Birthday wishes…

Okay…so today is Amanda Palmer’s birthday – she’s offline today to enjoy a day with her family and be unplugged for a much needed day of peace and quiet – I have to admire her for her creative energy, quite the dynamo. I totally get her.

I couldn’t do it. Seriously. I am such a home-body there is no fucking way I’d do nearly half the shit this woman does, you dig? She’s like this person I wanted to be when I was in college between the ages of 18-21 and thought I could’ve done something like be this amazing artist, but didn’t quite know what I was doing, and I desperately needed guidance, but really wasn’t finding what I needed from anybody. I was too busy emotionally flailing around, freaking out, thriving on cigarettes and coffee, making some seriously shitty paintings on purpose because some dickhead thought my other paintings that I made were crap not worth talking about, he pretty much said one day that “Painting is dead.” (So like, I’m paying all this fucking money to learn painting and you’re telling me this shit?) After that, I wore sunglasses inside, dark clothes and clunky boots, a scarf and a hat, and said shit like “I painted this, and like, I can’t talk about it cuz it’s too personal” I was totally making fun of this guy (not very mature, but who is at that age?) I knew how to be irritating.

Then one night when some drunken asshole stalked me on my way back to my dorm, talking dirty. I turned around and screamed at him to leave me the fuck alone or I’d have to hurt him so bad he’d never know what him him. (Funny thing, I was  around 95 lbs, but I was a scared 95 lb chick, buzzing on too much nicotine, and wasn’t going to take shit from anyone that night. It was too close on the heels of what happened to Alice Sebold so I was on extra high octane freak out mode, walking home alone late at night, keys in hand, and already pissed off that my friends didn’t show up like they said they would to walk me home.) So yeah, he high-tailed it…fuck. I didn’t die. I graduated with my degree in painting, no marketable skills, no job prospects. But I turned out all right. If anything, I’m resourceful, and I didn’t want to move back home with my parents…oh the formative years!

I still make art. I write books. I stick my neck out quietly in my own way. And I’m a proud patron of Amanda Palmer, because she’s doing the shit I never did. So to honor her on this day of her 41st birthday, I curated a sampling of videos and music on my Tumblr From my acre of the world…. (which is my daily journal where I post mostly photographs of things that are from my acre of the world in theory, tho’ occasionally I go crazy and stray off the acre and post other things there as well.) Anyway, should you want to wander over there to watch and listen please indulge…I’m not normally the gushy fan-girl, that was fine when I was 12 and making myself giddy about the pop stars featured in Tiger Beat magazine c. 1975 because that’s what the other girls did, and I wanted to fit in, but I still didn’t quite fit in, and whatever music I heard on the local AM stations. (UGH!) Then I finally discovered FM stations, and got my music shit together for a bit, and then thankfully, the Internet opened it up for everybody to discover new music on their own…and so that’s how it goes today, April 30th 2017.

This is a totally unedited, stream of consciousness blog post…

Happy Birthday, Amanda.


Going with the flow…

Going with the Flow sketchbook 4 23 2017_

I made an artist book last weekend…when I’m not writing, I’m always making something, I have a busy mind, so it needs to do something with that energy, and I poured into this artist book the things that I have no words for.

Go with the Flow, Sketches, I Am 4 23 2017_

I kept it simple, black ink on white paper. I let the ink  saturate the paper and it simply sprawled…(the page on the left is a self-portrait, that’s my left hand print (cuz I’m a lefty) and later on I wrote “I Am” in the lower left corner.)

On display with the base Going with the flow sketches

I love this so much – you have no idea.

The artist statement is two sided (tho’ there is no determined front or back to it) and thought I’d translate it since my handwriting in white sharpie is so wildly shitty, it goes like this:

Going with the flow sketches artist statement recto

Side one:

Going with the flow…a Sketchbook (subject to grow more) Handmade book – archival boards + India ink rag paper – hand torn – brush – Ink wash – rubbings on wet to dry paper (often sheets used as blotter paper made interesting marks.) Random mark making – these are the things I have no words for- 4/23/2017 Laura J. Wellner

Going with the flow sketches artist statement verso

Side two:

There is a lot of energy while making art – raw experimentation – Looking, waiting to see what will happen – impulsive – there is no right or wrong – no up or down – no top or bottom – no right or left. Inspiration asks no questions it just is –

Go with the Flow, Sketches inside cover 4 23 2017_

The inside cover without the pages, I wrote the poem Little Things by Julia Abegail Fletcher Carney, I was reminded of it last weekend when Meryl Streep sang it (dedicated it to Amanda Palmer’s little boy, Ash) at the Academy of American Poets  evening event Poetry & the Creative Mind, it was so sweet, and I knew the poem, and it pleased me to be reminded of this lovely piece, so I included it in my sketchbook. It felt right. Then while writing it down I wrote “rain” instead of “water” so of course, there was no turning back…(Little Drops of Rain is a song Judy Garland sang that “borrowed” from the Carney poem. Featured in the 1962 animated film The Gay-Purree, cats in Paris – what the fuck, I love that movie!)

A lot of things poured into this little artist book, I’m quite happy with it.Contents of Going with the Flow sketchbook 4 23 2017_

my tools and toys 4 23 2017

My tools…and that big bottle of Higgin’s India Ink, I’ve had since the early 1990’s, a friend of mine who had it when she was an art student in the 1970’s gave it to me. It was nearly full when I started splashing around, it’s about half empty…

I’m still “crawling” through the first proof copy of Drinking from the Fishbowl, I’m taking my sweet old time. I’m looking the spots off of it. I found a few flubs-ups, but nothing too awful. And as always, while I’m working on a book, I’m insecure about it, my inner critic is being a real asshole to me along the way, so the inner battering has been a bit rough going. I expect to make a dent in it today.

Today. April 29th. Oh – today is wow – it’s been 18 years since I started writing my books. I opened up a salt n’ pepper notebook and started writing the first novel that I would ever complete. (I finished writing it on October 29th 1999.) I had a lot of stories that I started and discarded before this, but this is the day that I became more certain about what I must do. The first one, Washed Glass – is not yet published. Being the first one, it’s a bit of a mess. (I know it is a mess, but it’s a good kind of mess, my sitting on it for almost 20 years has granted me to become a better writer, so I can do it right this time around.) Without that first book, there wouldn’t be the others, while writing it, I found the other stories that became Dusty Waters, a Ghost Story, The Fractured Hues of White Light, and Drinking from the Fishbowl, and there’s also the drafts of Layers of Illusion and Wish that are waiting their turn for my attention. They’re all connected, kind of like Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, the characters know one another, and everyone has their story, but the books themselves are independent, they’re not a continuous series with a specific order. It’s complicated, but not.

Anyway, it makes me extremely happy.


The 2017 Sketchbook Project

27 Sketchbook 2017 open spread 47-48 DSC09563

There’s this little project I do every year (since 2012 so far) it’s called The Sketchbook Project, and it’s through the Brooklyn Art Library (so if you’re ever in Brooklyn, you can go there, sign up for a library card, and check out sketchbooks in their collection. (They are made by people from around the world.) You can also log in at their website and browse their digitized collection too. (All of my sketchbooks have been digitized.)

This is the front and back covers. I love to make things, and this is my latest art project that I’m quite happy with.

28 Sketchbook 2017 open spread 49-50 DSC09564

These page spreads are part of Chapter 5, “The Jackalope,” from This Little Black Book,  which when I first started making the sketchbook, these pages were the first pieces I made. It came into being because the Jackalope is featured in my novel, Drinking from the Fishbowl (which I’ve been working on diligently for many years and have finished, I’m in the process of design and looking at the first proof copy.) So one thing inspired another…

29 Sketchbook 2017 open spread 51-52 DSC09565

The mythological creature is a metaphor of sorts—people make up shit all the time, I’ve been guilty of letting my mind wander, that’s why I’m a writer. It’s a long complicated story, I’ve blogged about it before here.

30 Sketchbook 2017 open spread 53-54 DSC09566

The “moon” shape on the left page happened by accident after I saturated a piece of paper with India ink. When I was looking to put this wet paper somewhere safe where it wouldn’t stick to a surface, or get ruined, I set it on two plastic containers that I use for water to clean my brushes (they were both empty) and then discovered that they created this awesome circle (light on one side, dark on the other.) So of course, I had to do it again on another sheet to see if it would “do it again.” It did. YAY! Happy accidents are the fun part – That goes for my writing too, not everything is planned, I love it when I discover something while writing, right up until the last day I was working on it, I added that one more “damnable thing”

31 Sketchbook 2017 open spread 55-56 DSC09567

A lot of what I did throughout this sketchbook had to do with mark-making – the vertical scribble on the right hand side of the image above is my book’s title (Drinking from the Fishbowl) scribbled and overlapped. (That’s a white Sharpie on paper treated with India ink.)

32 Sketchbook 2017 open spread 57-58 DSC09568

I had so much fun making this sketchbook! It was so hard to part with it, but I’m so glad to share it, and part of the making of this little book is to be touched, held, and examined. There are a lot of layers of media on most of the pages, so I expect the “looker” to handle it and experience the book as object.

I love making art, and I love the Sketchbook Project, if it is the only art project I make all year long, I’m happy. I truly had fun being scribbly, reaching back to my childhood before I learned how to write and wanted to write something, so I scribbled cuz I loved the act of making marks. I still do.

Now that this Sketchbook is finished, I can focus on my proof copy of Fishbowl, and get it ready to go…

Today, sunny and warm with a chance of the world ending.


Every day that goes by with

most of the world still

in one piece is a good day.

It isn’t perfect.

There are wars going on, refugees

looking for a safe place to be,

and some that stay behind

because they have no other choice.

Terrorists lurking in our midst

looking to do harm.

People killing one another over this

or some other, you name it—

fill in the blank with the reason why,

there are many.

Natural disasters and shit happening.

Elections for world leaders

who may or may not be

good for their country—societies divided

by ideology.

No compromise.

My way or the highway rhetoric.

Talking points to a future of more of the same

shit, different administration.

There are always dictators out there

doing their own thing. There’s always that guy who likes to

thumb his nose at the rest of the world, making threats.

Today, sunny and warm with a chance of the world ending.