Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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Monday, April 30th

Plant a little garden...

I know I haven’t been as open in this blog since I’ve started seeing someone. I feel like there is a lot of stuff that's suddenly "private" which is weird because I've kept a journal since I was 16 but stopped in 2003 when I started blogging…but a public blog isn’t the same as something you write only for yourself. In the beginning I blogged about every random thought that passed through my head, completely unfiltered by thoughts of who might be reading or how badly I was making myself look...primarily because I knew that no one was reading.

Things are a little different now. I have someone else’s privacy to consider and I suppose I worry more about exposing my true inner dork.

There are so many things I want to write about. My life has been mostly perfect lately, but there have been troubling things too. I’ve been having (despite my intense efforts to exercise and eat organic, unprocessed foods) a lot of health issues this winter…nothing serious but I haven’t felt like my normally fun and upbeat self in a long time…and I’m still not painting or doing much of anything creative.

I haven’t discovered a way to balance my happy, well-adjusted relationship with being an artist (who counted on angst and loneliness for inspiration). Plus I’m not used to painting in front of anyone. We’ve thought about getting Japanese screens to divide my studio space from the rest of the living room as I can’t seem to work with anyone else in the room watching me (is anyone else like that?).

I will say that my normally hermit-ish self *is* adjusting quite well to having someone else around on a regular basis, in general. Aaron and I went to a wonderful lecture on Saturday at Landscape Alaska. We only have a small yard but it has a lot of potential. I’m really looking forward to setting up a design for it and doing a lot of work outdoors together this summer.

When I first moved into this house there was no landscaping of any kind and I spent every spare moment outside planting perennials and spreading topsoil and seeding the yard. Now it’s all a big mossy overgrown mess. Where did it all go wrong? I want to make it a beautiful wild place with native plants that don’t require a lot of work. Oh, and I heard a song this morning by Greg Brown that I’ve always loved. There was one stanza in this song that I always loved the most, and when I heard it today it just made me feel so happy because I acutally have someone now.

Hey Baby Hey – Greg Brown

I want to plant a little garden with you now,
Take care of a piece of the Earth somehow and
Tend it when we’re old and gray and
Try to straighten up and say
I’m so glad to see you today and
hey baby hey baby hey baby hey….

house-side-view (42k image)
Back when I was still taking good care of the yard!

Elise on 04.30.07 @ 04:38 PM AK [link]

Sunday, April 22nd

Drippity Do Dah!

This weekend I ordered all of the materials I'll need for the show in September and I feel very excited for them to arrive. I've been doing lots of mental sketches of how I'd like this new show to look, the works will be smaller for one thing...due in part to the space I'll be alloted.

I'm planning to do around 15 sized 9"x12", 12"x12", 11"x14", and 12"x16".

The weather has been awe inspiring lately, despite the fact that I came down with the 10-day crud again (the stuff that ruined my Spring Break)...the sun feels great on my runny nose!

I took a walk down to my boat this afternoon to get out of the house for awhile and walking down the ramp I got a whiff of salt water and boat fumes combined with sea weed and wood smoke from a beach bonfire. It was so overwhelming (in a good way).

The sun was shining on the snow covered mountains, several ravens were chasing an eagle around and a golden retriever trotted past me and I swear he gave me a smile. Anyway, I just had this moment of complete joy. I felt it in every fiber of my being. It was the absolute certainty of knowing I was exactly where I wanted to be in life.

I took a nice sunny nap in the cabin of my sailboat while Aaron worked on our outboards. Have I mentioned lately what a great guy he is?

Now I'm home coughing up a storm and dripping all over everything. This crud is the worst know how it feels when your eyes get so watery you can't read and you can't even watch TV? That's how I feel. But at least it's sunny, and I'm in Alaska which is the only place I want to be...drips and all.

Elise on 04.22.07 @ 05:13 PM AK [link]

Wednesday, April 18th

Show in September a Go!

So, I just got off the phone with the gallery manager at Annie Kaill's and she said that she would like to offer me a show! I'll be sharing the First Friday opening for September most likely with Devita Writer.

I swore I'd never do another two person show after my last one with Charity Green. She displayed mellow dark toned and moody paintings of fishing boats that sold like hot cakes while my two-d, psychedelic nippled, nudes hung sadly neglected on the opposing wall.

My ego was totally bruised that night…and I probably lost my chance to exhibit at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council gallery recently when I refused to exhibit with anyone else. However…I *really* want to have a chance to show my work at Annie Kaill’s. I’ve spent a lot of money in there over the years and I think my work (once I get started on it) will be a great fit there.

The other reason why I’m not that bummed about sharing an opening is that it takes off some of the "solo" pressure. I’ll be working on these new paintings over the summer and now I can get by with 10 new pieces as opposed to 20. That’s probably a good thing, especially since I'll also be working on the paintings for Michael Modzelewski's new novella "North Through Paradise"...which need to be finished by the end of summer....not to mention the book cover for the newest edition of Kathy Conner's Roadside Geology of Alaska. Yikes!

I better get going to buy canvas and start painting…I guess I’ll have to miss the gathering at the yacht club tonight. They’re having a “sail measuring” party to set the handicaps for the upcoming racing season and Aaron wanted me to take both of our sails in since he had to work tonight.

Oh well, I think he'll understand if I skip this time around...
Elise on 04.18.07 @ 05:34 PM AK [link]

Monday, April 16th

Couches and fuses and spiders...OH MY!

Friday night Rob Roys and I went to an outdoor soccer match. There were giant snow banks around the perimeter of the field, very Alaskan; I wish I'd had my camera. Our Juneau girl's varsity team beat the state champs from last year 6-0. Yee Haw!

Sat. Aaron and I shopped for a new couch. We test drove about 42 models carefully weighing the "cuddle factor" of each until we found our ideal match: The Dalton, a double recliner by LazBoy. We basically spent the entire day cuddling; it was one of the most romantic things I’ve ever done!

We also went to the Alaska Folk Festival Saturday night after which they held a big square dance! It was so fun even though I had no clue what I was doing. Yee HAW!

I didn't get any painting done over the weekend...I'm still waiting to hear back from that gallery on the possibility of a September exhibit. I am afraid it isn't going to happen and now I feel sort of embarrassed because I've already started telling people I *might* have a show there. Ooops!

Oh well, I'm still not ruling out holding a home exhibit...I'd send invites to my mailing list, have wine and snacks....and just have a big party/art viewing. If anything sold I'd get to keep 100% of the profits as opposed to 60% if I show at a gallery. I'm hoping my sweetie can help me install some tract lighting if it comes to that.

He's great with that kind of thing...for example, on Friday my car wouldn't start which was very stressful as it's 13 years old and could give up the ghost at any moment. But Aaron figured out it was only a burnt out ignition fuse, a 4 dollar fix! Yee HAW!
Then last night there was a scary spider in the hallway and moments later, another sizeable one in the bedroom. Aaron was able to successfully relocate both of them to the outdoors for me. At the risk of jeopardizing my feminist cred... there are times it's absolutely fantastic having a big strong man around! Does that make me lame?

Elise on 04.16.07 @ 02:22 PM AK [link]

Wednesday, April 11th

Artistic Personality Type (True or not True?)

The following ten traits and characteristics are typical of the Artistic personality type (from

1. Mood swings. Those of the Artistic temperament tend to experience a greater range of emotion than those of any other type. They are very emotionally reactive.

2. Artistic inclinations. The Artistic type is the most inclined of all the types to be involved with the fine arts, music, or literature (Keirsey, 204). They take an artistic approach to all aspects of their lives.

3. Independent work. Like "the majority of poets, novelists, composers, and to a lesser extent, of painters and sculptors," those of the Artistic type "are bound to spend a great deal of their time alone (Storr, ix)."

4. Relationships secondary. Those of the Artistic temperament "are quite likely to choose relationships which will further their work rather than relationships which are intrinsically rewarding, and their spouses may well find that marital relations take second place (Storr, 107)."

5. Great productivity. Persons of the Artistic type are highly disciplined, gifted with superior powers of concentration, and capable of producing great quantities of high quality work; they also enjoy frequent periods of recreation and inactivity.

6. Disinhibition. They are hedonistic and impulsive; "they live Epicurean lives in the here and now, and as gracefully as possible (Keirsey, 204)."

7. Keen perceptions. The Artistic temperament is especially attuned to color, line, texture, shading - touch, motion, seeing, and hearing in harmony. The senses of Artistic individuals seem more keenly tuned than those of others (Keirsey, 205).

8. Kindness (Keirsey, 205). Although those of the Artistic type may adopt an aggressive, tough exterior, they are remarkably gentle, kind, and generous.

9. Extroversion and introversion. The interpersonal conduct of those of the Artistic type alternates between the greatest extremes of sociability and social reticence.

10. Love of nature. In many individuals of the Artistic type there "may be found an instinctive longing for the natural, the pastoral, the bucolic. They are quite at home in the wilds, and nature seems to welcome them (Keirsey, 206)."

avalanche-scale (11k image)

Elise on 04.11.07 @ 02:24 PM AK [link]

Monday, April 9th

The joys of being artsy fartsy

Last night I finally finished one of the paintings I was commissioned to do months and months ago! I worked on it off and on all weekend and it felt great to be painting again. I put an ungodly amount of time into it though but I'm really happy with how it turned out...hopefully the guy who commissioned it will be equally pleased.

I also sold 2 more prints on Friday so that’s extremely encouraging.

I’m getting more into the artist mindset in general lately…I went to Tuesday night’s life drawing session at the Ruby Room and to the First Friday art openings this past weekend. I talked to the gallery manager at the Canvas Gallery and there’s a chance I could show there someday (but currently they’re booked up for the next year straight).

Anyway, I went and saw an exhibit of hand made glass beads and jewelry created by friends of Aaron at Basement Studios and he bought me a gorgeous necklace! (isn’t he the sweetest!???).

What else? Oh yes, Sat. night we went to the launch of the UAS literary and art journal Tidal Echoes that my good friend Emily Wall worked her ass off putting together as the faculty advisor (it turned out absolutely GORGEOUS!). She also received hard copies of her own book “Freshly Rooted” just back from the publishers which is very exciting. Back when I first met Emily and she had the manuscript but no takers for getting it published…we agreed to both keep working on our goals until they became reality…she even put a thank you to me in the intro…very cool. I’m still working on my goals but I’m very very proud of her!

Let's see...Sat. night I also went to the wedding reception of one of Aaron’s friends visiting from Australia, and then on Easter Sunday we went to a big dinner held by his adoptive Tlingit family. Such great people, it was a lot of fun! It’s amazing how quickly the weekend passes…

Oh yah, one last thing...there’s a chance that I may get to have a show at my favorite (living) art gallery in Juneau for this September. That would be amazing. In one way, I’d panic a as September is only 4 and a half months away and I’d be starting from scratch…on the other hand, I’ve been thinking of paintings non-stop ever since the possibility presented itself, which is a good thing. It’s not a done deal, the gallery manager likes my work but she still has to clear it with the owner. Even if I don’t end up getting the show, it has really helped kick start my muse (who I have to admit has been a bit of a lazy ass free-loader lately).

Oh, and I just remembered some advice author John Straley gave to young writers at the Tidal Echoes launch party...he told them to have your very best work ready for when your good luck opportunity comes along. I think that's good advice for visual artists as well. Even if you don't have a show coming up, it's a great idea to have a show's worth of your best work ready to go. Sometimes an artist will cancel for whatever reason and a gallery will need someone to fill in at the last minute and you can get a show if you're ready to go. I've had that happen to me a few times now. So, I'm going to move forward with a new show's worth of work as though I have a show for certain and even if I don't get the one I want, I'll be ready the next time opportunity knocks.

What about the rest of you? Have you ever been able to jump into some great opprotunity because you had the goods ready and waiting?

Elise on 04.09.07 @ 11:12 AM AK [link]