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June 28, 2010

coincidence?


This was the first CAPTCHA I encountered since moving to my new old home. Phonetically, the second word is my street name.

If I have to purchase one more cleaning implement I might scream. On the other hand, Mop n' Glow really does  have an unbeatable shine.

June 26, 2010

Mars: Day 10, 11

I feel like I landed on Mars. A Mars that needs to be ushered into the 21st century. A dusty Mars. A Mars with moths and moles and carpenter bees. I've seen more insect varieties in one week than I recall seeing over my lifetime. I am not a gardener, though on occasion, I have raised tomatoes in 5-gallon buckets and brought near dead plants back to life with nothing more than water. I decided to plant a hydrangea and some tomatoes, but succeeded only in getting the tomatoes in the ground. If the hydrangea does not die before it goes in the ground, it will be a miracle. The neighbors gave it to me after my mom passed and I guess they figured I'd plop it in the ground immediately. I still owe thank-you notes to people. My stuff has not arrived from LA. In order to make room, I am tossing old clothes and clearing out closets. I am reminded of a former student's drawing in which she stated that "death is just another change of clothes." I used to take comfort in that phrase, but I would hate to come back in moth-eaten clothes, so now I'm not so sure. I am grateful to have a roof over my head, a roof that needs repairing or replaced, but a roof nonetheless. I have taken electricity for granted. Yesterday during a power outage, I polished a candelabrum and contemplated being off the grid. I am in suburbia, less than a mile from metropolitan Nashville and just about 2 miles from Trader Joe's and Anthropologie. I swept and vacuumed a portion of the garage, and noticed this morning, in what I perceived to be a declaration of territorial dispute, that a spider had reinstalled cobwebs across my nice clean patch of garage. The big dog has a secret compartment located somewhere in his coat where he tarries dirt and twigs from the outside and deposits them on the inside. I yield a broom 75% of the day.

I can't imagine getting the house and garage clean enough to resume what I considered to be an ideal environment for working. I am lowering my standards. I saw Sherie' Franssen's video of her studio on facebook and was reminded of what it was like to have a painterly studio. I miss paint. I miss my easel and I didn't even use my easel much. I miss my palette. The moving van is due here next week. I still need to vacuum the silt in the garage.

Today I found an X-acto knife circa 1980 in its original packaging, a penny from 1857, and a black plastic bag filled with something lumpy hanging in the closet. I gently opened the plastic bag and couldn't figure out what I was looking at. It seemed to be possibly a shirt or jacket, but mostly there was dark gray fluffy matter and it smelled. It was too creepy to even poke at, so I double-bagged it and and threw it away. I'm not even going to hazard a guess.

I found this twig on Otto


I found a cart, pulled it into the kitchen, and officially have a makeshift studio. I started a painting, but mostly out of rote, which is to say, I wasn't challenging myself to shift focus, although it's a decent start. These things change, so starts are just starts. I assume at some point this experience will filter into my paintings, but I still cannot say how. I guess that's why it's visual. A friend thought that I would break with tradition and turn the living room into a studio. It's a radical idea but deserves more thought. Meanwhile the kitchen seems doable. Does this mean I've been demoted? I've never worked at a kitchen table. I'm slow to challenge the authority and inherent structure of the house. I threw away a bunch of dust rags-old shirts and baby undies that had been stashed in the linen closet for obviously a very long time. I didn't feel like keeping them. The logic that everything is useful tries to take over. I resist. Since the flood, I am concerned the garage will not make a good studio. The house is naturally dark. As a painter, I am desperate for natural light.

Perhaps it's not as bad as I'm portraying it to be, or maybe it is. It's certainly more than what I imagined.
So far:
Possibility of needing a new roof.
Crawl space has mold and fungus.
Crawl space has crickets. The good news is that the crickets eat the fungus. Nice ecosystem.
The pool needs to be filled in. Meanwhile, some yet-to-be-seen, semi-aquatic creature calls it a home. Perhaps, it too, is eating fungus.
Electrical system functional, but needs updating.
Moths.

I am here until I figure out what's next, and maybe then some. Sometimes I am uncertain.

Dusk is nice. The colors are different here. I need to paint.



June 21, 2010

Will someone remind me why I'm sweeping silt and sifting through moldy textbooks from the 30's instead of renting a crappy studio?

I'm feeling twitchy from not painting. I am making progress cleaning, but it's hard to tell.
True confession #1: As some of you may know I have been moving and packing stuff at one place or another since mid-March. I'm over it. The deadline is gone, but I still need to clear space for my stuff when it arrives. In a moment of "quick what else can I throw out NOW, I grabbed 2 large paintings from my art school days- like the very first ones I did-and instead of ripping them up first, I just loaded them on the van, stretchers and all. They weren't bad paintings, but I have been feeling particularly unsentimental and overwhelmed about the generations of stuff I have to sift through around here. Art I did in kindergarden, high school, and college is no exception. And yes, my mom kept everything I made. Everything. So I get to the dump and as one of the workers unloaded the van, he commented what a nice painting it was and he kept it. I didn't tell him it was mine. It was a nice painting, but a) it was student work, b) I wasn't going to show it and c) I wasn't going to sell it. I'm kind of glad it didn't actually go in the dumpster, but I still feel strange, like maybe I should have hung onto it for posterity. Meanwhile, I'll have to take solace in the fact that some guy who's job is hauling trash has a decent piece of contemporary art on his wall and is probably chillaxing with his feet on a coffee table he also rescued, smoking a fatty and drinking a can of beer. I'm cool with that. I think it was also signed. oops. I shouldn't be so rash.

By end of week I want to post some new work, which would mean I need to make new work. I could probably find 6 cubic feet of relatively "clean" space to work in. I have paints, I have a couple of brushes and I have canvas. I kept thinking about Pollack today. He worked in a barn. I haven't visited the PK studio, but historically artists have hardships and less than state-of-the-art studios. I should be able to work around a few buckets of silt, spideys, and termite-eaten wood, yes?

I'm tired and going to bed. A friend asked me if I was scared being in this house by myself and I said no, not with two dogs, but monster truck dog just whined and it sounded like a door opening and I jumped. Fang is holding steady and even eating dog food again. The guy is like a supersoldier.

June 19, 2010

Life is different here.

For one, everything seems to be spread out over the space time continuum in a different order, For another, I'm getting ready to smite AT&T Broadband. In all my life, I've never ever ever had a more annoying hold recording. The Internet sucks here. Hi-speed my ass. I shudder to think what lo speed is, considering I lose connection about every 3 minutes. I'm grumpy tonight.

I cleaned a small section of the garage today, or more accurately, a cargo van piled high with junk went to the junk yard. Nothing particularly interesting- a 10-foot pole, the skeleton of a dead bird, a canvas tent from the 60's, broken lawn chairs, assorted rusted metal things, a box of something that had disintegrated into something else, an interesting piece of antique furniture in several parts for which I could not figure out, and which was also in a state of sad affairs, a broken spinning wheel, and 6 boxes that my parents never unpacked, or even opened from when we moved here in 1968, to name a few. I opened one up: empty jars, like the ones that Nescafé and Tang came in. I also finally got around to sweeping some of the silt left from the flood. Ideally the garage will be my studio as soon as my studio stuff arrives and I finish cleaning it.

AT&T finally disconnected me from the phone que queue. Not a good sign. (I always forget the extra ue, in queue, in attempt to combine cue ball and queue.) 

I can't wait to paint again. I keep saying that or at least I keep thinking I'm saying that. I was looking over the original deed to the house and noticed I may keep horses, dogs, cows and chickens, but no other animals- in a pen on the premises for the benefit and pleasure of myself and my guests. I could also establish a stable for horses and mules, etc. for general use by the community. I don't care for horses. Oh right, what does that have to do with painting? Exactly. I feel like such a city girl after all these years and suddenly the burbs are sucking me in. I bought two tomato plants. In accordance with the deed, I saw that I may also have a garden, a laundry yard and an incinerator provided I hide it with a hedge. An incinerator would be nice right now. 

tired. bed. 

June 16, 2010

Day one: Welcome to Suburbia + Teaser: My paints arrived.


I should not be blogging. I should be calling a roofer, sorting through stuff, writing thank you notes or anything else on the Endless Summer To-do list. In one of those, why-don't-the-number-of-hot-dogs-and-buns-ever-equal-out moments, my watercolor brushes arrived, as did my oil paints. The dog hospice mobile made it safe and sound, but his highness didn't have such a great day today. I picked up the Monster Truck dog from the kennel and he got a good report card from this kennel. It's waaay on the other end of town, so much so, that it's in another town. I had to wash the car.

I did manage to teach myself Final Cut Pro late one night when I should have been packing and have cut the 1st installment of The Palette video. Stay tuned.

Remind me not to take electricity for granted. 

I'm trying to get better at tooting my own horn and was recently told by an artist/curator in LA that now was the time for me to be egocentric. I think he meant this in a good way, like in a, don't-get-lost-in-the-suburban-life, kind of way. I'll stop using long sentences that require hyphens while I'm at it. I trimmed hedges today. I can't even begin to tell you all the life stuff that needs to be done. Trimming hedges seemed doable. Repairing and refinishing wood floors, putting on a new roof and upgrading electrical seem daunting. As do a million other things.

I found this dress in a drawer. The pattern is butterflies and it's hand-sewn, so I'm guessing my Nana made it. It's too big, but works √° la David Byrnes big suit. It's my new summer work uniform. I've decided to make the garage the studio and will clean it out this weekend. I have no idea whatsoever what the new work will be like. I still need to wrap up the previous current work for the show this fall.



June 07, 2010

My desk.

I do not want to box up one more thing. Not one more piece of paper, not one more thumbtack, nothing, and I very well might not.
I listed the contents of my desk last night as case in point of the trivial stuff in my life.

Vintage metal index card box containing forever stamps and an old Dale Carnegie pamphlet, "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and How to Win Friends and Influence People."
4 mini DV tapes of artist talks
1 hi-8 of performance art
X-acto knife
1 pair needle nose pliers
ipod earbuds
2GB SD card
1GB SD card
8 dollars
box of thank you cards
emory board
DO NOT BEND stamp
king size black magic marker.
4 paint brushes
1 rock
1 mini level
sunglasses
cab receipt
vintage eyewear, outdated prescription
bucket for watercolor water
"Careful, I'm fragile" piece of cardboard from Lay's potato chip box
LOTR 13 cd audio book featuring Ian Holm
business cards
3 teeny tiny mixing bowls
backscratcher
2 rolls of drafting tape
1 roll of scotch tape
laptop battery
earplugs
Snoopy playing cards
calendar planners 2006-2010
eyeglass repair kit
empty box of Sucrets with girl scout badges
"Fragile" stickers
"Glass" stickers
scissors
pushpins
2 more emory boards
special cloth and cleaning kit for the computer screen.
lamp
first aid kid
wacom pen
wacom tablet
35 cents.




LaRose got it down to this:
X-acto knife
1 pair needle nose pliers
ipod earbuds
8 dollars
king size black magic marker.
4 paint brushes
sunglasses
2 rolls of drafting tape
1 roll of scotch tape
laptop battery
earplugs
eyeglass repair kit
scissors
pushpins
2 more emory boards
special cloth and cleaning kit for the computer screen.
first aid kid
wacom pen
wacom tablet
35 cents.

The obvious difference would be the "E" word. Ephemera. 
Gone were the girl scout badges I was planning on sewing on my painting coveralls, along with the calendars denoting my whereabouts for the last 4 years. My Snoopy playing cards were no more. Artist talks I have given, but not uploaded to the computer, vanished. A Dale Carnegie primer which I found ions ago, and have kept for it's retro ephemera value, and because it seemed like a civilized outline of how to coexist with people- gone. LaRose's cut was practical. Keep the stuff that's useful. I on the other hand would be inclined to keep the stuff that's not useful, but insightful. "Careful, I'm Fragile" is a 6" x 4" piece of cardboard showing a anthropomorphized Dorito with a big smile, wearing gloves and shoes. I acquired this in the 80's. I could probably do without the LOTR cd set, but I figured since I listened to it on the drive from Chicago to LA. I would play it in reverse order on the the drive from LA to Nashville. The calendars are for tax purposes, but also so I can remember what works and what doesn't. I could probably get rid of the DO NOT BEND as the Postal Service isn't in the habit of folding my mail. I'll ditch the metal file box. The vintage frames are nice, I should put them on ebay. I already threw away one backscratcher. 

Once in Nashville, I will be doing the sorting thing all over again with even more stuff, but the urgency of having to vacate and separate won't be there. 

June 04, 2010

Eventually I will talk about painting again, as opposed to life as art.

I keep deleting my posts before I publish, as I think perhaps I've crossed the line from art into therapy.


Meanwhile, a little shameless self-promotion over at Coagula Art Journal. I'm wearing a kick-ass blazer my friend Rochelle gave me after she no longer wore it. 


Today will be a multi-pot coffee day. The studio is a hideous array of disarray. I think I will feel better when I deliver my paints to the post office in their little flat rate boxes, knowing they will be waiting for me when I arrive. I'm still concerned about Fang making the trip. He didn't seem too interested in breakfast this morning. It seems like when one accepts death, there is a distancing that happens. Fang stopped sleeping on my bed a couple of months ago. Then he stopped sleeping beside the bed. For the last month he has been sleeping in the hall, also known as the spiritual center of the house because it's got the best vantage point to every portal. In the middle of the night, I can hear him try and get up or change positions, so I'll get up and assist him out the door and then boost him up the steps to get back in. Other than that, we seem to exist in the same space with each other, quietly accepting each other's temporal presence.