Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ducks, in a row

Derek has been in Vegas since Sunday for a tradeshow.  He taught a class on how to stack mouldings in an interesting and most clever way (which, I must say, we are famous for) and this morning he is part of a breakfast panel.  I told him to make sure he gets me a job while he is there.  I've already got a possible lead on one thing, but it can't hurt to be prepared.  Get some ducks lined up.  Well, he may have come through.  Possibly.  I'm not sure.  He says he's not kidding, but we'll see.  Hmm.  This may be the year....

Speaking of none of that, I meant to tell you yesterday about the dinner I have been cooking lately.  As in four times in the last week.  You peel four carrots and chop chop chop them into matchsticks.  Throw those in a pan with some olive oil.  Flip them around, then add some salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Cook.  Add in a sliced giant shallot.  Cook some more.  While this is happening, defrost one of those lovely pieces of tilapia from the frozen section at Costco.  Take carrots/shallot out of the pan and add the tilapia.  Sear on both sides.  Add a little extra olive oil if it looks like your smoke detector is about to go off.  Put a lid on the pan for a minute or so.  Add some butter (organic, pastured butter if you've got it - mmmmmm) and dump the carrots/shallot back on top.  Put a lid on it again for a minute.  Arrange gracefully on a plate.  Admire your own genius.  Open your flip-top head and toss it all in.  Yum.  I could eat this every day.  Which of course explains why I had chocolate and potato chips for dinner last night instead.  Oops.

Getting back to the ducks for a minute, I painted another rooster.  I know, I know, but they're both fowl, right?

The background on this one is a bit startling.  When I was painting it, I opened the lid of that metallic green paint - it comes in a jar - and I had a senior moment.  The lid went flying and, as is always the case with me, it landed butter-side down on the carpet.  Once again I give thanks and praise to Windex.  I use that stuff more on the carpet than I do on my windows.

Oh, and here is the fourth of my mini Midnight Pears:

Wee.  I finally finished a word painting last night that I started a couple weeks ago.  No pictures yet - that'll be tomorrow.  I've got another one in the works but I'm a bit afraid to paint the words because I love love love the way the background came out, and I don't want to ruin it.  HA!  One of these days I need to finish the one I was so excited about back in July....

I'm designing myself a new business card.  Here's the draft:

I need to stop looking at it - see if I still like it in a couple of days.  Feedback?  Bring it.  Gracias.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Breaking news ... or not

I know it's been a while since I've posted anything, but in my defense there has been no breaking news.  Unless you count the beautiful pottery bowl I broke on Sunday.  *sigh*  It was my fave.  I'm going to keep using it as long as I can - a big piece broke off the lip but the bowl itself is still good.  With my luck I will be sitting on the couch one night, with something steaming hot in the bowl on my lap, and it will crack into a million pieces.  That'll be awesome.

Also in my defense, I am still totally without internet service at home.  I wait patiently.

Last night I picked up a sketch book leaning against the ottoman that is currently acting as my coffee table and sat down to draw a weird idea.  I'm sitting with the book on my lap, pencil in hand, and something catches my eye.  I don't know if I have mentioned it in the past, but I had a friend in high school named April, and April's mother saw negative people.  She saw people who weren't really there.  I, however, see negative spiders.  I will see something moving on the floor out of the corner of my eye, but when I whip my head around - nothing is there.  Last night it was a little different story.  A REAL LIVE spider was sitting in my lap with the sketch book.  Yeah, I did some crazy cool circus tricks trying to levitate away from that sucker.  Poor Roxie was startled out of a dead sleep when I shrieked.  That spider was big.  So big, I could practically see it giving me the finger as it ran under the couch.  Or maybe it was Charles - he's still around.  Anyway, my heart was pounding like nobody's business.  I'm getting a little adrenaline rush right now just thinking about it.  Creepy gross.  Gotta change the subject.

No new pictures today - maybe tomorrow.  I've been working on resurrecting cvbead and it has been incredibly time consuming.  More on that later.  Right now I've got to get back to the IRS website and finish filling out my SS-4....

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Legal Load Limit

On Sunday I discovered my limit.  I have the ability to pour five buckets of vinaigrette - which amounted to 13 cases - in one afternoon.  I spent four hours at my part-time part-time job, and by the end of the afternoon I had burned the skin along my left index finger from the heat gun and practically torn the skin on the meaty part of my right palm from tightening the lids on 156 bottles.  I'm sure I had huckleberry vinaigrette in my hair.  It was all fun and games.

I also discovered on Sunday, after emailing a picture of one of the panels, that we are a go for the triptych.  I've been holding off on that middle panel until Andrew told me whether he likes the concept, and I have been afraid to send him a picture for fear he would hate it.  He didn't hate it.

I listed a few new things on my Etsy store.  When the weather gets better and we have some sunshine around here I will be retaking a bunch of my photos.  Hey - speaking of photos - that postcard tester I did turned out pretty good.  If I ever have a few spare dollars I'm going to have some notecards printed.  But getting back to Etsy, the first painting was intended to be something else, but the something else part didn't fit onto the canvas.  I need to start again with a bigger canvas.  I still liked this one, tho:

The background is wrinkly and crackly and interesting.

The other three pieces are ACEOs, which stands for "Art Cards, Editions and Originals."  Here is your lesson of the day, pilfered directly from Wikipedia:

Artist trading cards (or ATCs) are miniature works of art about the same size as modern trading cards baseball cards,[1] or 212 by 312 inches (63 mm × 89 mm),[2] small enough to fit inside standard card-collector pockets, sleeves or sheets.[3] The ATC movement developed out of the mail art movement and has its origins in Switzerland.[4] Cards are produced in various media, including dry media (pencils, pens, markers, etc.), wet media (watercolor, acrylic paints, etc.), paper media (in the form of collage, papercuts, found objects, etc.) or even metals or cloth. The cards are usually traded or exchanged. When sold, they are usually referred to as art card editions and originals (ACEOs).

 An offshoot of artist trading cards are Art Cards, Editions and Originals (ACEOs), which originated when some artists began to create cards to sell, in addition to trading among themselves. Many ACEOs are sold on internet auction sites, such as eBay. As the term suggests, ACEOs may be small original works of art, or editions of small prints.

There you go.  And here are my current ACEOs.  They are spin-offs from my Midnight series, so they are all Midnight Pears:

Wee art.

My internet service at home is getting upgraded today.  Actually, the tenants in my landlords' house are having their internet service upgraded, and they say they will install a new router, a booster, and give me their password.  When this comes to pass, it will bring good things.  My eyeballs are getting all wonky from having to do most of my internet reading on my phone.

Friday, January 18, 2013


So.  Who was asking me about this pear?

It is sitting here at work.  Lonely.  Looking for a new home....

I've got nothing else right now.  Some new stuff in the works at home, but nothing is finished.  I did get a new rubber stamp, tho.

I'm stamping everything I can find.  I also got one that just says "paint on purpose."  Roxie wants me to stamp her forehead.

Speaking of Roxie, this is why I got her a stuffed Stitch toy at Disney World:

Yep.  These are her "stitch" ears.  She's a keeper.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Day 14

I ate more than half a pound of bacon today.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.  Earlier I was asking myself why I didn't eat the whole pound, but I'm saving the rest for lunch tomorrow.  I didn't leave home at all today, so I have practically nothing to take for lunch tomorrow.  It will be bacon.  And an apple.  And two biscuits made from eggs, butter, coconut flour, almond flour, salt and baking powder.  They are quite tasty.  But somebody needs to go to the grocery store, stat.

We got something like 6 - 8 inches of snow over the past two days.  I shoveled the deck upstairs while Roxie and Bones played in the fluff.  Bones belongs to my neighbors - the tenants in my landlords' house.  He is about 10 months old - maybe a yellow lab.  He is probably zonked out right now, sleeping the sleep of the righteous.  And poodle is taking out all of her toys and rearranging the furniture.  *sigh*  My kid has loads of energy.

Anyway, here are the three new pieces I've got so far.  The first is my favorite:

Remember a million years ago when I mentioned Marla, a client of ours from Texas?  She bought the first painting I sold - ages ago - and it was a snowman like this.  Hers was on a panel and she put it on an easel as is (no frame).  This one is on a canvas so it doesn't need a frame.

Marla was in the gallery this week so I've been thinking of snowmen.  Plus, we got a bunch of snow.  Plus, in that heap of paint I ordered there is a lovely color I wanted to use.  It's this one, but in real life it's a tad more violet than blue.

This next one is also a wee canvas.  Another poodle.  Ish.  It's poodle-ish:

And lastly, I'm not sure what happened here.  I had an idea, but it wasn't working out the way I saw it in my head.  One swish of the palette knife, and it turned into something else instead.  Sort of an anti-Valentine.  I may have to name it "Torn Asunder."  You decide:

See what I mean?  It's a curiosity.

P.S.  Today was day 14 of my 21 Day Sugar Detox.  Two weeks down, one to go.  Remarkably, it has been pretty easy.  I've had intermittent mild cravings for a Three Musketeers Bar, but nothing else.  I will have one on day 22, then right back at another 21 days.  Try it - it's good for you.  We can do it together.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left

Yep, still stuck on Andrew Bird.  That's the title to one of his songs.

Speaking of none of that, what is it called when you sneeze and burp at the same time?  A snurp?

And speaking of none of THAT, it was very cold last night, and not much warmer today.  It has been a quiet day in Lake Wobegon.  Poodle spent some quality time with her dragon:

I am still trying to figure out how the middle panel of my vertical triptych is going to work.  I've got all the paint now, but am still struggling with logistics.  I hope to have a finished product by middle of the coming week.


Everything up there (insert "up" arrow here) was written on Saturday while I was at work.  Now, 'tis Sunday eve and we have had a lovely day at home.  Even though it is colder than COLD outside, we went for a walk and ended up playing with the neighbor:

They had a ball.  Normally Jasmine won't let me go near her but today she ran right over and let me scratch her ears.  I think she is lonely.

Next we went to say hello to some other neighbors.  This one I named Ginger Pony:

Here is the truck I am obsessed with.  It just looks so cool out there, no matter the season:

My camera has some cool filters built in.  I like this one best:

I can't believe it has taken me this long to mention, but on Wednesday I gave myself a gold star.  A big, frickin' spangly gold star.  After work poodle-face went home with Derek and I went to the laundromat.  Threw one load in to cook, then drove my sad, sorry self up to the gym.  Yes I did.  Ran three miles on the treadmill.  My running shoes were so happy to see me they practically wept.  I gave myself a time limit of 35 minutes.  I figured since this was the first time I have done anything in the physical fitness realm in, oh, let's just say months, I should cut myself some slack.  Plus, I walked the first five minutes.  Needless to say, I squeaked by in 34:04.  No, I did not shoot off the back of the treadmill at any time during those 34 minutes. And when I was finished, I did not whoop out loud, nor did I high-five everyone in the gym.  All three of them.  But I felt pretty dang proud of myself.  Now I need to do it again....

And in the art department, I've got three new pieces finished but their pictures are all still in the camera.  Here is one of them when he was still naked:

I haven't done one of these in ages; the finished piece is very sweet.  I will show you tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


I like to listen to music when I paint (the right soundtrack is, at times, crucial to the outcome of the piece) and for the past few days, while working on Andrew's commission, I've been listening to Andrew Bird.  I didn't do that on purpose - it just happened.  I must recommend this CD.  I bought it on a whim because the title was interesting.  How can anyone turn down something called "Andrew Bird and the Mysterious Production of Eggs"?  I was way pleasantly surprised when I listened to it.  One of the songs has the word "conflagration" in it.  Seriously.  And how many songs can you list that use the word "snacks"?  Come on, count 'em up.  Snacks.  It's a crazy good CD.  And because it's so good, I've now finished what will be the top panel, varnish and all (the rest of my Dick Blick order came today - yay!).  Two down, one to go.  Of course, the middle one is going to be the hardest.  I can't start it for another couple of days anyway because ... guess what?!?  I needed to order more paint.  Can you believe it?  I just placed a gigantic order, and then used up three of the colors I need.  Poo.

In the meantime, here is a picture of my coat closet.  Yes, my coat closet:

As you can see, things are getting crowded in here.  I don't know where to put the canvases that are stacked on the floor.  I used to keep all my art junk in the sauna but quit for two reasons:  first, it's as far from where I paint as you can get in my wee home and still be indoors; and second, during winter the temperature in there goes below 50 degrees.  That's too cold for art junk.  I seriously might have to take my dishes out of the cupboard and stash them in the sauna.  It's not like I need very many.

(Did you notice that the box I use to store paint is a box of string cheese?  Ew.  And do you recall that the "palette" I use, when I need one, is the lid from a bucket of ricotta cheese?  Double ew.)

Only one other completed piece today, in addition to the mysterious top panel.  It's a weird one.  I'm sure someone will love it.  Someday.  Maybe.

When I got home from work today and walked in the door it smelled really good in here.  My first thought was that someone had broken in during the day (hard to do, since I keep the door unlocked) and cooked something.  It took me a minute to remember that I had cooked something good last night - homemade spaghetti sauce.  Doh.  Genius, at times, I am not.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


Here are the pictures I couldn't post yesterday:

See what I mean about the dragon?  He's in the questionable pile.  And by the way, yesterday's post really was written yesterday, despite the fact that it posted today.  By the time my wifi cooperated, the clock had rolled over to today.

Here is a picture of the palette knives I am currently using.  I post this so you can see I had to bring out the big guns for Andrew's commission:

The one on the top is wee tiny.  The one in the middle is the size (and perhaps the very one) I have been using since the dawn of time.  The one on the bottom, the giant one, is probably the exact same thing Abby used when she and Kathy took a cake decorating class.

Speaking of cake, today is day 6 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox.  You can read about it here.  On day 2 I started rationalizing - maybe I could keep popcorn (I eliminated all grains), that wouldn't be so bad.  It's great "mindless eating" food.  But no.  And last night I slept way better than I have been.  That's a good thing.

A New Year

I was looking for a good quote with which to start the new year, and so far I've found this one:

"If you asked me for my New Year Resolution, it would be to find out who I am."  - Cyril Cusack

My New Year Resolution is going to be to find out who Cyril Cusack is.

Here's one of my favorites.  Last year I intended to send holiday cards during the week after Christmas with this quote on the inside:

"We will open the book.  Its pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.  The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day."  - Edith Lovejoy Pierce

This, too, would have been more appropriate for New Year's Eve:

"Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book.  Write a good one."  - Brad Paisley

And here's a big long one:

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something.

So that's my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody's ever made before. Don't freeze, don't stop, don't worry that it isn't good enough, or it isn't perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever."  - Neil Gaiman

(I don't know who he is, either.  FYI.)

It wasn't until the very end of last year that I really started allowing myself to take risks and make mistakes with my art.  Surprisingly - to me, at least - good things came of it.  I can, and many times do, still stare at a blank canvas and get a little glassy-eyed, afraid to try something new.  In fact, I've spent the past two weeks trying to figure out what to paint for Andrew's commission piece.  My working theory is three panels, each 26" wide by 16" high, to hang stacked vertically.  I mentioned that already, right?  When I can't sleep at night I think about how to fill that 1,248 square inches of space.  Say it with me -- one thousand, two hundred and forty-eight square inches.  That's a dang lot of blank space, especially for someone whose paintings are generally less than 100 square inches.  Way less.  Like 35 square inches.  So two days ago I slapped some paint on one of the panels.  That way I wasn't looking at a blank white space anymore, and I felt like I was making progress.  I figured each layer of paint would take a day to dry, so I would be working on this project until I am old and crumbly.  Curiously, last night I finished the "test" piece, which I think is going to end up being the bottom panel.  It's really cool, in an abstract, mildly urban way.  And I had a potentially second cool idea in the middle of the night.  None of this really matters to you right now because I'm not going to show what I'm doing until Andrew sees it, but the moral of the story is "whatever it is you're scared of doing, Do it."

I've finished two pieces since last we convened here.  One is another rooster (go figure) and the other is another dragon.  I like the rooster, but the dragon -- not sure yet.  He might grow on me.  Unfortunately, I cannot show you either one right now because Blogger isn't allowing me to upload any photos.  And my dicey wifi keeps cutting out and I am rapidly losing patience.  I shall try it again tomorrow.  How irksome.


As I'm sitting here waiting for my wifi to come back I noticed the rocking chair on top of my fridge (don't ask) is covered with cobwebs.  How clever.


I used up the last of my varnish on my test piece so everything is on hold until Tuesday.  I can still paint (a box full of canvas panels arrived on Friday - crazy fast shipping!) but all my new paint and varnish is lagging behind so I can't finish anything new.  I also ordered a bunch of postcards as a test to see if the quality of my photographs is good enough for reproductions (on cards, not prints).  If the test batch is crappy, I will try again with a better set up.  Better light in a better location.  If that second test is still crappy, it means I will have to pony up the big bucks for professional pre-press.  I'm hoping my camera is good enough.  When I reproduce images as prints, and some day I will, it will most assuredly require the assistance of a professional.  In the meantime I'm hoping my camera will get the job done for notecards.  Stay tuned.