I woke up from a dream where I'd formulated this wild ass idea that art, music, and writing, and the ways we connect to them individually, are all based on someone else seeing the things you couldn't see for yourself.

It's not the worst theory I've ever come up with, even if I was asleep at the time.
Apparently, my stages of grief include listening to a lot of old My Chemical Romance, huddling in my hoodie even though it's 75 degrees outside, rearranging my room, crying at random intervals, accumulating art supplies, and writing a lot.

I've also re-read [livejournal.com profile] jjtaylor's story, Buy Handmade 5 times in the past week. I'm not kidding. I think that story is magical. It reminds me that creating something is more than just its own reward. When you create something, you are creating yourself with it.

I am creating myself again. Some days, it feels like from the ground up. Others, from spare parts. But always trying for better.
Michelle and I went to see the Hide/Seek exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery today. One piece in particular, AA Bronson's "Felix, June 5, 1994", really hit me hard. I stood there for a long time, looking at the face of a man who died of an AIDS-related illness 17 years ago, who was so wasted away when it happened that he was no longer able to even close his eyes.

The description from the artist, paraphrased, was that he was surrounded by all his favourite things: his tape recorder, his cigarettes, his television remote. Such little things, so much life broken down into things he could have next to him on his bed while his body ate itself alive. Did he smoke out of habit, did he need to to get by, or was it more of a "screw you", something he did because it was never going to have the chance to kill him slowly? Was the tape recorder for taping himself? His friends? Did he listen to music, or was he trying to leave messages for the people he loved? Did it mean anything at all to him as a tape recorder, or was it just something he recognized, something that was his, that he could have near? Was the tv remote some last vestige of control over his life, a connection to the world that was leaving him behind, that HE was leaving, that still didn't really care why he was dying at all? Or did he just like reruns?

I don't know any of that. I know that his picture looked like Jim, the man my Mom used to clean for in Hilo, who died of AIDS-related pneumonia and a wasting disease I never knew the name of in 1993. I know he made me think of Marc, who taught me how to use a potter's wheel, who turned to say something to his husband Glenn in 1994, and dropped dead of an aneurysm. The shirt he was wearing reminded me of one that my neighbour down the street would have worn, vibrant and full of motion. Paul was a dancer on Broadway, and he moved to Hawaii with his boyfriend, Lonnie, in 1994. He died of AIDS-related lymphoma three months after they moved in. I could never understand how the man who couldn't remember where he was, who could barely move from the couch to the dining room chair, could possible be the man in the pictures on the wall, caught in mid-flight on stage.

I looked at the piece for a long time. I know that the impact of it, of seeing someone stripped down to the bone by illness and death, felt like someone was hitting me in the chest because I was thinking about my Gram, and my Dad, and my friend Deniz. I know that a large part of my reaction was me co-opting the portrait and warping it through the lens of my own current and past experiences, but I also know that his eyes were open, and he was surrounded by his favourite things, and someone cared enough about him to make other people stop, and look at him.

So I stopped, and I looked him in the face. I felt like he deserved that much.

You can see the portrait here. (Warning, you may find the image disturbing)
I recently read an amazing story. It was a White Collar/Sherlock (BBC 2010) crossover by [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge, called Paper Chase. It's brilliant. Gen for the most part, clever beyond belief, and just FUN. I wish all stories were this story. Part of the plot involves Neal Caffrey doing some paintings for a show:

The FBI set them up with a studio wired to the teeth with surveillance, and Neal managed to bang out fifteen convincingly pretentious canvases over the course of two days, while Peter strongarmed a gallery into a fake opening for Sherlock's new alias, a visiting artist from London with a penchant for wildly surreal and expressionist landscapes.

"What do you think, Doc?" Neal asked, when the joint taskforce working on the case came in to view the studio and he found John Watson standing in front of one painting, looking perplexed.

"This is London," John answered, forehead wrinkling, eyes taking it in with confusion.

Neal crossed his arms. "How do you know?"

"I don't know." John tilted his head. "That's what's bothering me. There's not a single thing I recognise, it's just streaks and swirls and things, but it's the skyline east from somewhere near Hyde Park, isn't it?"


So, that intrigued me. And THEN I read the DVD commentary [livejournal.com profile] copperbadge posted, where he and his beta readers talked about the style he'd actually envisioned for the paintings:

...a visiting artist from London with a penchant for wildly surreal and expressionist landscapes.
Dove: Which, of course, I now want to see. Make me fifteen landscapes a la Caffrey, Sam!
Sam: I picture them as sort of Matisse and Jackson Pollock having a brutal slapfight.


That's when I knew that I had to try, even though there was no way I could possibly manage something like that. And thus, I give you my first ever fanart- Paper Chase, or, Matisse and Jackson Pollock Having a Brutal Slapfight:

Paper Chase 2

This is the most fun I have EVER had painting, and I fully intend to dishonour some more landscapes this way. It's loads of fun, and I recommend it! (And the story, which is THE BEST STORY EVER.) The moral of the story is, no matter who wins the slapfight, if you leave the painting to me, art as a whole is the loser.
So I'm maybe, possibly, ever so slightly nervous about my new job. I know I can do it, but it's new, and scary, and what if I say the wrong thing/fall into the ice cream maker/burn my eyes out with the espresso machine? I suppose I'll find out tomorrow.

I refer you, for those interested in what I did with my weekend, to [livejournal.com profile] debmats's upcoming con report. Balticon. Fun. Con weekends are always mind-altering, surely something to do with sleep deprivation, exposure to shiny things, and the possibility of stumbling over your own tongue as you meet Peter S. Beagle and try to convey to him that his writing makes you believe in the power of words as magic, and that you have never quite recovered the piece of your heart that you lost to a unicorn who knows regret. Without sounding like a creepy fangirl stalker. Thank you to [livejournal.com profile] debmats and [livejournal.com profile] pezazul for wonderful companionship.

I got [livejournal.com profile] vixyish's new album, Thirteen, and it is fully made of wonder. Again, there is a slightly larger space in my chest, where a little part of my heart has been spun out into the black to follow her voice.

I want to paint. Of all the crazy artistic projects I have waiting in the wings, it's possibly the one furthest from anything I'd been considering doing, but I want to paint, and paint something that means something to me, which I haven't done in years.

Life is full of change, and ice cream and coffee and words that fill up the hollow places, and music that rings inside you and saves your life, and friends to share it all with.

And it's good.
I love writing, don't get me wrong. It's wonderful, and creative, and lets me tell all kinds of fabulous stories. What it doesn't do is satisfy my need to make things. I am happiest when I am feeding all my creative needs, using my hands as well as my mind.

How come I forget that so often?

front, originally uploaded by Reesa.

For Tom's going away present, I made him a book and a mix cd. It was my first bookbinding project, but I'll definitely be doing more.

(The rest of the photos can be found here: Goodbye gallery )

Success!

Apr. 13th, 2007 06:46 pm
Packages (except for two that I need to finish) mailed!
Taxes filed!
Work week (mostly, but for a few hours tomorrow) survived!
Aquarium dosed with algaecide! 
Blank books located!
Inspiration found!
Caffeine consumed!

And I'm getting an -awesome- refund (almost $500!), which means that I will actually be able to do the kind of investing in fiber for blending that I want.  I am so excited!  (Yes, I know.  About wool.  Seriously, have you been reading me for the past 3 years?)

Later tonight, a post for all the fiber types, and Sunday, my etsy store goes live.  Hurrah!

Artscouts

Apr. 9th, 2007 07:34 pm
Dude.  This is so cool! 

Artscouts:
"Welcome to ArtScouts, the club and site for grown-up artists and crafters who want to expand their skills, play with new things, and earn fun buttons in the process! It's updated every other week with two to three new activity sections and downloadable journals (for recordkeeping and extra prompts) for you to try. You can also join the artscouts "officially", and get a member button that nobody but ArtScouts can get!"

I'm going to complete the knitting one first, but I think I really want to do more of them.  It's a neat way to challenge yourself to learn something new.

Art Lust

Mar. 30th, 2007 05:20 pm
I really digging the work of this woman, Emily Balivet.  I'm particularly in love with her work, Feathered Goddess, which incorporates a bunch of art nouveau themes into one painting.  It's just lovely.  I wish I could paint like that. 
As so often happens, I've spent an hour or so making myself a lovely, healthy dinner.  Steamed carrots with herbs, and perch lightly marinated in lime juice and jerk seasoning.  It smells awesome.  It looks amazing. 

I ate two carrots and wasn't interested in the rest.

Of course, I now have a plan to run to the grocery store for eggs and baking soda.  Why, you might ask? 

So I can make chocolate cherry bread.  Logically.  I don't even want to eat it, I just want to bake it.  Go figure. 

Also, I really wish I knew which house my paints have wound up at.  I blame [livejournal.com profile] foxvox (if you haven't had the chance to see her artwork, go check it out.  I'll wait.  See?  Kristen rocks.  And all that knotwork?  She does it BY HAND.) and her recent spate of watercolor paintings.  It's made me want to try my hand with them again, knowing what I know now about colour blending, washes, and brush work. 
[livejournal.com profile] interminable took pictures while I was playing with my dye pots and roving this evening, and combined them into this nifty collage!  It's huge though, so beware.

She's Dyeing! )
This is amazing.  Simply stunning.

An original picture book about New Orleans.  Wordless and perfect.

As you can tell, I'm having a hard time even finding the right words to tell you about it.  Check it out.

Logo?

Oct. 4th, 2005 11:29 am
Would any of you artistic types out there be willing or interested in drawing me a logo? (For money. Or yarn. Or knitwear. Or really, for whatever you want, within my budget.) Since the name of the joint is Cobweb Fiber Studio, I'd really like a spinning wheel, but instead of spokes, a spiderweb design inside the wheel. If you aren't familiar with the look of a wheel, I can send detailed pictures.

As always, a comment here, or gmail me. (reesah@...)

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