Yeah, hooray. . . it's been so long. I could not access anything on google, including my blog. But now, I'M BACK. I can't wait to share what I've been doing with everyone. See you as soon as I get my camera in action.
Unless you live under a rock, you are probably aware that we here in tornado alley have had quite a week of crazy weather. Joplin, Missouri is just a couple of hours south of here. Reading, Kansas is only about 10-15 miles south of where I grew up. Both were heavily damaged . . . Reading is so small that I believe almost every building in the town was either damaged or destroyed.
You would think that those occurrences would have given me a new appreciation for the power of nature and perhaps installed a bit more fear into me . . . and, really, it did. Around here, in my opinion, it's a matter of "crying wolf" though. The sirens go off frequently when nothing is going on. You become blase' about the possibility of total destruction. Imagine that.
So one day last week, someone came rushing in with the report that there was a possibility that several small tornadoes had been spotted (as opposed to one big ol' tornado) nearby. Sure enough, the sirens went off, although if we weren't listening for them, we may not have heard them in the building. Mass exodus to sub-basement containing the building's boiler room.
Very cool place with lots of old machinery, but I could not stay in one place. I wanted to see outside but of course there were no windows. . . just lots of stuff to fall on top of us if the building were to collapse. There's a definite advantage to working on the second floor. . . walking down to the boiler room doesn't take too long. But once we were down there, they would not let us go for a long time. Something close to an hour, maybe even longer.
My ADHD or maybe my claustrophia kicked in. It got hot down there. Clumps of people were clustered around laptops and Ipads. At one point, someone said a tornado was directly over the building. A security guard told me later that the clouds seem to part over the top of the building and the storm went around us. I was so glad to get out of that basement that I didn't even mind going back to work. I went back later to get these shots of the cleanest boiler room imaginable.
For some reason, Blogger is not allowing me to upload and post pictures today. Below are a couple of e-mails I received this week about my grandson's artistic endeavors. Kate is Joey's teacher at his school; Stephanie and Andy are his parents:
Dear Stephanie and Andy,
Last week I admired a piece of Joey’s; his grill, and asked if he would let me keep it. Joey agreed that I could take the grill home, but that I should also bring it back to school. I have enjoyed the grill all weekend, and have returned with it to school today.
The grill is pinned to the wall above the painting easel.
I respect Joey, and I like his work a lot. I wonder if I could ask Joey if I could buy this piece from him? I would be proud to make such a transaction if you and Joey approve.
E-mail from Stephanie (an attorney, as if one couldn't tell from the text)
As you may know, Joey made a picture of a grill (attached). His teacher asked him last week if she could take it home with her. Joey grudgingly acquiesced, but asked that she return the picture on Monday. The teacher held up her end of this gentleman's agreement, but asked Joey Monday whether she could buy the picture from him. As he is a minor, the well-advised teacher understood the need to consult us in creating a binding contract with him. We gave permission, and the parties entered into grill-picture negotiations yesterday. The net result was that the parties had a meeting of the minds involving the following terms: Kate purchased the picture for the due and valuable consideration of a) three pieces of scrap paper; b) extra fruit at lunch; and c) five crisp new dollar bills. I believe that said dollar bills are earmarked to be used at the "concussion stand" at Betsy's next softball game. (As an aside, a week or so ago, Joey tried to purchase both Skittles and a Sprite at the concussion stand with a dollar, and learned a hard lesson from the oh-so-pleasant woman running the stand: you cannot buy Skittles and a Sprite for only $1.00. Apparently, Joe, like ScarlettO'Hara, plans never to go hungry again to the concussion stand. The upshot here: Always understand the motivation of the person with whom you are negotiating.) At the close of negotiations, Joey remarked, "I'm a businessman, Mom. Let's do some business!" Indeed.
I wish I could upload Joe's art. Subsequent to these transactions, Joe has apparently decided that art is a good way to make some money, as he has painted another three pictures for his "store" -- a couple of peppers and an orange.
Perhaps I can learn a few things from my grandson. . .
and tried various other experiments with the leftovers in the studio/basement? The photo above shows one of my deconstructed screen printing experiments, done on tissue paper and dipped in encaustic medium.
This photo shows a jumbled-up clump of tissue paper that got stuck together by accident and wouldn't come apart without tearing, so the whole mess got dipped in the wax.
This is the left side of a sheet of tissue paper that for weeks received the paint left over from my brushes, rollers and brayers,
and this is the right side of the same tissue paper, dipped in wax.
And just for something a bit different, this is what I see when I sit outside on my front steps. The view has improved dramatically since Spring arrived. If I could actually paint things, I would start with the wild rose bush that has just started flowering. There used to be a house in this empty four acre lot; I have seen deer and a coyote. The neighbors tell me there are raccoons, possums, and a bobcat. I doubt the bobcat, but they swear. I do have a huge cat that hangs around my house, but she's pretty tame, so I don't think she's the bobcat.
Yep, I'm pretty pleased with myself. First of all, my camera is working again and I'm actually posting something on this blog. I have been enjoying all these other wonderful blogs and photos and paintings that everyone else has created, and contributing absolutely nothing. But here are some offerings. . .
These are all approximately 5"x7" monoprints from bigger paintings that I have been doing, on some linen-like paper no longer in use from the office. These monoprints tend to accumulate in various stages of completion, while I just keep layering stuff, until one or two finally look like they might be done. Everything about these is spontaneous, completely accidental. Doesn't say too much about my talent, does it?
These three combine all kinds of techniques I've been trying out recently. There is, of course, a bunch of acrylic paint. But there is also some of the deconstructed screen printing here, as well as using some of the thickened dye past without the screens. And lastly, just because I could, I dipped these in some encaustic medium. The backgrounds where there is no paint or dye are beautifully translucent, but I can't figure out how to display them so that's noticeable. Right now I just have black mats around them, which is okay, but they need to have light shining through them.
Two other accomplishments: (1) I got my Ipod working again, and all the songs on the Ipod downloaded back into the computer. I was afraid that when my playlist disappeared from the computer, all the songs I had dowloaded were lost. But no, it's so easy to get them back that I'm embarrassed that I hesitate as long as I did. (2) I went back to the old house and dug up a bunch of perennials and brought them back to this house. So yesterday I got them all planted. Mostly hostas and daylilies, which should be fine. And I planted the little blue pot above, too. Today I am starting another canvas, and I'm going to plant another two big pots, and then I'm done until I amass enough money to buy more. . .
Literally I have been having dreams, snippets of insight, flashes of inspiration, about a project that I've been thinking about. The things I want to include are absolutely MIXED media, everything from oatmeal (the color and the texture) to rusted paper to drywall compound, to canvas, scrim, burlap, threads, twine, newspaper, paper clay, papier mache. . . I have a notebook with four pages devoted to lists of things I want to include in this. . . project. . . thing. . . assemblage. Layers, digging through, tactile. . . all tones of natural, from white to ecru to beige to gray to black to rust, but all totally natural, in that it comes from a natural process, even if you have to fake it. painted corrugated cardboard, weathered cardboard, dangling things, rolled paper, rolls of used adding machine tape, dipped in wax, burned with an incense stick (by the way, I have rediscovered incense. . . it's way cool to smell if you don't use it in a tiny enclosed area) to created rows of little holes. . . and of course I have been collecting pictures, going through all my old photos, taking new ones, looking at everything with a new eye. . . an artist's eye. I can't wait to get started. But first, I must go get my hair fixed. Honestly, first time in a looooong time. I will be newly blonde when I start my project. Oh, that's a good color. . . blonde.
Not long ago I listened to an interview of a famous photographer who was, on occasion, terrified when she went into her darkroom/studio. She was afraid it would be the last time she would create anything.
(Another trash heap, this one created by me)
I, too, am terrified. I'm terrified that I have already created the last thing I'll ever create that worth anything,
(All these collages are old, hidden away on my computer)
and I didn't realize it at the time.
(Because I haven't created anything for a while)
I am not necessarily thinking about anything sellable, just something that will satisfy me. The talent I see on the internet is staggering. Overwhelming. Creativity gone wild. Besides, Target and Home Goods sell perfectly agreeable art at prices that even I could afford (well, maybe not that cheap) so why would anyone buy my art.
(So I'm whining about it now)
And the fact remains, I haven't created anything good enough in months. I am reluctant to go down to the studio: it's too cold down there, it's too dark, it's a mess and I can't find anything I need because it's all packed up and I don't want to unpack because what if I have to move again and then I would have to pack it all up again. Oh, I have every excuse. . . yet I know the real reason. I'm afraid I won't be able to do it any more.
I've been through something like this before, many times even. I know something will happen that will see me through but I also know I need to keep working, making crap until I don't make crap any more. And I can't do that unless I go downstairs. Maybe that rodent of Betsy's and Joe's, whether human or animal, has something to do with my ennui. Perhaps it's time to banish that rodent. (Latest clue in rodent identification and entrapment: a chicken bone on the living room rug.)