Monday, February 28, 2005

It's a snowstorm...

At least that's what everyone (my sister-in-law) is saying. And it's starting to look rather snowy out there too. Took the dog out at about 9am and he did his business, so I was pleased. He's getting this annoying habit of barking as soon as I go upstairs. Mind you, I do block his ability to go upstairs. We've had a few accidents, so I don't trust him. Sorry, Mr. Nelson.

Saw the film "Big Fish" by Tim Burton. I really enjoyed and laughed quite a few times. So funny and cute. I just wish I had a relationship like the guy did with his dad in the film. Not quite. Sigh...

My big thing right now is to hunt down publishers to send my book too. It's a children's book and I want to start submitting. I feel good about this. Also, I have several other stories I want to write. These are all for children's book but they will be interesting to pretty much all people, I think...maybe not so much teenagers, but we'll see.

I wanted to the Loobyloo doll/softie of the month but I was way too busy. I feel bad because I had a few cute ideas but just didn't have enough time. Plus, it turns out it was the flu I had as everyone in the family got it too. So, I've been mostly recovering and tending to the ill.

Oh, well there's next month. Plus, it's probably a good idea to do it every other month or I'll get overwhelmed. Better to pace yourself.

My husbands been quoting a lot of Carebears lately. hehehe Stuff like "Slow and steady and that's the truth", "It takes a lot of heart". :-)

We saw the latest Carebear film "Journey to Joke-A-Lot" and let's just say, I'm really glad we rented! It was awful. It couldn't even hold the attention of my 3 and 18 month old. They wandered off and my 18 month old turned off the TV. This says a lot. They kept advertising this cute little song and then when we saw the movie the song was cut short! Annoying! It would have been a cute film if they didn't make all the Carebears so similar and non-descript that you have this bland, boring giggling group of furry bodies. It was really disgusting. The new characters were so hyper and sugar charged you couldn't get to know them or like them. The writing was just awful. At least there is some sort of character development in the original Carebears.

The animation was exciting but if you only have icing and no cake, it's just gonna make you sick after awhile. That's what it felt like. And believe me, I love the Carebears and really liked the old stories as a kid. However, this was just plain awful.

So, we watched Wallace and Gromit. This not only hold the kids attention, it is well written and beautifully animated (claymation=figures are made of clay-type material and freeze framed in each shot to get a continuous motion). We will be renting "Chicken Run" next. I hope Nick Parks makes some more films soon. I love his work. It's painstakingly done and is well worth it.

I need to do some more eBay paintings soon. I usually do animals and things of that nature, but occasionally I do various work that are important to me. I usually sell the original paintings I do. Sometimes, I do sell prints (as in block printing) or actual prints of my work. But most are the actual paintings I do. I work small because it's fun, challenging and it's easier to ship. I don't have anything up right now, but I might put some by next Friday. I'll have at least 5 new paintings up by then. They usually start off rather cheap (9.99 to start). So, if you're interested in my work, let me know and I can send you a heads up as to when they are listed. Again, most are of animals. I had a list of people that were interested in my work, but it was on the other computer and it crashed. So, that stinks. But life is full of surprises.

Hope everyone is staying warm in the cold parts of the world and cool in the warm parts. I must be becoming Pennsylvania...I went outside in a tee-shirt and socks and didn't freeze into pieces. :-) This is a big stuff for a former S. Californian.

Peace and good will to all!
Emily

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Illustration...Wednesday!

I got in early! I'm happy about this as I thought I would be skipping this weeks theme. Why? For several reasons...1. I had a flu/food poisoning on Monday and it was not pretty. I still feel a little sick to my tummy. It was horrible, let me say. I don't think I'll be able to eat anything from Subway for a long while. The last time I was hit by food poisoning it was a salad from Wendy's. I haven't gone back (over 6 years ago). 2. I thought I'd need more time to finish my book but I finished it this morning!!! I'm very happy and all it needs is a few touch ups here and there and then I have to copy it and send it off! YAH!!!! I'm happy about this. It's my first book and probably looks like it but what the heck. I'll give it a try. 3. I'm still recovering from my Monday ordeal, if you know what I mean. Yucky poo...poo. Oh, well.

So, I'm happy I got this done. The theme is "Sorrow". For some reason birds kept fluttering around my mind but I guess it's a word play sparrow/sorrow or something. I didn't want to go too dark but I knew I wanted to do something true to my self. So, I did this illustration in Photoshop. It's called "Weeping Woman".

Weeping Woman
I think it's self explanatory. The process of creating this was a bit more challenging for me as I kept running in circles with the layers. But it feels all right in the end. I would have liked to have more contrast with the tears but for some reason when I flattened the image it all blended away. This was frustrating and I had to rely on obvious tear symbols which I am not too fond of. But they will do for this.

In other news, I went to see "Vagina Monologues" by Eve Ensler at the Community Arts Center Penn State Altoona. It was really well performed and the stories so intense, beautiful and horrifying. It's funny because I thought it was going to be a lot more riske than I thought. It was very tastefully done and might I add humorous and insightful. It's a good play to go to and I was happy to learn 10 percent of the proceeds went to women in Iraq and the rest to a local woman's group in Blair County.

It's funny how we often think we need to help those that are far, far away from us, but the reality is help is needed everywhere. Abuse is something that can be right next door and the way to solve it is to be aware and talk to people. It sounds simply but it isn't and this is why we need to have safe havens for all people in many places. I'm glad to know my community is doing something about this and I could help in a small way. It also makes me happy to know there are caring people out there...this world is not as dark as it sometimes seems.

When my husband and I were at the play, I didn't realize it (my hearing isn't always 100 percent) but some young people behind me were saying negative things about the play. Mostly young ones who didn't really understand (and most likely where there because they would get some school credit from their professor). I was surprised to learn about their negative responses but I admit for someone who hasn't thought much about abuse or curiosity about their own body, it would be hard for them to understand. I hope this opened their eyes a little. It's not just a play for and by women, it's for all people really.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Saturday...

Boy, yesterday was one of those days where you think, my god, am I going to make it? It started off finding out that the children's scissors I bought for my almost 3 year old can cut hair. I found my daughter sitting in her bed with little clumps (thankfully) of hair surrounding her and the scissors poised in the act of cutting more. I'm just glad I was able to stop her before she was bald. It was terrible, however, it could have been worse. I kept smoothing her hair and little strands would come out in my hand and it gave me a sad feeling. I started to think about other families who probably have kids with illnesses. So, cut hair is not the end of the world.

The day progressed and I had to put Mr.Nelson out on the porch. Unfortunately, I didn't realize there was a bag of baby diapers, kitchen trash, etc on the porch. However, Mr. Nelson did realize this and 2 hours later, I found him with browned muzzle and garbage everywhere. Let's just say thoughts of killing him flashed through my mind. I was cursing him and thinking why, oh why did I get a dog.

Of course, the picture you see above is of an immaculate dog. This is the next day, Saturday. Apparently, something didn't agree with him from his cavorting and gluttonous ways and he got constipated. Then, it got stuck in his furry bottom and then I couldn't stand it any more and told Jon to take him to the groomers. I still can't believe he's the same dog. It's like he was all shaggy and stinky and now he's a movie star dog! Plus, they put this little bandana on his neck. SO CUTE! It's like he's
glowing!



I didn't know if he liked the trip to the groomers or not. He seemed sort of fickle and then he let his feeling be known.


But really, look at your self, Mr. Nelson. You're a beauty!

This was Mr. Nelson previous to his cleaning... Okay, I darkened it a bit; he wasn't that dirty really. It just felt like it.
But now, look at him! Okay, I lightened him up a bit and made him look like he's shining. Isn't that how most dog owners see their dogs? ;-)

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Illustration Friday

As many have confessed, this too was a previous work I did...a couple of years ago...all right something close to 5 years ago. But I'm having serious ear aches/migraines so I feel a bit tired in the sense of doing any other artwork then the book I'm working on. I want to finish it by this weekend and have a committee of people (my in-laws, mainly) review it. :-)

The word of the week is "Flight" from

  • Illustration Friday



    Titled "Twisting Woman"

    I did this for a class project. It was my least favorite sketch but my professor saw the potential and had me do my final painting with this. I like it so much now that I may have to do some more paintings in this manner. This one was about my reflections on being in school, my future (would I get married, etc), staying grounded or flying away or finding a balance.

    The painting itself, is acrylic and is about 18 by 9 inches. I work a lot faster now...at the time this took me about 3-4 weeks!
  • Monday, February 14, 2005

    Monday...

    Yeah...Monday. Happy Valentine's Day! :-) I feel guilty as I didn't get anyone a Valentines and yet seem to be getting them myself every time I turn around. I feel bad about that. It's really nice to get them and I wish I had remembered about the big day more. I just feel so anxious about my book I'm working on that it consumes most of my time. And I still need to do a cover for it. I'll try my best and hopefully that will be all right.

    In other news, I've been exploring with layers on photoshop. It is really a life saver and quite exciting to use. You can manipulate your work in such a creative way and still be true to the original art. I really like it. I've also been experimenting with various functions like creating your own gallery (this is incredible!) and making things visually exciting.

    My gals are doing great and are getting to be quite demanding and independent. It makes me crazy at times but I'm glad to see they are true to themselves. Sometimes I start freighting about the future but other times I feel things will be all right. It's a mixed feeling of wanting things to be secure and safe and knowing that just isn't the way life is. Is this what brings on panic attacks? I wonder. I try to stay focused and be in the moment. It's really hard to do when you're trying to make a living, raise your children, not worry about what could happen and keep your home safe and sound. It's a hard balance and then you have these moments when everything feels like it's starting to slip off a shelf. The oddest things calms me down. Like realizing someone has to feed the animals in the zoo; there has to be someone for that. Or that at this moment someone is doing a painting and someone else is doing business in a bank. These simple things make me feel better and that life is going on and even if it feels like the world might blow up and crash, that someone else is there to go on. Is this an odd thing to think? I don't know. But it makes me feel better that there are hair dressers working and professors correcting papers out there.

    I feel like I'm having a Piglet moment. I don't know if you've ever seen the cartoon of Winnie the Pooh (if you have kids you'll have seen them, ahem) but there is a little pig that feels scared of the world. I think a lot of people feel this way. I know I do. Feeling scared and acting out of the fear are two separate issues. Piglet is conscious of the fear and tries to overcome his fear(s). I think this is a good example of overcoming a lot of issues we have. He tries to conquer his fear by grasping it (usually) and seeing how far he can go in comfortable bits and pieces. Isn't this a good thing for all of us to learn and do? For myself, it is meeting new people. I have a tendency to be shy, quiet and very reserved. I'm afraid most people think I'm snobby and maybe even rude. But I'm not. I can remember countless college classes where I'd be the most comfortable at the end of the last class because I wasn't scared to say my opinion or laugh anymore. It takes me a bit longer to warm up to people, I admit. And the funny thing is I think and think and think about my encounters with people and want to reach out and then feel shy and nervous about it all. I wish I was more like Pooh. Pooh, who is happy and sticky with honey and just very balanced. I feel like Pooh on occasion. I guess we are all a bit like most of these sweet silly cartoons. I think I've been watching too many of this stuff too...I sound like a bored housewife, don't I? :-)

    Ah,well. I did watch Jesus Christ Superstar, one of my favorite movies. It's just such a great story and beautifully and tastefully done. My next favorite is Jesus of Montreal. This is such a great film and so thoughtfully made. If you've never seen this film, you ought to. I've probably seen it 8 or so times (not all at once but over the years). It's very compelling.

    I'm supposed to be scrubbing the toilet right now. And if I have some time, start cleaning the refrigerator. I really don't want to do this. It's one of those days that starts off sluggishly. If I had to get up for work, I'd have been late. I slept in till 9 am. Terrible. I usually aim for 7am and then I can get some housework completed before the girls get up. Then when they nap, I do my artwork. Oh, well. There is tomorrow.

    I'm reading several books right now. Pipi, Pooh, some Binchy and then this book called "The Book Borrower." It's very profound, actually. It has lots of quiet parts that make you want to cry and self reflection that is startlingly truthful. It's very good and I'm reading it in installments (I only read it when I'm using my stationary bike which is a bit annoying. But I get my exercise in).

    Well, I'll sign off for now. Good things are happening and as a wise person once told me, keep your chin up.

    Thursday, February 10, 2005

    Guess what?

    It's cold again. snow...shivery wind...gray skies. yippee...I was tricked by a week of rain, slushy muddy ground and warmer temps thinking Spring was coming early. I was wrong. The only good thing is the ground is frozen again and all the ice melted away and the streets are much safer but not too safe of course (I slipped a little walking Mr. Nelson today). Otherwise, it was all right.

    I was going to take the girls out to the library today but just forgot too. Actually, I didn't forget...I just didn't want to because of the cold out there. I was going to go to mommy and me and really did forget (I always remember afterwards, nuts). I guess I'll have to write it down so as not to forget.

    I've been focusing on my book. I've finished up the last pages and now am going to scan it with a dpi 300 and work on it from there. I hope this comes out okay. I'm entering it in a contest and then I'm going to send it to publishers.

    I've got to do more of my animals, which I love to do. I have been a little lax there as I have been doing so many other projects. The good thing is I seem to be finishing a lot of them.

    I wonder if anyone else has this problem. Spending a little too much time reading blogs and peoples websites. Can you blame me? There is some really, really good stuff out there. I mean it's really like candy for the eye. I get inspired and awed so many times, I feel almost overwhelmed. Sometimes it's like visiting 10 different museums in one day and countless galleries. Incredible. And yes, it does take up time but it makes me see the possibilities too. That's the nice thing, there is countless possibilities in art and craft. I once had a professor who said in the art realm (music in his case) there was nothing new to create. Can you believe this? To this day, I think what a limited person he was. Of course, there is always room to create something new and with a twist. It doesn't have to totally original. In other words, originality is taking from the past or present and making some thing out of that. This is really cool as there is an infiniteness to all art.

    I sometimes think people get hung up on something within themselves and this inhibits them to go beyond, to the next level of development. It's not a matter of it being bad or good but being stuck. A lot of people are stuck. That sounds funny, doesn't it? I really think that's why we're in the current situation we are in. A lot of people probably should be in some sort of therapy...and not treated with various drugs, necessarily. It's a hard balance but when you think about it, people are extremely complex and to think we are not, is really self reflective.

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Brrrrr...

    The power was out for 3.5 hours. There was an electrical crew on the corner working on some lines. Boy, the house got cold...really cold. I was wondering why I felt like hibernating. The girls wanted to curl up in their beds and sleep so early. Now, I know why. I've been doing odd end things around the house but mostly waiting for the power to come back on. And it did and now I've been reading blogs and websites and just nibbling on warm food heated by the microwave gods. brrr I'm glad to hear that furnace rumbling to life.

    It's raining outside, so it's not that cold. It was really coming down for awhile and before that there was fog. I went to check for mail and found a mommy care package for Valentines day! She got my gals fuzzy heart bags and some other valentine goodies. She sent me my little Asian style shirt I had when I was around 2 years old. So very cute! I might need to scan that and see the texture. It looks really good for being 30 years old! I wish I had the little shoes and pants but I'll take the shirt. It's turquoise and has lovely designs. My mom, I'm sure, has pictures of me wearing it somewhere. Wish I had that too.

    I feel like going to the antique mall and browsing for big pieces of furniture. Even a thrift store will do. I want a buffet or China cabinet. Something big with character and is slightly odd. If it was purple and had strange features that would be so great.

    About a year ago my hubby and I were showing my sis and family around Altoona. It's funny because I was in a different car then Jon and we were driving by this old shelf on the side of the road. We both noticed it in the darkening light and when we met up at his folks house I was like did you see the shelf?? And he was like Yes! I saw it and we need to go get it! That was really funny. It was so big and dirty and this scratchy brown paint. Now, it's a bright shiny blue and looks great in my dining room. It has a cubby hole feel...I love it! Very cute.

    I think I'm going to just paint all the dining room furniture. It's not worth restoring for several reasons. Previous owners had dogs that may or may not have piddled on the legs. Current owners (me) have dog that had chewed the legs. And there is just a large amount of stains on the table top. I'm thinking bright red top, black legs and base and maybe blue. Well, we'll see...

    I have to say my dining room is different. The floor is a coffee cream color heavy on the cream, the trim is strawberry pink and the walls light cream. I like light colors and food apparently. I have a New Mexico blanket hanging on the wall...to soften the ugly echo of the room until I get furniture. It's a splash of color, red. Oh, and I have yellow curtains with a lace underskirt. I did that myself. Overall, it has a Mexican/Victorian feel...plus our computer table. I wish I could paint that light green or blue but Jon said no. Oh, well.

    It's funny because I love IKEA stuff and here I am with various colors and Cultural items. I think the floors do look Swedish, however.

    I am sad. All of our little acorn plants died. I guess when we transplanted them, they were overwhelmed. Then one of my cats nibbled the heck out of the last survivor. Sigh. Poor little guys. I haven't thrown them out and they are dry and brittle in the pots. I believe they died because there just wasn't enough sun and Jon stuck them in one pot way too close together. I'm trying not to think about them.

    I should really go and paint for a little while, so I'll sign off. The girls will probably wake up soon.

    Peace,
    Em

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Illustration Friday...

    I was excited about Illustration Friday but I was overwhelmed by the subject. Hmmm How do you do the year of the Rooster and not be redundant. So, I thought of some really elaborate illustrations but my patience is wearing thin this week so, I took that idea and did this simple design.



    I hope I'm not coming down with a cold. I feel sort of headachy and tired. I did some work at the architects yesterday. It was nice to do something out of the house and drive around. I also want to walk around Hollidaysburg and see the shops around there. They have a couple of galleries that look interesting. There is a gallery in Altoona that I want to exhibit in as well. So, we'll see. I'm excited because I got my business cards and now I need to send them out! Yeah! :-) These things make me happy.

    I didn't write a post on Sunday but that's all right. I just have been feeling out of sorts lately. I'll get over it. I keep thinking about ideas for Loobylu's softies...Alice in Wonderland...what can I do? I feel so overwhelmed by certain Dizney films. ugh. Any suggestions? Maybe I should read the book...I've only read excerpts over the years. hmmmm

    Saturday, February 05, 2005

    Saturday post

    It's one of those days when I start off having a nightmare and can't sleep. Fortunately, the alley is nearly clear of ice and the sun has warmed up most of the rode so I walked Mr. Nelson for about 3 blocks. Not too bad for winter walking. I really wish the mall allowed dogs to walk in there. I know it would get a bit messy but it would be so nice otherwise...or would it?

    I did as many chores as I could in an hours worth of time and plan on doing some painting if I can get my hubby to do most of the kid chores. It's a good day and I want to go outside and enjoy it with the gang.

    As for artwork, I've been busily working on a project. I'm trying to finish up a children's book that I want to submit to publishers. It's my 1st one, so I'm excited about this. Then I have several ideas for other books (I already have the stories down and just need to brush them up a bit). What I found with illustrating is it's not so hard to do the drawing or think up ideas. The most difficult part, for me anyway, is keeping the characters looking consistent. I think I did a fairly good job with the book, so I'm confident about this. But I remember when I was at taking art classes and I did this little worm character and it was really cute. However, it's shape looked totally different in several frames. Kind of funny because I remember before the critique that maybe they won't notice...but the teacher did and made a big point of it too. Much to my embarrassment. I learned my lesson from that day on and have become sensitive to details like that. I certainly cannot say I have mastered it (that would be the job a cartoonist) but I have a better understanding of detail.

    We're supposed to go to the Unitarian Church tomorrow. I'm excited and nervous about it. Most people think of Unitarian as more of a group...and this is probably true but I'm glad that this group has a thoughtful approach to life. I hope I meet some nice people.

    I'm excited. When I write why, most people will be like, you're weird. I'm excited because I got a dog magazine. Yes, I know it sounds odd but I plan on doing paintings from it so this is why. I've never really done dog portraits before. I've never had a dog and didn't really think of them, I hate to say. I've done paintings of wolves, foxes, kit foxes, bats, insects, cats, all sorts of guinea pigs and rabbits, etc. But never dogs. Just never really thought about it, I guess. There are some very nice works out there of dogs, and I thought there was enough in the market, I guess. But I'll try my hand at it and see what happens.

    My cats are happy. Mr. Nelson is on the porch and they feel like they can come out and explore...a little. I have the type of dog that acts like he's on a caffeine high and is totally wound up. Crazy to say the least. My sis-in-law has a Whippet and this dog is just bones. He runs around in their back yard (but not as crazy as Mr. Nelson) and then is totally passive inside. Amazing. Not so with Mr.Nelson. He acts like he's on drugs or something. I guess it's the terrible twos for dogs...I hope he grows out of it. Otherwise, he's a good dog, really. I do feel safer with him around...if you can feel safer with a Bichon. :-) *apologies to Mr. Nelson* The nicest thing about him besides his handsome good looks is having to go outside. Being an artist, you have a tendency to stay indoors a little too much. So, he makes me go out and see the world. I don't always want to but when the dog calls someone has to go.

    Well, I'll end now. I updated my webpage www.gottshall.com I'm happy with it for now. I'm going to put up more galleries since all it's a pinch to do.
    Emily

    Sociable

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