Monday, July 25, 2011

Shazza's Jersey Dune

Oh and by the way, I have been painting. I just haven't been sharing. For several reasons, the first being laziness. The second reason is photo software issues. The third being, paintings are always works in progress and not quite ready to share.

Anyway, I am currently working on four or five paintings. I am sharing this one because it didn't photograph too bad.

This painting was inspired by a photo my sister, "Shazza" shot on the Jersey shore near her home. We both grew up on the "Jersey shore". Please note it is not the Jersey Shore of Snooki. Our stomping grounds were about and hour and a half south of Seaside Heights. We locals were not so much into big hair, gold chains and spray tans. I was of the long straight hair, parted in the middle, T-shirt and landlubber jeans. Shoes were flip flops or nothing. I remember that the bellbottoms of the landlubbers were long enough that I could curl my toes into the excess material. Otherwise the Rent-a-cops would boot me off the boardwalk.

Anyway, Shazz has this incredible store and invited me to do a "sistah show" with her. She will be showing her incredible photography and I will show some paintings. I borrowed some of her outstanding photos for inspiration. I am not trying to copy her incredible photos verbatim, but I am trying to add some of my recollections of growing up at "the shore". It was a huge part of becoming me and even though I am currently landlocked, the ocean, the dunes, the marshes and the boardwalk will always be part of me. As this show will be at the shore, I felt it appropriate to paint along with that theme.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Meerkats of Washington, DC

Dive inspired me with his meerkats of Notre Dame. I will share with you the meerkats of Washington, D.C. I visited the National Zoo in April and was quite taken by these adorable creatures. (I love to converse with the zookeepers). They are always willing to share inside information such as feeding habits, mating habits and personality quirks. Unfortunately these meekats have an uncanny ability to escape from their zoo habitat and have been frequenting campaigning places in New Hampshire and Iowa.

Sarah, the Palin meerkat can see Russia from her front porch. She can skin a moose, talks like a twit and has become the sweetheart of the redneck set.

Michelle the Bachman Meerkat is equally endearing. She confuses sociopathic serial killers with Western actors and promises to be submissive to her husband when she reaches the highest office! She is stealing the evangelical Christian voters from Sarah the Palin meerkat! (Well, Sarah isn't officially on the ticket yet)

Equally adorable and of the male persuasion is Ricky the Santorum (please Google this) meerkat. His distinguishing characteristic is one of fundamental Catholicism. (Gotta get those voters too). All of these meerkats enjoy tea parties and are funded by the multi-billionaire Koch brothers. In case you are not familiar with meerkat behavior, please research Americans for Prosperity, the 912 Patriots and other tea party groups. Most rednecks, fundamentalists and ordinary zoo visitors think that these are "grassroots" political organizations that are made up of regular, ordinary citizens. Little do they know it is an orchestrated and hugely funded scheme! This scheme was carefully orchestrated by the Cocksuckers, I mean Koch brothers. They are in the gas, energy and corporate take over business and are enjoying amazing profits since the Bush tax cuts. The Kochs are fundamentally libertarian, their father was one of the founding members of the John Birch society. They have organized a campaign to destroy Obama, pesky labor unions, public schools and the middle class.

The tea party members are made up of primarily working class and middle class people. Most of them are or were hard working, honest people. The Kochs are successfully setting them against teachers, unions and other working people by suggesting that teachers and union members have it better. The Obese Governor Christy of New Jersey called teachers welfare queens.

One tea party group has openly admitted to a goal of destroying the public school system. Let's keep those lower and middle classes stupid!

People. The meerkats are cute, but they are puppets. George W. Bush was a puppet. Obama is actually a human being with a brain. He is failing because the republicans are united in destroying him.

Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph all the Washington meerkats for you. Some were underground and receiving "slimy yet satisfying" treats from their keepers. Lucky for you, I was able to catch the cute ones with my little Nikon digicam.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Apartment Hunting

We spent the weekend checking out apartments and townhouses for the art school girls! Four of them!

After one year of student housing - sharing a tiny studio with another student AND the fact that none of them were privileged to win the lottery for on-site housing, the girls are looking for their own digs. (This is actually a good thing, we think)

What an exciting, emotional and frustrating experience this has been. Exciting in that in brings back memories of my young adult self living in the city in a cool townhouse with three other girls. The little known small streets of Philadelphia, some cobblestone, some paved over but too narrow for cars, unknown, quaint little neighborhoods to explore. I remember living on Rodman Street. No one has ever heard of Rodman Street. It was an adorable little street!

Several years ago, Doug and I took the girls on an adventure...a train ride to Philadelphia to see a production of the Lion King at the Academy of Music. We rented a hotel room and walked to the theatre. The best part was the hour or so to kill before the show. We walked around the Avenue of the Arts neighborhood and I showed my girls my old townhouse on Rodman Street. A sign in the window read, "Frodo lost, Bush stole the Ring."

I believe that little detour stirred something in the daughters. Annelise enthusiastically applied to the University of the Arts and lived about four blocks from my old townhouse.

Today we place an outrageous deposit on a townhouse rental in an outstanding neighborhood two blocks away from my old house.

The place is perfect. The girls are worried that it is too nice for them. Split four ways, it is still cheaper than the University housing.

This is emotional because I started here in so many ways.

This is frustrating because the first apartment we looked at didn't work out. I am working with three other students and three other families. We all want our daughters to live in a safe neighborhood. We all want them to live in a nice place. I have one Mom with whom I see eye-to-eye. We agree on everything. I have another who is in Wisconsin and is worried about price. I have another who is a bit of a ______neurotic head case. No I didn't say that. (Yes I did.) She finds fault in everything. I have tried to convince her that all of these wonderful places are cheaper than what the university was charging. She just doesn't seem to get it. I do not want to alienate her daughter. Mine thinks the world of her, but the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

So how to parent and negotiate and navigate and stay focused, but not overwhelmed is a challenge.

I keep obsessively checking my email. Yesterday I received about 10 messages on this issue. There is in-fighting and shit going on between them. I don't want to get into the shit! I just want to be settled in an apartment!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Non-objective Water Media Fun

When I feel I'm in a painting slump, the best thing for me to do is play with paint. So I took out all manner of water media, and started pouring . Dr. Martin's inks and pourable acrylics and watercolor pencils. This is just a fun exercise when I feel my oil painting is getting too tight, or I'm overworking things to death. Lately I've had that feeling....

I am at the brink. I feel pure, creative genius coming on, then paint, paint, paint....Some ridiculous music has spurred me on. I walk out the door. I come back one hour later and the canvas looks like cat vomit.

Well the sure cure is to pour. Then I can come back with some more opaque stuff and see if I can find anything interesting. These might be painting starts or nothing at all, but sometimes I am happier with these than the planned stuff.

Oh and excuse the non-existent cropping and crappy picture quality. My laptop does not have Photoshop and the photo editing software is crap.