Monthly Archives: March 2005

Poisson d’avril

Artist Trading Card
“Poisson Ace of Hearts”

Every year, when I was a kid, I dreaded going to school on April 1st. What can I say, I became embarrassed easily, turning a bright shade of red from neckline to hairline. It being April Fool’s Day, pranks were the order of the day, usually pretty innocuous stuff. The least offensive one was probably to stick a paper fish on one another’s backs with some tape. So with that in mind as inspiration, this is the second year that I take part in a “poisson d’avril”-themed art exchange. Last year we submitted fish of all manner of shapes and sizes, running the gamut from three dimensional, fabric, beaded fish, to little watercolored fish earrings. Very cool.

This year it was decided that we would make a suit of cards, each person getting a different card in the suit, and it would be fish-themed. I chose the ace of hearts, and the card above is the end result. I hand drew the fish with a Sharpie marker, and then used Portfolio water soluble wax pastels, metallic Crayola crayons and watercolors to color it in. Final touches were added with Sakura Jelly Roll Glaze pens.

Easter Sunday

Man improves himself as he follows his path; if he stands still, waiting to improve before he makes a decision, he’ll never move.
-Paulo Coelho

Easter was usually a non-event while I was growing up, unless we took advantage of the long weekend (which in Canada, was usually Good Friday or Easter Monday, and sometimes both) to go visit friends in Kingston or Toronto (both in Ontario). This was not because my parents were non-believers, per se, but they simply didn’t take part in the whole church thing. So I grew up either a) wondering what it was that I was missing, since some folks seemed to have a great time with their church social life, or b) extremely grateful that I didn’t have to drag my ass to church every Sunday.

Fabric Postcard

My mother was of the opinion that one could worship God where ever one was, since she believed that God was within each of us, and my father, if he ever had a differing opinion, silently complied and we never knew what it was. I think he figured he was beyond redemption anyway.

So for many years I either joined friends at their respective churches, learning about their beliefs, or went out on my own to seek out truth. But what is truth, really? All religion is manmade. The word of God filtered through the human condition. I am sure every prophet is well-intentioned, but really, like in a game of telephone, what ends up coming out the other end, especially after centuries of change in dialect, translation and personal filters?

I think what I’ve learned over the years is that truth is something that is innate (unless, of course, you are devoid of any moral and social conscience; someone with sociopathic tendencies). Most of us have this fundamental ability to know what is right, what the right thing to do is. Whether we listen and/or comply to that innate instinct is something else entirely.

The best we can do is be the best that we can be. That is all.

The Black Journal

I am drawn to contrasts, and so decided, since I ended up signing up for two groups in the Art Erratica Color Journal Round Robin, that I would make a white journal and a black journal. I love the look of gel pens on black paper, although I didn’t exploit that much at this point… I’ll see if there are any pages left at the end of the project.

I ended up using transparency film a bunch, backing it with metallic something-or-other… metal tape, metallic papers or gilded sheets. On one, I made a composite in Photoshop of some old family photographs. I love using Photoshop-I can remember when I was too afraid to even try to play in it. Now I just forge ahead and experiment. I’m sure my use of it is laughably fundamental but I can still get it to do what I want, and that is the important thing.

The White Journal

Color Erratica Journal Round Robin
White Journal Layouts

Wow… I finally finished working on my white journal. The paint and glue have dried. The photos are shot. I just need to pack it up and send it off in the mail tomorrow. The photos would be clearer if my husband’s shoulder wasn’t so sketchy, and so his hand isn’t quite as steady as he’s shooting photos, but they work, in a pinch.

Now I just need to finish up my black journal, which has painted and glued pages drying. But for now, it’s time for bed.

Brooding… and Piecemakers visit

I got a call just before noon from my husband that he was on his way to the ER because he’d crashed while riding a motocross bike. He works at a publication that covers all things motocross, and is the editor of the web edition of the magazine. While this sounds very glamourous, I am here to tell you that it is not. He earns about $10K less than I do annually, and gets perhaps one day off a week, because new content must go up on a more-or-less daily basis, certainly throughout the week. He also doesn’t get to sleep much before 2AM and wakes up at about 7:30 so he can chauffeur our 9-yr old to school in time for the 8:10AM bell.

Well, back to my pre-noon call… while I’m immediately trying to figure out what body part got broken this time (let’s see… first it was a fractured pelvis, then a shattered tibial plateau, then a broken rib… what next I wondered?). Turns out it simply was a dislocated shoulder, which was popped back into place and he was ready to be picked up by 3:30PM. I drove to Hoag after finishing up my work day and picking up my son, and was astounded to discover that the hospital has valet parking… can you believe that?! Only in the O.C.

After I picked him up, we were heading to Huntington Beach, where Don Jose, our favorite Mexican restaurant is, off of Adams. I’d driven by Piecemakers many-a-time and each time made a mental note to stop in “next time.” Well, today WAS next time, and I swung into the driveway and decided to go check it out (while hubby took a nap in the car).

Wow… what a HUGE place! They had so many things, it made my head spin! Fabrics of all kinds, for quilting and any other thing… silk ribbon and myriad threads… books… patterns… beads… and beautiful finished pieces of all manner of artistry for sale! Patti Culea-Medaris is teaching a class there this weekend, and I am SO tempted to take the class, but it involves pre-sewing the doll (using the patterns from her book “Creative Cloth Doll Making”) but I’m afraid I just don’t have the time… for either the prep or the classes, as it will be a two-day workshop, and would effectively eat up the whole weekend. [sigh]

On to my brooding… I’m a member of a Yahoo Group and have taken part in several swaps. I’ve sent my stuff out, but am still waiting to receive several pieces due me. I posted earlier today an inquiry about these items, listing the themes, the dates they were due and who still owed me pieces, and then asked when they thought they’d be sending them out. Very polite and everything. I got several emails back stating that previous posts had explained various ailments and personal impediments, and so therefore they were late, and basically how rude I was to think that art projects were more important than personal issues. Well, you know, I never said that. I never even implied it. I was then further bullied by one of the posters who felt it necessary to identify herself as a “moderator” of the board. Hmmm.

Life does sometimes get in the way of art, sometimes, and certainly if one is ill, or has other personal issues going on in their lives, certain obligations take a back seat. I think what is necessary, though, is to effectively and directly communicate with the people who have expectations of you. I don’t read all of the posts. I can’t… that’s all I’d be doing all day (and night) if that were the case. I belong on 50+ boards. I’d never get any work done. Or any art. I skim digests for things that catch my eye. Unless I get an email directly, chances are I’ll miss something, perhaps something important.

As far as moderating a board. I think that if you lack tact and finesse, you have no business moderating a board. While not face-to-face, you are dealing with people. I’ve been BB’ing for longer than I care to admit. That’s how I met my husband… when 2400 baud was ZIPPY and we were charged so much per minute of online access. I’m a veteran at this bulletin board stuff, and I am also quite articulate… and will re-edit my post a bunch of times before I finally hit the send button (at least I usually do so) in order to avoid offending anyone, but making sure that my message gets across.

There, much better now… I got it off my chest.

Digging deep

Artist Trading Card

I’ve been busily cranking out art projects that are due. It’s funny how the due dates are always either the middle or the end of the month. I’ve yet to see one due on some weird date, like the 8th… or the 23rd. Maybe I’ll have to start a trend… like setting meeting start times for 8:07 (they taught this particular tactic in a time management skills class, or some such class I’d taken when I was being “groomed” at a previous job toward a management position).

Well, I really like this piece. I had this inspiration to put these elements together… they came to me in a dream last night.

Busy as a bee

Field of Mustard

I’ve been working on all sorts of projects, and playing catch-up. This watercolor is for a watercolor postcard project for the Belle Papier Yahoo Group. I always muddle through with watercolors, the final piece never quite matching the image in my mind’s eye.

I managed to clean my desk off yesterday, so it now doesn’t look as if another piece of paper on top of the pile that was there will cause it all to collapse (not only the pile, but the desk too). I’m a pack-rat. I have a hard time throwing things away, and further, I purchase MORE things to add to my “collection” of things “just in case” I’ll need that *specific* item when I’m working on a project. Although I’ve been trying to curb this instinct, it works to various degrees.

My to-do list resembles a grocery list. It’s long and varied… everything from tax prep, to laundry, to shopping, to art projects, to doctor’s appointments, to scrubbing out the toilet. Long. Sometimes overwhelming, but for the most part I have to shut that off, because otherwise I’d just short-circuit and not do anything.

A spontaneous ATC swap opportunity presented itself a while back, from someone who read my blog. I’m about to send these off to Arizona.

Well… off to make breakfast.

Makin’ it work

Friday at last. The days just flow one into another and suddenly the weekend is here. A few weeks ago I posted that I was offered and accepted a job at a law firm, leaving behind the temp job I’ve been temping at for what shortly will be a year. Well, that scenario has changed. When I submitted my resignation, they in turn offered me a permanent position, pending paperwork. So, since then, red tape has been flowing from department to department, but hopefully within the next week or so, all will be settled.

I’m very pleased because for the first time in a *long* time, I love it where I work. It just feels “right” there, and I enjoy both the work and the people.

My breast was sore last week, so I went to the doctor’s office and found out I had a breast infection. It took days for it to stop hurting (not ’til Wednesday did it stop being sore, but was still quite tender). It’s still tender some, particularly under my right armpit, but the pain is gone. Next week I get to enjoy a mammogram for the first time. There’s a first for everything, I guess.

The House That Dad Built

Mail Attachment
The House That Dad Built
Artist Trading Card

I saw a post a while back on one of the message boards I frequent on Yahoo, asking for participants in an ATC swap regarding a school research project someone was conducting. The subject matter was to focus on “homeland” and the card will be displayed with many others who participated in the project.

This subject intrigued me, because I feel rather rootless. I live in California, yet I was born in Canada, to a set of Hungarian immigrant parents who still considered themselves Hungarians foremost. My parents have passed on. My sister and I are estranged. Now I simply feel a citizen of the world, but when I peer back into the various incarnations of “me” a sad little part of me emerges… one who misses the connection to family, but knows that what is lost shall never be regained.

"P" is for Prozac… and other musings

Well, so much aggro around me lately… and I’m wondering if it’s starting to rub off. I’m ordering a round of chocolate all around. Those Chantico chocolate drinks at Starbucks’ are faboo…

Totally unrelated, but equally amusing… I found an old photo of myself in a stack of photos I was looking through this evening (for a collage I’m working on). Wow. How times flies, and how time changes. I was eighteen in this photo. And back then, I thought I was unattractive. I was reflecting upon that the other day-how no matter where we are in our lives, we never seem to be satisfied with the now, and either dream of the past or long for the future. I have been trying to make an effort to live in the now, and appreciate every precious moment.