The 100: Should I Draw or Should I Not?

December 11, 2014

So I’ve been thinking about this donation piece I’m going to do for FFAC The 100 Fundraiser, and I have some drawings that are already done (OK, I have hundreds of drawings that are already done)…and this time of year is apparently going to kick my butt in terms of getting any work done (almost nothing last night…again), so I pulled out one of the medium-sized sketchbooks to see what was there, because why remake the wheel? If I already have something that will work…

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Yeah. That’s got way too many pieces in it. One of the things we’re supposed to try to do is keep it in the $100 range, at least 8×10″, which means looking at a sketchbook that’s 10×12″ is probably a mistake. But this would make a cool smaller quilt.

Then I had some drawings that I had already exploded (OK, that’s not the right word, but I haven’t had enough caffeine yet to come up with the right one…dammit…ENLARGED), but same issue.

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They’re going to be too big or too complicated. Recognize that bird? Yup. It’s the original drawing from whence the purple bird came.

This drawing is really old…never got done. I even numbered all the pieces. It’s been a bit beat up.

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I might have to ship the piece overseas, so I want it to fit flat in a padded envelope, ideally. Shipping can be really expensive. Maybe just the bird and the hand in that one? That might work?

And then I saw Kathy York’s piece, and I wanted to be one of the 100 donors. We’ll see what money looks like in February. Odds are it’s gonna be ugly (college apps). So you should do it because you might get that canoe and that canoe is awesome.

So I went back to considering my options (and being irritated because I haven’t even started yet and the other Kathy is done…not irritated at HER of course…she’s awesome…and I’m just too busy and that sucks at the moment).

So this one is still hanging around (as is Calli)…although very cool and possibly small enough, it’s probably way too complicated.

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The two smallest of the birds came out at about $100 calculated hours. Keep that in mind. That’s like less than 20 pieces (very hard for me to go that simple) and they were 8×10″.

So I’m still thinking about it. Keep it simple, right?

This one is simpler…

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but too big. And those leaves are pretty fancy schmancy. I could go back to its original size? Or I could just pull out the smaller sketchbook and draw with size and pieces in mind…starting over…

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Calli’s no help with this. Sigh. Will keep mulling this over until I have time to deal with it!

A Personal Sarcasm Tornado

December 10, 2014

Some days, you just bully through the part you don’t feel like finishing. Finally. Finally. Finally. Not cutting things out any more. Turns out I spent almost 11 1/2 hours cutting pieces out. I seriously think I spent a goodly portion of it just staring off into space, lost in my head. Not very efficient. At all.

But I finished last night while watching Orphan Black (it grows on you; I wasn’t sure after the first episode, but now I’m hooked)…

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And so I was adamant about finishing the piece-sorting last night, so I might be able to iron tonight. Some tasks just seem to be harder to start, and I knew if I pushed the sorting off until today, that somehow I’d get myself psyched out of starting the ironing today as well. So I just did it. Honestly, that’s how I get all this shit done. I push myself off the couch and just do it. At midnight.

Yes, this is why I don’t get any sleep. Too late. Feeling it today. But it’s pajama day at school today, and that’s one of my favorite days at school. How could you NOT like wearing pajamas to work.

I’ve got about 50 hours into this quilt so far, but I have to admit there’s been a lot of staring-off-into-space time. It’s also just a long week because of other stuff and half my brain has wandered off into another country. And the technology piece of what I’m doing in my classroom is causing a personal sarcasm tornado, I think. If one more kid raises a hand to ask me to give them an answer that’s on the website in front of them, I might scream.

Anyway. I’m getting through days, trying to stay focused. I’d like more cookies. And a clean house. And a Christmas tree.

I Will Get There

December 9, 2014

First of all, it’s late. I’m tired. I thought about going to sleep about an hour and a half ago, but I think that I was really reacting to the boring-ass shit I was trying to do on a computer that is so fucking slow that I want to bang my head against the desk, even though I know it will hurt more than my head already does. But first of all, there was this…night owls vs early birds

I love the ASAP Science videos by the way. They’re great for kids and I love them too. These guys are fun. And there’s science!

Anyway. If you haven’t figured it out…I’m a night owl. I know. You’re shocked. I mean, it’s gotten worse over the years, or maybe not? And the boychild? Yeah. He’s the same. So’s my mom. The girlchild naturally is in bed by 10 PM most nights, although not always asleep. Same with her dad. My dad is another early guy. And they say it’s genetics, but I wonder if it makes sense to have a night owl married to an early bird. Does that work? My parents seem to have figured it out. Then again, they’re both deaf, so maybe they don’t realize where anyone is at any given time.

So I should really go to bed, but my stress levels are in extreme mode at the moment, so I’m staying up to write this, drink a glass of wine (teeth grinding…there are a few things that work…and alcohol is one of them…and I ALREADY exercised, people), and then I’ll hopefully be calm enough to go to bed. I’m listening to the NPR podcast Serial, which is sort of a spinoff of This American Life. I’ve never really gotten into podcasts, although I’ve had several recommended to me. I guess it’s like listening to the plant course I’m taking on Coursera. I just listen while doing other stuff. Like right now, I’m listening while I type. I’m starting to think I should write a diary so someone can find it when they find my dead body. Oh wait. I already write this. Damn. LOOK UNDER THE PORCH. Oh yeah, I don’t have a porch.

You know I don’t write everything here, right? There are some things that are JUST in my journal. Or my head. Or somewhere else. Damn, I miss drawing. I need to draw this week. I’m losing it. I didn’t do any art the last two days. I’m so fucking close to finishing this step on the current quilt…but I have this major project at school that I’ve done in December for the last two years, but this year, I’m putting it all online, using Google Sites and Google Classroom, but the real problem is the learning curve. I’m pretty smart at technology, but Google isn’t always user-friendly (shhh…don’t tell them). I’m never sure how things will work until I try them, and it could be absolute fucking chaos in my class for the next 10 days. WHOO! Like I can deal with that. And I can’t get my head screwed on straight for school as it is…way behind on grading, and about to have major projects turned in. Makes me want to crawl into bed, put pillows over my head, and hum loudly with my fingers in my ears. LALALALALA!

Haven’t written the book in the last few days either. Supremely overworked and distracted. Been cleaning and moving stuff around and trying to find places for everything and solve all the problems.

I will get there. Wherever there is. I just don’t know when. Or how. What’s new?

This is what being an artist looks like. What being a mom looks like. What being a divorced mom looks like. What being a divorced artistic mom looks like.

Three Birds for Sale

December 8, 2014

Remember the book Caps for Sale with all the monkeys? Love that book.

So I have a slowly dying computer that needs replacing. Don’t need a monitor or keyboard, just the part that runs everything, and this is the worst time of year for me to find extra cash lying around, so I remembered that I still have three unsold birds. So I’m putting them out there, just in case someone wants to give them as a Christmas prezzie or something.

The two smaller ones fit in a flat padded envelope, but the larger one has to go in a tube. The larger one is bound normally and has a sleeve; the other two are satin-stitched around the edges and hang off of two plastic rings in each corner (the rings don’t show). Prices are based on hours to make them…it’s quicker NOT to do the binding and sleeve, plus that one’s bigger anyway.

This is Purple Bird (Bird 8)…measuring 18.25“ w x 14.5“ h. It is straight…when it’s not sitting flat (hangs from a dowel). Priced at $205.

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This is Dove 2 (Bird 11), measuring 10″w x 8″h. No binding, no sleeve, hangs from rings. Priced at an easy $100.

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This is Diving Bird 2 (Bird 13), measuring 10″w x 8″h. No binding, no sleeve, hangs from rings. Also priced at an easy $100.

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Payment by cash, check, or Paypal. Shipping once payment is received. Let me know if you’re interested. My version of a Cyber Monday?

December Regularly Kicks My Butt

December 8, 2014

December is this weird month full of holiday parties and caloric-rich foods and inappropriate drunken behavior at work parties and white elephants and secret Santas and too many things you have to get done and Christmas tree lights twinkling in the dark and weather that can’t decide what to be (that might just be Southern California). Strangely, for me, it’s also full of cold feet and grinding teeth. Not a relaxing time of year for the first few weeks. School kicks my butt, and so does the rest of it. In fact, December regularly kicks my butt. I don’t enjoy this month, except I really like Christmas lights and the smell of the tree, but that’s about it. Oh, and spiced cider is good. And the three weeks of Winter Break. You can keep the rest: the crazy drivers, the overly full malls, the crappy long lines, the constant emails of cookie recipes I don’t have time to make, the number of holiday gatherings that require me to make and bring food, the lack of time to get to the gym. Kicks my Butt.

But I managed this…

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After an 8-mile hike and only a 20-minute nap, I cut stuff out for four hours yesterday. I really couldn’t do anything else. My brain had completely shut down. I thought I might grade papers, but no…my brain explained that it was an impossible task, that it simply didn’t have the necessary neurons to complete that.

I wanted to be done, though, with the cutting out…and today, Sunday, also kicked my butt. Sigh. I’m looking at the time right now and realizing I need to go to sleep, and I did nothing art-related today at all. I cleaned and went to the store and shopped for Christmas stuff and returned things that were broken that I had had shipped to me precisely so I wouldn’t have to go to the store at all (shipping was free), but NO. Sigh. I used up giftcards and took the girlchild out to dinner at the mall, because we were already there and yeah. But a lot of the shopping is now done. So that’s good. That’s the one thing? I guess?

And tomorrow night, I canceled book club (second one in two weeks I’ve canceled), and I will grade papers and cut the rest of those out and sort them into bins and maybe start ironing Tuesday. Although my life is…um…morphing I guess? Yes, I’m giving birth to alien pods. That’s it. Naw, it’s not, but shit is changing and hopefully for the better and who knows what all that means, but since I’ve spent most of my adult life adapting to new crap, this is nothing really truly new. I will adjust. In time. Or not. Whatever. I roll with the changes…well, once the Humvee stops bouncing over my broken bones. THEN I roll.

Kicking my butt.

Awkward family videos (you’ll notice they’re all animals)…

Why all my writing utensils are always on the floor…

And now you know.

Yup. She’s crazy.

Make Art

December 5, 2014

I got one picture for last night. Because I didn’t do much but cut little pieces out and write sci fi. This is how far I got by the end of the night…

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Top left is trash (kept until I figure out if I threw any tiny pieces in there by accident. I do it all the time, unfortunately.). Top right is what I’ve actually achieved (which yes, doesn’t look like shit at the moment; thank you for reminding me.). Bottom is what I still have left to do. Two pairs of scissors, the phone, wine, TV remote, and pajamas. Really, it was not a bad night, except it started with a soccer parent meeting (aargh. asshole coach. stupid people. grrr.) and I didn’t get to go to the gym and I was really really tired. I’m hiking tomorrow morning, so I’d really better put myself to bed early. If I’m smart. And we’ve already proved I’m not, at least when it comes to sleep.

I did cut more tonight at my stitching meeting. Nice conversation. Those things keep me sane. School? Not so much. I was supposed to enter some art shows this week, and only managed one. So little free time. So little time for anything. People wonder how I get anything done. I wonder too. I do crazy stuff like listen to lectures while I’m writing, write while I’m exercising, grade while I’m watching. I rarely do Just One Thing at a Time. Except for the art. The art is big enough and strong enough to fill up the whole mind, to make sure the bits that wander off into depressoid land don’t have a chance. They can’t get out. All the exits are blocked by artmaking activities. It’s all art.

Sometimes I wonder why I got bit so hard by the art bug. I have two kids who are creatively minded, one who draws/paints really well, but doesn’t get obsessed by it. I don’t remember being her age and making art. I know I did, but I don’t remember what it felt like. I know what it feels like now. I remember what it felt like when the kids were little and I didn’t have time. It felt like grinding your teeth. It felt like that migraine caused by the Santa Ana winds blowing dry and hot in the fall. It felt like fingernails on a chalkboard. It was just wrong. But I don’t remember when it got like that. I had this conversation with the boychild, who is leaning towards a major (I didn’t even ask…because it doesn’t matter), and I explained how I wasn’t allowed to just major in art when I went to college, that I had to have another major. That it was assumed that art would not sustain. And I guess it’s true that financially it does not sustain, but it is the One Thing that I have done most of my life consistently and purely and truly. It is the core of who I am. How I am. I could not stop, as I have seen some friends and acquaintances do, and just go to work and come home and watch TV and sleep in on Sundays and go to the park. I would rather be in a fluorescently lit room with bad wallpaper and containers of fabric: tracing, drawing, cutting, sewing. That is where I need to be. I’m scared of getting old and not having that. I’ve seen that. The old artists who aren’t well enough to draw or paint any more. Maybe they don’t even remember how. I don’t want to be like that. I can’t imagine being that empty.

So art. Yes. Fills.

I had this quote sitting around for a while: “Don’t go into art for fame or fortune. Do it because you cannot not do it. Being an artist is a combination of talent and obsession.” John Baldessari

And Neil Gaiman’s speech…

about Make Good Art. Love Gaiman. Do not love this book though…


Really. You should look at it…until it gives you a headache. Because it will. It’s the speech…but the design is torturous.

Anyway. Make art. Hopefully it will get good. (Make Art was the title of my original blog, started 10 years ago.)

Before Someone Gets Hurt…

December 4, 2014

First of all, I am behind on everything. EVERYTHING. It’s December? When the fuck did THAT happen? Second of all, failing at sleep. Complete utter failure. EPIC fail. I went to bed so late on Tuesday night, it was well into Wednesday morning. And then I got up and taught. I don’t even know how. And this post should have been written like Wednesday morning, but that got destroyed by, well, life, and then last night was soccer in the rain outside on the bleachers (at least it wasn’t cold) and it started late, so I didn’t get home until after 9:30, so that’s when we ate dinner, and I almost fell asleep right then and there, but managed to rally. So then I was going to write this morning, and I don’t even KNOW what happened this morning, Godzilla stopped by and sucked my brains out my left ear, and by the time I made it through a whole day of kids going “What? What did you say? What page is that? I don’t have that. Can I have another copy?” and my impersonation of a fire-breathing dragon, eyes popping veins, well…there just isn’t much left. I don’t know what day it is. I’m tired. I’m not on top of anything (except this chair, and that’s questionable). Well, except grades are done. I’m totally caught up (until tomorrow). And the cat just skidded down the back of the chair and slammed into my back. So now all I have is the edge of the damn chair.

I need a Christmas tree. I need a list. I need a new computer. I need a new stove. (I need a new life. Swear.)

So I stayed up late Tuesday night because I was doing this…

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I finished ironing all the War pieces down. There are 80 different fabrics in this quilt. Notice how many browns and flesh colors there are. I’m not sure why there’s so much red. Not a lot of color otherwise…

Here’s the pile of pieces to be cut out.

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My brain was in overdrive Tuesday night after finishing the ironing, so I tried to calm it down by finishing the episode of Star Trek I was watching, while starting to cut stuff out.

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I don’t usually cut stuff out in the computer chair (see note about cat and chair and edges), because it’s not particularly comfortable, but the episode had already started here, and I don’t have the same Netflix account on the TV as the computer (don’t even ask. It’s not worth the time it would take to explain it). It was probably a mistake, because my brain got into it and wouldn’t shut down…this is what I got done last night.

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I got a little more done last night. Got smart and went to bed before 1 AM, dontcha know.

I did sew at the soccer game…in the rain…under an umbrella.

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Lots of green variegated bullion knots. It’s gonna take me a million years to finish these birds.

So when did I say I’d be done cutting pieces out? Sunday? Oh yeah. That’s funny. I’m going to try, I guess, but sheesh. First I have to go sit through a stupid parent meeting and pay a shitload of money (more than it would cost to replace my stove), and then I don’t have time to go to the gym because they scheduled the meeting at such a stupid time, and I’m cranky as hell from school and hormones, and I really just want to curl up in bed and sleep for three days, but the sleep of the dead…the sleep that is not interrupted by rain storms and raccoons on the roof and monstrous hot flashes and nightmares involving Big Foot and that thing that is in that Christmas TV show from a million years ago…


HIM. The Abominable Snowman (NOT the Abdominal Snowman). Dreamed about him last night. He was scary. Except he looked more like this…


Christmas happy dreams, eh?

Make art, Kathryn. Before someone gets hurt.


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