Tuesday, April 28, 2009
I got to play around with a pen, to do these interesting images. Gee. I just love new stuff, don't you? I am sore from sitting glued to my monitor for two hours straight, checking out all the little buttons. I also now know how to add text to my images, and that in itself is swell. I made some interesting messes, not all of which made it home with me, because I had to beat a hasty retreat, I overstayed my class time. Anyway, I love it when something engrosses me like this did. Possibilities are endless here. Much more to learn, as usual, but I have begun, and that is all that is needed, a beginning. I do that every day.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
How fast this happened. We are coming up on our anniversary, the Pickle and I. On June 6, she will have lived with us for a whole year. My, how she has changed! Actually, she is everything I would want her to be, even the devilish little imp that seizes onto bits of stuff to shred all over the place, even the big-foot that tracks mud behind her, even the barky hooligan with sonar ears that has to blast every vehicle that plys our little driveway, and even the little thug with her teeth protruding. She still comes up to me in the bathtub and wants to lick my face. She still minces around the bed in the morning, poking at me to see if I am awake yet. And wherever I am, she usually is, too. I only step on her occasionally, when I forget she is at my feet and leap up to turn something off on the stove, or set the DVR I forgot to program earlier. And, the older she is, the quicker she is at getting out of the way. Learn and grow. That's my Pickle.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Okay, the kitchen is suitably immortalized. I like the fuzziness of the pear painting, and the sharpness of the calla lilies. Maybe you noticed, but I have paintings that I executed hanging in my kitchen, four of them currently, and there are a couple in the studio that could come out and hang there as well. Paintings hang on every wall of my house, because I have been doing them for ten years. Some are not mine, but gifts from my ex-partner, like the sweet miniature in the bathroom of the sailboat in the Jenner estuary. It is postcard sized, and very sweet to look at as I brush my teeth. I think it is time to move outside with the photoessays. And I need to mow.
Well, it kind of makes me dizzy, now that I look at it. And how much do I love color? The red cannisters are my newest aquisition in the kitchen, so cheery, and since the counter opens into the back room with the red curtains, it all harmonizes sweetly. My counters are white tile, as is the floor, and the walls are white, with blonde cupboards, so color is definitely called for there. Before I got started, the only spot of color was the blue and gold very regal dogbed I put down for the Boo four years ago, the one he finally crawled into to get away from Pickle.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
I took my camera to class the other day, and just snapped a few pics on my way there. Did I mention how lovely our campus is? Some of the buildings are really old, older than I, and trust me, that's old. Some are newer, but most are fashioned to blend with the older ones, except the ones built in the 50s, when things were disgustingly modern, but at least they kept the brick scheme going. The new library, and the new student center are huge, lots and lots of bricks there. In this time of dire news, when the upwardly mobile aren't, mobile that is, it is refreshing to watch our little community college thrive. Such a privilege to get to go there at all, you know. And they actually like me!
Just can't stop at one, or maybe one hundred. So many ways to look at things, don't you know. And this busy mind keeps thinking up new stuff to do. I have another one already perking in the gray matter, and soon, it will be up here for God and everyone to see. That's my studio, all swirled around. If you think it may be a little chaotic, you may be right. It's on the to-do list, which is slowly getting accomplished. I put my self in the center, because, well, I am in the center of my life, as it is mine to live and enjoy, and endure. Many moons of painting expressed here, in one little image. I like this better than I like some of the paintings!
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
This reminds me of those glam shots women used to have done, with lots of feather boas, all stretched out and lissome. Will you get a gander at that tail!! My little one is now all grown up and beautiful. Strangely, she still has big feet, and if there is a mud puddle in a three mile radius, she finds it and tracks it into the house, like she did this morning. I get lots of exercise just trailing around after her, squatting to pick up the detritus of her chewing episodes, the plethora of dog toys she drags out and deposits all over the house, and bits of garden that hitchhike in with her and fall on the floor. Boo never did this stuff, you know. Boo was perfect. No perfect Pickle.
I did this color montage from a series of photos I took of my own artwork, some of it the pedestrian things I did at school, which hang on the wall of the studio, dutifully waiting to be painted over someday, like soon, now that dastardly term paper is written. Finals are nothing in comparison for this stubborn student who hates citations and bibliographies, footnotes and endnotes, and research! Which is why I am now an art student, instead. I think there are multitudes of possibilities for this new skill, like how fun it would be to put pieces of a life together in an artful fashion for gifts. You think?
Monday, April 20, 2009
The dreaded term paper is history! Both literally and figuratively, that is. Gee, what am I going to do while not obsessing about the paper not being done? Let me think. Hmmmmm. How about reading something that is not about Egyptian art? Or making some art of my own, doing that project of going back into everything I ever painted and painterlying it up? Or making a whole bunch more of those dandy collage thingies I learned to do in Photoshop? Or taking myself out to a movie? Treating myself to something that has no redeeming nutritional value at all at one of my many favorite fast food emporiums? Or, best yet, NOTHING AT ALL. Yeah, that sounds like the ticket, at least for the rest of today. Tomorrow, I am bound to be tired of doing nothing at all, and I can begin doing something. Anything except writing a term paper.
Sunday, April 19, 2009
That is the premise of this (very lousy) term paper I am writing, that Ancient Egyptian artists were the whores of religion. Well, aren't (really successful) artists always whores of one kind or another? Find a niche and fill it? If we're talking about Thomas Kinkaid, well, yeah. I've seen his art before he began his current oeuvre of kitsch, and it was fine. Not unusually fine, of course, just fine. The stuff he churns out is spun sugar, and the common folk eat it up. Well, taste is not an inborn trait in most of the race, for sure. My folks love him. Me, I like the vibrancy of a Cezanne, or the edginess of a Matisse. Not a Picasso fan, but I do admire his elan. He was a maverick for his time, and fortunate to have made a fine living on his creative vision. Most artists cannot do that, even today. Anyhoo, back to the Egyptians. The art of these mostly anonymous craftsmen prevailed in their society for 3,000 years. That's because their society prevailed, sometimes in disunity and disarray, but it did prevail. And most likely, that was because of its firm structure, God and Pharoah-God at the top, everyone else below. Their religion came out of their dependence on the Nile for all things. After all, just a few miles in any direction was burning desert, not very hospitable. And, too much water was just as bad for them. So they had an elaborate pantheon of gods to handle all that fear for them, and to assure that, after a life filled with the immenance of danger from every direction (and there were lions, too), they could walk forth into a paradise, and still visit their relatives they left behind. And that's where the artists came in, decorating their tombs with their good deeds in life, predicting a successful weighing in of their heart against an ostrich feather, providing them with lots of servants to tend to them, and make them a ka statue to inhabit on their personal altar. Ah, the good (after)life, Egyptian style. And all this had to be done in the strict code of rules. No willy-nilly creating allowed! There was a canon of proportions in which to portray the human body, eighteen fists high, face, legs and feet in profile, torso and eye frontal, otherwise known as twisted perspective. The more important you were, the bigger you were (hieratic scale). And this was not a portrait, oh nonono. You were portrayed perfect, youthful, free of defect or disease, the ideal human, to please the gods. And these artists churned this stuff out with only the tiniest nuance of change (upon which the art historians leap with great gusto) for three freaking millenia! Well, except for the Armana period, when everyone had a drooping belly and looked like dying fish, but even that strange and very short period had its rules and regulations. Okay, there was no song of myself in this age. But hey, art is about expression! Happy to say that they often portrayed animals in humorous ways. Probably their way of coloring outside the lines.
Friday, April 17, 2009
I had a rather long wait for my turn at the hair salon today, so I got to peruse the various magazines I never would buy, and am always curious about. My favorite today was GQ. How rewarding is it to know that men can be as vain and shallow as women? They have their own designers. Neil Patrick Harris did a photoshoot in a plethora of suits that all looked pretty much the same to me, but his projected ennui was breathtaking. Most of the men in the ads had that how-lucky-are-you-to-lay-your-unworthy-eyes-on-my-obvious-youth-and-splendor-and-how-much-don't-I-care-anyway look, reminiscent of Vogue haute-coutier sneers. One AX ad had the models, male and female, looking at each other while she had his pants down over his buns and her hand down the front. Snotty porn. I did like the Daniel Craig lookalike in the Bloomingale's ad, at least he looked real, not so very pneumatic or plastic. But best of all were the celebrity endorsement ads, Matthew McConaghy in Dolce and Gabbana fragrance, trying on his own lip-curling disdain, and yummy old guy Sean Connery pitching Louis Vuitton as a high-style Bahamas beach bum, in fedora, classic navy sweater and Dockers, slouched on a pier in the shimmering loveliness of a tropical beach. The coverboy was Robert Pattington, at least I think that is his name, you know, the blue-balled vampire of Twilight, and his visage was perfect, hooded eyes, sensual sneering lips, unbridled youth spilling out all over the place. Apparently, some men worship at the same altar. It was sad and hilarious, all at the same time. And, eventually, I got my haircut, too.
I included my itty-bitty bathroom in the current oeuvre of personal montages, and isn't it amazing how much junk one can stuff into a small space. The painting was a final homework project a few semesters ago, a trompe l'oiel, or fool the eye project, a painting of a (vastly evacuated and spiffed up) shelf in the medicine cabinet. I executed it standing over the sink with the canvas in my left hand, brush in the right, and palette on the covered trash basket below. It is in acryllics, of course, as they are water based, and less damaging as I slapped away. I hung it on the wall there, because where else could I hang it?
Thursday, April 16, 2009
This is another in my "personal" series of montages, images from the room I am now sitting in. Of course, it doesn't include my rather cluttered desk, and actually, "cluttered" doesn't begin to describe the chaos that reigns here at the present moment. Hey, I'm working on it! See how much fun one can have in Photoshop, when one knows just a smidgeon of how-to. Wait until I get up to speed! Oh, never mind. Time to knuckle under and do that paper on the Egyptians. After a trip to get hair cut. And buy more Bisquick for pancakes tomorrow morning. And get a pedicure. Sounds like a plan.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
The image you see here was created in my very own Photoshop program, right here in my little yellow house. Let me tell you how that happened. We learned all about it at school, you see, in the CS3 program they have. I have the new, improved CS4 at home (how lucky am I). When I began the process, the menu item I wanted was not on my menu, where it had been at school. I tried again. Still not there. So I e-mailed my teacher, like is there something that needs enabling here? No reply. So I began the arduous task of contacting Adobe Customer Service online. They said I was not a new customer, had I forgotten my user ID? Well, yeah. Didn't know I had one. I had to wait for an e-mail from them to get it. Then, had I forgotten my password? Another e-mail. Thank HP, I had arrived! After going in circles for about 20 minutes, I got a dialogue box that let me ask my question, like where is this menu item I need? Another e-mail, taking me to a long list of instructions. I am not good at instructions, in case you wanted to know that. It took at least a dozen tries, going back and forth from the instructions (which I would never have been able to print out, don't ask) and my disk, copying files from the third disk I tried, from the Goodies folder into designated areas of the Photoshop and Bridge programs, copying the wrong versions (well, 64 bit sounds ever so much better than 32 bit, you know), putting them in the wrong place, not putting all of them in, blahblahblah. Happy to say that I finally got it all to work, and made this nifty composite of my living room, the first in a long line of personal statements about the richness of my life. Please, tell me you love it! It represents hours and hours of frustration, and perseverance. A rather weak and pooped-out yay.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Ah, I love my piano. And I love that I seem to have reached a fearless place, where I just find the right keys, like I always knew where they were! Not ready to play for anyone, no, not yet. Just entertaining myself, an hour at a time, leafing through pages and pages of music, tinkling away. It's no Steinway, for sure, but it has a great big bright voice and a light action. I know, I set them myself. Can't do that with a Steinway.
Monday, April 13, 2009
I suffer from exploding head syndrome. Yes, there really is such an animal. And, it is rare, so lucky me. Obviously, my head is still hanging in there, right on top of my shoulders, so it is not really exploded (well, not yet, there's still finals this semester). What happens is this really, really loud noise wakes me up, usually right after I have fallen asleep for the first time. The noise is always inside my head, which is a good thing, because it would be catastrophic if real, it is that loud. And it always scares the you-know-what out of me. I was sooooo happy to know there is actually a documented syndrome, that other people (and it is mostly women over 50, like me) have experienced this phenomenon. I am not nuts here. Well, not in this particular area, anyway.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
My little Pickle is one year old today. Everyone is hoping that means puppyhood is a thing of the past. No more Kleenexes shredding on the floor. No more baskets chewed up and spit out. Less barking. More snuggling. Yeah, that'll happen. She is a blessing on so many levels. Her main dog job has been to get Boo off his little Boo butt and keep him lithe and limber as he enjoys double-digit dogdom. And she does a wonderful job of that, especially when I am on the phone. As soon as I pick it up, they start to growl and tumble around my feet like two year olds, usually fighting over a toy, one that Pickle has hit Boo in the face with enough times to peak his interest. And I suppose I must give up the notion that she will grow into her teeth. My mother says she looks like a little thug. Really, Mom, this is my little Pickle-muffin, my little Pickle-fluffy-butt. My sweet Pickle.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
By the way, that screwed up image that I created at school came home with me on my handydandy flash drive, about the size of my thumb. This class was worth its weight in gold just for teaching me about these gizmos. I got three for $35 at Costco, and they hold 4G each. That's a whole bunch. The file that I posted was 60 MB, or 20 MB larger than my first hard drive! That's big. And just think, the MAC at school is talking to my PC at home! I am really stoked here. Technology is ever so much better in just the last 20 years. Now I can take files off my laptop and put them on the PC, to print because the laptop is independent, not attached to anything so it can never get screwed over by any lousy virus, without burning a CD. I have piles of those, all with a few document files on them, a Psych 5 disk, a Critical Thinking disk, a PoliSci disk. The Cruzer, sweet little baby, could hold all these and 5,000 more. And I have three of them! And my computer has a USB dock on the front panel, making it super easy. So here's another all mixed up fun thing I made yesterday. Verrrrry interrresting.
I was kind of grousing yesterday; it was raining, I didn't understand anything we were doing in digital imaging class, why do I want to learn this anyway, why don't I just drop out, blahblahblah. And I loaded up the bookbag and all the little doodads I wanted to scan into my student folder and went, anyway. And then I had kind of a breakthrough. We got to work in the Bridge, part of Adobe's suite of programs, and I got to play with it myself, with some photos from my lexicon that I brought with me, because the scanner was busy. Our assignment was to make three contact sheets, that's what this thing is, a contact sheet. It was kind of like pistacios, one cannot do just three. I kept messing around, actually only using two of the tools available there, move and transform, and I made seven of them. When I found the warp tool, well I really took off. And I figured out a whole bunch of stuff that had eluded me before. Happy, happy. Excited, even. Ready to buy the whole shebang and mess around with it here at home, make some art, maybe. Not this month, though.
Sunday, April 05, 2009
As excited as I am to be about to be a Medicare recipient, I am also totally confused. Now, I am pretty sure that I am enrolled, they do it automatically unless you tell them not to, at least that is what I understood from the pile of stuff they sent to me. And I have made my decision about a Medigap policy, one that fills in all the things Medicare does not cover, including preventative care, which I consider to be most important. Now I have received this letter from CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), which has invited me to MYMEDICARE.GOV to fill out my Intital Enrollment Questionnaire. It is a "secure online service for accessing your personal Medicare information" blahblahblah. Now, because the suffix is GOV, that means it is government, right? Official government? Well, I hope so, but I have been stung enough online to not believe a thing they say, and you won't catch me within a mile of that website until I call these people and find out what they are selling. Yeah, I'm that way, totally skeptical of just about anything. I already leak money daily, might as well not throw it away on purpose (any more). So, we will be having a little conversation tomorrow morning, CMS and I. Just another thing on the never-ending to-do list, like return the mophead that does not work with my sponge mop and get a piece of wood matching the spoke of my market umbrella that broke when the wind blew it over last night. A life of purpose, mine.
Saturday, April 04, 2009
Time has come for an unburdening. My garage has been the repository of every little tidbit that the wind blew into my life for the last 10 years. And it was all hodgepodged together in boxes stacked on boxes stacked on boxes, so I had no idea what was what or what was where. Today was the day to find out. Dear friend came and helped me put the precious things into the attic, like the cradle both my babies slept in, boxes of their baby things, years and years of tax records, two love boxes (cards, tickets, programs, loving episodes that I will never throw away). And I now know what is in all the boxes. A big pile of stuff got tossed, right into the 1-800-GOT-JUNK truck, and I waved byebye to it. Some stuff came inside, like the china and silver stuff, to get washed up and put away where I could actually use it if the mood stuck. Now things are neatly in place, I can use the nifty rack I put up to hold brooms and racks, my lawnmower can live happily in its own corner, and, I swear, if I arranged things a little more compactly, I might even be able to get my car in!
Friday, April 03, 2009
When I was a sappy teenager, we had these big band leftovers, like Mantovani, Billy Vaughn, and Ray Conniff, whose Bouquet of Love is playing now even as I write, happily now living on my hard drive instead of being in black vinyl prison. Lots of strings. Sentimental songs like If I Loved You, from Rogers and Hammerstein's Carousel. Pretty music, without vocal. My daughter was so stunned when she heard her first "instrumental". I actually loved the songs without words, even have a couple of compilations of Puccini without the singing, so one can truly appreciate the lushness of his orchestrations. And today, with the amplification and digitalization, anyone can become a pop idol. It's like kareoke out there, and often just as disappointing. Songs have no melodies, leading to lots of just riffling around. As far as I am concerned, the only singer ever allowed to do that is Ella Fitzgerald. Everyone else just sounds like they forgot the words. Anyhoo, later I hope to borrow some of my mother's ooey-gooey Mantovani and 101 Strings albums. And find a copy of Andre Previn's Like Love. She shall have music wherever she goes. She has an IPod.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
Now, I used to be the casserole queen, when I was cooking for the FOO, and later for my own family, which at its apex was seven people. Now, I am down to one, so casserole recipes languish in their pocket of the recipe collection file. Then, I was reading a magazine in bed the other night, and saw this picture of an interesting dish. It was made with Campbell's tomato soup, flour tortillas, ground beef, salsa, and cheddar cheese. It looked yummy. So, the next night, I made it. I just made a few substitutions and additions. Instead of the soup, I used organic diced tomatoes. Only 1/2 the meat was ground beef; the other was chicken Italian sausage. I used pepper jack cheese instead of the cheddar, and added onions, green pepper, and zucchini. Oh, and some black beans. I did use flour tortillas and salsa. And, after I cooked it, I sliced avacado on top. I got to eat it for four days. And I liked it so much, I made it again last night, this time with corn tortillas, and taco seasoning instead of salsa. Next time, I think I'll add corn, and olives. Yes, that's the ticket.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
I got bored just watching my soap, and I was out of new library books, and too whipped to get up and go get more, so I got out the drawing pad and some charcoal, and a mirror, and there I am, all over the place. Okay, I was not inclined to be terribly honest, or maybe just too tired to fiddle with it any more. It does bear a vague resemblance, although I did youthify it a bit. Well, isn't that what its all about, portraiture? If I wanted an honest portrayal, I'd take a photo. Somehow these days I kind of look mushy and droopy in photos. Probably because I am sincerely senior. And yes, the portrait is cockeyed, but then, so am I. It is fun to do this kind of thing. Fun is good.