Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pet Warning: Xylitol

Let me start by saying that my pup, Ruby Roo, is fine and 100% healthy now. She is at home and doing great! Yay!!

A few days ago, Ruby Roo knocked my purse down from a table and dug out a pack of gum. When I came into the room, I noticed a chewed up package of gum and wondered how many pieces she ate...I didn't remember how much gum was in my purse, so it could have been anywhere from 0-10 pieces. I didn't think much of it at first, but then before I went to bed at around midnight, I decided to google it and see if there was anything I should do. It turns out that gum containing Xylitol, a sugar subsitute, can be toxic to dogs. It can affect their blood sugar and their liver... So I took her in to the pet emergency clinic right away, where they gave her an IV with fluids all night, transferring her to her regular vet during the daytime. She stayed there all the next day and got a blood test the next morning. Luckily, all of her results came out perfect, and she has no consequences from eating the gum, if she ate any at all. It was a really, really scary experience for all of us, and I'm glad she is okay. Please let this be a warning for all other pet owners reading this: xylitol can be found in gum and candy, so please keep it away from your pets!

Ruby is happy and healthy and back at home, yay!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Self Portrait

Thanks so much for all of the wonderful comments and support for my decision to go to grad school! I really appreciate all the kind words, and I am so, so excited for this new journey. I can't wait to be making art nonstop and learning more...

Above is a piece I made yesterday for a self portrait show I am going to be a part of. I used paper from a piano roll and screenprinted an image of myself knitting. I did that drawing a while ago and took many photos for it - especially of the hands - getting someone to look like they are really knitting in a drawing isn't easy! I also gave the screenprint a weathered look by spraying it with some water. There are fragments of an old photograph collaged onto the piece too, since a lot of my work is about weaving together personal histories of bygone eras. The paper looks kinda wrinkly in the scanner (oops), but it looks a lot better in real life! It's been a while since I've made a piece of art that was more than just a sketch in a sketchbook, and it felt good to work this way again. I was surprised that I was able to just sit down and make something without overthinking it and wanting it to be so perfect, especially after being out of the studio for so long.

I thought I was totally over my cold/sinus infection thing, but today at work I started to feel horrible and had to leave early. I got some extra medicine on the way home and am starting to feel better now - yay!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Where I've Been, Where I'm Going...

As you might have guessed during these wintery months, when someone mysteriously disappears from Blogland, it is usually due to a having a cold. That is the case with me and my recent disappearance, at least. Although I'm not sure if it was entirely a cold or a bad case of allergies (sinus infection) or a little bit of both... In any case, I think it is on its way out, and I'm thankful for that! I haven't been sick in a while, and I've forgotten how much it sucks, ha ha.

So now you know where I've been, but you are probably wondering where I'm going. I've decided to make learning and art a priority in my life once again, starting this summer by (hopefully) going to Penland. Last week, I sent in materials to apply for a scholarship since I can't afford the tuition on my own, and I am really really really hopeful. It would be exactly what I need to begin the transition I want to embark on. I won't find out the results until the end of March, and the suspense is killing me!

Now, what is this whole "transition I want to embark on?" Well, I've decided to go back to school for art and get my MFA in studio art in about two years. The deadlines for applications this year have already passed, so that means I will apply around a year from now, which gives me plenty of time to build up a whole new portfolio of work with which to apply. This means I need to spend the year making focused, academic level work that all revolves around the same theme. I am so excited about making this kind of work again, but also a bit fearful because it has been so, so long since I've worked this way. But mostly I am excited!

Why am I going back to grad school? Not because I have any grand illusions of graduating and becoming a "famous artist" or anything like that, but simply because I miss learning, I want to make better work, and I miss teaching art. I want three years where I can focus 100% fully on my art making, immerse myself in the process, and come out on the other side full of new ideas and a new body of work. Where I will go with my degree after that, I don't know. Maybe residencies, maybe try for one of those elusive university level art teaching jobs, maybe work at an art center... For me, the journey is the destination, and the journey is what I'm craving right now. I need change.

Don't get me wrong, I love both of the jobs I am working right now, and I can honestly say I am working for the best bosses I have ever had. I mean, when I teach knitting, sometimes the students and I are given ice cream cake, and when I go to my other job, sometimes we are required to jump around and dance to music as soon as we arrive. Life isn't bad at all. But lately I have been feeling like my mind has been turning to mush because I am just not THINKING as much as I used to, specifically because I am not learning and growing. I have also been fantasizing about taking a week off from all my obligations just to make art in my studio, but I know a week wouldn't be enough to do all the work I want to do and make all the progress I want to make.

My goals for art school are simple: learn to make better work technically (drawing and painting specifically) and conceptually (allow my ideas to expand, grow, and evolve), become a part of a community of artists again, and learn to write and speak about my work better so that I can communicate my ideas more effectively. Now comes the challenge of figuring out where I will apply...

I am so excited about this journey and all the changes that are about to take place. In fact, it's all I can think about lately. I hope you will take this journey with me, as I will be reporting all about my art making process during the next year and my grad school experience in the upcoming years on this blog. Yay for change and yay for learning more and focusing on what I love!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Page 64

I'm working on my big zine book journal diary sketchbook thing. It doesn't have a title yet. Sometimes it is fun, and sometimes it is painful. I think it gets painful when I over think things and want it to be the most perfect piece of art I've ever made. That is a goal that is way too lofty, and I need to work on keeping it simple and letting the ideas flow naturally. I work best intuitively, and I need to remember that even when making something as linear as a book.

This photo is of what was page 64, but now it has moved somewhere else... It has also been reworked slightly. If it's too small to see, the text reads, "She carried her journal everywhere she went. Helen, age 17." I used to carry my journal everywhere too, but now I write less and less in it since there is blogger and facebook and twitter and a million other ways to express yourself and record your life online. I collect vintage diaries, scrapbooks, and photo albums. I love to see how people documented their lives before the internet, and I often wonder how different my life and art would be now if it had never been invented. I know I lived (and wrote school papers - ack!) in a time before the internet, but now it is so intrinsically part of our daily lives that it is hard to imagine art and life not being influenced by what we see on these screens.

How would your world be different today if the internet never existed?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Three Sketchbook Ladies

The soundtrack for today is Neko Case, Lady Antebellum, and The Kills... a varied mix.

I've been making art for most of the day, working on some (secret) stuff for an art trade with a friend. We are doing a surprise trade, where we each send each other the same amount of mystery goodies. No pictures of this top secret stuff yet!

I was tagged by cat of CiTiEs of B to answer this fun little survey, so here it is:

favorite band/artist: kay hanley
favorite video: music video? i don't really have one...
favorite movie: Reality Bites.
favorite book: Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood
favorite designer/label:
anything found on Etsy, i love vintage anything; not really a label kinda girl...
favorite festival:
Art Basel
favorite TV-show:
Project Runway
favorite person/icon:
My dog
favorite city/country:
favorite moment ever:
making art

I'm not sure who to tag next, so if you read this and have a blog, please consider yourself tagged (but only if you want to be!) and answer the survey on your blog. Be sure to comment here to tell me that you answered the questions - I'd love to see your answers on your blog! :)
But again, no pressure, totally optional!

Hope your weekend is going well so far...

Monday, February 01, 2010

In Clouds

6x6" acrylic and marker on board, available here

A quick little painting done onto gessoboard recently - it was lots of fun to make. I even made another one just like it so that I could keep one. I have a hard time parting with originals these days; I don't know what it is. Maybe it's because since I have a day job now, I have less time to make things, so the things I do make are precious to me. It's easier to make two of one thing if I want to sell something or make prints of a painting or drawing to put it in the shop. I hope this painting finds a nice new home!

Thanks for all the comments on how to get out of a funk! I'm feeling a lot better today (maybe in part due to lots of caffeine...) and have gotten a lot done after work. I've been sketching a lot today and trying to get my drawing skills back up. Hope your day was good too!