Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tues 08/30 - I hate Dreamweaver

So, I've been sitting on my fat behind for another week trying to get a website up. I believe I've been at this since......Feb? March? 2 semesters of DW, special tutoring, Lynda.com and I still can't get it right.

I knew what I wanted my site to look like, I had it all planned out but after MONTHS of working on it I still didn't have a site where you could simply click on a pic and have it show up in a nice little box with grey around it. I tried Thickbox, Lightbox and now I'm in Jquery and Photoshop - this has been 100s and 100s and 100s of hours dedicated to this stupid site but I have nothing to show for it.

Oh wait - I did for a month but then the server "helped" me update my FTP  - and I lost 1/2 my content which was almost okay since I still didn't have a working gallery. So, I started from scratch, for the 9 millionth time,  AGAIN. I've given up what I wanted, I've given up any hope of having anything resembling my taste and spent the past week working with Lynda.com (AGAIN!!!!!!!!) to build a standard workable site so when I get to NY later this week I have somewhere to send people to see my work.  And that leads me to all what I've been thinking about last night and thru this morning....but first -

The other day I had to visit the vet. The dog and cat have had fleas all summer. They're Advataged and Advantixed, they're bathed regularly, I vacuum, comb and brush but nothing has helped. They still have had fleas which has lead to worms which brough me to the vet for my 4 the visit this summer. While I was there picking up antiworm antibiotics and more Advantage and Advantix a sales rep for the company walked up and introduced himself to me and started asking me questions about the products.I told him they're over priced, they  don't work and they've led to more doctors visits than if I'd just used flea shampoo.  I told him what I do and said "the 'medicine' is useless but I just keep trying"......his response: "Oh no, it's working. You're just not doing using it correctly" so he went thru the offical steps and all the dos and don'ts, all of which I already do and don't, and added "sprinkle Borax on every surface in the house, including your mattress, blankets and pillows, rub it in vigorously, leave it there for 15 -30 minutes and that'll kill the fleas.".................................................you gotta be kidding.

The fleas aren't leaping around, jumping on my clothing and biting me, it's not that bad but they are on the cat and dog. I use Advantage and Advantix because I want my guys to be free of ticks and fleas and they're not - okay they are for up to 2 weeks  out of every month but the other two weeks they're chewing and biting and inevitably they're sick with worms so now I'm using this toxic crap every 3 weeks.

The point is the product was supposed to be developed to keep fleas off the pets. If fleas are still laying eggs and producing more fleas and my guys are still chewing at fleas after all the treatments and baths and cleaning the product is not doing it's job. I shouldn't have to turn my house into a Borax  to do the job I'm paying Advatage and Advantix to do.

This is the way I feel about Dreamweaver - I've put in all the time and effort, I've spent thousands $$$ learning this ridiculously complicated fucking program and all the other programs involved and I still don't have anything to show for it. I sta here all day yesterday working on one tiny section of my site thru DW and ended up sitting on my fat ass till midnight trying to get a Jquery photo gallery to work but when it came down to the last steps the  thumbnails worked but the basic preview box didn't work right - you could click on a thumbnail but nothing would load into the preview box. So, I redid ALL the steps (with Lynda.com) to setup my page, the CSS, the blah, blah, blah...again nothing. Deleted my work started again....by midnight I had the same results. Woke up at 5 am determined to find the problem, deleted my work, started fresh, redid all my work with Lynda.com again....nothing. Went back to bed, got up at 8:30 deleted all my work, very patiently went thru all the steps with Lynda again, everything seeemd to be fine, saved it and when I did everything dissapeared but my code. My website was nothing but code. Again.

My point is - NOTHING like this should be this hard. Nothing should be this complicated. NOTHING. Famine is hard, building a computer is complicated but building a website and making your pets feel healthy should never, EVER, EVER be this impossible. I am absolutely preplexed - why don't these GYNORMOUS, smarmy companies make products that anyone can use instead of insisting that we jump thru hoops to get the results we're paying for? Really, are Adobe designers so wrapped up in feeling superior that they can't simply make a product that even stupid little me can use? Is Advantix so wrapped up in grabbing my last buck that they make a product that only does 1/2 the job?

I want my pets to be comfortable and I NEED A FUCKING WEBSITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Niether of which should be this complicated.

I'm going to the gym, haven't been there since last Wed. because of this. Then I'm coming back with a clear head to conquer this mother fucking Dreamweaver site - this should've been accomplished months ago...

Friday, August 26, 2011

08/26 - Dreamweaver

NOTHING, nothing like this anyway, should EVER be this hard. EVER. 
I would never recommend Dreamweaver to anyone - except my old boss at TJs. The program isn't meant for people like me, it's meant for people that already know how to use and after working with it for....5 months?...7 months....I still can't get this fucking thing to put up my site correctly. There's always some stupid fucking problem - the last one had to do with my FTP and after an horu on the phone with my server 1/2 the content in my site disappeared so I've been redoing the page but DW won't let mebuild a new site using any information from my old site that I removed  as content but kept in a file on my desktop - WTF???!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Every click, clik command, every inserted image, every single step of every day of the last 5-7 months of working on Dreamweaver has been an unbelievebly frustrating, nightmarish experience.

My recomendation: pay someone to put up your site - you'll save money, time and a lot of aggrevation..

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Notice from UGLY Gallery

If you're reading this you are part of the exclusive circle:

Upscale Living Magazine and Cork Wine and Tapas Bar present, UGLYgallery Spotlight. This is an exclusive invite for those of you whom enjoy the finer things in life and enjoy a good night out. Thursday September 1st, Upscale Liviing Magazine will be hosting a wine and tapas tasting at the UGLYgallery. A night to be seen as the magazine's online and printed outfit will be here snapping photos and introducing you to their wonderfu...l magazine. Please join us for a night of fun and elegance, surrounded by some wonderful art that is on display at the UGLYgallery. Beck Lane a Cape Cod artists, whose work in abstract impressionism and expressionism are featured. Along with the work of Spanish artist, Catalina Viejo de Roda Lopez. Her work is technical, colorful, and awe inspiring. Her collection of miniature water colors feature some amazing portraiture of the Boston Celtics past and present that are sure to entice you. Kate Frazer is a Dartmouth native whose work in fabric has transformed the UGLYgallery into a magical trance of whimsy. Finally Genevieve Steel rounds out the show with a delightful Satire of a Satyr that is sure to provoke some thought. Cork Wine and Tapas Bar, a downtown eatery, will be providing the food and wine. We are excited to have collaborated with the artists, magazine, and cork, to compile an evening full of surprises and amazement. Please join us for a few Thursday September 1st, you will not be disappointed! Please RSVP ASAP so we can make sure all are satisfied. We look forward to seeing you. Be Well!!!

Please let either Jeremiah at UGLY (or Beck) know you'll be attending:

08/25 - blah, blah, blah......blah. Splash.

Storms comin' - Irene is on her way so they say. Maybe I should pack my emergency kit by the door - birth certificate, insurance check(s), any other uncashed checks, ids, items I might need in....just in case : batteries, flashlights, a few clothes, soap, toothpaste - I don't think I'm gonna worry about it today though. Today I better take the dog and cat for a nice long walk, come back and get back to work on the website.....again. This website is my albatros...is that right? In "Rime of the ancient mariner" (yes, it's spelled "Rime") the albatros is the ship's guide and captain's only companion but eventually the captian gets impatient and annoyed, and shoots the bird with an arrow which brings on a massive, vengeful storm in the middle of Antartica. In "Rime" the captain is just a stupid dick.
Maybe if the albatros were pecking at the capt's head over and over and over again for months at a time so he couldn't sleep or be think about anything else - and if the albatros were poking holes in the ship hull so the capt had to swim for shore when there was no shore in sight that might better analogy. to my Dreamweaver/website problem.

Poem ode to "Rime":
"Websites, websites everywhere
and not a page will work in my incompetent hands because I'm an idiot when it comes to programming, either that or Dreamweaver sucks."

A few years ago, when I worked as an artist for Trader Joe's, my boss/.manager (who we had to refer to as "captain" and who was/is a complete dickhole) had me write a few stanzas from "Rime" on the men's room wall as decoration. He didn't really know the poem or what it was about or what it symbolized so, like a dick, he just randomly chose a few lines and told me to paint them on the wall of the men's room. I originally put up what I thought was appropriate: the first few lines from "Fisherman's blues" by the Waterboys but he didn't know the song so it had to come down. (He also had no idea who Patty Page was and didn't know her hit song "Old Cape Cod" so I couldn't use that either.....he is/was a toal and complete fucking moron/bully) 

TJs captain  had  no idea that "Rime" is about a man who, for no real reason, kills his guide - his good luck charm the albatros and, in doing so, kills his crew. The poem ended up being the perfect illustration of our TJs captain managerial style. He had a habit of picking out  a few "crew" members and completely terrorizing and abusing them till they either quit or broke - and when they broke, under his bullying, then he'd make things worse.

However, when chose the stanza he wanted for the bathroom he didn't recognize the lines he chose as being kinda gay-ish:
"The fair breeze blew, the white foam flew,
The furrow followed free;
We were the first that ever burst
Into that silent sea."
Being that TJs captain is/was an abusive homophobe the crew at  TJs had a good giggle over white foam, bursting and blowing in the men's room. "Capt" had no clue .......of course.

Anyway, as you may have gathered, like the "Rime" capt, our Tjs "captain" destroyed every crew relationship that could have made him a huge success. He took people like me, who worked alone, and bullied and tormented till the relationship was shot to hell. He was incredibly viscious to gay men, he tormented the one black man on the staff till he didn't know how to act, and women over 35 were the absolute lowest people on his totem pole. How this guy made it to capt I'll never understand. Although he had a long, well known history of abuse, I was the only person to file a formal complaint against Capt. Bully Pants. And when the company did NOTHING to stop him and I couldn't take it anymore - I tried to pull together a class action lawsuit against him for discrimination, harrassment, bullying (which is illegal in England but not here) and a variety of other charges but no one on the crew would sign on because he would and could make things even worse for everyone involved.

The company has since moved Capt. Dickhole, his wife and family from the Cape Cod store to one in NY where I have NO doubt he'll pull the same abusive and discriminatory crap all over again. I hope someone has the courage to really nail him to the wall this time. And I wanna be there when Karma or crew serves this guy up,. Like the men on the "Rimes" ship, and after everything I've been thru because of him, I wanna be there to witness his destruction. I want a front row seat.

Now back to my albatros....Dreamweaver.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Wed 08/24

I am starting my website all over again. I thought developing and maintaining a website would be easy - if it were easy everyone would do it.

Although this has been a huge nightmarish project and I still don't  have what I want I'm not giving in - I've finished reillustrating the book, I haven't heard from the printer with a plan to get the book printed for next weekend so I'm gonna take this time to start my site all over AGAIN. Last night I had to contact the server/host because I couldn't connect to my site to update the info and I just found out we wiped out all kinds of links and photos somewhere in the process of updating the FTP. .....it seems FB and this blog are the easiest and most reliable means of getting my portfolio out there but I have so much work it would be impossible to post it all in an appropriate form. Errrrrrrrrrghh....

At this point I feel like Scarlett O'Hara standing in her planting field, broken and angry and waving an onion around screaming "Fiddle de dee! I will have my website if it kills me!"

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tuesday 08/23 6am

A few years ago being up at 6 am meant going for a 2 hour walk/jog from Rt 28 in Dennisport to Sea St. beach to Harwich and around. Now being up by 6 am means I'm in just too much pain to sleep and that's what happened again this morning. And, unlike my mornings before I had RSD, my walking is incredibly precarious. Theres not much more I can add to this, I've said it all 100s of times before including - THIS FUCKING HURTS!!!!!!!!! At least I'm not having tremors/seizures this morning - but my skin is burning pretty bad and my face is numb again which means tremors may be on the way...or not.

Doesn't help that I woke up having another "what if" anxiety attack again - what if this happens, what if that DOESN'T happen, what if, what if, what if....

Alright onto other things like drinking my coffee.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Random pages - all content under copyright

08/22 - book pics. All content under copyright.

Okay should've scanned these but.....here's a few photos of pages from the illustrated book I've been working on. The idea is to have in black white and red (red will be added with the litho printer at AS220). I'd like to have it in full color but right now the project is being kept to a basic.

Please note - I grabbed the first 8 pages, photographed them and then grabbed a few more out of the pile at random. Past page 6  - they aren't in proper order:

08/22 Monday

....and then you wake up and you to start all over again.

I'm not sure how it works but most of my skin has a thick layer of numbness to it, including my face, but then under neath are deep layers of seering/burning pain. I don't understand how I can be numb and in pain at the same time but that's RSD. But at least the deep saddness is gone today - I can get back to work.

As of Saturday I only have the book cover left to do (or redo), it shouldn't take that long but I can't seem to come up with a layout that I like. Normally things just flow but this whole project has been laborious and now I'm down to the last page, the front page, and I can't seem to get it right. Oh well, may be today.

I'll be glad to have this finished and printed so i can move on to selling it and producing the next book. I can't stand having anything take so long but I also need to make sure it's exactly what I want before I move on.

What I'm working on is  aseries of illustrated wordless books about 6 characters: Dixie, Joel, Jimmy, Jack, Bugsy and H.B.  and their friendship(s) and adventures in a small town called Scootertown. The characters are inspired by Cape Codders whom I admire for their uniqueness and their steadfast inner compass.

The first book "Growing up" shows how different characters are brought up and taught to be happy  and loving while one character, Jack, is brought up to be a bully. While other character's are taught to read and walk, Jack's only interaction with a grown up comes in the form of a very large pointing finger.

The next book is tentatively titled "Potluck extravaganza". Dixie, a cheerful, rollerskating bird,  has decided to hold a potluck picnic in town square but instead of letting each character bring something they like and know how to make he assigns each character with a dish - Joel, an adventureous, self reliant little squirrel is assigned meatloaf;  Bugsy, a pup who lives in a house boat, is assigned cupcakes; H.B. is given nuts and cheese; etc. None of the characters have a clue how to make the assigned dish but Dixie wants what Dixie wants for his potluck party.

Another book "Adventures" is all about imagining great adventures and making things- Joel climbs mountains and travels in his sailboat; H.B. and Jimmy (a little boy and the only person in the book)build castles to gether, ride camels in the desert and build a space ship and fly to the moon together; Jack dreams of being a great artist while Dixie dreams of being a great baker- the book shows each character building and dreaming and sharing what they want to be.

Each book will a new contain a removeable map of the town and or cutout and color projects like finger puppets and paper air planes. I want the feel of the books to be old fashioned - I want children to be able to play with the facets of the books and use their imagination(s). I want to give children gentle guides to good behavior, the how's and why's of bad behavior and also ways to play instead of telling them how to play.

I've said this before but as soon as I can I'll post examples of the first book.

Alright, enough goofing around. Gotta get dressed and try to get to the gym.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday 08/21

It's been a stellar week, a lot of plans are in the works that I can't really talk about yet. It's all good and exciting and enabling me to baby step my way to wheer I want to be. However, regardless of what's happened and what's about to happen I am so tired and down today I can barely move. Part of it is summer is coming to an end again and I hate that it's ending soon. I don't feel I accomplished as much as I should or could have but, regardless, Sundays are always hard for me - Sundays always remind me how alone I really am.

A few years ago I had my heart broken by the love of my life. Worse than having family evaporate or friends die, having love just leave me behind like I was a pile of trash left me mentally and emotionally altered in ways I'm not always happy about. I'm not as resiliant as I was, I'm not as caring or trusting  as I was, I don't make many friends anyomre, I'm more apt to spend most of my time alone now and I really don't care as much about other peole as I used to. But the experience helped to get me off Cape Cod which was huge but I don't think I'll ever recover from this. Even with all my new found confidence and insight, I'm never going to feel whole. I'm always going to look around and know I don't belong.

My sadness swelled to the surface today most likely because I'm having a RSD day. I can't do much but lay around so I'm gonna go back to my futon and just try to make it thru the rest of my day withot crying anymore. Sometimes that's the best you can do - lay around and wait for the day to end because hopefully tomorrow will feel better.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

08/18 1:45

.....and then a collector buys one of your paintings and your whole world view shifts. Which happened this morning.

It's a very, very good day.

Thursday 08/28

When I was 17 years old I was offered a job at Hanna Barbara. I could have had a job out of high school as a working artist but I didn't jump on the opportunity. I told myself I shouldn't take it because I hated Hanna Barbara cartoons. I was a Warner Brothers fan, a Bugs Bunny background art fan. A couple of years later I was offered a job working with a children's book artist. I didn't take it. I told myself I was a serious artist and too good for children's book illustration. I've indignatiously [sic]snubbed my nose at several golden opportunities till golden opportunities stopped coming my way.

Looking back, and having the time to figure a few things out about myself, I realize I had no confidence and didn't take the jobs because I was terrified to find out I really wasn't talented. As a child I was told I was smart, talented child, as a teenager, things were so temultous at home, I was told I was stupid, fat and useless. I wasn't given any tools to help me become an independant, succesful adult so I didn't have the ability to understand how extrordinary those opportunities were and how to take advantage of them. I had no absoluetly no way of understanding how to enjoy the golden opportunities I had coming my way - I was being offered experiences other, smarter, more capable artists would  kill for but I had no way to understand what it all meant or how to just go for it.

I can't imagine how different my life could have been if I'd gone to California and worked at Hanna Barbara - I can't imagine what other opprotunities could have opened to me.

So, instead of being able to run with life, I spent the next 30 years fighting it - pushing back thru drugs and alcohol in what felt like an "I'll show you"willy nilly fashion. I fought off opportunity after opportunity in a desperate attempt to forge something for myself. It's only in the last few years that I've been able to catch my breath and understand how hard I was fighting against monsters from my childhood instead of fighting to get out of my childhood. Now that I have a clearer understanding of who I am and where I want to be and a marginal amount more confidence I pray that my karma has cleared and I am allowed to get there.

Thursday 08/18 - 4 am

Yup, with all my bluster about how important artists are I'm up and having another anxiety attack again. My head wakes me up every morning calculating how much money I need to make each month, how can I trim back monthly costs, what frivolous things can I sell off  before fall comes, how much can I sell what for - books, tables, decorations, inspirations, the kayak, bike, truck, wooden cabinets, dry vac, sculptures, prints... where can I sell everything, I can sell everything here, estate sale; how much do I spend on art supplies each month, paint, cleaners, cnavas', how many canvas' do I have left?, what else can I do to get work sold???;  the book, the book, printing costs, plates, paper, spiral binders; gas, heat, food, vet bills, rent, taxes and so and so and so and so, what if, what if, what if, what if ,what if; you'll never make it, you're going to lose everything, you'll end up in the street, your work will end up in the garbage, you'd better get a job - I can't get a job, you've gotta fix that stupid website, finish the book first, get it printed again, how much is that gonna cost? you've been foolish AGAIN, things don't work out well for people like you, people love your work, tons of people believe in you, but why don't they buy?, you'll never, ever be anything, not even a foot note, you're never right, you are and always will be a complete failure and idiot........where can I put my prints to sell, did I post them online, oh - Etsy!, that tattoo shop, has the gallery updated their site yet?, is my work up?, who was that woman who offered me a show, and that place in Providence, open studios maybe I should do open studios Pawtucket, New Bedford, you won't sell anything in New Bedford, New York....

Every single morning it's the same thing. Panic, panic, panic!

My hands are so swollen this morning I can barely bend them. Everything is burning. The pain in my hands, arms, feet and legs is excruciating but my head is causing more pain than my extremities could ever dream off. My head isn't wrong, I should be in a panic. I've had everything planned out, been following the plan but I'm not as far ahead as I'd expected my plan(s) to take me. Regradless: stick to the plan, stick to the plan, always always always stick to the plan. And poke around for a part time job - no lifting.

But first, I'm going back to bed.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

08/17 - Pricing

Artists talk about pricing work all the time - it's a frightening and frustrating calculation because you don't want to conceivably out  price whatever market you're in or under price your ability. There are so many what ifs in pricing work - what if no one buys my work because (fill in the blank): you're not well known, you're priced too high, priced to low, not well advertised, not young enough to be of interest, too old and considered over the hill, a woman, to progressive, not doing work people understand, too far out there, too typical, too blah, blah, blah. The list of variables goes on and on but I know there are two underlying factors that will always determine how my work sells: belief in my work and having other people believe in my work. Period. I believe in my work and I know other people love my work but I'm missing that one person who can see my work as a valuable product and is able to help me push it. Without that one person I know I'm sunk.

When I was a kid, I was brought up to believe that you had to do it on your own - all alone. My father believed that if you stood on your own two feet and worked hard you can achieve anything. That's not true. You can't achieve jack shit without other people. You can make decisions that will move you in a certain direction and may or may not effect you in a positive manner but you won't become anything without other people making the decision to respect what you do and invest whatever they can in you.

This week I was approached several times about my pricing. I was asked to lower my prices. At one instance I said absolutely not, I will not lower my price. I didn't make the sale (or, at least, haven't yet) but at least my self worth was left intact and I felt respected. The next few times I was approached and I decided to lower my price to accomodate the potential buyers but, of course, the situation(s) ended just like every other time I've tried to be accomodating: the sale(s) didn't go thru. And just like every other time after time after time after time that I'd lowered my prices, the "buyers" have taken just under the radar, back handed swipes at me in order to feel they are somehow vindictaed.  The lesson: when I lowered my price my value was deminished, not just my work, but my personal value was deminished.

When you get burned once or twice you learn your lesson and move on but when it happens over and over and over again it seems life has taken on a bad habit. It can be very discouraging.

Conversly, I have sold work, lots and lots of work and at MY price. At this point, I've come to realize....again, that I'd rather not compromise myself by lowering my prices. IF the buyer REALLY wants to invest in my work they will. Period. BUT when I lower my prices I'm saying "I don't really believe in what I do and neither should you".

Artists are consistantly told we need to find another profession because we won't make money at what we do and we hold no value. I know I've been made to feel like all I do is play with crayons - but , in reality,WE are the center of humanity. Not just in an ethereal sense but in a very real, tangible way. WE design everything that makes up our world - clothes, homes, cars, computers, advertising, trends, fashion, skyscrapers, furniture, patterns, even our garbage cans have to hold a certain amount of artistry......we're reasponsible for being the back bone of any city or business any where. Rome wouldn't be Rome with out it's artists, neither would Paris, New York, Berlin,  St. Petersburg, Mexico City. None of our cities and towns would hold any interest without artists at the helm. None of our human interaction would be as considerable as it is without artists. There would be no Disney, Las Vegas, Manhatttan, Goggle - everything we hold dear, right down to the Bible, has been designed by artists on some level. We build great cities, people woo us into elavating locations simply by being there.

And because of all that I'm going to try very, very hard to hold onto understanding my value as an artist and not allow anyone to convince me that I am anything but valueable - I am going to try very, very hard to remember that when I attempt to taylor my value to anyone I am diminished and doing so will put me in a place where I will never earn the right to be appreciated as an artist.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

08/16 10:45 am

Went back to bed and slept, woke up in a panic again. Maybe I should go back to meditating - the forest won't change but at least I won't be looking at just trees.

Some perspective on my goals this year:
  • I'm okay - I have a place to live, food and some money
  • I'm meeting my immediae goals: 1. Going to NY for labor day weekend ;2. Finishing up and getting the book printed; 3. I have a website up (it has to be redone but I have a base); 4. Have: a photographer, a beautiful brochere 5. a blog and an art page on FB; 6. I'm taken classes in and am printing and learning.
Next set of goals to be acheived:
  • Mail out brochere and bio
  • Fix website
  • Write children's book publishers
  • Book shows in Providence and NY
  • Find ambitious, aggressive representation - this one I'm lost on but if I put it on my goal list I will do it
  • Sell and or get rid of all the stuff in my storage unit and living space I don't need
  • Attend shows, make contacts NOTE: Set up gallery date with DEBLOIS!!! (they offered me a one man and I haven't booked the date yet - how disrespectful is that???)
  • PUBLICIZE - get yourself in magazines, newpapers, etc 
  • Focus
  • Lose weight
There. Now that they're listed I feel a bit more organized. When I like I'm not going anywhere and my only accomplishment is running head first into a brick wall I'll read my list.

The only note on the list that's going to be hard for me to do is attend shows. I hate openings. It's too much energy invested in talking and looking at work that half the time isn't very interesting or purposeful - I don't watch sports or hang out, I don't drink or got to the beach so why would I want to go to shows - why would I want to waste my time??? I do have down days but my only do nothing days are days (and or times of day) when I can't walk or hold a brush and or I'm having my mild seizures. Why would I want to invest my healthy, capable time in doing anything else? Why not produce work instead? My greatest fear is that I'll run outta time and my obit will read: "Near do well" or "Almost did well" or better yet "Never did well". And the only thing I'll have to show for being alive is a [comparatively] smallish pile of work and unpaid bills.

I know what I'm be capable of : massive production of work with purpose and clear intent - with the right people I could eat this world alive. So, as someone once said to me: STICK TO THE PLAN. Hopefully, the right people are just around the corner.

Tuesday 08/16

It's 4:30 am and I'm up  - not because I want to work but because I'm terrified again. Every monring I wake up anywhere between 3 and 6 scared and calculating. At the begining of the year I had everything mapped out and was confident I was going to get my work out there and sold but now I feel like I'm missing a key.I feel like I'm missing one key that will open that one door...

Yesterday I sat here all day working on my little book again - no walk, no gym, no cleaning just the book I got down to the the last few pages and started to look thru and pulled my four weakest pages to retool...again. It's almsot done and once it is I'll can take it to AS220 and print the book all over again. It's a good concept, the execution is very close to what I want but it's going to cost me a bundle to print and, what if when it's all said and done, I send it out and it isn't bought. It's charming and poignant, there are 6 other books laid out and ready to go, but what if I don't find that one person, that one key, that can make all the difference. Or, what if I find someone who seems to be inetersted but doesn't bother to push the work - I'm so afraid I may be charging towards several dead ends that I can't control.

Like my paintings I can see the book(s) being a brand and building items off it/them - I can see how both my paintings and illustrations could be much bigger than what I'm capable of doing with them on my own but, again, where do I go and what if I miss that one person that key that's going to make the difference?

Alright, going back to bed and try to sleep somemore. My drawing pens are dead, I can't get anything done now anyway.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday 08/14 pm

Promised the kitty a walk in the woods today but....I've been working on my book illstrations instead. My head is pounding from being bent over my light table all afternoon and desk but it needs to get done.As soon as I get a little further ahead I'm going to scan some of the pages and post them on my blog for comment but I'm also going to set up a schedule to get this printed again in the next couple of weeks. Walk the kitty or get further ahead in my goals....make excuses and fill time with decoration or acheive. Kitty will just have to be patient while I work towards acheivement.

Although I watch a lot of people get rewarded for doing nothing more than coasting, I heard an interview on NPR the other day with an author who said if you put your head down and work towards goals the gods will eventually take pity on you and reward you for all your hard work.  If I believed in prayer anymore I think my prayer would be: Dear h'vn, please let all this pay off. Please let all the heartbreak, drive and determination pay off (in a big way) and please don't let this year have been a waste of time, money and energy.

Sunday 08/14

Volunteered at Foo Fest yesterday - the annual food, art, music festival put on by AS220 in Providence. I didn't do very much, I manned the volunteer/info booth just outside the gate on Washington and Empire. Because of my station I got to meet 100s of people from teens to men and women in the70s and 80s who attended the event. And out the thousands who went thru that gate only one young man caused any trouble - everyone else was pleasant and a pleasure to be around. After 10:00 the crowd did turn the event and surrounding streets into a contained measure of drunken, reveling chaos.

Foo was a fantastic experience, way out of my comfort zone and nothing I could have possibly imagined myself being a part of just a few years ago. A few years ago RSD was taking over my body and I felt like I was drowing in pain and seizures and medications. I didn't have a car, I didn't have hardly any help, I was heartbroken, horribly sick - it was an aweful time. And even though I lived in a well populated area, I wouldn't see anyone for days or weeks at a time. I did have some people in my life and sporatic contact but I felt completely isolated and alone. A few years before that I spent my time acting out of chaos and hoping other people would recognize my real value - for years I drank, smoked and wasted myself on stupid things that I actually thought  made me look confident. I was invested in nothing and was delusional enough to pretend all my pretense was everything that made me worthwhile.

Back then I never would have thought I'd have the opportunity to go places, meet people, take classes, work out and lose weight (okay, that still hasn't happened yet), let alone painting the work I'm painting now - for the first time in my life I feel reasonably free. I'm not constrained by a family that never wanted me to begin with, I'm not hollowed out by a broken heart any longer, my art work is big and bold and expressive. Because I'm not hiding or hidden away, because I've taken charge, set goals and am the most active participant in my own life - I feel independant and stronger than I've ever felt. 

So, as I sat there at Foo answering questions and handing out volunteer info, chatting with a charming 16 year old and watching the drunken revelers march by I realized (and this may be premature) but I feel my life may be developing into the life I always wanted.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sat. 8/13

Banging my head against the wall today thinking "what more can I do?", "who do I talk to now?", "how do I get where I want to/need to be?" I've got to bump up my art, I've got to get much further ahead with my art and sales.....what am I missing, where do I go to make this work?
The opening at UGLY was highly successful but all I can think is: what about September, then October, then November - there has to be more, I have to have goals and I have to reach them but I don't know how to get there from here....
I am going to New Yrk in a few weeks to learn a few neighborhoods and scout out galleries. That may be the start of the next step, I really hope so.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday 08/11 - 11:30ish

Just got back from the opening at UGLY Gallery and I cannot believe what an outstanding night it was. I met I don't know how many people - all ages, from all over (Providence to Boston), artists, politicians, gallery and business owners and a number of people who have come back to see the show for the 2nd and 3rd time.  Absolutely phenominal. And I have to say the level of understanding of art and artwork from this audience, the New Bedford audience, is something I haven't seen before. Normally people want to see what they know and what they've been told is good -  tonight I met well over 100 people who were thrilled to see new ideas. I even met people on the street who bought some of my prints! The whole night was extremely exciting. I feel completely validtaed.

A few high points:
  • Being told that my character Sassy Frassy was a spot on depiction of "I do what I want" "don't tell me what to be" attitude by several people
  • Being asked for Sassy Frassy t-shirts and stickers
And this may be juvenile and boastful but I am particularly appreciative to have been told:
  •  that I "put UGLY on the map tonight" by someone I respect    
  • that this is "the best show in New Bedford" by an artist who's work I admire
  • and that I have earned street cred........so cool.
This was an extremely successful night - it was definately something I never ever would have expected.

08/11 Okay.... show is up.......now what?

The sky was absolutely stunning last night - big fluffy clouds the tops outlined in striking white light, a deep, dark blue sky, clear view of the 3/4 moon. Absolutel stunning. Watching moon light give roof tops  around downtown filled me with that snese of magic you only get a couple times a year - that feeling when everything has the potential to be exceptional.

Last night the boys finished hanging at UGLY - my side looks STUNNING. The work is perfectly paced and just the right height off the floor. Love the show but ow I'm thinking "now what???!!!" I don't have anything else booked...anywhere. RK Projects out of Providence expressed interest in coming to my work/live studio in October, there's 2 open studios coming up in Sept and Oct. but the goal is New York. The goal has always been New York. I don't want to dilly dally much longer but I don't know how to get from here to there - I don't even know where to go if I were to simply go there on an exploratory trip. Taking my work to NY isn't like going into deep forest and tromping around in the wilderness without a compass or food but where do artists go to have their work seen??? I'm far less intimidated by forest than I am by making steps to make steps to reach this one particular goal.

Last night, after the walk I came back to the Cave [de la Hermitage] and started going thru stuff to throw out - I came across a bunch of photos. Some are of my son at age 2, some of he and his pals at ages 12, 13 and 14, some are of a show I did with Nancy Cole 5, 6 years ago . I was struck by how much my work and I have changed. Although physically I was solid (which I'm not anymore), my work was much more....decorative than it is now. I always thought my work  was outstanding and now I can see it was...not bad but certainly not on the same level it is now - explosive, complex, intricate and FULL of emotion. I think I've become the painter I always hoped I would be. But where do I go from here? NOW what?

 Maybe I should just enjoy being in UGLY for a day but I can't. I have to keep moving forward but which way forward - I need a direction.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Contact info -

To see more work b Beck Lane please visit the website at: www.becklane.com

Or visit me on FB: Beck Lane, artist http://www.facebook.com/people/Beck-Lane-Artist/100002159828818

Or email:becklane42@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pictures 08/09

I feel fortunate that I can work as fast as I do. For the most part, and unless I'm sick, I don't have to hesitateor mull over my ideas - I just act. "Please." the painting posted, is a good example of how I work. I laid the ground a few weeks ago, made 8 or 9 other paintings, worked on some pen and ink illustrations, got work ready for UGLY and then last night about 6:30 started working on "Please". I walked my dog, visited with a new friend and gotten enough work done on it so I was laying down watching a documentary by 10:30pm. This morning I got up, made some coffee and had the painting completed by 11 am. I feel extremely fortunate - last night Bugsy, Tiger Jack and I were choking on spray can fumes but I got EXACTLY what I wanted out the painting and the paint:

Tuesday 08/09

Man on a wire, I am tired....can't seem to get enough energy together to make it thru the day.This last week has been a particularly painful week and I've started to notice numbness spreading and deepening in my body - one of the effects of RSD and something I'm getting used to. Numbness, constant pain,blah, blah, blah.

A couple of years ago, when I first starting to develop serious RSD symptoms, I didn't really understand what was happening - I was becoming weak, I had trouble walking, talking, breathing, digesting food, sometimes my eye sight would go hay wire, sometimes I would be completely overcome with pain exhaustion and end up sleeping all day. Now I'm kinda used to it. I'm not saying I accept the limitations RSD has afforded me but I am getting accustomed to not being able to feel my feet and  legs, I'm getting used to the humming in my hands, the mild seizure spells, etc. I don't want to accept any of this but I don't see any other there way to live with an illness of this magnitude. Like an abusive spouse - I can't fight back, the illness only hurts me more. And, like living with an abusive spouse, I know when to tread lightly, what's going to trigger this and how best to avoid any trouble....until it gets bored and won't let me avoid trouble any longer.

I am so, so tired.

Monday, August 8, 2011


I've done the best i can to get ready for UGLY today - working on my goals and finishing work till last night. Today I'm off to help hang and price the work. There's a plethora of new work done specifically for this show and this gallery. Colorful, full of energy, big, explosive, emotional, smaller work full of power and everything from canvas' to work on drywall panels to skateboards and found wood. There's  black and white prints as well as one of a kind prints with acetate over lays matted and ready to hang. I think I've got a wide variety, I think I can be proud. However, I still have a hundred ideas ready to go to fill the gallery again....

Anyway, I'm off to the gym later. Don't really want to go but if I don't I'll lose strength, stamina and focus. Plus, I feel like I've put on ten pounds in 4 days. I feel mushy and gross. Can I just be skinny now?....I've been asking that my whole life.

Oh well, off we go....

Sunday, August 7, 2011

08/07 - Kitty

Yesterday was a wonderful day - First, David and Jeremiah from UGLY came and picked up work for next week's show. They're both incredibly nice, conciderate, respectful, professional men. I appreciate having met them and how they're including me at UGLY but we're limited because of the size of the work and the size of their gallery - I have a 16' section, a lot of my recent paintings are 4' x 4'...oops. But, I know, they'll make it all work, they always do.

Second, Tiger Jack, my lil kitty had to be taken to the vet. He has worms. Yuck. BUT after the visit, instead of just heading home, dropping him off and then taking Bugsy for a walk in the woods - we all went. Bugsy, Tiger Jack and me. I don't think Tiger had ever been in the woods before but, once he got the hang of our walk, he trotted along like a pro. He wasn't afraid, he didn't cower, he kept moving and exploring ( as much as he could at the end of a leash). He ate grass adn tried to catch butterflies and looked at everything but he aslo just kept moving.

He's such a remarkable  little man - he's only 4 years old, he's had an unstable life but here here he is with me trotting along with a mountain of confidence. My little kitty boy is a wonder to me.


I'm a little frustrated - I've been trying to lose wieght for the since January and I not only havn't lost an ounce I've gianed 20. I workout, watch what I eat very, very carefully but I still don't get anywhere. When I was a kid, my family had me convinced that I was fat, too fat to live. Going back thru family photos - I get to see I wasn't that big. I was no bigger than the rest of them, all right maybe a little, but certainly not obese. Till I was about 38 I walked around believing I had no right to be alive because I was just so over the top fat. Now that they're all gone I can see things a little clearer, and I am big, but I'm stuck at in the size range they had me convinced I was as a kid.  At 48 I've realized I want to be the best version of me I can, NOT my family's worst version of who they want me to be.

I don't know why I'm writing about this - maybe because I don't know what else to write about. Myabe because I do feel particularly gross today, maybe because I have an opening coming up and I wanted to look and feel better for it asnd my wieght is of particular embarrassment to me. I know I'm in a lot of pain again today, have been all week, and that's not helping - my legs and feet don't want to work which leaves me sitting on my bum...my ever expanding bum. Hopefully my legs will calm down and I can go to the gym in a bit - just like writing this blog, updating my FB page with new work and updating my webpage, excercise is something I can put off. Not that I don't love excercise, I feel fortunate that I can walk at all but it's just so incredibly painful. I believe we try to avoid pain...

Better take a shower first, haven't done that in days - again, it's just so painful.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I can't figure out which is worse - being trapped in my head or being trapped in my fortress of a live/work space. I can't seem to get out of either easily and without a lot of trepidation.

My neighbors keep me from wanting to exit my house, the Cave de la Hermitage, because of the level of insanity they cause on the outside and I can't leave my head because of the level of insanity on the inside - my ideas and the want to produce keep me in.  But I'm not always sure the ideas are so good that I should only restrain my thinking to what I see in my head.

I have a couple paintings/illustrations I feel driven to do but they're not coming out right, they're not saying whatIi want them to say and I'm worried about how the could be perceived. Not that aything I say has any importance or anyone will really notice but it matters to me what something I produce could been imaged to mean. I am in love with a couple ideas but they've also got me stymied now because they could be perceived as meaning something  insulting even thought the intent behind the work is not. Oh well. I think I'm going to scrap the original(s) and try again - maybe I'll get something better. I'm not that attached to the renditions I have anyway.

The neighbors are another thing. I feel trapped in my Cave because of them. I have every right in the world to hold myself in my head but they have no right to make things so uncomfortable that people are relucttant to leave their own dwellings. The law that protects people from feeling unsafe and trapped is called "Quiet enjoyment".  Quiet enjoyment law holds the landlord responsible for keeping  the rental property clean, well maintained and peaceabe. If he or she does not, they can be held legally responsible for loud tenants, mice, bed bugs, stuctural problems, etc They are all issues that the landlord and his company are obliged to maintain and manage or, as the law says, they are "interfering with tenants quiet enjoyment".

Conversly, it is also my responsibilty to apply quiet enjoyment to my own being before things crumble. Clean house, keep my head clear, throw away bad ideas, meditate on new ones and or try scrapping freshening up old ideas - those are my responsibilities to my work. I can't hang on told old, stale ideas and methods or my head and the situation will turn sour.

All right, that's enough of that. It's been a bizarre week - time to take on doing the best I can today and get rid of crap that's just making me feel trapped.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sassy Frassy

I just love her. She expresses how I feel most of the time - perfectly.

08/03 Wed.

A lot going on this week - getting ready for show at UGLY, trying to get started on skateboard designs and getting ready for court on Fri. I could already fill amuseum with work so is actually set but I watnt to finish up 3 more and have at least 2 skateboards done so we have more fresh from off the baker's rack options. However, the skateboards for Thuro aren't started - I'm not used to working on such a tiny surface so I'm a little disjointed.

For Thuro and UGLY I've been working on board designs using a little character I call Sassy Frassy but I don't know how well received she would be - she's based on a lil black doll I bought last year. My ideas could be misconstrued as rascist if I'm not careful with my presentation and if I don't clearly convey what I mean to say. Althpugh my intent is to express a smart ass attitude and a little anger th character is black and I'm not sure it's always perceived as a good idea for middle age white ladies to draw little black children in as a character......I'm afraid my actual intention could be lost in preassumed perception but Sassy Frassy is someone I can't get out of my head - along with Sissy Prissy Sassy's white, mousey counter part. We shall see.

And then there's court. I'm taking my landlord to court on Fri. It's something I've been extremely hesistant to do but he's made it abundantly clear that he's not going to take responsibility and fix things around here unless he's held accountable by someone of authority.  I'm tired of all the problems on the property - mice, rats, street people, drugs, leaky pipes, leaky roof, etc. Thru his excuses and procrastination, he's made it clear he has no intention of actually managing his own property on his own so off we go.

Oh, and to end on an up note - my book illustrations are coming along. Should be done in the next few days. I will start posting them as soon as I have a bit more work done. I'm really happy with the rework - hopefully this is the last time till I find a publisher!......? Gulp. That shouldbe an extrordinarily stressful process.......please keep your fingers crossed.