Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Well...shit.... anyway.

Did NOT make it into the Sooke Fine Arts Show. 
Maybe I shoulda listened to my Ma and learned to groom Poodles. 
That or I doomed to make 'cutesy' crap forever. 
*   *   *   *   *
...give me a couple of days and I'll snap back, I'm sure. 

Painting is "Hotel Room" by Edward Hopper. No one could capture bleakness like he did. That's me : bleakness personified. 

Multitasking With A Magpie Mind

I have a good friend coming up ...over?....down? - can never figure out what direction is right - from far away for a visit and this means that I had to get around to that 'studio cleaning'  chore that's been hanging over my head. Because that's the 'guest' room. The thing is, I live in a very small space...@ 650 sq ' and that means a royal Rubics Cube has to happen. You know, move A to living room while you reposition B in the Studio. To make room for A moving back. Move the things in the living room to the kitchen to make room for A and then back again. Vacuum and dust and wash stuff too. And so forth. That's all well and good except for I have.....The Magpie Mind. 
The Magpie Mind, for those of you who don't know, is the tendency to be easily distracted by bright and shiny things. For that matter, any bloody thing at all. It is at times, a curse. 
Let me illustrate.
The studio is jam packed with various projects and all the multi media accoutrements they engender. Collage papers, magazines and ephemera; Doll making supplies and boxes of fabrics; paints, brushes, canvases, old paint rags; framing and stretching tools; hardware and power tools and! the most important! >  interesting stuff I'm gonna use someday.
It's a miracle I can get in the room at all.  
Well because there is so much stuff I can sometimes forget what I have. You're starting to see the direction we're going, huh? Indeed. As we are moving A to B, we come across many things that need sorting and collating and reorganizing from 4 boxes down to just 1 handable one and things that obviously have passed their use by date or just plain why-am-I-saving-this and need to be tossed. Problem is, there is so much to go through. And I get bored with doing just one thing and it occurs to me that I need to get the books up off the floor in the living room and restack them in the bookshelf to facilitate the moving of A (remember 'A' ?) to the living room so we'll just take a small detour to do that and oh ya, the laundry needs to get started because those are the jeans I need for town and we might as well change the sheets and hey-yo, Jams is shedding so much we need to strip the chair covers off and wash them too as 'the friend' is allergic to cats and look at all this freaking dust where's the vacuum cleaner! and by now we are hungry so let's boil up a wiener and oh yeah! put the things in the washing machine as it's going with only water in it and wait a minute we forgot to get those books in the studio to put back too and what the heck I forgot I had this and this too! and oh shit! I need to get this project started and let's get the paint back on the shelf while we're here anyway  and THE WEINERS! 
You see what I mean. 
It's exhausting having this brain. 
The good thing is that after 4.5 days of this frantic behaviour the place is beyond spic and span. It's all sparkily!! A baby could crawl safely across the floor except that I'd need to move all those Art things I have.....back into the Studio.

The painting is :" Multitasking" by Mary Catherine Starr. I love the bright colours and absolutely right on feeling of frenetic action. But my favourite part is the blissed out face.
If only.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

WHOA! Just about snapped your jaw off there, huh?

Great Gods of watching paint dry but I'm bored. 
I'm trying to 'rest' my abused digits and tendons from the aforementioned spate of creative stitchery for a couple of days until I have no soreness and >
a: get inspired to paint some more cool 'pet' pics 
b: get that box of goodies from the doll supply place to start it all over again. 
This is not the artist's 'happy' place. 
You'd think I would like an excuse to sit on the couch with a good book and beaucoup the bonbons but no. I loathe not creating something. Even chowing down on those divinely awesome (and so bad for you ! yea-as !) chocolate ice cream chocolate chip cookie sandwich thingies I just discovered you'd think would soften the blow but uh uh. 
By the way, what brilliant genius invented that particular culinary bliss? Thank you for the next 10 lbs. 
Anystuffyourfaceway, moving forward, I find it hard to sit or fill my moments with 'other' pass times instead of creating. What a curse to have! I suppose I could troll the Internet for ideas/things/humanidiocy but that seems to lose it's charm pretty quick as well. I need to straighten up the studio. Like that is going to scream fun at me....
Golly! How whingy can you get?
I think we need to take a hot soapy bath and watch some movie by Studio Ghibli, that god of animation superability. 
That will get some creative juice flowing in the brain at least. 
The painting is: "The Boredom" by Russian artist A. A. Deineka, 1936
I pretty much feel like that only not so nicely dressed. But she just about could be holding one of those chocolate chip ice cream cookie thingies. 
Now there's a thought......

Friday, June 22, 2012

The Assembly Line Stops Here, Sunshine!


Head close up


Bird detail

Well there she is all done and that is what I am too. I've stabbed my right index finger so many times it's now unusable (I'm typing with the middle finger) and my knuckles and joints are swollen from all the stuffing and stretching and cutting and yadda yadda yadda....I need a break from Art Dolls. 
Who knew Art was so tough?!? 
Mind you famous last words and all that. I've sent away for a real treasure box of assorted goodies from a doll supply place and as sure as Jams will want to sit where I do, I'll be all hot to get into the new stuff. 
What do I call her? Well, "Elf Imp" came to mind first because of the look and feel and amount of crazy it caused but I think I'll go with:
"Releasing The Inner Child".
That works, huh?

Materials: Head is sculpted Paperclay and hand painted. Body is polyester fiber stuffed cotton, dress and hat and shoes are designer fabric swatches. The Bird is a 'fungus' owl and it and the hat accessories are from my ephemera collection. The owl is sitting on a dried kelp branch - cool or what! Oh, and all the clothes and doll parts are my own patterns.  

Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I'll be leaving in a short while to drive down island to the home of a fellow artist, Charlotte Madison to have my zestful (snort*) self immortalized in a portrait. You may recall an earlier post where I mentioned this - I believe I was blithering on about 'photogenic-ness - (is that a word...?) (it needs to be) and Charlotte had written to invite me to be a part of her painting series "Artists of Vancouver Island". Yessum, that's today. Apart from the driving - which I dislike - and trying to find my way to somewhere I've never been before - which I dislike even more - I'm pretty chuffed.  It has me musing on immortality because, let's face it, the painting will last longer than least I hope/think so. Actually if I get real hair-splitty about this whole life I lead, everything I create will live on past my physical body self.....can't speak to the reincarnated self or the - heavens above - haunting/ghost self. I'll try to get back to you on that. 
Anyandwe'reoffagainway, I do sometimes wonder about what gets left behind. It is entirely possible the family will have a glorious bonfire and dance with abandon around the flames of all the .... stuff. Ha! I won't be there to voice an opinion one way or another. 
I do have a couple of very old paintings that came down through my family painted by my paternal Grandmother and my Great-Aunt, which I love to bits as ( and this is even though I'm not connected genetically) they make me feel this lovely thread of creative force running across time through the women to me. 
I am also bringing 4 different 'jackets' to pose in, depending on what colour/texture/feel Charlotte is aiming for. 
It will be odd to be on the other side of the canvas so to speak. 
Other than that, here's what we've been toiling over the last week and why I didn't post on my usual Sunday time slot.

"Elf Doll" and what a minx this creation has been. That face has been endless hours of shit fun, what with sanding all the little curves and so forth and redoing the ears about 4 times 'cause I changed my mind on what it was going to be and gluing down all the little bits of the mohair curls all over the head only to knock out one of the eyes  , I kid you not! and having to carefully take off the hair, cut open the head, reattach the errant eye, and repair hole great bumbling gods it was torment! Did you hear the screaming? Oh, and the hands are painted because as I was repairing I inadvertently mushed paint on the hand.....I guess it could have been worse. 
All in the life of an artist. 
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly repair.....
The painting is a little illustration by Jaeme Bereal from a child's book about an artist named "Agusta Savage" who really had some good/bad/ugly. Her father smashed up all her sculptures and tore up her paintings when she was young. Ouch. But she persevered and became recognized in her later years. 
I relate. 
Just keep on keepin' on.
PS...I will be making outfit for the minx later. Believe me it will not be going out into the world in it's skivvies. But the hat IS great, huh? Now I have "You Can Keep Your Hat On" by good old what's his name that I really liked...Randy Newman???.....going through my head. Driving music. 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Happy Burfday, Baby....

Mmmmm...s u g a r.....Yes, indeedily it's my birthday....again. I'm sure the last one was just a moment ago. There's a sign on just how many we've had. They're coming faster and faster. 
I walked around town handing out Hershey Kisses today (as a substitute for the real thing) because we're still sick-ish and they, at least, are non-infectious. I was feeling pretty perky too but that seems to have ended with me being overcome with a coughing thing and the loss of my voice 2 hours later....again. I'm back home. Again.
So much for going out for a Martini tonight. 
Never mind...I bought myself my own cheesecake (but not expecting Jams to sing) - seriously - that's pathetic. Ah well. 
We also have a Sci-Fi movie extravaganza planned. 'V' the series along with 'John Carter'....both 'cult' classics in the genre. Admitting to looking forward to that! Along with cheesecake. 
And no singing. 
Did you know that the song "Happy Birthday" is the most difficult key for anyone to actually sing in? No wonder it always sounds like people are being strangled.

Anyblowoutthecandlesway,'s the Art Doll creation we just finished:

Perfesser Jack R. Abbit
PHD Philosophy  Dr. of Botanical Herbology
We are now working on a really intense piece that is made from sculpted paperclay and a very intricately sewn outfit. I am also making a wig from scratch for it. 
Very much good times except am kinked in the neck and have sore fingertips from pulling needles. 
Ya gotta suffer for beauty. 
I'm actually enjoying this. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

Top to Bottom

In the midst of all the kleenex heavy action going on lately, there's been a few other things. So this is the 'catch-up' post and we start at the top:

My new hair - a kindof all-sorts of things which, my hairdresser informs me, is a 'one-of' because she will never ever again be able to reproduce the effects she got from trying to get my hair away from the red. Someone told me the other day that it reminded them of a calico cat and considering that's what Jams is, I relate. Mind you the other side of this equation is the fact I now resemble my pet and that's getting dangerously close to 'cat lady'.
 Sigh bloody sigh.
(And I was playing around with my Photoshop for all the cool swirly effects. 
Yeah, it's boring being sick......)

Speaking of Jams, this is the situation with the computer chair now:

Open defiance. Where will it all end.....

And last, but not least, what I've been doing to pass the time: ( between nose blowing )

OREO - The Juggler
Soft Sculpture Art Doll 

I guess if I really was following the post title I'd have put the doll in between the hair and Jams....blame it on the pudding brain.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Still Down And Out In The City of Art

Yes, well.....
We're still assuming horizontal poses and sounding like we gargle with paint thinner and are having personal thermostat problems going hot/cold hot/cold every 1/2 hour and have had brain replaced by pudding I swear but, if I can glimpse a glimmer of hope anywhere, are getting bored (I believe I've read every book in my collection....twice) and that I think is the start of mentally getting the system to pull itself together. I found it interesting to see that being sick is one of the most used topics on blogs - seriously! - although mainly as an excuse as to why the blogger hasn't posted in a while. Jams thinks it's great, mind you, as she has carte blanche to lie on me and be scratched endlessly. And if the fates allow, can score a piece of buttered toast. 
Meanwhile my show is getting lots of folks through - which makes me happy but feeling like a schmoo, again, for missing my opening. And things are selling - yay!  my artdolls specifically so I'm thinking I could sew some more as I am basically on my ass anyway. (you can view these by popping over to my art site - link above)
Which has me musing on creating while you are ill. My own artist Icon Frida Khalo started painting because she was confined to bed for three years. THREE YEARS, my friends, wrap your beanos around that! And there are some telling photos of Monet lying in his sickbed with a specially made long handled brush so that he could paint even though he was dying.
Sheesh. I feel decidedly 'wimpish'! 
I have tottered into town twice over the last week to replenish food but as soon as I try to speak have everyone running away in terror, making strange gestures at me. And since my brain is pudding it is probably not the best of things to do - driving can be strange as you cannot recall getting from A to B- but thems the breaks when you're single. Sadly pathetic creature that I am resembling at the moment. 
Sympathy? A cool hand for the fevered brow? A loving spoonful of chicken soup?
Not gonna happen. 
It has me recalling my sick times as a kid, oh way back in the mists of time ago. Mom was not the tuck-you-up-and-soothe-your-aches kinda mom. Nope. Nosirree. We basically were sent to bed and told to stay there and sleep. Not a whole lot of anything specially 'mothery' about it. Probably why I was not often sick as a kid. 
So moving along.....and boy don't you think it's time I did - I shall be pulling out the big doll supplies tote and gearing up for some sewing and guess what!?!......I have books on tape to help that along.

Painting is: "Sick in Bed" by Gillian Wilson. I just love the absolute pure simplicity of this....and it still speaks volumes. 


Sunday, June 3, 2012

In Sickness and In Health

I really have to wonder about the capriciousness of the fates at times. I often question just who is in charge in this life of mine. I had a big show to set up and attend this weekend in the neighbouring town from this remote local...Port Alberni for those of you who know this place. It was booked some time ago for me to display for a month in the Clock Tower Gallery and I was looking forward to it. I had arranged to stay at a friend's family's cabin on their farm and on Thursday, I drove the 1.5 hr trip to there with the van packed to the gills. Unloaded and got the show all set at the Gallery  and then went to find the cabin which was wa-a-a-ay out in the boonies on a road not labelled on any map. I did find it after a call to the original friend who gave me directions over the phone. May I mention that the farm was an original homestead and only been there since whitemen first came to this part of the world. Apparently not the road name though.
OK. Got there and introduced myself to the owner and first thing he says to me is :"What time are you leaving tomorrow".....I was a bit nonplussed as I had told his wife that I'd be there for 3 nights. "Yeeks", methinks, "I've made a bad impression and he wants me out already" - Well, turns out he was asking because they were going to be slaughtering lambs the next day and he thought it might not be a good idea for me to hang around for that. 
Now I'm pretty used to the idea of the food chain - farming is in my heritage and I've spent time on ranches and farmsteads and know the whole 'you kill what you eat' thing but I gotta say to be there while lambs are meeting the end is not my idea of good things to experience. So I told him I'd be away fairly early for the day. I had a day to kill before the show anyhow. Friday morning I woke up feeling a bit scratchy-throated and somewhat snuffly but put it aside. I putzed around the town trying to find an old typewriter for my son's birthday (he collects them) and generally wasting time. Meanwhile, I'm getting progressively worse feeling and start thinking that I'm going to have to resort to drugs because I still have to make it for the reception later in the evening on Saturday. By late afternoon I'm feeling dismal. I decide to go back to the cabin and sleep - cures all things - but when I get there I find out the 'slaughter' is just about to happen. I'm feeling so awful by this time I don't care; I mean just how bad can it be - I'm going to pop a pill or two and go to bed. 
Folks, if someone ever recommends that you not be around for something, may I suggest you take that advice to heart.
Picture, if you will, this artist with the weeping eyes/running nose and gale force sneezing, feebly lying on a couch and listening to the sound of lambs being shot then dragged to a chopper to have their heads removed. And it's not a gun with bullets, it's a 'bolt' gun - this is supposedly more humane to have a bolt shot through the brain...although what the sheep thinks hasn't been documented. I did not witness any of the proceeding but was listening to it. And it became rather 'Felini-like' with the bawling sheep and the scrabbling animals and then a 'bolt-shot' and then the guillotine meanwhile I'm sneezing and blowing my nose and wiping my eyes. 
Truly surreal. 
Upshot (oh, pun so NOT intended) of all this was I was even worse Sat morning and had to phone the Gallery and bow out of being at my reception. I feel abysmal for that. 
But that's the way it goes I guess. 
I'm telling you I could just about agree to being put out of this misery by the same method. 

The picture is a pen and ink sketch titled "Sick Woman in Bed" by Rembrandt @ 1640. I look just like that.