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Hello, I'm Rachael.

I am primarily a painter and paper doll maker and friendly multi-tasker/ troublemaker in Upstate New York.I've been keeping this little blog since 2004, I think. And there is hopefully a value in reading these words, looking at these pictures, clearly I find joy in writing 'em up and sending 'em out, even if I don't always have the time. I try to blog every once in a while but mostly I try to write a real letter every day (this year that is), draw and paint, sew, and instigate other people's creative endeavors.
Leave me a comment (I'm more likely to communicate directly than in the comments), ask me a question, do your best to share what you have to say, OK? Thanks

Links to places you'll maybe like if you...

Have a drawing problem like I do
  • Look at other people's sketchbooksat artists sketchbooks online

    Sew your own goofy clothes with little to no formal training?
  • Burdastyle at it's best is a super resource laden facebook for sewists...I'm balduffington here
  • The Slapdash Sewist shares her sewing adventures and inspires
  • Gertie's Guide for Better Sewing gives the best of the vintage and retro tips

    Are a working artist
  • NYFA has very very helpful resources

    are anywhere near Rochester NY interested in any of these things
  • This is the Rochester Sketchcrawl...

    And finally here are some of my friends
  • Genine draws joyfully as the world around her spins
  • Mark is just making stuff

    I'll be adding more links here but I have to find a few minutes in which I'll do that. Soonish, I bet.

  • If you want to be updated on this weblog Enter your email here:

    rss feed

    Thursday, September 16, 2010
    Paper Dolls hanging from the sky and other art adventures

    So, I am sitting here at this computer looking at the 6 drafts of entries I never posted from the past few months and feeling a mix of guilt (abandoned blogger's guilt is nothing new, right, a little lame even for me) and realization. I have spent the past few months working on projects more personal than public, more transitory and tentative than solid. It takes a real something to say to get me to bliggity blog it...

    How about my first really rewarding art project in the form of dozens of paper dolls at the public market...

    I'll explain. Here in Rochester, the Public Market is a wonderful farmer's market/ public marketplace and once a year they designate a Sunday for Artist's Row . For the past three years, I've had a booth, or rather, a stall. This year I'm in 58. Some innovative, funny, smart, truly talented and hardworking artists will surround me on every side. They have about 160 vendors this year and the Friends of the Public Market (the non-profit who puts the show on) do all sorts of great things for artists. Not only are the booth fees very low, but there is set-up help and all sorts of small kindnesses. Artist's Row is Sunday September 19 from 10 to 4 (well, I have to get their early to set up all the dolls!)... Come by if you can!

    Another small kindness/ insight into making...another art adventure rescued from one of those dead-in-the-water draft entries...

    This year I had the pleasure of participating in a Self-Portrait project designed to see what Rochester looks like, it's called Art Drop . My self portrait is on the fence in front of the Memorial Art Gallery (disclosure, I happily work there) until it comes down (don't think they've decided that yet but I think it's probably soon). The very talented photographer Will Yurman interviewed me and 5 other artists about our portraits in very cool little videos there...

    I'll try, once this little excitement subsides to be better about regularly speaking up in this blog. You're reading it after all, and I care what you think...


    Posted at 10:30 am by balduffington
    Comments (2)  

    Monday, April 12, 2010
    Gust...painting again

    Wind picks up and the next thing I know, I am painting. Since the middle of last week I have been keeping watercolors in my car, on the back porch, and in my purse. I have stacks of paper cut up and ready and I just restocked paper towels and scotchtape.
    There are only pockets of time to sneak in work on the small fries I'm making. Some for 6 x 6, some for my own silly reasons, others for old friends.
    There's a big difference between fitting watercolor painting into my busy life, and way back when I had a little studio and time to make messes turn into successful paintings. I think this is making me more deliberate as a painter. Here's what happened when I tried to translate this old missing painting into a new image.

    Tuesday Afternoon , watercolor and ink on paper, maybe 1999

    and now,

    Gust , watercolor and ink on paper 13.5 tall x 12.5 long, April 2010

    I deliberately changed a lot. I had to. I see the world a lot differently now. Feels like it's good change; I think I see more.

    Makes me wonder about the paintings (or poems, or songs, or ...) you make now and how they're different from the ones you made then. Show and tell?

    take care,

    Posted at 05:15 pm by balduffington
    Comments (1)  

    Wednesday, March 31, 2010
    wisdom about writing and drawing birds (written while holding and cancelling)

    I hate to be on hold. I am on hold. So far it's been an hour and 12 minutes. I am trying to talk to a major internet company with a name that sounds like a cowboy noise, trying to cancel a very old website and a slightly newer website. Web identities I no longer need since I have this blog and the evil network that is facebook. But the good thing about holding and cancelling, is that I can also share about writing and drawing. I learned a couple two, three things last Saturday, see. This blog (unlike the old website or the slightly newer one) is at least easy enough to write and upload a little wisdom while I hold.

    Simply, last Saturday (March 27, 2010) was magic for me. I was one of only a few attendees at a great workshop the novelist Ann Patchett gave at Writers and Books. Since I always draw when I take notes, she looked just a (very) little like this:

    But it wasn't how she looked (beautiful even if tired from three days of book talking and gracious people meeting), I was most struck by what she said. Wisdom for writers from the "despot of Ann Patchett-ville" then:
  • Ann says she reads what she has written before she goes forward, she folds the new writing in "like eggwhites"
  • Ann says it's important to forgive yourself if you cannot write every day, or write X number of words a day. She told us that she is a slow writer and committed to finishing the projects she starts...
    And she managed from what I can tell (unscientific analysis) to inspire us all. I left the workshop and went straight to the nearest computer where I unearthed the writing project I had abandoned last year. I forgave myself and started folding in eggwhites. Thank you, Ann Patchett. I do now intend to "dance with thems that brought me" (her striking phrase for finishing the big projects)...It is indeed one of the reasons I have blogged less, because I am now writing more...I don't need to decide if it's good writing. Ms. Patchett advises against judging the book before it is finished. And I don't even know if what I'm writing is a book, I only know it's a story I need to write.

    But I only wrote for a few hours, and then I ran off to draw.

    And then there was the drawing. That same day six of us gathered at the Rochester Public Library downtown to draw at a Sketchcrawl. We got restless in the quiet library, though, and soon ventured to a nearby park. For me, it was all buds and birds. Genine has already posted some sketches so here's a little bird.

    Oh, and I just hung-up. I will hold again tomorrow I guess, but now I've got some writing and drawing, and oh yes, some sewing to do...

  • Posted at 08:43 pm by balduffington

    Sunday, March 07, 2010
    drawing suggestions for March for Rochester...

    I looked up and realized. There's a lot going in the month of March in Rochester, NY if you happen to be someone who likes to draw and wander around the city. The sun has come out and the snow is very busy melting. I will simply be trying to catch as much of it (art, sun, post-winter socialization) as I can... here goes with what I knows...

  • Thursday March 11, itinerant artist Jim Mott has a show opening at St. John Fisher college and will give a talk about itmore information here
  • Saturday March 20 The Creative Workshop, the art school at the Memorial Art Gallery, will have a free/fun Open House from 11:30 to 4:30. There's going to be a little of everything- from painting to pottery to drawing, sewing and jewelry. I'm biased because I plan the event, but I'm also reminded by all of the teachers and students and visitors how much they love the Open Houses. And it'll be the last time to see this show.
  • Sunday March 21
  • Thursday March 24 Novelist Ann Patchett will be in town to speak. All of Rochester is s'posed to be reading Bel Canto, so the talks should all geared towards the general public-- I find engaging writers on stages to be ridiculuously fun to draw...
  • and then on Saturday March 27 Rochester Sketchcrawl will be meeting to draw at the Rundel Library downtown at 2pm to draw. Panorama by Will Yurman for the Democrat & Chronicle, he's got many more of them and they're all really cool. Rochester Sketchcrawl BlogMost up-to-date info will be on our blog (thanks to Genine!)

    Should all be awesome, off to sharpen my pencils...and begin!
  • Posted at 08:26 am by balduffington

    Wednesday, February 03, 2010
    Rochester NY has a little new sweet meat... and these shoes have strings...

    It's good to hang out with smart curators because they know where good painters are. I found myself at the Hungerford building today discovering the work of the collective known as Sweet Meat.

    They clearly worked their individual and collective tails off to put together the fantastic experience that is sweet meat. Should you be here in upstate, cold state, seemingly sometingly feeling art-less Ro-cha-cha, I heartily encourage you to get out Friday night to see it because they'll be taking the whole thing down. They'll remove the paintings and the meathooks and the big bulldog and the fireplace and the...

    see what I mean? here's your chance:

    SWEET MEAT CO. - EXTRAVAGANZA! closing reception
    Friday Feb 5, 2010
    The Hungerford Bldg.
    1115 E. Main St.
    Rochester, NY

    All the good shows full of collective energy are up and then they're down. On that, see this rad little roadtrip blog Mark made about the show and teaching he co-conspiratated on... I am very proud to have been a party.

    And I'm pleased as punch that the artists are making their own shows happen. One sweet meat at a time...

    onward and upward!

    Posted at 06:30 pm by balduffington

    Tuesday, February 02, 2010
    one a day

    Letters. I've been writing them. Since about December 27th or so, I have been writing a letter a day to an old or new friend. Often filled with random flotsam and jetsom, mundane details, and hopefully at least an ounce of joy, these letters are my whole hearted effort to regain the connections I used to have to magic people all over the country. Also, they keep me out of trouble. And the joy of these letters is that...

  • they've brought me back to the daily routine of writing something worth reading.
  • they've reminded me that I have old friends who are experts on the size of lemurs, community heroes in Sackville, New Brunswick, and fantastic people as well as artists.
  • they've further connected me with new friends who are modern day itinerant artists, people who made me smile every time I went through MARTA when I lived in Atlanta, and just wonderful people I met randomly.

    Not to ruin the surprise, but today's Letter of the Day is to this artist. We used to play show and tell at the art library, each of us opening our sketchbooks and smiling at what the other had drawn. Now I suppose a letter can share about the same thing...

    take care,

  • Posted at 07:52 pm by balduffington

    Thursday, January 21, 2010
    made to measure (learning to sew)

    hello strangers.

    It's been a while since I've written anything here so for anyone listening/looking at this blog, bear with me as I explain that I've been single-minded lately. It's the needle. I have been trying to sew lots of things together for reasons I don't understand myself (getting sick of buying clothes with little style for too much money, feeling that all those years when I was a kid drawing fashion models should turn into something, and probably just the thrill of learning something new.)

    See, I'm not a real sewist yet, but maybe I'm getting there.
    I have had my sewing machine for about a year. That machine works for me to cut the stress sometimes. And somehow I've become mildly obsessed with sewing.

    I now check Burdastyle daily. And now the The Selfish Seamstress. And often Amy Angry Chicken Karol, particularly when she is sewing

    After some bazillions of projects in which I tried to figure out fitting, I did recently manage to make something I'm happy with. My Made to Measure skirt (of which I only have crummy pictures) was really just a plain black skirt until I remembered that I had this ribbon.

    And a bright yellow zipper.

    I slowed down to take my real measurements and tried to sew it better. I wear it even. And when I do, I can measure stuff!

    happy making to you and thanks for listening, take care,

    Posted at 09:03 pm by balduffington
    Comments (3)  

    Wednesday, December 09, 2009
    Drawing with others and drawing along...another sketchcrawl and the beginning of something else...

    A few weeks ago, at the Second Storie event, I gleefully traded a very lovely sketchbook by concepcioun for a paperdoll. I felt pretty confident I can/could/will fill it with private stuff (i.e. no opening the covers for others)

    But first I had to finish my existing and very public sketchbook. So I crammed it with self-portraits and doodles like these.

    And speaking of drawing in public, we will sketchcrawl in the new year folks, it will be good for filling books and starting 2010 off right. Right? right.

    Draw your way into 2010, join us for a
    Rochester Sketchcrawl!*
    We’ll meet January 2 at 10 am at the Lamberton Conservatory in Highland Park.
    They’re at 171 Reservoir Ave, Rochester NY, 14620. Entrance to the Conservatory costs $2 but the Sketchcrawl doesn’t cost a dime – just bring your own drawing materials and come ready to draw and have fun.
    For questions, contact Genine at g9@rochester.rr.com or leave comments below...
    *Sketchcrawling is essentially drawing in public. We gather in one place to draw and sketch. No instruction and not a lot of rules, open to anyone…See Enrico's awesome www.sketchcrawl.com to learn more about why it’s fun to draw with strangers…

    And also, I love Doodler's Anonymous, and also I have to go draw...


    Posted at 07:00 pm by balduffington

    Monday, December 07, 2009
    Go see Paint Made Flesh and Paloma's Birds

    Courageous painters make the work they have to make. It is not always easy to look at and not always easy to find. This month, my city has two places to see good work. I see it as a little personal mission to let you know when I am pulled in, and back to artwork that needs to be seen. On little walls AND big walls.

    That said, some disclosure is in order because the small one-woman show downtown, The Birds, is the work of Paloma Ayala, and I've had the pleasure of knowing her for a few years. And the big show, Paint Made Flesh, is at the Memorial Art Gallery and I work there. I didn't do anything really to bring the show here but I also am far from objective.

    Paloma draws disturbing things for very good reasons. Some of them are here. I found myself drawn into the portraits in her bird show, but also baffled and confused and frustrated by them. Are these people in pain? Why are they so inside out, upside down? The drawings reward careful looking in many ways and I was so glad to see them. To be still thinking of them now.
    Paloma's show is up until January 6th and it's a part of a larger show considering the idea of Upside Down. Here's tha back of the card with more info.

    Paint Made Flesh is a different kind of show, but related in that in this group show, the curator chose 34 works by I think 32 artists. All of the work is post WW2, big name painters dealing with issues around the human body. I try to get in to see it often. Mostly, especially, particularly, to see this painting by Joan Brown.

    Joan Brown, Girl in Chair, 1962 American, Oil on canvas, 60 in. x 48 in. (152.4 cm x 121.92 cm) Los Angeles County Museum of Art, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Ginter, EX2009.GG4.11

    See that painting lives in Los Angeles, and I live in Rochester, NY. And it could be that I would never see it. The thick paint, vibrant color, smart decisions. The way that woman SHOULD fall out of her chair- but she doesn't. Every painter/drawer I know who has seen this show, has a favorite and has picked up some ideas.

    Marie Via, the curator, was on tv about the show here. And the review in City Paper was smart and funny.
    Paint Made Flesh is on view until January 3. And if you come to the MAG next Saturday, you can join us for a fun Creative Workshop Open House, even.

    take care,

    Posted at 01:27 pm by balduffington

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009
    looked like this

    These are a few of Kerry's lovely pictures

    take care,

    Posted at 05:39 pm by balduffington

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