Sabbatical: Day 3

I slept in pretty late. I blame the rain, but DANG I feel rested.  So Yoga yes. Studio No. **sad trombone** I did take care of a few things on the long list of neglected items. I’ve been stock-piling projects for when I’m off and now that list is daunting. At some point Joe reminded me that he was working and I was structuring my day juggling personal priorities, which is a nice problem to have.

So my morning was cleaning and house items and the afternoon was errands and cooking. I haven’t made a nice meal for people in some time and I wanted to make dinner to bring over to our friends house. Cooking can be so satisfying with the added bonus of your work is consumed right away. No stockpile of paintings to deal with. We had a nice time and tomorrow another friend is making me dinner so I think I can have a nice long day at the studio. The friend connections is also a really important goal of my sabbatical. I was thinking of all the times I’ve gone to a friends after work just wiped or stressed and just unable to be fully present. I’m grateful for this time, but I really have this need to make use of my studio and give it a full try.


Sabbatical: Day 2

Oh man. Walking 4 miles round trip and yoga everyday is taking some adjustment. I am sore and it’s only Tuesday. In my defense it was an active weekend. Anyhow it was sunny and I’m working out how to stay in the sun on my way to and from the studio. I’m really enjoying the commute via my two feet.

Today the downstairs class was some older ladies who were pretty good at keeping their conversation to themselves. Though one of them had the cadence of one of my painting professors which was distracting yet soothing. Earlier in the day, a hound dog might have been dying?!? I hope not. I doubt it. But nonetheless that hound dog had feelings. Hound dogs are soulful creatures. Luckily the dog settled down and was not an all day plaintiff affair.

Here is the view from my window in which some day soon I can compare with little sprouts.

yes those tracks are that close.

the greenery will be so fine.

Also here is the cacti that my subleasor, a nice photographer, keeps on the sill.



It took me awhile to leave the house. I really need to drink my coffee at the studio, because I get so distracted sipping my coffee and reading the internet. Anyhow I made it and was determined to start a new composition and make progress on one composition that was at the first pass stage. So that’s as far as I got today. Will try to get to the studio earlier tomorrow. I got plans in the evening for the rest of the week.

Day 2

Sabbatical Day 1

Last week was a series of stress and joy. I spent the weekend as I normally spend a weekend. But today instead of my work routine I woke up without an alarm and did some yoga. Drank some coffee and farted around feeling pent up in a “I want to do everything at once sort of way”. I eventually left for the studio. I’ve decided to walk the 2 miles to give myself some serious think time.

I can hear everything in the Mosaic school below me. A new problem since I usually go during off times. The school groups that came in were quite pleasant to listen to because it was indistinct chatter. The kids were enthusiastic, the teachers were taking care of business. One teacher would say “3, 2, 1” to give everyone time to zip it. It worked well. Between classes there was celebrity talk, “what kind or pizza” talk and pop music which was less pleasant. Nonetheless it felt good to be in my studio. It always does. You’d think it’d be less of a mental block to get there.

I painted a lot of stripes on some older small works I’m trying to finish. I’ve shown these works before but I they need some TLC to get where I want. I have my wall of done works and a few of them are feeling less done and might get scrapped.

Tomorrow I hope to have a longer work session.

I’m excited to watch the city change as Spring unfolds while I walk to my studio and take breaks to wonder over the window. Tomorrow I’ll photograph the view from the window, it’s treetops and roofs.

Get in line for that brilliant solution

Repurposed old fabric, awaiting my brilliant solution.

Under Construction

I have been meaning for about a year to combine this blog and my website. Today was the day I finally got it done. Amazing what a set of unstructured days will do for those “to do” lists.

Now for the construction, please be patient while I get this together.

Only way is up from here, right?

Today I busted out my camera on my commute in hopes of getting more sources for painting. I have to finish quite a lot of paintings for a show in the area I grew up coming up in June. It’s a nice space and a nice deadline.

This was my second photo. I hope to get better, more practiced and even slightly less self-conscious.

I kinda like it though

So I’m restarting again – Studio Diary

Yesterday I sorted all my paintings. I wrote down quick critiques and stacked them up in four piles. It helped me focus and move on to actually making work. The categories are:

Current work that will be useful to reference while I make new work.

Paintings I still like but are not my current work

paintings that might be worth a little more effort

paintings past saving

Today I hung up the reference paintings, shots these images and then painting a warm red over all over these “paintings past saving”. It was good to destroy and start annew. Cathartic.

I did all this wearing my reconditioned cowboy boots at the Ina Antique Mall back home by my folks. I got them back from the cobbler but it’s gonna take some work to stretch them comfortably around my teutonic/biker calves. There’s so sweet though. Totally worth the effort.They have roosters on them.  When they’re broken in, I’ll be peacocking around with my rooster boots. yeah.

An unexpected rider

This morning to the collective surprise, delight and concern of my train car, a little finch dropped down from the an upper ledge clinging on to the air vent that runs just below the windows. He stopped for a little bit by the man two seats in front of me and then started hopping down the line. People slowly leaned left to give it some space. It couldn’t get a grip anywhere else. When it reached the front facing seats, it climbed up the back and onto the headphones of a dosing early 20-something guy. Me and my seatmate roused him gently and told him to be still as he had a bird on his head. After being assured it wasn’t a pigeon he let the bird gather strength to fly out. Unfortunately the confused finch flew to another corner and we all lost sight of the bird at Fullerton when a pile of people came onboard. When I left the young guy who was the finch’s home was talking to an advertising executive I used to work with making a possible career connection. He seemed like a good kid.

But yes, there was ice cream earlier

Today was the first day in 2013 that had a summer feel to how the day unfolded to it.

Towards the end we took the #8 bus home at Grand street. It was a familiar in the demographics. Some club looking kids got off near Redno5. UIC kids piled on at the blue line stop and piled out at Maxwell, the Pilsen types and so on until I got off fitting my own demographic stereotype. Like flowers blooming in their season, it is very dependable and familiar in it’s rhythm with punctuated by the truly disenfranchised.


Yesterday I was painting and one of my favorite if not my favorite paintbrush was painful to hold. It had lost all of it’s protective coating from time spent in paint water or thinner. I decided to wrap it in artist tape. If I could buy dozens of this brush I would, but it’s lost all branding along with the paint on the wood. It’s held up it’s shape and has been pretty easy to clean. It takes my negligence with aplomb.

A trusty companion is hard to find

Anyhow, I’m painting again. It feels good to paint. It feels familiar to obsess a bit about not painting when I’m not painting. I’m excited to be a part of this experiment that an artist I met around the neighborhood is putting on. It’s an experiment of audience participation and what one expects from an art show. It’s a small, one time show with a limited amount of participants and audience. Should be interesting.

The Garden

Spring is getting a slow start but I’m feeling confident enough to plant our kale seedlings. Also I was thinking about starting a garden diary to refer to next year. I’m often just throwing things in the ground and wondering vaguely if I planted things too close or far apart etc. Then I decided what I’d like to do is draw the garden as a diary. We’ll see if I go through with that in the thick of summer when it needs a lot of attention, but right now garden work is slow and full of hope and planning. I am optimistic.