Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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Tuesday, March 25th

Giving it one more shot...

OK, I spent the weekend doing everything *but* paint. I did go for a nice bike ride, and on Sunday Aaron and I went for a long hike in the area of the old Treadwell mine, looking at mining relics and old buildings covered in moss. Here are some photos from there I took a few summers back and here are some more.

Afterwards we got back on the trail and by the time we got to the end, the sky had cleared up and it was gorgeous. We sat and had a lovely cup of tea and commented on how lucky we both feel to live here.

Of course, Monday was back to work and I was feeling pretty bad about not getting any new paintings started.

Then tonight, I told myself that if the remake of Dawn of the Dead was playing on HBO, it would be a sign I should start painting. And weirdly enough, it was playing! So, I watched it and ended up starting one new painting, putting a second coat on one I started awhile back, and painted out the figure from the one with the kite.

So, pretty productive for one night's work. All that *and* I made a big pot of chilli from scratch. Yes, I'm still on the allergy elimination diet and it's getting easier all the time. Friday night we went out for pizza for a friend's birthday and that was about as hard as it gets. They had pizza and for dessert, lemon cake with coffee!!!!!!

I had lettuce...with olive oil and vinegar. That was the only thing on their entire menu I could eat. Of course, I'm actually waking up in the morning and not feeling tired. I have to admit, after feeling tired for so long, waking up feeling 100% awake is a little spooky.

Aaron and I are really getting into cooking these totally healthy meals. It takes time to do shopping everyday, and time to cook, but we're reorganizing the kitchen and developing a system to make it easier. It also *really* helps that he keeps all the dishes clean.

OK, I'm going to shut it down for the night. Expect some paintings posted in the coming days. They mostly look like crap right now but I'm hoping for a miracle.

Elise on 03.25.08 @ 11:02 PM AK [link]

Friday, March 21st

A Woman's Prerogative

I came to the decision a couple of nights ago, that I should cancel my upcoming show. It's only 3 months away, painting with oil takes a long time to dry, and I only have 2 pieces started. Plus with the wedding looming and *lots* of work to do in general, I thought it would be too stressful for both me and my honey.

I was going to call the gallery director yesterday and tell her. I kept waiting and waiting to call. The thing is, I really don't want to cancel the show.

Now I have a 3 day weekend so I'm going to paint as much as I can and see how far I can get. Also, as a back-up plan, I have several paintings around the house that never really "fit" into any one particular show theme, that I could spruce up and display if I come up short. I have one painting from a previous show that I really like except for the figure. I'm thinking of repainting that one, painting the figure out and maybe adding a small brush type tree in the foreground. The dog and kit may stay or go, not sure on that yet.

Anyway, having to do 5 or 6 new paintings in 3 months is much more manageable than having to do 10... Some of the pieces won't really "go" together, but I may divide the gallery space and have older (never previously displayed) work in one part, and the brand new work in another part. What do you think, is this a bad idea? Either way, I'm going to hold off on canceling and see what I can do over the long weekend.

Starting now.

Elise on 03.21.08 @ 11:09 AM AK [link]

Monday, March 17th

New Double Ds and a Rocky Mountain Vapor

Well, I've started my "cleanse" diet and it's terrible. I'm restricted from eating almost everything; last week I felt like the walking dead. Today I feel a bit better...but I'm supposed to eat this way for an entire month! Then I'll start adding foods back to see which I'm allergic to.

I had blood tests and found I have incredibly low vitamin D levels. Like, one of the lowest scores the Dr. had ever seen, so now I take 2 vitamin Ds a day, 5,000IUs each! The doc said nearly everyone in the Pacific Northwest is severely deficient (in vitamin D).

Then on Friday I was working late and one of the custodians let my honey in and he surprised me with a new bike! A Rocky Mountain Vapor! It is sooooo cool!

07-vapor (45k image)

We went for a ride around campus (I rode, he walked, as he still doesn't have a bike) and I was amazed at how well it performed. We went up some steep hills that would have kicked my ass on my old bike (RIP).

Anyway, it is the *best* and I'm so happy that I can ride it and that it didn't exacerbate my back. Aaron got it for me as encouragement for trying to get healthier and because he knows how hard this incredibly restrictive diet has been for me.

We were invited to a St. Patrick's Day party this weekend but didn't go because while I might be able to party without beer, the food would have been a different story. I've been cooking a lot since starting this whole thing and it takes an incredible amount of time and energy when you can't eat any processed foods.

I didn't get any painting done either. I did a lot of cooking and cycling and reading, but the canvases just sit there taunting me. I'm running out of time and wonder if having the wedding and show in the same month was such a great idea?

Oh well, wheels in motion now.

And speaking of wheels in motion, have any of you checked out Google Maps "Street View" yet? They don't have it for all cities yet but they have it for Juneau. Go to Google Maps and type in Savikko Rd. Douglas, AK 99824. Then select "Street View" and put your little cursor on the end of the street where it makes the final turn. If you use the arrows to turn around you can see the beach and shelters etc where the wedding will be this summer. That little boat harbor there is where Aaron and I keep our sailboats.

Anyway, you can look at my house too, right down to the junk on the porch from last summer! It's cool but also a little creepy. It takes potential stalking to a whole new level. So what's the verdict? Cool or Creepy?

Elise on 03.17.08 @ 11:51 AM AK [link]

Monday, March 10th

Into the Wild

Do you agree with the statement "Happiness isn't real unless it is shared"? I know it's true for me. Chris McCandless wrote it at the end of his journal right before he died alone in the Alaskan wilderness after an attempt to live off the land.

I just watched Into the Wildlast night which was based on the book by Jon Krakauerthat I read non-stop in a single day.

I was up in Anchorage when they found Chris's body and I remember how everyone (the media included) responded so harshly, calling him an idiot. I'm also struck by the number of people who write to me each week telling me of their plans/dreams/hopes to move to Alaska. It's a compulsion for some, it was for me.

Chris saw the most amazing beauty yet had no one to talk to about it. After a semester in Spain I was to meet friends at a train station in Madrid for a summer of back-packing. I went to the wrong station and I ended up on my own. One of the most profoundly lonley moments in my life was on this trip, at the Prado Museum. I saw paintings I'd only ever seen in books and it moved me to tears. I ached to talk to someone about it.

Surfing around recently I read the post of a young guy on a suicide prevention website lamenting the fact he'd never had a girlfriend, and feared he never would. There were hundreds of responses to his post, by guys of all ages, admitting they'd never had a date, never been kissed, never had sex, and they were so lonely and in so much pain they wanted to die. "Happiness isn't real unless it is shared".

I don't believe another person can *make* you happy and I don't agree that the person you share happiness with has to be romantic, I just think that we all need somone who cares about us; someone to share those moments when everything feels right with the world.

Elise on 03.10.08 @ 11:33 AM AK [link]

Saturday, March 8th

Wishful Shopping

Today Juneau's art supply store had a 40% off sale on oil paints. I use the insanely expensive M. Graham walnut oil paints and so I used this opportunity to stock up. I also just realized I have 14 brand new 200ml (very large) tubes of white paint. I also have a bunch of new brushes and so many canvases stacked up in the back room, there's barely room for anything else. It's like, if I just keep buying more materials, the show will magically materialize.

Aaron rescued a practically brand new black utility cart from a trip to the landfill and it makes a wonderful set up for all of my materials, probably the best I've ever had.

Today I was walking into the local downtown grocery store from the parking lot and I felt this weird jolt of being hit with imagery from 100 different possible paintings all at once. And I was excited but also felt a little pain in my chest, like a tightening...and I realized it was just a flash, and nothing very useful in terms of getting started on my show.

We are in March, I have less than 4 months now before my opening at the Canvas Gallery (and the big wedding) and I have only one painting started. Just one. How is that even possible?

I had this big multi-media collaborative idea for the show which is starting to feel like way too much work and stress. I realized recently that since the opening is the first Friday of July, it will still be up in the gallery when all of my friends and family members come up for the wedding. Then I thought it might be fun to do a show called "The Wedding Party"...but just have a bunch of portrait paintings of all my friends and family who will be coming to town.

I worked on a project several years ago where I sent all my girlfriends disposable cameras and had them take candid shots of themselves doing what they felt defined them most. I had planned to paint portraits from those photographs but that show (like so many others) never came to pass.

Anyway, it was only an idea; I kind of miss painting faces. When I was a kid, everyone used to say I had a gift for it. I don't know why I ever quit.

mountain-juneau-alaska (50k image)

This is a photo I shot recently and then manipulated in PhotoShop. It's the image I'm using for the one painting I've actually started.

Elise on 03.08.08 @ 09:25 PM AK [link]

Thursday, March 6th

A Word on Procrastination

"If and When were planted,
and Nothing grew." -- Proverb

Starting with the back/rib injury in August, things started to pile up behind me at an increasingly alarming rate. An unpaid bill for 14 dollars that will go to collections if left unpaid, the painting I hadn't packaged or shipped 6 months after it sold, the car insurance policy on the verge of cancellation, the long-overdue appointment at the dentists, the unreturned library books, etc.

None of these things are difficult or time consuming on their own, and yet the cumulative result of so much neglect has become overwhelming.

Last week I decided that everyday for the next couple of weeks, I am going to tackle one thing on my list. Pay one bill, ship one painting, return the call of one neglected friend, etc. I have been doing this for 5 days now and I have accomplished a surprising amount.

My goal today was to make a follow-up appointment with the naturopath who is working on my food allergy problem. Monday I'm going to start a rather intense food elimination regime...I'm nervous but excited about feeling really healthy again. I have to give up wheat, dairy, corn, soy, strawberries, shellfish, alcohol, coffee, tea, sugar, (and a whole bunch more).

The only things I'll have a really hard time giving up are the wheat, dairy, and coffee.

I've decided that in addition to picking one item a day to accomplish from my "procrastination" list, I will also spend at least 20 minutes a day working on my show for July. 20 minutes doesn't seem like very much time, but I think a lot of times, just getting started is the hard part. If I really have no clue what to do, I can put in only 20 minutes but when things are going well, I can work a lot longer. Tonight I will spend my 20 mintues in PhotoShop, working on thumbnail sketches for a new painting.

Anyway, I just wanted to write about this because there is something really liberating about facing the things you've tried to ignore or forget but that won't go away. It doesn't take as much effort to get it done, as it does to put it off.

Elise on 03.06.08 @ 05:29 PM AK [link]

Monday, March 3rd

The Joy of Freecycle!!!!

How many of you freecycle? My sister Jenny turned me on to it several years ago (she's a total addict).

"The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,271 groups with 4,597,000 members across the globe. It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (& getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills."

Oh, and membership is FREE

My freecycle group here in Juneau has 337 active members. That may not sound like a lot, but you should see the stuff that is offered on a daily basis. Used furniture, electronics, recreational gear, brand new clothing, all kinds of stuff. It's incredible. The etiquette is that your first post should be an offer, but after that, you can also put up posts for things you want. I made a post recently about wanting wedding decorations and I've hit the mother load!

People have responded not only with things I can have and keep (to pass on to another couple later) like paper lanterns, vases, balloons, tulle, punch bowl, and a fabric runner for going down the "aisle"...but one woman has offered the use of 20 white chairs to set up on the beach for older guests who won't want to stand during the ceremony.

Others have contacted me with DIY ideas that they used for their own weddings, one offered a 40% off cupon for JoAnn's Fabric. All kinds of neat things. People are so generous. It makes me feel really good inside.

Elise on 03.03.08 @ 01:51 PM AK [link]

Saturday, March 1st

Asus eee webcam test

I'm still in fairbanks at a library conference and getting a little stir crazy in my hotel room alone at night so I played around to see if I could upload a webcam post. Aaron and i talked early by webcam and that was nice. i know i'm way behind the curve on this, i'm only a recent convert to web chatting.

Video of yours truly (1527k file)

pretty awful right?

Elise on 03.01.08 @ 07:32 PM AK [link]