Still in its infancy, this blog is becoming a semi-chronological autobiography sprinkled with musings written in installments by me, Paisley. I'm your average shade seeking, wild gardening, guitar playing, techno dancing, yoga posing, whole-food-plant-based crazy cat lady in tie-dye, dyslexic, dyspraxic, ambidextrous, Open Source supporting registered Apple developer and generally nerdy artist, who tends to fall down when she runs. This is a peek inside my head.
| 01 October, 2015 22:14
Once again I'm late to write. I'll make no appologies. I need to work on it. Done.
I finally bought myself a new laptop. I've wanted one since the last one died years ago. I researched and researched and agonized over what I wanted. Did I want to stay in the safe, beautiful, comfortable bosom of the Apple ecosystem, which I adore, by the way because it's so pretty, low maintenance and it just plain works, or did I want to go back to my beloved Linux operating system, open source, community driven - attractive, stable and completely customizable down to the very code with which it is created. I debated with myself. I had internal arguments which kept me up at night. In the end I opted for Linux. That left me with the daunting task of wading through the thousands of Windows machines out there. I knew I would enjoy a touch screen model, so I decided on size and minimum specs and ventured into the jungles of Amazon to search for the wily and elusive truly helpful customer review. All this work led me to the 17" HP Envy I'm typing on right now. It's not the greatest machine I've ever used, but it's very good for a budget computer. In the end I decided to keep a small partition for the Windows 8.1 that it shipped with and go for a dual boot with Ubuntu Linux. Ubuntu, out of the many Linux distros is supposed to have the best touch screen support. I must say, it seems to work just fine. I kept the Windows for one fractal program, Apophysis, which is notoriously difficult to run in Wine. I tried for weeks to get it to work on the iMac, and under the best configuration I could manage it would run, but sluggishly, so I rendered a test image and it didn't crash. So far so good. I saved the image, or so I thought, but it had just disappeared. It was not on the hard drive. A second test gave the same result. Oh well, I can run it now in it's native habitat.
Linux also means I can create digital art using Krita. I've been experimenting with the unstable, pre-alpha release of Krita for Mac with unsatisfying results. While I'm surprised by the beauty and high quality of the images I can paint with Gimp, I think of it as more of a photo processing application whereas Krita is designed with digital drawing and painting in mind. The next Midnight City Series painting will be made in Krita. I'm finished geeking out now.
Oh yes, the title of this post is inspired by a snapshot taken near my home. I think it speaks for itself.
| 10 May, 2015 19:10
Another fun and successful art show is over. This weekend gave us Seattle's huge art walk Big One, my favorite art show of the year. It has such a festive, party atmosphere, especially on Friday evening.
As you know, I have been flirting with abstraction sporadically over the last couple of years. I'm inspired by the look of marbled paper, and trying to find a similar look using acrylic paint on canvas. I've developed two different styles based on traditional floated-ink marbling. One uses pooled paint carefully dragged with a stylus, the other, a less ordered technique that uses no tools, just thinned paint shaped by moving the canvas, rotating, tilting, jiggling, to reveal a stone-like coloration in which can be found many interesting forms, like cloud-gazing.
I found the courage to show the abstracts I had been playing with, and was delighted with the response. I feel encouraged to continue with larger sizes. I'll need an assistant or two for one of techniques, the tool-free tilt-and-rotate style. I showed some small night sky paintings, too.
The Midnight City series is still in the works, I'll be slowly adding the digital paintings as I finish them, there may be twenty or more by the time I feel the series is complete.
I'm feeling better, more balanced since the deaths of the last several weeks. There's some strange, mild emotional dizziness this Mothers Day, without my mother or my grandmother. I guess I have to grow up now, there is no one here to mother me. No, I'll probably still be living like a teenager when I'm 80.
Keeping the lamp burning,
| 20 April, 2015 17:33
Two people I love have died this week.
On Wednesday, a friend and client passed and on Friday, my Grandmother left this plane.
One moment I feel philosophical, they have shed their worn-out shells and moved on to the next big adventure, and all that, and a moment later I lament that I will never again see their smiles, hear their laughter or feel their hugs.
I'll always hold their spirits in my heart but, in the beginning it's the physical presence that is so sorely missed.
I want to remember to enjoy having my body while I still can, I want to take care of it so I can live in it for a good long time, for myself and for those I care about.
| 22 March, 2015 13:29
It's something to think about as I offer these digital paintings as prints on demand - can digital art have what could be considered an "original"? As I get closer to showing these new works in person, in the real world, I wonder about this. I suppose they can in a way. I may consider an image the original if it's the first one I have printed myself and sign it. That one image I could call the original and all subsequent would be prints, be they limited edition hand finished or some other option. Maybe I only think about this because I also paint and a painting has obvious definitions of original and print. Perhaps a photographer's opinions and experiences could shed some light on this issue for me.
More soon, Paisley
| 07 March, 2015 11:29
With my recent hand and wrist issues, I haven't been painting on canvas. I've been experimenting with some digital painting. It is easier on the hands when they're hurting.
My sweetheart is a digital artist and illustrator, and it's he who inspired me to try imaging programs like Gimp to make original fine art, rather than just as a photo editor as I have in the past. It's fun, I really enjoy it. It's similar to, yet so different from making a 'real' painting. It's not easier, really, or quicker, but it's another way to make an interesting image, and I like having options.
The series of images I'm now working on is inspired by my part-time evening assignment for my paycheck job. I walk through downtown Seattle after 11pm a few times a week. I've become quite enamored with the city at night - the lights, the moon, the bare trees this fall and winter, the fog, the rain and, on one very special night, a light snow. A few buildings under construction have provided an unexpected inspiration. They look so interesting after hours. The glow from the street lights in addition to some random lights left on gives them an unreal look, as if I've walked into a graphic novel. And the Space Needle is always gorgeous at night. As I walk, I keep an eye out for anything interesting, and get a photo with my phone. Sometimes I experiment by trying to get light flares or bokeh effects manually.
The digital painting process has been a few tutorials and a lot of trial and error to find what works for me.
This is the third painting in the new series during the final finishing step I think of as magnify and smooth. I work section by section to make sure I haven't left anything too chunky or unblended. I want the solid color areas from the photo to be water-like blended multi-color fields in this painting.
I hope to have the first three images up on the website within a week.
I'd better get back to work.
| 11 February, 2015 16:47
Has it really been so long? It really has. I haven't written in nine months, and I think I should explain myself.
It's been a year of physical pain and depression for me. I know that's no real excuse for neglecting what could, if I let it, be one of the more fun and interesting aspects of my art career.
Just so everyone knows, I have dyspraxia, one aspect of which is weak, hypermobile, easily injured joints. I've had repeated strain injuries to both hands and wrists over the last year, one after another, seemingly just as one side heals, the other side is hurt again. Now, fortunately, it's just the left thumb-wrist area and it is nearly healed. When I have these hand pains, the intensity is almost disabling. Everyday things become very difficult. I can barely turn a doorknob or write with a pen, much less clean my house or stretch a canvas for painting. Herein lies the source of the depression.
More than just the blues, it's a loss of desire for anything other than a return to normality. The ability to simply use my hands without severe pain. Some days I couldn't have typed this, or even used the mouse. I had to use my drawing tablet as a track pad to minimize hand movements. Of course, I went to work every day, and worked through the pain, further slowing the healing.
Before this blog project devolves into a place for me to whine and complain, I'll leave it at that.
I think if this project is to be successful, I need to be openly honest and write consistently. This is, after all, supposed to be like a diary, a set of open letters, if you will, shared with family, friends, and strangers alike. It's a way for me to share my life with others, and I should keep it up.
Are you still with me? I hope so.
| 14 May, 2014 13:03
The Big One was delightful, as usual, but I was bothered terribly by a migraine on the second day. I tried my best to keep up with the event, and I think I did well.
Interesting cosmic convergences happened with this art walk. Our ride to the venue with our art fell through. When our friend who is working with the Mama Maria Clinics charity auction stopped by our house to pick up our donations I mentioned we had lost our ride and had been calling around to find someone who was available to help, she said she would drive us and we were so grateful. The three of us arrived at the showplace and found out that one of the artists had cancelled so there was more room for us if we wanted to go get more art. We did, and when we returned, we asked our friend if she would like to show too, as there was still room. She did, and there was just enough time for her to run home for her pretty things. This is one of the times I'm reminded that the Universe truly does conspire in our favor, and something that may seem bad often has a positive outcome we just can't see yet.
Getting some images of new paintings up on the website is still on my list, but I really do need professional imaging. For the new minis, I tried two different cameras as well as direct scanning and couldn't get good images. I don't think I could fix them, there is so much glare and color distortion. The black fields are particularly difficult, showing too much canvas texture hilighted with extravagant glare. Maybe I should try a crowdsourced funding campain so I can get everything imaged at once. . .
I've taken a few days off from making art to catch up on some other things that have been piling up, computer backup, some file conversions, house and garden stuff. I'll be sure to make some time to make music, too.
Peace from An Eye Inside
| 05 May, 2014 13:20
I don't like to have a deadline, and multiple deadlines even less.
The art walk seems to be coming too soon and I don't feel ready. I have a good stock of small paintings and am finishing a couple larger works especially for this show, but I really wish I had another week to prepare.
I have finished the painting for the charity auction but still need to fill out the paperwork and deliver the goods.
That's enough moping over deadlines.
| 22 April, 2014 15:04
My year long assignment with my day job has ended and I've requested the week off. I really need it. The last several months have been exhausting.
I'm using the time productively, getting some minis done for the big art walk, and yes, I'm painting landscapes. I have found some inspiration in the cherry blossoms, in the beauty of the colors and how they change with the light. The imperial cherry trees, with their huge, puffy clusters in glorious shades of pink, are most inspiring. I'm still feeling compelled to paint full moons and have put the two together with lovely results.
An acquaintance from Avanti Gallery asked me if I would donate a painting for a charity auction she is working with. Of course I said yes. There is much joy to be had from giving. It's been years since I've donated a piece to an auction.
My sweetheart found a free gift for me at a yard sale, an old, yellow artbin filled with slightly used water mixable oil paints. All the colors I would need. I've been wanting to try water mixable oils for quite a while and now I get to try them for free. My M. has an almost supernatural ability to find free goodies. They seem to just fall into his lap.
On that happy note, I'll say goodbye... Goodbye!
| 15 March, 2014 12:32
While I am getting better, I've been feeling simply awful for weeks, since mid-December actually. For days I have thought about whether I want to write about this. With the Eye Inside project, I allow myself total freedom of topics but with no obligation to lay out every detail of my life. This hesitation to reveal comes from several thought processes - common misunderstandings about this condition, quantum ideas about how talking about one's illness can perpetuate the symptoms, and strange though it may sound, how uncomfortable it can be to endure people's sympathy. It's just easier if they don't know. I've decided to leave out the details for now, I may feel freer once I have fully recovered.
I feel frustrated about my art. I feel the need to create but I get too tired from the emotional drama of my day job. I feel a bit sad and a little down in general and that makes the creative ideas come more slowly and less frequently than usual. My imagination varies with my moods. When I feel sort of down, as I do now, I see more abstracted color forms. When I'm in a lighter, happier frame of mind I easily imagine wonderful, fantastical landscapes. It seems my mind correlates happiness with order and nature and unhappiness with disorder and chaos.
The relationship wants to come out in my art but so far I haven't really let it. The summer before last I felt rather gloomy and played at making some abstract paintings. I think many of them are quite good and a few are truly beautiful. I haven't shown any of them or further developed the technique. People expect me to paint the landscapes.
I think I should work on the abstracts when the mood is right and paint the landscapes when the mood suits creating them. It would help me to be more productive, and I have been wanting to break out of the cage of other people's expectations.
It can be scary to show something different when a certain style has been accepted. The Big One, Seattle's largest art walk is coming in May and I expect to be invited to show again this year. Usually, I showcase 5 or 6 larger paintings and take a stack of little ones which nearly always sell out. If I show abstracts this time will anyone be interested? There's only one way to find out. We'll see if I find the courage to do it this year or chicken out and fall back on the landscapes. Maybe I'll show both. Whatever I decide, I need to get busy.
Thanks for your patience during my absence,
| 08 December, 2013 18:20
Hello from The Eye Inside.
Thanksgiving was fun. We weren't able to get together with family this year but we had a lovely, relaxing time. No traditional feast for us, my sweetie made his amazing veggie gumbo for our lunch and we made a huge pot of home made black bean tamales with a delicious spicy sauce and big salad for dinner. Super yum!
December 1st marked the return of the Winter Formal, a house party given by our friend, a delightful french woman with a huge, beautiful home. It's always so much fun, a very eclectic crowd with a high proportion of artists in attendance. Great food and interesting people in fancy dress. I wore a pewter velvet empire dress, short full skirt and extra long sleeves with beautiful but uncomfortable metallic victorian boots. My Sweetheart dressed in black slacks, white tuxedo shirt and a gold brocade Chinese jacket. We looked marvelous. I know because we were told so.
Last year on Winter party day, our water heater broke and flooded our basement. We worked like crazy people to clean up the water and then went to the party tired, but with a story to tell. This year our basement was flooded again, but from the kitchen sink. The pipe was clogged low down, outside the house backing up into the sump. Again, frantic water clean up followed by a night of partying. I hope next year is free of plumbing mishaps.
The weather had been strangely dry and unseasonably cold for the Puget Sound area. Normally, November is quite rainy, continual rain seven days at a time with dramatic wind storms to spice it up. December rolled in with a spell of very cold, sunny days, lows in the teens and 20s and highs below freezing. This is what climate change looks like in the Pacific Northwest. I hear people talking about how beautiful it is and how great it is that we're having dry weather. It upsets me, the short sightedness and the shallow sun worship. Dry fall weather gives us low snow pack, which gives us summer drought and all its complications. I wish more people would look at the big picture, not just climate, but all areas of life.
When the mercury drops, our home is cold, cold, cold. This 1908 craftsman was originally a lake house, used for summer vacations. The walls are hollow, the doors and wood framed windows drafty. Only the bath and library have proper electric heat, the main room and kitchen heated by a woodstove in the cold season. Boy, do I love that woodstove.
Until next time, enjoy my public diary.
| 19 November, 2013 21:09
I'm working on a new painting, another twilight sky - sort of geometric clouds with city lights below. I haven't yet decided what the foreground will be but it will be silhouetted. The sky is finished and I have begun the lights, zillions of tiny, white dots.
I got into a bit of a debate with a friend today. We have very different views and opinions politically. With my dyslexia I have trouble getting my thoughts out of my head. I see the big picture, the entirety of the topic but can't separate the issues into smaller bits, individual points and counter points. Feeling the responsibility of defending my views makes me feel a little nervous and that makes the dyslexia worse. I get quietly frustrated, I misspeak and I remember events out of sequence. I'm a poor debater, all around. Anyway, if politics comes up again I may have to invoke the rules of polite conversation - Never discuss sex, politics or religion.
Until next time, Peace, from An Eye Inside
| 12 November, 2013 18:54
This evening gave me a most inspiring sky. Looking down the street, framed on both sides by leafless branches and below by evergreens was a layered cloud with long tails, accented above by a crescent moon. Gorgeous, delicate blues and silvery greys with dark sillhouettes. I stood and stared. I whispered, "This will become a painting."
Last night I picked up my guitar for the first time in six weeks. I strummed a few chords for the sheer joy of the sound, then knocked out Children of the Revolution. That song sounds great on acoustic. My chord fingers are so tender, all callous long since healed. Ouch.
Until next time, love from An Eye Inside.
| 04 November, 2013 14:47
Greetings from An Eye Inside,
Yesterday I woke with a mild headache which amped up during the day into a full blown, nauseated migraine the likes of which I haven't experienced in at least a year, only to evaporate quickly in the evening as migraines so often do.
I was feeling only slightly unwell when it was my scheduled time to de-install my paintings from the gallery show. I already knew that I hadn't made a sale, but was surprised to find that no one had sold anything. How odd, I thought the art in this show was good. I know the gallery wasn't able to advertise this show as well as previous shows but still, that no one bought anything is puzzling.
My newest painting is still waiting to be photographed, but the weather just isn't co-operating. My house is too dark to shoot inside so I like to set up an easel outside and snap a few pics at different settings so I can get a usable shot for the web. All my paintings still need to be professionally imaged for reproduction.
I spent the morning in the garden trying to maintain some sort of pathway system, including the sidewalk. Everything in my garden grows twice as big as the neighbors' twice as fast so that means more trimming than I like. Trimming might be an understatement, bushwhacking may be more accurate. The front garden was left on its own most of the summer while I toiled away at the full time day job and tried to keep the back garden from engulfing the house, greenhouse and studio. My cats like to "help" when I'm gardening - running in circles around me, swatting at twigs and leaves, or just supervising from the large stump. They're so cute.
Happy November, from An Artist's Public Diary.
| 28 October, 2013 14:20
I've been thinking about why I can't seem to write very often. I came to the conclusion that I've been trying to write the blog entries like articles, trying to sound professional, limiting my topics, thinking too hard about what might be interesting to others and what might be too personal to tell.
I had very enlightening conversation with someone I hadn't spoken with for quite a while and this dear wise woman told me something I wish I had figured out on my own a year ago - that other people's lives are interesting and many people will want to know what goes on inside an artist's head.
This sparked an idea, a public diary of sorts in which I can write about whatever is in my mind at the moment, be it art, tech issues, home life, philosophy, pets, food, books, music...anything. Total freedom of topics with a few simple guidelines to protect my friends' and family's privacy.
The resulting writings could be great or boring, I don't yet know. This may, however be the solution to my blogging frustration.
Be prepared to get to know me better, and welcome to An Eye Inside, One Artist's Public Diary.