Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 157. "Shut Your Eyes to the Outside World." (SOLD)

I love the movie and book, "The Secret."  You can get an email subscription to "The Secret Daily Teachings" through their website.  One I particularly liked, printed, and saved was from 10/3/11.  I don't want to violate any copyright laws by printing the entire thing here, but there was one line in it that said, "Shut your eyes to the outside world."    There are a couple of different contexts in which you can take this...Rhonda Byrne wrote about shutting your mind to the material world and (basically saying) finding the answer within.

I also think of it as shutting your eyes--and ears--to people telling you how to live; what you're supposed to be doing or not doing;disapproving looks and responses.  Shut your eyes to the outside world--the answer is still within.

(Acrylic, India ink, liquid acrylic, glitter)

Quote all around

How it started--fast sketch

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 156. Chris Robinson - When Your Soul Is In It

 I went to see the Black Crowes on Tuesday night (today's Thursday) with three other good friends.   I've seen the BC's three times, and they never disappoint.  Chris wore a plain "RC Cola blue" colored t-shirt, raggedy jeans, grungy beard, and sweat.  Perfect attire for Georgia rockers who do just that--rock out.  I like REAL music.  Rock music with a blues base.  I guess that's why the Rolling Stones are my favorite of all time, and why these true, get-down and dirty dudes are right up there at the top of my list.

Here's my take of Chris in "She Talks to Angels." (I think if you could see the hair on the sides of the canvas he would look less Jesus-like.)  Following that is a shot of my desk after making the pic; the set list we heard; a GREAT version of that song from Youtube performed at the Artist's Den; and finally a couple of videos I shot at our concert.  Also, I was using my Canon camera to record, and because I can't stand looking through a viewfinder instead of looking at the experience happening right before my eyes, most of the time I'm just shooting my camera DOWN into the dark abyss of a seat.  It's doesn't matter. Just hit play, and rock out.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 155. SmartPhone Saga Continuation - a.k.a Electronic Phone Hell

Well, this is not the drawing I thought I would be posting tonight--I've still got loads to post of Summer Camp and at least one painting from the Black Crowes concert I went to last night (thought that was the one I would be posting), but after spending more quality time at Target than I ever thought possible, still trying to get a working phone, here's what I've got:

As you can see, I was there a loooooooooooooooooong time.  Thank goodness I have my Strathmore Watercolor Visual Journal with me at all times.

If you remember my mournful loss of my flip phone (May 12th, Day 138. "Goodbye My Dearest Flip Phone"), I got a smartphone, which stopped functioning after 2 weeks.  Back we went to "Tar-jay."  We had our 7-page printout of a receipt, but not the receipt that said we had paid $.02 for them.  So we bought a track phone, since I was off to "Summer Camp" and who knows what was going to happen there!   Later, we found the $.02 receipt, which I returned with tonight.  They didn't have the phone I wanted, then...they did.  They couldn't find my account in the computer, then...they could. (I'm shortening this, mightily!)

Finally, they sold me the phone, but they had run out of ink in their printer and couldn't print me out the confirmation receipt, "but I didn't really need it anyway." Ho! Ho! Ho!  Then, while the clerk was trying to make the phone work, it kept giving a message that there was no SIM card in the phone, even though there was.  Did I mention that this was the "new" phone?  Sooooooooooooooooo, could I just return tomorrow when the manager was in?  She'll know what's wrong.

OMG, I always thought the "third times a charm" but perhaps it's the 4th...or the 5th?  I can't make this stuff up, people!  Am I demagnetizing these phones with my magnetic personality?  Yes, that MUST be it! (-;  Ha!  Oh, boy. 

I must say, all the clerks have been helpful, and I just zoomed off into Zen drawing land while this last episode was going on.  I just think, how much frustration have those stuffed little android creatures seen for every phone sold?  I hope they're in La-La land.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 153. This Is One Crazy Party (SOLD)

I'm thinking I may be getting too old for certain things.  Outdoor concerts in 6 inches deep of mud is probably one of them.  Mind you, outdoor concerts still qualify--just not with mud!

My friends, Misty and Ashley, and I went to "Summer Camp" yesterday.  My main goal was to see the Avett Brothers, but with multiple stages and over 100 bands, you've got a lot of music to soak up.  Um, soak-ED being the operative word!  Unfortunately, this year's fest was dumped on with rain and mud or as one kid said to us, "100% chance of mud."

Other random quotes:

Overheard from inside a tent: "I've puked so much, I have nothing left to puke."
Kid walking by:  "I only have one pair of dry pants left."
Tow truck driver:  "I'm really worried--there's no way those cars are going to be able to get out of there."

Ah, memories.  I remember living through times like these in my 20's.  Alpine Valley (outdoor concert venue in Elkhorn, WI--about 1 1/2 hr. from O'Hare) always seemed to be a spot for rain.  My friend Shelley and I were soaked when we went to see Guns 'n' Roses as were an old roommate and I when we went to see Living Colour and The Rolling Stones.  Two hours minimum to get out of the parking lot and spinning tires in mud were just met with a shrug of our young shoulders back then.  C'est la vie.

Now, however, I've paid my muddy dues.  I think of Anthony Bourdain, always wearing cowboy boots and a leather coat (I'll never give up my cowboy boots), but suddenly with maturing age, understanding the joy and elegance of having a pair of bespoke Italian loafers made for his feet only.

Life is all about living and having experiences, I believe that.  But in regards to musical locales in my advancing age, I think I'll take either sunny skies or floors coated with sticky beer underneath my feet over thick, cement-like soil. (-;

"This in one crazy party."  
"Tell me about it!"

 The Avett Brothers at the Sunshine Stage:

Blast from the past:  Living Colour - "Cult of Personality"  I loved this album - great cover art, too.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Day 152. Too Many PaintBalls in the Air

Nothing good can come from too many paintballs in the air.

Day 151. A Twin Mystery

Spotted in the Hobby Lobby parking lot:  two women, had to be sisters, walking with a determined gait to their car.

They both had red hats on, brown shoes, and camel trench coats.  However, they expressed their individuality even within the framework of their uniform.  One of them had an attached scarf to her hat that tied under her chin, as well as a belt that cinched in her waist.  Was she the more fastidious of the two or did she simply love accessorizing?

The other had an swing coat on and just the hat, no scarf.  Was she the more free of the sisters or was she simply always running late with no time for details?

Ah, people and their stories--so endlessly fascinating.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 150. French Picnic Love Inspired by "An Education" (SOLD)

I got the idea for this one after staying up too late and watching Carey Mulligan in the film, "An Education."

Oh, she was good in it!  No wonder she was nominated for an Oscar.  Remember me talking about Michael Fassbender in "Shame" way back on Day 40 ("You Transfix Me, Quite")?  Well, Carey Mulligan starred in that one, too, and matched his searing performance.

Anyway, please try to see this wonderful, coming-of-age British film set in the 1960's with a few enchanting Parisian scenes.

Official Trailer for "An Education"

Day 149. Deadly Curb Pothole Straight Ahead (SOLD)

Here's me, innocently walking into work, adroitly dodging all the potholes in our parking lot, but then slipping/tripping into a pothole in the curb as I stepped up onto the sidewalk.

Ankle, knee, wrists, fingers twisted and cheeks smooched into the pavement.  My keys, purse, coffee cup, and all the walnut halves I was munching on for breakfast as I walked in went flying.  I think there was a little squirrel that was waaaaaay too happy to see me go down.  He seemed to be sick of under-ripe acorns.

I was closer to my car than the building so I limped back to my car to go home and change my torn pants.  It certainly wasn't a fun way to start the day!

Day 148. Thanks Ray Manzarek for the Doors and for Patti Smith

Ray Manzarek (2/12/39-5/20/13) died this week.  He hooked up with Jim Morrison after college on Venice Beach and they created one of the most recognizable sounds of the '60's.  I really don't need to write here about Ray's life, you'll find it all over the internet.  I'll talk about how Jim Morrison and reading "No One Here Gets Out Alive" caused me to take off to San Francisco when I was 19...another time, too.

(Here's an older Ray--a more interesting face with 
greater expression because of a lifetime earning lines.)

What I will write here, though, is about Patti Smith.  Because without the Doors, there might not be a Patti or maybe not the "same" Patti.  I guess in my rush to get this post out there, I can feel I'm not fully expressing what I'm trying to say, which is speaking of Patti Smith, I'm just showing one of the 1,000's of examples of the influence of the Doors.  Yes, I guess that's it.  So Ray Manzarek, you can't ever know how that kizmet run-in on a beach kept repeatedly changing lives and music and will continue to do so forever.  Rest in peace, Ray.

From Patti Smith's PHENOMENAL book, "Just Kids."

Below are Patti's remembrances of seeing The Doors:

I had a strange reaction watching Jim Morrison. Everyone around me seemed transfixed, but I observed his every move in a state of cold hyperawareness. I remember this feeling much more clearly than the concert. I felt, watching Jim Morrison, that I could do that. I can’t say why I thought this. I had nothing in my experience to make me think that would ever be possible, yet I harbored that conceit. I felt both kinship and contempt for him. I could feel his self-consciousness as well as his supreme confidence. He exuded a mixture of beauty and self-loathing, and mystic pain, like a West Coast Saint Sebastian. When anyone asked how the Doors were, I just said they were great. I was somewhat ashamed of how I had responded to their concert.

And here I am listening to Patti while I draw Ray Manzarek.  The Doors sang "People Are Strange," Patti sings "Ain't It Strange" live (here) in Amsterdam.  One of my favorite songs of hers.

Here's a young Patti Smith from my 2012 Limited Edition Sketchbook--"The Last Word Spoken"--for The Brooklyn Art Library.

(I just can't get this to load portrait-style.  I've flipped it around a million times, it just won't load correctly.)

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Day 147. A Happy Bucket for a Backhoe

We have a new building being constructed outside of our place of work which we'll all migrate into in the late fall.  For days, there has been this steel bucket for a backhoe just sitting by itself in the mud, waiting to be attached to its big brother and be put to work.

Because I love quirky faces and happen to see them in everything, I took a picture of this sweet boy, hanging in the muck, and drew him up.  If I knew how to get the picture off my smartphone and onto this blog, I'd do so!  Instead, I'll wait until tomorrow and take another snap off it with my handy dandy Canon.  Baby steps with this technology...ha!

Well, here's the update with some fuzzy pics of the real life bucket.

Day 145. Robert Turned His Nose Up At The Day

Unbelievable!  First he couldn't find the belt to his smoking jacket and now his espresso machine wouldn't work?

Robert turned his nose up at the day and went back to bed.

When I first started this painting, I had the canvas upside side.  Once I had rubbed some Winsor & Newton drawing ink into the canvas, I thought I could see a penguin yelling at its offspring.  I flipped it around and saw "Robert" instead and so went that way.  Now when I turn the finished product upside down, I get this below.  It looks like a monster having a good time in a go cart* with headlights. Ha!  I think you could spin this one according to your mood. (-:

*Just an aside, I see spellings for this word as go cart, go-cart, go kart, gokart, go-kart.  Wild.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 144. Jill Gets A New Pair of Glasses, Part II

Continued from Day 143, "Jill Gets A New Pair of Glasses, Part I"

Once my poor eyes are dilated and my eye exam is over, I just flat out ask the doctor for the truth.

"Look," I say, "all I do is read and paint, if I don't have my eyesight, then I might as well just forget it."

And then I ask aloud, the thoughts that have been swirling fearfully in my mind for 2 years after my last appointment and cruel assignment of bifocals, "Am I going blind?"

He assures me that no, I'm not at all.  "You're extremely nearsighted, but we already knew that."

"Oh, I cry with yellow-mustard tears streaming down my face, "You had written so much on my chart the last time I was here, I was sure it was macular degeneration!  I am now officially in love with you!"  Um, was that inappropriate?

Maybe so, because he quickly tells me I can go to the other room and pick out glasses.

"The girls will help you," he says.

Well, I guess that's good considering without my glasses, I can only see clearly 1 inch in front of my face--no exaggeration!  Now, I have dialated pupils to boot!

So, two "assistants" help me.  The eyedrop lady and a helper.  I am determined to stay strong.

I tell them loudly and clearly, "I want funky, nerdy glasses."  I pause for effect.  "The last time I was here," I say, "I got these boring practical glasses and I have never liked (I may have used the word 'hated') them."  I can feel "Ms. Yellow Drop's" back stiffen.  Oh no!  Can it be that she remembers that she helped me pick out this last awful pair?  I had wanted some heavy, dark Buddy Holly-type glasses, but she thought they looked too harsh against my pale skin--exactly the look I had wanted!

I stick to my resolve.  I want cat-eye glasses in a crazy color.  What I really want are the Lisa Loeb glasses, red and cream with crystals on the edges.  Unfortunately, my face is too plump to make them work.  Ugh!  I LOVE Lisa Loeb.  Does anyone remember that one season reality show she did when she moved to NYC from SoCal and she dated around?  She ended up at some couples' counselor place, and when she told the psychiatrist/guru that she had always visualized herself walking down the aisle pregnant with cute pigtails and a cute little dress, the counselor said she would never get married, because she wasn't taking the marital institution seriously enough!  Oh, brother!  P.S. Lisa later ended up marrying a dude 10 years younger than herself AND had 2 kids.  P.S.S.--Lisa sang, "Stay" (I Missed You) featured in the 1994 movie "Reality Bites."  Surely EVERYONE knows that Ben Stiller cult classic (Winona Ryder, Ethan Hawke, Janeane Garofalo)!  If not, get going peeps!  One of the best movies ever!

O.K., so I'm going to end this long saga.  Who knew an eye exam could be so eventful?!  I end up with PURPLE cat-eye glasses.  Remember, I can't quite see them--hardly at all, actually--but I'm sure I'm going to look smokin' hot.  In fact, I visualize the geek rocker chick that I will be in them.  Yes, indeedy.  I also have a small vision of another potential outcome with those glasses, but I'm trying to blot it from my mind. (-;

 Ah, the fantabulous, "Reality Bites."

AND Ethan Hawke looking hot, and singing the Violent Femmes' "Add It Up" ( (rarely taken off our turntable in college),

Lisa Loeb's "Stay"

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 143. Jill Gets a New Pair of Glasses, Part I

Ask anyone who knows me, and they'll tell you, I am a medical wimp.  If I have to drive past a hospital, my hands start sweating.  I just have a low tolerance for pain and spin into a panic attack at the thought of a medical procedure. )-:

Usually I can tolerate the eye doctor, though.  I always think, here's a doctor's office I can handle--no pain involved.  The only slight discomfort are those dilating drops (mydriatic medications) they put into your eyes to check for glaucoma.  First the nurse puts some in and then the doctor.

Well this past week, I only got 4 hours of sleep the day of my appointment.  Perhaps my poor tired eyes are the reason that when those drops hit my eyeballs, my body about hit the roof!  Ouch!!!

The nurse put drops in my left eye that caused me to shut both eyes so tightly, nary a crowbar could open them!  However, this chiquita in a split-second went in for the right eye and had it pried open so fast and so wide, I marveled at the feat even in my pain.

"Wow," I explained.  "I can't believe you were able to get my other eye open."

"I'm a mother of two boys,"  she smugly tells me.

That explains it.

 Me:  "Why are these walls the same color as those drops you're putting in my eyes?"

Nurse:  "Oh, another patient's eye exploded, but that won't happen to you."

Me:  "Aaargh!  The pain!  Ouch!"

Nurse:  "It doesn't hurt.  Just use your kleenex."

Day 142. Anastasia Donned A Cossack Hat

Anastasia was so in love with her photographer boyfriend, she agreed to wear a fur (faux, of course!) Cossack hat in the middle of spring so he could get his shot for Vogue's winter issue.

She sighed as she felt sweat trickle down her neck.  She would do anything to secure his love so she imagined herself as Julie Christie in "Dr. Zhivago," put on her white-pink lipstick, and smiled broadly.

She wore her heart not only on her sleeve, but completely outside of herself, leading her actions like a brilliant lightbulb of an idea.  If I do this for him, he'll fall for me in turn.  Would her plan work?  She'd like to think so.  But under the sun's rays, she began to wonder, was her heart still melting for him or was it just perspiration running underneath her ridiculous purple jumpsuit?

I loved how this one turned out.  I had too much paint on another canvas, and I used this canvas to wipe the extra paint off the other.  When I pulled it away, I was left with something that resembled a silhouette.  I positioned the canvas so the paint continued to run down the bottom edge of it.  I also took Liquitex ink! in yellow oxide and let it run down all the sides in whatever way it wanted.  From the top, the jumper looks like I missed painting it purple in spots, but I didn't want to mess with it.  I loved the effect it left as it continued onto the bottom edge.  There you have it!  How Anastasia came to be!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Day 146. How Do You Make Art in the Face of Tragedy? (No Longer Available)

If part of making art is your reaction or interpretation of everyday events, how do you make art in the face of tragedy? I have been watching the videos of the destruction in Oklahoma and Missouri today, and I'm not sure how I transfer the dreadful images shown onto a canvas.

Why always a loss of children or anyone or why 80 horses on one farm, horrific destruction, unfathomable loss, recognizable life gone, unrecognizable surroundings now the norm?

The depth and the breadth of this storm..I can't imagine the terror felt.  Back in 2004, 3 miles from our home, a tornado went through a town, taking half of the downtown with it, killing 8 people instantly, and causing the loss of 100 homes.  We had our roof replaced as did many people around us.  We thought that was horrible...and it was; but, I can't even begin to comprehend this monster twister and its aftermath.  I'm so sorry, Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 141. Lilies of the Valley, Life, and Brevity - (No Longer Available)

There is a stretch of lilies of the valley on either side of one of my neighbors' bushes.  They burst forth last week and each day became whiter and plumper.  All my life, they have been one of my favorite little flowers.  In fact, I love all spring flowers--tulips, lilacs, lilies of the valley.  Maybe it's because I'm a spring baby, and I have an affinity towards them.  Maybe it's because when I used to walk back and forth to nursery school, I would walk along, balancing my 4-year-old self on top of a rounded cement ledge.  It stood about 6-inches above the sidewalk, and I would grasp my Grandma Peacock's hand on one side of me, and stick my other little arm out the other side, balancing it in the air.  All along my carefully placed steps--heel-to-toe, heel-to-toe--a line of lilies of the valley would accompany me.  And as all children like small things, because they are small like themselves, I was in love with their tiny bells, so fragrant, delicate, and creamy white.

Years later when I was in college, I used to go to a funky little store called, "Art Mart," and as an occasional reward, I would buy Crabtree & Evelyn's intensely fragrant lily-of-the-valley soap. Mmm.  I would just open up the box and inhale deeply.  Isn't it amazing the way scent and music can trigger memories and take you back to any point in your life?  (Oh, mighty amygdala!)

Back to present day, I didn't take a picture of those sweet little bells, always thinking that there would be more time.  Yesterday I noticed that they looked like they had went on a diet, like someone who begins eating low-carb and initially loses all that water out of their face.  Indeed, today they appeared further shriveled.  I had missed the healthiest, plumpest stage. )-:  I still went out and took a picture of them, and then I began to think.

We always do imagine we have plenty of time, don't we?  We think, next year I'll do this, another time I'll do that...but then, time runs out, just like it did for these ephemeral flowers.  They'll be back next spring, but it's a long time to wait, n'est-ce pas?

A few days ago, I ran across this saying on Pinterest:

Shut up and just start living your dreams.

Snap the picture, take the trip, go to the concert, eat the dessert.  Now.

One side and top:

 The palette:

Day 140. More Peas, Please.(SOLD)

More peas, please.

Day 139. White Pants Know No Rules. (SOLD)

White pants know no rules.

Stick-in-the-mud:  "You're wearing white pants?  You can't wear those until after Memorial Day."

Free spirit:  Please give me another rule so I can break it, too."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Day 138. Goodbye, My Dearest Flip Phone

About a month ago, I was making pasta for the man.  My pots were in the dishwasher so instead I used a deep Calphalon braising pan to boil the water.  As I was carrying the water-filled pan from the sink to the stove, I was simultaneously talking to my mom on my cell phone.  And just as you see a glass falling or yourself tripping in slow motion, my cell phone slipped from where it was perched underneath my chin pressed to my shoulder.  You see, I was using both my hands to carry that heavy pan!  I watched as it slid, slid, slid slowly down my arm into its watery death.  I could still feel the ghost of it's weight under my chin, yet my eyes saw--there it was, looking like an underwater turtle with a snorkeling tube of an antenna.

I did manage to shake myself out of disbelief, grab it, and resuscitate it.  However, it was never the same.  It had already been moving into the land of feebleness.  I knew I had to make the switch to a smartphone.  I had even recently been at an art show in February and another artist said to me aghast, "Are you still using a FLIP phone?  I saw you pull out an ANTENNA.  I can't believe it!"  I mean, I felt like I was holding a Thomas Edison relic in my paws.

Listen, I was the same way with my bag phone.  I know about 2% of the population remember those, but until it was stolen out of my car, it was suiting me just fine.

O.K., so after a month of my phone flashing "car kit connected, car kit disconnected" and constantly dying on me, my husband and I FINALLY made the leap to the 21st century.  It seems there are quite a few dazzling things I can do with this new phone...if only I knew how to do them.  Oh little flip phone, how I miss your ease, your simplicity, your inability to make me frustrated when I just want to dial a stored phone number!

Here's a re-enactment of the ultimately deadly event, followed by an appearance by Mr. Flip on my counter as I was finishing up work on my 2011 Brooklyn Sketchbook Project, "Coffee and Cigarettes."  (P.S. Cigs are props only--you'll find me puffing on an inhaler!)