Sunday, June 29, 2008

Show and Tell: My Saturday

My Show and Tell covers yesterday. See others at Mel's project.

This is an incredibly hands on workshop and I am happy. She gives sets of reference pictures and then goes through the steps on each to maximize output; she checks each person after each step. She is insistent upon quick and decisive work; that meshes well with my own style.

Here are a photo of a photo, not an easy feat to do well, but I dislike using the scanner. Each of the cat drawings are done on plain white drawing paper.

Bear in mind how many times she said, "Make it look like a cat, not necessarily this cat. Nobody is going to see your preliminary drawings or the photo." Yeah, right. Why do I torture myself for the sake of fair and unbiased boggity journalism? You are privy to the inner sanctum as always at Churp, Churp.

Her first step is to make a value drawing. Often times, you can squint to see the blobs of light and dark.

The first is my quick impression. The second gets the proportions better.

After establishing values, the objective is choosing color. She chooses a palate that is broad and this first color sketch is to try out different colors to see what might work. She considers this one's chance to get ugly in the process and it should only take 15 minutes or so.

Good to practice more eyes. All the eyes look so much better in person! They sure can look evil out of context.

This final version is unfinished, but I think it captures the cat well. Plus, it is easy to see how this process makes a cleaner end product with better efficiency. She thinks finished products should take 2-6 hours. She said the average colored pencil artist takes 30 hours. Ridiculous.

We didn't have as much time to spend on the second reference photo and it shows, but then I don't like the composition as much anyway. Believe it or not, this is a lemon. In the original photo, it only looks slightly less orange. It was confusing to try to capture. It was also a little insulting - lemons were immediately my thing in watercolor, pastel, and oil, but not colored pencils.

This final product was done on a sanded pastel paper.
Funny, mine looks like an onion in the photograph!

All day, I found it hard not to be my aggressive pastel self and bear down on the color. With colored pencils, the first coat is very light. Well, they all are. Plain paper layers well, but the sanded paper will accept a dozen layers or more. The only time to bear down is when doing the final coat; the added pressure is called burnishing and will almost give a sealed look. If done too early, it uses all the tooth of the paper.

We have two more reference photos to work with today. I am bringing some of my own photographs in the hopes of doing one of those instead of both references. They are street scenes at night, which she really liked. It'll be fun to try on black paper.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Scavenger Hunt: Clean

Today's word is clean. It is unfamiliar territory for me, so I will focus elsewhere, like

I enjoy the irony of this plant in beautiful, clean, well-tended rows, because it is the Colonial cash crop, tobacco, an unclean plant if I ever saw one.

Good eats. Clean 'em up for dinner.

Oh, so that is the plan already? I would prefer dinner from a clean kitchen.

Nearby, a tourist ship makes a clean approach for the dock. Chesa.peake Bay beaches can be very beautiful, even if this one could use some cleaning of foliage.

Here's to my day getting unclean in an art studio!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Moving away and moving on

Yesterday I messaged Lyd that I wouldn't meet her today to get stuff, that I'd see her for a little while at the party. She messaged back that it was a long drive for me to the party and that she'd meet me half way. I didn't message back, but she was strangely insistent that I not go to the party and that I meet her elsewhere.

Of course, I will not be going to the party. I do not see being stabbed in a public parking lot to be worth $140 and a $1.99 key chain.

Later in the afternoon, the lawsuit friend called me to see how I'm doing. We had talked a little in chat through whispers. I think I am doing fine, all level and composed, although I am lonely and do miss her phone calls/that persona and other communications. I told her that I lied to Lyd via text, that I would not be at the party because I am afraid. She knows how Lyd likes knives. She offered to keep the things for me, but I don't want to put her in that position. I don't really care about the stuff.

She pointed out a few holes to Lyd's story, the differences in how she treats me vs. other people and how that pretty much negates any courtesies she extends me. I know she gets it. (In fact, my therapist feels it is a highly viable theory that Lyd was jealous of J.)

Soon this will be over.

Lawsuit friend had good news in that her DUI's boyfriend's insurance will be covering the damage to the two vehicles. That means he fessed up to his insurance. It also means he'll be doing some jailtime.

This weekend will be great fun in the workshop. I still have lots of art supplies to gather and I will be bringing my own art store, as usual. However, I know whatever I bring 1) won't be enough and 2) will be more than matched by a number of others.

Art geeks, gotta love 'em.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Only appropriate

Who knew Nick and I have so much in common?

I took the Band-Aids off today without incident and am using lots of Caladril to control the itching. This poor leg of mine was already doomed; too often I'd scratch it to similar consequences at night in my sleep. So nails on this leg is too familiar and I am doing anything to keep the scratching down to protect it.

It made it so that the water park was impossible today, however. J is now rooting for my leg to heal and be public-worthy again.

I look forward to not looking like a goober with my socks pulled all the way up; sandals would be nice. If it weren't so hot, I'd wear pants.

Because now that I'm on the market again...

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Self Mutilation

There was a massacre here yesterday. It occurred in the shower with an almost new razor. The razor won and left vile carnage so gross that it made my son pale. It was so copious that I had to use up all our large bandages, applying them in the hopes of not hitting additional razor burns near the more significant ones.

My only hope for social decency was to wear socks pulled all the way up and the only way for the socks to not display the bloodbath was to apply many Band-Aids, which thankfully covered most of them.

Today they itch, but I fear messing with the bandages, so I am spraying my ever loving Bactine where I can.

I won't be able to shave for a week, but I don't really worry about anyone wanting to come close to me with these horrific lesions on my shin. I threw away all of that brand of razors and purchased new for next time. (The thought of trying again makes me squeamish!) One can only hope that $7 more dollars will not be wasted.

Why is it that I can groove with one razor for months on end, then the next peels me like a carrot and they all come from the same package?

Yes, laugh at my expense.

PS - That's Sylv'ie's milk tab. Of course it's in the bathroom.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel, I hope

Written last night...

She called again this evening, saying she's coming back to town Friday instead of Wednesday and then flying out on Monday.

The conversation evolved and she seemed quite surprised that I would not be staying in her booked hotel this weekend (she'd gotten a suite for three days - quite sweet, she wanted to cook for me), nor would I allow her to come to the art workshop with me Sat and Sun. She asked if I canceled the workshop already. Although I actually knew that it was a complete loss, I said I had not called them yet. I said that maybe I'll try to get Norma to go or that I'd try to exchange it for a credit. Or I'd take the loss if I had to. (But I will be there regardless.) She seemed rather shocked, then resigning herself said that maybe she'd change her flight to Friday instead.

It's not like I really cared.

She began in on wondering if I ever cared about her, how she thought we were in it for the long haul. She complained of wearing her heart on her sleeve. I said that she moved much more quickly than I; things go much more slowly for me. I gather information, gather information, until I realize something will or won't work. I can't know that at the outset; I give people a chance. It is theirs to mess it up. I mentioned that at other dating sites, my profile actually states that I'll go out with someone for a month before I realize whether I want to go out with them at all. I do not make snap judgments.

She practices what she calls "mental maso.chism" and beats herself up. I tried to give validity to what we had when we had it and reminded her that I said to take it one day at a time. I believe that she had convinced herself that I loved her, although I never said such a thing and insisted that she not tell me that, to please substitute the word "adore." I'll admit being fond of her phone personae, but I couldn't tolerate her in public.

I expanded more upon the latter; in addition to finally telling her that even J called her obnoxious, I gave her a quick example. We were sitting on the back bench of a hotel-type van going up the hill at Monti.cello. She had an empty soda bottle and was banging it hard against her leg. It echoed throughout the little van. Like many times those days, I gave her a questioning look, not understanding her purpose beyond calling attention to herself, but I opted to not tell her to stop, figuring she's an adult, although she acts like a child. There was an older man sitting right in front of her. As we exited the van behind him, he asked the driver what his parting instructions had been (something simple like the van meets here to go back down), the old man saying he could hear because of "them" in the seat behind him. (It was very difficult being associated with her in these situations.) We got off the van and the old man referenced it again within earshot. Lyd went off to me, that the man had said anything within earshot of her, that he had no right to complain about her. She was quite agitated, the silverback gorilla. Like any behavior I do not appreciate, I ignored her and didn't encourage her. We'd been with her at the waterpark the day before (and the ghost tour the day before) and I knew how obnoxious she could be in public.

So I gave her this example of something she didn't need to do. And the man paid his money and deserved everything associated with the tour. (Of course, Lyd had not paid her part and maybe she didn't see it through the man's eyes, or mine either.) There was no reason for the bottle and there was no reason for her to act aggressively when the man tried to politely get his due. He laid blame where it was due, as well, except he mistakenly included J and I by association.

So finally after these things and more, she said she would be changing her flight plans to Friday. I had told her I could meet with her on Friday, per her insistence. She wanted to give me some money and later revealed that she wanted to return to me the perfume (my regular scent, had been discontinued, so I have to find it on ebay - although I don't want it back b/c I'd got two) that I'd sent to her. Earlier, before I expanded about the van, I'd told her that the money I'd spend wasn't the issue; my concern was forking it out for the next two or more weeks. And I made certain to remind her again that the money wasn't the reason I broke it off; it was the discrepancy between how she treated me in private/on the phone and how she treated others in public/in the chatroom. Finances were not the cause; her behavior was.

I feel like the world's mother sometimes.

When she began to look up flights on Friday, I begged off the phone. I didn't want to listen to it. She was wrong for paying to bump her flight up to Monday without talking to me. She should have done it for Friday. I would have told her so. [Turns out, she changed it to Saturday.]

As it stands, I don't think I'll see her on Friday and I do not care about the money. I told her I have to be here at 4:30ish to get J to his stepmother. I can only do things around that. Right now, it appears I won't have to do anything. Who knows about the party Friday night. I may miss that, too. The hostess has turned into quite the rebound slut since breaking it off with psychotic DUI boy. She's hooking up with men from the chat room right and left. She's cute with "perfect boobs" (her words) she shows off in chat and awful teeth (my words) not picked up on the cam and I have become quite tired of hearing about how each man/couple wants her... and how often she gives it.

I do not understand how others life their lives. I am glad I read your blogs. You lend me a sense of normalcy. Yesterday, I commended Norma for her character, how I appreciate having someone with standards in my life. I appreciate you people, too.

Back to today, she's sent me a couple mails. The one this morning was poignant and it seems a lot has sunk in, to the point of her understanding a bit, with less melancholy. I think she expected more absolute acceptance by me - I did tell her in the past that I accepted her, but I accepted the phone her, not the crazed in person her, although she thinks they are the same. She wrote, "i am a sch.ool girl....still lear.ning how to be soc.ialized." Actually, I think she wants to buck society for the attention; it's not fun being around the idiot who others wonder is mentally challenged or unstable. No reasonable adult would expect a school.girl version of a 33yo woman. And no 33yo woman should be a bad influence on a kid and think that any parent would accept that.

Her last line did it for me, as was her intention. I realize that I am simultaneously Charlotte and Samantha; I state clearly here that I am an oxymoron. I don't want to get dirty unless someone has some class first. I expect proper behavior and respect, decorum, manners. People have joked that I am a closet perv and that is the case; I am a different person when the bedroom doors are closed. She wrote: "certa.inly hope you find a per.son who fits your puz.zle, babe" and I figure she is referring to these things; perhaps she doesn't understand what a good mother does in protecting her child from the heathens of the world.

I think she is also inferring that my personal puzzle is particularly difficult. However, I think we all have puzzles. I think some people are more willing to compromise on their standards/ideals/desires to where any ol' puzzle piece fits. To some people like Lyd, warm and breathing are enough. I'm willing to try different puzzle pieces and jimmy with them a bit, but if they don't fit, they don't fit. The process takes a little time, though.

If I have learned anything since my divorce, it's that I cannot settle.

I think I need a man who plays tennis. He's both classy and dirty. If only Roger Federer were available.

Monday, June 23, 2008

She's called a number of times

I wrote this last evening...

I tried to wait until she was in an appropriate, private location on her trip to her cousin's, but she pressed and pressed until I responded I was not sure about us being together. She quickly got off the phone and quickly called back, asking if she'd heard right about me dumping her. I told her that we're very different people - I am proper with good manners and she is the opposite. She's pretty much, "Yeah, so what?" I guess the uncouth don't value couth enough to appreciate a difference. She didn't see this as good reason.

Although I really wanted to as additional justification, I didn't quote my insightful son as calling her obnoxious to round out my explanation, as if one were really due. I just repeated many times that we're not right for each other, that I'd like to be friends and be cordial, do the chat room or a party simultaneously, that I do enjoy things about her, that she could bitch at me about her mother. She exclaimed that she could not fathom going down to that level with me, that it would be impossible with the way she feels about me. I find this odd in that she is supposedly friendly with all but one of her exes.

I told her that she is different on the phone, more calm. Her in person is more like her chat room personae. I hope that part sinks in, but I suspect it won't. She is not how she thinks she is. She is that silverback gorilla bullying everyone around her, except me. I knew that before long, it would be me, too. BTDT.

She said she'd told me that she wanted to be with me, that she still feels that way, and said I said the same to her about wanting to be together. She asked if I was lying about that. Well, I'm not so sure about saying something that definitive, but I said/implied I wanted to try things with her, not that I was committed to being with her in 35 years. You date to try things out for the moment. Sometimes it progresses, sometimes stalls. Sometimes it doesn't work. When you're not in close contact, everything is skewed until you are.

I was very patient helping her to work through this and answering her questions, which I do fear will be twisted as she relates it. I realize I don't have to be kind, but I feel it's best in the long run.

I asked her about the financial part. How could she come here for over 3.5 weeks with less than $250 in her pocket? (On my walk with Norma a bit ago, I added up the various funds I know she's received in the last few weeks and that totals at least $600. Where did that go? What did she assume?) I asked her intention about the trip/money. Did she come here just expecting me to pay for everything, particularly after I specifically told her I couldn't? What sort of vision did she have about it? She replied that she had no vision... no surprise there. She didn't think that far ahead. She didn't come here expecting me to support her? No, she said, she doesn't operate that far in advance. She said she really needed to leave town/home and this was her chance, that she should have gotten another credit card to provide financing. I think she is lying about the money and forethought. She is a schemer about money.

I think this truism comes into play: It is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. When I confronted her Saturday, she immediately ranted about how she'd fucked up, but supposedly she didn't realize anything before then.

I told her that, although I'd drawn a line about paying for the rest of her vacation, I didn't want to leave her high and dry, that I'd pay her $25 airline ticket change fee she'd balked about before. When she pressed on and on, because she was babbling entirely too much, saying she already owes me money and she couldn't accept $25 more, I said it is more practical of me to pay $25 than to pay $70-100 a night for her to stay locally, that I want her safe and in a good place and I'm willing to do what it takes to make it happen. She certainly squawked at that, focusing on the $25 vs $70-100 part and I warned her not to put a spin on that; she knew my real goal is to help her and get her home safely. I know that my intention isn't what she'll take from that exchange.

She interrupted and wouldn't let me finish when I said .... oops, will finish later when I finish the car check up.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Show and Tell: My Favorite Park

This is a guided tour of my favorite park, courtesy of Mel's Show n Tell. It is located perhaps an hour away, but I still try to go a few times each summer. It is also where I often take out of town guests.

Here are some of its features.

Inside the conservatory...

Inside the butterfly exhibit...

I love this guy's face. Click to enlarge.

This one looked like a bird flying around. Look at the size of its body!
These are a beautiful Wedgewood blue when open, but they're almost impossible to photograph open.

This was one ugly flower who took a beautiful picture.

It's always fun to find the mating ones!
I think this is a rather minimalist composition.

Outside the butterfly exhibit...

I hope you enjoyed the tour of one of my favorite places. You can't imagine the folders of pictures I, um, weeded out!

Saturday Scavenger Hunt: Help

Two things combine around here to create photos which need help, our word of the week, thanks to Laura B. First, I take massive numbers of photos; there are bound to be rejects. Second, my camera is less than helpful with the outer lens cover often getting stuck, plus with the preview screen not working I have to use the old fashioned peep hole when I can.

I'll concentrate on the last week. There are plenty of examples of pictures needing help.

Okay, I must admit that some need help due to operator error, but this camera isn't very user friendly either.

However, occasionally a picture doesn't need help just out of luck. Spooky serendipity shots feel so good, especially when from a ghost tour!