Tuesday, July 30, 2013


The thing I might love most about my job is all the weird things I learn during research.  I'm working on a painting of Rapunzel right now, so I dusted off my leather-bound edition of Grimm Tales and found Rapunzel somewhere in the hundreds of tales within.  Like most American children, I thought the poor girl had been named after radishes, and I always thought that was a bit stupid and I wondered why anyone would name such a beautiful baby after such a weird vegetable.

But the truth is, Rapunzel was not named for radishes.  She was named for Rampion, a purple wildflower with leaves similar to spinach and a root like a turnip or radish.  Aha!  Now things make more sense!  And I have something far prettier than a radish to include in my Rapunzel painting!

Photo from Wikipedia.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Staying on Track

I hear from a lot of artists who complain that they have a hard time staying on track.  Maybe they have a day job and/or children, or maybe they struggle with procrastination.  For me, the ultimate motivator and the best way to keep my day organized and get the most done with my art time, is to make a list every day of what I need to accomplish.

I use the Calendar app that came with my Mac.  I can color code everything (work, painting time, personal time, art shows, and done) and easily move things from one day to another if I don't manage to finish everything.  And yes, I do put every little thing on my list.  I am very forgetful and if I don't put it on the list I might not remember to do it.

Sometimes I keep a paper list, but a lot of the time I end up misplacing it, or the piece of paper becomes clutter in the workshop or studio.

And that's it for today!  I have a lot of work to do and only a few days to get it done.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Oracle Deck

This entry got really long, so really quickly here: I'm running a Kickstarter to fund self-publishing an oracle deck.  This is day 3 and we are already over funded and decks are going fast.  I intended to order 100, but over 60 are already accounted for.  Here are the spiffy boxes I designed for this project:

I will keep taking orders, even if we go over 100.  At this point I'm thinking I'd like to order 200, because I'm not sure if I will actually have any for DragonCon!  Here's the Kickstarter page: http://kck.st/1bGlqbe

Now, back to your regularly scheduled rambling!


I haven't updated in so long!  This summer has been totally nuts.  I don't even know where it's gone.  Here's a quick rundown:

In May I attended MisCon.  This was probably the last year I'll be able to attend in person, but if things are less chaotic next year I might make it down for a day.  It was an okay show.  The art room was smaller, and they had a new hanging system that made things kind of complicated.  Other than that, it was fun, and I got to meet my buddy Theresa Mather face to face, finally!

A week or so after MisCon ended, my family came to town.  It was trailer city around here for a couple of weeks while my grandparents and in-laws came to visit.  My grandpa and I had briefly discussed finishing part of my garage so I could use it as a workshop/shipping facility.  He thought it was a good idea on the phone.  Then he got here and saw that every inch of my house was stuffed with packing materials, prints, products, equipment, etc. and he said, "this is the first thing we have to do."

Our quick little one day project idea turned into a month of construction, but now I have a really awesome space to pack, ship, print, and so on.

The day we moved into the new workshop, our main printer died.  I'm not even joking.  I couldn't believe it.  I ended up having to buy a $700 printer because I had a show in a week and I needed a printer.  Desperately.  I really like it (Canon Pixma Pro-10) and so far it hasn't had any of the weird problems I always had with my Epson R1800 (the printer that died).  I still have an Epson 2200 that is 10 years old and runs like new.  But that R1800 was a pile of junk from day one.

So the printer doesn't arrive in time and then I have to scramble to get a local printer to produce something like 300 prints for me.  Overnight.  And then I scrambled to get them all matted and packaged and ready.  Drive to Washington, get to the park and set up.  Beautiful, hot hot weather.

The next morning we (my Uncle Brad and I) get about 5 miles from my mom's house and the torrential downpour begins.  We drive the next hour and a half in lightning, thunder, hail, with the radio going crazy warning us to take cover immediately.  I wonder if the booth is still standing.

We get there and things are a little damp but it's not too bad.  People tell us there's a fire nearby from the lightning.  We set up.  The faire opens, and the lightning starts again.  This is particularly horrifying for me because I have what are basically bionic implants in my back that run along the upper half of my spine (this is like a foot of metal rods, plus gliders, brackets, etc.), and I'm standing in a metal tent, underneath a tree.

I'm going to die.

I jump and/or shriek every time lightning cracks nearby.  Everyone else is pretty cool with it.  Customers keep shopping.  I'm trying not to pee my pants.  Then the rain starts.  Pretty soon everything in the front of the booth is soaked.  I'm trying to keep calm and wait for the rain to stop.  It doesn't rain that long in the desert, does it?

Oh hell yeah, it rains a long time in the desert.  Eventually it stops and we end up with a few ruined postcards and a couple of soggy 2013 calendars.  Otherwise we're okay, just covered in mud and standing in water inside our booth.  Sheesh.

The next morning was punctuated with a bloody brawl that took place next to my mug display.  The RadCon security team jumped on it right away and got them away from my booth before they ruined anything.  I can't remember what else happened that day.  I think my brain hit its stress threshold and stopped recording events.  :P

Edited to add: I remember what happened the rest of the first day.  My mother took my son grocery shopping and ended up stranded in flood waters.  She tried to drive and ran over something and ruptured the sidewall on a tire, and called me in a panic, screaming her head off that there was water everywhere and her car wouldn't drive and no one would come get her.  My grandpa went and changed her flat, but she had to buy a new tire before she could drive home.  This was the worst day I've ever had at a show from a personal standpoint.  Sitting there, wondering if my kid is being swept away in a river or something.  I mean my mom really scared the bejesus out of me.

I rush home on Monday and start packing things up for the calendar Kickstarter.  It's July now.  Where did June go?  Holy smokes.  For some reason, I think maybe the wild weather patterns and stress in Washington, my back freaks out and I spend the next two weeks either hobbling around or sitting in an easy chair.  This is the worst.  I am always doing something.  To be able to do nothing is torture.  I don't take vacations.  I take workations.  It physically hurts me to sit around and do nothing.

But I finally get a new ergonomic office chair, and after a couple days of using it and taking way too much Ibuprofen, my back and hip have decided to work together again and I'm packing orders like a crazy woman.  I'm going to have to take a break this weekend and work on paintings for DragonCon, because before I know it, I'll be packing up the car and driving 2,100 miles to Atlanta.  I don't fly.  I mean, I will, but I have to be drunk or sedated.  And I'll probably still barf.  Plus we factored up the cost of fuel and a hotel room, versus baggage fees and shipping everything there, and it was a lot cheaper to drive.  So we're driving!

I'll post updates as things progress, both on the oracle deck front and the DragonCon front.  See you soon!