Monday, March 23, 2015

Heavy Heart

I used to think suicide was incredibly selfish.  Friends and family are left with questions they have no hope of ever answering, and most of them start with, "Why?"  Then one of the world's most beloved entertainers takes his own life, someone who outwardly appears to have everything - fame, fortune, family, the adoration of (literally) millions of people - and it opens the door for a lot of conversations. Real conversations, not just lip service.  And then when it hits closer to home, .... I've been thinking about this a lot over the last week and I can't get my thoughts to form a coherent statement.  I'm trying to ditch all the platitudes and find a pattern in the jumble of fragments left behind in my head, but it's a mess in there.

All I have is this:

There's no easy answer.  There is never going to be an easy answer.  There's just a painful story behind every suicide and every single one of them calls for less judgment and more compassion.  I cannot imagine what it would feel like to be chased by such big demons, I just know it must be incredibly exhausting.  It doesn't matter how many drugs you take or how many shrinks you see, because at the end of the day - at the end of every day - there is only one person out on the front lines fighting that battle.  And my heart hurts for the people who feel they need to lose in order to win.

RIP, Howie.  Rest easy.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Second Sight

Things have come to a screeching halt around here while I suffer through a wickedly uncomfortable toothache.  I have no tolerance for pain so maybe out in the real world this isn't so bad, but I've been eating Ibuprofen like candy and mainlining Orajel.  I tried gargling with salt water, sipping apple cider vinegar, putting a paste of ground cloves on my gums (Marsha - that one HURT!) and just plain putting my head on my desk and crying.  Wednesday was the worst day, then Thursday wasn't very bad at all.  Today has been mostly okay until about an hour ago.  My dentist appointment is on Monday and at this point I will be happy if they yank out all my teeth and give me George Washington dentures.  Okay, not really.  Pain may be making me delirious.

I DO have this to share.  I tried to recreate the moose in my big sketchbook and although he came out halfway decent, he's not as good as the first one.  One big difference:  he has an eye full of Christopher Columbus.

Heh heh.  I should name the drawing The Santa Maria, except it's a bull moose.  What a conundrum.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

We Know That It's Probably Magic

Surprise!  More flowers.

The colors are out of order, but it's a rainbow nonetheless:

I tried to find a good quote to put in here about rainbows and flowers or gardens, and the best thing I could find is this:

Good enough for me.

If I count the paper moose, which I will because it has become one of my favorite happy accidents in the history of all time, I have exceeded my goal of ten art pieces this month.  Plus I've got a new one half done and I think I dreamed a way out of my wreather's block on the St. Patrick's Day wreath. This painting would have been the second for the month if I had finished it back when I started it:

Some things have to percolate longer than others.  I keep thinking I will call this one "Lost in the Woods" but that sounds too sad.  The trees are very subtle.  (Remember, that rhymes with Frito-Lay.)

Old Man Winter came back and left a few inches of snow in my driveway, but I'm determined to stay positive and optimistic about the impending arrival of Spring.  How can you not be optimistic when there is a rainbow on the back of your couch?

Friday, March 13, 2015


Quoting directly from one of the Urban Dictionary's many definitions of preppy, "Colors are always brite (favorites include pink and lime green)."  Ergo:

HAHAHAHAHAHA!  I crack myself up.  Also from the same definition, "(Preppies) are confident and unafraid to express their own styles and be daring in their fashions."  That's me alright, daring in my fashion.  Although I'm quite sure my oh-so daring ways are not exactly what they had in mind.  I fall more on the faux pas end of the fashion scale.

But I digress.  My wreath is preppy -- I'm not.  This is not the wreath I started weeks ago and can't seem to finish, nor is it the one I started as a distraction.  Apparently I'm having an ADD flare up.

Palate cleanser.  Here's a dog:

Good thing she closed her eyes -- the flash would have blinded her.

So far the red one is my favorite.  Not sure what colors the next two will be but if we go orange and purple I will essentially have a rainbow.  And everybody loves a rainbow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

If it looks like a duck....

Two days in a row it has been spring.  Poodle and I walked down to the cemetery and back yesterday and although she came home with a ridiculously muddy coat, she did not have to wear her boots. Ditto for today, when we walked to Route 12 and back.  Heaps of snow have melted.  I let Roxie outside when I got home today and, although she would be mortified if she knew I were writing this, she was mid-poop when the last of the snow slid off the back of the roof.  Scared the crap out of her - quite literally.

Here's a thing that will probably never see the light of day in any other form.  I used my flip flops in the picture for scale and yes, I was in fact wearing them yesterday.

I might smear some oil pastels on there when the paint dries.

Here's a wall that makes me happy:

Happy happy  joy joy.

What number are we up to for March art?  Here's the wreath from a couple days ago:

Why take one picture when you can take three?  Those colors are a bit Suessical.  And speaking of which sort-of-but-not-really, in case anyone has been wondering, Cindy Lou Who is alive and well and working for Verizon.  I had a Live Chat with her on Monday when I tried to figure out if Verizon was boycotting the whole "spring forward" thing, or if it was just my phone.  She spells her name Cyndi Lu now.

Last but not least, here's the next in what is going to be a series of 8" x 8" cradled panels:

Two more are wet on the table.  There will be six total.  Until I order more panels.  Yes, I am amassing a pile of new artwork because yes, I am doing a craft fair the first weekend of May.  Between the wreaths and the paintings I think I will have enough art, now I just have to figure out how to build a lightweight, portable wall.  Or more specifically, how to get the half-baked idea out of my head and into reality.  I shall reconnoiter at Home Depot in the near future.  (I was going to write, "there will be a reconnaissance mission to Home Depot" but then I wouldn't have been able to use the word "reconnoiter.")  (Ha.  Got to use it twice.)

Monday, March 9, 2015


Three down, seven to go, two of which are almost done.  Rock and roll.

Can you tell that these flower paintings make me happy?

One of the pieces I have almost finished - it will be done tonight - is a wreath, and I gotta say, they don't call it hot glue for nothing.  I'm pretty sure I've mentioned that before, but the other day I burned the crap out of my hand, and removed a nice chunk of skin when I was peeling the glue off my fingers.  I didn't quite cry like a baby but dang, it hurt like hell.  That was on Friday.  On Saturday I went to the hardware store and Dean the paint guy told me my neighbor's son-in-law had an accident at work about 10 days ago that resulted in first, second and third degree burns on both legs and at least one of his hands.  Yikes.  My finger suddenly didn't hurt as much.

In other news, I went to bed looking forward to a week's worth of 40+ degree days and woke up to four inches of new snow.  Meh.  Luckily the sun did come out today and it was 39 degrees when I got home from work.  Somebody had a good time in the snow:

Turns out the reflections are out there all year long.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Abstractly Avian

It's a shame that the story in each painting is only fully known by the artist.  Number two for the month of March (which should be number three, but I haven't finished the other one yet) started out in ye olde sketch book like this:

Can you see what it is?  Okay, we shall call it the original outline for the story that you cannot see on my canvas panel.  Now I will tell you the story, and include all of the characters.

Chapter One:  I painted the panel mostly Primary Red, but it was a bit too bright and not the deep color I wanted, so I added bits of one of my faves - Alizarin Crimson Hue - and swirled it around. That wasn't right either so I moved over to the other side of the panel and added Deep Violet - another fave.  I had no concrete idea what I wanted the background to look like at this point, other than I wanted reds, some shiny stuff, and it had to be light enough that black would stand out.  So the reds and the violet were playing somewhat nicely together but I wasn't feeling it, so I busted out a red metallic paint by Sargent Art.  It's a line called Liquid Metal.  Unfortunately, when I got the lid off the jar I discovered the paint was no longer liquid.  So I added some water and stirred it up. Hmmm. Still not very fluid but what the hell, eh?  On it went.

It was chunky.  And not really in a good way.

But we can work with that.  I love texture, I just wasn't expecting this one.  The more I worked it into the panel, the more I liked it but that particular paint is very pinky so I dripped in some Quinacridone Magenta.  (I have no idea how to pronounce that word.)  Now the background colors just needed some swirls of Iridescent Silver to up the shiny factor and it was good to go.

This is the part where we sit and watch paint dry.  I do not understand how oil painters do it.  That stuff takes WEEKS to dry, if not months.  Craziness.

Chapter Two:  I didn't want all that red and purple to be the entire background, I only wanted pieces of it.  So I used my trusty palette knife to scrape more paint across the face of the panel.  For the top half I used a color called Blue Heaven, and the bottom was Bamboo.  Plus more Iridescent Silver.  It was ... interesting.

Chapter Three:  It wasn't looking right so while that latest layer was still wet I got my trusty flexible ruler and dipped the edge in red (Napthol Red Medium, to be exact) and made two lines across the bottom of the panel and one across the top.  Like the red lines on S&P.  Remember that?  Go look, I'll wait. ....


Chapter Four:  Out comes the black enamel paint and we attempt to recreate the image from my sketch book.  This did not work out very well for me.  It was a short chapter.

Chapter Five:  An equally short chapter.  In trying to salvage my image I went at it with Raspberry paint, squeezed straight from the bottle.  This technique worked quite well with my two dragonfly paintings but, alas, the bottle of Raspberry contained more air than paint, so we got some massive SPLATS.  Not a good look.

Chapter Six:  I have some giant palette knives that I don't use very often because I paint small.  I think Kathy and Abby have the same palette knives in with their cake decorating supplies.  I got one out and smeared that black enamel and Raspberry paint all over the panel, obliterating everything.  It smeared up quite nicely - I rather liked it.  In an attempt to save some bits of the previous chapters, I got my trusty ruler again but instead of adding lines I used the edge to scrape small sections away. This gave me some cool glimpses of the underneath colors and also created some cool texture with the ridges of paint I was pushing out of the way.

Chapter Seven:  I did not wait for my new background to dry, and by doing that I got a wickedly cool effect when I busted out the white enamel.  Originally I had intended this to be a fairly dark painting, but my new background was too dark for black enamel so I switched to white.  Then, still winging it, I added the black enamel on top of the white.  Some accents of Iridescent Silver, Iridescent Stainless Steel, Cerulean Blue Chromium and Titanium White and ... done.  Until the darn thing dries and it is time for varnish.

So that's the whole story, start to finish.  Oh, and here's the finished painting:

He's funny looking.  I may call him "Black Bird, White Shadow."

(Holy crap - do you remember the tv show "The White Shadow"?  Whoa, there's a blast from the past.  Just in time for March Madness.)

Do you see how the purple-ish color leached into the outer edges of the white enamel?  That's the cool effect I got by painting wet on wet.  I'd like to say I planned it, but ... no.

And that bit up there is what showed through when I scraped back some of the top layer.  It's subtle (please pronounce that with three syllables - sub-t-le - and rhyme it with Frito-Lay; it's part of my secret language) but I like it.  Hard to tell there are a total of 15 different paint colors in this thing.

Now, speaking of none of that, I leave you with this: