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.


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!

Baltimore, MD: The New South Pole

I bet hundreds, thousands of people all over the Mid-Atlantic of the U.S. are blogging-out over the mondo snow-blast that continues to drop piles of powder in the region. I suppose I will join the ranks. UNBELIEVABLE. Really. It started here around 1 p.m. yesterday and hasn’t stopped yet–it’s 1:55 p.m. now. 24 hours. Luckily, I purchased enough food Thursday to get us through a solid two weeks before the cats start looking like chicken. Hopefully we won’t get Donner Party levels of starvation here in the row house. There IS a grocery store about a seven minute walk from our house, so we may survive, if the shelves have anything left on them. Might take an hour to walk there in three feet of snow. Whatevz. We got food, the heat appears to be working (thanks, fifty year old, asbestos coated, barely working oil burner! kudos!), the girls are relatively healthy (however, Beenie appears to be sporting what I believe to be pink-eye as of last night…ugh), we still have electricity and really nice neighbors. I’m thinking of making some muffins this afternoon to share with the ladies on each side of us. Thanks for being great, Florence and Sue!

So, my painting studio wall seems to have been rented. Damned lack of money! I just can’t do it right now. Good pal, art mentress Jiyun says that my finding myself again studio-less means that there’s something else I want/need more than a wall in a studio. Which, of course, would rule. I’d love to have a permanent place to put all my art crap — drawings, paintings, supplies, a desk, some quiet and focus. I want that. Though, I also have loved sharing Julia’s studio for the past few months. I actually completed the big flower painting — at least, I can’t think of anything else to do to it. So it must be done. Not bad timing, really. Though it is never a good time not to have a painting studio. Something else will come along at the right moment, it always does.

Have I mentioned I’m in an ice castle? WHEN WILL THE SNOW STOP?! Have been thinking about baking, maybe muffins of some sort. Pie. Cookies. Really, is there anything else to do during a blizzard? It’s that or bitch at everyone around me. More soon from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow… oh, how I wish there were hot springs here! Brrrrrrrrr…….


Wolf Moon, 2010.

Really? Is it winter again in Baltimore? This is usually such a temperate climate. But for some reason this winter is especially cold and snowy. Which, frankly, I could do without. Anything that prevents me from going to the painting studio gets put on the shit list. Plus, from what I can tell, winter = scourge of all sorts. Every few weeks, without fail. Bullshit. Maybe Arizona would be a good state to move to next. New Mexico? I actually like Baltimore, tho. And my parents live near here. And they need their granddaughters, and the girls LOVE their grandparents. We’re staying put. Besides, who has money to move? Not me. Not us. Bleech.

I am at once inspired and completely without energy. How can that be? I’ve had a number of ‘occultish’ messages over the past few weeks from various sources. Astrology, Tarot, channeled dreams told to me by a person. Weird shit. All of the messages have been quite similar, also freaky. Apparently, my summer is gonna be OFF THE HOOK! Better start training now, now that I’m trapped in my igloo hibernation compound. This confinement is worse for the girls than for me. They actually require quite a bit of physical exertion, unlike me, who has all too easily settled into a completely sloth-like existence. As a result, they have covered their weird, oversized stuffed horse in blankets, put him on a large pillow, listened to his ‘heart beeps’ with their stethoscopes, and packaged all of their puzzle pieces in brown paper lunch bags. You gotta do something whilst trapped in the house on a freezing cold day, right? The best thing, the coolest thing that happened today, was ROCKING OUT in the basement with the ladies, both singing into microphones, while I played along on my bass. I can’t even tell you how mind-blowingly great it was. They sang at the same time, but complementing one another perfectly, blending Beenie’s constant Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer abstract nod with Mimi’s Mama Sez-type rap, both naturally falling into what was a serious performance. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by this song, actually. Children are so naturally good at so much, it kinda breaks my heart how much we are forced to let fall away once shame comes into play. I must capture this perfection before they realize how brilliant they are. Next time, I’m bringing a recording device.

Ten days?!

This tree root is located at the end of my block, along with other filthy roots.

How has it been ten days since I’ve been focused enough to write up on this shits? What has happened in the past ten days? Lots, I suppose. At some point I went to a Capricorn party, funny, as it’s usually the Aquarians and Libras who have mass, astrologically driven birthday celebrations. Something great happened at this event. Most importantly for me, it somehow ended what seems like months of a nasty funk in my brain. You could call it depression, I suppose. You could call it enui. Whatever it was, it SUCKED the life out of me and SUCKED and I hope it never comes back (though what I have learned of the artistic temperament over the years means we shall meet again…). Whatever. It is gone now and suddenly life seems hopeful. The timing for this is strange. The earth shakes and quakes and people suffer terribly. Friends of friends die suddenly. The ether is amiss and for no good reason I am feeling inspired. Not because of the badness, perhaps in spite of it?

My neighbor’s family lives in Haiti, and I’ve been worried about her and them, and was relieved to speak with her today. She said her peeps live in the mountains so no big destruction. She also said that you shouldn’t send money to the gov’t there, because they will not share with the people. I’m glad her family is okay.

I would like to recommend a great international aid organization, a place I once worked for pre-babies, that puts your money directly into the communities of people who are in need. Catholic Relief Services. If you are moved to donate to the relief efforts in Haiti, I can say without hesitation, CRS will do good with it. www.crs.org.

This weekend has been simultaneously shitty and inspired. It seems like things are extreme in general at the moment. Lots of creative inspiration and opportunity. And tons of terrible behavior and money/job stresses. But this is hands-down a billion times better than depressed inertia, the inability to move or get excited about anything. Mania? Bring it on.

Painted this morning for 1.5 hours, which was violet, sienna, sap green, raw umbered bliss. The big painting is almost done. I was even able to tighten up Nappy’s Puddle Painting and start work again on that, which put me in a great mood. Gotta keep that good art energy window cracked. Shit, I should throw a rock through it. It’s hard to get motivated when you’re not motivated.

Go ask Alice

Crazy chaos leaf flashback I had at the playground. Woah!

Oh spit! Me and the ladies hit their PRESCHOOL CLASS this morning to pick out cubbie holes. Beenie was busy investigating the toy section of the class and Mimi stuck close to me but was friendly to the teacher, Miss Alice. Nice lady. She immediately told the girls about two of what seem to be many rules in the classroom:

  1. the toys, especially the ones on rollers, stay on the carpeted side of the room
  2. the dolls and other things wearing clothes keep their clothes on. no nudity.

Needless to say… I LIKE! Bring on the rules. Bring on someone other than me giving these brilliant, untamed girls some guidance. I couldn’t be more pleased. The world is full of rules and everyone has different ones and now is a great time for them to learn this. The director moved them into a nicer classroom than I thought they’d be in, one with a teenie tiny little baby toilet! Perfect sized just for them. There will be 19 kids in the classroom, with three teachers. I feel as if someone just gave me a shot of adrenaline. Maybe it’s the big cup of coffee I just sucked down. Friday is D-day. 9:15-12 noon. I think we’re all gonna be okay.

In other news, I just found out about an arts grant I think I should apply for. The deadline, of course, is for September 15th, which gives me, um, four days to get it together. No different than usual, though, really. I need to come up with a proposal of sorts, outlining what I’d spend the money on… which would be childcare, methinks. I already have most of my supplies. Maybe some computer programs I could buy, but mostly I need time. Time is money. I could easily base the next ten years of my artistic life discovering the nooks and crannies of Camera Morte and all it has to offer. What a luxury.


Watch out where the huskies go, and don’t you eat that pinky snow…

Yeah, I know the actual lyrics are about yellow snow, but I’m not talkin’ bout yellow snow, I’m talkin’ bout pink snow, yo! It is falling. The pink trees weren’t full bloom for even a week before the steaming hot pre-emptive summer came last week and scorched everything in its path. I hate summer. I’ll say it right now. But I hate winter worse, because it means no playground fun, just indoor insanity and depression.

pink-snow-2So, after chatting with Lixilambert, I decided not to enter Camera Morte images into the NY Photo Festival, deadline today. $80 is a lot of money, and that’s what I’d end up paying to submit my work, and I am diametrically opposed to paying someone to let me show my art. What does diametrically mean? I can use it in a sentence but if hard-pressed to explain myself, I would probably fall short. Here’s my guess: diametrically means: very, at one’s very base, absolutely. Now let’s find out what it really means… in direct opposition. My definition was not correct, but my use of the word was. I believe many of the words in my vocabulary are used in this manner; they sound like they are supposed to be next to other words, and when used with those words, they make sense to someone, or they’d call me out on it. Right? Anyway, the NY Photo Festival, yeah. I don’t want to pay money to show CM images. I will know when the right time to put them out into the world is, and I will know the way in which they need to be presented. This is not that time.

cmdaffoPaintings from CM are going smashingly, tho, if I do say myself. I LOVE painting from these pictures! More liberating than I could have ever imagined. Started a large, 24″H x 30″W painting on wood panel today. I think the image may have been of a daffodil, but now it’s a big smear of color hovering in the center of a bunch of grass looking, grayed-out shapes. Got real earthy in the color choices for underpainting. I haven’t felt this loose and tuned into the physicality of the paint in years and years. I can’t believe I am still able to indulge in this fantastic act. Thank you, parents! Without you, this would not be happening, at least not on such a big and satisfying level. I don’t think my parents read this, which is probably for the best in a way. But the thankful energy has left me and is being directed at them as we speak/write/read.

This weekend with no spouse is proving A-OKAY so far. The house is a bit of a pigsty and I don’t care. Jimmy crack corn and I don’t care about that, either. I still did a few loads of laundry and picked up some (barely), and all are in bed and quiet engulfs the house. Old pal Mara (aka Kleio’s Belly for those in the know) is in town this weekend, so it is a full-on, 100% house full o’ ladies. The girls are assimilating to the new way of life, that will only continue till we pick up dada at the airport Sunday evening. Time, for toddlers, is immediate — they have no way of knowing if and when he will return, or even really why he dissappeared. I’ve been telling them he went into an airplane to see some friends. Who knows what they understand. They are anything but oblivious. I am always surprised when people think their little kids don’t notice when important people come and go in their lives. They notice everything, all the time.