"We Three"

"We Three"

Monday, January 31, 2011

Win some, and then there was this...

Don't know what I was thinking, but here was this girl in this fantastic environment, so I diddled up this doodle. Well, I can always turn it over and do something else on the other side. I actually own a painting like that, a watercolor by an artist I loved whose name I cannot now remember, a demo of a fat Coit tower on the back. Paper is expensive, you know. Also need to get out my ruler and straighten up that doorway. Thank HP for Nupastels, that make better lines than the soft kind, and my handy ink pen, too. So, this is actually a multimedia kind of thing! Now, that's new for me. Honestly, how can I know what works and what doesn't unless I try it. Gee, now that I look at it, maybe there is some more I can do to get it all spiffed up. I stayed up past my bedtime, bent over this, praying I would get some kind of inspiration that would make it amazing. Tomorrow, maybe.

Laden with guilt, but ever so much more comfortable here.

Probably you don't stress over an ordinary trip to the store. I do. Which one, is always the first question. Costco for dog food, 8 packs of canned diced tomatoes and gigantic packages of individually wrapped toilet paper rolls (I get very nervous when down to only 6 rolls). Trader Joe's for toasted slivered almonds, channa masala, Soycatash and Greek yogurt. Safeway for Cool Whip and ice cream. Oh, never mind. Off ice cream for a while, have gotten a little fluffy again. Whatever, I decided to go to Target, because I needed exfolliating lotion and was searching for a more comfortable vegetable peeler (see illustration above). Now, the old one still works fine. It just hurts my hand. And I like to make homemade cinnamon applesauce with just a little Stevia, low in calories and yummy with a dollop of Greek yogurt for a snack, or even dessert. And I had been watching a program on design, (in keeping with my current pop guru, Daniel Pink, using the right side of my brain) and saw that there really was an alternative to my prosaic little utensil out there. Many, many alternatives, I found. I chose Kitchenaid's offering, mostly because the other sweet little things were in colors that clashed with my kitchen. Bliss for $7. Then I noticed, once again, that Target carries groceries! I had a moment of but-its-probably-not-local-or-organic and spent a few instants pondering the carbon footprint, and decided it was preferable to driving my partial-zero-emissions vehicle across the parking lot to Trader Joe's, and, hey, it was raining! They even had one container of my favorite Greek yogurt left. I took that as a definite sign that I was okay there. Then I remembered my reusable grocery bags were still in the car, parked out on the north forty of the parking lot. Well, nuts. I shopped there anyway. Standing in line, I noticed this sign on the wall, stating that Target donates 5% of its income to the community. Big sigh of relief. That expiated any guilt I had previously been suffering. I took my jaunty red and white plastic bags home, and promptly put them in my recycling can. I spent a few moments admiring my new peeler. Taking it for its innaugural spin soon.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

And now, for the very last time, I hope...

I took my first efforts in pastels in to my class this Thursday, because I really value the opinion of this teacher, marvelous artist that she is, and bless her heart, she told me she thought them all very successful. And then she mentioned that there wasn't a lot of value contrast. Well, no, there wasn't. The book I have been working out of didn't have many darks and lights in the examples, and pedantic little person that I am, I just did what he did. And, truth be told, I was not that happy with the outcome, either. So I got really brave and heavy-handed and voila! It is all about color, anyway, so why be all weak-hearted when one can be absolutely audacious. Feels better already.

Friday, January 28, 2011

How prosaic can one get?

Back to the basics. No longer searching for unusual or particularly artful images. Let's do what every teenager does all the time, go for the glam. I rendered this from a page of O, which, according to Daniel Pink, new guru I am venerating at the moment, is one of the finest magazines out there today. I fully agree, because it is all about becoming your highest person in this world of objectified beauty and meaningless accumulation of stuff. Anyway, I liked the drawing that came out of my sojourn into fashion. She is kind of anime, actually. My thrust in this current delving into my right brain proclivities is to get that edge that says ARTFUL to me, even if it doesn't to anyone else, because the person who needs to be satisfied is yours truly, otherwise everything I do will wind up in a portfolio in a dusty corner of the studio and will never again be seen by anyone. So I doodle away, partly to have something to show the teacher I take her teaching seriously, and mostly to exercise my abilities and try different processes, like going back into the doodle with a Conte crayon and giving it a one/two punch of value contrast, as I did here. Made it much more dynamic than the original sketch. Left brain to think of that, right brain to do it. Ah, working in concert. Such a blessing.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursdays with Cezanne...

Our assignment today was to wash color over a drawing, so I whipped out my little Cezanne book and copied this wonderful little painting. I love Cezanne. He never uses big swaths of a single pigment. Everything is small brushwork and I bet he did what I do, picked up different pigments on the same brush, a big nono in oil painting class, where we mixed big piles of paint to place around the painting like a paint-by-number work. Ick. How can one have a happy accident that way? Wonderful things happen in the margins, where one hue butts up against another. I did a careful job on this little sketchbook thing, and the way I do that is to work from the bottom. That way, I wait for things to dry before moving up into the painting, and those watery pigments don't run together. I like to do my watercolors in mostly dry brush, which is tricky, indeed. It is, though, my STYLE. Messy, all over the place, and I hope, interesting.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And here is the WSF...

That's work-so-far. Actually, all my work fits into that category. Never sure is they are finished, okay just the way they are at this moment in time. Whatever, I am happy with this one as it is, and that is something to record for posterity. There is a school of thought that art should not be pretty. That school thinks art should reflect life. That school thinks life if ugly. That school thinks too much. My art is best when it bubbles up from somewhere deep inside, and is a joy to do. A mindless joy.

The WIP...

...that's short for work-in-progress, of course. Actually I straightened up my work board to get it ready for its close-up. Messy, that's moi. Just cannot stop to clean anything up, though I have learned to put the pastel stick down in the same place so I can find it again when I need it. Frustrating when I cannot, because I cannot work as fast as my hand and eye want me to. I try to keep my mind out of that equation. Things get really nutso when I don't. To the left of my board, I have my instruction book, open to a similar work shown as it progressed. I get different ideas, but keep the progress the same as much as possible. Different is for later, when I am more assured of myself and what I can do in this very expressive medium. Ready to delve in again, now that I am back from the gym. After my lunchtime salad. It is good to be healthy again.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The times, they are a'changing.

I changed the angel picture after looking in the step-by-step art book, which I should have done in the beginning. I just get all excited and barge into a composition, then work like a fiend to fix it later. Never mind, pastels are a forgiving medium, and with the help of my handy dandy spray bottle of fixative, I can lay layer upon layer onto the paper. The process has taught me a lot about the various textures one can achieve, too. Happier than I was in the beginning, but still thinking it needs work. And did I mention that I channel-surfed the other night and caught Daniel Pink's program on PBS, all about how the right brain is eclipsing the left in our society these days? This is because while prosperity has increased here in the good old USA (current slump notwithstanding), satisfaction levels have not, meaning the product of all that left brain scrambling about for money and things and power and prestige have not done it for most of us, especially the baby boomers, who are now in the September of their lives here on the Big Blue Ball, and totally surprised to find that the American Dream is a bust. Yes, so we are all now learning that happiness lies within, and a great way to access that is to be a creative, spiritually awake person. Okay, Daniel is not that woowoo, but he is on the right track. Design is one thing he asks us to notice. That is amazing in itself, because it is all around us, everywhere: milk cartons, automobile logos, hell, automobiles! Creativity rules! Doing my best to contribute, myself.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Silly me...

Two years ago, I had a slow-leaking tire, so I pulled into McLea's, who had saved me more than once before, and3 hours and $400 later, I was assured I would not need to worry about all 4 of those suckers for a long, long time, or 50,000 miles. Uh huh. Today, I journeyed out into the wilds of east county, into the Valley of the Moon, to give a dear friend a ride in to our favorite meeting, and pulling out of his driveway for the return trip, found one tire almost flat. No cell phone reception. Okay, I risked driving in for a couple of miles to the fire station, where these baby firemen, who couldn't have had a combined age in triple digits, filled me up again so I could drive on. After the meeting, back I went to McLea's, where I sat in the testosterone soaked, rubbery-smelling waiting room for two hours before I got the bad news that the nail that caused the damage got all imbedded in the sidewall during my fear-fraught short drive to the fire station, and although I still had 37,000 miles on my warranty, this damage did not apply. So, $130 and 2 1/2 hours later, I left, all fixed. And I did what I always do. I drove around the corner to Trader Joe's, bought myself a bouquet of flowers and a crunchy salad with chicken and Chinese noodles and peanut dressing, then went home and stuffed my mouth. What can I say, it was a oh-what-a-good-girl-am-I moment. And, about the page from the sketchbook, I kept it while in intermediate drawing class, where I got brave about pen and ink, and fell in love again with Egon Schiele, edgy and tragic guy that he was. The more advanced class taught me a lot about just letting it happen. I erase a lot less now. Progress, of sorts. Just need to give nails a wider berth.

Friday, January 21, 2011

The downside of the "aha" moment...

And how can there be a downside to an absolute revelation? Easy. It could take you a week of fretting and mulling, and yes, even on occasion, worrying to get there. I just couldn't understand why I woke up feeling pretty okay, only to hit the skids again by noon. I was actually disappointed when all my tests were normal! Like, gee, what do you mean I'm HEALTHY? I could tell that wasn't so. Then, last night, I was talking with a friend, and she asked what medication I was taking. And it hit me. The MEDICATION! Of course. I finished it yesterday. I feel almost normal today. What a relief. And here is a reflection of how I have been feeling, kind of ditzy and disorganized and undecided about every frigging little thing. Live and learn. And live and learn. And... well you get the idea.

And from dog, we go to god...

...and when you think about it, that's not a big leap. This was my third drawing yesterday, a copy of Michelangelo's Almighty passing the spark of life to Adam, from the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Notice that God has a bump on his nose. I got all enthused and thought I would go into this with colored pencils I had with me, then realized I had only a primary set, and would spend the whole period blending, so I stopped, and the colored patch on God's cheek kind of popped the drawing. Happy accidents abound. I started the drawing with the ear. Everything flowed from that focal point. Don't know why, it just seemed logical at the time. My figure drawing teacher emphasized that objects do not really have outlines, and to work from the interior out was the most artistic approach. Uh huh. I noticed that God in Michelangelo's rendering was stern without being mean-spirited, powerful without being demeaning, actually a face with a whole big bunch of character, worthy of being made in the image of, even though I think that refers to inner qualities more than outer. Again, I had sooooo much fun doing this. I savored it, because today I am laboring over yet another pastel that I think is just way too DONE. Arrrrrrgh!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

As usual, I didn't get that memo...

I am of the opinion that when God was handing out the manual, I was hiding behind the door. And it continues to be my challenge to stay up with what is happening for the rest of the world, or class, as the case may be. Today, I thought we were supposed to bring pictures to compose compositions for possible watercolors. But, actually, we were supposed to do washes of watercolors over the pictures, too, and I didn't bring any to class, so I just got drawings, three of them, because I work very fast and get easily bored. I was particularly pleased with this rendering of the Pickle. She has always been a really fine subject, easy to render in any medium, with those enormous eyes and all that blonde hair. Boo, on the other hand, is very difficult to capture, and this is the most satisfying rendering I have ever done. Sometimes, it is just so EASY. And other days, forget-about-it. I just know that time spent with a pencil or a pastel or a brush in hand is precious time indeed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

That's me all over...

Ever since our painting teacher assigned self-portraits, I have been fascinated by that challenge (and the first one was hung in that semester's student art show, a major honor). Of course, I am not alone. Rembrandt, Durer, Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Cezanne, they all did them. And time marches on, you know, a lot of it right over my face. So it is probably a good thing to keep up this process, sort of chronicle my slowly sinking jawline. I can now appreciate photos that ten years ago I thought made me look like a toad. But drawings and paintings, ah, there I can cheat a little, leave out a wrinkle or a crease. I think that is pretty damned special. And, I am happy to report, all the lab tests that the Dr. did were normal, so I expect to be feeling better really soon. Just not yet, at the moment. Follow up coming, to discuss languid thyroid. Notice I hid that sucker under the turtleneck, artistic device to avoid having to display turkey neck. That's the beauty of being an artist, and doing portraits. Smart artists flatter their subjects. Me, too.

If at first you don't succeed, beat it to death with a stick.

Okay, this is the trouble with being self-taught. Your teacher gets strange ideas. Probably this was a bit much to bite off in the early days of learning to use pastels. Probably I should have quit fooling around a long, long, long time ago. I just got so sure that if I kept at it, it would get better. This, despite the fact that over and over and over again, it never, never, never has worked. Insanity. Nevertheless, here it is. At least now I can move on to something new. Okay, I already have. In the end, it is good to learn what works, and even better to learn what doesn't.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to spruce up a little bitty bathroom...

... put a really BIG painting on the wall. Here is my little hommage to my wrinkle cream, hairspray, and white cork-topped jar, a pastel I diddled up in the middle of my muddle. The frame was just sitting there, on the SALE table, and looked enormous, and a fabulous bargain at $10. I bought it not knowing what I would do with it, thinking of watercolor paintings that are languishing in a cardboard portfolio somewhere in a dusty corner of the studio. Then I decided to frame this painting, because I was all tuckered out and didn't want to search for something else, and it was still sitting on the drawing board, so to speak, waiting for me to pronounce it finished. It isn't signed, so maybe it isn't. I just know it really perks things up, hanging as it is to the left of the toilet. Hell, art should be everywhere. And now it is.

Glass birds, and eggs, of course...

Once upon a time, when the cowwoman was a budding teen, a pseudo-friend gave me a glass bird for Christmas. She was the daughter of a friend of my mother's, and circumstances threw us together a lot. We hated each other. Well, after that, my mother gave me a glass bird that she was sure was a Lalique, and then they just sort of multiplied into a collection. Somewhere along the line they attracted eggs, glass eggs, marble eggs, even an amethyst egg. My partner at the house on the edge of the world gave me a dandy wood and glass case to display them, and it sits in my back living room, collecting dust. Okay, I do flick it off now and then, but I don't pay a lot of attention to them, my glass birds. Until I need something to draw. Talk about challenging. Our watercolor teacher worked with us on painting transparent objects, and I love the look of them on the paper. So, one day when I was bored out of my tiny mind, I took three things out of the case (the marble just ended up there, because I didn't know where else to put it, and it is too pretty to put in a drawer) and immortalized them in my sketchbook. Next, I want to try some of them in pastels. That should be interesting. And challenging.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Please pass the hubris...

Every time I sit down and something recognizable comes out of my hand and mind onto the support, be it canvas or watercolor paper or just a page of the sketchbook, like this one, I get all excited and full of myself. Then I remember, oh, this is just something that was included in the unique soup recipe that is me, one of the gifts, like love of words and a never-ending curiosity that keeps me buried in reference books and searching for more and better ways to be me. I did notice that other artists like to display their sketchbooks, though. I never thought to immortalize these images. They are just little doodles I worked up while watching my soap opera, actually. We Geminis are loathe to do just one thing at a time. And a day without a doodle just is not worth living. I have been doodle-deprived for a while. I actually filled up this sketchbook ages ago, and started another, that I am less proud of. Well, saints alive! Riley Street, our local art supply store, otherwise known as my Mecca, is having its bi-annual beginning-of-the-semester sale, so I can pick up a couple new, spiffy sketchbooks, and begin another one. Oh, joy! Art. It is so healing. Yes, I am better today. Waiting for results of tests, and hoping this lasts, so I can travel out to the library, the bank, and Riley Street.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Decisions, decisions...

I spent a happy hour online looking at what other artists are doing with pastels. Answer: everything. The SAME artist produces a tightly wound, precise little picture, then turns around and does something like this, where it is all mixed up, can't tell which flower begins or ends where, worked over, then worked over again. Funny, it didn't get worse for the scumbling, bumbling around. I think I will fix it, with fixative, then fix it. Tomorrow.

What you can do with an Anthropologie catalog and a few minutes in art class...

Thursday morning, our erstwhile teacher wanted us to work BIG, so she gave us these enormous pieces of newsprint and let us have at it. I know from previous classes that newsprint is best with charcoal, and ink, surprisingly. I didn't bring any ink, so I delved into the vine charcoal, opened the catalog I had put in my bag, and began. The first drawing was the lower right, the girl in the environment. Of course, in the picture, the environment was bigger, the girl smaller, but hey, this is MY interpretation. Okay, I didn't notice that little anomaly until I have finished the sketch, and I know no one looking at it would be comparing it to the original, so I left it that way. My favorite part of this was the shoes. You know how I love shoes as a subject. They are so homely, shoes. The most challenging was the angel statue. Then I added the bust, and about that time, teacher reminded us that we needed to tie it all together, so I put in the second figure, who kind of ran off the page, but that seemed to be an asset, and the shelf with the wonky bowls. It was great to be back into sketching with charcoal. It is such a fun and messy medium, so expressive. And that is me, expressive, forget-about-reality-and-join-me-in-the-lalaland-I-live-in-and-enjoy. I felt all freed up when I left. Well, I was already out of it, and on my way to the Dr. Perhaps that is why I got such satisfying stuff down onto the paper. Art is best when mindless for me.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Well, the whole world is fuzzy, anyway.

The cowwoman went to the Dr. yesterday. Yes, there was a little infection, and then there are some tests pending, too. Certainly, there are steps to take here. So the whole thing is hopeful of a successful outcome. Just not happening today. I feel really fatigued, like I am hauling around 750 lbs, and the world seems to be behind this haze, not very far away, but not close enough, either. So I stood at the kitchen counter and smeared chalk around on the paper, earnestly hoping for an artful outcome. Here is a portrait of my hairspray, my wrinkle serum, and my jar that holds, wait, I don't know what is in that jar! It was inherited by my mother from her dear friend Gen, who died many moons ago, and got passed on to me, so it is kind of precious in its modest little way, and deserving of being immortalized in a painting. And isn't that strange, calling pastels "paintings"? But that is what they are, you know. The process is very like painting, layers of dark followed by layers of light. Hell, whatever it is, here it is. I'm too muddled to worry about it at the moment.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

And now for something completely different...

After my last post, on that frabjous day when I was feeling so very fit and hearty, I woke up with vertigo. Now feeling like I am lugging 500 lbs around with me, all tuckered out. Tired blood. Does anyone have any Geritol? I talked with the RN on the AARP health line, and we decided I should see my primary care physician before going back to the gym. You think? I also dragged out the medical encyclopedia, which told me I could have Meuniere's disease, an inner ear thing that is minor but really irritating, and may or may not clear up, and may or may not get better, or worse. Gee, that's encouraging. So, I made an appointment. Mostly I am concerned about anemia, because if that is it, I may have injured myself again. Many moons ago, I had a totally weird thing happen. I split open a muscle in my abdomen and bled out a quart and a half of blood into my belly, coughing. Yeah, coughing. I had pneumonia, it turned out. Rare occurrence. There was no outward sign of bleeding, but, during my five days in the hospital, armies of health professionals came through my room to peer at my navel. Needless to say, I was pretty wiped out for a pretty long time, like six months. They never did transfuse me, something I was later really happy about, since the whole AIDS thing happened shortly thereafter. So, off to the Dr. to check out the CBC, and other bodily fluids. I feel more present today, and that is a good sign. Just want to get back in the saddle at the gym.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Home is the cowwoman, home from the gym...

Ah, there is nothing so righteous as getting my buns to the gym. I bounced in, and I bounced out. Don't know why that happens. Somedays, everything is such an EFFORT. And then there are days like today, when it all seemed mega-easy. And I am doubly righteous becase I am reading LITERATURE. Frankly, I think people who say they only read literature are lying or just pretentious prigs who enjoy looking down their noses at us common folks, chuckling over the new Stephanie Plum or Kinsey Milhone tome, not to mention Qwilleran, KoKo and YumYum. Poor peeps never got to read Harry Potter! That, folks, is a wasted life indeed. But I am plowing my way through The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo. I have taken a lot of writing courses in my tiny life, and like to read writers who can compose a good story with dynamic characters, lilting narrative and pithy dialogue. This writer is on the cusp, as far as I am concerned. Plus the first 10 or so pages had me yawning so large I could have broken my jaw. First rule of writing: Hit them with a dynamite opening. Next is the very selective use of modifiers, which you don't need if you pick the right noun or verb in the first place. Specifics! It is not a bird, it is a robin, or a finch, or a hawk, or a nightingale. The sky is not cloudy, it is bruised, puckered up, cottony, windswept. We didn't walk, we ambled, skipped, scooted, slunk, trudged. Oh, there are so many wonderful words. And, when at a loss, just make one up, like Annie Proulx does. Drenty. Try to find that in your Funk and Wagnalls. Life is so delightfully complex. And righteous.

Sunday, January 09, 2011

New, old, whatever...

This is where my art began. I painted this about ten years ago, back in the house at the edge of the world, where my easel sat in the kitchen under a skylight, with a little Formica-topped cabinet as my tabouret and an old glass-fronted cabinet held my current objects. I labored there in fits and starts, pushing the paint around, often really frustrated. At first, the background was not so deep in value, the candle remained unlit, and there was no plate with an orange in it. The square canvas just felt so unbalanced, and uninteresting, despite the (totally accidental) use of complimentary colors. Then, one day, we ate breakfast in town, at the now-defunct Lyon's restaurant (where there is now a new sparkling In and Out), and I saw a painting of fruit with a halved orange on a plate. I painted it in as soon as I got home, then, aha moment, I lit the candle, scumbled darker pigments into the background, and I had a more dynamic composition. Not the best way to paint. It worked though, and I am not ashamed to hang this on my bedroom wall, even if my perspective sucks, which it does. Actually, it is my trademark that something is always flawed. And, funnily enough, there is always a sweet spot, too. I think it is in the juxtaposition of the two pears and the yellow nasturtium in this composition. There is a spot of light on the pitcher there that I don't remember painting. Tiny moment of inspiration. Those are so precious. If I painted this picture today, the perspective would be more precise, and the objects much more loosely portrayed. It is good to remember the beginning. Every artist that I studied in art history 2.3, the French salon and Salon Refuse, all began tight and representational (yes, even Monet and Van Gogh). It was later, after many, that they fell into who they would be, so very individual. This may be my year for that kind of revelation. Sooooo exciting.

Friday, January 07, 2011

This little light of mine...

Okay, mark your calendar. Today, the cowwoman is happy. Feeling fine. Feeling wealthy and young. On the inside of course. This flies in the face of the actual truth. I find myself fluffier than before the holidaze, probably because if it wasn't nailed down and stood still long enough, I ate it. Back to the gym with a vengeance this week. Feeding frenzy is not quite over, but gym should keep it from piling more lumps and bumps around my midsection. Feeling prosperous, too. That could also be an illusion, but hell, I'll take it. There is enough crappy stuff happening around me to choke an elephant, but I seem to not be in its path at the moment. New pair, here. Studying various ways of laying down the soft pastels. I started this one by going in with a wet brush first, then scumbling over. You can tell how joyous I am feeling from my selection of pigments. Gee, I wonder what the grown-ups were doing today!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Happy epiphany...

Otherwise known as the twelfth day of Christmas. Hallelujah! It is officially over, all those smarmy emotional movies done up in red bows, yuck. I celebrated by getting out the pastels and proving to myself that I can make mud in ANY medium. Not awfully unhappy. I let it be all loose and messy, that is my style. I could have worked on it forever, blotting and smoothing out and roughing it up. Whatever. I am taking it out to spray it with fixative, then will probably go back into it again, brighten up the highlights, darken to shadows, scumble the hell out of it. Gee, I love making art.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Simply sublime day, so far...

Have I mentioned how much I love shopping? And two of my favorite spots are Dick Blick and Anthropoligie, which just happen to be right around the corner from one another. Only glitch is that they are in Berkeley, a little 40 minute drive south and across the Bay, but ever so worth the trouble. My friend and I chatted all the way down, solved our own, each other's, and most everyone else's problems. My thrust at this art supply store was accessories for my new media, soft pastels. Friend commented that every new media requires about $100 of expense. This one has done me in for almost twice that, and I have so far only completed three little ouevres, all pretty weak. But I think that is because I didn't have the right equipment, which includes a dandy how-to book, a compartmented storage box with see-through lid, tortillions, chamois, sponge brushes, ink pencils, charcoal pencils, dedicated palette knife, suitable erasers, starter set plus 5 new hues of Sennelier soft pastels, a few oil pastels, painter's tape, a new lightweight drawing board, watercolor brushes, fixative, gum turpentine, and watercolor paper. The portfolio is packed for a class tomorrow morning, one offered to seniors by the JC. Now, if I can get up early enough, I will be off to learn all about these very expensive chalk sticks. Won't be wearing my new jacket I got at Anthropologie that fits perfectly and is just foofoo enough without being over the top, and was on SALE (favorite word in the language, that). All in all, a successful morning, and there is still $90 on the gift card to spend! More shopping awaits.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

More images from the studio...

I really don't feel so badly now...

One enterprising author has done a book on the studios of current popular artists, so I went to Amazon.com, one of my favorite browsing denizens, to check them out. My, those folks are messy buggers. I think my studio is just awful. It is always full of stuff: supplies, books, completed works, not so completed works, easels (3), a paintbox or two, portfolios full of drawings, watercolors, etc. Every so often I muck it out, but at the moment, without renting a storage unit, it is pretty much unmuckable. I artfully shot my photos of it around the sewing machine and ironing board which now are residing there, too, until I finish major crafting project for little kiddo's wedding, which will be months in the doing. But, after seeing shriveled paint tubes, splatters all over the floor, brushes encrusted forever to the tops of tables I am happy with my little area of creativity. Many wondrous moments were spent doing these tiny works. Whatever, they are mine. And that is my AA in art (with high honors) gracing the teeny tiny drafting table. It is all terribly precious.

Monday, January 03, 2011

That was the year that was...

Strange year, last one. Besides a lot of life on life's terms, stuff that just happened and needed to be endured or dealt with, there was this blossoming of art happening. I took a lot of risks, tried some new stuff, and created piles of paintings. Dr. Oz says this is the way to keep the old gray cells perking, make new neural networks, flex the plasticity of the brain. Otherwise, it gets all hard and brittle and doesn't connect anything to anything any more. Well, here's to newness, and experimentation, to failures and successes, to courage even when I think it is crap. Did I mention I sold three paintings last year? And one already this year? It's precious when I like one of them. When someone else does, that's priceless.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Every day, in every way...

... I am getting better and better. That was an affirmation I uttered over and over again when I was early in my recovery. It kept me aimed in the right direction. And even though I know my feet are firmly on the path, I need to remember what it was like, that icky morass of self-pity that led to self-agrandisement, self-abuse, self-indulgence, and more self-pity. On this second day of the baby new year, I am not making resolutions. I am honoring where I have been, and where I am going. It is funny to remember that, when my therapist asked me "what do YOU want?", I recoiled as from a flame. What do you mean, what do I want? How should I know? No one had ever asked me that before. Oh, everyone else knew what THEY wanted, and most of them wanted it from ME. That hasn't changed. It is still ME that needs to show up, for ME! I am the one I have been waiting for with such patient longing. The new improved version of me knows what she wants most of the time, and she gives it to herself. Pancakes. Bubble baths. PoochieBoo and PoochiePickle. Soft warm blankets on top of the memory foam. Mystery novels from the library. A trip to the art supply store. Or just Walmart, where I was today, getting hairspray and mouthwash and Milkbones. Moments of pure joy that are really just ordinary moments if you look at them from the outside. I did my gratitude parking, way, way, way out in the lot, and hoofed it lickety-split to get out of the frigid wind. Could have been worse. Could have been raining. A friend sent me a hooter calendar. No, not that kind. It was owls. I had several minute of joy watching the slideshow. And there, on my computer monitor, was God in action. Do you know how many kinds of owls there are? Why do you think we need so many? Beauty, wisdom, sweetness is all around me, if I just look up and out. So, new year. Full heart. Better and better.