Sunday, January 30, 2011

Van Gogh week a hit.

    Van Gogh week was better that hoped. I read a ton about him, tried to sketch wherever I went and painted. I kind of wish I would have gone step further, though. Painted outside more. Maybe got into character AS Van Gogh. But I didn't... so maybe another time.
     The biggest challenge I took was to make a self portrait in his style. I titled it "A Portrait of the Artist in Summer." I worked in acrylic instead of oil because I wanted a faster drying time than the weeks it took Van Gogh's to dry. That created the problem of it drying too fast. So the resemblance is not the best. Actually it looks more like me at 16. Plus the paint kept drying a little darker than I wanted, hence the "in the summer" part. As a side note: I was a terrible model. I kept moving my head and changing the light source. Will opt for someone better next time.
     This painting took me approx four hours. I wanted to keep it quick and not linger because Van Gogh was a speed demon. Over his ten year career in painting he completed over 900 paintings.  During one of his "crises periods" (his mental breakdowns were characterized by hallucinations, anxiety and extreme lethargy) he was institutionalized for 70 days. He was not allowed to paint the first two weeks. He still finished 70 paintings and many more drawings. Wow. So I worked hard and fast. Here is the result-

    Next week I am giving myself a break from the intellectual and my goal is to complete a video game. It will hopefully be Super Mario Brothers on Nintendo DS.

Note: I still had a whole red snapper left from my initial start to the week of learning to prepare fish. Ben (bf) and I stuffed it with artichokes and crab, covered it in herbs and baked it. It turned out delicious, but of course the bones were a problem while eating.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Change of plans

Fish week has been cancelled to to exorbitant fish prices. It is now Van Gogh week. Enjoy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The end of crafts week

    I really thought this week would be more fun than it was. I gave myself time to work on whatever projects I wanted to. In the end it was good to get some things finished, but it was not the week of inspiration like last week was. I did make a few new things that I like. The first project I worked on were bookmarks. You know I read a ton, often several books at a time so I made bookmarks that really wedge in the book and don't fall out. Also they don't have dolphins or fairies or anything corny like the ones at the bookstore. Here are my faves.

     I also made card books. I was fortunate enough to recieve lots of cards over Christmas, so I decided to bind them together. I just made a cute cover, laminated it, lined up all the cards and cover and then hole punched them. On the back cover I put information like where it was and important things I want to remember when I look back on Christmas. I like it so much I went back and made card books for my 21st birthday, graduation and surgery.

     Next week: All about fish. Cleaning, cooking, et. al.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Glad that's over...

     So... write a novel week went as well as it could. I did not get close to finishing. But here is a a little excerpt.

     I never thought that donkey meat would be a treat. But, after all these weeks of nothing but the thinnest meal mush and the occasional snake, the wild burro will taste better than steak. My husband, Manuel, was a few campfires over sharing a bottle of tequila with his best friend Paulo. Although tequila would do me some good right now, I have to keep stirring our little stew pot. If I burned this special meal I am sure to be sent away but I have nowhere to go. When I decided to follow my husband into the army, I turned my back on my village and my family. Now all I have left is the uncertain life of a soldadera.

     I have been traveling with the army for eight months. When I say eight months it sounds like such a short time, but in my heart I can hardly feel the person I was before. I used to live an unexceptional life like any other girl in the village. My mother was preparing me for marriage in all the traditional ways. As a child I was taught to obey. As a young girl I was taught to cook, sew and care for children properly. When womanhood neared I was taught to manage a household and a husband.

     My marriage has had no call for these skills. I needed to learn how to march for days on end and how to shoot as straight as the soldaderos. I needed strength and courage not motherly gentility. However, it is no use looking at what should have happened or who I should have been. There is just Manuel and I in the desert, sharing a pot of burro stew.

This week: Craft a day week. You'll see them soon.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Halfway through write a novel week.

     So, writing a novel is not going so well.  Sure I'm writing. But so far I've only managed a measly nine pages. But they are all tremendously readable. I hope. By the end of the week I may not have an entire novel, but I will have a weeks worth of work done. Its a win-win situation.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Week 1: Read a classic

     I hate when I am watching a movie or in a conversation and do not understand the references. It is not as bad if the reference is from a bad TV show because you can say something snotty like, "I only watch programs of a scientific nature," or, "Television is the bane of the modern era." But, when it is a reference to a classic book- man that sucks. So I started the year with 'read a classic' week.
     The first book I picked was Lord of the Flies. It was interesting and I wish I had someone to really discuss it with. Is it bad that every time it talked of the boar's head on the stick I craved barbecue? The symbol of human fear and depravity made me want to run down to Jim and Nick's for a pulled pork sammy.
     Anyway... The book is fairly short and I have a little too much time on my hands so I decided to read another. This time I picked The Invisible Man. It was so engaging that I read it in a day. It is not a hard read if you can get past the British slang. Again, I would like to discuss the themes of the book with someone, but don't know anyone who has read it recently (I never thought I'd miss lit class). Second book done and it was only Wednesday.
     So, to fill out the week, I decided to read The Lost World. They don't make adventures like that anymore. If they do, I have yet to read one. Part of the reason I liked it so much is because I am enamoured with the fancy pantsy social rules of the time-period. Everything so proper. I don't know that I would like to live like that, but reading about it is fascinating. If you decide to read a classic this year, I suggest this one. I was never bored or overly horrified.
     I know it seems like I am being a show off reading three books in a week. I could have gone with something tougher. But I wanted at least to achieve the first week's  goal. Plus every time I looked at War and Peace I gagged a little.

Next week (actually this week): Write a novel.

It begins

     Being a know-it-all is hard work. Especially since being an expert requires so much time and effort. Instead of having to be so industrious I picked a few subjects I like to learn about. These include (organized by bookstore category) art and crafts, cooking, and literature. By the end of the year I will probably be more interesting than you- but I'll try not to gloat. Wish me luck!