Friday, January 29, 2010

Shipping and Receiving

I'm pretty sure that, no matter how rich and blessed they are, the vast majority of people wish they had just a little more space in their home (or homes). I am not alone.

The above photo is of my living room. Why does it look this way? I'll tell you.

Unless a resident of State College, PA, wishes to purchase 90% of their goods at Wal-Mart, Target, or Kohl's, one must rely on mail order. So, shown here, are boxes from my daughter's sewing machine, plastic bits and bobs for my daughter's upcoming birthday party, and a refrigerator-sized box for a smallish lamp ordered from crate and barrel. The lamp was also enclosed in two more boxes of diminishing size that are inside of the large box.

On occasion, I am lucky to find clothing at Target. Sometimes I find a piece or two at the increasingly-vacant mall. Wal-Mart I don't do. Ninety percent of my clothing is purchased through mail order. Each spring and autumn my living room looks far worse than this. Incoming are shoes, sweaters, Ts, skirts. Outgoing are 90% of the incoming. I try again. More bags and boxes arrive.

Then there's pet supplies to deal with. We do have one pet store. It doesn't carry what we need. So incoming are boxes of pet meds, treats, toys, etc.

We like books. Our one chain store that sells new books doesn't like to carry much. So we order from Amazon. Even more boxes. We like books.

My fabric and art supplies must be ordered. This also includes supplies for shipping (but not boxes, we've got that covered). While I hoard the bubble wrap that sometimes comes with my mail order goods, its not enough. I have to order bubble wrap. It comes in a big box. I even have to mail order thread. Good grief. Also incoming are paints, fabric, foamboard, scissors, glue, paper, brushes, sponges, vintage items, etc.

In my fantasy world, there is another room attached to my house. Its a wonderful room. Large. With windows, yet plenty of wall space. It has a double door with a ramp out to the alley. This is where deliveries are made. This is where items are wrapped and packaged to go out. This is shipping and receiving. It is a glorious room. It might even have an employee in it.

Shipping and receiving has long, wide tables for packing tasks. A recycling center. Open shelves for supplies. Small envelopes for mailing letters. Large envelopes for mailing elephants. Bubble wrap of all sizes. Containers for those damn foam peanuts that certain companies insist on using. Stamps. Paper cutters. Foam mailers. Foam board. Box cutters. Scissors of all sizes. Phone books. Lists of suppliers. My freakin' FedEx #. Coffee maker. Sink. Bactine and bandaids. A wide variety of tape in dispensers that can actually be refilled. And the aforementioned employee. Hopefully burly.

Instead I have a front door that opens straight into the living room and a back door that opens straight into the kitchen.

I'm going back to bed so I can dream of my own personal shipping and receiving.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

O'Keefe Country

This is O'Keefe Country. 40 x 11"

Now for sale on Etsy.

This is an older piece that I finally got around to putting in my Etsy shop. This is how I imagine the colors of the Southwest to be. I've been meaning to visit the Southwest and see the Georgia O'Keefe Museum. Yeah. One of these days.

Don't forget about my 25% off Etsy sale until the end of January.

Now off the do errands (grrrrr) and then back to my new cities and nature series. I'm up to 7 completed now and I've started #8 today. Whoopie! I'll start adding them on Etsy in February.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Signs of the Times

I'm going to be calling this new series Signs of the Times. I'm combining my interests in nature and cities in these pieces. I'm invigorated and overwhelmed by the amount of information displayed in cities (subway signs, posters, newspapers, billboards, etc). I find it fascinating how our cities attempt to subdue nature, while individuals do their best to include nature in these environments. I have already sold the first two pieces from the blog. This one here is going to my hubby's office. Two more are completed and are waiting to be photographed. These pieces are each 6 x 6". I prefer to photograph outdoors and need an overcast day to do so. Today, it just so happens the sun is out so I will have to wait. Probably not long. I will begin to post these on Etsy in February, after my sale is over.

I've been doing some "research" of cities on GoogleMaps. I'm zooming in on as many cities, large and small, that I can think of. I drop the little guy down into the streets in the heart of each city. He does seem to panic and flail as I toss him onto the main streets of each city. Usually he arrives facing the gaping maw of a parking garage. I'm going to attempt to post some "photos" of each city if I can figure how to do that from GoogleMaps. There's much to be said about American cities and what has happened to them. I just might write about that when I've got more energy.

While I'm vastly disappointed in most American cities, there are a handful that I find quite interesting and seem to work quite well (from what I can tell on GoogleMaps). I'm going to spend a little time now exploring them (also known as wasting time).

I've read so many blogs lately that include quotes. I'd like to throw in one of my own. I'm sure its been said before, so, if anyone knows who has said it before, please let me know.

It is difficult to bloom when one is planted in shallow soil.

Our environments should nurture us not subdue us.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Happy Things

Sunder, at Dirty Fingers has presented me with a happy award. Now I get to list 10 things that make me happy.

I usually let you people know what ticks me off, so I will do my best to list happy things.

1. A long, hot bath

2. New magazines

3. Cruising around on Google Maps (although it also makes me feel guilty – I’m trying to call it research)

4. Visiting family (yeah, it makes me stressed, too)

5. Watching my daughter reading a book

6. Positive words on my artwork

7. Knowing there are people out there who do good things

8. Beautiful trees

9. Right angles (love squares and rectangles)

10. Full bookshelves

This is by no means a comprehensive list. I'm starting to realize that there are lots of things that make me happy.

A new Zagat's survey for the next city I'm visiting (favorites are New Orleans and New York).

Selling artwork.

Makings friends through blogging.

Good food.

Good mail days.

Giving and getting presents

O.K. That's all for now. Back to "tend" to sick child. I think what that really means is turn on the t.v. Yes, we have done other things today, but now it is time for me to get SOMETHING done.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Home Again

Photo by David Woo

We spent the weekend in (sort of near) Ft. Worth, Texas this weekend. We met up with my hubby's parents in Texas to visit his brother and family. A very recent arrival was waiting there for us. Lily is obsessed with her new little cousin and her 2.5-year-old cousin.

We were actually 30 minutes from Ft.Worth in one of the many subdivisions that have eaten up the countryside as far as one can see in any direction. I found the landscape of roofs and parking lots to be extremely depressing. My hubby, his mother and I did our best to fit in some culture while we were there. We spent Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth in search of museums. Along the way, we came across a parade. Apparently it was rodeo and stock show time in town. The parade was led off by a group of flag-bearers on horseback. Many were carrying the confederate flag. Decided not to stop for that. After bypassing the parade, we eventually came across two great museums. If one is ever in Ft. Worth, I highly recommend the Kimball Museum and the Ft. Worth Museum of Modern Art (photo above). The former, small, but with a collection of impressive works. The latter, one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen in my lifetime. Fantastic museum, but it would still be awe-inspiring if every bit of art had been removed.

I was hoping for a city with more of its older architecture still intact, but that wasn't what I got. A few impressive buildings remain, but as with far too many cities today, the buildings put up a wall against the street. Too many sleek hotels, too many surface lots. A few areas seem to have been scraped clean of anything older than 2 years. However, it does appear that people are returning to live in lofts and condos in some of these areas. I just wish developers would understand that some of us like a little history left behind.

Anyway, I'm home with a sick child today. Lots of post trip things to do. Hopefully I will return to the studio tomorrow and will soon have new work to show.

Don't forget that everything in my Etsy shop is on sale through January.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

For the Love of Letters and Cities

I'm having such a great time with the new letters and maps I have purchased.

This is a 1940's street map of New York City. It is as dry and fragile as an (extremely) elderly lady's skin. Now unfurled, it will remain so. It has the most beautiful shade of blue for the water. I've already mercilessly cut into it for another one of my text pieces, which I have finished. My husband has snagged that to take to work. Hopefully, I'll eventually get a photo of it.

This map is from an awesome 1950's book of world cities. I have had a copy of this book for several years. I looked through it the other day and found there were dozens and dozens of beautifully colored city street maps. I almost cut the book up, but couldn't. At least until I purchased another copy. I did. Now, I've cut up the newly received copy, which was not in as good condition as the one I already had. I intend on purchasing all of the copies I can find.

This is another 6 x 6" piece in progress. My hubby says the black shapes are tombstones, I say they are houses. I love that birch bark fabric in the background. Lots of tree imagery here.

I think this one is going to have some black root shapes embroidered around the edge. Not sure what else to do to this piece.

There will be more of these pieces. The more I do the more I want to do. Now that I've got my hands on letter stamps and maps, I'm like a shark that has smelled a drop of blood. I feel a frenzy coming on.

Looking at that book of maps has encouraged me to get on Google Maps and explore. American cities are not quite what they were back in the 1950's. Those maps show hotel locations with wonderful names (Pickwick Hotel, Congress Hotel, Hotel Citizen) instead of Motel 6. And theaters (Empire, Rivoli, Lyric). Artistic works in masonry. No doubt plowed down and paved over.

I took a Google Map trip to downtown Atlanta. What did I see? Banks, hotels, parking garages. I saw nothing (but a Hard Rock Cafe) that had any possibility of luring a pedestrian in. Where are the cafes? The shops? Shoe repair? Barbers? Not picking on Atlanta here. I just haven't had a chance to cruise lots of other cities yet.

Are there any cities that are, well, still cities? Downtowns where people still live, work, shop and entertain themselves?

If you know of such a city, please let me know. I love killing time on Google Maps.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

For the Love of Letters

I'm not talking about love letters, but those letters that make up our language, or any language for that matter. Text! Not texting, but . . . Text!

I've been spending some time on Etsy purchasing vintage text items the past few days. The plastic letters here will be used this summer when I do my sun painting on fabric. Those fabrics will make great backgrounds for my mini pieces.

These little letter stamps are 1/2 - 3/4" tall. They came in an awesome box that is an artwork itself. This is just the inside. I LOVE that blue!

I told myself I would play for as long as it was necessary. I would do nothing that smacked of creating to sell. I would not have to complete anything. Completion would be the enemy! Well, that didn't last too long. Here are two pieces that I do believe are finished. I don't know if there will be more like them or not. They are each 6 x 6".

I'm exploring the meanings of how we physically impose our thoughts on the environment and how the environment naturally takes over. I also have a thing for cities -- their naturalness and their unnaturalness. There's something about that urban grid that I love.

We'll see what comes next. I'm excited that thoughts and images have come to me. I always panic thinking that my next step in life will be to become a Wal-Mart greeter. Yet the ideas keep coming.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Women Singing (Again)

Many of you have seen these pieces before on this blog. Now they can be purchased on Etsy.

Nina, 24 x 20"

Janis 24 x 20"

Elis, 24 x 20"

Astrud, 24 x 20"

These are tributes to some of my favorite singing women, Nina Simone, Janis Joplin, Elis Regina, and Astrud Gilberto. I wrote about these pieces in a little more detail in an older post.

Today I went into the studio to work. I had some bits and pieces of ideas laying about. I panicked, I paced, I put something together. I'll see if these new ideas hold water and then I'll take some photos.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

It Takes a Blogging Village

Little Village, 15 x 25", now on Etsy.

Thanks so much to those of you who commented on my last post or sent an email. All of your responses made me feel hugely, terrifically better. The suggestions to wallow in it as long as necessary were taken seriously. But, strangely enough, I suddenly felt better. I didn’t wallow for long. Perhaps a relapse lies ahead. Or its crouching in the bushes.

Instead of shaking my fist in the air at the new year, or giving it the (middle) finger, I decided to accept that it had arrived and I had better let it on in.

This New Year thing is just so not me.

I wait until January 4th to do anything about it. Most folks seemed so excited about the new year on December 26th. The rest got excited about it on the 31th or Jan 1st. Me. No. Actually, I didn’t think the New Year excitement was going to happen at all.

To put it bluntly, I was in a shitty mood until the 4th. I pretended the new year had not come at all.

It reminds me of the way I did things as a kid. And, frankly, still do.

I don’t plan. I don’t make lists. I don’t do much in the way of practice. I am haphazard.

I do most of my serious thinking during those brief restroom stops during the day. I certainly don’t make time to meditate or think during the day. So those little moments come in handy. I was just thinking of the first time I dove into a pool.

I was a kid of some age. Let’s say nine. I had never learned to dive. I really didn’t know how to swim. Moving from point A to point B in a pool of water was possible for me, but I never learned those swimming strokes. One day at the pool with my family, it was announced that there would be swimming races. My father announced that I would be racing. I watched the first race. I immediately realized that diving into the pool would be required at the beginning of the race. I announced to my father that I would not race because I could not dive. I was informed that I would race and I could enter the pool any way I wished. Jumping in was not an option as I was deathly afraid of looking like an idiot. The next race was for me. The whistle blew and I hurled myself in head first. A dive of some sort. I floundered across the pool like a deranged salmon. But I did manage to dive and complete the race. I came in last, of course. My father was impressed that I dove and he announced I was to race again. I dove, I floundered, I came in last.

This is how I still live my life. Avoid doing things. When it becomes necessary to do something, don’t bother to learn correct method. Dive in. Flounder. Come in last.

Apparently, that was last year’s method. And it looks as if 2010 is off to the same start. I dove in a few days late. Now its time to flounder. Perhaps I will learn a few lessons this year. Could be that I learned a few lessons last year and just don’t know it yet. I’ll be able to put that knowledge to good use when the need arises.

Or did I actually dive in yet? Perhaps I’m just hanging along the side of the pool like a middle-aged lady with a bouffant. Only the future will tell. (I really don't like getting my hair wet.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say . . .

I should probably say nothing at all.

But, I'm one of those people who says the wrong thing at the wrong time. Should I stop because its a new year? Yes. Will I? Probably not.

To say that 2009 was a bad art year for me is an understatement. No doubt it was the worst art year I've had to date.

I'm trying to put all of that negative stuff into a box and nail it shut. But while I'm going for the hammer and nails, those slimy, negative things just keep slipping back out.

I'm going to keep reading blogs. It's what I do. I'm compelled. I'm just going to start skipping over those that list all of one's accomplishments of 2009. I just can't bear them anymore. I do wish those artists well. I wish my favorite artists and the art world in general a fantastic 2010. I'm looking forward to seeing what other's create.

I'm just not sure what I will be creating. Or writing.

I'll return when I'm happier.