Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Please Stand Clear of the Doors...

Hey, remember me? I know it's been ages since I've blogged. Those of you who like my facebook page have seen some of my posts bitching about the painting from hell. Yeah, yeah, I know you've heard that from me before. Anyway, I've been slaving away on this one painting for that long!

I'd had this picture of the monorail in Epcot sitting in my prospective painting folder since last year and just couldn't get up the courage to do it. Honestly, I figured I never would because it just seemed a little too complicated and I could foresee all the many different ways I could screw it up. But, after tackling so many difficult paintings this year, each one more challenging than the next, I found some nerve and tried my hand at it. (hehe, tried my hand)

I started out with a bang, by choosing the wrong size canvas and completely ruining it with a sketch...That one will be thrown to my sacrificial art pile!

Here's the sketch on the correct size canvas...

That's when I realized just how much harder this painting was. Besides being so tricky getting the monorail perspective right, painting it was the worst. With so many intricate colors, I could only do a little section at a time. Talk about painstaking, de-motivating and soul crushing!

Can you tell I was putting off painting the monorail?

And finally, drum roll please.........................

"Please Stand Clear of the Doors"
24" x 36" original acrylic painting on canvas

Dabbing that last paintstroke never felt so good! During the end, my mom was over working on her longstitch while I painted, and the 2 of us were crabbing away like Statlor & Waldorf about our art. It was very cathartic :-)

And now, I'm thinking black and white. I'm so sick of mixing colors!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Station Road

Cuyahoga Valley National Park - Pic taken from Station Road Bridge

My favorite place on earth is the Station Road Bridge area in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (favorite non-Disney or Hawaii place, that is ;-). It's my usual water stop on runs on the Towpath and is absolutely gorgoeous. It is also where some Occupy Wallstreeters attempted to bomb it as part of their protest in May 2012...(http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-05-01/bridge-bomb-plot/54661638/1
Had they succeeded, they would have had hell to pay from me with messing up my path!

 (Note, the bridge in the picture is actually not the Station Road Bridge...below is the Station Road Bridge...which is where I was standing to take the above picture)

I've run under those metal beams countless times

Anyway, I wanted to have some non-cartoon paintings for my Grumpy's exhibit, so I decided to try to tackle Station Road, using the above picture.

 And finally......

Station Road
22" x 28" original acrylic painting on canvas

This might be my Iron Man painting...I don't think I'm going to be able to part with it!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Night Run & Late Halloween Recap

I know it's a bit late, but here's a review of Halloween! The Turtle and I recently started watching the Walking Dead, and have both developed crushes on the character, Daryl, (me more so then him)

Mmm...mmmm.. Look at those eyes!

So, when the Turtle decided to dress up like him for Halloween, I was all for it! My 2 favorite men combined into one? Who would pass that up? I was more than happy to help him make his costume!

We bought a cheap sleeveless running tech shirt from Target's clearance rack, then cut it down the front to make it into Daryl's leather vest. Then I cut out an angel wing on cardboard to trace onto the back of the shirt. After using half a bottle of white acrylic paint...the wings were ready for lift off! I also flecked white paint onto the back to give it a kind of aged leather look.

For the final touches, I spray painted black a Nerf cross bow (Daryl's weapon of choice) and made 3 zombie ears out of cardboard to string on a necklace that Daryl wore in 1 episode.

Ta da!

zombie ear necklace

The Turtle's work had a Halloween party I was all excited to dress up as Tinkerbell for...but it was over before I got out of work. Not that I let that stop me from dressing up! Disney is encouraging people to tweet them pics of you showing your 'Disney side', and I was more than happy to oblige!

I can have a Halloween party all by myself!

Finally, this week my paranoia/hypochondria got the best of me and I scheduled a last minute skin cancer screening with the dermatologist (everything checked out fine!)...which meant a chance for RRB and I to charge up the headlamps and head out for a night run! We haven't gotten the chance to do this since I moved away!

And it was all great fun, until somebody got hurt. RRB rolled his ankle on a tree root, which is always my greatest fear when we run trails, day or night! Hopefully, he'll heal up quick so we can get back out there next time I visit!

Monday, November 4, 2013

2013 Towpath Half Marathon Recap

The Towpath Half finally took place on Sunday, November 3, after the government shutdown put the kabosh on the original October 13 date.

After spending weeks obsessively checking the weather and planning how to dress, I spent last week watching the forecasted low drop by 1 degree each day the race drew nearer. And this gave me an excuse to find crazy color combinations for my layers!

By some crazy alignment of the stars, my brother's family's schedule was clear and I managed to talk him and the kids into running the 10k. I was super excited since we didn't get to have our usual pre-race slap-happiness for the Air Force this year with the whole traffic debacle. Score!

Sunday actually turned out to be gorgeous! It was a bit nippy in the morning, but I never needed to use the handwarmers I'd bought. My gabbing with my new porta-potty line friend must have warmed me up, (and man was the line long!) My feet and fingers did end up going numb though, and didn't thaw out until about the 3rd mile...so maybe I should have!

And then I saw her.... For weeks I'd been stressing about competing with the "wench" who beat me in the Ten Miler in June (who, coincidentally, stumbled on my review of the 10 Miler...woops..if you're reading this I meant it in the most complimentary way! It means your fast!) I knew she would more than likely be there and I dreaded the idea of running 13.1 feeling like I was being chased or chasing her. Memories of racing RRB to the death  in the 2008 Towpath Half still haunt me. I'll never forget seeing how close he was behind me at the turnaround that day, and imagining him breathing down my neck for the remaining 5 miles...(I won!) We've sworn never to enter the same race ever again. I feared that thats what yesterday would become.

"Run your own race, Tink", I kept repeating to myself. Ha, like I'd buy that garbage for a second.

I'm thrilled. Really.

Anyway, she showed up at the start line and I felt my stomach drop. Grrrrrrreeeeeeeeat. I wished her good luck and she said she wasn't going to be competing with me. This is when the start of an entire 13.1 of delirium began. I thought she meant she wasn't planning on trying to beat me, ya know, to take it easy. It didn't occur to me until the race results came up and I couldn't find hers that she was wearing a 10K bib. We weren't even in the same race!!!!!! Ohhhh... information that would have been so useful to me at the time.

So, the bell went off a min or 2 after 8 and off we went!

I'm especially proud of my tights/sock combo

Mile 1: I pass my nemisis and then she passes me and takes the f off in the first half mile. She put so much distance between us I was actually relieved. There'd be no way to catch her so I could just forget about it. Then 2 more women pass me...After a quick age check, I was cool. They were definitely a group or 2 above me so go on ahead..Knock yourself out by sprinting the first mile dumbasses, (like I'm one to talk!)

Mile 2: My left foot is so numb the ball is starting to really hurt with each step. Please God, please make it just be cold and not an actual problem! A quick Our Father and some begging and I tried to ignore it. Then I attempted to subtract 2 from 13.... that was a fun game. I was pretty sure it was 11 by the 3rd mile.

Mile 3: Man, I can't wait for this thing to be over! Shit, usually this thought doesn't hit me til around mile 8...well this is certainly going to be a fun run. At least my feet and hands have thawed.

Mile 4: Mile 4? Mile 4? Bueller? What do all races have against Mile Marker 4? I never ever see them! Approach signs for the Akron Marathon....ummm...maybe I'm not in the right place afterall...

Mile 5: Get so excited as I reach the clearing where my mom is waiting. I toss my gloves at her as she takes my picture...and she is so intent on getting the shot that she doesn't notice the gloves flying at her.

Mile 6: See Aid Station signs....no aid station. Lies! All lies!

Mile 7-8: Feeling good, pass a sign that says "You're running better than the government!" Awesome! Run under the Station Rd. Bridge, which is the subject of my next painting, as I approach the turnaround.

Mile 9-11: And then it allll falls apart. I see at the turnaround that there's an ok gap between me and 2 women, and then a huge one until the next. And none of these women are near my age. I'm pretty sure I'm in 3rd place overall female, 2nd in my division at this point..with no hope of catching Ms. Nemisis. So, I can just put it on cruise, right?

Not so fast, says my lungs. That would be just too easy. Suddenly, I notice that I can't get enough air. My throat feels closed up and I can't take deep breaths. WTF. I can barely breathe. Did I suddenly develop asthma? Ever since September, I have battled off and on with this problem, whether running inside or outside. Never in my life have I had allergy issues so bad than this year.

Also working against me? Friday night I took a knee to the face when my neice and nephew decided to wrestle their Auntie T. 2 minutes after the attack, blood was dripping from my nose and teeth (not that you could tell from looking at me today, hmph)...so I had some decent swelling going on in my nose too!

I got my ass kicked by an 8 yr old

Mile 12: The battle for air continues. I'm so proud of myself for making it through this far. My speed has slowed down to between 7:15-7:40 pace, depending on when I get a good stretch of oxygen. As I finish the. longest. mile. ever., I think happily about how I have almost 2 full months ahead of me until the Disney Half. 2 wonderful months when I don't have to torture myself with 13.1. Oh, race delirium is a wonderful thing.

Mile 13: I see the crowd as I come out of the trees and am ecstatic when I see the clock read 1:36:00! I forgot we started late! Here I was thinking I'd be coming in a full 2 minutes slower. Wahoo!

Finally! Now give me some cookies!

Finish time: 1:36:15, 3rd woman overall! And totally squashed my age group. The woman who came in 1st in my age group finished a full 10 minutes after me. Shweeeeeeeeet!

When they called my name for 3rd place, I was thrilled! I've never placed in the Top 3 overall in a Half before! This was sooo beyond anything I ever expected! I can count on 3 fingers how many times I've happy cried in my whole life, and 2 of them have to do with races....this was one of them.

Annnnnd, my 2008 record for the Half in the 20-24 division still stands for another year. Mwahahahaha!

Yesterday was a good day :-)

Meanwhile......The woman who won overall will be in my age division next year.... a new nemisis emerges!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Borgas Shmorgas

Who doesn't love the Swedish Chef? And what better place to have him displayed than at a restaurant? Here's his debut:

......and then I decided to repaint everything I'd already done because I thought he was boring and needed more shading for depth. Cue the swearing...

Ok, now I can breathe, much better.

And finally...........

18" x 24" original acrylic painting on canvas

Next up, I'm paying a tribute to my favorite place, the Towpath, where I will be freezing my ass of this Sunday in the Towpath Half Marathon. Yippee!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Iron Man

A recent dinner at Grumpy's gave me the chance to size up my soon-to-be-display space even further, (and gave me an excuse to try the most delicious pasta ever). Upon further inspection, I decided I would need a few tall paintings to throw in the mix. Which got me to realize that most of my paintings are wide loads, and not tall glasses of water. OMG, what did I just write.

Anyway, I spent the rest of dinner trying to come up with ideas for tall, narrow paintings and thought this would be the perfect opportunity to appeal to my male audience and show that I don't just paint princesses, butterflies and unicorns
(tho, ha! I haven't done a unicorn yet......but that is a good idea....).

Trying to think of stuff the Turtle would like hanging on a wall of a mancave (have I mentioned there's a light sabor hanging on our living room wall?), I came up with a few ideas and first up is Mr. Tony Stark himself.

I give you, Iron Man:

 A few years ago, I discoverd I have a nack for sketching robots. On a whim, I sketched Master Chief as a birthday gift for the Turtle and was surprised at the result. While robots don't exactly inspire me, they can be pretty easy to do (at least for me), because I can look at it as just a bunch of straight lines instead of curving, swirling fairytale whisps. Robots are pretty black and white, and you can forget the big picture of what you're trying to be drawing and just isolate it, line by line.

I painted black over the pencil so I wouldn't lose my lines if I smeared color when doing the yellows and reds

And finally.....

"Iron Man"
18" x 24" original acrylic painting on canvas

The Turtle is already begging me to overprice it so no one will buy it and he can have it all to himself. He's also threatened to poke a hole in Iron Man's chest and put a real light there. I'm going to have to keep my eye on him!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Sunset on Cinderella's Castle

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm going to have about a dozen paintings displayed at a local Cleveland cafe this winter. It took me hours to come up with the perfect idea for the main piece that would be in the center and really sum up who I am as a painter and where I'm coming from. It didn't take long for me to choose Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World..and then I realized this will be my 3rd piece showcasing my favorite building in the world.

I knew I wanted it to be big and colorful to really catch the eye and be the 1st thing you see when you walk into the restaurant. I went with a 30" x 40" canvas, and upon beginning the sketch was reminded of just how much more work and how much more difficult painting on bigger canvases is...

Wine bottles make the best iPad stands

Here's how it turned out....

I wanted to make the castle as uncartooney as I could (well, for me), so I tried to sketch in as much detail as I could stand. The plan was to sketch in EVERY detail of EVERYTHING: trees, bridges, water...but after the Castle, I lost patience.

And finally..............

"Cinderella's Castle at Sunset"
30" x 40" original acrylic painting on canvas

I'm so happy with how it turned out, I think its my best castle yet! And I feel immensely relieved to have my piece de resistance complete for my Grumpy's show. Phew! This took me almost a month to do from start to finish! Plenty more to come as I continue cranking them out!