Monday, March 12, 2018

Day Trip to Northern Indiana, and the silly things I see

4:50 PM 3/12/2018

I took a day Trip to Northern Indiana to visit my cousins. Of course, I forgot to take any photos with them, because I was too busy enjoying my time and having great conversations! But... this post is about other things.

Whenever I leave the house, I make it goal in life to pay attention to the fun and funny little things
I encounter, and not to let them pass by without note, as is so easily done with moments of delight

Sometimes its billboards that make me laugh (like the "Tripple X 'Family' restaurant", and a sign that said "SPACE AVAILABLE" next to a picture of a Saturn. *cackle*) And other times its the unusual pieces I find in rest areas and towns.

The first thing I encounter is the mysterious water pump at the rest area.
A hot pink questionmark demands answers, but only results in more questions.
Why is it there? Why is the sidewalk rusty? Are they renovaing the rest area? Is the question mark code for something specific?
I'm assuming its part of a renovation project, as there were several other hot pink sprayed dashes and exes throughout the property, and a shiny new pipe ready to go in the ground, as well as little pink flags in the dead grass warning of underground pipework.




Before getting on the road, I checked the internet where I chuckled about a MEME questioning whether doritos are merely a 'tiny' version of some larger more legendary "DORO" snack.
2 minutes later I was on the road again and encountered some of those legendary DOROs myself on the side of the FIRST SEMI I SEE: a dorito truck! Serendipity!



So I'm driving along on my total 2.5 hour trek (destined to be longer due to my relaxed attitude at pit stops and food runs) I have about 20 minutes left and my bladder is starting to whine at me. I *could* hold it, but I'd rather be comfortable. I decide to stop at the next exit with a gas station. I'll grab some skittles and go to the loo. I see a sign for Speedway and take the exit.
Suddenly I find myself in the ghetto. My luck has led me into Gary, IN. I know this because there was a (possibly abandoned) Gary Library building on this road.
I drove about 3 blocks but did not see any Speedway gas stations. I saw 2 sore and broken looking gas stations. Almost every sign on this road was hand written, and when I took a side street to go around the block and turn back, I saw that ALL the buildings on this block were burned out and broken down. I took a few quick snapshots because these things fascinate me.



I proceed to have a conversation with myself.
"Maaaybe I shouldn't pee here. It could be dangerous."
"Dude, am I really too good to pee in Gary? Surely I can relieve myself here and not get in trouble. Don't be swayed by the negative stigma!"
"But... this is Gary. And all those gas stations looked really scary"
"Check the ones on the other side. If they look as bad, lets move on."
(I drive past the exit)
"There - look at that gas station, its not so bad."
(looks at gas station. Its not as bad as the others, but its still pretty bad)
"Look, your home in Indy sorta ghetto, this is nothing."
"You're right! What the hell. Lets go pee."

I park. Some nice gentleman holds the door for me. Ok, so far so good.
I walk around. There are some workmen drilling into under a counter fixing something. I smell sawdust in the air. I find skittles but I do not see a bathroom. I ask the clerk as I buy the skittles and he points behind me. There, half hidden by shelves is the magical white door to the toilet.
Inside its a combo between storage and bathroom. Its unisex and there is a dingy un-flushed urinal. Yuck.  The toilet looks similar and *doesn't flush, but I'm at the point of no return now so I do my thing and go to wash my hands. NO WATER.
Of course. * The workmen. *  They must have shut off the water. I look for hand sanitizer to buy, but there is none. >_> Thankfully I had my own water in the car and was able to wash my hands.

So, there is my March 2018 experience of Gary. However, I would not take it back, for without that little detour, I would have missed out on the best ever hand written mural advertising this car wash as....



The Best Hand Job in Town!

----------------
And finally, on the way home, I thought I had fallen into an alternate space dimension.
I stopped at a rest area that looked almost exactly like the one from earlier, down to the pink flags and new pipe waiting to be interred into the ground.
Remember that questionable pump earlier in my post? Yeah. There was another one.



I got back on the road hoping I was going in the right direction, and eventually made it home safe and sound.


Friday, February 16, 2018

Destiny has no place here. Happy February!

Greetings Internet.

This is a little voice in the digital wind, giving an update on her life.

One of millions of voices, skittering across the surface of a very large and turbulent ocean.




I sit here, wondering if keeping this blog is a futile act.

The short hot prick of social media updates has taken over not only potential readers, but my own will of writing. I actually feel somewhat overwhelmed by the prospect of using so much space, and the potential for well thought out content that reveals more than the flash of one facet of personal life.

The reason I am here is, in itself, ridiculous:
*Cue the cyclical thoughts*
I recently updated my website, and I have a big 'BLOG' button to go along with the other important links on my front page. I thought 'Well, if I'm going to link my 'BLOG' so prominently, perhaps I should make an update! .... And perhaps I shouldn't give so much digital real-estate to the concept.
Should I instead link my facebook?
And then I evaluate the other buttons on my website... "blog" could be listed under updates... I could add a "facebook" button... or I could place that in the "about Lydia" page... or maybe the updates page... Oh hell. I could probably condense to about half the buttons.
And now I'm over thinking it.
I like my website update. It looks pretty. And I like the idea of a blog... so I better go make an update.

And the cycle begins again.


By the way, if you want to view my updated website, go here.
(remember to re-fresh the pages if you've already been there.)


I think entirely too much. It gets in the way of doing sometimes. I should be making art for my upcoming conventions. But I'm here. Making a blog post.

Do I want to share so much inner thought? Don't I want to recede from the vast social light and work more on my re-development as an artist and person? Do I want people to see this unformed phase?
Yet, when have I ever been fully formed? I've been living in a cocoon for as long as I can remember, just on the verge of something great - Nearly ready to break out of my self-made binds, created anew - and aching to BECOME; to fly toward my destiny.

But in life, there is no destiny. There is no destination. There is only the path. Lets just aim for the next plateau eh?

Here are some unformed works of art for your viewing pleasure.



Perhaps Next time I'll remember to come here and post some actual updates!

(There is always so much happening. New Art, Teaching, residencies I want to apply for, the tectonic plates of my life shifting into regions unknown, art shows and conventions, silly thoughts, epic plans, snails and luna moths, unskilled dancing, hopeful adventures, a pinch of curmudgeon, salt, crazymail, vampires, hermit crabs, and undefined things.)

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Mixed Media and a little Madness




I was trying to write a simple fb status update and I realized I had waaay too much to say right now, so I wiggled my typing fingers and moved from my phone to my computer.
So. First: I am REALLY enjoying my dive into mixed media. There are so many things I've played with this week, and more things I plan to play with in the coming weeks. I'm switching back and forth between 2D and 3D, and I'm interlocking so many mediums together - one informing the next.
Another joy is the fact that I have learned so much from my students as well. This semester I taught a class that involved a lot more process and mixed medias. I came up with lessons that would allow the students to stay within the perameters of the assignments, yet explore and bring in new mediums both familiar and unusual. I encouraged experimentation and new pathways. I assigned projects that got me SO CURIOUS to see what they would come up with - and I was not dissappointed! Along this path, they invariably use materials I had not considered - and I was able to add to my own arsenal of mediums and ideas. I'm proud that I had such a great group that encouraged eachother creatively - pushing to new levels with each project.

Back to my own mixed media experiments, let me run down a list: This week alone I have played with magazines and collage, oil paint, acrylic paint, watercolor, digital, tissue paper and acrylic medium, modge podge, mixed media paper, duralar paper, tone paper, hot glue assemblage with 3D pieces, tubing, nails, air dry clay, fabric scraps and stablizer paper. I've gessoed many surfaces, I just bought new air dry clay to try, as well as a green metallic lustre wax finish, tonight I'll use the sewing machine and try to bake some fimo pieces that have been waiting to add to a doll I'm manipulating. I've worked on 2D pieces, added to a shadowbox relief, and worked on some full sculptural pieces. I've rearranged parts of the studio and stared at the walls. I even got giddy when I found some lettraset in the basement. I could use those in my mystery letters!

I chatted with someone earlier - a friend at the art store - he asked what I've been doing lately/ what I'm up to and words just tumbled out of my mouth. Teaching, (almost finished - just gotta grade then I've got summers off from that!) getting prepped for my most intense convention ever (an actual big booth at GenCon!) and my mixed media explorations, my scavanging and estate/ garage sale hunting for my junk booth, and how I want to create a book - but I've only got till August - and how time is fleeting! I also have my patreon and mystery letters which I thoroughly enjoy putting together. ITS LIKE ALL MY ATOMS ARE VIBRATING SO FAST I'M GOING TO DISSOLVE INTO ANOTHER DIMENSION. Hopefully all this effort will flower into something kick butt.

SO. Wish me luck folks! I'm going to stick not just my nose to the grinder but my whole face. Aside from a small trip I want to make in mid June to CA, I'm going to just lock myself in create mode. I might need someone to drag me away on occasion just so I can get some basic human interaction before I forget how to speak without mumbling into oblivion. Much love all around! 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

A Day in the Mind


A day in the mind:
Desperately trying to get work done for August/ gencon. Am I making fan work? not so much. Am I working on commissions? Not tonight but they are not forgotten. Am I frantic to hurry up and figure out why I've been artblocked and exploring various styles and methods hoping that I'll get back on track and love the process again? yep. Am I worried that for the past few years I've been veering in the wrong direction? sorta. Am I tired of trying to cling onto a dream I once had of being an illustrator after realizing I don't really want said dream? I'm not sure, or I don't want to admit it. Do I want to make large and bizarre ethereal artworks/ environments that hearken to an alternate dimension? *nods vigorously* Do I have the means to do this? yes. Do I have the money/ resources/ available time to do this? Not really. Do I need change? Yes. Are all the smaller artworks I'm making a waste of efforts? No way. Is everything culminating in a big push forward and I'm just impatient for it to just happen already? Yes. Am I worried about whats happening to the world around me? Hell yes. Am I ever going to give up? Hell no.
That is all.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

What will 2017 bring?

Wow. 2016, I am glad you are almost over. Not that I wait for the end of the year to make the resolutions and changes I want to make, but it does represent a nice psychic psychic re-set button. This is a time to think about how the year went, and how we want it to go next year. So, whats coming in 2017? I have no idea, but here are a few things I am proposing to myself:
1.) LESS CONVENTIONS. since 2010, I have been running at full steam ahead with an average of 14 cons a year, plus many many involvements with art shows and art events. Its been great, I've made many friends, gathered like minded art enthusiasts, and did some fantastic networking. However, I'm burned out in several ways - Mainly in that I don't feel I can effectively create heartfelt and meaningful art with the weight of trying to make enough money to cover all the convention expenses (booth fees, hotel, gas, food, restocking prints, etc etc)  I'm left with little time to really explore the innermost reaches of my mind - which is where my art comes from in the first place. Don't worry, I'm not going cold turkey, I am still signed up for a few, but I'm going to be doing some major cutbacks.

2.) MORE PERSONAL TRAVEL. If I can afford it, I need to travel more (for non-convention reasons). I've been craving a trip to a deserty area for years. Earlier this year my Uncle in AZ. passed away. I had not seen him in several years. I had been wanting to visit, but he passed before I could make that happen. I regret this. I don't want to add more regrets.
I also envisioned myself as a traveler when I was younger. I am not living up to my own childhood expectations and I need to at least TRY to appease the high ambitions of my inner child.

3.) BETTER ART. -- As implied earlier about conventions, I don't think I'm living up to my potential as an artist. I feel as if I have been coasting along, doing what was necessary to stay afloat. I admit, I have made some great progress, and have come out with a few killer pieces this year. I don't think the rest of the work I do is bad - to say that would be to insult those who own my work! But I do feel I'm missing a piece to my puzzle and I must go find it.

4.) READ MORE  -- I barely read anything this year due to being busy, and not using my extra time wisely. This could also double as "Less social media". However, I have been diving into a lot of podcasts - its like reading with my ears instead of my eyes. My eyes have been busy.

5.) WRITE MORE -- It feels good to write, and I need to stretch my storytelling skills. Lately I have been listening to "The Moth" - my new favorite podcast about anyone and everyone telling their personal stories. This is inspiring me to get more into storytelling. Both to revive my memories and not loose the stories from my past, but I would also like to flesh out stories for the miscellany in my mind, and give those visual characters meaning.

(Note: I also posted this on facebook)
My next post will be a recap of 2016.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

How Lydia paints a cat portrait

Greetings Friends and fiends!

I thought I'd share my process on painting a cat portrait. It was done with bic pen, acrylic, and colored pencil. 


I was commissioned recently to paint a portrait of someone's beloved feline, who is unfortunately not long for this world. He requested a halo and clouds. This same awesome person has previously commissioned me for cat portraits including tentacles and non-euclidean architecture, so I added some strange flying sea jelly monsters because it fits this client and his loving pets.

TO BEGIN!


 First I lay in some quick paint to represent the body of the cat. This is purely intuitive. I let me eyes and brain do a quick calculation on composition. Its ok if its not perfect, as the details will be sorted out later. I choose a mid-range color close to main body of the cat.

Next I use BIC PEN to draw the contours of the figure. I calculate in my mind as I go, being careful to about measuring elements in relation to each other. As a teacher I almost cringe at the thought of my students doing the same thing. Ha!! Any corrections can be made in the painting stage, so I don't stress if I have a few re-drawn edges. 
Adding a background really helps to solidify the figure of the cat, and covers the excess paint that was outside the edge of the drawing. 

Above I've added some darker coloring to the fur, and made the ears pink. I like to start with mid-range to darker colors, so I can add in the highlights on top, - this also creates depth in areas where I only add some light.  I also added clouds to the background. 
 Here I've completed the eyes, added some striping and some lighter areas of fur.
Now I've spent more time on the markings of the fur, and re-established the darker stripes.
My favorite stage!! I've added the COLORED PENCIL. Notice how the dark paint allows the lighter colored marks to show more boldly. I've found that ~drawing~ the fur in with colored pencil feels a lot more natural and spontaneous than trying to paint the fur.   (btw, most of the whiskers are thin strips of paint - the white colored pencil wouldn't have shown up as consistently bright white)
I also added the halo to this stage. Mainly yellow ocher - and its somewhat translucent.

And Finally! The finished piece! I added detail to the background: Some fluffy clouds up front in colored pencil, and I drew in some creatures with the bic pen - I kept them translucent to keep them in the realm of imaginary. To the halo, I added a white strip in the center, let it dry, and went over the white with bright yellow to give it that bright highlight.

Below is a closeup comparison of the face before and after colored pencil, as well as another slim layer of acrylic paint.



And there we go! I hope this helps to shed some light (and not shed fur) on my process for painting animals. This is by no means my only method of working (animals aren't even the bulk of my work!) but it is my preferred method for getting lifelike qualities in creatures.
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Thank you! please feel free to share portraits you've done of animals in the thread. 

Also, if you would like me to paint your own beloved animal, please contact me though email for a quote. 
lydiaburris (at) gmail.com. 
Portraits start at $75 and go up. I also paint humans, manipulated faces, other animals, and plenty of other you-name-it-requests. :)



Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Cycle Repeats, almost

Well now!! I had written a new blog post last week, but didn't finish it. I re-read my last post from ~too long ago~ only to realize I had expressed nearly the exact feelings of complacent anxieties and unfulfilled self promises, only in different words.
Wow. This is one of the longer cocoon-gestation-periods I've experienced.

I feel that I'm starting to come out of this cocoon phase, but I'm still soft, I'm not sure what I am yet, and most of my appendages are still stuck in this transitional death-sac.

I did do some travel.
I spent new years in Florida with family, and it was amazing.

Then I had a little adventure in California, and it was amazing. I stayed with some friends in Claremont - while my guy David had his own adventure filling in on guitar for the band URN.

It was a fulfilling experience, and a great opportunity to do our own things.
I got to see some California friends, did some networking, and developed a very strong NEED to get out of Indiana.
This however has not sated my cravings, it has only made them stronger!  It has made me realize how much I need to be in a different environment, with a different routine and a different focus. A new chapter is approaching and I am excited for it.

In the meantime, I'm creating art daily, and staying in the creative mindset. I'm not revealing any plans, that would be dangerous. I gotta keep the magic alive right now by keeping it covered and hidden from the wind. This is a delicate but hot flame. I'll see you later when its a roaring bonfire.

~~~
Much love, stay creative friends.

 ~~ I discovered myself Undiscovered, and uncovered myself Undercover ~~