topiary cats

topiary cats

Sunday, May 31, 2015

May Recap

This is the last day of May!  The month went by slowly and quickly at the same time....but time is like that.

Daya has her dance recital today, all day.  She is dancing six numbers in two shows.  I volunteer to help out, which is much preferable to sitting in the audience.  I enjoy volunteering, and Daya likes having me around to share the experience.

Goals recap:

I did not meet all my goals but I am not being hard on myself about it.

The card deck I used this month, The Enchanted Map, has 54 cards.  I did get some repeats but I chose to just draw a new card.

Anyhow, this has been a positive experience.  A good focus. I have tried to relate all the card meanings to my life in the present, even if I didn't think they really applied.  And I did learn some things, and I looked at some things differently, and saw the relevance.

This was fun.  It is going to feel strange not to draw a card tomorrow.

Card today is Balancing Act (Reversed)

My Interpretation:  Carrying too much weight, letting things slip, precarious circumstance, too much going on.

Booklet says:  "You are calm within, no matter the fluctuation of outer conditions."  Address areas of discord, take your own inventory, adjust to your environment regarding things you cannot change.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

I Have to Destroy A Painting

I have a painting that I started more than TEN (10) years ago.

Back when I was married, before I got pregnant, I had a very special friend from college who was getting married. As a gift, I was going to give them a portrait.  As soon as she told me she was getting married, I immediately went to Blick and got the nicest panel I could find. It was to be a layered glazed painting over a grisaille.  I finished the grisaille.

A lot of time went into this.  A lot of love, too.

Grisaille underpainting

And then I got pregnant.

When I was pregnant, something really strange and unpleasant happened to me. I couldn't make art. Of any kind. It had nothing to do with my materials, it had to do with the energy. Even thinking about painting, or doing any kind of art, made me throw up. Literally. It was so bad I couldn't even sketch in my sketchbook with a pencil.  It was like that part of me, that artist part, was just gone.  I couldn't feel it, couldn't find it. And if I tried I had a violent physical reaction.

Even when I am uninspired and my muse goes on vacation without me, I still am very aware of that core artist part of myself.  It is still there. It has always been there. I thought this is what non-artists must feel like, and it was very strange and alien.  I would never want to go through life like that.

But I knew it was because Daya required that energy. And it came back after she was born.

However, this circumstance prevented me from finishing this painting in time for the wedding.

And then my marriage fell apart while I was pregnant and I had a terrible awful pregnancy and then I had the baby and two weeks after that I had to move in an emergency and I then was alone with a newborn and then the friend whose gift this was dumped me.

She never knew about the painting.

So it forever remains unfinished. I have been holding onto it all these years meaning to destroy it.  I was going to destroy it and throw it out, but it is done on a really nice birch panel.  I don't know yet if I should re-use the panel because of the association it holds for me. It makes me feel very, very sad.

NOTE: Always, ALWAYS destroy a painting before throwing it out.  It has happened to other artists before that they threw out their work and someone else took it and refused to give it back. If you do not want a possibility of your trash-work being out there, destroy it permanently.

Now, though, it is time to put an end to it.  I'm not sure yet what I will do with the panel.  Just in case I reuse it, I'm putting titanium white oil paint over it instead of destroying and rendering it un-useable with gesso.  The under-painting is all thin layers of oils and liquin and has been drying for 10 years, so it's definitely completely cured. (FYI for any paint geeks out there- it didn't yellow at all, even after being in the dark for years!!)

I also did a few glaze layers, apparently.  Having this back on the easel was very, very weird.  It is a relic of a different, distant lifetime, a different person, but still me.

And now it is officially erased.  
It really is a very nice panel. Lovely surface, 
Especially now that it is essentially oil-primed.

Card today: Field of Dreams (reversed)

My Interpretation: Dreams that never manifest, nightmares, too much daydreaming

Booklet says:  "Your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are always engaging the vast field of pure potential." Are your dreams yours or someone else's?Asess the validity of your dreams, do not be afraid of them. Nature self-corrects.  You can always clear the ground for new and better things.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Duo-Tone Rainbow

Q: What's even better than one color?
A: A color that flashes another color!!

Here is, for your visual gratification, an Urban Decay duo-tone rainbow!

The new Urban Decay 2015 Summer colors.  
Yes I have worn them all.


Also, how freaking COOL is this?
I have matching duo-tone eye shadow and duo-tone oil paint.

UD Flipside and (old) Lounge*
*if you have old Lounge DEFINITELY get new Lounge.  It is way better.

DS Saguaro and Aquamarine


Paint piles

Canvas panel getting Saguaro as the background color

Card today: Follow the Leader (upright)
I'm not very good at just following along....unless it is really necessary...I like to know what's off the path,  It is almost always more interesting. I can follow directions but that's not the same thing.  I do tend to wander and just do my own thing...unless I can be the Leader.  Can I be the leader?

My Interpretation:  I just had a Thought.  Maybe the Leader isn't another person.  In that case, I'm on board.  Perhaps the Leader is the Eternal Tao, the Universe, the Path of Life.  All those creatures are heading towards an eventuality (the clock) but they still go their own direction to get there.  I like that. Or, be your own Leader.

Booklet says: "Every life is a teaching tool for others.  Your authenticity and honesty are an example to those around you." Leading others by example, wisdom, bravery in adventures of life. Suffering has been turned into wisdom, time to share it. Lead with love.  Can also mean emulating someone of great character.

Thursday, May 28, 2015


Ever since Daya was a toddler, we have had a bedtime ritual.  She named it hug-sit when she was just starting to talk.  I had a rocking chair, and we would spend some time there snuggling before she went to sleep.

As she got older, and the rocking chair found a new home, hug-sit evolved into story, prayers, and me laying down with her for a few minutes.  With a "one more minute" notification when it was almost over. (kids really love to know what happens next before it actually happens)  When she started reading on her own, the story time stopped and hug-sit often turned into her wanting to ask questions that really require the space and time for longer conversations.  

Daya decided she is now too old for hug-sit.  She was very apologetic about it, saying she didn't want to hurt my feelings or upset me.  But it didn't, not at all, and I told her so.  I appreciate and enjoy Daya at all her phases, and I know that she is just starting to go through a big transition.  So now, we just say prayers together and I leave.

It is completely ok with me.  I respect her need to assert herself in these small ways.  She needs to test things out.  She needs to know it is safe and ok, Especially with me. And she wants to know that. My reaction matters to her a whole lot. I also told her it is ok for her to change her mind if she wants to.  Growing up is a back and forth process.  They venture out, then run back to safety. Then out again.

I have no emotional need or want for her to stay little.  

In fact, being a parent is not about my emotional needs at all.  It IS about Daya's needs, including her emotional needs.  It is my job to take care of her, not the other way around. It is also my job as a parent to adjust to her changing needs, while remaining consistent.  That is a challenge. Especially because these new phases...err, phase in.  They go back and forth moment to moment.

Here is Daya at the playground from this past weekend.  She has been playing here since she was a year old.

Card today: One Ring Circus (upright)

My interpretation: Inner chaos/turmoil.  One-Ring meaning internal, not involving other people. Having to manage all aspects of life alone.  Keeping balanced is a juggling act.  Precarious circumstance.

Booklet says: "You are capable and competent."  Booklet talks about independence.  Others don't have the resources you need.  Self-reliance, wisdom accumulated along the way, very competent and capable of moving forward. Creating and maintaining boundaries.

My interpretation against the booklet is interesting.  The booklet's interpretation is ABSOLUTELY DEFINITELY my life. I have no one to help or depend on except myself.  My interpretation is how I feel about it.  It does feel precarious sometimes.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


The cats think my brush farm is a jungle where they can hide.

Furball trying to hide.
Oh, look.  Another cat.

 Isis trying to hide.

And another cat.

Pebbles is not trying to hide.

Card today is Listening (upright)

My Interpretation:  Listening to your inner voice, inner harmony.  Listening to others as well, really paying attention.

Booklet says:  "An open heart will hear the message." There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.  Now is a time of listening.  Deepest messages are not always obvious, use your heart. Fortunate sign of understanding circumstance.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Purple Possibilities

Carey and I were talking about the importance of having lots and lots of art supplies at all times. Because you never know when you might need THAT SPECIFIC PAINT, and life is better when it is right there in your studio. Possibilities are always open.

Having your tools ready to go all the time is definitely essential for any artist.  Art needs a dedicated space.  Of course, your studio is very like an amoeba; it will sprawl out and encroach on the rest of your living space. But that is ok.

Purple Amoeba

It is not possible to have too much paint 
or too much purple.

Here is some very nice purple paint- acrylic, pastel, panpastel, and oils.  I have other purples in other media but I was too lazy to dig all of it out.

Carey has purple possibilities today, too.

Card Today Into the Unknown (upright)

My interpretation: New paths, not knowing what is before you, uncharted territory, new adventures and experiences, going into the unknown in a positive way. Going on faith alone.

Booklet says:  "Trust...and all will be revealed." New opportunities that you won't know how to deal with.  Trust.  New wonders and miracles.  You are a path maker. You are safe, stay aware.

Someone at work told me once that I am a new-path-forger.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Two More Paintings

I painted both of these yesterday.

5x7 Acrylic on canvas panel

Card today is Spirit of Place (upright)

My Interpretation:  The place around us has its own energy, especially places of nature.  Knowing where you are is really important- knowing where you are in life, relationships, etc.  Knowing where you are and coming to terms with it can help in deciding where to go from here.

Booklet says:  "Authenticity is the essence of power."  Every place has a spirit looking after it or embodying it.  Theme of your circumstances.  Embosy the essence of what you want.  Let go of the need to control.  Once you find the essential truth that underlies your question and then name it, you'll discover what you have been seeking.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Field Trip

Daya has been asking to go to Ellis Island, so yesterday we went.  She is studying Ellis Island immigration in school, so it is very relevant.  I like taking her on supplemental field trips. So, I got Statue of Liberty pedestal reservations.  Reservations are fantastic because you skip the really long lines for the ferry.

I firmly believe in skipping long lines, if possible.

I left all my explosives and firearms at home.

I love boats and I LOVE the water. I could ride that ferry all day.  It just circles around Battery Park, Liberty island, and Ellis Island.

We went to the Statue of Liberty first.  I have been there many times, but I haven't been since before Daya was born.

I have always loved the Statue of Liberty, since I was a kid.

We went up the pedestal.  From there, you can see the statue's armpit.

The old torch from 1912 (? forgot the exact year) is there.  I remember when they did all the renovations back in the 1980s.

 I thought this sign was very ironic, somehow

Before we went to Ellis Island, I asked Daya if she was hungry. She said no. I said are you sure. She said no.

As soon as we got to Ellis Island she was positively starving.

They are doing a lot of construction on the grounds, so the cafe was closed.  We walked around a little, but it just was not worth being there with a zoned out and unpleasant child... so we called it a day and went home.

We'll go back, it is no big deal. Ellis Island is really incredible and wonderful, and it is worth spending a whole day there. Honestly, going around both the statue and Ellis Island is a lot for one day, if you want to look at all the exhibits. I think I'd rather go when Daya is in a place to appreciate it and pay attention.

I will pack food next time and hope it doesn't count as an explosive in security.

Lower Manhattan
from Ellis Island

Card today: Compass (upright)

My interpretation: Stopping to find your direction, True North, choosing your direction, getting out of being lost, seeking guidance.

Booklet says:  "As long as you orient your compass to True North- the direction of your Higher Self, you will never be lost." Entering new uncharted territories, positive new experience,keep aligned with Spirit (True north). Spirit is working in your life, even if you feel lost temporarily and everything seems dark.

Actually I do kind of feel like that right now, a bit lost. Floating around through life. So it is good to have a compass.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Glow In The Dark

Last Tuesday after yoga, I accidentally wandered into Blick.  It really was an accident, honest. Since I found myself there (by accident), I decided to check out that iridescent acrylic medium that my gorgeous and amazing friend Rolina made me aware of.  Since Rols likes it, I knew I would too.

After yoga I tend to be a little slow and spacey. So I was walking around Blick in a very happy daze, being very happily dazzled by all the wonderful colors and brushes and Assorted Array of Art Things.

Normally, I don't wander into Acrylic territory.  And when I am in Acrylic territory, I stay in Golden range. But...Liquitex has the FUNNEST mediums!  They dooo! As a matter of habit I did wander into Golden territory and I might have adopted some more paint. By accident, of course.

Including glow-in-the-dark paint.

Well, I needed it.  And I always get 10% off at Blick.

Nancy asked me what am I going to do with it, and the only sensible answer is, of course, that I will look around and find things that do not glow but should.

Here are two paintings. There is interference paint in them which is pretty and fun to work with.
5x7 acrylic on panel

Interference Gold paint blob

Card today is Movement (upright)
I cannot ignore that this card very directly reflects the painting series I have been working on. Cool!

My interpretation: Ostriches can run very fast. this one is large in proportion to the ground he is moving over, and there is nothing on the ground to impede his progress. He is carrying a nice, natural little world on his back but it doesn't seem like a burden.  Movement forward with good things. That red balloon is flying along.

Booklet says:  "You are in a time of positive forward motion." Positive momentum after coming out of a period of restriction.  New adventure and discovery. Compelled to move forward.  Doors previously shut open. Movement is also a state of mind.

Friday, May 22, 2015

One Hundred Years Ago

Right now, 100 years ago, World War 1 was happening.

Trench warfare.  That was a really, really nasty piece of business.

Here is a little description of life in the trenches, from this link:

Misery in the Mud
Life in the trenches was nightmarish, aside from the usual rigors of combat. Forces of nature posed as great a threat as the opposing army. Heavy rainfall flooded trenches and created impassable, muddy conditions. The mud not only made it difficult to get from one place to another; it also had other, more dire consequences. Many times, soldiers became trapped in the thick, deep mud; unable to extricate themselves, they often drowned.

The pervading precipitation created other difficulties. Trench walls collapsed, rifles jammed, and soldiers fell victim to the much-dreaded "trench foot." A condition similar to frostbite, trench foot developed as a result of men being forced to stand in water for several hours, even days, without a chance to remove wet boots and socks. In extreme cases, gangrene developed and a soldier's toes -- even his entire foot -- would have to be amputated.

Unfortunately, heavy rains were not sufficient to wash away the filth and foul odor of human waste and decaying corpses. Not only did these unsanitary conditions contribute to the spread of disease, they also attracted an enemy despised by both sides -- the lowly rat. Multitudes of rats shared the trenches with soldiers and, even more horrifying, they fed upon the remains of the dead. Soldiers shot them out of disgust and frustration, but the rats continued to multiply and thrived for the duration of the war. Other vermin that plagued the troops included head and body lice, mites and scabies, and massive swarms of flies.

As terrible as the sights and smells were for the men to endure, the deafening noises that surrounded them during heavy shelling were terrifying. In the midst of a heavy barrage, dozens of shells per minute might land in the trench, causing ear-splitting (and deadly) explosions. Few men could remain calm under such circumstances; many suffered emotional breakdowns.

(When I was in college, I had to do a book cover for All Quiet on the Western Front.
That's how I got into having pet rats, actually.  I put rats all over the cover of the book, and for that I researched them.  In my research I found- instead of really dirty ugly trench vermin- these really cute and smart critters.)

Oh yeah, there was chemical warfare too.  That was absolutely gruesome. It was first used in April 1915. I always thought gas masks looked really scary.

TRUE FACT:  Fritz Hauber is considered to be the "Father of Chemical Warfare".  What a distinction.  His wife, Clara- who was also a scientist- was so upset with and against his use of science to kill other humans that she committed suicide after having a huge fight with him about it.

I think it is good to remember history, and to remember how others have suffered. It keeps our own lives in perspective. It knocks petty drama out of any level of meaning and importance.

Some say history is important so we don't keep repeating the same mistakes- but I don't have that much faith in humanity. Not on a mass level.  On individual levels, yes.  But it's always the same old nonsense with a different backdrop.

Tomorrow I will post something less grim.

Card today: Cleaning House (reversed)
HAHAHAHAHA oh that's FUNNY (all I can do at this point is laugh senselessly when it comes to my apartment)

Aside from my apartment being Cleaning House (reversed), I am not really doing so great on my May goals. Oh my gosh though, this whole month has been insane.  I'm not kidding when I say I am basically just coming home to sleep during the week.

My interpretation: Get to work.......

Booklet says:  Clean house, either literally or emotionally. Let go. Make space.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Getting Growed Up

Daya had dance pictures this past weekend.  For six different classes. At six different times, all spaced out. It was an all-day affair, full of too many people in a small space and much mayhem.

I printed out her photo tickets, paid for everything, wrote the time and location on each, and told her she was responsible for the rest.  She had to pack her costumes, keep track of them, be in the right outfit in the right place at the right time. She also had her phone.

She said "Ok, no problem."  I said call me if you need anything.

And I left her at dance and went home.

And it all went perfectly. When I went to pick her up, the owner of the studio told me how impressed she was. Daya was very independent, responsible, and mellow about the whole thing. She handled everything herself. She did a fantastic job. She had fun with her friends. There were no issues, no problems.

I am very proud of Daya.  She is growing up very well.

She got her favorite dinner- sushi- afterwards.

Card today Rock Bottom (upright)
This is such a cool image!

My interpretation: Everyone has to hit rock bottom at some point, at least once. It's a pretty horrible place but there's only one way to go and that is up and out. It is a process of growth, and ultimately it is up to us how we react to it and where we go from there.  Rock Bottom can either culminate in our death- whether that is physical, emotional, metaphorical etc- and actually a death aspect is usually involved- but we can resurrect or stay ghosts.  It's up to us.

Booklet says: "Surrender and acceptance are the keys to freedom."  Reaching a point where you can no longer move forward in the same manner. Proverbial brick wall.  Could be a loss and you don't know where to turn. Old ways of doing things have to be discarded.  Surrender and accept, and the way out will appear. Release.  Can be a sign that a miracle is about to occur, but only if you let go completely.