Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Writing's On The Wall

Or rather, on the page. The REAL page.
I'm breaking with my own non-conformist ways to go with the crowd on the handwriting post. I know, it's so unlike me, but I really thought it was clever, kind of cool, and hard to resist.
I saw this first at:



And now you get to see what the handwriting of a lunatic - pardon - eccentrically creative individual looks like. It might be easier to read some of the others!

See now, that was on lined graph paper - anybody can stay fairly even and nice looking. But here you have the chicken scratchings I do when I'm on a roll and writing at a more normal pace. It's hard for even me to read! (Addendum: I just noticed that you can see the picture I was doodling on the back of this page. I think there's a calendar on there too. what can I say - I think this was written in carpoop, which is V boring! But it's kind of trippy to look at up close. Go ahead - you know you want to!)
It's sad, isn't it? That such a sweet little child could grow up to have the handwriting of a killer. Or maybe a doctor? Or maybe, just plain ole scribbling?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thought Process, aka Procrastination

the women in this painting need faces. I've held off painting their faces because I knew they weren't going to look like the women in the photograph, but I wanted them to have some of the essence of the photo, nonetheless. It doesn't help that these are my grandmother and my great grandmother in this picture. Their own personal identities have been obscured by time and family dysfunctions. So whose face, whose essence do I paint into this picture?

The going has been slow, and I confess, I am easily distracted.

After doing a little thinking with a pencil in hand, I realize that their faces are pieces of myself.

I tried to remember how my great grandmother's eyes were large, and dark, though somehow empty when I met her. And I was little, so she was no doubt, a bit daunting. In my mind, she is alway sitting at the end of the flip-up formica table in my grandmother's kitchen. She is tiny, birdlike in her fragility, and she's hunched over, smoking perpetually. (There is something terribly wrong with the nose on this woman - I'm going to erase all my pencil marks and start over.) My grandmother, on the other hand, is obviously the protagonist in this picture. While sketching on her I realized that this affinity, or sympathy for who I thought she might have been like in her early married life, is the real subject of this painting. And while there may be aspects of myself in each of these figures, my identification with both of them becomes the hidden portrait in this painting. Hmm, food for thought. So there you have it - a glimpse into my painting block, and the annoyingly self-absorbed psuedo-self-analysis that goes along with figuring out where to go.

And it's only Monday!

Woof - who's up for a lunch break at Tacos Mexico? (this is the procrastination part, like you couldn't tell!)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Painting With Words

Travelogues are easy...too easy.

It's like following along the lines in a coloring book. Sure, you get to decide what color to make everything, but the image has already been decided for you. I'm usually the one who takes the pictures , so the creativity is still there in a travelogue, but the artist, the poet in me, notices the lack of impasto to my words. The lack of tenebroso, the wallpaper smoothness with which I present a pretty slice of life to you.

It's a hell of a lot messier in real life. The everyday passions and woes leave splatters and splashes of red anger, and slate blue sadness; sunny yellow children's kisses and grey streaks of self doubt leave their marks upon the walls of my mind.

I'm not much of a housekeeper because I kind of like the clutter of life around me. Still, I'm hesitant to ask you in, afraid you'll see the mess and think less of me, despite my disclaimers of, "Please excuse; it's usually not like this", because, honestly? It usually is.

If you don't mind mental messes, please come in. I'll make a pot of coffee and we'll talk, while we fill our minds and mouths with tarty-sweet cobbler ideas.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Just Hear Those Sleigh Bells Ringaling

Pictures by Bea

So we went to the Christmas In July art show this past weekend, and had more fun than people should be allowed to have, visiting their sister. This is because there was shopping involved, and it wasn't for the cheapest groceries, or socks and underwear. No, no, it was shopping for beautiful handmade things made by folks we know and love. Here I wave at Bea, because I forgot to even bring my camera with me. I felt naked all day long.Here are some of the dolls made by The Fairies Nest. The Crow Woman in the foreground is one of my all time favorites of hers. I want to have her come live at my house but I'm afraid it would mean her death - my many cats would delight in tearing the feathers off of this exquisite flight of fancy, and then I would have to mass exterminate and Geez! that's tough to explain to the kids! This was a brand new fairy - I'm ashamed to say I've forgotten her name (I think the wassail might have been spiked), something like Callie Ente, 'cause she's the Hot Sauce Fairy! I just love this doll, from her red pepper overdress and her little buttoned boots, to her tiny little bottle of Tabasco! This fairy is a cat guardian, by the name of Kit. Her cat's name is Thomas. Her pinafore is made from a fabric that has little cats all over it. The cat was my favorite part of this - I really want a trio of them in different colors, to put in a basket. Like Callie, Kit also has the new boot foot, which has bitty little beads sewn on as buttons. It's the details that make these dolls so incredible!This one is called The Autumn Harpist. He is a very groovy Cerunnos type of woodland deity, with his antlers on his forehead the incredible little lyre he's holding. I played around with arranging him when no one was looking. Oh alright - so I re-arranged all of them - hey, she's my sister - I can play with her dolls if I want!This mermaid is another of the bigger dolls and is really a one of a kind. She's hanging next to a display tree of okra ornaments. These things are wild - they twist and curl in all sorts of shapes! They are both bizarre and beautiful at the same time, and I've gotten hooked on collecting them.As you may know from previous posts, I have a pottery Jones. I rarely get to give in to it, but the hand painted flowers and designs on these pieces of Earthworks Pottery are so incredibly rendered, like little paintings on each piece, that they're irresistible. This is the one I want! Check out the okras - they are so funky and fun!There were other things for sale too; crocheted shawls and hats (I had my eye on a raspberry beret, and even modelled it, while singing the requisite Prince song. Oh, you know you would do it too!), handmade marbled paper and books, and jewelry. I don't know why Bea didn't take pictures of them - it could have been the wassail - but at least she remembered to bring her camera, so she was doing far better than I was!

So how was your weekend?

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Different Kind of Infestation

Because you asked for it (well, Kelley did, anyway), here, now, for your entertainment and enlightenment, I present to you:

Legos vs Imaginext, in

The Battle For The Middle of The Living Room

You might think having an insect infestation in your house is annoying and bothersome, but I'm here to tell you there IS something worse. It's an infestation of plastic and if it's ever happened to you, then you know what I'm talking about; chances are you were the boob who brought it into the house in the first place.

The Phantom Shark as the steed of the Imaginext's leader, Italian Guy (I don't make this stuff up - this is really his name, according to the guys)

Below, the Puppet Master, aka the Bohemian, dangles a reconnaissance mission over the battlefield. This is serious stuff, people - look at that face - does he look like this is FUN?

The dinosaurs add a terrifying aspect to the battle, and are also quite painful to step on in your bare feet, in the dark.

The Professor arranges his men in a replication of one of Napoleon's battles. Or it was a replication, before the dinosaurs showed up and freaked out the Lego guys. Then it was total chaos - oh yeah!

A big fan of little chewable things, Simon gets into the picture and takes out a few dinosaurs for the Lego side. Don't you feel like this is one of those blockbuster fantasy films, uncannily unfolding on my living room floor? ("The Chronic - what? - Cles, of Narnia")

The Legos' leader plans his strategy, while his honor guard stands by.

And there you have it - the horror, the carnage, the living hell that is my living room floor these days. And you thought you wanted to see it, that you could handle the truth. It isn't pretty, is it?

(But it was an awful lot of fun to take pictures of!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Much Ado About Stuff

It's quiet here lately at the Edge; too quiet, I think.

You would think that with two vacations under my belt already this summer I would have more to talk about, and yet, I've been struck dumb, trying to configure a post for week.

It's not that there's nothing happening around here, there's plentyof crapola hitting the rusty fan. But who really wants to hear our epic saga of tearing up carpet in the kids' room that has reached it's cat piddle limit, and how the Legos and Imaginext dudes are mounting an invasion in the living room right now? I annihilated an entire legion the other day, just by dropping a laundry basket on them, but I'm thinking I'm the only one who's going to do the headless chicken dance or whatever to celebrate.

Tomorrow we're headed to Ms. Q's for a pool party and cookout, so there's that. But that does entail swimsuit wearing by all of us. I'm not so sure I want my nekkid parts hanging out in the blogosphere, and I'm pretty sure Ms. Q is going to put up a fight as well, even with her trademark evening length swimsuit. So there might only be cookout shots to see, and now you're feeling like you just have to see those big, fat, dimply, white girls in their swimdresses, but it's a No Can Do. I have so little left to be vain about, you know, in the oh! so glamorous world of the aging woman; I'm keeping my thighs to myself, as much as possible.

The Fairies Nest is having her annual Christmas in July art show this Saturday and Sunday, July 19th and 20th. This is actually a show with several artists under one roof. Their work is all handmade and ranges from dolls and fiber art to pottery, jewelry, textiles, paper and books.
I have to admit: I go to buy my sister's dolls, but I always end up buying at least one Christmas present at these shows, and because this is a Christmas in July show, there will be Christmas carols and holiday refreshments to get you in the mood.

Admit it: you want to go, don't you? So now, all you have to do is pop over the Fairies Nest and ask her how to get there, or if that seems too forward or complicated, just leave me a comment with an email address and I'll tell you how to get there.

So now you know why the ole Blog is suffering: because I'm out having way too much fun!

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Week at the Beach

At last! The epic saga of our trip to the beach. We left Saturday morning and headed east. About lunchtime, as we were getting ready to pass through Williamston, I remembered that there used to be a barbeque place we would pass, coming from Greenville, back in our college days. We looked around and there it was! Of course we stopped - I love eastern Carolina barbeque! It's always a good sign that there's a brisk business going on, and even at 2 PM there were folks waiting in line for some of this barbeque. They didn't have hushpuppies, which IS kind of lame, and I have to take points off for that, but the 'Que was lean and vinegary-hot, as it should be. It didn't top my brother's barbeque, but then, when he cooks a hog, it's a work of art. And a hell of a party, to boot. But I digress... I love the old churches and houses that still cling to the roadside down east. I'm intrigued by the cemetery that lies beyond that fence. The economy isn't as brisk out here, away from the Research Triangle, and it shows. But on the plus side, the wonderful old buildings haven't all been razed to make room for yet another subdivision or strip mall. The raping of Wake County by carpetbagger developers is a source of great distress to me. It was a beautiful place, once. This old house isn't long for this world, I fear, but it has a wonderful spookiness to it. I could easily imagine it as a sentient creature, peering at us from its empty-eyed windows. It's places like this that make me want to stop the car and get out to take a ton of pictures. That would mean we would never get to the beach, so I had to settle for this shot. There have been wildfires burning down east lately, affecting the air quality as far west as Greensboro. I don't know if this was part of the actual wildfires that are plaguing Washington County, but it's the right area. Creepy, isn't it? I saw houses bordering on woods that had dug trenches along the edge of the trees; a precautionary measure, perhaps? At last we reached the beach! The traffic during the week of the Fourth of July is ungodly - it took us over an hour to go 20 miles up the beach - a serious detriment to going during this time of year, and a powerful inducement to go in September, when the crowds are thinner.
The guys couldn't wait to hit the beach in their new swimwear (the old suits were getting a bit indecent). The Bohemian poses for me - isn't he the quintessential surfer dude here? They discovered some boogie boards in the closet and had tons of fun riding the waves. The ocean was quite calm, which isn't always a given this far out into the Atlantic. I think the Gulf stream might have been the predominant current, as opposed to the colder and rougher Labrador that also lies offshore here and vies with the Gulf. We sure saw a lot of seaweed and jellyfish!
We took walks in the morning along the tidal pools, looking for interesting shells and sea life. The Bohemian attempts rather futilely to keep his shorts dry. It seems weird to me too - he usually is drenched from just playing in the creek, so why worry about it now? Kids...psshhh! One morning we found a hermit crab in one of the tidal pools, and the Bohemian was pretty excited about it. I'm not big on catching and keeping wild creatures - I think it's a selfish and ecologically irresponsible lesson to teach. So we looked at the crab, took his picture, and let him go. Isn't he cute? Can you see us reflected in the crab's shell? Very cool and totally unplanned! As a career vampire, I normally don't rise at dawn, but it's usually worth it at the beach. I got up one morning and found the wild horses right outside the house. The story on these horses is that they're the descendants of horses left here by Sir Richard de Grenville in the 1580s. I think the original Arabian genes have gotten a bit diluted over the centuries, but they're still a big tourist draw. People come up the beach in droves of tour jeeps to get a look at these guys, and I'm always amazed that the horses don't kick or bite anyone - you should see the amusement park-bred idiots that think they should put their toddler, or their pregnant wife right next to one of these for a photo-op. The literature on the horses specifically says you should keep a distance of at least 25 feet from them - guess some folks either can't read, or just think it doesn't apply to them. I worry that if and when a horse bites one of them, the poor horse will be held accountable. This stallion on the left was quite the alpha male. He actually came after us one morning, as we were trying to get back the house from a walk on the beach. I advised the hubman to "walk quickly, but don't run, and don't make eye contact", which worked, but man! I can't believe anyone would want to get up close with this guy, other than his baby, and his baby's mama, seen at the right. Cheddar and Stilton enjoyed the fresh air and practiced their samurai sword techniques every morning. (I know - what????) They may look cute and cuddly, but they are in fact, deadly foes. The sunrises were awesome! I'm always amazed when I take pictures like this. Have I mentioned lately that I love my camera?
I love the bird balanced on the back of this horse (yes, that's the bad-ass stallion he's sitting on - go figure!). He sat up there to escape being harassed by a flock of black-colored birds (I couldn't tell what they were). He's some kind of fishing bird - look at that beak and those feet! Of course I had to have a red drink, in honor of Bea. The briny-ness of using Clamato instead of tomato or V-8 is especially yummy at the beach.
Looking at the world with an artist's eye reveals wonderful surprises in the mundane. I love the patterns made by the fence, the grass, and the sun upon them both.
It tickled me no end that this horse was up on the dunes one afternoon, watching the people. The people on the beach never noticed her there.
We had a birthday while we were at the beach - my sister's French exchange student turned 16, and my mother made her famous Million Layer Chocolate cake for him. I call this "Two Jewish Mothers Light The Cake" - aren't they the epitome of motherly? I'm afraid that poor guy will never be the same after spending a week with this gang - my father only speaks the International Language of Obscenities, and my mother; well, let's just say she has a certain je ne sais quoi. No, really, I don't know what it is. I love her dearly, but I need an aspirin - are you with me now?
So we survived the week at the beach, more or less. The scenery was beautiful, but the people were everywhere. I did manage to not get sunburned, which is a vast relief to those who have to live with me, and now my sister and I know exactly what we've been missing, don't we baby? Next time, we will be like the little rabbit, and RUN!!