Past Midnight

Happy Birthday to me today. Dan and I have a longtime affectionate argument about age. He is four months older than me, or one hundred twenty-five days (not that I’m counting). He will refer to us in age in some conversation, and I will immediately remind him that while he was out on the town (at four months old), I was still in utero awaiting my introduction to the world. Yesterday he said I was fifty-five, I said, “After midnight.” It’s past midnight, actually its five-thirty in the morning so it is official. I’m sort of old. I say sort of because apparently the rest of the world doesn’t know me. I am not in the least bit “old”, I may have some wrinkles, and definitely fifty-five year old knees, but I’d say in attitude I’m somewhere around thirty-five. I’ve been getting a lot of AARP stuff for years now, but my favorite mail is from funeral homes. It goes something like, “Hey now! You’re getting closer to death by the second. Don’t leave your loved ones in a lurch. Plan ahead.” I know I’m no spring chicken, but I’d like to think I have another decade or two. For those of you who are of the gloom and doom persuasion, yes, I realize I could get hit by a car tomorrow, I’m just not planning on it. I also received a reminder a few weeks back from our car insurance company. They wanted to let me know that life insurance rates would go sky-high as soon as I turned fifty-five. I called yesterday…it wasn’t midnight yet. That process was interesting. They are very happy to have you call them, they are very happy to sell you insurance, but then begins the inquisition. A questionnaire about my medical history. It seems that they need to know everything that has ever occurred to me medically. Now at fifty-four (remember it wasn’t midnight yet) a lot, and I mean a lot of stuff has gone on in my life. What I really enjoyed was the section where they asked if I’d ever had any X-rays. Seriously? Who hasn’t, oh the Amish (not to offend, but I’m sure they don’t read my blog anyway). I started filling out the X-ray section, which includes normal X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, ultrasounds, and so on. I have had two children, had a miscarriage, fallen down a flight of stairs on my hip, six knee surgeries, broken fingers, and…I could bore you with more medical details, because I am after all old now, and isn’t that what old people do? I won’t, I will remember my thirty-five year old mindset and stop. I called them back. I spoke to a very nice young man. Do they really need every X-ray ever? He was stumped. I have to call back Monday (I guess the inquisitor gets weekends off). I get it if they want to rule out something that will cost them, but if they insure me it will cost them in the end anyway, it’s not like I’m immortal or something. (Of course if my plan to rule the universe doesn’t happen soon I may have to figure that one out.) Rule out the biggies for the moment, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, but why make me relive some rather painful personal moments? Does it really matter that I was anemic when I was nineteen? Or that I was depressed for a while after my mom died, wouldn’t they be too? That I miscarried? What does any of that have to do with life insurance? Who needs to read the gory details of my five decades? Does the fact that I broke my index finger mean I could push the wrong elevator button and plunge to my death? Or will they use the fact that I snapped my ACL hanging a kitchen curtain as a reason for non-payment when I fall off a counter to my demise in my new home hanging new curtains?  I feel like the odds are stacked against me before I even begin. Maybe I should have signed up for life insurance at birth before my total lack of coordination was evident. I guess if I die too soon they will have to pay too soon. I have to say, I’m with them. I hope they make lots of money from me, but meanwhile a little privacy please. (Happy Sunday to all of you, but I feel better now. I needed to rant to someone.)

On to what really matters…

I’ve created a new ad for today’s post. It looks like this:

MISSING: ARTWORK

Last seen several months ago on this blog

Wearing coats of many colors.

Mediums of all kinds.

Subject matter varied upon mood of the artist.

If you have any information please contact the artist and ask “What’s up?”

I started this blog to force myself to create every day. Along the way the original purpose was usurped by my life heading off the deep end. I need to find it again. My art is my life’s saving grace. It has always been the thing that got me through. It hasn’t been a good year and a half for Dan and I. We are grateful for what we have. We talked last night about how close we came to losing everything. We didn’t, and we are stronger than ever, but I have been letting a very important part of myself slip away once again. I need to create. It is as important in my life as food is. I need that artistic nourishment, and I have been living on crumbs. My birthday, start of a new year in my life, an arbitrary benchmark of time passing, but today it becomes my new “start line”, my new 365 day project. Today I will be spending the day with Dan, so I will post a piece from last year. New work begins tomorrow.

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Moving Ahead

I know I’ve been slacking off. It’s true, but there is a reason. A big funk, a big cloud of doom and gloom that settled over our house. There may have been sunny skies for the rest of Temecula, but in this house it was gray and cloudy. The unfortunate thing is that Dan and I hit the same rock bottom place at the same time, and sometimes there isn’t an umbrella big enough to make a difference. The other unfortunate thing is that it lasted for more than a day. I’m sure there are friends of mine that are happy that I was gone. Let’s face it, when you write every single day, and your friends have vowed to follow you, it becomes a bit of a homework assignment. So now that everyone has had a breather, and I’m forcing myself to see things differently, its time to write and create once again. Before I begin…

To begin with we are working hard and fast towards our business, the same one I have mentioned repeatedly here on the blog. The wait for a miracle is over. It’s official, we are in the process of opening a cafe/bookstore. So official in fact that we sought the advice of a lawyer, and bought some chairs! We are going to put our combined talents and interests together and get this thing moving. I have also mentioned my cooking. Its good, really, really good. We eat pretty much homemade everything, that is part of the plan. We own enough books between us to open a shop, but we will be keeping ours (because we love them so much!), and we will be opening an independent bookstore that carries new books. Our home reflects our personalities, warm, loving, friendly, and comfortable. Also a huge part of the plan. I’ve asked for karma and prayers here before, now I’m going to ask for something else. Our daughter was kind enough to begin a crowd funding campaign for us. We have preliminary approval for some business loans, but are short on start-up capital, in other words cash. If you’ve enjoyed my writing, my ranting, my self-pity, or my art over the last year, please consider clicking on the link below. You’ll see a little bit more of who we are, and why we are headed this way. We will be updating our progress as we move ahead. Thanks in advance even if you only take a peek.

By the way, Thank You to all who have been following me through out this year. There have been some pretty bad days, and just knowing that someone was listening helps more than I can say.

http://www.gofundme.com/8jgl04

Many of my art projects in the near future will be to do with our shop. One possibility for our “to go” lunch bags. Pen and ink and color pencil.

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My Day Off…

My Day Off…Sort of

Not too much to read, but lots to look at. Taking a well deserved few days, and posting the work I like the most that I completed this past year.

Today: Pen and Ink

 

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Taking It Easy…

I had planned on taking it a little easy today after my marathon crafting and painting. It is also the first day of my self-imposed fume free week. Taking it easy wasn’t so easy. Actually it was forced on me and not in an enjoyable way. I woke at three o’clock this morning not feeling well. Something I ate last night did not agree with me. I’ve spent the majority of the day on the couch sleeping on and off. Only nine more days until I hit the one year mark on this project, and today like others before it when I didn’t feel well, I’m pushing through to get something up. Pen and ink is the obvious choice, no fumes and completely doable while sitting on the couch. I can’t promise much for this evening, but I promise something.

As for yesterday’s show, I think I’ve finally learned my lesson. I had a nice comment and some suggestions from a fellow blogger which I agree with. I know there must be a way to discover some local art shows. We do have a local art society. I checked it out a couple of years ago but then never followed through.  I think at the time I didn’t have enough confidence to put myself and my work out there. I feel like I’m ready to try again.

So here is my very little piece of art that I doodled for tonight.

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Oops!

At the show, and the fact that I have time to write tonight’s post should give you some inclination of how it’s going. Not a customer in sight, this despite the fact that I am between an exit door coffee/ice cream stand. I was assured that this was a successful show in the past, but not for me. Oh wait, I did make one sale, an adorable little girl came by and was looking longingly at one of my zombie ornaments so I sold it to her for a dollar. What can I say? I’m a sucker for kids. It’s really disappointing. We didn’t get to bed until nearly twelve thirty, got up at six fifteen, and have now been standing on my feet since about eight fifteen this morning, it’s currently 12:27 Pacific Coast time, two and a half hours left to go. I know I’m in the wrong place, if you were to look around me you would see quite frankly momentous amounts of crap. I’m talking manufactured merchandise, the toilet paper cover crafting that I abhor, and a lady trying to sell massages. An “art show” it’s not. I try not to judge the work of others, but I know that my work is heads above what I’m seeing. I always swear I’ll never do another one of these school shows, but I thought maybe I could add a little to the family finances. I’ve gotten several comments on my work, “Beautiful!”, “You’re so talented.”, etc., but no one seems to want to pay the price. My pieces are always marked less than they are worth (insert lack of self-esteem here), but still people don’t seem to want to buy them. It’s hard, I’m tired, I’ve worked really hard for nearly a month, and I just wanted to succeed a little. I need to learn from this, and discover where I belong. I need to find better shows. I’m not sure how, but I guess a little internet investigating is in order. As for today, I can’t wait to go home and get off my feet. Tomorrow everything will go on etsy. I probably should have done that in the first place.

It is much later in the day, 7:15 in fact.The earlier blog was posted by accident…oops, from Dan’s iPad. So the result of all my hard work? $68 Whoopee!!! After five hours of standing on my feet, weeks and weeks of hard work. We took my meager earning and went out to dinner. Our feet hurt, I was understandably upset, and we were hungry. No new art to post tonight but some I haven’t posted yet. Taking the night off. I deserve it.IMG_6551 IMG_6549 IMG_6548 IMG_6547 IMG_6546 IMG_6545 IMG_6544

Nothing to choose from right?

Feverish Perspective

Still on the mend, but slowly feeling better. I wanted to do something today for my Dad for St. Patrick’s Day. In 1956 he left Ireland with all the big dreams that young men have. Heading to Canada in the bottom of a ship, taking a chance on a better life. My Mom followed about three months later. He was just short of his twenty-fourth birthday, my Mom was only nineteen. I can’t imagine the courage it took to leave home and family, to leave everything they knew, and jump head first into the vast unknown. Then just four years later to do it yet again and move to Chicago. Another new country, starting over, except that this time they did it with two children and a third on the way. Amazing. Happy St. Patrick’s Day Dad.

My brain is still foggy from my head cold, and this relentless fever, my perspective is again my own private torment, but it’s St. Patrick’s Day, so this one’s for Dad. He grew up above his grandmother’s fruit and vegetable store on Dominick Street in Dublin. I saw it once many, many years ago. I don’t remember much so most of this is imagined, with the inspiration coming from a watercolor book on Ireland. Finally, to end this post a little tale to amuse one and all. The little tree wasn’t in my original sketch. There was a man on a bench. (Before I continue remember that I am delusional with a low-grade fever.) When I was just about finished I realized that he was so out of scale, so out of perspective, that he looked like one of the “wee” folk, you know a leprechaun. I turned him into a bush. Artistic improvisation at its best.

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Perseverance

Many people who follow this blog may think they know me just a little bit. Those who actually know me know exactly how stubborn I can be. Tonight is a fine example of that. I’ve spent more time with my head down than up today, but I said I’d post every day so here I am. I managed to squeak out a doodle of sorts. I have a book on decorative letters. This is one of my own creation. I didn’t start out to do it, I was attempting to do something for tonight and this is what appeared beneath my pen. Not my finest work, but with a heavy head and 100 degree temperature it’s the best I can manage.

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Inspired Amusement

Be careful what you wish for. Well I didn’t exactly wish for it, but last night I mentioned I’ve only missed one day in the last year due to illness. At 3:30 this morning I woke with a horrific earache and sore throat. I’ve spent most of the day lying around and really thought I had jinxed myself and would miss my project tonight. A quick cat nap and dinner prepared by my wonderful husband, and I found myself able to function once again. We spent most of the day yesterday in Los Angeles. My nephew lives in Echo Park, and my sister was in for a visit. The architecture in downtown LA is amazing. As much as I’ve grown to love Temecula, I am a city girl at heart. I want to spend a day there just photographing architectural detail. There is an amazing place there called The Last Bookstore. Well worth checking out on-line just to see the incredibly clever art entirely made from books. Dan and I are both horrible book fiends, we have a shared addiction for them. I picked up two books yesterday that both focused on pen and ink. One was a book about illustrated borders. The other is a book on the amazing work of Jean-Ignace-Isidore Grandville (1803-1847). The book contains 266 illustrations from “Un Autre Monde” and “Les Animaux”. In English, “Another World”, and the other section, Les Animaux, which consists of metamorphoses of animals, giving the animals human emotions. The drawings are delightful, and I couldn’t help but be inspired by them. They made me smile. I decided to draw my own “Grandville”. One of my cats, Riley, was kind enough to pose for me (at least her head). Riley sometimes looks lost in thought and gets quite annoyed when we bother her. She is very vocal in letting her displeasure be known. Here is Riley dressed to go to town, looking very bothered my interruption.

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The Time Nears

The year nears its end. On April 13th, 2013 I began what I thought was an insurmountable task, 365 days of art and writing. I can finally see the finish line of my personal marathon. What a year. Started only a week after my daughter’s wedding (Happy almost-Anniversary Jessica and John!), I have seen my daughter happier than ever, my son Brian moving out to begin his adult life, and my Dad moving into what will most likely be his last home. Of course there is also the fact that Dan and I are struggling. Not on a personal level, this year has made us closer than ever, but it has now been nearly a year since he lost his job, that’s a tough one. I had imagined big changes in the course if this project but never anything like this. As a result I haven’t dedicated as much time to this project as I would have liked, but there were other very important priorities. Dan has always been my rock, my greatest champion, and the best thing that ever happened to me. It has been my turn, my honor to try to be the same for him. A couple of people have asked what’s next for me.  I’m not sure. I will admit it will feel nice to take a night off because with the exception of a case of pneumonia, I haven’t done so for a year. I do think that this project has become such a part of my daily routine that it will seem odd without it. I won’t quit writing, and I’ll never quit art. I have a month to think about what to do next.

A year ago I wouldn’t be as confident as I now in my abilities. I was very hung up on not having any kind of artistic training, now I’m not sure I’d want it. I think I do OK on my own. I certainly wouldn’t have posted this rough sketch of Otis, the mischievous Puggle of Jessica and John, but I actually love this. A simple line drawing in pen.

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Words Of Wisdom

There’s something I’ve been meaning to write about for a few days now. Last week Dan showed me a You Tube video of Lupita Nyong’o making a speech at Essence Magazine’s Black Women in Hollywood luncheon. For those of you who might not know who Lupita is, just a week ago she won an Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her work in Twelve Years A Slave. She is of Mexican and Kenyan heritage, and she is beautiful. As I listened to the emotional speech made by this insightful, intelligent, and lovely young women, I was astonished at her wisdom. She spoke of the seduction of inadequacy. Feelings that I am quite familiar with. She is a very dark-skinned young woman, and I am about as pasty white as they come. (I have been known to joke from time to time that I am not Caucasian, I am see-through.) In her speech she spoke of the pain of her childhood, of being ashamed, of wanting to be different. It is unfortunately a pain that I think all young people are familiar with, unless of course through genetic gifts they are blessed with what our society deems “perfection”. There are very few that fit that description, and yet I would bet that most if not all would be the first to point out flaws they find with themselves. I am old enough to be Lupita’s mother, but I learned much from listening to her eloquent words. What a shame that we have all been so convinced that there is something wrong with us. That we have the wrong hair, eye color, body type, skin color, and so on. I am an older woman. I am aging OK, not as bad as some, and not as good as others. As I listened to Lupita’s speech it was like listening to my own often mentioned “not good enough” voice that resides in my brain. I write of that voice in association with my art, but it is a far-reaching voice, and it can be very loud. I still struggle with self acceptance at my age. I think we could all learn a lesson from the gifted Lupita, and I think if you are a parent of a young girl or boy, there are lessons to be taught as well. If you have the time and inclination the video is well worth listening to.  Just go to You Tube and put “Lupita’s Essence speech” in the search engine. I guarantee its five minutes that will make you think.

I was tired today. Spring forward my…(more about that tomorrow) Despite feeling tired I worked on finishing the room formerly known as Brian’s. In the end I did a small pen and ink of some Lily of the Valley. A favorite of mine that I haven’t seen since my last Chicago Spring ten years ago. The drawing was inspired by an old tin from Crabtree and Evelyn. When I was finished I decided to add a little color. Two photos, one without color and one with.

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