Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Brain yoga

Hey people.  Lest you think it's been all fun and games and playing in the snow around here-- (well, okay, there has been rather a lot of that lately), but there's also been a lot of art stuff.  Not the usual kind-- welding, but lots of exploring this new kind required for *new idea*.  (None of this is my art btw)  ~disclaimer~

Part of why I won't really discuss *new idea* in depth is because a lot of it is still this murky soup in my mind.  A vast ocean of murky soup, with a giant fog bank hovering over it.  Occasionally images drift form the mist, or snippets, that make parts of my brain light up and go, "Ooo, Ahh--- like that, but with a transparent windblown veil over it, and shadow of birds.  Or something."

And then I go upstairs to the new art lair and either spontaneously tear images from magazines trying to get closer to what I can't quite make out just yet inside the murky soup and mysterious fog bank, or fire up maczilla and look at tutorials that use phrases like "directionally align the vector pathways" and "radial gradient scale" and the part of my brain that flees in terror from all things mathy like any feral creature from fire-- tries to switch off.  

I have to continually try to peer through the mist and grope around in the murk hunting for the ideas and images hiding in there.  Looking at the amazing work of others helps too.  ~*Wonder*~ helps.

I have to keep trying to reassure and calm my brain, "It's okay-- you aren't hopelessly stupid.  Just take a beat.  You know what all these words mean.  This will just take time to learn.  Stop pulling at your leash trying to escape.  I'm going to make you do this so you might as well stop freaking yourself out."

The adventurous part of my brain is excited about possibilities, and the undiscovered.  It's brave and naive, and thinks technology will change art and what we even think art is.  It believes the important thing IS the murky soup, and harnessing tools to help retrieve images from it is just a tricky trick to learn that might be hard, but no big deal.  Nothing will get in its way or stop it.

I had a dream a while back, about visiting an old friend's place.  I wrote him about it because it was so bizarre.  It was in the future, and he was wealthy.  I described some of his art (his home was like a museum).  One of the most interesting things was a giant wall where shifting projected images were layered that kept changing.

A few days ago another friend sent me an article about a very established & famous painter getting into digital art now too, and one thing he's working with is layered projected images.

In about a week I need to seriously get back to work.  My first spring deadline approaches.  I have tons to learn about maczilla too, and tons of sculpture ideas.  Meanwhile the murky soups bubbles.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winter is awesome, and here's one reason why--

Hey people.  Me and one of my adventurey young pals took our bikes out on some snomobile trails in the state forest near her house today.  Man was it nice out!  Some of her guy friends thought we were nuts.  They missed all the fun!

The first place we tried to ride in was a fail though.  Only one sled had cut a trail, and it was like trying to ride a chainsaw through mashed potatoes, assuming the chainsaw is powered exclusively by your legs.  Ugh!

So we loaded the bikes into my suby and headed farther north to a *real* trailhead.   Now we're talking!  These trails see so much sled traffic on weekends that they get packed ~almost~ as hard as a road.  It was still a bit tough, there was about 3 inches of mashed potatoes on top of the harder stuff in lots of places. 

To ride like this you have to stay in super low gears and just try for steady momentum. 

So why go to the trouble?  If you don't get why this would be fun, you probably aren't much for outside, explorey, adventurey hijinx in the first place, but even so, most people can appreciate this---  It was absolutely gorgeous out there!

We didn't know exactly where we were, but I sort of like that, just exploring and figuring stuff out.  I have a great sense of direction.  T was comforted by the GPS in her iPhone.  

It was a blast!  We didn't get bit by one mosquito!

Penny's fancy white-walled studded tires (courtesy of trailwork buddy Lumberjack Ben) worked GREAT.

And after we found our way back to the car we of course got to feel all badass.

This didn't take half the skill of riding on the actual mountain bike trail, but was tons of fun.   Check it out-- rather Cirque Du Soleil of me non?  ~Balancey~

Thereasa sporting post ride *Flock Of Seagulls* hair.  

If you don't enjoy winter, you need to get yourself some warm layers, and get out there, because seriously, you're missing out!  Just being outside, and noticing your surroundings, and feeling your body work is so awesome.  Nothing makes your day better than getting to take a few minutes to go, "Wow, isn't this gorgeous?  Don't you feel lucky???"

Especially when you can share it all with a friend.  ~Tribe expansion!~  ~WOO!~

Monday, January 24, 2011

Lumberjillin'

Hey people.  Sat I found out chopping wood is just one of those many things that guys make LOOK sort of easy, but is, in reality-- super hard!

I sort of got the concept-- Duh- swing at the log; try to get it to split along the grain etc.  I thought if I let the weight of the axe do it's job, that would be good enough.  That's how it was in blacksmithing class and I was real good at hammering in that.

But the chopping was different.  It took me a million swings with Barbie axe assigned to me, and when I tried the big *man axe* I could barely lift it.  Once I got it over my head it fell behind me and the only way I could swing it forward was to whip my whole body and sort of trebuchet it over my head and try to hang onto it.  After working at the trail for only a few hours, my arms were ready to fall off!!

Oh well.  I made myself useful stacking and hauling etc.  But it's always humbling to see guys making relatively short work of stuff that is nearly impossible for us *chicks*.

Speaking of chicks-- How cool is she???


This year I'm looking more at older women and trying to figure out how the cool ones stay cool.  There is this weird territory you enter in your forties where you want to try to stay ~cool~, but it can go way wrong if you stray into *trying to look like you're in your 20's* territory.  To me this gal looks awesome-- she's not showing tons of skin, but has an edgy look, that's not trashy. 

Of course it helps to be naturally beautiful-- she hardly has ever worn make-up, and is naturally skinny and doesn't work-out, which would drive me nuts just on a mental/emotional/need to have FUN level, but... I like her style.  I guess it helps that she looks happy and confident-- always a good look.  :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

If you HAD to pick...

Hey people.  As you can see Ray is still *on duty*.  This morning he supervised some cat sketches, determined to wedge himself onto whatever part of my lap he could.   

This is Mike, AKA "Meathooks Mikey".  He's 17 and has only 3 fangs and about one or two of his 9 lives left.  He's been run over and shot, and once had liver failure but somehow came out of it.  Every day he walks around the house meowing at the top of his little kitty lungs (he's deaf now and can't hear himself) until I am pestered into flinging his toy mouse around for a while so he can play savage beast.

 My cats have it pretty good around here.  They get fed a few times a day, and seem to be under the impression we are their personal spa attendants, here to give them regular rub downs, let them in and out (and in and out), and otherwise entertain and pamper them.

I have several friends right now who are going through transitions in their lives, and I've had a few conversations about life and happiness etc lately.  Then the other day someone posted this quiz on facebook.

Me and Dan have been having some convo's lately too about this kind of thing.  We've found it's good to keep close tabs on each other's happiness because if one of us becomes dissatisfied, it isn't long before the other person "catches it" too.  We both took it and then compared answers.

Not surprisingly, we had a few matches, and a couple differences.  I had "excitement" as one of my final 5, and "freedom".  Dan had a couple different things, "Honesty" was one I remember.  The ones we had in common were "relationships", "happiness", & "Health".

He was bummed to have had to eliminate "money", but hey, if you HAD to choose, wouldn't you rather have health and happiness?  If you have time to do this weigh in here or on FB and share your results.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fat and happy

Hey people.  *Project Assfat* is not exactly setting records for speed and efficiency so far, but is ongoing and long term.  Saturday I spent the whole day in the snowy woods.   The first half with these cool chicks-- Dayna & Trusty Pam.  (I know.  The tribe ='s hot.) 

If I had to issue Dayna a nic name right now it would probably be Deadeye Dayna, because she is reportedly a crack shot, but I haven't run it by her yet.  ; )  We snow-shoed for almost 2 hours.  Gorgeous but tiring.  I do believe I had assfat on the ropes at that point.

I spent the second half of the day hauling and stacking firewood, and shoveling, and a tiny amount of wild rally-style ATV riding, after which my legs felt like they were going to snap off like Barbie legs.  Also at one point I *had to* lift a mongo log that probably weighed at least half my body weight so as to not be outdone by the boys.  Whew-ouch.  Assfat was def begging for mercy at the end of the day.

But this morning the scale had not budged since last week, and I spent the day pantsless on the sofa, and ate Raisinettes & Baked Cheetos for breakfast lunch and dinner in retaliation.  Oh well.  Another week begins tomorrow, and I have apples, grapes, celery and other healthy stuff in my arsenal, and a bunch of active plans with the tribe.  Take that assfat!  ~shakes fist~

I guess bottom line is-- I am waging a war with my assfat right now, but am also having a hell of a lot of fun.  Not bad right?

Meanwhile... *New Idea* is still brewing away.  I've been working more on Kittyhat Avenger in my head-- who she is etc, developing the character, and have a pretty good handle on her.  I've also been working with a more cartoony style.  Here are some expressions I've played around with-- not all successful but it gives you an idea of the process. 

Here is a panel for my first complete idea involving her.  This is the first panel.  The ~punch line~ would appear in the next, and I'm not ready to give it away just yet-- sorry.  :)

The drawing is rough, but it's getting there.  I like how her elbows are aligned now, and I like using the ears on the hat to enhance her expressions/emotions.  Someone I showed an earlier version to asked, "Are you going to give her boobs?  Because she doesn't have any and it makes her look like a child."  So she now has boobs.  I'm not sure about them.  I don't want her to be a child, but not exactly a full fledged adult either-- she's an alter ego, a female Peter Pan, woman-child.  Teen???

What's you guy's opinion?  Boobs or no?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New digs

Hey people.  Wow- 2 posts in 2 days!  And all at absolutely *no cost* to you!  This is just to quick show you the workspace I created for *new idea-ing* once Maczilla arrives.  I figured I better show it to you now while it is still clean.  :)

This is taken from the doorway.  (Still have to hang up the artwork behind the desk.)  As you can see I have a comfy place for arty pals who drop by to hang out.  This will also come in handy for naps-I-mean-rigorous-creative-stuff-requiring-intense-concentration-in-a-prone-position.

 Everything isn't up on the walls and I'll probably be always adding stuff.  I want it to be visual overload.  Cirque du soleil for my eyes.

I like my rug.  I like the colors.  Bolder than I've gone in the past.  It looks like it's *splodin'!* 

This is from the doorway too.

My desk is nice and empty.  All ready for Maczilla.  

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm not quitting btw...

Hey people.  Just would like to clear up a misconception about *new idea*-- that being that I'm quitting what I currently do.  I'm still going to do metal sculptures, until I physically can't, like when I'm super old or whatever.

*New idea* is just a way to alleviate some of the financial pressure from that end of my art biz, so that when my hands start to get fried I can just take a break instead of having to keep going knowing I'm doing damage etc.  It's also fun to try out new stuff and go down new trails.  I think it's good for our brains to always be learning new things.  :)

As I'm working on commissions right now too, I'm reminded what a pain it is working in my tiny shop, that has no running water, in winter.  It would be awesome to just do this seasonally, when I can open the doors to the fresh air, spread stuff out on saw horses outside, and have the garden hose handy for all the painting I do.  Oh well, in the meantime I'm making due with my limited space, poor air quality, and spray bottles. 

I'm still having fun though.  Today one thing i made was this little kayak.  It's really hard to do tiny welds on super thin material.  I like the welding.  It reminds me I'm actually pretty good at something.

I also love painting the steel and working with the color and the rust and getting them to cooperate.  I'm looking forward to someday feeling this playful & excited about fooling with stuff on the computer art-wise.

There's a lot of really old-school aspects to what I do in the shop.  It's all physical, and takes time.  I can't rush it even when I want to.   There's something kind of grounding about that.

I remember when I started working with metal I was mostly scared.  Scared of people judging me for quitting good-paying corpo job, scared of failing, scared of the machinery.  Mostly of failing though.

I think the fire that burned my first shop down helped because it pumped my brakes.  "You don't have to be awesome right out of the gate--- go to welding school.  Take some time.  Learn and get comfortable with the new technical skill.  Then your creativity will bubble to the surface."

Now I'm just taking the same lesson and applying it to *new idea*.  I'm scared-- of judgement/criticsm, the unfamiliar technology/skill, and failing.  But this time around I'm giving myself the time to learn about it.  *New idea* will be something I am learning and working on alongside my regular job of sculpting for now.  Maybe someday it will be successful and take some of the load off the shop work.

 But I'd never quit doing that entirely.  Too many cool ideas I haven't had a chance to make yet.

And I'd miss the real world, real time, tactile & physical nature of that work.  Every time I weld I'm reminded why I like it.  I feel really comfortable doing that stuff.

Monday, January 10, 2011

New Lumberjacky Look

Hey people.  My parents came over last night and gave Dan his Christmas present.  It's called a "Beardo."    He loves it.  Isn't it awesome?

I like it too.  What do you think?  Can I pull it off?

In other news-- Project Fatass continues.  A smart pal observed we should all feel lucky we have choices to make about what we eat and how much.  In lots of parts of the world grabbing an apple just isn't an option.  So true!

I ran into another friend complaining about HER fat the other day too.  I'm pretty sure, if anything, this gal is just bummed to maybe be a 1 now instead of a 0, but also a good reminder everyone has their own comfort zones about this and it is all an individual thing.  Personally I'd like to lose some, and know for me it takes making better eating choices, and lots of working out.  (Mostly shutting the pie hole though).

Yesterday was a winter mountain bike race at the trail.  I was glad I decided not to ride.  It was FREEZING!  Still, we had what I think may have been a record turn-out.  It was super fun.  Tons of people showed-up.  Some rode, some just hung out at the huge bonfire. 

 I was happy with my choice to stick by the fire, but as usual at these things, was totally blown away by the hard core athleticism of the racers.

 There were tons more girls to hang out with at this race for some reason.  Only 3 raced, but it was cool to see gals taking any kind of interest in this.  From what I'm picking up so far in terms of feedback, I think *Ladies Night* is going to be a huge hit.

It was also fun, being at the race, to know so many people now.  I remember feeling really dumb even showing up a couple years ago, like I didn't fit in etc.  Now I know so many people I didn't even get a chance to say "Hi" to them all. 
So much has changed over the last few years.  Big changes ahead too.  ~Exciting!~

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Look out *Oh-Eleven*-- Here I come!

Hey people.  Wow, don't I sound all ambitious?  ~hands on hips~  Yep, at times I even fool myself and feel *invincible* & *awesome*.  Today, infused with the cocktail of  confidence & insecurity that has become my standard mode lately, I decided to hit the trail and try winter riding for the first time this year.

Goggles-- check.  Helmet-- check.  Layers-- check.  Protective & insulating assfat-- check.

Penny's new studded tires.  (This was post ride.  They are quite the leaf collectors.)

It's funny, I already told several people I'd ride in an actual race this Sunday.  What the hell was I thinking?!  I haven't ridden in months now, and man was it a challenge!

It was really strange because the trail is covered in hard packed snow now, so in some ways it is easier than how it is in summer- when there are rocks, roots, logs etc to navigate.  But somehow it felt much harder in terms of just pedaling the bike down the trail.  I had to be in WAY lower gears.  Also, because I was going slower, my steering was more erratic, and I went off track a couple times which now means an automatic dump because of the deeper snow at the sides of the trail.

After 40 minutes I'd only made it through about 1/3 of the trail.  I read that ~the average person~ (racer probably-- not a Joe Shmoe like me) makes it around the entire trail in an hour.  Yay me!- above average again

After riding what would be the prolog of the race and the first semi-tough section, my toes were painfully cold so I aborted mission--- and decided I need to work a bit more at this before I'll feel like it would be fun to try a race.  I thought my tights + 2 pairs of wool socks + gaiters would be warm enough, but next time I think I'll try the pac boots. 

I did manage to bust-out a little bike-related awesomeness this week though-- I organized an event that will be taking place this spring at the trail-- ~*Ladies Night*~.  I'm always trying to get more women to try this sport, and have had this idea rolling around for a while.  This week I mentioned it to the Parks & Rec gal I know and she was like "Do it!-- Oh, but the deadline is Mon to get it in our programs brochure."  Amazingly everything aligned and I was able to pull it all together in one day.  (!)  So, if you ever want to try this out--- (and you are female) this will be your chance!  There will even be a beginner skills clinic put on by a former professional national mountain biker racer (who happens to also be this really cool chick I know) and bikes to try out!  All for free!  And, um, maybe some wine after we ride... (BYOB)  Who knows???  

Meanwhile....

*New Idea* marches doggedly on.  I've been onto the idea (this week) of creating this new little character-- "Kittyhat Avenger."  It's not me-- but since I'm just figuring out how to draw faces, hands etc etc, it's easier for me to work off photos.  Still obviously learning.  (not very good)  (yet)

Anyway, Kittyhat Avenger is mischievous, and irreverent, and anti-establishment, and has kind of messy hair.  Obviously nothing like me.  ;)  For my purposes, I need to morph to a simpler style of illustration that uses less lines.  More like this.  

*New Idea* allows me to play around with my sense of humor too.  This drawing is pretty horrible, because I need some pics of how the mountain bikers really look in their winter gear.  Yes, this is supposed to be a mountain biker, not a Cossack or whatever, riding a Pug.  "Pug" is a really popular brand of snow bike. 

I think this is kind of funny.  But I'm a bit of a dork.  Once I get the design more refined and actually get ready to bust out *New Idea*, I may test it on some of the riders just to get their reaction.

A friend who's been a good sounding-board for my thoughts about all this asked me the other day if I was anxious to get Maczilla back with all its super-dooper graphics software installed.  I was like, "Not really.  I actually will find turning it on the first time completely terrifying."

I have SO MUCH to learn about all this *New Idea* stuff.  For now I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and try not to freak-out.  What can I do ~right now~?  Research my butt off, and work on ideas, and practice drawing, and keep reminding myself there was once a time when I had no idea how to weld either, or make a sculpture, or ride a mountain bike, or take a horse over a jump, or speak in public, or write a novel, or teach aqua aerobics (AKA: jumping around in a swimsuit in front of a room full of strangers) or a bunch of other scary stuff.