Saturday, July 31, 2010

I'm in training :)

Time to get ready
We're going to hike again
I need to get in shape
The trail is calling
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Nick's spinner craft video

What else should I say? It is just that. Nick made a spinner craft and I liked it so I video taped it. So... there you are.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Painting Parties

I love to paint, even though I'm never going to be a great artist. It doesn't matter because I enjoy it. (Although I'd enjoy it even more if it was turning out spectacular, I must admit!) But my belief is that art is great for arts sake, you don't have to be great at it, you don't have to paint something that looks exactly like what you are drawing, I believe you need to get down how you feel about what you are drawing. I'm not good at that either (lol) but it's still fun! And I guess it helps that I am not trying to get paid for my paintings - because that would be pressure of a different sort. But I love exploring what happens when you mix this color and that color, and if you use this brush instead of that brush, and if you add more water or glop it on. It's all fun for me.
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And that's what I've been telling the kids, and Thor, too. Just paint, it doesn't have to be good, just do it! And they seem to be enjoying it, because we've had a few painting parties lately and everyone has hung out for a long while to paint with me, and that is a LOT of fun for me! I think they are having fun too...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Here are my paintings

I'm starting with the most recently finished, and working my way backwards to the oldest. Well, the oldest of the group that I'm doing right now, this summer. So anyway, don't think they are going to get better as they go along. And I do still have one that I'm working on now, that isn't anywhere near done, that I didn't post. It's nothing like this group, it is more of a collage and more random and I'm playing more with it. I'll post it in the next group, because I think that what I'm working on is the direction I'm going to go in next - more hodge podge.

Anyway, please feel free to comment (but don't feel like you have to comment just to make me feel better.) Say whatever you really mean, if you say anything at all. I don't mind constructive criticism, I'm trying to improve. What you see here basically represents practice more than anything else. Hopefully, some day practice will make perfect. Or at least practice will make better.

Sun rise at the waterfront

I thought of this one when I was at the "Relay for Life" walkathon... I went to watch the sun rise and wanted to paint it. Although I was alone on the park bench :P
I started it a while ago, but I just finished it last night. It didn't come out the way I wanted it to... but then again, none of them really do... but I like it pretty much.

The Family Tree

I started this one on ...Friday I think?... and finished it on Sunday.

It's my Dad, although like I said he doesn't really look alot like that - although I think my Grandfather, in the back, looks pretty good. I worked from photos for both of them. It's about my Grandfather's story about growing the peach tree from a pit. I remember him talking about it just before he passed away, and I remember thinking that it was a really important story about him. And now my father has a peach tree in the back yard, and I think of it as him keeping a piece of his father alive.

James and Tara

I did this one pretty fast after vacation. I like the picture, but I don't really think it looks much like James and Tara. I worked from a photo, which I posted below.

I picked this photo because I liked the sparkles on the water, and I wanted to paint them. I don't think I did a great job on the kids, but I like the water...

I like this one.

I did this one after I did all of the self portrait things below, and I wanted to do something more fun. I like this one. It's not supposed to be anyone in particular, but I think the fairy looks like Beth a bit...

Self Portrait 1 - I actually like this, surprisingly

although I'm not sure how much it looks like me. I messed up the bottom half, so I added a fan, lol :)

Self Portrait 2 - I like this one the least

and I'm still messing with it. Yesterday, it had all very grey and white hair, and I made it brown. I might change it again tomorrow.

Self Portrait 3 - most like me?

I guess this one is best... Hopefully I'll get better...

It started as a self portrait, but...

... I kept playing with it. I don't look anything like that, but it looks like SOMETHING. Again - like I said - these are the earliest things, I'm going from newest to oldest...

Early attempt - ballerina

Comment! (I like constructive criticism)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Link to an article

This article about BP, and about our government - and in fact our society's - response to corporate America - was a really good read...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

My relationship to insects


This butterfly has been following me around :)
I found one here at home before my vacation, and then the same kind in two different places on the trip.
What do you think that means?

And I found another butterfly on vacation - I don't know what kind it is...

And a dragonfly. I love dragonflies.

I've had a few crickets in the house over the last few days. I hate the way they look, but they are lucky aren't they? They are definitely noisy. I can't kill one when it gets in the house. It's too big. But I can just let it chirp, it doesn't bother me. It usually bothers one of the men in the family first, and they THEY can catch it and let it out.

But the bane of my existence are mosquitos. They love me. They love to feast on me. And one little nibble and it balloons up into a huge welt that itches like crazy. I hate that. And then the marks last forever. My legs are red spotted all over. Yuck.

Anyway, I don't have much else to say... was that exciting?

No I guess not. But, well, nothing much is new here, so that's what I'm left with. And I wanted to post a photo, so I did, right?

I'm officially unemployed. It's SO official, I've even received my first unemployment check. I'm working on getting a position... hopefully I'll have a job in October. And I've something in mind, something really POSSIBLE, not just a pipe dream. So I'm working on that but I'm not going to write it down yet. In the meantime, I'm working on my art career. So you could say, that for the summer, our government - generous to a fault - is paying me to have the career I've always wanted; I'm officially a paid artist! Well, I'm paid, and I'm putting in like 40 hours a week on art, so YES! I'm a paid artist!

My first show will be in October, and I'm trying to get ready by producing a TON of work (all of which probably won't sell, but I WILL SHOW it. And that's what a show IS, right?)

I've never painted people in my paintings, mainly because I've always been afraid to. I was never good at it. I was always afraid of what someone would say when they saw a painting of themselves that I did, and they hated it. And just painting myself over and over seemed boring. But with all of the time I have to improve, I'm working on including people. I want to get better as an artist, and I don't want to be held back because I can't paint people. So I've decided to paint people, and I'm sorry if I paint you and you don't like it.

I painted my dad, and he didn't hate it. Of course, he didn't really think it looked like HIM.
So yeah, I'm getting better at painting people, but I'm not getting good at making them accurate. You can tell it's a person, but I wouldn't necessarily say you'll know WHO it is.

Whereas, if I paint... say... a butterfly, you'll know it's a butterfly. And you'll probably even know it's an Easter Tiger Swallowtail or whatever. But maybe the butterfly wouldn't recognize himself. But I guess that's OK.

Another fun thing about painting is this: I've been having a lot of company painting with me.
My husband, and Nick and his friends, have been joining me periodically and painting too. It's cool... I love the company. It's been quite enjoyable!

Well. That's about it for now, but it reminds me -- I want to run out to the art store.
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An unpleasant article

If you want to read about the middle class being wiped out -- the middle class being the class that America was founded on, the group of people that Iselin has always been home too -- then click here.

I can't write any more than that right now. Maybe tomorrow...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Love Boat Captain Vacation

I finally got it! I take way too many pictures on vacation. So I put these together into a video. The quality came out poor -- it was way better when I put it together -- but, well, what are ya gonna do? At least I've got most of my pictures all in one spot! :)

Tell me what you think...

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's early. It's late.

in the day. and in the year. And in my life.

I've been feeling very certainly over the last few days that it's early and it's late. I don't have a good sense of the middle. Middle age, the middle of my life, the middle of the afternoon.

It's almost the end of July. The time is going so slowly without a job. And yet it's going so quickly with not much to do.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Oh Captain, My Captain

Husband saw the post yesterday... I asked him how he liked it? And his reaction was ... luke warm.
He was basically wondering why I didn't mention what a great job he'd done captaining the ship?
And I, apologetically, said I would do that today.

He said, "No, no, don't be silly, it's fine," but really, you KNOW he wants me to mention:
He did a great job as captain.

He really did. The proof of what a great job he did? There were NO problems, at all. He made it seem effortless.

And we're talking a pretty big, heavy boat. Once it gets some momentum going, it's going that way whether you like it or not. Full steam ahead. Batten down the hatches... batten 'em down again, we'll teach them hatches.

I wasn't nervous ONCE. I didn't think that would be the case. But he kept everything smooth sailing for the whole trip.

So thank you, honey... you did very well. I might even go on a houseboat again someday. Love ya... :D
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010


What I did on my summer Vacation...

We just got back from our summer vacation. Well, summer vacation part 1. Frankie couldn't come, because he had to work, so we decided to bring my nephew Steve instead.
So summer vacation part 1, A - overnight in Baltimore. The Inner Harbor at Baltimore is a great place. There are plenty of things to see and do... we were only there for a short period of time.

Lunch? At Hooters. lol. We did bring two teenage boys, after all.
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The American Visionary Art Museum in Baltiimore


This was the main event for me - the part of the trip I looked forward to the most (considering that I was afraid of getting sick on the houseboat.) I've wanted to come to the American Visionary Art Museum ever since I first heard of it.

I made the boys promise to let me spend as much time as I wanted, with no complaints. But I think they found displays that they enjoyed as well. There was a section of little kinetic sculptures -- almost like little toys, that did things when you turned their cranks -- that they really liked. It was a great museum. Part of the greatness of it was in the variety of displays, all in the name of art. I had a great time.
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The third floor was empty.


However, my family, being completely into the whole art experience, decided to create their own art installation. It's a piece of kinetic performance art. Can you tell? And it was exhibited on the third floor of the Visionary Art Museum, for a few seconds only. It's rare, and probably priceless. I call it "Sculpture number 3."
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We had a really nice dinner out ...


We went to Phillips Crab House of Maryland. It was really the only expensive dinner out that we had. We made the most of it :)
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Fabulous Night Life!


After dinner we walked around the Inner Harbor - there was music and people dancing and shopping and hanging out. It was lovely. Then, we called it a night and went to bed. The next day was mainly driving.
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Luray Caverns


We had to take a side trip to see a cave... after all, it's a family tradition. What's that, there? Is it a BUNCH OF BANANAS?
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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

We met the Jacksons at the lake


...waiting for...
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Parrot Cove Houseboats

Our MAIN vacation was renting a houseboat at Parrot Cove Houseboats in Virginia.

Anyone who knows me knows that I am not a big fan of boats. I was not really too excited about this part of the trip because I always get seasick. But we had rented a houseboat once, years ago, and I remember that I had a lot of fun and it wasn't bad... so even though I was VERY apprehensive, I figured I'd give it a shot. I had my back-up plan. If the medicine didn't work, and if I still got seasick, I brought a tent. There is a very nice state park along the lake, and I was going to make them dump me off and I planned to sit in the campground until they were done.

Luckily for me, the seasickness patch (it was a prescription) worked PERFECTLY. I wasn't sick at all, and I didn't have to abandon ship.
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Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia


It's a beautiful place to vacation.
We found little secluded coves all along the lake, and parked it for the day. It was pretty solidly beached, and it didn't really rock. We stayed put at night - no need to go anywhere else, we had everything we needed.
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The boys on the boat


They had a great time. This was something we'd talked about doing for a long time, and I'm glad we finally did it.
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The houseboat was great.

It was so clean and comfortable inside, and completely equipped. We had a TV (which we never used)and a sound system (which we used constantly.) The kitchen had a fridge, a freezer, a sink, stove and oven. They provided linens and pots and pans and plates. The beds were even pretty comfortable. OH yeah - there were TWO bathrooms with showers.

The roof


was a really nice place to relax, if the sun wasn't too strong
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We also towed a littler boat
along behind us.


The kids took this boat out a few times, and they used it for tubing.
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We stopped at a "dock and dine"

The place sold sandwiches and stuff, but we were looking for groceries. They also sold popcorn by the bag for the kids to feed the koi. It was fascinating.
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It was gross.


It makes you wonder if Koi are an invasive species. The water was just churning with them. Can you eat them? We had to buy at least $10 worth of popcorn to feed them. Not to mention the case of Coca-cola that cost $10, which was a pretty good price because they don't usually sell cases of soda, only individuals. At first, he quoted me $19 for a case of coke. Wow. Make sure if you rent a house boat, you don't plan on running out of food.
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