Tuesday, January 31, 2012
I went to see my teacher today in her Tuesday drop-in class. She pronounced three of the horse opus done deals. This is always good to know, that I am right in my instinct to STOP. A couple of others she made suggestions that I respect a lot, and I will be amending those, but not a whole lot. This one I did there, and not a good idea, actually, to work on something as complicated as this at a different angle. I usually stand and work flat at a counter. There, I sat with my board in my lap. As a result, my red horse got pretty wonky - too long in the body. Trimming him down is a feat, as I now have several layers of pigment in the background to cover my faux pas. Oh, well. The paper has two sides, you know. This frenzy of work keeps me grounded in a time when I feel very free-floating. Too much huge change going on here. Stretching myself as a result. Not a bad idea, I think. Okay, this one will be needing a lot of attention around the edges of things. That is where it gets complicated. In the painting, and in life in general. Bumping up against a lot of stuff at this time, that's for sure. Newness. Loss. Strangeness.
Monday, January 30, 2012
I have been reflecting on my life, back in the beginning, when I was wet and wild. I realize now that I am all dried up and tame as an old dog that I am grateful for being kind of bad. I have all these memories of guys I tangled with, in and out of the sheets. And places I went and things I did and, gee, it will all make a dandy novel someday, like after my mother dies so she is not shamed into the grave. My mother was married to my father for 69 years. No doubt they had some good times - many friends when they were young. But I doubt her memories in the sack are anything like mine. Yep, happy for the booze and the guys, the sailboat rides around the Bay, drinking at all the yacht clubs, the concerts on the grass in the summer, the strip Parchesi games, getting my portrait painted in the nude (once for my boyfriend, two more times for the sexy artist), yep, it was a hoot. So I painted these young'uns, just because I was remembering my frisky days. Black paper makes them all loose and sketchy, and I really love them now that I look at them here. Daring to be an expressionist! Still got it, you know!
Sunday, January 29, 2012
Challenging to do in this medium, those spindly legs, and it is coming together nicely, I think. Persistence pays off. Not happy yet with the particulars in the sky, but now that the horses are set, it is easier to get creative with the backdrop. Meanwhile, life is doing its thing here in the little yellow house. Had the first meeting of the Fourth Friday Brown Bag Lunch Writer's Group, and stirred up some stuff with my guy and gals. It looks like it will get off the ground, after some sputtering, and gee, maybe I will actually get to FINISH something I have begun. Very good at beginning, stuff, you know. Hot idea! Then, fizzle, fizzle. Everyone had their own thrust, everyone has their own medium, everyone has their own hangups. Nice to be among my people!
Saturday, January 28, 2012
It is my son's birthday. We already celebrated on Thursday with a dinner in a somewhat central location south of here, and though he was traveling with the commute, and his father, stepmother and I in the reverse commute, he got there first, and waited a long time for us, me in particular, as I couldn't find a parking place for the longest time. Important, you know, to honor those special days, and he is my precious boy, even at 43 years of age. I have been musing on the magic karma that brings souls together, to learn and grow with one another. Particularly, I am wondering why I cannot love Pickle in the same way I loved Boo. She is certainly adorable, with those huge limpid eyes, and she now lays in the exact spot Boo used to on the bed, and gives me the same stinkeye when I accidentally (or on purpose) wake her, usually to say good night. But, try as I may, it is not the same. Was it that wonderful dusty toasty smell? Or the little noises he made? Or that long, long pink tongue that could lick his eyebrows? Whatever, Pickle cannot stir the ashes and revive that flaming love. Oh, I can love her. It's just different. Loss. It's no day at the beach. And here are my newest beasts, still in embryo, and the most challenging yet, because they are so simple and really need the exact right definition, and it's just not there yet. Bringing in the big guns, the Senneliers, that should perk things up. And I could use some of that, too, some perking up. Soul is dragging on the ground behind me. Missing my baby boy, all grown up and gone, and my Boo, gone forever. Changes. Bleh!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
No, not talking about the new horse, though he is rather nice, n'est-ce pas? I woke up today and thought, oh, hell, DENTIST. Well, it was just a cleaning, and gee, I had other errands to do, anyway, so off I went, just a little frazzled around the edges. I have conquered my fear with this very sweet dental office, where they know not to make any sudden moves. This was for my cleaning, and my experiences have been something like that scene in Marathon Man, where an evil Laurence Olivier tortures Dustin Hoffman. And, wow, they used this handy dandy ultrasound thingy to clean under the gumline, then had just a minimal amount of scaling after, and not even a twinge of pain did I feel. A little polishing, and I was done. Even better, I got an atta-girl for my exemplary dental hygiene, definitely a first for this old gal. So, YAY. Done for six months, unless I sell a bunch of paintings and get enough for a couple more root canals and crowns. Slowly, but surely, getting all done here. And the painting, well, it has come a long way, and will probably stay this way till I see something that needs major adjustment. At the moment, nothing is popping out at me. I did this on orange paper, and it seems to have worked pretty well. Very excited about the subject. Actually, this was one thing I thought I couldn't do, not by the hair on my chinny chin chin, and then just did it anyway. Awesome! Thank you, Universe!
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
So many big life-changing events, and way out of my familiar routines. Hopefully, that will now settle down. It seemed like a good time to make a deliberate change, and dump Comcast, again. In my seven years in the little yellow house, I have had three different cable/internet/phone providers, two of them more than once. Now back to my favorite, Direct TV, who has set me up with the DVR in my bedroom, where I watch most of what I watch. Just forgot that now I have a new pantheon of channels to negotiate, and many are on east coast feed, so my familiar shows now come on three hours earlier. Strange, but true. Now I am even more disoriented in my own tidy little abode. And then there was the trip to the Comcast command central to return my equipment, which I polished up for them. Comcast is like the DMV. You take a number based on your business there (pay bill, equipment issues, new service, etc.) then sink into one of their cushy couches and wait. I think Bozo the Clown decorated for them, in gray and chartreuse, with little bubbles in the carpet. Really enough to cause an acid flashback. I had my spiel all memorized, excuses why I didn't want their godawful service any more, like I lost all my DVRd shows beaucoup times, and had to stand on my head to get my email entering my password every single time to get an email overview before actually getting to my messages, what was that all about, anyway? And, of course, they raised me $40 a month, almost right away, and I didn't even have ALL the premium channels in the back room, and NONE in the bedroom, and setting up a recording to repeat every day so I could see my soap opera at my convenience was just nutso, pushing buttons and praying. So, of course, no one wanted to hear my sob story. In fact, most of the customers in the funny farm lobby had equipment in their laps, too. I paid my bill, gave them back most of their equipment with a promise to bring back this strange black box with the blinky lights at my earliest convenience, and voila, all set up with my favorite provider. I think. Phone is a little strange, and where are all those additional PBS channels, anyway? I took a little vacation from fiddling with the new guide and started my third horse painting. This is what a beginning looks like. In this medium, it never gets all that fine tuned, and I like to keep a record of the process, just in case I go too far, and have to backtrack to a fresher point. Painting is the only thing that feels grounded these days. So happy to be back in the saddle, so to speak.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Oh, it is soooooo wonderful to be back to creating instead of packing them away into frames. Okay, still some to be done there, but I have some time, like a month, to get it up to snuff. Meanwhile, a new opus has begun here in the little yellow house. Not unhappy with either one, actually. It really is a matter of discerning light and dark, and being judicious about measuring, so things do not wind up too long or too short or too fat, etc. And this was done on black paper, my favorite way to work in pastels, so I will be ordering a big bunch of it soon, as none of our local art supply stores carry Fabriano Tiziano in black. Didn't know I was so discerning, did you. Learned this at one of the many demos I have attended, learning what the manufacturers of art materials have up their sleeves. I put the first horse pic up on my Facebook page, because friends have complained lately that there is not any new art. Like, I can just push out a piece a day or something. Oh, wait. I did TWO today. Well, that should make everyone happy. I know it worked for me.
Once upon a time, when the cowwoman was a teeny bopper, her favorite books were My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead, and they had all these amazing illustrations of the horses, and she would copy them in pencil, tongue tucked between teeth. And some of those drawings were kind of awesome, but she never showed them to anyone, so no one said, gee, you're an artist! Well, gee, now I am an artist, and I can get all excited when I get a pretty good drawing on the page, even in it embryonic stage. Wow. That's all I can say at the moment. Don't know why this has emerged so dynamic. Attention? Like, look at the negative spaces? See into the colors? Practice? It's a mystery. At this weekend's demo, of Gamblin products, really interesting stuff, actually, I sat next to an older woman (older than I, and that's hella-old), who complained her drawing skills were less than stellar. And I thought, me, too. Now I see that, with some attention, patience, and more than a little luck, I can do THIS. Lucky. Grateful.
Sunday, January 22, 2012
Haven't picked up a pastel in many days here and now, don't seem to have much going on in the inspiration department. Little bird with great hairdo. All messy and kind of diffused and kind of a mess, if you ask me. Well, it will come back. I will just keep slapping away. After all, the paper has two sides. Do you suppose they set it up that way just for folks like me? Just happy to be back at it, after long hiatus. Maybe I'll lay an oil palette, after all.
Did I mention that I sold two paintings, right off my kitchen wall? Well, one was from the series of four, and I liked the grouping, so I figured I would just diddle up another one to fit into that slot. Except. The four were all done on colored paper, and that is currently backordered from Blick, and has not come yet. Therefore, this little ditty was done on yellow paper, much lighter than the black and the red, so it is very pastel in comparison. Also, the mat has a larger opening. So, it won't do. Not at all. Well, not as one of THAT four. Now I will have to make three more of these to match this one. Gosh darn it. I will have to PAINT. Nuts. How sweet it is, really.
Saturday, January 21, 2012
I was busy this morning doing 9 things at once, like, if one is worth doing, well, nine must be ever so much more productive, so, of course, Pickle flew the coup. It is always MY fault, you know. I had left the gate ajar in my haste. So I threw on some shoes and off we went, on our merry chase through the neighborhood. At one time, I got ahead of her and had her herded toward home, then she veered back and went around behind a neighbor's house, where I trapped her. Meanwhile, the neighbor woman was yelling at me to get out of her yard. Gee, if that were me, I would have said "can I help you?" in my best passive-aggressive snotty voice, so that when I found out the interloper was actually retrieving a beloved pet, I could backtrack, and even come out to help. This poor woman just snorted that she had not seen the dog, and, despite my groveling apologies, continued to glare at me. Now, I feel sorry for folks like that, who are so uptight they cannot back down once up there on their high horse. And part of me got all ashamed that I cannot control my animal, or watch after her well enough to keep her out of danger, and gee, what a screwup I am, etc. etc. etc. Then I decided that I would just be human today, and admit that I am not anywhere near perfect most of the time. And especially not when it comes to devious little Pekinese Pickles.
Friday, January 20, 2012
...any wall that is not my own, that is. Now have 17 little paintings framed. This is a huge accomplishment, considering that the wheels fell off my life recently and I have been totally without any poop in my engine. As usual, this was an adventure for me. I used the Beverly's craft frames first, they were really simple, followed by the Village Arts frames, ditto. Then I opened the boxes from Blick, and scratched my head. These were deeper than the others, deep enough to hold a canvas, but they had a lip front and back. How does one get anything inside? And it appeared there was no glass! Hell! I had 10 of these and it looked like I couldn't use any of them! So I did what I usually do. I went to a meeting. On my way, I remembered that Blick told me that they shipped with plexiglass. Okay, so maybe that surface really wasn't shiny posterboard. And there were these flange thingies in the corners that screwed in. Maybe I was supposed to take the frame apart? You think? I came home and did just that, and lo and behold, they worked just fine. Diddled up some dandy little cards for the prices, and a couple of friends came by and I have now sold two of them! $300.00! Maybe they are underpriced? Whatever. Hope they fly off that wall, when I find it.
Thursday, January 12, 2012
Have I mentioned that there was a mouse living in my stove? Many mornings of tracing miniscule droppings revealed this to me. I tried blocking the sides of the stove so he could not get onto the counters, then realized he was coming up through the burners. Every day, I bleached the counters to within an inch of their lives. I decrumbed the toaster, even. Lately I had been wrapping plastic wrap around the heavy burner covers, hoping that the little devil would get frustrated and just move away. I had especially bad mouse karma in the house on the edge of the world. I put out Decon, and they died in the most inconvenient places, like the linen closet and my gym bag. I was doing laundry with baking soda for weeks. And I really did not want to kill the mouse, just make it go away. Well, last night Pickle got all excited about something in the corner of the bathroom under the pedestal sink. I showed her a couple of times there was nothing there. I keep a plastic basket there full of my bath accessories. Nothing in it. Well, I didn't look in the big plastic pitcher I use to rinse my hair in my bath. This morning I did. I didn't have my glasses on the first time I looked, and I thought it was dead. Further examination revealed otherwise. And it was the most adorable tiny creature! I am so glad I didn't kill it. And, now, I know how to catch mice! Just put the pitcher out with some food in the bottom, next to a place they can climb up to get in it, and voila! A pitcher full of mice! Cheap, too. So, thank you HP. Hoping for better mouse karma this time.
Saturday, January 07, 2012
Being creative is also a leading contributing factor in being addicted, to a substance or an activity. Thinking of that writer (William Burroughs?) who shot his wife to death at a party, doing his William Tell imitation. Van Gogh, and his partner in crime, Gaugin, both died alcohol related early deaths, probably both were suicides. Depression, gee, there's another favorite of creative folks. Schuman leaps to mind. He spent his last year's in a mental institution. Schubert and Delius died of syphilis, after lives of debauchery. Tchaikovsky drank a glass of water infected with cholera. Hemingway, Faulkner, Fitzgerald, rampant alcoholics. Hell, it goes on today. Look at the mugshots of celebrities, people who have lived the American dream of wealth and fame. Nick Nolte, Mel Gibson, even little Lindsay Lohan. You can see the disappointment in their eyes. Is this all there is? Well, not by a long shot. But what is wanted, what is missing, is not a new hotel in Dubai where rooms begin at $35,000 a night. It is the substance of life, the inner journey, one that has no price tag and does not involve credit cards. Meditate, goddamnit! Help someone else! Create something! Oh, and this little ditty came out of my last figure drawing class, near the end of the semester, when I was just glad to have completed all my assignments, and didn't care all that much what happened on the page. Ink does that for me. Can't erase it, just have to let it flow. Rather surprising things happen when I go to that place, where I am totally nutso and know that I am directed by Something larger than my self. Wish I could live there more often.
Okay, I have been schlepping around in my friend's Facebook postings again, and came upon this article, posted by a fellow artist, about the correlation of creativity and eccentricity. Gee, you think? We are all just nutso, we artistic types. As for I, I am trying to go further out on the disinhibition limb than ever, because being inhibited makes for mundane art. I was looking at this little painting today, which lives in its cow gallery on the wall of the studio, and I could see that there is expression in his little face. Makes me want to become a vegetarian, again. I don't know how that got there. Surely, the reference photo was not so expressive. Cows just seem to look without any emotion on the world around them. But here is this animal, destined for the slaughter house before long, looking back at me with such dignity. Oh, hell, I am just a crazed person these days. Not painting, because I have sentenced myself to framing all that I can with available supplies before allowing myself the luxury of opening the new 80 piece set of pastels. Believe me, this is torture. And grief over the loss of my father has me more or less hamstrung, anyway. Doing ANYTHING is a grace beyond words these days. Giving myself strokes for making the bed, or cooking up a pot of potato leek soup. Back to my eccentricities. I believe that, if we can imagine it, it can exist. Therefore, somewhere out there is the Starship Enterprise, or Hogwarts School of Magic, or Middle Earth which is full of Hobbits and Orks. I believe that extraterrestials come to us from alternative realities, parallel universes. I believe that the fundamental element of our Universe is consciousness. Oh, wait. Some of the physicists believe that, too. And none of this matters, anyway, because, according to another of my more sanguine Facebook friends, the world will end on Dec. 21st this year as predicted by the Mayan calendar. It was nice while it lasted.
Friday, January 06, 2012
I took this one apart three times to adjust the image under the mat, to wipe a fingerprint off that got there because I took it apart, and to wipe away a little dust mote that snuck in while I wiped. There is still a tiny spot on the mat, right in the middle under the image. Don't know whether that is worth taking it apart a fourth time. All this shows my head is in the nether regions and I should just lay low for a while till the dust settles. We are marching forward here, very slowly. The memorial service for my dad is set, I am in a dither about providing food, though that may be taken care of by friends and neighbors anyway. I seem to remember that is what everyone does when death occurs, cook and share and eat, sort of an affirmation of life going on. Not a bad thing. I seem to remember a lot of sex happens around these events, too, another life affirming act. Well, food is enough for this old gal. Meanwhile, the lily looks fine, doesn't it. I can only do one at a time, really, so why worry that there are 20 or so more frames to fuss with? It'll all be done someday, and then I must manifest a wall somewhere to hang them all. This thing about being an artist is so very interesting. As soon as I think of hanging a show, I get a lump the size of Brazil in my throat. What if I am no good? Or, worse, what if I am pedestrian, pedantic, mediocre? Nah, swallowed the lump. It is what it is. Love me or go away.
Monday, January 02, 2012
How does on frame 90 pieces? One at a time. And I just realized that I should wait for the mats to arrive, because I only have 4 more in this custom size, and there are 35 winging their way to me, even as I speak, and a bunch more frames, too. Does this mean I can lay an oil palette and happily slap away at some of my old works, getting them all edgied up? No, probably not. I still have my lyre easel that I gifted myself with in its box. Okay, maybe I can spend this awful holiday putting that thing together, and then, I will be ready for another year of creating weinie paintings. Let us pray they will all get a lot less weinie in 2012. I think I am on the right track here. Never too sure, you know. And painting has been my release. It soothed me through the loss of my beloved Boo. Now have another loss, Lefty has left the planet. I always ask the dear departed to visit me, let me know they are safe and happy. Boo has done that. Dad, are you listening?
Sunday, January 01, 2012
The assisted living environment called me just before midnight to tell me my father had passed away. I was the first, and then my mother. I felt really awful that I had taken my sleep medication and could not go to her, but it was what it was. I refuse to feel guilty that he passed before the old year ended, like that would make any difference, but so many challenges were thrown at me in 2011, I would hate to begin 2012 with his death. My parents are more or less strangers to me. I am not alone, my brothers agree. They were not people who could risk showing love. Mother is better, I will admit. At least now I can hug her and give her a kiss without her stiffening up like a telephone pole. Perhaps this will hit me later. For now, I laid awake for long hours in the night, groggy but alert, and am now really tired, as is my mother, who I visited this morning to see how she is. All the necessary arrangements have already been made - the mortuary is ready, the will and trust are all in place, Dad even put together the information for his obituary. He was a prominent man in his small element. Yet, there will be just a private service. Strange people, my folks. Personally, the world can come to the celebration of my life. I want my kids to dance and sing and be joyous that I was part of their lives. I would love to feel this way about my folks. Sad that I don't.