Tuesday, November 29, 2011
It is time to do a little something every day. And spend some time recouping as I am still under the friggin' weather here, fighting an infection, feeling like something the cat dragged in. Not into doing anything very complicated, though, so I did this. Catalogs make wonderful references, you know. I would love to be able to afford all these adorable ballet flats, yes I would. Since that is not happening, I can immortalize them and gaze lovingly at them every so often. And thus begins the rudiments of a new opus, of shoes. Oh, wait. I did a shoe retrospective back when, and it is framed an on the wall over my shoulder. However, those were MY shoes. These are my shoe WISHLIST. There, this is the shoe wishlist opus.
Monday, November 28, 2011
It's been a hellish four months here in the little yellow house, and I am hoping that the turn of the year will bring some goodness into my life. Been sick, over and over and over again. Four visits to the doctor, four to the lab, one to the hospital for an uncomfortable, invasive ultrasound find me still with an infection on my fourth antibiotic. And did I mention MAJOR dental work, occasioning MAJOR debt, and my dog died. Gee, HP. Tired of being broke, sick, and heartbroken here. I want to feel good, soon. Thanks. The only thing that has kept me sane, and hopeful, has been painting. I am ready to frame a bunch of the feather and fin and flower opus, maybe have a show? Sell some? Sure would be swell if that could happen. Send prayers.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
I thought I was meeting a friend at the 11:30 service this morning at the Center for Spiritual Living, and she did not show up. So I ran into another old friend I had not seen in six years, and she came over for coffee and a catch-up session, how sweet it is. She made me ashamed of the piles of work that now languish in the studio, and I really am resolved to get butt out to shop for frames, mats, and venues to show the work. Part of that ennui has been ill health, but a whole big bunch is ego stuff that keeps telling me to get over myself, the work stinks, blah, blah, blah. Whatever, this is my gift. I have sold a lot of paintings, all by accident it seems. Why not sell a lot on purpose? Now, there's an idea! And I worked on this piece, a tribute to darling daughter's mother-in-law who hosted Thanksgiving this year at her gracious Sausalito home. This was part of the centerpiece, from a photo I took. I hope to frame it and gift her with it, in appreciation of the rare and wondrous holiday I got to spend with my two babies and my new baby-in-law. Precious, just precious. And I like that this is coming up so beautifully loose and fun. This could be the influence of the art I saw, again, yesterday at Jack Leissering's studio here in town. Amazing collection of amazing art. You can google him and get a virtual tour online. I don't think he is an artist himself, rather a local doctor who amassed an eclectic collection of local art, and some pretty famous stuff, too, like some of Goya's prints. I am aware that I don't have to smooth everything out. Let people guess what these orange objects are. Hint: persimmons, some of the most lovely of HP's creations. Grace, that's what our morning's service seemed to be saying. Even in the midst of all my turmoil, there are moments of absolute grace. Coffee with an old friend. Magical stuff coming up off the paper. Oh, it's not done. But it's close, very close.
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I think it is always there, that inevitability, change. At this particular time, it is up close and personal. A friend's son was badly burned doing bad things, and his life is changed forever because of it. Another friend lost his life, stabbed to death by his emotionally ill son. He did not want to call the police. He was afraid they would shoot his son. Huge loss to our community. This man was a blessing to the world. And, my father is in his end days, in the hospital and headed for a rest home, totally incoherent, bless his soul. This is actually an improvement. Before, he was just angry: at the loss of his driver's license, the loss of his balance, the loss of his vitality. There is something to be said about dying young. So, cowwoman is in a kind of purple mood, as you can see. It would be nice if things would settle down for a while, just kind of bounce along. Probably that will not happen. Probably I am the one that will have to bounce. Luckily, I have had a lot of practice doing that in my 67 years on the planet. I can do that.
Monday, November 21, 2011
Have risen from my bed of pain. Actually, with my tower heater, 3 inch memory foam topper, Egyptian cotton mattress topper, 400 thread count sheets, thermal blanket, 5 quilts, and 4 pillows, one all downy, it was a sweet little warm nest for the last four days as I tried to shake off this lousy cold. Just couldn't do it any more, and must be a little better, because I took a bath, got dressed, and went out for a little while, too. Still not operating on all cylinders, but delighted to be vertical nonetheless. And while I was upright, I took a few moments to do this portrait of some koi. Fish are ideal subjects for pastels since I tend to leave things rough around the edges, and not smooth much out, and the paper emulates the scales! I did some smoothing with the water, then went back in and roughed it up, too. Very satisfied with this rendering. Great value contrasts, dynamic hues, painterly, not too coy or sweet. Just right. Thank you, HP.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
So, this rotten cold that reared its ugly head on Wednesday freakin' night is still whipping my butt, on freakin' Sunday, which means that instead of sitting ever so elegantly in my seat at the local performing arts center, preparing to be immersed in Mahler and Brahms, I am sitting in bed with Pickle on my lap hogging the thin stream of heat emanating from the tower heater and poking her flat nose into my book. I pride myself on an immune system of steel, fortified as it is with vitamins and selected supplements. Certainly the recent infusion of pumpkin pie hasn't compromised it? You think? Well, if I felt decent, I would fix myself something healthful, like broccoli. Anyway, if I had cancelled my date with a very sweet man yesterday only to wake up all healthy today, I would have been mega-angry. So, happy to still be hacking up phlegm and popping cold pills like M&Ms, in my sweats, with a Pickle on my lap.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
Here are this year's flock. Actually, there seem to be two pods of gobblers, and one has only two toms in it. This is the larger of the two, with seven members. They should be getting smarter, as natural selection kills off the dunces who wander out of the neighborhood onto College Avenue, where traffic is seldom anywhere near the speed limit or inclined to slow down for a big stupid bird. And on that subject of stupidity, the cowwoman watched one of those mind-bending PBS programs last night on the nature of the Universe. Not a new thing for the cowwoman, who has read The Dancing Wu-Li Masters and The Tao of Physics, after all. And tittered up her sleeve at the scientists who think they can figure it all out. I was reminded of the true meaning of "quantum leap", which is the movement of the electrons when excited to another orbit around the nucleus of the atom, not really a journey but a blinking out of and back into existence. Gee, that's pretty amazing! Anyhoo, some smart hearts have come up with the Unifying Theory (theories are not facts, just the best possible explanation for observed phenomena, I remember that from geology class). Apparently the itsy bitsy world does not behave with the same rules as the hella-big one. The G force (gravity), the S force (strong force that holds things together), the W force, (weak force that allows atomic decay) and the EM force (electromagnetism) need some way to all be in the same equation, and that's what string theory says it has done. Holy Moley, Batman! However, string theory cannot be observed, and thus, cannot be proven other that mathematically, and that is not enough, guys! As if that were not frustrating enough, IF string theory is indeed the nature of our Universe, it allows the existence of more dimensions and alternative universes. The scientists are currently divided into pro and con string theory, and scratching their heads. In the end, both camps admit this is all very MYSTERIOUS. Gee, could it be that this is Universal Mind at work? Could it be that the Universe is smarter than these little carbon units crawling around on a tiny dirtball on the fringe of an insignificant galaxy somewhere out in Universal podunkville? Yep. Turkeys.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
So, I was sitting at the women's meeting this noon, listening to this quirky, funny woman share her experience, strength and hope, and she was talking about getting noticed, how she was always in this LOOK AT ME mode, because, like so many of us, she felt herself to be without any redeeming worth, and I looked down at my new faux fur vest, very soft and also very showy, gee, maybe that goes on for me? You think? I have always been a clothes horse. In high school, I was named best dressed, and I set some of the trends, like pleated skirts and knee socks, not a new look, but one that had not made it to northern California yet, for sure. I asked my sponsor once if she thought I was vain, and her reply was that there is nothing wrong with putting your best face and foot out in the world. And, gee, I got my new vest at TJMaxx, very reasonable. And I feel great in it. That is the wonderful part of it all, feeling great. And if I feel great, I think I look great, and then, whether I do or not, I am free to put my attention on others, like YOU. So I took all my elan and wonder and put it into this quick little study of koi. Kind of showy, themselves, you know.
Monday, November 14, 2011
The computer desk is out of control, again. You see, I get all this interesting stuff in the mail, stuff I never have time to peruse before it gets buried alive under new, even more interesting stuff. Luckily, the Kleenex box manages to float above all this flotsam and jetsam, because nose leaks like a faucet in this cold weather. But I digress. Time to divest myself of all this stuff, make room for new stuff sure to arrive today. So, goodbye Trader Joe's Food Pilgrimager, Land's End catalog, Anthem Insurance offer for upgraded Medicare supplemental, JJill holiday dressing event (15% 0ff!) catalog, Publisher's Clearing House announcement of impending millions (yes, I entered, what could it hurt), and assorted rags and mags. Somewhere in this mess is my seller's permit and coupons from the local craft store that promise 40% off those frames I have been coveting lo these many months. Almost ready to do that. So far today, I have done nothing. Well, I got up, brushed, flushed, made coffee, made pancakes, ate pancakes, drank coffee, took a bath, toweled and blew dry, exfoliated, did a cryptogram with the Pickle at my side, read my Thought for the Day (brighten the corner where you are message today), checked my Facebook page and email, had a second cup of coffee, and looked at the box I threw on the floor a week or so ago with the thought of cleaning out the bills in the filing cabinet to make room for the pile of them on the computer desk, keeping only the last year's for possible write offs on this year's tax returns. Okay, maybe that will happen today. Oh, and here's the reference photo I printed for a possible pastel painting. That could happen, too. Oh, it is all a mystery, you know, what will or will not happen today. Cannot wait to see.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
Well, it's been a rollercoaster ride of feelings all week long. It began with Monday angst, lots of noise (garbage trucks, rolling garbage cans, lots of barking, repeat 5 times), and usually, it rolls off me. Except this time. And I was pissed. Later, I was just sad, missing the Boo. Funny how that happens. I kind of roll along here, doing what I do, and suddenly, I get the pit of the stomach feeling that something is wrong. and then I realize, no Boo. Well, it is still fresh, and will probably be this way for a while to come. After all, we shared 13 years together, day in and day out. I am up and out of most of the funk, especially because I have begun to work again at the pastels, which make me so very joyous in the way they express my process on the paper. I did this on black paper, about 45 minutes of stroking away. Didn't need too much more, the idea just kind of did itself, and I love that when it happens. Now off to watch dumb movies and read a trashy novel, and eat my nut bar. And maybe begin another painting. Lord, I love being retired.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Have been somewhat slothful. Definitely, sloth is the sin of the week in the little yellow house. So I started this pastel, on black paper, which makes it ever so much easier. And am now wondering if it is done diddy done done, or am I just kind of whipped by the gray day and weeks of grief and inertia. Hell, I don't know. Just glad to have a pastel stick in hand again. Haven't even dipped into the NEW set yet. Somehow, it looks so sweet, all cuddled up in its foam pockets, I just don't want to disturb it yet. This is a little thing, not really needing big work done on it. Spraying it with fixative. Maybe a little clarifying around the edges? More coffee. That's the ticket.
On my recent roadtrip to the Oz that is Berkeley, through the marvelous country that is the north and east bay, I had one of those surreal moments when, sitting on my cushy seat, suspended in the metal cage on wheels that is my automobile, riding on the air in my tires on the macadam and over the bridge suspended over the water, I thought what an interesting existence this is. All those other beings around me, all enveloped in their cars as I was, do they thing about stuff like I do? Or are they just taking it all for granted, like this is all there is, their Escalade or Mercedes, their Civic or VW? Recently, PBS has been doing a program on the nature of our Universe, and, again, looking at it as a holographic projection. I read The Holographic Universe many moons ago, and the idea is not new by any means. One wonders - a projection of what? I like to think it is Universal Mind, the Great Spirit, or just plain old God, who has the Plan. Whatever, as I sat in my Focus, hurling myself forward, ever forward, I felt ever so at home here. This is a new thought process for the cowwoman, who often has felt alien in her own world. And, watching all the other beings swirling about on the freeways, I got ever so grateful to get home with my self and my vehicle all in one piece. Lately, I have run into all kinds of misery out there, in the big bad world. A hairy accident occasioned a feeding frenzy of emergency vehicles as I wended my way to the wilds of west county on Wednesday. PG&E had my route blocked off because of felled trees bisecting their power lines. An ambulance blasted by me later. Yesterday, police cars were all aglow beside the road to Costco. Lots of awful stuff happening out there. So, not complaining about how cold it is in the little yellow house today. And wondering, still.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
I have been seriously remiss in doing my Artist's Way exercises. I think I am just rebellious, angry that HP took my dog away, it is cold here, I need more money, and on top of that, THE HOLIDAZE ARE COMING - AGAIN! Oh, good to get that all out. So, a week late, I did the visioning collage that my two fellow travelers had already accomplished, except I did it as a sort of trip through my years of painting. The tiny image of the flowers in the blue and white vase in the center is the oldest work, and ironically, the largest in real life. It is hanging in the studio, unfinished. I have major issues about it, since my mentor, the wild man artist, had me change it a couple of times to suit his vision. Have changed it back to suit mine in one fit of pique, and now don't know where the hell to go with it. Definitely, it deserves to be finished! Six of these images are now gone. I sold four of them, and that is why I included them on this board. I want to realize that someone recognized them as artful and wanted to hang them on their wall. And only one was sold to a friend! Three went to complete strangers! Included here are oils, acrylics, watercolors and a pastel. Hey, I never knew how versatile I could be until I did this. I am not unhappy about any of these pieces, even the older ones. I see that I am doing just fine on this path I have chosen. And I remember all the fun I had creating just this little bit of my work. More fun on its way, soon. Yes!
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
The cowwoman braved the wilds of the east bay yesterday, traveling down the 101 corridor and across the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge. First stop was in Pt. Richmond, for lunch at Little Louie's Deli with my big kiddo, my son, who works there managing a section 8 housing development of 158 units. We had a sweet time together, and he took me on a tour of both sides of the freeway, which in this town is equivalent to both sides of the tracks. There was a huge lot full of new cars, newly offloaded from their trip across the Pacific from Japan. Great big oil storage tanks crown the hills, even above the up-scale subdivision. The refining is done on the north side, where the drug dealers loiter around trying to look busy. Beautiful parks and sweet beaches, too. Interesting, schizophrenic place. Then on to Berkeley and the Blick Art Supply, for these sweet half pastels, the ones I have been lusting for lo these last two months. Now, I got a great price. They are normally $80. I got them for $30, after I used the last $20 of my gift card. However, when you add is 3 gallons of gas, lunch for two, bridge toll, well, you get the idea. Still, an hour with my big guy, precious beyond words. Now to get trucking, make some art!
Monday, November 07, 2011
So, to illustrate what practice does, I did this quick sketch in Conte crayon, which is ever so much more dramatic than graphite because it gives such more satisfying value contrasts. This I did freehand, without any little cross to hang the pear on, and I did it in about five minutes, instead of the hour we spent on the first picky pear. And I like this image ever so much more, because it is rough, my process is hanging out all over the place, it is ME, this little fruit. Must find my Pink Pearl erasers, though. I know I have four or five, somewhere. Those little suckers will erase anything. Almost.
I have so much fun giving drawing lessons to friends. Little do they know they are my guinea pigs for proposed PAID lessons to folks I really don't know at all. Someday, it would be nice to pick up some extra cash doing this really fun stuff. This was the drawing I did along with my sweet friend Peggy. It started by sketching in the square of paper I put under the pear, then deciding where in space the pear was sitting. We drew a line noting the highest part, and a horizontal line through it showing the widest, noting that the pear is not equidistant, not by a long shot. Then we drew the contour of the pear around our little cross, in straight lines, between all the little angles. We drew over and over until we had a satisfying outline, then erased back. That eraser was always in the other hand. With some little hatching and cross hatching, we explored the interior of the pear, noting that there are light patches even in the shadowy side, and on the bottom, where the pear reflects the paper. We drew the shadow in contour, then did the hatching and cross-hatching there, seeing that the shadow is deepest under the object. We erased back to lighten the weight of the line where the pear was in the light, and darkened the shadow side. We used a stomp to blend the hatching, and put in all the sweet blemishes. My friend had a wonderful time, got a pretty fair rendering for her first effort, and left feeling like she had learned something. I did, too. I remembered the process and had a wonderful time doing my own drawing, something I have not done for a while. Actually, this whole lesson encompassed about two months of drawing class. I remember doing contour after contour, yearning for the good stuff like shading and modeling to come. That is why my lessons go where they do. Practice then becomes more fun and more rewarding. Back to practice.
Our community harbors a plethora of artists, all plodding away, doing their own thing. I visited an open studio yesterday at the Barracks, an old building left behind by a long extinct Air Force base we once had here. It is ideal for artist studios, and there were about a dozen or so displaying their art so bravely. My Thought for the Day was about doing what I would have others do, so I got to talk with many of the artists, ask about their path, ask their advice about my path. I left every one with a smile, and I hope my presence graced their day. Theirs certainly did. I noted that every one of them has developed and changed over the years. One in particular, she is a nurse by profession and only works at her art on Sundays, was all over the place in her process, from representational art to abstract, from tight to loose, all kinds of subject matter (though she seemed to like food a lot, judging from the watermelon and the cupcake and the wasabi bowl and the sushi). She admitted she just let the spirit move her, and that is what comes out on the canvas. I signed up for a workshop with an acrylic abstract artist, because that felt like a fun thing to do. She, too, is working on paper! I came home with my head swimming with ideas. Since the big mucking out of the studio, all my media is sitting obediently in it's own little cubby, patiently waiting for my next opus to commence. Today, I am giving a drawing lesson to my most timid friend. It will be my job to keep her from panicking. I am giving her a pear to draw. Big challenge. Ah, but I know some tricks! Learn and grow. And never stop.
Saturday, November 05, 2011
...an inventory of pieces by size, to determine how many frames and mats I will need to display the work produced in my grief-stricken frenetic opus. Answer: more than 80, of varying sizes! Well, I sometimes did 2 or 3 a day. Sort of like Vincent, right? And gee, he was maligned in his lifetime, poor guy. Ready to be maligned here. Just put me up on a wall somewhere.
Meanwhile, it is raining, real driving rain. Good time to have an extra hour of snoozing. And how happy is the cowwoman to have her blasted hour back? Not happy enough to let go of the original resentment, but pretty glad. Tiny smile in there somewhere. Let's face it. This has been a mega-difficult few months here in the little yellow house. As if things weren't bad enough, the cowwoman was subjected to an invasive and really uncomfortable ultrasound test yesterday. Now walking funny, and saddle sore. I guess it beats the old diagnostic of a biopsy. And I will give odds that there is NOTHING WRONG. Just thyroid hormones and stress working together to produce odd symptoms. Let us pray this is the end of all the life on life's terms white water on my river of life. Could use some smooth sailing. Oh, wait. Holidays loom. AAAAAARRRRGGGGH!
Thursday, November 03, 2011
The studio has been seriously tossed and organized. I decided no more new art supplies until I inventoried what I actually own. Here you see shelves categorized - used sketchbooks and reference photos, pastels, reference books, acrylics on the bottom. On top, a whole stack of brand new sketchbooks, drawing pads, watercolor pads, colored paper, you name it. The cowwoman is lousy with paper of all sorts. School work is put away in portfolios. Complete pastels are neatly stored between sheets of waxed paper. The big table is open and ready to supply working space for framing, the next project, and there is $$$ in the bank to do that. Oh, and did I mention, I got my resale license, now called a seller's permit, yesterday. I am officially professional here. Scared out of my tiny mind, again. How will I ever know if I can succeed if I don't put myself out there? After all, I have taken lots of flyers that took me WAY out of my comfort zone in the last few years, like getting on an airplane and flying to Rome, Italy, on January 1, 2000, or going back to college at 61 years of age. That all worked out just fine in the end, didn't it? Yes, I hung my diploma on the wall of my studio, too. I hear that the IRS is sure to audit me the minute I begin writing off all this expense, but I am ready to give them a tour of my home studio any time they want to drop by the little yellow house. Bring 'em on!