Spirit, the evolution of a painting

18 10 2010

When I paint, I forget that stuff goes on around me.  People I’ve known my entire life barely get recognized and I just zone out.  They call and say “whatcha doing?”  “I’m fucking painting.”  “OK, go do that.  Love you.”

This time, I’ve tried to keep (and sorta failed) in touch through facebook with the progression of the painting.  Ah well.  People who know  me know that when I paint, know that at least I’m being quiet and staying out of trouble.

So, here’s the progression of Spirit – 36″ x 24″ mixed media on canvas.

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No, it’s not done.  I’m going for a graphic novel style and decided that the text area needed to be redone.  Also, the photos are out of order, but you’ll figure it out.

The background is an oil wash.  The blue dove motif is acrylic.  The main structure of the white dove is done in Sharpie oil paint pens then I switched back to acrylic for the shading.  Most of the detailing and border is done with paint pen.

Soon… my little dove.  We’ll work together again.

This whole etsy thing…

25 07 2009

I like etsy – I do.  I like it a lot.  I’m just feeling a little discouraged.  It’s probably partly hormones and partly my natural instinct to hate selling things.  The discouragement comes with what I’ve gotten put up in the shop so far.  My handmade stuff, while diverse and awesome, normally goes to people IRL than even making it to the picture taking point.  It would probably be better to focus on becoming self-sustainable here instead of selling things for money so we can buy things at stores.

For instance, Alyssa has really thick but soft hair.  Those little tension clips do not stay put.  I found some claw clips and I’m making paper flowers out of a Dr. Seuss book that was falling apart.  They are one of a kind and just so flippin’ adorable I can’t stand it.  If I didn’t make these myself, I would end up at the mall buying a pair of barrettes for $5.  Instead, I spent $1.99  for 5 clips and the book I had laying around.  I used a little orange button for the center of the flower, gold wire to hold the button in and acrylic sealer to make it a little more durable.  I have some orange ribbon that I bought for the adoption duckies.

Also in progress is the restoration of an antique pull toy.  It’s one of the wood ones with the joints and rollers so it can either be a long caterpillar shaped toy or it can double back on itself and even roll over obstacles!  I’m making new “wheels” for it out of the same Dr. Seuss book and it is sweeeeet.  I took it out to test it with the kids and they were all tickled.  Even me and Shaun were giggling while playing with it.  It is much, much cooler than the $20 electronic piece of crap that I euthanized  a couple of weeks ago.

One thing I probably will sell is the classic car keyboard.  It’s a few days from being 100% done.  I got the decals and the “flashy bits” on it yesterday and it’s gonna kick butt.  The first clear-coat has dried and it’s waiting on it’s second coat today.  The keys need another coat of color, then decaling, then the clear coats.

I keep reading on Etsy that sellers need to find their niche.  Mine is probably going to be selling vintage items instead of mods.  Since I buy in lots, I get stuff I won’t use so it would be nice if other people could have access to those.

But if you want a mod, we’ll just be more personal about it and you can leave a bag of apples on the doorstep or something.  😉  I’ll never get rich this way, but hey, apples!

Lots of work to do, no money to be found

19 07 2009

I know that on Sundays you aren’t supposed to worry about work.  Let it all wait until Monday and just take some time to relax.  Right…

I’d been joking for a few months about going to work at Hooters to get a little extra cash flow.  When the adoption went through, we lost about $1k a month in income because we didn’t want to wait for the special needs waiver to go through on A.  It would have put the adoption off for another 8 months or so and from experience we’ve learned that a lot can go wrong in 8 months.  LJ’s had gotten approved two days before we signed intent to adopt but being A is younger, we didn’t have enough documentation to get the rubber stamp.  It was better to just get the adoption finalized even without getting the special needs care she qualifies for.  We did, however, get federal Medicaid on all the kids until they’re 19 or out of high school.  It covers mental health treatments and that’s what we needed to ensure.

Note to potential adoptive parents:  make sure you get the adoption assistance.  It’s wounding to the pride, but you’re gonna need it and use it.

Back to Hooters.  I found out today that I can’t work there because I don’t meet protocol – tattoos are out of dress code.  Damn, that means I may have to find work where I use my IQ instead of my T&A.

Unless I find somewhere I can flex-work or work part time, work just isn’t a viable option yet.  I say yet, but the truth of it is that I’ll probably never be “cured.”  Shaun has intermittent FMLA leave enacted in his job because the next migraine could literally kill me.  Reading that on paper scared the crap out of me, even though I knew it.  The MVP puts me at a higher risk of stroke, syncope, and fatal arrythmias.  Being the migraines are severe enough to take out my vision and I often can’t keep anything down, dehydration is a major risk.  Not enough blood running through the heart equals regurgitation and syncope.

I want to just scream that it’s not fair.  I’m 28!  I’m one of the smartest, most talented people in the workforce (mathmatically speaking,) I have the will and want to work – but I can’t.  I can’t even lift my head some days.  When I feel like that though, I verbally tell myself to shut up.  One of the kids I went to school with just died from cancer this past week.  He wasn’t one of my friends, but we ran with the same crowd.  Well, as much as a socially-impared art geek can run with a crowd. I’m blessed beyond belief.

I think I’m just feeling older than my age.  Wednesday, I have an appt with the OBGYN to start talking about a hysterectomy.  Friday is Shaun’s and my 10 year anniversary.  September is the 10 year high-school reunion.  I have three kids, ages 9, 5, and 4.  Two of them have PTSD and the laundry list of abuse related and drug-exposure related mental illnesses.  The last one is trying his hand at tantrums, but doesn’t have the stamina to keep up the 4 hour fits his sister is capable of.

The kids keep bringing up in therapy that they’re scared because I’m sick and they don’t want to lose another mom.  I can tell them again and again that it’s just a headache, but they know.  Kids are really good at not accepting bullshit and I’m really terrible at lying.  I don’t believe I’m going to die but I do believe that I’ll probably battle this well into my 90s. I grew up taking care of my mom through the same thing and I’m a productive member of society.

Some days are great and I feel like I did before I got sick… or until the sickness that I was born with caught up with me enough to take me down.  I have energy.  I laugh and smile.  My grammar doesn’t suck.  I have patience and want to conquer the world. I think about another child.

Yesterday was one of those days.  We went out with the kids to thrift stores and antique stores.  We picked up some pipes for Shaun to restore.  I got some $3 keyboards at Goodwill to modify and some clock parts.  We spent the kids’ Toys’r’Us gift card and their McDonalds gift card.  It was beautiful and sunny and great.

This morning was the same way, but a bad night’s sleep and too much caffeine caught up with me around 4 pm.  I got out and cleaned the wheels and chrome on my Durango now that the local road work is done.  I started teaching A how to work the shower since she’s going to start school in 3 weeks.  I took apart one of the keyboards and started cleaning it and sanitizing it.  We had pizza with the big family at Mom’s and the cousins all got to play and we made hand puppets out of paper bags.  I finally gave the digital picture frames back to my dad (one we couldn’t set up without an SD card port… blah) and set up the one for my mom.  I sorted through jewelry with my sister and stole some of her stuff.  The stupid gate at the family’s place was deactivated so we didn’t have to wait to be buzzed in.

Around the time Mom went to church with Grandma, I was a snippy bitch.  I even snapped at my mom.  I snapped at the kids for singing Spongebob’s “idiot friends” song.  I came home and took a bath, finished a stupid book, and tried to steady myself with working on fixing a flatbed scanner.  What I should have done is taken a shot of Zomig.

Now I’m going to attempt to sleep it off after I get Cali cleaned up.  Nola got pissy and and started a fight.  It looks like Cali lost a toenail.  Shaun’s putting the kids in bed and I’ve got the cameras charging so I can download the photos in the morning.

I don’t know who is harder to raise: children or German Shepherds.  They’re all too damn smart for their own good.

Tuesday Goodness

14 07 2009

I haven’t done a picture post lately, so here’s the things that are making me happy this Tuesday morning in happy photo form!

I got 5 packs of lace up on our etsy shop last night:

lace 1004

Ernie got hammered:


My Grandmother laughing:


My sister and my baby girl:


Steampunk art (not mine):

Happy Tuesday everyone!


12 07 2009

I’ve never been big on experimenting with myself or my projects and it’s very interesting for me to have to do it now.  I’ve always been the personality type who thinks through every path, every outcome before deciding on a course of action.  I had one supervisor say “you’re the only one who can tell a train is coming down the tracks before anyone else can see it.”  I get nice Cherokee imagery from that, maybe a DNA memory or trait.

Now I’m experimenting on not only my body but also on my artwork.  It’s very odd and makes me nervous.  With my body, I know that I’m probably more educated in mitral valve prolapse than many of the doctors I’ve visited and I also know how my body reacts to medication.  I hate not having the security of not knowing how it’s going to turn out.

The palpitations have been very bad this past week and they just will not stop.  At least the dysautonomia didn’t kick in badly until around lunchtime on Friday.  I think it’s the heat – July and August always take the steam out of me.  It’s also worse if I’m in pain, stressed, or sick and I got a touch of that stomach bug that went around.  Time for a reboot.

Here’s what I’m trying today:  0.5 xanax with lunch to try and break the cycle of palpitations, 1 dose of CoQ10 to lube up the connective tissues, my B-complex supplement, and potassium to regulate the heart rhythm.  Low potassium is what landed me in the hospital last time with atrial fibrillation.  In 3 hours, I’ll take 2 doses of magnesium – which is a muscle relaxer but also blocks the absorption of other meds – and some calcium and zinc to try and get my blood levels back up.  At bedtime, the magnesium should be out of the way to take my normal nighttime meds.  From now until bedtime, I’m going to push fluids to try and get my blood pressure to level out.

From the different ways I’ve looked at it, this will probably break the cycle of the regurgitation.  After the heartbeat gets back to normal, my pulse should drop, my BP and body temp should go back up, and the crazy nerve stuff should disappear.  When the prolapse gets real bad, I get numbness in my hands and lips, I overheat, and I get dizzy as hell.  Anyone who is around me a lot notices that I have like 30 tubes of Carmex mint.  That’s because I rub my lips together to get feeling back in them and after all these years, I don’t even think about it.  Lips need lube too.

With my art, I’m starting to get out of the gorilla glue phase and I’m wanting to draw and paint more again.  It’s just the style that I had before isn’t really fitting the way I feel now.  I did some minimalist pieces for our living room that get a lot of praise, but I don’t know if I want to keep going in that vein either.  The best thing to do would be to just start drawing and see what happens.  Psychologically, I know that’s what breaks creative blocks – just letting go – but I look at how perfect the new charcoal pencils are in their package and how pristine the paper is and I just don’t want to ruin it with my… crap.

I even know that what I end up with is not crap.  Every portrait I’ve done is still hanging, every painting I’ve done has sold or been donated to family, every tattoo I’ve designed has been inked, and still I feel like it’s immature middle-class drivel.  I’m not looking to make a statement or any of that post-modern self-ironic crap that’s popular these days, it’s just that I’m having trouble finding a subject that makes me happy.  I may spend a few days photographing the doves and start drawing from there.  I have a common thread of avian-love in my paintings.  Most of them are tropical and bright though and the doves are soft and neutral toned except for that bright orange ring around their eyes.

The only wrong thing would be to do nothing, right?  If we do nothing, we don’t have the opportunity to change anything.

The Abused Lace Liberation Project

11 07 2009

I mentioned yesterday or the day before that books aren’t the only thing I tend to liberate from abusive situations.  It’s amazing what people will give you if you simply ask.  I have the heart of a restorationist.

My granny used to make lace and I remember sitting with her while she crocheted these delicate little pieces of art.  I love lace and embroidery, but most of the time when I find them, most of it is too mildewed to salvage.
Being lace is normally seen as a formal item, it’s often “put away for something special” then the box is moved and moved and moved again until it ends up in a damp corner of the basement.

I came across several huge stashes of lace a couple of years ago.  I was hunting for antique books out in the country and I met a couple of elderly ladies who made dolls.  I was admiring the dolls and noticed that they had boxes upon boxes of lace stuffed under a table.  I asked about it and they mentioned that most of the dolls had lace on their dresses, but now that their eyesight and ability to hand sew was gone, they just put it away.  I asked if I could buy it from them and they looked at me like I had dropped in from another planet for about 30 seconds.

Then, shockingly enough, they looked at each other and one said “you can have it all for $5.  You just have to carry it out yourself.”  Yes, ma’am.  I got this.  It filled up the entire back cargo area of my Durango, with the 3rd row folded down.  They asked me what I was going to do with it and I told them “I don’t really know yet.  My Granny made lace and I love it, so I’m sure I’ll find something to do with it.”

When I got it all home, I started sorting through it and I did end up throwing out about half of it.  The rest has some very interesting pieces and I’ve used it on different projects.  Most of it though, is really just too special for a hack like me to use up.  While I love textiles and fabric arts, I have about as much talent with it as I do with gardening.

A few days ago, I decided to sort it all out and start selling the more interesting pieces on Etsy as supplies.  There are some very talented people on Etsy and I’d love to see my liberated lace end up on their projects.

I dug it out of where I had stored it (neatly packaged in a dry, safe place) and I’ve been sorting and smoothing and rolling hundreds upon hundreds of feet of lace.  My back and shoulders are KILLING me.  I’m nearly done – I have about 10 lbs of lace to go – but I know one thing.  I’m going to need a database to keep track of all this.  I’ve got about 200 bags of different patterns and colors so far.  It’s amazing. I have handmade pieces, commercially made pieces, some that have been threaded with ribbon, and some that have been laser cut from fabric.  There are some that seem starched flat and some that are so soft they seem to have been made from alpaca yarn.

Here enters my good friend, Excel.  I’m going to need it to inventory all of this with the research and photos and measurements each bag is going to take.  I’m hoping to learn as much about the construction and designs of lacework as I know about book making and restoration.  Well, maybe more like the amount I know about china and depression glass (which is just enough to keep myself out of trouble with Grandma.)

This should be fun.  If anything, it will free up that storage space for books…