I’m not Sorry. It was worth it.

•October 7, 2017 • 6 Comments

There is a lot of before this to this story that I am not going to get into here. We can talk about it next time we get together.

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There is this cat. She has had at least three litters of kittens outside partially because one of Joey’s neighbors is a horrible person. This will be the last time she has to do that. Through a joint effort between Joe and myself this kitty (Cleo) is no longer on the street. Her and her three surviving kittens are safely at my house.

Cleo was not excited about this change of address.

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Her kittens were a bit unsure at first as well.

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It only took the kittens a little while and some snacks to start feeling right at home.

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They will all be checked out by my vet shortly. Cleo does appear to be pregnant. She is refusing to nurse the kittens, but they are eating quite well on their own. Everyone will get checked out and have all their appropriate medical needs taken care of.

Why am I telling you this?

During the course of the “capture” and transfer Cleo bit me. I don’t blame her (and for the record, Home Depot’s puncture resistance gloves aren’t). I went to Urgent Care right away and have received the medical attention that I needed. I thought everything was healing up well, but it appears that I still have an infection in my thumb. This means that in addition to the appointments that I have already cancelled, I will need to cancel some into next week. If you have an upcoming appointment, please call and check in – especially if you are coming from a distance.

I apologize to everyone that I may inconvenience with the rescheduling. I do honestly feel badly about that – but I have to be honest. I would do it again. I have been so worried about this kitty and the others that Joey’s neighbor is “taking care of”. I hope that we can get Bob and her kittens off the street and into protective custody soon as well. Right now we can pick Bob up, but don’t know where her kittens are so we can’t take her.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Please if you have friendly/stray/abandoned kitties in your neighborhood, get them into your vet or Lollipop to have them spayed or neutered. They snip their ear so that others will know they have been fixed and then they can be re-released if they aren’t adoptable.  If you can’t afford it, there are programs to help.

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I will update you all on these kitties (and if there are more) and how they can be adopted when everything else is said and done.

 

More New Adventures in Art

•September 22, 2017 • 1 Comment

The figure drawing classes that I go to on Monday nights have been great. I have learned a ton and I love it. For a while now I have been interested in spending more time with the model in a particular pose. I keep coming back to this whole portrait drawing from life. I keep taking classes and workshops. I have never figured it was going to be the next direction in my art – but for whatever reason it keeps pulling me back to it and I decided to stop trying to fight it. I don’t know what one does with all of these life drawings – but I am going to keep making them anyhow.

It came to my attention that there was a group that gets together on Thursdays from 1-5 at the Hungerford Building. They have a model pose for that whole time and often for more than one day. A couple of months ago I started clearing my Thursdays and rearranging things so I would be able to attend.

I decided I would draw the models in charcoal since it makes such nice finished drawings (and because I hate it and I still believe I will grow more as an artist by working in mediums that I am uncomfortable with).

My first session there was a wonderful guy who goes by Lightning. He has a great face, a wonderful smile (which he couldn’t hold for the pose, but I tried to capture hints of) and he sat really well.

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I was pretty happy with the outcome.

I had to miss the next week as I still had one more Thursday booked for tattoo appointments. It was the first of two sessions with a model named Charity. I was able to attend the following week for her second sit on the pose.

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The following session was going to be Lightning again in the second of the three sessions in the same pose. I didn’t feel like I had another 4 hours to put into the charcoal drawing that I had started. I went back and forth for a while over what to do. In the end I decided to push even further outside of my comfort zone and try my hand at painting during the session.

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As a side note, these canvases are left over from when I took the Casey Baugh workshop. They are very expensive lead primed linen canvases and I hate them. They are too stretchy and the supports shows through and push on the canvas. I’m going to try to push this one out before I paint on it again next session. I would never buy them again.

Funny enough they were also the first canvases to rot out on my yard exhibit experiment so overall they aren’t necessarily good archival wise either.

Not everything expensive is better.

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WAY outside of my comfort zone but I’m actually (all things considered) relatively happy with where this is going.

I still don’t know what I am doing with these – but I know that I am growing and learning in the process. And really that is all that matters. New adventures. New goals. Pushing myself.

Please don’t hire Waste Management

•September 7, 2017 • 5 Comments

If you want to have the short version of this…. it is: don’t do business with Waste Management. Ever.

Here is the longer version:

I have had Waste Management doing the garbage pick up service at my business for almost 8 years. I have had no problems with their service. To the best of my knowledge they have never had a problem with me.

In May of 2015 our service came up for renewal. I was sent (and subsequently signed) a service agreement for the next 36 months. The monthly total for service is indicated to be $190.25.

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When the bills came they were slightly higher – “taxes and fees” sort of thing…. but nothing that I found unusual or out of line.

This summer my bills suddenly got to be substantially higher. They went from the around $200 that I had been paying to over $400. Obviously I found this odd and I reached out to them to ask why. The person I spoke with started out with “many customers mistakenly believe that the signed Service Agreement means that their pricing will remain stable through the length of the contract”. Yes, this is indeed what I had thought. He then explained a lot of things over the next several conversations. Most of them involved him dodging questions and telling me that he needed to speak with his Pricing Manager to see if he could do anything for me.

After multiple phone calls back and forth I will summarize for you. They refuse to readjust my pricing AT ALL unless I am willing to sign a new 36 month contract. The new 36 month contract will contain this exact same clause that the last one did.

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This clause allows them to jack the prices as much as they see fit to keep their profits where they believe that they should be. They assure me that normally my prices won’t increase more than 10% per year – but in NONE of the conversations with anyone that I spoke with over there could they explain why my bill more than doubled a year and a half into my Service period. They are not willing to put in writing that the prices won’t increase more than 10% in a year again. Obviously I declined to sign another contract.

I inquired about a myriad of ways that I could alter my services to try to bring the price down. Most of them were explained to me that they would be a violation of my service agreement and I would be charged the fee for breaking the contract (which is astronomically high as well). As a last ditch effort I asked if I could bring my agreement down to one tote being emptied once a month (with the thought in my head that I could hire another service provider to actually carry our waste away). Obviously other people have tried this as when he came back from speaking to his Pricing Manager he was VERY specific that if there was any evidence on my property that I was having another service provider haul anything away Waste Management would sue me.

Sued for trying to not get charged double for my service for absolutely no reason.

They still may try to sue me for posting this information publicly on here which is why I’ve blocked out the details of my account. It wouldn’t take too much research to figure it out – but I can’t do anything about what they are doing to me. Perhaps I can keep some other individual (or business) from signing up with them and winding up in this situation.

I will pay them for the remainder of my contract. I will notify them in writing between 90-180 days of my intent to cancel service. I will honor my agreement with them. I’m not happy about it. I do read contracts before I sign them. Nothing in the clause above sounded fishy to me and I wouldn’t have imagined that a company would do something like this randomly to a business.

Please do not use Waste Management. Please forward this information to anyone you can think of. I have told this story to other people and have been made fun of for signing up with them in the first place. That was my error and I need to own it. For 8 years it wasn’t a problem.

Below is this month’s bill. The only altering I have done of this document and the ones above is the obliteration of my personal info and the signature of the salesperson from Waste Management.

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At least I am a business that can absorb an extra $200 a month bill. I would hate to see this happen to an individual or a not-for-profit that would be devastated by this kind of additional billing.

I am bitter, but more than that I am sad. I am sad that this particular business has decided to treat clients like this and to authorize their representatives to speak to human beings the way I was spoken to during the course of these conversations. I hope by sharing my humiliation I can save someone else from this experience.

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Digital Drawings on the iPad

•July 2, 2017 • 1 Comment

As I get more comfortable working with the iPad I am finding more and more applications for it.

This week I stopped carrying my regular sketchpad and pencil case with me everyday (making my backpack much lighter and my drawing hand less sore).

By using layers and a general mannequin shape I am able to show mastectomy patients what kind of options they would be able to have for cover ups in a much more efficient way then just having the drawing on paper.

flower mastectomy scar cover up tattoo

This one was an attempt to design something with the background on a separate layer so that it could be put on other colors in RedBubble. I like the idea but am not really enamored with this particular drawing.

digital cat flowers drawing

When I had posted the mastectomy cover up design above, a friend of mine had asked me if I would design one for her. She wanted different flowers and a hummingbird.

decorative mastectomy cover up tattoo design

Just for fun. Wanted to make a Dragon version of an Ouroboros, although I didn’t really actually want him to look like he was eating himself. It’s just where the idea started.

dragon ouroboros

The video of me making this is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/Yed7JVr4qJk The application ProCreate automatically records the process. Sometimes it’s a little glitchy, but I still like watching them.

I remember catching fireflies in a jar when I was small at my Grandma’s house. My Uncle would let the fireflies go after I fell asleep so that they wouldn’t die from being in the jar. I was thinking about love and how maybe if you try to hold on to it in your heart it can die too. I hope not. I hope that the fireflies of love can live on if we take good care of them.

fireflies love jar

The video of the drawing for this one is on YouTube also: https://youtu.be/ngiFA70qc3E

It’s been a while since I have done the Daily Drawings…. but when I looked and saw that the day was International Fairy Day, I decided to make a drawing on the iPad for the occasion.

fairy drawing on iPad

and her video is here: Fairy Drawing on iPad

I will continue to make drawings on the iPad, it’s super useful for laying out tattoos… I don’t know if I will keep posting the videos on YouTube. A bunch of people said that they wanted to see them and I should post them – but Facebook doesn’t like to show anything that is posted to YouTube (they are in a pissing contest with each other for the best statistics on videos played) and I can’t archive them if I post them on Facebook.

If you want me to keep posting them, be sure to let me know otherwise that portion of my sharing may go away.

Thank you again everyone for your ongoing support and your patience when I have disappeared and reappeared on my blog.

Thank you for those of you who have reached out to ask how I am doing. No, unfortunately the Vertigo has not gone away. While it is super frustrating the only thing it is really keeping me from is my motorcycle and I get pretty tired on the days it is bad. Other than that I may need to accept that it is my new normal. Still I will be devastated to lose the bike – but yes, I know there are much worse things that could have happened.

Bright Blessings to you.

 

 

 

Still Making Tattoos

•July 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

But don’t tell anyone because I keep hearing I am retired. Maybe if enough people believe it I will actually be able to.

When Robert first came in for his consultation appointment he had given me a list of things that he wanted in his tattoo. Now normally when this happen I send the person back home with their list to pick their top three must haves and then put the rest of the items in order of importance. Normally I can’t fit everything in and I need to know what is super important and what is “if it works”. Instead Robert went through and talked to me about what each symbol meant to him and why he was looking to have it included. He told me that I could pick anything from the list to use and he would be fine with it. I have heard this before from people that I didn’t believe – but I did believe him… and it has turned out to be a super fun project. It has been a real pleasure getting to know Robert and his amazing wife Kara (and their incredible daughter too!). They are the kind of family I think most of us would have given anything to have grown up in. I look forward to the progress on this piece and the time that I am able to spend with all of them.

steal your face tattoo

Leslie wanted an anatomical heart made out of flowers to go on the site of her mastectomy. She is another exceptional human being. I could spend all day hanging out with her. Besides her aesthetics are almost identical to mine. Everything she sent me for reference I though “I love this!!”. The hard part will be filtering down all of the really really amazing ideas before we run out of room.

These photos are from her second sitting on this piece. She is coming in again soon and all of this will be much larger by the time we are finished. Looking forward to it.

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Second session on this Freya half sleeve. Super glad that we got to include some of Her kitties. Looking forward to adding the rest of this on as well.

Freya tattoo in progress

This piece I took a risk on. I completely deviated from the specs that Alex and I had agreed to. I was fully prepared for Alex to come in and tell me “this isn’t what we talked about” – but fortunately that isn’t the way that it went and I was fortunate enough to get to make this tattoo that I was MUCH happier with than how the original specs looked once I drew them out. It’s funny. Sometimes we can envision something in our heads and then when we try to put it down on paper realize that it JUST doesn’t quite work. Thank you Alex for trusting me with this project and being so flexible when it went a different direction.

greenman tattoo with horns

For his son Lincoln.

lincoln owl tattoo

Started this celtic axehead on Frank. Don’t let anyone kid you, rib tattoos HURT and Frank sat like a rock.

celtic axe in progress

Then Gretchen came to see me. Gretchen is one of my favorite humans ever. I am so grateful that tattooing brought her into my life. She came bearing the most AMAZING gifts!! and I returned the favor by hurting her way more than usual 😦 On the upside that means she will have to come back again to get this finished. But on the downside I felt like a complete asshat for hurting someone I care about.

Sorry Gretchen. Thank you for being awesome and understanding. I’m glad you aren’t holding this session against me.

Myron and his bunny slippers

Got to make this RottWeiler tattoo for Al. I haven’t worked on him in a while and it was nice to catch up. He was also nice enough to let me grab some healed photos a couple of weeks later.

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Super super excited about this I Hate Fairyland tattoo that Starr asked for. She refers to Gertrude as her Guardian Asshole. I have to admit that I made an error on this one. Starr asked me to give Gertrude a gold tooth – but I forgot. Hoping to get a minute where we can add that back in for her when we both have time.

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Spank Me. No commentary necessary.

Spank Me Ass Heart tattoo

Deer Skull chest piece. Skin was VERY red, so I desaturated the photo so that it reads better, but it makes the left side look too dark. It will lighten up when it heals.

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So there was that time that Britney Spears got a little upset with the paparazzi… and now it is immortalized forever on Jesse’s leg. I so love my friends.

britney spears tattoo with umbrella

Fun (and different take on) Jesus on the cross as a tattoo. Hard to get a good photo of this because of where it is on his arm. This was not my idea, it’s a standard flash tattoo from the internet that I redrew custom for him. So the drawing is mine but the concept is not.

Jesus in a cross tattoo

Healed pocket watch tattoo on the same gentleman.

pocket watch tattoo healed

So I’m still making tattoos, at least for the time being. Try not to tell anyone because the next text from some idiot asking me to tattoo his name on his woman’s neck 10 minutes from now might be the moment that pushes me over the edge. Or Yelp. They might be the proverbial straw. Hard to say…

Cool tattoos and good people will continue to be welcome as long as I can hold on to my sanity. If not, Gertrude and Skottie Young have left me with some excellent suggestions.

 

Charcoal?!? Why did it have to be Charcoal?

•July 2, 2017 • 2 Comments

I hate charcoal.

I hate the mark that it makes. I hate the tactile sensation of it moving across the paper.

I hate the way it smudges and gets everywhere.

I hate the way it is almost impossible for me to get a nice smooth line out of charcoal.

I hate it.

But I keep coming back to it because so many amazing artists do so much amazing work with it. Plus I firmly believe that working outside of my comfort zone is good for me. It pushes me and helps me grow as an artist.

So I signed up to take a two day workshop from David Kassan at Off the Map – because his portrait work is stellar and because he likes charcoal.

I learned a whole lot from David. The singularly most important thing being that if you use the right paper and materials you can erase charcoal. This lessened my despising of it as a medium ever so slightly. Also he showed me a really simple way to sharpen charcoal pencils.

Of all of the portrait classes that I have taken, I liked David’s philosophy best. It made more sense to me than some of the things I have heard in other classes. He was very down to earth and made an effort to make everyone comfortable. There were some wildly differing political opinions going on in the class and he did a great job of keeping everyone calm and working together. He’s pretty bad at telling jokes, but even that helped put everyone at ease. He is a great teacher and I enjoyed getting to know him. (He was also at the show I did in Venice, but I didn’t get to talk to him much there).

Apparently he did a workshop here in Rochester a couple of years ago, but I missed that one. It was right before I started taking workshops through the Rochester Art Club. If he comes back this way, I wouldn’t hesitate to take another class from him.

I took photos of what he did as demos, but he asked us not to put them online. So here is the end of each day on the drawing that I did while I was in the workshop.

First Day:

charcoal portrait study

Second Day:

charcoal portrait study

detail

charcoal portrait study

So a few weeks later I decided to give all this a try at home (and finally had time to do so). I started with a little bird that I had on my iPad from reference for a tattoo.

chickadee in charcoal

Then on to attempting faces:

(These are all from photographs)

portrait study charcoal

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My goal is to do a few more of these from photos and then find a figure/portrait open studio where I can try some from life. I also have a few friends who volunteered to sit for me. I need to get my lighting game down (I have a new camera) and then I can do that as well, both from life (if they will put up with me) and from photos when I can get them.

I still don’t like charcoal, but I think maybe we may have a little bit more of getting to know each other to go before we can be friends.

Figure Drawing on the iPad

•July 2, 2017 • Leave a Comment

After working with silverpoint for so long I decided it was time to try something new. Since I am trying to learn more about (and get quicker on) the iPad I figured I would give that a go. Why not jump ahead several hundred years in drawing media?

The first night I had a really hard time trying to figure out how to position and hold the iPad with the case that I have on it. The next week I figured out I could use the case to hold the iPad on the top of my drawing board. It actually worked out really well.

First night.

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The program ProCreate automatically records a video of the work that you do in it. They have been a bit glitchy, but are still fun. I put them on YouTube if you are interested. Here is this one:

Life Drawing on iPad May 22nd, 2017

Next session:

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The video on YouTube: Life Drawing on iPad June 5th, 2017

Next Session:

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and again the video: June 19th, 2017 Figure Drawing on iPad

Next Session June 26th, 2017

I put a screen protector on my iPad and it made the surface much more slippery than it was. Currently I don’t like it at all, but I am hoping that I will get used to it and not notice it after a little while.

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Figure Drawing on iPad June 26th, 2017

There is no class next Monday due to the holiday, so I hope to have another one of these for you in two weeks.