Can’t always be producing

Things have slowed down on the writing front, not willingly, they just sort of dried up. It happens. I get a little down about it, but what dribs and drabs have come along have been good quality. To console myself I try to keep in mind that I have three major pieces and two chapbooks out in competition and am awaiting the results or long lists. A win anywhere would be amazing, long listing would be pretty cool too.

Recently I treated myself to a new set of Holbein gouache paint. I’m going to give it a go as a paint unto itself and as an addition to watercolour. There are always ideas percolating.

As a keep busy thing I have been matting out paintings to standard sizes and am going to package them up in clear plastic for future sale. I’ve decided to price my paintings consistently by the square inch – just the painting size not the matting. That way, regardless of how I feel about a painting, the pricing will be consistent for the end client, $1.50 per square inch. Fingers crossed that the buyers think that’s a fair price. Considering that I rejected over half of the paintings I looked at yesterday for possible sale the reality is that I’ll not be getting paid for the work I do, but for the work I do which is put on the market and successfully sold. That’s a much different thing. We’ll see how it goes.

Oh ya, I’m 55. How the fuck did that happen?

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Keeping busy

January has kept me pretty busy. My hours at the art store were cut a little. The expenses don’t change. Hope springs eternal that I will be able to have weekends back but that doesn’t seem likely. What I do try to do is keep producing art. Every day without fail, a sketch or a poem. It helps keep me sane. It’s all about making art in the cracks. LOL. Here are a few of my most recent lunchtime efforts.

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Happy New Year – 2018

There was something not quite right about my numbers for the last year that kept nagging at me so I dug a little deeper and compared everything. Banks these days keep a good track of where and how money goes and make it all available online in your account. The upshot is that at the end of the year, when all is said and done and all the bills paid for 2017 in full (which they are) I lost 2900 dollars over the year. I know exactly how that happened and exactly what the money was spent on and in retrospect can see no way around it. Sometimes I think the Brothers Karamazov don’t know anything at all about juggling as compared to me. LOL. I have to hope that there are no surprises this year, there’s not much wiggle room left.

So today is the start of a new year. New Year new me? Nah. Never. Same ol’ same ol’. Resolutions? More like last year’s no committal stuff. Lose weight. Try to sell Donna’s Bear story – still trying, no takers (might self publish). Paint, draw, write poetry – try to sell some of everything. The past year has been a good one on the art front with multiple poems published, multiple paintings sold so more of the same is what I aim for. Not terrifically exciting as resolutions go, but I’m not a terrifically exciting person.

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Well it was close.

Alberta Barn – Holbein Watercolour, Stillman & Birn Beta sketchbook

There’s an old expression: don’t count your chickens before they’re hatched. Mea maxima culpa.

A few days before Xmas our son lost his phone. How does that impact me? Well if he has no phone he cannot arrange job interviews (this is a thing – they don’t even take resumes at offices anymore everything is electronic). Also he would have no phone when he went on his trip to NYC after Xmas – not a good thing these days. So Cha-Ching. Two hundred dollars gone. Moving me from the black column for the year into the red. But wait, wait, there’s more. It slices, dices and makes julienne fries.

My kids keep score. So two hundred dollar phone after receiving money to go to NYC versus our daughter who also got a new phone but no money. You guessed it. Two hundred cash to our daughter to bring her even Steven with her brother. Cha-Ching. A little deeper into the red for the year.

I almost made it.

On the upside I’m really proud of that barn sketch.

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Almost there.

The New Year is an arbitrary beginning, but useful really for the purposes of looking back and looking forward. The trick to looking back is to glance, like you do in the rear view mirror of a car. You can’t stare or you lose track of where you’re going.

We’re ending the year in a little worse shape financially than when we started – even with the huge repair bill for the van last January. We almost made it to the end of the year turning a slight profit, but it was not to be. A few days before Xmas our son visited the dentist and had three fillings done. Cha-ching. I have to wait to deposit the cheque from my second job later today to pay off the bill which will leave me about a hundred in the bank to finish the year, but with zero debt other than the mortgage. It will make for a tight next two weeks, but doable.

On the upside I’m still making art. Some lunchtime sketches over the last few days.

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More clay fun

I was pinching a small piece of clay and came up with the hairdo you see here and thought – hey that looks a little like an old time rocker hairdo. Over the next few hours the rest followed. Hollow body if you can believe it – just had to give it a try. Using Demco modeling clay which is very soft so he’s a little distorted but I think it works. Anyway he ended up funny and a little charming – at least to me.

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No rest for the wicked

I’ve realized what bothers me most about working seven on seven – no time to myself. I don’t get any alone time. There is always someone in the same space I am in. There is never a moment when I am not preparing to deal, in some capacity, with another person. All three hundred and sixty five days a year the best I can hope for is an hour, maybe, on the bike or on the hoof and even then I have to share the road (though there is sleep I suppose). My me time is at zero and has been for a year and a half. There was, for a brief instance, a flicker of hope when our son and daughter were thinking of spending Xmas in NYC. That plan got scrapped. Our son decided on New Year’s Eve and our daughter decided to stay home. Time to self still set to zero with no foreseeable change in the offing.

That doesn’t mean I don’t get to do some things I do enjoy like painting. Here are some recent sketches on Sennelier paper using Holbein watercolours.

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I think it’s kind of funny

I’m goin’ to rock this town Rockin’ it inside out

Look at me once

Look at me twice

Look at me again and there’s going to be a fight

Had a little fun with some modeling clay last night. This head took about two and a half hours. It’s funny though, like with painting, I really don’t notice time passing while I’m sculpting.

On the funny front our son came up with his Xmas wish list: he wants me to help offset the cost of a trip to NYC for Xmas with some friends. Then he got the bright idea that our daughter should go with him – which she liked. He said that he would help pay for her. I pointed out that in effect I would be paying for both of them under this model. I really need to get that third job. I finish work at 16:00 which means I could do a 17:00 – 23:00 shift at Tim Horton from Monday to Thursday. Something to look into.

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Xmas is coming

modeling clay head

Learning, learning, learning

Xmas is coming. This is most obvious due to the plethora of Cyber-Monday advertisements and the Black Friday advertisements on the web. Our daughter has only one Xmas wish this year which will set me back a little over $500.00 – a new phone. By new we are going to be going with an iPhone 6 two generations behind the current iPhone offering which is a $1500.00 phone. Our son got a new phone last year so this year it’s our daughters turn. He will get cash for Xmas this year because that’s all anyone at his age really wants unless he comes up with a list of some kind.

Still having fun with clay. I’m wondering if the clay use is going to have an impact on my drawing.

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Holiday schedule

A few modeling clay experiments

Having fun with modeling clay. I’m planning on using modeling clay to create and light things or scenes I want to draw. Models will allow me to light them the way I want and see how the shadows would cast. The irony is that I have to be a decent sculptor to accomplish this. Who knew I’d enjoy it so much.

Looks like the holiday schedule is in place now which guarantees that I will have a day off on December 25th so only another 32 days until my next day off. Then I get the 28th off which rounds out the year nicely with 16 days off over the last 18 months which is almost a day a month on average. With any luck I’ll make it through another year, or at least until March and drop in traces some time after that. Fingers crossed. I’m tired.

That’s all folks.

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