"We Three"

"We Three"

Monday, January 29, 2007

The thing about virtue...

So, every morning I sit dutifully in the right hand lane on College Ave., knowing that it is at the moment the only lane that goes straight under the freeway. The left hand lane is for those headed north on the freeway. And you would think that we would book right along, since some people turn south on the freeway from the right hand lane. But, no. We sit and creep, and sit and creep. Because those yahoos who breeze by in the left hand lane are CUTTING INTO MY LANE up ahead. Now, I find this irritating. Here I am, being so righteous, and these evil people are getting somewhere much faster. Does that seem right to you? However, as I, once again, sat there this afternoon, headed in the opposite direction, I remembered something. Virtue is its own reward. Now I really get what that means. And probably, these misguided souls who toss off a friendly wave while CUTTING INTO MY LANE will have really bad Karma, that will hopefully fall on them, from a very great height, soon.

Friday, January 26, 2007

I did this!

I brought my drawing stuff home with me, so I could spray it with fixative, and work a little on my drawing of the fruits, the pear and the lemon. The sketchbook is now sitting on the kitchen table, and I keep flipping it open to look at my work. A friend told me recently that this happens to her, too. She even stopped the car several times driving home from a day of painting to admire her work. It is hard to imagine that I created these images. Well, perhaps I didn't. Perhaps I was in the ZONE, that place where I connect with the Universe and let spirit guide me. I think that is why I am so stoked about this process. It takes me somewhere else, and when I just let it happen, great stuff rises up out of the paper, almost all by itself. Good thing that drawing can happen anywhere, because today is a day for bed and cough syrup and a big box of Kleenex. What fun! The last time I drew a lot, I was 12 years old. Horses. Yep, I went through one of those periods of being in love with the big graceful beasts. I copied all the plates out of My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead. I never showed them to anyone. I've changed. Now I want everyone to see my work. See what I can do? Wow.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

End of the week potpourri...

Did I mention that those smarmy old men were back at the entrance to our little college, mini-Bibles in hand, trying to dispense the natural antidote to education? I guess I missed them last semester because I actually parked on campus, and they are not allowed to do that there, just on the streets around us. These men could just as easily be flashers, in my opinion. On one hand, it must be nice to feel so right about something you want everyone else to have it, too. On the other, it is even nicer to know that everyone else might not need it like you do. Whatever.

I made several drawings in my drawing class, little ones. And I like most of them. We drew our hands again, and I felt like a veteran at this exercise. I did a faithful hommage to Garfield from the daily comics. And I drew a pony, a trout, a chimera and a doll. Kevin says I have a "strong" hand, which means all my drawings are rendered pretty dark, even with the HB pencil, the hardest one we use. Well, why mess around? This is supposed to be fun. Enthusiasm, that's my middle name.

I figured out how to solve for x, all by myself! I am used to the teacher going over how to do the homework before we do it. This teacher, dear as he is, lets us twist in the wind a little, and try to figure it out ourselves before divulging all those neat little tricks he has up his sleeve. I kind of like that. I like thinking my way through things. Besides, my new bud says I can find everything I need online. Well, duh.

In Art History, we learned all about the Trecento, the sensibly named Italian 1300's which most of us know as the 14th Century. This was the precursor of the Renaissance, and the beginning of amazing progress in art (as well as a lot of other pursuits). What fun we are having with all these slides of altarpieces. I wish I had known some of this when I was there, at the Uffizi and the Vatican. Oh, well. Really good reason to return!

And I am making this painting, all in earth tones of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, raw umber, black and white. Surprise! You can make green, blue, pink, and orange with those pigments. Mine is different from everyone else's. Well, they are all really different. And we saw this video of Milton Resnick' process, which seemed to be swear a lot, slap paint from can on huge canvas, then drop brush wherever, so it dries up all stuck together with paint, then throw it away. He did make some amazing works in this process, impasto paintings with inches of paint dried onto the canvas, very abstract and primitive.

And throughout this process, I am still sick. I got this cold, which is now a tight dry cough and a headache, some sneezing, and could be headed for laryngitis if I am not careful. Advice from friends in the know say it lasts three weeks. Not if I can help it. I'm off to bed with my expectorant, nighttime cold capsules, and a bag of sugar-free coughdrops.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A lemon, a pear and I...

So, classes are under way for the new semester after those first meetings where taking the roll is the most exciting part of the classtime. Even though we are all adults (and every teacher reminds us of this at our first meeting), every teacher also feels it is necessary to read their syllabus to us, word for word. And even though I had all the equipment necessary according to the syllabus for drawing class, I was still missing some that Kevin required. I did remember to bring my fruit, however, the aforementioned lemon and (somewhat overripe) pear. My first drawing was pretty lame, and not at all up to what I feel I should be able to do. Well, I am still not well, and Kevin is pretty picky, picky, picky. This is probably good. This will probably make me a better artist. I sure hope so, anyway. Algebra is a lot easier, so far. I remembered a lot of what we learned last semester, and am picking up the graphing calculator stuff right and left. And the painting class is a real hoot. We are doing an abstract first, with a limited palette, and I am just having a blast slapping paint onto my canvas, stepping back to admire it, then slapping away some more. I have made less mud than some of my fellow students, and interesting things are happening. Mondays and Wednesdays, I am in class from 9 Am till 4:30 Pm, with only a half hour break for lunch, not nearly enough to get anything at the Coop, and I was lazy and didn't bring anything yesterday, so I came home hollow and dragging. Tuesdays and Thursdays I have a two hour break between only two classes, and get home before 2. Feast or famine. I used that time today to organize all my stuff, like move the scissors from the drawing bag to the painting bag so I can cut smaller paint rags, and move the ruler from the painting bag to the drawing bag so I can make windows for drawings. And I got those pencils I was missing, and titanium white to add to my palette, and more graph paper, all at our bookstore. Now I feel ready to do my nutso schedule again tomorrow, as soon as I take the fruit out of the bookbag, and make my sandwich, and put a note on the door to remember it when I leave tomorrow, after putting down food and water for the dog, opening the back door for his easy egress, clean the birdcage and give her seed and water, etc., etc.,etc. It never ends.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Welcome to the nut farm...

An amazing thing happened this morning; I woke up both early and well-rested. So I dressed and headed out for a civilized non-fat latte and cinnamon-walnut croissant at the Cafe on my way to my favorite Sunday morning AA meeting. Now, members of this organization do tend to be very distinct in their individuality and proclivities. But I am always amazed at those who are still very stiff and judgemental, as if they are better alcoholics than the rest of us. One such guy is very visible at meetings, since he dresses impeccably in topcoat and trousers, his silver hair coiffed to the nth, and sits off to the side, kind of like a line judge at a tennis match. Today, he kept his shades on for the whole meeting. Now, the ladies of AA are having a hat and glove luncheon, a benefit for our bookstore, I think, and a dear woman has been announcing this for months. But today, the aforementioned man interjected that this violates our traditions, all this talk about hat and gloves. And even when the purpose of the luncheon was illuminated for him, he held his ground. Now, sober is not the most comfortable state a lot of the time. And as much as I would want to be perfect, it just isn't in my purview. So I sat the rest of the meeting with half a mind on the speaker, and the other obsessing about what an idiot this guy is, and why doesn't someone set him straight? If I were that miserable, I would rather drink. Well, that's not what my sobriety is about, so before I left the meeting, I had reframed the incident to realize that we all live in our little cesspools of fear, and this guy was circling the drain in his. He is adamant in his differentness, which sets him up as some kind of icon. We call his kind "bleeding deacons". No one aspires to this status, it just kind of falls on those who know better than the rest of us the only way to do life. Hell, if I want that, I can go back to the Catholic Church. At least at AA, we take what we want and leave the rest. I am leaving Mr. Suave in his cloud of Aquanet. And I am still capable of amazement at what works for others.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Adventures at Riley Street...

I was in a tizzy because I had these two looooooong lists of supplies for both drawing and painting class, and here I was, sick. I dreamt about arriving without them Monday, oh, the shame of it all. So I dragged myself to the supply store yesterday. Lo and behold, big sign, SALE. Loveliest word in the language, in my opinion. I was not the only patron wandering around in a daze clutching syllabi. Fortunately, there was also an army of very knowledgable sales personnel to direct me to all the items that were not where I expected them to be. One even pointed out that there was fixative on sale cheaper than the one I did find. Galkyd? Eraser shield? Tortillions? Hell, even masking tape was a dilemma. But I got most of it, and a little bonus, a really neat portfolio (hey, it was on the list!) on sale, not one of those plastic things with a rubberband closure, oh, nonono. A big canvas one with pockets on the outside and a real zipper! It is now propped up by the door holding my intimidatingly large drawing pads (not sketch pads, drawing pads) and my canvas for my first oeuvre. Now I feel like a total poseur, big phony pretending to be an artist. I think it is like being an alcoholic. You aren't one unless you say you are. Strange but true. Now I have four bags of stuff for school: bookbag, still hella-heavy, for algebra and art history, artbag and portfolio for drawing, and artbag for painting. Each carries its own reading glasses, the one item I cannot do without in class. And finally I get to use that art apron that I was gifted with on a long ago Christmas in painting class, and I am using a flannel shirt older than most of the other students as a workshirt in drawing. Charcoal is mega-messy!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

You've. Got. To. Be. Kidding.

Okay, so I just came off winter break, three weeks of nothing-to-do, and school started on Wednesday, that's yesterday, and last night, I got this little scratchy throat. I woke up this morning feeling like I'd been run over by a train. Of course, I could not ditch school. If you don't show up the first few meetings, they drop your sorry ass and give you seat to all those vultures who hang around hoping to add because they couldn't get their act together any sooner. Well, sometimes they just have low registration priorities, but I'm not giving up my seat in any class, nosiree. So I and my sorry ass were parked in our seat this morning, like the good little college student that we are, all tanked up with cold pills, eyes drooping from a night of fretful sleep, if any at all. And I was not disappointed. Art history is going to be super, and I really like my algebra teacher. I have a list as long as my leg of art supplies I need to buy, and guess I will not hop on the old 101 and sojourn into Berkeley to buy them at el cheapo Dick Blick's, since I am SICK. Of course, the gas and bridge toll would add $20 to any purchase I made down there anyway, so perhaps I will not be losing so very much by schlepping over to the local art supply depot, after all. More later. I am down for the count, and not getting up again till tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Big Brother has arrived, and he is a Buick.

Well, he's a little overdue, but finally, the Big Brother of Orwell's masterpiece 1984 is here. Imagine, a car that tells you where to go, when to turn, so one can navigate one's way through a maze, like we are driving in mazes everyday. I am astonished by this technology, but more astonishing is that we are a race of people who can invent it, but still can't ask for directions. And I am royally peeved that the driver in this commercial (OK, I'm watching too much TV again) is a WOMAN! I can remember getting carsick while my husband drove round and round looking for an address that wasn't there, or being late for I don't know how many weddings, meanwhile passing gas stations where I know the answer to our question lay. So I'm on the record saying I know how to ask for directions. I can find my way to Mapquest.com, I can print out a map, I can put it on the passenger seat and keep glasses in the center console to refer to it at stoplights. Obviously, men made this commercial. And men made this gizmo, too. Men need this gizmo, a lot more than women need men.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

A day in the life...

It was a day to change my clothes a lot. I shed my sleep outfit (cami and panties, thermal tee and jammie bottoms, and fluffy red socks - it's hella-cold here, folks) and put on layers of stuff (tights, jeans, two thermal long sleeved tees, Uggs, fleece-lined jacket and knit scarf) and trudged off to my 11 o'clock meeting feeling like a fat Italian sausage. Home again to pull on my favorite black knit dress, long black boots and white wool blazer to attend a friend's memorial service. Made me want to die so my mother could come and see all the people who loved me despite her warnings. Lovely service with tons of people in attendance. Back home again, and into sweats this time, just trying to stay warm and feel comforted a little. Now back in the original sleep outfit, plus my fleecy white Victoria's Secret (Country collection, very not sexy) bathrobe. It is a night to leave the tap open so the pipes won't freeze. Unusual for California, but not unknown. And we are such wimps, you know. We live in 72 degrees 90 percent of the time, while the rest of the country roasts or freezes. I guess we deserve a little discomfort once in a while. So I am off to snuggle under a whole pile of quilts and watch reruns of Medium with the Boo, and an Alex Cross novel. Hot Saturday night.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Vincent's Kingfisher...

I copied a Van Gogh painting for my final project in my art class this semester. It was interesting because the one I chose, "Bowl with Zinnias", was one of the first experiments Vincent did with color. His early works were very dark and monochromatic in browns and sepia colors. Then he came back to Paris and met up with the impressionists. You could see the excitement in this painting. It was undertoned in red, and leaned toward analagous colors - red, pink, orange and yellow - with only tiny embellishments of complimentary hues. I loved it, and then got terribly tired of mixing reds, so I worked up another painting, this one in analagous shades of blue. This is an entirely different piece for Vincent, a portrait of a bird, very black against the water and reeds. Ooooh, it was fun to do. In keeping with my journey to my artful vision, I worked it up very fast, without a lot of pouring over it, letting it sort of rise up our of the Bristol paper the way Michaelangelo released his statues from the marble. And I would up framing it because I liked it so much. NOt that it is a very good copy. The idea is there, and that is enough. The whole thing is enough. And I love looking at it. It is the consummation of yet another semester of education, the symbol of its successful completion. I almost gave it away, then decided to give it to myself. I worked hard to have it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be. Right.

I woke up this morning with a sharp pain in the muscle of my left arm. Not the shoulder or the joint, which I suppose is good news, but yesterday, it was fine. No pain. I decided it is God's little wake up call to remind me I'm getting old. As much as that beats the alternative, it is still rude. Along with chin hairs and little bladder problems. Not that I am ready to surrender, not by a long shot. I know how to take an aspirin. Lordy, I consider myself lucky that I am not on a whole bunch of prescription meds, such as antidepressants, allergy medication, tranquilizers, high-blood pressure stuff, high cholesterol gunk, heart medicine, anti-coagulants, interferon, etc. I take some pills, yes. Magnesium, and ginko biloba. And phyto-estrogen. All in the spirit of keeping my engine perking. So far, so good. Except for the occasional burp. Well, no going gently into that good night for this sixty-something broad. When I go, they'll hear me coming.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Good news and bad news...

The horrid storm that was predicted seems to have swept through without even a whimper. Power is, as you can see, still perkings. But, alas, my sinuses are all up in arms again, and screaming. I think headaches ought to be gone the morning after, especially since I am doing nothing to precipitate them the night before. On the contrary, I took my vitamin C and some aspirin, nice little cocktail, and hit the pillow at 11 PM, like a good little old lady. Whatever, I am once again similarly fortified and headed out into this surpringly sunny day. Oh, and here is a quick review of the film we saw yesterday in the City because the MOMA is closed on Wednesdays (and how irritating is that), "The Holiday". Now I adore Kate Winslet, and she saved the movie for me with her lovely natural freshness. Of course, Jude Law is not hard to look at either. But that was the high point of this rather bland little story of unrequited and/or undeserved love. Gorgeous sets, an amazing wardrobe and lots of loving closeups do not a great film make. Alas. Nevertheless, I got lots of fashion ideas. Never a bad thing for this country mouse who is admittedly clueless to haute couteure.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Isn't that interesting!

On this first day of a New Year, which is just the day after yesterday, after all, even if we do need a new calendar to notate it, I pulled my cards on the angel table. Couldn't decide if they were good enough to assign to the whole year ahead. My medicine is ELK, which is stamina, and yes, I will need a lot of that. My school schedule is the most strenuous and lengthy yet, although six of the eight hours I will spend there two days a week are art classes, which seem to be more fun than education. I pulled a tarot card, which I don't always do. Lots of bad news in the tarot deck, you know. It was the Ace of Swords, my least favorite suit, and it indicates success and strong emotion. Well, that would be a surprise indeed. And my angel card was BROTHERHOOD, and that was pretty benign, so I pulled another, PLAY. What a mixed bag of stuff! Whatever, I begin this year much more lightly than the last. I think that is because I am now an art major rather than psychology, which still interests me greatly, but seemed too dark for this time in my life. I remember liking really dark and brooding movies when I was in my 20s, before I had lived through all those travails being depicted on the screen. Now, give me Lemony Snicket or Harry Potter. That's about as dark as I want it to ever be again.