Wednesday, May 27, 2015

If I am mean and cruel...

...then I totally embrace being a mean and cruel person with no apologies whatsoever.

My sweet neighbor stopped by to give us some cuppy cakes.  She is a little younger than me, I think, and she has two young boys...ages one and a half and approaching four.

Oh my gosh for boys.

My eldest is a boy.  But he was never like these boys, ever.  Don't get me wrong.  My son can be wild and crazy with the best of them.  But either we were blessed with a personality that is at least slightly calmer, or else we did something right in raising him, or a combination of the both.  I'm going with the combination.

My neighbor's sons are both still young and I am certain they will grow into courteous young men.  (That's not even sarcasm, by the way, I really expect they will.)  But at the moment, they are *wild*.  Getting into things, not listening, hitting, etc etc.  And their mother really tries to deal with it.

But her method is...try to talk sweetly to them, informing them of correct behavior.

I'm sorry...but that *does not work*.

It doesn't; not at this age.  Eventually, you can reason (sort of) with older children.  At this age, it doesn't phase them in any way.  Except that the eldest would drop on the floor, avoiding eye contact and completely ignoring his mother.  And she would just take this.  Because what else could her method possibly allow?

Totally not in my play book.

She was asking me how it is I can paint and leave all of my art supplies out within reach of children.  I can see how she would be mystified by this.

My children learn young.  Very young.  If a whap on the butt makes me a mean and cruel parent, then by all means I will be mean and cruel.  It gets the job done.  It gets it done quickly and efficiently.  We can move on with our lives.  We don't have to drag out the punishment, which again they do not understand at a young age, and we are *done* dealing with the situation (though repeat lessons are needed, the repetition is far less than with other, more "kind" methods).  Drama still arises frequently, especially from certain quarters, but I assure you it does not last long.

I am not always as disciplined a parent at discipline as I wish...and I frequently wish for more control and less chaos...but I do have moments where I get a glimpse of what life *could* be, and I breathe a great big sigh of relief.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Purple Possiblities

Another in a series with Jessica!!

I love purple. Purple has so many possibilities.

Purple goes with just about everything sensible, which is why I love my occasional purple hair. (It hasn't been purple in some time...I have been thinking that certain inquires need to be rectified...)  And purple eyeshadow is my friend.

Purple is a great shadow color (even when not talking about eyes), a perfect shadow color itself or color to mix into shadows.  It's a great color neutralizer.

In oil paint, my favorite color mix *ever* is a nice bright yellow ochre mixed with dioxazine purple.  It's a fabulous neutral, and has many other purposes skewed to either side.  

There's usually lots of both in my zebras.

I use the same combo in watercolor.  Here's an example in the sticks.

I've been experimenting with trying for the same results in my Inktense, though it's harder to do directly since the colors are so rich.

More subtly applied in an actual sketch, though, they still make a very useful combo.

These (all of which I have done this very weekend!) all have purple.

Sometimes the thought crosses my mind that I use too much purple. Then I come to my senses and realize that's not possible.

Don't forget to read what Jessica says about purple.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Shibe Himi-Sama on top of things

Last night I took the opportunity to combine my new supplies...soooo fun!  I love them!  I think these might become my go-to sketching supplies.  Included here are WN WC sticks, WN WC marker, and both Inktense pencils and blocks.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Please to enjoy the bonus shot of Han Solo

This is almost done; the flowers and leaves need just a touch more work once the pastel has tacked up, and then I will call it officially done.

Yay!  I have the urge to get my list of portraits started now, as well as other projects that have been so patiently waiting...

Friday, May 22, 2015

Color Charts!! WN WC sticks and Inktense Blocks

I love color charts!

I forgot that I had meant to post these first ones a few weeks ago, when I first got some WN WC sticks.  Here are the sticks:

I compared them with the Aquabriques I had, which are similar, but more like actual blocks and not sticks...I found these in Germany and when I looked before, I was sad that they were unavailable here...and now they *are* available!  So I think I will have to get some, because they are softer and more vibrant and really nice.

Sketch of my pencil case using only the above WC sticks:

Now on to the new stuff...I had a hard time picturing how these WC markers were supposed to be...but they are FUN.  Will definitely need to build up my set of these.   (The L was done in WC stick previously.)

New WC sticks:

And my Inktense blocks.  I love these; they are wonderful.  First swatch in the row is the pencil, followed by the can see how *easy* it was to get super rich tones with the blocks.  They are quite soft compared to what I expected...reminded me a lot of Conte Crayons, actually, only with a slightly waxier, less blendy feel.  The top of the page I was experimenting with making the ink in the built in palette of the blocks.  Very cool.  Very, very cool.

Overall, the WC sticks were pretty hard, especially compared to the softness of the Inktense.  But, good for more subtle applications, I think, which I like at times.  The Aquabriques are in between the two.  I have to wonder if the Daniel Smith sticks are softer than WN (I am suspecting they are, though I haven't really looked into them specifically).

I expect it will be a very wc-stick-type-thing summer...

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cuts wood. Sharpens lead.

As mentioned previously, new art supplies were inevitable this month.

This is what I got yesterday...

 (And stuff for kids.)

The Inktense Blocks are especially exciting...I had no idea they had them in block form and I am really looking forward to seeing how they work. They have a built-in palette for...I guess making Inktense ink!

I doubled my supply of WN wc sticks, because I had to...the ones on the left are what I got a few weeks ago and the ones on the right are what I got yesterday.

I don't think I knew Micron pens came in such fun colors, so I needed those, too.

The wc markers were by the sticks and I'm having a hard time imagining why they are wc, sooo, must try them.

And, maybe my best find...who could resist an axe pencil sharpener???

The packaging just says it all.  I had to have it.

I also got something for, gasp, oil paint!  I don't know why I've never tried any gel mediums...I think that will be suitable to me, as the only reason I don't tend to use mediums much is that I find them more of a pain than they are worth; the gel will likely be good for me.  And I am curious about that pastel board, as well.  I love my Colorfix, but that company makes some good stuff, so I have to see how it is.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I love Utah

I love the west.

I love, love, love the west.

The climate and landscape makes it clear to me from the outset that this is God's country, but those are not the only blessings here.

In general (and speaking outside the city and away from any vehicles), I love the people here.  I adore the people here.  I've lived in a variety of places amongst many types of people and they are not the same everywhere.  They're not.  Oh, no no no.  You can find examples of any type of person, anywhere of course.  The nicest people or the meanest the people.  Interesting people and dull people.  Kind intelligent thoughtful people and people who didn't vote for Romney.  You can even find a few good drivers in cities, sometimes (they're really hard to spot).

But nowhere, nowhere have I ever seen concentrations of the people you find here.

Let me just say it, Mormons rock.  Because, though not all wonderful and kind people here are Mormon, it is the Mormon influence that has made the difference here.  And I truly love it.  It's wonderful.  It's not just a matter of people being nice or even following some cultural norms; it is the way they live from their hearts, pouring out God's love honestly.  You can't fake that.

Some people find Mormon culture oppressive; and academically I can see the point, but these people are idiots (see previous post).

Here is a concrete example.  This could happen anywhere, with anyone; of course it could...but this really is a common thing here; it's astounding.

My neighbors across the street found out about my current trials through a common friend. Of his own volition and without my mentioning this particular issue to anyone, he came over and informed me that not only would he be checking out the leak in our sprinkler system (said leak having been obvious last fall when my lawn spouted a geyser) but that he would be ensuring that my yard would be taken care of for the duration of the summer.

And this was after last week when other neighbors on the next street over had come over with their entire family to do my yard and even weed...

(As a side note, I hate asking for help from anyone or even accepting it, but at times I do try to bite my tongue and accept some things graciously, because I also wish that more people would ask things of me.  If I have intentions of being a good neighbor, then I had better be able to accept when others wish to be good neighbors to me.  And if a pregnant woman was alone with three kids across the street, damn right I'd want to do something for her.  So I can't deny others the same.  I *was* so excited the other week when a different neighbor came over to borrow a half cup of milk...people just don't do that kind of thing in most places anymore...)

I have a different perspective than most.  I was raised Mormon; I did not rebel against my upbringing, but God led me down paths I found surprising and different.  For years I have wondered how I fit into certain things.  While I do not find labels necessary, I do still find them productive at times, and so I have settled on deciding that I am basically half-Mormon (until and unless God leads me elsewhere).  It took years to become comfortable with the understanding that God has been giving me.  I am so deeply grateful for every bit of it.

Not everyone in a society or culture is alike; you find all types everywhere.  But it is undeniable that there is something very special here.  I can see and accept it now even more than I ever could before and so I am grateful for all of my past experiences and for finally being led back here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The Blight of Hipsters

This is another topic that I am posting along with Jessica.

Somehow in our conversation, Jessica started talking about the encroachment of hipsters into previously decent neighborhoods.  Now, I don't have quite the same perspective as Jessica, since I don't live in a big city and would never care to, and I am glad that I am not in the vicinity of mass groups of "hipsters" (what a stupid name, by the way--fitting)...but I have my own very related thoughts.  (Though they might go much farther than Jessica expected, lol.)

The whole idea of this particular culture is, first of all, ridiculous.  But it's not anything new.  A group of people rejecting mainstream culture and in reality just creating their own culture which is supposed to be anti-culture (which is not possible, by the way) and in the process creating something that ultimately ends up becoming mainstream...  "Hey, let's value independent thought, but your independent thoughts need to line up this way, people!"

Okay, right.  Makes total sense.

I mean, I get it to a point...I appreciate punk music and ska, for instance.  But though some of those elements seeped into my life at points, I always thought the culture ideas were pretty silly.  They just don't make sense.  They're not getting away from anything; they're just creating something that is in reality more shallow.  (But they sure know how to make it *sound* deep.  That's not exactly hard.)  You don't follow people and form basic ideas and ideologies if you're trying to get away from conformative thought.

Anyway, it's ultimately a destructive and not a constructive thing, when cultures and societies are formed this way.  When you define yourself by some ideal of "cool", when you reject the traditional just for the sake of rejecting the traditional, then you are binding yourself to some societal/cultural trend that is meant to tear down what has come before.  This attracts the types of personalities that just want to be told what is "in" or new or up and coming; people who want to latch on to something different that *sounds* good.  Ohh, it's progressive...well then!  It must be good!  And as such, because most of the people involved are involved through reactionary emotion, such things grow like a disease.  Shallowness breeds shallowness.

Everyone needs to have a sense of belonging and an identity entrenched in a certain model, which is usually formed through various past experiences and inspirational models.  There is a common unspoken (but quite mistaken) idea that you have to accept certain models in their entirety.  So if you don't like one or two aspects, then you go out and find something entirely new.  When you attach yourself to something "revolutionary", the tendency is to destroy that which has come before.

Don't get me wrong.  I think every young person needs this revolutionary experience to some extent, in order to evaluate their own past in relation to something different.  And new ideas and models can become useful and are indeed necessary in our poor broken world.  But slavery wasn't abolished by some up and coming "radicals".  True civil rights (as opposed to the fake civil rights that are currently trumpeted all over the place) are not won by society tossing out their whole culture, but by accepting the *truest* parts of their culture and better integrating these things into our lives. 

Good and right changes are built upon solid ideals, which are not in fact some new progressive idea.  Change is often a good thing, but the question must be asked *what are we changing into*??  And the usual instruments of change today don't want you asking that question.  "Independent thought" is likewise "encouraged", but when people talk of independent thought, they usually mean anything but.  Neither independent nor thought.  They mostly mean "just don't think what those fuddy duddies over there think, because they are, like, so totally uncool".

This entire tendency, of destructive culture building upon itself, of people following what is pronounced to be cool and hip, is why I detest cities so much (other than the great masses of suffocating people, that is)...cities are the breeding grounds of such things.  You get enough people together in one area and some things are inevitable, like really really bad drivers and people who think they are thinking but in reality they are not.

There is a reason that traditional things are, well, traditional.  Throwing these things out, or turning to things just because of some cool-factor is basically as far from independent thinking as one can get.

Hipsters throw in an additional element in putting up a pretense of keeping some things traditional, but these are strictly kept to certain trappings which mean nothing to them beyond their new-found coolness.  Jared thought of a definition for "cool" a few weeks was something like "assigning importance to something with no justification whatsoever".  I thought it was a pretty good definition.

As I mentioned, I think everyone needs a rebellious time; you can't properly evaluate things otherwise...but it's quite possible to do this sensibly and without having it overcome and destroy everything.  I offer some proof here.

This is something that a very good friend of mine made for me years ago.

It was very appropriate for me at the time--and in truth, still is.  Because I can make my own culture from that which is truly valuable; I am very conservative and traditional, but in many ways I don't fit in with any one culture.

I could ramble on about this much more, but I will force a stop here.

Stop being stupid, people.


As if I didn't write enough today, I am going to include some of the devotional I was reading this morning by Oswald Chambers.  It's a nice counter-point.  These words suit me as well as FLP Barbie's cattle prod and hair style.  :)

This was based on Matthew 6:26, 28

 "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?...And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin."

Oswald Chambers:

"So often we impair God's designed influence, which He desires to exhibit through us, because of our own conscious efforts to be consistent and useful...There is only one way to develop and grow spiritually, and that is through focusing and concentrating on God." 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Tea pot toes!

Last week, Annie came over and we did pedicures, since neither one of us can reach our own feet at the moment.  She gave me purple toes with teapots!

Not just normal teapots, either, but *fancy* teapots!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Phone books

I used to have a serious problem with phone books.  For a solid six years, probably more, I could never get a new phone book.

I like wiping my brushes on phone book pages, so I need phone books. (Though I don't need them nearly so much any more, I still do need them.  They are also good for oil pastel, and very necessary for oil stick as well.)  Jessica had to send me one a few years ago because I was in such dire need.  They last a long time, but when you don't get any replacements, it is an unacceptable situation.

Since I have been here, I have received at least four phone books. Maybe five because I have a feeling I can't find the fifth.  Four!  In six months!  Granted, they are very smaaaaall, thin phone books, but this still illustrates the differences between here and the last two places I have lived.

Also, most of the phone books I have gotten are...well, beautiful!  When have you ever seen a beautiful phone book??  I never had before; never.  They are amazing.

Give me the western states anytime; you can keep the rest.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


Gavin was putting up our subjects of the week.  I wasn't paying attention when he did so.  I could not but laugh when I saw later, though.

Is that appropriate or what??

Friday, May 15, 2015

Men's clothing

Men complain about women's fashion (and, I think, rightly so in most cases), but I have to wonder what the deal is about men's fashion.  They seem much more concerned, to be honest.

My husband had to buy a suit a couple of weeks ago.  He's not a suit-wearing-guy.  He's not fashion-conscious, but he does wonder the same things I do...whyyyy can't boys/men have some choices?  Oh, there are a *few* choices out there--but the alternate choices are just really lame or stupid.  Men's clothing wasn't always this way.

So we went in to find a suit.  And though we knew there would be little choice, it is *astounding* to discover *exactly* to what extent this means.

There were racks and racks of suits in the store.  It was not a small store, and it was pretty packed full.  Thousands of suits.

There was pretty exactly one type of suit.  ONE.

There were different colors (slightly) and certainly there were options of or expensive.  And there was *one* very *slight* alteration in lapel, if you happened to be the right size.  But they all had the same styling otherwise.  They all had exactly the same number of buttons.

You could still get a different tie.

That's about it.

So appalling.

Don't even ask about the hats.  They did have a few really cheap and very ugly hats on the wall, just as a token.  So awful.  My husband isn't a hat-wearing-guy, either, but it personally makes *me* mad that there were no hats.  Hats really need to become a thing again.  There is no excuse and I consider it to be in the category of the outrageous.

No wonder our culture is in such a state.

My husband did make the suit he chose look nice, though, I have to admit.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

One of the greatest inventions of our modern age

The cherry pitter.

My life was vastly improved when I acquired a cherry pitter.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

When snow is not snow...

Snowcones are the first instance of snow not being snow, of course.  But it can also be hail.  Last week we had what were probably the biggest hail stones I have ever seen, or close to.  Lady V liked to eat them before things started soaking on us.  There was a nice thunderstorm, too.

I am, however, glad that it is dry and sunny this week, because the dogs were really getting anxious with all that rain.  Poor puhpuhs.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Notes to Self

Jessica and I have decided to do some posts together, because well why not.  We're often thinking about the same types of things at the same time, anyway.

So today we are both writing about notes that we write to ourselves.

I used to have this really good short-term memory.  It is...less good now, which is really frustrating to me and just makes me mad, but there's nothing I can do about it, except write things down and make some attempt at keeping it all together.

Sometimes I use post-it notes, which are good when I have to keep track of all those repetitive things in life...but they tend to accumulate, and then I have this pile of post it notes, and they get stuck to other things and each other, and sometimes I wonder why I am still keeping them, but they might have one little piece of information on them that could come in handy in the future, or that I really need to remember to get around to gets a little messy.

 I write a lot of recipes on post-it notes, though I'm trying to get out of the habit.  In Georgia, my cabinets were covered in post-it notes...I had a vague idea of eventually not having all of my recipes in post-it notes, but they just kind of stayed there because I could find them.  They usually didn't have titles, but I could tell which recipes were which because I remembered what spot on the cabinet they occupied.

I've used notebooks before, and those tend to work well for me.  They do taper off in usage eventually; I'm not really sure why.  I love notebooks and sketchbooks, and I tend to have too many of them and I like to have them specialized, but I think that maybe complicates things.  Though I don't want to admit it.

Lately, though, I have taken to using a nice simple spiral notebook.  It's comfortable.

But the weird thing is, in the last month I have come to use this for everything.  Like, my whole life.  I take notes on philosophical concepts I am studying.

I write notes on Japanese grammar and use it for exercises and vocabulary and phrases.  (And I get additional notations from little hands.)

I use it to write down scripture chains in my scripture study, and for many many meditation notes.

And, I have taken to using it as a regular journal, which is potentially dangerous.  (Okay, maybe not just potentially.)  When I started my spiral notebook, intending it mostly for study notes and etc, I had just finished my last hardcover journal.

I wasn't eager to start a new journal with the topics I was currently wrestling with, for some reason.  Just seemed like a bad start to a journal...  So on a page of my notebook, I started rambling about one thing or another...and it was so comfortable, and it had so much space, and it was always right there at my fingertips when I had something to say, and it didn't take me long to just throw up my hands and decide to use it.

I have had a journal since I was a little girl, and I have many many volumes.  Sometime in high school, I realized I wrote so much that hardcover books weren't very practical for me then, so I started using spiral books, and then even that got to be a lot so I started using looseleaf and putting it in binders.  At some point, I went back to hardcover books, and I still wrote a lot...but my writing has tapered off.  That above journal spanned years, which is rather pathetic for me.

My writing has picked up a lot since I have been using my spiral.  It's just so comfortable and *right there*.

And by "picking up a lot" I mean that I've gone through this particular notebook in six weeks (and that slowly only because a third of those weeks it wasn't used as a journal).  So if I continue, I can expect to go through about 12+ notebooks a year.......that does makes me cringe.  Who in the world would ever want to read or keep this stuff?  I'll need whole rooms to store them.  And it would kill me to lose them all in some calamity.  But it is good for me, at least...because though I can't imagine anyone else wanting to go through all of this, and it will end up a terrible chore to store, I can't remember a damn thing without writing it down, and there's lots to remember at this point with little kids.  And having the freedom to be able to put everything in one place at a time will make a lot of things easier.  My poor brain.  :(

Here is a journaling page about a dream I had.  On a day like the last few weeks, I can easily write eight or more pages as solid as this.......which makes me feel a little crazy.  But all things considered I am feeling it necessary, not just for journaling, but also for the other purposes mentioned about, which are seeming more and more connected to me.  It's been a long time since I've had a comfortable place for study notes, and it's useful to have all of this all together.

I think maybe my kids will be interested to go through my papers someday...but man what a chore they will have...I almost feel guilty.  But I've always felt that my notes and writings were for me primarily, anyway.  If anyone else gets anything out of them, then...well, I will probably just feel embarrassed, lol.  Oh well.


Update:  See, I didn't *write down* the fact that I should have checked that I post this at the same *time* as Jessica.  I thought, for sure I'd remember that...

I've been feeling especially...awesome...the last couple of days.  I am so not there.  *sigh*

Monday, May 11, 2015

Paint Channeling

I had an interesting realization tonight.

Ever since I started dating my husband (maybe before then I had this, too, but there was never a place for it to go and I dealt otherwise), I have had an extremely strong need for the *physical* channeling of my emotions and spirit.  Jared and I are and have always been extremely and deeply connected in ways that cannot be described in any casual way.

Of course, we are often apart, and for very long times, and this is very, very rough for me.  Nothing truly compensates, though of course I have been given various lifelines, because God never leaves us without that which we need.  (At times we are able to enjoy an abundance, and at times we must accept the opposite.)

One of these things has always been painting.  In fact, I began oil painting the first time Jared ever left.  I realized tonight how paint can *physically* channel emotion and spirit, and how much I now need that in some form, that physical aspect.  It's not as good as having Jared right next to me, but I am definitely more equalized with painting than otherwise.  Not *as*, but at least more.

I suppose this is quite the obvious realization to many, though I am not sure that my description entirely coincides with what others believe I am saying.  This is one reason I don't discuss a lot of my internal thoughts--people will nod their head and agree, but in reality they will have no real idea what I am talking about.  I hate being misunderstood; I really do.  I am as precise as possible in what I say, but people will put their own spin on it, anyway, no matter what kind of lengthy discussion I go into.  At any rate, I've understood this ability of paint previously, but I was really able to enumerate it tonight, so it was interesting.

For many painting is a release of emotions, but I don't mean this in that exact's similar, but it's not a forcing or *release* of emotion, it's more a flowing and connecting of spirit.  You might think that is the same; maybe it is or can be, but they are different things to me.

There is absolutely no frustration or negativity with this, at least in the sense of what I am accomplishing, both on the surface as well as deeper.  (There are plenty of negative feelings involved, of course...but we can't do without the bad if we want the good as well, and we can't carry on our deepest connections without both, either.)

So at least it's a good way to paint, I guess.  I always like how things turn out when I paint like this.  (At other times it might serve as a bit of a block for me, because I much prefer to paint when I have have this connection flow going.  Jared does not always have to be gone for it to happen.)

That's my new chair, by the way, I put it together yesterday.  Hopefully it won't fall apart even though it's missing a few bolts...

It's oil pastel, so though it's not as interesting as a wet painting would be, Face at least knows that his hair can potentially attach...