Monday, September 24, 2007

Observations on This Modern World

A disadvantage of living in a world with e-mail is that when I am expecting something to arrive in the regular mail, I have an impulse to go check our mailbox every ten minutes, even if the mail has already come for the day.

And a disadvantage of living in a world with cell phones is that whenever I misplace something - anything - I have the urge to call it so I can figure out where it is. Sadly, my wallet, keys and sunglasses did not come with telephone numbers. They should. (Fortunately for me, when I lose those things, I usually lose them in the same places every time, and my husband knows where those places are.)

Things overheard on the road trip

"Guess what? Your car goes 95!"

"They didn't say the speed limit was 40. They said the highway was 40."

"Wouldn't it be great to have enough money to buy stolen art?"


If I'm absent a great deal this week, from my own blog or yours, please forgive me. The FantaSci convention, at which I've rented a table to sell my paintings (live and in person for the very first time!), is this weekend, and I'm starting to hyperventilate. So many things I never even knew I had to do, so many things I forgot I had to do, so many things I just plain have to do. So little time.

And yet, I think it's going to be great fun. If you're in the area, please stop by.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

If I could say this without words...

In fourth or fifth grade, our elementary school, which at the time was pretty isolated in the deserts north of Reno, held a talent show. I was always a super shy kid, one of those nerdy kids, with purple glasses and a bad perm, who was perpetually teased, and had no idea how to get around that. But for some reason, I signed up for the talent show. I played the piano, but I didn't think of that as a talent. It was just something I did. I wanted to do something extraordinary for the talent show. So I decided to create a mime act.

I didn't know anything about miming - I'd never done it before - and I don't remember the plot exactly, except that I was camping and at one point I got marshmallows stuck all over my fingers.

I do remember the laughter, and the applause, and the kids who came running up to me for months on the playground to say, "You're the girl who was the mime!"

I'd love to say that I suddenly became one of the most popular kids in school, that I miraculously gained social skills, that life was great after that. I didn't and life stayed pretty much the same. In fact, the attention made me a bit uncomfortable and even more awkward, and eventually, it faded. And I didn't even begin to gain the few social skills I have until the very end of high school.

But for a short time, inside, I felt wonderful. I felt confident. I felt like a success. And even though I probably didn't know his name at the time, and still don't know that much about him, I think I owe some of that to Marcel Marceau, who died yesterday at 84.

Bravo, Mr. Marceau, and thank you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Shiver Me Timbers!

It's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! What better holiday is there?

Learn the lingo here. And even my German-speaking friends can learn to speak like a pirate here. And my Swedish-speaking friends can listen to Swedish pirate-speak here. And, yep, my Chinese-speaking friends (not sure I have any, yet, but if I do...) can find Chinese-pirate-speak clips on this page, too. See? Told you it was international.

I think I'll celebrate by drawing more treasure maps and raiding the rum. Later. After I draw the treasure maps.

(Coincidentally, I am listening on my iPod to Buccaneers and the Pirates of our Coast, by Frank Richard Stockton; I downloaded it from LibriVox, and it's so compelling that I find myself looking forward to going to the gym or getting in the car, just so I can listen to some more. It's like stepping into another world. Now that's good "reading," my friends.)

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

It's love, not obsession.

With ships, that is. And the ocean. All oceans. And any large body of water, really.


As promised on my other blog, here are photos from my recent day trip up to Onancock.


Remember back when I went to see the tall ships in Norfolk, and couldn't identify one ship? Imagine my delight at finding it right in front of me, again. Like running into an old friend. (Just an old friend whose name I can't remember... which, really, isn't all that uncommon in my case.) And this time, I got to step aboard.


The ship is the Godspeed, a replica of one of the three ships English colonists traveled in to establish Jamestown in 1607.




As I drove home, I crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, and crossed the same waters that those original colonists, caught in a terrible storm in the Atlantic, were blown into. Lucky for them.


(This view is looking west into the Chesapeake Bay from a pullout on the northern end of the bridge. So there is land in that direction. You can see a little bit on the right hand side as a sort of wiggle in the horizon. The size of the Chesapeake Bay awes me. Someday, I'd like to really explore it. You know, when I build my own ship.)



Yes, a good day. Filled with love.


I've been working on getting out of the house and the studio and, well, refilling the creative well, lately. The past two weekends have been great, a good dip into Virginia's artistic waters.

As mentioned in the last post, I took a lovely drive on Saturday up to Onancock for the grand opening of the Red Queen Gallery; it was a marvelous day, filled with incredible art, good conversation, amazing weather, a a ship, a stop at the Book Bin in Onley on the way back, and some breathtaking views of the Chesapeake Bay (I've driven over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel so many times that it takes a lot to make me stop the car for a closer look, but I did on Saturday, and I'll be posting those photographs on the other blog shortly).

And on Saturday, the 8th, I headed down Route 13 to downtown Suffolk for the "Taste of Suffolk" festival. My real purpose was to see a group of artists participate in a painting circle, hosted by Angelia of Red Thread Studio, who posted a note on the Etsy forums. Each artist worked on a canvas for 20 minutes, then passed the canvas on to the next person. The result was a collection of six vivid collaborative pieces of art, which were auctioned off at the end of the day (I'm still disappointed that I didn't win one, but, ah, well).





It was fascinating to watch the works in progress, growing and changing with each artist's uniquely identifiable touch, and the artists themselves were charming and very willing to chat with the passersby. Definitely worth the trip.

No need to curtsy, unless you want to.

Oh... yes. I've always wanted my own title. Doesn't everyone?

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milady the Most Honourable Alison the Omnipresent of Walk upon Water
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

I'm not sure about the word "honourable" because it sounds so stern and judge-like, but I do like the rest of it. Maybe I'll get another one tomorrow. You can get your very own, here.

Via Belinda of Bel's Nook.

(Just a side note... my two blogs are in a neck-and-neck race for number of posts... this post brings this blog into the lead with 82 posts, but lest the other one feel neglected, feel free to pop on over there to read my latest art-related news.)

Monday, September 17, 2007

Coming Attractions

It's always when I post the least that it seems the most is happening. That seems a bit backwards. I'll work on that.

Sea of Zest_1_CU

I am delighted to announce that I've joined the Fantasy Artists of Etsy street team, and I look forward to becoming part of this amazing group of artists.

I've also signed up for two art shows/sales in the Hampton Roads area:

I'll be in Artist's Alley at FantaSci 6 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center on September 29 and 30.

And, pending acceptance, I will be part of the Handmade Parade hosted by the Norfolk Craft Mafia on November 10.

I am very excited about both shows (although a bit nervous). I've been drawing and painting like a fiend to have enough work just to fill up my table. (Which also means that if you had any intention of purchasing one of the originals I have in my Etsy shop right now, step right up, because I'll be taking them with me to the show in two weeks).

If you're in the area, please stop by and say hello.

This weekend, I also had the opportunity to attend the Grand Opening of the Red Queen Gallery, in the charming town of Onancock, Virginia, where ten of my paintings are eagerly seeking new homes. It was a marvelous event. The gallery looks beautiful, open and sun-filled and colorful, and I am both awed by the work of the other artists and honored to be in their company. If you're anywhere near there, do stop in, and, while you're there, take a map of the town, also drawn by yours truly. And on top of seeing the gallery and meeting a number of wonderful people, I took a jaunt down to the wharf, and scrambled all over the Godspeed for a while. Any day with a ship in it is a good day, is it not?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Conversation at My House


ALISON: Aieeee! OWWWW, ow, ow, ow, OWWWW. Ah, that hurts!

AL: What happened?

ALISON: I don't know! I stepped on something! My foot hurts!

(ALISON collapses onto couch, grabs aching heel, reaches down, picks up small, hard object off of floor, and holds it up for Al to see.)

AL: (pause) You got attacked by a Hershey's Kiss?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Toes in the Water

It's a little overwhelming, really. I have 926 photographs from my road trip.* That doesn't count the 20 to 30 I already deleted. So it may take me a while to go through them all thoroughly, and I certainly have no intentions of making you all look at 926 photographs, anyway. But perhaps you'd enjoy a quick taste, with a heartier sampler to come.

On this trip, I...


... made the acquaintance of a barn kitten at the Laura Ingalls homestead...


... snapped only one good photo at Mount Rushmore before the camera battery died....


... discovered, at least once a day, why so many people call summer "road construction season"...


... drove through a forest fire...


...almost ran off the road a few times because the Columbia River Gorge is so incredibly beautiful... my photographs don't even come close to doing it justice...


...found myself - or my tattoo, really - to be an object of fascination...


...spent some time traveling alongside a future meal...


... learned that small town America doesn't just exist in the movies...


... found our next house, a nice little fixer-upper (good road access, potential for a ski ramp in the back yard)... hey, real estate near Steamboat Springs isn't cheap...


... learned the answer to the question, "Mom, why do you think that field over there is so yellow?," once we got up close...


...met a retired Thoroughbred, although, really, he wasn't all that keen on meeting a bunch of strangers...


... and whole-heartedly disagreed with the statement that once you've seen a sunset, you've seen them all, because, oh, my, oh, my, this might just have been the best sunset I've ever seen in my entire life.

I also spent a lot of time lamenting that, with such a tight schedule, I didn't have more time to get out the car and take better photographs. I suppose I'll just have to go again.

* That's approximately 1 photograph for every 7 miles driven, which, honestly, doesn't seem like that much to me, when I look at it that way.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle, 1918-2007

Thank you, for Flip and Poly, especially.


Of all the authors in the world, no one shaped my worldview or the person I am today in the way that Madeleine L'Engle did. She is, without question, my absolute favorite author. (Only L.M. Montgomery comes close.) She was a big part of my decision as a teenager to become a writer.

I am heartbroken and I think I am most likely not alone.

May she rest in peace.