Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Fall- get it while it's hot.

Hey people.  Know what's really good?  --Plums.  Check it out.

It's fall here now, just kind of the start of it really.  It's my favorite season.  I used to hate it because it was when school started, and, in my melodramatic teen years-- "when everything dies."  But now I think it's the most beautiful season and it goes so fast.  I always feel like I'm missing it even as it's taking place.  There's this urgency where I feel like I need to notice as much as possible and there's not enough time.

I've been working non-stop, but have tried to suck-up as much beauty as I can walking back and forth between the house and shop.  This guy is a sure sign things are changing.

And a few of these have begun showing up.

Today I went for a ride with Trusty Pam.  I didn't technically have time, but my hands were killing me, and it was so gorgeous out.  I rationalized that in the two hours I took to go mountain biking, I couldn't have made very significant progress anyway (not the way my hands and neck were feeling by that time).  I also whipped-out the year to live policy.  "If you had a year to live-- what choice would you make?"  I'm big on regret aversion. 

The work has been coming along, but when I look around at how much I have, I feel like I've lost my mind or something.  For how many hours and days I've put into preparing for this show, I'd expect to have a giant PILE of artwork.  Instead I'm scrambling to finish up pieces that have been lying around waiting for the proper amount of rust etc, and feel like somehow I've lost a month.

I wanted to have 2 to 3 times as much as I did for the last show, and have been working my butt off-- 7 days a week for a long time now.  I don't know why I don't have more.  Maybe it will look like more in the gallery space, but...  ~Worried~

I only have 2 days left to work.  Wed I'll be busy loading and delivering.  Thurs and Fri I'll be trying to get some last minute pieces done I can bring to the opening.  I wish I had another month, but then again, I'm probably on the verge of burn-out, and still have another show to get ready for.

Wish me luck everyone!  (And come visit me at the show Fri night if you don't have anything better to do.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Keeping it together for one more week

Hey people.  Whoa.  One week until I deliver everything for the show.  I have a sinking feeling for all my working, I'll get there to drop everything off, and weirdly have about the same amount I had last time, even though I've been working towards having at least double.  I'm trying to refrain from going around and counting because I have as much time as I have and can only work as fast as I can.  So I just keep my head down and plow forward.

Here's something I worked on today.  It goes with my #46 piece which I decided to just go ahead and make about me, where I feel like I am right now in my life.

The flashlight idea was germinated last week when I embarked on another new adventure-- mountain biking in the dark.  Yep.  You heard me.  But it's not just me.  I remember running at night a few times and seeing people ride by with a lamp on their head thinking, "These people really ARE all insane."  At the time I couldn't even fathom riding the trail in broad daylight.  But last Fri, I was out there with them, riding in a "moonlight race."

I always feel like sort of an impostor talking about stuff like this, because I know most of you are thinking, "Wow!!!  That Sue is so nuts!"  But really, to the crew of rider/racers I edge around, (trying to fit in while hero-worshiping them a bit), this is very normal behavior.  I'm sort of this daring big chicken I guess.  I like to get thrills and try out new adventures, but it takes all my courage.  Anyway.  Bla bla bla.

Here's how the little horse came out.  My previous horses have been kind of naughty, or else really passive, unaware even.  This one I wanted to be different. 

I kept thinking of this young draft horse I saw that was pulling a cart last spring.  He was huge, and so powerful, and you could tell kind of keyed-up at suddenly having a small crowd of people around him.  Yet he stood there and seemed to like being petted a bit.  He was curious, and in a weird way-- kind, because he could have just ignored all of us and used his muscle to bust all his gear off and do whatever he pleased, but he chose to cooperate.

I have a ton of pieces partially finished right now, while i wait for welds to rust etc, so the next few are just snippets.  The nest is going in a big wall piece.  Still deciding if any of the keys will be part of it.





This is a background for some trees, but I really like how the paint came out.

This is one I've been working on for what seems like forever, trying to get the rust right.  It's just a background too.

I deliver the pieces for the show in exactly a week.  After that I'll have two days to make some little groupings of trees that I can bring opening night.  Then it's the evening opening party, then I'll most likely flake-out for a few days.  Kate's coming up and we're going hiking for a couple days, then, I have another show to get ready for that is Nov 6th, so, back at it.

Today I decided after my last show's wardrobe choice that left me feeling uncomfortable and costumed as a grown-up lady, I will stick to my guns and wear jeans this time.  I'll fancy them up with a cool sequined t-shirt, and some kind of cool scarf or jacket, and some boots (comfortable ones), but think I'll definitely be dressed more as *me* this time.  Score one more for learning a few things in your forties.  ;)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Two weeks and counting!

Hey people.  Here's what it said in the big ad the gallery my next show is in sent out yesterday:

Our featured artist is metal sculptor, Susan Westley Seeger, a long-time gallery favorite.  This one-woman show will highlight Susan’s innate talent through her free-standing as well as wall sculptures.  Susan will symbolically represent all the artists we are so grateful to for their support and fine   work  throughout our 10 years.


I bolded that last bit.  (Now my stupid computer won't type anything but italics.)  Yesterday I realized I have 2 weeks exactly, from today to get everything finished and delivered.  Two weeks to put out more than I possibly can (which always always happens because the more time I have the higher I raise the bar it seems), and make sure every single piece is imbued with some kind of special mojo--- is "fine."

As usual, things have been coming along, but going frustratingly slow.  This piece, that looks simple (it can actually be really difficult to pull off this delicate "less is more" look), took an entire day.  Actually, a whole day plus a few hours into the next day.


Ditto this one.  (Oh good-- the italics are gone!)  This one really took nearly two, because I didn't get the idea for the round bit on the side until day two, so had to cut it apart and redo that area.  I've been saving this piece of wood for almost a year, afraid to use it on something that wouldn't do it justice.  I'm still on the fence on whether I've showcased it effectively.

I'm still making a bunch of tables, but with two weeks I'm getting into a critical time zone with rust.  I need to get all the tops done by the end of the weekend so they can look aged enough at the opening.

I need to work on some more free standing pieces.  I finished a really cool one the other day.  It's comprised mostly of a super beautiful piece of driftwood I shipped up from Texas.  It doesn't photograph well, but its best features are this---


And this---
 I feel funny about it, because it hasn't involved very much welding.  The wood is definitely *the star* of this piece, and that of course I had nothing to do with.  I made the stand for it, and added the rocks and made the little metal spikes I pounded in.  To me they feel like spectators to some amazing natural feature, like spectators looking over the rim of the Grand Canyon.  But someone could look at it and go, "What?-- It's just a piece of wood with some rocks and little spiky things pounded in... Where's the art?"  I do like it though.  I love looking at it.  I guess I have to trust someone else will too.

This is that veil piece I've been fiddling with for months now.  I finally got so much paint on it it lost the woven look-- but I had to keep layering because the color was off and the rust wasn't coming through how I wanted it to.  I wound-up etching little lines in it both directions with a Dremmel.  This took days and killed my hands, but I like how it looks now.  In another day or two I think I'll be satisfied and add...
...this to the center of it, and fill it with greenish pebbles of broken auto glass.  It will have a really ethereal look once it's hung and lit properly I think.

I have a few of these, which is good because it's another of those images that seems to really resonate with people.  I sold two immediately at my home show and people were arguing over the last one, over who saw it first etc.   

This is one I finished last week too.  The center piece is the top of an old oil drum I've been saving for a long time.  I like it, but it took a few days.  Another of those things I began thinking I'd be able to knock out by lunch time that dragged on and on. 

So far (ugh!  the dumb italics are back and won't go away!)  I've only had one dream where the show opens and it's empty.  But as of last night I began officially spazzing-out, sketching ideas frantically, and this morning woke-up deciding I really need to make a small horse.  I can see how it will look, and I know I do horses well and it will be cool, but I need to finish it, if not today, early tomorrow.  They usually don't go that fast.  Fingers crossed. 


I may start working some longer hours, but I'm not sure my hands can take it.  also, all work and no play makes Sue... kind of a bitchy psycho actually.  :)  

Wish me luck everyone!  I really feel a lot of pressure right now.  What do you guys think about the driftwood piece?  I know I didn't show you the whole thing, but I mean the concept of it, from how I described it?  Should I be worried?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Hairdentity crisis #.... 87 ??

Hey people.  About a week and a half ago I was once again in funky town, and not in a good way.  I was PMS-ing big time and it was SO tin foil beanie time around Suelandia.  Hormones.  They are awesome.  Not.

Anyway, one night I was feeling so inept, stupid, talentless and ugly I just stood up and announced, "I'm going to go to bed (this was at, like 7 pm)-- I just feel so shmoopy."  Dan, long-suffering survivor of countless tin foil beanie drills, didn't roll his eyes or look impatient, he just asked, "How?" as if shmoopiness was an ordinary affliction, and he needed only to determine the extent of it to gauge a proper response.

Me- (kind of whiny) "Well, let's see--- I'm FAT, have a dumb, saggy, ugly face, and stupid hair, for starters."
(When I'm like this, I get really toxically mean to myself.  Not sure what is up with that.)
Him-- "Awe, come here."  At which point he rose (having to set his beverage down and everything), and hugged and kissed me (like, at length) and said, "I think you're beautiful."

Okay- sorry, those of you I just made barf all over your keyboards.  I should have issued a sappiness warning.  Two of my gal pals I related this story to actually burst into tears.  (Men-- take note:  This didn't cost him a dime, and has won him MAJOR husband points for at least the next six months.)

Another symptom of shmoopiness is the sudden certainty, that changing my hair will drastically improve the quality of my life.  It has, in the past, led to drastic and nearly tragic home hair cuts.  Luckily this time I resisted the urge.  But here's how it panned-out.

A girl I met (a friend of a friend's daughter, who is probably the most distractingly beautiful person I've ever seen in real life, not even airbrushed or anything, and is also nice and very smart so you can't even hate her) asked me if anyone ever told me I look like Kate Bush, assuring me this was a compliment.  I of course, narcissistic ass that I am, looked her up online immediately.  "Um... thanks?"  Kind of get it, that this is maybe my "look", which is sort of troubling since it's circa 1982, when I graduated high school.  Yipes.  Time for a change?  Again?

Another friend sent me this in the mail, just coincidentally.  She didn't even know of my perfect hair mission.  The colors do look cool.  Will have to keep in mind the next time I go all colorful.

I actually had this hair for a while-- but with more shades of red and blond mixed in.  I called it "the atomic fireball".  This was when I was in my mid-thirties, felt exhausted by what seemed like an endless search for "the real me", and was, let's just say it-- fat.  (Trust me, I was.)  The hair was spunky, but I was just faking it.  Or trying to. 

I tried this for a while on the way to growing it out.  To make mine look like this I have to iron each piece, and pray for low humidity and no wind.  Needless to say, I could count the good hair days on my fingers.

Then I got this idea-- kind of wild-- longer on one side than the other, and really short, except in the back where it could sort of explode out into something like the back end of a fancy chicken.  This lasted about 4 weeks as I quickly discovered I needed some kind of scaffolding to make the back do what it was supposed to.  Mine just looked partially cut, like perhaps I'd fled the salon, or was a mental patient.

Then I "got real" and opted for this do.  She looks like she's posing for a mug shot.  "Yeah, I have frizzy hair.  Wanna make somethin' of it punk?  DO YA?"

Recently when I searched online for perfect Suehair, I was drawn to this pic.  Hmm.  Looks amazingly like the one above, but with more smooth bouncy hair doesn't it?  And the same sort of smart alecky expression.  Not sure what to make of this.  But I'm sure it's indicative of some attitude problem. 

Here's me last winter, on an obviously humidity-free day, with the blue hair streak.  (I know, that turtleneck is a good power-eyes top for me!)  I was anxious to try to grow my hair longer, sure by summer I'd have lovely flowing Sheryl Crow hair.

In all fairness--- I'm pretty sure this woman has an entire team of professionals that expertly wind each curl around varying sizes of curling irons before she goes anywhere.  Let's just say-- it hasn't happened.  Kate Bush hair, is what has happened.

And really, not even.  It didn't get all that much longer, and usually looks way more rat's nesty.  And, as I'm coming to realize, like I've been flung into the 80's.  (?)

I think next time I get it cut, I'll revisit this attempt.  What do you guys think???

I'm mostly recovered now, from my spate of self-loathing.  Now I've moved on to the phase where I berate myself for being so vain and superficial and self-absorbed.  Ahh.  Progress.

The art is coming along, and it's been gorgeous out and I've started running again in the mornings.  Life really is pretty danged good.  Next time I'll be over my hair obsession and post art pics.  Swear!  Really!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Thanks, Sundance. Plus the hottest lap ever, and your one free life.

Hey people.  I have to admit, I kind of pride myself on my self-restraint when it comes to shopping.  Dan is now laughing hysterically because he thinks I'm a total clothes horse, but I keep trying to tell him having several colors of target t-shirts does not a clothes horse make.  Seriously, everything I own is from Kohl's or Target.  He doesn't know.  He   just   doesn't    know   people.

Then along comes the Sundance catalog, totally yanking the moral high-ground of turning my nose up at gross consumerism right out from under me.  Nice one Sundance.  Nice.

Look at her on the cover there.  "Come on Sue-- you could pull-off this frilly shirt/blazer/scarfy look."  (In real life I'd never wear a blazer with a shirt like that because it wouldn't occur to me, the sleeves would bug me all shoved up like that, and the scarf?-- I'd not be able to stop fiddling with it.)  ~Fashion fail~

But I can't help myself.  I love this catalog dammit.  "Damn you Sundance!  Ah caint quit yew!"

Almost right away I spotted these scarves.  LOOK at the colors.  ~drool~  I really like those earrings too.  Scarf-- $42.  Earrings-- $300 (!!!)  I steel myself and turn the page.  That is too much.

But Sundance isn't going to let me off that easily.  A few pages later these two show up to taunt me.  At this point, I casually point out the scarves to Dan, whose only response is, "Don't you already have, like, a million scarves you never wear already?"

 Me, (outraged, indignant)-- "NO.  I'm sure.  Well, not like those."  ~Oh just be quiet Dan.  You    just   don't    know.~

I know he is right.  I know even if I got one of the scarves I'd never wind-up wearing it, because I'm really just not a scarf person.  Not much of a fashion person at all really.  I see the picture of this girl in the frilly skirt and boots and go,  "OOO-- me like!"  but wind-up wearing jeans every day, with some kind of t-shirt.  It's just what works in my life.  Besides, that skirt is $138.  I'm sure!

But man, look at those necklaces...  I mean, LOOK at them.  ~drool drool~  I could TOTALLY see myself wearing those.  Oh.  Wait.  They are $388 & $328.  Never mind.  Damn you Sundance!

But by now I am already following Dan's lead.  I DO already have, like, a million necklaces I never wear.

I have tons ot super cool ones I've made that I never even wear.  Here are some of my fav's.

Seriously, look at the coolness.  They are COOL.

It's not that I don't like them, that's for sure.  It's just that I'm busy wearing these other cool ones I've made, and I just don't change that often.  Oh-- the bottom one is from Target I guess.  But I made the top one.

~sigh~  So once again I restrained myself.  I say that like it's an option for me to spend over $300 on a necklace, but still.  And I can't honestly say I always have such an easy time saying no.  Some of you know I did have another *boot incident* last week.  Oh well.

Other goings-on in Suelandia--

I went riding with Dan yesterday and am pretty sure I had my first official hot flash.  We were riding along, not hitting it super hard, just having fun, when all of a sudden blammo-- I was ON FIRE.  Seriously, I've ridden when it's been in the nineties and really humid, so I know what normal hot and sweaty feels like, and this was at least ten times worse.  My eyeballs were sweating.  I think my hair was too.  I know there are no pores in your eyes and hair, but I'm pretty sure it was happening.

Dan was in front and stopped for a water break.  I started taking my shirt off, then thought better of it.  No sports bra.  If I'd have worn it though-- that shirt would have been off!  Frustrated and burning up I just said, "Go GO!  I need to create some wind!"

The rest of the ride was so bizarre.  Everything had a surreal dream-like quality.  I kept thinking, "If any talking animals show up, or the scene shifts, this is for sure just a dream."  I've never felt this hot and delirious and not been weak and shaky.  It seemed with the primary thought in my head being, "Holy fuck I'm HOT!" it took my mind completely off the climbs and scary downhill parts and I just rode without thinking much, and it didn't feel that hard really.  Anyway, it was very weird.

Okay, last item.
I went to a funeral last week, of an elderly aunt.  She was a nice lady and I went to show her family support.  In her eulogy, they actually mentioned her housekeeping.  I'm not kidding!  I always joke about this, about how trivial stuff like that is in the end.  "What's it going to say on your gravestone?  'Well, she certainly kept a tidy house!'-- big WHO CARES?!"

I still say it's a big who cares, but as usual, this got me thinking about how I spend my time, as I suppose this kind of thing does for everyone who is paying attention.  On the way to the funeral, this song was playing and I couldn't think of a more appropriate song for the occasion.  Whatever you decide to do with the time you've got, think about it, appreciate it, do it on purpose.  Enjoy local Dan Wilson's "Free Life.".

Thursday, September 2, 2010

State Fair

Hey people.  In case you don't make it out this year-- this is what you're missing...

Every year me and my pal Linda hit the fair.  Our joint mission--- eat, check out any weirdness we can find, eat, oh, and EAT.  This year I had to look a bit harder to find anything new.  Outside the grandstand I spotted this grate.  I'm sure it's been there for decades, but it was new to me.  How cool!

One of our favorite stops every year is the crop art exhibit.  There's a *fine* art exhibit down in the art building.  This one's in the ag/horticultural building.  It's art people have made out of seeds.

It's so folksy, so primitive.  I picture the Walton's doing this by oil lamp, huddled around their kitchen table.  I mean, seriously-- seeds???  And yet tons of people are apparently drawn to this art form.  The ones I like best are the ones where you can just tell the person totally gets how dorky it is, and maybe even that is the aspect about it they enjoy most.  You tell me.

  Someone's cat apparently.  I dig the simplicity. 

They had a few 3-d entries.  At first I was really wowed by this one, but upon further examination, I'm pretty sure they just shellacked actual mini doughnuts and covered with seeds.

Linda demonstrating their realistic quality.  I know it's wrong, but this makes me want another mini doughnut.  I actually said, at one point yesterday, that I was never going to eat again in my entire life.   This turned out to be a false promise.

Pretty sure this person began with an ordinary Barbie, but I have to give them crops props for their attempt at shading.

The folks at Vita.MN always manage to shake the exhibit up.  Love their unfailingly off-kilter subject matter.

Some people were more serious about it.  This person executed their design really well, and kudos for being topical too.   It really is a great design-- the tools becoming utensils, the gradient shading, all tops.

There are usually a few political statements.  This one was particularly well done.

Sort of an animated attempt at tradition?  As always, ma & pa "American Gothic" look less than pleased with their lot in life.

This one was really artfully done.  She even has a twinkle in her eye.  And it's all done in SEEDS.

Every year this gal has a similar piece but I always find their inherent naughtiness appealing for some reason.  ~Bad seed~  Gotta love it.

This is a local legend from ye olden days (my youth).  "Barron 'The Claw' Von Ratzenburg" I think was his name, and his act on the pro-wrestling show my bro-in-law insisted for years was all completely ~real~ (i know)-- was portraying this sort of psycho/demented WWII Nazi war criminal.  He'd hold his "claw" (as portrayed in seeds below) out front as if it was bound to attack at any moment.  ~scary!~

There is also a scarecrow competition.  They're usually all pretty lame, but these two were pretty cute.

One of my favorite stops is also the Excel Energy booth at the grandstand featuring this guy, who I think of as some well-meaning but overly-zealous, retired, former employee.  Note the flames on his cap. 

Their idea, I'm sure, is to promote safety-- "don't play around power lines kids" etc.  Which is good, if they're going to have a booth, although really-- why???  It's not like people have much choice where to buy their electricity from.

The funny part though, is this guy.  I have a feeling he designed this whole display, and this is his *big show* every summer.  He has these two little singed dolls-- one I'm pretty sure is He-Man, and the other looks suspiciously like a made-over GI Joe.  He has them bumble around his little diorama carrying ladders into the live wires etc, at one point even making them (for some reason) ~walk~ on top of the wires carrying on some unheard conversation.

This picture sucks because my camera was spazzing-out, but you can kind of make out the guy's gleeful expression as he fries his pretend hapless victims over and over.

No one can hear a word he says, because he's hard of hearing, and, although miked, seems afraid to speak-up, fearing being overly loud.  When an audience member gestured he couldn't hear, the guy just nodded sympathetically and said, "Yeah, I have that same problem."

I don't know why I get such a kick out of this.  He's kind of a strange combination of macabre, dorky, and adorable I guess.