Thursday, December 31, 2015

Out With The Old, In With The....

I don't know what it is about Father John Misty but I like it. I was listening to some internet radio station and a song came on and it made me stop what I was doing and listen. Odd because it's not my typical go to kind of music, but music is a lot like love, you can't explain it and the heart wants what the heart wants. If the music moves you then it must be good music.
We've finally reached the end of 2015 and are now awaiting a new year. Do you find it funny how some people think that just because it's a new number means everything will be different? Sure, I s'pose the turning of the calendar gives that psychological feeling of being able to start over again, but we have no control over the earth's rotation around the sun so why do so many people let it dictate how they live their lives? If you want to make a change don't wait until the clock strikes midnight on new year's eve, make the change when you're darn well ready. With that said I'll give you a rundown of my resolutions. I don't really have resolutions, they're more like an ongoing bucket list. First up I want to finish my book. Last year I started this notebook that has colour charts and information about colour and all sorts of art related info. I recently started organising it to turn into a book that makes sense. Not a book I plan on publishing and selling, just something that I started and want to finish for myself. Then I'm going to continue my quest to get rid of stuff. I started this year and have done really well with it. Donating stuff I don't use and getting rid of clutter. When you stay in the same place for awhile you tend to accumulate stuff and that's the bad part, it's just stuff. Stuff I don't need. Last, I want to go to at least five places that I've never been before. I accomplished that this year and hope to do the same next.
Watercolour sketch of my french dip
In order to ease you into your transition to the new year I give you this super easy French Dip recipe.
You only need to get three things at the store, four if you want cheese and five if you want a pickle on the side. Go to the deli and ask for top round roast beef sliced thin. If they don't have top round you can ask for whatever other cut you like. A pound is enough for four or five big sandwiches, unless you're feeding a family of ogres, then get four pounds. Get a package of hoagie rolls and a can of beef broth. Swiss cheese works nice on these and dill pickles too if you'd like. If you have a small crock pot this would be a good use for it. If not you can put the meat in a baking pan then pour the beef broth in and season to your liking. My liking is celery salt and onion powder. Heat at 350 for about 15 minutes, it's already cooked so you're just warming it up. Remove from oven, and make your sandwiches. Then take some of the broth from the pan and serve it in ramekins, or any other small serving dish you have, for dipping. So when you're all hung over from the festivities tonight and you have no energy to make a meal you can turn to this recipe. Seriously, it takes no effort.

Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness
The book I read this week, Everyone Loves You When You're Dead: Journeys Into Fame and Madness, by Neil Strauss. Neil Strauss has a pretty impressive resume. He also wrote an award winning book about his attempts at becoming a pickup artist. He's certainly accomplished but I can honestly say up until this book I've never read anything he's written. After this that will probably change. This book is just snippets of interviews he did with people. He presents them in a way that you feel like you're sitting down with a friend and he's just telling you a story. Except his stories are about famous people. And they're not stories like when Chunk said Michael Jackson stopped at his house and asked to use the bathroom. These short snippets of interviews say a lot. I didn't like The Strokes before and I really don't like them now. I don't care for their music and after I read the two pages of conversation between him and Julian Casablancas I realised, I don't like their music because this guy is a twat and that's exactly what I hear when his music comes on.  Strauss even interviewed David (Vernon) Koresh's girlfriend, Sandy Berlin. It actually made me laugh out loud. This girl kept talking about the strange things David was doing and how she didn't really believe he was a prophet and she even referred to him as a "baby Christian" as in he was really new to the religion and knew very little about it. But it wasn't until David wanted to take her to Waco in the trunk of his car that she thought he wasn't the right guy for her. It's simply an interesting read. You can see who buys into their own BS and you can see who really comes through as an honest artist. Some of the conversations are even inspiring. It's proof that you just have to ask the right questions. Here's to hoping we get to accomplish all of the things we want to in 2016. Have a safe and happy new year!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Stick It!

Sticky Fingers is a "reggae fusion/indie rock band".  Definitely not in my usual repertoire but not bad for something different to listen to.
Not that long ago I went to an art opening and had a great time. I got to chat with some of my friends who I haven't had a chance to chat with in a long time. One of my friends and I struck up a conversation about one of the pieces in the show. It was well done, but we both agreed it's not for us. It was one of those photorealistic type drawings. We discussed how we could appreciate the work involved but how uncreative it really is. Then we went further into how it would possibly make an artist feel trapped. If that's all you did, copy inch by inch, from a photograph, would you get any sort of fulfillment out of it after the tenth drawing you did, or would it eventually start to really feel like work?  We also agreed that this type of work is a great jumping off point to doing greater things. The thing is, the person has to want to do something different. Some people are comfortable being stuck in a rut, or they make it appear as if they do. Being stuck in a rut has a lot of negative connotations, it just doesn't sound like a place you'd want to be. The way I've always looked at it is, if you got yourself into the rut you can surely find your way out. Trust me. I was the kid who was never afraid to climb any tree, but once I got up there I could never figure out how to get back down. I was literally stuck. I was also not a cat so neither fireman nor Superman was going to rescue me so I had to find my way out. (Sometimes literally stuck too, don't ever climb a hemlock, or park your car under one they have some serious sap.)  Sometimes we find ourselves in ruts because we get comfortable. There's nothing wrong with being comfortable. Until being comfortable gets boring. Challenge yourself! If you like to cook try a new recipe. If you like to paint try a different medium. If you like music try a different instrument. Sure you may not like that new thing after you've tried it, but it should remind you of what you enjoyed about the old thing or inspire new ideas.  Just because you try something new doesn't mean you have to stick to it. Sometimes we get stuck simply because we don't know how to go forward. This is an easy fix, find someone who knows how and have them teach you how. Let's say you enjoy photography and you've found yourself stuck in your rut. You can stay there or seek out someone who's doing something different, something you like. Take lessons from them, educate yourself on how to better your photography skills. If you can't afford to pay someone to teach you then hit up your library and read some books for information. You could also search for photography clubs in your area. They probably won't give you free lessons but being around a group of people with similar interests, you're bound to pick up some new tips. Seriously, the possibilities are endless. Nobody should ever be stuck in a rut unless that's where they choose to be. 
This is a nice article to check out if you have time, The Real Reason You're Stuck in a Rut.
 One of her suggestions is to journal. I like this suggestion but it also scares me. I journal, especially when I travel. However, sometimes when I'm writing down my inner most thoughts I think, crap, what happens if I die tomorrow and someone finds all of these books, they'll think I was crazy. So if I die tomorrow, please burn all of my sketchbooks/journals before reading them.