Sunday, January 16, 2011

Why I Stay in San Diego

As a child, I grew up, along with my siblings, as an air force dependent living on many air force bases and cities offbase all around the USA. I have to say that living in California in my formative years and then as a teenager bonded this state in my heart as my real home state. Moving around to other states between the years, though, shocked me to my core and I had to learn how to blend in with the new culture of the state my family (my father) was stationed at. Nothing shocked me more than the blizzards of Massachusetts while my father was active in tour duties in Vietnam every 6 months each year there in the late 60s. He was always home for the spring and summers, but gone fall and winters which made things a bit tough on my mom and us. I was always the coldest, most shivering kid going to school and thought snow boots, heavy winter coats, shawls, mittons/gloves a big medieval pain. Having your skinny toes freeze while walking to school in 3 to 4 feet of snow, slipping on ice, having your cheeks and nose burnt red from icy winds was not my idea of having fun in the winter time, though I did learn to ice skate, snow sleigh and even built my own igloo. However, adjusting to New England culture and the icy physical endurance of the winters was just too hard and I always longed to go back to California just like the Mama & Papa's song "California Dreaming". By my sophomore year in high school, I did get my wish and returned this time to Sacramento, CA at Mather AFB and was so much happier going to a much smaller, more intimate school with nice sheltered kids or at least it felt that way (the Massachusetts school was huge and it looked like a prison and there were some street smart kids that I also had to try to befriend so as not to get beat up). Fun is not worrying about inclement weather, give me a good old-fashion rock-n-roll earthquake anyday.
I've finished and mailed my journal for the Sketchbook 2011 project. Mine does not have 40 pages but 15 pages because I glued two pages together for each page to make it sturdier and to keep the paint from seeping through the next page. I'm still trying to refine my illustration skills - who knows - maybe one day I'll illustrate a children's book and this gave me great opportunity. I finished my pages with fun sea lions, a Klimt style mermaid, the Star Fish Story and finally a star fish. After I finished the journal, an e-mail comes in from the Art House Co-op stating they are extending the postmark due date from the 15th to the 18th to allow for delivery due to harsh weather conditions from most of the US. I was wondering if that was really the reason and it was confirmed with a chat with my sister who lives in Connecticut. I thought perhaps, because it's the nature of artists to procrastinate and wait until the last moment, that Art House Co-op wanted to give both the postal carrier and themselves a break handling the influx of journals rushing hurriedly with their January 15, 2011 postmark!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


This time last year, I was worried about my dad, his health, and also how the heck was I going to pack up his entire house in Las Vegas and move him to San Diego to be nearby me. Though it was a pretty stressful time, things worked out. My dad got to live right across the street from my home where I could easily see and take care him every day. Sadly, my father passed away the last day of March - peacefully in his sleep. We took his and my mom's ashes to Pennslyvania where he's originally from and had a nice funeral for him with his remaining family members & friends. And so, a big part of my life as being someone's daughter and of having parents has closed. At the time, the experience nearly wrecked me, but now looking back - I marvel at how things worked out so gracefully for my father and my family. He didn't make things exactly easy for me - that's for sure and I'm still working on issues, but it did work out for the best. It's truly wonderful how grace unfolds itself in life and how one can get all lost in the negetivity and the weight of the daily stresses of life and miss seeing it in front of you.
Artistically, 2010 has been a slow but wonderful year for me. The most wonderful has been that after being out of the art world for some 20+ years, I had my first art win at a local show. This has done wonders for my confidence and I do plan to enter more shows. My husband paid me the biggest compliment and told me that I deserved to have my own solo show! I'll be moving forward more in that direction and am currently completing current art commitments. The images above are some of the art I've completed from last November to just yesterday. With the project Sketchbook 2011, I added more illustrative pages with a colony of garden eels, anemone crabs, and a nautilus. In the Secret Santa exchange, I made an illustrative painting of the Celtic goddess Badb who turns into a raven for a lady who loves goddesses, ravens and fantasy. For my other Secret Santa partner who loves doing portraits, I did a graphite portrait of her when she was a bit younger. It started out being an insomiac's midnight pencil study for a painting, but then I got out all my pencils and started going for more detail. Sometimes studies or practice sketches will have a mind of their own by the next day, I was finished. I also made her two more chunkies for her movie star chunky colletion with Loretta Young & Marlena Dietrich. Making and collecting ATCs kept me busy, though I did not make as many as I did the year previous. I did pet portraits of other artists pets in watercolors. I also did acrylic studies of some of my favorite artist's masterpieces beginning with Van Gogh, Gauguin, O'Keefe and Matisse. With another swap - I did other artists favorites in the style of artists like Lisa G., CJ Metzger, Harry Clarke, and Magritte, but since some of the artists are currently alive and working, I won't show them here. For the "Flower" swap, I channeled Georges Seurat with pointilism in acrylics and then for the ">3 Klimt" swap I made these whimsy girls in watercolors & gel pens in Klimt designs & symbols and named them after songs. I was planning to do Klimt's own masterpieces, but saw that other artists were doing whimsical women and changed my plans. I love this artist and all his symbolism and the fact that he was born poor and later led a very hedonistic life. He certainly changed things around.
I'm hoping for a lot of things this year - to move on and be closer to my brother & sisters and their families; hoping my son is able to get his dream job and move on with his own life; my husband to catch his dream fish, and for me to fully become the kind of artist I never realized I could become. Okay, okay, one more thing - maybe, just maybe I hope to be a grandma soon!