Friday, November 30, 2012

Back at it

Yesterday slipped away before I had a chance to draw - and I thought today would end up the same way, but I managed to get some drawing in just in time. I had nothing specific in mind when I picked up the pen, I just went with whatever came out. Here it is

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Today's Art

(More spoilers, don't read if you want my xmas card to be a surprise) I ran out of time to draw (who knew it would be this hard?) yesterday (and today). But, again, I did do something creative - both days. Yesterday, Jim and I finished printing the second color on the xmas cards. And today, I actually did some major development work AT work.

With the prints, registration of the colors worked amazingly well this year and now we only have to pray that printing the lighter colors over the darker color works. Well, that and also that I can pull off a good lino carving so it actually looks like something.

The second color was supposed to be a plum-color, but I really liked the color I mixed first - it was closer to purple - so I went with it. Jim wasn't sure at first, but I hope he sees my point when the next two colors are printed - I think they will work better over a bluer background. Here are some photos - the rolling and printing of color number 2:

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Bad Day Cartoon

Today was a very frustrating and downer day. I found out that to fix what's wrong with my jaw will require about a year or more of braces, then surgery, then another year or more of braces. And the cost is beyond what I think it's worth. I broke down in tears in the orthodontist's office. I told the doctor's assistant that I'm not worth it and it seems like I would be vain if I spent that kind of money on myself. After all, I'll still be ugly even if my bite worked right. Jim wants me to go through with it but I'm still on the fence.

Then came the shoulder diagnosis. My MRI showed a labral tear, but I couldn't get an appointment with my doctor for a follow-up until December 20th. So much for help and treatment.

And finally, work was a complete disaster -- our website contractors have all but stopped work on development and left me out in the cold over money issues. I don't control the money or the contract but I have to support the work and at this point I have limited training (specifically on what they've built) and no documentation. And the site launch date is less then two weeks away. Basically, I feel like I'm up the creek without a paddle - but I'm trying to maintain hope that things will get handled at a higher level. Or that I won't be completely gray by the time it's over.

So, i drowned my sorrows in a Stone Ruination IPA, and I can barely see (or draw). So I decided to draw a cartoon of my large, polydactyl, almost-toothless cat, Hopper, and call it a night. (I can't even believe I wrote this much but I'm not proofreading it so I apologize for errors.) Hopper is much cuter than I give him credit for - but his tongue hangs out and his feet look like they're on backwards.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Talking in Circles

Something happened today that reminded me of why I get upset when people spend all their time tied to their phones (and I admit, I can be guilty of this). Today, I barely used my phone because I was too busy ripping out my hair trying to navigate new software with less than no support from the developers. In fact, help in any way, shape, or form has been very hard to come by of late. I'm discouraged, frustrated, and trying hard not to give up. I just wish phones weren't also getting in the way. I decided to call this drawing "The endless loop phone":

Artist. Slacker (sort of).

(SPOILER ALERT - if you want my xmas card to be a surprise, don't look)

I ran out of time and energy yesterday and the result was that I had no drawing to post. I did do something creative however. I printed the first color for this year's 4-color lino-cut xmas cards. This year, I've gotten more ambitious than in years past in several ways:
  • At my husband Jim's insistence, I've come up with a registration mechanism that uses an old set of registration tabs and Post-It paper flags. We've put two hole-punched tabs on every card and now all we have to do is pray it works - because registration has always been the most difficult (read: next-to-impossible) part of the printing process because I kept thinking we could do it by just lining up the edges of the cards on the printing plate.
  • I'll be attempting to represent many more than four colors in this year's four-color print. The most colors I've ever printed on my cards is four, but usually, I break the image down into four distinct colors and it consequently ends up all a bit cartoony. This year, I'm going to attempt to make realistic gradations of color using my linoleum carving skills. Yeah, I'm not expecting this to go perfectly.
  • And, obviously, from the previous bullet, I'm going to attempt much more realism in this year's card.
  • I'm planning on printing two colors in a not-recommended order: light over dark
Three and a half hours of last night were spent printing color number one. The first color always takes longest because the inking area of the plate is the largest, and rolling them takes much longer. It took even more time than it should have when I started fretting that I totally screwed up the initial registration. The pleasant surprise was that the first color - a slightly red-shifted light blue - turned out very good with the [mindlessly-chosen-yellow-shifted-off-white] paper color.

I'm not expecting miracles with the rest of the card, because of what I'm attempting in bullet number four above: printing two lighter colors over the darkest color. Using samples of printed color from old cards, I tried mixing the two lighter colors and layering them over a darker one, and it looks like it will work. But, execution is always the hardest part of printing. 

In theory, everything works, right?

Anyway, here's a teaser of the print process (yes, that's light blue, not gray, stupid phone cam):

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Not as Planned

This started out as a drawing of my feet while I sit in front of the TV watching college football. It then morphed into something completely different (which was always the plan). I struggled with my left foot on the bike trainer today, so maybe that's why I focused on my feet tonight.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More Hand

I spent most of tonight working on carving the linoleum plate for the first color on this year's Xmas card. I thought about using the carving as today's "drawing," but after careful consideration, I've decided to save writing a blog about the card process until after they're sent because I want to keep them a surprise. So after carving, it's NO surprise that the hand imagery is back in tonight's drawing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


This drawing had two inspirations. The first was a dead tree that I saw while I was out running today. The second is a book that I'm currently reading called The Rook: A Novel, by Daniel O'Malley. (Spoiler alert!) One of the main villains in the novel is an organization called The Grafters who do some very interesting things with body parts and implants. Anyway, this drawing disappointed me and I worked on it way too long to no avail, but I don't have time to draw something else because I feel the need to start working on my Xmas cards ASAP - Thanksgiving just ended. I hope everyone out there had a great one!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Today I had a shoulder arthrogram - it's an MRI with contrast done by injecting dye into the joint. Before the MRI part, I got to watch the injection process on an x-ray. It took longer that normal because my shoulder joint was causing trouble for the needle and the doctor had to come in and wrench things around to get the dye flowing. The whole time I just prayed that it didn't all of a sudden get ultra painful (it didn't) and watched my shoulder joint on the x-ray. It got me thinking about joints and - I suppose, ultimately led to this drawing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

More Gnarly Pain

I think this is a drawing of what's wrong with my shoulder. Tomorrow I have an appointment to get an MRI to find out what's actually wrong. I wonder what it will look like. I hope I'll be able to swim again soon - well, I hope what's wrong can be fixed so I can swim without worrying about it. Anyway, here's the drawing.

Monday, November 19, 2012


My husband Jim thinks I have some kind of finger fetish lately - he says I keep drawing things that look like hands. I don't know why I keep with this imagery but it's whatever comes out once I start drawing. Today I put down my beloved Sharpie felt tip and dug up an ancient 0.25 mm Rapidograph pen and a vial of India ink. It took me several hours to bring it back to life but it was so worth it to have that micro-line of ink to work with. I think what's really happening is I am developing a pen fetish.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Stretch

My latest creation - inspired by an outstretched hand, the pain in my shoulder, and drawn while watching The Walking Dead. Every drawing takes a macabre turn if I work on it during The Walking Dead.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Just in time

I came up with the idea for this drawing while I was running today and saw a spikey fence. I am planning to do more with the idea at a later time but I had to get something on paper before midnight (we had guests for dinner and I almost ran out of time to draw today).

Friday, November 16, 2012

More Pain

I destroyed my new Sharpie making this drawing today. I need to go back to pencil drawings before I forget how.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Representing Pain

I started drawing at work today during lunch because my hip was hurting and I wanted to express the pain. So here it is, my first attempt to represent the thing that is trying to destroy my hip joint.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

November 14 Drawing

Just another stream-of-consciousness drawing, this one doesn't really have any inspiration. In fact, i might call this a supremely uninspired drawing. It almost seems like a backward step. but I did get some new Sharpie thin-line pens so I don't have to steal them from my husband anymore.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Spiraling Off

I drew this during a phone call with my mother today. The conversation spiraled AND went off on several tangents. Obviously the drawing did too.

Monday, November 12, 2012


I don't know what inspired the thoughts, but I while I was drawing, I was thinking about the ground and being stuck.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


I'm still working with shapes. Today I decided to explore what kind of organism might have an underlying cube structure. This is what I came up with.

What's Up Between Drawings

Looming in my future.
I haven't written a REAL blog post in many weeks. I don't have much to say because I've been so busy - mostly at work. I feel like I should be doing more in the way of planning for next racing season, but every time I sit down and think about it, I lose interest and find myself going down a hole of sadness. I only have two races to focus on next year. The first one is the Boston Marathon in April. It will be my third Boston - the last time was 17 years ago. I can't believe it's been that long since I ran Boston, but the last time I ran it was the 100th anniversary in 1996. The other thing on my schedule is the 2013 ITU Age Group World Championship in London in September. Someday I will fill in the blanks for the rest of the season, but not today. There are several health issues that need to be taken care of first:
  1. Determine what went wrong in Kona. So far, the only thing that turned up was a blood test showing I have a Vitamin D deficiency. I don't know how much it affected my race - will have to find out more when I talk to my doctor about it. In the meantime, I have to take huge weekly doses of Vitamin D.
  2. Diagnose what's wrong with my shoulder. Since my fall in the summer, it hasn't been right, and it's now getting worse. I can't reach backwards with my right arm without being overcome by severe pain and a few minutes of recovery time. This is the weirdest injury I've ever had because of the weird recovery phase required after I trigger the pain.
  3. Get my jaw fixed. For many many years, I've been grinding my teeth down. It got worse when I developed severe TMJ after a head-on collision with a biker on the sidewalk back in the mid-1990s. Nothing about my jaw really works well due to both that accident and the fact that I have what's called an "open bite" (my front teeth never came together even after four years of braces in high school). Anyway, my dentist(s) have been on my case to have it fixed for over ten years because in my subconscious hours, I'm slowly destroying my teeth.
So, that's the health side of the coin. On the flip side is mostly work. I've been working on a huge web development project for my employer, The Cleveland Museum of Art. The project required that I spend a week in Philadelphia at the contractor's office helping with development tasks, answering questions, and learning as much as possible about our awesome open-source content management system, Drupal. While I was in Philadelphia, I endured Hurricane Sandy, ran everyday either on the treadmill or along the Schuylkill river, and worked long hours. On the way home, I took a side trip that involved figuring out how to get into New York City without at least two passengers in my car during the hurricane HOV ban (answer: the George Washington Bridge) and an all-nighter with a good friend on the upper west side. On the drive home, I collided with a deer on I-80 after it was hit and bounced into my lane by a semi-truck. The next day I found myself in bed with a 100-degree fever. I can't say any of it was unexpected because this is par for the Disaster Magnet course. Since I got back, I've been working long hours and training has been almost non-existent.

Here are some random photos from my trip to Philadelphia:

I ate breakfast at Jean's three times - in fact, it was the ONLY place open
the morning Hurricane Sandy hit.
This is the Khyber - the place where I first saw Turin Brakes - it's no longer
a concert venue, but I had to go back for the memories.
Monks might very well be the most famous Belgian beer joint in the USA.
Scene from my morning run
Another scene from my morning run
The Philadelphia Museum of Art with its famous "Rocky" steps
View of Philadelphia from atop the Rocky steps

And this is what happened when I got together with my friend Col├ętte-Elizabeth in New York:

We're not telling.
Seriously. Not. Telling.
We got artsy...
with our phone cams.
And it was gin o'clock at Kennedy's bar.
This is what happens at gin o'clock.
No, THIS is what happens at gin o'clock.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cats in Boxes

My cat spends as much time as possible in boxes. So sooner or later I would find myself drawing him in a box. I couldn't see much of him from my vantage point on the couch.

Friday, November 9, 2012


Today I started with circles and squares and ended up with this before I just gave up. I think I need some sleep.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I've been working really hard to develop areas of value with my new favorite sketching pen - the thinline Sharpie. But what usually happens is everything goes to black before I want it to. I think I'll just continue until I get it to do what I want it to. Or until I get a thinner-line Sharpie. This drawing started out as a quick sketch of the shape of my cat's paws - he's polydactyl with two extra digits that makes his front paws look like mittens. Then I just went off stream-of-consciousness style to develop volumetric areas. It ended up looking less like a cat paw and more like a horror movie appendage. Typical.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Far Reaching

This is what came out of my watching the post-election analysis - specifically listening to all the blaming and searching for whys by republican reporters. I guess the news has tentacles.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night Drawing

Not much to say about this except it was drawn on November 6, 2012, while watching the TV reporters tally up the votes as they roll in.

Monday, November 5, 2012

That's Warped

I'm still trying to come up with the best way to build up value with a sharpie thin line. For today's drawing, I did a small stream-of-consciousness abstraction - a really quick one as I'm still feeling a bit under the weather. When my husband asked me what it was, I said it's "Dr Seuss meets the Walking Dead" - to which he replied "That's warped!!" Oh well, here it is.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Learning to Draw

Today I was stuck on the couch with a 100-degree fever. I think I just wore myself out in New York City after a long night of drinking followed by the seven-hour drive home yesterday. I didn't feel like sitting up to draw because every time I tried, my head started spinning. So I tried to use the Drawcast app on my iPhone to do something more like a real drawing than the last time. I only have fingers to work with and a very small screen, it's not as easy as it looks - many of the app's community drawings are amazing but I don't know if they were executed on an iPad or iPhone or with a stylus or just with fingers (which is really hard because of the "clunkiness" of a huge finger trying to draw a very thin line). Anyway, I just went back and forth between black and white paint and the blur tool and this is what I came up with:

Regrets and Apologies

In classic Disaster Magnet style, I hit a deer while on the seven-hour drive home from New York City on I-80W Saturday night. I feel very sad about it even though there was nothing I could have done differently - since the deer had already been hit by a semi truck when it came flying across the road into my lane. The last thing I saw was his face. I wish I hadn't, because I think I will be haunted by it for a long time. I drew this when I got home.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Stipple stream

I don't really have much to say about this drawing. I just had mussels and beers at the famous Monks in Philadelphia and my brain is mush. I tried to do one of my stream of consciousness drawings with pen and stipple but I have up after 30 minute because I was sleepy. Here it is, I'm calling it "Ghost"