July 1, 1999 (Thursday)
The year's half over. The year 2000 is closing in on us. They have a clock down at the main post office that's counting off the days, hours, minutes and seconds. Wasn't the world supposed to end today? Oh drat. . . I must have missed it.
It's still hot with no rain. The humidity is in the tropical range. I feel like a self-baster. . .
July 7, 1999 (Friday)
No entries for five days. In the morning I'd get up, check my mail, and get most of the way through it, or even all the way, then I'd get the infamous blue screen and the machine would insist it needed restarted. When It did, it would then decide it needed to do a surface scan on my hard disk. Eight to 12 hours later it would finish, I'd fire up my ISP connection, try to start AOL to check my mail there. Sometimes it would, sometimes it wouldn't. Mostly it would crash and things would not work right, so I'd have no choice other than to re-boot. Eight to twelve hours later. . .
So far this morning I've checked my mail, got the blue screen and re-booted successfully without having to do a surface scan. I figure I'd better try to catch up here before attempting to check my AOL mail.
It's been insufferably hot here the past few days, with humidity in the tropical range. This morning it's cooler. The high today is only expected to be around 90. What the hell is August going to be like?
I have three mail art calls I want to put up on my pages somewhere, but I'm not quite sure where to stick them. I've already mailed out a raft of them in e-mail, and will do so in AOL e-mail format if I can get that far today. I have 91 snail mail broadsides to send out too. Still, I'd like to put it up here as well.
July 8, 1999 (Thursday)
I got some oil bars today to try them out to see what I can do with them. I couldn't afford to buy a whole selection, so I got a red, green, blue, violet, white, black, a couple browns and Naples Yellow, and a colorless blender. I hope these work better than oil pastels or wax crayons.
One of the most beautiful sunsets tonight I've seen in a long time. The richness of the sky colors was astonishing, the blues, teals, purples, indigos. The pinks and golds of the clouds set off the background so perfectly. The striations were magnificent, if short in duration.
July 9, 1999 (Friday)
I've been playing around with my Oil Bars a little. I should have gotten some of these years ago! They go down so smooth and blend just like tube oil colors. Now, I want the whole color range and some of the bigger sizes. You can use brushes and oil mediums with these puppies, too. Jack has a video on how to use them, but someone borrowed it and hasn't brought it back. I want to borrow it when they do. This is good stuff!
There's a young (20's) black hooker who walks by my back gate nearly every day. She's very pretty -- beautiful smile; great legs; large, firm breasts; nice figure otherwise. She seems quite happy and is always cheerful. She always says hell-o and sometimes stops to chat. I think I'll ask her if she wants to sit for me, to be a nude model on rainy days or something like that. I really need a model. I think she'd make a good one.
July 10, 1999 (Saturday)
Got some more Oil Bars today, and some terps and Liquin medium. I'm all ready to go, except for not having Ultramarine (that, and inspiration).
Talked about the world of art with Jack a little bit. We discussed the Jurying process for the state biennial show. They charge $20.00 to enter now, and do the preliminary jurying from slides. Since I don't have an SLR camera, slides are pretty much out of the question except for the rare occasion that I can get someone to shoot them for me. I'd rather do it myself, for I've never been satisfied with the quality of anyone's work, except for a few that Hyim did for me a couple years ago.
The juried shows seem to be a popularity contest. Whatever's trendy gets in, in most cases. Jack seems to think that the inclusion of a juror from Ohio University will insure a progressive show, but I'm not so sure. Robin Hammer and Chris Dutch are sure to win a big prize again. Their collaborations seem to please the judges. I'm not sure collaborations should be considered art. I know the old masters used apprentices to do a lot of the actual painting on their art, but it was still the vision of one man that was realized. The apprentice painters worked under direction. Their names were never signed on the work.
I can't remember if Charlie Hamilton is in or out of favor with the "Art Power structure" at the moment. I think David Riffle is in now. I think the Jury for these shows should be from distant climes so that they've, for the most part, never heard of the entrants before, and would have to judge solely from the merits of the piece. Either way, I don't stand much of a chance, so I'm not entering.
July 11, 1999 (Sunday)
I painted three pampas grass stalks bright red, tied them into a tripod with silver cord, painted a styrofoam ball to look like a six-inch eyeball, and placed it atop the tripod. It now resides to the right (facing) of my pink flamingos in the front yard.
Other than finishing up the eyeball and tripod, I've done very little today. I'm still stalking inspiration. This time, I'm trying to circle around and sneak up on it. It seems to flee whenever I come at it from a frontal assault position.
I wrote a rather snide e-mail to the Sunrise Museum people about the quality of their newsletter. Whoever writes and edits it has small command of English, and their design skills are lacking as well. They need to get someone to do it who has a much higher level of competence.
I'm full of self-doubt again about my talent and vision. Everything seems so inconsistent right now, while other people seem unwavering in their direction and purpose. I feel left out of the whole world at times. This is one of those times. Still, I trudge on and try to hang on to what shreds of sanity and resolve I can cling to.
July 12, 1999 (Monday)
More health problems popping up. Now I need a surgeon to look at me and decide if I need a biopsy or what. Sometimes it gets to be too much.
Completed a piece using Oil Bars today. One thing I learned from the experience is not to use Chanson Mei-tientes (sp?) papers as a support. I'm thinking more like 300 lb. Arches Cold Press or canvas panels or masonite. Another thing I've learned is I need a lot more of the colorless blenders. The way I usually work with pastels will likely lend itself to a good relationship with the oil bars, albeit an expensive one. The oil bars don't last too long the way I use them. They're quite messy, too. I ended up with color all over my hands. I think I'll work with these while wearing Nitrile gloves.
I've nearly got my Mail Art call mailing put together. I stuffed and addressed and put postage on 50 envelopes today. I stuffed and addressed another 8 that go to other countries. It gets expensive mailing things to foreign addresses. I only have about 20 more envelopes to address and put postage on. I've sent out a total of 91 flyers, plus a hundred or so via e-mail, and whatever I get from my web page, if any. It will be interesting to see the response.
July 13, 1999 (Tuesday)
A thoroughly wasted day. The workmen were here fixing the shower and were trudging back and forth, so I accomplished nothing. Didn't even get a nap.
I'm loath to say anything, but my computer has been behaving itself for the past several days. [knock wood]
July 14, 1999 (Wednesday)
In an experimental mood today. I tried to find a solvent that would redissolve the ink from my printer once it has dried on the page. Nada! I tried everything from water to alcohol (several kinds), toluene to methylene chloride, amyl acetate to ammonia, vinegar to cyclohexane. The only thing I found that redissolves it is whatever solvent they use in the old BIC highlighter pens!
It's hotter again today, but with less humidity than last week. The humidity is supposed to be back tomorrow. Still no rain. The crops are failing. Ten to fifteen percent of the farmers crops are lost so far. Some of the corn farmers haven't harvested an ear yet. Cattle and dairy farmers are having to sell off their herds prematurely because it's a losing proposition to feed them silage that has to be bought and to use purchased water to water them. Wells are drying up. Hay farmers will only get one crop this year instead of the usual two or three. All the lawns are brown. Even some of the hedges are starting to wither and brown. There is a very slight chance of rain for Saturday. La Niña is a bitch!
July 15, 1999 (Thursday)
The humidity is back. My self-confidence is not. My carpal tunnel syndrome is acting up again. I guess I'm going to have to break down and have the EMG and the surgery done. I'm not even sure my HMO covers CTS surgery. I know they don't cover TMJ disease, and it seems to me that the two are similar in nature and etiology.
Q: What's the difference between the PLO and an HMO?
A: You can negotiate with the PLO.
July 16, 1999 (Friday)
It's hot and humid again today. The drought continues. The kids and I got up early and did the yard work before it got insufferably hot. It had been a month since we mowed the grass and it still barely needed it. Mostly, Margaret pulled milkweed vines out of the hedges and Sean picked up trash.
I think I've figured out what my motivational/mood problem is: no rain. Usually in the spring and early summer, I use the violent weather, especially the thunderstorms and wind to recharge my creative batteries. This year, there has been no rain to speak of since April, and not much then. The only lightning I've seen was just a while ago -- a ground strike about two or three miles away. There was some low, extruded thunder, ominous, but in actuality an empty promise -- no rain.
I got some nice mail today, from Ficus and Harold Dinkle, and a stuffed envelope from Ed Giesek. I'll try to scan some of his things and put them here.
July 17, 1999 (Saturday)
Well, someone knocked down my sculpture in the front yard (See July 11 entry) and stole or destroyed at a distance the eyeball (I didn't even get a chance to photograph it). It didn't last a whole week. I heard that a mural some students painted on a retaining wall as part of a summer art class project was defaced, too. What is it about art that some people can't stand? The Republicans seem to want to eliminate it by cutting off funding. The scum o'the earth want to destroy or deface it. I suspect there is an underlying dynamic common to both groups. I'm not really certain what it is.
Do I get to join your club now, Pat?
July 18, 1999 (Sunday)
There was some lightning and a little thunder in the distance last night, but no rain for us here. I laid the wrong end down in the bed and watched the sky through the fan in the western window in my bedroom. I saw a few flashes before I drifted off to an uneasy sleep.
This project was on hiatus from July 19 through December 6, 1999.
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