Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Snow fun

Hey people.  For all of you tired of winter-- I really don't get why you live here, but anyway-- here you go-- KAPOW!

Take this-- BOOM!

Okay, pics of my orchid have nothing to do with winter, but this is what is happening in my kitchen window at the moment and it is just too flamboyant and spectacular not to share.

Anyhow...  Dan, Trusty Pam and I decided to go have a little winter adventure today-- snowmobile trail biking.  Man, all you really need to have fun are a few friends who are *up for it*.  Me = lucky. 

It started out tougher than we expected.  There was a solid base somewhere under the six inches or so of mashed potatoes though.  We were sure of it!  It was okay in places, and if you could keep going not bad, it was keeping going that proved to be an issue though.

It didn't take long for us to abandon the sno-mo trail for the access road, which really wasn't much better, not plowed or anything, but cars/trucks are heavier and a few had broken a trail, so there were wheel ruts to follow, if you could.

We did mostly okay.  Dan had a great snow angel-making wipe-out, but hastily climbed out of the snow bank before I could get the camera out.  Being the dedicated husband he is, he offered to reenact it, but I let him off the hook. 

All in all, it was a fun ride.  Not as fun as if the trails had been packed solid and we had complete access to miles of trail winding through the snowy woods, but we got out, we rode, we had some laughs and sweated, and were all glad we gave it a try.

Awe-- That's the smile, right there.

In other Suenews-- My next show (50 on 50th) opens in 5 weeks, so yep-- Time to quit farting around and get busy.  Here's a shot of a ring I made last night.  I'm thinking of what I'm going to wear this summer in place of my wedding ring.  It's rattles down my finger when I ride, and if I take it on and off all the time I lose it.  It the past I've just not worn it in summer, but that's kind of a double standard because I'd not like it if Dan didn't wear his, so--- thinking maybe the silk cord ring could work as a stand in.  (?)  You can also see a preview of a bike gear bracelet in the shot.  I'll have these at the show for sale.

A really cool online art zine is doing a feature on me soon.  It should be up next week, so I'll link it here when that happens.  And-- I'm currently thinking I may blow off my studio show this year, so I can concentrate on getting some other ~new idea~ stuff underway.  Jury is still out.  If it happens it will be a sort of last minute, "Hey kids, want to put on a show?" affair.  So, that's me right now.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

In a good spot

Hey people.  Last weekend was the last mountain bike race of the winter.  At the beginning of the season I had visions of actually riding in one or two of these.  Penny had been given new fancy studded tires after all, but I've only ridden twice all winter.  The few times the trail has been packed enough for "skinny tires" I've been busy.

Here are the hard core racers lining up to start.  A couple years ago when I first stumbled upon this little world of daredevils who ride around in the woods at high speeds I had no idea I'd actually get to know a number of these guys.  I am still in awe of what they can do, but have accepted my "place" in this world-- as a purely for-fun, recreational rider.  No more racy aspirations here.
Remember a few weeks ago when I was all mad my faux fur hood trim got singed off?  And then this last weekend I was really really bummed my actual hair got singed?  Some of you wondered how the heck I could let that happen.  Really I wasn't leaping over the flames or anything wild.  It was just a huge huge fire, on a windy day.  Here is one way it got so huge.  We think big at Hillside.

Anyway, I was determined to fix my jacket.  I scoured the internet for even cooler more awesome fake fur, and I found it.  Now my jacket is at least 4 or 5 times more awesome, agreed?

Oh-- This happened yesterday-- A burst of unlikely color in my kitchen.

The funny/interesting thing about this is, this plant spends most of the year looking half alive, getting knocked into the sink by the cats, living in a tiny plastic pot with barely any dirt in it.  It is sort of a metaphor for some recent convo's with different friends about nature v.s. nurture.  I still think both influence, but I think each of us has our own little flame of amazinginess inside, that will flare-up, that we can hold out like a torch, as we break our own trail if we choose to.

Lastly, a week ago we were having this little spat of fake-out spring weather.  That is my least favorite season because it's too wet to do most of the things I enjoy doing outside.  It's hard to run or bike in mud, forget skiing.  But I did get in a couple rides on streets with friends, just goofing around ringing my bell rides, and it was so awesome.

I found this pic on Pinterest and just love it.  It makes me so look forward to the summer ahead and all the great times I want to have with my friends.  For now, I'll get back to enjoying winter, when there are absolutely no bugs, and lots of other fun things to do.  :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Winter's back

Hey people. Last week my girl scout cookies came. As usual I tore into the package like a grizzly bear and devoured them within a day. All I can say is, thank God they come in such small boxes!
I've been really getting used to eating all the healthy food from my new eating plan though. The jury is still out in if this is some big key to weight loss, but healthy is always good right? (As long as you get occasional treats)

Last week we got a little surreal burst of spring. The temps got up around 50, and people were out in shorts & flip flops (believe it or not there was a girl at the frozen waterfall in flip flops), and riding motorcycles and in convertibles. Camper was thrilled to discover his catnip plant sprouting new green leaves beneath the snow.

Me and a couple friends (Trusty Pam and Kathleen-- who I need a nic name for... maybe...) went on a fun spin around town on our bikes. It felt so good to be on the bike again Pam & I went again the next day, and wound-up fighting 20 mile per hour winds as the cold front moved in and winter returned. Those rides were great though, like a mini vacation.

Not much else to report. I'm working on art stuff, both digital-- which I'm really learning more about every time I work on it. (This is really cool. I can almost feel my neurons forming new connections and am having dreams about vector pathways and "command S" etc.) I'm working on metal sculptures too, but don't have anything cool to show you yet-- hopefully later this week.

In the meantime, I've been having some fun over on Pinterest while I watch t.v. etc. It's an image collecting site that is a visual playground if you're someone like me who loves looking at things for inspiration or to just let your brain whir.

Here is one board I'm always adding to-- building a visual representation of Suelandia, and what life would be like if we all ran away to go live there together. Come for a visit.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hey people.  Whoa- What a melt-down we've been having.  I have to say all the slush and muck makes spring my least favorite time of year, and this is even worse because it's a fake-out spring.  But it is excavating some cool stuff that's been buried all winter.  It's cool to see how a few sheets I started painting in the fall are weathering too.

Last Sat my Dad turned 80-- EIGHTY!  That's so weird!  It seems impossible.  It's weird for him too- hard to believe.  Yesterday we went out and about and spent the day together.  We checked out the Mill City Museum, which is sort of cool, but mostly if you are on a school field trip.  We found the real fun at Minnehaha Falls.

When we got there the multi-flight staircase to the bottom of the gorge was chained-off, and the steps hadn't been shoveled all winter, but there were lots of tracks from other poachers, so we climbed over too.   It was kind of funny.  When we saw how cool it looked, there really wasn't even any discussion about *if* we were going down there.  We just did it. 

What could have motivated an 80 year old guy with bad knees to navigate at least 6 flights of icy, snow encrusted stairs?  This---

At the very top there was a small burble of  rough water pouring down into the ice, but the entire exoskeleton of the falls had been frozen.  Dad loved it-- he kept saying how cool it was and how glad he was we went there.

I totally wanted to climb up to some of the openings and go behind the falls and check stuff out, but this is as far as I got because it became glaze ice the closer to the cliff face you got.  Also, it was melting, and occasionally chunks would fall from the top.  I thought I may be able to find a way up-- we saw one guy going way around on a far edge and finding a way in, but I knew dad wouldn't-- or shouldn't do this, so we just walked around outside at the bottom.

That was good enough-- look how gorgeous!

This shot gives good perspective.  See the tiny person at the top just left of center?  After we felt we'd seen enough of the falls we took the trail that runs along the creek to the Mississippi.  It was so beautiful and I felt really grateful I got to do it with my dad.  I hesitated bringing the idea up because I know his knees have been bothering him, but like I told him-- he's 80 (!).  His knees won't likely be much better next year.  Maybe this will motivate him to do his PT so he can continue being mobile and doing fun things.  I hope so.

Art stuff is coming along.  I know people are curious and confused about my recent interest in digital art, and I've had kind of a hard time explaining it, but I'm going to try again.  There have been times over the past few years, when my hands get really shot, or I'm exhausted from loading and setting up for a show (my stuff tends to be heavy etc) when I've joked about needing to take up watercolors or something someday.

What I'd really like to do, is find some other medium to work with that mimics the immediacy I like about welding, and doesn't involve tons of supplies and clean-up, something I can do almost anywhere.  While it's probable this new medium may someday replace the welding, like when I myself am 80, what I'd mainly like for it to do in the foreseeable future is gain me some elbow room for my sculpture work.

I'd like for every sculpture I'm working on, to have the potential to be the coolest, most amazing thing I've ever made-- or at least on the highlight reel.  As it stands I often have to go into high production mode for certain shows, and this wears me out physically and robs that time I could be using to make bigger or more complex projects.  So that's the deal-- I'm working towards that goal, but it's a ways off.

I've figured out I'm happiest when I have some big project underway, something that sort of raises the bar, like Tina or before her Jez, etc etc.  This is my latest idea.  I'm thinking of it as a life-sized piece.  I'll have to work on it between other stuff for now, but I'd like to get it done in time for my Sept. show.  We'll see.  Right now it's just this chalk sketch and 4 steel hooves.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Fornicating dinosaurs & princess Eric Roberts, oh, and *love*.

Hey people.  Happy Valentine's day.  My sister ~claims~ she found these randy dino's like this.  Apparently love IS in the air.

This is the valentine my niece made for her little brother-- priceless.  I know a few grown women who would use this template if they could get away with it-- "I love you, even though you are super annoying."

Yep, Valentine's Day, the day that, if you're with someone, you're supposed to bust out the *big guns*.  (Dead Sexy by Tokyo Milk is one of my weapons of choice.  Dan likey.)  But we don't really make a big deal out of this ~holiday~.

These were our cards.  Dan has really upped his game in this department over the years and now writes personal messages in every card he gives me that totally melt my heart.  We both thought it was funny this year we picked cards that showed people hanging out on sofa's together (one of our main activities.)  His has the guy giving the girl a foot rub, which is ironic because feet oog him out.  He said, "I thought I'd at least give you a picture of a foot rub.  heh heh."

We don't do anything big for V-day.  Just get cards and have a "date night" which usually winds-up being just renting a movie and possibly more risque clothing than normal.  We're pretty low-key, but both like it that way.  It's nice to just take a beat and go, "Yeah, we have it pretty sweet don't we?  I'd do it all over again how about you?  Good-- me too."

Maczilla endeavors continue.  I had a bit of a breakthrough and finally *got* how those little tools work that manipulate the pen lines.  I've even had a couple of dreams about them.  Remember princess Eric Roberts? 

I worked a bit more on her this weekend, and also discovered the paint brush tool and hey-- there are a whole ton of selections for that that allow you to do a million and one cool things, but most significantly-- the tools just tracks your movements-- no manipulating the line playing dot to dot like the pen tool.  She began looking a bit more female.  This was using the pen tool on all but some of her hair.  I'd just kind of discovered the brush here.

I'd changed her head/face angle, fooled with some of the line weights, redrawn one of her lash-lines, and was trying to figure out how to add color with very limited success when -- *blink*-- The program (illustrator) crashed and erased almost all my progress.

I guess constantly saving changes is something all graphic artists learn to do because this isn't unusual.  I suppose it must be a huge program to be able to do all it does and glitches come with the territory.  She's not all the way back to Eric Roberts status, but I lost a lot of the changes.  Oh well-- learning curve.  That's why I'm fooling with this and not some *masterpiece* I care a lot about.  ;)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Playing Possum

Hey people.  (If you missed the fancy frenchy coat scroll down to the next post).  

Today is a first here-- I have a guest in Suelandia (on the blog anyway).  My friend Jen's book is coming out and she's on "cyber-tour" right now, and this is one of her stops.  (!) 

Her "middle grade" (appropriate for grade school aged kids), (but I think  even older kids would like this one) is called "Possum Summer".  I know, I know.  Possums?  Those disgusting ratty things?  (Sorry Jen!)  But seriously-- look-- this thing is pretty danged cute.

Now really, if you were an eleven year old girl, and one of these was in mortal danger, you'd save it wouldn't you?  What if it was an orphan?  You'd find a way to take care of it wouldn't you?

That is Where possum summer begins.  Now let's hear more about it from Jen herself-- Hey Jen!

Welcome to the POSSUMS ARE AWESOME world blog tour for the middle-grade book, POSSUM SUMMER, coming out in March! (Have you preordered yet?)

I'm here at Suelandia today sparring with Her Radness, and P decided of course to take part too. It seems I can't do this tour without her butting in ... it's the most attention she's ever had, I think.

First off, about the book:

a lonely kid.
an orphaned baby possum.
a dad that says no way.
how do you keep that kind of secret?

and what happens when you’re found out?

Here we go! Wheee!!!

So Jen, I know in writing P's story it was important for you to stay true to the grittier tone and not shy away from some of the grittier parts of the story involving, well, heartache and family turmoil, etc. Why did you feel so strongly that your readers would be served by your unflinching style?

(Jen)--  P doesn't go through more than your average kid. Her dad's away at war, technically she *knows* what she should do but does the empathetic, loving thing anyway. Our kids are tougher than we give them credit for. And sometimes you just want a book that punches you a little harder in the gut than necessary. (Or I do, anyway). It's how we grow.

I know you've led a rather adventurous life all over the world doing rather daring things. Were you as feisty as P (the main character) when you were a kid or did you get progressively more daring as you *grew up*?

Jen-- HM. I would say yep, I was pretty crazy when I was a kid. And through the teens, and whatnot. But unfortunately (other than this entire crazy publishing process!) I think I've gotten a lot more careful.

Most of that has to do with my little girl, Loki*. I'm a lot more careful of what I'm doing because when you come right down to it, a kid has one birth mother. And I'd like to be around to see her grow up. Sometimes I wonder how I survived my childhood, so ...

* name changed to protect the innocent

Do you feel P's story was concluded in this book or are you considering a sequel? If not, can you tell us about any other projects in the works?

Jen-- Well! Um! I can say nope, I do not believe P's story is finished, but it is up to my editor and publisher to make the final decision on that! *is mysterious* I've got another little book preparing to make its way out in the world, also set in Oklahoma, but with a monster Alligator Gar.

Princess: MISS SUE!

JKB: Sue, P. P, Sue. She's --

P: I know who she is! She's the bicycle artist SUE! Hey Miss Sue, how are you? Did you know that your name rhymes with a LOT of stuff? Oh and what's your favrite food?

Me-- Oh good lord-- just one?? At the moment, something bubbling with melted cheese, preferably with some browned crusty bits, some kind of bread involved, garlic, (okay, am now fixating on garlic cheese bread with marinara dipping sauce), maybe some kind of amazing fish, capped off with ice cream sandwiches made from pb cookies, and filled with coffee & chocolate ice cream. (am literally drooling now, thanks)

P: *pauses* W-o-w. *pauses* That sounds ... really good. And I just thought about fried chicken! I didn't even consider dessert!! *ponders* Well, what do you like to do for fun? What thing do you like to do?

Me: Again- I have to pick ONE??? I suppose mountain biking, in some kind of cool costume, exploring some mysterious mossy wonderland with a bunch of fun lunatics sounds pretty fun just now. Maybe there would be water balloons or super-soakers involved?

P: I want to be a lunatic too!

JKB: Oh you are, believe me. You are.

P: SHHHH! I'm innerviewin' here! Miss Sue, water balloons? Really? Could you tell me how to get one full all the way? *JKB frowns* *P sees her* *huffs* FINE. Fine. What do you think is the neatest thing about yourself then?

Me: Hmmm. A friend once gave me a card that said, "Well, one thing-- with that hair no one will ever notice your fat ankles..." so, that would be a toss-up I suppose. ;)

P: Huh. You don't got fat ankles! And I like your hair just fine! I want to be like you when I grow up! And I drawed you too:

P: I saw a Mountain Lion once down in the canyon. It was the most adventurous animal I ever did see. And I know you are adventurous too, so I thought hey, why not go ahead and make Miss Sue a lion too! Fer some reason Jen said not to call it a cougar? Do you know why?

JKB: -- *cough* Well that's enough of that! We'll be heading out now, it's the weekend and P has some CHORES to catch up on! *P groans* Thanks for having us, darling Sue!

Me-- LOL!!! Yes, Let's stick with mountain lion!  And P you draw way too well for a little kid-- seriously.  Amazing!  Thanks for stopping by guys.  :)

Jen K. Blom writes about animals, the land, and kids, not necessarily in that order. Her debut, POSSUM SUMMER, is available March 2011.

Just the thing to give to a kid to start their summer of reading off right! (Available from your local indie, Amazon,Barnes & Noble, Borders, or Book Depository!)

Check out the book trailer here !

Thursday, February 10, 2011

~FRANCE~ baby...

Hey people.  Some of you may recall a little incident a couple weeks ago where I apparently got a little too close to a bonfire, because it singed the fake fur around my hood reducing it to sad, old, worn stuffed animal pelt.  ~Dislike~ to say the least.  I changed the pic on my banner to remind you of it's former awesomeness.

Not one to simply accept defeat, I came up with a plan to replace the the now pathetic singed *fur*, with new even more fabulous stuff.  The internet hunt began.  That was when I discovered there is apparently a lot of different kinds of faux fur out there, and the fanciest stuff, comes from, no surprise-- Europe.  (The singed is on the left, the new fancy stuff is on the right.)

 Somehow, this all led to me buying a purple fake fur french coat on ebay.  (?)  I know, I get out of control at times, but it was seriously really cheap.   "Don't hate me because my coat is from FRANCE baby."
Oh go ahead.  What the hell do I care--- FRANCE.  Read it and weep less-fancy-than-me people.   (Dan thinks I look like a pimp.)  Me-- "But kind of a hot, artistic one right?  Right???" 

Awe go on... It's still just regular old me.  Even if my coat is totally slammin' and ~french~.  Prepare yourself Elk River & greater twin cities area.  (This is one of my favorite things about being an artist, being able to get away with wearing stuff like this at times.)

Speaking of being an artist, yeah...  Maczilla elementary school continues.  My buddy Beth came over, and as usual had a super hilarious story to tell me, but since it involved getting pee on her hand I won't go into it.  but it was funny.

Anyway...   Thanks to her tips I can now draw the shit out of hearts.  (I freaking OWN you hearts, and don't you forget it!)  (Not really, but-- progress right?)  (So what if I wanted those things that look like Doritos around that one to be flames.  Baby steps.)

That shape conquered, I did the sensible thing and moved on to something slightly more complex like maybe a simple flower right?  Oh hell no.  I'm going to draw a person.  (!) 

Well, I've never been super practical about stuff like this, and my psychotic over-achiever thing sometimes serves me well.  Why shoot for mediocre right?  As you can see, I bit off more than I can currently chew.

The photo is my guide (I'm not trying to copy it exactly, it's a starting point).  The rough sketch on the right is from me tracing over it with the pencil tool, which is still tricky for me not watching my hand at all.  The other one, on the lower left is my wip (work in progress).

Her face/head angle is way off, and she, sadly, looks like Eric Roberts.  I'm getting closer though, and have to learn this like anything else-- by doing a whole bunch of crappy beginner attempts.  It's my starting point.  For some stupid reason I'm just doing it in front of whoever looks at my blog.  Oh well.  Stay tuned.  (Meanwhile, almost done with my commissions - except a pretty complex one (Kathleen) that will take a while longer.)

In other Suenews-- I've been complaining about my assfat lately as you know, and am switching some stuff up in an attempt to break through my plateau.  I got this book I told you about last time, about how to override some metabolic stuff etc.  It's pretty interesting.  I won't do everything he suggests, for example 20 minute ice baths?-- no thanks.  But I am trying some if it.

Last night, after eating unbelievably healthy all day long (seriously-- egg whites, spinach, beans beans beans, and chicken breast was IT) I drank a tiny amount of grapefruit juice (which is supposed to do something to fool your body) and did 40 squats (another trick) before I ate this---

Feast your eyes on the best ice cream sandwich ever-- pb cookies, filled with a combination of coffee & chocolate ice cream (low fat of course).  I know.  I'll never be a *no treats* girl.  I told myself it didn't do any damage to my goal because of all the other stuff, but time will tell.  I'm trying all this for a month or two and hoping for a change.  We'll see...

Tomorrow I'll do another post, because my pal Jen is stopping by the blog on a "blog tour".  She's been a great crit partner for me with the writing stuff and now her book is actually getting published-- like, you can actually order it online NOW.  A real live book!  We're sort of interviewing each other and she's super interesting and cool so I hope you'll check that out too.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Processing the process

Hey people.  These pics are not in order, and I don't have time to mess with them this morning so this post will be a bit disjointed.  An art pal is coming over to give me some maczilla wisdom.  I am super pumped because she is one of my favorite people and I don't get to see her very often.  It is so cool how many people are willing to share their expertise with me.  More progress in that department soon.

Meanwhile, I went to Buffalo with my buddy Linda last week.  There were a few finds.  I think the title of this one was "And then she ate it."

We went for a walk to the river this weekend.  We had sort of a *togetherness* weekend, and it was really nice.  This is our neighbor Chad.  The cat is Camper, and he likes to ride on people's shoulders.  It's a fun part of living in Suelandia, running into your neighbor in the snowy woods.  

This is a cool old bike I saw in Buffalo.  I'm starting to get bike fever.  I haven't been able to ride penny as much as I thought because the trail hasn't been packed enough for me to get the hang of winter trail riding, and packing her up and taking her up to the state forest snowmobile trails (which aren't that packed or great either) is a two to three hour deal, and more fun with playmates.

Meanwhile, assfat has exploded out of me like those inflatable life rafts you pull the cord on.  People I know will be like, "Oh no-- you look fine."  But I can TOTALLY see it, plus, jeans don't lie.  I now have to perform a whole Jack Lalane style routine of squats and lunges to get some of them to fit.  Not cool!

So I'm reading this big book about how to hack into your body's programing and do everything from hold your breath for 5 minutes to injury-proof yourself, to yes--- lose weight fast, to have a 15 minute orgasm.  This is what I'm going to eat for breakfast for a while to see what happens.  I'll keep you posted. 

These are some cool old jars in Buffalo.  I love the used flashbulbs.  One man's trash, as they say.  I finally joined "Pinterest".  Linda told me about it ages ago, but I didn't really get it, and was super busy at the time, but now that I've had some time to check it out it's pretty cool.  You have to apply to be *invited* to join, but it must be pretty easy to get in since I did.  It's a great place for arty types to go for visual stimulation.  I'll probably post this pic later when I have time.

These golf shoes were in Buffalo too.  If they had been my size I would totally have gotten them and pulled the cleats out and just worn them as normal shoes with jeans or whatever.  Aren't they cool?

 Here's Dan and I before our Sat night date.  We went to the movies and dinner with another couple.  later we stayed up late talking.  It was really nice.  We've been doing that a lot lately.  My life has gotten a lot busier in the last few years.  Sometimes that has bothered Dan, but now he knows while I seem to need a lot of activities and friends, and value all that stuff a lot, it just ads texture to my main life, with him.

I've been feeling pretty different lately.  I'm kind of processing it.  I think this will be a good year for things leveling out a bit for me.  You know how I've talked before about feeling like there was clockwork spinning almost out of control inside me at times?  I don't feel like that so much now.  I still have ambitions and goals, but a more relaxed attitude, like, I understand it's all a process.  Things don't feel as urgent.

Here's a winter rider for those of you who live in warmer areas.  The twin cities is the nation's top cycling community now, and people don't stop in winter.  People in the cities still ride to work-- the hard core ones.  I got this from the paper.  I love how he looks kind of like a knight or some guy from the future or something.

Recently I spent a bit of time with someone who had the spinning clockwork thing big time.  It was the first time I saw this in someone else.  I instantly recognized it.  I empathized with this person, but also could see how weird that energy is, observing it from the outside.  I knew it was isolating for that person, sort of impenetrable.  It made me really glad I'm rid of it, for now at least.  I like feeling more at ease, and want people to feel comfortable around me.

Now I just have to remind myself you can't *save* everyone.  Having more people around me means hearing a lot more about people's problems, and I have tended, in the past, to get too sucked in.  I'm still trying to figure out how to be a good caring person, but not get dragged down.  For now I'm going to just try to send out positive vibes, and refuse to enter dramas.  It's all a process right?