Monday, February 13, 2012

Beer and artsings.

First of all, a one-off project for Studio Brewery. Beer logo, anyone?

Secondly, as of tomorrow, I'm heading off to a two-week solitary retreat in the middle of nowhere. The goal is to finish three paintings, two boxes, and to not go crazy. ;)

Friday, February 10, 2012

Not strictly book, or art, or plant-related.

It seems that I'm going off on more and more tangents in this thing. Ah well. Time fixes all things.

Let me preface this anecdote with the fact that last night, hubby received a gift of turnips from the head brewer of the local brewery. (Who happens to be a pretty cool guy, but that's another story.) The turnips were bloody huge, about the size of a baby's head, and fresh out of the ground.

This morning, I stumbled downstairs in a zombie mode, to fix breakfast. After a few minutes of that, a realization struck- something wasn't in its place in the kitchen. The little blue cricket keeper, same one we used for Timmy-Berry's food, was on the counter. I peered inside, to see a turnip end, and a couple of pieces of paper towels with tiny, cricket-like poop on them.

"Why did he put a cricket into a keeper rather than releasing it outside..?" I wonder sleepily, and proceed peering into it to see the cricket.

But there is no cricket. Instead, there is a tiny, half inch long centipede, that must've come in with the greens on those turnips hubby was cleaning yesterday. It was munching on the turnip's end. This made me tear up a little.

You know you've married a right person when you see them value a life of a critter, no matter how small.

Edit: The centipede was actually found in the bathtub. Who knows where it came from. My point stands.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The cat arrives.

It is early morning. The cardinals are commenting on the world in the politically correct language of "Chip", the chickadee is already scolding something or someone, while the starlings are attempting to sing and failing. It is such a nice day. The cat would surely love to go out. The cat begs, and begs, stretching up the doorjamb with whiny pleas of "Meurp" on his tongue.

The cat makes its human host open the door, and cheerfully trots up the eroded slope out back. Meanwhile, the human host continues her zombie-like efforts to fix breakfast for herself and coffee/lunch for her husband, respectively. All as usual in the household.

But, hark! What is that!?

The cat is standing on the back porch with something large in its mouth. The something is feathery, brown, and almost certainly dead. The human host grabs her chest in a very real imitation of a heart attack and rushes to the rescue. She flings open the back door and almost runs head-first into the screen door for the second time in as many days.

Lo and behold! The brown thing in the cat's mouth moves! It wiggles its two stubby feet and glares at the world with beady-eyed indignation! The human host flies out the door to rescue the red-headed woodpecker from the cat. The cat drops its prey with a startled "Mwp?". The woodpecker takes this chance to get out from this neck of the woods, and flies off. The cat lunges after it, while the host lunges after the cat, falling and skinning her knee on the concrete.

The cat is lured inside a couple of minutes later with promise of cat treats.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Thoughts on doubt.

Once a month, I drop by a local museum, where a group gathering takes place. The purpose of this event is social networking and discussion of the issues professional artists face in trying to make a living. There is usually a bottle of wine or two involved, purely as a means of a social lubricant.

 As makers of non-mandatory things who work for ourselves, we take on a host of demons both on the outside and inside. What did this person mean when they complimented our work? Why have the fees for this show skyrocketed? Where does the guy in the adjacent booth attract all those people from…? Those are just the superficial questions from someone who’s done a bit of a farmers’ market selling last winter. 

It's in these group meetings that you really begin to see the doubt in people. As a matter of fact, most people met through this group, those who practice art or craft at a hobby level, have at some point admit their own shaky confidence. Perhaps, those who practice professionally have learned to keep it under the wraps a bit better?

If so, and if self-doubt is squish able with practice, it is a skill that should be taught as a matter of course during any sort of art education. Since, believe it or not, art is just one of many fields in which there’s always going to be someone better than you, someone more successful, someone better rounded. I think it’s time that we accept this as a fact and stop letting other peoples’ accomplishments and our own depressed musings drag us down.

As Elrin once said, “Do what you want to do, and be nice to other people.”  I would add- "And to hell with the rest."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Early morning

Let me tell you about early winter mornings. They are slow to appear, and carry with them the haze of gray conductive to consumption of chicken noodle soup, and coffee, and maybe a pomegranate. They start with blackness, out of which comes a "Chip". And again. "Chip". Rhythmical, concise, very business-like.

Hello, Mr. Cardinal. Nice to hear you for a hundredth morning in a row.


The bird is visiting the feeder underneath the bedroom window, and announcing its presence to the world in this manner. There is more than one, of course- three males and four females by the latest count; some of the females might be first-year males without proper plumage.

Encouraged by the "chip"s, muddy sunlight creeps into the room, peers between the Passion-fruit's leaves and skirts around the ailing lemon tree. It passes through the leggy jasmine, undeterred. The alarm clock begins to bleat.

"Chip," Comments the bird outside.