Sunday, December 16, 2007

foot flushers and peanut packers

As pet peeves go, I don't have many, but there was an incident here that brought one of mine to the forefront of my thinking, and while I'm venting about one thing I figured I may as well vent about the other in the spirit of public education. Get your pencils ready people, take good notes, I don't want to go over this again.

Packing peanuts.
Can we just call evil by its name? Packing peanuts. You haven't really been saving them to ship your packages carefully - you've been hoarding them to foist the problem on some other poor sap. With their static-y whiteness, their tempting tacky texture -practically daring children to shred them into a million pieces and leave a trail like styrafoam snow through the house. Packing peanuts are the herpes of the shipping industry. And now I've got herpes all across my front lawn and I love the planet, but it's really cold out, and I can't feel my fingers anymore. The plastic bags you get from the grocery store, you know the ones they give you when you habitually forget to bring the reusable ones to the store? Stuff those in a box, that's a good plan, it can soften the blow of any impact and it's easily recycled. Though, I recently learned and did you know that those plastic bags don't mix well with your general recyclables? You can look for a special recycling drop off for them, often at the grocery store. But really, try to remember the reusable bags! That's what I keep telling myself anyway. But no more packing peanuts! End the insanity now!

Foot flushers.
You know who you are, but again in the interest of public education let us go over the facts, shall we? Public restrooms are dirty germ infested places, but if you do things right you can still use them and come out unscathed. When you use the toilet, please be brave, either use the little paper thing, or sit down and think about the shower you'll have later. Do not try and levitate or squat -this increases the chance of pee on the floor. Once you're done and you've got you're pants back on, do not look at the handle of the toilet and thinking of the germs residing there decide to use your foot to push the flusher. There are more germs on the floor that you're foot is on and it's simply unkind to leave that for the next person. Use your hand to flush. Use your other hand to open the stall. Wash your hands. Once the hands are clean you can grab a fresh paper towel to turn off the water and open the door, being sure to toss said paper towel to the trash. There is a large percentage of people that don't wash their hands at all when they use the restroom and those same people dip into the bowl of mints by the door in restaurants so do yourself a favor and skip the mint -but no more foot flushing!!! And for the love of Mike, don't teach your kids to do this! Do you know how slippery those floors can be? Crazy germaphobes. Nuff said.

Oh, and happy almost xmas! You know what I was thrilled to learn? Legos are made in Denmark! So far so good with the China boycott this Christmas. I officially rock. Here's another treat to tide you over till the big day.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

knitta, please

Eric and I have been following a few theories for a while. Peak oil, which is mainly the idea that the majority of the world's oil supply has already been spent and we are at the beginning of a swift decline in supply. The housing bubble, which has been covered a bit in the news as the subprime mortage problem. The subprime thing is just the tip of the iceberg though as the news coverage doesn't even touch on what's to come as ARM loans reset, millions of people that bought homes beyond their means default, and banks that sold these loans all over the world falter. And the dollar dropping in value as the fed lowers interest rates to try and stave off a crisis. And we've also been watching the general problem of affluenza grow and grow.
Here are some sites to look at.
peak oil
the housing bubble and here
and affluenza

If you're not familiar with these ideas it might be a good time to read up on it all. Watching the news lately it's hard not to feel like all these things are coming together to form a kind of perfect storm, financially speaking.

It's hard to know what you can do as an individual to change the flow of things or to even go against the tide. This year, besides going minimalist, we're going to try and do Xmas without buying anything from China. Since it's so hard to find things made in the US we might try and make our gifts this year. I, for one, have taught myself to knit. I'm sure all my friends and loved ones will really appreciate a hand made scarf.Now, I don't know how they're all going to manage to share it over the long distances, but that's not my problem. It's the thought that counts and my thoughts are worth more than the American dollar right now.

Despite the gloom and doom of what I see on the financial horizon, I'm actually in a pretty festive spirit. This song and the 5 cd box set I got from Sufjan has a lot to do with it. It's like a candy cane for my ears, but way less painful than that actually sounds.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


While we were down in Macon hanging out at big Dave's house a firetruck pulled up outside. It seems that the firefighters knew the homeowner across the street and stopped by to see how his repairs were coming along. I brought Felix outside to see it. Audrey tried to bring him farther down the drive to see better but he just shook his head and went back into the garage. She walked away muttering that she'd never seen a kid less interested in firetrucks. Meanwhile Felix had gotten the box of chalk from the garage and commenced to plop down on the drive and to draw the firetruck.

You have to understand that I have been a pretty good sport about the fact that my kids look nothing like me. I can't begrudge Eric's strong genes, but this spontaneous fit of art from my boy felt like a clap of thunder and it was all I could do not to jump around hollering "You see that? He is mine!"

Afterwards the truck had driven away Felix wanted my help finishing the picture and I told him that I thought it was great and didn't need a thing. He answered that he hadn't had time to draw the circle with the bird inside it or the line along the side -things that I hadn't even noticed. He was describing the town seal. I can't describe how excited I am to realize how visually oriented he is.

Oh, and he's also learning to read -which I have to say is one of my favorite parts of parenting, watching and helping while a whole new world opens up to them. Happy happy.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Back above the kudzu line

After a quickly planned trip down to Macon GA to visit Eric's dad and Aunt Audrey we're back. It had seemed like it was the only available break in Eric's schedule before launch that he would be able to see his dad. So of course, while we were down there he got the call that his launch has been delayed and is now set for February. As happy as I am to know that we'll have Eric here for the holidays I really wish this schedule would stay put for a bit as it's a little hard to plan a life around.

We got back the evening before Halloween. So most of the following day was spent pulling together the bits and pieces for Emer's costume. She had wanted to be Padme from Star Wars, but that's a bit tricky. Instead she was Ginny, from Harry Potter. For anyone that knows her this makes perfect sense, since she loves Harry. She especially loved the fun of being a red head temporarily. Since we got home late from trick or treating and there was not time for baths, she was able to go to school today with some of the red still in her hair. To pretend she is still Ginny she wore fairly mismatched clothes today in her impersonation of a wizard ackwardly trying to fit in with muggle clothing. With her bright pink sweatpants, striped blue shirt and orange hoodie and the still red hair, she was a sight.

Tully was a monster bear. To the casual observer she may just look like your average bear, but as with all things Tully, don't let the sweet appearance fool you.

Felix was an alien skeleton. Alien, because he knows that human bones don't glow in the dark. If they did graveyards would be brighter more cheerful places.

Speaking of the holiday. One of Emer's friend's at school told her that you shouldn't eat candy on Halloween because it's the Devil's birthday. I briefly explained how different folks believe different stuff and it's important to respect other people's beliefs. But I love this idea, so many details to ponder. Does the party hat fit with the horns? Does he pop all the balloon decorations as he sweeps through the room? How old is he? Did his mom bake the cake or pick it up on her way home from work at Halburton?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The learning curve

The learning curve is sharp and treacherous around here. Here's Tully's.

She was sliding down of the couch. Face first in a kind of push up position, in the loving arms of her daddy no less when the last bit of her weight fell wrong on her finger and it dislocated the finger and broke it. Lesson learned? Don't point at the floor you're about to land on, it knows you're coming, and pointing is rude.

My most vivid memory of this whole thing was the twenty second silent scream as she ran over to me. Eric and I were laughing, counting to see when the wind up would be done and the real scream would start when I looked down and saw her finger mangled or crumpled just wrong. 'Get your shoes we're going to the hospital' was all I had to say and we were up and out in three minutes. It's nice to know we can actually get out of the house that fast when we need to, and the kids were great about pulling together as a team and trying to make her feel better along the drive. She had stopped screaming before she was even buckled. I just told her we were going to take her to a doctor who was going to fix it and she just said okay. We had a pretty good idea it was dislocated though and I didn't bother to tell her how that fixing was going to work. We spent most of the drive making jokes about where she was pointing. When we were first checking in at the triage she held her hand up to the nurse and said 'fix it please?' So sweet and pitiful. Keeping a 2 year olds cast clean and dry is really incredibly hard. I learned afterwards that they have waterproof casts now, but that insurance doesn't usually cover it. Next time -if there is a next time for any of them, I'm going to splurge and get that.

Here's my learning curve.

I began, enjoyed and finished my portrait class since I last wrote here and it went really well. I was frustrated at first because the guy has a very tight style and I was sort of chafing against it, but it really helped to solidify some of my views about what I want to create and how I want to do it. I've also identified the areas I need to work on with portraits. It's amazing to understand my process better and know where to take it. There is this weird feeling of being lost, then finding my way, then getting lost again and having to work back to where I was. I need to make my darks darker -trying to maintain the skin tone that I know is there has compromised that. I need to block in the shadows and shapes better, I need to start with a stronger sketch, but I also want to work to create a looser feel to my work, leaving more of what is there just suggested. All and all it was time well spent. The teacher also told me that my work was a little like Lucian Freud, so I looked him up and learned a fair bit from his style. Of these three paintings, my favorite is the third smaller one of just the eyes. I had worked the portrait of the blond as much as I could and with 45 minutes left in the class I whipped out this little canvas I had in my box and set in to do a study of the eyes. Working fast forces me to take chances before I have time to doubt myself and the results are always a surprise.

I'm in the process of revamping the whole shop and that should be up in a few days. I'm moving away from prints and I'm going to just sell the originals. Etsy is really swamped with prints lately and though I think it's a great medium for some of the graphic work and illustration artists that I admire, it just doesn't translate oil paint well. I might goof around with some computer painting programs and make prints of those, and I'll still offer prints for people that can't commit to a painting. I think I've been clinging too much to past success holding on to all these old paintings and I know that I've got better stuff ahead of me so it's time to clean house. Besides, with a print the buyer still has to buy a frame or mat and with these paintings most of them will be ready to hang without a frame. I'll put my manifesto about the evils of framing in a future post. Meanwhile enjoy the falling fall.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Happy September!

Emer's first day of second grade was on Tuesday, and wonder of wonders her teacher is a Harry Potter fan, so I know she's in the right place. The teacher has even grouped the kids according to the houses in Hogwarts and they earn or lose points for their groups. Just from the first day Emer was so much more pleasant to be around, I realize how hungry she is to learn and how much better she feels when she is. Of course it doesn't hurt that she gets all the hustle and bustle of socializing all day either. This is what she looked like on her first day. So happy!
Felix had an orientation on Wednsday and today was his first day where I dropped him off. I chose to switch his preschool since this one is closer to home and he'll have more opportunities to really get to know the kids he'll be going to kindergarten with. It seems like you're average preschool program, but this is also the one that wasn't a good fit for Emer. This is what Felix looked like before his big day.When I picked him up he said he had zero fun and zero learning. I think he was upset because the teachers won't let him play on all the play equipment in the playground or visit his favorite hide outs in that park. Also I think a lot of the day was spent on learning the rules of the classroom. I'm hoping it will get better for him and I encouraged him to be patient. I wish we could swing a Montessori like the one Emer went to in CA, but all of the ones around here seem to be low on philosophy and high on price. It's good practice for public school I guess.

Tully seemed to really enjoy her first day of the year with both brother and sister in school. She looked like this.Of course this is before she fell and hit the bridge of her nose on a metal step. I watched the bruise and swelling bloom while she cried. If the same had happened to me, I'd still be crying but good thing for her, she's made of tougher stuff than me.

After they were all home we went to Red Rock with the dogs. It was a nice outing but by the end of the hike the were all really tired and crabby. Echo was really thrilled to fetch sticks in the water. Bunny was really confused struggling to swim and bite the water simultaneously.

I'm looking forward to getting into a schedule and getting some childcare help so I can do better by these munchkins. I've started a portrait class on Tuesdays and the meeting to start the art collective is in October so I'll have a chance to be busy doing some things for myself now.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Looking forward

I've been tagged! My assignment is to share 6 weird things about myself. Then I have to tag 6 others, they have to do the same, and it goes from there.

1. I have an English degree and I'm not a good waitress. (even funnier, I went to college to get out of the food industry! Yeah, I'm laughing all the way to the loan repayment office.)

2. Little corn, like the kind you get in Chinese food, creeps me out. I don't think I'm scared of it, but there is something really strange about it, I mean where is the little cob? To this day I've never eaten one. Don't plan on it.

3. I met my current husband in a chicken coop that was refitted to be a band's rehearsal space. I was auditioning as the singer.

4. I have naturally curly hair. I think the devil sneaks in each night while I'm sleeping and tightens the springs.

5. My three children were born in three different states. I was aiming for all 50, but I got tired.

6. All the dirty jokes I ever learned worth telling, I learned from my mother. And I'm still telling them.

Now half of the reason this took me so long (I was tagged just ages ago) is that I really went surfing for other sites I like. Some of these gals just seem really personable and the blog feels like a friendly visit, others are just starting to blog and deserve some traffic, some make unusual stuff, all worth seeing. So in no particular order here they are.

Now if you're really looking to kill some time you can check out each of their sites, see their 6 weird things and who they tag until you get dizzy.

Okay, so I can't say how much I'm looking forward to not being overwhelmed. September is coming, it's just around the corner. They can't go and move it on me can they? Where would they hide it with their little jam hands that I couldn't find it? September is coming.

Would you believe the gallery owner was actually really nice and receptive to my comments and she's going to give me the means to get in touch with all the people that participated in the show, so this art group may really take off, we'll see. Deb Morbeto whipped up some invites to the information meeting we're having where I can lay out the whole idea to people and they can sign up if they're game. Deb used to be a graphic designer, she's got a great palette, stong composition and her paintings have this incredible texture to them. Check out her work here I'm also going to put an ad in the paper, so we'll see how much of a turn out we get. I'll keep you posted. Also, the piece that got into the show, sold. Yeah me. Boo my modest pricing. Ah well, it all spends the same.

And in other, other news. My neighbors moved! It's so strange to have the big house empty. I hadn't realized how much I'd come to depend on the kids almost always having playmates at the ready. I guess you never realize what you've got until you don't. Hoping a new family moves in there with nice kids. We'll see. The good news is that the neighbors didn't move far so we can all visit each other often. It's funny to think how much they feel like family now.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

A summer full of busy

So much to catch up on! Eric worked straight through for almost three weeks, so I didn't get any breaks, then I went to New Hampshire for a wee bit all by myself to visit some old friends. Like this painting that I gave to Kristi as a wedding present.

Kristi was looking pretty good too, but not feeling up to photos on the web. And I was lucky enough to see not just my friend Sandy but also her son Gregg and his girlfriend Amy and the whole family! It was a really great trip and a nice breath of fresh air to be an adult without small people hanging on me. To see Sandy with her grown children and how well they're all doing is a nice reminder of what I'm headed towards as well. Though I guess it's too much to hope for that once kids are grown they'll have grown out of all their bad habits.

While I was there I learned about something called Non-Violent Communication created by Marshall Rosenberg. It's hard to describe but worth checking out if you want to get along better with people, resolve conflicts, teach children ect. There are books, CDs, ect. and they have this website

Once I got back Eric went down to visit his dad in GA for 6 days and now we're here. While Eric was gone I submitted some artwork into the annual juried show they do at a local gallery here. The theme is the same every year, Something Hot. It's a tad ambiguous. It's interesting to see what people come up with to fit in the theme and the different styles people present. The judging system is pretty arbitrary and dependent on the one judge's taste. After the judging they provide an open critique at the gallery. In the past I really enjoyed the critique process because I learned a lot and was able to see all that was submitted but this year the woman judging was really horrible, negative and condescending. I don't know if there is anything she would like if she didn't make it (she made quite a point to flaunt her credentials). Listening to this woman took all the thrill out of being accepted into the show. I even toyed with the idea of taking my piece out, but instead chose to write a letter to the gallery director. I described how it all went from the perspective of a participant and offered to let her give me her mailing list so I can form a support group for emerging/learning artists to have our own group critiques. Nothing ventured - nothing gained.

Anyway, here is the piece that got into the show. It'll be up for a month at Gallery 222 in Leesburg Va.

Meanwhile, I have to get some new stuff up into the shop, and thanks to all of you for being patient. Now that I've got a camera again I'm hoping to get back into the pace of a new piece every one or two weeks. I'm also planning on posting more originals and different options for prints so stay tuned. I'm also finally getting to work on the portraits I've been commissioned to do and the process is really exciting, but sometimes a little intimidating. I'm lucky that the woman I'm doing them for is really good at collaborating with me about what she wants and what I can do. Hoping you're all having a happy full of fun times summer, in the mean time try and stay cool.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Photo Contest top three

And the winner of the photo contest is......
Artsy with her photo of her cat, Puckett! Gee, I'm assuming it's her cat, maybe it's a loaner. I chose this photo because I like the odd perspective and the colors around the cat and it should be fun to work up into a painting and make into something that is uniquely my own. If you're not familiar with Artsy, she has a shop on Etsy at full of these amazing assemblages and jewelry she makes. Almost as eye popping as the items for sale in her shop are the images of them, and I've learned to comfort myself and my substandard camera by believing that she simply has a camera with super powers, maybe even a small cape.
The second place goes to Hurdler4eva with this view of waterfront living. I really love this image, but I don't know if I could make something unique from it, it's pretty unique on it's own. What I mean is, because this is unusual, I'll be worried about viewers being able to read it visually so I'll fall into the trap of trying to paint it very realistically and then you'll have a painting that is not too different, if not inferior to the photo.
The third place goes to akhitt, or Amanda with this shot of Wilbur. Now here, I really love the subject matter, and I can tell this fellow has personality but this composition would be hard to work with. I thought about enlarging just one section of the image but I think that would be bending the rules a bit. With the submission Amanda told me that this guy is at a sanctuary where she works, and I'm really intrigued by that, trying to imagine if it is a pig sanctuary or a monastery with some very muddy patches.I'd like to thank everyone again for all their submissions, it's been really fun to get these images and see a bit through other people's eyes. I'd like to do this contest again, but I need to think of how to advertise it a little better to get the word out and to get more entries. Feel free to comment here with ideas or convo to me on the Etsy site about that. Advertising problems aside I think I can do it again in a month or two, so I hope those of you that didn't make the cut will submit again, tell your friends ect. As it is I have a lot of new projects I'm working on.

Right now I'm working on a series of monster portraits where I'm painting on the glass of old photo frames. And I still have the denim series that's coming along pretty well, though it's frustrating that our camera is temporarily missing and I'm unable to post them in the shop yet.

Funny story about that. I use the camera all the time to take shots that I might work into paintings. Eric recently graduated from his volunteer firefighting program and took the camera with him down to the firehouse, which is where he lost/misplaced the camera. There must be nearly a hundred pics on that thing, you know the usual stuff of the kids, animals from the farm, and some of what seemed like a neat idea at the time of myself in the shower. You see I'm really interested in finding odd perspectives and I was thinking a shot of a woman shaving her armpits from the perspective of the shaver would be really interesting, you know, the sharp lines of the razor and the blurring lines of the figure going down to the feet with the curve of the tub in the distance. I'm not thinking it's so clever now. As it was, the images were so disturbing to see I deleted most of them right off. I mean I've had three kids and I just look better with clothes on. But a few of them were probably still on the camera when Eric lost it. Yeah. Funny story. See you on the internet!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Beautiful Inside

How does she know?
I mean, really. What confidence. You have to admire it really. Maybe she's on very good terms with her internist? I've had three kids and there is a certain point in the midst of pregnancies that you lose your ability to become embarrassed about yourself. I will admit, I once had midwife tell me that I had a happy cervix. I think I blushed, maybe I laughed. I didn't post a sign with my photo. (Though I did remember the comment and post about it here, so maybe I shouldn't throw stones) Or is she simply stating that besides her many virtues as a real estate professional, knowledgeable in her field, she's also a great person with a heart of gold? Oh, right. The house. The sign is about the house. Well that's just plain creepy. Who wants a house that talks?

Moving on. Felix, my stunning brilliant little boy has stopped sucking his thumb! He had a small cut on his thumb this past Friday and it hurt too much for him to suck it. So I was lying there with him around his bedtime and out of the blue he said, "Well, that's it. I 'm guess I'm going to stop sucking my thumb now." And then he did. He made it the whole weekend and there's been no back sliding even though the little cut is healed. I'm just so impressed. I've talked to him lots of times before this about all the reasons he would have to stop, but he never seemed to take it in, always saying that when he was older he would. I guess now he's older. I feel like I should throw him a Bar Mitsvah, if only we were Jewish.

I'm working on some new materials for the shop that I'm hoping to post this coming week. I've taken denim and wrapped it over canvas stretching bars and I'm making some art on that. I like the idea of material as a background but it also helps to force me to keep it simple. I think the added bonus is that they'll be originals to sell rather than just prints. And soon I'll have to choose the winner in the photo contest. It's going to be hard to choose there have been some great entries.

So far summer vacation has been relatively painless as the kids are all getting along pretty well and Tully is so much more interactive. Today we went on a small hike to the Balls Bluff regional park (the scene of an important civil war battle) and we saw this turtle.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Contest

So this is the latest announcement I placed in the shop

Win a Free Print!
I'm looking for inspiration, so how about you let me borrow yours? Send me a photo for a painting and if your photo is chosen you'll win a free print of the painting created from it. I'll also post the top three choices on my blog. If I get enough entries and responses we could have a new winner each month. So get out your camera and show me what you have.

Unusual perspective and views are especially appreciated as well as urban or city images. All photos should be in standard bmp, jpg, or gif format, and taken by you. Convo/email/comment to me with the subject heading, photo entry. Good Luck and happy snapping!

The idea is that it would be so nice to get a glimpse of life through someone else's eyes and illustrate that vision in my style. I don't get out enough, and honestly how many cows could I possibly paint? I'm a little worried about people giving me pictures that they just find on the internet or wherever but I'm deciding to rely on the general trust worthiness of Etsy folk. Also I have to make clear to the winner that I'll be using the image to make a painting and then sell prints of that painting. My thanks for the picture is the free print, not a cut of my meager profit. I guess I'll clarify to the winner at the end of the month that they'll retain the rights to their picture and I'll retain the rights to my painting of it. I thought this would be a nice way to collaborate with the world at large so to speak, we'll see.

Eric took the camera to work today. Can you see my frown from here? There are some new cows in the field and I swear they were posing, practically daring me to photograph them and I couldn't. I know, you thought I was sick of cows, but there is a black one and I'd love to catch how the light falls on that shiny fur. And there is one with a white face, and that can be so expressive. Looking through photos to post I found this one. You can tell by the trees that it was a few months ago, but the spirit of spring is obvious. I've named this sheep Randy.
Love is awkward

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Get a load of that mug

Can you see the fire in those eyes? This ones full of spit and vinegar but oh how I love her. Not much for news right now, other than the computer miraculously fixing itself. Also we got the good news that our rent won't be increasing this year which is a nice relief since we like it here so much.

Life on a 286 acre farm with a creek and animals is not bad as raising kids territory. And I would have hated to move when the strawberries are coming in so well in our little garden. So I'm off to pick some. Here is another pic of Emer and Tully heading off into the lower field. They've recently cut and baled the hay in this field so I think there might be a painting coming on with those images.

Friday, June 01, 2007

The post of no pictures past

The computer in the office that I use to upload pictures from my camera to the internet is temporarily down so this will be the post of no pictures. I'm telling you now, don't even scroll down, no eye candy awaits you. I know, I share your disappointment, there's something great about seeing stuff up there on the little screen with the little audience. The funny thing is, the computer in the office was fixed last night when I asked Eric to plug in or fix whatever it is that broke and he did. But then with the voice of Al Gore ringing in my ears I turned the computer off to save energy and went up to bed. This morning I turn it on and NO. For me, the computer is incredibly testy and difficult, for him it's like a well trained dog. oh well. I'm sure I have some skills up my sleeves that my genius engineer doesn't. That's a fine premise and we're just going to play along with it because barring the fact that I'm in short sleeves there is nothing wrong here. move on.
Two things.
1. The birds that have their nest on the eve of our back porch are beginning to get big and less ugly. While I type this I can see the mom and dad zipping back and forth delivering food and the babies are spreading their wings a bit sitting up a bit more. Not nestled in so much anymore but perched on the nest. I thought I saw the mom earlier pushing the little ones and flapping her wings as if to say "Here's how these things work. If you don't like what I made for you, use them." I would include pictures but refer to paragraph one.
2. I went to the community pool with a friend and all three kids. I got a little floaty life vest for Tully and one for Felix and a little floating board for Emer and I was a whirling dirvish the whole time trying to keep an eye on them all regardless. The life vest for Tully was the best money I ever spent though as she as no fear and likes to go to the deep water and yells at me when I try to hold her. I think when the lifeguards wear red shorts regular civilian men should be prevented from wearing the same. Otherwise I'm giving the guy with the beer belly and mustache my undivided attention because he raised his voice, and immediately my eyes begin scanning the pool for some disaster only to find his kid splashed someone. Also lifeguard whistles. There ought to be some kind of a code because sometimes they blow it to say get out of the pool and sometimes it means don't run, or hey quit splashing.
Okay, without pictures I just can't go on. I'll try and take some pics of the birds though and save them for a time when the other computer is working. Tweet

Monday, May 28, 2007

What we did with the long weekend

We let the kids sleep out in the tent in the front yard for the first time last night. Boy are they tired now. It was ours, the Moys and the Moores so a full couple of tents with kids all hopped up on smores but I think it was a good experience all around. Especially good was that once they were asleep, we went upstairs to our nice soft bed. Tully also slept inside as she is very practical and too young to stand a chance in an argument. The picture at the top is Emer looking out from the tent.

I hope everyone had a nice Memorial Day weekend. Ours was so good. Eric took Friday off and just recovered from his rough week at work and then we set into some serious relaxing Saturday, Sunday and Monday. So that means lots of grilling for him, and painting for me. He was so great to give me these huge chunks of time painting and I feel like I got a lot done. It seems like the painting of Ribeye is a big hit sales wise and I'm thinking part of it is that not many people get these close up personal views of a cow. So I took advantage of my own cash cow in the back yard and worked up this painting of Lacy. I'm not sure if it is done or if I want to put a wreath of flowers on her head. Might offer a version of it both ways on Etsy. We'll see.

I also reworked this painting I had done for my neighbor Teri. You see originally she had wanted a painting of the tree in her front yard and I had made a trade for some pictures for my portfolio. Well as it turns out all I really need is her light set up in her studio but I've been using it a lot lately and recently I saw this tree painting I had done for her and I just hated it. I'll spare you the before photo but the colors were too simple and the image was just blah. So I took it back and I was just sort of holding on to it until I got an idea of what I could do when the idea for this came to me. You see the thing she liked about the tree in her front yard is that she looks at it everyday as she's doing dishes. So I've made the image of her in the process of viewing the tree. Also she's at a point of transition in her life and that's sort of reflected in the piece as she's standing at the sink about to do the dishes. Also she makes such a fuss about people/clients not coming through her kitchen and seeing her dirty dishes and it's funny to me to have them displayed there for all to see. And capturing that between possibilities sense there is the dead plant to her left (which is not fictional) and the live plant in front of her (also not fictional). I also like how the lighting is coming around so that she is facing the light but she is mostly in shadow. It could be she is taking in the light or it could be she is trapped. So I like the idea. Visually I wanted to leave empty spaces and areas where what was there was vague blocks of color but that's hard for me to do. I do think it's a clear change from the Lacy piece which is techno-color. I don't know if it is done or if I like the unfinished feel to it. The arm closest feels a bit stiff but I'm afraid I might overwork it if I'm not careful. It's a big canvas so I think it will take more to finish then I am used to. Feel free to chime in. Meanwhile have a good week. And don't be afraid to use the comment button right below this post! There's nothing so lonely as a blog with no comments. My blog is beginning to think it has cooties.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Laundry Monster is back!
Now really I'm not airing my dirty laundry on the Internet. That would be incredibly tacky and cliche. This is clean laundry, it just needs to be folded and put away. And besides this serves an educational component too. How much laundry could a family of five possible create? Here's your answer.

Please don't let today be the one day my dear sweet grandmother-in-law visits the site. She is the queen of laundry, even owned a laundromat for a time. She even had three children in diapers back before disposables. So to let things get this out of hand would be unthinkable for her. Her whites are white, her items are washed, folded, and put away, thank you very much. Laundry monster indeed.

So you can't have a monster lurking around the house with out a hero showing up before long. My knight in shining detergent. -I know the metaphor is breaking down here since it's clean laundry but bare with me.

Well that was fun. More fun than folding.
I'll have to include a shot later of it all folded nice and neat to redeem myself for this post.

It's been a good couple of days. Felix had a friend over today. Tully is refusing to nap, Emer is reading a lot and fast. You know, the usual.

Also I put some new pieces up in the shop. My favorite being the wild bunny. I'm going to have to do a whole series of bunny paintings since I like the idea so much. Also I think the composition could use a little tweaking. And I'm trying to sort out ideas for the two portraits I've been commissioned to do, trying to think of some interesting angle or idea to focus the pieces on. Fun fun fun. but for now, folding.

While you're looking around on Etsy here are some artists I found just today that I liked. It's really amazing the quality and variety of work on there.
This guy is amazing.

And this from DKim is one of my favorites from what she has in her shop:

And this from Artsy is just too weird to not be cool:

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Proof positive that I don't get out enough

Octopus hotdogs with macaroni and cheese. When my mom used to make these for me she used mustard to make the eyes and I think they looked better that way. But these kids don't respect my artistic integrity so I sell out and give them the ketchup. What is it about ketchup? I think if there were popsicles made out of it my kids would eat them. And in other news of domestic bliss, I've conquered the laundry monster! Okay, well at least it's all washed and folded and put into laundry baskets waiting to be put away. But I rationalize that the opening and closing of drawers would wake the Tullster so I leave it at this stage for now. I so love watching episodes of the Daily Show and sorting and folding because the funny makes it go so much faster.

I had mentioned before Emer's ready to ride the bike to catch the bus look earlier and here she flaunts her goggle look. And for the Simpson's fans I put in the obligatory quote, "The goggles, they do nothing." Is it just me or does she look a little like an engineer? Speaking of which Eric took her into the clean room early Saturday morning and she really enjoyed.

So this is apparently the picture post where I finally put in all the pictures I've talked about and not done. Felix's haircut and silly face...

And Tully and him together.

I realized again today how happy I am that I quit eating red meat as I looked out the kitchen window to see Lacy scratching her ear with her back hoof just like a dog. About a month ago a baby calf that was born in the back while Eric was grilling and the smoke from his hamburgers was literally blowing over the new baby and I began to think something was horribly wrong with this picture. And then I went and watched Fast Food Nation which was a fictionalized account of the book and it showed views of a killing floor and all I could picture was Lacy and Ribeye. And then I did all these paintings of the cows and from there it seemed inevitable that I would quit the red meat. I'm still on for chicken though. They're dumb and tasty just like I like them.

So I hopped the fence to get some good shots of Lacy for more paintings. Just when I think I can't even think of doing another cow painting I see them in some way I feel I have to capture. It's like chocolate eclairs. I went through a phase with those too, where I would eat some and think I wasn't ever going to have another after that, but then a few weeks would pass and an eclair would cross my path and all of a sudden I'm in the mood again. Cow paintings are like that for me. So I hop, I click, I click, I get into different positions to get some unusual perspectives and foreshortening and then I realize that Lacy and I have a really good relationship and I trust her considerably. As I'm laying on the ground looking up at her realizing she could step on me and do me real harm. So I kept talking as I was shooting to remind her there was a person there and it all worked out fine. This isn't the best shot but the others would require me opening and editing them to make them vertical. So this is what you get.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Speaking of rocking out

I know I've told just about everyone I know about this but if you have any interest at all in music you have to check out Last FM. I just don't have the money to buy cds of all the music I like and the radio around here is really awful. So I found this website and you can type in an artist you like and they will play you similar, or you can find someone with similar taste to you and listen to their radio or their neighborhood and as you do you can tag songs you love and ones you hate and it slowly builds a playlist for you. A lot of times when I see artwork I like I wonder what the artist was listening to when they made it. The majority of time that I'm on Lastfm I'm listening to a user called frankenfish here
You'd think I work for them but really, music just gives me big happy and I think it's such a great program.

Friday, May 18, 2007

It's Friday I've got no job and I've got stuff to do!

Yippee! Friday and Eric took of from work since he'd already put in so much time this week. We had a leisurely morning with coffee and then he took Felix and Tully out to a park for a long stretch. It feels almost like a real weekend. It's been so hard to deal with his volunteer training all day on Sundays because it made the weekend so unbearably short. I've jumped back into two paintings that I want to touch up before posting and I have some new ideas coming together about bunnies. -not as stupid as it sounds. That and I broke the shop up into sections and posted some pieces of the kids. I know these probably won't sell but I feel like they give a good impression of my range in case people want to contact me for commissioned work . . which someone did! So exciting to tackle a new challenge. So I'm off to load a fresh palette and rock out!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

How fast grass grows

I put up a new piece for sale in the shop today. I like seeing my work in that context all together on the screen, but it makes me itchy to make more. I've also got some neat ideas about using new materials. I just need a good stretch of time to get things done.
Tully is still rocking out with the pull ups keeping them dry. I've just been asking her when we get somewhere or when we leave a place if she needs to go and she'll say yes and lo and behold she goes. I'm so boring talking about potty training in a blog. While I'm at it maybe I should describe the grass growing. -Fast. The grass is growing fast.
Felix and I had fun yesterday playing the poem game where he gives me a word, and I make up a poem about it and I give him a word and he makes up a poem about it. He likes to give two versions of all his poems, the short version and the long version. Usually for the long version comes out more like a song.
Emer has done a better job listening this past week so as a reward I gave her a new jump rope. She took it to school today so she could use it at recess. She a little bit better at saying the little rhymes than the actual jumping, but practicing more will help. Also she's doing a really good job getting ready to go to school in the morning and she's riding her bike down to the bus stop. I need to get a picture of her wearing her goggles to protect her eyes from the wind when she leaves in the morning. Too funny.
Eric is working really hard on the satellite lately, putting in a lot of hours. I feel like I don't see him much anymore, or when I do, he's still on the phone keeping track of what's being done.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

So I'm really excited that I finally got everything together to get on Etsy. The main thing that had been a stumbling block for me was getting good pictures of the paintings and Teri was a big help in letting me use her lights. Also I found the chrome setting on the dig camera and the museum setting help a lot for photographing artwork. Etsy is a huge community though and there are so many great things there. . We'll see.

I'm happy anyway that I set a goal for myself and reached it. It feels so good to get something done besides changing diapers. Speaking of which, Tully is potty training herself. She has a strong independent streak and she's taking off diapers to use it and everything. Yesterday I painted over the last painting I had done of her. The last looked too tight, like I was trying too hard and the skin tone had this dead zombie look to it. This painting, I worked from a new picture, one I've been thinking of for a while with her sort of looking up all foreshortened. The fun challenge part though, and the reason I think it was so much more successful, is that I painted the majority of it upside down. It still has flaws, but overall I like it better. In the actual photo she's holding a camera bag, but that didn't read well visually, so with the idea of people reaching into their purses to buy my prints I made it a purse.

We got lots of things done today. Eric took Tully to the plant nursery while I took Felix for a haircut. He looks so much better without such a mop. I almost think it's worth it to let your hair grow out into something huge and monsterous so that when you get it trimmed, the transformation is more amazing. While I was picking up Emer from a friend's house Eric and the kids planted the herb garden. We are arguing about tomatoes again though.

Is this normal? Tomato fights? I think even two plants is a lot to keep up with and if you're not careful you end up -up to your ears in rotten tomatoes. Eric is concerned that some might die and we'll need back up. Also he thinks it will be more manageable if we simply prune better. I'm not asking for a tie breaker vote here but you'll know I lost the battle if I start selling salsa online.