Hello valentine…

Map

Painting depicting an old map symbol and land masses.

Been a while, fiends. Mid-February is already surfacing. The Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. is enjoying a mild winter, unless you’re a five-year-old, in which case you are cursing daily your sad lot of never enough snow to have a snow day or to build a snow cat.

Mimi and Beenie are extraordinary. Brains infused with reason and chaos, but wanting reason for default. They finish my thoughts now, which is good, because I no longer have a short-term memory. Just as well, because all I do during the week is work, and who wants to remember that?

Art

There has been a bit of excitement on the art front… I actually finished something! Shocking, I know. A map. The detail appears above. I am currently mapping unknown lands and bodies of water. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover other things, too. Indigenous peoples and animules. But nothing is for certain. Only that the window has been cracked and my room of art is churning out things.

Politics

I am looking forward to the nonsense that will arise before this year’s presidential election. I started writing 20/20 four years ago this month, as things were getting cragee for the 2008 race. I don’t enjoy politics, or believe I have much say in any of it, but I do enjoy Rachel Maddow and listening to her rant and rave in such an educated and naturally smart way about the truly insane and unsavory characters in the ring this time around.

Okay– art, politics, what else? Writing? Photography? More on that later. I’m just glad to have this time with you and me right now.

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Pickle Sandwich™

Beenie invented a delicious new appetizer: the Pickle Sandwich™. Dill on the outside, bread-n-butter on the inside. Truly original, like Beenie. She has a penchant for creating appetizers. The previous celebrated snack was tortilla chip with a dab of hummus and a fancy olive on top. Gluten free! For you and me!

Tomorrow is no work and no school. Me and the ladies will relax in the a.m., possibly eat our weight in blueberry bread and coffee (coffee for me, not them), then troll around looking for a playdate. I have a feeling our fave bagel place is closed. MLK is taken very seriously in these parts, as his teachings should be. Me and Mimi and Beenie have been chatting about him and the good he did for many people. How he was shot. Who shot him?, they ask. That is a hard question to answer. Why was he shot? is also a tough question.

Got extra silence this Sunday a.m. while ladies and gent were at church. Had time to read the Ricky Gervais article in the Times Magazine and also had time to work on one of my dying Black-eyed Susan paintings. It was glorious. Recently unearthed a box of old mixed tapes — the ones that didn’t get trashed from the last house’s basement flood. Listened to a tape from Damon twice, and one side of a tape from Chris. Amazing. I really loved mixed tapes. Why was everyone so happy to replace them with mixed CD’s and jump drives? I’m glad my shitty tape player still works. Analog foreves, yo!

I am fairly sure I beat back the migraine that was threatening my long weekend. Got up early while my head was pounding and spent a half hour twisting out my spine. Not sure what sparked it off this time. Usually it is tied with hormones and that annoying time of the month. I hate headaches. This one better not come back tomorrow. Or the head is going. I’m bagging it up and putting it out for the Monday garbage collection.

There is a book on my bedroom floor, covered in fur, with a set of eyes peeking out from underneath. It is the furriest book I’ve ever had. It is staring at me. It arrived in a mysterious package with another book, and a note from a mysterious person I’ve never met in Berkeley, CA. Isn’t that cool?

Happy New Beer!

Photo of bare trees against a blue pink sky at sunset in winter.

Happy mf new year, peeps! I lost half the month already. Almost. February will be the four-year anniversary of 20/20! Can you imagine? I remember exactly when I started writing this shits. T’was the winter of my discontent, a delayed post-partum depression, that showed up a year or two late. I was sick with some sort of unsavory scourge, or about to be, the 2008 presidential extravaganza was getting revved and ready. Rachel Maddow was emerging from her corduroy cocoon, kicking the flat ass of each and every one of the blustery white men who uttered bluster after bluster of hot air surrounding her. I may have had a crush on Rachel then. Maybe I still do, though am perplexed at her make-up artist’s decision to have her wear false eyelashes. Not really her style.

Yesterday was my one year anniversary at my job. No fanfare, no plaques. It is a bit of a miracle I survived an entire year at this job. The benefits of this position are becoming apparent finally. Other than regular income, I have actually learned about something I feel some passion for. Incredible. No details until there are details to share. It is not all for naught. Shocking.

Paintings are emerging again from the carpeted command center on the top floor. Shouldn’t I give my art room a name? Dying flowers, maps of unknown worlds. This is on the art menu at the moment. Not so different than always. Mimi and Beenie were actually able to hang with me this past Sunday after they got home from church. They came into the studio while I was in the middle of finishing a layer of color on a painting, and got out some pencils and paper and drew while I finished-up. It was fun to have them there! I was only using linseed oil as a medium so they weren’t inhaling bad fumes, though not everyone likes the smell of the linseed oil. I don’t think it’s bad for humans, tho. Got an extra 45 minutes out of painting-time with them there.

Don’t know why this is titled happy new beer. Just seemed silly and beery. I like beer. I drank almost a whole beer last night with no apparent side-effect this morning. I may try another one next week to test the fizzy, hoppy waters again.

Quick, descriptive

still here. contract on house. moving in april. must sell our house. clean and fix up this house. working new job. watching girls. they are watching too much tv while i pack. i’ll make it up later. stomach flu #2. right eye twitching. not eating means no dishes to wash. what do i keep, what do i toss? visualizing a painting studio/office. would like to see the ocean this summer. snow is damp outside, enough to make snow lady/girl/bunny. with carrots for eyes. ginger ale. lots of ginger ale. more soon… i miss you.

Way better in person

I love this painting. I wish I had done it. But my four year old daughter, Mimi, painted it. She has suddenly become quite prolific in the world of paintings in her new preschool class. I think it is hard for her to focus and have the physical and mental space to paint at home (I can TOTALLY relate). We don’t have a lot of room here, and her sister is quite the artist herself, so a place where she is singularly special, like school, is very important. Yet another millionth reason it is great these girls have a chance to go to school as young people. I have my generous parents to thank for this gift of school.

I could continue complaining about a lack of gainful employment, but today I’d like to address something else. I started recording a podcast yesterday. Is that weird? Think of it as an extra dimension to 20/20. Maybe unwelcome, but it’s been over two years of this written drivel–it’s time to branch out. Will let you know when I’ve edited it down to something listenable.

 

failed moon drawing

 

Started a new drawing last night. Sort of like the first one, perhaps… same idea of circles and lines. Oh the simplicity. The moon’s movement will continue into this newer drawing. I’ll post an image when I gots one… I have a half-failed piece I should photograph.. where is the danged thing (it’s here, on the right–>)?  The problem with this piece is the paper. I got this really cool gray chunky paper, thinking it would be a hearty, can take what I give it paper, but it is kind of soft and weak. No Arches cover, to be sure. I went back to the spendy, superpaper for the next piece and it’s already way better. Like butter, drawing on that paper. Woah. Worth every cent. Good thing I bought some back when I had income!

September song


Hello, almost autumn. You’re cool enough to be autumn, anyway. Soon enough. Soon enough, I say… no rush back to the double blizzard kill my family in a Shining sort of way from last year’s winter. Take your time, old, cold.

I was contemplating wrapping up this blog recently. It’s been almost three years (more like 2.5, 3 in February). My daughters are turning four at the end of this month. I am currently not feeling completely and totally, almost every minute overwhelmed by being a parent. I realize this may be an aberration, a hiccup, a break in the mommy matrix, and that soon again my blood pressure will rise at the realization of how seemingly impossible this job is. 24 hours/day, every day, for the rest of my life. I am not thinking about the rest of my life, tho, at the moment. I am thinking once again in the constant now. And not out of any sort of conscious choice. It is just how things are working out. Sure, sure, there are challenges… like watching Mimi, who wakes up like a proverbial angel almost every day, and degenerates into the devil’s minion at around 5 p.m. every day, punching, pushing and berating her sister, teasing her mercilessly… Sure. There’s that. And listening to her abused sister Beenie being forced, and rightfully so, to tattle on Mimi and her bad bad ways. Though, if she’s not tattling, she may take matters into her own hands, and those hands are powerful my friends. Beenie is no wilting flower, as they say. She’s mighty big and very strong and when she’s had enough she will, indeed, open that well-deserved can of whoop-ass on her sweet and rotten sister. She’s just been in such trouble from the past history of her own bad behavior, I think she thinks she’s not really allowed to beat on Mimi. Which she’s not. But then, if she can’t fight back, and she can’t tattle, what can she do? I guess I’ll take the minute-to-minute reporting of the cruelties enlisted by Mimi, when the alternative is more violence. Oh, the violence. Oh the toddler humanity. Are they even toddlers anymore? Doesn’t that seem like a title not befitting a four year old?

The thing, though, is, that when they’re NOT fighting, they will retreat to their room or downstairs when I’m upstairs and play. Together. Detailed, time consuming play. That does not need to involve me. And this may be what has given me pause to not pull out my graying hair. They have each other. They always have and always will, unless they kill each other. I take great comfort in their companionship. And wonder if it has suddenly given me the smallest amount of space in which to re-investigate my own identity. I know its in here somewhere. It may be ready to come back out again. I hope it does soon. I miss me, whoever she may be.

Maybe I’ll keep writing here. It’s cheaper than therapy, and its fun to put up pictures. I just don’t want it to lose the miserable edge it once had. Nobody wants to read about how well things are working. They want dirt. Despair. Don’t they? All three of you who read this thing? Maybe mildly plodding through will have to be enough for now.

Speaking of miserable, creating art continues to be hugely rewarding and utterly unrewarded. Except, of course, for supportive friends and the occasional patron of said art. I am remiss in mailing the Puddle Painting out west to its new home. It’s the proper packaging that delays me. Why does it take so long for me to complete even the simplest tasks? I did manage to send off a rolled-up drawing last week to Boomerang!, which looks like a cool thing to participate in. And progress on the Beet-Shell-Flower painting is slowly crawling along. I believe that piece will complete the “2010 — Year of Making Things for Other People” project. It has been a good year art-wise, considering I’ve had less time this year to work on painting and such than at any other time of my life (except for the girls’ pregnancy, but it wasn’t a lack of time that held me back then, it was feeling like shit for about 9 months, then being attached to said babies for another however many months…). And it has been good for me to have assignment-type goals to work toward. It made what little time I did have more productive. And I believe it actually gave me some fresh ideas of directions to pursue in the future. So all around it was a good year. I think next year I would like to begin to build a new body of work. I realize that I’ve sold off most of my pre-parenting work, so it is time. I’m a very different person and artist now. I look forward to making more new things.

Happy fall, y’all!

Early wake-up call for ballerinas

tutu Mimi

The ladies wake up early and crazed Saturday mornings, excited to go to ballet class. This morning they arrived at my bedside wearing the crazy white fluffy bride dresses their Grandma J made for them, complete with fluffy white veil and bouquets. Scary at first, truth be told, but now I’ve gotten used to the strange, fluffy white fairies that float through our house. Class is in two hours. Think I’ll try to hit the farmer’s market to secure fresh veggies and fruit for the week. At least summer is good for healthy food. This weekend is supposed to be 100 degrees F, with really high humidity. We may try to take the ladies to an air conditioned movie around the corner from our house.

tutu Beenie

I believe Toy Story 3 is playing, or some such silliness. Never took ’em to a movie before, but sweltering hot days seem to demand this kind of thing.

There are 3 or 4 art opportunities approaching. Three exhibits of some sort, and one grant application. I don’t wanna, but might just have to. If for no other reason than to collect the next rejection letter. Applied for it last year, and submitted some Camera Morte stuff, but no dice. This year will be paintings to the grant. Not sure why I bother, but appear to be driven to do so. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would feel like for someone to give me a big chunk of cash to rent a studio space with, pay off some preschool bills and buy some art supplies… and cha-cha heels.