Category Archives: art and creativity

Still here and unraptured.

As if I would ever be raptured.  I’m an atheist. I have had sex before marriage. I think queer people are awesome, that marijuana should be legal, and women should have agency over their bodies. Also, I curse like sailor.

Besides, I have too much shit to do; I’ve got no time for this ascending nonsense.  I’ve got art to make, a book or 10 to write, movies to watch, and Adele songs to learn.  I’ve recently discovered Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and I’m learning it so that I can hear it without my eyes.  I am also drinking wine, eating fish, and being appreciative of my life and my body.  Even if rapturing was possible why would I want to be?

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A life update: WIPs.

Been a couple of things I’ve been working on since the weekend.  One is the painting to the left, which is in the very begining stages of a self-portrait with the phrase “Ars requiret totum hominem” ( [Doing] Art requires the presence of the total Being.)  This is a very personal piece, and is meant to be a sort of self-motivational poster. Ha!  This thing is going to take a very long time to complete.

The other thing I am doing in conjunction with this painting is getting back into the old Nano book I was writing for Novemeber of 2008.  I lost track of it somewhere along the way,  and now that I am back (?) to being creative again, this is the story my mind wants to work on now–even though I have 2 older and 2 newer options to choose from. In any case, since this is a Works In Progress post, I might as well share a bit of an exerpt from the prologue from it. This book is temporarily titled “The Sword of Navarre.”

Prolouge:

Embracing the Dark

Scrubby bushes surrounded a tiny grey stone cottage built into a low slope in the side of the hill overlooking Camaris.  It was getting dark: the first stars twinkled at Jerry as he dug into the rocky soil. He glared at Reilly, who stood staring up at the thin sliver of the moon beginning its climb into the night sky.

“Come on, Rei!” Jerry hissed as he threw a clod of earth into the bushes. “You lazy idiot.  Help me dig!”

“Why should I help you?” Reilly said, “You killed him, not me!”

“You were the one playing with the chisels. You left them all over the floor. That he found and came to beat us with.” Jerry sliced the shovel into the hard earth will all his might. “It was all your fault.”

“You put the chisel in his neck.” Reilly retorted as he put his own shovel into the earth.  “What are you so mad about anyway? It’ll be better now he’s gone.  Father will have to look after us now.”

“We can take care of ourselves!” Jerry wiped at his eyes. “We don’t need anyone. I can do spells now.  And you can see who will give us money and who won’t.  All Father cares about is praying.  I bet he won’t even notice Uncle’s gone.”

Reilly said nothing. Instead he just dug a little deeper.

Jerry found a soft spot in the earth and pounded at it a bit.  He could feel some rocks shift as he dug.  Behind him, the body of their uncle cooled, covered by a light blanket of golden leaves, hastily piled on him after he died, bleeding into the rocks.  Jerry wondered if there were any soulfire in a dead body. He looked, and a weak, dark grey fire seeped into the earth fading even as the blood cooled. Jerry grinned and called it to him with his mind, offering the fire some of his own anger to come and join with.  He felt stronger and clearer of head with the power of Uncle Kai’s dying soulfire bound into his own.  Uncle Kai never knew he was watching him cast his spells and learning how to do it himself.  In truth, he meant to kill Kai. Just not that way. Not with a stupid chisel in the neck. Jerry had wanted to cast death upon Kai using darkfire. He wanted to make Kai feel the wooden wand in his bottom before he died. He wanted to slice his arms, just as Kai had sliced his and Rei’s so many times, for his spells.  He wanted to prove he was powerful too and that Kai just couldn’t hurt them anymore.

Instead he fell into the chisel Jerry had tried to use as a wand. What cursed luck! Jerry stabbed at the earth angrily. “Stupid Kai.” He muttered.

There was a groan, a low creaky groan, that reverberated under their feet, and the ground shifted. Jerry felt the rocks sliding into the shallow hole they were digging. Reilly squeaked loudly and croaked out “Whats going on?!” and with a loud roar Jerry felt the earth give way under them and they fell.

He came to with Reilly shaking him by the shoulder. “Come on Jer, wake up!”  There was blood on Reilly’s face and his own arm hurt like fire.

“I’m awake, Rei. Stop it.”

He sat up and looked around. There was no light, except for a soft green glow that came from the rough stone walls. There were walls?  The faint green light was all he could see, and it glowed in patches down the length of what seemed to be a tall, narrow tunnel.

“Where are we?” He wondered.

“Under the house, dummy.” Reilly almost shouted. “Now we have to get back up.”

Jerry looked up and above them was the silent night sky sprinkled with stars. It was a long way up.  The sky seemed almost bright up there, but not bright enough to brighten up the tunnel they fell into.

“Can’t you cast some sort of light?” Reilly asked him. “So we can see something?”

“I dunno. Uncle never cast light.”  He gathered up some soulfire and tried to shape it into a ball of light.  The soulfire wouldn’t obey, it refused, and it exploded in his mind, and his inner vision saw white and he cried out.

“Jer!” said Reilly. “Are you okay?”

“No! That hurt, Rei. That really hurt. I can’t make light. Stupid Kai!”

“Well we can’t just sit here. Come on.”  Reilly pulled Jerry up and after some initial hesitation, half-dragged him down the tunnel.

“Where are we going?”

“Inside, dummy.”

“Inside what?”

“I don’t know. Stop asking stupid questions.”

“Stop calling me stupid, stupid!”

“Then stop being stupid!”

Jerry pushed at Reilly, and Reilly pushed back, knocking Jerry into the glowing green wall of the tunnel. He felt something slimy and spongy squish under his arm and he heard his elbow crunch against the wall. “Ow! You didn’t have to push so hard.”

“Well, I’m not sorry. You started it.”

Jerry bit his tongue. He knew there was no point an arguing this, and his arm and head hurt too much anyway to fight, even if he wanted to fight. Instead he stole a little bit of Reilly’s soulfire, and only smiled when Reilly said, “Knock it off, that’s mine.”

Not anymore, dummy, he thought.

I’ve got about half a book done, all of it very roughly drafted. This too, will take a very long time.

Also, my car should be fixed by the end of the week.

Coping with Cars and Art and Work.

Okay, here’s the deal with my car:

For the past couple months, I’ve been experiencing a no-start issue, which manifested only on cold mornings. What would happen is that upon turning the key in the ignition, everything would power up; the lights, air, dashboard controls, wipers, everything, but the engine itself would simply…not. No cranking, no turning over, only complete silence. But then, it would start up again 10 to 15 minutes later. At first, I thought it was an old battery, but when I had it tested at Sears and again at Pep Boys, the battery was perfectly fine. So I knew it was an electric problem of some sort.

I finally did some research online, and it turns out that this is a common problem with certain GM vehicles equipped with the Passlock(TM) antitheft device. From what I can understand, what’s happening is that some gel or oil inside the ignition begins to degrade in cold weather with age. This degradation causes the ignition switch to perform less-than-optimally, and creates a “bounce” signal that the Passlock(TM) device interprets as a hotwire job, and it immediately shuts off the ignition sequence.

In other words, its a fucked up design. And what REALLY pisses me off is that GM won’t recall it because its “not a safety issue.” They won’t even pay for the fix–which is replacing the ignition switch, and if that fails, then the Body Control Module–because they apparently aren’t legally required to do so, even though half the vehicles equipped with this device have this problem eventually.

Cost for the fix: $300.00 to start, more if the BCM needs replacing.

GM has got a fucking racket with this shit. Imagine it: half of the vehicles with the passlock POS will fail and need replacing, to the tune of $300 or more EACH. Of course the honchos at GM aren’t going to recall this crap–its making them millions of dollars in what basically amounts to EXTORTION.

In any case, I’m getting my POS car fixed tomorrow night. Yay me.

And I’m never going to be buying a GM vehicle again. Ever. As much as I would like to support the American economy with my American dollars, if I don’t have a car I can rely on–if I don’t have a company I can trust–then I’ve wasted my money. My best bet is to buy a Honda next time.

Is it any wonder why GM went bankrupt, if this is the kind of shenanigans they pull on their customers? Shame on you, GM!

In other news, I am working on my creative-think mindset. I’ve gotten back into working on my old Nano book, from Novemeber 2008, working on characterization. The reason why it stalled all those months ago is because I knew absolutely bupkis about my main character. How can I write a story about some lady if I don’t even know her motivations, right?

I am also working on painting a self-portrait to incorporate the phrase Ars requiret totum hominem. I’m painting it as a reminder to myself that no matter how difficult it sometimes is to remain motivated, art and writing is still something I want and need to do, and in order to do it, I need to put all of myself into doing it.

I gotta get back to work now. Oh and get this, the bosses are cracking down on internet and cell usage now. Even though no one is slacking off and letting work pile up, they’ve decided that we can’t have our shit anymore.

I don’t see the point really. The work is getting done, its getting done right and on time. What does it matter if people sometimes fill in the empty times (and they DO happen) with a little internet filler?

If I were a boss, I’d let people have a life too.

Show and Tell

**post edited to add licensing codes from creativecommons,org**

I wanted to share with you some of my jewelry stuff. Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while know that I have some background in the jewelry arts, from my time in the BFA program at University. So far, life has gotten in the way of me becoming a jeweler, but I still manage to play designer on a fairly semi-regular basis.

I have been doodling in my sketchbooks and playing with my colored pretties all week, so here are a select few of my best stones and some of my best sketchbook pages. Like most artists, I harbor a paranoia of idea thieves, so some of my best designs are remaining super secret. I must admit, I am hoping some NYC fancypants honcho stumbles upon this page and demands my presence forthwith. That would be awesome. Its highly unlikely, but hey! A girl can dream.

So here’s my show and tell:

amethyst I got this ameythst from an acquaintance, who got it from someone else learning lapidary. See that corner over there? It was a mistake in the cutting of this stone and too much got lopped off. My friend passed it on to me, in the hopes I could come up with a suitable design for it.

I think it is pretty, imperfections and all. Its pretty big, about 12 mm long.

I’m still working on the design.

 

sapphireandiolite The big one is a sapphire, about 10mm. It has a mate, which is already set into a ring I made, which was my first attempt at a claw setting. I intend this to be set into a pendant.

The smaller one is an iolite, about 6mm. Not sure what to do with it yet.

 

 

 

topaz This is a glorious Topaz. 8mm.

No clue what to do with it yet. Probably a ring.

 

 

 

goldveinedquartz A change of pace: cabochons (smooth, round-faced opaque stones)

This one is a quartz with gold vein in it. I intend to set this into a ring.

 

 

 

 

starcabs These are fancy stones. Star Corundums. The pink one is a star ruby, and the blue is a sapphire. I tried and tried to get a shot to show the stars, but I’m not that good a photographer. These are 6mm stones.

 

 

Now the sketches from my sketchbooks. First, please excuse a note to indulge in my territorial paranoia.

***THESE DESIGNS ARE COPYRIGHTED TO ME 2006-2009 DO NOT COPY OR DUPLICATE OR MANUFACTURE WITHOUT PERMISSON***

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

 

mandaladesign

 

grapedesign

 

geometrics geometrics2

The last two pages are design ideas for possible use with the amethyst shown above.

And thats all I’m showing and telling tonight, folks. I got four books full of sketches and a whole box full of gems and cabs of all sizes, shapes, and colors. And to the mystery jewelry designer honcho I’m SURE is looking at this page right now, CALL ME!

 

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 Unported License.

Week of Pictures: Cloth

I dont really have any words today, so this week its pictures!

Today its cloth.

I have a few bundles of fabric that I have yet to make into garments. Here are the photos. Aren’t they pretty?

I’m planning on turning this into a shirt or vest of some sort. Its blue and gold sari brocade, which is a light-weight satin.

bluesari

This one is either an a-line skirt or an embroidered tunic. Its a linen fabric that is actually more teal than green, but for some reason the light balance on my camera is running yellow, sigh:

teallinen

And this, my favorite fabric, will become a dress with some draping and tailored details, or an evening jacket, with formal tailoring. This one is also a satin brocade, but heavier and thicker than the sari.

dragonflybrocade

Nihil Initio

I have been blocked (writer’s block) for a long time now, since after Nanowrimo in November. Of course, I had plenty going on in my life at the time, so its only to be expected. Now though, I am no longer desperate and depressed–in fact, I feel quite happy–and I want to do something meaningful with my time, and that means being creative. It means writing or drawing, and I really want to write.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to start. The well of words within me feels dried up.

Nihil initio. How ironic. I created that as my internet ID of choice a long time ago, by looking through the dictionary and stringing together two Latin words I found and liked the sound of, together. Nihil initio: from nihil nothing, and initio to start, to begin. Nothing starts, or to start nothing.

I have been working to defeat this bout of literary nihilism for the past couple weeks, and in one book I have recently read–“Writer’s Block and How to Use it”–there is this quote, from medieval alchemical lore:

Ars requiret totum hominem. “Art requires the presence of the total being.” Which means, according to this book, that to write requires all of who you are, the unconscious as well as the conscious self. That to dispel a block means to let go of your conscious, insistent need and unleash instead, your playful, relaxed, unconscious desire.

So that is what I am trying to do now, let go of my need to write what I “must” write and just write what my inner self most wants to write, right now. Which apparently, is this.

Before I came on this blog to write this, I spent a few minutes leafing though the pages of an old forgotten journal and found the two following haikus. I cannot remember what I wrote these for, or what inspiration compelled me to write them, but I read them now and am struck by how true they are for me still, after the many months they sat lost in the pages of my journal. And somehow, I feel there is a connection between the message of these simple haikus and my current state of nihil initio :

People like the strange,
The unknown, the deep shadows–
Bright lights are blinding.

Sometimes there is a
Greater joy in wondering
Than in the knowing.

Instead of Writing…

Do this: Art Test!

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test…

Simple, Progressive, and Sensual

18 Ukiyo-e, 8 Islamic, -10 Impressionist, -16 Cubist, -19 Abstract and 12 Renaissance!

Ukiyo-e (浮世絵, Ukiyo-e), “pictures of the floating world”, is a genre of Japaneseand paintings produced between the 17th and the 20th centuries. it mostly featured landscapes, historic tales, theatre, and pleasure. Ukiyo is a rather impetuous urban culture that has bloomed in popularity. Although the Japanese were more strict and had many prohibitions it did not affect the rising merchant class and therefore became a floating art form that did not bind itself to the normal ideals of society.

People that chose Ukiyo-e art tend to be more simplistic yet elegant. They don’t care much about new style but are comfortable in creating their own. They like the idea of living for the moment and enjoy giving and receiving pleasure. They may be more agreeable than other people and do not like to argue. They do not mind following traditions but are not afraid to move forward to experience other ideas in life. They tend to enjoy nature and the outdoors. They do not mind being more adventurous in their sexual experiences. They enjoy being popular and like being noticed. They have their own unique style of dress and of presenting themselves. They may also tend to be more business oriented or at the very least interested in money making adventures. They might make good entrepreneurs. They are progressive and adaptable.


Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test
at HelloQuizzy

Ifs

If I could live anywhere I want, without having to worry about costs, employment, or familial obligations (sorry, guys!), I’d live in:

Lake Havasu City, Arizona. Yeah, I know its a Spring Break Party Town, but its a beautiful Lake Town deep in the Southwest desert. It has legendary swimming grottoes, and I love water and adore swimming. Primarily, I hate winter and the cold it brings with it. I want to live in warmer climes, and I’ve always wanted to live near a large body of water. Lake Havasu seems to be a good fit.

Or..

New York City. It probably doesn’t need to be said, but I’ll say it: The City is alive. It has a pulse, a strong beat of driving energy and life-affirming joy. It beats stronger than the comatose pulse of the rural towns I have lived in–that pervading slowness of farms and people moving through life as if in a waking dream. The pulse of The City is more joyous than that of the cold and mechanical beat of other cities I have resided–where strangers are just strangers and the people race down those well-worn paths of suburban conformity. The Big Apple drums out a different beat, where strangers are welcome for their newness, where novelty is sought out and encouraged to flourish. It is a city of the senses, where the sensuous and the sensation-seekers can find satisfaction. There are always new sights, new sounds, new tastes, new touches, and new smells. And most amazing, amidst all the hustle and bustle, amidst the explosion of sensations, there is a pause in that persistent beat, a valley between every peak of that pulse: a quiet peace. There are parks and riverwalks lined with trees, and softly humming coffeeshops. One can step from sensation to zen in an instant.

If I could do-over my education:

They say hindsight is 20/20, and like most aphorisms, no truer words can be said. I do not regret my education, but I do think I could have made better choices. I could have taken more than just a nonchalant interest in my future. I wish that I had conducted myself with greater wisdom and foresight. If I could redo it:

1) I would apply to scholarships and more schools. I just never considered myself worthy or competitive enough to try, so I never bothered applying to anything other than my “safe bet”.

2) I would seek out a A.A. degree or professional certification first, such as for Web Design or Medical Billing and Coding. Such skills would pay for the rest of my education, and could also serve as “backup” should my major professional ambitions suffer setbacks.

3) I would not be afraid of recognizing my need to be creative. I would have majored in the Arts, and not worried about finding “real” degrees. Art majors can too find work and make money and live productive careers. I would have gone to an art school or a good university with a good program, to maximize that education.

4) I would not have spent three years bouncing around from one major to another. Instead I would have seriously considered my skills and attributes, my interests and passions, and how all that I am could exist professionally in the Real World. I would have done serious research into how the Real World would make use of me. And I would have tailored my education appropriately. I would not have trusted that “I can be/do anything I want to be/do.”

5) I would have gone to the Gemological Institute of America as soon as I realized I wanted to become a Jewelry Designer.

If I had a million dollars and only one month to spend it:

First, of course I would eliminate all of my debts, including my student loans. Then I would trade in my Saturn for a Honda Hybrid. I would buy a small home or condo with a studio and furnish it well and stock my studio with all necessary tools and equipment, and then add in some luxury items too, such as a bead-blaster (for special finishes), a hydraulic fold-forming press (makes awesome folded metal forms) and an enamelling kiln. Then if I had any money left over, I’d take a two week cruise in some tropic locale, on a boat that does not allow kids (no offense to kid-owners!)

If my hearing were completely restored, what three things would I listen to first?

This question comes to me from Ian, a good friend.

1) The first is obvious, of course: I would listen to music. I would listen to samples from every style of music, from the classical of Mozart and Beethoven to the pop stylings of Britney Spears and Hanna Montana. I would listen to see what all the fuss is about. Though, to be honest, I doubt that such exploration would be of any use. What if–and I think this is very likely to be the case–what if the neural connections between my auditory and emotional centers are lost forever? Once neural connections are lost, they are gone (though new connections can be reforged, using existing neurons that are rerouted into new paths, but an active receptor on both ends must still be open for the connections to be forged. It is all too likely that such necessary connections are beyond my old brain’s capacities).

2) The second, also may be obvious: I would seek out the soft sounds of nature. The sound of the ocean as it swells and breaks upon the shore. Of the wind dancing with the leaves of the trees. Of the birds serenading the dawn. Of crickets mating under the moonlight.

3) This third may perhaps not be so obvious, except to those who know me. I would go to an open, public place, such as a park or a cafe, anywhere people congregate to meet and talk. I would walk and sit amongst them and eavesdrop upon their words, their conversations, their convivialities. To know and be part of another person’s life, if only for that one tiny fraction of time. To share in that communal intimacy, that shared knowledge of shared humanity, that only words can carry across the timeless and infinite void of space that lies between us all. To feel a part of that silent communion that all hearing people take for granted.

Critic’s Corner #2

What is Art?

What is it that makes some object just a thing and another object a piece of Art? What is that nebulous quality that separates the mundane from the extraordinary? Surely the human element must play a part, but the question, so recently raised in modern art, becomes how much or how little human agency is required? What action must be taken? What thoughts, what intent? And what is the absolute minimum?

Much of modern art since the early 20th century has been spent on answering these questions, and exploring the essence of Art, and pushing the boundaries of meaning. Consider Duchamp‘s “readymades”, most notably Fountain. Duchamp once said of the creative process:

The creative act is not performed by the artist alone; the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.

But is that truly enough? Is such social labelling a necessary or sufficient criterion by which to determine a urinal, a bicycle, or even collected toenails, works of Art?

Consider the image above.
This item, by a UK man named David Shrigley, is entitled “Five Years of Toenail Clippings” and is made from glass and toenail clippings.

Some time last year, my sister sent me this image and asked me if I thought it was Art.

My reply to her then was thus:

I’m gonna say no. The medium in any art doesn’t matter–anything can be used to make “art”–what matters is how the medium is used. In this case, I don’t see any “use” of the medium in question. There is no symbolic content. No imagery. No message. No evocation. It is simply a container holding a pile of toenails. Further, judging by the title, the toenail clippings are the subject matter–the glass sphere is of no consequence. It is only a container, a stand from which the “art” is displayed. At best, this piece is a testament to the artist’s diligent collection of toenails, but without any content, that’s all it is….

But now, I have to wonder: am I right? Is symbolic content required? Does creativity require applying abstract meaning to concrete materials? Am I wrong in assuming there is no abstraction involved in the piece above, or in Duchamp’s Fountain? By Duchamp’s definition of creativity, this thing could very well be an artistic object, an Object D’Art, depending on who is looking at it. So I wonder, who out there would consider this Art, and for what reason? And if art is so subjective an experience, if any act or object touched by a human mind and hand is creative and art-worthy, is there any purpose for the pursuit of Art? Is there any reason to wonder what Art is and what is worthy of that name?

Another question that just occurs to me–does Art require creativity? Does creativity equal Art, and does Art equal creativity? If so, then whose creativity makes it Art–the creator’s or the viewer’s?

A gift to myself

As I said previously, My BigSis and I went to IKEA to shop. Instead of buying the dresser/workstation I had originally planned, I bought this piece of artwork. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it.

It is actually intended as a place mat, not as Art, but I didn’t care. I bought an oak frame and a mat cutting kit and framed it myself. Altogether it is 21 square inches wide (the image itself is 14.5 inches wide), and now graces the living room wall under an oak clock.

I’ve made a lot of impulse buys in the past few months, but this is definitely not one I regret.