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Break Time

Been a while

May 19th, 2011

I let this blog go by the way side, but maybe it’s time I get back on it and do something with it. Is there anything you guys would like to see from me? Art? Writing? Doodles? ink blots?

Good morning sunshine

July 24th, 2009

I didn’t get much sleep last night. Due to several friends raving about watchmen, I finally got off my ass and actuallyw atched the movie. Have to say, I enjoyed it. Now I need to see the director’s cut. I won’t give an in depth review of it, simply because I was watching it at 3 in the morning, rping with a friend, panicking about upcoming deadlines and wondering if there was a 24 hour art supply store somewhere in the world. Needless to say, my attention wasn’t fully on the movie.

Morning came early for me for one simple reason. I have a friend who has to go to work and so her online time today was at eight am my time, and I didn’t want to miss it. Luckily talking to her online doesn’t require me to get out of pjs, wake up enough to brush my hair or look civilized. In fact, I don’t even have to get my voice working, I can just type! It’s fantastic. So I can’t really complain that I didn’t get much sleep, I feel it was definitely worth it, because she’s a great person to talk to. It just means I’m goingto spend today in a somewhat drugged state.

I also spent last night sculpting wings. I… am quite surprised. They came out fantastic on my first try. Considering I’m a disinterested sculptor at best, a texturephobe and generally dislike ’stuff on my hands’; me using clay at all is a miracle. I can’t post pictures of it, it’s all a great secret. Hopefully I’ll get some photographs and can post them once dragoncon is over. I’m working on my items for the charity auction.

So, now that I’ve babbled on for three paragraphs about my goings on last night, today I get to scramble to put art together. Most people say “But jessica. Dragoncon isn’t till september! Why panic?” Why indeed. Well my dear, questioning friend. I panic because there’s so much to do, and it all needs to be mailed the first week in *august*. ack! Add to that, we randomly decided to have a barbeque tomorrow, so I’m also trying to reduce my ‘precon’ mess into something decent enough for the neighbors to see if they come inside.

I’m an absolute disaster when it comes to pre-convention prepwork. I have mat boards scattered across three rooms of the house, artwork stacked haphazardly wherever I can find spare areas. Pencils and markers are tossed about, finished and unfinished projects are mixed together. It truly is a nightmare. Yet somehow, out of this chaos, I manage to get my act together for each convention. It’s a miracle.

How do I make this miracle work? Not a clue. But I’m going to try to disect it down each day so i have a better understanding of myself.

The first thing I did today was talk to my friend. This is key to my daily habits, because I’ve found if I don’t talk to someone at least *once* during the day, I sink into sort of a.. mindless vegitative state. I go back to bed. I read a book for THE ENTIRE DAY and don’t move. Projects drop by the wayside and things get forgotten. So speaking to a friend sparks up my creative drive and reminds me that I have things outside of my comfy little home sphere to get ready for.

Once that friendly chat is over, that’s when I do a little self motivational time. I’m severely depressed. Harsh words, negativity, it all sends me circling into a vicious cycle of self doubt and distress, and dare I say.. emo-ness. Now since I can’t stand being emo, and end up getting annoyed and frustrated, I’ve been making a point to sit down and cut the legs out of my inner prince emo-tep. So I spent the day reading fat blogs.

What are fat blogs? They are blogs written by overweight men and women who have accepted themselves, DO NOT hate themselves, and are out there enjoying life to the fullest. I have a weight problem, it’s bothered me quite a bit as it wasn’t something I grew up with. With my last two pregnancies I packed on enough pounds between them to make me into the dangerously obese category (I was placed on bedrest for much of the pregnancies). Pre-existing health problems became exaserbated when I couldn’t do the things I needed to keep them from getting worse, until eventually I was falling apart. As I pick up the pieces, it’s a constant uphill struggle to NOT compare myself to when I was 20, 22, 25.  These blogs do wonders to help me kick off the day with “I am me and I am FANTASTIC.”

For me, doing art is all about my state of mind. Getting anything done at all is all about my state of mind. When I’m happy, I can move mountains. When I’m sad, everything falls apart. So … since things need to be done, I need to be happy!

Well with my mood suitably improved thanks to the wonderful ladies who’s blogs I read, I move on to the rest of my day. At the moment I’m blogging, to sort of organize my thoughts. From here I’ll be compiling all those fun bits of matboard into one pile, then I’ll scramble around and straighten house while I wait for my awesome sculpty wings to dry. Tonight, I’ll finish epoxying dragon scales onto another sculpture (yes I’m a sculpting fool!) and I’ll stain all the wooden boxes I’m taking with me to dragoncon. Originally I was going to try to finish two more paintings in time for the con. But then I remembered that I have a TABLE at the con and actually need to have products at said table. So I’ll be staining boxes instead.

I can’t wait to show you guys these sculptures.

Self inflicted torture

July 23rd, 2009

I swear, that’s what it’s like to go to an art supply store with a small amount of money to spend and a set item to buy.

It’s what I do, otherwise I’ll blow our entire grocery budget on the most amazing things I just want to try, just once! So to keep my art addiction to a manageable level, I don’t enter the store with more money then I need to buy exactly what I planned to purchase. And those purchases were planned while I was sitting in the safety of my own home, well away from the temptations of  ‘other things’. Infamous other things.

Today I took myself to Roberts. I’m working on some small wooden boxes that are stained and then have my paintings enameled into the surface. But I ran out of wood stain and varnish, so I had to go and get some. I walk into the store and instantly “OMG I WANT THIS AND THIS AND THIS AND THIS” I actually picked up half a dozen items before I remembered that I had no cash on me to buy them. It’s an insane compulsion, I just can’t seem to be able to stop. Nothing else affects me like this. I walk into clothing stores? No problem. Shoe stores? Just fine. The junk food aisles? Eh. But put me in an art supply store and I suddenly become a raging artoholic who needs an intervention!

There were these fantastic boxes that were half off! I wanted to get them and paint them so badly!! Ah well.

Today’s lesson. Moderation is good for you, it really is. Now to figure out a way to get more cash so I can scamper back to the store and get some boxes >.>
Help me. I need an intervention!

Large and in charge

July 22nd, 2009

I’ve had many thoughts lately, trying to decide what I want to do with this blog, with this website, and with myself in general. What do you do when you’re an artist in a recession with a severe case of artist block induced by a plummet in self esteem?
I’m not sure. But I think if I write about the artistic side of my life a little bit each day, it might help me to get past things and see clearly once more. Today is a bit of personal rumination. Just trying to sort things out.

To start. I’m a 32 year old artist. Most people I know began their careers around 25-26. By 28 my more successful friends were already hired into various publishing companies, and were well on their way to becoming well known in and of themselves. I woke up on the day of my 32nd birthday and said to myself ‘what in the hell have you accomplished Jessica?’ And my immediate answer was ‘nothing’.

That’s not entirely true though, is it? I’ve been published with baen, with darwin’s evolutions, with saturday afternoon, with emg. I’ve illustrated for award winning authors. I’ve produced two books of my own, and as my father said ‘that’s more then he’s done’. I’ve had *elliot gould* ask for my autograph (granted, I was 12 at the time, but still!).  I’ve a body of work that’s larger then most artist’s my age, and I have been incredibly happy with what I do. I’m not sure why I belittle my accomplishments. Maybe it’s that it’s not the mindblowing big deal I was hoping to have been by this time in my life? or maybe I just don’t want to accept that I am not a total failure at what I do.

And above all else, I’ve had the honor of meeting some of the most creative people of our times, and being able to call them friends.

It’s not been easy, it won’t be easy. But today my goal is to accept how far I’ve come, rather then focus on far I have to go.

The wonders of cleaning

July 20th, 2009

In light of the up coming convention that I need to mat and mail out art for, and my studio space which is impossible to walk through, I decided to do a quick remodel.
It occurs to me, some five hours of scrubbing walls and floors lter, that I do five billion times more exercise when I have a purpose, then when it’s just ‘walk for x amount of hours, lift this x amount of times’ etc. I think I’m going to have to start giving myself impossible chores every day that require herculean efforts to acchieve, in order to loose weight.

In other news, frogs are fantastic. And there was a ghostbuster’s mobile outside my house. Ghost busters. The hearse with all the lights and sirens and everything. Awesome.

Dragoncon art show needs you!

July 18th, 2009

Hi guys, most of you will probably have already read this every other place I post at. However, the dragoncon art show is in need of volunteers.

Most particularly, volunteers on thursday during the art show set up.

You can find more information here: http://www.artshow.dragoncon.org/index.html  click on ’staff information’. There’s actually some fairly good deals for volunteers, I wish I’d checked this out sooner! I’d have brought my whole crazy family down. Well anyway, check it out, volunteer. And if you can’t for the whole time, do try for just thursday. We’re in need of people who will help set up the art show.

Harry Potter and the half blood prince

July 15th, 2009

Well, I’m going in for surgery tomorrow, and decided that a movie would be the right way to keep me from completely freaking out.

So Harry potter it was.

Well my first reaction was excitement. I’ve got to be honest with you, the potter books have really grown on me over the years. One thing I have to say, is kudos to the team who’ve kept the movies consistantly with the same theme, feel, and *quality*. This wasn’t about sequals and how it gets worse and worse the more you add to it. The movies all hold to the same standard. I like that.

Okay sorry I lost my train of thought. Well Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince is a movie that’s considerably less about plot and more about character development then the other movies have been. In many ways I think that’s VERY good, as the harry from the order of the phoenix I kind of wanted to throw off the nearest balcony. In this movie, we follow the trio as they grow and learn a little about being teenagers, having crushes, stupidity of relationships and general good times. There was a great deal of humor in the movie, and it was *wonderfully* expressed through little gestures, faces, and tiny reactions. I have to say, I really think these kids have come to their own as actors with this film. They did a wonderful job, I found myself really *liking* the characters and enjoying each time they did ANYTHING.

Another thing I noticed, was that they paced the ’scary’ moments much better. And the scary moments were truly horrifying in their own way. Okay I’m trying very hard not to give spoilers, and this shouldn’t spoil anything. But at one point a girl gets cursed… It.. it was incredible. Her face was truly terrified, and gave me eerie memories of the first time i saw the original grudge movie. That same sort of bone deep fear of what was happening right in front of you. The lady next to me was massively wide eyed by the end of that scene, and i was right there with her.

As expected, and as a friend explained, this movie inched the plot of the books forward incrementally. But that’s okay, because you really genuinely enjoyed every minute. If i was to watch the movies back to back, this would be like the pause, the breath of fresh air where you relaxed and remembered that these ARE children, they do have lives beyond this horrific struggle that they’re constantly being put into.

One thing I will say, it’s much easier to understand the events if you’ve read the book, then just watching the movie. I spent a great deal of time AFTER the movie explaining the things that had been cut out of the movie to the person who went wtih me (he’d never read the books). It also gave me a better appreciation for the shear wealth of information that jk rowling was able to give her writers.

There were a few things they cut that i think should  have been added *somewhere*. Things that would have made it much easier for the non readers to understand what happened. Not large things, but a few small details would have smoothed things over. But overall the things that were cut didn’t bother me as much as I thought they would. More… I know more about what’s happening because of what wasn’t shown.

On thing I will say. They gave the major, major event in the movie the proper respect it deserved. For those that hadn’t read the book, it had the same shock and the same surprise for them in the theater, as it had for us readers when it happened in the book. For those of us who read the books, it still held the intense emotional impact and was.. just really well done.

All in all this was a very VERY enjoyable movie. Now if you haven’t seen the others before this, you *will* need to watch them in order to understand everything. The person sitting by me hadn’t and I got to hear a lot of ‘what was that? Who’s that? Why is that important?” through the movie. So to get full enjoyment, see the others.

Art update

July 10th, 2009

hello my lovelies. News on the art front is that I”ve finished the frogger piece. She’s available here:http://www.jessicamdouglas.com/gallery/openeditions/frogger.html

I hope you all like it!

Transformers 2

July 4th, 2009

Well I just got back from watching transformers.

Bear with me, my initial reactions are all based on just walking out of the movie. My first thought was.. will this movie never end? You know a fight scene is taking too long when you’re yawning, and your kids are asking if they can go play video games, in the middle of one of the most heated and main battles.

There was a lot of random discrepancies (someone being knocked unconscious, and then five seconds later hopping out of the car a-okay! Not to mention that tazers don’t cause unconsciousness…) as well as a great deal of blatant pilfering from other mainstream robot movies for ideas. The terminators from.. terminator come to mind. As do the little rolling metal balls from Aeon Flux, the ones that she whistled to get them to come to her. I had a profound sense of deja vu as I watched the film, seeing shots and sequences I’ve seen before in many movies. But that wasn’t what bothered me the most.

It was the utter lack of SENSE. The plotlines made no sense. They dragged in TONS of different themes and story ideas, and instead of focusing on one to make it really have an impact, they lessened each dramatic moment by throwing you immediately to yet another huge traumatic event. You didn’t have time to stop and think and *feel* for the characters, or to fully understand the plotline before another was thrown in. Yet by the same token, you had way way way too much time to ponder and contemplate things like the shape of a robot’s scrotum.

Yes they went there.

The humor started out mild, but as the movie went on, it went more and more into the crude kind of humor that I’m honestly not a fan of. Fart jokes, ball jokes, and a ton of hiphop slang and cussing. Now I’m not a prude, but I’ve got to tell you guys… I don’t want to take my kid to a movie for kids and have to wince every time someone opens their mouth because I don’t know what kind of crap is going to come out next. Or cover their eyes from a hairy ass in a thong. Normally I’d say ‘you should be careful of what movies you take your kids to’ in general, but this.. well the movie IS marketed to young boys. Since they market it *to* kids, it should be *for* kids. This movie wasn’t.

The other problem I had with the fight scenes was this. Every time Michael bay has a robot flounce across the screen, it’s accompanied by the cool sounds of robot transformation. In the first movie he choose his moments wisely, and waited to show you those transformations for rare, key moments. In this one you barely had time to BLINK before they were shifting and re-shifting over and over again. In mid fight they would shift multiple times. Couple that with the usual blaster and exploding building sounds, and my ears are *still* ringing and hurting from the constant assault of sound. Visually it was just as painful. If you’ve ever seen the swirling/slashing/barely comprehensible fights from Final Fantasy: Advent Children, you’d understand. The robots swirled and leaped and jumped and you couldn’t tell who was doing what, what they were doing in the first place, and if that was a decepticon or an autobot. It made the agonizingly long fight scenes even longer, as you blinked and squinted your eyes to try and piece together what was going on.

It was topped with one cliche after another. I could handle those if the rest of the movie hadn’t been shoveled together like the dung scraped out of a barn.

And of course.. the twins. Well while I don’t see the ‘omfg they’re black’ hubub about the twin robots (to me they came off as a ‘vanilla ice’ sort of feel. Some dumb white boy trying to be badass), they were some of the main instigators of the crappy jokes. They seemed to serve no real purpose except be annoying, and did nothing to further the storyline. Actually none of the ‘new’ characters did a thing to forward the storyline or provide much of anything to the movie. The occasional one liner, another flashy sequence of robot shifting, that’s about it.

Was there anything good about this movie? Well it had some highlights. Somewhere. I can’t think of any offhand, but I’m still sitting here with the taste of disappointment in my mouth and a general sadness that the movies have taken this turn. I grew up with transformers, I’d like my kids to grow up wtih them as well, but I sure won’t be buying the dvd for my kids to watch again. Thanks.

WIP frogger

July 3rd, 2009

Still working on this, but I finally got where a camera was to take a picture of the in progress shot.

froggerwip3

Also for some reason the formatting made it all long and narrow. I’ll fix it later.