Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Finishing Started - 2:

Here's another old one from the stacks. An odd sized image - so Mr. Todd will have to invent some framing for him.

I redid the sky with more black pastel, and tried to improve on the old bear's face and body. That's when it got interesting. Todd and I kept having different opinions concerning "worse" and "better." "Muddy." That sort of thing. "I liked it better the other way." "I was just trying to (insert a number of possibilities)." A somewhat no-win situation for both of us -  and the bear?

But now we consider the piece finished. Not perfect but one to say "Done." For better or for worse. Two down - at least 28 to go.

Ever onward -
And some day the day might get Above Zero.
Some day.


Sunday, January 12, 2014

Finishing the Started.

Yes, that first day of the New Year it was easy to scribble FINISH 30 started bears. the Ideas for Doing are always easier than the Doing.

But some things have been done. With the help of Todd the Helpful - two already-finished bears are now framed.
One small pastel is finished:

As found in stack:


Sigh. Comparing the two - well, I like parts more of the more abstract beginning image. There's a Lesson for us. Should the water have remained purple? That thick dark orange in sky sure was nice.... But I like the zig-zag stripe down the bear's back here. And the sun's brightness gives more comfort than the previous more brooding sky. Mixed emotions. Always mixed emotions. Dark vs Light. Too much vs too little. That's how it goes, and you never know what folks will think the "better". I want to get back to being Bolder. Bigger, simpler shapes. Shapes that GLOW.

There are LOTS more bears to go - on to choosing Number Two. Glow, Baby, glow!

Comments are welcomed. Sometimes we artists need all the help we can get -


The Game - In Part

Ah, yes... the Packers vs 49er's Playoff Game at Lambeau...

CLEAN: Our Play-Off Towels at first.
They were given only to the first 70,000 folks coming in the gates. Ours got a bit of Lambeau Field grime on them as they got lost now & then within our 18 inches of sitting/standing area - in which we scrunched rented seats, pink foam insulation, our Aaron Rodgers head on a stick (2), blankie, bulky clothes, bag of extra hand & foot warmers, the headgear stitched & glued by daughter, Tara, & myself, binoculars, cameras, smart-phones, 2 hot-dogs with kraut (purchased), & two cups of STEAMING HOT hot chocolate (FREE - twice!).
Note: We WERE part of a Record Attendance crowd of bring-on-the-deep-freeze 77,525. Sadly, some people probably didn't get towels. At game's end they'd have to wipe tears with something else...

HARD: Many things. Among them -
The cold metal seats - cleaned of all snow by hardy souls on Friday. Ten bucks an hours - shovels     are provided.
To believe people drove from California and Virginia to be at their first Packers game. The photo above was taken at the entrance of The Pro Shop where I waited for daughter and met the gentleman from Virginia - who was waiting for his wife.
Yes, the beer.... This frozen brew belonged to a gentleman in the row in front of us. Frozen foam in a cup. I don't know how warm-blooded one has to be to drink beer in minus 25 windchill. He appeared to be sane.

Still with the HARD:
HARD to believe that I was sitting next to a guy, ten years younger then me, who, too, had gone to Hurley High School in northern Wisconsin. His sister was in my class! The two of us sang the school song & then chanted a few Hurley High cheers to the folks around us. "We are the Midgets, Mighty, Mighty Midgets. Everywhere we go-o, people want to know-o - who we are - so we tell them..." He'd been to our family farm on school field trips. Eaten our spuds... During the good parts of the game we high-fived a number of times. He gets to games often so we followed his lead as to how to make noise. We knew to hush up when the Packers had the ball...  But "Go, Pack, go!"

HARD to believe that we never got really COLD in the minus whatever windchill- and never had to leave the stands to warm up.  Tara did make another Free Hot Chocolate run during half-time. Her purchase of MANY hand and foot warmers was over-kill, she  was kind enough to share some with a couple sitting below us. (EVERYBODY on lower level was sitting below us - we got seats in the 60th row. Yup top of bottom. We were SWEATING by the time we got to top of climb.) Not sweating soon afterward.
HARD realizing that this was one game I would not be journaling complete play-by-play. Chopper mits, frozen pens, hard-to-reach paper, and sanity? Practiced Being In The Moment. Did listen Wayne & Larry on radio headphones for most of game so that part of day was "at home Normal" - whew.

Me.... Yup, bare-handed now and then. Was channeling Wintertime Inner Younger Child from Gurney, Wis. "Wind-chill? We don't feel no stinkin' Wind-chill!"

Tara - In Happier Times  - before game's end. Yay Team!

Tara at game's-end. A long Day of Mixed-Long Emotions, and now a long drive home. We need hot food! And time to digest what just happened...

HARD to believe how quickly the game went by. Especially those heading-for-sadness last five minutes. And the PLEASE WE NEED A MIRACLE. NOPE. last two seconds.
HARD to see the crowd streaming out of the stands and into reality.
HARD to believe how many Aaron Rodgers head on sticks folks left behind in stadium. If I was Aaron's Mom this would be hard to see. I rescued one - should have grabbed a couple more. Now, I would not want to be one to HOARD football players heads on sticks, but the opportunity was certainly there...
HARD to leave the Womens' Restroom afterward. It was really nice and toasty...
HARD to say "Goodbye" and turn our backs on Lambeau's lights....

(Now it's Jan. 12th already - on to the chronicling - )

Sue and Tara with partial gear. Yup, though living in Minnesota, and with Vikes fan Dad, we raised this woman to cheer for the right team. And Tara nowowns Packers stock so she's standing in Her Stadium... yay!

FAST: how one could share the game with Facebook pals & how they replied throughout the Experience.
FAST: not how Todd was heading through traffic to pick us us. Yay, cell phones!
FAST: not how we were finding our way to a spot we decided on. An icy skim decided to cover the side-walks and my big Sorel boots said "I can keep your toes warm, but you MIGHT be taking a header or three." Baby steps baby steps. Kindly refuse repeated offers of brandy from very friendly guy, who then proceeded to weave through the very slow lines of vehicles still surrounding stadium. Good Luck getting home, guy.
FAST: how we leaped into van - to begin slow heading toward someplace to eat.
FAST: how we all decided "Culvers!"
FAST: how we removed our many layers to get down to "normal" layers. Remember, it was still heading for many-below-zero that night, but two layers felt better than five.
FAST: how I decided, oddly, that a hot-fudge sundae would be great for dinner after all those hours in the bitter cold. It was delicious. Todd & Tara ordered and enjoyed HOT foods.
FAST: How the 'Niners guy said "Thanks" and I said "You're welcome" after I opened doors for him when we were leaving Culvers. Good Luck, Niners.... You have an excellent team.  But look out Next Year!!

       Go PACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Oops. Yes. It's Jan. 12th already. They've already done that...)
                                                               GO PACK!!!!

Fare-thee-well -

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Whim and Impulse

CLEAN: the slate for the day - except for: 1) drive to Lambeau Field, 2) survive Packers play-off game, 3) survive drive back to Stillwater.

HARD: to believe that at least one person drove from California for the game.

FAST: how I hope we warm up. Hahahahahahaha.   Ha.

Mini-van started at 4:30 this morning. Thank you, mini-van.It's "only" 8 below zero now. The cold stuff is coming.

We have many layers. We have colorful - one of a kind headgear. We have hand and foot warmers. And lots more stuff.
We have moxie - "the ability to face difficulty with spirit and courage." - (thefreedictionary.com)
At least we have moxie so far. Don't think we'd be sipping the real Moxie today. Much prefer a WARM beverage - HOT cocoa would be my first choice.

If we survive our minor version of short trip to North Pole I will post pix and try to type a bit about it. As a first time goer to a Packers game - well, why not go for one that's possibly Historic?

We set on making this The Best Year Ever.



Did I mention  - GO PACK!!!!?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Acting on Impulse

CLEAN: not the part of the living-room being piled high with wool socks, Sorel brand boots, goose-down garments, bulky long coats,chopper mittens/liners, hand and foot warmers, scarves, sweaters, and a few clothing items with Packer logos on them.

HARD: to believe I ordered game tickets for perhaps the coldest Packer play-off game in history.

FAST: how daughter, Tara, & I, win (cross fingers/ knock wood) or lose, will be wanting to be un-frozen after the game.

Yup. This will be our trip to our version of the Arctic, Mt. Everest, etc, etc. Four and a half hours away - to experience multi-millionaire football players attempting to win a game in front of thousands of crazed fans willing to face possibly -50F windchill weather for HOURS - just because... it's there.

Here are images from warmer days at Lambeau Field. (I have yet to be inside the stadium proper - though have parked in lot often, shopped in Pro Shop, & stayed in motel right across from field - just not during game days.)

1) Morning sun glinting off fabled Lambeau Field - it's warmer in the Summer...

2) This was during a lovely visit with Ruth Trowbridge, a force of nature who has never missed a home game. Ruth's ties to the Green Bay Packers are deeper than simple fan-dom. Her late husband was on the Board of Directors,  and she'd have let me try on her Brett Favre era Superbowl Ring had she been able to get if off of her finger. (We bonded at an art fair. I drew her a hippo. Ruth is a SERIOUS collector of hippos...) And SERIOUS collector/grower of both day-lilies and hostas.

This photo was taken during an October visit two years ago. I don't know if Ruth will be at the game on Sunday, but I wouldn't bet against her! Life Lesson: you never know what friendships will form when innocently chatting with woman wanting a hippo for her collection! Yes, she now has now added our bears to the goodies at her most interesting home.

So, we have one more day to prepare for our Grand Adventure. Daughter, Tara, plans on creating some special Green and Gold face-guards for us. The fabric is at hand - and the design is in her head. The finished pieces will be piled into the car, along with sleeping bags, seats, and even more hand and foot warmers!

The Power of Positive Thinking is not working with the weather. We will aim our Bestest Thoughts toward the Packer team as will most of the winterized (and not) fans this next Sunday late afternoon and evening. We will wish the San Francisco team no serious injuries.

I won't say that going to this game will have been the smartest thing we have ever done, but, win or lose, so far I'm still glad I clicked that "Purchase Tickets" click.

On to the survival of the warmest....! (A fan can dream.) GO PACK!!!!


Thursday, January 2, 2014

Another New Beginning

Greetings - at long last. No Excuses. Back to "work."

CLEAN: kitchen counters and MUCH of studio. Thanks, Sir Todd. It will be wonderful when Sir Todd Organizer gets done. As for now - well, yes, I get anxiety bouts. Another person touching all my stuff and making lots of decisions without consulting.... well... that's where Trust comes in? Lately, he's bee n asking me about stuff more often. Thanks, Todd. And thanks for showing me where you moved the African Violets!

HARD: how everything outside is. As is FROZEN. Can't bitch much about our -11F because of friends dealing with -40 F. No, that's not "windchill" - that's frickin' COLD.

FAST: how birds and squirrels are chowing down on Christmas gift of more sunflower seeds and even fancier goodies. Thanks, Tyler!

Now on to new goofing-offs:
I really dislike pitching paper coffee cups - so this year many will become a journal of some sort. Not a Wonderful Piece of Art. But paper on which to write or paint. Here are the first two:

I like that they will stand up in a lovely arc. And supply surfaces upon which to use up art supplies. And might just lead to new designs for "real" work.

So there you are. May 2014 be a year of great creativity for you, and/or hold the opportunity to witness it in others. If you are not an artist your kind word to one just might keep that person's spirit raised just enough to carry on.  If you are an artist may you have those great chats with folks who admire your work -  (and on those Best days - enough to purchase it)!

It's application-to-art-fairs time for many of us. Months of mixed emotions. Trying to guess which of our works will make the jurors say "YES!" to our images and words. If we appear to be a tad stressed - well... we might actually be more stressed than we appear. And this is during our "down time" - hahaha.

So, forever-head-clanging, I nonetheless join others among our family and friends in making 2014 The BEST YEAR EVER!!

One paper cup at a time....