Because It Was the Right Thing to Do

May 25, 2016

Well. May is kicking my ass. My artistic ass, that is. My tired ass. Again. I really thought after yesterday got revised (plans change…) that I could kick the graded assignment out, get it done super quick, and then finish the big drawing and start numbering it. That really was my plan. Except my dinner plans got changed, and I figured that out (hallelujah for the stash of leftovers I usually have), but then realized I hadn’t finished the boychild’s room. You know. The boychild who is coming home today. I mean, it’s not until 9 PM, but I have a chock-full day already and I’m tired…so I gave up and went in there and finished.

Because it was the right thing to do. I read all these stories about famous male artists in the past and how someone handled all their household stuff and they tell women you can’t be a REAL artist if you have children, and I hate that shit because I don’t believe in it. I’ve been a real artist for years AND had kids and they have just internalized the crazy mom sewing in the middle of the night as normal. Like the light table in the living room. We don’t notice it any more. It’s a work space.

I have to admit that some of the “finishing” the boychild’s room included picking up a pile of papers that I’m not really sure where to put and just piling them back in the office. I will need to deal with the mountain to the left of the computer at some point. Just not today. There’s also some fabric I just piled up to be put away later. But he has a place to sleep. And it’s clean…some black cat had shed an entire cat-full of hair on his chair.

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So there. I achieved something. It just wasn’t artistic or part of my day job. The boychild will be happy about it though. So that counts.

I did go to Costco yesterday…I have been avoiding it, but the toilet paper issue was about to become, well, an issue. I don’t buy much at Costco, but TP and cat litter are the two things I will venture in there for, so with my plans shot to hell, I went there after the chiropractor. It’s usually less busy after 5 PM, so it’s quicker than a Saturday run.

But because I was in a mood, I bought these.

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Notice Midnight’s stare. Do I need more storage? Of course I do. I always do. But maybe not. Right now, I have a lot of my handsewing living in the plastic Rubbermaid boxes, but I use those to sort stuff too (you’d be floored by how many of those things I have, both here and at school). Anyway, it’s not particularly efficient for storage. I’m hoping these are better.

Perhaps I will spend the whole week after school gets out cleaning house and organizing shit. I’m notoriously flaky that week. Need to recover and all.

So the drawing itself is obviously not done and I wonder if I should start another smaller one that’s less stressful. I have this one…

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And this one…

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Sigh. No. I should finish the big one. Then one of these can happen in between this big one and the next big one. I finally wrote down all the deadlines I’m considering for the next 8 months on a post-it and put it by the computer so I could be reminded of my goals. Because my tired school brain keeps forgetting. Old-school paper style. There are 6 things on it. One of them is a collaboration and one is a small coloring book page, so not a whole quilt. The others…one is this big piece that I’ve been drawing since early April. Then potentially three more big ones. Insert laughing here. That ain’t happening. Granted the due dates go out to November, but two realistically. Or draw something smaller. Less complicated.

Anyway, in other news, I will be back at Gallery D in Barrio Logan on Sunday from 1-3 for the artists’ talk on the Feminism Now show, so if you’re interested in hearing from all the women who made the work, show up!

email invite


Misfit…

May 24, 2016

I’m listening to this right now…

That word misfit. “All I had to do was be a voice to the story.” Telling the story can save your life. Funny that word misfit. I used the word “alienated” when I was living in Britain, because I so obviously didn’t belong, but honestly, there are times now, here in my own country, when I feel the same. Anyway. The art. It saves me.

Puppy was a barking beast Sunday night, so yesterday was full of my tired and student crazy. Some days you just wonder what’s going on in their heads. Classroom management is a moving target. Behaviors are awesome, and then they degrade into looney tunes.

So I was exhausted enough to nap briefly on the couch when I got home, with girlchild on the other couch, a cat on my chest, a dog perched on my hip. Then I managed to get my butt off the couch and take the big dog for a fast walk…she and I booked it around the 3 miles. Girlchild is still recovering from her existence, so I left puppy with her. Funny that one of the things I was looking forward to when I got home was the girlchild cooking, but I cooked last night. And then spent another hour trying to get the boychild’s room done…he comes home tomorrow. No, it’s still not done, but it will be. I’m close.

So what to do after that? Between projects…your brain just sort of flails a bit. Does a lot of “I don’t wanna” and “Don’t make me…” until I make it. I need this drawing to be done so I can go on to the next stage. An hour later…

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I added a homeless woman, a series of cocoons and butterflies of unknown origin, and poppies. The right side is probably done. I think I might have something on the left wrap around the column in the middle, but I haven’t figured that out yet. There’s a space above the butterfly that bugs me.

And once that’s done, I’ll spend an hour (at least) numbering it. That’s probably not happening tonight. But maybe. Today is the start of frog dissections, so it’s two long hard exhausting days. I’ll be glad when it’s over. I love showing the kids the parts and how they all fit together, but the managing of all the stuff and getting through the whole lab with enough time left over for clean up makes it a difficult day.

But the good news is that I’m close to getting the next project started…although I’m half debating doing another smaller one. No. NO. You are going to do the big hard heavy one and then you will feel better about getting the next one on the list done, and maybe you’ll have time for a small one in between. Seriously, this project is daunting. It feels huge. Except it probably isn’t any more huge than the big one I did last year. So whatever. Just do it.


What’s Next?

May 22, 2016

So the first kid comes home today. Her room was relatively clean, but I didn’t wash her bedding after she left because I did that when she left in August and then her cat puked all over the clean stuff. So I waited this time, and sure enough, there was puke. Damn cat. So I just need to make her bed. So the cat can puke on it.

Boychild’s room is the one where I dumped all the stuff from my office. I spent about 3 hours dealing with it yesterday, and I’m down to a manageable pile. He comes home Wednesday, so I have a little more time.

So it seems I spent most of yesterday doing my favorite thing (cough)…cleaning. Seriously, there were many hours of it. Then I finally sat down and started sewing a binding on the most recent quilt, still unnamed. In fact, both of the last two, finished within hours of each other, are unnamed. Working on it.

This was the view last night…quilt on my lap, sewing binding. Simba right next to me (better than earlier when he was ON me and trying to bite the quilt. Um. No. Then Midnight sprawled further down on the couch.

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Here she is finished, a little over 34 hours to make her.

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Need official photos, but think I will wait until the next smaller one is done. Plus the embroidery on the orange one.

Here’s the next one hanging up. I could start quilting it today.

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Quilting is pretty brainless for me. Easy peasy. Don’t have to think or plan and really do anything but move the fabric around under the needle. Try not to hit the hand. This quilt top is so old, I don’t know how old it is. Might be 2006. Might predate the world. NO! I found it…May 12, 2006. It was on my old blog. Yes, I’ve been blogging since the dark ages. Why do you ask?

It’s my art journal in many ways. TEN years to finish a quilt. Yeah. Well. Shit happens.

Speaking of finishing, the section in the middle is all I have on this drawing before I can (deep breath) NUMBER it and determine exactly how crazy I am.

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And since it’s next on the list, I should do that this week too. I know in general what I want in there. I just don’t know what that looks like or how it will fit. That’s the issue. It’s OK. I’ll get there. And this one won’t take 10 years. The other quilt sat around because it really was just a mental experiment, something to do when my brain wouldn’t settle down on anything. It’s like a drawing, but freehand with fabric. This drawing has been sitting around in this state for a while now, since May 2. It has 9 hours of drawing in it…well, more than that, because the first bit was in a sketchbook. So probably 11 hours. For those who have seen this quilt…

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Wise Choice…for the Earth Stories exhibit…it was a 13-hour drawing. Anyway. Moving on. I have about 17 errands (again, must be a weekend during the school year) and grading to do, plus I’d better make the girlchild’s bed. After all that, I can decide what to work on next.


Pushed Out of Line

May 21, 2016

Some things about my life have changed drastically in the last 5 years, and some, not so much. I still love to draw when I’m out in the world, at a restaurant, in a bar, whatever. The quilt I’m about to finish was drawn on a plane. The big ones don’t usually start in a restaurant or somewhere like that…they start on the couch, TV on, legs up, surrounded by furry beasts. I like the ones that are small enough to go in the larger sketchbook. This huge one that has occupied the light table for weeks now is overwhelming. Exciting, but overwhelming.

So last night, I was watching a band and I had eaten my food and was watching really bad dancing by old people (OK, some of them are my age, but they are old dancers…). So drawing seemed the logical thing to do. I started one but it was awful. And then I did this…

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She has mountains in her hair. And that’s a mighty cool plane there. And trees on her boobs. Someone said that the people sitting around me must be scared. Mostly they ignore me. Sometimes they stare and then get embarrassed if I catch them. Occasionally they tell me how cool it is. But whatever. That’s not why I do it. I do it because I’m out listening to music and hanging out and it’s relaxing. So a Friday night after a hard week and a particularly difficult day…makes sense to get the pen and paper out. If I’d stayed home, I would have graded stuff, and really, the drawing was a better option.

When I got home, it wasn’t quite bed time, so I pulled this one out. The binding was done, but I needed to sew the sleeves down…

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So this drawing was done somewhere between 2010-12 in my smallest sketchbook, probably at a soccer game or in a restaurant, waiting for dinner. I enlarged a bunch of them back in 2013 because I wanted to make some smaller quilts, both because they’re faster and because I needed some for shows that don’t want big work. I’ve been working my way through the smaller ones, but I cut out three at the same time…this one, Nakedman, and (shit, what was the third one…). Funny, I know there were three. Nakedman was finished in February 2013. Eyeball Tree might have been the third one, finished in June 2012…which would mean I enlarged them in 2012. Believable. I have a blog. I bet I could check that.

Found it! June 2012…there were originally FOUR of them, Eyeball Tree (2012) and Feeding Time (2011…uh oh, revise the timeline again) were done and so I moved on to the second two, finishing Nakedman in 2013. So the drawings are probably from 2010. And in 2011, I copied stuff (sheesh…), and then I made one in 2011, one in 2012, one is 2013, and now one finally finished in 2016. Seriously, it had been hanging around in the studio, ironed onto the background, for three years apparently. So I stitched it down, quilted it, and bound it…and it’s finally done. I don’t know what I think about it, and it doesn’t have a real name yet, AND it needs embroidery (those are salt and pepper shakers). So I guess it’s not QUITE done. Close though.

Sometimes quilts get pushed out of the line and then I never finish them, or it’s years later. This is one of those. There’s another one ready to quilt that I don’t even think exists in my task managing app. This last one was in there, minus the first two parts. So I could guess the timeline. But the other one must be much older. It’s before I was drawing patterns. I guess the good news for them is that I eventually get around to finishing them, even when they get pushed out of line.

Anyway, so that was last night. Today I have a ton of cleaning to do because both kids are coming home in the next few days. Plus the house is just a mess. And grading. And some other time-consuming stuff. Hopefully I’ll get some art time in as well, because it makes me feel better. Less stressed. Happier. All good.


It’s Not an Empty Room…

May 7, 2016

Sleep, glorious sleep. Occasionally you get a night where your head hits the pillow and stays there, no flopping about, no weird noises in the middle of the night, blessedly snoozing through until a normal waking time, no alarm waking you out of a weird-ass dream that drops you into a waking world, unsure of reality. I got that last night. And part of it was the rain that came Thursday night and washed away that damn mockingbird. It wasn’t out last night either, so maybe it’s moved to warmer, dryer climes. I’m cool wit dat.

I’m posting late because I had two quilts to deliver this morning for a show that opens next weekend, Feminism Now, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. I also picked up my copy of the catalog…they are only $20, cat-approved, and full of feminist art from the US and Sweden, which is where this show will travel in 2017.

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Midnight thinks it smells nice. You’ll have to show up to the opening to see the two pieces. I made the second one as a response to the first one, only 4 1/2 years later. And my life 4 1/2 years later is much different. New relationships, kids gone to college, making even more art than back then. I honestly think the art is my healing web, what connects all the broken pieces of me back together. I get lots of questions about how it feels to have both kids gone and then how does it feel to have both of them coming back…good, but temporary. I know it’s only 3 months, not even that for the girlchild, and this might be the last summer I see both of them. OR…like many of my friends, they’ll move back and never leave. But I doubt that. I actually had a conversation with my counselor about renting a room out to someone…what that might look like, and is it something I could even handle (as I’m sitting here in my office, getting ready to finally clean some floors a good month after they started needing it, and blasting music. Plus the house smells like bacon. And my parents’ dog peed in the hallway. That carpet just needs to go. That’s the second dog of theirs that’s peed there, and then there was Babygirl, who considered the space outside my door her pissed-off litter tray, because I wouldn’t let her in there at night.). But OTHERWISE, it sounds like an idea. I don’t know if it’s a good idea, but at some point, it might be necessary.

I didn’t make art yesterday. I came home from gaming and finished this…

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Great book. Hysterically funny and yet right there on top of mental illness and other crap that fucks with you. Sending it to the girlchild. She’ll giggle on the plane to her cousins.

“You don’t have to go to some special private school to be an artist. Just look at the intricate beauty of cobwebs. Spiders make them with their butts.” Jenny Lawson, Furiously Happy (she says her dad said it though…)

Honestly, all I want to do today is sit on the couch and read. But I have to work my butt off…not to make cobwebs unfortunately. I’m behind in grading again. I’m not sure how, but it has hit a level that makes me start to panic. I keep a list of assignments in a task manager, because it helps me organize and remember to grade the online crap, but also because I really enjoy checking it off and watching it disappear when I finish it. Weird, I know. But whatever. I have another book I started reading this morning. I just want to curl up with it dammit.

Sigh. And then while I was driving to deliver those quilts…

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(here’s my packing up…dehairing and cutting dowels etc.) I realized what needed to go in the space of the torso in the large drawing I’m doing…and it’s not a cute animal or a nice plant. San Diego has an increasing homeless issue here, and the problem is not just the growing number of people who are living on the streets in tents (if they’re slightly luckier) or boxes or not even that, but also our responses to them, as a local agency fills a space under a bridge where homeless folks used to shelter with sharp pointy rocks so they can’t, or a government agency does sweeps to clear areas of homeless encampments, so they have to go somewhere, people. We can’t ignore it and push it out and try to make it invisible. We need to feed them and house them and employ them and clothe them and medicate them (when possible). We need to CARE for them.

And I don’t know how best to do that, because I don’t have thousands of dollars or resources or anything but a sense that we suck. Because we often do. Anyway, that’s what’s getting drawn in there, somehow. Haven’t quite figured out the how and specifically what. I just know what it should be. A homeless woman framed in an Earth Mother who does provide shelter…safe and clean and dry and warm. And then I go back to having extra space here, but knowing I can’t afford to feed and clothe, let alone care for any more people than I already am. But maybe that will change. Who knows. I’m just thinking, not doing yet. Realistically, what would that look like? I don’t come home from work with extra energy for taking care of more people. Yeah.

So I’m gonna go work for a while, and then maybe I’ll read. Because I should be allowed to do that for a bit…and not just work for hours each day, right? Or maybe I should just fill one of those rooms with foster puppies and kittens. Then go lie in there for an hour a day, letting them romp all over me. That would be good. Anyway, it’s not an empty room yet. So thinking…and drawing…


Thank You for Continuing to Hold

May 3, 2016

Apparently I never finished this in the morning. So here it is now…I guess you really had to hold, if you’re used to reading me in the morning…

So I finished hand sewing that 17 miles of sleeve on last night. Tonight I’ll put labels on the two quilts. I didn’t grade anything, because I’m lame. I did walk two dogs (OK, I got help about halfway through, but odds are I would have survived it). While I was sewing, I had an idea for filling more of the torso, so I headed over to the drawing. I’m really close to done, so my brain is sort of in overtime. I’m writing this right now while I’m on hold with financial aid because, and this is really stupid but true, TurboTax rounds W2 numbers so the line on the 1040 is not exactly the same, and Cornell’s financial aid cannot handle that, so I have to call and explain it to them so they’ll stop sending emails that they don’t match. Because they don’t. By 49 cents. I’m willing to concede that 49 cents, but Cornell is not. So I’m on hold with the same shitty music as last year. Getting a crick in my neck…wait, put it on speaker phone.

Thank you for continuing to hold.

So I thought of an owl and fit it into the space below the ribcage…

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It’s not particularly big. Then I added violets around the owl and raccoon, daisies in the rib space above the owl, and some bits and pieces around the rest of it to balance everything out…some landscaping behind the giraffe, another grape leaf, another tree.

Julie’s asking for a piece count, but I already know this one will be a bitch. I’m not expecting it to be easy or fast, so I’m OK with that. So all I have left is the torso above the hand. I have a few more ideas of what to draw up there, but nothing’s beating me around the head and shoulders. I guess I have to sit and wait for that. No rush…I’m still trying to finish up the other quilt/art stuff for now. At some point, I’ll think it’s a rush, but not yet. As the end of school rushes towards me. Aaargh.

Nothing else cool is going on but this stuff…and I’m finally off hold and talking to a human. HOO MAHN.


Feminism? Or Not.

April 30, 2016

I started this post two years ago and was collecting links, but really, I should just let it go out into the world…as I tell you about the new show I’m in, Feminism Now. It’s not the 1st, 2nd, or the 3rd wave…it’s just what we are now, and if you’re a woman and you think you should get equal pay and not get harassed when you’re on the internet or out in the real world, for any reason…your clothes, your looks, whatever…then as Maisie Williams offered up, it’s not that you’re a feminist…”I also feel like we should stop calling feminists ‘feminists’ and just start calling people who aren’t feminist ‘sexist’ — and then everyone else is just a human. You are either a normal person or a sexist. People get a label when they’re bad.” And I don’t care if you’re male or female or identify somewhere else, if you don’t agree that it should be as equal as we can get it? Then you are sexist. You are making it worse for everyone with your attitudes. Knock it off.

Here’s the announcement for the show…the opening is May 14, 6-10 PM, at Gallery D in Barrio Logan. It’s during the Barrio Art Crawl, so there are about three galleries just within walking distance of Gallery D and others close by.

email invite

I have two pieces in the show about being a single mom and what that looks like…one from 2011 and one from 2016…the updated version.

This is an interesting article about sexual harassment and geek culture by Dr. Nerdlove.

Here is an interesting article about the role women’s magazines played in the beginnings of feminism. Because I used to read mom’s magazines, Better Homes and Gardens, Good Housekeeping, etc. when I was growing up. And they do make you question how you’re doing it…I’m Womaning Wrong is the basic message I got out of it.

Here is an article about feminism and comics, another issue…”For me, a feminist comic is one in which female characters aren’t just a plot device providing male characters with an opportunity to react. They aren’t a thing to be rescued, fucked, killed and discarded. Feminist comics show women as people, not tits and ass whose stories are only interesting if they’re sexy.” –Casey Gilly, providing a list of 15 feminist comics. And yes, there are way more than what’s here, and I love that we are now seeing choices out there for girls and women to read…because we ARE reading comics and watching sci fi and playing games, and y’all need to get with the program and respect us.

Here is a page Lucy Knisley did about nerd girls.

Here is a BuzzFeed article by Kristen Radtke called Let’s Draw Naked about why we should have more depictions of women drawn by female comics doing things normal women do…so boys realize how normal those things are and stop calling us names for being normal. And now let’s add in ideas of sexuality and trans and gender-queer and accept those in comics and stories and gaming and movies.  And even in toys for kids. The whole Star Wars Where’s Rey? issue. Seriously people. Do you HATE us?

Here is an article about a Gender in Comics panel at San Diego Comicon 2014…and I love the comment that Laura Hudson (writer, “Wired”; former EiC, ComicsAlliance) makes,  “If you’ve grown up in a situation where everything is about you and is catered to you, I think there is a degree to which equality can be perceived as oppression,” said Hudson. “If you’re used to having everything be about you, to some degree, and then suddenly it’s not, I guess in a way you perceive that as oppression.” And in recent discussions about all the superhero movies and how they portray females…sure, some of them are STRONG, but then they’re dead. Or being saved by Thor. Or whatever. Hudson continues, “If you work in the bell factory long enough you stop hearing the bells. I think super hero comics has stopped hearing the bells for a long time, but now you have other people coming in from the outside and [the gender issues in super hero comics are] very apparent. Having the Internet, having these other perspectives that are suddenly in front of us and are not subject to gatekeepers and are far more able to be heard exposes a lot of [these issues].”

Here is a blogpost about how to figure out if you’re a feminist. If you’re still reading, you probably are. If you clicked off and are now swearing about hairy women who just need a good fucking, well, you’re gone, so I’m not talking to you anyway. That’s the problem with talking about feminism…the ones who really need to hear it aren’t listening. Well, except for the boys who THINK they’re all pro-women and talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Their actions show them to be what they really are. They WANT to be feminists, but they don’t have enough empathy with women to actually BE one. By the way, this blogpost is funny. It’s not a test or anything.

Here’s an article about why feminism needs men. It’s fucking annoying, honestly, that we can’t just say, HEY, you fuckwads are doing it wrong without men having to support it for it to be real. There’s one of the major things wrong with society Right Fucking There. That said, if you’re a man and calling yourself a feminist and ACTING like it too (because you can’t just say it, you have to show it), then thanks. At least you’re not one of the bad guys.

Oh shit. Don’t accuse me of hating men. I don’t. I hate power trips and sexism and violence against anyone and I really hate that like over 60 million girls don’t have access to a decent education Just Because They’re Girls. That is truly fucked up. But I don’t hate men. Because feminism doesn’t mean hating men. It means hating privilege and inequality and violence and stereotypes and all that. Are you really gonna say you’re pro all that stuff?

Here’s an article about Anita Sarkeesian and the whole sexism in video games issue. If you’re a man who thinks there’s no problem here, wow. You need to be a woman for a month. Maybe then you’ll get it. In fact, that’s one of the things that drives me nuts. Men who don’t think there’s a problem. Way to downplay my existence, asshole. Why not speak up for women’s rights and deflect some of the rape and killing anger that has been directed at women who dare to criticize the gaming industry. Because I look at all those games and I know I don’t belong, simply because of how my people look when I log in. Even the book from Cory Doctorow, In Real Life, the young girl gamer picks an avatar who is much much skinnier than she is…and why? Because we know you don’t want to look at us any other way but cute and pretty and laughing at your jokes.

It’s not like there haven’t been new links about sexism in the last two years. I think I just got really overwhelmed by the negative vibes towards feminism…especially with politicians and tampons and Trump and pregnancy and my growing invisibility because I’m not a hot 25-year-old (wait. I never was a hot 25-year-old). Coming up next…my women’s art group is doing a show on Sexism in the Art World, and yeah, we’re going after Comicon as well. Because if we keep yelling, maybe y’all will stop. Or start making it all equal. Like it should be. So posting this now…with added content.


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