It rained all day today, a fairly unusual occurrence here. We're having the exterior of the house painted this week and the painters taped translucent sheets of plastic over all the windows to keep them clean, and I worked from home all day, so I felt like I was underwater as long as it was still light out. 


I printed some of my latest design this afternoon. This was the first linocut I'd done in months; the ink was rolling out like velvet and sitting on top of the paper exactly right today, and the only challenge was placing the paper over the block correctly and not getting ink all over the place. So that was a fun, meditative hour. I had some interest when I posted my test copy, so I think I'll sell the prints on Instagram once they're dry.

I also got an invitation to sign up for a demonstration slot at the fantastic nonprofit secondhand art and craft store, Austin Creative Reuse, during one of the weekends of the East Austin Studio Tour (which this year overlaps with the West Austin Studio Tour to become the Austin Studio Tour; the whole event has gotten out of hand and I love it but also it's overwhelming). Anyway, I'll be there from noon until 2:45 on Saturday, November 13, demonstrating the art of making mosaics using castoff and upcycled materials. I need to start planning what I'm going to make and how I'm going to make it in an attempt to get the maximum visual excitement out of a medium that can be slow and tedious, at least when it's in my hands.

I know! I should challenge myself to make mosaics seem as unappealing as humanly possible: Dull brown tiles on brown backgrounds. Overly detailed explanations delivered in a halting monotone. Discouraging looks, greasy hair, the occasional whiff of an odd smell that no one can quite identify. Swing on by ACR that afternoon to see how well I'm achieving my goal! 

P.S. This is the first post I've ctrl-F-searched for the word "just" before posting and come up with zero hits! I did have to delete one after I typed it, though. 

Creative process: Flaky people who work full time and like to drink and take themselves too seriously sometimes edition

I was really into the idea of doing a big, beautiful cactus mosaic, but the design wasn't coming together and then I decided I wanted to do an ocotillo instead, but then that was looking like it was really going to suck too. So I scrapped the whole thing.

Then I just lost all momentum. I spent my evenings drinking wine and sulking in front of the internet for a couple of weeks before deciding that maybe I needed to shift gears for a while.

Suck so much

Really, cut it out!

I also realized I needed to stop beating myself up for not doing something fun and creative every damn spare minute of the day. That's just stupid, as well as extremely counterproductive. (Plus Jesus, take a step back, I'm not not saving lives here. Everything will still go along just as it does if I don't glue some crap to a board or whatever.) 

Luckily, just as I had decided I was not necessarily creatively broken forever, I ran across some projects left over from last year when I had plenty of ideas and no time; now that I had some time and no ideas I was free to finish them up.

One turned out super crappy so I won't post it here, and another is a surprise for someone so ditto, but I can show you this lino cut I abandoned last spring but started again last week.


I need to clean it up a bit and I want to give it a caption, but it's largely finished now.


Once I started making progress on that, I felt much better. I drew a bunch of dumb little doodles and cut them out, just for fun.

This Saturday my friend Phyllis came over. The two of us drew a bunch of little doodles together and cut them out and used them to make a collage.

Tornado warning

It rained all day, so that's where the weather theme came from. Eric sat at the table with us and worked on his own project and we played records and listened to the rain and shot the shit and made a goofy little art piece together. When we were finished we celebrated with a few margaritas. It was a great afternoon. 


Finally, yesterday I got this little dude from the housewares clearance aisle in Marshall's. I plan to tile her up and put her in the backyard. Should be a fast-ish project. 

So now art is fun again. The cactus/ocotillo/failure board will join the growing pile in the corner of my office of unfinished and unstarted projects. Some I'll pick up again and finish; some I will keep stumbling over until I decide to move them to the trash can out front. I'm learning that if something just isn't working that it really is okay to quit, at least for a while. There's only so much time and energy, you know?

Third time's...not it, either.

Each time it's offered, my friend Dan and I enter the Austin Art Boards competition, which is run by Reagan Outdoor Advertising and promotes local artists by putting their work up on billboards.

Each year, we don't win. I got two honorable mentions in years past, and Dan got honorable mention last time as well--go us!--but this year: bupkis.


My first entry. It got honorable mention.


The next year I tried again with a similar design. I tried to make it a little fancier by doing a three-color block print. Another honorable mention.


This year I didn't hear about it until a couple weeks before the deadline. I felt like the superhappy motif had maybe run its course, so I pasted a block print I'd done of a friend's cat onto a photo of the Texas sky as seen from one of our fine, sweeping overpasses.

The idea was that in the right conditions the billboard would blend into the background and it would just look like a giant cat head floating in the sky. I don't know, maybe that didn't really come across. It's also possible it just isn't that great of an image.

I still like it, though. I'm going hang the matted entry in my office at work and use it to help me think about what I should enter next year. So help me, I'm going to keep submitting these until they discontinue the contest, I win, or I die.