Spent Birthday Time

(The day before) yesterday was my birthday (I forgot to post this Thursday), and I swore I would do nothing all day, but that didn’t happen at all…

I wound up working, for the most part, but predominately on stuff I enjoyed.

I’ve been trying to design the big chest tattoo that I’ll finally be getting above the enormous scar across my torso. I’ve pretty much narrowed my tattoo artists down to two, and one is more local than the other. I realized I can’t go to my regular tattoo artist, Lanz Houston, who is now located in North Hollywood. We’d have to do it in a few sessions, and that’s too long of a drive. So it’s either going to be Joel Gray or Shea Cline. Joel is in Palm Desert, and Shea is in Yucca Valley, which is less than six miles from me. Joel specializes in American Traditional, and Shea’s forte is botanicals. My tattoo is mostly a wreath of poppies, but it includes a couple of swallows. Hannah’s name will be featured below my neck in script. It’s a lot.

Anyway, I also worked on a larger gouache painting, which is a collaboration I’m doing with artist Niki Ford. I feel like it’s going really well; this one, like we’re finally finding our footing. I’m still slow to make decisions, but maybe I need to accept that. All I know is that I’m doing the best I can, and I can’t help but do the best I can, always. It’s just the way I am. I can thank my old man for that one. Thanks, Dad, you meticulous freak. 

I was feeling really good about where this one was going, but after showing it to Niki, I got all screwed up in the head. I’m not really sure what sort of reaction I’m looking for from them, but I see it’s too much pressure to demand only very positive or extremely enthusiastic responses, and I may not be cut out to do collaborations with other artists despite how much I like them or want to.

(I’d show you a picture of this gouache in progress, but it’s still too dark outside to take a picture of it!)

Normally, in my own solitary artwork, I really don’t care what others think of it. I work on it until I’m satisfied with it. And that’s it. It’s pretty straightforward. No mystery, and I don’t try. I mean, I try to do my best. I just don’t put so much effort into pinpointing what to do.

So, I’m either going to keep trying to find some common ground (which is what I’d like to do, for now), or have a conversation about changing something drastically.

In other news and in recent days, I’ve sketched out a couple of new pieces on panels. One is part of the new family photos series, and one will most likely fit in a newer grouping I’ve been calling Out of the Question. I separated them out because the Memoir section was really part of the 2019 show, and I wanted to keep those pieces limited to just that group. It makes better sense to me.

This sketch is one of the family photos, and it went onto a 16 x 20 panel:

This one will go into that Out of the Question grouping. It’s on a 30 x 24-inch panel now:

And as kind of a birthday present, the sample catalog arrived from Lulu. Everything seems to be lined up pretty perfectly. But the paper they used is just not the same quality it used to be. Disappointing. I may contact them about it, but I’m sure there’s nothing they will do about it, unless I can change the paper type. However, if they changed it from years ago, then they changed it. I just thought I ordered the nicest paper they had, but it seems so thin to me, and uncoated. 

Hannah made me the most delicious steak and baby rosemary potatoes for my birthday dinner and played the Happy Birthday song on the piano with two hands, and hardly any mistakes. It was so sweet! She’s been learning how to play the piano lately and has been getting pretty damn good on it. We also had chocolate cheesecake, which is my favorite. 

So, the saga of being perplexed about Instagram continues for me. How do these artists have the time to paint so fast and continually post new pieces? What on earth? I am a full-time artist and can’t for the life of my make art that fast. I even wake up at 4:00 in the morning to get started with my day and can’t seem to get art accomplished in that capacity. I can’t figure that out, and I can’t figure myself out.

I do have a lot of other projects continually going that revolve around art, but aren’t exactly art-making per se. My correspondence alone takes up a huge amount of time. I really wish I had an assistant for that, but then my messages would be so unpersonable, and that is really key in how I manage to sell my art. I also run an art forum, and that’s a couple of hours a day, but sometimes less. Additionally, I’ve been working on a couple of websites for some friends. One of them is finished. It was for Rochelle Botello, and the other is more complicated because it has commerce. That will launch pretty soon. It’s for Elizabeth Hoffman.

I work on my own site too, and my database. I’m always doing updates. Writing is also part of my art practice, and I draw out a lot of ideas. I never share those though. They are pretty awful and private. I made a number of sketches on my birthday, which are a result of my writing. 

My decision-making and plans to make actual paintings is a long process. I need a lot of time to think and map shit out. Once I get to painting, the rest becomes fun and spontaneous, like veering off the lines, my palette, and so forth. 

But as for Instagram, I need to stop comparing myself. That’s really the bottom line. I was preparing for a show the entire past year, so I didn’t have time to just crank out a bunch of small watercolors or something. I can do those relatively quickly, and I guess I could have posted those on Insta almost as fast as everyone else does (not quite!). But now that I’ve embarked on a new series (two actually), and have taken on doing collaborations with Niki, I don’t know when I will be free to do small, experimental watercolors, though, that is always a nice break. Maybe I will try to fit them in one of these mornings.

All I know is that I’m always working, but where is all the “work?” It feels like it only appears every so often. But I just don’t make the same kind of art others do, and I don’t make it in the same way. I spend too much time in the process. Or maybe not “too much” time. It’s just the time that’s needed to make work I am satisfied with. I can only do me.

And those are my boring thoughts for today. Carry on with your lives.

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