Wednesday, December 30, 2009

. . . went to work

Yep, first full day under my belt. Yesterday was orientation, very corporate. Codes and passwords for everything from restroom access to internet access. Today, more time with co-workers, all very nice. This will work out all right.

When I took the picture above, I told my brother, as we stood in the sleet, that I was going to paint this one. His look at me would have been the definition of "askance." The side of a beat up old metal container? But really, isn't it just wonderful? And yes, I've started to paint it, a small version to warm up, a large version to come.

Everything's good and it's just going to get better.

Monday, December 28, 2009

. . . expect big changes

It's been a long time since I last posted and a lot has happened in that time.

Right before Christmas, Walter the Art Guy left a message: four paintings out on approval, maybe a check after the first of the year; representation here in Kansas City at relocating Park Place Gallery in the Crossroads District; and he needs more paintings. All good. I have been so busy making outfits for Betsy and Nora for Christmas that I haven't done any "art" for a while. I came to think of my fashion creations as wearable collages. Now I need to get some work done that's not so wearable.

Last Tuesday, my mom slipped, fell and broke her wrist and tore up her arm, 20 stitches and a cast. At any age, that's a bad deal, but at 82, it's frightening for her. I think she'll be all right, but she's impatient, wants to get back to doing what she's always done. Also last Tuesday I had a job interview, went back on Wednesday for another interview, and was offered the job. Starting in two days, I will be an assistant in the trust department of a bank. Tomorrow I go in for orientation. Different environment for me, but very similar to the work that I used to do. Benefits, I hope, and a regular paycheck will help the dire financial situation, supplemented by any art that I can sell. I have had a good run of being master of my own time, enjoyed every second of it, and will miss my freedom. But it's time for a change.

I left Wednesday noon to go to my mother's house for the holiday. The first thing I see when I get to town is there's a brand new Sonic restaurant on the east side of town, basically in the parking lot of the relatively brand new grocery store there. Wow, that's big, especially since there's another Sonic on the west side of the main street, only about a mile away. Later I find out that the west side Sonic will become something else. Still only one Sonic in town, and still no street lights.

Thursday is cold, rain turning into sleet turning into snow. But my brother Steve, the unrepentant junker, and his son Chris, who has been raised in that fine tradition, picked me up and off we went to the metal recycling centers. I was looking for photographs, Chris was looking for automotive details to decorate his "man cave" in the garage, and Steve was just along for the ride. It was so cold that my camera would only work for a few minutes outside. When we finally gave up on hopping in and out of the Jeep, Chris took us on a tour of the town so I can see all the new stuff and also what has happened to the old stuff. My brother and I did a lot of "Didn't the Jones's used to live there? Who lives there now?"

The blizzard arrived Thursday afternoon, along with Matt, my son. My sister and her family and my aunt and uncle didn't even attempt to come for Christmas eve. Church services were cancelled for Christmas eve and Christmas day. I was just happy to know everyone was safe. It was a quiet and peaceful Christmas eve. . . with my brothers and I remembering what we did when we were kids waiting for Santa. The younger generation was probably pretty bored, and they all had their cellphones in hand, but they are all wonderful kids and I so enjoyed hearing about what was going on in their lives. The snow continued all through Christmas day.

I headed home on Saturday; the sun was shining, the snow had quit. The road going east had some drifting, but it wasn't too bad. The interstate going north was clear. . . until I got within two miles of my exit. It starting snowing again, the road was snowpacked, and traffic was iffy. I finally got home but there was so much snow I couldn't pull into the driveway. Yesterday I shoveled a path to the garage. And I started painting. It seems more important to use my leisure time for creating now that I will have less of it. And besides, it's fun.

The picture at the top of this post is one from Thursday's junk expedition. I actually got quite a few shots that have already inspired the beginnings of two new paintings. Wish me luck on my new venture, and remind me to keep making my art no matter what.

Monday, December 14, 2009

. . .showed some progress

in the decluttering of my basement. That big ol' pile of nasty that was strewn about on the floor last week is now piled up neatly, just waiting for someone to see the potential in it. Just look at the green game board, the architectural salvage pieces, the twine winder. . .

the microscope box, the library card catalog drawer, a postal sorting box with the names of cities and states still attached, a leather box shaped like a horseshoe. So far I have met three interesting people who have come to my studio and instead of telling me they preferred a finished basement with a pool table, a bar and surround-sound big-screen televisions, they loved every bit of it just as it was: every drop of paint spilled on the floor, every inch of space filled to the brim with stuff, the old ping-pong table covered with paper, jewelry, fun stuff. Each one was an artist. . . ah, that explains it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

. . . sewed a skirt

for Betsy's Christmas present. She loves to wear a skirt or a dress every day. And since I have no money to spend on presents, I rediscovered my fabric stash and for the price of a $2 (on sale at JoAnns) pattern and about $1.50 elastic, I came up with this skirt. The fabric to make the skirt came from leftover samples from decorators. The purple flower is detachable, but Betsy loves purple. Betsy has the perfect figure for a 5-year-old: 24, 22, 24. The skirt is 10" long, isn't that just adorable? I was inspired by the clothes on the Matilda Jane website and I think I pretty much nailed the look. I will also get a plain T-shirt and embellish it, either with iron-ons or ruffles, and maybe some tights or leg warmers, also embellished, or if I can's find the right ones, I'll just whip some up. Maybe a little skirt for Nora, too?

My mother would be dismayed at how I put this thing together. Everything is machine-stitched, even the hem. My thinking is that I want Betsy to wear this and she will play in it and I don't want my hand-stitched hem coming apart. All the seams are pressed in one direction, then zigzagged and then top stitched. I'm a bit befuddled by this pattern, because there is a yoke facing on the front, but I couldn't see where there was a yoke facing on the back because there was a casing for the elastic. Shoot, I even read the directions and they weren't any help.

I will never be the seamstress that my mother is, and my sister is even more amazing. They are both perfectionists. Not me. I experiment. I will try anything. I don't necessarily follow the directions on the patterns. Like on this one, I added the little "aprons." And, most of all, I want instant gratification. So while this is the first skirt I made like this, I will be making more, and they will be variations on a theme.

Monday, December 7, 2009

. . .pitched and tossed

I make it sound as though I were out at sea in a desperate storm. Not really, I'm still working my way through my basement/studio. I knew when I asked my (ex)husband if he would help me clean it, and he answered, "I didn't make that mess, you know," that I was on my own. . . not really too surprising under the circumstances. The picture above shows the only piece of art that I have touched in a couple of weeks. . . it's a start, but I can't seem to get past this stage at this time. I keep getting sidetracked, finding back wonderful stuff and having to make fateful decisions as to the disposition of the fabulous stuff.

Like this shelf of old books (well, maybe not the Reader's Digest.) It's one of three shelves of old books, pamphlets, etc. I can't bear to part with them right now. Maybe later.

And what about this old lens testing kit? I love it, love it, love it, even though I will never make the collaged pendants that I had planned. The box itself is wonderful.

This picture shows a bit of the mess I will tackle today. I know, I should be ashamed that it ever got to this point. I watched a show, "Hoarders" yesterday on TV. . . this could be a segment on that show. At least this is just a small space. There's a scoop shovel in my plans for this week.

But here's a part that's been cleared and organized. Christmas ornaments and Santa collection culled to two or three crates; Halloween stuff in one-plus bin. Not sure I will put up the big tree this year, or the big heavy lit wreath that usually hangs in the beautiful arched window above the front door. I'm a bit of a Scrooge this year. I was invited to a cookie exchange Saturday night, which required that I make a couple dozen cookies. Unfortunately I fell asleep waiting for a concoction that was supposed to take an hour to bake. It wasn't burned too badly. . . I cut out the bad bits. I probably never be invited back.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

. . . sold some supplies

Yep, cleaning out the basement/studio. This time it's serious. I ask myself: Do I want to move this? If the answer is no, the next question is: Sell, give away, pitch? What I'm showing here is some of the stuff I'm selling. I already pitched 12 big garbage of junk (truly not usuable in any form) with the help of Alex, my 8th grade neighbor. What a nice young man. Above are years of Somerset Studio magazines, Cloth Paper Scissors, etc.

Bunches of vintage papers purchased at estate sales years ago. I was never able to create anything vintage to my satisfaction.

Old games. I also got these at estate sales. They looked like fun. Never got around to it.

Just a small small portion of watch parts. Are these what are used in "steampunk?"

Just a glimpse of vintage jewelry. I was really into beading and jewelry making for a while. My plan on these was to take them apart and reassemble the parts into whole pieces. I didn't have the patience for it.

Craig's List is pretty amazing. I've had more than ten inquiries since last night. I wish etsy were like that. I think the word "CHEAP" was the Craig's List main attraction. Because I'm almost giving this stuff away.

I am chagrined at the amount of time and money I have spent on these various activities. Oh, and if anyone sees anything they might want, let me know. Make an offer, I don't have any idea on what to price these.