Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Year in review!!!

Well this first chapter of our adventurous new life is coming to a close with the close of the year. It started out with us selling as much as we could of our possessions and moving 800 miles south, to a very foreign land to me! Quite exciting for a gal who never stayed more than a month away from central CT my whole life.

So I still love it here. I’ve gotten homesick for a few things but not much... which is surprising all things considered! I wondered about the holidays and I guess the ability to chat folks up on the phone and the relief at not having to zip around for a few hours here, then an hour drive and a few hours there… in between stopping at a barn to feed some horses (my own or the therapeutic riding program’s horses). I honestly can’t remember a holiday last when I stayed “home”. So that was nice! I hope we can start up some traditions of our own off of this. :)

Overall the year saw many transitions for me. I’ve become painfully aware that my forte is not painting horses for money – I’m very slow at the painting and always have been. Just as I’m exceptionally slow at prepping too. I know that sculpting has seemed slow for me but to be honest, it’s mostly been because I’ve been tinkering at it.

This year I decided to get more serious too about the sculpting and move back to ordinary modeling clay. In 2011 I’ll probably play with firm and soft or wax versions but overall, soft clays (pottery clay typically) has been my normal (before 2001 that is!) sculpting media. This year I decided to tackle the issue of casting the work with these clays that never harden.

In general in sculpting this year I’ve gotten several sculptures done while down here already. Here’s a new one for the people who’ve made this possible for us by letting us live in their in-law space while we get established here. This is their dog Pepper. I had my fiancĂ© take a few pictures the week before, got a wild hare to try and sculpt him and wound up literally putting the final details on him on Christmas day.

When sculpting I’m completely in my zen state of mind and I literally fail to notice things going on around me. In college on time I looked up to find the entire class standing in a group nearby staring at me. I guess the professor had called a halt to things to do a demo or something… but there I go merrily plugged along completely oblivious to everyone stopping and his calls out to wrap it up… I was a little relieved that he told the class it wasn’t entirely a bad thing to get so “lost” (except when perhaps alarms are going off or things around you that maybe you SHOULD notice are happening and well, then there’s me – merrily oblivious still!). One time my fiancĂ© came home, walked up to me and stood for a minute or so in the studio before I noticed him next to me, hovering over me actually, and yelped/screamed in surprise. Anyhow, time flies when you’re in this mindset though – that is for certain.

I hope this coming year and decade will bring a lot more new sculpture faces out for me. I’ve been transitioning my site over to be more sculpture-focused. I have several works going on but producing sculptures isn’t just a matter of conceiving and creating them. It involves daunting ways of getting them made into a permanent media somehow. In the past my love of Apoxie Sculpt was in great part due to this. However getting proportions in hardened clay isn’t a minor trick. I like to think of these last 7 years of sculpting horses for artist grade resin releases as proportion training so that I might really express myself now!

We also hope to be moving sometime in 2011 – hopefully this time to our first home. Homes and mortgages down here are very much a fraction of what I paid in cheap rents back in CT. Again too, my fella here is a engineer turned timberframer/welder and now is going back to the workforce in the office.. soooo I’m pretty sure he’ll be hard to hold back building things. We have a joke about this “shed city” that his father has in CT (some 10 sheds I think but he sold antiques and really puts them all to good use still, as well as the neat old barn). Anyhow, the joke now is that I may be facing my very own shed city. As long as some house horses however I’ll be fine… ;)

Reflecting more globally on how my life has already changed so much, while I’ve never been a fan of putting all my eggs in one basket, this past year has been a departure from my former tactic of eggs all around! I’d already started it out with my hours of my part time job cut more than in half… from 18-20 to 8 (2 days a week @4hrs ea). We turned around and did a major clean out – and we still have a lot of “stuff” by most people’s standards. The tough thing is that both of us have actually made income off of our “stuff”.

When I sold my boarding business in Feb of 2009 I had kept most of the tack and tools in storage in another building on the same property where I leased the 6 stall barn.. there were several truck loads full of equipment. I had a photo of it but we think it was deleted – it was a crazy tag sale with people pouring in for hours. We had it piled up pretty densely, with one car/truck worth of space and a car trailer filled to the max with horse & tack stuff… and then another truck parking space and a garage space inside filled with his tools & equipment. And with my horsie stuff, some of it was sold before the actual tack sale spread out– friends came by to buy stuff for their horses, a couple of local biz owners made appts to come over the day before (biz or private I was surprised at how much was left even after that!!). And still we had tons to spare. Consequences of a few decades of hoarding averted eh? So much of that tack & equipment had been acquired, not purchased. So a lot of it was priced at just a few bucks. It was really something to spread out my possessions for a tack/tag sale – mentally a major clean up of a former era. I wasn’t even sure of a lot of it’s value; like sweetmouth western bits (I don’t even know what they look like new, I’m sure I’ll learn down ehre though, western tack stores were rare up north and it seems like English ones are rare down here?). It was REALLY hard to let even the stuff just given to me go; it just always is great to have this or that around to grab when needed... For example boarders and friends borrowed stuff all the time there and I was so happy to have it to lend. It always had a way of multiplying/spreading like good karma too when you lent/gave it away....!! I might give away some keepers and then the boarder gave me a saddle rack later… Too funny - you can't make a pile like that go away, it just NEEDS to grow! ;) Good times of course but literally, I sold as much as possible (pricing crazy low) because I’m sure someday when I start over again here I won’t have half the storage inside you get in new England type barns. In the meantime a lot of stuff gets ruined in storage no matter what you do. And what’s that saying? You can’t take it all with you!!! :D I still have a lot that didn’t sell – so it’s not as if I totally gave away all my possessions. I could get a horse tomorrow and not have to buy anything tool or tack wise .. I’m pretty sure. ;)

When we got down here I’d already set up and booked to attend Breyerfest in the Artisan’s Gallery, so I leapt into painting up a bunch of horses I’d had here that were prepped. I thought 6 was impossible but then a 7th was added with Breyer asking me to paint sometime for their benefit too. In the end though I had a couple that weren’t quite done in time. When I got home I’d planned to leap into wrapping up my one sculpture. What I wound up doing was a lot of soul searching in general about focus.

And that’s where I’ll wrap this lengthy novel/essay/ramble up with I think… In general I’ve been pulling back and saying to myself “well what is working and what isn’t here”.

In the meantime though? I’ve at least been able to get a studio dog!!! :D Dogs are great for one’s overall mindset (well for me anyhow!) and I am just certain I’d have gone a little stir crazy without this awesome goofy gal to randomly leap up and play with here!

The rest of the time obviously I have to keep her penned up... ;) (I'm kidding of course!)

Transitions take time but the journey so far hasn’t been really nearly as tricky or horrible as it could be. We’ve found all kinds of really neat free and fun things to do around here too. Just yesterday we picked up 5 pounds of pecans (weight in shell) in the park. Last night a few cups were peeled and I suspect that today I’ll take a break and try my hand at a pecan pie. We still have some ingredients left over from Christmas (sugar isn’t normally something I have on hand). It’s been fun doing things as a couple. Going forward too, there are whole new avenues to explore around here, I got him a trail trekking GPS for Christmas so hopefully we don’t have any more explorations that veer too far off course. Literally and figuratively!

All the best guys and here’s to a really exciting 2011 eh!!!!


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