Remember in my last post when I said I’d been having pains in my stomach for the past few days? Well it persisted all throughout yesterday evening and since the doctor told me I should go to the hospital if it did and Blake would be in Toronto all day today, we decided it would be a good idea to have me checked out. It would be a very bad thing if I had pancreatitis again and I was at home all alone.
So at about 8:30pm or so, I packed up the iPad, my chargers, my toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, my journal and a couple of pens just in case they admitted me and off we went to Midland, which is about 20 minutes North of us and is the same hospital I went to in June and again when I had pneumonia this fall.
We got there and did intake and everything was okay. We waited about half an hour in the waiting room and then they called us into the back of the ER where I saw a doctor who asked me how I was feeling, why I was there; we told him the whole pancreatitis story and that we were there to make sure it was NOT that again because the pain was in the same place and was the same kind of pain that started the whole thing last time. He asked me if I wanted anything for the pain and I said no because I’d already taken hydromorph before I came and I didn’t want a needle (I’ve seen this doctor before and he likes to give out the morphine like it was candy). He asked if I was nauseous and I was, so they gave me Zofran which knocked me on my ass and I fought off falling asleep (they had me laying on a table on my back and the room was dim).
They wanted to check my pancreatic levels (because I guess if you have pancreatitis your pancreas juice levels go up, so you don’t have to do an ultrasound right away) so this really bitchy nurse used the biggest needle at her disposal to take my blood as roughly as possible. Then they said it would take about an hour to get the results so I fell asleep and Blake e-mailed my mom.
I woke up at about 1am because a new doctor came in and he told us that my pancreatic levels were fine and so was everything else. He said he didn’t know what the pain could be, that it was possible it was gall stones, but there’s not a whole lot they can do about those so take some drugs and bear it the best you can and if it’s too much, come back for stronger drugs. And truthfully, the pain is manageable with the hydromorph contin, Tylenol 1 and ibuprofen, but we were concerned it was pancreatitis again, so that’s why we went. I’m not fucking around with that shit ever again, if I’m in pain, I’m seeing a doctor.
So we were out of there by about 1:30am, we went to Tim Hortons so Blake could get a coffee and a muffin because he was tired and neither of us had had dinner. I got a ginger molasses cookie and a Pepsi. I hadn’t had a Pepsi in YEARS and the first sip transported me back to riding in the carpet van with my grampa, on our way to Alliston because I was skipping school to spend the day with him at the store. He had a mini fridge in his van that plugged into the cigarette lighter and it was full of Pepsi.
Anyway, that’s what happened at the hospital. As is the way of things, I’m not in any pain today and I feel totally fine. I think the Zofran they gave me settled whatever was going on in my stomach and now I’m totally okay. Or maybe it was a gall stone and it’s passed now. I have no idea, I just know I feel as normal as normal can be. *shrug*
This morning I ate waffles while reading some of Daisy Yellow’s older posts and I found this one on art journaling very helpful so I thought I’d share. Art journaling, as I’ve mentioned before, is something I’m really really bad at. I just can ‘ot do it.
For most of my life, I’ve written hypergraphically. That means that you write compulsively. Ever since I’ve been taking psychiatric medications, I don’t really write hypergraphically any more, not like I did anyway. I still blather on on the internet of course, but I don’t compulsively write in my journal for 6 hours straight like I used to. BUT, I read these art journaling blogs, like Daisy Yellow’s (I don’t know her name) and Jazmin’s, and I get jealous because when they die, they’re going to leave behind all these gorgeously decorated journals for their family members to read and keep for generations and here mine are, all text in my crappy printing. I mean, there are a lot of them, and I think most of them are pretty interesting (and so do other people, I once sold a journal for $200 which I think was a bargain on his part) but they’re not really aesthetically pleasing. The journals themselves are nice, I don’t cheap out on those unless I have to and most of them were gifts (my favourites are by PAPERBLANKS, in case anyone ever wanted to get me one and mail it, they’re simply the best and you can get them at Chapters or any big box book store *cough*), but inside is just text text text, usually in black pen, although the one I’m using right now has pink flowers on it so I only write in it with pink pen. I have a matching blue one that I haven’t used yet and I’ll only use blue pen in that one. In fact I bought coloured pens specifically to write in these journals because that’s how obsessive I am about them.
That said, I’d really like to have beautifully crafted journals like my online art friends’ but I just don’t really know how and when I’ve tried, it’s just looked stupid. Like, it could take me all day to paint/collage/whatever a spread, which is two facing pages, but what I want to write may be TEN pages, so that just doesn’t work for me. Or by the time I’m finished the spread, I don’t feel the way I did when I started it. For example, one day I tried making an art journal spread because I’d sold a painting and in that moment, I felt successful. So I started making this spread about that but I didn’t get finished until a day later and by then, I didn’t feel that way any more and because I didn’t feel that way any more, I didn’t know what to write that would be authentic. I probably should have written what I wanted to and art journaled around it or something, but that’s not the way most people do it so that thought never occurred to me until just this moment.
It frustrates me greatly. :o/
Less Herger of Comfortable Shoes Studio, retweeted today a tweet from Derwent, which is the company who makes the watercolour pencils and the Inktense pencils I use and this is what it said:
@derwentpencils Don’t let your work become precious. Be bold, experiment, make lots of mistakes. It’s the only way to learn, and it’s fun!
(Actually, the way the tweet was worded, I think it was said to Derwent by a woman named Kathe Parker in response to them asking “what would be your best advice to someone starting out in drawing & painting?”.)
This advice is something I have a lot of trouble with and this is part of the reason why I need to go to Squam so desperately.
I’m poor. I’ve been poor my whole life. When I was little, I was NEVER EVER allowed in my mom’s art room and I was NEVER EVER allowed to touch her materials because we were poor and art supplies are expensive. Too expensive for a kid to use and fuck up with. I was given Crayolas and a pad of paper. I wanted paint but it was too messy and too expensive. I wanted to paint on wood, but it was too expensive and selling her creations was how my mom paid for Christmas and anything “extra”. I wanted to sew, but my mom didn’t have the time to teach me how. Etc etc etc. (I am not *blaming* my mother for anything here, just stating facts.)
So when I grew up and had my own house and my own “art room” and my own art supplies, everything because “precious” because if I fucked up, I couldn’t afford to replace the materials I fucked up with. I couldn’t just throw supplies in the garbage like that. I still can’t. We have no money. When I sell a painting, at LEAST 75% goes back into buying more supplies because that’s the only way I can afford to have these things and art supplies (and Lush) are really the only things I buy myself. (Of course I bought more stuff when I had a job, I’m talking about when I don’t.) My supplies ARE “precious”. I really really wish they weren’t but they are. I don’t know how these people can pay $20+ for a 4oz bottle of Golden Fluid Acrylic paint because it’s “the best” and then just trash what they’ve made if it’s not what they were trying to do. I just cannot wrap my head around that. I buy Americana paint for $2.99 or, if I’m splurging, $4.99 for Martha Stewart, and I *still* can’t wrap my head around just trashing something if I screw up. Imperfect things really really bother me and so does waste. When I put too much paint on my palette, I use a paintbrush and scoop it all back into the bottle when I’m done, even if it’s black or white, which I buy in big bottles because I use them the most and they’re inexpensive. I just can’t waste the paint. If I were using Golden, I’m not sure I could bring myself to even squeeze any onto my palette at all, I think I’d have to like, squirt tiny amounts onto my brush or something.
Another blog I was reading that was linked on the Squam website talked about things not being “precious” too so I think this may be a concept that someone has written about in a book or something (considering most of the teachers at Squam are published authors) because it seems to be a theme within the mixed media community. I see it popping up all over the place now and I think it’s something I really need to learn. I *do* use inexpensive paint. It really *isn’t* a big deal if I mess up and have to throw away a piece of artwork. As much as it would pain me, a canvas is really only about $6 and if I fuck it up too badly, I can always paint over it, all I need to do is invest in some good gesso.
I need to start making art that isn’t so “safe”. I need to also start making art that’s just for me, like in an art journal. Don’t get me wrong, I *LOVE* my girls. I love making them, I love how beautiful they are, I almost always love the finished product and I don’t intend to stop making them, but I think I need to make other art that’s more accessible too. Or something. I’m not really sure what I need to do, honestly, which is why I’m hoping Squam will crack me wide open. I need to not be so obsessive with everything being perfect on the first try so I don’t waste anything. Like time. I need to not be so obsessive about wasting time as well. Oh god, I have so much to learn! Anyone who thinks art isn’t work can shove their opinion straight up their own ass. Sideways.
I’m probably channeling my inner Madison by saying this, but god dammit, art is agony! I love it, I hate it, I’m frustrated by it, it makes me cry, it makes me happy, it makes me a motherfucking MESS. Maybe it’s because I’m mentally ill that it makes me so emotional but I don’t understand these artists who are just happy and make happy art and nice little YouTube videos to entertain each other and to learn from each other and here I am, sitting in a dark corner clutching my sketchbook for dear life, unable to move. I want to be like them, I just don’t know how. I’m afraid it’s just not even in my DNA.
I have no idea what my mother’s creative process is. I’ve never really actually watched her paint (except when she was teaching classes) and I’m not there on a day-to-day basis to see like, how she is mentally but in general I think she’s a happy creator in that, I’ve seen her come up with an idea and get really excited about it and have to do it immediately. I’m like that too, when I have what I think is a good idea, I have to get it down on paper right away, even if I only have enough time to do a rough sketch. Then the next day I’ll begin working on the actual piece and obsess until it’s finished. And I do it perfectly the first time almost always. I can honestly say that I’ve only wasted a half sheet of watercolour paper twice in my life (I draw/paint my girls on watercolour paper and adhere them to the canvas with gel medium) because I just do everything in my power not to fuck up because watercolour paper is expensive. I mean, in my first grant proposal, I told them that my dream was to be able to afford 5 different watercolour pads so I could work on 5 paintings at a time. That’s pretty pathetic (no wonder I didn’t get the grant), don’t you think? I currently have 2 watercolour pads and since I draw my girls on half sheets now, I can work on 4 of them at a time, theoretically (I’m not that productive).
My friend Shoshanna Bauer does these really amazing watercolours, you should check her out, I think she’s extremely good at what she does. I would really like to play with watercolours, I like how they look, but I have no idea what I would paint or how you do it. No one’s ever taught me. I’ve looked at a lot of watercolours over the last couple of years trying to dissect them, and I’ve come to the conclusion that watercolours are REALLY fucking hard! Without even trying them, I just know that they’re really fucking hard and to make anything even remotely nice, I’m going to have to waste like, a whole pad of watercolour paper trying to figure them out and that’s expensive! Or at least that’s expensive to ME! And I don’t even HAVE watercolours. I have watercolour pencils, a very small selection of them that someone gave me a long time ago, and I have Inktense pencils, a large case of them, which work very similarly to watercolours (although I don’t think you can do the “salt trick” with Inktense pencils) but I have absolutely no idea how to use them.
I’ve always avoided watercolours because of their impermanence. If you’ve been reading my blog for any great amount of time, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with my art’s longevity. I want my shit to survive WWIII, plain & simple. I varnish the hell out of everything. I use materials that won’t fade, won’t run, won’t smear, are acid-free, archival and will do as they’re told. If you spill a Coke on a watercolour painting, it’s ruined. If you somehow spilled a Coke on one of my paintings, it would roll right off and you could gently wipe it down with a damp cloth. The idea of my hard work being able to basically be erased in a matter of seconds irrationally freaks me out! I’ve varnished watercolour before, but you have to be really really careful with it and you can only use a spray. Anyway, that’s why I plan on taking my watercolours to Squam. Maybe someone there can show me how to use them.
Having said that, I think it’s time for me to talk some more about Squam, as if you haven’t heard enough…I’ve finally sat down and made a list of expenses relating to the trip and if you could spare anything between now and September, it would be GREATLY appreciated. Like maybe for my birthday, which is March 1st? Or if buying a gift is more your style, I would really like this book by one of the teachers I’ll be in class with at Squam, called Painted Pages: Fueling Creativity with Sketchbooks and Mixed Media (by Sarah Ahearn Bellemare), which is on my wishlist. That would be appreciated also.
Here’s what I’ll need (okay maybe one or two is more of a want…):
- Tuition: $1200
- Gas: $200
- An apron: $12
- Fairy wings: $20…
- A Rubbermaid container for all my crap: $10
- Gesso: $10
- Gel medium: $10
- Umbrella: $12
- Flashlight with extra batteries: $15?
- Bug spray: $10
- Paint: $25
- Kit fees: $12
- Eating out on the Saturday night they make us fend for ourselves: $20
- Two cases of Diet Coke & snacks: $25
- Art fair: $75 (tops)
It’s a lot of money, I know this, but every little bit helps me out immensely.
I’m going to order the apron, gesso and gel medium after I post this (so I can save on shipping because I’m ordering it all from the same place and get in the habit of wearing the apron), but the rest I’m going to get over time because Squam isn’t even for another 9 months. I estimated, generously, $75 for the art fair thinking that there may be some books there by the teachers that we’ll be meeting but realistically I probably won’t buy anything BUT that. I honestly have no idea what’s at the art fair except artwork by the teachers and some of the students (which I wouldn’t be interested in, I don’t think), books and possibly some art supplies/tools (which I *would* be interested in). I figure the difference would be made up in what I either didn’t include (food while we’re on the road, for example) or what I forgot to include.
The photography class I signed up for suggests a 4 gig memory card but Blake thinks we only have a 1 or 2 gig one and that since the Digital Rebel is so old it probably wouldn’t read a bigger card if I somehow got one. :o/ He says that since it’s only 6 mpx that the card we have is fine because it’ll still hold several hundred pictures. I’d still feel better if I had another card though. I’d hate to be out in the woods, fill up my card and not have any way to clear it. I’m not lugging my laptop through the forest! I also need something called a “grey card”, but from what Blake explained to me, I think I could make one of those. We have a tripod. It’s broken I think, but still usable and it has a case. We also have an external flash and a remote thingy so I’m good there too. I’m really excited to finally learn how to use the Rebel, it’s always been way too complicated for me and Blake never uses it so it’s been sitting in a camera bag in my office for literally like, 6 or 7 years now and it’s only been taken out *maybe* a dozen times. Part of the class is that the teacher is going to take our portraits, which has me nervous because I hate getting my picture taken but I still really want one, but that means I’m going to have to get up a bit early to like, do my makeup. Just a little bit of makeup though, I *am* camping after all! (Sort of!)
For the Pages & Paint class I signed up for, the kit fee is $12 and includes 2 “gesso boards” which I have no idea what those are but apparently we’ll be using them as our surfaces and a whole bunch of other stuff that sounds pretty fun. She says she’s going to supply some paint, but I prefer to use my own and I’d like to bring Martha Stewart paints because I really am in love with them. Just a few colours. She wants us to bring LASER printouts or photocopies of photographs, I’m assuming to do gel transfers which I’ve never been able to do properly so I’d really like to learn how by actually watching someone, in the flesh, do it, so I can ask questions if necessary and really KNOW how to do it when all is said and done. I have no idea where you would get laser photocopies though. I don’t think Staples or Business Depot does things like that, do they?
Oddly, I have zero anxiety about Squam – on the surface, anyway. This morning I woke up really early because I had a nightmare about it. In my dream we were in Seattle, in a classroom overlooking a canal of some sort with buildings and skyscrapers all along its shores. The classroom we were in had big, arched windows and we were all sitting at butcher’s block tables in groups of 6. They were teaching us how to make some kind of dessert which used 3 different types of squares in a bowl, covered by some type of creamy stuff like icing or whipped cream and some sort of crushed up chocolate bar or something sprinkled on top. While half of our table was making that, my mom said to the rest of us some smartass remark about either the teacher or the activity and we laughed, but the teacher overheard, picked up our table, and moved us to the back of the class where there were no windows. The teacher refused to look at us for the rest of the class and later when my mom and I were walking down a hallway to get somewhere else and we had to take an elevator, the elevator doors opened and Rosie O’Donnell was coming out of them. We were starstruck but when Rosie looked at me, she got this really sour look on her face and said something so mean to me (I don’t know what), because she heard about the incident in the classroom, that I woke up crying. So does that mean I really do have anxiety about Squam and I’m just somehow lying to myself? Because I don’t know, I think it’s actually pretty weird that I’m not freaking out completely about either the money or going or being away from home for so long or whatever. I’ve never looked so forward to anything in my whole entire life!
Annnnnnnnd to make things even more exciting, Belinda just payed her deposit so she and her boyfriend Brian are coming too! I love Belinda! We’ve been friends online for about 10 years now, but we’ve never met! Isn’t that exciting? I’m totally stoked! Belinda is probably the most talented artist I know and I’m really interested to see what she creates while we’re there! I forget what she chose for her first choice classes but I think one of them was a writing class. I do know that if my mom, Belinda and I all get our first choices though, none of us are going to be in the same classes, which I see as a good thing because then we’ll have lots to talk about when we’re not in class. We also all signed up to be in a bigger cabin with 5+ people, which should be interesting. Brian is just coming for moral support and to take in the scenery, he’s not going to be taking classes with us. He will be staying in the cabin with us though and eating at the camp with us. I’m looking forward to meeting him. :o)
Okay, this post is over 4000 words long so I think I’d probably better shut up. Plus, I’ve spent long enough at the computer TALKING about art, now I think it’s time to actually go make some.
PS. I saw Cinema Verite last night and I loved it. I would love to actually watch An American Family since I wasn’t even born when it aired on PBS. Any ideas on how I’d do that?