Monthly Archives: October 2004

Lunar Eclipses and Other Wonders

I finally finished my three Lost Women of Juarez pieces, and brought them over to The Art Bar in Santa Ana this evening.

Lost Women of Juarez Series
The Bone Gatherers
Multimedia – Acrylics, image transfer
8″ x 8″ canvas

I hope that the pieces are sold as a trio, and bring in a decent sum for Casa Amiga. I was able to take a peek at some of the other pieces that have been dropped off so far, and the techniques and styles vary greatly. It will be quite a sight to see them all displayed, side by side, on a wall together. The exhibit starts on November 5th and runs for a week.

The moon was big and orange in the sky tonight, like a chunk of cheddar cheese. Last night I stepped outside after a massage, and looked up into the night sky in time to witness part of the lunar eclipse. I was amazed that it had stopped raining and the clouds cleared for long enough to indulge me with that sight.

Today I ran across an interesting website, while searching for information on Lilith. She has been whispering in my ear as of late, merging with a concept for a novel that I’ve been brewing for several years now, but have yet to seriously get started on. Most of the information that I found on the web somehow felt ‘wrong’ and so I was delighted to discover a website that portrayed her as an extraordinary being, but a being nonetheless, much like you or I. This new angle is at http://www.ninedeadlyvenoms.com. I read the excerpts on the site and was intrigued enough to order the manuscript.

It was amazing to see many of my own conclusions about many things right there, up front and center, such as the illusion of freedom, even in democracy and of the interconnectedness of everything, how we ARE the very fabric of the universe. I look forward to reading more.

Unsteadily Forward

I’ve been working on my Lost Women of Juarez pieces, and have almost finished with them. They are due next Thursday, and will be ready for sure by then.

Lost Women of Juarez — Victim No. 7
Third in a series of three
Multimedia – Acrylics, image transfer
8″ x 8″ canvas

I have been feeling sluggish lately. My excuse this time is that I’m coming down with something–or would if I let it. Large quantities of vitamin C and some Nyquil last night might have headed things off, but I’m feeling tired and cranky.

I also will begin working at a new job shortly, at a day spa here in Irvine, as a massage therapist. I’m very excited about the prospect, and look forward to learning new things as well, including incorporating body treatments into my practice. It’s a “girlie-girl” fun-fest. Last Tuesday was my first day of training. I love the products that we used in the treatments. Wonderful sensory overload. Next Tuesday is the second (and final) day of training, and then I’ll be ready for the new employee orientation the following Monday. I should be on the books shortly after that.

I signed up for a couple of ATC swaps, and have been working on those as well. The theme for one of them is “your favorite artist” and so I’ve begun painting little miniature watercolors with one of my favorite painters in mind: Gustav Klimt. I love his use of color. I have a funny story about him, or rather, about one of his portrait subjects. My first job as a young teenager was to work at a convalescent home for children. This job I secured through my cousin Zoli’s wife, Glenda. While working there, I came into contact with the “lady of the manor” who was an elderly Austrian lady called Madam Primavesi. I worked there for a few summers and winter breaks, and during that time I came to know that “Madam” had been painted by Klimt as a young girl, in a portrait entitled “Mada Primavesi.” I have since seen that portrait many times, and wondered what has become of it, and of the lady it portrayed.

Ruminations

Venus Revisited
“Duo” Oils on Canvas board

I got an email today from someone with whom I’d collaborated on a project, who mentioned that she lived for the weekend. She purchased a home two hours away from her work place, so her week nights were pretty much toast. I know what she means about living for the weekends. I’ve done it for many years, and may yet have to do it again. Certain circumstances have enabled me to cut down on my hours and let me give a massage practice a go, but I’m not generating enough of an income and will soon have to look into other alternatives (i.e., a ‘real’ job). I’ll admit that I’ve perhaps not been as pro-active as I could have been in developing my business(es), whether it’s my fledging massage business or my art biz aspirations… somehow it all seems so overwhelming, and I barely seem to muster up the energy to get through the week. Pretty sad, considering I’m only 40! I can’t figure out whether it’s a lack of motivation or a lack of know-how, or a combination of both. Well… factor in the ever-pervasive anemia, and that could explain the lackadaisical results.

I did the commute thing for a very long time, and in the end it took so much out of me that I wasn’t even able to enjoy much of the ‘fruits’ of my labor. I was constantly tired, deflated from a lack-luster job within a department that was rife with ‘personality conflicts’ (and some majorly psychotic people!), and was dealing with the stress of being the major bread winner as well as the “caretaker” of the family, because my husband couldn’t (or wouldn’t) contribute to the upkeep of our household in a consistent and meaningful way, which led to 2,000 square feet of home I began to resent being responsible for. I let finances slip and filled my ‘void’ with stuff. Once all was said and done, we proceeded with the forced sale of our home (to avoid foreclosure) which resulted with the loss of the home and my 10-year marriage, as my husband decided to bail. Irony of ironies, I now earn about half of what I used to then, pay about $700 more a month in combined rent (the apartment and storage unit) than I did then, have half the “real estate” to live in, and don’t own any of it. Am I ahead? I wonder.

My family is back together again, which is the most important thing, as far as I’m concerned, and I only have 1,000 square feet I need to worry about cleaning, instead of 2,000, which for the most part, my husband tacitly ignores, unless he happens to spill something (or run out of underwear) but I am once again largely responsible for the maintenance of our living quarters and everything that that implies. Granted, my commute is now only a maximum of 7 minutes long, and while, added up, I only work what would total three work days a week, I actually go to work four days a week, and on one of those days I do a ‘double shift,’ getting up at 5AM and sometimes don’t get home until 10PM.

In a perfect world? I’d have a perfect job (if there is such a thing) in which I would put to good use all of the administrative and organizational skills that I’ve accumulated over the years, and combine those skills with my art skills, whereby I put to use all of the latent creative gifts that I have, and produce some sort of ‘product’ that will either be marketable (i.e., someone will want to buy the product or service) or work for someone who will value all of my skills, and will be able to provide me with a position that enables me to exploit them, and will compensate me fairly for it (and by fairly I mean something that will allow me to live above the poverty line in the State of California, without having to resort to a heinous commute and cheap housing in BFE).

I’ve dabbled around in all sorts of mediums–paint (acrylic, oil and watercolor), sculpture (plaster, polymer, paper clay), jewelry making (Precious Metal Clay and various metalsmithing techniques), working with all things paper (rubberstamping, scrapbooking, bookmaking, book altering, drawing using various mediums (watercolor pencils, pastels of all kinds, charcoal, pencil, markers, pen and ink), collage (on paper and on canvas as well), printmaking, fiber arts (embroidery-silk ribbon, pulled-stitch, cross-stitch, hardanger, quilting, sewing), photography, and writing (poetry, prose, short stories and an attempt at a novel). I’d say that other than ceramics and more extensive glass exploration (I’ve taken a glass fusing workshop, and am now set up to do enamel on metal), I’ve pretty much run the gamut. There’s a voice that’s screaming to get out, but I just can’t seem to figure out HOW to liberate it. I like doing it all, mind you, which is probably why I stagnate, because I don’t spend enough time in any one medium to become an expert, but spend enough time in each to become conversant.

While I keep striving toward achieving a happy balance between a viable and satisfying career, a happy and fulfilling family life and a quality of life that will enable me to someday once again own a home close to where I work, plan for a secure retirement and not have any financial worries (doesn’t this sound an awful lot like “the American dream”?), I question if it will all fall into place at some point and become a reality. Am I aiming too high? I hear my mom’s voice echoing inside my head, saying “Be glad you have a hole in your butt.” Hmmm…

P.S. I *did* pull out my oil paints today. I’d purchased some Holbein “Duo” watersoluble oil paints a while back and hadn’t tried them. I haven’t painted in oils in many years (9 years, I’m guessing) and even then I had only painted two paintings, which were done in a class in which I had learn to paint wet-on-wet as per the guy on PBS with the big fuzzy hair (Ross something-or-other). Anyway, I didn’t like the consistency of the paint–it was dry and difficult to lay down on the canvas board, as well as hard to mix. The only good thing is that it did in fact wash off the brushes with water, and that it seemed to dry much faster than I remember. Okay, I’ve all but decided that I’ll be painting my three Women of Juarez contributions in acrylics. Now if I could only finish up my croquis.

Adventures with Watercolor

I couldn’t sleep this morning, awaking at 5:30AM. Must have been the Grande Latte I had last night, just before I went to bed. So, I surfed the web, checked out my emails, and looked through some books I’ve recently purchased on painting technique. You see, I signed up to donate three canvases to The Art Bar for their The Lost Women of Juarez exhibit and silent auction, from which the proceeds will be donated to Casa Amiga, a non-profit organization which helps victims of violence and their families, and is located in Juarez. I keep questioning my ability to paint–I haven’t touched a canvas in years, and the few paintings I’ve done held center stage in my mother’s bedroom. Since she’s passed on, I’ve given one of each to two cherished childhood friends. However, back to my paint story… I’ve taken watercolor painting classes with the talented Sally Jorgensen, and yet I felt intimidated by the medium. I’d learnt to paint with acrylics in college, and yet, I continue to feel intimidated by the medium. I dabble in the stuff, and fearlessly lay down color for backgrounds in my journals and for my collages, and yet, when time comes to really create a ‘painting,’ I balk.

This morning I decided to pull out my little Windsor & Newton field watercolor kit (which up to this point hadn’t been broken in) and proceeded to paint my first watercolor in years. It looked horrible (and is now crumpled, in the trash) but I moved on to the next piece. Perhaps the subject matter hadn’t moved me, or was incompatible with my palette. So, inspired by my love of autumn, I painted another little mini painting, on postcard sized watercolor paper. I liked it so much that it now accompanies the October 1st entry.

I forged on, this time trying my hand at portraiture. I didn’t have a model, so I worked out of imagination. This makes appropriate lighting difficult, but OH well… forward march. I ended up with the portrait above, which has convinced me to finally brave the canvas–maybe tomorrow.

The rest of the day was spent driving to and from Riley’s Farm in Oak Glen, CA, where we picked some fresh apples, bought some apple cider, and sat down for an apple pie pocket. The pie making will have to wait until I get to the grocery store. The $8 bag of apples we left with will barely yield one pie, so I’ll have to pick up some more apples to make the mess in the kitchen worthwhile-enough for at least two pie’s worth! The cost of apple picking has gone up a bunch since my girlhood!

Autumn at Last!

I *love* this weather! I slept in ’til a bit after 10:00 yesterday morning, and I couldn’t believe how late it was when I finally got up and took a look at the time. There’s something in the air that reminds me of my childhood… of new beginnings… of a new school year, maybe, and the nervous anticipation that accompanied it. I like the pinch in the air, too, and I don’t mind the clouds. I think maybe I’ll talk Steve into going up to the mountains this weekend… maybe Idylwild for a walk in crispy leaves, or maybe out by Redlands to an apple orchard to go pick some apples. I hear some apple pies clamoring to be baked. 🙂