Tuesday, June 30, 2009

46 and Yearning

Born a Poet, 6.5 x 4.5"

Yes, it is still June, but I have already turned my calendar to July. My birthday month.

Birthdays are no longer the joyous occasions they were when I was a child. Actually, they were quite fun until I turned 30. At 30, I was not freaked out about aging. I was freaked out about where I was in my life. I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. At 29, I was in a pretty good spot. I was doing computer graphics for an environmental company outside of Washington D.C. I was creating 300 slides for my company’s presentation in China. I had moved up from being a “word processor” typing in a room with 3 others to having my own office, and well, moving on up. I turned 30, the company was cutting back, and suddenly I was being informed that I would be assisting the receptionist, processing the mail, and making travel plans for those who actually got to go out into the world. WTF. I was NOT going to go backwards at the age of 30. So I quit. To do what, I didn’t know.

And almost 16 years later, I still do not know. Did I end up going backwards? Or was it sideways? Whichever way I went, I am apparently still going in that direction.

I want to write positive things on my blog. People seem to like that. When I’m positive, I blog a great deal. When I’m not, I don’t. Hence, my being quiet for the past few days. And now here comes July, my birthday, the time to evaluate my accomplishments over the past year. I won’t be going into that here. Part of the plan to keep this blog positive.

When I was in college, I yearned to get out into the world and make my mark. When I turned 30 and quit my job, I yearned to do something creative. Now that I am doing something creative, I yearn to make a living from it. I wish someone could get paid for yearning. But that is not the way the world works.

What am I going to do with the last half of my life? Yeah, the last half (or should I say second half). Whatever. It’s half over. I’m a half-empty-glass sort of person. I’m thinking that if you took a poll on how long people wanted to live, most would say 90. So here I am, going on over to 46 in a few days. It sounds, and feels, much different that 45.

What do I want for my birthday? I want a human GPS system. I want a firm, but friendly, vaguely British sounding woman to tell me to go 5.4 miles and take a left. When I accidentally blow past this turn, I want to hear the word “recalculating.” Then I want new instructions. I feel aimless. Actually, I feel like one of those cartoon characters that is heading off in a certain direction, where up ahead and out of sight, brickmasons are rapidly building a wall. And you know this character is going to walk right into it. Sigh.

My small goal this week, is to complete two more smallish pieces for the show next week. Yesterday I finished off four more of the teeny bird pieces. When this is done, I will take some time and do some yearning and see if I can find some direction. I’ve thought about adding some maps to my work. Perhaps this will help.

And now for some YouTube nostalgia, here’s a song from my college yearning days.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hope and Possibility

Benefits of Sunshine I, II and III, each 10 x 10"

I have a short show coming up in a couple of weeks!

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts runs July 8-12. While I am not a participating artist (yet), I will be showing my work at Happy Valley Optical on Allen Street in State College. What? Purchase eyewear and art at the same establishment? Sure! Why not! The store is on the festival route & a few of my items will be shown in the window. So, my work will spend a few days in front of potential customers.

It will probably be a couple of weeks before I put any new items on Etsy. I'm saving my new smaller pieces for this show. What does not sell will appear on Etsy soon after. But hey, perhaps everything will sell.

There's always hope.

I will spend the next few days printing up new business cards and trying to find ways to hang my work from the ceiling with fishing wire. The hubby has constructed a stand to place in the display window. We'll cover it with black fabric and lay out some pieces on that. I will also have the use of a large table in the store. This is where I will display some of the teeny bird pieces on little easels. Which I must go out now and buy.

If all goes well (and possibly if not), I will have a "full" exhibit at the store this fall. I am looking forward to this possibility.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Birds, Book, Calvin Klein is Still a Prick


These are my two newest birds, available on Etsy. They are both 6.5 x 4.5" and are $26.00. There are at least two more to come this week. My Etsy shop will be well stocked soon, as I will be adding a new house quilt (as soon as I can name it), three 10 x 10" pieces, and pieces from my Ebay store which I am closing down.

I spent an hour or so this past Saturday at our local antiques mall looking for more vintage books. No luck. I did find a seller on Etsy just a few minutes ago. It's difficult to buy a vintage book without actually seeing it, smelling it, and feeling the pages. But I have no choice. So new inspiration for these little quilts will be coming in the mail soon.


As I was suspecting, the next chapter in Eat, Pray, Love has left me unsatisified. Unlike the completely enjoyable Italy chapter, this one leaves me feeling inadequate. I am not as enlightened as our dear writer. I have not come close to meeting God. Or course, I haven't been trying. Apparently, it takes vast amounts of work. You must leave your life behind, head to India, and live in an Ashram for months at a time. I have a feeling that there's a load of people in this world that aren't gonna be finding God anytime soon.

Mediation is the word of the day here. For hours. I did not feel sorry for our dear author when her mantra was not working for her. She selected a new one. Seemed to work. I do have a feeling that I'm probably not the only person who felt somewhat repelled by this chapter. Sure, meditate away if that is what does it for you. But I have a feeling the majority of this world's residents just don't have that kind of time, nor the money to run away to find themselves. Their mantras probably relate to the economy. . . pay the bills pay the bills pay the bills.

Should I assume this is the only way. It is one way. It is also a way for someone to earn some money. Would a drumming circle give the same effect? What about just loving and hugging each other? Is it necessary to sit outside and be bitten by mosquitoes for two hours, just for the sake of doing it and getting through it?

Still, this section is not a complete loss for me. On page 178, there is a discussion on selecting your thoughts. Eliminating the bad. Ms. Gilbert mindfully repeats the thought, "I will not harbor unhealthy thoughts anymore." This is something positive to take away.

And speaking of unhealthy thoughts . . .

Calvin Klein is Still a Prick

I've done some Googling this morning and have yet to read about that sign being removed. I have yet to read an apology from Mr. Klein. Therefore, Calvin Klein is still a prick. Men of less "importance" (I say that with a snarl), have been listed on the National Sex Offender Registry. Mr. Klein does not show up on this registry. Yet. I hope that blasted sign is down by October when I go with my family to New York City. Wouldn't it be ridiculous for me to be arrested to attempting to destroy the sign?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Calvin Klein is a Prick

This is a long tirade.  It may contain unpleasant words.  I’m sorry to deviate from my little blog of bird art.  But I must.  If you agree, feel free to pass it on.  If you disagree, just sit and think about it for a while.

For those who have not yet seen Mr. Klein’s latest jeans ad, here is a link.  I will not post the photo here without a link as I’m sure that there are children out there in the blog world who would see it.  There are probably moms who blog with their children in their laps.  I think it is important for a parent to chose whether or not their child views photos with sexual content.

 Am I the only one who feels that it is important for parents to be able to prevent their children from seeing photos of young men and women engaged in a threesome (apparently recently down from a foursome)?  I think that other parents would be in agreement with me.  But not Calvin Klein.  That prick!

Yes, I’m angry.

Who appointed him the Minister of Sexuality.  He did, himself!  I, for one, would like to see him removed from this self-appointed position.

Will I get in trouble for calling Mr. Klein a prick?  Possibly.  I don’t think that my calling anyone a prick could possibly be worse than public 50-foot-tall foursome fornication.  Yep, right there in Times Square in New York City.  Those kiddies on their way to see the Lion King and Mary Poppins (substitute any children’s theatre production) can see things that are usually only seen in the pages of adult magazines and in R-rated movies.

For those who do not know me, I am not a prude.  What two (or three or four or more) consenting adults want to do in the privacy of their own homes, hotel rooms, discreetly parked vehicles, is up to them.  I really don’t care.  These consenting adults can wrap each other up in duct tape and flog each other.  Whatever.  As long as I’m not being forced to participate in any way.  I really have no problem with nudity.  We have no locks on our bathroom doors at home.  We all know what each other looks like in my house.  I have yet to go into a museum and be completely offended by a graphic painting or sculpture.  If Mr. Klein’s ad had shown a topless woman in her Calvin undies, I wouldn’t have cared.  If it had been a man wearing only the skimpiest of marble bags, I wouldn’t have cared.  If I see four streakers on the streets of New York, I’m likely to cheer them on.  My 7-year-old daughter would probably have a good laugh.  But have those same four pretending to engage in sex in front of me in the city street in front of children, and yes, I will want to put a stop to it.

There were comments from readers accompanying this article.  There are a great deal of people in favor of the ad.  I seriously doubt that those who approve have young children.  What many said was that nudity is o.k.  But it is not the nudity that is the problem.  These folks do have some clothes on.  No genitalia is on display.  Not the point!  Some cited Europe as a reason to approve of this ad.  “Europeans would not disapprove of this ad,” some say.  So.  And they are right?  Didn’t their mothers ever say, “Just because those kids (countries) do it, doesn’t mean it’s right?”  Perhaps we should pass on our American beliefs to those European countries.  Yeah, they could start carrying guns to movie theaters just because Americans can do it.

Just who the hell does Calvin Klein think he is to force sex “education” on my child?  Anybody’s child?  Everybody’s child who is in viewing distance of one of his ads?  As I type, is he at a local child care center showing soft-core porn.  Is he planning on slipping his ad into Highlights magazine.  Does that sound like a little too much?  What is the difference between that and his 50-foot ad?

Sure, the economy is affecting everyone lately.  Even Calvin Klein.  Instead of putting out a good product to sell, he’s selling sex instead.  Forcing his ads on the innocent just to line his own damn pockets.  I’m not saying that this ad should be banned.  I am saying that it should be displayed in appropriate places.  Inside magazines, perhaps (not Highlights).   If this is Mr. Klein’s fantasy, fine.  Go for it dude.  Just keep it to yourself and those immediately involved.  Once you start inflicting this on innocent children, you are not an advertiser but a pedophile. 

Let’s put it this way.  Say my neighbor is an eccentric, reclusive man.  He waves my daughter over and shows her this photograph.  I think the police should be summoned.  I would classify that as a case of pedophilia (in its budding state).  But Calvin Klein thinks HE can get away with this?

I may have to update my title. . .

Calvin Klein is a rude, obnoxious Pedophile.

Great Christ, what is he going to do next?  Have men dressed in nothing but trenchcoats going throughout the city and exposing themselves.  Flinging open their coats and requesting our children get on their knees and open their mouths wide? 

I sure hope I didn’t give Mr. Klein and his ad agency full of money whores any ideas.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Birds, Eating, Praying (?), Loving and Summer "Vacation"


First, here are a few new little birds.  There will be better photos in a day or so.  I'm finishing up another one, so there will be a total of six.   I love making these!  I hope the ideas will keep popping up.  I'm having such fun cutting words and phrases out of old books.  

Eat, Pray, Love

I hope I do not get sued for using those three words.

I am almost through the first section of Elizabeth Gilbert’s travels in Eat, Pray Love.  I am in love with Italy.  India and Indonesia are coming up, but I’m guessing I will not feel the same about those countries as I do about Italy.  We shall see.

So far, the book is going well for me.  I was completely expecting a self-righteous, nose-in-air, feet firmly on ground author.  You know the kind.  Someone that makes you feel nasty.  Like grease, dirt, or snot.  No, this book is written by a human.  Flaws and all.  I can relate to that.

The writing is strong.  There is no poetry here.  No flowery passages.   Nothing heart-felt, but gut-felt.  This is not a book about getting cute haircuts, coordinating handbags with Manolos, or the agony of a broken nail.  Real life happens here.  There is, however, a mention of a latte.  I guess a trendy coffee is ok now and then.

Have I been affected by this book?  Is that why people read books?  We’ll see what happens with the wrap-up.  I’m hoping to be somewhat of a different person.  I’m hoping for a little bit of an education.  At least in what NOT to do with my life.  Right now, the greatest change I want to make is to trade my Rosetta Stone French language set for a Rosetta Stone Italian language set.  I really want to curse in Italian.  My idea of fun is apparently a bit limited.  I’m hoping for some expansion in my life from this book.

Summer "Vacation"

Today is my daughter's last day of school.  I am now on vacation.  I was hoping to finish 6 little bird pieces by noon today -- I only have a couple of stitches left.  Today is cold and rainy.  NOT what I expected for the beginning of summer vacation.  Perhaps things will look up when summer is officially here.

Tomorrow, we wait for the exterminator.  Then we go to the bookstore to pick up some summer workbooks for my daughter.  She is already missing school.  She will be totally depressed by tomorrow.  What a better cure than to do some math problems.

Friday, we will go downtown and have lunch together.  Then we will go to the toy store and fondle the merchandise.  Perhaps we will put on raingear and sing and dance in puddles.  Aint much else to do.  Go to the pool?  Ha!  Not when it's 60 degrees.

Next week. summer camps start.  Something different almost every week.  Each Monday, I get to wake up in a panic and figure out when and where my kid is supposed to go.  I'll have to pack lunches and snacks, smear on sunscreen, spray on bug spray, get out the map and locate the camp.  Each afternoon I'll head out in the car and wonder where the hell my kid is and attempt to point my car in the right direction.  I miss the school bus already.

Now, I'm off to eat chocolate and be slothful.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Of The Sun and Moon

Of the Sun, 6.5 x 4.5"
And Moon, 6.5 x 4.5"

I had a fantastic time creating these two pieces.  There is also a new one ready to photograph.  And these are named!  I still have four other, larger pieces that are completed but are waiting for names.  But with my antique book full of words, these pieces just seemed to name themselves.

This beautiful, old book entitled The Growing World, is a treasure trove of words.  The book just fell open to an article about eclipses of the sun and moon.  So.  Quickly named.   I'm sure some book lover would reel at the though of tearing up an intact book from 1889, but too late.  And I'm having too much fun to stop now.

I'm also overcoming certain fears by working small.  If I want to paint something AFTER the quilt is finished, I feel freer doing it.  I'm not ruining a piece worth several hundred dollars.   And there are some mistakes on these.  But they've been covered up.  Wheeeee.

The next two pieces are green, gold, and brown.  If anyone is interested in a special color combination, please let me know.  I'll even do pink!!!  Really.

Etsy Treasury

I'm in Dancing Girl's Studio's Etsy Treasury.  Thanks so much!   I love these other pieces.   

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Beats Selling Eggs

Of the Sun, 4.5 x 6.5"

Fun day in the studio, now that I have let myself in.  I have been gathering ideas the last couple of days and today they all started pouring out.  My mission was to complete something today.  Anything.  And here it is.  It's small, it's cute (as cute as I get anyways), and it's going to be affordable.

I'll tell you why.

My daughter just finished watching the American Girl Movie Kit Kittredge.  A great movie for young girls!  Anyway, the movie is set during the Great Depression.  Families all over the country are broken up as fathers go to cities in search of work.  The rest of the families do what they can to keep their homes.  Kitt's family, as most of the families in their neighborhood that manage to retain their homes, takes on boarders, sells eggs, and makes clothing from feed sacks.  Life for them ain't easy. 

My family has been fairly lucky during this recession.  The hubby still has employment, and I have not been forced to give up my art to be a Walmart greeter or coal miner. However, I do miss the income I have enjoyed for the last several years.  I use my income for home furnishings, clothing, vacations, books, and ART SUPPLIES.  Darn those things are expensive.

I want to keep on doing as I have been doing.  I like making larger pieces of art.  But they are not selling at this time.  My idea of large is probably not the same as somebody else's idea of large, but regardless, cheaper is selling better at this point.  I think this fellow here will cost $26.00 and $4.00 for shipping.

I'm not sure I want to get into selling prints or doing notecards.  Textiles just look so much better in person.  The idea of my art is to touch it myself, and when I'm done touching it, I want it to go out in the world to be touched by someone else.  So, for now, until I'm forced to sell eggs, I'm sticking with creating originals.  Smaller originals.  With content that I think people will like.

Selling out?!?  I don't think so.  Meshing my interests with the interests of the marketplace?  I think that is how I can best put it.  Birds are hot!  I like birds.  I have put birds into my art for years now, and I'm not about to stop.  So . . . more birds!  Text?  So far, I have not used text in my work.  Possibly because so many others have used it in their work.  But I love text.  I love a letter.  I love a word.  I love a phrase.  And so on.  I have collected a handful of "antique" books for the collages I used to do in the dark ages.  Although, I could never convince myself to cut them up.  I pulled a couple of books out this morning and started ripping and cutting.

One small slip of paper that has been in my idea folder for, uh, 10 years (wow), has finally come out of the dark.  It says, "words for wings."  So now my birds will have words for wings.

So, let me know what you think.  Really.  Whether you like it or not.  Whether you think I'm selling out or not.    Be honest.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Into Etsy

Echo, 6 x 5.5", now on Etsy

This is day #2 that I have not been in the studio.  This is very hard for me.  I rarely get to go there on the weekend, but to do this during the week . . .

But I need to spend some time exploring Etsy, marketing options, blogs of all sorts, and perhaps do some business related reading.  I feel like I'm goofing off by not actually creating something.  But I've got to realize that I'm creating my artist self.  Creation is only part of the whole scheme.

I do feel it is time to give my work and energy over to Etsy.  Ebay has not done well for me in the past 8-10 months.  I'm confusing myself by having work in different areas and I feel I can market better if all artwork is shown in one of these two places.  I'm sure there are more venues to explore, but, aside from my website, Etsy is where you will be able to find my art online.

There may be some opportunities to show my work locally this summer and fall.  I may also submit some work to fiber/paper art magazines. 

If anybody has any Etsy advice, or ANY art marketing advice for me, it would be greatly appreciated.

Here is what is on Ebay this week. 

Monday, June 8, 2009

Eating, Praying(?), Loving and Thanking

I am not in the studio today.  Last Friday I finished up four new pieces which have yet to be named and photographed.  As usual, the naming is difficult.

I spent this morning cruising blogs, cursing the computer, staring at the ceiling, and email whining to my oldest  (not age-wise, of course) blogging friend Paula.  Paula and I have done lots of bitching and complaining through emails.  I do appreciate her putting up with me.  We have been able to complain together about sales and dozens of other things I do not want to reveal here.  Like me, Paula is a self-taught artist.  Unlike me, Paula is a self-taught marketer.  When I tend to put my head down and whimper, Paula is resourceful and full of grit (that is a good thing).  She has put in a lot of time and effort to get me going.  And it takes a lot to get me going.  Paula is my own personal Wise Woman.

I do my best not to whine on my blog, although I know it still comes through at times.  And then, sometimes I rant.  Lately, it seems I have been a little quieter.  I’ve been overwhelmed at marketing myself and underwhelmed with the marketing options.  I have to calm down, gather my work and wits about me and get going.  Soon. 

Anyway, onto eating, praying, and loving. . .

When I read an artist’s blog, I like to learn as much as possible about that person, including what books they are reading.  Well, one very popular book seems to be Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.  For some reason, I would always dismiss this book by thinking, “well if everyone is reading it, I don’t want to read it.”  Makes sense, right?  I told myself today, if I found one more reference to it, I would buy it.  I found one more.

I had to go to Target again this morning.  I had a request from my daughter for kids’ gardening gloves and Magic Markers that were not all dried out.  How could I not comply with a request like that?  So there in a display at the end of the aisle was that darn book.  I bought it.  And now I’ve got to read it.

I’m usually the one who poopoos what everyone else is doing.  I usually don’t care.  Sometimes I even roll my eyes.  Those who recommend this book seem to be nice, sweet, loving, “Zen”, wholesome women.  If I hang out with anyone, it is usually the surly, sarcastic, cussin’ crowd.  But I do look over enviously at those sweet, loving, wholesome women who seem to be having a good time together.

We’ll see how well this book sets with me.  I’m probably not going into it with the best of attitudes.  Although I do love eating.  Can’t cook worth a darn, though.  As far as praying, I don’t look up to a higher power who is capable of guiding us.  I do believe in this power in each of us, just not outside of us. And love, well love is good.   I could live without eating anything but raisins, but I couldn’t live without love.

So, wish me luck on this adventure.  See if I’m a changed person at the end.  If I don’t mention this book again, well, you’ll know that I’m off reading something dark, scary and sarcastic.

Anyone else read this book that didn’t admit to it already?



Sunday, June 7, 2009

Keeping Quiet

Well, I wanted to post something. But I feel way too quiet.

I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed about all of this social media stuff lately. Or, perhaps I should say underwhelmed. Underwhelmed to the point where I don't want to say ANYTHING at this point.

So, I'm blogging to say I don't want to blog right now.

Weird, huh?

As far as that last post goes, I really would like to hear any Wise Women stories you have. Doesn't have to be long. A two word quote from a wise woman you don't even know would be good.

Perhaps I should hold this blog hostage. Yeah, I won't post another thing until I get some wise woman comments.

Otherwise, got nothing to say.

Until maybe tomorrow. I do love a Monday.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wise Women

This is Wise Women, 42 x 11" and detail. It is up for auction on Ebay this week, until Sunday.

Hopefully, all of us have wise women in our lives. Mothers, sisters, neighbors, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunts, mentors and/or friends. Become one yourself. Pass on the stories of the wise women you know, so that others may become wise, too.

Do you know of any wise women?

I'm always looking for stories of women artists. If you know of any, please let me know.

Or, at the very least, cautionary tales of not being a wise woman.