Ain’t Nobody Got Time For Titles

Every time I clean the house, I want to tell the internet.  HEY!  Hey, my house is clean! Okay, it’s not pristine but… but I’ve done things.  Adult things.  It’s cool.

Last night I reactivated my Pinterest account, and that was kind of fun.  Everybody likes bookmarking, right?  This gives you pictures as well.  That’s nice.  Browsing boards and updating my own stuff got me remembering how much I enjoy healthy eating (veggies om nom nom), so looking through the pictures inspired me to make a big list of groceries to buy.

Today I went and bought the groceries, am working on meal plans for the week (because you can’t eat good food if you don’t buy it first), cleaned the kitchen (!!!), reorganized the utility area by the washer-dryer (!!!!!!!!!!), updated the cats’ litter area (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), and put things in the shed (NO PUNCTUATION AVAILABLE).  [FYI, I am terrified of our shed.]

Uh, then I actually put all my groceries away, threw out the old crap in the fridge, cleaned off my desk, and am now getting ready to crochet another cup cozy for J’s coworker.

Woot, I crocheted it! Crotch-et-ed. That’s how we pronounce it because we’re classy. Heyyy it’s a thing I made and it’s functional. Aw yeah.

We don’t have a pantry but I’m planning on reorganizing our storage areas (which are um, not really much of any storage areas).  On top of the fridge, in the hutch, one big drawer, and the shelves on the microwave stand.  I guess that will help me keep on top of what’s available to make and also make it easier to make.

That might not have made sense, but whatever.

In other news, I’m trying to cope with the mental madhouse my brain has become. It feels like lots of little birds are trying to build nests, take flight, and kill each other. And they’re all telling me how awful I am.  I’m not coping really well with all the stress lately.

Anyway, at least my kitchen is clean.

NO SERIOUSLY CATS WHY ARE YOU PLAYING IN THE LITTER KNOCK IT OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Have a great night.

Adventures in Domesticity

Hello!  It’s been a minute.  I’ve been busy in that way that completes the things you need to get done, but not the things you want to get done.  It’s all for the greater good, apparently.

Essentially time after work is spent corralling, feeding, herding, and cleaning up after the cats.  We’re all on a pretty good schedule and things are finally settling down.

Last weekend I was rather domestic and built a succulent garden (and cleaned, and .  I finally got everything properly potted, but here’s what I’ve got so far.

before1

Before

I had to dig out a bunch of that dirt that neighborhood strays had crapped in, scour the bricks of the porch (causing hordes of ants to climb everywhere), and paint the bricks.  Whomever ‘built’ the weird little planter area  decided the best way to do it would be set concrete blocks in cement.  I doubt there was any measuring or leveling.  In theory it’s a nice idea, it reality it made things a hassle.

The next step was to measure the area, head to Home Depot, buy the wood, stain and paint it, then put it together to cover up everything while being strong enough to hold the brilliant plant idea I came up with.  (“Brilliant” typically means “In Over Your Head” with my projects.)  After we got everything situated, the only thing left to do was add plants.

garden1

After

This makes me much happier. It also rained all week, and two days ago one of the strays knocked over a rectangular planter, but it seems to be mostly okay.  Jason straightened it up and I’ll deal with making sure all the plants are snug in their homes (they don’t look too bad).

Oh, I also re-did the container gardens on the porch.  There are two small succulents at about 1100 and 1200 in the left arrangement, and those are from the wedding.  THAT makes me happy.  Now that they’ve been replanted in good soil and watered, they’ve come back from being dormant, and are blending right in with the rest of the crew.

arrangements1

Container gardens

Did you guys know that I have another blog?  Yes.  Domesticity (http://dmestic.wordpress.com/) except I haven’t updated since 2010. Everything seems to just fall into place in this blog, so this is where most of the updates happen.  Also, as the kittens slowly settle down and stop requiring me to pay attention to them every single nanosecond (else they’ll destroy everything), I have a smidgen more time to do things not involving them.  Things that are a touch more relaxing, like drinking tea, or writing an email, or looking at the internet.  That latter part is tough because they tend to want to jump up and down on the laptop specifically when I’m using it, making updates rather difficult.

Bonus round: my home office finally has a desktop system, which is loaded up with Adobe’s CS6 Suite.  It only took me five years to get back on track, but there was that whole search-and-buy a house thing, and that wedding thing, so life was a bit hectic.

See, there’s this thing floating around the Interwebs, one of those memes, and it says (essentially) that “When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to grow up. Uh, this sh/t is NOT what I expected.”
Here’s the part where (if I was a kid), I’d brag all about how I cleaned my room AND put away the laundry AND made my bed.  Then I did the dishes! They’re put away!!

Anyway, since I’m an adult, you get to hear me being excited over my accomplishments of that single day last weekend, which include:
-going to the doctor
-going to Home Depot
-bought a ton of plants and supplies for the succulent gardens
-brought the plants and supplies home AND set them up (the painting/potting adventure (during which I spilled white latex paint all over the driveway had to wait until there was more daylight)
-made yet another homemade smoothie and dinner in efforts to get myself healthy and back in shape (now I’m drinking juice concoctions on a regular basis, mostly thanks to Casa De Juice)
-washed and put away the majority of the dishes (which is impressive because the majority of all dishes we owned were everywhere but in their proper place)
-cleaned out the spice drawer and made a spice area elsewhere (!!! there was stuff from 2004, you guys! it’s cleaned out! we now have a cat food drawer, oh man. OH MAN.)
-reorganized the kitchen and cleaned it
-SWIFFERED
-cleaned out the utility area and made room for the kittens’ litter to be moved over
-actually cleaned the litter (argh)

I know there was more, but that’s a metric ton of stuff for me to do on my day off, which is typically reserved for sitting on the couch With Snacks, reading and passing out when whatever’s on TV bores me to unconsciousness.  I even broke a sweat.

That was two weekends ago (oh, I had a birthday on Jan 10th, so last weekend was all about partying it up). This weekend was reserved for more standard cleaning involving laundry and vacuuming; psuedo-spring cleaning.  My next domestic project for today/tomorrow is to reorganize my linen storage area and office, then tackle the huge pile of freshly cleaned laundry.  I need to reorganize the office to make it more conducive to art stuff and also kitty-proof it.  The sun is out but not strong and there’s a nice breeze, so I’ve got the house brightened up and am hoping my allergies stop sucking my life away. I’ve sneezed more in the past two months than I have in my life; seriously.  Sneezing fits are not something that happen to me, nor are constantly itchy eyes and throat.  People that suffer from this constantly have my sympathies.

The juicing thing has been good. I’ve been making daquiri-looking concoctions at home, and drinking juice blends as meal replacement every couple days.  It’s helping a lot, because my weight and skin were making me very unhappy.  Now that the house is much more organized, the space is here to do that stuff at home.

Anyway, it’s been a long strange trip, but for the most part, 2013 is off to a great start.  I’m even doing yoga a bit more frequently.  Now to remember this feeling when it gets crazy…

Today is Sunday

…and I just had my first solo art exhibition.

I think saying anything further might wreck the afterglow, so I’ll just keep focusing on that sentence.

There were about 30 people, and everything was well received, and people actually…. liked my stuff.  They want prints, t-shirts, posters, the whole deal.  Um.

I …. I feel pretty awesome.

Next goals:

– talk to my local printery [who did my wedding invites, and who does all the work for my Main Job], and find out how much it costs for them to be done on various paper versus canvas.

– review sites like etsy, society6, deviantArt, etc on how to get my work to an online site/gallery/selling area.

– spend my next two weeks on a mental hiatus, working on loose sketching and writing down ideas for upcoming paintings.

– know that my sketching is a conscious act of practicing certain techniques (for example, perspective. or profiles.), and not feel stressed about trying to create anything specific.

– research Juxtapoz‘s requirements for submission.  [Goal: to be interviewed/featured.]  know that I am not yet ready to submit work, but having the submission info and understanding of what they look for will make that goal much more tangible.

– research upcoming local art events.

– research other local venues/events to display art at.

Anyway, today was…. quite nice.  It felt very surreal.

I made stuff.  Sorry my camera was on the wrong setting. This is after 6.5 hours of being there.

Artist Statement

This weekend has been BUSY.  Sunday I completed “Adventures in Bunderland”, and Monday I dropped my stuff off at Alchemy where it’s now Actually Really On Display For Reals.

Adventures in Bunderland – acrylic, 14″x18″

I’m excited about that one.  It came out much cleaner than I anticipated.  Note to self: using 7428948932 washes and layers really DOES make a difference.

Ended up with 14 paintings to display.  The scariest feeling ever was when the staff there was helping me organize/hang everything, and at one point they were all just standing there, looking.

Looking at my stuff.  That I made.

I suddenly felt this overwhelming need to apologize and simultaneously burst into tears.  I was scared, which might sound silly, but it was just so … so much.  The other day, my husband was talking about how his niece (who’s 9ish) pointed out the psoriasis on his elbow.  She asked – as only little kids can – “What happened to your arm?”  He gave her a dismissive answer and tried to change the subject, but was still in that mental state where you kind of just want to pull the covers over your head until it all goes away.

That feeling of overwhelming self consciousness, that’s what it felt like.  Scary.  The display area was larger than I anticipated so my stuff looked very small, but we used binder clips and twine to hang the work (all on canvas panel board), and it turned out alright.

I think they liked it.  I hope they liked it.  Hell, I hope EVERYONE likes it and I hope they buy something.  I’ve got to research making prints as well, in case more than one person wants the same painting.  The owner was saying that if I am able to (or want to), if something gets purchased I can bring in a new piece to replace it.  That might be doable.

Anyway, last night I had another crappy episode of nausea, which actually might have been from dinner but whatever.  It resulted in very little sleep which didn’t even start until 5AM (when the meds kicked in), so I called off work.  Slept until around noon, then just spent some time finishing up the “Artist’s Statement” that they wanted from me. Thinking it might be time to go back to sleep; still feeling crummy.

Here it is.

——

DRUNKBUNNY: the art of larissa horvath
A lifetime ago, in a time zone far, far away, a little girl was drawing a helicopter scene on the side of a paper bag. Later that year, she was asked what she wanted to be when she grew up. Her answer was “An artist, a teacher, a dentist, or a garbage truck driver.”
I’ve always liked multiple choice answers.
—————————————————————————————————————————————————————
I started getting excited about art somewhere around the pre-internet heyday of Glo Worms, Fluppy Dogs, and Teddy Ruxpin, and painted along with Bob Ross in the afternoons (right after Fantasy Island).  I had a lot of imaginary friends, talked to myself often, and made elaborate stories for my Barbies to act out.

I moved out of Pittsburgh & into San Diego in 2001, where I spent my days at coffee houses, hockey games, dance classes and yoga classes.  There was also a lot of World of Warcraft.  Bought a house in 2009, got married in 2011, & promptly was diagnosed with labyrinthitis (an inner-ear problem that causes a balance disorder & makes you feel carsick all the time).  I’m recovering, but things are better.  I appreciate the constant patience (& entertainment) of my husband and our cat.

This is probably the part where people would talk about how they had formal training from age five, or classes at night between full-time jobs, or how some Great Old Master took them under their wing during some that sabbatical to Italy last winter.  Maybe they just like wearing berets.

When my work comes up in conversation, people say: “I didn’t know you were an artist!”  I typically don’t wear my Artist Nametag, so it’s understandable.  I’m not here to debate the meaning of what makes someone an artist (that’s what blogs are for); I’m here to show you the things I made.  For the curious: I finished a major in Multimedia (in 2001), which included a focus on graphic design, courtesy of Pittsburgh Technical Institute.  (This means I am a fan of most things Internet, good typography, and pushing paint around until it makes a shape I like.)

San Diego – and the adventures of me in it – has been the cause of most of my work.  The novelty of palm trees, ocean landscapes, amazing cuisine choices, incredible local stuff, over the top weather and all that represents the California Dream… that’s what keeps me going, and that stuff will never lose its shine.  While there are days that it feels like a tiny town, San Diego is mostly everything I ever wanted it to be.  It changes; it ebbs and flows.  I appreciate that I am close enough to LA to soak up the cultural tide, but I also appreciate not living there.  Same with Vegas.

In the past eleven years of life in this state, I’ve met people that astound me in both good ways and bad; people that have changed my life and my way of thinking.  I’ve made and lost fantastic friends, been to places and done things that always seemed like something in the movies.  Things you never even consider when you grow up in a steel mill town.  Living here, still feeling like a transplant… from all this comes the feeling of being a little kid in a candy store, reaching for the top shelf.

I’m learning how to find the shape of my own feelings and put them down on canvas, and my feelings are teaching me how to share headspace with them.  I like getting lost in a book and am trying to figure out how to get the adventures in my mind onto canvas.  I’m one of those quietly bipolar people who uses art as a form of medication because I didn’t want to take Zoloft.  The manic swings are great, the other side… not so much.  I’m learning to balance on that pendulum but still fall off most of the time.  Art is my coping mechanism; whether it’s sketching on Post-It’s during a phone call, finding the right font, or roping my emotions into a tube of paint… it works for me.

I’m inspired by a lot of the artists in Juxtapoz (especially Craola), and hope to one day find my own work between their covers.  That’s why I took the baby step of asking if I could have my work on display here at Alchemy.  Putting my artwork out for people to look at (and hopefully be inspired by) is one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done.
I feel very fragile and very exposed by all this, but am taking deep breaths and crossing my fingers that people like it and ask for more.  I promise to keep learning, keep growing, and keep trying.

If you buy some of my art, 10% of the proceeds will go to The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR), which in turn can donate to the Stupack Lab for Cancer Research at the USCD Moores Cancer Center.

Drop me a line at Larissa.R.Horvath@gmail.com or find me at  facebook.com/drnkbnny.

Thank you for looking.

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!

You Can’t Win If You Don’t Try

This motivational article cropped up a few days ago, and it’s been sticking to my mind.  It echoes my thoughts nicely, the ones that are more feelings than coherent sentences.  Here’s what Jon Acuff has to say, and what I agree with:

You will work harder at something you love than something you like.
You will work harder than you have ever worked when you start chasing a dream.
You will get up earlier and go to bed later.
Joy is an incredible alarm clock.
It will wake you up and keep you up and pick you up and gently pull you through a thousand rejections along the way.

The feeling of late-night-computer/creative-project-hangover is very familiar to me, as I used to make websites before things like WordPress or Dreamweaver or even FrontPage came along.  Remember the Angelfire/Geocities days of the late 90’s?  Right.  If you’ve been following along at all you’ll recall that trip down memory lane.  It’s the one where  was supposed to pop out of a cake and make me famous, or something.  😉

Here’s my library haul from this evening:

giant stack of books
Some funnin’ at the top:  Catcher in the RyePride and Prejudice and ZombiesFort Freak (what!? he wrote a book OUTSIDE the Game of Thrones Series?!?!two days later i notice he did NOT write it, he only EDITED it. even though his name is in giant print everywhere. grrr.)

Some learnin’ in the middle:  Learn Spanish With Batman: Rogues Gallery (yes that is a Spanglish comic book that I couldn’t resist picking up) – The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Intermediate SpanishSpanish Made Simple – Learn Spanish The Fast And Fun Way

The rest is art project researchin’:  Succulents: Nature’s Sculptural WondersShellOwls: The Silent FliersWild Birds of CaliforniaJellyfishThe Octopus: Phantom of the SeaDown in the Sea: The OctopusTentaclesButterfly & Moth

I picked up all those books because A) I wanted something fun to read, B) I’m trying to refresh my Spanish and C) I’m starting up a new series (will probably be encapsulated in The Fear Collective or something like that).  There’s definitely a lot stirring in my artsy subconscious, and I’m not one to try and quell it when it finally does peek its head out.  My thoughts were that all my cupcakes, robots, and bunnies have all been more of the cute-but-evil variety, definitely getting darker as they go.  There’s a recent Bunny painting that is hard for me to complete because it actually triggers my dizziness, but it’s almost done.  Now this new kick is going to be me and some of my fears.  Birds, moths, creatures with sharp bits, deep water stuff.  Why not, right?  Is my goal to get over my fears by some sort of immersion?  That wasn’t the plan, but if it works, that’d be nice.  Here’s a secret: when I opened the “Butterfly & Moth” book, just to browse and see if it had what I needed, I started to panic a bit.  My skin was crawling, it was not good. That’s how I knew it will do what it needs to do.

You’ll notice there are no books about spiders, bees, or flying/biting/stinging insects, and that’s because I am effing TERRIFIED of them.  I’m not that brave right now, sorry.

Anyway, here’s hoping the outcome is shaped similarly to what’s in my mind.  I’ll have some base sketches by tomorrow – if I type that, I plan on following through with it, so this is me crossing my fingers.

Digressing a bit – back to Jon’s article up top.  He mentions the alarm clock of joy, which reminds me of how enjoyable my manic stages are (despite the undesirable effects of sleep deprivation).  At working harder, that’s also true – if I only kind of liked shading in circles to give them depth, I wouldn’t do it during long phone calls.  It wouldn’t calm me down or keep me entertained during flights.  I wouldn’t pick up books hoping to see a photo or a phrase that sparks off something in my mind that absolutely MUST BE sketched out or painted.  I wouldn’t try to feed my compulsions.  I wouldn’t care what my final product really looked like; it wouldn’t bother me if the edge wasn’t totally crisp.  At getting up earlier and going to bed later, that’s also true – my alarm is set for less than 7 hours from now.  I don’t function well on less than 8 hours of sleep, but if this blog entry doesn’t get written and I don’t at least flip through some of the books there will be a mental hangnail that bothers me for the rest of the week.

On hope, and rejections… well, let’s just say that even though I’ve heard my fair share of the word No in various forms, I still keep on keepin’ on.  The creative process – creation itself – it’s what I am.  The pieces that don’t turn out perfectly, the emails that don’t get answered, they all just keep driving me.  Even when the only sound is my nails scraping off the bottom of the barrel, after a brief hiatus of lying in a pool of self pity, I take a deep breath and pick up that mechanical pencil just one more time, because this might be it.

Then suddenly, wonderfully, it is.

Something clicks.

That is why I keep going – not for money, not for infamy (though bonus points for anyone else saying ANYTHING I made is awesome) – but for that one tiny feeling of remembering what it’s like to see something on paper that is EXACTLY what needed to get out of my head.

Some people say that real artists are never happy with their work, they never accept compliments.  Someone says, “Wow – your work is amazing!” and they say “Eh, it’s not that good, look at this flaw and that flaw and that blue is less turquoise than I wanted and it’s actually a 44-degree angle not 45 and and and”.  The person trying to pay the compliment just looks and says something like, “Yeah, I can’t draw a straight line, and you drew THAT, it’s incredible, just hush”.

I think once you stop caring about your work’s imperfections, that’s when you stop being an artist.  Your imperfections are what make your work what it is, and they are what drive you to do the next thing.  I have a hard time writing all this because (personally) even claiming to be an artist… who am I, this random nobody, claiming to be in The Ranks of Artists?  That word: ARTIST, it’s reserved for those of Dali ilk; sculptors that make magic out of a block of clay or music from a sheet of dots and lines.  It’s reserved for the old masters and the new technical geniuses.  I will never feel worthy of calling myself an artist, and will always feel like some sort of sham.

It all feels very hypocritical, and much like wearing jeans that have been in the dryer too long. An uncomfortable sort of stiff tightness, and when you put them on the other day the zipper worked just fine, but today it sticks and doesn’t lie flat.

An “ARTIST” is defined as follows…

From Google:
art·ist

noun /ˈärtist/
artists, plural

  • A person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby
  • A person who practices any of the various creative arts, such as a sculptor, novelist, poet, or filmmaker
  • A person skilled at a particular task or occupation
    • – a surgeon who is an artist with the scalpel
  • A performer, such as a singer, actor, or dancer
  • A habitual practitioner of a specified reprehensible activity
    • – a con artist
    • – rip-off artists

Web definitions

  • a person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination
    • (artistic) relating to or characteristic of art or artists; “his artistic background”
  • (artistic) satisfying aesthetic standards and sensibilities; “artistic workmanship”

From Dictionary.com:

1.a person who produces works in any of the arts  that are primarily subject to aesthetic criteria.
2.a person who practices one of the fine arts,  especially a painter or sculptor.
3.a person whose trade or profession requires a knowledge of design, drawing, painting, etc.: a commercial artist.
4.a person who works in one of the performing arts,  as an actor, musician, or singer; a public performer: a mime artist; an artist of the dance.
5.a person whose work exhibits exceptional skill.

From Wiki:
An artist is a person engaged in one or more of any of a broad spectrum of activities related to creating art, practicing the arts and/or demonstrating an art.

From Merriam-Webster:

1 a  obsolete : one skilled or versed in learned arts
b
archaic : physician
c archaic : artisan
2 a : one who professes and practices an imaginative art
b
: a person skilled in one of the fine arts
c : a skilled performer; especially : artiste
3 : one who is adept at something <con artist> <strikeout artist>

Examples of ARTIST

  1. the great artists of the Renaissance

So… that’s the classical definition.  I don’t know where I’m going with all of it, but I know I will never give up.  It’s part of me.

It Was A Dark And Stormy ….Knight?

Tuesday evening, at random, J asked me to paint him a batman. It wasn’t “The Batman”, all Dark-Knight-capitalized, but just a batman. He wanted to see my spin on it, so I tried to get something going.

Phase 1, 11″x17″ – sketch on canvas:

Phase 2 – acrylic attempts at underpainting

Part of me is feeling rather doubtful about this whole thing because A) I’m not a comic artist and B) feel like I’m making a mockery of something classic and cool. But he did ask for it, and specifically with my spin, so I will soldier on. He likes what’s gone on so far and has also asked for a spawn (A Spawn) when this is done, so we’ll see how it comes out. Part of me likes what’s happened so far and part of me feels like any further progress will severely screw it up, but who knows.

….3 hours later….

A not-so-great phone photo of the completed painting:

In other news, NEXT WEEK I GET TO MEET ANTHONY BOURDAIN AND I AM STILL SUPER EXCITED! 😀 Oh, and for some reason they threw in an extra VIP laminate, so ……….. I’m considering which friends would roshambo each other for it. This is gonna be an awesome Halloween weekend.