Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Shades of Gray

For me, issues are seldom black and white. Seems like there are lots of variables no matter what the situation and I can usually think of them.

Keeping track of sex offenders always seemed fairly cut and dry. In fact, the registry is a minor penalty. Truth be known I would actually want to cut off their genitals, but maybe that's just me.

Except for this story I read in the Post Dispatch on Sunday. Here's the link if you care to read the entire article.

In a nutshell.... it was 1993 and this guy was 18. He had consensual sex with a 13 year old. He didn't realize she was 13. She was apparently sexually active and dressed well above her biological age. I can see this happening as I knew girls like that. Not me of course, I was the chubby nerd girl with coke bottle glasses and braces on my teeth. Despite my raging hormones, no one would have ever wanted to have sex with me at age 13.

Once the guy found out how young she was, he went to her mother and apologized. The Mom forgave him. The girl's aunt, on the other hand, went to the police and some deal was cut where he would plead guilty then serve probation for 2 years at which time he was supposed to get a clean slate.

So this guy does the probation, goes on to college, gets married, has 2 kids, becomes a police officer. His wife has a small daycare operation in their home. They are living a good life.

But the whole clean slate thing didn't work out. He ended up on the Sex Offender registry of several states. He lost his job, his wife was ordered to close down her job and now he can't visit his kids at their school.

It seems sad to me, like there should be some way to cut this guy a break. I guess I didn't really imagine myself rooting for a "sex offender." But it seems black and white to me.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Thank goodness I can depend on Marian for documenting my life when I always forget my camera.

This was last night, my bargain outfit. Pants (previously mentioned diaphanous silk), that I got in Hawaii, my friend Lois scrounged through some rack for them (in my size only!), reduced from a crazy 3 digit price to low 2 digits. Camisole, same deal, I found it here though. The shrug is from a cheap Asian import store which fills in as my local version of Chinatown. Total = well under $100 for the whole get-up. Also intentionally loose enough to hide my stubborn holiday pounds.

See that bracelet on my wrist? The gold and diamond one? Well I lost it last night but luckily a friend found it. Ya think I need a safety chain!?!?

Speaking of diamonds. Smart mouth Marian thinks I need a diamond solitaire to go with my earrings. Naturally she mentioned it right in front of John, ha! What is not to love about this woman!?!?!??!

And doesn't John look cute by the way?

The end of a crazy (in a good way) week

I'd like to thank the Academy. Oops, sorry, I'm in the wrong dream sequence.

Seriously, I'd like to thank everyone from Chesterfield Arts for hosting a fun and glamorous fundraising event last night. Thanks for all their work bringing the arts to our community. And last but not least,thanks for giving my donated painting, Mother Bird, the first place prize at Art Feast. It was CASH ($500) and financed my bidding for the evening, allowing me to acquire a Paul E piece I was dying for, how cool is that!??! And what a rush to walk in to this fabulous evening and find out I had won a prize oh be still my heart, this is the stuff I DO dream about.

Of course this also meant my art had moved from silent auction to LIVE auction status. Oh my God, I was afraid I was going to barf when they auctioned it off and, as luck would have it, I was really (yes, REALLY) in the bathroom at that time, thankfully not barfing.

http://www.chesterfieldarts.org/index.html So here's the link. You can see past exhibits including "On my Word" which is a show I was in last year. And I expect there will be some photos of Art Feast shortly; there is just a promo photo right now.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Des Moines Here I come!

I am a crazed maniac right now because I found out I've been accepted into the Des Moines Arts Festival. The #3 show in the country. Only 150 artists. The competition was fierce and I just can't believe it. I keep pinching myself I am so thrilled.

I have had a number of show rejections and am relieved acceptances are starting to roll in cause I need to make some money. How crass is that? But my cute little car is being a pain in the you know what. We had 2 separate car repair incidents this week with a total cost over $1000. Ouch, not what I needed. I am very disappointed in this car, my adorable "I'm going to keep it forever" red Saab. Only 54,000 miles and it seems to be falling apart. GM, what have you done to these cars??????? Needless to say, a new car is not in my near future.

It is rainy and gray outside. I'm in the studio all day though which makes me very happy. Then we have to get dolled up tonite for a swank fundraising event for Chesterfield Arts. I painted my toes for the occasion. Toenails I mean, I'm not that nuts.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Be, Bee, Bejesus?

I am buzzing right along on my list and feel very invigorated this week. Of course I am probably boring the bejesus (did I just say that?) out of everyone.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
be-je-sus; be-jee-zus
Function: interjection
Etymology: alteration of by Jesus-- used as a mild oath; used as a noun for emphasis
"scares the bejesus out of me"
At least I am using the word properly.

I love these old words and phrases. A friend used one on the phone the other day, "living the life of Riley." Stopped us both in our tracks and we started cracking up. It was so funny how it just rolled off her tongue as if she were channeling one of her deceased grandparents. Naturally I am going to use it in a collage.

I met with my big commission client last night. I had prepared a slide show of the layout progress and was hoping I was on the right track. You never know about this stuff and I was nervous. I've been working my butt off (figuratively of course - regrettably it is still back there, still too snug in sexy jeans, still encased in old lady jeans). I explained the process to the client. Mainly scanning, retouching and doing layout of nearly 150 photos spanning five generations of her family. Working 2-6' x 4' side by side canvasses for layout, moving back and forth from one to the other. It is a crazy number of photos to work into one piece and I have questioned my sanity more then once these last few weeks.

But it all came together last night as the client was very happy with my work. So happy it brought tears to her eyes. Which felt incredible to me, not that I want to make her cry, but happy cry is good. And it was good to be on the right track. It will be much easier leaving for Florida knowing I have the layout done. When I return I will get down to the gluing and painting which is hopefully when the real magic will begin. I can't wait!

The other commission is coming along well too. Funny thing about that. Since I have been working on this mongo piece, it seemed so much easier to do the 20 x 20. Same way with the few 6 x 6's I have made this week. I felt refreshed when I returned to those familiar sizes and that was a nice side benefit.

I also talked to the gallery owner and have an appointment for them to view some of my originals. And get this.........they like my abstracts........woo hoo..........how exciting is that. So, if all goes well on that front, perhaps I can get my abstracts out there in front of an audience. Oh how that would please me.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Seems like my favorite hair styling tool of the moment is a dryer sheet. Yes, you heard me right........dryer sheet, as in the laundry product.

My hair is baby fine and this time of year it carries so much static I can hardly believe it. So if I even touch it briefly, say while getting dressed or, God forbid, running a brush through it, I get this wild electrified look. Remember when you were a kid and used to rub a balloon against your head (ok, I sometimes still do this to entertain the grandkids). Well, that's the look. The only way to calm it down is with water or to use a dryer sheet. Hence my new styling program. The nice thing (NOT) is I always have this Fresh linen scent emanating from my head.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A day in the life

Tuesday, here's how it went:

- Got up, had coffee, blogged my list, read some other blogs and email
- Scrambled one egg and warmed 2 pieces of thinly sliced turkey, breakfast of the week
- While eating I re-printed the edits for big commission, then worked in studio for 3 hours
- John and I messed around with the repros(as opposed to each other, how sad is that?) and still can't get the color right for this one painting. I ordered mats and clear bags
- Shower, clothes, makeup, hair - 20 minutes
- Quick lunch (plain Greek yogurt with local honey- which is supposed to help allergies and sinus- plus muesli) - 15 minutes while reading the mail
- Dentist, high marks for excellent dental hygiene, no cavities although old fillings beckon replacement. Yeah yeah I find more and more parts of my body beckon replacement at this point.
- Stopped at ABC trading to get a wrap for semi-formal event this weekend. Got this lacy shrug-like thingie that looks really cool and was very cheap. Plus it has sequins on it, tee, hee, hee. I always wanted to wear sequins and envisioned something way over the top. These are black and rather subtle really, not like my fuschia boa but that's a story for another day.
- Sprint store, traded my phone for a new one. The battery was shot and it actually cost less to get a new phone than it would to get another battery. I selected a phone that works as.........drumroll please..........a phone. This is a near obsolete item which you know if you have been in a cellphone store lately, it's all about multi-function. But I really just wanted a phone. One requirement only, I wanted to see the # of the incoming call on the front of the phone. The one I got is small, cute and black. It has outrageous ring tones. I lusted over the sleek Razor-like phone, in fact I actually pawed it in front of the sales guy. But it was way out of my budget. Their computer went down and I had to wait maybe 5 minutes extra which I was doing quietly, for which I was given a $20 credit (? huh ? since when did cell companies turn so polite???) promptly redeemed on accessories like a 2nd car charger so John and I no longer have to share. They transferred my phone book, voice mail etc for free. Got 300 more minutes a month plus free anytime minutes starting at 7pm(instead of 9pm) for only $5. Hooray for Sprint.
- Checked out new Nutrition store in the Valley. They are going to order some of my favorite food from CA that I can't find around here.
- Called neighbor kid to order Girl Scout cookies, yeah, that's not exactly nutritiously sound is it? Nor is it on my SouthBeach plan......
- Hemmed my diaphanous silk pants for the previously mentioned semi-formal event. Now what the f*%k was I thinking when I thought that hemming satin lined silk pants was within my feeble sewing capabilities........yeesh, several hours later I would have gladly handed anyone $50 bucks for taking these dudes off my hands. But they are done now and seem to be equal length all around which is something of a minor miracle.
- Dinner with John (Asian chicken stew, yum, my honey is the best)
- Caught up on a little Tivo
- Worked on computer for a couple hours. Scanned pieces for 20x20 commission, developed my layout, emailed client
- And I finally made a decision! No repros for FL shows. I spent some time reading the repro policy and it is clear as mud. So it seems pretty obvious to me - if I don't even know what they are saying, I shouldn't try to do it, huh? Hopefully we can get this together before 4 Bridges show.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Spinning my wheels

I feel like a worker bee lately. As we prepare for Florida, I have so much going on it's hard to keep everything straight in my head or on paper.

I am a list maker, always on graph paper of some sort......those squares, what can I say? Anyway, once I go through the ritual of writing it down, usually everything is committed in my head and I find I never have to refer to it again. But I do of course since the act of scratching things off is so rewarding. And yes, of course I have played that game where I do something not on the list then add it on just for the sheer thrill of crossing it off. Can you say anal?

But now I am in this place where I have so much going on I can't even remember to put it on the list. And the things on the list are not lodging in my head like they normally do; in fact, I am living by the list right now because I can't remember crap. And for me, that's a sign too much is going on.

Ok, so here goes......before we leave for FL......that is 2 weeks and 2 days.......I need to do the following:

1. Complete new 20 x 20 commission and mail to recipient
2. Re-do print-outs of photos for 6' x 4' commission, finalize layout and get background materials assembled/meet with client
3. Send CD of images to gallery owner who requested them
4. Write promo for custom work to hang in booth/prepare a questionnaire to use when someone purchases a custom piece, kind of a checklist (this may have to wait)
5. Finish more 6x6's for FL inventory, probably 2 dozen more, 12 which are in the works already
6. Review show entries that will be due during our absence/make decisions and just enter them already
7. Make final decision of repros, order bags, mats if necessary
8. Final inventory count for FL shows
9. Scan and Photoshop new photos
10. Review prices and prepare new price lists for FL, buy price stickers
11. Deliver ArtFeast donation
12. Deliver art to be photographed for slides
13. Email jpgs for slide preparation
14. Monthly altered book project

As I review the list it occurs to me some of these items are on here because I can't make a decision. They've been on the list for awhile now yet I still drag my feet. Hmm, I wonder what's up with that?I also see that I can maybe do one task per day and get it done. Obviously the 6x6's couldn't be done in a day, but a few here and there plus some late nights and it's do-able. NOT on the list are all the personal things I need to do such as pull out FL type clothes and see if they still fit.......

Sunday, January 22, 2006

We had the grandkids on Friday night and started out by picking them up at Daycare (or "school" as they call it). The conversation in the car went like this...

"There's an American flag."

"I don't see a flag," I said, baiting him.

"It's behind those trees, just wait Yia Yia and you will see it."

"Oh yes, there it is, wow, what a big flag!" I exclaimed.

"It's an American flag. We live in America." Aidan replies quite seriously. "America is on the Earth," he continues, "so is Madagascar."

A few miles further down the road......

"I would like to eat some macaroni and cheese."

"Well Aidan, it's your lucky day!" I said, "Because that is exactly what we are having for dinner. And we are having fish sticks too."

"I like fish sticks." he said. "We had fish sticks at my house last night."

He paused. "But I didn't get any because I was not being cooperative and was throwing a fit."

It was all John and I could do to keep from bursting out in laughter.

Friday, January 20, 2006

And we're not talkin' donkeys

I survived the Yoga practice. It was definitely challenging but I was able to do all the postures. Afterwards I was floating on air. It was only later when I felt like I had been hit by a very large truck as I was really sore but in a good way. Got the t-shirt too, or two I should say. In a moment of excess (yeesh, even at a Yoga function I couldn't maintain balance!) I was indecisive so got both short sleeve and long sleeve. I was just so drawn to the Pure Yoga logo, it pulled me in.

Rod Stryker is such a compelling teacher and I would enjoy studying with him again, preferably if I were in better physical condition and a little more experienced. I believe he comes to town once a year so I have time to get ready. He did a little bit of lecture before the practice (the classes were teacher training after all) which was excellent, very inspired yet down to earth. He also inserted bits of humor which I didn't expect and found very cool. His quiet passion made me want to study the history and philosophy of Yoga. It prompted me to pull his recommended reading list off the website and I am going to get started on the books.

Plus he is easy on the eyes. I know you probably shouldn't say that about a Yoga teacher but this man has the best looking ass I have ever seen. I kid you not. And I know asses.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Oddly enough, Merlyn likes ricotta cheese. So does Gil. And how do I know, you might be wondering? Well, I was having my evening South Beach dessert and they both cuddled up to me. I am sure they thought it was ice cream. Which in and of itself reveals more about my eating patterns than I would normally admit.

But anyway, I gave them a taste. And they loved it, just a little bite though was enough for both of them.

These cats teach me something every day.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Last night was my regular Monday night Yoga. In the last couple weeks I have been trying to do Yoga more frequently, about 3 times a week, gearing up for a workshop. Famous Yoga guru Rod Strycker is coming into town to conduct 5 days of teacher training. Each morning he does an open Yoga session that is 2-1/2 hours long which anyone can attend. I am signed up for 2 (!!!) of these sessions.

I have heard it is rigorous, that I should expect to work hard. I have heard he "likes to generate some heat." In yoga talk that means he's going to kick my ass.

My goal for the workshop is to avoid emergency medical attention. I would also like to be able to walk to my car afterwards.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

da Bears

"What's wrong baby?"

"Both my teams lost today," he said.

"Oh, I'm sorry sweetie. So........how many more games are there anyway?"


"Well I'm sure a new team will present itself," I consoled, trying my best to be serious. Which I mangled rather badly and ended up laughing hysterically to the point tears were running down my face.

"You probably think you're funny, don't you?"

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Who knew?

If you are one letter off on my blog address, you get a site for Bible studies. A mega site in fact.

And the rapture is coming. Read it here first. Luckily there is information on how to be saved. Maybe I still have a chance.

Probably not after this post.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Turns out that 111 is not my lucky number after all. Got Murk? was rejected(officially we call that "not selected" - it just feels like rejected) from the Layered, Stitched and Assembled show. I am sort of bummed. OK, maybe more than sort of.

Layering is kind of my thing you know. Or at least I think it is. So the rejection or not selected or whatever you want to call it feels a little bit worse because of that. And then the fact that I truly thought this piece was significant since I practically bled all over it, that's how passionate I was creating it.

I keep telling myself this is only the opinion of two people.


The Rock Knocking Incident

When we lived in California and I was still in my high paying corporate job I worked out with a personal trainer 3 times a week. Tiffany was a doll and I liked her so much I even followed her to a new gym. I got to know her husband Marty too. He was a potter of the starving artist variety and John and I bought several things from him including a wonderful fountain.

It is a large clay dish made out of natural colors. There are "rocks" in it, made of clay but they look quite real. They stack up in various configurations and the water pours over them.

When we first got the fountain I thought it would be a lovely Feng Shui accent in our home. I imagined relaxing to the soothing and blissful water sounds after I returned home from a stressful day of work. Or perhaps we would move it into the bedroom and I could fall asleep to a gentle babbling brook. John quashed that idea as he was convinced it would make us have to pee.

But our cats claimed it early on, say Day 1, as their water dish. And yes, what is even more insane is that we allowed it, even cooperating to the extent we removed their "real" un-used water dish from the laundry room. So today we have this lovely artisan fountain - situated on its own "display" table in our living room - that is basically a huge glorified cat bowl.

This time of year, when the house seems uncommonly dry, it is hard to keep the fountain properly filled with water. I will confess that John and I both forget from time to time to fill it with fresh water.

I awoke at 4:13 am, to the sound of knocking, persistent and annoying knocking. I burrowed down in the feather bed unsuccessful at my attempt to will it away. John was still asleep. I knew what it was of course. This has happened before, just not in the middle of the night. It was Merlyn, with his sidekick Izzy, both sitting on the table, Merlyn's furry paws in the fountain, batting the rocks around to create noise. Gil was involved too, watching from the floor because there was no more room on the table.

And this explains why I was up at such an insane hour pouring a pitcher of filtered water into our fountain.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fun weekend.

It started on Friday, during the day with my massage. Aaaahhh.........I needed that.

Then I met up with a group of women to see The Good Body, http://www.thegoodbody.com
Eve Ensler's new play. This time (unlike Vagina Monologues which I saw in SF with the ensemble cast) Eve is the whole show. And she is simply fantastic assuming multiple roles as she explores women's ideas regarding body image. The show is touching at times yet laugh at loud funny and provides intelligent food for thought. Needless to say, with my body (stomach) obsessions, this was precisely what I needed to see at the start of the New Year. Hilarious to hear Eve lament over her stomach which of course did not seem an issue to me(her stomach that is). But then she probably wouldn't find mine an issue either.

On Saturday I had to deliver the painting. My schedule totally derailed early in the morning with an email about a postmark deadline (thank goodness for Art Fair Sourcebook) for a show I had intended to enter. Somehow I had it on my calendar with the wrong date. So I immediately spent about an hour getting that together along with several other packages to mail. John headed to the Post Office and I went into the city to meet Rhonda.

Lots of work submitted for the show, some of it very good. I was number 111 which I thought was lucky. I feel sure it's someone's lucky number. Whether it is mine or not remains to be seen. I heard there were about 100 more works expected.

Rhonda needed to meet with a gallery owner to retrieve unsold items from a recent show. We decided on lunch at Kitchen K and went that direction. Ultimately connected with 2 of her other friends and hung out a bit plus got tours of their very cool and hip lofts. Met up with the gallery owner, Chris, and he is a terrific guy who already knew of my work, how cool is that? We went over to Philip Slein to see the new Tom Huck show and to say it is amazing is an understatement. Huge woodcuts of such incredible detail it is hard to fathom. Just inspiring.

Anyway it was my favorite kind of spontaneous day. I had to pinch myself I cannot believe how great life is.

Sunday I caught up around here. Wanted to get into the studio to make some art but it didn't happen. I was doing Photoshop stuff on the new commissions. Hours of Photoshop stuff, like an entire football game ripped by me and I didn't even realize it. Needless to say my shoulders are all hunched up again. I think I need another massage......

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Got Murk?

This is my newest painting which I am entering into a show at Art St. Louis. They are jurying off the original art, so I will deliver it today. The show is called Layered Stitched and Assembled, hopefully the jurors will find my work meets their expectations.

This is the third piece in my new abstract series and I have been working on my artist statement. I've been struggling as I know what these pieces mean in my head, but putting it into words is another matter. I mean that's why I am painting them instead of trying to write. But here is what I've come up with, keeping in mind it is possibly a work in progress and may evolve:

My paintings are layers of exploration. I build the piece with collage elements sandwiched over and under paint, soft pastel, and ink. Using sand paper, I intentionally distress or peel away certain layers. And out of the murkiness comes a moment. With so many things assaulting us daily, to preserve a moment seems sacred to me.

I would still like to "name" the series, like I have done with my Common Denominator work. That name didn't pop up initially though, so I suspect that, as time goes by, the name will come to me. Probably when I am in the shower.

And yes, Got Murk? is really the name of this painting.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Little Debbie

We are not talking snack cakes here, but real cakes. And brownies and cookies, and tarts oh my!

Lucky us, that our son-in-law Frank has pretty cool relatives, some we have even claimed as our friends such as his brother Chris and wife Debbie. I really relate to Debbie because she left a job as an attorney to become a pastry chef. Much as I left a career in the insurance biz to become an artist. We did it right about the same time. Plus we are about the same age. Plus she is irreverent and liberal leaning and says just about anything that pops into her head. Gee, imagine why I would like her?

Anyway, Chris and Debbie came into town over the holidays (or holidaze, as Jane http://seejane.blogspot.com/ would say). We caught up with them for lunch on Monday and had a delightful time. Debbie brought us treats. I waited all of about 2 minutes (until we were back in the car) to open the box and peer inside.

The most gorgeous assortment of brownies I have ever seen. At first I thought I would wait to try one, but the smell was irresistible. I picked up the brownie with great care, worshipped it briefly then took a modest bite. Oh my goodness, it was amazing - Debbie had surpassed herself. It was a very dense moist brownie that had been dipped (smothered) in chocolate with chopped nuts on top. Absolutely divine to die for flavor. I was polite and offered John a bite even though I was secretly hoping he would refuse.

I tried to entice him, "I think this is the best thing I have ever had in my mouth."

Raised eyebrows were his answer.

"Oh, I mean except for........" I said in reply.

Use your imagination. This is a family blog after all.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

What is this world coming to?

I watched ET (Entertainment Tonight) this evening. Yeah yeah, I know, how embarrassing.

Oh lordy, what's up with this Lindsay Lohan girl? I mean when did she launch herself into stardom? And the even bigger questions - HOW and WHY!?!?! Maybe it was her insightful performance in Herbie: Fully Loaded? Or her inspired role in Freaky Friday. Blond hair, brown hair, who knows what is real. Eating disorder, yes or no. Apparently she tells all in the upcoming Vanity Fair article, I can hardly wait.

This girl is 19 years old. Per ET she now commands 7-8 million dollars per film.

Hmmm. That seems fair.

Monday, January 02, 2006

First you draw a Circle

Just finished watching the movie, How to draw a Bunny, a documentary of artist Ray Johnson. What a terrific movie. It is an absolutely fascinating portrayal of this elusive man. Almost like watching a trainwreck in a certain way as I couldn't take my eyes off the screen, especially the footage of Johnson himself.

He is gone now, having committed suicide in a 1995 drowning incident that appears to have been his last event, possibly carefully planned and orchestrated. In death he has become famous and is remembered for many things -his collage works, the beginnings of Mail Art, the performances, his "nothings" and of course his bunny head drawings. Here is a link to an excellent summary of his life:

I found the movie thought provoking, a must-see for other artists. I'd like to say that I "get" what Ray was trying to do but it's hard to get. And of course that sounds so banal. Plus I think such a comment only tends to demean Ray's influence. I doubt anyone really gets his work the way he intended. And maybe that's the point? He was undefined in life and remains so in death.

What I do get is his passion and commitment. He had a purity of approach than lingers in my mind and, as an artist I felt a gut level connection. I want to see more of his art, better pictures than what I saw in the film; the collages inspire me. I think I need this book.