Monday, April 14, 2014

Something cutesy in the meantime.


I haven't had the time or energy to draw or paint or do anything artistic so I thought I'd share this with you instead…..


One of my coworkers created it at the crafts store during one of the kid's club events (basically babysitting customer's children while the parents shop).

She left it on the breakroom table afterwards where it'll surely get ruined or tossed out so I pinned it on the bulletin board in my office space at work. To help brighten my day whenever I see it.

It's always nice having something handmade, especially artwork.

It isn't one of my pieces but it's something cutesy in the meantime.

Friday, March 28, 2014

I'm an all-star!


When I heard the news I smiled and beamed inside--it felt like I was doing something right.

I found out I was recently chosen as a staff all-star at my university job!

Here's the memo from the coworker that nominated me:

"If we had a "team spirit award", Dean would most definitely be the recipient. He creates a friendly and collegial environment for the entire staff.

It's not uncommon to receive an e-mail from Dean announcing we're celebrating something that week and he has brought treats (we had a "hot chocolate" week in the midst of the Polar Vortex).

The small (and sometimes big) things that our colleagues do to create a warm and welcoming work environment for the rest of us are often overlooked, but it's these gestures which help us all bond together and provide the best service for our students, staff, and faculty."

*blushes*

I even got a small trophy!

How cute!

It was nice getting noticed for boosting morale--not something so easily discernible.

As a supervisor there, I've found it's important to include your entire department, always thank/take care of those who help you, and do things to help make the job fun and more enjoyable.

These are things management at my retail job still haven't learned or seem to care to recognize. What a shame.

But I'm glad the university staff values it though.

Now I have to figure out where to put the trophy at home.

Look out, world, because now I'm an all-star!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scared for the future.


When I saw my position posted at the crafts store as being "vacant" I did a double-take.

The assistant store manager explained that Corporate was splitting my role between two people again.

I've done that job effectively--by myself, for almost two years now without any problems so it's annoying this is happening (but they want all vacancies filled since our store is steadily growing in volume).

Having two people will change the nature of the position and I fear not in a good way.

I'm also worried it'll force me out because two people means my hours will be split up. I may have to get a third part-time job again.

I'll be turning a year older at the end of next month and it's scary to think I can't financially support myself at my age.


Nothing is set in stone just yet but the changes are inevitable. I just hope it doesn't make the job more stressful than it is.

We shall see what happens.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Jesus penny!


I swear these things always find me.

Maybe it's a sign.

I came across this the other day while preparing the deposit for the arts-and-crafts store I work at.....


It's a penny with a cross cut out at the center!

We'll occasionally find messages about Christ and "the evils of money" written on actual dollar bills but this is a first.

How did they make such small and precise cuts?

I'm calling it the J.C. Penny...not to be confused with JCPenney.

It was too unique to send off to the bank so I took it home instead.

Got Jesus? Why, yes I do!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Love signs.


I missed my normal train for work and would have to hustle to make it on time.

Once I reached downtown I started to jog. It's over a mile from the train station to the crafts store I work at.

A handsome, gay couple was sightseeing along Michigan Avenue. Seeing what I don't have depresses me so I pressed on.

A couple blocks later I saw a miniature rose strewn on the sidewalk.

So out of place for it!

I dashed by but stopped several feet away to look at it again.

Dean, you're going to be late, I said to myself.

I ran back and took the frozen bloom with me.

At the halfway point of my trek, I came across the word "love" written just off an alleyway.


Dean, you're going to be late, I said.

But I had to capture it with my camera.

To me, February is synonymous with love, especially since Valentine's Day is its main star.

Even though it's something I long to have, it was nice glimpsing signs of love before the month officially ends.

Oh, and I was three minutes late for work this morning.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Watching artwork being made.



While waiting at the Van Buren train station earlier in the week, I was drawn to the mesh that lined the bridge directly overhead. Its bright orange popped against the solid blue backdrop.

And then I noticed those two colors repeated on the Metra train just below it.

It's been a relentless winter and it was wonderful getting a break from it this particular day.

Melting snow rained down from rusted beams, sunlight warmed everything in its sight, all under a sky so cerulean it could touch your soul.

Creativity and possibility seemed to be stirring among all those unrelated elements...almost like watching artwork being made.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

My dull life!


What's new? Do anything interesting on your day off? How was your weekend?

These are things I'm asked by my coworkers on a weekly basis.

My replies are always the same:

Nothing much. I vacuumed and watered my houseplants. Had to work at the crafts store this weekend.

My vacuum. Apparently it'll never lose suction.

The months seem to fly by but that's because I'm always doing the exact routine week after week.

How wonderful it would be to travel (often), meet new people, do exciting things.

My life is so boring but I don't know how to change it.

I don't really have friends outside the workplace anymore and seeing movies by yourself and going to art exhibits alone gets redundant...and depressing.

In a perfect world, I'd see the globe, create art all the time, and no two days would be alike.

Some say quiet, uneventful days are a good thing, and they are--just not when it's like that ALL the time.

I think that's one reason why I've always been attracted to comic books and fiction. There's always an adventure happening on those pages.

With that said, this weekend I worked at the crafts store, rented a movie for home, vacuumed, and watered my houseplants.

*sigh*

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Anal action! Cocaine! Gay muscle men! Violent sex!


Hi,

This blogpost doesn't contain any of the things in the title. 

It was just really exciting for me to write.

Here's an image of Winnie the Pooh with a butterfly instead.

:)

-Dean

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brrrr!!!


My uncle used to say, "There's no such thing as cold weather, only warmer coats."

With that said, I had on two shirts and two hooded jackets underneath my winter coat. Two scarves, a hat, and earmuffs. Sweats over my dress pants. Two pairs of socks and plastic bags over my feet should my shoes get wet from the unshoveled snow.

Even then I was still feeling the chill.

For those of you with an overly-dressed nerd fetish.

At the start of the month, the midwest was hit with below-zero temps. They came again yesterday. Yesterday Chicago had a high of 5 degrees and a low of -15 (not counting the wind-chill factor). 

Not fun when it takes me about 20 minutes to walk to work. It was downright scary at times.

But I'm a Chicagoan and was ready for it. It reminded me of the extreme 100 degree heat this past summer where you felt like you were being baked and steamed with every step.

It's just gone from one hell to another.

And yet there's something thrilling being out in this weather.

Most of the streets are deserted and there's an inhospitable beauty about it.

With that said, Seattle was in the fall-like 40's these past two days, with rain today. PERFECT for me.  *sigh*

I'm dreading the coming spring and summer in Chicago though and would gladly keep this dangerous freeze over what's to come.

Brrrr!!!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3 + 2


It seems like so much has happened--so much has changed--since I started this blog.

Some of it good, some of it bad, some of it in between.

Strange to think it's been five years today.


It feels nice having this little chunk of time chronicled here. I'm proud of it and am thankful all of YOU are a part of it.

It makes me wonder what will be next in the years ahead.

We shall see.

Happy Anniversary, Exploding Doughnut!!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

"Marry The Night" - Owl - Step 6 - Completion!


It's hard to believe it's been over two years since I last saw him.

I miss him and hope he's doing really well.

My very short-term, southern ex-boyfriend had his birthday this past September. I wanted this painting to be his present but didn't finish it in time. So it became a Christmas gift. Missed that deadline too.

The artwork turned out more elaborate and detailed than I would've liked but it needed that time to grow into what it is today...and that's all there is to it.

Here's the finished piece I'm sending him.....

Watercolor on watercolor paper - 8" x 10" (NFS)

He loves all things owl-related so that became my inspiration.

It's supposed to symbolize his struggles in life--and with alcohol. I believe this month marks his one-year anniversary attending AA meetings. I'm very proud of him for that. A sign he's gained some control over what he was dealt with.

::: Close-up detail :::

The title of the painting comes from his love of Lady Gaga.

According to the singer, "Marry The Night" represents committing yourself wholeheartedly to the thing you're most passionate about. 

Marrying your work as well as what's difficult about your life--making those struggles something you're proud of rather than ashamed of.

::: Close-up detail :::

Overcoming life's obstacles and doing what you were born to do.

For her it's music, for him it's writing, and for me it's art.

Continued success to you, dear Jonathan.

Now let's both go and Marry. The. Night!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Decorate a cat!


In another life I must've been an abused mouse.

Clawed, prodded, and chased. And my reincarnated soul is finally getting revenge now.

Now that the new year has begun, here's the cat calendar I used in my workspace at the crafts store these past twelve months.

Festooned with sharpie mustaches and glasses and wild hair, I like to think I got'em good this time.

Here's the best of 2013!

Game time!

All dolled up!

Serious hipster!

Twins!

A-dork-able.

Relaxin'.....

Oh what pleasure and amusement I get out of this!

Try it yourself and see.

When you're feeling worn out, bored, or alone...decorate a cat!

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

...the coming year.


This year seems to have flown by, probably from me working so much. Maybe that's a good thing since it was rather uneventful...and I ended up alone again.

I didn't blog a lot either mainly because I haven't created much art in 2013.

Keeping up the blogging tradition though, here are all of my posts from the past year.

Those of you who are new to my blog, or the regulars who may have missed something, can now go back and see what I was up to these last twelve months.

Here you go!

January:

(1-5-13) MORE fun with cats!
(1-9-13) Wordless Wednesday - Abandoned work gloves (near Delano Ct. and Roosevelt Rd.)

(1-16-13) ...with somebody who loves me.
(1-19-13) Our store had a baby!
(1-20-13) Workout Cake!
(1-22-13) Four!
(1-27-13) A beautiful kind of loneliness.

February:

(2-1-13) Better days ahead.
(2-6-13) Wordless Wednesday - Love in the snow (along Canal Street - South Loop)
(2-14-13) Ambassador of love.
(2-20-13) Wordless Wednesday - S. Pellegrino (along Roosevelt Rd.)
(2-21-13) I hope it changes.
(2-28-13) "You won't know until you try."

March:

(3-5-13) Kid's art!
(3-13-13) Suffer a little longer.
(3-17-13) St. Patrick's Bling!
(3-24-13) Gone too soon.
(3-27-13) Wordless Wednesday - Forgive and Forget (Near the corner of Aberdeen and Lake Street in the West Loop)

April:

(4-3-13) Wordless Wednesday - Abandoned clothes along Roosevelt Road Bridge
(4-10-13) Grey wearing brown.
(4-21-13) Life getting in the way.
(4-30-13) Just another day.

May:

(5-12-13) Forgetting Seattle.
(5-19-13) Rescued!
(5-29-13) At peace.

June:

(6-7-13) Goodbye, Goodbye.
(6-12-13) You keep me hangin' on.
(6-22-13) Poor thing.

July:

(7-2-13) Target audience.
(7-4-13) Red, white, and blue!
(7-15-13) Love evaporating.....
(7-30-13) Heartbreak flowers.....

August:

(8-11-13) ...and again.
(8-13-13) A return to art. (Owl - Step 1 - Drawing)
(8-21-13) Wordless Wednesday - Abandoned woman's clothes along Roosevelt Road Bridge
(8-25-13) Owl - Step 2 - Reworked drawing
(8-29-13) Just another day at work.

September:

(9-4-13) Wordless Wednesday - Remembering "The Kelpies" of Museum Campus (sculptures recently removed)
(9-10-13) Owl - Step 3 - Underpainting
(9-22-13) Renewing my faith in work.
(9-25-13) Wordless Wednesday - Southeast Side of the city along Brainard Ave. (bench since removed)
(9-27-13) Owl - Step 4 - Anticipation

October:

(10-3-13) Owl - Step 5 - Panic and Save!
(10-6-13) Keep smiling.
(10-23-13) (Oh) what I wouldn't do.

November:

(11-9-13) Battle-Hymn
(11-19-13) The return of Bow Boy!
(11-29-13) Extension!

December:

(12-11-13) The Bow Brigade!
(12-21-13) Grateful.
(12-25-13) Happy Holidays to everyone!!

(12-31-13) ...the coming year.

Looking forward, I hope 2014 will be a year of good change, creativity, and love in my life. And may it be amazing for all of you too!

This Mail Art postcard recently sent to me by Ria sums it up perfectly.....


I'll end this blogpost by passing on the message she wrote to me:

"May the magic of the holiday season stay with you throughout the coming year."

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays to everyone!!


It seemed the perfect thing to share with all of your this Christmas Day.

Blogging friend, Randy, mailed me yet another amazing ornament he made. This time it's of a turtle and it joins the others on my family's Christmas Tree.

Masterfully sewn!

Attention to detail and care and a lot of love went into this handmade work of art.

And isn't that what this time of year should be about?

Thanks once again, Randy, and Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Grateful.


I had to take the "L" into the city for work this afternoon.

Among the usual crazies and oddballs that occupy every train car, one rider stood out among the rest.

He was dressed in bright orange clothing and wedged into a large motorized wheelchair.

From all the wheelchair's mechanical accoutrements, I got the impression he's had a rough life.

In a raucous voice, I heard bits and pieces of his phone call. He mentioned going to physical therapy and rehabilitation but was also reassuring the person on the other end of the line.

"You gotta be grateful for what you got," he said.

It struck me to hear that from someone disabled, who clearly has been without for a long time. That even during hardships there are things we must be thankful for.

And during the rest of that train ride I contemplated my own life.

I feel alone most times, often tired from work, and not in the best living situation yet I'm blessed in certain ways.

I get along really well with all of my coworkers at both jobs, I have my health, and a roof over my head.

So even though life is far from where I'd like it to be, today was a good reminder to still be grateful.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Bow Brigade!


An event planner contacted the arts-and-crafts store I work at and wanted some bows made.

And by some I mean over 2,000!!

It was the largest order we've ever had.....the customer paid $11,000!!!

A huge boon for our store, management didn't want to turn it down.

But many of my coworkers are crafty types and we were up for the challenge.

About eight of us spent most of our shifts making bow after bow. We sent out three installments of 750 bows over the past couple weeks.

Some of my handmade bows.

The event planner specifically wanted red and blue. She was planning a party for two HUGE corporations and the bows were to be toppers for the holiday presents.

A lot of measuring and twisting of ribbon ensued.

Through cramped hands and long, monotonous days, we kept in good spirits.

It was nice--and dare I say fun--coming together as a small group and making "bow history" happen.

I'd always start by saying, "It's bow time!" and proudly referred to us as the Bow Brigade.

Today, the last of the custom order gets picked up. I can say I'm soooo over bow-making at the moment yet a part of me will miss it.

"Who knows," one of my coworkers said, "maybe she'll do business with us in the future and want a whole bunch more bows made."

If so, Bow Boy and the rest of the Bow Brigade will be ready!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Extension!


Extension n. The act of a condition being lengthened; an allowance of extra time.

As the months and days counted down, I was becoming more and more discouraged. It didn't look good.

A year ago on this exact date, I was interviewed by a city department in Seattle. I passed and was given access to apply to staff-only positions as they became vacant.

The catch was, that access would expire in one year...today being the last day.

I had only a couple interviews with them over the course of this year but was never picked for those jobs. My time has run out.

However, because my experience is still current/relevant (my university job is in the same field) I asked for an extension...and it was granted...for another year!

I feel really good about this. This means I still have a chance of finding a good job in Seattle and relocating there.

And with twelve more months on my side, I don't feel so pressured.

I'm thankful for the continued opportunity.

Now I just have to hold on, keep trying, and hope something good comes of it!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The return of Bow Boy!


"Are you all caught up?" the store manager asked me.

"Why?" I answered, fearing I'd be wrangled into some time-consuming, annoying project.

"I need some more bows,"  he said.

You see, the arts-and-crafts store I work at sells pre-made bows for the holidays but our store manager wanted custom-made ones. 

Custom bows sell for more and the floral ribbon we use to make them is given to us directly by Corporate. It doesn't cost the store a cent. Each handmade bow is pure profit.

"I can do that," I replied. "Bow Boy is back!"

I only had about an hour-and-a-half to work with but here's what I made the other day.....

Some turned out better than others. What do you think?

The store manager said mine are just as good--if not better than--the coworker that originally showed me how to make bows!

Shhh, don't tell her that though!

It was a nice diversion. A chance to create and play and not stress over work. If only it could be like that every day there.

Until next time...Bow Boy over and out!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Battle-Hymn


There's power in her words, energy in her voice.

She's tapping into greatness and sharing her vulnerability with those around her. Amazing. Just amazing.

During those times when I've become depleted, or lost, or too scared to take action, I watch this video.

It's a rousing reminder that God is with me every step of the way.

That even though the journey seems lonely and arduous and endless, that I was meant for something great and one day it'll all come together and make sense and be more beautiful than I could ever dream or hope.

An anthem of perseverance no matter how much has been sacrificed along the way.

To be courageous, resolute, hopeful.

I hope Judy Garland's performance resonates with you as much as it does me.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

(Oh) what I wouldn't do.


I've fallen behind on my artwork and life seems to be getting in the way again (working two jobs doesn't help either) but I'm still here.

Here's another Canadian song currently playing at the arts-and-crafts store I work at. I like its poetic, romantic lyrics.


Every time I hear it on the store's overhead speakers it makes me want to be in love again...to twirl in place...run as fast as I can...to run away...and scream out loud.

(Oh) what I wouldn't do.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Keep smiling.


I had seen her off and on for the past two years at my university job.

She finally came up to the front desk earlier this week and officially introduced herself. Her name was Maggie. She told me she was finished with school now and moving back home to Canada next week.

I considered her one of the "regulars" who'd always come into the university to study. She said she wanted to say goodbye.

"You always have a big smile on your face," she said to me.

That threw me a bit--her perceiving me as being "happy". For I'm not happy with the way my life is going.

But I do smile a lot, especially at work, being the first person students see when entering our department.

A lot of the time I feel like I'm wearing a mask to hide the pain and sadness and loneliness or perhaps I'm simply pushing it all to the side while at work.

Sing it, Judy.....

It was extremely sweet of Maggie to acknowledge all the times I've greeted her and to stop in just to see me. I was flattered to have made that kind of impression on her.

I shook her hand and told Maggie to come back and visit us.

"Keep smiling, okay?" she said on her way out.

I will try, dear. I will try.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Owl - Step 5 - Panic and Save!


I was wondering when it'd happen.

That moment I'm always dreading.

So I started laying in the blacks around the owl's eyes and beak only to see that it's much too dark for the rest of the painting!

Fuckity-fuck and super shit!

Thank God I opted for watercolors instead of ink as originally planned. With some careful maneuvering, I was able to blot and lift off most of the problem areas.


To have the owl entirely detailed in black would've killed a lot of the vibrant blues I worked so hard to save. If this were a pure comic book illustration it'd work but this owl falls a bit more on the fine art side.

To remedy this, I created a deep darkish-purple, that from a distance appears black but doesn't swallow up the rest of the painting (click on image to see the purples at work).

Now I just have to blend and soften the dark edges and add ALL those tiny, little detail hairs on the feathers.

Everything should be completed by the next step. Let's hope!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Owl - Step 4 - Anticipation



This is it!

It's starting to look really cool at this point.

I'm anxious to complete this piece but am scared it won't turn out right.

At this stage I'd say the painting is about 90% done.

A noticeable departure from the previous step is the background. It didn't feel right as a shocking pink. Something said to me that red would be more fitting.

Now there's a primary color scheme happening with the yellow eyes, blue feathers, and red backdrop. How cool!

All that's left is to add the blacks--which will either fuck everything up or make it brilliant.

We shall see!