Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013: A Year in Review

A year ago, I graduated with my degree and set myself an art goal for 2013: Do NOT become a statistic!  It turns out that lot of BFA graduates never make another piece of art.  I didn't want that to be me.

So I started 2013 participating in 30 in 30 days, the painting challenge.  (If you click on each image, it'll take you to the link for that blog.)

Here are some of the not so greats:

And some of my favorite pieces:


Then to make sure I didn't stop there, I also hosted a One Billion Rising Challenge: Artist Challenge.

Some of the successes:

And some to learn from:

I completed my Pay it Forwards:

I got to teach all sorts of fantastic projects at Studio 116:

And this is the first year I've ever had several commission requests (:

Designed my first commissioned tattoo:

and my artwork is inspiring another one:

All in all, 2013 has been a great success!  I'm going to finish this year in review with a post I shared on facebook today:

This is how I feel about my art (: Almost exactly one year ago today, I started my page, Wise Ramblings: The Art of Janin Wise, having just graduated, in the hope that I wouldn't become a frequent statistic: a BFA art graduate who never made another piece of art after graduating. One year later, I'm on the cusp of 500 likes with a giveaway planned for 700, I've taught over a dozen art lessons at studio 116, I've had my own first little art show, and I've made 68 new original pieces of art. As we speak, I'm working on my plans for 2014. And I wanted to take this moment to say thank you to all of you who like, comment, and support my page with your encouragement. YOU help me keep watering it, and for that I am very thankful.

And now I'm looking forward to seeing what 2014 has in store! (:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Snakes and Rabbits

 or "Through the Hypno Knot, My Brains Strange Tribute to Alice In Wonderland".

It's been a while since I posted a blog, but I have resolved to fix that for 2014! (Yea!)

Part of what I'm going to be doing is sharing my dreams (again).  

And to start us off, here's last nights:

Last night I dreamed that I was traveling through an old abandoned German playground with my mother and sisters. It reminded me of visiting a Marchen theme park.  

There were blue fading to white cement rabbits on giant mushrooms that had been the old picnic tables.  Some of them were tipped and toppled.  Others crumbling.  Some spray painted in German swear words from vandals passing through at other times in the past.  Some looked inviting, practically new, like a perfect place to stop for lunch, if we were so inclined.

Swing sets were marked by brightly colored gnomes laughing and frolicking, half hidden in the uncut grass, their paint peeling. A large open field had a pyramid of dwarves and if it wasn't raining, it would have been a perfect picture opportunity to be in the open spot at the bottom center.  But we didn't want to stop and no one wanted to get their cell phones wet.

 It was a repetitive pattern: rabbit, gnome swings, dwarf pyramid. The only way we knew we weren't going in circles is that the gnomes would change gender and paint color, the rabbit tables were in different states of disrepair, and after ever cement rabbit, there were stairs to climb. 

Each stair way for increasingly taller. It began with passing up a dirt path with none.  Then a single stair.  Then two.  Always increasing by one, and from six on, every even number of stairs had a landing for turning direction at the midway point.  

Once the stairs reached seven in height, we stopped talking and laughing. It became serious business. Because from that point on, each stair was home to a snake, whose head was the same blue as the cement rabbit and faded to white by the time it reached the tail. 

The first was just a simple garden snake who poked it's head from beneath the shrubbery to flick its tongue at us. The second was a boa constrictor undulating through the grass beside the turning point in the stairs, half way between the first and second set of four. At nine it was a copper head. At ten it was a rattler. Always we would freeze when the serpent revealed its presence, wait for it to settle, then slowly continue climbing. 

At eleven, there seemed to be no snake and we thought perhaps the snake sequence was over, but at twelve, as my mother crossed the landing between both sets of six, an enormous cobra came out in front of me and headed towards her. I shouted a warning and she froze, but it still it headed directly for her. I yelled to get up on the hand rails so she swung her legs up, putting her feet on the side opposite from her hands. The snake was easily knee high raised as it was, but it could not reach her. After a brief paused while it swayed and decided she was too far, it turned, heading for us. 

My sisters and I were still on the lower stairs, so it made our position closer to the height of the snake. As we balanced on the rails, suddenly my youngest sister (who is twenty one) instantly turned into the three year old I always remember her as. Her legs were no longer long enough to reach across and she began to fall, right towards the waiting, swaying cobra. 

I snatched her from the air with one arm, desperately trying to pull her up into my lap, her right leg dangling dangerously low. Just as the cobra prepared to strike, a midnight blue werewolf burst fourth from the hedge, trampling and tearing the cobra to pieces, then wandering off to eat its serpentine meal. 

As we got down, I inspected my little sister and it proved that her inner ankle on the dangling right foot had been scraped by the tooth of the werewolf. We took a detour across the latest dwarf pyramid field to a row of tall, spindly town houses on the other side, desperately knocking on the door where my husband lived with our sons and nephews. Only then did it dawn on me that we were divided by gender. 

As my youngest nephew ribbon danced with ribbons rabbit blue at the stick and fading out to white at the tips, I rushed my sister to their bathroom where I cleaned her scrape with soap and cold water, patted it dry and put antibiotic ointment on it. After that, all we could do was wait. The rising of the moon would reveal if she was going to turn.

Time dragged and crawled and my nephew appeared to be floating in water as the ribbons fluttered gracefully around him. Then suddenly time sped up and it was as though he was fighting for his life in a roiling pit of blue and white vipers. And then the moon was rising up, darkness fell, and he stopped his frantic dancing, the ribbons fluttering harmlessly to the floor. 

We all turned to the sleeping toddler who was my youngest sister. And as the rays of the moon passed over her, she changed.  But not into the werewolf we were afraid she would. She changed back into her twenty one year old self. And we knew she had not been infected. 

Still the urge to explore gripped me, so I headed out the front door taking all three of my dogs and my oldest son. The night was young, the sky clear and the moon bright.  It reached it's zenith as we were traveling into the woods, so we stopped at an enormous tree, easily wide enough for twenty children to barely hold hands around, that had a huge knot mere inches from the ground. 

I could tell that my boy was tired.  So I knelt, concentrating on the hypno knot in the very center of the low lying knot, then leaned into the knot and passed into the tree.   It was the key that granted access in and I was demonstrating how to enter.  I came back out of the tree and had my son do it. Once he was inside, he called the dogs and we got all the of them into the tree, where I came in last. We all fell asleep.  It's extremely dark and peacefully quiet under the bark of a tree. 

I woke when I heard my son waking and then all four of us exited the tree...but it was no longer the same tree. 

This one was no bigger around then my thigh, and the hypno knot was practically on the ground. We were also no longer in the forest, but in the middle of a city, coming out of a freshly planted tree in a row along this particular street, and it was late morning or early afternoon judging by the amount of sunlight. 

Considering the time of day, it was a bit of a wonder that the streets were largely empty, save for randomly rushing cars entirely devoid of people.  I did not pause to wonder about the empty vehicles.

The dogs stayed close by, forming a protective pack around my son and I as we approached the nearest building. Through the windows, we could see that it was a school.  Each class held hundreds and thousands of children, all the same age, never smiling, never engaging, just sitting there like little wooden automatons, while a teacher marionette: part puppet, part robot, and entirely devoid of emotion, gave them their lessons on enormous green antique chalk boards, clouds of chalk dust fluttering like fairy motes around their robotic heads, but none in attendance having such fanciful thoughts about it.

From the kindergarten room through college, always divided by age, sitting with empty eyes and near motionless forms. It was creepy and sad at the same time and I quickly fled with my son before anyone would notice him and try to put him in their system. As we fled back towards the tree I realized there was no playground or place to play at this school, and in this world, play had been abandoned as wasteful. 

When we got to the tree, I tried to get my dog Isabeau to enter first. She got down on her belly, and got as far as her snout before she stopped and would go no further. It was really weird to see her face mostly hidden and appearing to merge into the base of this small tree. Before I could get frustrated and try to force her in, my son said he would go first and call them, like we did last night. 

So he lay on his belly to look at the near ground level hypno knot and got his hands in when he stopped and pulled them out. Because the knot was so close to the ground and the tree was so small, when you started to enter it, you couldn't see the hypno knot anymore and you couldn't keep entering. 

I asked him to close his eyes when it reached that part and try again. It did no good. We could not go back the way we had come. This was the only tree with a hypno knot amongst the sad excuses for trees lining this street. As I looked around, I saw that the buildings were tall and there was no visible break of green in this jungle of mortar and glass. 

And now there were many, many more unmanned vehicles zipping through the streets at dangerous speed. Here, there was great danger to my unleashed dogs.  Even to my boy and I, unused to such traffic. I was about to head back for the school building when thankfully, my real dogs woke me to be let outside.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mom! There Was a Centipede On Me!!

So currently,  my youngest son is banish-ed to his bedroom for the night.  His punishment started with having the clean up cat yark from the carpet and will end with yard work tomorrow.

So he's been in his room quietly reading for the last couple of hours.  When suddenly, he comes running up the hall, all a fright, jumps on the couch panting and says, "Mom!  There was a centipede on me!!"

So we head to his room in search of it.  I basically strip his bed but don't see it.  Then he has to make his bed.  (He had to make it before, but now that it was truly unmade, it was easier.)  And I head back to the living room.

Not ten minute later, I hear him holler from his room, "MOM!  It IS a centipede!"  So I holler back, "Well smash it with a shoe!"  To which he replies, "Momma....It's on my bed..."

 And I can see his conundrum:  He's not allowed to have shoes in his bed + squished bug in his freshly made sheets.

So I come to the rescue with two tissues to capture his inch long foe, whose body -might- be as wide as a bit of string, but his legs give him almost an half an inch.  It's pure intimidation on a miniature scale, I tell you.  And so I absconded with his vanquished dragon (because seriously, have you LOOKED at a centipede?  Those things don't look like they should be real.)

Two seconds later, my boy thinks he might have been bit while he was reading, and he's worried because we've all heard tales about the poisonousness of centipedes.  So I turn to google, which shows his foe was the common house centipede...and even if, by some chance he was bit, as long as he's not -really- allergic to bee stings (and centipede bites), he's fine.

Some other cool things we learned:

Did you know that if a centipede doesn't meet an untimely death by shoe, it can live up to 6 years?

They like moist places (which pretty much covers Alabama since about April this year).

They can't actually have 100 legs-- because they always have an odd number of pairs--so they can significantly less or a really lot more.

And they eat other bugs, kind of like your eco-friendly version of the Orkin man, sans the uniform and poison.

And then my boys wanted to see pictures, so we turned to google again and came across these goodies:

We decided this one was smiling at us.  Look at that grin as he asks if you have any spare mosquitoes, gov'na.  After much giggling, my boys then decided he's not going to ask, he's going to tell you.  "Those gnats are MINE!  I called 'em!  I get to eat 'em!"

They thought this centipede getting to be a turtle snack was pretty cool.  (What can I say?  Boys.)

They also thought this one gnawing the dead rat was pretty amazing.  With very little ick in my voice (I'm sure they didn't even notice.  Neither of them accused me of being a girl.), I proclaimed, "Yea, scavengers!"  We all decided we wouldn't to be bit by one this big, even if it's not poisonous.

And when we saw this one I said, "Oh look!  A mommy!"  To which both boys replied, "Awww!"  (Yes, you read that right, we had an aw moment over centipede eggs.)  After a brief pause, my oldest quips, "You -could- be the daddy, guarding the babies while the mom goes out hunting."

I suppose it could be, sir.  I like the way you think!

Then my youngest was sent back to his prison cell complete with books to read and a floor to pick know -still- grounded for the night.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Louise Nevelson and Scrumbly Orange: Kids + 1 = Fun

Today at Studio 116, we took a page from Louise Nevelson and recycled found objects into sculptures.  As well as painting the ceramics that were bisqued from last month.  A couple of young enthusiastic artists embraced and enjoyed sculpting and painting at Studio 116 for Kids + 1 = Fun (:

Painting their ceramic creations from last month:

Getting to watercolor their pinch pots.

We got to have discussions about why the clay was soft and gray when they shaped and hold the kiln changed them (:

Showing off her painted comet (:
Painting her people and their boat.  They're going on a fishing trip.
So 1.  I love the color she's made.  And 2. As she did she said, "It's a scrumbly orange that makes me happy!"

And here are their sculptures:

They made three.  We set them against the orange background to show them off and took pictures of them from different angles.

 And the artists with all 3 finished pieces:

All in all, they had a fantastic time at studio 116 today (: