Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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Thursday, April 24th

Sunshine of the spotless living room

The beautiful weather continues. Everyday I'm out on the trails enjoying the sun. It's crazy here when the weather is nice, *everyone* is outside and a little manic. But after a week or so of of it, people start getting warn out. I'm not at that point yet...I'm still sucking it all in.

I'm taking tomorrow off, possibly to go for the first sail of the season (if all goes well). Tonight (after the sun goes down) I'm going to do some deep cleaning to get ready for the weekend. Isn't it wonderful going into the weekend with everything clean and sweet smelling?

All of my deep cleaning will be without the assistance of modern machinery though. The "energy crisis" continue in Juneau. People are taking some pretty extreme measures to save on electricity but when your energy bill goes up 500% overnight, that will happen!

In other news, I've been thinking of a lot of new images and getting exited to paint again; I have to remind myself that just because the July show is canceled, I still have the Dec. show to work for...and even if I didn't have any shows, I can and should still be painting...just as soon as the sun goes down...and after I clean my living room.

Elise on 04.24.08 @ 05:24 PM AK [link]

Monday, April 21st

Cold Comfort

This weekend we had perfect weather. Aaron and I spent a lot of time outside, walking on various beaches and taking in the sun. Below are some photos, they lose a lot of their impact at such a small scale but trust me, it was absolutely gorgeous.

Having time to play outside reminded me of a scene from the movie Cold Comfort Farm, a woman is talking to her young friend and asks what she plans to do with her life. The young woman says that her plan is to write a best selling book when she's 60 years old. Her friend asks her what she plans to do until then and she replies "gather experiences to write about of course!"

That's what I've gained by canceling my show for July. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I can just go out and "gather experiences"..possibly I'll take a photo or see something along the way that will truly inspire me to create new work. I realize that for me, it's something that just can't be forced. Whenever I do force it, the work always suffers.

And so, that's what I'll be doing for awhile...guilt-free I might add.

aaron-and-woman-with-red-hat (77k image)

auk-rec-island (90k image)

auke-rec-sunny (84k image)

irish-setter-mountains (61k image)

Elise on 04.21.08 @ 10:35 AM AK [link]

Thursday, April 17th

Crashing down

OMG! I just got an email petition to keep Costa Rican artist Guillermo Vargas Habacuc out of the Bienal Centroamericana Honduras where he's been asked to *repeat* his "installation art" where he allegedly starved a dog to death! It made me feel sick to my stomach!

Now, I'm a researcher so I had to verify the accusations made in the online petition and a couple of the articles, like the one below from the Guardian (reliable source), call into question whether the animal actually starved to death, but just the idea that it could have happened makes me feel soooo angry.

Outrage at 'starvation' of a stray dog for art.

In personal news, I contacted the gallery manager yesterday and she is willing to replace me with another artist for July. After I sent her the email (yes, I know I should have phoned but I still have a sort-of phone phobia) I had a good cry. Then she contacted me a bit later to say she thinks she's already found another artist...I felt jealous and regretful. But also just a tiny bit relieved (truth be told). That gallery is booked up for solos until the end of 2010, or so I've been told...and it's the best place in town to show so someone is getting a lucky break.

Also, it's April 17th and we just got 6 inches of snow this morning! And yesterday an avalanche knocked out our hydro power. That means our rates are going to skyrocket...up from .11 cents to .54 cents per kilowatt hour!

electriccostmap2 (38k image)

We were already trying to conserve energy by using compact fluorescent lighting and buying energy efficient appliances etc. but now we're going to have to be even more vigilant!

Elise on 04.17.08 @ 12:17 PM AK [link]

Wednesday, April 16th

Advantages of Blogging

The weather here has been non-stop rain for weeks. I'm considering doing a series of paintings of what the world looks like through steamy, rain-streaked windows...all blurry and colorless, barely recognizable forms. Any takers?

Yesterday I got a copy of the article I wrote several months ago for Art Calendar magazine. It looks great, btw! I just felt a little embarrassed reading it, about how much better my business is doing since the blog (which is still true) but to come out the same time as my last post ranting about what a failure I am as a business person, well, the timing is a bit on the irony side for me.

Also, I emphasize the importance of blogging regularly, which I myself have not been doing of late. So if anything, this can serve as a cautionary tale. If you quit writing on your blog, people will quit reading it. Also, if you say your an "Artist" blog, but then never post any art or make any art for that matter, how long before you lose your street cred? Am I there yet?

north-douglas-beach-rain (33k image)

Elise on 04.16.08 @ 10:26 AM AK [link]

Monday, April 14th

A pound of flesh

Yes, it's that time of year again...TAX DAY! I finally did my taxes tonight, after countless encouraging emails and phone calls from my accountant I got all of my receipts tallied, all my official paperwork gathered, and everything faxed or emailed to him to actually file.

One thing that I find depressing is how poorly my "art business" is doing. I'm probably getting close to the "hobby" cut off point. My license is expired. I re-consulted my 10 year plan and I'm no further along than I was back 3 years ago when I wrote it. If anything I think I've been doing worse than ever. And it's not for lack of effort. I put a lot of time into thinking about art, and trying to come up with ideas, and doing thumbnails, and working on this website and blog, and looking at art and talking about art and talking about not making art...not to mention my rich art-related fantasy life and all those hours spent depressed in bed lamenting not painting or not having ideas.

When I do my taxes I look back over the year at how much I put into my art in terms of dollars and cents, and how much I made back, and it is always grim grim grim.

Now I'm already 4 months into 2008 with no sales at all. I know, I's not about sales. But I'm afraid I'm going to have to cancel this July show which means no sales potentially until the Anchorage show in December. And what if that stinks or I have to cancel again? Maybe "art" and "business" just don't go well together...or not for me anyway. Maybe I should quit trying to make it a business and just do what I'm (at times) good at...making art. Of course...that hasn't been going so well either.

Oh well, at least I have my sight and use of my hands and if I'd just quit my damn yappin and start paintin, maybe I wouldn't have to go through this every April!

In happier news, I had several girlfriends come over to help me put together stuff for the wedding on Saturday which was fun and also a big help (thanks everyone). My sister even flew down from Anchorage for it. I feel so lucky to have the friends and family that I do. And speaking of feeling lucky, here's another cute photo of two of my sweeties...they were both being very helpful tonight as I toiled and cursed over said tax preparations. I think the expression on Osiris's face is priceless. He has resigned himself to the hundreds of hugs and kisses Aaron gives him everynight, doesn't even try to get away anymore. LOL

aaron-osiris (84k image)

Elise on 04.14.08 @ 01:21 AM AK [link]

Tuesday, April 8th

What Do You Want!

Iím overwhelmed by the sun and the images in my head of biking, hiking, sailing, camping, fishing, and kayaking. In all of these visions, I think of how guilty all of those activities will make me feel if I do them (while I should be painting) or how Iíll miss doing them if Iím inside painting as I *should* be.

Secondly, painting usually is great for my mental health but very hard on me physically. I usually donít eat very well when Iím in the groove, I donít get enough sleep, and even though Iíve transitioned to a non-toxic oil painting environment, I swear I still have some weird respiratory response to the paints (congestion and headaches).

Iím still on the allergy elimination diet (2 days to go) and it has helped with certain things (more energy, sleeping better, lost 10 pounds, etc.) but it hasnít helped with some of the conditions I was really hoping it would help with health-wise but Iím continuing on with it. It takes a lot of time though, shopping only for unprocessed, organic foods and cooking everything from scratch is not going to happen once I start painting in earnest.

I am on a serious quest for better health, and Iím not sure how the stress of putting on a show and planning a wedding (both sedentary) are going to help with my overall health objectives.

Maybe I am just making excuses because I spent so much of last summer inside painting when I was lusting to be outside. Maybe Iím feeling guilty because I had plenty of time to paint this winter when I was laid up from my bad back, and yet I didnít.

This may seem off track butÖI am a HUGE Battlestar Galactica fan (the new series). In the current (final) season Starbuck thinks she knows the way to Earth but no one believes her. Instead they continue to make jumps in the wrong direction. Every time the fleet makes a jump she feels the pain and dread of going the wrong way. Afraid that if they go too far, sheíll lose her ability to find her way back altogether.

I guess thatís how Iím feeling. Like every choice Iíve made lately is taking me farther and farther away from my dream of being a working artist. And yetÖmy life is good, and Iím happier than ever. Except the fact that I'm not painting makes me feel sick to my what gives?

Elise on 04.08.08 @ 01:12 PM AK [link]

Thursday, April 3rd

My Belly is Still Laughing

Today I found an old message sent by a friend of mine from grad school in Hawaii. The message was years old and sent right before she left to do field research in Palau. I thought there was probably no chance she'd be at the same address but sent off a quick email just in case.

I heard back from her almost immediately. Then tonight we talked and laughed for hours...until my stomach hurt. It was as though no time had passed at all.

With some friends, we might fall out of daily contact from time to time, but at our cores we're the same and the connection never goes away. You know?

So, I want to send a shout out to all my Belly Laughing cohorts! What would I ever do without you???

And speaking of laughing, my laugh is really loud. Sometimes people come up to me and ask "were you at the seven o'clock showing of "X"...I thought I recognized your laugh!"...but it's good for our health so why not really let loose? That's yet another thing I love about my honey, he makes me laugh...we can be total dorks with each other.

As we get older, everything seems to get so serious. I love being silly and love people who will be silly with me. I think that's something most of my friends have in common with me. So, a challenge to all of you out there...release your inner dorks!

laughing (118k image)

Elise on 04.03.08 @ 09:39 PM AK [link]

Tuesday, April 1st

Weekend Photo Blog

Saturday was sunny and beautiful here in Juneau Alaska! We got up early to got to garage sales looking for a bike for Aaron. We found one perfect for him at the second place we stopped!

clouds-snowy-alaska-mountains (46k image)

That afternoon I went for a walk through Treadwell with my friend Maren and that evening, went for a walk downtown on the boardwalk with my honey.

aaron-gallery-walls (39k image)

We also stopped at the The Canvas Gallery so I could check out the new space. I thought it would be smaller but there seems to be even more wall space than before. Seeing the beautifully remodeled gallery made me feel that tingling sort of inspiration that only comes with the extreme anxiety of impending doom. The necessary mix that I seem to need to get going.

..above Aaron poses in front of one of the new gallery walls. Meow!

pink-alaska-mountain-sunset2 (35k image)

Walking over to the Hangar on the Wharf for dinner, we watched a beautiful sunset and Aaron took some great photos for me.

pink-alaska-mountain-sunset-3 (35k image)

pink-alaskan-mountain-sunset1 (36k image)

elise-sticking-tongue-out-juneau-alaska (57k image)

and of me...grrrr! (lol)

aaron-downtown-juneau (93k image)

So I took some of him. That green house waaaaaay up on the hillside right behind him is the house he grew up in!

It was an absolutely perfect day.

Then the following day it started snowing again so we started working on our wedding rings. It's not as easy as I thought it would be. The one I made for him ended up being too small and cracked in several places when we fired it last night. The one he made for me hasn't been fired yet. The process is really fun though, and we're learning a lot.

stay tuned...

Elise on 04.01.08 @ 10:33 AM AK [link]