Monday, June 30, 2008

The Adventure: June 20: travel day

I spent a few hours going through photos today and it became clear that it's going to take a VERY long time to get through them. I'm renaming them to indicate who took which ones, and then I go through and touch up the contrast and whatnot (I'm sure I'll get better at shooting pics, but remember I had no time to use the D80 at all before leaving so it was all on automatic everything (except sometimes on manual focus)).

But, I'd better get started talking about it or it'll take me all next month!

Not much to say about June 20, I left here late in the morning, spent a few hours on airplanes and probably at least as many hours sitting around waiting for airplanes. I arrived in Jackson Hole late that night and didn't have a lot of functioning brain cells left by the time we got to B's house in Idaho.

I do have this thing for taking pics out of airplanes, so here are a few photos somewhere between Denver and Jackson Hole.

today's news

Sing along with me, Queen fans...

"Somebody, somebody
Can anybody find meeeeeee somebody to love?"

Maybe some people are not meant for anyone?

Okay, onto cheerier subjects, of which there are several.

I was surprised to look out my window this morning and see how much things have changed. Amazing what happens in ten days. The ducks are flying. The corn is so tall! The apricots are ripe (more on that later). The chicks have grown so much.

And the baby barn swallows were just pinkies when I left! Look at them now, I had no idea there were five!

I went to the post office to pick up my mail and was pretty blown away to read what I got from State Fair. You know how I always say it must be a fluke when I get something accepted there? Well guess what, I got TWO pieces in the art show this year!!!!! Yee haw! They accepted "Aragorn at One Year" (geez Jen, all this free publicity for your horse) into the equine art category, and "Jessie" into the drawings category. Hmm, 12 days in which to get it framed... That's so awesome, I can't believe I got two pieces in the show! :-)

This evening I decided to pick "a few" apricots. Well, I realized when I went out there that they are pretty much all ripe right now, which means they all need to come off the tree within the next couple days, so "a few" became two buckets full, which barely made a dent. I pitted them and ran the whole lot through the grinder and oh my goodness I have enough puree in the fridge for six batches of jam. Um, that's insane. I mean, I'll do it if people are interested, but that's probably somewhere between 50 and 60 half pint jars. So, jam anyone? $5 per half pint jar, shipping $12 for up to 6 jars.

My schedule feels all out of whack. This ought to be early for me but I think I'd pretty well adjusted to mountain time and gotten into the habit of going to bed much earlier than I normally do! That is actually a habit I should strive to maintain, hmm.

weary traveler returns

And so ends the Adventure. I got home around 1am last night, way too tired to even think about logging in here. I had a GREAT trip, it really was the adventure of a lifetime, despite being in some ways completely different than what I had anticipated.

If you don't know where I was, I left on the 20th and spend the last ten days staying with my friend BK in Idaho, and we went to Yellowstone, and spent a lot of time in Jackson Hole, and went trail riding, and really I had a fantastic week. Huge thank you to BK for the hospitality and for driving me around and being a great person to spend time with.

Between the two of us (I promise to credit photos appropriately!) on my two cameras (YES! I bought the Nikon D80! That's a story in itself) we took around 900 photographs. So that's going to take me a while to sort through them, and I'm sure it'll take as long to blog about the trip as it did to live it first-hand!

So stay tuned!

Oh geez I need to do laundry and unpack. It's REALLY hard getting back to normal life.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

adventure bound

And so begins the Adventure of a lifetime. :-)

Contrary to rumors suggesting otherwise, I will return, and I will entertain you with pics and stories. Northeastward ho!

:-) !!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Elk Tooth Scrim done!

By golly that's small!

scrimshaw on elk tooth
sterling silver bail, 18" black leather cord
not for sale at this time, maybe later (I need to use it for display for a while)

So yeah, elk teeth are definitely a viable option for scrimshaw! Granted, they are difficult. The small size, uneven surface, curved surface, hardness... but that's okay. :-) I think it makes a really neat pendant!

There is still a situation of extreme annoyance and frustration going on, which I think will be resolved by mid week. I am hoping the end will indeed justify the means. It'll make for a good story. I'll tell it by the end of the month. ;-)

There's not a lot of other news to tell. I may be dancing at the Galt Festival July 6th (evening?). I wasn't going to do it since I'm going to miss a few classes beforehand but... eh, I can at least take part in the routines that I know. I'm not totally committed to it right now and don't want to stress about it but I think I can pull it off without it being an issue. We'll see.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 15 work in progress

Finished and approved!

"Vichi" (Serama rooster)
5x7 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on gray Stonehenge paper
sold (commission)

I am more or less done with the elk tooth scrim but then when I was scanning it tonight I thought I might still tinker around with it a little more in the next day or two. So stay tuned for that one.

It was a pretty uneventful weekend, lots of art and lots of work with the critters, I had to clean a couple coops and move the oldest chicks outdoors and then clean a bunch of brooders. There are definitely some decent birds out there, and some pretty bad ones too of course!

The barn swallows out front have apparently hatched, seeing as how I found hatched out shells under the nest today. Sure doesn't seem like it's been long enough since they finally got around to nesting, and I haven't actually seen her nesting (must be really hunkered down in there!). But hey, whatever, I'm glad they finally got their act together. I have not heard babies in the cliff swallow nests yet, which surprises me.

Barn swallow egg shells:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

June 14 work in progress

Just needs feet and background.

"Vichi" (Serama rooster)
5x7 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on gray Stonehenge paper

Friday, June 13, 2008

June 13 work in progress

It wasn't until late afternoon that I realized it's Friday the 13th, and I thought "well that explains today." Today has been extremely crappy and frustrating but I'm not going to get into it until it's resolved, at which point I will hopefully find the situation somewhat amusing. Good grief! :-(

The weather makes me grumpy too. It's not even summer yet and I'm already sick of these stupid hot temperatures.

Anyway, works in progress, neither of which got much attention the last two days (aaaaack!)


Scrimshaw... okay I'm thinking of just sticking with black and white on this. I don't mean for that to be the lazy way out, but I'm really afraid of screwing this up if I put color into it. I remember how much black detail I lost when I added color to the dragon, and that'll happen here too. I think, if I'm going to do color, it needs to be a piece that has "no deadline" because I have to let each layer dry A LOT before I add more. And this has to be done within a few days, so... yeah, I'll just do b/w. Obviously it's not done. Heck I can always do an elk in color on the next one. I need more practice with color in order to be able to do it the way I want.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

uh oh, I feel a rant coming on

Oh. My. Gosh. So I was just out in the yard and saw a little furry lump of something. Closer inspection yielded a kitten, very young, scrawny, panting, eyes crusted shut. It's 96 degrees, and it was on its side in full sun. There's no mystery as to where it comes from, they are from next door where the neighbors evidently don't believe in the magical powers of spay/neuter.

So I picked up the pathetic critter and carried it next door where I was met by one of my neighbors. "This is yours" I said. She said "oh is is the one with the goopy eyes?" And I'm thinking um hello excuse me you knew about this?

"It's really sick" I told her. "I've had this discussion with your mother before. This is the third sick kitten I have found. GET THIS PROBLEM FIXED." She looked at me like huh? Exasperation. "It's the big fluffy gray momma cat" I said. "Ours?" She asked. (um duh!)

#@$%!!! OMG people, spay your animals!!!! For YEARS I have been finding crusty eyed kittens. It's sad, it's irresponsible. I love cats, and well pretty much most animals. Geez there's even a mobile spay/neuter unit at the fire station a whopping 1.1 miles away right now. FIX IT!!!!! I have no respect for people who don't take responsibility for this stuff.

I'm pretty tempted to start trapping, but spending my money on cleaning up someone else's problem really doesn't sit well with me.


pudding cake

I was bitten by the baking bug last night (a fairly regular occurrence) and decided I'd try a new recipe of chocolate pudding cake. Not that there's anything wrong with the other one, I just felt like something new. The recipe was for mocha fudge pudding cake but I don't like coffee (unfortunately, as I'm *really* not perky in the mornings). So made some changes. It's not very sweet when it's warm, but I like it a lot cold. If you like dark chocolate you might like this warm. If you're like me and like sweeter chocolate, considering adding more sugar, or eat it cold.

Fudge Pudding Cake

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsifted all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1 block (1 oz) unsweetened baking chocolate
1/4 cup ground sweet chocolate (NOT cocoa!!!! Omit this for a less rich flavor. In a pinch I'll bet you could use powdered hot chocolate mix, worth a try anyway!)
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup cocoa
1 cup hot water (use coffee if you like)
top with ice cream or whipped cream

Combine 3/4 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, ground chocolate, and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter with baking chocolate in a small saucepan (or microwave); add to dry ingredients with milk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Pour into 8 or 9 inch square pan.

Combine 1/2 cup sugar, brown sugar, and cocoa in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Pour hot water (or coffee) over top; DO NOT STIR. Bake at 350 degrees approximately 45 minutes or until center is almost set. Serve warm or cold (colder is sweeter).

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

June 11 work in progress

Nope, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth quite yet. Think of this as prepping for the upcoming small break from my blog. ;-) Actually no, I've just been busy and frazzled and my brain is getting mushier by the second.

First, some WIPs:

This is a portrait of Vichi, a Serama rooster. I was saddened to learn recently that Vichi passed away last month. I remember meeting him, he was standing on the desk in my art booth and I was lightheartedly admonishing his owner that "he'd better not poop on there!" These WIPs are posted with permission.
5x7 inches
colored pencil, graphite, ink
on gray Stonehenge paper

And then we have the elk tooth scrim in progress!

The subject matter is, of course, an elk (I figured at least the first one better be an elk. Did I post the before and after pic of the teeth? I don't think so. Looks a lot better after cleaning and polishing doesn't it!

It's a pretty nice surface to work on, much harder than elephant ivory (which makes it tough to get dark areas) but the nice thing about the hardness is it doesn't scratch easily. I am working this right now as though it's going to be done in color, and I'm fairly sure it will be, but I'll get all the black areas in there and then decide. I think the image would lend itself well to color, it's just sort of a time constraint (because there won't be time to let anything dry in between). It's really dang small!

There is no way I'm going to get the bear cub scrim done, or probably even worked on at all. I have more or less decided to do that one black and white (or sepia perhaps). Color isn't going to look right on the tan micarta, the clouds and sky would just end up looking kind of muddy.

I ventured up to the barn loft today (OMG the dust!) in search of old toys (to sell on ebay). I thought I'd kept a bunch of old GI Joe stuff but I couldn't find it, maybe it's elsewhere, or in an unmarked box. I did find my old My Little Ponies, which I'd been thinking about following a recent discussion with someone. I was surprised at how few I had: only ten, and two babies. I could have sworn I had more, but I know I kept them all. Huh. I was completely tickled to stumble across the Puzzletown box, I darn near had to pull that out and play with it, but I resisted. I LOVED Puzzletown and had completely forgotten about it.

A Mockingbird is singing very loudly in the front yard. Hot Stuff is playing on the iPod. (random!)

The eleventh anniversary of living here slipped past a couple days ago without me even realizing it. That's hard to believe, eleven years. A year shorter than I lived on the big ranch, a place that seemed like forever. I drove down that road the other day for the first time since I had to leave, it was surreal. I would think it was a dream if I hadn't had a witness. The old place looked completely different, and totally trashed. I really felt like it wasn't even real....

Countdown to The Adventure has begun. There are things I don't talk about here out of respect for privacy (um, mine!) but I'm having some trouble keeping my mouth shut. SO DANG EXCITED!!! :-)!!!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

horsey weekend

How did it get to be Sunday night already? It's been a whirlwind weekend. I spent Friday at Horse Expo with JC, where we shopped til we dropped and watched a couple of fun shows and decided that mounted shooting looks way cool, but with my world-renowned crappy aim I may not be cut out for it, and besides I ride a slow horse. Then again she might be so low to the ground I could just walk past and whack the balloons instead of shooting them. ;-)

I did not manage to take any spectacular photographs this year. I did take some photos, but none of them are great, somehow there just wasn't much opportunity this year. I usually shot a lot of pics during the Baroque show but that was indoors this year so I didn't take any of those. There seemed to be fewer horses this year, and some breeds that normally have a strong representation were missing. Huh. Here's a photo of a flying Friesian though.

The art show was interesting. There was some incredible art, and there was some incredibly bad art. Like, to the extent that I really have to think they must be low on entries. Draft Horse Classic is a FAR better showing of equine art. Sounded like not much sold this weekend. My painting did not sell, but it did place third in the acrylic division. I can't say I agree with some of the placings, but who am I to judge.

After spending the day at Horse Expo I briefly spent some time at an 80s theme birthday party at J&L's, and discovered I have far too much hair to pull off a side-ponytail, it makes me feel like my face is going to fall off to one side. Gah! And then, after getting back into normal mode it was off to the airport to pick up BK. Nothing like trying to find someone you've never met before... ;-)

So Saturday I spent the day at Horse Expo with BK, which was super fun, and it was actually kind of neat to be there two days because I saw totally different things on different days. Saturday we saw lots of clinics and educational stuff, and it's downright fascinating to me to listen to different trainers talk about accomplishing the same goal. Some of them use basically the same techniques but have different terminology or explain them in somewhat different ways. Others completely contradict each other. So whereas one person talks about moving a horse with leg pressure, and being able to move different parts of the horse depending on the position of the leg, the next trainer comes along and says legs are only for getting the horse to move forward, and other than that need not move, and you can move the horse anywhere you want to go entirely with the reins. Huh? I have to say that clinic confused me, I can sit there and watch the results but I don't understand HOW it's accomplished. Or why they are so different.

Anyway, I had a GREAT weekend, although it went by pretty darn fast and was completely exhausting. I was back at the airport this morning before dawn even thought about cracking, came home and slept til noon. To say that I am looking forward to my vacation would be the understatement of the century... :-)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

checking in....

I know I have at least one reader who thinks I should write something every day even if I have nothing to say. ;-)

There's another huge deadline coming up, and two scrimshaw pieces I would like to finish. Umm, uh oh. I have a few things just barely started in progress but not enough to justify pics, plus I'm just kinda rushed and don't feel like messing with photos tonight.

It's been a crazy last few days.

It's going to be an exciting weekend. If you know me, you are smiling when you read that. I will leave you with that little bit of ambiguousness and call it a night. ;-)

Monday, June 02, 2008

Percheron Scrimshaw done!

I did it! :-) But it was a strenuous process.

"Sunday Morning" (Percheron)
scrimshaw on pre-ban ivory piano key
7/8 by 1-7/8 inches
will be framed
entered in Draft Horse Classic

I really had planned to finish last night, but I was also having serious doubts about my ability to finish at all. This is how it looked at 8pm:

By 2am I was cranky and sore and still not done, so I decided to call it a night, figuring I had at least three more hours of work to put into it, a lot of which involved really pushing the dark areas on the trees (ugh). This is how it looked at 2am:

After exactly three more hours today I was willing to call it done, so I scanned it, printed a pic, and dashed off to the post office to mail the entries. It's a juried show, I should find out by the end of the month whether I'm in or not. I entered 4 pieces in State Fair too, should know about that by the end of the month as well. Cross your fingers!

Just for kicks, here are the two pieces I entered in Draft Horse Classic, side by side. Both Percherons, slight size difference ya think? ;-) Interestingly, the tiny scrim took about 2/3 as long to create as the big drawing.

The moral of the story here is don't do scrimshaw on tight deadlines, it's really hard. And don't do ten hours of scrimshaw in a day, it really hurts.

I'm exhausted.