Yurt 2019

Well. Not what I expected.

I suppose I should start by saying that I went with certain goals in mind. Maybe my goals were set too high, but I don’t think so…Actually, maybe they were set too high in light of the circumstances.

Yurt location: Sandwiched in between 2 streets on the north and south, and families with small children on either side. Directly (like feet) behind my yurt: an electrical box. Nothing exactly wrong with the kids on either side…they were just kids, which means LOUD. And hey, guess what! I might be able to deal with some of the noise, if it weren’t for the time of day.

I always wonder what people who are up being noisy at the ungodly time of 7 AM, would think if I made the exact same noises they did, but @ 2 AM or even midnight. They would be very offended. And yet, they think nothing of the noise when it’s in the morning. Folks? 7 AM is too EARLY for that kind of noise.

Weather: The first day = RAIN. Lots of it. The second day: rain, intermittently. So I decided to go out and walk around a bit. In actuality, I walked around A LOT. I walked all over Fort Stevens. It was one of the things I’d really wanted to do there, as the buildings are quite dramatic. But some of the buildings were no longer there, and the oddest buildings were roped off. I did get a good walk in, though.

I then toured Astoria. And all told for the day, I ended up walking more than my body wanted to, and my plantar fasciitis kicked up. Oh well, right? But it means I never got to the beach.

My kitty sitter, Gina, was not as communicative as usual and said that Jinju “made appearances” but I took it to mean he was mostly in hiding. She also said that she didn’t have her phone with her to take any pix of them…but??? she is pretty attached to her phone, so I ended up worrying about the cats.

On Wednesday I received texts from 3 colleagues and 1 student. (meaning I chose a time too close to the quarter for my excursion) AND . . . well, maybe I should stop complaining.

The good stuff: I got a lot done INSIDE the yurt. I wrote a bit…I thought a lot and came to some good conclusions. And I didn’t miss the game as much as I thought I would. I also made friends with a very fat squirrel, and met some friendly people.

I need to return to Astoria and stay in a motel in town if I want to get a better feel for the city. I’m still thinking of moving there, but have more doubts about it this time than last. And next time I stay in a yurt, I need to book more in advance so I can get a better location. I also think I would like to have a wilder experience, and should think about going somewhere less controlled.

WTH is going on in the top left photo? Never happened before! I suppose something happened inside my phone. the photo on the right: I had a mirror in my yurt that had been melted in the middle. I had some fun with it!

Another year is underway. I spent the summer working on non-art things. I painted the other side of the house (it looks awesome), got a lot of work done on the garage, gardened and am still reaping the last little rewards from that. There is so much to do here! and no time at all to do it. I get tired more quickly than I used to and by the end of the work day, I am totally beat. Tonight I got home from work, sat down, and . . .

sat.

yup. that’s about it.

I went to the gym on Wednesday for my weekly date with the best trainer on the planet! In the middle of our session he was trying to explain a new movement in which I was supposed to poke my chest out at the end of a rope pull. I made some comment about breasts poking out -just being silly- but my comment broke open a conversation about the Kavenaugh/Ford situation. I wasn’t surprised by his opinion. And though I do know that losers exist who don’t see it like I do, I’m fortunate not to know a single one of them.

Christine Blasey Ford is believable beyond the shadow of a doubt. What she’s gone through —having to sit in that room surrounded by old conservative men -being judged by them the entire time- having her story and her life splashed across all news fora, the embarrassing, mean-spirited behavior of our tacky AF President, mocking her in a public gathering… Really, I feel so little allegiance to this country right now. …I’ve now heard that it is likely that Kavenaugh will be confirmed. what does this even say about our country?

I like Cory Booker and I hope he runs for President.

time passing

my mom died this morning at 11:15 AM.  the feelings are not describable, so i won't try.  just to say: i had the best mom on the planet; i don't know if i would have become an adult at all without her.

my mom, dorothy smith dudley.  in her 20s

my mom, dorothy smith dudley.  in her 20s

mark, georgia, mom, me & axel (our cocker spaniel)

mark, georgia, mom, me & axel (our cocker spaniel)

my mom in her 40s

my mom in her 40s

georgia, me and mom.  summer of 2016 celebrating my 60th birthday without cake. 

georgia, me and mom.  summer of 2016 celebrating my 60th birthday without cake. 

Me 'n' Georgia are the only family members left.  RIP, mom.  I love you to pieces.  Don't forget you promised you'd be there when I kick the bucket.  If u leave me there alone, I swear I will come back and delete this entry.  :)

I haven't written here in a long time.  I haven't written in my paper journal, either.  Me, of flowing text and 1000's of tiny drawings...there's nothing but silence here.  It's OK.  Sometimes being quiet is what should happen.  People aren't quiet enough, I think.   Or slow enough.  When was the last time you read a book?

I'm uncomfortable with the way my town is growing.  I moved here in the mid-90's when this place was still a haven for idealists and religious freaks; there was something about the floweriness of the 60's that had lingered in this place.  It was green.  People rode unicycles (yes, really) and drove crazy-painted cars.  People believed in alternative ways of living.  There were cob structures, hand-painted neighborhood intersections, tiny "libraries" in people's front yards where a passerby could trade one book for another.  Most of that is gone now.  

We are adding 111 people to this town every DAY.  And they are coming with all their habits and ideas.  Our old Portland homes are being torn down en masse, replaced by multi-family complexes.  I wonder how many bodies we can actually cram into this town.    this article in the Oregonian ranks neighborhoods, showing how many single family homes have been destroyed.  I live in the Woodstock neighborhood where 2.24% of our homes have been demolished.   

I guess I'm thinking about this now because I received my second solicitation of the week from a company that wants to buy my house.  "THIRD ATTEMPT" (you'd think they would get the message, no?)  and that I should call their phone number to listen to a recording they made especially for my house.  Like, NO.  Go away...this is my HOME.

I have a bunch of projects to do this summer...still working on my studio.  Man, talk about slow-growing.  It's OK.  One step at a time!  Esteban put doors in my garage summer before last, and I am finally getting around to painting them.  So far I've got this done:

Sculpture studio in progress

Sculpture studio in progress

I still need to do the caulking, and finish painting...then I have to do the west side of the house.  I would also like to finish the ground in front of this studio.  I would like to put in a mosaic made of recycled ceramic bits.  We'll see...

 

 

Getting ready for my show in March

Bearing the Bones

Bearing the Bones

It seems I'm in the mood for videos.  Anyhow, I find this woman amazingly beautiful and she should live at the top of my page for awhile.  yes?  yes!

gee whiz...who knew?

There are very few actors who draw me into a theater simply because they appear in the movie, but Guy Pearce is definitely one of them.  Who knew he had musical talent?  not me.  This video is also really beautiful...full of evocative images and beautifully lit.  Love the anti-gravity water, the flying shards and ashy bits, the way the figure moves or doesn't) in the frame, the facial expressions.  Not sure about that bit there on the hands and knees, but overall it's pretty to watch!

the allure of authenticity

I think I know at least a part of the reason why I like these little snaps that I posted last night.  They feel authentic to me. 

I don't usually think of myself as a person who admires "capture" very much, so maybe I'm changing just a little.  Maybe, like so many of my students, I also find myself searching for photos that have a certain "realness" to them -that give me a sense that the people in them were actually like that

In the photos I posted last night the subjects are not at all embellished.  They're not photoshopped to death; they're not posing.  That's just how they were at that minute.  Especially when I think about these particular photos and know how old they are...some of these people are now dead and these photos give me a chance to view the mood and character of their life experiences.

Very little mind is given to composition.  The people aren't carefully centered or balanced.  The pizza girl is falling out of the frame.  In the photo of the farm women, entire left hand side of the shot is blown out, the women have their backs to the camera and all the forms are bunched up -like a clot- in the middle...there's also that strange little half-person on the right hand side....etc...

They are unstudied and unpretentious.  They're nubby -like fabric with an uneven weave- imperfect.

Whenever I go to Photolucida, what I see are portfolios with projects that are well-considered, highly polished...they're like the difference between valium and valerian.  They're these refined, sliver-thin slices of perfection.  And don't get me wrong: I like them.  A lot.  But I miss the simplicity of the transparent window that photos used to be...of things as they actually are.  OK, yeah...I know this is dumb to say.  That "things as they actually are" is a ridiculous idea to even consider.  Because perspective.  Because interpretation.  Whatever.  I'm saying it anyway, and then tomorrow I'll change my mind again.

LIL SNAPS

A few years ago my friend Chip gave me a big box of bones (he had them all identified and labeled) and an old family photo album that he didn't want.  A lot of the pix were not too interesting to me and I finally cut those up and used them in little collages.  But there were a few that I really liked and didn't want to cut.  Tonight when I was cleaning out my shelves I found a few of them between a couple of books...

These elders chillin on the steps.

These elders chillin on the steps.

These sun-baked farm women

These sun-baked farm women

The pizza girl and her friend.

The pizza girl and her friend.

The pix here on my computer screen are actually somewhat bigger than the actual pieces of paper.

Paying to work...it's a new thing!!! or is it?

Many years ago I attended a Photolucida portfolio review.  I don't remember the exact year it was, but it was back when the cost of attending was somewhere in the neighborhood of $675.  These days Photolucida costs over $900 so that should give you a little idea, perhaps, of how long ago the first event was. 

Each time I've attended Photolucida, it has been a stretch for me financially.  My college does pick up part of the attendance fee, but the attendance fee is where the costs BEGIN.  There are perfected prints to create, cards and other leave-behinds for the reviewers, portfolio cases & various gizmos to carry them all, and on and on.  Furthermore, if you are successful and get shows, the expenditures begin anew, as now the work must be matted and in many cases framed, then there is packing and shipping.  All in all, it's a lot of money, and it is money that the artist has to come up with.  This is all on top of the normal, expected costs of doing the work:   cameras, lenses, paper, darkroom supplies and equipment -it's all $$$  some of us also spent a lot of time and money on our education. 

The first time I went to Photolucida, I was disappointed that I was not scheduled with Marita Holdaway.  I thought, "oh well...she's just a few hours away in Seattle.  I'll seek her out after the event."  Only to discover that she wanted $75.00 just to look at my portfolio.    Last time the same thing happened.  Two different people recommended I seek out Jason at Panopticon.  But I go to his website and it's the same thing.  In a way, I understand that such a fee helps filter out people who are not serious about their work.  But some of us ARE serious, and should be applying, but can't justify laying down $75 for the privilege of hearing how great we are, but....

But I have always wondered:  In what other profession does the person working pay like we do?  I am really curious about that. I mean, if a student in medical school knew that they would have to pay for the privilege of performing double bypass surgeries there would be no doctors.  So why are so many people dying to be photographers?  What are they looking for?  Is it fame?  Recognition?  It is one thing to be a photographer for the sake of self satisfaction...it is quite another thing trying to "make it" in this field, where every Tom, Dick and Keri think they are a photographer just because they purchased an iPhone.

*** *** *** ***

OK.  So something a little bit similar...today today I received a catalog from Breitenbush Hot Springs.  And found an entry for "Winter Service Week."  I am completely serious when I say that this is an opportunity for people to go to Breitenbush to PAY TO WORK.  Yup.  the "discounted" cabin fee?  $310 for a cabin with no toilet.  Those who enroll are asked to bring clothes for physical outdoor work...here is the ad: 

breitenbush ptw.jpg

But paying for a cabin at Breitenbush for a weekend work-toot is not the same as building a career around an activity that requires lifelong outlay of resources with very little return.

*** *** *** ***

I did think of one more example of a person who got others to pay him to allow them to work for him.  Tom Sawyer, right?  And the damn fence...where he convinces other little kids that the job is so cool that they offer him gifts so they can have a chance at it.  And we, the readers, all knowingly nod our heads at their folly.   I have finally gotten to the point of being able to nod my head at my own folly, I suppose.  I am finished with conventional ways of engaging the world of art & photography.  I've gotten recognition, it's true.  But I live in the real world, where real money is required of me in order to stay alive.  So, sorry, but I am checkin' out of this rat race.  What's next?  Not sure.  But I'm interested in finding out!

my gobbled summer

Well, it's OK.  I mean, I chose to do this, but I did TOTALLY underestimate the amount of time this would take.  I am painting my own house. 

First the scraping...

Worst task on the face of the planet:  scraping the house.  Wearing a half-mask with cannisters in 100F weather is just awful.  Replacing caulking is not so bad, but many of my shingles were (IMHO as a novice) too far apart.  So I caulked between those, too.  Then I primed with lead-binding primer. 

Worst task on the face of the planet:  scraping the house.  Wearing a half-mask with cannisters in 100F weather is just awful.  Replacing caulking is not so bad, but many of my shingles were (IMHO as a novice) too far apart.  So I caulked between those, too.  Then I primed with lead-binding primer. 

Staining was visible in the scraped zone of the lead-binding primer, so i went over it with Kilz.  re-caulked the windows, etc.... all the prep took a LOOONG time.  Also, in that time frame, we had 105F weather, so I did not work on those days (there were 2 days of that.) 

Staining was visible in the scraped zone of the lead-binding primer, so i went over it with Kilz.  re-caulked the windows, etc.... all the prep took a LOOONG time.  Also, in that time frame, we had 105F weather, so I did not work on those days (there were 2 days of that.) 

Then on Sunday, I pushed some painting through, and now have this on the side:

the bottom part is double-painted.  the part close to the camera still needs another coat.  Then on Sunday I went to the Home Depot to get a decent scaffold.  And am doing this:

the bottom part is double-painted.  the part close to the camera still needs another coat.  Then on Sunday I went to the Home Depot to get a decent scaffold.  And am doing this:

I'm changing the color of the triangle in the front...going from very very dark brown to a caramel color.  I love the lighter color and the artwork will show up better against the lighter color.  The ceiling above will be the rust color.  it then matches the cob sculpture on the porch, which I am also in the middle of refinishing (re-surfacing and weatherproofing.)

I'm changing the color of the triangle in the front...going from very very dark brown to a caramel color.  I love the lighter color and the artwork will show up better against the lighter color.  The ceiling above will be the rust color.  it then matches the cob sculpture on the porch, which I am also in the middle of refinishing (re-surfacing and weatherproofing.)

In the midst of all of this, I discovered that I have carpenter ants.  And I can't put that off.  After I get the front and side completely done I am taking a break to do something -ANYthing- else.  Wouldn't it be awesome to read a book?  lol! 

Anyhow.  Gobble-gobble...there goes my summer, but the result will rock, so it's all good.