“To be sensual . . . is to respect and rejoice in the force of life, of life itself, and to be present in all that one does, from the effort of loving to the breaking of bread.”

It’s from James Baldwin and “The Fire Next Time”, but I’m not reading that, it’s quoted in “Breaking Bread” by bell hooks and Cornell West. I think I’ve jumped into the deep end. Community and bread-baking have been coming up lately. I am not sure how to do community, but I do know how to bake bread.

I’m also reading “Norse Mythology” by Neil Gaiman. I think it should have been illustrated. And Loki! Trickster Makes This World.
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The weather is broken. But a) you knew that, and b) it’s April. Some of the personal poop has passed, some is still in progress. That silly facebook thing – “so far, you’ve been 100% successful in making it” or something, has actually been helpful.

(And oh no, the cat is awake and looking at things. It can only go downhill. We use the Invisible Hand of Doom squirt-bottle method of cat deterrence. It worked maybe twice before she figured out it was us, Doing That Thing. There are days when she is bored and does A Bad Thing just so we will squirt her and she Must Run Away. Having a three-year-old-teenager-fox-sprite-creature living in your house can be hard, but it’s not boring.)

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Journals, sketchpads, philosophy notebook, other books. The house is probably sinking into the ground.

The metaphorical poop has hit the turbine in a bunch of ways. And Mercury is in retrograde. But I do have new pictures to show you – mainly because I’ve been lax and haven’t shown them to you. Otherwise, most of my brain is busy with stuff.

Oh, yeah, and I re-read American Gods. It was a different book this time; I might read it again in a few years, to see if it’s changed again.

I’m working on replicating a sky from a painting by a Group of Seven person. Can’t remember the details, but (presumably) he painted a sunset in tiles of color. Also, painting little boxes of color! The pen ink bleeds out brown; very useful. I don’t think it even begins to be permanent, though.

I suspect they’re ash trees.

This was the third print of the tulips. You can see how faint it was getting.

This was . . . the second?

The lines were nice and dark. I was putzing with ideas for reworking the plate, and then aliens invaded and took over. I had nothing to do with it. But I like it. (The radiating lines are gold paint, and the stem is silver paint. Scanner can’t cope with that.)

And then I did this.

Dune grass up at Cornucopia (8×10 plate). Obviously, something must happen to this image, but I don’t know what. I’m enjoying this process, especially now that I have a clue how to do it.

Speaking of grass, my lawn is greening up nicely. And there are crunchy tasty birds – or so Katniss says. Over and over again. Loudly.

Tomorrow is a new day. Or a great big fish.

The Art Cave is in the basement, and while I’m usually fine once I get down there, I frequently don’t have the … gumption? to go down there. Also, piles of unfinished things. So I paint in bed under the covers with two pairs of socks and leggings on under my nightgown and long-sleeved t-shirt and cowl. No, my house isn’t cold. I am.

Also, Katniss. We were told she was a very energetic cat when we got her. But the food we got her, while it had the virtue of Not Making Her Fart, was bad for her and drained her of all will, over a period of four years. We switched to better food, and then better food that is grain-free, and she is much more active, and now I understand that if we’re having trouble dealing with the Force Of Will of this Adult Cat, I must truly pity the people who had her as a kitten and brought her back to the shelter because She Might Be Nuts.

As I said, I got a better, nearly new mattress through a friend. Daughter and I went to move the old mattress. We pulled it away from the wall, and there was Katniss! What is down there? What are you doing? What will be different? And riding on the edge of the mattress as we hoisted it vertical, jumping off when we began to move it.

The new mattress came in and smelled, so after some thinking Daughter and I moved it out into the garage, and there was Katniss! What are you doing? Checking things out! And riding the edge of the mattress! and seeing what was out in the garage! And can she still get to the other window!

I threaten on a nearly daily basis to put her back on the old food, so we can get some peace and quiet. DID YOU KNOW IT’S SPRING? AND THERE ARE BIRDS? I WANT TO EAT BIRDS! LET ME OUT! OPEN THE WINDOW! DO SOMETHING! SPRING!

And it is spring. it was raining softly while we were out, and the air smelled sweet. Robins are doing their jobs, looking for worms and talking about the weather. Canada Geese and Tundra Swans came back last week, hungry. I drove past one of the flowages and saw nothing but butts sticking up in the air. Daughter spotted a Redwing Blackbird, too.

I can (and will) scan at 600 dpi.

Prang watercolors in bed. A pretty worthless painting, sketched incorrectly from memory of a reference photo at work. The grey areas are where the paper has buckled. Pretty poor calla lilies, but you can see how the blue breaks to purple and green.

There. That’s all I know.

Which is good, because I can come here and say “See? I do do things.

Drypoint on acrylic sheet, printed on some paper that I didn’t use in college because uck. Sort of a pinkish tan. Uck. And then watercolored, making it a monotype, I think.

Same plate, third or fourth print. I believe the lines are so thin on this one because I soaked all the cut paper and then put it in a towel to hold. The first print was on a softer, fuller piece of paper, so it printed darker.

The thinner lines are more appropriate for the subject, I think, and for the size – 3 1/2 x 5 inches. But I solved the mystery of the later prints coming out lighter and lighter, and I learned something about the kind of line I want. Although you can’t see it in these photos, there are a couple of fine scratches that printed beautifully! except I didn’t want them. I think they might be coming from my rings, or the acrylic sheets are goofy.

But there. I know a lot more about this than I did on Monday, and I am ready to think about bigger plates and more diverse subject matter.

And a note on process; heh. This image was supposed to be upside down, with the tulip turned so the stem was towards the middle of the frame and the very top of the tulip cut off. Maybe I’ll do that next time.

In other news; I got a new-to-me mattress, a Serta Ultra Vibrancy Whee! It’s got memory foam and some sort of gel for moderating temperature. I tested it out, and it seems comfy, but it’s been either shampooed or Febreezed and I’m not sure I can sleep on it till it quits smelling. My old mattress is in the garage on a pallet. I suppose I could go out there. It’s only getting down into the 20’s.

I promise I’ll be here more. And I might be able to do that, now that the ACA is still the law of the land. I can breathe again! Anyway.

Pentel pigma brush pen with Prang watercolors.

Just Prang watercolors. (My “real”palette with “real” paints and brushes, is downstairs in the Land of Projects that Never Get Done.)

 

For some reason, I love making lines. I also love the way the colors break. You can’t see it in these pictures, but the blue has aqua and cobalt tones when you go back over with water, and the black has a little swerve towards the red. I know these paints so well.

I love these journals, stacked up on my headboard. I love that I decided to paint in them. I love going back through them. I love the way the paper buckles. My current journal is less than half-done, but the past pages take more space than the future ones, lying there all clean and flat. I have to go back and fill in details of what actually happened during the day, because I skip right ahead to color.

Mindless drivel, but I’m moving forward again.

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This little beauty came to live with me! Margaret Owen, Daily Painting. I see she just added another cute little thing. Mine is a 4×4 canvas, but it truly commands the space it is in. I’m looking for a place it deserves. I’ve learned a huge amount from Ms. Owen’s blog over the years, and am happy to finally support her in a small way.

Other good things? Daughter and I drove over to Duluth today. I was crabby and wanted to stay home and do things, but I’d put her off already, so we went, and had a good time, and had several long talks, and made a big long list of things we are grateful for. Such positivity out of two incredibly sarcastic people! But really. I like my phone, we like our car, the sky was blue, we have a place in the life of our town. And we aren’t the kind of people who shop for clothes.

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So we changed Katniss’s food, she’s more active, it’s freakishly warm in Northern Wisconsin for February, she goes out on her leash and I go out and sit in the sun and entertain myself, all of which explains the vaguely cat-shaped sketch. The big ball at top is in response to an admonition to do contour sketching. The squiggley line is just for fun, and the circles are because circles. I put a bit of contour shading on the upper right left that reminded me of hair, so I kept on with that and then it looked like a choir, and there it is/here we are.

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Daughter: Is there any stroganoff left over?

Me: In the Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator. I mean, the Sure Fine imitation Cool Whip tub in the refrigerator.

D:……..

D:…….

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s right in front of you.

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s on the top shelf, in the box, on top of the lemons. It’s right square in front of you (which, jeebus knows, is my error, because “right in front of you” to her meant I don’t know, somewhere in the hinge or something).

D: I don’t see it.

M: It’s in the white tub with the blue label with a red thing in it. In the box, on the top shelf, on top of the lemons, on the left side of the refrigerator. I can see it from here.

D:…..

D:…..

D: Oh, do you mean the whipped topping tub?


I mean, I know it’s semiotics. It’s the Kleenex (registered trademark) problem, writ large. To me, “Cool Whip tub” means anything that falls in that general range of substitutable products. Part of my problem is that I can see where she gets confused. That to her, “Cool Whip Tub” refers to – and only to – “CoolWhip tub.” I could have sworn I had thrown in enough descriptors to make it clear. Some days I’m not sure if it’s her or me with the problem. Anybody want to borrow her for a few weeks?