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Well, I'm back! I haven't posted in quite awhile because I was in Nebraska with my family for the holidays and my dad's dial up connection is way way way too slow to mess around with. It was actually kind of nice to be unplugged for awhile.
I didn't do much art work over the break. I took along a sketch pad and my drawing box, did some thumbnails, but find I work much better in PhotoShop for thumbnails, than with paper and pencil.
Today I'm going out with a friend to buy some healthy "New Years Resolution" groceries. I've also made some artistic goals for the year; the biggest deals with mediums. I'm going to buy a bunch of different oil painting mediums and do tests with them to see what kinds of effects I can get (any suggestions from people who've been using something in particular would be appreciated!). I'm going to buy a book on glazing and try to get better at that in particular. I'm going to try for a new kind of blending of realism (with techniques used by the masters), figures with even more narrative, and try to retain some stylization and non-representative color.
I am still considering canceling my show in April. I want to have time to try new techniques without any kind of time pressure. I think that I've been so motivated to show (and sell) my work that I've been cranking it out too quickly. I want to slow the pace back down to where I'm still working everyday but thoughtfully, not rushed.
Back in Nebraska I watched WAY WAY WAY too much television, spent Christmas eve in the emergency room on an IV from the most horrible case of the flu I've EVER had in my life. Missed all the gift giving etc. my sister Kelly who is a nurse, stayed with me the entire time and so missed all the fun as well (she's such a sweetheart!).
My grandma and grandpa gave me an insanely generous gift of $ which I will use to pay down my credit cards. I did very little shopping over the holidays so I've been able to keep my "get out of debt" plan on track. I'm also going to donate some $$ to a relieft agency that is working in the Sudan. I'm happy so many people are donating $$ for the tsunami relief, but thousands have been dying in Darfur for years and there hasn't been the same kind of worldwide effort to help there. The war there has displaced an estimated 1.45 million people and another 200,000 have had to escape across the border to Chad. The UN has described the situation as one of the world's worst humanitarian crises.
On another note, I got to spend close to a week alone with my dad. We drove 3 hours round trip to go to a movie theater in a bigger town where we could watch several movies in a row. One we saw was Lemony Snickets (excellent). I love my dad so much that leaving was very tearful.
I bought a massive book at the airport called "Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001" by Steve Coll. (From a Washington Post review):
"Comprehensively and for the first time, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Steve Coll tells the secret history of the CIA's role in Afghanistan, from its covert program against Soviet troops from 1979 to 1989, to the rise of the Taliban and the emergence of bin Laden, to the secret efforts by CIA officers and their agents to capture or kill bin Laden in Afghanistan after 1998. Based on extensive firsthand accounts, Ghost Warsok is the inside story that goes well beyond anything previously published on U.S. involvement in Afghanistan. It chronicles the roles of midlevel CIA officers, their Afghan allies, and top spy masters such as Bill Casey, Saudi Arabia's Prince Turki al Faisal, and George Tenet. And it describes heated debates within the American government and the often poisonous, mistrustful relations between the CIA and foreign intelligence agencies."
It's an amazingly interesting and eye opening read. This morning on the drive to pick up a friend from the airport they had a panel discussing the CIA's role in the drug trade in Afghanistan and Pakistan on "Alternative Radio"!
Anyway, Flying home over Southeast Alaska the Northern Lights were out in full force over the mountains and there was a bright red moon rise that blew my mind. My house was spotless when I got back, the cat sitter had vaccumed, the litter box was clean, the cats were fat but healthy and in good spirits. It's good to be home.