Friday, October 29, 2010
One of the things I have let go in my recovery, well, for the most part, is the adrenaline rush. Gosh, I miss it sometimes. I have been remembering the 1989 World Series, because of the phenoms our SF Giants are this year. I was sitting up in the nose bleed seats at Candlestick Park, over right field, when they won the pennant that October. And my brother was in that same seat when the earthquake sent parts of the overhang raining down on him at the first game of the Series. It took 4 hours to get through the pitch black city, a trip that usually takes 30 minutes. We were all shaken up, literally and figuratively. And what I hated most was those newpeople who descended on us in a feeding frenzy of adrenaline, sitting in front of collapsed houses in the Marina, or in front of the Cypress structure that pancaked and killed 50 some odd souls. I just wanted them to be GONE, go home, let us repair and heal. No one commented on the miracle that just a few souls met their maker that day. A temblor that large in India or South America would have killed millions. We do a really good job with our infrastructure here in Earthquake Country. Funny how these things come to mind again. I learned later to just check in on the disaster once in a while, and do what I have in front of me in between. I haven't even watched any of these last few games all the way through. I did catch the 8th inning last night, and will admit, I got to savor some of that old juice again. Felt kind of good, actually. Like revenge for that 1989 Series, when the As swept the Giants in four games. Oh, and here is a messy little pastel I diddled up while watching my soap opera today. Now, there's a bunch of folks who feast on adrenaline.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
My days as a sports fan(atic) are over, I think. As a kid, it was always the NY Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series. I always rooted for the Dodgers. I am an underdog kind of gal. Which is why I was a San Francisco 49er fan for decades. They would limp into the playoffs in the 70s, only to lose in the NFL championship game, to Dallas (and my Dad says that if they gave the world an enema, they'd put the nozzle in Dallas). Heartbreak, year after year. Then Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Steve Young, and voila! Triumph! Only to sink again into obscurity. Sobriety cured me of my need for this adrenaline rush. But I sort of jumped up and down (in bed, scared the hell out of the pooches) when the SF Giants felled the mighty Phillies last night. I followed them before, back when Jack Clark was on first base, and Robbie Thompson on second, and Matt what's-his-name on third. That was back in the 80s, I think. They always dropped the ball in the end, too. Heartbreak. But I may actually watch some of the Series this year. Sort of in a nostalgic way. And I know little kiddo and her fiance are really excited about this surprising event, too. So, Go Giants! Whoever you are.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
...which means it may be TMI for persons I gave birth to. You know, getting old is both a good and a bad thing. Good in that I am still vertical, and pretty strong and flexible for an old chick. Bad in that lots of little things nip and niggle, a lot of the time. Let's talk for a moment about my bladder. Not a subject I am particularly fond of, but one that is in the back of my mind all the freaking time. The poor old thing hasn't been itself since the birth of my last baby at 35. Muscles were not all that toned at that time, too busy being a middle management phenom and wife/mother/stepmother/daughter superwoman. So she sat on top of my bladder the whole nine months. I had a major infection early on, and had to be ever so careful after that. We have been around and around with each other, my bladder and I. For a while, when I was heavier, there were little accidents. God, that was sooooo embarassing. Till I mentioned it out loud at a round table of like spirits, and found that mine was a tiny problem in comparison. Losing weight and working out have helped. I had an ultrasound (and that was really RUDE), and found that it was not emptying completely, which is why I have endured many, many infections. Now I have learned to wring it out like a sponge every sitting. That has helped, and I am accident-free for the most part. Night time is interesting, though. Five or six trips to the pot are not unusual. It makes for a lot of sleeplessness. Which is why everyone knows not to call me before 9 AM at the earliest. I tried the medication, oh, yes, indeed. But it aggravated another of my most irritating aging symptom, dry mouth. I probably drive people crazy, because I chew a lot of gum. It is the only thing that keeps my mouth moist enough. And I have dry eyes, too. Drops and hot compresses help. Also eye goo every night. But, my nose runs like a faucet. No, literally. I keep Kleenex everywhere here in the little yellow house, so a box is always within easy reach. And in the midst of this, there is gratitude beyond measure. I do not have arthritis, diabetes, MS, cancer, or any other life altering/threatening ailment. I have a warm bed, with two warm poopies, great food to eat, amazing friends who also share their tribulations and can laugh at them, as I often do. While I am not about to run a marathon in the near future, I will be heading out to swim laps and lift weights and peddle like crazy on the stationary bike. And live to tell about it.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
An exercise for a gray, cold day - paint a happy little pig. This little guy is black, actually, in my reference photo. It's just that black is so, well, dark and brooding, and this here fella is ever so much brighter than the average pig, wouldn't you say? This may be finished. As always, it's impossible to tell. I just got brave all over the place here. Newness, what a wonderful concept.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
It is suddenly cold, chilly even. I turned on both heaters today, mostly to aid in drying soggy poopies. They love the wet, actually, and Boo especially likes the toweling off. I had both of them under a blue towel today, two little flat faces peeking out at me, too cute for words. It is early evening, and I am grateful that little kiddo is back from the other side of the world, on terra firma after a grueling three flights with some complications in connecting flights. Happiest when both kiddos are nearby, oh, I mean all three, since a new one is joining the fold. I am listening to Cinemix on my ITunes Radio, soundtracks. They played "The Way We Were", and I got all hot and bothered, again. Back in the olden days, my lover took his other girlfriend to see that movie. Well, we had agreed to see other people, only he did and I didn't. What can I say, it was the 70s. Then the waltz from Disney's "Sleeping Beauty", which I had to drag my 7 year old daughter to see. Gee, I have all these great Disney pics on videotape. Makes me want to throw an inner-child party for my menopausal girlfriends. We are all closer to childhood than you might think, enjoying our netheryears with great elan. Some marbles, some jacks, and a little Cinderella might be just the thing for a dark winter night.
Did I mention that I found that going to the local art store for product demos is very enlightening? The Savoir Faire folks demoed Sennelier pastels, soft and oil, and I got to have a few samples, which was nice. And then they mentioned that their soft pastels are bound with gum arabic, the same as water colors, and, if you laid them down and went back with a damp brush, you could actually work with them like watercolors. And I thought, gee, I want to try that! So I ordered a starter set of 24, which arrived yesterday (see, I am more spiritually evolved, able to delay gratification, especially for a bargain), and I noodled around with this simple scene. I am not happy with the paper, actually, too toothy. So I need to experiment and see what works better. But there is definitely promise here of some fun work ahead. Can't think of a more wondrous way to spend my time than creating.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Don't know why this happened, but I am in this vortex of productivity, trying all kinds of new things with my new medium, and still finding surprises everywhere. Perhaps I am finding my muse? I really hope so. Notice how loose this painting is. Part of that is the acrylics themselves, their reluctance to run or blend in any way. Oh, you can add water and they get all runny, but that takes away from their vibrancy, and that is what I love the most. So I just kept dragging color on top of color, and there she was, my new little lady. The expression came quite easily, too. Wistful, isn't she. I always wanted blue eyes, you know. This ability is my consolation prize, I think. I went to the library today, and snuck a peek at the new American Artist magazine, and no one is painting like this, at least, not this month. Which made me think I am, once again, doing it WRONG. Well, it sure feels right. I am going to suppose it is. Yes.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I will be the first to admit I don't have a clue what I am doing 99% of the time. I just try to do the right thing, the thing that is kind and compassionate. Lord knows, in the past, that was not always the case, and I have some stuff to make up for, big time. Yet, my character defects hang around like stray cats, probably because I am still feeding them. It's just fear. And doing paintings like this one is about conquering some of that. Now I am emulating Lucien Freud, the grandson of Sigmund, in his layer on layer of paint, and looseness all over the place. Well, it feels right, and is a lot of fun, so I think I will keep doing that. Impatience, that's my middle name. I want it to be DONE! Yesterday! Perhaps it is, just don't know yet. I loved doing it, that's for sure. And all this productivity is really a stopgap for the fear I have when my progeny is on the other side of the world. See what a little fear can do? It's so interesting.
Monday, October 11, 2010
It's been a long time coming, this foray into figure painting. I like to draw faces, and bodies when I can get one to stand still. The human form is so precious, with all its little nooks and crannies, with the way shadows fall and light shines. I left this madonna really loose, and she may stay that way. This medium is not as easily blended as oils, and I like the colors and the way they go together to make the figure. I am having soooooo much fun here. It's even better than fingerpainting was in kindergarten. And next, there are pastels on their way to me, Sennelier soft pastels, that have the incredible ability to be turned into watercolors with the touch of a wet brush. Oh, I can barely wait!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
I have been picking away at this oeuvre for days now, changing it over and over again. Good things happened when I added some new pigments, like quinachrodone fuschia and a wonderful yellow ochre clone from Sennelier. It is in real life a bunch of things that some person at Trader Joe's thought would go well together. Not necessarily so. And it reminds me of a very early work, The Ball Jar, a bouquet from a friend's garden near the house on the edge of the world that he sent over in one (Ball jar, I mean), and I rendered into posterity. That painting lives with a friend now, as he really loved it. I am thinking I will come to love this one, too. Strange as it is. And yes, it's purple. Like, get over it.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
Never thought I could become so obsessed with sheep. I kept looking at these paintings, and decided that I could make them better. Now, this is new behavior. When I am first working on a piece, it sort of emerges from the canvas all by itself. There is little deliberation in the process. I feel guided by HP, pushing pigment around, picking up hues on the brush. And I have this belief that I cannot change anything; that would ruin HP's work. Except that I thought Mom was kind of homely in the first rendition, and with these sweet younguns, she should be radiant, in her ewe-ish way. So I softened her face, gave her some lashes (which she actually does have), brightened her nose, and gave her a neck, so she doesn't look like a linebacker in a fluffy coat. Then I brightened the background, which was actually grass in the photo. And suddenly the whole thing became more scintillating. Minor adjustments were then made to the second painting, shortening the baby's butt, brightening his back, modeling his front. And, surprise, both are more pleasing. HP may know what She is doing, but, in the end, She gave me a brain and good small muscle control, so I know what I am doing, too. Miracle!
Wednesday, October 06, 2010
Well, almost. Much improved, I think. More detail, more expression, better proportions, better all over. Paintings have their own special voice. Hello, this one says. I am so delightful, I can barely stand myself! Thank my artist for not making us too precious. We are just fluffy enough. We are not cartoony. And we are not too real, either. All those dippy-dabs of paint, all that love all over our canvas, how could we be any better. And now, as I look at it here, I think I see a couple of adjustments. Luckily, there is still paint on the palette. Can you imagine how much FUN it is to do this? And what grace I feel that I can, at all? Yay.
Tuesday, October 05, 2010
Very loose first draft, for sure. Kind of wonky, and lots of fine tuning to do, but the idea is there, and I am liking it already. Part of my problem here is the reluctance of the paint to go where I want it to go. It is thick and not very tractable, at least, not yet. It does give a really nice sketchy quality that is actually hard to get with oils. I see lots of little things that I want to continue to dab away at, but not too much. I am not a representational artist. I am an expressionist, in love with color and form and nuance that is created by the media, to fool the eye into seeing what I see. It is kind of magical, in the end, this process of creation. More magic coming, tomorrow.
Monday, October 04, 2010
Just like life is a journey and not a destination, paintings are a process, not a product. Here's how the sheep came to be immortalized. A couple of years ago, I trailed a friend to the ranch where she boards her horse, Happy. Both dogs went along for the ride, and I took lots of photos of the various animals there, hoping to get some good ones for reference pictures for future paintings. And Friday, when my daughter and her beloved were in the belly of the great silver beast, suspended above solid ground for most of the freaking day, I got busy doing stuff to distract myself from my own SELF-CENTERED FEAR. And one of the tasks I undertook was to sort my photos on my disk, a monumental and thoroughly boring endeavor. And gee, there were those animals! Well, I cropped one photo, printed it out, and later that evening, when I had most of my job done here in the office, I laid out a palette and dippy-dabbed away at a portrait of this sweet little family. Note that Mom has her back totally shorn, though the rest of her is admirably fluffy. Artistic license let me ignore that little fact. And I am not unhappy with my painting, no not at all. So satisfied, I will be rendering this scene next. They look like sweet kids, all of them, with holes in the knees of their pants.
Saturday, October 02, 2010
Big experiment. Just noodling around with my acrylics, again. It could be done. Or not. Just tired tonight, and rerun of Bones is coming up soon (just love Seeley Booth), so I am quitting for tonight. They are not as sweet as cows, these sheep, but ever so much fun to poke around with. I began with a black canvas, and I really like the effect. Tomorrow, it may look entirely different to me. And to you, too, when I get done. Painting is such a personal endeavor. I only know that when I feel satisfied, that something good has come from the work, there is no feeling as happy.
Mother was right. You never know the agony that children can give you until you have some of your own. And I do. Have two children, I mean, a boy and a girl. Of course, they are no longer the cherubic tykes I look at on my bureau and bedroom wall every day. Gee, I remember hanging over their respective cribs when they were tiny, awed at every tentative breath. I became acutely aware of both the fragility and the resilience of this earthly existence in those moments. Now, they have flown off to become who they were meant to be. And for me, not much has changed. I still chew my lip over their various escapades, and mourn when they are hurting. I would like them to just stay where I put them until I come back again to visit. Alas, neither one is willing to do that for me. And yesterday, kiddo number two, the redheaded dervish that is my daughter, was on airplanes for the whole freaking day, winging her way to Egypt. That's on the freaking other side of the world! And I talked to HP all day, just keep her safe, please! I mean, I felt responsible for holding those planes up all by myself. It was exhausting. She and her darling fiance arrived just fine, and probably would have even if I had not been all twisted up. So I got out this picture of me, sweet little angel that I was, and am remembering the self-inflicted perils I have survived in my 7 decades of life on the Big Blue Ball, and decided to LIGHTEN UP. I know my kids. They are never going to stand still. Life is, after all, a moving target.
Friday, October 01, 2010
Late morning in the little yellow house. I am here in the office/library/music room, and so are the fur people. Look pretty innocent, don't they, Boo at his requisite four feet away from the dreaded Pickle, who is curled up at my feet. Yet, even as they just lay there on the recently vacuumed carpet, they are making a mess. Another vacuum cleaner bit the dust, or rather, the dog hair, this week, necessitating a trip to WalMart for a new sucker-upper. This time I got one that specializes in dog hair. Yeah, that'll work. I can bet you these sweet dewy-eyed creatures can murder this one in less than a year. Well, they are worth it, my poopies. Dog hair all over the place is really just little bits of love. And everyone who loves me expects me to arrive with a fine coat of my own, black on light clothes, blond on dark. Equal opportunity dog hair.