Wednesday, February 28

I'm a dreamer... happily stuck in the sand

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I'm a dreamer... my head stuck in the sand. My sandpile is my oasis of dreams in the middle of the desert of reality. That's where I do my best work. That's where I am happiest.

And even worse, worse than just being a dreamer... I panic when my head isn't stuck in sand. I fall to pieces when I pull my head out and look around, blinking at the bright harsh world of reality. If I don't have a dream to bubbling away in the teapot... I'm lost. If I don't have a dream going I'm depressed and give in to despair... despite even being fully employed. It's illogical, but true. This freelancing can really be a pain. I wished it would surprise me with unanticipated pleasures to the same degree. Or maybe I just have to wait till tomorrow.

Heaven help us useless dreamers!

I should have built log cabins instead. That'd be something you can at least sink an axe into and carve up a big pile of woodchips.

I really don't have any problem with making art... or even trying to decide what kind of art to try and make. It's all the scheming about trying to make money from making art. That's the sticky bit.

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I suppose I do wish I had just ONE particular talent... and only knew how to make just ONE kind of painting. That would make things simpler. Generally as soon as I've decided on any one style and have been working at it for a couple months... I then decide to drift over to the polar opposite. If I've been doing really sloppy expressionistic painting... then I think I ought to really change over to doing meticulous realism. If I've been doing traditional paintings on watercolor paper, I decide I ought to be doing hard edged digital cartoons.

So, my artist's life is a never ending charade of foolishness. Silly ostrich... just stick my head back in the sand and enjoy being lost!

Here's a fun painting I did over the weekend... paint therapy. It looks almost like the BIG painting had a baby painting. I need to order more big canvases.

Thursday, February 22

Just like The Little Red Hen...

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Just as our miseries are borne in solitude as freelancers... so are our joys. At least mine are... except for this blog, of course, and my 7 readers...

Today is a day for some celebration! I've just finished printing up the first penciled rough dummy to my new book and I am SO thrilled with it! I can scarcely believe I did it all myself.

Thank gosh for crazy ideas that work out... and for happy accidents that make up important directions in life. If I hadn't just happened to check out that particular book from the library that just happened to have the idea for the story that I knew I just had to turn into a children's book... none of this would have happened. It's a story about an early aviator... one who I'd never heard of... one who isn't even in Wikipedia. Hence the secrecy until the date closer to publication. I feel a little like a gold miner who's discovered where the paystreak is hidden. Or maybe I'm all wrong and it's just my talent that makes this story worthwhile. How would I know? I spend all my days alone...

It would be fun to do a series of books about historical characters. Why not? Usually history is far richer than fiction... and it's all there for the picking. I think it's fun to discover historical times and places. And just like the 1,000's of gorgeous buildings in the National Trust of Britain... all waiting to be used for backdrops to movies and PBS mini-series... history is a treasure trove of riches, freely available to anyone who can bring it to life.

I've been fussing over the dummy for weeks... with InDesign & Photoshop. But to finally have all the bits gathered together in one book... printed out and taped up and folded and set into a cover... it really does assume a new magical character. Pages that turn... the story that starts and develops and then is resolved. My own homemade book, soon to be shipped off to the editor.

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Of course that's another story, as a whole new avenue of contention might arise. But at least I'll always have today...

I guess every author might always hope that every new book is going to be really spectacular. But this book will HAVE to make some waves! (knock on wood) It's just too big an idea... too amazing a story... all fit into 32 pages. And it's a real 'boy book'. I can testify there's a shortage of those in the girl dominated world of children's books.

And just like The Little Red Hen... I did it all myself!

Monday, February 19

Grocery lists and Picturebooks

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Grocery lists and Picturebooks just seem to go together. I know they go together for me.

"She could illustrate a grocery list"... is a phrase often said about uber-talented artists.
"He couldn't write a grocery list"... is a phrase one hears to describe truly awful writing.

No doubt I've started a dozen stories by scribbling them down on grocery lists... since that's the paper in the kitchen drawer at 4 am when I have to wake up and write down some blasted idea that won't let me alone! The muse of insomnia!

So let's check today's shopping list... if I can find it for all the pockets I have to search though. (It's a special talent of mine that I can actually lose a grocery list between the parking lot and the door of the grocery store).

milk,
eggs,
butter,
green onions,
yogurt.... and the starting first sentence to that next book idea.

And usually after I've dummied up a book, the printouts get recycled and cut up into grocery lists... that once again return to the kitchen drawer. Hence the 'grocery list' cycle is complete.


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I've long thought that I need a 1-800 number to call whenever I get some fool notion about a new story. It would be sort of a help line to talk me out of commiting to this ponderous new idea.

Why? you might ask? Because I know that I'll have to spend the next 7 weeks dummying it up in my spare time. Just the writing it is fine... but when you're an artist also, drawing the pictures can turn writing a story into something that's a bit more of a long lasting commitment.

Pictured in this weeks post are an actual grocery list story idea from my pile of golden ideas. Also there's one of my ideas for a painting that I made up as a collage in photoshop. Haven't got to that one yet... but there's something there... something mysterious... hmmm....

Sunday, February 11

6 Things of Oddity

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1) My name is weird... no two ways about it.

2) My real last name ought to be Knez... but my father dropped the K because people pronounced it as if they were sneezing. My grandfather came from Slovenia, which is a gorgeous province in northern yugoslavia near the alps. There's a village there where everyone seems to look a great deal like a Nez.

3) Apparently Nez is about like Smith in Navajo. Lots of Navajos used to dial me up from the phone book... usually collect from out of town. People refused to believe I wasn't Navajo.

4) I once studied to be a violin repairman. I play the viola... or should I say I played the viola. Haven't touched it in years... alas.

5) Brahms and Tschaikovsky share my birthday... they played the viola too. Weird!

6) Being an artist is weird. Making the art isn't weird... but all the scheming that goes along with making a living at it sure as heck is. It's weird to be so insecure about everything even after all these years. Why wake up at 3 am and wonder if I can even paint? That's gotta be weird.

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This week's picture at the top is a sculpture done by my big brother... David Nez. He's an artist too... a fine artist. He's also an astrologer. Once he tried fixing his computer with a dowsing rod! That's weird!

Picture down below is one of mine... from a fun book idea I worked up.

Tuesday, February 6

Instructions Not Included

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One of the real pitfalls of being self employed is the simple fact that oftentimes you just don't know what to do next.

I know it sounds simplistic and dumb... but it can really be an obstacle sometimes. Sometimes it gets so bad that one literally walks around in circles... getting nowhere, but meaning to go everywhere.

90% of the time it's easy to get through a day. Something easy, something hard, something different... a little painting, a little computer work... a trip out for sketching.

BUT... the other 10% it seems direction is harder to come by.

Don't want to draw.
Don't feel like painting.
Don't want to work on the computer.
Don't ask me to clean up the studio!
Can't start on that new project...
Nothing!

I'll find myself so undecided I might finally actually decide at least to go somewhere... but then I can't decide where exactly. It even gets to the point where I'll find myself at a traffic light and not know if I should turn left, right or keep going straight ahead. I still can't decide if I'm going to go to the park by the lake for a walk along the water... to the bookstore for a look at books and art supplies... to the library... whatever!

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It can drive a person nuts, but it's only that 10% that's like that. However it does point out the fact that freelancing is a self motivated venture without any rulebook or instructions included.

The grannies at tea picture, above, just arrived in the mail. I'm real pleased with my new technique. Fast, simple, effective, colorful and easy! But it looks like it took hours... very foxy!