Monday, October 26, 2009

"Fast" is the Illustration Friday topic for 10/23

Fast seems to sum up most things today. We want our service, our food, our commitments, our opportunities to come ... FAST! Some children want to grow, up fast and the media is certainly accomodating them.

For me, fast is how my children are growing, how I gain weight, how the days-months-years roll, how I must make decisions sometimes...

My illustration reflects my daughter's growing up.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Someone to Watch Over Me

This song has been stuck in my head since my daughter and I saw the movie "Fame" two weeks ago. I have always like it. And, honestly didn't realize it was written by the Gershwin brothers in 1926. Great music really does withstand the test of time.
Although I can relate to the wistful romantic soul of the song, I like my illustrated homage that points to Halloween.
'Tis the season!

Friday, October 16, 2009

"Frozen" is the Illustration Friday 10/16/09 Topic

How many of us heard the words "Watch out or you're face will freeze like that..."? Well, Eddie didn't listen, so his face is frozen in a goofy pose for eternity. Sounds like an episode of Twilight Zone, doesn't it?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Creative, Motivated Artist Seeks New Space

The first photo shows the outside of my cute little studio. The next one shows a wall of the front gallery and the last shows my work room.
I've begun to have a love/hate relationship with my studio.
In the beginning, I saw this awful, ugly building and wanted to make it my little creative nest. I had the walls painted, floors replaced and other repairs made. I added bits of furniture. I took doors off cabinets so I could see my supplies. It was all good. I loved it.
Now, why the hate? I guess hate's too strong a word. I'll skip my personal gripes (i.e., wanting a studio at my home, lack of foot traffic) and stick to what's really driving me mad.
The parking lot is a combination of grass, holes, dirt and gravel. The building needs a new roof, a new ceiling, insulation, etc. My landlord needs to get motivated. And, his handyman needs an attitude adjustment.
Okay, the last two are personal gripes. I'll just say, "put your money where your mouth is, Mr. Landlord," and "don't call me sweetie or patronize me, Mr. Handyman." (If I screwed up the punctuation, sorry.)
When I signed the lease last fall, the landlord promised the parking lot would be asphalted (is that a word?) very, very soon. He said, "he had to, because the city was on him."
Cutbacks. Recession. Better things to do. Whatever. I'm still waiting. As long as I can park out front, all is good. If I have to park in the back, I definitely need the SUV.
The roof issues started when the ceiling nearly fell in on the back half of the building. Called the landlord. He had the roof replaced and ceiling repaired over the back area rather quickly.
During the repair, his handyman told me the wood was rotted. And, that the whole place needed a new roof, too. And, that most handymen charge too much, but he's different. Hmmm.
To their credit, the back room feels great now. The dampness and "old" smell is gone.
All was good for a week.
Then, I noticed the bathroom felt damp. The toilet paper and paper towels felt like those you'd find in a porta potty after a rainstorm. A few art pieces fell off of the wall in the gallery front. It felt damp in there, too. My watercolor paper felt damp, as if I'd painted on it an hour before.
I looked over the bathroom, noticing a light around the pipe running from and through the ceiling and the floor. Someone (who?) left my cellar light on and I could see down into the cellar from the bathroom. No wonder my studio was covered in spiders and dampness.
I had never really noticed the gaping holes around the pipes in this room before. Now, I couldn't walk into the bathroom without staring at them. Plus, the ceiling had started to bulge like the back room's ceiling did before it dropped.
I asked a friend who owns a roofing company to give me his opinion of my concerns. After a brief walkthrough and head nodding as I complained, he asked to see the cellar. His muddy footprints spoke before he did. My cellar was a mud pit. The cellar runs under the bathroom, to the side of the middle gallery and across the front gallery.
At his suggestion, I placed a dehumidifier in the front room. Every five days, it fills to capacity. No wonder the place was damp; this was definitely not good for my art or my allergies.
I called the repairman to give him a heads up. He told me irritatedly that I needed to call the landlord. Sorry. I knew that... I just thought a heads up... Oh well.
I called the landlord who apologized for all the problems I was having and promised to fix everything.
Meanwhile, it's getting chilly outside and raining every few days. And, if the winter prediction hold right, it's going to be cold and wet.
I called again asking about repairs. I also mentioned the puddle of water in my bathroom next a pipe and new dried brown stains that run the length of the pipe. The landlord promises repairs.
The handyman calls me and explains (not so nicely) that the roof was patched already, the ceiling will be taped and an insulation will be sprayed around the pipes.
What about rotting wood? What about the dampness? The cellar mud pit?
He started with a "sweetie, you don't know what you're talking about..." and ended "I'll get to it in a week or two." The middle was a mishmash of angry blah blah blah.

Okaayyyy. It's not my fault the place has problems. I've cared for this little place.
But, in that moment, I was done. Whether I just lost that loving feeling or simply removed my rose colored glasses, I'm not sure. Pick a euphemism.
What I do know is that when I'm there, I feel the dampness. I can't stand the bathroom. It feels like a porta potty. I see floors that seem to cough up dirt because of a mud pit cellar and parking lot.
I worry about my art, my supplies. I get angry about the repairs that could make this place better. I fret over the money spent fixing it up and paying enormous electric bills.
I should've guessed that my studio didn't have sufficient insulation. I certainly never guessed that my electric/gas bill would be $350 in December. I was only in the studio for two weeks that month. When I was there, I kept the thermostat at 65 degrees.
Two months in a row, I paid more than $300 for an 850 sq ft. building with a thermostat setting of 65 degrees. I was thankful to pay a bill of $166 in the spring. When I got a $62 bill for July, I got a clue. I recently checked same-sized properties that have adequate insulation and found the average bill was $50.
I also found landlords that care how a property is maintained.
So, here I am, looking for another space to nest and spread my creative wings. I feel sad, like I'm abandoning the little building. It looks so much better, happier if you will, since I moved there.
My lease is up October 31, 2009. I haven't paid this month's rent yet. It was due the 8th or maybe it's the 15th. I always pay early. I've been advised to hold my rent until the repairs are made.
If my landlord does call to ask for the rent, I'll probably buckle and send it. But, maybe, just maybe, I'll apologize for the problem and tell him I'll fix it by sending a check very, very soon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"Flying" is Illustration Friday's 10/9/09 topic

Fill in the blank: Never do __________ faster than you guardian angel can fly. Here is a lovely guardian angel/fairy of creativity flying through sun drops.
I did this watercolor piece years ago, when my daughter was 8. Now, she's 13. Those years flew by and the moments keep flying! I almost illustrated "flying" related to time. I still may. "Time flying" has been on my mind a lot lately.
Enjoy the angel/fairy. I did while the phase lasted.

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Germs," Illustration Friday's 10/2/09 Topic

This week's illustration topic is Germs. Above is my sign of the times.