Wednesday, March 30, 2011

I Did It!

Okay, I finally did it- I opened an Etsy shop for my prints.  Part of my motivation came from a good friend who has been encouraging me to open up shop for a while now, and the other part came from the fact that my booth fee at this year's Earth Day festival is a bit steep. 

But yesterday, while my brother-in-law took my son to go see a movie, I worked on setting up shop.  Then, my son and I went to the local coffee shop for some free wi-fi and I uploaded pics of my artwork into my shop.  Once it was mostly ready (I'll be adding more prints in the coming week), I linked my shop to my personal FB page and within the hour, had three sales!

I'm so excited and definitely looking forward to what the coming months have to bring in terms of my artwork.  I also got accepted into that juried show and will be dropping off two pieces of my artwork this weekend.  Plus, I've got to put the finishing touches on the painting that I did in exchange for a website for the business my sister and I run.

Now on my way to swim with my momma'!  Man, it's early, but I love the water.

If you are interested in buying a print from me, now is the time to do it- I've got "pre-festival" pricing going on until April 15th!  Go here for art!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


This is what we woke up to on Saturday (the first day of my son's Spring Break):

Not cool mother nature, not cool.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


I've been sick for the past five days, hence, little to post.  But I got a little more active today and made some prints of the phrenology head on good paper.  I also tweaked the lungs a little and printed that on good paper, as well.  The Earth Day Festival is less than a month away, and my son is coming to St. Louis next week, so I've got little time to waste.  No time to be sick, either!
pulling the print
(I didn't ink this block well enough the first time, but it will be good for a layered print- pic to come soon!)

I'm opening an Etsy shop within the next couple of days with "pre-festival" pricing to help me raise money for the booth fee at Earth Day (you'd be surprised how expensive it can get!).  I will have hand-printed images available for as low as $25, so if you enjoy my art, consider buying a piece for your home!  

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What Does it Mean When I Start Relating to the Crazy Guy on the Street Corner?

So... on my way to the metrolink station today, I saw an older gentleman way ahead of me at an intersection that sees a lot of begging.  I usually smile and cross the street as I have no extra money to give (and I know several of them that do this as a scam- one lady has been "pregnant" for 2 1/2 years now).  But as I walked closer, I noticed something a little off.

No cardboard sign.  And he wasn't going up to the car windows, but I could tell he was making some kind of gesture towards the cars.  Nothing rude, but also, it didn't look like he was asking for money, either.  When I approached the intersection, I realized I had just missed the "walk" sign.

I began to see, then, that all this guy was doing was directing traffic in his own little way.  There were no lights that were out, and the cars pretty much dismissed him since he was clearly not uniformed.  So I had the pleasure of watching this guy for a good couple of minutes.  He seemed to be deriving some sort of organizational pleasure from this activity. 

In this world that often doesn't make sense, he was making sense out of an ebb and flow of people in their cars going about their daily business.  Who knows how long he was out there; he was gone when I returned from my appointment about an hour and a half later.  Maybe he went to another intersection.  Maybe he got bored.  Maybe someone yelled at him.  Maybe he got his "fix" for the day.

He turned around and barely noticed me before I crossed the street.  I flashed him a smile and walked on.  He seemed more interested in the oncoming traffic and making sure it went the way it was supposed to.  He was making sense out of his life through this meditative movement.  If I could go back and say anything to him, it would be: "I get it, dude.  I totally get it."

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Phrenology Test Print (and my trip!)

Test prints are a way to tell if your woodcut block is carved the way you want it to be.  It can be tricky to tell how a print will turn out after you make all of the cuts; therefore, a test print is necessary to see how it will turn out.  After a test print, I usually make some adjustments (i.e. more cuts) to get it where I want it to be.

Here's what I've got so far:

finished (kinda') wood block

test print on newsprint (cheap paper)

I'm mostly happy with how it turned out, but I definitely want to cut more in some places.  So that will be on my "to do" list tomorrow- after I take a nice long walk.  It's supposed to be in the mid 60's and sunny tomorrow so I can't wait to be outside in the almost-spring weather! (It snowed 4 inches here yesterday-wtf)

I had a great time in Indianapolis visiting my son and seeing some friends.  My little sister, her almost 3 year old son, and I drove there on Friday and got back Sunday night.  It was a whirlwind weekend that was packed to the gills with greatness, but my body took two days to recover.  For some reason, whenever I travel and have to sit for an extended period of time, my pain can be horrendous.  My back and hips were screaming for mercy when I got home.

But it was all SO worth it!  Here are a few pics from the trip:

there is just something so precious about this pic of my nephew

Quent sharing his birthday shake with Jack
They were dressed like twins on both days they were together- unplanned (it was really cute)

Jack "playing" video games at Quentin's birthday party
He hung pretty well with the big kids (and Quent is always so good with him; it's really sweet)

My old house in Indy!  And yes- it really is that small; Quent used to call it "the mouse house".
Can you believe it's a two-bedroom???

Sittin' on "the stoop" just like old times.  I rented this house from 2002-2005; it's in the same neighborhood as my ex-husband and his wife, just a few streets up and over.  We went to see it the last day I was there because someone had bought it, rehabbed it, and was selling it.  There was an open house later that day so we just decided to go and look in all the windows.  It really brought back a lot of memories and got me thinking again about seriously moving back.  Not that I could afford that house, but it's definitely been on my mind.

Since I'm back in St. Louis now and my body has rested, I'm going to focus on the busy three months ahead of me.  I'll revisit the moving back thing once I've followed through on all of my commitments here.  So for now... more work on the phrenology head!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Opportunities and Balance

As I head off to Indy to celebrate my son turning 13 this weekend, I am filled with great gratitude that I get to spend time with him and other family and friends in Indiana this weekend.  My thoughts go out to all those affected by today's earthquake and subsequent tsunami; may their pain and suffering be relieved soon. 

I was hoping to run a test print on my latest woodcut before going out of town, but this phrenology head has been labor intensive for my poor little fingers.  So I thought I'd show you guys some of the progress- it's not finished though, so no judging!

I'm making it a sort of DIY Phrenology head; an interactive piece, if you will.  I left all of the spaces blank so whoever buys a print can fill them in with their own ideas/nonsense.  If you don't know much about Phrenology heads, this is a great site to get educated. 

I recently applied for a grant for a reduced booth fee at this year's St. Louis Earth Day Festival and got approved- there will be over 25,000 people moving through this event, so I thought I'd just go for it!  I will be selling some of my paintings and woodcuts there.  I may have to do a little fundraising in order to pay the rest of the booth fee, so I'm thinking about opening an Etsy site just for my art.

I also submitted three paintings to a juried show called "New Beginnings" down at the Soulard Art Market.  I should know something from them by the end of March (like if I got accepted!).  So... fingers crossed.  Hurty, painful, sore fingers crossed!

With all of this going on (plus a ton of other exciting stuff!), I am striving to find and maintain a sense of balance.  I'm busier than I've been in a few years, and while I'm loving every minute of it, there are times I've had to force myself to take breaks.  I know I tend to push it and then things can get really bad for me pain-wise, so I've got to be careful.

Omg- I can't believe I'm the mom of a teenager now.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I Give Good Face.2

I could also apply  yesterday's post to my emotions.  I don't necessarily like talking about them.  I'm great at talking when I'm thinking with my head and being all neurotic, but when it comes to matters of the heart, well, let's just say that I'm glad I have art.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I Give Good Face

This is what I wake up to every morning.  An arsenal of vitamins, supplements, and medications to manage my pain.  You wouldn't know it if you saw me just walking down the street- for all intents and purposes, I look normal.  What you don't know is that after a walk, once I'm safely behind my apartment building, I feel safe enough to wince through the pain and let my face show it; no one is around.  I will even walk slower and limp up the stairs sometimes if it's bad.

I don't like people seeing that side of me.  Over the past three years, I've gotten really good at faking it.  I hate talking about the pain.  I hate when people ask me about it.  I hate having to take all of these pills because I don't believe in popping a pill to solve a problem.  But I've tried so many different combinations and have found that this is what is working for me now.

In addition to all of the above, I manage my pain with meditation, walking, yoga, visualization, swimming, and just plain grinning and fucking bearing it.  I marvel at people who wake up with relative ease and go throughout their day with maybe an occasional ache in their back or pain in their knee, but for the most part, only have to deal with day to day things.

I envy those people.  I would give almost anything to live without pain, but it is part of my daily life.  I think about it when I wake up; I think about it when I'm planning my day; I think about it when I have to get in the shower; I think about it when I have to walk to the metro; I think about it when I choose to do something social; I think about it when I do art; I think about it before I go to bed; and I think about it during most hours of the night since I am rarely able to get comfortable and sleep an unbroken amount of good sleep.

I'm not sure what lesson I'm supposed to learn (and I'm all about finding the lessons in life- it makes me feel like the rough experiences weren't all for nothing) in regards to having to manage pain and trying to live a relatively "normal" life.  I'm still waiting to figure that out.  In the meantime, I've chosen to make the best of it.  I'm trying to find balance, always.  It is an excruciating journey sometimes.

So, if I don't do the "courtesy jog" when I cross the street, forgive me- I'm in a lot of pain.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


There are many reasons I may be awake at 5am on any given day.  Lately, I've been getting up three times a week at that time to go swimming with my mom.  It is great exercise for me because it is so low impact on my joints and I love spending that quality time with my momma.

Other nights, I just haven't gone to sleep yet by the time 5am rolls around.  I've mentioned several times that I am a night owl.  For some reason, I really come alive around 10pm and that's when I often break out my paints, ink, or pencils.  Occasionally, I'll have a great creative session with myself, some, tea, some tunes, and just lose track of time.

And still, there are nights where I go to my bed with good intentions around 11pm or midnight, but due to my location (I live above a bar and across the street from a bar), my loud neighbor, the pain, and my sometimes racing thoughts, I often find myself frustratingly tossing and turning and searching for my earplugs. 

It's funny, I can tell what time it is by the noises I hear outside my bedroom window.  The bars usually get busy around 10 or 11pm and I can hear people, still relatively sober  and excited about their night, walking from their cars to the bar.  I live on a street that separates the city from the county, so the bar across the street from me has to close by 1am, and the bar below me closes at 3am.  This makes for not one exodus from the bar, but two.  By 4am, I hear the bar workers empty trashcans full of bottles into the dumpster behind my building.  And shortly after, around 4:30am, the garbage truck comes. 

It is by these sounds, that I often know just how many hours of sleep I'm missing.  On occasion, I'll just get up when I can't sleep, but I wait until around 5am- it is the only time there is no noise or sounds coming from anywhere.  It is completely quiet with the exception of a car driving by every now and then.   I'll go into the living room, light a candle, make some tea, and sit on my couch, enjoying the calm, the quiet.

I had insomnia pretty bad when I was a girl.  In my childhood home, I would lay awake in my bed, in the darkness and watch the shadows on my wall.  Cars driving by would make the shadows dance, and it made me feel connected to something bigger.  Often, this was the only peace I knew.  Those shadows reminded me that I wasn't alone in this world.  I'm not sure why, but it was so relaxing to watch the shadowplay.

I felt a similar calm and peace the other day when I decided to get up and enjoy the quiet.  I watched the shadows in my apartment as the rain fell, and everything felt... right.