, the repetition has become addictive. We're texting each other results from obsessed lunch hour folding sessions. I find myself during stressful moments thinking, maybe I'll just fold for twenty minutes. The big number, the results we need, fades to the background and getting lost in the rhythmic moments brings a calm. Meditation. The irony is, my friend's illness is bringing so much of us gratitude for what we have, for having him as an exceptional friend, and now a peace through origami. It's a secret mission, a surprise, maybe for his birthday or just a day in the near future he may need 1000 little reminders of how we feel about him. In the meantime, my elbows are a little sore, the arthritis in my right thumb is flaring but I keep knowing he's going to be ok.
My friend, Alison Bruun, who often refers to herself as an art elf, is patiently teaching all of us how to fold. An amazing paper and metals artist in her own right, she can get a little extreme when she takes on a project. She's been seeing how tiny a crane she can fold. Yes, that is a regular size penny and Alison's finger. Photos thanks to Jason at Rag and Bone Bindery.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love Poem for Monday

Self love, the most difficult love affair to have, seems to be where all love needs to begin. But we run so fast from it. Galway Kinnell's poem, St Francis and The Sow softens me to the idea every time I read it. Wouldn't it be remarkable if we didn't need to reteach ourselves our loveliness? Photo from one of the best journeys to self love ever made, Babe.
Saint Francis and the Sow
The bud
stands for all things,
even for those things that don't flower,
for everything flowers, from within, of self-blessing;
though sometimes it is necessary
to reteach a thing its loveliness,
to put a hand on its brow
of the flower
and retell it in words and in touch
it is lovely
until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing;
as Saint Francis
put his hand on the creased forehead
of the sow, and told her in words and in touch
blessings of earth on the sow, and the sow
began remembering all down her thick length,
from the earthen snout all the way
through the fodder and slops to the spiritual curl of the tail,
from the hard spininess spiked out from the spine
down through the great broken heart
to the sheer blue milken dreaminess spurting and shuddering
from the fourteen teats into the fourteen mouths sucking and
blowing beneath them: the long, perfect loveliness of sow.
-Galway Kinnell