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My First Tennessee Quartet

Three years ago this month I flew up to Limestone, Tennessee to visit a friend and paint a portrait of her magnificent Clydesdale horse. When I was 17, my dad and I had visited friends in Nashville, and at that time I fell in love with the state (especially with Tennessee Walking Horses!). Limestone is much further east, nestled along the western Appalachians close to North Carolina. I didn’t see any Tennessee Walkers, but I appreciated the many small family-owned farms which dotted the rolling landscape.
    As a little girl, my passion had been to own a farm just like those around Limestone, so I was in a state of continual delight for the entire three weeks. However, I am well aware that this is a hard and demanding life, so my respect for these families and their well-kept pastures and barns continues to grow.
    The paintings I have planned will honor their labors of love and capture the essence of old-fashioned American virtues like hard work and pride in one’s home place.
    Although the mercury dipped really low at times, only light flurries dusted and then melted on the hillsides, which were tawny and golden with dried weeds. Many fields were as green as golf courses because farmers had planted nourishing cover crops or hay, not leaving their fields fallow and liable to erode in the spring rains. The relatively mild weather allowed me to take hundreds of reference photos. I’ve gone through them dozens of times over the past three years.
    Only recently have I figured out how to share all of these bottled-up images with the world. Or at least my little corner of it!
    You may ask, why a Quartet? Well, first I need to paint as many paintings as possible due to the tremendous backlog of images I have stored up. I’ve considered pastel, as it’s my “best” medium, but until it’s framed, it’s fragile, and it’s hard to ship to my collectors who are not local. My second favorite medium is alkyd, a type of fast-drying oil paint which can be blended with traditional oils. I’ve been using it ever since it arrived on the scene in the mid-1980s as a Winsor-Newton product.
    There were other considerations which led to my decision to paint 8”x10” canvases; such as, smaller works are more affordable to my collectors, and that’s a size which can still make a statement. Also, when I don’t get too picky, but keep my technique relatively loose (but not sloppy), I can move quickly through my long list of beloved subjects.
    But wait! Would one small painting be enough for me to lavish my loving attention on?
    Artists are problem-solvers. We set up challenges in our work, and grow as artists by meeting or exceeding them. We also learn about ourselves in the process. One thing I’ve learned is that I am something of a scientist in my artistic experiments. In the scientific method, one variable is chosen to be monitored during the experiment. So the variable I chose was the imprimatura. That’s a fancy Italian word for the first layer of paint, applied thinly in a wash of color. As oil paints are fairly transparent, each layer of paint is influenced by the initial color wash. Another reason to tone the white canvas is that it’s hard to judge the value of your colors against that glare.
    Applying pigment in thin, transparent layers called glazes is an Old Master technique that gives depth and atmosphere to an otherwise flat paint film. Instead of mixing colors on the palette and brushing them on as one potentially boring layer, it can be thrilling to glaze blue over yellow, for example, to make a delightful green. Optical magic will ensue!
    I frequently wash a red or yellow over my canvases to start them off. But have wondered if that was the right choice? Did I take the right path from the crossroads? Should I have started off down the yellow road, or the purple path? Aha! How about being able to explore each road by painting a Quartet, each starting with a different imprimatura, and all of the same image, all painted at the same time with the same pigments? Two canvases didn’t seem enough of a challenge, and three seemed unbalanced, but four, that made sense! I’ve always needed symmetry in my life to feel balanced.
    This led to more problems, such as, how to work on four paintings at the same time? I had to build a sort of “tray” to hold all of them as a secure unit on my easel, and am pleased to report it worked out fine. A judicious application of Velcro did the job.
    Earlier today, I signed all four of the paintings I called “Light’s Last Caress” (versions A, B, C, and D) and will be removing them from the tray very soon. They will be featured on the front page of my website and I will discuss them specifically at that time. This entry has gone on long enough, time to plan the next Quartet and to find loving homes for my first one!


   

Many many changes!

Happy New Year, everyone.
Wow, I thought it had been a long time since my last entry, and I was right.
Soon after the preceding blog, we had to put all of our time and energy into finding a new place to live. And moving all of our stuff without our own vehicle was dreadful to contemplate. But it happened! Angels and miracles and lots of sweat later, Christie, Twinkle and I now live just two miles north of our old place in a much larger and more affordable place.
I still have yet to finish poor old Bailey, but did get two portrait commissions done for Christmas. Will be posting on them very soon. Bailey's been something of a brat, with his red coat and all. I am grateful that his owner is patient and understanding as I try to capture his colors.
Things are going well at my job at Michaels Arts and Crafts, after a very wild and busy Christmas season. I love the folks I work with, and that makes life so much easier. I am also able to walk to work now, which is a great blessing.
I have many many projects planned for 2010, now that I have soooo much more space to work!
But all will have to wait for now as Twinkle just told me she needs more Fancy Feast and then I have to go to bed.
What is it about those three words, “Naked Mole Rats” that I find so compelling? Okay, back up a bit.

For a while now, I’ve been mulling over the idea of drawing every type of animal on our planet. I’ve just always enjoyed the deep study of my chosen subject, the mystery of what makes that animal unique, and then daring to make strokes upon paper to represent what I see before me. That’s why I have been painting and drawing the portraits of animals since I was 20 years old: the challenge, the satisfaction, the fur, the feet!

Although, lately, I haven’t been drawing so much. Which is just plain awful, especially when you learn that I am wont to say (only half-jokingly), “Drawing is the only thing that’s good for you that you cannot overdo.” Think about what’s good for you: you can take too many vitamins, exercise too much, even drink too much water! Gee, I suppose you can draw so much your eyes fall out on the paper, but I’ve yet to see that happen.

So, why haven’t I been drawing so much lately? Well, other parts of my life have interfered, but truly, it’s because I don’t have anything inspiring around here. Lately I’ve been restless, searching, a sure sign that something has got to change, to grow. I’ve gone through my old reference photos a bunch of times and, well, blah.

What I need is a Quest!

Any Quest worthy of its noble name must be ambitious and challenging. This one started out the other day with a simple decision: ask local pet owners if I could use their sweeties as models, with no obligation to purchase the final work of art. I am still going to do that. What a great way to meet my neighbors!

And what a great way to add to my Line Art Menagerie/Gallery on my website, offering prints and notecards for sale to pet lovers. I will happily give a print and some notecards to the owner of the pet I choose to draw, and a discount on further products. So, there’s all those dogs and cats, birds and bunnies and guinea pigs to tempt my pen. When I have something wonderful to look forward to drawing, it’s much easier to carve out the time and settle myself in with pencil, paper, eraser and pen.

But why not take it further? I began my lifelong career of being an artist by drawing horses when I was four, and still love the matchless power and beauty of horses. There are many breeds of horses; so of course I must stay the course and eventually draw a representative of every breed. It helps that I live in a horsey town.

There are even endangered breeds of farm animals, did you know that? I must seek out these less-fashionable animals, before they go extinct, and capture their uniqueness in a portrait. Not all cows are black-and-white Holsteins! Does anyone still raise Milking Shorthorns? How about Chester White hogs?

Those animals we call “wild” are a bit more challenging to find as models; certainly you won’t find me copying out of National Geographic magazine, as many artists do. So I love to draw at the zoo, and take many photos during my visit. That’s where I encountered Naked Mole Rats, at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa. So, in thinking through my Quest to Draw Every Type of Animal, I realized every creature, great and small, deserved the same chance. Which meant, not just the lions, tigers, and bears: the Naked Mole Rats have the same right as those big guys.

I have a better chance of succeeding in my Quest with drawings, rather than fully-fleshed-out paintings, just because there really is only so much time.

My main stipulation is to not use commercial photographs copyright by a professional. I want to know the owner if at all possible; I thrive on that personal touch. So: I must teach pet owners how best to photograph their companion animals effectively. Please see my website’s Line Art Gallery for ideas on decent poses.

If you want to participate in my Quest, here are my photographic specifications, pretty simple, actually:
Color or black-and-white are both fine, but NO flash photographs as it’s the worst lighting ever! Plus all those spooky red-eye reflections. Natural light ONLY, please!
Usually best to get on the animal’s level, not to hover over him. Not for a good portrait, anyway.
NO camera-distorted poses, such as huge doggie noses; what may seem fun/cute in a photo just won’t work in a drawing. Trust me on this.

My style is to honor the dignity of the animal,  to capture its essence; some have said, I captured its soul. I cherish the times people have expressed that to me; usually, they have tears in their eyes because they are so happy with their pet’s portrait.

Drawing is a form of meditation for me, as it puts me into that rich and peaceful state called flow, which is such a good place to be. When I draw something, it becomes mine. It’s an intimate, magical process, and one I never regret. More people should learn to draw, and create happier lives for themselves along the way.






The Bailey Blog: First Entry

“Bailey” is the first red Doberman I’ve ever painted— and I’ve painted a lot of Dobes. Don’t let anyone tell you all Dobes look alike! Well, it’s my job to figure that out, to capture the uniqueness of every one of my portrait subjects in pigment and share it with the world. I was commissioned to paint Bailey by his owner, Lauri, after I’d first portrayed his gorgeous housemate, “Princess Lexi.” The photos of her portrait in progress are on my website; below is the source photo and the finished portrait.





As you can see from these photos, she has a very healthy/shiny coat which was extremely challenging to paint. She’s also the classic Doberman with ears cropped precisely to breed specifications. Lexi was trained by my late husband, Dr. Tom Kazo— they adored each other. Lauri says she still misses him.

Bailey came to Lauri from the organization known as Doberman Rescue. He obviously lacks the cropped ears; not so obvious is the lack of teeth on both sides, those behind the canines and in front of the molars. I wonder if that’s one reason he ended up at Doberman Rescue? Not good enough to make the grade? Poor guy; what did he go through before he ended up in his forever home? I noticed the dental problem when doing preparatory sketches for his portrait; that’s the sort of detail an artist notices when absorbing her subject’s very essence.





However, despite having seen Bailey in the flesh, I am still figuring out his coat colors. You don’t have to be an artist to see how the light changes everything: the direction and intensity of the light may bring out some features while obscuring others; the temperature, or color, of the light is also very important. During our photo session, he was standing on a red brick patio which bounces a warm light onto his underside, while cool light from the sky influences his topside.

These days, I use a digital camera for my reference photos. That means I can review them with my client immediately: no waiting to have them developed! I can also email them to her for her review and approval.

One BIG problem is printing out the photos with accurate colors. Factors to consider are the paper, the monitor settings and the printer settings. I use Photoshop to crop the image and adjust the color, and to zoom in for a much-needed closer look. So much better than holding a magnifying glass, as in the olden days (of just a few years ago!).

My plan is to eventually have my computer monitor close enough to see from my easel, as the photo looks best on the screen. Back in those days of yore, artists used slide projectors and slide viewers for the most accurate colors and values in their reference photos. A laptop, or notebook, as they are now called, may be just the ticket for this artist.

It’s also important to understand that many photos cannot be used as a basis for a painting as they just don’t make sense. By that I mean, what the eye accepts in a photo, with its monocular viewpoint, may look distorted and just plain odd when translated into a drawing or painting. So it’s a lot more than “copying a photo,” folks! Which is what a lot of people think drawing is, based on a lot of comments I’ve heard in my years of painting. My reference photo can be thought of as a diving board so that I may take that leap into the unknown!

I also have to deal quite delicately with the powerful filter a loving pet owner casts over a photo of their beloved critter. The owner looks with adoration on his furry baby but what I see are eyes glowing red from flash, a flat frontal view, horrible distortion and awkward angles. So I usually end up taking my own photos, which show off the beloved pet to its best advantage. It’s a great relief, a treasured moment, when the owner actually shows me a photo that I can really use: it does happen!

One thing that keeps me going with my animal portraits is this abundance of love shared by the pets and their owners (although, who “owns” who, I often think), and I respect it deeply.

Well, this entry’s long enough! It’s just that so much goes into the accomplishment of any painting, and when it’s a commissioned portrait with a guarantee of resemblance and satisfaction, there’s a lot of information to share.

Art and Miracles

We see so many images in our daily round that we have become numb, oversaturated and jaded. With very little effort, we can locate millions of images, both static and moving, from every era in history and every country on the earth. We take so much for granted, commonplace, no big deal. Yet with this embarrassment of riches, are we happier than people were hundreds, even thousands, of years ago? Lots of room for debate, that’s a fact. Let’s take a moment, a deep breath, and consider the alliance between Art and Miracles.

The First Miracle: that humanity has decided to accept that marks made on a surface represent something significant to us, as in, “Oh, that looks just like (it, her, him)!” Why do we believe in this? It’s a miracle, but one so ingrained into our collective consciousness that we’ve lost our sense of wonder. Could we ever imagine the first artists, who used what they found in their limited worlds to make marks, colors, shapes, objects, and suddenly made connections between their emotions, memories and thoughts? This could be the Second Miracle, especially if they found acceptance in their societies; or were they spurned and feared as magical, evil beings?

In order to create at any age, in any society, an artist must live in the flow of miracles. The most essential miracle, however, is the transcendence of seeing as most people do to the development of The Artist’s Eye with its profound attention to light and detail.

Very young children enjoy making marks to help them understand their world, a similar experience to the first artists. Sadly, the older they get, the fewer their works of art. These fledgling artists are easily shot from the air by adults who often harshly criticize their artistic endeavors. Childhood is a miracle itself, much less surviving it as an artist! It might have been a miracle that he was able to attend a single art class, or that she found a sympathetic family member to believe in her and back her up.

Then, how many hours did the artist put into learning the tools and techniques of the trade? Given our society’s demands and distractions, just carving out time to hone artistic skill is a series of miracles. Every hour alone in the studio struggling with one’s muse is cause for celebration.

Where did the money come from to buy the materials needed? Quality art supplies cost more for many good reasons.

When the artist felt confident enough to create, is it not a miracle that a worthy subject was found? Then, for most types of art, the subject required the miracle of Light to transcend the dull, everyday aspects of its existence in space and time.

That we are viewing the finished work at all means the artist miraculously received some measure of attention by others! The artist felt safe and brave enough to share her creation with the world; and miraculously found support from those sometimes called the “gatekeepers.”

And then it comes down to you, the viewer, with your jaded, stressed out and saturated mind. You may not even notice the artwork, or you may ignore it. Perhaps you decide to hate it; which means at least you chose to pay attention to it! Or it may resonate joyously in your brain, make your soul sing, feel as if the artist has discovered the deepest places of your heart. You may even be able to love it enough to buy it so it will continue to bring wonder to your life. This is a miracle that allows the artist to go on seeking, creating, leaping into the unknown, and for which she is profoundly grateful.

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News on painting, and life in general

Well, it's now been more than four months since our beloved Sport Trac blew its engine. Life without transportation of one's own in this area is stupendously difficult. However, I will soon have the loan of a vehicle, thanks to a kindhearted gentleman who is going to make a stupendous difference in our lives with his trust in me. I do at least have a perfect driving record. Jobhunting (and jobkeeping) will become far easier! Those who say, take the bus, never do. The nearest bus stop is more than a mile away. The weather has been delightfully cool but as spring turns to summer, walking a mile or two for our errands won't be much fun.

Since my last blog, Christie and I have created and published two editions of The Canoe View News. They look great, everyone says. We are still putting the third one together, though. Very recently, I decided to make the ezine bimonthly. As in, every two months. Nobody has any money for ads. And creating the ezine from scratch means I don't have time to wage an ad campaign anyhow. I adore the research & writing & editing of our articles, our Wildlife Friends department in particular. But we need to keep a roof over our heads, and so are searching much harder for jobs these days. MUCH harder. And there are jobs out there! Especially if one has reliable transportation.

But I began this blog with the intention of discussing paintings. I do have a couple of dog portrait commissions in pastel to get into. So that's great. Yet, not enough to fire up my soul. My time of late has been limited to doing things that are closer to the revenue line. Painting just for the pleasure of painting has not been possible for quite a long time. Since nobody is buying art, I've not been able to justify painting "on spec." I surely do miss the feel of a loaded brush on a springy canvas, the smell of oil paint. Lord knows I have more possible subjects than I can ever find the time to get into pigment, now and forever. Even if I live a hundred healthy years...

Over the years, in order to get my juices flowing, I would make arrangements for an exhibit of my paintings somewhere. Have to create a crisis, I'd joke, to make myself overcome the "pain" in painting and just GET BUSY. Those days seem so very long ago. It has been a while since my last show. I've also gotten into the mindset of never selling my originals again due to the magical process called "giclee printing."

And yet, and yet...

I've just been presented with a venue to show my art on a daily basis, and to hold an "open house" there later this year. It's definitely what one would term "an alternative space" but who cares! It's a family run business, nothing to be ashamed of. Great people, central location, and it's giving me that wonderful "what if?" feeling again.

I am SO tired of people, including me, using The Economy as an excuse for anydamnthing not working out. It's really time everydamnbody rolled up their sleeves and FIXED the problem, and stopped whining! Yes, 7 trillion dollars just disappeared from our economy last year. Maybe we've been asking too much for our products? Dunno. We sure do love to get paid the big bucks and yet we love to pay tiny bucks for products made by slave labor in China. We are born to be consumers in North America. About 70% of the US economy depends on consumers buying stuff from each other. Maybe the housing market started all this (depends on who you read, right?) and Wall Street obviously blew it, but can we not just help each other out of all of this chaos? Make good things right here and sell them to each other? Wow, what a mindblower!

So I am setting myself up with certain criteria in order to come up with a series of original, yet affordable paintings in alkyd/oil. True, selling originals is a royal pain. But anything that can get me back to squeezing glorious gobs of pigment onto a palette is a fine thing to contemplate. I just have to plan paintings that won't take too long to create, ones that I don't get too attached to as a result. I tend to put too much into a painting, make it carry too many elements. I need to simplify. I need to keep moving. I still need to make these paintings so very special that people cannot live without them. I need as well to be able to transform a sight, a light, an effect, a shape, into pigment, in such a way as to scratch that very deepest itch in my soul. Denying myself the chance to capture the optical magic serves no purpose other than to rob me of joy and excitement. When I was immersed in my Shell Fragments series, each painting would suggest new ones, and I want that feeling again. For an artist, there's no greater luxury than to have amazing subjects to look forward to.

But I still need to stabilize myself with an "outside" job, and then be sure to schedule easel time on a regular basis. I know there's someone out there in dire need of my skills, experience, and talents. I like to serve, to help people. I find purpose in the work of others. I am glad I was blessed with the ability to see that in others. One of the things I love best about Wildlife Research Team is that it draws so many good people who care about the Earth the way I do! So I love being part of a Team, and there are many ways to team up with others. One is, help a business to succeed by giving it my intense attention. And I have the courage and creativity needed to get myself, and those I team up with, through these trying times. Yep.

Life without wheels

Time has flown since the last blog. I've been reading Seth Godin all day and so am inspired to blog a bit before bed. Since my last entry, I have graduated from Broward College, with "High Honors" as that's what they call a 3.67 GPA. Until I encountered Statistics, I was on the President's List with straight As in everything; after countless hours of studying over a dozen books on stats and on probability, I ended up with a C and was darn lucky to get it. So I dropped down to the Dean's List. Which is fine. Right.
   What didn't help was that on the day of my very last lecture at BC, in sociology, the engine of our beloved and well-cared-for Sport Trac decided to kill itself. Never a problem before; but when someone now says, "she threw a gasket" I know now that's a really really bad thing. I was so close to school when it happened, but I didn't dare leave the vehicle unattended and so missed that last lecture. On my final, the following week, I could tell I missed a lot.
   Later that day was my last regular exam in stats and because of the shock of the breakdown I failed it badly because of not being able to focus. Dammit. This was Wednesday, December 3. The final was next Monday and I studied all weekend, enough to get that C which allowed me to graduate. I don't like it when so much rides on one small event! I was NOT sure for days and drove everyone crazy obsessing about it.
   My advisor, Elena, who has been there for me the whole time at BC, treated me to my cap and gown. It's because of her that I have graduated from BC with my AA in Liberal Arts. This time last year I was so sure I would be a radiographer! And a few months ago, being a paralegal seemed plausible. However! Lessons learned, time passed, things change. I must allow myself experimentation while I learn how to live without Tom, to learn myself.
   I actually thought for a while that having my art and WRT was not enough: I needed Something Else. But being in school, doing so much writing for so many subjects, from ancient art history to oceanography to English to environmental science, along with scholarship essays and many many emails seeking funds for WRT made me truly realize: writing is a real passion of mine. Goes along with editing, with research, too.
   Living without a car of one's own in this area makes one feel like a loser. I've been trying to get our tow vehicle fixed as a charitable donation: lucky me, trying to do this at the end of the worst year for our economy since the Great Depression! It's very depleting to always be begging for donations, especially in the worst year for donations in recent memory. Although all the big guys do it, from Defenders of Wildlife to Ocean Conservancy to MetroZoo; they appear in my inbox, begging for donations for their big fat budgets and salaries.
   Now, Christie and I are working on an e-mag for WRT, for which I am researching and writing articles and planning for advertisers to fund our Team. As our web designer, she's got her work cut out for her. I am trying to learn how to make this easier for her. There's no way for her to get a job in this area, without wheels, in this economy. Just having her here with me has made all the difference, not only in my personal life, but in my business life and WRT's life. If there is a blessing in the breakdown of the WRT Sport Trac, it's that I have her nearby in this worrying time.
   So we put up the little Christmas tree with our family decorations, and will walk to Publix tomorrow to get ingredients for dinner, which we will have together with Twinkle. Christmas has a way of making itself happen. So let it be a good one!

My Site Is Up!

...and it is beautiful. It is everything I could have wanted, and more, thanks to Christie. But I can hardly sit around and wait for the world to come to my gallery; like any entrepreneur, I must market my product relentlessly now. At least I have somewhere to direct my future customers!
    There is so much BS about art, and whether it should be promoted like any other consumer-driven merchandise. I will always be dealing with the issue myself, because I really do believe in Art for Art's Sake. So I have to reconcile this purist philosophy with my newly-resuscitated internet-driven commercialism. I know I will never be Rembrandt, or Van Gogh. Yet both of those Old Masters tried very very hard to sell their paintings; the reality is, artists like it when people buy their work. Some of us just don't want to admit it! In my experience, art is used by certain people as a way of making themselves seem better than other people. These people are rarely the artists themselves, who merely produce the art that the elitists use as their stepladder to superiority.
    My art describes my response to the world around me. Yet, a lot of artists say that, and their paintings or sculptures  display elements that are unrecognizable to others. This was once called "Modern" art, or "Abstract" art. Well, I see I am touching on some pretty heavy topics in this blog and they have already filled volumes, if not entire libraries. So that may be more than this blog can hold!
    I guess what I want people to understand about my art is that it comes out of my love for particular things that move me. It pleases me to reproduce these things in pigment. And when I say "things" I actually include moods, feelings, emotions, not just objects.
    When I decide to paint something, what I am doing is giving myself permission to really, really get to know it, and understand it. Maybe even absorb it, and be It. This process can bring so much happiness to me, that I have actually cried when I saw something I'd painted. It's defining what I love, what makes me unique and authentic, that has driven me to draw and paint over the years.
    Yet there are other factors that come into play: approval of others and the need to make a living. The artist who says she or he is willing to create art for nobody else is lying. Do any of us outgrow that feeling of waving a crayon-scrawled piece of paper in front of our parents and watching them light up with happiness and approval? Not me, buddy.
     Well, just when I may be on to something, I have to go and do other stuff. But I will be back at this soon enough...

Irony rules as always

So tomorrow LJ will be moving and the site will be down, so they say. Which of course figures as I believe it will be the first day my site will be up. Also, I am launching my website during a very rotten time for retail sales, but what the heck, when did I listen to them doomsayers anyhoo. I have waited for so many years for this to happen, nothing is going to keep me from being ecstatic about it. The biggest factor was having Christie move in with me so we could finally share all that needed to be shared. I know I haven't been the easiest client she's ever worked with, bless her heart. I have also been waiting for the dust to settle in Website World, sort of learning about it in a back burner way, watching trends come and go. No more ten-minute Flash intros which only served to show off the designer's ego. Back when I was editing Tropical Fruit News, I called it Fun With Fonts Syndrome: just because you HAVE all those cool, pretty fonts, doesn't mean you can use them, especially for the basic text of your article. People would submit their articles with the entire article written in some frilly goofy font that would really be only for titles, and even then, used sparingly. So my site will be easy for folks to navigate; consider the audience, is my maxim.
What is so gratifying is that Dad was right, back in the 90s, when he predicted how useful the internet would become to small businesses like his, with his aviation books that he wrote and sold from his apartment. (Poor Mom!) He was also the innovator when it came to print-on-demand, too, with his eight self-published books. As he grew infirm, he depended more and more on my dear brother Gordon to be his legs, get the mail, get the manuscripts downtown to Whiteprint, all those wearying chores that had to be done if Dad's books were to ever leave his brain and his apartment. The first time I heard that weird "getting on the internet" sound was when it emanated from Dad's office, usually punctuated by a loud JEEZ!!! when he failed again to connect. His computer was sooooo slooooowwww... plus the entire contraption contained only about 30 mb of storage. I thought about Dad when I was editing the Whitman fruit book, with the photos that EACH were at least 30mb!
As I develop my new venture, I feel more and more like Dad! For a while, he built and sold some sort of ham radio equipment he'd designed. Always coming up with something new that other enthusiasts would buy. He also tried to sell laser prints of the airplane paintings I did for him; he was sure I was as good as the artists who advertised in his aviation magazines. It's awesome to realize how much he always believed in my artistic ability; maybe more than I did. I am sure he'd be pleased with my website, with the giclee process, with my notecards and prints that I, too, can print on demand. I know I would be helping him with his books, from my computer, with Photoshop and Quark and similar goodies would have made his life so much easier.
Guess this is what blogs are for; you think you start out one place—whining—and end up somewhere else, a better place—grateful and nostalgic. Thinking of Dad, thanking him for passing down his determination, his creativity, his "huckster" ways (for so he was described in the Montreal Gazette!), and all that goes into being one's own boss, an entrepreneur. Most businesses are small ones, after all, millions are run by families. Being your own boss is the ONLY way to have job security!
Well, good luck to LJ in their move. Moving is the worst thing for most of us, especially when you have lots of files, records, data, that you CANNOT mess up or lose!
Let's hope the next time I blog, my website will be up and running!

Catching up with stuff

    So tonight I framed up two portraits that had been hanging around for far far too long. As I have my studio in my living room, they have been a constant reminder that I have been taking on too much. So my job as legal assistant didn't work out, oh well. Part of life. My editing and writing skills are intact even if my pride is mussed up a bit. I know now it's time to listen to my heart and focus on two things which I should never ever take for granted: A-R-T and W-R-T.  Back to the easel, and to the canoe paddle, and all that they represent.
    I've been told by people in the know that with a different boss, my solid skillset would have translated into a semblance of normalcy while I learned the job, that it took six months even for a paralegal who had gone to school to learn the rules and procedures. The attorney advertised for someone with no legal experience, but with editing and writing skills: me, or so I thought. That was to keep from having to pay the paralegal rate of pay. Also, I was there just two days a week, with a fulltime load at college to deal with, as well as running Wildlife Research Team and my artbiz. Does that sound like too much?
    I have HUGE respect now for people who have to deal with sarcastic and hard-to-please bosses. I hope the next assistant is a paralegal but I doubt if my former boss can ever be pleased. My predecessor had also suffered demeaning tongue-lashings, I heard from a reliable source, plus she made TONS of mistakes I saw as I became familiar with the cases. Once I forgot to "bold and center" the caption for a pleading, and my boss had to lecture me for ten minutes on the need for perfection. One time I was told, 'You can read, can't you?"
    No wonder the prescriptions for antidepressants for legal assistants are on the rise in this country, by at least 50% last year.
    Did you know that 98% of statistics are made up on the spot?