Moments

The awesome thing about being a grown-up, if you didn’t know, is being able to do whatever you want. Some days that means eating half a bag of Oreos for dinner, and some days that means Swiffering your kitchen.  Mostly for me it means working until 5, sitting in traffic for 30 to 60 minutes, going grocery shopping, coming home to feed and corral three cats, making dinner for myself and someone else, trying to clean up aforementioned dinner preparations and any messes that aforementioned cats have made, and then realizing I’ve got about two hours of “free time” before bed.

Could I stay awake until 1AM? Sure. Will that make me a happy camper when my alarm goes off at 630AM? Absolutely not.  I require – yes, REQUIRE – a minimum of seven hours of sleep.  These aren’t the days of tech support, hidden away in a NOC, forwarding calls up from the second tier.  My job is in customer service, running the front office for a rather busy and large marina/conference center.  I need to be functional… and friendly.  You know who cares if my vertigo is acting up?  You know who cares if I’m randomly nauseous because my inner ear hates me?  You know who wants to hear that my cramps are bad, or my bipolar disorder is on the down side, or if there is no creamer for the coffee, or if my throat itches with allergies, or if I couldn’t get parking at that restaurant last night and had to circle for half an hour and was late today because I forgot that my car was low on gas?  NO ONE.  Nobody wants to hear that!  Not one single person.  Not even my friends and family, to tell you the truth, which is why I try to keep that stuff to a minimum online in general.  It’s also why things around here have been quiet: most of what I want to talk about comes out in a rather whinging* fashion, so it doesn’t get said.  Just keeping it clean.

However if someone out there requests me to post – regardless of good content or not – they are more than welcome to hear me venting.

What I’m really trying to say though, is that the truly awesome thing about being a grown-up is being able to do (essentially and within reason) whatever you want.  What *I* want to do is make art, and that means I’m doing it.  It’s happening in very small bites, because (see above) the two-ish free hours between the work-sleep cycle are usually for decompressing with a book or by playing WoW or by crocheting something.  Those things are all enjoyable and relaxing, and then all of a sudden it’s time for sleep.  Which, by the way, I need even more of lately because inner ear issues (and the accompanying medications) tend to really up my fatigue levels.  It’s a glorious cycle.

I’ve got some things in the hopper though.  The one taking the most precedence because of the time limit is a piece for a charity art auction.  There is no theme, there’s total freedom to paint whatever you want, which (as most artists know) means that too many choices results in a stalemate.  They’ve provided me with a 12”x12” canvas, and it took me over a week of solid creative block to think up an idea to paint.  I figured out what I wanted to do this past Thursday, did up a quick computer-generated draft, and hope to knock out the first phase today.  With luck it’ll be completed by tomorrow and then I can get it back to them this upcoming Thursday.  Local peeps can go check it out – for charity!! – on Saturday, April 6, 2013, from 6pm to 11pm.  Bonus round: they can hang out with me. Woot!

So anyway, that’s been fun.  A very short list of the other things going on in my non-office-job hours are:

–          Finally got a proper system setup at home, complete with all the programs I need to get back on the track of digital art that was put on hold waaaay back in 2009ish when a) my computer died and b) we were house-hunting.

–          Crafted up some business cards for drunkbunny
dbbizcards

–          Crafted up some business cards for Say It With Style

–          Got the website up and running for SayItWithStyle.biz but still working on content and social media

–          Crafted up some business cards and promo cards for Praise Pittsburgh

–          Got the website up and running for PraisePittsburgh.com but still working on content and social media. Planning for an end-of-March launch date.

–          Archiving the stuff on my old hosting account and switching to a new hosting company so that I can stop wasting money on an account I don’t use

–          Getting all things drunkbunny ready for prints and web portfolios

–          Getting web portfolios for Young Enterprises (parent company) and Say It With Style (subsidiary) split up appropriately

–          Doing some new sketches for drunkbunny based on the daily emails I receive from Dictionary.com’s “Word of the Day”

Somewhere in there I’m supposed to find time to work out, have a social life, and stand tall when this inimitable blasted depression shows up, but I’m not gonna lie: it is WAY easier to just go to sleep.  Ain’t nobody got time for that indeed.  The problem is I want to curl up in my home library with tea and a good book, but there’s no library without a house, and there’s no house without a foundation.  So that’s what I’m doing now – building the foundation.  This is on top of all the stuff I’ve got going on at work, which usually involves cramming sixty hours of work into forty hours of pay.

You’ll excuse me, then, if I go into hibernation for a couple weeks here and there. This is also why I enjoy going to all J’s hockey games: it gives me an opportunity to go out of the house but with much less social responsibility than if I were to go to a bar or a club or a party.  People call me, text me, email me, hit me up on Facebook, and I see it, but I either forget about it or am too busy to respond, and then just don’t have it in me to respond at all.  But anyway, that’s where I’m at, and you know where to find me.  (If you don’t:  Facebook or email.  That’s the quickest and best way.)

Stay classy; I’m still here.  Just quieter.
*MAN I don’t get to use that word enough. It’s one of my favorites. 🙂

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Just a Little Bit

I’ve been stuck in an art rut lately. This evening I finally finished a painting that I started back in February. Things just weren’t progressing; for those who make things, you know how projects suddenly slam up against a wall and the next step seems not only uncertain but impossible.

The majority of it was done, but the direction on how to finish it just wasn’t there for me. So he sat around for awhile, looking vague and flat.

After the evening’s standard ‘just-home-from-work-chatsplosion’ a few hours ago, I started messing around with a little stippling (Micron) and shading (pencil) out of boredom… and suddenly realized he was done.

It made me feel a little better.

I started recently thinking about getting a daily sketch journal, for those moments when the compulsion to create kicks in but is not accompanied by an actual thought of what (exactly) to create. A few clicks later ran me into this article on 5 tips for staying inspired. Not bad, nice little refresher.

4. Refresh Your Workspace.

Well… I moved my setup from the kitchen table back to my office desk. That seemed to help. Originally it got moved to the kitchen because it seemed like having the windows there would stimulate me to produce more, like …someone could see me sitting in the window, painting, and think “She’s making something! That’s cool!”, maybe in turn inspiring them to do something.

It didn’t work.

Maybe the angle was off? There’s plenty of light, but it seems that space is really only good for sketching, not so much for painting. After moving my crap back to its original space, it seems like that’s where it should be.

3. Develop A Creative Playlist.

Gorillaz (Gorillaz & Demon Days), Soul Coughing (El Oso), Gnarls Barkley (Crazy), and Beats Antique (Collide). Usually in that order.

Anyway, then Reel Big Fish’s cover of Hungry Like A Wolf came on my FAVORITE MUSIC CHOICE STATION (Classic Alternative, omg you guys!!), and everything was just fine. Ska FTW!

Lines, Cheese, and A Little Extra Fabulous

Let’s go over this again.

When you’re in a line, there is what some of us like to call “The Line Rule”. It’s generally called “personal space” or “your bubble”. The ideal line looks like this (but with…you know, more dimension):

Look, A Line

A typical line also looks like this:

Maybe it’s just me, but isn’t there some kind of unspoken rule? A two foot rule? I’m not talking about lines at amusement parks, the anomalies of complacent parents and children whose blood has turned entirely into Kool-Aid. I’m also not talking about The Six Foot Rule (see: San Diego Municipal Code Chapter 3, Article 3, §33.2808, item C), because this isn’t the time to bring up the not-so-seedy underbelly of SD nightlife. That’s a different story altogether. Anyway, remember the next time you’re in a line, leave about two feet of space between you and the person in front of you. Do not:

A) crowd them to ask the cashier a question like “Hey, do you still have any Ultra Super Mega Bold Roast left?”
B) crowd them to ask the cashier if they can get change for a twenty because the drawer is still open – and not apologize for crowding.
C) touch them.
D) touch them without apologizing (yes, we know it’s crowded and you might bump into someone. give a quick ‘sorry’.)
E) take things from them.
F) sniff their hair.

These are just sort of general rules that what we call “A Logical Person” would do. Feel free to write it down and/or pass it on.

That said, things here at the homestead have been interesting. J’s leg is finally showing some bone growth, he’s got ghosting calciumitis or whatever you want to call it when the healing starts.

It's made of calcium!

He’s all excited because this means the brace and wrappings can come off and his leg can finally get washed. After four weeks. Mmm, just imagine the smell. It’s like a horrible ripe cheese of cheesy death. That’s kind of a bummer because cheese is AWESOME.

That reminds me, I was invited to a CheeseAhPohlooza next Sunday. A friend of mine last year decided to throw a cheese party at her new place: “Last year’s party brought in about 87 different types of cheeses and over a hundred people throughout the day. It was glorious. “ In lieu of trying to get back to being more social (vertigo doesn’t care if you have friends or responsibilities), I’m going to try and get over to it.

I’m still struggling with inner ear issues. It’s horrible but getting better, and when it’s too bad I take Valium. The only good thing about Valium is the vivid and insane dreams that ensue, and that reminds me I need to start keeping a dream journal. At the very least I need something next to the bed; scrap paper to reminisce on. This morning’s dream had some dark twists and helped me get the background idea for the next Doktor Von Bunn idea.

This year has some serious social potential, speaking of, and all of it is at least mildly if not overwhelmingly exciting. After the delightfully OCD event that was taking my measurements, (39-36-39), J has ordered up a nice new harness for me, AWWW YEAH.

Clockwork Couture underbust harness

Last week I researched how to make a mini hat, but this one isn’t one that my lax skills are up to quite yet. It may indeed be less expensive (definitely less frustrating) to just buy it. Besides: LOOK AT IT. Uh, amazing.

Fascinat...ing!

In other news I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race and now want to don a wig and fancy makeup just to go to the store. The part where I watched “What Not To Wear” right before that probably didn’t help much, because now I *DEFINITELY* want to don a wig and fancy makeup.

The higher the hair, right? 😉

OH. I just saw that Miss Sharon Needles is a contestant and is from Pittsburgh. She’s right in the age range for some of my crazy-ass friends to know her IRL, so they best speak up. This is some fantastic madness.

Yummy!

How To Draw A Perfect Tree

I’ve been sketching way more often lately, which is proving to be simultaneously exhausting and relaxing. It feels nearly theraputic, especially when things need to be shaded with a mechanical pencil. It’s exhausting when you realize there are more ideas in your head than hours in the day it will require to get them all down. Part of my work lately has been just to practice the technique of getting things on paper as they are in real life.

I'm lucky to have several good areas in the house suitable for artwork.

It’s tough, because normally if I don’t get things down right on the first try, I’ll toss it. But there is plenty to practice with. You don’t have to have a model or anything, really, you just look around.

My west-facing window.


My east-facing window.

I found Urban Sketchers recently and want to improve a bit before submitting anything to them, but it’s my goal to become part of that group. Step 1 is feeling confident enough to submit something, so this means more practice. It was very hard for me to realize at first how much patience is needed. Having always felt like a patient person, it seemed like merely a matter of waiting and suddenly I’d be able to draw just as I planned. The thing is… the pictures in your mind won’t magically appear on paper the way they should without some help.

This is a practice piece that I hope to turn into a mural on the side of a friend's house.

This is a tree I can see from my bedroom window.

“A good traveler has no fixed plan, and is not intent on arriving.”

I’ve known for a long time that my drawing skills, when it comes to photo-realism, need polishing (to say it nicely). The problem is that the following tends to happen just as my sketching is about to start. I’ll sit down, paper and tools all ready, pick up a pencil, draw a line, frantically erase, then realize there is TOO MUCH TO DRAW. Panic sets in. Mentally berating myself, why even bother trying? It’s ridiculous. Look at the complexities of that brick, what are you even thinking trying to make this look like anything? Why are you even pretending you can do something? Your art sucks. You suck. You’re terrible at this. Just pack up your stuff, go home and read a book.

Except the last book I read was called “The Zen of Seeing”, which basically tells you to quietly send your inner FailVoice packing, and pick up your freaking pencil already. If you don’t draw it, you can’t fix it. Who cares if your geranium looks nothing like a geranium? The point is you wouldn’t be doing this if you didn’t have that creative drive in there, and that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. It may sound cheesy but it’s true.

My biggest problem is the fear that I’m essentially making a mockery of everything I attempt to draw, if it’s something from real life. My afternoon today was spent in Balboa Park, one of the most beautiful and inspiring places in this city. There are a few paintings in my mind that will be centered around how certain things look in Balboa Park, so it seemed like a good idea to familiarize myself with the landscape by sketching.

There was a bench that seemed like it would be comfortable, until the sun came out and made things too warm. It was donated by a Miss Daisy Thompkins, which struck me as oddly humorous.

It was just me and Miss Daisy, for a little bit.

Regrouped myself on a bench under the trellis that seemed like the view I needed, finished my tall-iced-skinny-vanilla-latte, prepped everything and took a look around. It was time to start.

Except I didn’t.

I couldn’t.

All the plans and inspiration went out the window and my InnerFailVoice started asking me what I thought I was doing here exactly. Trying to draw? Who cares if there are 500 branches on an evergreen tree – you aren’t about to sketch a single one, so just give it up now. You won’t do it justice. You’ll make it worse, you’ll wreck EVERYTHING. Just go home.

You see, everything around me was awesome… and why did I want to go wrecking that by trying to draw? How can anyone take the beauty of this and explain it, express it just by putting lines on paper?

Look.



There isn’t much to say except that I almost started to cry. It took me a minute or ten, then something from Mr. Franck’s book came back to me: “After my eye calmed down, my hand was able to draw“. The wording may not be exact, but it’s the same feeling. He went on to say that if you’re trying to draw buildings, those same buildings were once drawings themselves. You just take a deep breath, stop looking, and start SEEING.

I took a breath. I thought back to PTI and remembered all the things that Bove taught me. How each line you make compresses the fibers in the paper. How to do contour line drawings, perspective stuff, how to basically give a crap about what you’re putting on paper – a lot of things. Hell, he once made me a ring just because I asked for one, and it was a serious bummer when I lost it… so he made me another one that I’ve been wearing since 2001. I’ll keep wearing it because it reminds me that he was the best art instructor ever, and it looks like he’s still doing well (good for him). 🙂 For any of you in the Western PA area that are into art or jewelery/metalworking, Jim Bove is the man.

I digress; sorry. Was worth it though.

Anyway, sketching happened and took about two hours. The entire time my mental dialogue consisted of convincing myself to look at a line, then draw it – not try to draw the whole trellis at once.

A random person asked me what I was drawing, then as they looked (while I explained my dire need for a straight edge), they said: “Oh! That’s not too bad at all.” It made me realize that you can’t draw one tree before you draw a thousand.

Speaking of trees, a little seedpod fluttered down to join me. It was cute. 🙂

If you’ve gotten this far, you’re wondering about the part where I give a tutorial on how to draw a perfect tree. You may have figured out that’s not going to happen, because there is no such thing as a perfect tree, even in real life. You just look, and then you start seeing.

Don’t forget the most important step though: getting started.

Bucket List Checkbox: Obtained

I’ve been making notes throughout the week when an idea for a post strikes me, and trying hard to not force a post. The plan for the evening was to come over here and talk about debt or exercise or my cat or post a sketch or something. Speaking of debt, remember how my other post was about trying to get out, right? Well, one version of my commute takes me past Spreckels, and I totally almost hit some pedestrians because of the marquee:

Immediately the words came out of my mouth: “Oh HELL yeah!” There wasn’t anyone in the car, but the people I nearly crushed in the crosswalk probably heard me. My one-sided conversation in the car on the way home (a regular occurrence) was trying to figure out how to explain to Jason, in a reasonable decibel, that this was a mandatory event. If he didn’t want to go, then he’d just get to hear about how great it was, because it wasn’t an option for me to not go.

I get home, I research tickets. The first option is “VIP”. For a laugh, my selection was for 2 VIP tickets – just to see the ludicrous cost and what constituted “VIP”, exactly. Here is what that entails:

VIP Packages include : (1) VIP Seating Ticket – Ticket exclusively located within the first 5 rows, Exclusive access to post-show reception meet & greet with Anthony Bourdain. Complimentary hors d’oeuvres at reception. Limited edition Anthony Bourdain poster (numbered exclusive to ticket packages). Limited edition VIP tour meet & greet laminate.

Anyway, when you’re in debt, the reasonable thing to do is to stay far away from researching (let alone purchasing) some $175-each tickets to anything like that, which is exactly why Jason and I both have VIP TICKETS TO IT AND WE’RE SITTING IN ROW D ORCHESTRA PIT AND WE GET TO MEET ANTHONY NO BIG DEAL RIGHT.

I'M DOING THIS RIGHT NOW BUT WITH LOTS OF LOUD SQUEEEEE

It’s very hard for me not to start calling everyone in my phone to shout the news, because none of my friends – except maybe Ivonne – would get as excited as me. Except she’s in Jersey and already met him, so at least she knows. Bucket list indeed!!!

For those of you who don’t understand, this past post of mine kind of sums it up.

Jason will be going with me, because I bought us both tickets. So while it’s super cool that we’ll get to experience that together, this means that any overt fangirlism is going to seriously need to be kept in check. He knows I’m excited, but I don’t think he …understands. Past people that have been on my “Need to Meet” list have included: Art Alexakis, Dave Navarro and Mike Ness.

I met Art. He was kind of an asshole.
I’ve never met Dave in person, but we emailed back and forth a few times in the late 90’s. He was very nice.
I almost met Mike. He seemed nice; waved at me, gave a smile. I’ve heard nothing but good things about him.

I have never had the full experience of meeting someone like this.

Bourdain has basically changed my entire life so there’s that.

After Googling – and talking with – some people who have met him, everyone has great things to say about the guy. This is like … next level excitement. I mean, what am I going to say to him? Please don’t let me stutter. Or faint. Or get sick the day before. :(( Maybe I’ll invite him to the Sod, haha!

Oh lord, what am I going to *wear*?!?!

Okay, I need to go do some deep breathing and think about how much $$ I just put onto my credit card but OMFG WORTH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Post No Bills

A lot of my week has been like this:

It might have started last week. Saturday was ultra busy. Busy enough to keep me at the office from 8:20AM until ten …at night. TEN. 2200! I was so over it that doing the math to get the correct military time was just unfathomable, but anyway, it was late. Got my project done, but at what expense? Not to get reprimanded upon my Tuesday return? There was no “good job”. Just this sense of “why are you trying to change things”, and I ended up getting reprimanded for something else.

Maybe twice in the nearly-five-years at this job has a sincere “good job” come my way. But I’m not getting paid to hear compliments, I’m getting paid to run a front desk, to work on a website, and provide good customer service. In that order, methinks.

Aside from always being asked to make eight different things the first order of business, I do honestly like my job. That’s not just words being typed, it’s true.

It’s also why I’m blogging early today. Unsure where to start my day. There’s a cup of nearly black coffee, just a touch of creamer to take away that Office Coffee taste, but not enough to make it a good cup of coffee. It makes me functional. What doesn’t make me functional is how the dentist’s bill was a good $300 more than I anticipated, and therefore my debit card declined at the grocery store yesterday. If my colleague doesn’t cash the check I gave him and pay me the money he owes me, I will have no money until Friday, and enough gas only to get home today. I don’t want to think about how Verizon won’t stop calling me (and my bill is only ten days past due, YES I KNOW I OWE YOU GUYS), how my car payment might not have gone through, how a big chunk of the cash he gives me will only be used to pay overdraft fees.

ARGH.

Let’s discuss something better. Like art.

Fact: This man is AMAZING. Every time I pick up a pen or pencil to do even the smallest thing, I do it with the thought of hoping he’ll someday see and be all “GIRL Y U SO AMAZIN”.

So go watch that video, and appreciate the hours and hours and hours of work just put into this one piece of work. The canvas is LARGE. Maybe 6′ x 5′? Apologies for not looking up the specs, but the details have floored me. The highlights, the washes for shadow and texture. Just ……….. wow.

Nature vs Nurture - by Greg Craola Simkins

In other news, my coworker gave me some shoes today that she bought and didn’t really like or want to wear. They’re a little big but fine just to wear around the office, and now the only brown pair of shoes I own. My toenail polish is ALL jacked up, but hey – I’m more than just a bad pedicure. Or something. Anyway, they make me taller.

Time for more coffee. Have a good morning.

Adulthood, and Things That Make Me Seem Old

Me: Female. Mid-twenties (okay, late twenties). Short. Curvy.

You know what that means, right?

It means that everywhere I go, I have this intense urge to scream things like “Cut your hair!” and “Pull up your pants!” and “You’re a boy, why are you wearing skintight girls’ jeans?”

It also means that my body is no longer the body of a teenager. This is something that my brain is very slowly coming to terms with. I eat a pretty healthy selection of stuff (usually), my life isn’t totally sedentary, and my job affords me the freedom of not being chained to my desk. In any case, the point of all this is that the phrase “Muffin Top” is one that strikes fear into my heart while my gut sits there silently, reminiscing about that tasty half a cake it forced me to devour.

CupCate is a new-to-me blogger and her stuff is funny and well written. She’s witty and girlish and lives in freaking LONDON (transplanted from NorCal). This means she is going on my bookmarks, and hopefully you’ll all do the same.

Anyway, her article is what sparked my thoughts:

http://cupcate.vox.com/library/post/highly-proficient-in-camel-toe-excels-at-muffin-top.html

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