Feb 29

Bear Ears and Beers

I’m taking an art class to learn how to write and draw comics. The first assignment was to draw a 2 page autobiographical comic. TWO. PAGES. That seems like so much. I looked through some of the other students early submissions and they were REALLY great. I’ve been so stressed out and nervous about this and I wasn’t sure what to do or what to write about and I don’t know how to draw comics and I’m not a good enough artist and what am I doing in this class in the first place and WHEEEEW. So much inner critic monkey on my back. I finally shoved a banana in his pie hole to shut him up and got to work. This is not the greatest comic in history, but I’m very proud of it. I thought it was going to take forever, but once I had my ideas together and actually got to work on it, it flowed. I definitely need some work to get my narrative to be more compelling and cohesive, and I need to practice using space more effectively, but overall, I’m happy with how this turned out. I hope you like it, too. You can click each page to see the larger version.

SCAN1356 SCAN1357

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Feb 13

Adventures in Raku Pottery and the Potter’s Wheel

Last night my husband & I went to a pottery class at a local art school. It was a one night session, and it was broken into 2 parts. First, we learned about Raku pottery – it’s a very interesting Japanese style of pottery that dates back to the 15th century. We glazed premade clay pots with Raku glaze and then they were fired in a kiln. Once fired, the red hot pots were dropped into metal buckets with organic material – paper and sawdust. After a few minutes, they were cooled in the snow, then scrubbed clean and dried. The results were incredible! We had a blast glazing the pots and the colors and patterns that come out of this unpredictable firing technique are so beautiful. For my pot I chose base colors of blue, green and yellow with thick splashes of metallic copper. I am really just so impressed with the results. Here’s what my finished pot looks like – and trust me, the photo doesn’t even do it justice:

2016-02-12 21.16.22

The glazing process is interesting because the glazes look nothing like the colors will after firing. You sort of have to go on instinct. Plus, all of the beautiful crackle texture and color blending is impossible to predict because the glaze literally melts in the kiln. In fact, if you get glaze on the bottom of your pot, it sticks to the brick kiln and acts like melted cheese. Here’s a before firing picture of my husband’s and my pot to give you an idea of what I mean about how the fire brings out the color and texture. Mine is the smaller pot on the right – hard to believe it’s the same pot in the picture above!

The second part of the class was using the pottery wheel to throw and pull clay. It was REALLY fun, but also frustrating. It’s not the sort of skill that you can pick up in an evening because it takes lots of practice and skill, but it’s really cool to try to sculpt a lump of wet clay into something as it spins between your hands. I love to get my paws dirty creating something so I enjoyed every second of it anyway. Our instructor had many many years of pottery experience, and his demo made it look very easy, but I can assure you it’s not. He made this in literally 5 minutes, and after 2 hours I had only succeeded in making several shapeless, spinning lumps. :)

2016-02-12 19.37.39

This was such a fun experience. We try to get to these evening workshops at the art school whenever we can, and this one was probably my favorite so far. It was a very enjoyable experience, and as a bonus, we got to bring home 2 beautiful pieces of pottery. :)

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Jan 30

The Elusiveness of Joy

Joy

I did this mixed media piece a few weeks ago, and almost by accident, I realized that Joy was going to be my word for 2016. As I watched the paint on this piece dry, it seemed so obvious.

It’s time for me to find my Joy. In the last few months I’ve given lots of thought to what happiness really means and what it feels like, and to be honest I’m not really even sure. When it’s there, I’m not sure that I really notice it, but I definitely miss it when it’s gone. But I want it. I want to feel it every day and really experience it.

I have a bad habit of taking on everything for everyone and being the person that everyone in my life counts on. In many cases, it does bring me a great deal of happiness to be that go to girl, but it doesn’t always. It’s time for me to look out for myself first, and everyone else second. I’m not even sure how to do that, but I’m definitely going to try.

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Jan 21

The End of the Beginning

This blog has been just languishing the last couple of months. I have plenty to say (when do I not??) but I’m not sure this is the forum for most of it. Ironically, it’s also time for me to renew my domain, and I briefly considered just letting it go. But after 13 long years, I’m not sure that’s the right thing to do either. I’m definitely going to keep it, I’m just not really sure what I’m going to do with it anymore.

I’ve been spending lots of time on YouTube, and I’ve been enjoying it. I make videos almost every week and my channel has almost 100 subscribers! I realize that isn’t many, but I’m pretty proud of it anyway. Especially considering that I’ve told almost nobody that I know in my real life about it. I thought about cross-posting my videos here, but I’m not sure that’s what I want to do either. So I guess at the end of the day, it’s not clear to me what kind of direction this blog is going to take. I know that I can make it into anything I want it to be, and the possibilities are exciting, but it’s also overwhelming. There’s too much history here for me to just let it go, though. So I’ll be around. If you’re reading this, tell me what you want it to be. What is your favorite thing about this blog and your least favorite thing? For the last couple of years it’s just been whatever random thoughts I want to toss up here and maybe that’s how it’ll stay. I don’t really know yet. I’m open to suggestions and ideas, so if you have any, please let me know.

Anyway, my life feels completely overwhelming and out of control at the moment, so it’s only fitting that this place feels that way too, I guess. Everything around me feels likes it’s changing and I’m not sure I can keep up most of the time. Happy Blogiversary?

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Nov 25

The Getaway

Fall was short, as usual around these parts, and we’ve quietly nestled ourselves into winter. I’m in full footie pajama & fires in the fireplace mode. Behold my color fire!!

Color Fire

It’s been a while since I posted anything, so here’s just a random catch up of what’s been happening, and some recent artwork. I’ve gotten into oil pastels lately, and it’s been fun to play around with them. They’re such an interesting medium – they require practice but once you figure them out they just blend together so beautifully. I really enjoy putting down layers of color and watching them melt into one another. Plus oil pastels produce a texture like nothing else.

 Oil Pastel Circles  Oil Pastel

 

I don’t think it’s a secret that I have a love affair with watercolors. I’m drawn (see what I did there?? HAHAHAH) to all types of water soluble media, but watercolors are the ultimate for me. I’ve been using the same palette for a few years now. It’s a really cheap kid’s palette and it has a plastic lid that was broken in several places and repaired with duct tape. Some of the tiny paint pans were falling out and my favorite colors were nearly all used up. I decided it was time to get a decent quality palette. I bought a palette about 2 years ago from Sakura – the field sketch box. It was about $25 and I was pretty disappointed. I actually preferred my kid’s palette because the Sakura paints dried to a very chalky finish, and I didn’t like it at all. This time I chose the Daler Rowney Aquafine Watercolor Palette. It was about the same price as the Sakura – $25. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love this palette! First off, it’s small and portable with a metal case – so no more duct tape repairs! These colors are just so beautiful and vibrant, and they dry to an almost glossy finish compared to the bone dry Sakura paints. Here’s a quick little sketch I did when I was trying this new palette out.

 

 Girl

 

I recently stumbled upon an art sale, and I found this crazy mixed media piece that I fell in love with. I finally ended up buying it because I just couldn’t leave without it. It’s an amazing mixed media piece made from found objects. The backing is an old piece of countertop, and there’s chicken wire and bits of metal and scrap wood. It just really makes me happy when I look at it. Here’s a drawing I did of the piece, and this is also done with my new watercolors. The piece is called The Getaway. :)

The Getaway

I think that’s it for now. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day, and I sincerely hope that you have an amazing time, no matter how you decide to spend it. I’m looking forward to a long weekend! XOXO

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Oct 30

Another One Bites the Dust

I finished my 14th daily journal this week! I did the last drawings in it on Sunday or Monday, but I got all the pages scanned and archived in the last couple of days. It’s officially joined my bookshelf with the other 13 volumes:

Daily Journals

I usually do a lot more with the covers, but my summer was so busy I never really had much of a chance with this book – just a couple of stickers. Spiral and coil bound books are always fun because it gives me a chance to attach things – some tulle, a ribbon from a wedding favor, and a few other odds and ends.

Journal 14 - Cover

Here’s one of the very last pages in the book – a sticker and ephemera collage from last weekend’s fall beer fest in Detroit. I like how this turned out. It’s random and overlapping and feels fun and chaotic which is a perfect representation of the day. :)

Fall Beer Fest Collage

I’ve already started my next book (Volume 15!!) and all of the blank pages are very inspiring. I’m looking forward to filling them up with my memories and my stories. I love to change things up, so this book is larger than I’ve used in a while, which will be fun.

Have a fab weekend and a super spooky and fun Halloween!

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Sep 17

The First Proposal

I remember the night he told me that he was HIV positive like it was yesterday. We were at a bar like we always were, but he seemed nervous. Squirmy. He suddenly grabbed my hand and told me that he needed to tell me something. I could see the terror in his eyes, but I really wasn’t surprised, to be honest. I knew he’d been sick and I had my suspicions, but all of a sudden they were reality. He was so scared and I knew he was waiting for me to say something. I told him that we’d get through it together and that I’d always be there for him. His relief was palpable, and he scooped me into a hug and we both sobbed.

Jeffrey was my best friend in the world. We were both very young, but he was like a child – full of wonder and without fear. I think he always knew that he wasn’t going to be around for long and he lived life like every day was his last. It was exhilarating just to be around him, and he got me into trouble on more occasions than I can count. He was selfish, but also the most giving person I’ve ever known. I don’t think anyone has ever made me laugh as much as he could.

The same night he told me that he was HIV positive he asked me to marry him. He was gay, but he told me he wanted to marry me so that his father would be proud of him. And I would have. But I never got the chance.

It was just before Christmas in 1999 when I got the call that he was gone. I didn’t want to believe it, but I knew it was true. It was just hard to imagine that someone who was so full of life could be dead. Even after all of these years have passed, I still think of him often and miss him. He taught me how to have fun and what it means to love someone unconditionally. At 31 years old, he was stolen from me far too soon, but I’ll never forget him.

Jeffrey & I

Jeffrey

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Sep 11

Reasons I Love the Season

The weather today is a bit crisp and the sky is a dull gray, which happens to be my favorite kind of day (although it’s in a pretty close race with summer thunderstorms). I love fall. It’s most definitely my favorite time of the year and just thinking about it makes me smile. I know lots of people miss the heat and the sun of summer, but I don’t. Here are some of the reasons why autumn rocks my face off. BRB, gotta go wash my Harry Potter Snuggie.

  1. Hot cocoa
  2. Halloween
  3. Fires in the fireplace
  4. Pumpkin beers
  5. The amazing color palette of changing leaves
  6. Fantasy football (I’m super good at it)
  7. Sweaters & hoodies
  8. Great apples
  9. Skirts with tights and boots
  10. Falling asleep with the windows open
  11. Soups and stews
  12. Pajamas with feet
  13. Thick scarves and warm knit hats
  14. Spiced cider
  15. Raking (yeah, I actually enjoy it)
  16. Knitting and crochet
  17. Wool socks and fuzzy slippers

Fire Close-up

What’s your favorite season, and why?

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Sep 06

Memory Palette

Memory Palette

 

I came across this idea via Summer Pierre – an amazing artist that I really admire. Crayons all by themselves take me back to childhood – even though I use much more sophisticated tools these days, I still love the look and feel of crayons on paper. This takes that nostalgia to another level. When I saw Summer’s palette, I was immediately in love! So here’s my version – the colorful memories of my childhood expressed via crayon.

Be sure to check out Summer’s palette by clicking here!

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Sep 04

One of the Guys

I had just turned 17, and it was spring. It was my junior year at my very small high school, and I was taking a marketing class in the afternoons at a nearby school district. There were 3 of us, two boys and me. Since I didn’t have a car they took turns driving us to class and I chipped in for gas.

On this particular spring day, one of the guys was sick, so there were only 2 of us. The healthy guy and I were casual friends. We took this class together, and said hey in the halls of our own school, but we didn’t hang out after school or anything. We’d never had a real conversation about anything important. I didn’t know him well, but I liked him just fine in a classmate/acquaintance kind of way.

I had kissed a boy, and that was the extent of my experience. I knew about sex in theory, but I was very naive. So when he pulled the car over to the side of the road, I was confused. We had been talking about random things. I don’t even remember what. Nothing that could possibly lead to what happened next. We weren’t flirting. The next thing I knew, we were on the side of the road in the middle of the day, and this boy told me that I had to have sex with him. He told me that it was my responsibility and I had to. I said no. I asked him to start the car and drive us back to school. He persisted. I said no. He raised his voice. I said no. He told me that the very least I could do was perform oral sex. I said no. I continued to say no and he got angry and yelled at me. He called me all the worst names he could think of. He finally gave up, because he eventually started the car and we continued our trip. We never talked about it again, and I never told anyone. I also never went to that marketing class without all 3 of us being in the car again.

This whole thing happened in just a few minutes. I knew that things could have gone very differently, and sadly, I actually considered myself lucky. In those 5 minutes, I learned so much. I learned that boys can’t be trusted. I learned that boys saw me as a sexual object, even though I didn’t see myself that way. I learned that sex was terrifying. I learned that a boy could make me feel scared and violated and small without even laying a hand on me.

This was just the first in a string of somewhat similar situations that I found myself in as a young girl, and most were much worse than this one. Unfortunately, I don’t think my experiences are all that unusual. But starting with this one, they shaped me. I couldn’t sleep the other night and I was thinking about this and the impact it had on me. This was the first piece of the puzzle that became a lifetime of trust issues.

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