I didn't do any blogging in March?! And it's half-way through April!
I'm mainly posting on Twitter these days. And it's mostly Symon pics.
I purchased some canvas and got new staples for my staple gun, stretched four 18x24 canvases and have been planning paintings. But I ran into a snag (what else is new?). I love the texture in parts of my paintings. Here are two close-ups from the Sprite Fairy painting:
How did I do that? By screwing up old paintings. A few years ago I discovered a few things: I can't glue a really big piece of paper onto canvas - it will buckle as it gets wet. In scraping off that paper, I realized I liked the texture that it left behind. I glued some fabric onto canvas, then painted over it, then decided I didn't like it after all. When I pulled up that fabric, it left an indentation around it with paint. Sometimes bits of fabric are left behind. And gessoed over. That's how I got the wonderful texture above. By accident. By declaring failure and gessoing over. Ripping up, trying again, declaring failure, gessoing over.
And now that I am starting from scratch:
Now what? Crap! It's going to take a lot more glueing down, ripping up, gessoing over. And over. Bahhh!
So, that's where I am. Ready to go, but realizing there's a lot more work to be done.
How about some Pizza News? Remember the Carmelized onions? We made a pizza with sausage, plus carmelized onions and mushrooms, deglazed with Guinness. It was SO GOOD, but the sausage really got lost in all that wonderful carmelized onion and mushroom flavor - plus Guinness! So we made the pizza again, sans sausage. And didn't miss it.
And, just because, a couple more Symon pics. Symon always has to investigate when we turn on the printer.
While I was trying to take a picture, he suddenly jumped.
That is all.
This weekend, I finished my Memphis Three Journal with this piece. The writing underneath the drawing is about moving to Seattle (which we did in 2000).
Steve's eyes were so mesmerizing that I left them like that. It is reminiscent of Suzi Blu's Goth Angel, from her Angels class.
I had an idea for Suzi's Dream Imagery assignment from the Lovely Dream journaling class. This is a combination of two dreams. I decided to just do it in my Butterfly Journal, and also to leave the background very simple.
Here's another project that has been sitting around, waiting for me to finish it. I had two tiny stretched canvases, but I decided I don't like working really small, so I pulled the canvas off of them. I put the cross-stitch portrait test on one. This is what I did with the other:
First I sketched Symon in pencil. Then some watercolor. I liked it so much that I did very little embroidery over it.
After stitching, I touched up the watercolor.
It feels good getting stuff off my To Do List.
An episode of 'Wednesday Wisdom,' by April of Blacksburg Belle, was just on point for what I needed to hear. Check out her video here.
Do I want to be a professional? Of course I do! Yet I still don't act like it. I've been trying to quit continually doubting myself and abandoning ideas or projects before they come to fruition. That's not helpful. That's amateur behavior. But I can't seem to break those habits yet. As a result, I can't tell you what I'm doing to be a professional artist.
On top of that, I haven't updated any of my About pages since signing up for whatever social media I am on. My online presence needs an overhaul. All my avatars are a picture of me and Symon.
Am I an artist or Symon's Mom? Wait, don't answer that right now.
I have a lot of work to do.
For now, I intend for this blog to be my place to write. My Tumblr is for posting photos of artwork, in progress and finished. My Twitter is for Symon pictures, and other quick fun stuff, maybe art sketches taken with the cell phone. Facebook is mainly for keeping track of friends and family.
I follow some artists online who only post their artwork and nothing else. I don't think I want to do that, but I definitely need to start tipping the scales toward more art and less 'other.'
I am finally done with Suzi Blu's Fairies online workshop (now it's only available together with Mermaids).
For each Fairy I have a piece in my Butterfly Journal and then a painting in my Lovely Dream art journal.
Do you love that her Path is coming out her Vagina? I do!
It feels good to be done with something.
We brush Symon's teeth twice a week. I know what you're thinking: That's crazy! My cat would never let me do that!
Well, you have to start when they are kittens to get them used to it. And, like baths, you have to be gentle but firm. Symon doesn't like it, but we do it anyway.
And: bad teeth can lead to other health problems. A cat 'Dental' costs several hundred dollars. We know - we've paid for them for our previous cats. You have to take the cat to the vet, they are put under, their teeth cleaned, sometimes teeth fall out. Then you get a really big vet bill.
Isn't it a better option to do a few minutes' worth of brushing a couple times a week?
Steve picked up another tube of cat toothpaste at the vet. They keep track of our purchases and were impressed we are actually using the toothpaste. Symon is worth a little effort.
I recommend you Google "How to brush a cat's teeth" and a lot of instructional videos and websites will come up. We watched one that demonstrated the brand of toothpaste that we use, including the little brush that comes with it, but the brush has really stiff bristles and is too small. We got a baby's toothbrush for Symon. You only need to brush the outside of their teeth - their coarse tongue takes care of the inside of their teeth.
This is a 2-person job. You can't just expect a cat to let you brush his teeth while he sits there. They don't like it. Symon loved it when I just let him lick the toothpaste off the brush, but when I started brushing his teeth, he started backing away.
We determined that the best way to do this is to have Steve hold Symon while I brush his teeth.
I do several brush strokes on each side, three times. So it's brush-brush-brush...pause while he licks his chops and opens his mouth...brush-brush-brush...lick-lick...brush-brush-brush. I also brush his canines.
This is about all he will tolerate in one sitting. We schedule it twice a week (every Monday and Thursday).
Good Symon. Now you get your wet food.
Sometime in March we increased the teeth-brushing to every day. So, every night Symon gets "Brushy-Brush!" We brush his teeth, then we brush his fur (different brushes) (ha). Then he gets his wet food. Then he's all happy.
Working on my Suzi Blu Fairies assignments, although I'm not painting them like she did in the class. Not even close! I'm taking her descriptions of the various Fairies and determining my own presentation of them.
Since I did some in my Butterfly Journal, I am continuing. Here is Pixie Fairy in my Butterfly Journal. This face drawing was originally going to be inspired by a Frida Kahlo painting, but I realized she was Pixie, and I erased the drawing on the middle page (a figure with vines, leaves and cats). Oh, horror, I abandoned a drawing and turned it into something else! Yes, erasing and changing my mind is okay.
She looked younger and happier before I added color. That's what I like about drawing - the faces change expression without my intention.
I mentioned before that the four Fairies were on 18x24 stretched canvas, and that I tore them all off and glued them into my Lovely Dream journal. This is Pixie - just a measured face and a sketch.
Did I mention that I stopped measuring faces with a grid? These were done before. Now I'm just drawing a vertical line and a horizontal line and going from there.
This is Sprite, also in the Lovely Dream journal. To be completed last.
Dark Fairy's face. I'll show all of her when they are all done.
And Fairy Godmother face. I left it quite sketchy, and I like her that way.
Working to complete some things, but not afraid to abandon others. Getting better at this.
Note for the Future: Going to be moving toward posting more art and less 'other.' Will be changing my profile pics to artwork vs. me and Symon. From my online presence you would think I have a cat named Symon and nothing else! As I said, moving toward...
Symon loves his Tape Balls.
The Tape Balls came about purely by accident, when Symon was still a Junior Kitten. I had taped some paint swatches on canvas to my big drawing board with masking tape. After a couple of weeks, I was taking them down, wadding up the masking tape into a ball. Suddenly Symon was at my side, pawing at the tape ball. Oh, you want this? I threw it and he RAN after it, scrambling around like it was the best thing he'd ever discovered.
Sometimes Symon will 'fetch' the tape balls, trotting back with one in his mouth.
He doesn't fetch so much anymore, but he will run by with one in his mouth and drop it by my feet, then keep running. I find that hilarious.
Symon can leap as high as 5 feet and often 'pops' the Tape Ball, like a Volleyball player. He can also spike the ball, bouncing it a foot in the air from the carpet. He likes to scramble all over the comfy chair like it's a jungle gym. He'll park between the chair and ottoman and when we toss a ball he flies up into the air to hit it. Once on Twitter @IAMS asked if our cat had a profession what would they be? This is why I said Volleyball Player.
Through some trial and error, I found the best method for making a Tape Ball. Symon doesn't like it if they are too big because he can't pick them up in his mouth.
Take one sheet of Page A Day Calendar. We always get the Cats Page A Day, and use the pages for notes, grocery lists, bookmarks, etc. And Tape Balls!
Scrunch up the page.
Then roll THREE pieces of masking tape, about 3" long each, around the scrunched up paper.
Scrunch and wrap. You don't have to completely cover the paper.
And you have a Tape Ball.
And a Happy Cat.
When Tape Balls go missing, we have to check under the comfy chair, and the nightstand next to it. One time Steve tilted back the nightstand, and there were 18 Tape Balls underneath.
Remember Jackson Galaxy's best cat advice: Structured Play Time! Give your cat(s) plenty of playtime - run them down! - and they will be Happy Cats.
Where am I going? No, not towards anything below.
What am I doing? I've been putting stuff away.
What am I putting away? All my old artwork.
For too long, I kept looking back over all the artwork I had done, thinking the answers were there. They were not. I made several large coptic-sewn journals. I glued in artwork, photos, and the many many MANY pieces of The Journaling Project. The rejects I burned (many many MANY).
They weren't all this good - many were just writing. Those many, many, MANY were burned away.
The Journaling Project was begun my last semester of grad school for my Master of Fine Arts degree. That was 1997. I worked on it for 12 years, daily writing and drawing on little pieces of paper. But then it became this obsessive thing, more about scribbling anything to not miss a day than a daily recording of my life, its original intention. It didn't help that I lived in an ugly place (Maryland), commuted to a miserable place (Washington DC) and had nothing of interest to draw, not even a furry baby.
Things are a little better nowadays. We have a furry baby.
I have been taking two Suzi Blu courses, A Lovely Dream (art journaling) and Fairies. Since 2011! I just couldn't get myself in gear to make much progress on anything. I still have some art journaling ideas I am working on, and one more ALD assignment (surreal dream images).
I have also been doing art journaling in the journals while putting stuff away.
I hardly worked in my Butterfly Journal at all (Fairies class), but am getting to it now, and I reworked my Dark Fairy so much that I finally just covered her up and started over.
I pulled the Fairies paintings off their stretcher bars and tore down the sketchy paintings until they fit into my ALD journal. HINT: Once you start glueing extra pages into a journal, in particular canvas, it gets kinda big and the covers may not fit. I pulled the back cover off (the one painted Phthalo Blue, of the famous Symon Paint-Bath incident) and will glue it back on when I'm all done with the journal.
For my ALD and the first Memphis journal, I made my own covers. I bought bookmaking chipboard, covered them in muslin, then canvas on the front. Then it occurred to me to buy pre-made canvas boards 12"x16" -DUH. I am putting them on the journals I have done so far (of old stuff). Two other Memphis journals, two Springfield, Misery and one for Childhood.
How long until I'm done? Not long, I hope. I'll guess June.
Then: Where am I going? I have a direction for my artwork, but I'm not ready to show it yet.
I've been clearing out a lot of clutter, both real-world stuff and mental clutter (thank you, Martha Beck). I just don't see the path yet. I thought it would take me all of 2012 to put everything away, and then I'd be done. What's that about the best-laid plans? Steve likes to quote an old miltary saying: Battle plans never survive first contact with the enemy. I did not finish the 'putting away' in 2012.
So my journey continues...