Elise Tomlinson
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November 16th, 2003
Today was just one of those days that is so nice it makes you feel happy to be alive again. I started a new painting last night, ended up sleeping on the couch, woke up really late and just lounged about. Listened to some Elliot Smith and Jeff Buckley, two of my favorite singer/song writers... Both of whom died tragically young. Both were so incredibly talented and with such amazing voices and unique sounds. It just isn't fair. I think sometimes if you're going through a meloncholic phase you need to just go with it and their music has always allowed me to wallow without getting really dangerously low.

I've always felt like the perfect soundtrack to my life would consist of those two artists plus Aimee Mann. I also spent some time playing the guitar this afternoon, tried to write a song about how I feel about Elliot Smith basically killing himself but it ended up being really awful. Wring music isn't as easy as you might think, especially about someone you cared about.

Later this evening it started to snow. I LOVE the snow, and we get so much rain in Juneau that snow is a welcome relief.

The new painting I started is a self portrait playing musical saw. Since I couldn't actually see myself It looks a bit anonymous now. I felt inspired to do a self portait from watching Frida. Of course, she was a gorgeous woman and I'm not but hey, I can use some artistic license...Nes Cafe? (that's a joke).

TIP OF THE DAY! If you happen to paint on canvas, roll a lint brush over the surface of it after you've stretched it and before you prime it. It get's rid of all those annoying little hairs and carpet fibers that can drive you mad. I forgot to do that last night and I ended up spending 45 minutes with a pair of tweezers removing them from the surface after I primed the first coat. Then had to sand to remove the topographical indentations the hairs made in the surace of the canvas. What a pain. And yes, I'm painting on canvas again. I've decided to quit working on panel for awhile, it just wasn't doing it for me any more.

I'm not sure how but I'd like to paint something about a predatory act. I just like those words. It's actually from an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer but it has stuck in my head and I'd like to do somthing with it. Did some sketches tonight of my cat but he isn't very much of a predator. Think I'll turn to the human variety.

November 14th, 2003 Part II
I'm writing twice today because I just watched the movie Frida. I can't believe I left her off my top ten list. I have always loved and admired her work and seeing the film just reinforced those feelings. I am putting together a collection of DVDs about artists. It's great to watch someone painting especially if you're having a little painter's block. So far I only have Pollock and Frida, but I'm going to get Basquiat, I shot Andy Warhol, Surviving Picasso, and Vincent. Does anyone have other recommendations?

But back to the movie Frida...I loved the style of it. I loved the way they used that sort of living picture technique and Tromp L'oeil to create that wonderful sense of magical realism. I am fully inspired. Time to put my leaky frustrations to bed. Tomorrow, as I pick up tar to patch up my siding I'll get some more 1" X 2"s so I can start on some new stretcher bars. I make big gallery wrapped style canvases and creating one is pretty much an art of its own. Sometimes it takes as long to create the canvas as it does to do the painting. But the key is that I really WANT to do it and normally I dread building canvaseas as much as watching President Bush give an address.

Oh, one last thing...The scene where Frida, Diego, and Trotsky are sitting at a table of dissidents, artists, writers, and philosophers...that interview question where they ask you if could have dinner with any historical figure and I just thought, that's a pretty amazing mix right there!

November 14th, 2003 Part I
Wind Driven Rain. I started writing a short story last night about a woman whose whole life is changed by a leaky roof. Yes, this is based on true events. I never realized how much of a stabilizing force my house is. Before I got the MLIS and the stable job I floated around from one really crappy apartment to the next. I lived for probably 4 years or more in an honest to god crack house in Spenard which is a rather rough yet trendy neighborhood in Anchorage. The tales I could tell from that place! And now, I have this modest but adorable two story house on a little hill in downtown Douglas, on an Island in Southeast Alaska with a (filtered) view of the channel! It has made all the difference in the world to my sanity. Which reminds me of my…


There was a brief time in Anchorage when my best friend Rick Quinones and I were working on a collaborative 2-person show called “Penetrated Structures” about voyeurism, (of which again, I have NO slides) and we ended up living in our tiny shared studio. Not studio apartment, STUDIO, as in, a very small office building we rented in downtown Anchorage with no windows and no ventilation. I bribed the janitor with one of my paintings of a wild looking naked woman, and he let us have access to the janitor’s closet so we could wash out our brushes (and our hair). We ended up taking a lot of showers on campus, we were both students at the time and very poor. It was such a different experience for us, going into the shops downtown that are geared towards tourists, looking a bit on the skanky side, and being treated like criminals. We walked down to the Hilton one night to get cokes from their soda machine and a security guard basically stalked us until we left.

We slept on the floor on an egg crate foam pad. The place reeked of turpentine, the pieces we were painting were HUGE, some of them over 7 feet long, and they were all crammed in this little room. We both smoked and drank like fiends back then, it’s a wonder we didn’t blow ourselves up. Or kill each other in our sleep. It is no easy thing to do a truly collaborative art show with a friend. We worked on the pieces together and our styles were not that similar, other than the fact we both liked painting figures. The paintings were still wet when we had to transfer them to the gallery for installation. Even worse, neither of us had wheels.

On the day we were going to install the show, we hadn’t slept in a couple of days. We were both close to delirious. We had to borrow a friend’s hatch back and try and fit our huge wet paintings into it, one at a time, and run them back and forth to the gallery across town. Plus we had to foot the bill for all of this food, or should I say that I had to foot the bill for all this food for the opening. At the opening, we were wired tight and we had to be there and do the whole meet and greet thing. After the show Rick and I got into a huge fight over how to split up the leftovers from the opening (leftover muffins and cheese etc.) and it ended up with me telling him to “FUCK OFF AND DIE!”.
Later that same day I think, we made up. It was just the stress had been building up for awhile and things got volatile. He confessed to me, jokingly, that he had been fantasizing about having his hands around my throat choking me saying “Breathe Elise”. It seemed funny at the time but looking back…

Nostalgia is a funny thing because now I remember that experience fondly. As I was telling a friend recently, an example I use for teaching students how to do a phrase search in Google is: “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety” (Benjamin Franklin) and I know it relates more to national security, but it is just stuck in my head because it reminds me of where I am in my life in general.

I craved safety and stability for so long, it’s the main reason I decided to go to graduate school for an MLIS rather than an MFA (which is what I really wanted to do). I wanted health insurance and to own a home and have my teeth cleaned regularly…you know, the American Dream. But I realized how much we have to give up in the quest for that safety in terms of our freedom. Once you have a mortgage the expendable income is gone.

I find a lot of inspiration from travel. I’ve traveled several times to Morocco and all over Europe; I’ve lived in Spain, Mexico, Hawaii, New York, and Southern California as well as different parts of Alaska. I like to move around, be exposed to new cultures and be forced to expand my comfort zone so to speak. But moving to Juneau, getting a job as a professor and buying a house seems so strange to me sometimes. I think, “How did I become this person?”

And now, this damn leak in my ceiling. It’s making my life miserable. I have no money to fix it and I feel cheated. I gave up my freedom for the safety of a house and not it has turned on me. And there is nothing like a leak to remind you of how much it really rains in Southeast Alaska. Let’s just say… A LOT! I am starting to develop some rather ill will towards the rain. And yet, all of this self-reflection came about from the leak. And reflection is always a good thing in my opinion; even if the picture you see staring back at you is not pleasant.

I started thinking “I could sale the house and sailboat, get rid of the majority of my possessions, and move out of Alaska; move somewhere closer to friends and family and where maybe I could earn a more equitable salary, take summers off and travel more. And it’s amazing how once an idea is broached in your mind you realize that you actually have options. That you can make a decision that will change your life dramatically. That can be unsettling. Particularly because when I bought this house I told myself that I would never move again. I wanted to allow myself to lay down some roots, commit to a community and quit my wandering ways. Now that I have this idea that I could try somewhere new, the whole world becomes open with possibilities but it can be scary too. I don’t know, maybe I need to do this as an artist to keep from getting stale and dead inside.
This is a topic area of interest to me. At one point (before Rick got his MAT degree) he used to lecture me that he would rather be poor and work a crappy job and have more time and energy for his art than have a profession in a non-art related area. This was at the time I was trying to decide if I should apply for graduate schools in library and information science. I think he looked at that as sort of selling out.

But then, my friend L C, who was the head of the ceramics department and only a few years older than me, told me that having an MFA wasn’t the greatest thing in the world either. She said that she had to apply for new jobs every couple of years because most universities would only hire term art professors and also it was extremely competitive. She was very driven artistically speaking, and she’d put in incredibly long hours in the studio and exhibit a lot. I used to think that she was just a really on fire artist but she admitted that a lot of her drive was manufactured out of fear of unemployment. I admired her so much for taking the riskier road, it’s what I wanted to do but I also was afraid of unemployment and the MLIS route seemed a safer bet.

So, my question is, do you need uncertainty and change in order to grow as an artist? Or, do you become a better artist once the lower portion of your hierarchy of needs has been met because now you can work on concepts like self-actualization beyond just worrying about your next meal?

Any of you out there in cyberspace have an opinion on this? Let me know by email or the rants and raves form! Please, I’m dying for some art related discussion.

November 5th, 2003
Well, I haven't been writing much. I guess that's because I haven't been doing anything that creative for awhile. This past weekend the weather reminded me of the fall in Nebraska. We used to go for drives in the country. We'd stop on little bridges and have a contest over who could find the most empty gun shell casings. I went for a walk with my friend Jennifer Brown and it reminded me so much of home for some reason.

I'm originally from O'Neill Nebraska, population around 3,000. My dad still lives there. He used to take us out shooting in the fall; we never hunted but we'd do target practice with all kinds of different guns. He used to go to a lot of gun shows and did some trading for awhile…we had some pretty intense semi-automatic guns for awhile there.

But I digress, this is supposed to be an artist's blog, and truth be told I haven't been very artistic lately. I have been dreaming about charcoal drawings lately but that's about it. In the dreams, the whole focus of the drawings are on the light shining on the lids of eyes shaped like almonds, something very Modigliani-esqu, one of my all time favorite artists. In fact, I'll go ahead and list the artists who have had the biggest influence on me.

Top Ten Favorite Visual Artists (historical)

Mattise, Henri I've always been a huge fan of the Fauves. I love his use of color and the simplicity of his lines. I am particularly impressed with his paper cut-outs.

Chagall, Marc II got to see a museum of his works in Nice on the French Riviera when I was around 18 or 19 years old. I also got to see some of his stained glass windows of bible scenes. It really blew me away.

Modigliani, Amadeo I love the elongation of the figures and the almond shaped eyes. I love how he would overlay colors in an extreme fashion, like red over green in the flesh tones.

Gauguin, (Eugene-Henri) Paul His paintings made me want to move to an Island and get syphalis.

Toulouse-Lautrec I love him for his subject matter.

Klimt, Gustav I loved his figures and the fact he used gold and silver paint.

Munch, Edvard I really related to this man when I was in college. I think I was generally a pretty depressed person.

Schiele, Egon I love the way this man did hands. Also, that he braved tabo subject matter. I always admire those who can tackle subject matter that many shy away from.

Kathe Kollwitz I've always admired her for her bravery and her activism. She was a huge infulence to me as a printmaker. I ofen wish that I tackled bigger issue with my art, as she did.

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner I did a reproduction of one of his wood block prints when I was in art school. I loved the way it turned out. His charachters always seem kind of hip yet dangerous. I have been told often that my work is reminicent of the German and Austrian expressionists and I take that as a big compliment.

October 24th, 2003
So, I had a chance to work on Kite Club for awhile this week and I'm pretty happy with the results so far. I still have a long ways to go but I've burned a first draft to DVD and shown a few people who liked it more or less. I plan to work on it some more this weekend now that I've finally finished up the CD ROMs for the Distance class I teach. Thank God!

I had a nice talk on the phone tonight with my dad. He's very cool...it made me miss him. I can't wait to go home for the hollidays and see my whole family. Speaking of which, my 4 sisters and I are planing a big sisters only vacation next summer but so far we can't agree on anything.I just want to lay on a beach somewhere and get some sun and maybe do some sailing but they want to go on a carribean cruise which would cost me a lot to get there from Alaska etc. I am so broke these days, I don't think my married sisters get the fact that I have to pay my mortgage on my own. Oh well, we'll see.

Not much else going on in the art department. Except I'm working on my costume for halloween. I'd like to learn how to make real prosthetic face pieces from foam latex and get some professional grade movie make-up but I don't have the money or time to wait for it to get here. I'll probably have to settle for paper mache this year.

October 14th, 2003
I took a break for a week because I've been so behind in everything. This weekend I had a chance to do some work around the house, yard work mostly, pruning the big cottonwood trees in the back that tend to grow so huge every summer they start blocking out my view of the channel.

I haven't done much in the way of creativity lately, too busy with work. I did meet the new TA in the ceramics department. He was doing research on kiln technology. It reminded me of how insanely addicted to ceramics I used to be. So I have added a new gallery for some of the hand built ceramics I did when I took classes in Anchorage with Lisa Conway from around 1995-1998. I wish I would have taken more slides. That's one thing I'm always kicking myself for, I've only taken slides of a few pieces because someone else was shooting and offered to let me do mine at the same time. The majority of the works I've done in clay are, like my printmaking pieces, long gone.


It does remind me that I'd like to get back into that sometime...possibly get my own small electric kiln and electric wheel too. Or at least I can dream about that.


By the way, I hope you like the halloween photo I added to the home page. I'm the one in the middle between my two older sisters Diane and Traci. (I have two younger sisters too, Jenny and Kelly)

October 6th, 2003
Last night I did some more editing of the photos I took of the tidal plains. I came up with one that looks realy good. I then used one of PhotoShops artistic filters to tweak it a bit more. I like the stylized way it turned out quite a bit so today I'm going to do apainting of it on one of my wood panels.

October 2nd, 2003
Driving home from work tonight (2nd night shift in a row) I saw the northern lights shining out over the mountains. It's interesting that I've seen the lights hundreds of times probably, but every time I see them I feel so excited. My pulse starts to race, it's like magic. I never get tired of it. And the weather has been so clear and crisp and fantastic lately, it was the perfect end to a perfect stretch of fall days.

You know, I've never been interested in "Alaskana" art, or "Fish, fur and feathers" as it's sometimes referred to...but the longer I live in Alaska (over 15 years now if you can believe it!) the more difficult I find it to not be influenced by the amazing beauty all around me. For example, a couple days ago the fall leaves were at their peak. They don't get as spectacular here as some places, but there was this view driving home to Douglas, that blew my mind.

The trees were the most intense yellow, and the wetlands were also fields of bright yellow, almost orange, then there was the blue of the channel, and the black mountains frosted with termination dust, and above it all, a sky with just a hint of purple to it. I just couldn't believe anything could look so perfect. And now tonight, those lights dancing above the mountains; I really can't imagine living anywhere else.

Then watching Fiends I had an idea tonight for some jewelry that I make (inspired from something Feebee was wearing). I like painting on driftwood, and I was thinking I could get some small pieces and paint my nudes on them and make them into necklaces for Christmas presents. If the weather is this beautiful tomorrow I'll go beach combing and see what I can find. I guess it goes to show you that you'll never know what random image could potentially inspire you.

Also, I got in my new Adobe Professional Video Editing Collection software yesterday. It has Premiere Pro, After Effects, Audition, and Encore DVD. I can't wait to get it installed and start working on editing Kite Club.

This Saturday I'm spending the day helping with our next project which is a rockumentary spoof somewhat like "This is Spinal Tap". The script is good and it should be pretty funny. I'm not sure what I'll be doing exactly. I'd like to get some experience behind one of the cameras but it's not my project so I'll have to see what the director needs me to do.

September 29th, 2003
So, yesterday was an amazing day outside. Perfect fall weather. I ended up taking down my main sail for the season. Always a sad thing for me to do but I felt I should take advantage of the dry weather so I don't have a soggy sail drying out in my living room like last season.

I got another long distance phone call Saturday night from Rod Remily, one of my best friends and former roommate from college. He's studying wine making in Northern California now. It was great getting caught-up with him. He's so funny, we ended up laughing the entire time, which was a nice break from work. I found out he and Edwin Osowski were planning on coming down to Juneau to suprise me this summer but the plans fell through at the last minute because Rod couldn't get the time off from work. I love suprises but I would have been embarassed if my place were trashed or something when they showed up. They are going to try again at some point so I'll have to be better at keeping things tidy just in case.

I found out from Rod that he still has one of my favorite prints that I gave him years ago called "Nostalgia". I never took slides of my work when I was in art school and now I have no record of all the work I did growing up and during my university days. He's going to take a slide of it for me, which is very cool. Here is a tip for any artist still in school: TAKE SLIDES! Do it right away, learn how to do them properly, using tungsten bulbs, a light kit, and the proper film. You may not think so now but you'll kick yourself later on. There are so many pieces I've done floating around out there unsigned, unrecorded, that I've forgotten all about. I'd love to be able to see them all today and see how my style has changed over time etc. but they are long gone.

And that's another thing, get into the habit of signing your work. I always forget to do that and then you have people calling you up after the fact asking you to do it and anyway, if your name is on the front of the piece and they have it hanging somewhere it's good for getting your name out there.

I also went running this weekend, yes, running! I like to go out on the Treadwell historic trail. I went exploring too, and walked around in some of the old buildings left over from the mining days. It was creepy but kind of cool.

On another note, I bought the Adobe video editing bundle from Creation Engine and it should be coming in any day now. Then I can start editing the Kite Club footage. I've watched it and aside from a few scenes, it looks great. Still a lot of post work to do but it should be a lot of fun.

I've going to use my new skills at burning data CDs to put the project that I did with Emily Wall and Alexis Easly, into a webpage for CD distribution, since Alexis doesn't want some of her poems on the web. I'm excited to do this so we can then send the CD to possible publishers for our book project. I'm going to make a funky CD label for it and everything.

Oh yes, just found out the David Walker, one of my closest friends in the world, just passed the bar exam in Maine. Congratulations D! I'm so proud of you.

Also, another amazing friend, Emily Wall, is getting her first book of poetry published "Freshly Rooted". I remember having lunch with her maybe 3 years ago, and she had her manuscript and she wasn't sure about trying to get it published...maybe she'd been rejected from a few publishers and was feeling dejected...but I told her to keep on trying, that the poems were fantastic and that she just needed to find the right publisher. And she kept trying, and now she's published poems all over the place AND is having her first book published with is so very cool. I'll be able to say I knew her when.

September 26th, 2003
Rick called tonight, I forgot that we had planned to drink a bottle of wine over the phone. We ended up talking for 5 hours straight! It was so much fun, to talk with someone who really knows me and all my various psychological disorders and still loves me. OK, I'll admit it, I'm a little buzzed, we drank maybe more than a bottle of wine each and I didn't have a chance to eat dinner before he called, but it's not just the wine talking. I have really missed him since he moved out. It's hard for me to even envision what his life is like in DC. We don't see each other everyday like in the past. We have experiences outside of the two of us so we don't have all the same frames of reference as in the past, but it's still Rick...and he still knows me better than anyone. I realize how much I've missed that living in Juneau. I don't have anyone here who I really connect with in the same way.

We talked about art, creativity, teaching, books,films, life in general. We also talked about our best friends from college, Sean Hannigan and Jenni Williams, who are married to each other and live in Baltimore just a 45 minute drive from Rick. Talking about them made me so nostalgic. I miss them all so much. It was always so invigorating hanging out with a group of intelectual artists and writers, drinking wine, maybe have a few smokes...I really wish I had that here.

I do have a lot of creative outlets here but I don't have the same group of creative bohemians to hang out with and plot against the "man". Maybe that's just a part of getting older. Oh well, Rick and I have agreed to talk every other week, to discuss books and films and just to stay connected. This week he wants me to read Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolfe, which I read when I was younger but I don't remember all the details. I'm already looking forward to discussing it with him.

September 20th, 2003
My musical saw arrived on Thursday. It's so amazing. At first I couldn't get it to sing, I could if I tapped it with a wooden clay moulding tool but not with the cello bow. So, I started watching the instructional video and even though I have a tenor saw the video is geared towards an alto, I've still been able to get a huge range out of it, I'd say two octives! I'm learning how to play "Some where Over the Rainbow" which sounds pretty cool. Osiris is spooked by the sound the saw makes but I love it, I can feel the sound waves vibrating. It's just as wonderful as I'd hoped it would be. Hear a short sample of my first few notes on the
musical saw!

On another note, I took all the photos of my sister's soaps and lotions today. I had the nice black velvet back drop set up and spent over an hour adjusting the lights to eliminate hot spots from the plastic bottles. The end results look pretty professional though I wasn't able to open them in PhotoShop because the digital camera I'm using saved to a floppy disk and my computer doesn't have a floppy drive. So I'll have to wait until Monday to play around with them.

I will hopefully be able to remove the black back drop from the final results using the background eraser in PhotoShop. Then I'll add a drop shadow and it should look pretty cool.

Last night I watched the tapes from the Kite Club shoot. For the most part it looked pretty good. There was one scene where the lighting looked terrible. It was all yellow, and unfortunately it's in the middle of a back and forth scene, wo the other person's lighting doesn't have the same color at all. I remember commenting on the lighting being too harsh for that shot but I was convinced by someone working on the lighting that it was necessary. Next time I'm going to be more asertive when I direct a project and make sure I get the scene the way I want it. Maybe there's a way to fix it in Premiere.

I also watched a really bad movie last night called "Darkness Falls". It wasn't that scary but it still gave me nightmares. It's ironic that I LOVE scary movies but now that I live alone I wonder if it's such a good idea to watch so many of them. Another really bad movie I've watched recently was "The Core". It had promise but the task of suspending disbelief became impossible very early on. too bad.

Tomorrow I'll spend working on LS193. Today was nice though, for the first time in weeks I took a day off from work, slept in, and spent the whole day doing things I wanted to do. Last night we had a dinner for three new freshman students called "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner" where faculty and staff take new student out to eat. The students were actually a lot of fun. Last year I had a really dull time but last night was actually fun.

September 16th, 2003
So, my sister sent me a bunch of the lotions and soaps that she makes. They are starting to look really professional. I am going to photograph them this weekend and post them on her website. Today I finished the first set of CD-ROMs for LS193 and got them in the mail. YEAH, now I won't be quite so stressed out and can do some actual painting this weekend.

September 14th, 2003
So, I've been making some changes on the website to make it a little more fun. When I first created the site, I wanted it to look and feel professional. I wanted my art to be taken seriously. The truth is though, it wasn't a reflection of what I'm really like...so I've decided to just be me. People will either like the work or not.

Photoshop has been a lot of fun. I should have been working on finishing up the class I start teaching on the 23rd, but instead I spent the majority of the weekend playing around with filters in Photoshop, and working on projects like making wallpaper and my funky self portrait as the King of England. I added a few new sections as well.

First of all, I'm letting this blog replace the formal "Statement" I had up originally, which didn't say much anyway. I also started another page for posting daily aids to fight against creative blocks. These types of things will make this site more fun for me personally and so I'll use it more as a creative tool and not just a link to include on my artist resume.

September 12th, 2003
I watched a terrible movie last night called "Dark Side of the Sun" which appeared to be one of Brad Pitt's earliest movies. However, during one scene you could see part of a painting on the wall in the background; it looked very abstract, really interesting…so I sketched it out. When the camera pulled pack it turned out to be a huge photograph of a woman, I was just seeing a small fraction of it. But I liked the way the sketch turned out. It seems everything I see anymore makes me want to start a new painting.

Last night driving home over the Gastineau bridge to Douglas Island there were all of these ravens sitting on the curved lamp posts that line the bridge. This happens a lot but for some reason it struck me as more interesting last night and I had to pull over and sketch those as well. I seem to go through these phases where I become almost overwhelmed by sensory overload. I should take advantage of it while it lasts.

September 11th, 2003
I want to do something today as sort of a memorial for 9/11. But not necessarily about the event itself, but more of what's left of our country because this happened. I taught a class this morning and I used a quote by Benjamin Franklin to demonstrate how to do a phrase search in Google:"They, who give up essential freedoms for a little security, deserve neither security nor freedom".

It's harder to do images of complex ideas, but I'd like to give it a try. Do somthing a little more subversive than my colorful nudes. I'm thinking collage might be the appropriate medium, although I saw a wonderful video piece on the Sundance Online Film Festival's site for 2003 called "9/11 Redux" about media coverage of the event. It's awesome!

A friend of mine, David Noon, is giving a lecture tomorrow night titled “Operation Enduring Nostalgia: WWII, the War on Terror, and the Abuse of Historical Memory”. I'm excited to go. I hope that people from the community come to it so he's not just preaching to the quire.

September 10th, 2003
Recently I've been feeling upset that I don't have a show coming up. I've had exhibits during Gallery Walk in December for the past two years in a row and I miss having a deadline to work towards. I want to work on a couple of my smaller panel pieces this coming weekend, Even take some of my medium sized panels and cut them into 4 or 6 pieces, and do small experimental works that I can then frame and take around town to various local galleries. There may still be one out there looking for work to display in December.

I'm going to concentrate on the likes and dislikes theme. On the likes theme I have "playing the musical saw, watching the channel through a spy glass, smelling the spices in my spice rack, lying awake in bed (reading?) with a sleeping cat on my lap, listening to the wind blowing through leaves, etc.

I may not actually get to the dislikes as they make less visually pleasing pieces and are hard to capture visually but some possiblities - scooping kitty litter, huge American flags flying from the back of big trucks with gun racks, Donald Rumsfeld (and the whole Bush administration), sudden over-use of a single word or phrase by the media, such as "salacious" or "the terrorist will have won" or "winning the hearts and minds".

September 9th, 2003
Today I looked up my web page in Google and noticed this site has been added to the Google web directory as a catagory under figurative art. I submitted it a long time ago and forgot about it. Unfortunately it doesn't actually show up on the page it's listed under, but maybe that's coming. I know I need to do a lot of work to make this site more interesting because web development is one area of creativity that I need to spend more time with. For example, now that my server allows streaming video, I may want to do something with that. I'm also learning how to create with Flash. So hopefully I'll be able to spice this site up a bit in the near future.

My sister Jenny needs me to help her design a site for her bath and body type business too. I'm going to design some logos and lables for her soaps and lotions etc. I never thought I'd enjoy graphic design but I'm findng that as I get older I'm worried less about how we define creative processes and just enjoying whatever I feel like doing, without feeling like a sell out.

September 7th, 2003
I'm watching Amelie by Jean-Pierre Junet who is my all-time favorite director. His earlier and much darker film "Delicatessen" is what inspired me to learn how to play the musical saw. One thing I can't help doing when I watch a film is see each scene as a series of stills. I often find inspiration for paintings from movies and have used imagery from films like "Birdy", "Before the Rain", "Brazil" and "Bladerunner" (hmmm, all b titled movies).

Amelie has so many amazing images, all of which would make wonderful subjects for paintings. One thing I like in the movie is that every time they introduce a character they show a series of images describing their likes and dislikes. I particularly like an image of Amelie skipping stones on a river.

I wonder if I could reduce my likes and dislikes into a series of 8 images. Four likes, four dislikes. I'm still working on my tidal plains series which I'm doing on driftwood, but I'm going to start a few new paintings today, this will make a good project for the oil on panel idea I had of first doing the painting in stiff gesso and then in an oil wash. Now comes the hard part of deciding what four things I like and what four things I dislike.

September 6th, 2003
So, yesterday I went to my friend Lea's art opening at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Gallery. It looked great. Also went to the final showing at the Empire Gallery. I'm so bummed it's going away, I plan to write a letter to the Empire begging them to reconsider!

I saw a nice piece that was oil on panel and it reminded me of how I want to paint my next panel piece...not the subject matter, but the fact they used the texture from the way they applied the gesso to the panel for their final affect. I want to paint a figure using white gesso only, leaving heavy brush marks, and then paint over the embossed brushwork with oils that haven't been diluted with white or other mediums.

Today was the big day for the Kite Club shoot. I was so nervous last night I couldn't sleep; I kept obsessing about all the things that could go wrong. In the end, we did miss a few things, a cut-away shot here, a line there, but for the most part we got everything more or less then way I envisioned it. It's great having a crew to help out but it was also frustrating at times because I didn't really have the final say on anything. There were times I thought the shot looked great but we had to do it over again because someone else wasn't happy with the lighting or the audio. I need to learn to be more patient.

It's ironic because I'm such a perfectionist when it comes to other mediums...oils, ceramics, photography, music etc. For some reason with this project I was just all worked up about getting through all the scenes. To be honest I thought there was no way we'd have enough time. Plus there were all these extenuating circumstances, like not knowing exactly where we were going to shoot half the scenes and having to get certain shots while we had extras and before it got dark out.

In the end we wrapped by 6:30pm...a new club record! I still have a ton of post production work to do, including all the voice overs and one establishing shot. I have a feeling it will be a long time before I have a rough cut to show the group. Overall it was a great learning experience. All I know is that I love doing it and I want to keep doing it as much as possible. Everyone in the group will have a shot at doing a project so it might be a year or more before my turn comes around again but I think I'm going to do some independent work in the mean time...or at least be working on new scripts etc.

I'm going to work on finishing up the new class I start teaching in less than two weeks, work on my paintings for the All Alaska Juried Show, and THEN start on the Kite Club post. Now I'm off to sleep where visions of kite string will dance in my head.

August 29th, 2003
Last night was a lot of fun. I met another friend of Heather's named Tony. She was very interesting and fun to work with. We rag painted yellow stripes on the walls of the room that will be the bedroom in the play. It took a lot longer than we thought it would. As we were painting we nick named ourselves "three women on the rag". It was funny because it grossed out the guys. We listened to mixed tapes Heather made with very eclectic songs like "Gypsies Tramps and Thieves" and the theme music from the Dating Game - among others.

Calvin taught me interesting trivia about stage lighting, like what a foot candle is and how the term "lime light" got its name. (New lighting used Lye for creating stage spot lights and it gave people a greenish cast). He also told me about a new guitar sheet music archive I'm going to check out.

Eric tried to help me figure out how to play my saw but he thinks the metal is too thick and doesn't allow it to bend easily enough. So I guess I'll need to get one specifically designed for playing. All the people I've met at Perseverance have been so great to work with. I'm glad I'm doing this even though I don't have the time for it.

This weekend Holly Keen and I are going to a fund raiser for the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council...it's a sing-along at the movie theater for The Sound of Music. I can't wait!

August 28, 2003
So, the meeting for Kite Club was held last night and I feel better about it now that I know there will be several group members who are committed to helping out with it, and also because nobody thought (or at least they didn't tell me to my face) that the project sucked.

I'm still a little anxious because I'm not sure if I have a place to film either the fight scene or the grubby interior scene...which is not good since that's basically the whole shoot. I did call someone in scheduling out here at the university to see about using the new pavilion but they haven't responded yet. Keeping the old fingers crossed.

The meeting was fun, lots of laughing- my favorite.

Tonight I have to go back to Perseverance for some more stage painting. I'm feeling burnt out after teaching 4 straight sessions for New Student Orientation but I guess I have to do it. blah. I often bite off more than I can chew, not a good thing.

A good friend of mine here in town, Lea Vose, is having an opening next Friday (Sept. 5th) at the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council Gallery. I'm really looking forward to it. Her style is similar to mine except her nudes are males and not females, and hers seem to sale better than mine. sniff sniff.

I'll get over it.

August 27, 2003
Just finished the storyboard for kite club. Still needs a lot of work.

August 26, 2003
I volunteered to work at Perseverance Theater painting stage props awhile back and today was the first time they took me up on it. Turns out the artist in charge of the project is an old friend of Rick's and mine. We practiced life drawing together at "Pig Day Studios" in Anchorage. It was cool to see her again although it took us awhile to place each other.

Stayed until 10:30 painting huge wooden blocks to look like the kind children play with, with numbers and animals painted on them. They turned out pretty good.

I'll go back Thursday night to help her with graining the fake wood floor, and to do the walls etc. It's fun seeing the "behind the scenes" aspect of the theater. Also, she's just moved to Juneau but already seems to know more local artists than I do. Hopefully I'll have the chance to meet some more creative types. Eric, a stage manager, is going to help me get my musical saw singin. yehaw!

August 22, 2003
Last night while staring at the ceiling I had a few more ideas. I was thinking about the FDA’s food pyramid and how I believe it’s responsible for the outbreak of obesity in this country. Low fat/high carb diets are being proven ineffective and counterproductive for weight loss. I feel kind of pissed that all these years I’ve struggled with my weight while eating what I was told was the healthy way to go, when the studies proving otherwise have been around for 30 years!

I’ve done a few sketches of some sculptures, originally they were going to be life sized but now I think that would cost too much. I’m thinking now to make miniature sculptures of hugely overweight, incredibly angry people, carved or molded from various low-fat and high carb foods, like white rice, bread, bagels, and pasta.

Another idea I had was just a title for a book I’m writing. It’s a series of short stories that have reoccurring characters so it reads more like a novel. Anyway, I’ve been trying to decide on a name for the longest time and I’ve just come up with one “Never Married, Never Had Kids”. It’s a term you hear all the time as a summation for someone’s life who “tragically” remained a bachelor or singleton their whole lives. I think it would be a fitting title for this particular book. I checked in WorldCat and there don’t appear to be any other books published with that title so that’s cool.

August 20th, 2003
Last night I had another idea for a children's book called Fat Cat. I looked up the title in WorldCat and there are a few books with that title already so I may change the title to something like "Miss Wiggle's Fat Cat". This character is an overweight woman who becomes fixated on her cat's weight problem because she can't get a handle on her own.

I'm going to use my own cat Lemoni as the model for the illustrations. I'm pretty excited about it, although the story is still in its infancy. I've done a loose story board but I still have to make some decisions like what age group to make this for, whether or not to rhyme (I'm thinking rhythm but not rhyme) and what kind of illustrations to go for. I've already written a couple of sample pages, I'll actually post them to this blog I work them out.

On another note, I forgot to clean out my paint brushes again. I found them under the dry rack. I had put some dish soap on them to keep the oil from drying but it just created a gunky nasty mess. Thankfully my order from Dick Blick came in last week so not all is lost.

Someone I sold a painting to two years ago contacted me by email and asked me if I could sign their painting. I was flattered and actually drove over to their house last night to sign it. I used Prussian blue oil paint and signed in the lower right hand corner, but something about the placement of the signature has left me irritated. I feel like in ran too closely to the right hand border. It's weird but I keep obsessing about it. I generally don't like to sign my work on the front but I keep getting asked to do it so I better figure out a better way of doing it. I swear, this is going to give me nightmares.

August 19th 2003
What I need to decide for my current series on tidal flats is whether to do the paintings on panel, carved driftwood, or driftwood layered with carved modeling paste. So far I can't seem to decide. I'm not sure if the 35mm photos I took of the tidal plains turned out or not. Need to get the film developed eventually.

Also, next week is the meeting with the video club to work on my short video "Kite Club". I still have no formal screenplay, locations for my shoot, the majority of roles are unfilled, and the storyboard is very juvenile. I need to get my %@!!@$ together.


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