Sunday, January 31, 2010
I figure one could sit at home and learn to draw from a book. Hell, we used to draw from matchbook covers, remember that? But there is something magical about sitting with a classroom full of folks, all doing their own things. I stood next to Tom when I drew these poses (same model, just both on same page). Tom elongates his figures. And since I tend to truncate them, this was a good place for me to be that day. I got these dandy drawings, much braver than many I have done in the past. Figure drawing is a different process, you know. It is much more physical, involving the whole arm and shoulder, because the objects are much larger and we are trying to fill an 18x24 page. That can only happen for me if I get really brave and trust my abilities. We are just three short weeks in, and we had two days of not drawing in that time, and I was sick for one day. So really, I have only been drawing for three sessions so far, and I am soooooo much more confident than I have ever been, and actually not unhappy with my product so far. It can only get better, right? Well, sure hope so. I intend to keep plugging away. And we are still in graphite. Wait till charcoal!
Friday, January 29, 2010
So, I said to my self, I'm well now. Time to get butt to the gym. And self said back, not until you make the bed. And answer your email. And catch up on your Freecell games. And look! Pickle needs to be brushed. Surprise! It's lunchtime already! And then there's the soap opera to watch. Meanwhile, I was doing all this with my keys in my pocket and my scarf and jacket on. About 45 minutes into the soap, I snuck out the front door with the gym bag. Self was pretty unhappy. All the way there, she pissed and moaned. But I kept putting one foot in front of the other, always a satisfying activity, and before self knew it, we had finished the circuit of machines, at lower weights due to period of inactivity, but all the reps plus some. Then to the pool. Which was fully occupied. Oh, well, self said. We'll just do a hot tub today. We deserve to take it a little easy. After all, you've been sick. Except I noticed out of the corner of my eye that one lane became available, and before self could blink, I was in the pool. This is always a religious experience, going from the jacuzzi to the pool, but I told self, as I always do, it only hurts for a second. Or two. And those laps felt so good, so liberating, self was not unhappy. No, not at all.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
There are many mandates in this life. You know: eat right, get plenty of sleep, drink water, exercise. I have a whole bunch of my own: say nothing I would not want to hear said to me, treat myself like I am an honored guest in my own home (which unfortunately does not come with maid service), never again eat anything I do not absolutely adore, never again go anywhere I don't want to go just to please someone else, read a lot, don't give up on my art even when it seems dismally ordinary and trite. I am feeling particularly burdened with all this stuff today. So I am exercising my right to just opt out, just for today. I am off to the gym, only because I have not been there for a week and fear that I will become a flaccid puddle. And to Trader Joe's, for fresh flowers and toasted slivered almonds, which I will put on everything I eat for a while. I am needing some pampering here. Yes.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I have risen from my bed of pain, finally. It helped to just surrender to this measly little cold, and to the fact that I couldn't take any medication to stop it from running over me like a Mack truck. Perspective kept skewing on me, and I had to perpetually remind myself that this was TEMPORARY, would not require chemotherapy or radical surgery, and would just go away all by itself. And we are on the cusp of well here, for sure. How wonderful to be out of bed, bathed, blown-dry, dressed, made-up, and headed out the door for a meeting. I am taking a box of Kleenex with me (luckily, I stocked up recently at Costco - on any normal day my nose runs like a faucet), and a throat lozenge, just in case. And I am picking up a non-fat latte on the way, too. I have been an exceptionally good girl lately, after all. Well, I may be old, but I can be immature forever.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
I taught my kids that life is not fair. Crappy things happen, often rather unexpectedly. The best we can do is not muddy the waters ourselves. So, I woke up thinking, this is Wednesday. Wednesday means I get up early, throw on my mufti of jeans and sweatshirt, and toodle on over to campus to arrive before 8 AM, after which getting a parking place is impossible this early in the semester. Then I hike across campus to the new student center, a regular Taj Mahal of a cafeteria, for a breakfast burrito and large coffee, then slowly and with much enthusiam consume them. I digest there for a while before hotfooting it to my locker, slinging my portfolio over my shoulder, and arriving early at figure drawing class to claim the tallest horse and the best viewing advantage. Except that this Wednesday, I was sick. I knew it when I went to bed Tuesday night. I knew it when I woke up later with a throat on fire and a forehead to match. Now, that's unfair. I just began this semester. Losing even one class session is hard for me. Besides, I can't take my usual barrage of cold remedies because of this condition I have in my eyes. They cause dilation of the pupil, which could precipitate an instant attack of glaucoma. So, against all my principles, I am relegated to SUFFERING! It is my ultimate goal in life to not SUFFER any more. Pain, yes, there will always be pain. But suffering is optional. There is always something to ease the pain. And I will take that path, whenever I can. So, I had to content myself with massive doses of vitamin C, orange/cinnamon tea, aspirin, several pillows, a gory mystery novel, two warm if damp puppies, and a new box of Kleenex. I suppose it could be worse. But most of all, I had to reschedule everything. I am now slated to be sick for two more days. That should do it.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Most of my life I spent avoiding change. Well, that was usually after I had changed what I could to get what I wanted. Now, just stay there! Don't move! This is it, my shining moment. Trouble with shining moments is they tarnish pretty easily. They get all glopped up with the daily slop of life. And when you come right down to it, nothing is scripted to last forever. It all comes to pass. Everything is temporary. Ah, but there are those moments when it has all come together, almost of its own accord, without any effort on my part, and that is a moment worth savoring. The high bloom, the one that happens just before attrition sets in, and it withers and dies. Happily, one can bloom again and again, if one keeps feeding one's garden with things like love and acceptance and gratitude and surrender. Always good to remember that, especially on a gray and scummy day when the trees are naked. Oh, but wait! The white camelia is blooming on the porch! Wonder-full.
Friday, January 15, 2010
Ah, the immortal words of Ratso Ritzo, as he pounds on the hood of a taxi crossing a New York street. Brilliant ad lib by Dustin Hoffman, it explained his character better than anything could. Though Ratso may have been the lowest creature on the socioeconomic totem pole, he still had the right to occupy his little bit of space on the planet. I relate. I have spent my life trying to not be a problem for anyone. It has made me kind of invisible, so that, when someone I am meeting is late, I am certain they have forgotten me, since that seems to be remarkably easy to do (and since I am always early, EVERYONE is late in my world). Well, no more Ms. Niceguy. The eye doctor told me he wanted to wait six months for the surgery that will prevent me from going blind should an acute attack of glaucoma hit me. Okay, I would have 48 hours to get the surgery if that happened, but suppose I wanted to go to Aix-en-Provence and paint Mt. St. Victoire for a month, and couldn't get in to the emergency room? And since just sitting in a dark environment too long could precipitate that attack, well, why tempt the Fates? Plus, I am lousy at diagnosing myself. I have dragged my sorry butt to the doctor so many times with fantasized symptoms, but also been hospitalized three times with serious illnesses I did not recognize. I don't want to spend the next six months in emergency with a headache. Also, I read that there can be damage happening with NO SYMPTOMS. Nightmare, that's what this is. So, see me! Take care of me!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
The cows are done, like, over with, no more dabbing away. At least, for today. I like them much better and can find no glaring problems. I like to have the paint be the focus, the subtle shift of values, the texture of it. Magical what one can do with a brush and some pigment. In the end, there are layes and layers there, and most of the time, surprises happen, happy accidents that just make an image pop right off the canvas. I count on those. And in the process, with brush in hand, I am somewhere else, just an instrument of the divine, learning with every stroke. I am at my most content when doing this. Which is probably why my babies here look so peaceful, too. Oh, wait. Cows are always stoic. And curious. Hard to get a candid picture of a cow. What wondrous creatures, indeed.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
You know how I feel about movies. They should be imaginative, have a message (even Disney does that), express an artform that goes beyond the mundane. They don't have to be particularly cerebral to do that. Avatar was a good example. A mainstream action-adventure with lots of amazing CGI images and 3D that knocked my socks off. And right there, a spiritual message, about the connectedness of things, and honoring the Mother. Touching. And just now, as I was noodling around here, Beethoven's 7th Symphony came up on the ITunes list, and I remembered one of my favorite fun cult movies, Zardoz. It is worth seeing just to watch an already over-the-hill Sean Connery cavort about in a red loin cloth and ponytail for two hours. And for the flying stone head that floatsthrough the clouds to that haunting 2nd movement of the aforementioned symphony. And for the amazing imagination it displays, bevies of immortals living in the "vortex", keeping the brutals at bay with slight of hand and superior intellect. It's message was that immortality is boring, life is ever so much more precious when it is finite. Think about it.
Friday, January 08, 2010
Winter is hanging low today, all gray and frigid. And it feels that way inside, too, after all the high drama of the dreaded eye exam. Honestly, I don't know how I survived all the years when that was the constant tone of my life, one adrenalin rush after another, blowing every little slight up into major insult, blaming everyone else, sulking or shouting, or drinking. Now, I just wear myself out, in very short order, too. However, I could use some roses. May just have to settle for mustard, which is already blooming everywhere this year. It is a pretty sweet world when yellow things can bloom in all this grayness.
Monday, January 04, 2010
You know, I take a lot of things for granted. My health, for instance. I am remarkably healthy and strong for a woman of considerable age. There are men at the gym who use the same weight I do on the circuit of machines (I check, you see). And though it has been a few years, like 25, since I could read a price tag in the store, I have gotten away with just over the counter magnifying readers. This is partly because prescription glasses always make me dizzy and nauseous in the beginning, and I have no tolerance for that. Mostly it is because I just don't trust doctors any more. They all seem to be in the pocket of the drug companies, here, have a pill. But I really like my vision, and it now happens that my middle vision is kaput, so off I went to the eye doctor. The real eye doctor, the ophthamologist, because I had some symptoms, like red eyes, and some pain, too. And, I have a CONDITION! My eyes have narrow angles between the iris and the lens, which can cause blockage of the little drains, which leads to glaucoma. Gulp. This is my family's fault, it is a genetic thing, and more prevalent in the far-sighted folk like me, who have short, fat eyeballs. The doctor recommends just waiting a little while, because it is not dire at the moment, but I will be having laser surgery to correct this, sometime in the future. It is miraculous that we caught it, because, if my vision were to go blurry suddenly, without treatment I could be blind in two days. And I really like looking out the window.
Sunday, January 03, 2010
It was a kind of cold, gritty day, and I wasn't up to shopping or going to the movies again, or much of anything, really. I just kind of schlepped about the house, aimlessly, then decided to take a few jabs at the canvas I primed the other night, when I couldn't decide what to do with the first cow image, tighten it up? Rough it down? Well, here is today's cow, probably already overworked, I just kept digging at it. Honestly, if I have a style, it is mediocreness. I looked at other cow images, and none looked like mine. This is either really good, or really awful. I don't hate it. Not in love with it, either. Oh, hell, it could be worse. I'm putting up cow painting #1 for a while, and letting this one sort of lounge around, until it tells me what is next, if anything. Yes, that's a plan.
The cowwoman has done a couple films lately. First, Sherlock Holmes as portrayed by a somewhat craggy Robert Downey Jr., looking like he was just out of rehab. Oh, wait - he WAS in rehab. Very athletic, action-hero kind of Holmes, lots of big bangs. And Jude Law, well, what can I say. Just eye candy for this old gal. And speaking of old gals, Nancy Meyers gave Meryl Streep the Diane Keaton routine in It's Complicated. Older, divorced-but-successful woman, romanced by older-but-usually-with-younger-woman guy. It was a divorcee's wet dream, an affair with her ex-husband who is now wed to said younger woman(that he left her for in the beginning) with titanium abs and five year old son. I think choosing his ex-wife was smart, actually. His current ball and chain was succulent, but apt to age badly, and hard in other areas that were decidedly less attractive. And Meryl, well, she is softened and real, no feral traits left. So let's hear it for age and experience. We are attractive in ways men never dreamed.
Saturday, January 02, 2010
When I was young, and dirt was new, we didn't think that much about food. My mother just made sure that we had meat, starch, and vegetables, pretty much in equal proportions, on our plate every night. Fried chicken wasn't comfort food. It was dinner. And no one thought about organic, or seasonal, or locally grown. Bread was Wonderbread, white and cloud soft. People who ate whole wheat were weird. Strangely enough, I ate pretty healthily. My dad was a butcher, and we had a lot of organ meats, like baby beef liver once a week, and kidneys or brains every so often. And our vegetables came from my grandparents chicken ranch, where they wasted not and wanted not by spreading the manure on their prodigious truck garden. We picked peas and green beans and corn then shelled and strung and shucked them. Digging for potatoes was like a treasure hunt, and oh, the fresh strawberries, boysenberries and raspberries! It was like rapture! Now, I have to worry about my carbon footprint. Grains have to be whole, and eggs have to come from free range chickens. I buy organic when it comes to salad food, but resort to plain old chemically produced avacadoes and cantaloupes, stuff with a rind on it. Hey, I'm not made of money here! I need that extra $30 bucks a month to get another pair of Calvin Klein jeans at Costco!
Friday, January 01, 2010
It was a prolific year, artwise, for this cow-waving woman. Stacks of watercolors now litter the studio. They represent hours of study and execution. Looking at them now, I see that I was trying lots of different techniques, experimenting with this new medium. I had lots of fun. My challenge now is figuring out how to frame them. I really want to hang some up on the wall, beside the oils that reside there now. And, of course, I am back at slapping away at a canvas, certainly a sweet way to spend a rainy afternoon here in the little yellow house. Good beginning for the New Year. Oh, and I went to the gym today, thinking I would be the only diligent soul to turn up there, but, oh, no. Lots of folks joined me, so many that I had to wait 15 minutes to get a lane for lap swimming, until the sweet ladies finished their aquarobics class. I am all toned, and righteous, too.