Monday, March 17, 2008

looking for my mojo

I'm back. It's been a weird few weeks without my window on the world but now, finally, I have a new (to me) laptop, far less thrashed than the previous, so hopefully it has a long future as my right-hand man. I had no idea how much of what I do requires specific files and programs! It's not the latest MacBook, but meh! I don't really have a choice as I get my huband's office hand-me-downs, so I'm pleased as anything to have a laptop period, let alone a sturdy workhorse like this (IBM ThinkPad T60).

One thing I noticed in my absence (and, truthfully, beforehand as well) is that I have stopped thinking like a blogger. You know how, when you're posting frequently (or at least regularly), you start sifting your experiences through this kind of blogger's lens? If you're objective enough I think it makes you a better blogger. If you lose it it can be hell getting it back. Works that way with painting, too.

Speaking of which, I have started a new series of large paintings (more on imagery later) in which I'm trying out a few new ideas. Here I am adding some collage elements to the one I'm currently duking it out with. I also bought some lino-cutting supplies (this stuff is perfect for my needs) and am creating stamps to use for background patterning. The results are irresistably unpredictable and irregular -- kind of like blogging once you've lost your mojo. (D'oh!)

On the business side of art, I decided to try a new approach to marketing that has been somewhat less-than-successful. It occurred to me that a lot of lovingly-restored older houses on Vancouver's west side might like to have their portraits painted, so I had these cards printed up to drop into the boxes of likely candidates. Last week, in posh Kerrisdale, I test drove my idea. I avoided homes with front gates as the message there is pretty obvious, but at one house the gate was left open and I had a clear shot at the mail slot in the door. So I did the dirty deed and was halfway down the block when a woman came storming out the door, marched up the path and slammed the gate shut so hard my teeth rattled. Guess I won't be getting any of her custom.

Without a laptop at my beck and call, and when not working, I have mostly been carrying on with my conventional suburban routine of playing traffic cop to active boys, going to the gym, etc., but I also rediscovered The Printed Word. It started when I read two novels in two days (by Ian McEwan and Pat Barker) and has continued with Michael Chabon (thanks to a glowing recommendation from Girl Work Studios -- she was even generous enough to let me borrow The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) though I've had to take a recess to go back to Barker and McEwan as three books I ordered just came through at the library.

Finally, today is a day of celebration for this blog. The post-with-the-most, Andrea Needs Help Finding Stalker Songs, finally got its 100th comment! It's not all Andreas (mostly, though) and about a half dozen of them are from me but still, I feel all happy and such (as Adam would say) anyway.


Blogger Hayden said...

I absolutely understand what you mean by the "blogger mojo" - the main reason I blog is because it forces me to think clearly (or try to) in a very short format - to capture an idea or a moment - a verbal snapshot. When I'm writing I think differently. When I'm not writing, or when the writing isn't where I want it to be, I blog. It's an exercise that forces attention.

Glad to see you back!

17/3/08 7:00 p.m.  
Blogger dinahmow said...

Welcome back (Kotter?)!
Yes, blogging, like short newspaper articles, certainly trains the brain.

Now I have to get out of here and do some serious artwork!

17/3/08 7:42 p.m.  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

Please tell me you brought the painting in from your studio to your living space to work on it.

Interesting painting support.

17/3/08 8:16 p.m.  
Blogger Casdok said...

Blogger mojo. I like that!

18/3/08 2:32 a.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...

Ah so that's what a blogger is meant to do... I don't think I've ever got the hang of that... but then maybe that is the whole key... I make art but I'm not an artist... I blog but I'm not a blogger... oooh... thank you!

18/3/08 3:49 a.m.  
Blogger Michelle said...

Glad you are back!!! Hey, how about taking out an ad in the welcome wagon thingy (do you have welcome wagon in Ca.?)

18/3/08 5:55 a.m.  
Blogger Melody said...

Welcome back...I have soooooo missed reading your blog.

18/3/08 6:09 a.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

Hayden: I totally agree with the 'forces you to think clearly' idea. Sometimes I think I've got a good idea but when I try and articulate it it just sounds like so much drivel. It's like a screening process for the brain.

Dinah: I'm glad someone's serious...

Jan: Interesting painting support? It's just your standard-issue 36x36x1.5 canvas.

Casdok: You have it!

Caroline: It's all just semantics -- if you remember that it won't even enter your head.

Michelle: We used to -- haven't heard about it in donkey's years, though.

Melody: Thank you!

18/3/08 6:32 a.m.  
Blogger Within Without said...

Super interesting stuff, Andrea, about the blogger mojo (I love that word; every time I see it or use it, I think of Austin Powers and laugh).

Often, I feel like I don't have that BM...but I still find myself thinking about things to post about.

Only when I get really motivated and feel like I can rattle something off in 10 minutes (well, except for the damn pix) am I posting any more.

Glad to see you back and up and running. Personally, I loved the creativity and ingenuity with your door-to-door house project...hope it works!

And I'm comment 101 on your songs post...

18/3/08 7:54 a.m.  
Blogger HMBT said...

Glad your back, I've missed you!!!!
You'll get your mojo back and I can't wait to see your new works, it sounds interesting to say the least. :)

18/3/08 10:30 a.m.  
Blogger nadine said...

Hateful gate slamming woman... What is with some people? Well, not to worry, I think it is a great idea, AND, I finally took some pics of my house for you just a few days ago! Now that you have your fancy new laptop up and running I will email them to you later today with some size ideas :-)
Your collaging position has me worried though. I hope you're ending your session with a good backward bend ;-)

18/3/08 10:48 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Blogging helps tap into creativity for me, and organizes my thoughts.

And congrats on the new computer - looks sharp.

18/3/08 1:27 p.m.  
Blogger Donn said...

Your floor is so nice and clean.

To paraphrase Bill Murray in Caddy Shack,
"If you want to Blog you need to think like a Blogger..
you need to BE the Blogger."

Then you can say, "So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

18/3/08 1:52 p.m.  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

I was looking at your short little table or easel that it is on. But the floor is so clean! Is that your studio or living space?

18/3/08 2:37 p.m.  
Blogger andrea said...

WW: Yah, baby! (And I haven't given up the idea quite yet...)

HMBT: I can only hope. :)

Nadine: Good poinat about my back! Fortunately it only took 5 minutes to do that part and I look forward to the email.

Citizen: Yes on both counts. I especially like the organizing my thoughts part.

Donn (not just you): Shut up already about the floor! It's ugly, scarred and paint-splattered linoleum (not there -- under the easel), but I just went through a dry period creatively so it was actually washed about a month ago. I have no idea why it looks shiny because it ain't. Soon I'll be getting these sanctimonious comments on how I must have no life beacuse my floors are clean. My job here is not to make others feel better about themselves. :)

Jan: See Donn.

18/3/08 2:50 p.m.  
Blogger Molly said...

Howdy stranger. It is nice to see you back online. I'm having many of those same thoughts about blogging. I've been thinking about somehow changing my habits, either giving it up altogether, modifying my posting habits, something in order to rediscover what got me blogging in the first place. I have plenty of ideas, but they loom large, and I think there are certain people who like to read blogs to be entertained, and less who like to actually read long blog posts. And like I said before, I'm way off original direction.
As for you, look, there's a picture with proof that you are and have been painting! I really like the idea of doing home portrait commissions; I thought the same about doing dog portraits, when you painted Zappa. And don't give up too easily, you may have to pound the pavement to get a few commissions, but it might be worth it.
You're always cleaning, so I'm not surprised the rest of us are impressed that we can't see the dust bunnies.
Just like Christmas, a new computer!

18/3/08 8:14 p.m.  
Blogger Caroline said...


19/3/08 1:09 a.m.  
Blogger Janvangogh said...

Okay, I see a smudge about 3 squares down from the edge of the canvas on the floor. You are human! :-)

19/3/08 5:31 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Andrea, I just had a super long period of non-blogging and know just what you mean about losing the mojo and not viewing things through the bloggers lens. I'm finding it more difficult to write than I thought but am posting photographs to help me feel my way back into it. A 'real' letter is coming to you soon ; ) love from the Kitewoman

23/3/08 10:05 a.m.  
Blogger Alda said...

Congrats on all of it - and welcome back!

Which McEwan book did you read, if I may ask?

26/3/08 3:41 a.m.  

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