Friday, January 25, 2008

Don't ask

Oh yeah. You want to see it up close. Trust me
Alien squid attacks my music Click to see this photo's flickr page

Is it Friday yet? This was done well before all my late-night/early-morning work, before Illustrator decided to just stop working, and done wayyyy before I choose what to imbibe later with dinner tonight.

I know, you don't believe me.

Work doesn't make me crazy (or, demented, or, whatever); I start off that way. Maybe it's the work that actually makes me sane(r). I don't know. I think Illustrator has it figured out juuu-ust about right: It's time to stop and re-boot. I'm going to head to the shower and then have some coffee. And then sort through the stuff that's left to do.

You guys have a great weekend. Be safe: Watch out for those (miniature) alien squid out there.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More PB&J

More PB&J Click to see this photo's flickr page

There's a process. Yessiree. What's that last step? - I wrap my sandwiches in a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out. Nothing's worse than dried-out bread on a sandwich.

I was going to explain how the PB&J thing evolved into quite the routine for me. But, you know, if it's all in the spirit of trying to be efficient so I can enjoy more out of my day, I'm just going to go outside to take my walk now and then have some breakfast, instead. You guys have a great day. ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Just a pinch

Ah, Wendee's been cooking
leftover parsley Click to see this photo's flickr page

Before I added in the color, it could have been bunches of tethered blind-contour sheep pinecones, you know, if you have a really unrestrained sense of imagination (ahem).

But no. Just extra parsley. Lots of love to you, Jane. I think of you everytime I do blind contour sketches of this variety, you know.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Lots of PB&J

Because they're easy to make and relatively neat to eat while I'm driving to school.
Lots of PB&J
Click to see this photo's flickr page

Finally, in a fit of I-can't-get-to-sleep-before-I-draw-something-new, de-funk-ifying. Thanks to my bloggy buddies for your encouragement. You guys are the best. xoxox!

Arty note: In case anyone's wondering. Moleskine sketchbook with (mostly) Copic markers. Yes, whatever sizing there is that must make the sketchbooks take watercolors so poorly also makes the pages so smooth for design markers. I like Copic's 'Sketch' line of markers - they're dual-tipped with the standard chisel tip and a flexible brush tip, very cool. They're re-fillable, too. You might think they were impulse buys - - but, no, I actually use them for work! The markers do leak through to the other side of the page (this will be fun to work with), but generally won't bleed through to the next page..

Santa Barbara

There's supposed to be a storm rolling in on Monday, a cold one. They're saying snow levels might dip down to about the 2000ft level. The weather guys are telling us to take along mittens and scarves! OMG! ... We'll believe it when we see it.

So, before any of that hits, we decided to enjoy whatever nice weather we might have for the long holiday weekend and drove up to Santa Barbara. We have the best luck - the views of the Channel Islands were just great. We walked from way past the pier up to Shoreline Park, and down the stairs to the beach. The tide was out, and we wandered along all these funky rock formations that we hadn't seen before, picking up pebbles and stones and sea shells.

Santa Barbara shore
Click to see the whole flickr set

So, these are all these cool things we picked up today. Nice flat rocks, long skinny ones (one will make a great "worry" stone, it fits so securely in my hand), sea shells, one really nice round one. I mean look at it, isn't it nice and round? I've been picking up one or two rocks from most of our trips to the different beaches, but today, we were both finding quite a few. As we walked back to our car to head to Tupelo Junction for lunch, I was imagining ways to organize my not-so-little rock collection. Or maybe I should go with catch-and-relocate/release. I mean, these are the ones just from today.

all these from our walk just today
tumbled rocks and a sea shell from Santa Barbara

I recalled my move last April and imagined the next move, when J exclaims, "What the heck is in this little box that is so @#%&* heavy? What are we moving, ROCKS?!". And I'll have to go, very sheepishly, (say it with me) ... "Rocks. Hmmmm. Well, actually, yeeeeessss..."

More from Hawaii

Oh look. So happy!
The two of us at Mokolii Click to see this photo's flickr page

I was up late last night and thought to look through J's photos from Hawaii again. He didn't want to use this photo for our Christmas cards, but I like it. We're a bit pudgy, but very content. It's all that good living, I s'pose. Dunno why it's so hard to get a nice photo of us, that we're both willing to share. [sigh]

I've added some of his photos to the existing Flickr set

Thursday, January 10, 2008

With each sunrise,

... We start anew.

Last morning at the old place
One last one on Moving day, last spring

Last week, we drove up the coast, spent a few hours walking along Zuma Beach and Point Dume and drove through some of my old neighborhood. I miss it. I miss the long walks on the beach and past the park and stream. I sort of miss the howl of the coyotes and the frogs at night. I miss my Ikea kitchen table. It had become a real security blanket for me, encouraging me to paint. I miss sitting with my breakfast, watching the sun rise over the Santa Monica Mountains, the park below emerging from the early morning fog. It was just so serenely beautiful, and I was at least aware enough of it then to breathe it all in.

This morning, I found myself sighing about how I have to watch the sunrise over the condo complex rooftop. So not ideal. I guess my old neighbor was a curmudgeon, but the neighbors across the alley here seem to be determined to antagonize my J. They’ll think I’m spying on them as I dreamily consider the sunrise… and just cop more attitude at him. Sigh.

I haven’t felt like drawing or painting in several weeks. I figure if I can take photos, I can at least stop long enough to really see the interesting patterns around me, the beauty that everyone, including myself, just walks past, every day, and try to jiggle some of this funk loose.

So I open up a space between the blinds, steady my camera and notice that the rooftops, in the viewfinder, are only so big. And, the sunrise and the rest of the sky … go on forever.


And the other side of the window doesn’t have a screen covering it, so I can get nicer photos of it all.

A new sunrise, where I am now
I can still see the sun rise from where I'm working.

It goes on forever
Poofy clouds after a week of cold and clouds and rain.

"There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope." - Bern Williams

"What is the good of your stars and trees, your sunrise and the wind, if they do not enter into our daily lives?" - E. M. Forster

"The grand show is eternal. It is always sunrise somewhere; the dew is never dried all at once; a shower is forever falling; vapor is ever rising. Eternal sunrise, eternal dawn and gloaming, on sea and continents and islands, each in its turn, as the round earth rolls." - John Muir

"Rise early. It is the early bird that catches the worm. Don't be fooled by this absurd saw; I once knew a man who tried it. He got up at sunrise and a horse bit him." - Mark Twain

Monday, January 07, 2008

A good telescope

I’ve read through a lot of posts about resolutions and setting goals in the last two weeks. And, a lot of retrospectives about 2007 and thoughts for the year ahead.
I’m having trouble getting settled back enough to think of either. Even the sitting down at the keyboard part to write it is sort of painful (I’m starting to wonder if it could be carpal tunnel, or something else, actually. So, yes, it is indeed a real pain). In this time of renewal and cleaning and rededication, I’m in a funk. I’m wondering, too, why blog?

Want some cheese and crackers with this w(h)ine?

I did commit myself to trying to set some kind of focus. There are all these different approaches to resolutions: long lists, themes, one-word mantras, deadline-based, measurable results.. All in creative artist blogs. OMG. Resolutions. Goals. Mission Statements.

The day before we left for Hawaii, I went with J to see a retirement specialist. The thought of (his) retirement in a handful of years makes goal-setting more pertinent; smacks you on the head, pretty much, doesn’t it? What I thought of was a quote from one of the videos I used to show in class, that what we need aren’t MAPS that tell us where we’re going, but that we’d be better outfitted with a COMPASS, so at least we are able to navigate through whatever comes our way. I’d been happily working on a compass, but, okay, where the heck are we going? What’s really, really important?

In my business practices class, we also do several exercises writing missions statements. It’s easiest for me to work with mission statements in the general form of: “I want to achieve somethingA by doing actionB”. So, I revisit my own mission statement with every semester, three times a year. It seems to come back to this, quite reliably: “Support design and creativity by practicing, learning, teaching, or encouraging it. Every day”.

This might work as a compass, I'm starting to see, on a hand-waving / spiritual level, but between you and me, I’m starting to feel like I need to paddle harder and further, or set my sail to catch another tradewind. Mulling over the stars that I navigate by (lying, staring up into the night …) has been good, but I want a good new harbor to plan to set sail for. As I typed that, what’s telling is that the word “new” came out, quite plainly and clearly.

Actually, it's more like that squirmy feeling when you've sat too long, past the point of where you've lost interest in something. And you want to swat at someone that comes to tap at your shoulder, whispering to sit patiently. More like that.

So maybe not a compass or a map ("looks good on paper...") , but a good TELESCOPE.


In spite of all this funk-ness, I did mull over resolutions enough to have thought of a direction and words to share and be accountable for. And this year, I need a mantra, not a heady list of things. Think: a Cesar Millan “Psssht” to get my attention.

Actually, I’m going with a short phrase, because I couldn’t decide on just one word:

Run Fast and True

Run, in particular, as in:
(1) to go quickly by moving the legs more rapidly than at a walk and in such a manner that for an instant in each step all or both feet are off the ground, and (2) to be in operation

Fast, in particular, as in:
(1) quick; swift; rapid and (2) firm in adherence

And True as in:
real; genuine; authentic; Sincere, firm in allegiance; loyal; faithful; steadfast; Accurately shaped or fitted (a true wheel); Accurately placed, delivered, or thrown; Navigation (of a bearing, course, etc.): determined in relation to true north.

Run Fast and True


Meandering Here and There

Remember, now:
No matter how warm it is, wherever you spend the holidays, what matters is that your heart is warm and full.

Christmas in Hawaii
Click here
for a few photos from the Hawaii Trip

The short of it: There are no drawings from Hawaii. I would have had to stay still for too long, and the mosquitos were just having a feast on me, as it was. The 'Scritch, Scritch, Scritching' would not have been of my pencils. Feh!

Notable: Shave Ice at Matsumoto's, Waimea Valley, University of Hawaii Warrior football, banyan trees at Kapiolani park, more burgers and fantastic shakes from Teddy's, roosters starting their crowing at 3 am in Kahaluu and that six-hour delay for our 5-1/2 hr flight back home.

And then, back home:
Did I mention that I love The Rose Parade? We went on Jan 2nd to see the floats on display in Pasadena. What a great chance to see them up-close and at a way more leisurely pace. Check out all the creative ways to use the natural materials.

Post-Parade Float Viewing
Click here
for a few photos from the Post-Parade Float Viewing

How can I get a job doing this?