On With Life…

July 18, 2015

This morning, at around 6 AM, a mere 5 hours after I found my bed, the dog woke me…crying, whining, scratching at the bed, trying to burrow under the bed itself. Why? Thunder. She’s developed an intense fear of thunder, and we aren’t sure why, but it woke most of us up this morning. The thunder stopped hours ago, and she’s still scared and hiding. She refuses to go out and pee. And I’ve been up since 6 AM basically, so I kinda feel braindead. What’s new, you ask? Exactly. She’s lying so close to my chair that I can’t move.

I only have about 78 things to do in the next three days. I should be totally blowing off sleep to get all that done. This is not the most relaxing summer vacation I’ve ever had. That’s unfortunate. I should work on that.

I’m still tracing Wonder Under…

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Some days, it feels like I will be tracing forever, but I think I hit a place last night where I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m at 1450 pieces, with only about 400 to go. That’s a day. Maybe 4 hours. I have the torso, one arm, and the head of the smaller figure, and then I’m done.

Kitten is absolutely no help. She was lying on the couch, but STILL lying on the drawing and pulling it towards her as she cleaned herself.

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Nice. Well, I’ll be done tracing soon, and then she can lie all over the light table to her heart’s content. (But mommy, there will be nothing to lie ON.) Sigh.

I actually didn’t do much tracing yesterday, only about two hours. I spent the afternoon re-learning how to crochet and then cutting out Wonder Under for the smaller quilts I have on my list. I didn’t start tracing until well after dinner.

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I’m over 18 hours in though. It hasn’t felt like that…

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I did finally force myself to stop around 12:30 last night. Some part of me just wants to bully through, stay up all night, get it done, because I’m pretty booked the next three days, but realistically, not sleeping at my age is not a good plan. I already have enough issues with staying asleep, although I was doing fine last night, until the dog and the thunder.

Can I take a nap today? I did take all the Wonder Under that was traced with me to quilt meeting yesterday, but then the crochet thing happened (girlchild wants a hat and her birthday is coming)…I’ve gone completely through my stash of rubberbands saved from when we used to get newspapers (I quit those years ago), so am forced to tie things up with ribbons now. I have tons of those. I keep a bunch looped over a clothes hanger in my office, for when I need to tie things up…

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But I haven’t actually started cutting them out.

Deadlines are piling up. My proposal for a collaborative art thang was accepted, so I will be working on that in August, opening on September 12, but I don’t even know what THAT is yet, due to the collaborative part of it. Then I have to do a surgical procedure thing on the lovely fibroid-filled uterus that will leave me feeling out of it and tired for up to 10 days (I don’t have time for that shit)…if they can schedule it far enough in advance of school…which they say they can. But that would then be happening in the next week or so.

I think, OK, this big quilt ALSO needs to be done by about September 20. And I’m booking at the moment, moving uberfast, but that will change. Things I can do while sitting on the couch: cutting stuff out (good). So if the procedure is early next week, I’m still cutting out Wonder Under. OK. Or if it’s early the following week, maybe I will have made it to the ironing stage and I’ll have more stuff to cut out. I suspect picking out and ironing fabrics will be problematic if I feel like shit. Standing for hours doesn’t sound like it will be an option. So the timing is not great.

So I’m all stressed out about making art. Oh well. It’s because I’m pushing myself and challenging myself with new types of projects, and that’s good, and it’s just unfortunate that all this other crap has to happen at the same time.

Plus I really REALLY need to meditate every day. Seriously. Did it in the MRI machine…it was rhythmic. Nice. Can’t have one of those at home though. Gonna have to just do it on the couch.

Enough writing. On with life.


Wading in Wonder Under

July 16, 2015

I have 12 hours and 12 minutes into the tracing. I’m at piece 1138, which is the hair of the larger figure. All I have left to do of her is the hair and all the crazy stuff hiding in her hair. Then I can move on to the smaller figure.

Turns out there’s actually 1852 pieces (not 1825…not dyslexic) and I missed some, as always, so there are actually MORE than that. Whatever.

I washed the batting yesterday, left it in the bathtub. The kids said something this morning about not being able to take showers. Turns out I totally forgot it was in there. They thought about telling me, decided I must be doing it on purpose (Ha! My momhood is complete! Even my crazy makes sense to them!). When I explained to them this morning that this was Menopause Brain, similar to Pregnancy Brain but possibly permanent, girlchild yelled down the hallway, “Don’t blame your stupidity on your hormones!”

And there we are. The wonder that is my household.

Seriously, I traced for about 5 1/2 hours yesterday in the long run, AND made a new dinner recipe, AND left the batting in the bathtub overnight. Which reminds me…need to go drain that fucker.

Kitten harassed me all 5+ hours by sitting ON the drawing and ON the Wonder Under…

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Calli was almost underfoot, but not quite…(see how big the drawing is…)

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And then Kitten stared at me balefully from the couch, where she slept because Mommy wouldn’t let her on the light table.

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Meanest mommy ever. But I got a lot done…

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Sometimes I want to just quit, but it’s easier to stop at the end of some section, and I crazily started the bird with 100 pieces in it at about midnight…so you know how that went.

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Up too late, yet again. Thing is, I had to be up early this morning, because I’m not allowed to eat or drink anything after 9 AM. I can’t understand the logic of telling a diabetic NOT to eat, and then having her drive all over San Diego County for an MRI and a totally different place for the doctor. Hopefully I’ll have time to eat in between. I will totally be drinking an entire bottle of water, because I’m already dehydrated, and I drank two full bottles of water last night and this morning. Let’s hope they don’t need to take any blood, because they won’t get into my veins.

It’s OK…the uterus is just full of things that are benign but annoying and causing problems. I gave it permission to STOP being annoying, you know, like you give dying people permission to just Let Go? But my uterus is more stubborn than that. It’s convinced releasing eggs is what it should be doing right now, whether I like it or not. Hence stupid doctors’ appointments and procedures and tests and annoyances.

Anyway. So there will be lots of driving and dehydration and doctor’s waiting rooms today. Not fun. I’m going to trace some more before I go, though, and then pray for caffeine. I am more than halfway through the tracing…which is interesting, because we are officially halfway through summer break too, I think…although I personally start thinking of school officially on August 1, and this summer has been filled with school batting at my brain consistently, via email and text and signing up for classes, because everything is changing again. This will be the fourth website I’ve had to do for school, wait, no, I did a Google Sites one too, so that’s five. I’m not sure what was wrong with the last one, but now we get to learn a new one. Whatever. I’m sure it will be the most awesomest EVER, but if Google Classroom let us do a few more things, then I wouldn’t NEED another one. Wait. Google Classroom is number 5, so this is 6. Bloody hell. If I didn’t have to keep redoing things every time someone changed their minds about what was the coolest (and the cheapest), I might get more of my summer.

Rant over. Tracing will begin.


Distractions…aka Life

July 15, 2015

Summer is full of distractions. The weather alone can be an issue. Some days it’s just too hot or humid to work (yes, even here, when the thunderstorms pile in, it can be awful…for us, that is) and sometimes there are just too many little piddly things that suck up time, like today. Today I had to sign up for a class for school, write an email about a contract, and drive to the girlchild’s doctor’s office to get them to sign the one page of four that they missed the last time she was there. It didn’t take long to get there, but she was in the middle of something, so I sat there and watched 20 minutes of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the original), which I didn’t see until I went to college, because I wasn’t allowed up after 8 PM. Veruca…such a bitch.

Then I went on to JoAnns, which no longer has an apostrophe and may not even have two capital letters…wait. It does. And there’s a hyphen and no ‘s’. Ugh. Forget it. I usually hate that place, but it has Wonder Under and Warm and Natural batting, and I had a handful of 50%-off certificates. I was trying to manhandle the giant bolt of batting down the aisle and an older woman offered her cart, said if I’d lift it in, she’d roll it up…she wanted some too. So YEAH. Nice moment there. Hopefully some young thang will help ME roll that batting down the aisle when I’m 70.

Then picked up the boychild and the dog and headed home, ate lunch, but then fell into the rabbit hole of insurance plans when the girlchild’s university called here and gave me some information that gave me pause. Wait a minute. Maybe I can kick these sweet little monsters off my insurance next month, since they have to be covered somewhere, and then I can save myself…how much…holy crap. $410 a month. Mylanta Georgia, as the girlchild says…that might just cover the shortfall on the boychild’s college fees. Maybe.

So I’m sitting here, buzzing like a bee, hoping magic is about to happen, money to appear in the sky (on my paystub as it were…whenever I might get one of those pretty things again), but I can’t focus enough to make my way to the damn light table and trace.

Which honestly is OK, because I traced for almost 6 hours yesterday. Apparently. I watched 4 episodes of Elementary and another bunch of SHIELD and then a movie. ‘Watched’ isn’t really the word though, because I traced the whole time.

The night before, I numbered the whole damn thing, which is about 60″ square. It’ll probably be smaller than that at the end. Maybe. It took 2 1/2 hours just to NUMBER it. Huh. And you can see some of the crazy there in the spider web.

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But it came out at about 1825 pieces, which is less than 2000. That’s good. It’s big, it’s meaty, but it’s not overwhelming to think about. Maybe it should be, but I’ve done bigger than that, so I’m good. Last year’s crazy big piece had 1764 pieces and took about 144 hours to make. So I’m in the same range. I have about 2 1/2 months too, so I’m good. It would be nice if it finished early so I could work on something else…plus I shouldn’t ignore the other proposal I did…although I haven’t heard anything, so maybe my proposal sucked. Or whatever.

Here’s the drawing upside down on the light table. You can see why I love my light table almost as much as my kids. Seriously. It’s lovely.

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And it does not talk back or leave dishes on the counter.

Kitten was trying to lie ON the drawing, UNDER the drawing, IN the drawing, so I banished her…to the top of the piano, on all my drawings and sketchbooks…

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Isn’t that where all of us keep our stuff? So I had a little left to watch of the show and didn’t want to start tracing Monday night, so I cut out two of the smaller quilts…just the Wonder Under.

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Really, I should be working on those this week and getting them ironed to fabric so I can trim them on Friday, but I can’t be bothered. I’m on a tracing roll. And tomorrow is a medical clusterfuck (thank you, uterus, for demanding ALL the attention), so I probably won’t get much of anything done. Plus it’s almost three today and I have started exactly nothing. These DAMN DISTRACTIONS. And a headache. Weather headache. Arrgh. Where’s the damn Motrin. And now I hear I shouldn’t be popping those? Someone should tell my damn head that so it can stop throbbing on command.

I started tracing yesterday afternoon…

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And I just kept going. I stopped for dinner. I stopped to do some writing. I stopped to pee a few times. But I’m through piece 472.

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So only a quarter of the way through. If I could be as focused as I was yesterday, I’d be done by Sunday. Ha! Not happening. Oh well. Distractions. It’s good if it saves me or makes me some money. I needed the batting. I needed it to be on sale too, and the coupon expired today. All those other fussy little things, fill out this form and that form, take the car in for this and that. I hate that shit. I need to delegate more out. My post-it list from two days ago still has 4 things on it.

Anyway. I will stand. I will go get headache meds. I will take the phone with me, in case the health insurance people call me back today. I will trace the Wonder Under. I will push off the other distractions until tomorrow. Mostly.


The Two Newest…

July 14, 2015

So I just had the two newest pieces photographed over the weekend. Before I go back to my marathon tracing event (aargh, braindeath), I thought I’d throw them up here, because all you’ve seen is awkward hanging from clothes hangers and badly lit crappy photos. And that seems mean when I have much better pictures available now.

I finished In Deep (Bathtub 2) in June…I love this cat…

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The fabric on her face has those lines across it…and no, I didn’t fussy cut it. I had barely enough of it to cut out the pieces I did…

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The other figure is upside down…and sleeping…

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This is the first of the bathtub series…expect more of them.

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I keep drawing them. It’s a nice frame to whatever it is I’m saying. This is 40″ w x 50″ h.

Then right away, I started Part-Time Oasis…I actually did the original top of the drawing for this more than once back in January…

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And then drew the whole thing to size back in June. Lots of little pieces for such a small work…

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It was mostly flesh fabrics in the end…and a heart for the cat, because Kimberly asked.

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It turned out well…like what I saw in my head. That’s always a plus.

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It’s 18″ w x 40″ h. And they were both done in about 8 weeks flat. Not bad.

Now I move on to a giant huge beast. It won’t be done particularly soon. More about it tomorrow. Right this second, I must go back to the light table that is my master today.


The Story of My Tits

July 14, 2015

No, not MY tits…Jennifer Hayden’s graphic novel about her breasts and breast cancer and her family and all that amazing stuff…this book is due to release in September.

I describe my art brain as obsessed with the being of woman, of not being able to get pregnant, of not wanting to get pregnant, of wanting to get pregnant but not being able to, and finally of not being able to and that being a relief and yet a problem, as our bodies change over the years.

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Hayden’s book describes the same sort of thing, but it is the story of her tits, from flat-chested and wanting more, to getting something and changing because of that, then maybe too much, and then they become deadly carriers of cancer cells. Her feelings towards her breasts are something most women understand and empathize with, coupled with that crazy fear that comes with the thought of breast cancer and the choices we might have to make.

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The drawings are graphic and emotive. This is an autobiography well worth reading.


Ripping the Drawing Out…

July 13, 2015

So how do I get a drawing out of me? Sometimes it spills out, fully formed, from my head, where it’s been growing for days. Or I wake up with it in my brain from some dream I had. Or more often, I’m driving around or at the gym or on a hike, and I see a hand in my head and the pen is moving and the drawing forms right there.

But sometimes, I have part of a drawing and there’s more that needs to be done to size…as in, I’m drawing it the actual size that it will be in the final piece. This is rare for me, but it happens. And then sometimes, I have to rip it out of me. Staring at the paper, sketching ideas, erasing them, pounding my hand down, my head pounding in response. That drawing just won’t come out easily. It has to be birthed.

I had about 4 1/2 hours in by Saturday night. Then Sunday, I stared at it a lot, but put in another 2 hours and 50 minutes. With Kitten’s help (not)…but there’s the upper arm and the bird…

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But in the distance, Katie…(that’s the girlchild’s foot)…

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Zoom out. Red arrow is Katie, my parents’ dog.

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Staring at Kitten. On the light table. Katie got picked up today, so Kitten has free rein in the house again. Which is nice, because moving her around so I could draw yesterday was a pain in the butt.

I do use photos as reference for animals…and bugs. I used this lion and another one to draw the one on the leg…

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I looked at bee, butterfly, thistle, and howling wolf photos as well. And a raven.

Here you can see that the whole pissed-off Earth Mother figure is taking shape.

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Here’s a better view of the left torso. I got most of that done yesterday…

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And then I added a snake…a particular snake, with specific colors. So I wouldn’t forget, I saved it on my iPad…but I also noted the colors on the drawing…

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Here’s the snake around the legs…

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And that’s where I gave up last night. I stared at it and googled images for about 20 minutes before I gave up. Because I knew I wanted some sort of dog or wolf, but didn’t know where to put it, and at that point, I was debating bones or not, because there aren’t any in the other figure, but then that makes sense, because that’s the manmade version and this is the natural version.

Anyway. I drew today as well, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow for that. But right now, at 9 PM, no, I’m not done with the drawing. I’m hoping to be soon. I think I will be soon. I’m going to get some caffeine in me and see if I can bang it out…because this drawing has about 9 hours in it so far. And I wanted it done last night (ha!). So yeah. Done and numbered tonight, so I can start tracing tomorrow. The editing job fell through (seems a common theme), but a writing job is there, and I’m working on that. But not tonight. And I have some other errands I have to do tomorrow.

It’s funny, I know I’m stressed about money and projects because I’m grinding my teeth and I have those weird canker sores I get at the end of the school year and when stuff is really stressful, but I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be stressed over summer, right? Yeah. I know. My own fault.

Good news on the quilt front though…Earth Mother for Ventura got into the show up at the Ventura County Government Building, so it will be there from August 28-October 13 for your viewing pleasure…

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So go see it. I won’t be at the opening. Can’t get there in time from San Diego. Good to be getting into shows again.

OK. Drawing calls. Loudly. From the other room. Rude little beast.


Some Amazing Splinters

July 12, 2015

Cue music. I am deep in summer mode. I find it torturous to do mundane chores or errands. I just want to write and make art. I’ll leave for social events, because I know I’m deep in hermit mode, but it’s hard sometimes to walk away. Yesterday, though? Yesterday I needed a break. I have a drawing I started ages ago…

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April I think? And I enlarged it about 200% and then realized I had a whole ‘nother figure to draw and the piece could be up to 60″ square. I like big quilts. I like lots of detail. This was going to be my summer quilt, and yes, some other stuff jumped in front of it, but I delivered two quilts to the photographer today, and I’m feeling good! So yesterday, I pulled this one out…

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And laid it out. You can see I added quite a bit to the left, where the other figure will be, plus some space at the bottom for the legs to be finished, and some at the top, just in case. Now it looks tiny.

There is no bathtub in this one.

I probably spent a couple of hours on the first part of the drawing. So yesterday afternoon, I started on the knees and the rest of the legs.

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Then I penciled in a figure on the left and started deciding what she would really look like. I penciled in just general shapes…you can see some pencil of the torso.

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It’s a good thing I started in pencil, because the head was WAY too big and had to be redrawn like three times to get it to the right size.

This figure needs to be standing over the other figure, but it also needs different things on it, so I have to keep stopping and thinking instead of drawing. That’s how I know it’s time to take a break…I’ve been staring at the drawing for WAY too long and nothing’s getting drawn.

The photos get more difficult at this point…it’s really dark in there. But you can see I got most of the head and chest area done…

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One arm is done but needs decoration. The other arm is not done and I didn’t start the middle of the torso. There were just too many ideas in my head at that point, and I couldn’t focus. Why? Because I’d been working on it for two hours and 40 minutes. No small amount of time. And it’s not even halfway done, that second figure. Hmm. I’m hoping to finish tonight, maybe even number it. We’ll see.

My time totals rarely include drawing time, because I don’t usually keep track of that.

I tried to get a photo that shows the whole thing, but even brightened and put in black and white, it’s too hard to see. You can see the hips and legs coming down on the left.

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So it’s almost 6 PM and I have to cook dinner. Well, the pizza dough is coming to room temperature, so I have some time. But someone is hogging the television, and my brain needs TV light to distract me from the part of my brain that wants to censor the drawing. Actually, I’m watching Helix, which is not light enough unfortunately. I keep having to rewind to figure out the story, but it is growing on me. Some virus that’s carried in honey or some mother tree or something. It makes the men infertile. I’m not sure what it does to the women. Having just spent time reading the summaries, my confusion between bees and honey and apples and Mother Tree and the bleeding tree makes complete sense. There is no sense yet. I think I have 4 episodes to make sense of it all. That might be how long it takes me to finish this drawing.

I’ve also been writing. I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in an attempt to finish the sci fi novel I started last summer and wrote a giant chunk of over November. I’ve written about 5000 words, which isn’t great, but is better than I’d done so far this summer without motivation, and then I got asked to write another story, so I did that in the last two days, almost 5000 words there as well. That stuff takes time, for sure…as does writing here. But it’s all good. Writing clears my mind. Drawing does too, but in an entirely different way. I can have the drawing working in my head while I write, and a hand moves around, putting objects all over, trying them out, while the words spill out on the screen. Same as when I draw, while I’m moving the pen around on the paper, the story is writing itself, characters bouncing around, dying off, meeting others on the road, making decisions about plot while I draw.

My brain is truly split off in some amazing splinters.


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