Adventures in Wordnerdland!

"Dauntless", a 6x9" mixed media piece on paper

Day 194: Dauntless

Today, I was working on a limited edition of “Across the Bay”, a mini painting of the San Francisco skyline on woodblock that I did back on day 48. An artist friend of mine, miss Trish Tunney, who also shows at City Art Gallery and is an amazing photographer, bought it the day I put it up for the July show and graciously allowed me to keep it up for a few days. Amplifying her awesomeness, she gave me her blessing to make a limited edition of them since a few people wanted it. So I didn’t get started on today’s piece until the evening, and I felt like drawing.

9 little lovelies in the making!

 Two of my favorite bloggirls (is that a word yet, Urban Dictionary?), Sophie of The Art of {Being} MissKoolAid and Nicole of BlueBicicletta are also talented illustratists (that’s probably not a word either. And for some reason I am pronouncing it with a British accent in my head, which makes it instantly sound more plausible. Caution to the wind, I say!). I tend not to make drawings as often as I do paintings on canvas because I feel like they require framing and whatnot, and they are somewhat more vulnerable to being lost or damaged in the melee that is my studio or guest room/store room for stacks of completed artwork.

Watercolor pencils + acrylic matte medium + pen on dictionary page

Then when I was working on that mini quilt the other day, I was building up bits of paper in a few sewn layers, and today it dawned on me that I could do something similar with my drawings. I know this should have occurred to me earlier, but sometimes it takes my brain time to catch up with itself. “Dauntless” is a mixed media piece on 6×9” watercolor paper (also effective as heavy cardstock) with the Motels/Mortgages page from the phone book, some colored paper, and part of a map of San Francisco in the general area where I took the photo that I used as a reference for the drawing of these houses, which is on a vintage Spanish/English dictionary page.

This is my new favorite word. I might have to get a tshirt with it emblazoned on there.

The page originally featured the word “coadjutrix” which I have never seen before and had to look up, and that was a fun adventure into Wordnerdland (oooh, three made-up words today, it’s a record!), but then I decided to cut out “dauntless” because I thought it was a nice way of putting a positive spin on the financial difficulty a lot of people are having with the housing market. Why do I feel like I need to take a breath after typing a long sentence? Jeez.


Day 14

I decided to do this project shortly after being informed by my employer in early December that our office was closing in late January. Initially, I was excited at the opportunity to be out of the soul-killing office environment (an artist trapped behind a desk making sales calls is not what I would call fulfillment). However, as the days wore on, the little perks disappeared. The threats that our retention bonuses (i.e. financial incentive to remain on board for the next two months) would be pulled out from under us if we allowed our crushed spirits to reflect in our work ethic continued.

I know there are only 2 weeks left, but each day is more difficult. Each day is longer. It’s like being in line at the DMV and there are only two people ahead of you.. two people and that’s it.. you’re almost there.. but you’re standing in line for AN HOUR, A FRIKIN HOUR AND IT DOESN’T MOVE, WHY?!?! WHY?!! It’s like that Seinfeld episode where Elaine is in the subway on her way to that wedding and it stops and she’s stuck in there freaking out mentally for hours. Except that the freakout is two months long.

So this morning I was feeling good because I got a couple of sales, and accounting rejected my purchase orders. I’m trying so hard to keep dragging my ass in there and making sales for these bastards, and some other people who are getting axed at the end of the month find the need to fight me. Then I had to go to the lady doctor, which no one ever wants to do, before my health insurance disappears, and dinner didn’t get finished until very late, and when I tried to paint something, this happened:

And it wasn’t working. I felt so overwhelmed. I didn’t feel inspired, I didn’t feel excited. I wanted a piece of dark chocolate and some comedy before I had to do it all again tomorrow- which is when I thought of Nicole.

Today’s piece is inspired by the art and wisdom of Nicole Docimo, an artist, illustrator and writer based in Davis, CA. Nicole has a very clear aesthetic; she is apparently in love with the power of black ink on white paper, and she shares my love of words. With this focus, she tends to create pieces that do something magic when I look at them- they let my mind rest. They are beautiful and evocative, but also simple and strong in their simplicity. They are like a deep breath.

Nothing could signify how I’m feeling better than a knot. The black and white expresses my desire for simplicity. We all need it now and then. Nicole’s art & blog ( if that link doesn’t work for you) is a great place to get it. Thanks for the inspiration, Nicole!