I Feel the Chemicals Kickin’ in*

October 17, 2018

I left school yesterday and went to an art opening instead of straight home. It was a good choice, even though I’d walked so much during class, dragging trays of sand and water back and forth from the classroom like some sort of crazy piece of construction equipment (couldn’t the robotics class make me something that would do this?). And tutoring where this one girl I was trying to help with the most confusing math website ever, and I would ask her questions and she would say “No English” but she knew enough to tell me she speaks Pashto. OK. I can’t do that. I tried German and Spanish and she looked sadder and sadder, and I stared at the math website, trying to figure out what it wanted, but it made no freakin’ sense. Teacher fail.

Today is another, different lab, this one with crayons and hot water (could be a mistake…nah, it worked pretty well last year). We’re frantically trying to plan the project that starts next week. I feel buried and overwhelmed. Still. Ugh.

So the art opening was at Grossmont College and is up until Oct 26, and includes two artists I like, Cheryl Tall, whose piece here is Casa de Manos

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I never made it back into the room with her work to take more pictures…you’ll have to go check it out. Very impressive.

And then Gloria Muriel…whose mural art has been on here before. But this is a tiny little watercolor drawing. This is Deer Memory.

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A much larger piece, Woke Up From a Mayan Dream

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And Florentina, which is smallish and beautiful.

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Despite my exhaustion, it was a good stop to make. Home to an empty house (well, there were cats and Katie)…I graded stuff for a while. And then started numbering this thing. I took a break in the middle to check in with the musical guy who lives here (he eventually showed up after practice)…but then finished up before bed. I wanted to be under 1000 pieces, just for my own sanity (there is a deadline on this thing), and I was.

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991 pieces. Unless I fucked up somewhere and double-numbered something or skipped a whole bunch or just didn’t number it…all of which I do on a regular basis, so I don’t know why I set such importance on that number. But 991 pieces it is. It sounds more doable than 1001. Just barely. It’s a place from which I can estimate time.

I’m also hoping that I numbered it more logically than usual. I did all of the background and then the body and then the swirls of water. It will be interesting to see how that works out.

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I did try not to overembellish things…keep it simple. Well, for me. I didn’t need to put all the lines in the turtle. I didn’t need to put more lines in the hillside. A bush can be just one color. I can simplify flowers. Then I do the deer’s eyes and that all goes to hell in a handbasket.

She’s not huge…about 38″ wide by 60″ high? Something like that.

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Anyway, I can start tracing Wonder Under tonight. Then there’s probably 10-12 hours of tracing to do. Maybe by the end of the weekend? Hard to say. Depends on the next few days…

Oh yeah, I got my staff ID yesterday. Mine is better than yours.

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Really the best part is when I have to use it to get a teacher discount and I pull this out (or any of the last three) and the cashier tries not to show their hilarious dismay. Yup. That’s the best part.

OK, let’s do this day.

*Neon Trees, Animal


That’s the Hard Part

January 7, 2018

In 2003, I started writing an art journal to myself, just documenting where I was with certain pieces and shows. I sucked at it for the first two years. I think there’s two entries in 2003 and maybe three in 2004. Then about halfway through 2005, I calendared it. And then started writing weekly because my computer told me to. Occasionally outside stuff slips in, personal life stuff, stuff that doesn’t even make it on the blog. The journal is where I document all the time on any given quilt, plus all the shows I enter and whether I get in or not. I write almost every week…with a few lost weeks due to computer glitches and a few lost weeks due to brain glitches. I started teaching full time in 2003 as well, so there’s documentation of the effect that work has had on my other work. I can search through the main document for mention of the old quilts I just pulled out of the pile to finish…I can find BirdFoot, but not the other one…mostly because (a) if it has a name, I don’t know what it is, and (b) I think it’s older than 2003. Then on top of all that, I’ve been writing the blog since 2004…although again, I didn’t start a regular schedule until 2006 I think.

I’m reminded of all this because this week is the first week of the new year. I used to just keep one huge document, but every time I opened it, it took forever to load, so now I write one year in a document and then add that to the main journal at the end of the year and start a new one. An 11-page document is easier to handle than a 150-page document. I also download a copy of it onto the computer about once a year, just in case the Google Doc (which is where I write now, because I can access it from multiple devices, even if I’m traveling) has some issue and disappears. There’s something important to me about the documentation. I use it a lot to remind myself of how things went, what I was thinking, where I was going.

So where am I at right now, the day before school starts up again? Well my right hand is still speckled orange and red, which will freak my students out (I’m OK with that). The left hand is barely green. I ironed a bit yesterday. I drew a bit yesterday, but more for fun than for an artistic goal. I had a meeting. I’m not ready (I’m never ready…this shouldn’t surprise anyone who hangs out with teachers. We never feel ready. We don’t sleep the night before school starts…sometimes every Sunday night is troubled.). We’ll get some planning time tomorrow, because we’re starting the week with more professional development, so that means we can figure out what the hell we were thinking before break (probably not very coherent thoughts, honestly). I looked at the calendar and my head hurt, so I stopped reading. I need to run some errands today, write warmups for the week, send the parent email, grocery shop, prep lunches for the week, and get my teacher brain out of storage. I can do all of that.

I ironed for a little bit yesterday. The tree leg is horrendously complicated. It’s not hard to do…just time-consuming.

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I went to an art group meeting…so far, being in this group has gotten me into two shows, so I feel good about it. I stitched during the meeting, because I don’t know how to sit still.

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Strangely, now I’m wondering if the face was supposed to be back stitch or running stitch. I finished the Palestrina knots around the body and then started the running stitches.

The meeting was at the Mingei Museum, which is one of my favorite museums in Balboa Park. They’ll be remodeling in 2018 though…so fewer shows. Too bad. They have a great kantha exhibit in there right now, plus a Navaho rug exhibit.

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I had seen this show already, but Arline Fisch is in our group and talked about her work in the museum, which was cool.

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Her wirework is fascinating.

Then I had to hang around for a while in Balboa Park, so I drew in the Sculpture Garden bar area…

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No sunset…too many clouds.

I started working with that skelly back and a front-facing figure, seriously trying to work stuff out, but it quickly devolved into whatever I felt like drawing. Hence the antenna I guess…

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I didn’t really finish, because I had to go wait for my ride. We were going to an opening downtown, so we didn’t want two cars down there (parking is awful) and there was no point in my coming all the way home.

The exhibit was Seeing Is Believing at Sparks Gallery (you can see most of the show at the link) and had some cool work in it…Larry Caveney’s Wonder Woman

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Polly Jacobs Giacchina’s Spiral Progression

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Cheryl Tall’s Couple from Madrid

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and her Horseman.

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Christopher Polentz’s William.

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David Cuzick’s Stop Yelling at Me #2

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Marissa Quinn’s Connection In-Between…

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And Alexander Arshansky’s Life of Pi

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Perry Vasquez’s Florbeza dominates the front window of the gallery…

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It was an interesting show. I went because of the surrealism aspect, although honestly, I’m not sure how surrealist it really was. Lenore Simon’s show is still there, so that was nice. We had a good dinner at the same place we keep ending up at when we’re in that area and then hightailed it back here for an early night. Sleep has been the mantra this break…which should tell me something. But trying to fill weekends with art seeing and making seems like a good goal for the next few months. The stress of work is always there…being able to mentally escape it for a few weeks is a relief. Now to continue that mindset throughout the rest of the school year. That’s the hard part.