Category Archives: Art and Words

Yemaya

yemayamermaidThis is my version of a mythological figure, the goddess Yemaya, from the Afro-Caribbean pantheon. She is one of my favorite Goddesses.

A couple of years ago, when my life was all crazy, and I felt all funny at the job I was at, one of my coworkers took me to see a Santero- a Puerto Rican guy who would read your playing cards and tell your fortune.  The Santeros do much more than that- folks who do the Santeria thing see them as spiritual guides- but I talked to this guy about the Gods and he said that while Yemaya cares about me very, very much, I am a daughter of Oshun, Yemaya’s sister. Here is my painting of Oshun:oshunbathing1

In Santeria, Orishas are kind of like the Hindu Avatars, in that they are forms of God with which humans regularly commune.

I am an athiest. I have been for a while. But for me, that particular way of looking at the world and understanding death doesn’t translate to a lack of respect for the way other folks do it. I like to be a participant observer in every culture I come into contact with, and sometimes spirituality just feels good, or it can make you feel better- even if you ain’t a believer.

Lots of stuff has happened since last I posted… looks like we went out and elected ourselves a Black president- how many languages can you say “awesome” in?? That is tempered with the fact that two big gay-mecca states have passed some very heinous anti-gay legislature. Bleh. We gotta get out there and get folks on our page!

I will be stopping in again later to check in again. I have missed the blogness! I am glad to be back. 😀

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Friday. Just Another Day.

It really is, in the working class feminist’s world. I was getting every other weekend off but in order to accommodate some of the activisty-stuff I had to shuffle my schedule around in such a way that it looks like I’ll be doing second shift, weekends, without 2 days off in a row- quite possibly for the rest of my life. And I still need to go out and get that second job.

I want some watercolor pads and also want to get (duh) some more paint. I’d like to get some charcoal sticks, too.

But I haven’t posted any pictureness or anything since LAST WEEK (I know, I’m just an awful blogger) so I wanted to put this up for inspiration for folks who haven’t “personalized” their art journals.

This is one of those sketch diaries that you can buy at Michael’s or wherever. All I did was paint the back cover with acrylics and then used aluminum foil tape and a picture I’d done in the sketch book with oil pastels for the front cover. It’s “sealed” with semi-gloss heavy gel medium. It came out pretty cool, huh? Whenever I pull it out people always ask me where I got it, etc. It feels good to tell them I did it myself.

I love Indian religious art. The cover is actually a mandala thing- I just started out with two different-sized circles, and let my imagination do the rest, with the inspiration of some pictures of the goddess Kali I’d seen fueling my hands as they mushy-mushed the oil pastels. It’s also got some gel pen and some magic marker going on.

This weekend I will DEFINITELY have some new art journal goodness out there. Blasted scanner. Blasted lack of technological prowess.

And also I’m still working on the other stuff I mentioned in my last post. I’ve just been a busy bee.

😀

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Happy Wednesday!

Yes. It's upside down. I know this. So is my brain mwaaahhaa.

I have some new art journal stuff but the problem is that there are so many things plugged into our USB hub right now, there is no room to plug in the scanner.

This is the only problematic part of sharing a computer… there are times when you wanna just unplug and replug stuff but you don’t know what’s safe to unplug. And the scanner’s been acting, well… funny lately. Which gives me a touch of anxiety.

But for today, I do have this zendala that I did a while back, so that should keep the visual oomph for the site till i figure out what’s what. I’m working on a painting on a ceramic floor tile, and have an idea for a themed series… but I’m keeping that under wraps until I have three of ’em done. 😀

I am off this weekend, but there are some feministy-wordy things I want to put up here probably before then. I can’t wait to be off this weekend.

I am thinking of applying for a second job at Starbucks just so I can get my hands on more art supplies. I finally got some watercolor pencils… the cheapyest kind they had at michaels…. and I am in luuuuv. I want to get some of the crayons, and also some of the water soluble oil pastels. These oil pastels that I have, while I do love them very much, are very very old and very very dry.

No seriously. They are like, literally, 20 years old or something. The packaging on them looks like it comes from the seventies. Most of them I can work with but with the brown and the peachy-beigey color, it’s totally just like coloring with wax crayons. No smearing. They just won’t do it.

So that is my Wednesday update. Not much excitingness.

Has anybody ever applied for entry into an MFA program in art without having a BFA? Is it possible? Can it happen? The idea of doing college but doing it for art really, really appeals to me. Am I wrong? I loved college, and that was when I was studying anthropology. I can’t imagine going to school for art and not liking it.

I can, however, imagine how bad it would feel to do all the application hullaballoo and then not be accepted. But I guess that’s just negative thinking. I mean, I would be out fifty bucks, right? And I need to get a portfolio together any way just to have a decent means of showing people my stuff.

IDK. Please, advise me. All the programs I’ve looked at stipulate that the decision is based primarily on the quality of the portfolio but they also say that “generally” they don’t take “my kind” in their programs– that is, the kind who doesn’t have an undergrad degree in art already.

Oy vey.

Alright. Gotta go make rehab donuts. 😀

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Blog about my Dad.

Sorta.

Not much in the way of words, but I made this a while back when I was thinking about him and I been thinking about him this past week a lot too.

It’s a calavarita- Mexican-folk inspired, like a Day-0f-The-Dead sugar skull. I lived in Guanajuato, Mexico for 6 months back in 2002, and was lucky enough to participate with a family’s celebration of the holiday. It’s a beautiful time of year (October/November) to visit Mexico. Especially the City of Guanajuato, which at that time hosts the Cervantino festival, a monstrous, 4-week arts celebration that turns the tiny town into a mini Mexico City for a month. It’s amazing.

But anyways, that time of year rolls around and Mexicans make sugar skulls and put them everywhere. They make them in memory of their dead loved ones. My dad died when I was 18 so he never knew I got a degree in Spanish or that I lived in Mexico, or that I live in FL now. I think he would be glad to know I quit smoking. He died of lung and prostate cancer, back before they could do too much for prostate cancer and even celebrities like Michael Landon fell prey to it.

Guess since we’re talking about death and Mexican folk art I should mention that, if you haven’t already noticed, I love Mexican art and it does tend to influence my style. In fact this blog is named after one of Frida Kahlo’s paintings:

Khalo painted this in response to a news story in which a man had slain his wife brutally by stabbing her 22 times and then appealed to the judge, stating, “but it was just a few small nips!” Many of you already know this story but I think it bears repeating. I chose the title for the blog because we live in times that, while superficially different, haven’t changed that much at several institutional levels. Women still have to go on trial themselves in order to defend themselves against abuse and so very many of them don’t even bother.

Men still tend to think that women are there to serve them and since women’s rights crawl forward at a snail’s pace, there is now mounting hostility towards women who have the audacity to stand up for themselves and go through the fiery hoops of the judicial system to protect themselves.

Urban myths develop. Men have the idea that there’s this plague of false accusations flying around and “ruining the lives” of perfectly well-meaning men. Because men have been trained to believe that their lives are the only important ones in this world.

Anyways.

So thank you Frida Khalo, and thank you Dad. I wouldn’t be who I am without the influence of both of you.

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Art Journal Stuff

Since I’ve been working on this angel thing I haven’t really had the space in my room to whoop out my painting journal and do anything new this week. I have the weekend off, though, and my plan is to make some progress on that darn thing.

The wings are vexing me.

IN the meantime, though, I wanted to talk about a couple of my painting journal pages.

Here’s Kali:

I didn’t crop her too well when I scanned, but other than that I think this is a pretty cool entry. I used all kinds of stuff, gel medium and tissue paper, aluminum tape, re-gessoing, oil pastels, gel ink. I like goddess imagery a lot even tho I am an athiest- I like the stories behind goddesses and especially this one. She’s pretty much a good reminder that any ordered system can just go bonkers on you when you least expect it.

And then, the other half of the pages came out this way:

I think this is awesome. I have been wanting to write/paint/do something for sometime with this theme; that is, the “Jackson Pollack can suck it” theme.

Not that I don’t dig looking at his paintings. Just that I’m damned tired of stories like his when it comes to art and “genius.” The “tortured genius” thing really gets me agitated. The idea that any art is only for a chosen few steams my rice and leaves little burnt patches at the bottom of the pot. And the idea that being some kind of “tortured genius” is an excuse to treat people like shit, especially women- and then to make art that promotes that attitude, and put it out there to influence other artists- it’s just ridiculous. And it’s ridiculous that we give that kind of adoration to these folks.

Their art should stand alone, like everyone else’s is supposed to, and the lives of these folks are really not much to celebrate. I know that might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t really care. There are too many actually tortured women geniuses out there who never get a chance to put a paintbrush to paper for me to give a shit about the motivations that these kinds of men have had in dehumanizing women in their art.

Anyways.

Hope y’all like the pictures.

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Process, process…

So I said I’d post some pics of the artsy process for y’all to look at. I got this new painting I am working on and it’s inspired by my love :D. Anyhoo, I’ll be adding some collage elements to it and I’m not sure exactly how that will look, but i can show you how it’s going so far…

Here’s me slathering on a mixture of black, red, and super-cheap craft smart gold paint to make a sorta base for my background…

And here’s the background with a wash on top of it (super cheap scarlet mixed with the super cheap gold)

The nifty thing about adding the super cheap craft smart gold paint to everything is that it dries all matte, but adds glimmeryness that is very subtle and you probly won’t see in the pictures. But there are tiny flecks of goldness in the layers.

After this is dried, I gessoed the basic area for the figure I wanted to put in, and then kinda worked the gesso till it was the right shape more or less.

I know a lot of folks will just do the sketch on the canvas, but I like how it looks when you gesso on top of the background. I used to want to be an archaeologist. I like the idea that underneath art is more art. Idunno if that makes sense. Don’t care really. I just like doing it this way.

So then I added a sketch, then a little color, then some more.

And that’s where she is right now. Yes, the gesso halo is deliberate. I can’t wait to finish painting this so I can start gluing stuff to it and paint it some more.

Yay!

Also, went to art store today and got some MOD PODGE!!!!!!!!!!!! I love Mod Podge. Yes.

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The Storm

Fay is really venting right now. So much that here in (normally) sunny Orlando, we have these crazy winds and rain that you just can’t believe unless you’re from around here, which I’m not, so I’m having a hard time. I think Fay’s just upset, maybe it’s a little overwhelming, what with thinking she’d be a “real” hurricane, then it not happening, then having to hang out in Daytona Beach after spending time in Cocoa, I dunno. I mean, shit. She needs to go to Tennessee and see how the other half lives before she goes dumping all her pain onto us. I’m just sayin’.

Since this is the new blog, and it wants to be an artsy blog, I thought I’d throw up one of my journal pages just so folks wouldn’t think I was full of shit when I said I was making stuff. This one is (obviously) where the header art comes from. It’s a bit of a crooked scan, but hey.

I was doing some experimentation layering book pages and acrylic paints and oil pastels and sharpie marks, and after I scanned it I put in some white-out and some gel ink, which you can’t see here. The girl is a sort of paper-doll cutout of bible pages, I think. IDK if you can tell that from the pic. It was a journal entry dealing with everlasting, mature love and faithfulness and envy and all that shit. there is another half to it. It looks like this:

and It actually should go on the left but I’m too tired to try and figure

that out. I have yet to add words to it, am still chewing on that.

My process has been paint first, then write what I think on top of it. I like pictures with words. It makes me feel good and sane.

My journaling process is kinda like this: I keep this one, which is just a regular sort of hardcover biggish unlined journal, just for painting in. I clip down the pages then gesso them and go crazy. I have a smaller sketch diary, just for practicing, and then a bit of a bigger sketch diary for when I feel like practicing on a larger scale.

Anyways. I started a new painting tonight. I am excited. Yay.

Now I must try and sleep. Mucho amor, y’all.

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