Spending Time with Ink

October 10, 2014

So first of all, as I wrote in the previous post, I really didn’t expect to get into Quilt National or Visions or any of the others that regularly reject my work, but I’ve entered a LOT of shows in the last 9 months, and I do get into a few (SAQA’s regional exhibit Shades of Passion opens tonight with one of my pieces…with NO nudity), but they’re not challenging shows. Some have suggested other shows to enter, and I appreciate that. I do always have a run of show-entering after another rejection. Those pieces are now free to go exhibit elsewhere, and I try to get right on that. So yes, more entries in the next few weeks. As far as the art world is concerned, I do enter art (not quilt) shows…but I find that there is a massive prejudice against fiber art in the other art world, especially if you’re not being innovative with technique…and my technique is born from the quilt world. It’s my imagery that messes with their heads. But being involved with local female artists, I can tell you that just doing female nudes in certain parts of the country will cause an issue. So there are many reasons why my work doesn’t fit into some neat category. And I’m OK with that most of the time. It just gets old to continue to make work that you know is good, that you know is different and challenging and creative…and to have nowhere to show it. I don’t need a tribe to belong to…but I do need a place to exhibit.

Anyway. Moving on. As part of my attempt to remake my life, I sign up for weird shit sometimes…so last night found me in the basement of some downtown building, in a comic shop, sitting at a table drinking Stack wine (have you seen it? It’s very cute.), drawing, while surrounded by nerds. And geeks. And artists. And you could tell most of us were artists (some were attached to artists), because at some point, the room went dead silent…because we were all drawing. A strange social event indeed, but relaxing.

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I did really have a plan for drawing. I have another show coming up that needs a new piece, but I haven’t really fleshed it out in my head, so I just drew kinda like Faulkner writes, without ending my sentences for days…

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That’s how my brain works. How can I fit more things on this page? This drawing is like a Faulkner sentence. I even went back and added more at one point when I was contemplating what to do for the last drawing.

And a few people came up and commented and were appreciative, which is fine. It’s not why I went there. And ostensibly, I failed at the part I meant to do, which was socializing, but there were reasons for that.

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This one actually is prep for the new piece I need to do. Although I’m going to lose the cape. The rest might work, though…but bigger? Maybe. I don’t think I’m allowed to go bigger. We’ll see. Did you know when you Google “hands on hips pose woman,” you get a million images of Wonder Woman? Like that’s the key phrase for her. Like people can’t remember her name. “You know, that superhero woman with her hands on her hips?” Sigh.

I did draw though. So no, I didn’t iron anything last night, because after two days of science professional development and getting up early for that and not getting enough sleep, I was dead tired. I came home, ate some sugar (hello depression!), made a cup of tea, and read myself to sleep.

Oh, yeah, so this drawing. I started drawing this guy across the room because he had an interesting face, and I actually did a pretty good job of capturing his face and expression…like I think he would have liked to have seen this…but THEN…

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Some guy showed up who was friends with the two guys sitting next to me, and started talking about all the women he was fucking and how this one had sort of propositioned him, but she admitted to having sex with 30 guys so far this year, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to, because she wasn’t the right body type for him, but “if she had big tits,” he would. Sigh. So I had to write it. I actually sat there for a couple of minutes and asked myself if I was going to defile the drawing of the nice guy (I don’t actually know if he’s nice) across the way with the crap coming out of this little boy’s mouth, and it’s funny, because I think the other guy at the table, who had been sitting there near me for over 2 hours, I think he was embarrassed, because he realized there were women listening to this guy run on about girls and tits and all this crap, and hell, I would have been embarrassed if he were my friend. So after I wrote it, I decided to pack it in. It was after 10 and I had school in the morning and I was tired and I didn’t want to pay more for parking and little boys. So I left. I said thank you to my host, though. And Batton Lash drew me.

There are worse ways to end the day. This drawing is actually from Wednesday’s union meeting…yes, after 7 hours in a training, I had to hang around at school for 45 minutes and then go back to the district office for a 2-hour union meeting. UGH. Brain dead much? Rough week.

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I did iron Wednesday night, though.

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Legs. Female legs. They look remarkably like male legs (in my drawing at least). I had hoped to get the whole female figure ironed Wednesday night, but I graded stuff and spaced out a little (left most of my brain at the DO), and got yelled at by the girlchild, and made dinner (a damn good dinner too, so there). So I didn’t start ironing until after 10 PM, which is late for a 2+ hour session. And I was exhausted. But still stayed up way too late. I’m not very smart sometimes.

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Or my brain just messes with me.

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Uterus in color.

Ball of cat.

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Lizard on ceiling.

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Too high up to get him down. He’s still there this morning.

I think I just ran out of words. Or energy. Or brain power. Whatever. I drew. Remember I said I would draw once a week? Well, I did.


Must Draw.

October 4, 2014

I have all this art-related stuff going on, all these deadlines I’ve been managing really since summer, and my life is different, in that I don’t have the same situation that seemed to encourage more drawing…so I realized that some of the tense growliness that is existing in the back part of my head…it’s because I haven’t been drawing enough. Drawing literally seems to pull these big black wormy nasty bits out of my mind and plop them down on paper, and it works like meditation. I should be doing it EVERY DAY. OK, so that’s not going to happen, because I already have lots of stupid stuff I have to do every day, like eat, sleep, work, meditate, exercise, and poop. Maybe some more things too. But I do like this idea of setting time aside (damn, I need to find more time somewhere…in Clash of Clans, you can buy gems…in my life, I need to be able to buy hours) to draw. Of making a date with myself to draw.

So I picked Friday nights. And it’s not like I spent a lot of introspective time considering options and debating pros and cons of small drawings every other day or one large drawing or when do I consistently have time. I was sitting on the couch on Friday night, alone because the girlchild was watching a soccer game at UCSD. Or SDSU. I’m not sure which. And I had finished grading one section of the 700 things I need to grade this weekend, because fucking progress reports are due. Hate progress reports. Go Look at the Online Gradebook, parents! It’s all there! Anyway. My personal issues aside (I don’t really hate progress reports…I just hate doing them). And I thought, I feel squirmy in my skin. I’m exhausted from the week (it’s been a doozy!). I don’t want to be responsible and grade more stuff. I wanna. I wanna. What do I wanna? I wanna draw.

So I did. For like 2 hours.

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And there she is. Meditation Pose 1. Implying there might be more (maybe not, and then when I die and someone does my retrospective catalog, y’all can discuss why I stopped with one). By the way, I don’t meditate in anything approaching this pose (or in the nude, for that matter), because my knees would protest that position. I’m all about comfortable meditation poses, because then I can focus on the brain instead of my aging body.

There’s a lot going on in this drawing, which I really like. And I’m going to try really hard to keep doing something on Friday nights, because I’m usually braindead on Fridays anyway and really shouldn’t be allowed to do anything that requires brain power at all, and the brain power I use for drawing comes from an entirely different source (THE source, I think), but I say that, and I already know next Friday will be an issue because of an art opening. Oh well. I can try. I can put it on the calendar. It would be more than I’m doing now. The last big drawing I did was the end of July (although I then continued it in September or late August, so it’s not like I’m not drawing…it’s just not so freeform). I feel like when I’m 90, I will still be rearranging my busy schedule to try to fit everything in.

Did I have TIME to draw? Fuck no. Like I said, grades are due and I haven’t finished this yet…

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Fucker. I cut for over an hour last night, but it’s still a ways away from being finished. It doesn’t look like much…

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but it takes time to cut all those pieces out. So I will find that time today…hopefully. Around the gym and soccer and grades. Because these are the things that make me feel better. Not the things where I have bills to pay and people to manage and papers to correct and rooms to clean. That shit just sucks. And although you have to be adult and responsible and DO some of that shit, it shouldn’t be all you do.

By the way, Babygirl just stepped on my mouse and deleted half a paragraph, and is now lying with her tail on the keyboard and her butt completely obscuring the mouse, with a surprised, yet petulant look every time I touch the mouse. “You’re touching my butt.” “Get your butt off my mouse.” Damn cats.

OK, gym. Food. Work. Art. Soccer. Not in that order. Taking care of oneself takes so much damn energy.


You Can Draw, Kathryn…

September 7, 2014

So there was all this sneezing and snot at school this week, and even though I tried not to touch papers too much, one of those snotty little beasts got me sick. The thing is, I felt like crap this morning, and even came home from the girlchild’s soccer game and slept for an hour (although that could have been the less-than-stellar sleep from the whole week finally catching up to me), and although I AM sick, I am not REALLY sick. Knock on wood. Because maybe tomorrow will be way worse. I’m spacey, I’m a little achy. But I’m not really really sick. I even bought the good drugs, just in case, but haven’t needed them. Yet. So yeah. I can make meth in my backyard now. A very small amount. Breaking Bad? Not so much. Assholes on that show. I stopped watching…couldn’t deal with all the assholes.

Until maybe tomorrow I will be OK. Anyway, I canceled the hike I was going to go on tonight, because I felt like crap, and then I tried to get a bunch of stuff done, like finally entering Quilt National (donating my money to them, because I’ve only gotten in once). Then I got an email about the quilt for the local show, and there isn’t room for it any more (sigh…then why oh why did I spend time working on it at ALL, because I don’t have any time to spare at the moment. AARGH.), so I gladly folded it up (it has a binding and a sleeve now…needs a bit more quilting and some hand embroidery and it’s done, but who the fuck cares? I don’t.) and persuaded myself I could draw tonight.

You Can Draw, Kathryn.

I actually penciled a bunch of stuff in, because I didn’t want to fuck anything up at this stage…

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When I’m drawing to size, it’s really better to NOT be using a lot of white-out. It’s hard to see through all those lines when it’s upside down on the light table. So the bird had some loosely drawn pencil lines and then I went in with the Sharpie and drew it final. I don’t follow the pencil lines exactly…they’re just a guideline. And I was looking at some of my old bird drawings for this one…but I had to really fight the desire to add more detail. Because it needs to be done by mid-November and there’s already a fucking shitload of detail on it.

Here’s things floating in air…

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with a tree to be drawn afterwards. Something about the couple being connected by the tree. They ground it. Wish they could ground me too. Ground as in feeling attached to something…not grounded like you’re not allowed out because you fucked up.

And eventually the tree and leaves got drawn as well.

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This thing has been in my head for so freakin’ long. I don’t know what my problem was. It took about 4 hours tonight to finish the drawing and number it…maybe a little longer than that. An hour was numbering…it’s at 1067 pieces…it could have been A LOT worse. Really. I was afraid of another 2000-piece quilt needing 150 hours to complete. I just don’t have that many hours free between now and mid-November…not if I’m gonna leave the house for anything else but work and soccer.

So I’m a little relieved. Still freaked out because I’m behind schedule, but it’s numbered now, so I can start tracing Wonder Under this week. Maybe 11 hours for that? I’m hoping. So I should be done by the end of the week? Maybe? This week’s a little bitchy.

I can at least get started.

I wanted it traced and cut out by mid-September. HA! OK, so that’s technically about 9 days from now. I’m thinking that’s pushing it, but at least I have a goal. Six hours to cut it out? So 17 hours of work in the next 9 days. Uh huh. With a Shakespeare play, back-to-school night, and an art opening. Uh huh. It’s possible. I don’t really need to sleep. I’m not very good at it anyway.

I’m also not very good at numbering. I missed the toes on the left…so they are all 362a, b, etc. through i…

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I think those are the only pieces I missed, but I’m sure I will find more later.

Sometimes I wonder about my art practice, about how to explain it to someone who doesn’t know me. Like, yeah, I number all these pieces and trace them with all the overlaps and it takes HOURS and no, I’m NOT crazy, why do you ask?

Fuck me.

I am more than a little bit crazy.

And this little bit will be fun, because I need to have like 10 flesh-colored fabrics in a color run to pull this off, I think.

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OK, I think I can do it in seven. Maybe. I love those hands, by the way. They are nice. A dream for me. Holding hands. Sigh.

The counselor says I am no longer officially depressed…just lonely. Huh. Not sure what the difference is. It feels the same. And it’s pretty sad to be lonely when you have someone who actually lives with you at least part of the time…although, she’s a teenager with a social life. Sigh. I’m really not doing this life thing right.

Anyway. It’s progress on this fucker. I’m glad of that, because I was starting to really hold that stress in my gut, and that’s not a good place for it to be. I just needed to get past that hump and move on.

Girlchild had a freakin’ early game in Coronado. Plus: it’s the beach, so it was cool. Minus: it was a long drive very early in the morning. Plus: we were back home fairly early.

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They lost. Badly. Probably not a plus. The parents were dumbasses. Seriously. The dad next to me yells, “Get a foot on it!” and the girl’s name, and she looks at him like he’s fucking insane, because she didn’t think of that already? I don’t yell a lot…just encouraging stuff when the girlchild makes a goal. I graded papers and watched her fall.

 

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I thought she did pretty well though…

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Certainly, there was a lot of heading the ball…although the one below? I think the girlchild was not involved, but how can you NOT put that picture in?

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At least the ball is in SOME of the pictures.

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She hates it when I take pictures, because none of them make her look beautiful. I personally think she looks pretty amazing, but I’m her mom.

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Tough little beast. As we get closer to sending her off to college, despite all the yelling she does, I’m gonna miss her.

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Three soccer games in one weekend though? Huh. That’s a lot. I skipped the one where she was coaching the under-10s. Mostly because I hadn’t eaten.

Anyway. I just realized how late it is. Time is kind of difficult when I’m drawing for hours upon hours. And not talking to humans. Seriously. Last human communication? Around 4 PM, I think. That was the grocery-store checkout lady. The one who put the fruit in with the cans. She was nice, but…my fruit does not appreciate her.

Anyway. Whatever. I’m making the art, but not necessarily doing the life thing right. I’ve never been good at that. And someone fucked up my ability to deal. So there we are. Moving forward. Making the art. Because otherwise…what would I be doing? No one knows.

Note to self: Music is not helping. Stop trying to find songs that make you feel better. You suck at this late-night mood transformation. It’s just going to suck for a while. If you’re lucky, “a while” will not be forever.

Sigh. I’m just glad I’m moving on to the next stage on this quilt. I thought I was never getting there.

 

 


Not in My Nature…

September 1, 2014

Oh Holey Batpuddle. OK, so the plus is that I have had a breakthrough on the painful drawing of death (it’s not really a drawing of death. It’s a drawing that was trying to kill me. It failed. Fuck you, drawing. I will prevail. I am way more stubborn than you are…Yes, I am arguing with a drawing that is coming out of my head and is composed of paper and pen). I got it to the right size (even this was an issue on Friday and Saturday nights) and then penciled in the legs…

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I wanted to make sure the proportions were right. I already have issues with the length of the arms, but have decided I don’t fucking care. Once I had them in pencil, which yes, required some erasing and redrawing (apparently I think people have HUGE feet), I inked in most of the bottom.

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I kept thinking I should add more stuff on the bottom bits, but I do need this to actually GET MADE. It’s not anywhere near done, of course…the tibias and fibulas are missing. Extra credit points if you know what those are. Of course, then crazy brain popped in and suggested drawing phalanges and the other foot bones, so I slapped myself around a bit and moved on. I’ll work on it again tonight, although I’ve been exhausted all weekend, despite TRYING to get more sleep, so I don’t know how well that will go. Yes, I wanted to be done with the drawing by tonight. No, I won’t be. Oh well. Moving on.

I also worked on one binding last night…

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I have two more to put on, one ideally by Thursday night, but it’s the smaller one. I think I have another week or so for the larger one.

In the morning, I had an idea for adding something to my floating house…

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Last-minute decisions. A human figure that hangs down on the inside.

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I will never be able to sell this for the time and materials I put into it, which is kinda sad.

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Oh well. The cats will be quite happy when I bring it home and hang it so they can reach it.

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I spent most of the day dealing with stage 1 of the Art Produce install…

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Which was supposed to be hanging all the houses. We spent the first hour locked out (ah, the wonders of miscommunication) and tying fishing wire to the houses for hanging.

We had a wide variety of types of houses. Most people did more than one…

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I decided to do one big one…

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Linda Litteral’s houses are beautiful…

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Hand-drawn on tracing paper glued to wooden bases.

We got the fence parts in place…

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Installed some hanging apparati above…

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And I spent about 2 hours going up and down a 10-foot ladder, tying fishing wire to the supports above. I was a little tired afterwards.

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One of the other artists was going back today to install a bunch more, and we’ll all be there this afternoon to install birds.

Here they are attaching the fence to the wall…

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Art Produce is a gallery in North Park (San Diego) that has applied for nonprofit status. The exhibit we’re installing is called Fence/Barda, and is in coalition with a group of Mexican women artists who we have barely met. There is an American side of the gallery and a Mexican side.

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But mostly the houses went in today…the inside of mine from below.

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I was down there for 3 hours yesterday and it will be another 4 today. We got the fence location put in place and then moved it out of the way so we could start hanging houses. Then put it back with a ladder on each side for installation purposes.

I finished the two birds for this exhibit. If you come to the show (the opening is 6-9 on Saturday, September 13), the birds are all selling for $100. This meant I had to spend less time on mine than I had with the original versions. First of all, the birds are all 8×10″, so that was smaller than my originals. Then I didn’t bind them…I just satin-stitched the edges. I also didn’t put a sleeve or a label on them…I just wrote the info on the back of the quilt and sewed on two little rings that can hang on nails.

This is Bird 11, Dove 2:

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And this is Bird 13, Diving Bird 2 (although this one is less divey than the original):

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They will be in the show through October; if they don’t sell there, I’ll put them up here when the show closes.

I’m also possibly hanging a quilt that I never finished from way back. I’m taking it in today and asking if they want it…it has two houses on it and it’s a significant departure from the work I do now, but we have some blank wall space on the American side and I think it might fit. I just need to put about 2-3 hours into finishing the quilting and putting a binding and sleeve on it. I was going to do that last night, but decided that I wasn’t going to put time and energy into it if they didn’t want it. So I’ll take it today and see what they say, and if they want it, I’ll finish it by next weekend, when the Mexican contingent installs…I can just go over and hang it on the wall in about 5 minutes flat.

Anyway. So I made lots of progress yesterday. I’m exhausted today and still have 12 things on the to-do list, not the least of which is getting ready for school tomorrow. Yikes! And the girlchild is in a mood (finally school stress starts to weigh on her). I miss the boychild. We had a brief text conversation yesterday about the lameness of Mexican food at Cornell (a shocker). We would FedEx him burritos, but suspect they won’t make it.

My mood’s been halfway between too busy to even notice how I feel (there are pros and cons to that) to sinking well below into the depths of yucky shit. Fun stuff. I’m hoping artistic progress will keep pulling it back out. A girl can hope. Whenever you think the depression might be gone or reduced, it comes back to remind you that no, no it’s not. HERE I AM. Whatever. Fuck you. Now I need to jump on the rest of my to-do list for the day. While many people are lazing around, planning their Labor Day barbecue, I’m trying to decide what I’m taking to an installation potluck (I’m not making anything…there’s just no way) and how to fit 10 more hours into the day. Such is my life. I keep making more work for myself. Trying to draw the lines…I won’t do this or that, I will keep a balance. Ha. It’s not in my nature.


Should.

August 31, 2014

I’m watching a tiny hummingbird (yes, tiny even for them) hovering around the tree outside my window, landing every few moments, but not able to stay still. It peers around, flies off a little further, and then comes back and settles, resting briefly. There’s no flowers out there, nowhere for it to find food (go to the other side of the house!), and I don’t know why it can’t just SIT there for a moment.

Huh. I’m a tiny little hummingbird.

I wrote yesterday’s post while sitting in my car, waiting for the other hikers to show up. I’ll post the hike later…it was OK. Not too strenuous, although I was tired from sitting too much in the middle (it takes too long to feed that many people). And I was home early enough to deal with the cable guy (apparently the positioning of the planets is causing my cable/internet issues), grocery shopping (hate the store always, but especially on Saturday nights), 14 errands (not all successful, unfortunately), trimming (not done…couldn’t reach the worst of it, but rescued two birds nests), packing up shit for the boychild (by myself), and finally eating out, because I wanted this one thing to eat that I didn’t feel like cooking myself.

Here’s the thing about me and cooking. I don’t like prepackaged food. It tastes funny. I cook mostly from scratch. It’s healthier too. I do that most nights, with help from the girlchild sometimes. I don’t really LIKE cooking. This was an issue in both relationships, that women are supposed to be those who cook, but I don’t LIKE it. It was supposed to be some proof of my feelings towards them, but really, I cook all the time. It feels like work. It IS work. Why do you want me to show my love for you with WORK? With something that makes me feel BAD, IRRITATED, ANGRY? I could lesson plan for you too. It would still be WORK. Girlchild? She loves cooking. She gets in the kitchen and she’s the happiest little bunny in the world. Me? UGH. Now I do the same with sewing, which girlchild hates. So I get it…I understand. But I get TIRED of cooking all the time. So I try to give myself one meal every two weeks or so that I don’t have to cook (and it helps if girlchild is cooking, because then I just count that one and I don’t have to try to find the money and calories to go out). When I was first divorced (a million years ago), I would occasionally go out to dinner by myself, because I didn’t have anyone else to go out to dinner with, and I would bring my sketchbook and/or a book and it would be OK…not great, just OK. The waiters are usually pretty nice to you and it’s easy to find a seat for just one person, so you don’t usually have to wait, and yes, it can be a bit depressing to eat out by yourself while everyone around you is chatting away, but hell, it would be just as depressing to be eating at home alone, AND I would have had to cook.

So after running the 17th errand last night, I walked into a restaurant, sat down in the bar, started drawing, and ordered dinner…

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And ignored all the people around me, because honestly, who the fuck cares. I just needed to be somewhere besides home. I had already fought through a ton of depressoid thoughts and crying that afternoon and I was done. The waitress was a little freaked out by the drawing, wanted to know if it was just something in my head (do you see me copying from something?), and really, it was Tanya’s fault for reminding me of the perimenopausal random hair growth, because girlchild’s stolen my tweezers again and I think those random hairs COULD IN FACT take over the world if they wanted to. And my younger readers are thinking, “But why are there snakes around her nipple?” and my perimenopausal readers ALREADY KNOW, and yes it’s annoying (it’s not really gross, although some people will say that, because we do in fact have hair all over our bodies, and our reactions to said hair are kinda lame, you know? Really? So there’s HAIR. And it’s going to hurt you how?).

And when the food arrived, I read my book while eating. I was hungry. I hadn’t eaten since the early lunch I ate on the hike. Well, snacks, but they weren’t really satisfying. It was a satisfying meal and it wasn’t cheap (sigh), but I have to be able to do that once in a while, or it really does feel like life sucks shit because I can’t go out and I have to do all the cooking (holy shit, when the girlchild goes to college…). SIGH. Fucking sigh.

When I got home, I glanced at the list I made yesterday for this weekend…

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I went old school. I had stuff on the phone, in email, on post-its, and I needed to see the WHOLE FUCKING LIST in all its torture-me glory, so there it is. On paper. In RED pen (really only because I couldn’t find a black one…not for some other reason). And I keep writing more shit on it, which is just crazy. And crossing things off is a little harder. Sigh.

And then I tried to at least set the stage for good drawing last night.

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Obviously this picture was taken this morning, not last night, but you know what? I cleared the table and carefully put everything away and found the start of the damn fucking stupidass drawing and laid it out there. And then I went and sat on the couch and read my book and realized how fucking tired I was and gave up and went to bed, where I slept fitfully all night, worried about all the shit I have to do and unhappy with the silence and the absence of people and talking and friendliness and FUCK.

Long weekends. Not my friend. It’s OK. The girlchild comes back today, so it will not be as bad, but I certainly need to find a way for it to be OK for no one to ever be around by the time girlchild leaves for school in a year, so I don’t just crawl under my light table and dessicate there. Fucking free time. Should be able to enjoy it. Should be able to look forward to having it. Should. FUCK.


Exhausted Slam

August 24, 2014

I think I finally hit the exhaustion mark, slammed into it last night at about 10 PM. Surprised I made it that late. I was quilting the birds and realized my eyes were having a hard time staying open. Just a note to the inexperienced: if you quilt with your eyes closed, there is a much higher chance you will sew through your finger. So I stopped. I finished the eyeball bird first though…

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And then did the second diving bird…

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Smaller than the last one. It’s for the Art Produce show, so it has to be a particular size. I still did all the windy quilting though…

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And that’s what made me slam into the tired wall. I wanted to finish the other two last night too, but I fell asleep on the couch and then went to bed after that. There’s no point in trying to quilt when you’re that tired. You’re going to fuck it up. But that’s what school does…it’s amazing how exhausting it is being ON for 7 hours straight. There’s no down time really. There’s lunch and your prep, and you’re usually doing stuff during those, like peeing and eating. It’s just On On On. After the more relaxing pace of the summer, where I didn’t really get enough sleep either, the start of school is always kind of a body shocker. It takes a couple of weeks to get it under control.

Saturday I was going to get all this stuff done and my brain just rebelled. It was done. It was tired. I managed the gym and then the girlchild and I went to a local British pub for the Dr. Who season premiere with about 150 other people…there were lots of people dressed up, kids and adults. Girlchild says I shouldn’t even be allowed to go, because I’ve only seen like 5 Dr. Who episodes (true…time issue, eh? I started watching from Season 1 this week finally).

But we had a good time. It was a good show. Funny. And I drew during the commercial breaks…

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I love my Tivo. No commercials. There’s a phone booth at the bar, so even though her face is still swollen from the wisdom-teeth removal, she allowed photos…

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A friend texted me and asked how the first boychild-free weekend was going. Well I’ve had the girlchild all weekend, so it’s not like what it will be once school starts and she has a social life and isn’t around all the time. Or ever. So I cleaned his room a little (mostly laundry) and his dad has called every night to report, so it’s not the same. He texted back that he does NOT want a monogrammed laundry basket like his roomie has (damn.), although there is a list of things he does want, so we’ll deal with that. He texted back and forth with his sister last night while I was asleep on the couch, so we know he’s alive. And still up at 1 AM. So all that is normal. His cat misses him. She’s been a whiny butt for a few days now. It probably doesn’t help that Jake, the amazingly large-nosed German Shepherd, is here. He sticks that nose into cat faces, despite the claws, and they don’t like it much.

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So. Yeah. And I’m pretty busy. Not a lot of time to stop and think about much of anything, whether it’s his being gone or my pitiful social life or anything else that tends to bring me down. I’m too damn tired. I really want to take a nap right now, but I have 70 trillion things to do this afternoon, and they’re all time-sensitive and incredibly important. So really, I should get my ass off the computer and get the freak out of here. (I’m finishing my tea. That’s why I’m still here. Plus I had to get all the online grocery coupons. Yup. I do that. It’s $20-40 a visit it saves me…that pays for my Netflix, right?). Anyway. Girlchild is gone all afternoon. Social butterfly. It’s not that I would be chatting it up with the boychild if he were here on a Sunday afternoon, but at least it would be another body in the house. Watching me nap. Can’t nap. No time.


Notes on Life Drawing

August 3, 2014

One of my goals for the summer was to go to a local life-drawing class once a week. I miss the focused time with a sketchbook, plus the looseness of pencil and quick poses, just to get your hand and brain talking to each other again in that free and loose and wiggly way. I’m pretty constrained and tight when I draw…not in a bad way, because my brain is fairly loose about it, but the drawing itself is not very freeform. It’s very focused. And that’s on purpose. So life drawing is different, but useful to keeping the drawing progressing or developing or something.

I went over Spring Break and it was good, and I had done one or two Dr. Sketchy’s Anti-Art School events last year (haven’t been able to make it to one since then), so summer seemed like a good time to try to go regularly.

Basically I suck at that. Mostly that’s because although I have a good time (in the dead silence with my pencil sharpener and only that really weird slightly mentally maybe ill or I don’t know what woman talks to me, and she’s not all there) and it relaxes me and I enjoy it, it’s not always what I want to be doing. The summer is so tight with deadlines, because the school year is a bitch when it comes to making art, and those deadlines make me NOT want to leave the house for any reason at all, especially to do something I already know how to do.

Except it’s not about knowing how to do it. It’s about keeping those two, the brain and the hand, in close contact, communicating with each other.

There is a Saturday morning class I could go to all year long if I wanted to, but if I don’t have something like a hike planned for Saturday morning, then dammit, I want to still be asleep for once…especially during the school year, when waking up gets downright painful. So I go to Thursday morning, which because it is a work day for most of the normal world, is full of old men, a few old women, and some college kids. Lots of old men. Did I mention old men? And some are very nice and even smile and say “How are you?” like they might even care, but most of them are crotchety growling old crankballs.

Things that happen at life drawing:

Once the light fell down on one of the artists, bonking him in the head. That caused a lot of frantic chattering for a while.

There’s no air-conditioning, and they have to place the fan so it doesn’t ruffle paper or overly dry watercolors or acrylics or push pastel dust across a drawing. Difficult to do.

Someone talked about playing music while we drew and one of the old guys (there are lots of them) said it would be OK if we were basket weaving or knitting, but not for figure drawing. The guy then said, what about classical music? And the old man went off on types of music and not wanting to hear all that rabble. UM. First of all, music is OK if we’re working with FIBER? I’m fairly sure there was a sexist thing going on in there, and now every time I look at that old guy (because he’s there every time, probably because his wife kicks him out of the house because she’s annoyed by him) I imagine him yarnbombed. Seriously. Just his eyes are showing and we left his hands free so he can paint or draw without any noise whatsoever but the sputterings from his constrained mouth.

There was once a long discussion of the merits of ten 2-minute poses vs five 3-minute poses.

There are lots of old men. I said this already. A few 20-something’s. A couple of old ladies. A gay man with his spiky-red-haired woman friend. I know he’s gay because he keeps pronouncing all these things about gay men and then reminding everyone around him that he IS one. If a straight man did that, he would be called a homophobe, so I guess this guy is a heterophobe? I don’t really believe that. He won’t shut up though. One woman whom I suspect of having a mental disorder. Hearing aids. There are a lot of hearing aids. I think I’m going to try Dr. AntiSketchy again soon…because it was more fun. Although trying to draw all their costuming is a pain in  the ass. I’d really just rather deal with the body without all the clothing crap (as I’m sure is obvious by my own art. Fuck the clothes. They’re a pain and I’m all about what the body is doing, inside and out.).

I don’t like sitting at a table in a chair. I’m short and I can’t see over other people, plus you’re looking at the model from underneath because of the staging situation. So I sit on the counter around the edge. This disturbs most people. They feel a need to comment. It doesn’t seem to be against the rules though.

Models are always pretty young girls and one older tattooed guy. I have been doing life drawing since I was in college, that was starting almost 30 years ago, and there is always only one guy and he’s older and significantly muscled and tattooed. Honestly, I wanted to draw his tats. They were more interesting, but I needed to be closer to do that, and then you’re just drawing someone else’s drawing, and that’s just weird.

One of the older women is wearing a University of Mars T-shirt. The old men are cranky or wearing suspenders. Or sometimes both.

So I don’t know if this is something I really need to do every week. I’ve done it twice during summer and I’m running out of days I can continue to do it on Thursday. But did I mention that Dr. Sketchy events are always held in or near a bar (drinking while drawing!) and later in the day so I don’t have to get up early after staying up until the roosters crow AND, here is the most important thing, you crotchety old man: There’s fucking music. So. Unfortunately I can’t go in August or probably September even, but at least I know what my preference is. I will keep doing life drawing on and off (I really miss the class I used to do way back when I was still married…the organizer did an awesome job of getting a variety of models and it was always interesting and not silent and just more fun. That was the class that significantly upset my then-husband. He didn’t like me drawing naked people. They’re NUDE when they’re up on the platform. They’re NAKED when they step down, and they always get dressed before they step down.). I don’t need entertainment, but I do need to feel like if I’m gonna sneeze, people will bless me instead of cursing me.


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