November 26, 2008

My Goddess Journal

I made this for my Suzi Blu goddess workshop called “Be. Divine.”, although I haven’t actually done any of the exercises yet. When I do, I might scan & share them here, I haven’t decided yet.

The cover cardstock is actually a metallic “pomegranate”, but that didn’t show up in the scan and the inside front cover is covered with a matching paisley printed scrapbook paper, it looks fucking AWESOME. My fingers are swollen and peeling from sewing through the cardstock, double-sided tape etc. but I’m willing to suffer for my art. I really should invest in a thimble though, it would have been handy.

Anyway, behold:

Bring on the Courtney hate! :oP

Posted at 11:37 am in: Art

Today Sucks.

We were declined, again, for debt relief on my student loans. $350/month will be coming out of our bank account whether we like it or not every month.

The town reassessed our taxes, one month before Xmas, and they say we owe them $900 that we simply do not have.

I got a letter from Touched By Fire thanking me for being in the show and giving me a number to call to arrange pick up of my art work, when it was my understanding as per the submission package that they would be mailing back, at their expense, any unsold works.

And last but not least, Blake logged into the bank account this morning and some strange person has apparently used our debit card to pick up dry cleaning and withdraw $500 in cash from a bank machine, putting us into overdraft. Blake’s calling the bank now.

So if anyone has any other shit to lay on us, you might as well do it now while we’re already standing in a pile of it.

Posted at 9:44 am in: Life , Money
November 25, 2008

Oh! In Other News…

I wish I wish I wish I wish I had a colour laser printer. I don’t really know a whole lot about printers, but I think this one will do what I need it to do and won’t kill me when it’s time to replace toner cartridges. Right now I use an annnnncient black & white laser printer that’s slowly dying and I swear to god is just going to stop working any day now. I’ve been using the same high-yield toner cartridge for like, 4 fucking years.

But I need COLOUR! And I need TONER! because you see, with toner, you can use packing tape and gel medium to make transfers in mixed media art, which is what I do!

And this isn’t me begging for a printer, in fact, I’m begging the government of Ontario for a printer. Tonight I completed my package for the Visual Artists Grant provided by the Ontario Arts Council. It’s up to $5000 and the deadline is December 1st, if any other Ontarians wanted to apply!

Here’s what I wrote for my artist’s statement:

“I create because I have no other choice but to do so. That may be cliché, but in my case it also happens to be true. I have agoraphobia and generalized anxiety, as well as bipolar disorder, which means I only leave my house about once a month to see my psychiatrist. The rest of the time I’m inside my house either painting or writing and it is my wish to be able to support myself financially by doing both.

In the fall of 2008, I started making mixed media paintings with paper dolls holding words against splotchy, metallic, glittered backgrounds and I have successfully been able to sell some of these paintings through my website (www.sunnycrittenden.com). I have realized, however, that in doing this, I’m only making enough to cover materials, that my time has no value and the only way I’m going to be able to support myself through my art is to first, treat it like an actual business and secondly, to take quality pictures of each painting and pay up front to have prints made, which I can then sell in quantity, charging much less than I would for an original. This allows me to keep my originals, hopefully to be shown in art shows, and make a profit from the prints.

If I were to be given a grant, depending on the amount I would like to purchase the following:

* Canvasses and paint to continue creating these paintings. (Approx. $1500)

* A colour laser printer both to make invoices with, but also to create elements to use in my work (gel transfers, packing tape transfers – a printer that uses toner, as opposed to ink, is needed for these) (Approx. $350)

* A digital camera that’ll take good enough pictures to make prints from. (Approx. $250)

* Money to invest in the making of prints of each painting (Approx. $550)

Eventually I would like to be able to make greeting cards, postcards, calendars and other items made from the images I paint, as well as “altered books” and other things in the mixed media/primitive folk art genre.

In the meantime, however, I just want to continue doing what I’m doing with these paper doll paintings, painting 10-15 more of them at full size (12 x 12 inches), and hopefully improve upon the technique, while being able to support myself at the same time by making prints.”

Like I said, the grant is up to $5000, which would be cool, but really, I don’t need that much.

Anyway, wish me luck!

Posted at 3:38 am in: Art

Goddess Worship

Thanks to a kind internet friend, I am currently signed up for Suzi Blu‘s “Be. Divine.” workshop on Ning in an attempt to keep my creative juices flowing throughout the holidays when I typically get depressed (doesn’t everyone?) and things start to go sour for the winter season.

Truthfully, I don’t think I’m going to be making any of the projects in the class and I’m sort of being a non-participator in the sense that you’re supposed to start the class by being grouped up with a “goddess sister” to help keep you motivated and well…I don’t want one. I’m flaky and unreliable and I don’t want to feel like I’m responsible for someone else’s good time in this class. I just don’t want to feel like I’m letting someone down or that they got screwed in the “goddess sister” department. The other part is that…I don’t feel like I have very much in common with most of these women, which I’ll get to in a minute.

The main reason I won’t be completing any of the projects in the class is simply because I’m fucking POOR y’all, REALLY REALLY poor, and I can’t really afford to buy new stuff for this class or ‘waste’ the supplies I already have on stuff I’m not going to sell. These days I just can’t afford to play, as sad as that sounds.

If you think that’s as sad and pathetic as it is, feel free to hit up that “donate” button on the right-hand side of this site and throw some cash my way, or even better, purchase something from the shop. That’d be rad. OR if you’re feeling REALLY generous, you could always just buy me presents to cheer me up, some of which are art books that would really help me out. And that’s the end of the begging /poor me portion of this post.

So goddesses…my first assignment for class is to make a goddess journal and write down what a goddess is to me. Well, since my goddess journal is currently drying its first cover layer on my desk, I decided to write about it here instead. Maybe I’ll print it out and put it in the journal when it’s done, I dunno. It IS going to have Courtney Love on the cover though!

Anyway, the question was posed in class a few days ago and I’ve had some time to think about it. I’ve also had the opportunity to observe some of the other women in the class and there’s something that’s really bugging the crap out of me and I feel like I need to get it out.

I don’t know what a goddess is to me yet, but I have decided what a goddess ISN’T. A goddess ISN’T someone who can only be pro-woman by being anti-man. The anti-man, “boys are stupid” sentiment being thrown about in this community of women is really starting to grate on my nerves. It’s not just because I love men and have the greatest husband on the planet. It’s not just because I have an amazing son. It’s not even because I know an equal proportion of intelligent men and women and truth be told, I’ve met way WAY more stupid women than stupid men and I’m talking about the ability to make life decisions here, not  the ability to add 2 + 2. But like I said, that’s not even it.

What it is is the inability to say positive things about women without tearing down men at the same time. Really, the two shouldn’t even have anything to do with one another. I mean, what do men really have to do with women to begin with?

What killed me is that I made a blog post on the class page showing off the “Bitch Barometers” I’d found and explaining them, and one of the women said in a comment “I’d change the 2nd barometer to be more luscious, but still designed to keep the men OUT!!” This actually made me make a face at the screen and kind of step back for a moment. In making those, in thinking about my uterus or my period or cramps or any of the above, men never even enter my mind. In fact I’m PMSing like a motherfucker right now and last night when I suddenly decided I wanted an ice cream cone, who went to the store in a snow storm at 11pm to buy me cones and Haagen-Dazs from the convenience store even though it’s $10 a goddamn pint there? That’s right, my husband Blake. The same guy who drew me a bath afterward, with green tea bath salts I might add, and then sat on the toilet and talked to me for 45 minutes about life and the world in general while I soaked my aching girly bits. The same guy who happened to minor in Women’s Studies and is probably a bigger feminist than I’ll ever be.

I take offence to male-bashing, just as much as I take offence to woman-bashing. I mean ladies, before you say something anti-man, say it in your head but in the opposite, against women and see how it sounds. Is it still funny or cute then? Why then, is it acceptable to repeat it against men? Then you’re just as bad, if not worse, than the stereotypical men you believe to be the majority of the penis-having populus. You just propagate the problem. If any woman ever said some of the things I hear out of this class in front of my 5-year-old son, I’d slap them silly. It’s the same thing as saying “Girls are bad at math” in front of a 5-year-old girl. (And if anyone said that kinda shit in front of my daughter, believe me, I’d slap ’em just as hard.)

Why can’t these women build other women up just on the merits of being a woman? And why does everything have to be a man’s fault? I just don’t get it.

My family is matriarchal. I don’t know where the men go, they just disappear. It started with my great-grandmother, whose husband died young, then her daughter, my grandmother, who took over his furniture store at a time when women didn’t even have jobs, let alone created them. Then came my mother, who had me at 15, but still finished high school, ran her own business for 12 years and is now a successful artist. And then there’s me, and as much as I’m down on myself all the time, when I go down the mental list of the shit I’ve done and the shit I’ve been through, I’m not a goddess, I’m a fucking WARRIOR.

And let me be clear: It’s not ALL of the women in this class who are boy-bashing. It’s just enough of them for me to feel uneasy about the vibe, it’s like cheap perfume stinking up the place when we’re supposed to be acting like goddesses, discussing divine femininity and perspiring rose petals.

So what is a goddess to me? Dudettes, I still don’t know about the modern definition. But I’m pretty sure Aphrodite, Artemis, Hecate, Persephone, Kali or any of the others didn’t waste their time bitching about how stupid boys are. They had better things to do. And so do I.

I should end this here, but I just want to be CLEAR CLEAR CLEAR that I’m not dissing Suzi or her class, I’m just fired up by a few stupid comments by some chicks who should be old enough to know better. I get that some women have had bad experiences with men, but I have a problem with anyone who paints any group with the same negative brush, especially in this instance where we’re supposed to be women building up other women so we can all become goddesses in our own right. I don’t think this can be achieved with the way some are carrying on. I mean, you CAN build one group up by tearing another down, but isn’t that the exact thing our feminist mothers and grandmothers fought AGAINST? Think about it.

So I guess I’ll get off my soapbox now. I’m not really looking for a fight or a feminist philosophical debate, I’m just saying that women can stand on their own virtue and tearing down the entire male gender doesn’t make anyone closer to goddess status.

Shutting up now. Going to bed.

Posted at 3:09 am in: Art , artists , Feminism , social networking , Women
November 23, 2008

Bitch Barometers!

Now available in the shop!
Only 10 available though and I don’t know when/if I’ll be making more, so get yours today!

Posted at 11:59 am in: Art
November 22, 2008

Rebecca’s Dream

“Rebecca’s Dream”, commissioned. 12 x 12 mixed media on canvas.

Posted at 2:53 pm in: Art

‘Tis the Season

For those who have enquired, my wishlist is here and the kids’ wishlist is here.

I have it on good authority that the kids are getting a Wii from Blake’s mom & Charlie, so as far as they’re concerned, Wii paraphernalia is what they’re going to want. Does anyone know about chargers for the Wii controller? I saw some on Amazon but I don’t know anything about Wiis or how they work, so I don’t know what to add/buy in that respect. I don’t even know what kind of batteries they take, except that I do know they take batteries.

Me? I’m hoping for a DS myself. We didn’t have a whole lot of money when it was Madison’s birthday, so I wrapped up my DS and its gamesd (I only had two anyway) and gave it to her. Now I’m DSless, while both kids have one (Wes is getting one for Xmas) and I want to be able to play with them. I also want a new digital camera, but I think that’s going to have to wait until my birthday. And I want a colour printer but I don’t know anything about them so I don’t even know what I want/need.

So if we get our way, it’ll be a very Nintendo Christmas and thanks in advance to wishlist buyers, you guys are rad. <3

Posted at 12:24 pm in: Kids
November 20, 2008

Chinese Democracy!


They’re currently streaming the whole album for free! Go listen!

Axl is, and will forever be, my fucking hero.

*wipes a tear*

Posted at 9:54 pm in: Music

Smoking

It’s the bane of my fucking existence, smoking.

On Sunday night, I promised Blake, my husband, that I was quitting and that the pack I had in my possession was my last pack ever. But then Monday was a snow day, so my kids were playing with the neighbour’s kids and I had to go over there twice to deal with them and they’re heavy, pushy smokers, so I smoked the two they offered. Still, I thought I was doing good, I went from half a pack a day to two on my first day of “quitting”, even if they were those nasty full-bodied smokes from the local reservation that probably have 10 times the carcinogens of regular cigarettes and at least twice the nicotine of my usual brand.

Then on Tuesday, I inexplicably went next door again, with the intent of bumming “just one”, which ended up being “just one” that I smoked with the neighbours and one to take home and smoke later. This one I took home to smoke later ended up sort of being two as I smoked half of it and then smoked the other half an hour later.

Then today, Wednesday, it was a similar scenario, but there’s a bit of a backstory before I get into why I bought a pack tonight.

See, my neighbour, Wayne, ran into some trouble with the law a week ago. Without spilling the details of their personal lives, he got busted for a DUI and lost his licence for 90 days. He works nights, leaving for work around 1:30am, and Judy, his girlfriend (common-law wife, whatever), has to get up with him and drive him to work. This wouldn’t be such a big deal, but they have an 8-year-old daughter who they have to wake up in the middle of the night to take with them. So, being neighbourly as I am, I offered to come over and stay with their daughter so she could keep sleeping since I’m always up at retarded o’clock anyway. I made this offer on Monday.

For some reason, they don’t seem to want to take me up on my offer, even though every day this week they said they would. So every night around 1:30, I put my cell phone in my hand and wait at the window to see when they’ll turn their upstairs hallway light off because that should, theoretically, be the signal that they’re ready to leave and that they’ll call…and that I can bum “just one” smoke from them.

But, for the past 3 nights, they’ve just left. No call.

I don’t really care that they’re not taking me up on my offer (again, even though they said they would), but the thing is, from noon until 1:30am, I’m going through mental torture and nicotine withdrawl. I’m not just seeing this as a neighbourly thing to do, I’m looking at it as an opportunity to smoke, which, the more I think about it, isn’t really “quitting” at all. In fact, it’s pretty goddamn pathetic.

So today when I was over there, they said they’d give me a call tonoight to come over and stay at their house while Judy drove Wayne to work and all day I was literally counting down the hours until it would be time for that to happen. But when I saw them from my living room window back out of the driveway, I had a moment of both weakness and stupidity and the next thing I knew, I was brushing the snow off the car and driving to the store, where I bought a small pack of cigarettes.

The whole way home I felt like shit, but it’s not like I could take them back. I felt like shit because at that moment I’d broken a promise to my husband, something I’ve never done before and there was nothing i could do to take it back. Truthfully, when I was in the car on the way home, before the pack of cigarettes were even opened, i was in tears and at that moment, I didn’t even want them anymore. I contemplated throwing them out the window and pretending like it never even happened, but I thought Blake would be even more mad at me if I wasted the $6.66 that way instead of smoking them.

I’ve written him a letter, while outside smoking, promising that this is the last pack, even though he has no reason to believe me because I made a promise three days ago that I ultimately broke tonight by buying this pack in the first place.

I don’t know why I’m having such trouble quitting this time around.

My first attempt at quitting was January 1st of this year and my method was the patch. This went well and I did the 10-week program and was fine until some stressful situation happened in April and I began smoking again for that month. Then I read “The Easy Way To Stop Smoking” by Allen Carr and was blown away by the book. I quit immediately and stayed quit until a month ago when Blake and I had a huge fight, and my mental health became questionable.

I tried reading “Easy Way” again, except it obviously hasn’t been as effective the second time around. Maybe because I already knew all of the information contained in the book, I dunno. I also tried reading his second book for relapsers called “The ONLY Way To Stop Smoking”, but I got to the chapter about how our designer didn’t want us to smoke and the dude totally lost me. I threw the book in the garbage and just continued reading “Easy Way”.

I know that the key to my success is to make it three full days and nights without any nicotine in my system and after that, I’m laughing, but thus far I haven’t been able to achieve that.

Since it’s obvious that, for whatever reason, Wayne & Judy don’t require my babysitting services, I’m mentally withdrawing the offer and will now be avoiding them like the plague, at least until I have this under control. Right now they are my weakness, my obstacle…which is only half true, I guess *I* am my biggest weakness by going over there to bum cigarettes to begin with, but my point is that if I’m going to quit smoking, period, I’m going to have to stay away from them and stop finding excuses to go over there, knowing full well that they’re going to offer me cigarettes and knowing full well I won’t be able to turn them down.

In “Easy Way”, Allen Carr talks about nicotine addiction as having a little monster inside you that you have to feed approximately every 45 minutes and that when you’re quitting, the nicotine cravings are that little monster dying. It takes three days, give or take, for “the monster” to die completely and for all of the nicotine to be out of your system. This is why I think that if I can go three days without any nicotine in my body, I’ll be good to go. The thing is with this week, and why I ultimately failed, is that I had all of these false starts, I didn’t allow the nicotine monster to die, I fed it, albeit very little, and that just created even bigger cravings, it caused the monster to be a big one instead of a little one and it made it scream for more instead of whimper.

I know I can get a hold of myself. I know I can do this. I just had a moment of weakness tonight and it didn’t help that I wasn’t in the right headspace to begin with. I was “quitting” instead of QUITTING. I was making exceptions, like, it’s okay to have “just one” smoke with the neighbours, it’s okay to take one for later, it’s okay if I’m not buying them etc etc etc. The thing is, that just doesn’t work, that leads to a situation like tonight.

So, I’m going to smoke this pack of cigarettes I bought tonight, but I’m going to do it purposefully and carefully at the same time because this is the LAST PACK EVER. This is the last my body will ever know of nicotine no matter how bored or stressed out I get. Like I said, I’m going to avoid my neighbours like the plague, my offer of babysitting, since they’ve kinda fucked me over in that respect for three days in a row and have made it obvious they don’t want my help, is now null and void. It also helps that it’s getting very cold and snowy outside and thus, smoking outside or walking next door is getting harder and becoming more of a pain in the ass.

Now, in all of this, I’m not dissing “Easy Way”, in fact, I still endorse it wholeheartedly, quitting with it the first time was as pleasurable and effective as advertised, but what I’ve had to learn the hard way is that Allen Carr is DEAD SERIOUS when he says at the end that you can never have another cigarette as long as you live. It’s not so easy to quit the second time, although I haven’t quite figured out why as his advice and allegories are spot on. Smoking IS stupid, it’s like banging your head against a wall because stopping feels so good. You only get pleasure from smoking a cigarette because it removes the anxiety of withdrawal you feel from the previous one. I GET ALL THAT. But applying it the second time around is harder, I wish I knew why.

I think my plan for the next three days is to just throw myself into art and try to keep myself busy. Wish me luck.

Posted at 1:52 am in: Health , smoking
November 18, 2008

Art For Sale! (And Other Things)

With Live Journal being down due to a server move and Twitter being testy, I thought I’d write here instead.

A few moments ago, I put up a new page called “Art For Sale” (original, I know), where I’ll be listing pieces that are available for purchase. Currently there are three pieces up on there: “Untitled Fuck Up“, “Emo” and “<3“, the latter two being commissions gone very very wrong.

See, my Live Journal “friend”, Stephanie, commissioned me to do both “Emo” and “<3” and then gave me excuses regularly for 5 weeks after I completed them, ranging from computer problems (yet she was able to make long posts and manage 50+ comments on those posts from her SideKick…hmmm…), to work problems, to PayPal problems, and then, after saying she was going to Western Union me the funds from Wal*Mart “in about an hour”, (twice!) she disappeared off the face of the earth and I haven’t heard from her in a week. We’ve tried e-mailing her, calling her and sending text messages but they’ve all gone unanswered and I’m sick and tired of chasing down a “friend” for payment, so fuck her, they’re now available for anyone who wants them.

The big rub of this situation and why I keep putting “friend” in quotes, is that she knew I was counting on this sale to outfit myself for Touched By Fire and for Steph the Geek‘s wedding, two very important, stressful events, yet she dicked me around left, right and center anyway. Then disappeared without a word.

I’m sure I’ll get some “understandable” excuse when she eventually resurfaces, but for right now, I’m pretty pissed off. We went into debt, which we simply couldn’t afford to do, especially so close to Christmas, because she never paid me and I’m sorry, but that pisses me off. That’s not the actions of a “friend”, you don’t pull this shit for almost 6 weeks.

The second she commissioned the paintings, I started working on them and didn’t stop until they were finished. I held up my end of the deal and she just…didn’t. She worse than didn’t, she made me stress and fret and freak out and that’s just not cool.

So, if you would like to purchase what she didn’t, feel free to check out the “Art For Sale” page and let me know! I could definitely use the cash!

These days I’m not doing a whole lot. Gail Cutler, who I met at Touched By Fire and wrote about a few days ago, did end up e-mailing me and commissioning me to recreated “Dream” in honour of her daughter Rebecca, so I’ve been working on that during the last few days.

(“Rebecca’s Dream” in progress. 12 x 12 mixed media on canvas)

Speaking of Touched By Fire, I don’t think I sold “Mania in the Key of Psychosis“, or at least when friends went to see it in person on Saturday, they told me it didn’t have a red “sold” sticker, so I’m assuming I didn’t, so expect that to show up on the “Art For Sale” page eventually as well.

And with that, I think I’m off too find food before I get back to working on “Rebecca’s Dream”. Hope you’re all having a wonderful day!

Posted at 1:19 pm in: Art , mental illness

« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »