Monday, March 26, 2012

Some days the time just flies!

Oh my goodness!  Today just flew and I am just now sitting down to write a post for this blog.  It is very early on Monday despite what the time stamp says.  Sunday flew by and found me running from one activity to another and spending a lot of time on the computer helping another resident in the building where my flat is located.  Sometimes what you have planned for the day just has to change when something else pops up and seems to need your attention.  Maybe I lack the power to stay with one plan of action, or maybe I just do not seem to be able to say "no, I am tied up for the moment."  Regardless, I fell off of my carefully planned out schedule and am just now sitting down, cup of coffee in hand (but no cookies!) and typing away to tell you what has been going on in the life of the want to be artist/writer.

The week played out pretty much as most weeks do.  A little shopping, a little reading, some laundry, playing in the studio, some more laundry and on and on.  I will confess that laundry is a bit of an obsession with me.  I have to wonder why there is not a laundry detergent named "Obsession" just yet but I am guessing that it is only a matter of time before this lands on some shelves in a shoppe near you.  Today hit and I was on my way into the studio when I decided to check my e-mails and I am so happy that I did!  There was an e-mail from a special friend that I hear from pretty much every other week and I open each and every e-mail with the anticipation that I am about to have a good chat.  And, a good chat it was, so much so that I felt the need to respond right away.  Anyone who knows me well, knows that I cannot write a short e-mail, they are all of epic proportions and this one was no different.  But, for some reason, my brain was shorting out and I kept losing my e-mail or sending it off before it was well and truly finished.  I am sure this is due to a) my fingers stumbling over the keyboard, b) my eagerness to get my thoughts down on the page before I lost them, or c) either a case of dyslexia or early onset Alzheimer's.  Truth is, my mistakes could be a combination of all of the above.  I really do have to focus when I am writing anything these days in order to get my thoughts down correctly.  I need to make lists so that I do accomplish the more important things that need to be done.  But, I wonder if maybe this new age of technology has made my brain function with fewer brain cells in good running order.  I seem at a loss for words by times, I tend to get lost in my thoughts frequently and I am easily distracted. 

Maybe all these problems are caused by my being too technologically challenged.  It is so easy to hit the wrong key when I am keyboarding and send communications into cyber space before I really mean to hit the "send" key.  I am easily distracted and a piece of music on the radio can totally derail my line of thought or take me to a place where I have not been a resident for a long time.  I am laughing at this, but sadly, it is true.  I am of an age where I am nostalgic for simpler times, the music I was listening to way back when and a time when I knew what colour my hair really was and so did the hairdresser.  These days, I seem to flit from classical to rock, new age to middle age, best sellers to classics.  There is no rhyme or reason to selections of music, the books I choose to read or anything else.  I am a child of no age, one who definitely marches to her own beat, the beat of whatever music is playing in my head at that particular time on that particular day.  I am not terribly concerned that my attention span is a bit sporadic.  I would rather do a turn about and head off to where I can do something interesting or be able to help someone.

So, today, I sent a lengthy e-mail to a friend albeit in two parts.  Sorry about that CM!  Hopefully, it all made sense in the long run and made you laugh.  Friends do that for friends, they reach out, listen, chat, laugh and tell stories of their past all in hopes of connecting.  That is what any type of communication is supposed to do, but the reality is, many of our communications these days are sadly lacking in personality.   We subscribe to the "form letter" type of communications format.  This is so not acceptable and our letters reflect that we have lost our "voice" when we write.  What I mean by this is that there was a time when you could read something and knew straight away who had written the piece.  Today, you can never be sure.   With spell check, auto format and all the techno stuff, we have lost our individuality.  I always knew when a certain person had left me a note at work because she could never spell the word "marijuana." 

So, I have managed to go off of my line of thought one more time today!  I did, after three, maybe four attempts, manage to get the e-mail written and sent correctly.  I have had a quick response telling me that it was received and yes the recipient did laugh at the content.  S'all good!  Very bad grammar, but indicative of my somewhat creative state of mind.  Or, it could be that I seem to have an empty coffee cup and should see about a refill.  Kim and Russ, two friends on twitter, know and share my daily requirement of caffeine that keeps me waxing poetic or in other words, a tad manic.  I will let you decide which is more accurate.

So, what else did I do today?  Another resident in the building needed some computer help.  Not having a computer and desperately needing a quick brochure with tear strips to be put together for her business, she called asking if I would help.  It has been a while since I have actually put together paperwork of a business nature, but in the spirit of helping this woman get her fliers done, I agreed to give it a try.  It took a few hours to get a format that I found acceptable and got the gist of her information typed up and looking fairly professional.  Adding a few creative elements just because I felt the need to do something art related helped me feel better about what I was doing and feel that I was making her fliers stand out in a good way.  So, a few hours ago, the fliers were delivered and left at the neighbour's door.  Hopefully, they accomplish what she needs them to do and she gets some more clients.  I will tell you a little secret here and hope you will not tell anyone.  When I delivered the fliers to the door down the hallway, Molly accompanied me.  Molly has a real yearning to tackle this lady's door as there is an over sized wreath hanging on it and my energetic little feline is coming very close to jumping up and tackling the wreath to the floor.  Heaven only knows what she plans to do with it at that point, but I am keeping an eye on her and on the wreath, willing it to stay where it is currently hanging.  Say a prayer that Molly's antics do not allow her to gain much more height when she jumps or I am going to have to rebuild a wreath of very much dried magnolia leaves.  I am pretty sure one tumble to the floor and they will not be in very good shape.  That is best kept among all of us here!

I heard from the art shoppe where I ordered the articulated wooden hand a few weeks ago.  The wonderfully helpful clerk who helped me place the order called to inform me that my order had arrived and was ready for me to pick up.  She sounded so excited, in fact as excited as I am to finally have a life sized hand that can be posed in any manner of ways.  I have to wonder what pose it might be in as it sits waiting for me to pick it up on Monday.  I have visions of it being posed in the "thumbs up" position.  My sister suggested it was in the pose of the greeting Mr. Spock used in Star Trek.  I never thought of my sister as being a Trekkie, and that gives me some pause for thought.  No, I am fairly certain she has not actually watched an episode of Star Trek, but I could be wrong.  I will let you know if I find out differently. 

Oh, and when the clerk called to tell me that my order had arrived, she also mentioned that there was a sale on and there were a lot of items that I used and I should look at the sale flier.  Duly noted and I have a list made of items to pick up tomorrow.  I have a feeling that Monday is going to be an interesting day.  Molly is already running around the flat behaving like a little monster, kitty monster that is and complete with interesting sound effects.  Again, I am not sure what has brought this behaviour on, but it may very well be connected to the fact that she was just in her litter box.  She tends to get quite excited after she does a certain something and I am quite likely going to find that something when I head into the bathroom to tidy it up before I head off to bed.

Anyway, I will be in the studio working this week along with getting back to reading.  I have been reading Danny Gregory's "How to Make a Journal of Your Life."  I have not finished it as yet, but can already highly recommend that you put it on your "to read" list.  Danny Gregory writes a chatty book full of his wisdom on taking the time to document what you see and gives some pointers on how to put your ideas down on the page.  His biggest piece of advice is to take it slow and easy and not to stress over it.  Rome was not built in a day and you will not manage to be Picasso in that short of time either.  You can quote me on that.  I try every day to improve my drawing skills and I can tell you, I have a long ways to go on this journey before I come close to Picasso or any other real artist.  But that is all part of the journey, taking the time to learn not just about drawing, art and so on.  It is also very much about taking the time to explore what you see and taking the time to enjoy life.   

I hope you have a wonderful week!  I will let you know what goodies I find at the art shoppe and how well my resolve to stay on budget holds up.  No promises on that, but I will try to keep to items I actually need and will use within a reasonable amount of time.  Beyond that, it is a good guess just what might be in my shopping bags by the time I get home.

Sincerely,   Rutheemac

Sunday, March 18, 2012

The road to Norway!

I am back.  I needed a brief break to get myself back together in the studio, meaning that a major tidy was in order and from the looks of my desk, a major tidy is needed to put the paperwork in place once again.

The piece I was working on to send off to Norway for the #twitterartexhibit was sent off a couple of weeks ago.  To my relief, David Sandum sent me a message a few days ago saying that he had received it.  You might recall that my submission for the previous exhibit, a year or so ago, was lost in the mail and did not make it in time for the due date.  In fact, it was several days after that when it surfaced.  All is well, I am quite happy that my submission made it in time for this exhibit which begins in April.  Check out the latest on the exhibit using the hashtag #twitterartexhibit or #DavidSandumArt.  Remember to send your pieces in for the exhibition so that they arrive no later than March 30.  That will give David two weeks to get the exhibit set up and I am guessing that with the number of artistic pieces being sent to him, it will be a labour of love to place these patchwork sized pieces up on the wall coordinating colours and textures.

I have put a picture of my submission to the side of the post as well as a picture of another painting that I did this week.  Both are done using acrylic inks, which I am new to using and learning how to work with in order to get the results I am trying to achieve.  I would say that the inks are much like watercolours, with the main difference being that the ink is very hard to scrub off of my fingers.  Consequently, I am extremely careful not to leave Molly in the studio if I make a coffee or tea run to the kitchen.  I well remember scrubbing ultramarine blue acrylic paint off of my kitchen floor in the old flat and doubt that the inks would wipe up as neatly.  At this point, I have the sides of a few fingers as well as their tips tinted with yellow ink making one think that I have indulged in one too many cigarettes.  That is not the case and I can put my hand on the bible and state that no cigarettes have been smoked in over three decades.  I think one more major scrub with the nail brush and I should be back to the normal skin tone I usually have.  But, if that does not work, I do have an ink that is flesh toned and might be just the ticket to try on a finger or two.  Just kidding!

I have a feeling that I am going to continue with the inks for a while since I am enjoying experimenting with them.  Building up colour and testing how one ink blends with another is fun.  I am also working in the use of watercolour pencils along with the inks to get another colour blended but still showing on top of the original colour laid out on the paper.  Using different coloured papers that I picked up at the art supply shop a few weeks ago is proving interesting as well.  Building up the colour without saturating the paper is tricky and involves patience that I am still trying desperately to cultivate.  But, I must be progressing in that department.  Two nights ago, when I was in the studio, I looked up to see that it was 1:30 a.m.  Working on the sunflower painting had me so involved that I had lost complete track of the time and lost out on my hour of reading before calling it a night.

So, yes, reading is still very much part of my daily routine as we move into the third month of this year.  One of my plans for the new year was to make sure that I took time out each day to enjoy a few chapters of a book.  I had hoped that it would be possible to read two books per month and I seem to be able to manage that without too much trouble.  I have read "The Hunger Games" trilogy, "Bird by Bird", and "The Awakening" at this point.  Currently, I am working my way through Brenda Ueland's If You Want to Write" and Nancy Holder's/Debbie Viguies' "Wicked:  Witch & Curse."  One book good for the mind, the other satisfying the urge for that urge for something a little less than would be considered nutritionally sound if it were a meal.  I will let you decide which book matches up with the mentioned categories.  Those who have been following me on my journey will no doubt pick up on my enjoyment of books that relate to the supernatural.  I have to confess, I love reading books of most genres, but give me a series like "Twilight", "The Hunger Games" and so on, and you will find me totally involved to the point where the book is carried with me at all times so that should I find myself waiting for my appointment at the doctor's office or in line to pay for a purchase, I can pull out the current book that is being inhaled, and indulge in a few more pages whilst waiting.  A few days ago, whilst sipping on a coffee while on an outing, I spent a lovely hour or so enjoying a few chapters of one of the books currently being read.  That is the joy of reading, you can always pick up where you left off and use whatever time you have available to make some progress through a book.  The books I am currently reading are both actual paperback books, but never fear, the e-reader is being used as well and I have a few books downloaded to dive into when I need a break.

I wonder where the e-reader will take us in terms of books being published.  Will we still be able to pick up a current best seller in paperback form or will most books be published as e-books?  There is something so satisfying about holding a book whilst reading it.  There is a smell to the book, the ink, the pages, not so much with the e-reader.  I have to admit that the e-reader has its merits.  I can easily toss it in my purse to take with me and have more than one book to look through without the heft of additional books in my bag.  The leather cover protecting the e-reader gives the illusion of holding a book whilst giving me all the benefits of this new age reading format.  Have you switched over to e-books or will you stick to traditional books?  I can never see myself giving up actual books since I feel that certain books just do not format well on e-readers.  Cookbooks, books on art techniques and so on are always going to have pride of placement in my bookcase and in my heart.  I have had too many good relationships with actual books and will never totally give them up anymore than I could say that I will never eat another chocolate chip cookie.  That would just be cruel and unnecessary!

So, that is how my life has played out over the past few weeks.  Nothing earth shaking, but at the same time, progressing at a pace that I am comfortable with.  What are you working on artistically or otherwise?  The longer days seem to offer more time to work on projects, but at the same time provide more distractions.  I find myself looking at seed packages and wondering what I should plant on my little balcony.  I am debating on some herbs that I can use in the kitchen along with a few flowering tubs.  Pansies catch my fancy as do sweet peas, but I had better decide soon.  Sweet pea seeds need to soak a while to soften the outer casing if memory serves me correctly.  Oh well, now I have more reason to stay on the computer and do some research on what I could reasonably grow with minimal effort.  At least bringing water to the balcony using my walker lightens the load.  I will just have to make certain that a little feline is safely tucked into another room and cannot escape onto the balcony or beyond.  I cannot bear to think of Molly getting lost and not having her cheerful little face waking me up each morning.

So, that is how life is moving for us mid month.  I am at the point of portioning out all the entrees that have been bubbling away today.  A beef brisket, pot of soup, baked chicken breasts along with a batch of muffins is or will be cooling until they can be tucked away into my freezer.  Julie Anne Rhodes ( has made me a cooking convert.  It really is so much better to use her PCApproach to cooking and enjoy homecooked meals each night.  Thank you Julie Anne!  You will never know how much better meal time is since you taught me your approach to cooking.  Anyone reading my blog would do well to check out Julie Anne's site and join the community.  I can guarantee that your dinners will be wonderful and you will meet the nicest people in the forum.

Have a wonderful week!  I hope you find some time to do things that you truly enjoy.

Sincerely,  Rutheemac