Monday, December 31, 2007

Final pages in the Visual Journal

Some Finished Pages in the Written/Visual Combo Journal

Experiments with Spray Paint & Stencils

Highballs High Heels! - some finished layouts

This is what the layouts look like after The Pen has Landed!

New Year's Resolutions

Normally I never get introspective at this time of year. I usually just somehow 'program' my mind with the new year's number and go forth. It's in July, on the date of my birth, that I tend to lean heavily on personal assessments, goals, etc. But today I completed my visual journal, and also my combination written/visual journal, leaving only my work in the altered Highballs High Heels journal (which is about halfway done).

I'm fragmented, if you want to know the truth. I have far too many irons in my artistic fire and suddenly the turning of the annual tide seems a necessary nudge in my side to pull in the irons and assess the art.

What I love: words. Paint. Paper. Images. Pens of all sorts. Communicating with family and friends via letters contained in homemade cards. Shooting pictures.

I've distracted myself with other modes of art to the point that I haven't created a card in eons, let alone written anyone a letter. My journals merely confuse and chokechain me -- they're all visuals & pretties & experiments & embellishments, but no room for writing. I write teensy condensed thoughts in teensy downsized handwriting that, later, I can't even read for the underlying layers of paint, pictures and STUFF.

Then there is my blog. I love it. I love it because it's words, ideas, pictures and sharing all at once. It's got me writing again, even if just small focused vignettes (i.e. Reflection). It's got me out off my lethargic butt taking walks in order to shoot pictures.

So here are my resolutions, which feel more concrete, like actual DECISIONS and not just 'things to attempt':

1. One journal, a written journal, in a lined spiral notebook like in days of old, using either my Staedtler extra fine point colored markers, or my plain old Bic ballpoint pens.

2. Revitalize my old list of friends and family for whom I want to make cards and to whom I want to write letters, and start again.

3. Finish the Piccaso-Esque cat canvas, and then no more commissions for 3 months while I get my priorities realigned and they can become HABIT again.

4. Studio purge in a cold-blooded, ruthless manner, to clear out the incredible accumulation of stuff which I love for loving it's sake but not because I'm ever going to use it. Sentiment has to be secondary. For example: a cigar box full of old watch parts gives me shivers of delight to look at, but there are those out there who would actually put them to use. The art I most love and want to do centers on paint, paper, poetry and photos, NOT embellishments. It will feel like amputations, to let some of these things go. I'm preparing myself for that.

5. Continue to 'organize' my blog. I want more purpose to be evident in what I post. The "Reflection" and "From the 'Hood" features are the start of that.

That's quite a lot, I think. I want to talk to myself more about getting back to reading books and enjoying movies, cooking special family meals, that sort of thing, the not-related-to-the-studio refreshers that boost me so much but which I have let go because of the art demands I've placed, self on self.

If I chose one word to sum up the impact I want 2008 to make on my world, it would be this:


New Sewing Box (Gift from Cam)

Ooh, keys. Shiny, old-fashioned shaped skeleton keys. I love old fashioned skeleton keys! What, oh what, might these lovelies unlock? This was my Uncle Dave's humidor. Uncle Dave's doctor recently restricted Uncle Dave from further cigar smoking. (I really should send Uncle Dave a sympathy card). Uncle Dave sent the humidor to my brother, Wog (AKA Cam). Cam is trying to quit smoking, also. What to do with Uncle Dave's humidor, then? The last time Mom and I were over at Cam and Chris', Cam walked out of his bedroom with this, saying, "Can either of you use this?" Well, duh! I had my greedy mitts out before he finished the sentence - Mom didn't stand a chance! I'd been looking at sewing boxes for 2 months, gagging on the prices at Joann's, and gagging on the interior stains/condition of the used ones at thrift stores. So yea, I can use this! The Universe gives again! Open sesame. Isn't it cool?! The top tray lifts out entirely. I love the feel of the wood in my hands. And I do love that smell! But alas, I will need to clean it out, then AIR it out, because while I may love the smell of cigars, I don't want that smell to permeate my sewing thread. Zoe knows prime real estate wshen she sees it. She interned for Donald Trump, dontcha know. Ok, she didn't actually, but she could have. She's smart enough, she's got the 'eye' for the DEAL.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Play Date

Today had to be a play day for me; I couldn't take any more of that blatherskite Picasso-Esque cat, I just couldn't! Whenever I'm stymied by something, tied up in emotional knots, highly pissed off, or otherwise 'in a mood', there are two things I need. The first is Stevie Ray Vaughn. Ok, he played the blues, but he is MY HAPPY MUSIC. His stuff is vitamins for me, my musical drug of choice, it gives me my everything back, in full color. His death is the only time I've ever cried over a 'celebrity' passing. I never got to see him in concert. The second is Led Zeppelin, The Mighty Zep. I can't go 2 days without listening to Zeppelin. I think I'd be a raving lunatic if I had to go 3 days; I'd seriously deteriorate that fast. They touch every note to be found within me, somehow. They summon ten million myriad memories, places, faces, experiences, ideas, dreams, for me. If they are serious about a reunion tour, I'm traveling, I'm in, I'M GOING. My parents wouldn't allow me to attend their concerts in the 70s, telling me I was too young and impressionable. I have regretted that to this day. I'm still in therapy about it, too. Long ago and far away, I purchased this tiny light table, knowing that at some point I'd be wanting to try cutting some stencils of my own. Today I dragged it out (after I searched about 20 minutes to find it! Eesh, Girl!!!) and started drawing some birds and kids and other stuff, experimenting. These are three stencils I cut this morning and tried out. I love them! I'm hooked! I'm signing up for the stencil club! I did all this morning's stencils with vellum, but now that I realize how much I like the result, I'll be getting out my stencil cutter and the sheets of stencil plastic I've been hording and considering. Oooh, I really REALLY like these! Two postcards, done. I poured some blue house paint onto wax paper in the middle of a plate and let it dry. This was -- wow -- a LOOOOONNNNG time ago. Today I took it down, stamped an image in the middle, cut out the circle, and painted the image. Then I added the bird cutout and some painting on the background paper. It will be a postcard to a friend of mine in Italy. This started life as a sponge in an Avon box holding a set of jewelry Mom bought me. Now it's the insert for a card I'm making my beloved Aunt Judy. I made a shrink plastic attachment out of a rubber stamped image I love. On the sponge itself is Lumiere paint [from 'the Exciter pack'] and a stamp of a woman playing the piano. I was thinking of the character 'Rose', from the movie Titanic -- when she was the old Rose, she said, "A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets." That's what the shrink plastic attachment means to me. A card I've almost finished for my beloved Aunt Judy. Oh! You ought to hear Aunt Judy play the piano, the organ. You ought to have just one taste of her homemade noodles before you die. You ought to have an afternoon in her yard with the beautiful flowers she plants and tends, the fountain and statue vignettes Aunt Judy has created. You ought to wear something sewn by Aunt Judy's hands. You ought to be allowed the vision, even just once, of Aunt Judy herself - a woman of such grace, with an elegant but shy bearing, always stylishly attired, with probably a scarf, a pin, and a pair of stunning earrings. 1. My Uncle Ray (the 'real' family artist) sent me a set of drawing pencils because I wasn't sure what kind to buy. 2. The background paper (the whitish/grey swirly paper) is by the brand called Basic Grey, which is my favorite of any of the manufacturers out there. 3. I loved this background paper and wanted to attempt something that felt like Venice to me, with lovely women drawn and painted by me. 4. So I did it! Oh. My. God. I did this? I would pay money for this if I saw it somewhere else.

Between Stevie Ray, The Mighty Zep, and that Venice-mood card actually made by my own hands and mind, I feel my confidence surging back to me. Maybe I CAN pull that blatherskite Piccaso-Esque Cat out of my creative hat!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Process Through The Pain

I knew if I didn't continue, I'd give up. I don't give up, so I continued. It's a perfect fit. Whew. So now I need to start papering the background onto the canvas. Blue papers - scrap heap. Even though I plan to stitch the stuffed cat down to the canvas, I still want the canvas 'finished' behind it.
Now I have to lay down origami paper within the patterns I've drawn behind the cat. When the stuffed cat goes down, the lines have to align. Oofda. Stoopid artistic visions, anyway! Sewing! Lined up fabric and origami paper patterns! I mean! The origami patterns are slow going, trying to get the outline shapes, trying to align everything. It looks like a flat out mess to me right now. I won't let Zoe, Sheldon or May see yet. Can you see where I'm trying to line up the fabric patterns on the cat with the origami paper? Well, I can. But not very well -- I'm cross-eyed from all that sewing, all this paper lining up. I need to go take a bubbly hot bath, read some of my Mystery Gift Book [Alicia, was it you?], and go to sleep. And take a cat-break tomorrow, I think. Yes, yes ... a cat-break. Definitely. Or I'm going to start lighting matches and throwing them at this canvas!

The Cat Made Me Do It

I received a catalog 4 days ago from some place I'd never heard of, but in it I found this skirt. Oh, I slobbered, I gasped, I clapped my hands, and I coveted it. But I'm a thrift-store shopping junkie - I LOVE the hunt, the search, and I'm really good at it. And spending money on new stuff I just point at on a virtual catalog page doesn't give me that same adrenalin rush. Still I'm realistic enough to accept that finding something like THIS skirt at a thrift store is pretty rare.

And then, today, I finished sewing and stuffing that mess of a cat.

And crying. And trying not to give up on him. And crying some more.

So then to distract myself, I paid ALL my bills, and (amazingly) there was actually some money left. And I was still crying. And the skirt was already 30% off, and there was a first-time-buyer coupon for another 40% off.

Yea, I ordered it. Only the color I chose is this soft soft mocha brown, maybe 2 shades darker than the shoes on this model in the picture. And with all the discounts, it was so cheap I decided to splurge and pay for expedited shipping, and I still didn't spend $20. I'll have it Wednesday (due to the holiday).

Ok, I'm still crying - I'm not the kind of girl who is 'cured' by shopping - just baths, back rubs, and good books. But now I feel a surge of The Little Engine That Could vibes about that cat ...

'I think I can, I think I can, I think I can ... '

Process - The Saga Continues (Please Pass a Kleenex)

Sustenance FIRST this time around. Food from the Gods: chile relleno, rice, beans, a flour tortilla, and lots & lots of toppings -- hot carrots, jalapenos, onions, guacomole, hot red chile sauce. I can eat Mexican food every day, all day long, every meal, and never get tired of it. Guess Phoenix is a great place to be for that! Today's materials. I don't really need the MuthaBlades. I just brought them along for moral support, and to let this bag of batting know who's boss. Today's Distraction For The Sewing Impaired (Double BB had to work). And the sewing begins, starting with the tail. Looks like the back end of a chicken that endured a nuclear meltdown. What it really is is that I didn't leave myself enough of an open seam to turn it right-side-out, so now I have to poke & prod with this paintbrush to get it all turned around before I can stuff it. God. I took this picture, then sat down and burst into tears. THIS JUST IS NOT WHAT I WANTED!!!! Not because the sewing is horrible or whatever, just because it doesn't look right. I felt this coming, the big waterworks episode. All this work and it's still wrong wrong wrong!
It's not that the cat isn't cute. It IS cute. That's the problem, in a nutshell. It's supposed to be Picasso-Esque, sleek, more contemporary. One of the two pictures I kept referring back to for my 'model' (patterns, interaction of patterns, not cat shape.) The other 'model' for patterns, layout. See how 'clean' it is? Sheldon, anyway, is ecstatic. "HiyooOOOO, Gato!" Yea, please -- ride that hideous cat into the sunset, go ahead!! Here, let me open the gate. Just leave me the kleenex.