Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Busy bee

Everything in Edinburgh is good, though it is getting very rainy and dark and cold and windy and "dreich" which describes all of the things I just mentioned, just in one funny Scottish word. Lousy weather keeps me in the studio a lot, which is a positive thing. My artwork is coming along slowly, though I had a few good meetings and feeling good about an invigorated December. 

That's all for now. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Weekend in London

London bridges, en route to Tate Modern

This past weekend Robin and I ventured down to London. There were a number of reasons for the journey including:

-to celebrate Robin's birthday 
-to visit Robin's brother Matt and his flatmate Josh
-to visit my Uncle John who has lived in Britain for years
-to see contemporary galleries and museums in UK's art hub

Miroslaw Balka piece @ Tate Modern, where you essentially walk into a long, dark tunnel until the end. People with cell phones and cameras ruined the experience, unfortunately. 

Highlights were many, in no particular order:

-Catching up with my friend Mikey from undergrad 

Me & Mikey by the canals that neither of us knew about

-Whisky tasting compliments of Matt and Josh - there were 9 different kinds in their flat (Impressive, I know) and we compared them all, immediately after the Best Mexican Food I've Had in the UK, enchiladas prepared by Matt. The crowd pleasing whisky was by far a Very Rare Irish Middleton.

-Exhibition of French artist Sophie Calle, who took a break-up letter and had it interpreted by dozens of women, from anthropologist to teenager to professional dancer. Genius. Whitechapel Gallery is an excellent space.

-Monday afternoon americanos and cheese plate @ Pan Quotidien cafe, where you all sit at a big community table and almost feel like you can chat with the people next to you

-Dinner with John and his girlfriend Judy - delicious and fun

-Roaming around picturesque neighborhoods like Primrose Hill and Hampstead Heath, absorbing the pace of the city, which is much more bustling than our little burgh.

Sunday morning walk up Primrose Hill

-Eating in the dark. Pitch pitch dark. I can't say I really enjoyed the experience and actually felt kind of ill afterward, but heck I'll put it on the highlights list. The waiters were blind, the food was par, and mysterious, and we all kept grabbing hold of one another's shoulders to make sure we existed (no photos available).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Where is this girl from? 

The barista at my preferred campus coffee shop asked my nationality. I gave him three guesses. "Canadian, Australia, or New Zealand". I've gotten this before. USA is not usually the first answer. Even in the states people have told me I have an accent. Or that I sound ambiguously European. Or that I look French or English. 

I feel very "American" and think I look and sound "American." Not really sure what it is that makes people get me all wrong.

Maybe from a handful of years of teaching English to foreign speakers, I have a way of speaking that is somehow paced or articulated differently than the majority of people from the United States. 

Maybe it is the fact that I've lived in 3 areas of the US for significant amounts of time- Connecticut, Upstate New York, and California. As such, there is no strong regional accent from any one place. 

Also, I dress in a way that is part classic New England (turtlenecks, pleats and sweaters), part LA hipster (skinny jeans and boots), part bohemian (flea market leather, lots of scarves), part 60s mod (black mini skirts, tights and ballet flats), part thrift store/grandma's attic (most of my accessories), and part typical young-urban-H&M (all the basics, and the occasional pair of high heels, though I wear them far less than I did in Los Angeles). 

Considering that Rotary selected me to represent the United States as an Ambassador of Goodwill, maybe I should do something to make my nationality more obvious. 


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Reading Week

Better known as, endless sky, endless rain, endless rainbow, NIGHT rainbowhighland coo, sketching the landscape18 different legs of public transportwine (mulled, and otherwise), best cooking ever done by a group of ECA students, utopia doesn't exist, neither does South America (it's all one continent,"America"), learning talents of my classmates (Megumi plays a phenomenal moonlight sonata, Daniela has studied dance since she was a child, Stuart knows the names and capitals of every US state, Kit can bake apple crisp that tastes like home), some English people wear kilts all the time for no particular reason, best tasting cheese in my life, Scotland's west coast is so beautiful I can hardly take it, oldest stones I've ever seen in my life (4000 years min) and space to think week. 

site of Cove Park Artist Residency 
Common Lodge

Our home for the week 

Inside the pod 

My loft bed and view onto the lakes

(I made chili for lunch that day) 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

on taking a walk

They do celebrate halloween here in the UK. I was too busy to come up with a proper costume, so just walked to a little party at my friend Alice's house and had a glass of mulled wine. Just in case everyone was dressed up (they weren't), I put on my dance uniform and pulled my hair into a topknot bun, and called myself a ballerina.

I've put more thought into 26 years of halloween costumes than most would bother, so feeling pretty ok with missing a year.  

But, I did have a nice October 31st. The weather was, shall we say, perfectly autumnal, so I walked into the center, spent a few hours at the National Gallery of Art visiting with Velazquez, el Grecco, Vermeer, Zurburan, Rembrandt, and making acquaintance with Scottish painters that I'd never studied before. Good place. I will return. 

I continued on, pitt-stopping at campus where I saw some fellow artists and chatted about our upcoming study week excursion to the west coast, then kept on walking on through the cute neighborhoods of Tollcross and Morningside in order to reach the Blackford Hills.

Purchases along the walk:

- book "A Small History of the World" (impulse buy)
- chili pepper flakes (hard to find)
- whole dried chili peppers (also hard to find)
- manchego cheese (tastes like Spain, couldn't resist)
- box of cinnamon sticks (to reach 10 quid minimum at Lupe's)

After my purchases, I reached my destination, a nice patch of nature on the south side of the city where I found some elevation, some fresh air, some peace and quiet. I hiked up a bit, not too far, as it was already getting dark.* 

*Note that I didn't write " as it was already late", because getting dark DOES NOT = late here in Edinburgh. The sun has been setting around 4:30pm. omg. 

It was a good day. I rode a double decker home, listening to my ipod and trying to match my mood to a song. The best I came up with was Coldplay's Violet Hill, don't ask me why. Maybe cause they are British.

Oh, one more purchase before I turned in - a small roller suitcase from John Lewis (kind of like an upscale Target, or maybe Macy's) for upcoming mini trips - I've got 3 to look forward to in the month of November.