I didn’t know I was painting

This piece was kind of like those episodes of I Didn’t Know I was Pregnant. I sat down to doodle and a painting popped out. And it’s just like something I would do — female form, loose/abstract/lazy style, weirdness creeping in the corners, acacia blooms, faith…

Faith.

Faith isn’t an easy thing. I think that’s what I wanted to get out in this piece. Faith is work, people. Paint it up like pastels and fairy tales but having faith is a craft.

Also, I’ve had some wine.

that’s a wrap!

I feel like I’ve been working on this wall mural for an e.t.e.r.n.i.t.y.. Of course, I could only handle it in small doses because it was very specific, detailed work which isn’t my strong suit…and on a textured wall, which is basically like shoving a middle finger in your painting while you work. But here it is! A film strip doing a twirly-do with a collection of film studio logos in the frames, beginning with Old Hollywood right on to today in no particular order.

This client has quite a few more requests from me, so I will be painting on these textured walls again…and again…and it will be much more intricate work. Whoopee. But I am kind of excited because, well, what a cool side job, right?

the truce

I have two pieces of art (one finished, one almost) that came to me very easily.

YAY!

I’m not trying to brag, but I AM celebrating because it is soooooo rare that my art comes easily… It’s usually an all out war between my muse, my capabilities, and my mood. Then every once in a while all three meet in some kind of truce that results in something I’m proud of. And then whether or not my piece communicates to the casual observer comes to mind.

Typically not.

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But it’s only really a concern for me in this first one because it’s a commission (so ideally the client should understand it.) This is charcoal and some weird crayon things I found in my stash. Looking at this, I feel that realistic portraits are my greatest strength, but I never “count” them. It’s so easy to copy what I see, or to embellish it. It’s much harder to pull an idea out of the aether and put it on canvas.

Also, I did this piece.

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It was inspired immediately when I stupidly broke a necklace that belonged to a very dear friend of mine who has passed. I thought perhaps I could commemorate her better in this way rather than wearing the necklace anyway — my plan is to glue it to the canvas around the figure’s neck in a way. I’m also not quite settled on the black/white ratios…

On a side note, I went from gourmet soup to rice-a-roni tonight. Life, right?

of soups and songs

So I went to a local singer/songwriter’s festival and came home thinking “I could do that.” Kind of like when I thought I could be British after watching Spice World. I was a kid, but yeah.

Anyway. I did in fact write a poem that I intend to be song lyrics. And somehow, between my VERY limited, laughable knowledge of piano, guitar, and 4th grade recorder, I will write a song. I can sing, so in the very least I can make a melody and then force someone with more musical talent to assist me.

That, and the poem itself are works in progress, but here…

Broken Thoughts

Don’t you worry for me
I’m getting up, I’m going out
I’m functioning
Just a little armageddon stain about me

Back and broken
Put your lover to bed
Let the pill feed the spiders in her head
And if at morning
I’m not sorry and there’s
Darkness swallowing me whole
Don’t you worry
Let the pill lick away the sour in my soul

I’m going out, I’m looking in
I’m suffering
Ghosts and demons steal art and stories
In my dreams

Back and broken
Darling, put your lover to bed
Let the pill feed the spiders in her head
And if at morning
I’m not sorry and I’m
Melting into darkness after the bloodshed

Don’t you worry for me
Let the pill feed the spiders in her head

edit: this is obviously not a Top 40 kind of song.

Also, I recently had my lower braces put on along with a medieval torture device known as a bite plate. This is a plasticy sort of thing the size of a wad of Bubblicious gum behind my front teeth, keeping me from biting closed and actually touching my teeth. So I don’t eat anymore (exaggeration). Since I am a fat kid and do need delicious food, always, no exceptions…I made some soup!

Spinach and Goat Cheese Bisque

Adapted from an Eating well recipe

Ingredients

1 1/4 lbs fresh spinach
1 yukon gold potato, peeled and diced
2 yellow onions, diced
Olive oil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons marsala
4 cups vegetable broth
salt
pinch of cayenne
1/4th teaspoon nutmeg
4 ounces goat cheese

Directions

Get a tablespoon and one teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium. Throw in your onions and thyme and about a fourth teaspoon of salt and caramelize, stirring frequently and covering alternately for about 20 minutes. (the recipe does say to add 2 tablespoons of water when the onions just begin to brown to get this process going). Meanwhile, heat two cups of water in a pot and bring to boil. Add potato and cover, cooking 12-15 minutes or until soft. It was somewhere in here that I realized I wanted more fat in this soup and threw a couple teaspoons of butter in the pan with the onions. This is because I misread the original recipe, which does call for more butter later. Whatever, it came out fucking great. When  your onions are caramelized, add marsala and heavy cream and remove from heat. By now your potatoes should be about done. Add the onion mixture to your potato pot along with the vegetable broth, goat cheese and about two tablespoons of butter. Bring back to simmer, add all that spinach, cayenne, more salt if you want and nutmeg and cover for about 5 minutes to wilt the spinach but not cook it too much. Then remove from heat and use a blender or food processor or whatever you want to puree the whole thing. Enjoy!

Shit, I thought I had a picture but I just sat down and pigged out apparently… Sorry. this is a photo of the original recipe. They garnished with a toasted baguette round and more goat cheese, but I didn’t do that because bite plate.

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Painting. Pastels. Paper Mache.

Whew! This was a productive day off. I’m supposed to be taking it easy and not overstimulating myself and a bunch of baloney like that while I’m in uber crisis self repair mode. But! Instead I finished my Breast Cancer Awareness painting with a matte finish, which was a bit nerve wracking because I’ve never touched a finished painting with a wet product like that before! Exciting!

Also, I did some paper mache for the first time since elementary school. Hubby commissioned me to make a monkey’s paw prop for his upcoming show, because for some reason I thought I knew all about this. Turns out I’m doing a decent job though! I made a rough mold out of aluminum foil and then put the paper over that. I’m going to paint it and shape it a bit more, then add some craft fur. Pretty fun project!

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And then I did some art! Wow! I had another song stuck in my head that spoke to an ouch on my heart and I just had to get it out. This is acrylic and pastel on canvas… Thank you to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and their song “Maps” for the inspiration.

I also did some writing on a novel. Dun Dun Dun… I know. The dreaded novel… But this was a real novel I worked on, not a manic novel. And I’m taking it very slowly… It might not be released until the end of the century, but I’m still taking this as a triumph. Here is my tentative prologue…

Sailor loved cloudy skies. She tolerated the poky grass on her arms and legs as she laid and watched the gray giants soar over her, using their magic powers to transform into whatever they wanted. Today the sky was so full of them that she wondered if they were gathering for some purpose… Something important. Like a big assembly to hear God speak.

She wished that she could go too. All of Sailor’s teachers liked her and told her that she was very bright – she just knew that God would feel the same way. Maybe they were waiting for her.

The wind picked up. The clouds’ voices, they were raising until Sailor thought they were screaming urgently for her to come join them, to run! Quickly!

But then…

“Wow! Look at that!” It was Ramona. Sailor forgot that she was lying beside her. They were playing Lion King until they were exhausted chasing the other students at recess (it turned out to be much harder than they anticipated, down on all fours.)

“I see it!” Sailor cried.

It was the clouds. The crowd in the sky had parted. The air felt warmer as a single loose thread of sunlight fell from the opening and landed somewhere on the horizon. It let in all of the color that the clouds were hiding, and it danced in celebration to a tune that artists would surely have stuck in their heads all day.

“I’m going,” Sailor decided, and she popped up like a grasshopper.

“Huh? Where?” Ramona asked, baffled.

“To the light!” Sailor called over her shoulder, for she was already running in the direction of their small town, half minute miracle.

“Sailor! That could be millions of miles away!”

“So what?” Her tiny voice barely traveled with the barricade of howling wind separating them. But Ramona heard her.

She didn’t chase her. Ramona knew better. This was just one more adult thing that she knew more about than her friends, for she too was very bright. But she would always remember the anticipation she felt, watching Sailor run.

Breast Cancer Awareness

So my employer challenged all of the employees to really pull together for our annual Breast Cancer Awareness fundraiser. I’m not one to go door to door asking for help or raffle items, but I did think I could paint something for the silent auction. It will be a good way to gauge how much the art actually ends up selling for too — be it $15 or $150, we will see. I’ll try not to be too affected by a poor showing…it is a moody painting.

My major concern was that I meant to do this pretty, PG piece that would do well with the vibe that we put off for this event…and instead I got something a little bit more raw and emotional. I’m getting feedback that it is a nice change, which I can personally validate as I tend to get numb to the fervor this particular brand instigates…

I have a friend who had breast cancer at a very young age (she’s barely 30). I remember bringing the event up to her, and she was hesitant to go or even discuss too much about her story. I realized suddenly what I should have all along — that people all respond to grief and pain differently, and my friend didn’t want to “Think Pink,” nor for that whole mentality to define her. She wanted to be normal and live her life…something that I think she absolutely deserved after her battle.

I’m not saying our fundraiser or the whole awareness movement are bad things. They’re FANTASTIC things. But there is more than one point of view on this terrible disease and how to cope…and I guess I might be (accidentally) trying to seek out that minority wth my piece. We will see what the masses have to say!

Meep!

an oldie but goodie

I wrote this some time ago, but as I am trying to resurrect my muse it’s nice to go back through things I’ve written. Especially old things, because the wound is healed and I can appreciate it for what it is, rather than hating it for what it’s not…

missing you

your absence is substantial
physical and
not absence
material
negative space defining
outlining
tracing a place that is you and
love

 

the mind churns

This is the result of having a song stuck in my head and a diagnosis stuck in my heart. Bipolar II. I’m still hesitant to accept it, but apparently even my doubt is a potential symptom.

I’m not exactly upset. This is just an unexpected answer to a very old question… What’s wrong with me?

In this piece, I really wanted to “talk” about my disorder. There’s a melancholy figure in gray surrounded by rough black squiggles. A depressive state. But there’s also color — blue, yellow, purple. That is how I’ve come to realize other people feel when they are sad, or upset, or thoughtful. But my disorder means that sometimes I go too far, into this ugly dark world.

The song? “Without You” from Rent. One of my favorite moments in the song goes, “…but I know blue. Only blue. Lonely blue. Within me, blue. Without you.”

I started wondering, do I know blue? Or is what I know only that dark place without color? I say it’s blue but who knows where my mind is really at? This sort of thinking led to the color in the hair of the figure. Maybe that symbolizes all the confusion, which is so far the hardest part of this healing process.

So there you have it. Acrylic, pastels, and Sharpie paint pens on canvas…