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Monday, December 17, 2012

My Life is Not Still

Many times I've turned my nose up at still-life painting.  I'm not sure why, a problem with figure painters I suppose.  But then a fairly successful artist told me that you can't get better from painting from photo. (I don't know if this is true) Models are expensive and my eyes were getting tired of looking at the computer monitor.  So I went to the grocer and bought some models for a few small still life paintings. It was a nice change. 
I will probably paint a few more in the next few weeks.  Pomegranate and pear getting cozy, with a large pine cone lurking in the distance.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

tan·gi·ble /ˈtanjəbəl/


Perceptible by touch.

A thing that is perceptible by touch.

palpable - concrete - touchable - real - tactile

One of my favorite things about art is that it is tangible.  Every thing about art is tangible.  The materials, the waste, the objects created.   Obviously I am a 2D artist and that is what I am referring to.  Another thing that is tangible is mail.  Real delivered to your door (or postbox) mail.  I'm guilty of not writing as many real letters as I should.  It really is a lost art, and if you are looking for a New Years resolution, it's a good one:  More letter writing. 

Sunday morning I opened my mail from the day before and I was pleasantly surprised to have a real honest to goodness heart felt letter from a friend. It really was perfect timing too.  Remember the job interview I had a couple weeks ago?  The one where 200+ other applicants applied for a part time receptionist position?  I recieved an email Sunday morning informing me that they hired someone else.  Part of me was relieved, as I felt like I was about to cheat on my boyfriend, Painting.  But the other part of me was freaked out.  I can't even land a part time job that I have more than enough experience with?  But then I remembered the words in the letter, and they ring all too true.  I hope my friend doesn't mind me sharing.  "I'm glad you're doing your own thing instead of slamming yourself with the ridiculous job search.  What a joke that whole thing is.  People like us were not meant for the occupational death marches of today.  We have to find alternatives because the options they offer are soul death. What's the point?!"

I couldn't have said it better myself!  Some people are meant for the daily grind, the 9-5 or the 8-7 everyday all day, in a cubical, producing, tasking, working for the man.  I'm not one of them.  At least not right now.  It's not in my blood.  Or my genes to be exact, I come from a long line of immigrants, explorers, Gypsy's, and hippies.  I'm the first college graduate in my family, the first one to have a desk job, and the first one to tell you this isn't the life I was meant to lead.  At least not right now.  That could change.  I know of a job coming up in the spring that might be perfect for me.  Not sitting at a desk every day.  But for now, I'm putting my brush to the canvas and my ink to the paper.  I don't have much money, but I have my freedom.  And I have time to stay up late talking to my friends and time to get up early to go to yoga with them.  and that time with friends is worth way more than a new car or a big house or fancy clothes.   

Monday, December 3, 2012

BikeCraft 2012

BikeCraft 2012 was awesome for many reasons!  Mostly because I got to see the other vendors and customers that I haven't seen for about a year!  Thank you everyone who made it amazing! 

I've added my new things to Etsy.  Although I need to retake some photos!  :)

Here is the right up from Bike Portland!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Trying to come up with a plan for my life.  A long term plan.  Seems reasonable but it's actually not. 
Last week I had a job interview.  I know, I said I was committing to painting and only painting through the end of February, but this job is with an awesome company!  So I applied, as did over 200 other people just as qualified as I am.  It's not in my industry but I am more worried about working for a good company then having a glamorous job.  Fortunately, I know a person at the company and was granted an interview.  Which went quite well.  They are interviewing 6 other people.  I should know the results by Monday.  It's part time to start so will work well as I finish up the portraits I'm working on.

I guess I'm waiting to hear back before I make any other decisions, such as house, or jobs in other countries, or jobs here.  Or anything really. 

Work in Progress: Julia y Baby
In the mean time yoga is treating me quite well, as is painting.  It's so nice having a schedule and a studio space.  I am still doing a bit of pet sitting and am now insured.  Check out my little site and please do give me feed back!  :)

I'll leave you with this portrait of my dear friend Julia and her son.  I started this last fall and have now racked up approximately 1.5 million hours on it. Babies are hard to paint and bad photos are hard to paint from.  But it's getting there.  I estimate another 10 hours until complete.  Or until I'm so sick of it I can't look at it any more!  :)

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Saturday morning, November 3rd 2012.  Time goes by so fast. 

I was thinking about this blog and what it's purpose is, and of course, what my purpose is.  I have dedicated myself to painting and not printmaking for the next few months.  It was a 6 month commitment that started September 1st.  It was a rough start.  Trying to treat painting as my boyfriend, forsaking other men, travel, printmaking, and everything else that has distracted me in the past.  It was hard with my studio in my bedroom.  So many things around the house to distract me.  But this week I moved into a real studio, and have a real schedule.  It feels great to have a studio space and to share it with a good friend and fellow painter.  I'm also surrounded by other artists and musicians.  The kitties really aren't that great at critiquing my work. 

I'm hoping to lock down a commission piece in the next week or so and start working on that.  It will make for good work in progress posts.  I also have a series of portraits going and a large self portrait I'm working on too. 

The cold nasty weather makes for a great painting season!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Two Years and a Couple of Tears

Friday October 5th marked my two year anniversary of being laid off.  It's funny I still have nightmares about my exit interview.  One day I'd like to tell the offending partner how unprofessional she was.  But that's an entirely different train of thought.

The few weeks leading up to this day have been strange to say the least. So much so I didn't realize the day was approaching until the night before.  Things like ultrasounds, biopsies, talking to ex's, other ex's having babies, talking about others careers or new job options, researching grad schools, painting, dates with men that have girlfriends they claim not to want, considering online dating, asking a dude out for a drink, panicking about my future, having strange people in my home, worrying about missing cats and sick family and friends. You know normal life stuff, but there are days when all these things happening at once feel just a bit overwhelming.  And then when you add the pressure of social norms, and believe me they are out there, one might start to feel like a failure.  But when I think about all the amazing things I've been privileged to do, people I've met, places and things I've seen.  I know I am nothing close to being a failure.

Today I was put on the spot and had respond to those loaded questions such as:  What are you doing now? Are you looking for a real job?  Are you worried?  It's nice to be confident in my answers and strong in knowing who I am and what I want right now.  I may not know what I want in 5 months from now, but for now I know.  I set the goal to paint for 6 months, not be distracted by work, men or travel.  But as with any goal, no sooner have you set it do distractions start to come up.  Or you create them.

Yes, I have legitimate panic about my future.  But not every day.  Most days I enjoy my life, freedom, painting, yoga, travel, reading, and of course pet sitting when I can. But having to cough up $420 for an ultrasound that turned out to be unnecessary caused some anxiety. Wondering how I was going to pay for a $700+ biopsy (thank you Oregon Breast and Cervical Program for under-insured low income woman over 40. Guess there is one benefit to being over 40) certainly caused more concern.  Thankfully those results came back normal enough. 

As with many of my posts, I'm not sure what the point is.  That I'm happy to be unemployed, uninsured and scraping by on just paintings, prints and pet/house sitting?  That goals are important?  That I have great supportive friends and family to talk to when I need to whine about things? That thankfully my health is intact?  That I have many furry friends too?  That I have talent and inspiration?

I don't know.  But what I do know and as I said earlier this week on Facebook, "It's true, I live a strange and interesting life, at times. And I'm never bored".  I also really love a good run-on sentence!

I think one big lesson learned during the last two years is that it's my life, and I'm living it.  My choices and my consequences. Doing the best I can with what I have, staying as true as possible to myself and hopefully giving something good back into the world as often as I can.  

I'm sure I've quoted this before, and I'm sure I will again, but I leave you with this: 

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ― Mary Oliver

Monday, September 24, 2012

Almost Famous. Again.

Almost.  Sunset magazine October 2012 issue, page 22.  Niche' a Wine & Art Bar, Vancouver, Wa.
No mention of me, but still...

Post #100!

4' x 4' oil on canvas
 For my 100th post I'm showing you a couple things I've been working on. I have a few other things in the works and am currently trying to find a studio.  Painting in my bedroom isn't working out too well.  Especially with the larger canvas sizes. I'm taking a break from printmaking and only focusing on painting. 
9 x 12 Quick study oil on panel

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

All the Voices and Choices

not the painting that sold. :)
Last week I sold a painting, and took it as a sign that I was to spend the money to travel.  Then all the exterior and some interior voices started again telling me to get a job and a few other things.  It's funny how everyone judges so quickly that there are jobs to be had.  Or should I say, jobs to be had by me. Or that I haven't been looking for a job.  I will spare you the things people say to me or my other unemployed friends on a daily basis.  (but I will beg you, that if you have an unemployed friend that you haven't seen for a while, please don't let the first thing out of your mouth be "so, do you have a job yet?".  thanks.)

I waited tables in 1986.  I don't drink coffee.  I worked in a flyfishing warehouse 1987-1988.  My extensive (bookstore, parts store, pharmacy, call centers, receptionist, admin assistant) customer service history doesn't even show on my one page resume since I started working when I was 12.  I have a 5 year $50k professional degree and 7 years experience in the interior design field.  Do you think I look good on paper to work for Starbucks, New Seasons or Whole Foods?  How about Zoom Care or Mercy Corp? How about the outbound call center 20 miles away that pays $9 to set appointments?  I'm competing with kids who have been waiting tables through high school and college, with coffee snobs, with people who have masters degrees in social service and with hundreds of other misplaced architects, designers, drafters and want-to-be-such college interns. I'm not strong enough to work in the woods.  I might be able to fight fires. 

I can count on one hand the number of jobs my degree qualifies me for in the last year and a half I've seen posted.  I have been fortunate enough to hear of some through the grapevine.  I've had three interviews.  One second interview. One thank you but we selected someone else.  This only counts the "design jobs".  Out of the other places I've applied to, only New Seasons had the respect to let me know they selected someone else and that I wouldn't be called in for an interview. 

Here's an example of someone who is obviously more organized than I am in record keeping.  Keep in mind we have the same degree and similar over all experience. 

In her own words "i started looking for a full-time job in portland last fall. i sent my very first resume/CV in mid-October. i didn't get anything (not even an interview) so in December i took a long extended christmas vacation with family. when i returned to PDX in january i started looking again in earnest. In early March I shifted my search to looking for part-time work, as I was offered a halftime position at my church."

Total places applied to (FT and PT): 52. Some places multiple times, a la Whole Foods, McMenamin's.
Total number of first interviews: 5; a yogurt shop, West Elm, Macy's, Jimmy John's, Moonstruck Chocolate (3 of the 5 were *group interviews)
Total number of second interviews: 2; West Elm, Moonstruck Chocolate

Total number of personalized hand-written thank you notes received after submitting my application: 1
; Sisters of the Road (Side note from Serena - If you are looking to donate to a great non profit, here's more proof!)
Total number of jobs offered that I declined: 1; Jimmy John's bike delivery driver. The hours they offered conflicted with my existing halftime job.

So, maybe the painting that sold isn't a sign to get my TEFL certificate(though I am planning on it) to,  travel or apply for every job I'd hate doing, but rather that I need to bust out more paintings and apply for jobs I'd enjoy. And just ignore the rest of the world who seems to have an opinion about what it is I should be doing?  Yes, I'm venting.  Yes, I'm trying to figure things out.  Yes, I've been crying all day.  :)  and this doesn't help with money or the house, but it might provide some much needed piece-of-mind in the decision making arena.

*For those of you who haven't interview as of late, the new thing to save companies money is a "group interview".  This means that you show up to your interview with 6-12 other applicants and sit in a group and go around the table answering the exact same questions.  

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Return to Reality?

I've been out of work long enough to no longer have an idea of what reality is.

Summer is here but I don't see it or feel it.  I'm cold, tired and feeling pretty frustrated with things.  Myself included.  I'm hoping to paint tomorrow with my long lost best painting friend in hopes that will snap me out of this little funk.

But in the meantime I'll dream of sun, art and a life less complicated than the one here.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pain and Paint

St. Johns bridge
The last 5 months have been pretty interesting to say the least.  I've been doing more painting than printmaking, which isn't saying too much.  I think I fell in love.  Or maybe I was in love with the idea of it.  But this week I discovered that everything was a lie.  Or at least it seems like that now.  So in the time of heartache and confusion I will use the best self therapy I know.  Art!

The one good thing about being older and having lived through other heartbreak, I know the pain is temporary.  I know I have learned some things. My trust level might have dropped back to the floor and I'll probably return to my jaded anti love self.  But that's fine. At least for now. 

Puerto Jimenez casa
Here's somethings I painted recently.   I couldn't leave you with out some photos!

my first plein air painting

Here's a question for all you artist!  Can you call a painting of yourself from a photo a self portrait?  I personally think you can't.  Thoughts? 
 in progress from photo

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy 2012!

Wishing you Love, Happiness, Art and Adventure! 

Here's a little inspiration!  I may not agree with all of his philosophies but I felt like it makes a good point of practicing the craft! What ever your art form may be, practice and craftsmanship is always important!

Edward B. Gordon - on iNCONTEXT.TV from dutch rall on Vimeo.