Category Archives: painting

Art News-Faraway Journal

I was toodling through my Duotrope newsletter yesterday, looking for places to send my poor orphan Steven who has yet to find a good home, and I checked out FARAWAY JOURNAL. Disappointed to learn at the site that they were closed for the next issue, I spent some time exploring and was suddenly caught by the words “ARTWORK STILL NEEDED.”

Now, I’m not used to thinking of myself as an artist, especially one that might send off work for consideration, but I thought why not? My friends say they like it (I know). But I sent the magazine pix anyway, digitals of Blue and Fence, acrylics with metal and wire, and guess what, they are going to chose one for their next issue. I am so excited.


Vacation Optimism, Reality Bites

So I just got back from clean air, lush grasses, and good friends. All the way back on the 12 hour journey from the White Mountains to LA, I listened to Return of the Native. These little ironies happen to me. I also–when not plugged in to my CD player–thought about all the stuff I wanted to accomplish when I got home: new stories down on paper, old stories reread and polished, submission mania, contests to enter; jewelry too with Betsy’s boutique coming up in a couple of months, supplies still virgin from Tucson and ideas popping out of my brain; and the painting. A little party in October at the salon of my very kind and loving hair dresser. Lots to do, lots to get ready for. BUT as always, the blush is off the aging sunburned cheek faster than I can say, “What IS that awful smell in the kitchen?”

First my dog. Reality bite #1. Cinder is amazingly alive and well. I’ve been worried–still worried–that one of these mornings I’m going to wake up and she won’t. I couldn’t imagine the stress that would be put on my mother-in-law if while staying at our house, SHE woke up and my dog didn’t!!! I put her at the vet while we were on vacation. The dog, not the M-I-L. By Friday according to the vet, Cinder was on an I.V. with–well, I won’t go into that. Let’s just say, I brought her home ($700 dollars later) and after a day, she’s back to normal. Her back end is wobbly with arthritis, but she IS 15 1/2 years old. That’s over 105 to me!

Second, the daughter—and her dog. Rodeo is a very cute puppy, a 10-month old rescue from Reno, part Australian cattle dog, part ???, and definitely part coyote. Rode is loving, sweet, and just emerging from the traumas of life on the street. I am so proud of how my daughter has nurtured this perky tangle of bones and fur. Having them both here the night we came home from the mountains, however, was a mixed blessing. Thrilled to have them–love that girl–but also difficult because Rodeo IS a puppy and a HERDER, and Cinder, old grand dame that she is, does not like to be herded!!! Plus daughters are distracting. I wanted her to see the last five episodes of So You Think You Can Dance (she doesn’t have TIVO and watches no regular TV up on the mountain) and of course, Project Runway. These shows appeal to both of us and our creative spirits so it is tradition to curl up on the sofa, skim through all those ruthless commercials and watch how passion can transform some one. Alas she went back up the hill yesterday. I miss her, but it is now back to reality.

Third, vacation ketchup!! making me bleed tomato sauce. Yep, laundry started, smells finally eradicated, to-do lists written and lost, new sneakers to buy (thank you, Rodeo, I’ve been putting that task off. Now I HAVE to go shopping!), and multitudinous loose ends to tie up including transferring photos to the desktop so I can send pix to all the people I promised too.

And of course there’s those teeth marks from the reality bites in my “creative life” too. Lots of writing deadlines I’d like to meet: Clapboard House, the Fish Anthology (thanks for the heads up, Sarah), Writer’s Digest’s popular fiction, and short shorts contests. New ideas are cooking up in the brain pan, but I need a week of uninterrupted work time to organize and get started. I hope that begins today.

I probably have more than enough paintings for the Masters Studio spot in October, but I have made almost no jewelry is six months except for the twenty or so bracelets Lynne and I cranked out for my son’s bride-to-be shower in June. Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. There is that wedding in October, weight to be lost, skin to be polished and I wish tightened (no way I’ll go under the knife: does anyone know a miracle cream for 59 year old skin?), and shopping for the M-O-G dress. MOG! What a great word to describe the emotion of trying to look good for wedding photos! I’m feeling very MOGGY today!

So my dance card is full and I’m feeling less optimism than I did toward the end of the week last week when all I had to worry about was washing my hands for dinner. But at least I know what’s on the agenda for the next couple months and that given this, I hope I remember to employ the word “NO” when REALITY BITES.

Art has its way with me

Okay. If you haven’t read my ADD post, now might be a good time. I don’t know what’s going on, but the last couple years have blown apart my left brain, leaving it strewn across the landscape like so many abandoned PDAs, and crowned my right brain as Grand Empress of the Skull. I guess this must have something to do with the REPRESSION of creative flow and the sudden release of constraints, but whatever it is, it’s damned fun. So far this year I have painted fifteen pictures and in October a friend has generously granted me the opportunity to show at his business what I can do with a tube of acrylic metal paint, wire, and crap I gather from the streets of South Pas. If you thought I was done with you guys, you’re wrong. Invitations forthcoming.

Meanwhile, here’s ONE direction all this exploding brain matter has taken me.

Now back to the book.


I don’t think I officially have A.D.D, but I often feel as if I do. I’m constantly wanting to start something new, to pull something surprising out of my brain, and see what it will develop into. And this is actually a good thing, especially when I’m beginning a new project, but unfortunately all those flashes of inspiration seem to strike me when I’m trying to settle down and do the drudge work of editing.

Did I say “drudge work.” I can’t believe I typed that. I love to edit and have professed for years that if I can only get past that initial draft, I know I can craft something that works. There is something magical about reading one’s own words aloud and realizing, hmmm, that doesn’t work quite right. What about this? What about that? A cliche? Let me see if I can just spin that a little to the left. So what is going on here?

It’s the novel. That multi-drafted cyper-folder with its “fits and starts” (there you go: cliche. I’ll catch it later. Hmm maybe not), calling and repelling me all at the same time.

I made a vow this year that this was going to be it. I would get that dang book into the kind of shape that would allow me to start my agent search. But with me, as soon as I vow, I procrastinate. It titillates me to make a commitment and then renege. I actually feel that titillation in my body. Ooh, make a promise and break it? Why? I think there’s a tiny part of me that is ready for the looney bin. Or maybe its latent teen rebellion, the one I never had.

I do get things done. I did vow when I quit my job that I would build my writing portfolio and I’ve done that. And my skills have become sharper, my ability to see what works and doesn’t work more accurate. So yes. I am making progress with the portfolio goal. But I did vow when I quit my job that I would also finish the novel and market it and that is still the flamingo around my neck.

I don’t know what it is about writing a book that is so darn hard, but part of it for me is that it activates my interest in everything else. Since I committed to finishing the book, I have helped remodel the back of my house, taken up jewelry making, dabbled in polymer clay, and PMC, and painting, as well as supersized my exercise program. These “hobbies” have been so much fun and I’m eating up all the new awarenesses that these interests bring to me. But. I sit down at the keyboard and think…hmmm, just an hour with all that color behind me on the work table might give me just the bump I need.

But I know that I must do the book first. Before the bump. Because if I can just remember that the writing offers its own bump, I could make progress.

I need to stay focused. I need to stop farting around, but I don’t know how many times I need to say this to actually DO it. Today. I will work on the book before I touch a pair of pliers or open a tube of paint. TWO HOURS MINIMUM. I need to borrow Marley’s chains.