Eight months ago, I began almost exclusively using my brother’s laptop, a mac book Pro. I never used it for blogging, and I am not sure why not. I don’t know the password . . . haven’t even tried. Since this computer has a no-longer-supported operating system that I am loathe to change, for the most part I have kept it offline.
I started a journal on the mac book, and in January I started an online course, I am on Day 143 of A Year to Clear what is Holding You Back, and have been using that in completion of emptying out of my storage under the house, the crawl space, and the stuff from the shed that we tore down at the exact wrong moment–there were a couple cease and desist and emergency clean-up letters from the landlord’s lawyer, and Paul B, Ann and Art came and helped me clean up the yard–there is now a pile of wood debris that has been settling on the property line since mid-April, with no indication that it will ever be taken away, unless I do it.
I have kept notes on much of the stuff I have gotten rid of, a long list of monitors, tools, clothing, books, kitchen stuff, debris, garden tools, furniture. I have made huge changes in my life–I wish there was a way to “tip in” pages here. A lot of big change in what I am now calling the studio- the rat-shit-garage framing shop, much cleaned, and updated. Art and I moved all Jude’s things out of my side, I rearranged the tables and brought in my red rug at I am gradually moving most of my art supplies there, and adjusting my view, spending more time there than when I thought of it as the Frame Shop, and the stink and dust was so bad.
Since I lost Steve, sold the shop–and moved my stuff here. Is that what it’s about?
Just did a big redo of the “Frame Shop”, or whatever it was. That dog never did hunt. Now it is a space, a few blocks from home, that I dedicate to leisure and puttering, but still had been avoiding . . . . why? Hunkering like a recluse in my little bed-sit. Never mind.
Jude wanted her stuff up front, so Art and I moved a big sideboard and some other heavy things. I was conscious of all her paint cans and milk crates of mysterious old stuff from previous people who used the space crammed in the corners and under the bench.
I have done some rearranging, finding projects and materials that just may come together in this little sunny space. The #1 change is my approach, experiencing process as it unfolds, instead of judging it, with trepidation, in advance. This may be at the root of my lack of “output”. There has been an avoidance of adding more “stuff” to my cluttered life, but in shutting down two storage spaces and giving almost everything away, I have come across enough unfinished panels and canvases, and unused materials, that I could paint for months without adding a molecule to the pile of stuff I have already. The plan is to transform the garage into my Painting Studio.
Having just returned from my deceased brother’s house and environs in Bothell, Washington about 72 hours ago, I am in a state of delayed reaction. This is the first chance I have had to spend time at home alone for more than a week. I spent all day today cleaning out old files and clippings. I recycled a shopping bag-full of paper. I also had already gone through my Old Magazine Collection, and put out stacks of (1940’s and 50’s) National Geographic, Arizona Highways, and Artist’s magazines I had stacked and shelved and never sorted.
While clearing out all this paper I started seeing all the dross, great ideas and sketches mixed together. Last Thursday in my hotel room i pictured all my paints, how my art supplies are all nearly hidden, put where I can almost reach them. and thought about consolidating and bringing them all together, somewhere. I used to have my painting studio in the kitchen of this small apartment. It was a pretty good arrangement that I just now realize I lost when Steve died. His kitchen was for cooking, his front room for eating, visiting, band practice and watching TV. My area was for sleeping, my quiet space, office, and painting.
Dealing with my grief for my brother has opened up the unhealed wound of Steve’s sudden death and the turmoil of everything that followed. I am able to delete his out-of-focus digital photographs for the first time in 2 and a half years.
Kind of sad, looking at what I took photos of, and the bare walls–realizing this was during the time I had the shop. Many of my paintings were there, too. I think maybe I will move back into my painting kitchen now.
It’s so sad, my baby brother has passed away. I see now a photograph of him, taken just last fall. Gaunt, haunted. I had looked away. If I had only known the pain, but yes, I did, I lived it. I couldn’t stay in it with him. I am so sorry Dickiebird.
It appears I am doing absolutely no drawing or painting, although I am doing a lot of Art.
I am seldom at home, or in front of a computer, so the timeline has broken down somewhat. Art and I spend a lot of time in Canyon. He moved out of El Cerrito the day before we left for the festival in Iowa. There was still some furniture and instruments that he finally got moved by the end of September. Much of his stuff is still in boxes, rare instruments and treadle machines- one for sewing, one with bellows for accordion tuning- are in my storage space.
A friend gave me an iPhone in August, and my photo collection is mostly there now. To get an image for posting I must email it to myself. This weekend I drove to Canyon after work on Friday and came back to Essex before going to work Tuesday. While there I helped Art dismantle the roof of the wood shed. It will be leak free and cosy on a rainy afternoon, with maybe alternating clear and brick red corrugated panels.
My brother died unexpectedly on September 21, the Autumnal Equinox, but it is numbing, and affecting how I spend my time. It hasn’t quite hit me yet.
Now that I have spent a little time there, I see my vision for BSPco here, a community effort, alternative press, local projects, artistic, politically involved people. It is somewhat of a miracle. So valued there already, I was asked to oversee the “benefits” program, where I would coordinate resources for members who want to do their own printing projects. What could be cooler than this? Maybe staying at home, reading in bed with a cup of tea? Or gardening, for $40 an hour in the fresh air and sunshine and weeds? We shall see.
On the other hand it seems a little cult-y, and like so many things I jump into, I wonder if I will need to jump out. Like the Dharma Publishing volunteer gig, there are skills to learn and quantities of nutritious food. Unfortunately, the big-screen TV news is on at meals, very bad for digestion Last night, though, intending to leave early, I stayed for the movie, Cradle Will Rock. I had seen it before but hadn’t focused on all the theatrical twists and turns. I really enjoyed it, and there was a good bit of interesting discussion of context and WPA history before and after.
Sort of feels like high school.
I got to use the letterpress to score covers for the book of poetry they designed and published, then tape and put the covers on the bound poems Nate had done the layout for.
Also this weekend I did a little painting, and now I feel like I have a watercolor kit that works for me–the design colors, Kolinsky brushes, watercolor pencils, a bucket for water, and a brush pen. Throw in a couple of random pens, one waterproof and one not, and a clear zip bag, and I am set.
Well, this is from a bad photograph of a painting, pastels and ink, that I gave to Jean Hooker some years ago.
UPDATE Summer 2016 I quickly lost interest in this project when, like Dharma, like BSPCo., I found myself working with solvents and toxic substances. That was the limit–the TV at lunch was intolerable, and really there was nothing there to do. The cult atmosphere was undeniable, and after Dickie died I just lost interest.