Articles by Caitlin

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I started re-reading (for the gazillionth time) The Princess Bride.  (And  you know, I can’t decide if the book is better than the movie, they’re both awesome.)

Then when I got downstairs this morning, I saw this in the news feeds:

rat_3_610502a

A BBC film crew recording a programme in an extinct volcano in Papua New Guinea has discovered a new species of giant woolly rat, a frog with fangs, and around 40 other exotic creatures unknown to science.

RODENTS OF UNUSUAL SIZE, anyone?!

(yes, I know there are much bigger rodents around the world.  But sheesh, work with me here, ok?)

(Also – FANGED FROGS?  How freakin’ cool is that?  In a creepy, gawd I don’t ever want to meet one unexpectedly kinda way. Obviously.)

Sept 4 prompt

[click if you want to read it]

The journal prompt was “Who in your life talks too much?”

My answer – me.  ARRRGH!

Do you think my journal pages are improving?

My tonsils are spotty and I am having a bad fibro flare up – I think I’ll be having another bed day today.

Happy Father’s Day!

Dad and little Trojan

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

(This was taken in May when I was in Wagga for a visit.  Isn’t this vehicle cool? It’s a miniature version of Dad’s vintage car – a 1925 British Leyland Trojan Ute – but this one is designed to run on the little railway at the botanical gardens.)

And here’s my brother, Gordy.  His son is finishing high school this year!

gordy

Happy Father’s Day, Gordy!

And also a VERY HAPPY FATHERS DAY TO MR BELOVED, who hates being photographed, but is well loved by all the fur and feather kids!

LEn

And here’s day 2 of 365:

2 of 365

very attractive, non?

me sept 5

[click through only if you’re brave]

For some reason unknown to me at this stage, I am going to take a photo of myself every day for a year, starting today.

So this is what I would look like RIGHT NOW if you could see through your screen all the way to me.

Scary, huh?

I have had sleep problems again – two nights with about 3 hours sleep each, then could not MOVE today.  Symptoms of a flare up of the fibromyalgia (I now know that a full hour of Pilates class on Tuesday night was overdoing  it. DAMN!)

I have made no art for 2 days.

Also, on Thursday I went to the first Sewing Guild meeting for The Darling Gowns group.  Sue did a wonderful job getting this organised and leading the discussion about what we members wanted to do as a group.  But as usual, I talked too damn much (arrrgh!) and talked OVER people… it’s one of the worst things I do and it makes me cringe when I realise that I’ve done it.  *shudder*

And it was just exhausting – being with people is great, but draining.

And then for some STUPID reason, channel 10 decided to run the finale of So You Think You Can Dance (USA) starting at nearly 11pm!! And you know I loves e some dance, I was determined to watch but sheesh! I was thrilled when Jeanine won ( even though I was dying to know, I didn’t let myself be spoilerised on the outcome!)

Here’s a journal page for ya:

Sept 3 prompt

[click if you wanna read it]

And that’s it from me today, folks. One cuppa nice hot milk and bed for me!

Oh, and PS – we had a storm last night and actually recorded 25mm of rain at the airport – which tends to be dryer than where we live, but anyhow – that’s the most rain we’ve had since… ummmmm…. well since I can’t remember when! (yes, I know, given my poor memory that doesn’t mean much, but the dams are seriously low still and I think the Level 5 water restrictions are pretty much permanent.)

I was born into a country town full of Italian migrants and their children.  I remember using Italian words for naming things with the other kids at preschool there.

kindy

The next language I fell in love with was Spanish – thanks to Sesame Street.  I told my kindergarten teacher I could SPEAK SPANISH!! which I’m sure must have amused everyone in the staff room.

In High School I studied German.

At university I studied Japanese.

These days, I’m learning poodle.

too smart

BUT – I’d really like to learn Spanish.  My Mother’s Mother spoke Spanish, I think – (I know very little about Rosita); and my Father’s Father studied Latin at university and then later in life studied and was fluent in  German, Italian, and Spanish.

I was making a journal page about all this (pardon for the crappy photo, that’ll teach me to make art bigger than my scanner, eh?!)

September 2

[click for big, but the handwriting in ink is just about illegible]

So I’m writing away about my memories of my Grandfather and how I can use the materials I inherited from him to teach myself Spanish, when all of a sudden a dream TUMBLED OUT onto the page:

“…one day I will follow the hummingbirds from Mexico to North America and I will call them ‘Joyas Voladores’ – flying jewels.”

So I’m sitting at the kitchen art table with tears dripping off the end of my nose thinking “I didn’t know I cared about it that much!”

Maaaan this journaling thing is SNEAKY!

And the second, yet!  Sheesh!

This month:

  • my Dad will have his 70th birthday
  • it will be the first time his Mum, my Nana, hasn’t been here for that (or for her birthday a week later)
  • I am trying to will journal more every day
  • I will sew at least one garment
  • I will get to all 4 Pilates classes this month and at least 2 other gym sessions each week
  • I am going to the first ever meeting of a new chapter of the Australian Sewing Guild –  “The Darling Gowns” group meets tomorrow –  (it’s called that because geographically we are on the Darling Downs – clever, huh!) led by the talented Sue .
  • I am seeing a new gastroenterology specialist (new to me, not new to the specialisation)

I’m sure there’s more but that’s not a bad start.

I went to Pilates class last night for the first time in 8 weeks – maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!  What a GREAT stretch out that was!  I’m sore as anything this morning, couldn’t do an early morning training session, but will go in later even if it’s just to walk on the treadmill.  Has anyone else ever tried Pilates floor classes? Did you get a lot of relief from aches and pains?

It’s quite cool this morning – August was HOT HOT HOT and now “Spring” (reckoned by the calendar, not by any actual reference to the way seasons work in Australia) is here we’ve had big feather down quilt-a blanket-another handmade quilt- and a hot water bottle as well as my winter jarmies nights.  Brrr!

No pic today – I have been slack about using the camera of late!

blue sky

[clicky et cetera]

No photoshopping – the sky really was that blue!

and I didn’t know it!

But today I was in another scrapbooking store (souffle pens!) while Hill$ong crappy charismatic creepiness blasted from the store stereo.  That was ok, I could block it out by humming my favourite Lily Allen track (“Fuck you.. fuck you very very muu-uu-uuu-uch…”).

But what intrigued and frightened me was the group of women sitting around a table all with identical pieces of various papers while the teacher drill sergeant said things like “And now we are going to take our 8 cm square of green paper and stick it exactly one inch from the bottom left corner” and the women responding with worried tones: “Have I got this right? Is this ok?”

I would have told her exactly where she could stick her square of paper, I would.  This class was obviously for beginners, ok, but it was doing NOTHING towards raising these women’s confidence or belief in their own right to make decisions!  ARRRRGH!

Please note – I’m not (totally) anti-scrapbooking.  I love the toys in those shops, love the huge variety of coloured papers and printed papers and rub ons and stamps, and the PENS, OMG the pens, I loves me a good pen, who doesn’t? I am THRILLED that scrapbooking stores are around not least because there are such limited options for buying other art supplies locally.

But – WHERE’S THE CREATIVITY? WHERE’S the EMPOWERMENT that making something YOUR OWN brings?

sheep_wideweb__430x302

In the last few posts I have shown you my visual journal – and you can see that I have been learning from other people’s styles.  I am so excited at the prospect of learning more, of getting the INPUT I crave.  But I don’t ever want to just make something exactly the same as anyone else (let alone as the other 6 women at the table  (“Now post your cropped photo of your schoolchild 5 inches from the right of the page…”)

Look, I know you’ve seen (heard?!) this rant before, and I’m sorry, you’ll probably hear it again… but if we are not here to be INDIVIDUALS and find meaning in our own lives – then why are we here at all?

(To see where the thoughtless copying mindset leads, have a squiz at “you thought we wouldn’t notice”, a blog highlighting laziness amongst “creatives” … and see also this post from the (hugely talented and inspiring) Marsha at Tumblefish Studio. )

up early

(apologies for the somewhat blurry text – getting to the end of this book and I really should have propped up the low side on the scanner!)

input

At least it’s different

and another

coherent scrawl

a boring page….

turquoise

Mexican turquoise pic from a back issue of the Smithsonian (another wonderful subscription I had to let go…)

elegance

[you know how to see it bigger.]

One of my favourites from the old portfolio:

biology and manual training for blog

[click big, yada yada…]

We are about to have our internet access throttled (aaccck!) because SOMEONE was a bit naughty and looked at lots and lots of bandwidth munching art sites this month, didn’t they CAITY?!

(At least they just reduce the speed, they don’t let us keep going and then send a bill for excess use like some (coughb1gp0ndcough) providers.)

I am getting STUCK in my visual journal – too much same same, you know?  I really need to get into some online classes and LEARN STUFF!! (cheaper than books and you get feedback straight away – I ? technology!)

watching

[bigger if you click]

Got the new printer hooked up today (yay!) but sadly, it has no drivers to make it run on Linux OSs.  Bummer!  Luckily we keep a Windows box around for just such things – my embroidery machine software and Electric Quilt programme also need the infernal Windows. (Don’t tell me to get a Mac, please – they are NOT for povs! $$$$!! And Linux is open source and FREE.)

Also dug out the little photo printer but discovered that leaving the ink cartridge in it for (la la la!) years doesn’t do it much good.  Still, when life hands you lemons, make margaritas:

postcard

Only half the nozzles on the inkjets worked – but I am going to pretend I MEANT that to happen so I could alter/add to these postcard size prints anyway.  Yep!  (I’m hoping that when the new cartridge goes in things will right themselves – if not, I’ll have to do some opening and tinkering – good thing it’s well out of warranty, eh?)

The weather has turned cooler this evening – supposed to only be 8 C (brrr!) overnight.  Yes, I know when I ived in Canberra, it was a good winter day when it got UP to 8 sometimes! But I’m spoilt living here.  The weekend is supposed to bring more heat again.

OK, that’s it for now… things might be slow with only limited access here til midnight on the 2nd!

Mid afternoon, Mr Beloved returned to The Room Of Migrainous Hell (aka the bedroom)  looking pale and shaky.

“What’s wrong”? I asked, ever perceptive, even in my tortured state.

He held his hands apart about 1.5 metres.

“Brown.  Back of shed. I dropped some wood and saw it slither past….”

We’re not sure if it was an Eastern Brown, King Brown, or some other (venomous) snake – but as Mr Beloved says, they’re all part of the genus ahgettawayfromme.

Yep – no more winter in Toowoomba, this year Mother Nature has jumped right past Spring to Summer! There are already bushfires and today was around the 30C mark again (that’s 86 F for you furriners) and it’s supposed to only drop to 17C / 63 F overnight.

Perkins

[click for big]

Done at the same time as “Scared of Numbers” , watercolour, ink, and pearlescent ink on old history textbook page.

I didn’t get to watch the V8 races after all – I had a migraine that saw me cowering in the dark bedroom for most of the day.  Bugger! Off to take more aspro to try and keep it down to a dull roar (I can’t take other anti- migraine medicine becuase of other drugs I have to take.  Sucks, eh?)

So I was reading Michelle Ward’s blog earlier and she had an image of these AWESOME stamps from Stampotique, by an artist new to me.  Daniel Torrente’s style really spoke to me – possibly because of the sunken eyes and scratchy lines being exactly how I’m feeling right now. (grrrrrr.)

So as I was listening to the race (vroooooooom….) I started making little scratchy sketches.

faces

[usual deal  – click images to see bigger]

And then some more characters came out of the pen.  (I drew a self portrait of myself as an anorexic, too, but that was just so disturbing on so many levels I shouldn’t have even mentioned it….)

makeover

Now that I look at those stamps again I’m pleased that they AREN’T really copies of his style.  (For a start, mine are nowhere near as detailed or as good!) but they have definitely come from the Danny Elfman/Tim Burton/Tracy Moore zettiology/ Scott Radke’s awesome puppets/ freaky goth kinda headspace… I really want to work on more of these.

(Technical details, as if anyone is interested: Lamy fountain pen with EF nib; Noodler’s walnut ink, on al cheapo A5 visual diary paper.)

(also – note to self – get the green paint splodge off the scanner screen, sheesh!)

What do you think?

Grrrrrr…

Another stressful Friday night as the DICKHEAD across the creek thinks he can play music as loud as he wants any time he wants because he’s in “an industrial unit”.

Um, no, he can’t.

Unfortunately, no one in authority want to take responsibility – is it a council/police/EPA/? problem? They’re all buck passing and meanwhile we hear “The Best of the ’80s” DOOMPHING through our bedroom….

Much more to the story but suffice to say: we are both incredibly tired and stressed and grumpy.

I am probably not even going to watch the V8 supercars race and it’s the Queensland Raceway meet… so you KNOW I’m feeling unhappy!

Saint Robota Icon

[clicky to see biggy]

This is “The Icon of Saint Robota”.

Ink, watercolours, acrylic inks on an old spelling list page.

(I inherited a LOT of school textbooks from my grandfather.  I like painting on pages that are not blank. I think my artist’s statement at the time I had to present this in a portfolio was more eloquent, but that’s what it boiled down to.)

We have wooden floorboards in our house, and our house needs restumping (bloody termites!) so the floors tend to MOVE when we walk around.  Normally that’s not an issue – but over time, things perched precariously on top of other things (ahem!) tend to get closer and closer to the edge until….

CRRRRRRRRASSSSSSSSSSH!

SQUAAAAAAAAARK! EEEEEEK!  Help!

Poor Mr Beloved was ATTACKED by a falling clump of THINGS this afternoon. NOT a good thing for my poor PTSD sweetie…

Anyway, the fallen objects included an A3 cardboard portfolio, which turned out to contain some art works I had made in… ummm… 2005 or 2006, I don’t have a date on any of them.

And I was pleasantly surprised!  OMG, I LIKE THESE! I drew these AND I REALLY REALLY LIKE THEM!! I’m not as hopeless at this as I thought! And I had completely forgotten they even existed.

So, if you’d like to see them, I’ll post a few.  Here’s the first one out of the envelope:

Scared of numbers

[click to see image larger]

Watercolour, ink, on old text book page.

ARRGH!  I have LOST an issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine and I MUST FIND IT!! It’s soooooooooo frustrating – I have every .single. other. issue and there is stuff I HAVE to re-read RIGHT NOW in issue #15 and I have been looking for it for days. ALL WEEK, in fact.

CPS 15

I have looked through all my nests.  (This is what Mr Beloved calls the accumulations of STUFF that appear around me when I get interested in something… my armchair and my bedside table are permanent nests.)

I have shaken out every magazine on the bookshelves in case this issue somehow got tangled inside another one. I have pushed and pulled at books in case the magazine had slipped behind a larger volume.

I have looked in the sewing room, under the kitchen table, under the sofa, behind the tv.

I have found MANY MANY places where this magazine ISN’T.

I have found the instruction sheet for the washing machine (the powder is meant to go WHERE?), many old envelopes (pre-paid – I wonder if Australia post will still honour them?) and where the missing reams of printer paper have been hiding.

I have found several older journals with only a few pages used up.  (It’s hereditary – my grandfather was just the same, he’d use up three or four pages of a writing pad and then start a new one.  10 years after his death, my parents and I are still using up his writing pads. I particularly like the ones which have aged to  a yellow or brown, it’s a very nice patina to them.)

BUT I HAVE NOT FOUND CPS 15!!

ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGH!

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