Monday, January 28, 2013

Eight Arms of Inspiration, Coming in February!

Eight Arms of Inspiration is an octopus themed art book scheduled for printing next month, and one of my illustrations is featured in its pages! I'm thrilled to be a part of this book and have been looking forward to its publication all year. Jinxi Caddel is the fabulous author behind the project. After dreaming up the concept, she found and interviewed cephalopod-loving artists all over the world to showcase in one beautiful volume. Jinxi has been absolutely lovely to work with, and I cannot wait to see the book in person!

There is a write up on Eight Arms of Inspiration in Ink Fashion magazine this month. Check it out if you get a chance! It tells a little more about the project, and shares a sneak peek of the cover.

You can read more about the Eight Arms of Inspiration project here at its website (such as, did I mention 10% of the book's profits benefit keeping art education and creativity in schools?) And if you visit its Facebook, you'll find photos of the gorgeous paintings, pencilings, inkings, illustrations, sculptures, tattoos, and more that were selected for the book!

My "Octopus Drinking Tea" painting is my illustration that made it into the book. It's watercolors and pencil on tea stained paper. It's a little different from many of my other paintings, because there is no ink (ironic for an octopus painting, right?) and I only break this paper out for special pieces. I have a limited stash of it. It is smooth, rich, velvety, and REALLY difficult to work with. I love it.

He is also reading a tiny book.

I wrote about the process of this painting here, at the very beginning of the blog.

I will share info on how to order the book once it's fresh off the presses! If you know anyone who likes octopi (and we all know someone, am I right?) it would make a great gift! And you can casually turn to my page and be all like, "Oh, haha, my friend Georgia is in this! Imagine that!" and they'll be way impressed and you'll be like, "Oh, I know all sorts of creative people." And I'll high five you from where I'm hiding in a nearby potted plant and we'll both be like "NICE!"

But seriously, this book is going to be awesome!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Settling In

What a crazy couple of months! We moved into our new house just before Christmas, rode out the holidays on a magic carpet of flattened cardboard boxes, both came down with a nightmare of a cold, and now on January 23rd I'm still trying to get back into some kind of routine.

For me, it's hard to be creative without a routine. I'm easily distracted by anything left undone. When so many boxes need unpacking, pictures need hanging, and trinkets need adjusting, I have a rough time getting into painting mode. I realized the other day that between sorting, packing, moving, and sorting again it has been almost two months since I painted anything new! I am bound and determined to fix that soon. I have several sketches penciled out, and I'm excited about them, especially one piece I'm loosely referring to as "pirate frogs."

A lot of my creativity the past few weeks has been directed at the house; repainting frames and shelves, repairing old items in need of patching, and laying out new rooms. The rooms, furniture, and walls are all still works in progress, but a living space should evolve into a home over time, right? Our apartment took a while to form around us, and the house will too. New memories will create new photos for the walls, there will be new thrift store finds, fresh dents we can claim as our own, maybe a garden at some point... I look forward to life in this house.

The living room.

The rest of the living room, still coming together.

This will be a dining room... At some point.

Our porch

The view from our porch, in one direction. (The other direction is houses).

We had a few mismatched items that were fine in our apartment, but did not quite jive with the vibe of the house. So, I grabbed some white paint and gave them a cheap make over!

Never underestimate the power of a $9 can of white paint.

Ryan hanging the mirror in the someday-dining room.
I'm thankful he's so handy! And tall. Crazy tall.

Mismatched mirror paired with mismatched shelf!
Thank you, $9 can of white paint!

The shelf decked out for Valentine's Day.

My poor rabbit Herbert (YES OF COURSE HE HAS A NAME) had his face smashed during the move to Washington 3 years ago. I have looked at him guiltily every time I opened the closet since, promising I'd fix him one day. I took this move as opportunity to keep my word, and filled him out with some paper clay, which I then sculpted. This created a new problem, as paper clay dries white and Herbert was grey. NEVER FEAR. $9 CAN OF PAINT TO THE RESCUE!

(Every time I use paper clay I get this song stuck in my head for days).

He needs one more coat of paint, but Herbert's already a happier bun. 

Our bedroom closet did not have doors, so we hung some curtains we found at Good Will as a quick fix.

Since our starkly contrasted closets made us look like Bert and Ernie. 

When I moved to Washington 3 years ago, I didn't have room for an end table that once belonged to my Aunt Lizzie. I love the table, and did not want to leave it behind. Preston offered to take it with him on his impending move to LA, and this summer we carefully took it apart and wrapped it in my luggage during a visit.

Preston and James trying to unscrew the table. 

By "carefully take apart" I meant "fight with it as it stubbornly resisted for 45+ minutes".
Here, James reacts to the fun for the camera!

Last night I reassembled it, and filled in the gaps age had worn into it with paper clay. I plan on painting those parts into a dark wood grain so it blends; an trick my Dad taught me.

Phil Collins is going to be in your head for the rest of the day.

Of course, we're not the only ones who have been settling into the new house. Our pet rats and cats have been getting used to the place too. From the stairs, to the hardwood floors, to the heating vents, the cats have been in their glory. There was a period of adjustment, of course....

The first hours in the new house:
Elvis managed to hide not only under the bed, but also behind the curtains.
Puck turned on his high beams, just in case.

The first night in the new house:
Everyone graduated from hanging out under the bed to on the bed.

Puck takes a tentative peek outside the second day.

They were relieved to find the couch waiting for them in the living room.
(How sweet is Puck, seriously?)

Elvis took it upon himself to conduct elaborate tests to feel out
if the rules from the apartment applied to the house.

Soon, everyone was feeling at home.

The day they discovered warm air came out of the floor vents
the greatest day the cats had ever known.

The boys checking out the view from what will be the baby's room.

Lupin settled in the fastest.

Nap time in the living room.

Our realtor sent us a balloon to celebrate!

Nap time in my studio.

"Have you tried these vents? Because they are AWESOME."

Lupin, helping me decorate for Valentine's Day with Valentines from
the last few years.

I really wanted to keep a more detailed blog record of my pregnancy, but here I am 7 months in, beached at my desk in the throes of my third trimester, and I have not come close. I'll be honest, I haven't wanted to be negative. I love this baby already so much. I cannot wait to meet him and find out just who this great little person is. I adore feeling him move inside me, and cherish each kick. However, beyond that, I do not enjoy being pregnant.


I said it, okay? I don't. I hate being pregnant. I'm just no good at it. I love that I am having a baby, I am not as psyched to be pregnant. I wish I could fast forward through this part, or be the Dad. I am very lucky, I have had a healthy pregnancy. My benign tumors did indeed crash the party, (five of them), but they're staying small and not doing any harm--which is fantastic! The baby is doing great, his growth is right on target. And my weight is on track to the pound, to the week. I didn't blow up the way I (horribly, secretly, guiltily) worried I would. Women have asked me how I've managed only growing my belly, and my method is simple: Unrelenting morning sickness.

For most women morning sickness ends at the start of the second trimester. For a lucky few, it stays by their side, holding their head in the toilet until the very last day. My Mom was one of those lucky gals, and I seem to be too. My cold a couple of weeks ago was particularly wretched (get it), as whenever I coughed I would immediately start throwing up too. Which is awesome, when you think about how random and sudden coughing happens. I basically turned into a Monty Python sketch.

And I keep doing too much and pulling my abdominal muscles, then being ordered to a few days bed rest. (How very Victorian of me!)

There I am. Waiting for God to take me.

Everyone will tell you "Pregnancy is the most natural thing in the world. Your body was made for this." Yeah? Well, my back didn't get the memo. There's nothing natural about pregnancy. Your body goes haywire and your emotions go batshit. Your body is most definitely not made for this, or it would expand without shoving every organ you have directly on top of your bladder. After I eat--if I don't just throw it all up--my throat makes sounds that only come out of dinosaurs. Jeff Goldblum is checking for me in a rear view mirror. And I am waddling after that jeep, tearing apart trees, shouting and crying hysterically because I randomly can't stop thinking about how sad the Hugga Bunch movie was.

Remember when the Hugga Bunch movie taught us our grandparents were going to die?

This is why I haven't written much before, I know I'm just personally having a bad experience. There are plenty of women who feel empowered by pregnancy, who glow, whose hair gets thicker, and have actual food cravings instead of daily tilt-a-whirl visits to the vomitorium. I'm happy for them, I'm glad it's a beautiful, enriching experience for them. It's what I had looked forward to, instead of the achy, ill tempered, green sea monster I have expanded to become.

When Mary compared Matthew to a sea monster on Downton Abbey, I started
bawling because I felt bad for sea monsters. That's what pregnancy does to you.

At the beginning friends (trained by tv and movies) eagerly asked if I'd had any cravings. Having loved Full House myself as a kid, I too looked forward to a television kind of pregnancy. Ice cream at midnight, dipping pickles in ranch dressing, sending Ryan out for spareribs. Now I'd like to get through a week without dragging myself to the toilet crying out "OH CHRIST--" like Edward Woodward at the end of The Wickerman.

I feel guilty for admitting all of this. I feel less feminine, and I feel terrible because really, nausea and occasional bed rest aside, I am so very happy to be having this baby. I am counting down the days to April, devouring baby care books, registering for infant classes, and totally stoked to greet our son. After the terror of child birth, which I don't even have the energy to go into on this post. Maybe later.


Ryan should be canonized after this, because he has been a total dream. Ladies, choose your partners very carefully before having a baby. Sure, they're cute, but will they hug you while you are throwing up? And then clean it up? And then hug you again, tell you that you're beautiful, and help you back to bed? For months? You won't be able to roll over in bed (BECAUSE PREGNANCY IS SO NATURAL) without panting and groaning and waking them up. You won't be able to get out of a bath or off a couch. It's serious team work. My friend Brian put it beautifully in a thread on FB when I joked about Ryan carrying the next baby, "You all carry each other. That's the only way it works." It's very true, and those words have stuck with me.

Anyway, I've admitted too much. I'm sure the girl police will be knocking in our door any moment. Here are some pictures of me looking way more comfortable than I feel!

Who knew a Marvel tee I found in the little boys section of
Target years ago would make such a great maternity shirt?

That's a bunny on my shirt, maybe 6 months pregnant.

Okay, that face captures the manic side of pregnancy a little better.

Thanks for sticking through this post, if you made it this far! It was a little longer than I intended, but I feel like it covers the past month or so pretty thoroughly. There's some other stuff going on as well, but I'd rather go into that after it's all resolved than right now. I hope your holidays and new year were great! And I hope I'll get myself into gear and have some new paintings and sketches to share with you before long.