Who is Sue and what is Suelandia?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yep- my hair is all wild again.

Hey people.  Okay-- so I blabbed on FB about coloring my hair all weird again, then forgot to post pics.  So here ya go.  As you can see-- not as super dramatic as one might expect when you hear there were 5 different colors involved.  I only did the layers underneath.  I want the option of looking semi-normal at times.  I think this shot was from before I reapplied the teal.  That light green stuff became aqua.

It looks cool in a pony tail, or kind of funs-up an otherwise boring old ponytail at least.

And I can do stuff with pulling back some layers and letting more of the colors show through or not as I choose.  I have to tweak it just a bit more-- the way back needs more purple to balance out the color distribution, but all in all-- I like.  It's a creative expression thing for me, and since I'm an artist and can get away with stuff like this-- hey-- why not?  I'll never be a tat or piercings gal, but doubt I'll ever really tire of fooling with my hair.

The only other stuff that has gone on around here lately is art.  No matter how much I plan to pace myself for shows, I always get near then end and freak out about how little work I have.  I started preparing for this show over 2 months ago, but the first pieces I made were super time consuming.  So now here I am working double shifts the last week like always.

Anyway, here's another horse, slightly larger than the other 3.  This is just the framing, which I'm showing you because deciding that I am pretty darn good at framing in my shapes led to a new idea this week, but more on that in a minute.

So that was "before", and here's "after."  I cut 2 sizes of circles out of a sheet of blue steel I've been saving just for this guy.  I wanted him to be very tranquil, as opposed to the other more animated pieces.  I'm pretty happy with him.

So-- new technique.  It's kind of funny because I made those other 3 horses, covering them with paper and just went, "Wow, I like how those came out!  Okay, what to make now?  Hmm Hmm Hmmmmm..." and went about working on other stuff like that experiment was an unrelated anomaly.  I farted around for an entire afternoon after finishing the blue horse and none of my planned designs were working out.  Nothing was clicking and I began to kind of spaz-out.

I started sketching just anything to get ideas rolling and some botanical forms came up (that's what happens when you hang out in the woods a lot).  The sketches became designs when I went-- "The paper, dummy!"  I could keep exploring covering my frameworks with paper, cool different kinds of handmade papers. 

So the sketches, became sculptures. 

I like how the shapes suggest natural forms, but are completely made-up.

One thing I like about them too, is their simplicity makes them feel contemporary, and I can play with one of my favorite aspects of  sculpture-- balance.

Also the papers available are super cool.  There are tons of varieties, and it's fun to have a new toybox to rummage around in.  I've got several more ideas in the hopper, and now it's just a race to the finish.  How much can I get done by next Wed?

Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

"Ahhhh!" ~runs around~

Hey people.  Just checking in quick.  OMG.  I have been working my BUTT off, and it has been going so slow people.  I am seriously panicking.  The stuff I have is looking awesome, but I can't believe how long everything is taking.  I just keep telling myself the only thing worse than not having very many pieces, is having not very many sub-par pieces.  Every one has to be primo.

Forget riding and almost everything else.  It's total crunch time! 

One thing that got in my way yesterday was having a bunch of ideas that translate great to wall art.  Nothing wrong with that--- except that for this show I've been asked to limit myself to free standing pieces.

Here is the idea I was stuck on--- A friend sent me this pic of me.  It's actually one of the better pics of me I've seen.  What I like about it is my image is undefined, while the background, my surroundings, are clear.  I'm sort of out of sync.  Also, what registers is-- human, female, happy.  Something about it captures me better than an ordinary photo that *turned-out* would have.

Then I found these digital art pieces.  Any guesses what this is?   (I love the texture and colors)

The one above is every Playboy centerfold from the 90's layered on top of each other.  The one below is every centerfold from the 60's.

What is so cool about these to me, is sort of like the picture of me-- the photos intent was to capture a physical form-- in Playboy's case the entire focus of the image was the physical form alone, but what these blurred images present is really something closer to what I picture our souls being like.

The idea isn't fully formed, but it's definitely in my brain fermenting.  It needs to translate into 3D for me to make sculptural use of it.  It may happen, may not.  Now that I've turned it loose and told you guys about it that is less likely actually.

So yesterday I finished the last of my horses for the show, then ran into the creative wall-- no ideas.  I paged through my sketchbook and fiddled with some ideas but nothing was gelling.  I was so frustrated I literally was almost crying.  I am under a ton of pressure right now and can't afford these kinds of delays!

Finally, right at the end of my workday lightning struck and I got one idea with many possible permutations, and I'm really excited about it because it could be a whole new technique for me that will expand my sculpture work significantly if it works.  Last night at trail work it was nearly all I could think of.  Images flickered through my head and I'm sure the poor guy I was paired with to shovel dirt thought I was super boring.  Oh well.

Today I'm starting on this new batch of art and only have a week to come up with a significant number of new pieces.  No matter how many I'm able to complete, each one has to represent my best work.  Wish me luck you guys.  My next post will probably not be until after I've delivered everything for the show.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Running rings

Hey people.  Doing battle on several fronts right now.  The show preparations continue.  I'm about to get into it with my city over a dispute affecting us and 18 other homes (I've been mistaken for a lawyer a couple of times in the past-- Nope, I am just good at research, and arguing), and, I'm having to figure out a bunch of other unrelated financial stuff (refinancing), and, while I can and have slogged my way through this kind of negotiating before, math stresses me out, as do people trying to take advantage of me.  ~Stressful week.~

Whew---- b r e a t h e Sue.  I keep reminding myself my most important and pressing task at hand is preparing for this show, and getting to work in the world's prettiest welding shop every day isn't half bad. 

Plus-- I get to have both sets of doors open the the air, and it was finally not hot as balls this week.  MUCH more pleasant.  How cool looking is this guy?

Also, I get to take a little stroll in the woods on my lunch break when I feel like it.  This path is right outside my shop.  

Moment to moment life is swell.  I just have to mellow out, sort of, because I am a more strategic thinker under pressure, and I need that aspect of myself right now--- but--- can't stress all the way out.  Not good for art making.  :)

So--- remember this?

It led to this---

Doesn't look like much, does it?  In my brain though, which thinks in 3-D, little tetris blocks were dropping rapidly into place.  The sketch, became this lay-out.  Get it yet?

Okay, you probably STILL can't tell what it is, but trust me, when the glass top comes for it, it will be *awesome*.  It's a side table, like for behind a sofa or along a wall.  The rings reminded me of water.  This pic doesn't do it justice, but I'm happy with it.

The other idea that painting generated was this-- which I think is done, but I have to look at for a few days.  I might add more rings.  They suggest mass w/o blocking all light/ view of branches.  Me likey.

Now onto the next project-- a bench, whose back will look something like this---

Besides all this, the other thing I've been working on this week is riding.  I got Dan to go with me one day, and rode alone another.  I just need to get lots of hours in on the bike right now.  Some people mistake me for a half-way good rider, but I think I'm actually very habitual, and visual.  I learn my lines at the trail by chipping away at them lap after lap, and when they change, it takes me a while to find my *new way* that works for me to ride a certain part.

I kind of like that, even though it's hard.  I both like and dislike it.  When I'm doing that I can only really think of riding, and that's a nice break.  But it is shoving me out of my comfort zone.  Probably good for me, but I was finally feeling like I was hitting my stride.

The visual part reminds me of a horse I used to have that was a total spaz-- he'd arch his neck and swing his rump around at the slightest oddity, afraid of everything.  Now that the trail looks so different, I find myself staring at rocks that are now more exposed, potholes that have developed, and washed-out ruts resembling gully's, thinking "oh--- scary!  Don't ride there!" and of course my bike heads directly for whatever I am looking at---- just like horseback riding.

I'm working on de-spazzing--- looking where I want to go, and trying to keep everything bent and staying loose in attack position.  This is the hardest thing for me--- to ride loose enough to float over the rough stuff, when I'm scared to death.  Psychotically, I continue to somewhat enjoy this challenge, even as it frustrates me. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Help name the chair

Hey people.  On Sat we had visitors-- Mom and the kids came to our back yard.

All baby animals are adorable.

A little while later, surprisingly, dad (?) joined the group.  They all hung out for a while eating my garden.  I rationalized gardens are really for looking at, and at the moment I'd rather look at these guys than a bunch of mostly spent flowers anyway, so I let them munch.  Mom let him stay until he began acting rambunctious around the kiddies, then ran him off.  He may wear the antlers, but she wears the pants I guess.

Dan was gone all weekend, so I went through my usual feelings when he goes out of town-- like I should do something kind of out-there and rowdy, but instead, as usual, just rented sub-titled movies and pigged-out.  I don't know why I still have this thing about him being gone =ing me eating bad, but I can't seem to stop myself.  I made the little known delicacy *baked m-and-m's* (which is where you put m-and-m's in a hot oven for a couple minutes.  For some reason this makes them exponentially more awesome.)

I told myself I'd go running in the morning to off-set the damage.  "I'll run like the wind!"  (Yeah, provided the wind feels like a big fatass now.)  Oh well.  Whatever.

I didn't run, but did work all weekend.  I finished the *most awesome chair ever* that I bragged about all over facebook.  Can you help me come up with a cool name for it?  Here 'tis:

I'm not actually going poo.  This is just how I often look in pictures, unfortunately.  Despite my pained expression, the chair is SUPER comfortable.  I built a lumbar support into it, and a head rest, and made the ottoman at a slight angle, and a tiny bit shorter than the seat of the chair so your legs don't fall asleep.

Here is a side view.  The cushions are cream colored.  I need to get a neck pillow to go with it.  The one shown is ours I just used for an example.  The best part, is while you are seated, you are surrounded by your own private woods.  you see branches and leaves all around you and it's really relaxing.

As is usual for my process of getting a show together, work begets work, and nothing gets me working fast and hard like the deadline of a show.  When I'm not actually welding, I'm sketching, or looking at Pinterest.  Check it out.  I'll scan the images scrolling through pretty fast, and then something like this will snag my attention.

I usually am not sure why at first, so I'll stop and just stare at it while my brain starts it's own flip-book of accompanying, related images.  The pictures sort of leapfrog very quickly from one idea to the next until I get one, or in this case two completely new ideas generated from the root image.

When you see what this spawned you'll probably be sort of surprised.

Right now I have ideas in the pipeline for a blue horse, 3 tables, a table-top sculpture, and a wall piece, and that's just what has come *on-line* (in my brain) in the last couple days.  When I'm working like this I only wish my hands could work faster.  I hope the momentum of my pace can pull these ideas from my brain into the physical world like cars on a freight train.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Challenging times

Hey people.  I've had a hard time gearing-up to post anything lately because I just don't feel I have much interesting to say.  I guess more accurately, I feel too blurred to put together a very coherent post.  I feel scattered and undefined and sort of like I'm running down a hill-- too tired to stop myself.  But, what the heck-- here goes---

One thing that has been taking massive amounts of time and physical energy lately is the trail.  This is one of my trail-work shirts after a day of pulling buckthorn.  I have never been as hot and dirty and sweaty in my life as I have in the last month.

My activities at the trail are simple on the surface--- there is tons and tons of physical work to be done over there, and only a handful of volunteers willing/able to do it.  I've committed myself to this.  Physical work in and of itself could not be more simple--- show up on time, work your ass off, do what is asked, and contribute mentally also-- ideas.  There is something gratifying about accomplishing physical work, a boiled-down-ness.  When I make up my mind to do something, I bring it full-force. 


This is where it gets more complicated.  My commitment to the trail gets all tangled up in the friendships I've formed with the rest of the crew, and a strong desire to keep a hand in and *know what's going on*-- sort of a control thing I guess, how I approach things I worry about--- get as much info as possible, and even my own ego--- how I think of myself--- as someone who works super hard, and has something worthwhile to contribute.  My ego is now wrapped-up in wanting our trail, and the races held there, to be one (or more, more would be good too!) notch above other trails/parks.

Most people around me, who are not on the crew, don't really get this--- why I'm so willing to go so hard at this.  Sometimes they'll say, "That's really nice of you, to volunteer so much..." and there's this silent, "I guess..." at the end.  And the trail work doesn't feel as altruistic as the word "volunteer" implies.  I def do it for me.  It's kind of weird, because sometimes that makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong or is another sign of how weird I am or something-- like I shouldn't care so much about it.  But I do.

The other thing I write about a lot is riding so here's an update on that--- I've back-slid a bit.  I was feeling pretty good about my skills and fitness level about a month ago, but then we got a slew of monster storms, and a heat wave that has made it feel like we are all residing in Satan's underpants.

The storms made trail-work an almost nightly activity for a while.  It's seemed every other day 20 trees would go down we'd have to saw off the trail.  To top it off the torrential rains washed-out at least half the trail and completely changed the topography.  The couple of times I've gotten to ride lately have left me feeling like I completely suck.   My confidence is almost at zero now.  I'm trying to just back-up and take it slow, but even my fear has crept back up.  It's a little discouraging.  I'm going to go back to square one and just self-coach myself back on track I guess.

Last night I rode with Trusty Pam, who has become a bit disenchanted with our now much more difficult trail.  It was fun spending time with her.  She's found a bunch of roadies to ride with some days a week now and I'm happy for her on that score.    I think my little personal skills clinics at my trail will be sort of solitary for a while.  That's fine, but has always made me jealous of the guys and their tribe.

Tonight we hit a faster, easier trail closer to her work that she's come to enjoy more than Hillside.  I like it too for a non-technical zoomy ride.  It's riding your bike in the woods, and a good confidence builder.  I like it to ride for fun.  I just know when I ride there I'm not improving my skills at all.  This is just something I'll have to put in different boxes.  Riding with my friend, for fun, is as important to me as improving, if not more so.  (But there is a big part of me that still has ambitions of awesomeness.)

Now for art stuff.   Working on the horses, one of my favorite parts was exploring some more complicated movements.  There was a time I'd def get caught up in simple confirmation-- how long and thick everything is supposed to be and how it's all arranged.  Now I am more intrigued by how they shift their weight etc going around corners, or shuffling quickly to the side.  I have 3 sculptures I'm pretty happy with, and one less dynamic pose in the pipeline, and still don't think I've made the *best horse of my life*.

I really like aspects of all 3 of these so far though, and making them has taught me new things, that I'll use in future sculptures.

While I've been working I've gotten back to listening to audio books.  There was a time I wanted nothing but music.  Fast/hard rock/metal felt sort of like grabbing onto a tow rope that yanked me with it into a current of energy I was both craving and emitting.  My clockwork was spinning so fast, it felt like the only thing close to my natural rhythm.   Now I want fiction.

The story I'm listening to now is about a writer, and talks about the dual realities writers inhabit-- the real world, and the one of their own creation.  I remember that so vividly.  When I think of it now, how invested I was, the level of commitment I felt to my characters and the world I wrote them into, it seems unbalanced, bordering on crazy.

And at the same time, like something I could def see myself going back to at some point.  It was a total creative rush.  I remember thinking and saying if I didn't get published my life would amount to a big zero.  Now I just don't give it the same weight.  Is it a cop-out?  Am I a failure on some level?  I don't know.  All I know is most people I know haven't written 2 1/2 novels, even unpublishable ones.

For now my plate is FULL of visual art commitments-- commissions waiting, shows I'm preparing for, and pet projects I have no idea when I'll have time to begin, and that doesn't even cover *new idea*, which although is currently on the back burner, I remain very committed to.

Wow, can this be longer?  And I thought I had nothing to say.  Hmm.