Saturday, April 28, 2012

New Root

This is the variety of plant that supplied the root for "The Wishing Tree."   I haven't identified it yet, but I will.    And a picture of the piece in progress.
 (This is from the finished piece on the previous post.  I'd planned to post it then but chose to whine a bit instead. )
I didn't get photos of it before I cleaned it up.  I did the rough cleaning outside with my feet in the water.  That part was fun.
It got harder by degrees.  With subtractive art, there's no "undo."  And no "redo."  Once it's gone, it's gone.  After a while, the choices got more challenging.
  How to find the center? The "front?"  The balance?

 Eventually, I did.   Then there was endless sanding.  Satisfying though, to cut the branches at elegant angles and give them smooth edges.   The hardest part was unearthing the metaphor.  Those are in deep closets and sometimes, they bite.  This time was no exception.  The piece has a very animal-istic shape.  Odd textures are skin-like and the branches like antlers.   I liked pairing that with the antique brass.  

  Today my neighbor gave me another root.   It's a whole different animal.  No branches to sort through.  I'll have to spend some time turning it over and around and looking at it.   But first I had to give it a good washing with a stiff brush. 

Yeah.  This is most definitely going to be a challenge.  I'm thinking about posting this photo on fb and suggesting it's food.  It's somewhat believable - I do hail from the deep South.  So wrong.  So, so wrong. I meant, me.

I left it to dry in the sun and went on to make some additional progress on "Through the Dark Night."
A long way to go.  This painting is inspired by the poppet of the same title.  It's for a segment in the book.  Same title.                                           

You might wonder how I got from the last couple of posts where I couldn't get centered, to here, a productive day that mostly makes sense.  Possibly I worked it out in my sleep.  I'm not sure.  But I woke up having decided to put my fears aside.  I had my count to five.  I gave into it.  Then I let it go.  (Thanks, Jack.)Because that stuff isn't anything like the dark night.    The dark night is a whole different animal.

 Tomorrow is for Orion. I can't wait.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


So. Where'd I go?  What am I doing?  Well..I'm sure as hell not blogging.  What a weird place I find myself in now.  Not bad.  Not great.  Mostly weird.

  I'm writing, in bits and more bits.  And thinking.  I'm not making much for the Etsy shop, which is going to bite me hard and soon.   Kickstart could potentially fix that.  The project page is finished except for the video, which I haven't yet begun.
 Why?  Mostly because there hasn't been any time.  It takes a lot of poppets to run this ship.  Making too many poppets for too long makes your artist somethingsomething.  And more of something.
 And let me tell you, your artist is most definitely something.
  Don't get me wrong.  I love poppets more than anyone on the planet.  Typing this cracks me up completely, because it's not hyperbole.  It's true.    
  My brain wants to stretch.     What my brain really wants to do is make a book thing.  My want to make a book-thing thing is, as I type this, kicking the everloving shit out of the back of my chair.

  How to do this?  This is indeed the ball I'm juggling.  True.  It's a pretty ball.   I'm lucky to be juggling this particular ball at the moment.  I've juggled worse.
And this isn't even the advanced class.     I'm not juggling survival issues.  I get that. 
  That said, sometimes it's hard to tell need from want when the drive to make something is screaming in my ear.  So loudly.  My hair is blowing back.  I guess it's finally tired of kicking my chair. 
  Nope.  There it goes again.

  Just try to compose a sentence with that going on.  Oh wait.  You're writers and artists with lives too.
I know you're getting this and I appreciate you for being here.  (This is where I realize I'm whining, consider deleting the whole post and decide that writing something, at least this time, is better than nothing.)

  So that's where I've been.  Trying to sort out the Rubik's Cube that is the artists' bane.  Burnout, exhaustion and frustration peppered with blinding little flashes.  The good ones.  The ones that make you sweat and pace and invade your sleep so you can't figure out how to sort ordinary things out.  And other moments too - like laughing with Aubrey on the phone, watching a storm approach.

Transitions are fucking hard.   I've been doing this stuff for a long time.  The odds are really, really good that I'll figure this thing out.   In the meantime, chipping away, without looking too far ahead.
  I haven't blogged because I'm  a little lost and I generally try to say helpful or at least interesting things.  This isn't facebook, after all.
  Once again, I'm forgetting both the title of this blog and the reason I started it.  I suppose I was pretty sure I wouldn't still be stumbling all this time later. But here I am.  Moments of brilliance, raisins in a big, fat muffin of silly human. 

Thanks for showing up.

photos are of "The Wishing Tree."  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

frozen in mid-step, for a moment

I haven't been blogging. I've had a lot of decisions to make, small and large. Still do. The last week has been a lot like the day after the party where you wake up, walk to the middle of the room and realize you have no idea where the hell to start and hardly the will to put a match to it.
Well, if I've got all this work ahead of me, I've got to eat. And if I'm going to eat I may as well watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.
It's evident that I'm intrigued with the idea of the Night's Watch. How could I not be?
The Night's Watch is always watching.
The series is a rich , if momentary, escape from my own reality, So Cal circa 2012, which in my mind is as stylish as a yard sale.
This is a narrow view, I know. There's beauty in the world, with fine stories as well as noble and intelligent humans. But I don't see them here, where I live, in this American culture that largely seems to be lost in commerce and entertainment and more and more of us with little time to think past what we must do every day to pay for this system we bought into.
We didn't get here overnight.
I get up this morning, make coffee, have a shower. I look at my reflection. My costume is faded jeans, a tye-dyed tank shirt under a ratty sweater. No elegant hand-sewn gowns in my closet. So, what's my role? I can be knowledgeable, thanks to being alive in this age of information. I'm fairly intelligent, thanks to my parents and a certain librarian or two. I look at where we've come from and where we are. I gather information from a wide variety of sources and can make at least reasonable guesses at where we might be going. I can surmise that my generation will one day be reviled for its greed and blindness. This seems an ignoble and ineffectual role to play. I'm not a fan. It's not where I want to be. This can't be my part!
We all believe we belong in the service of the queen. Or even, to be the queen.
But alas, my reality is here and now, as is yours. We're smack in the middle of Kornbluth's marching morons. We step in occasionally, drawn in or pushed in, doesn't matter, to march a block or two in that parade of Stupid. Then we remember where it's headed and step aside, palms sweating at the escape.
We humans are bigger inside than out. It's not about whether we live in a world of dragons or fast food. We don't have to be chameleons, taking on the colors of our surroundings. We have the power to discover that which gives our lives meaning and to pursue it. I can call myself the 99% but that's bullshit. It's just not that cut and dried. I'm typing this on a computer. In Palm Springs, I might be a peasant. But globally, I have more than most.
And for now, my role is Artist.
The point is, I have choices. We have choices- those of you reading this do. And we'd better make them sooner than later. We need to decide what matters most to us and head straight for it. My coffee is gone, I'm getting to work on exactly that.
Because, Winter is Coming.
And that, my very dear fellow travellers, is no fantasy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Poppets are always watching.

I spent a good part of a rainy day sculpting "Night's Watch" with the series replaying just to the left of center.
It occurs to me that I often know instantly how Poppet would play a given character. That doesn't surprise me much. I've made a few poppets.
I wonder, how many?
I've done everything for the Kickstarter project except the video. I'm finding bits of time to chip away at it between poppets. I continue to write and sketch. I continue to do the myriad repetitive things we humans must do.
Sometimes it's not pretty. Sometimes it's hard. Sometimes I have to be inventive to get by. Sometimes the work feels like play and more often now, there's laughing in this house. I'm okay with that.
Game of Thrones is good enough to make the fangirl in me very happy. I'm okay with that too.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Dandelions make a fine tea.

I sit in a chair in my garage studio, just after midnight. Not in this chair. I've been staring at this chair for awhile tonight and at the quiet, cool darkness beyond it. Not for the first time.
The chair has been in my garage studio for a couple of years. Aubrey and I rescued it at a curb, put there by someone who decided it was of no value. It was of great value to me, because I've sat many hours in it, carving or painting.
It's always reminded me of dandelions.
Humans claim bits of planet for their own, appointing themselves gods of those bits, deciding what lives and what dies, what has value and what has not.
Often what dies first is dandelions.
Poppets find this very interesting.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

On Late Night Musings and Candy

Last night I lay in the dark for hours, thinking.
Cats came and went. Bilbo sucked on my blanket and left a wet spot, the weirdo.
It's a long way from finally knowing what I want to do, to figuring out how to make it happen. I had some cinnamon red hots. I've come to believe they are the cure to many ailments. I worried for a moment about my teeth. Eating candy in bed isn't a good idea for someone without dental insurance. The real danger lies mostly in its highly habit-forming nature.
But that's not important. The important thing here is to say that there's a difference between lying in bed and worrying and lying in bed and thinking.
The difference is that the latter can lead to waking up with ideas and answers. Eventually we fall asleep, but our brains carry on the work for us. This time, I got a pretty solid payoff in answers. Thank you, brain.
Now is for stretching, coffee and opening the studio doors to let air and light in. I haven't worked in this space for a hefty span of time. Today, it seems to have been waiting for me.
So, on late night cinnamon-flavored brain-storming: Occasionally, it's completely justified. Once in a while, the payoff is considerable.
But it's not the sort of thing that should become habitual.