Sunday, September 27, 2009

My house...

This morning I woke up still thinking about my current constant thought, "where do I want to live?", which I wrote about in yesterday's post. So I decided I needed to make an "affirmation" page about it and, following up with what I started here, I painted the background, then added the words in Photoshop Elements 6. I have trouble writing directly on my journal pages or paintings, so if I create the background in a journal or on drawing paper and add words in Photoshop, I can always change it. No commitment.

I will print the version with the words as a 4"x6" card and place it near the last one I made. I like the image better without the words, but I felt it was important to get the thoughts down on paper.

Maybe it will help me stop wishing I were somewhere else, and not knowing where that somewhere is. I don't think I've ever felt quite like this before.

P.S. Another version with more text in a different font and color.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Decisions, decisions

After hours and days of research, reading an endless number of reviews and comparison charts, that explained things I have no clue about, I have chosen my new camera: the Canon Powershot SX20 IS. It was a very close call between that and the Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ35, but I had to make a choice and I went with the Canon, probably just to keep my head from exploding and because I have had a Canon Powershot for the last 6 years.  This new one can take HD videos. Youtube, here I come!

So what do the photos on this page have to do with anything? Well, the other matter I have been obsessing about off and on for at least the past year, maybe much longer, is "where do I want to live?" Aside from a few detours in my mind to unknown lands, the pendulum has swung between southern Italy and the Pacific Northwest, specifically Ceglie Messapica (BR) and Seattle. I have family ties and friends in both places, have spent a lot of time in both, and could theoretically live in either. However, after recent conversations with my brother, who lives in Seattle, I now am hatching a new plan. A small house or a yurt on a few acres of land near Portland or Eugene, or somewhere in the vicinity of one of them.

That still doesn't explain the photos. OK, I'll explain the connection.

In the photo above I am with my very tall American paternal grandfather, Clyde, his dog Tippy, and my very tiny Italian mother, Maria Pia, on the steps of my grandparents' home in Portland.
In the one below, taken a couple of years later, I am in Eugene. I'm the little tot looking up at my mother, who seems to have had a thing for stripes in those days.

So there, it makes all the sense in the world for me to want to move near Portland or Eugene. Don't you think?

Buddy is in the Hospital

Buddy, the sweet rescued dog I blogged about recently here, is in the hospital due to complications from a routine surgery. He had to be taken to the ER 3 times since last night and is now staying in the hospital at least until tomorrow.

He's not doing very well. Please send him positive healing thoughts, so he can have another chance at a good life.

Friday, September 25, 2009

I Love Youtube

So sweet and so pretty. 
Found this video on a post by 
Misty Mawn, and I just had to repost it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Just Having Fun

The image at the top, The Redhead and the Wolf, is a mixed media piece I finished a couple of weeks ago.
Tonight I decided to mess around with Photoshop Elements, and the other four images are the result. I really need to take some time to figure out PE because I basically do not have a clue how it works, and to think that quite a few years ago I took several classes in the full blown Photoshop!

Monday, September 21, 2009

What's My Story?

Buddy (aka Bud, aka George) is still being fostered as several people and organizations are trying to find him a good permanent home.

I can't help but wonder, as I peer into those beautiful amber eyes, what his story is. A couple of mornings ago the woman who found him was driving on an onramp when she saw him running towards the freeway. She pulled over, stopped her car, opened the passenger door and he jumped in. He thereby proceeded to lie quietly on the floor in front of the passenger seat until she got him into the city, where she contacted friends and friends of friends to figure out what to do with the big lost dog in her car.

The angels at Muttville paid the bill for his check up and rabies vaccine, and on Thursday he will benefit from the city's free spay/neuter service for pits, pit mixes, and similar breeds, which has been the law in San Francisco since January 2008.

My neighbor and I have each created our own Buddy story. Mine is that he had a decent home, but got lost or was stolen and was kept by evil people who tied him up with a rope that was too tight and cut into his neck, causing the raw sore that encircles it. He was neglected, lost weight, slipped out of the noose and ran away.

My neighbor's story is that he was neglected, taken in by a rescue organization, but that the thunder that happened around 7 am on the morning he was found caused him to run away and get lost. This makes some sense because when he was found he was wearing a large, loose, leather collar that could not have caused the sore.

Whatever his story is, Buddy now needs a loving human or two to call his own.

If you or someone you know is interested in adding Buddy to your family, please contact Muttville at , but if Buddy is not your type and you are looking for an older companion dog, check our their website, because senior dogs are their specialty!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Jewelry Class

In the last few weeks I have experienced a renewed attraction to two old "frenemies": sewing and jewelry making. I don't know why I am always recycling previous interests and why they have to reappear two at a time, but that's what happens. And just when I was getting into painting and mixed media!

Anyway, I bought the Alabama Stitch Book, can't remember why nor how I heard about it, started cutting up some clothes, signed up for a pattern making class with Jarred Garza that starts on September 30th at The Sewing Workshop. On top of it all I started to feel the jewelry thing calling me again.

So today I'm just going to focus (something I should practice doing) on how the jewelry making reappeared on the churning surface of the not so still waters of my awareness. Did I actually write that?

It went like this. Jewelry making had not, except for brief moments here and there, interested me much in quite a long time, that is, until it started whispering to me "you've got all the tools, a gazillion beads and stones, silver and copper in sheets and wire.... come to me, come to me..." Then I listened to Alison Lee's Craftcast interview with Michael David Sturlin. He sounded like such an interesting person that I visited his website and there it was: he was scheduled to teach right here in San Francisco at The Revere Academy! The class that caught my attention was "Classic Wire Rings".

I tried to resist. I really did. I told myself "Don't do this! Stick with the mixed media!" I told myself the class was too expensive, that I could find it all on Youtube, which I did. There are many videos about the subject, some good, some bad, and I watched them all. But on Thursday, the day before the class, I told myself (we have a lot of conversations) that if I were to travel to a workshop it would cost me so much more in airfare and food and lodging, whereas this one was right here. I was convincing. I signed up, took the day off, and went to class.

I'm so glad I did, because less than 30 minutes into it, I knew that it was pretty stupid of me to have thought that I could get the same experience from a video. I find youtube videos great for discovering techniques or building on them, but nothing can really substitute for a live instructor or, next best, an online class with videos and pdfs.

The teacher was excellent. His expertise, clear instructions, soft-spoken manner, great sense of humor can't be captured in a photo. (And he's even better looking in person, but I won't apologize for the photo because he told us not to apologize for imperfections in what we make...).

The view was beautiful.

The sound of happy little elves hammering away in another classroom drew me towards them long enough to record the rap, rap, rap of their hammers.

Although we were taught several other styles, I couldn't stop making spirals in copper, copper and silver and just silver, and left the class with the collection of rings in the image at the top of the post.

I have enough of them to wear a bouquet of wrapped spiral rings.

Homeless visitor

(click on photo above to enlarge it)

When I came home this evening I met my neighbors' new houseguest.

She's calling him Bud until she finds him a home. I think he's more of a George. Because of the angle of the photo this handsome, very tall, big boy and generous kisser looks more underweight than he actually is.

Unfortunately he also has big "family jewels". Somebody is going to have to do something about that...

You heard right, George, they gotta go.

P.S. If you are interested in adding "Bud" to your family, Muttville has listed him here.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Who's the Predator?

I made this journal page tonight in response to the comment by the first hunter to "bag" a wolf today in Idaho, after wolves were delisted as endangered in that state. He mentioned what a rush of adrenaline it was after he killed her to have all the other wolves circling and howling.

The article is here.

Sometimes I am ashamed of my species.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Not a Madonna

I just finished this mixed media piece, using acrylic paint, colored pencils, ink, gesso, molding paste, paper, stamps and stencils on wood, for one of Suzi Blu's online classes.

She was originally going to be a Madonna, but by the time I had finished adding the embellishments she looked much more like a dancing harem girl. Whatever that means. Probably an image I have in my mind from a bad movie I saw as a teenager.

I was going to write something on her, but that would have meant making a commitment to Madonna or harem girl, so she is textless. I do, however, feel like I could add something like bits of white paper or more stamps on the bottom right corner and left side, but what exactly that would be is not coming to me. So there she sits, staring with an air of detachment into space. Wordless.

It's hard to know with mixed media when the heck to stop. I mean you could add and subtract so many times that in the end one piece could have been five different ones.

I like how she looks in the dappled shade. Or is that dappled sunlight? This probably means that I should add something else to her, maybe even across her face. But I doubt if I will. It's time to work on a different image. Maybe a sweet dog.