Ordinary Days

A Week in the Life of a Lazy, Easily Distracted Sprinter

Sometimes I have a really hard time getting off the mark. I mentioned how I am a sprinter in my last post, but what I failed to add is that I’m basically lazy too. And easily distracted. I’m a lazy, easily distracted sprinter.

This week for example, I began on Monday by accomplishing little more than a couple loads of laundry and a half marathon of “Sing It On” on Netflix.

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It’s about 4 college a capella groups competing to get to the New York ICCA Finals and all the ups and downs of their personal interactions….But I digress.

Tuesday I woke up feeling guilty — which resulted in a sprint through 10 tiny tarps – tarpititos?

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On Wednesday I finished the other half of the “Sing It On” marathon.

On Thursday Mike worked from home and since I don’t like people watching me do nothing, I basically made myself work on my tarps out of self-conscious guilt.

First, I decided to use my tarpitinos as “fringe” on a bigger tarpestry.

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And then I laid out, cut out, and taped the image — a giant eye-ball surrounded by snakes and lightning bolts (my self-conscious guilt perhaps?).

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On Friday I worked a little on the graffiti on the top surface, but I got tired really quickly and watched 6 episodes of  “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” instead. I tend to be attracted to the white sands and turquoise water of the Gulf coast beaches. Well, I was born in Pensacola, Florida…. Anyway.

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Today I had coffee with my friends (which resulted in a plan to create 12 new tarpestries for a special project — the first of which is due in a week!), and then I came home feeling like I’d been shot out of the Canon of Inspiration, and finished the tarpestry.

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I think I can fit in a couple more episodes of “Beachfront Bargain Hunt” before anyone notices I’ve slipped back into my lazy pants. Aaaah, the Gulf coast — I’m telling you, it’s the best!

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In Like a Lamb

I’m taking real liberties with that title because I’m not referring to either March or the weather. See today as I write it is January 4th — a day I have been very careful to spend quietly, just like a little lamb, so as to avoid any possible conflicts with those near and dear to me brought on by the “thorny full moon” which is currently under siege from Pluto and Uranus. Seriously.

You would too if your silverware did this whenever you ate out…

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Or the street lights all did this when you drove by…

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I think that full moon might exert a little pull where I’m concerned. Anyway, so far so good.

Even more good news is that this is supposed to be a gangbusters (“gangbusters”…don’t you ever wonder if these words really mean what you think they do?) month for my work life, and since my work life is really making art, this should be a gangbusters month for… making art. And to that I say it’s about time!

I’ve spent most of my time lately setting things up so that I can make art, and have a place to show it. I’ve even helped a tiny bit to influence the city I live in to appreciate the fact there are a bunch of us here worth getting to know.

But now it’s time for me to just Make Art. To materialize the inventory I’m carrying around in my head. To move from the “To-Due List” to “Just Doing It”, and I am really, really ready.

What makes this year different from last year is that I am entirely on my own as far as incentive goes. Last year I had both the Treefort Public Art project, and See Spot Walk, plus four shows to curate for TVAA.

This year we are going to New Orleans for two months and that will briefly restrict the size of the work I can do, but besides that I am unencumbered by responsibility to anyone or any organization. I am my own boss. Soy Chingona!

As part of his New Year’s Resolutions Mike is reading a blog called Art Biz Blog written by an Artist Marketing Coach named Alyson Stanfield. I read a few of her posts as well and one sentence in one excellent post in particular (Your Job is In the Studio) caught my eye. She said: “If you don’t make art, you have nothing to market.”

She couldn’t be more correct. How do you like the gif Mike made for me when I pointed out how cunningly “make” and “art” are nestled into “market”…

The word "market" transforms into "make art." This animated GIF is designed by Melissa "Sasi" Chambers and Michael Chambers

Cool right?! What a guy, and he’s handsome too!

Anyway this got me thinking that this year will be a different sort of approach for me because I will be making art first and then marketing it. Last year the market came to me and I made the work it asked me to make. I am liking the freedom to do what I want. We will see if the market wants what I do.

Which I guess means I’ll find out if “gangbusters” actually means “blowed up good.”

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Nah.

Gone to the Dogs

This week has gone to the dogs. Well, to my dogs anyway: Sirius, Snug, and Lula. You hear about Lula all the time because she is basically a miracle disguised as a hiccup. But before Lula, there were Sirius and Snug.

Sirius is pretty much a dog’s dog and other than having serious separation anxiety, which I will not embarrass him by discussing here, spends his time doing ordinary doggy things. He doesn’t have a lot of time for hanging around art projects and posing for pictures, though I do have this one of him with Snug — before Snug got his hair cut.

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Snug, on the other hand, is a total ham and would gladly photo-bomb every shot I take of Lula if he could. He LOVES Lula and alternates between licking her sweetly, or stepping on her head and sitting on her chest. He weighs 15 lbs. which is close to 3 times as much as Lula, so she doesn’t put up with that for long!

Anyway, everyday this week has had a doggy demand — vaccinations, grooming, tryouts at Camp Bow Wow. It’s exhausting. I’ve barely had any time for art. So instead I’m sharing 2 of my 3 favorite reasons for putting the projects off until tomorrow….

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By the way, that quilt they are playing on is the one I’m Kantha stitching for Lula to hula on. So see! I am trying to get work done. It just doesn’t look like I am.

Perfectly Imperfect

Keeping busy takes real discipline. When I don’t have a deadline, I don’t have a focus for all my energy and I’m a little like Lula with my feet heading in one direction and my hands heading in another.

Assigning myself projects to fill the time between my “real” deadlines helps, and so this week I worked on a new Kantha stitched quilt I hope to share next week, and a new Pom pow blanket….

Before:

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After:

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I’m really working hard at being disciplined about staying busy, not falling into the gaping maw of inertia, and as a result I stepped for a moment into a different sort of rut. A rut I mentioned in my last post — the “pattern of perfect repetition” rut.

Fortunately, Lula knew just how to show me the error of my ways…

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(Click on the text above to see a video of Lula in action!)

Obviously Lula did not think this blanket had nearly enough POW in its Pom pow! So I changed that…

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And then because it wasn’t too late, I even made a quick fix on last week’s pompowsity…

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She may be a bit challenged in the perambulation department, but Lula knows how to keep me on my toes! Thank you Lula, for the reminder that around here we prefer the perfectly imperfect.

Much better!

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Keeping Busy

I’ve been good about always having a project in the works — never being entirely without some art endeavor which requires my attention so that I avoid the dreaded enervating inertia — and it seems to be working.

This week our collaborative team produced 9 unique prints for the upcoming TVAA exhibition “Four Eyes: An Optical Collusion.” Here are 3 of the more varied versions:

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Perfect repetition was never our goal, in part because we wanted to see how varying the ink would change the final result — and we really do love the variety — but also because we knew we would never be able to achieve perfect repetition and had no desire to take all the joy out of the process by having an unrealistic expectation.

As you know I also had plenty of time to make pom poms this week and this is the end result of my “Hit & Miss” marathon. Pom pow!:

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I’ve also been working on my new Inspiration Book. This one will have things I want, or that inspire me, sprouting out of heads. Here are a couple of pages. Some done. Some not done.

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I’m just keeping busy. Perfect repetition is not my goal, but repeating the pattern with room for variation seems to leave lots of room for joy in the process.

Laying the Groundwork

Dang. I was really hoping to have a nice tidy post with a whole “start to finish” story laid out for you about the wood cut collaborative print I’m working on. But things are never tidy that way are they?

And there’s the rub.

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Well, actually there’s the rubbing of our four blocks after we carved them, and before we printed them. My feathers are at the top.

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Today we met at Wingtip Press and set up to begin printing the background layer of our prints.

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Luckily Terry Burkes is one of the artists collaborating on this project and she is good with numbers and geometry and quadratic equations and how long it takes to orbit the Earth, and other important things you need to know when you are printing more than one color with more than one block and making more than one print. If you know what I mean. (And good on you if you do, because I have no idea what I’m talking about.)

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We made 9 prints with our background colors of Crimson and Yellow Ochre. You can see the blocks above which are inked and ready for the paper to be placed, pressed, and the print pulled.

Next week we’ll be back in the studio doing the second layer, with the detailed images in the rubbing above, using darker cool colors. They are going to be beautiful — and in this case, I know exactly what I’m talking about.

…and they are UP!

It is DONE!

All seven Tarps Picadas are hung — and I — and all who helped me, have lived to tell the tale!

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We got it done today, and it went like this…

Mike and I met Sue Latta at 9:00 at the Record Exchange, and after taking in the fact that the parking lot was full of parked cars (Duh!) — including down the length of the wall on which we planned to hang the tarps — we got to work.

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Sue would drill a hole about 13ft from the ground, sink the anchor, then screw in the screw and washer while Mike steadied the ladder and handed up the hammer and drills as she needed them.

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I would get the next tarp ready for hanging then flit around reminding them to be careful, and mixing up whose coffee was whose.

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Finally after about 3 hours people started to move their cars — and say nice things about the tarps, which of course made me feel bad about being mad that their cars had been parked 6 inches from the wall for most of the installation — and so I steadied the ladder while Mike worked on securing our final tarp.

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I think they look great!

I could not have survived this project without all my helpers putting the tarps together: mom, Barb Bowling, Marilyn Frazier and Terry Burkes. Getting them photographed: Jake Soper and Moriah Christiansen. And today getting them hung: Mike, and Sue Latta.

We do look pleased with ourselves don’t we? Well, we earned it!

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The blue tarp to the left of Mike and Sue in those photos will be on the cover of the Weekly next Wednesday the 19th. It will be auctioned at the Weekly’s annual charity art auction in November. The fates of the other six tarps is a little foggier at this point.

Go see them while they are looking good, and let me know what you think!

Sunday’s Tarp

And Sunday’s Tarp is bonny and blithe and good and gay and DONE! Which means I have finally finished fabricating these wonders. The Seven Wonders of the polyvinyl and duck tape world.

Here ’tis, “Treehouses of the Rising Sun”…

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Halle-freaking-lujah!

Winter Trees’ Dreams of Spring

I’m either getting more poetic, or just plain punchy, as I close in on the finish line with the tarps picadas!

“Winter Trees’ Dreams of Spring” is the sixth:

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Did you know they made white tarps? Pretty cool.

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How about zebra striped duck tape?

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Ok, back to work. Six down, one to go!