Love, Lydia - Notes from a geeky, plus sized artist.: February 2014

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Days 50-56

Well everyone,

The past week has passed by in a blur, job applications sent off, resume tweaks for each one, being more active on Twitter, searching every job site I can think of, spending time with family, planning for either a trip to Virginia or Pennsylvania soon depending on some family news, looking for artistic opportunities, and continuing work on art pieces here and there.  Some of it is ridiculously boring, and some of it slightly less so.

Twitter for instance has been making a big change in how I'm communicating with people.  I've heard about a lot more local art shows and events through it.  In a few weeks of using it regularly I feel much more connected to what's going on in Raleigh, as well as Roanoke and Columbus!  Feel free to add me - @Lydiasdesigns

Highlights of this week include:

Celebrating my husband's birthday with his family
Searching for a snowy owl (failing, but getting the consolation prize of Girl Scout cookies!)
Getting our taxes done other than a W2 that's missing
Seeing the film Chico & Rita and the NC Museum of Fine Arts
Updating my computer OS from Snow Leopard to Mavericks (not sure what I think of all the changes!)
Completing 3 weeks of a health awareness regimen (which I hope to continue in the long term)
Joining the Raleigh Tabletop Roleplay group on (I went to their GM Fair last year, where Bryan GMed a game of Hackmaster, and we tried playing Traveler - a space exploring ame)

Since things have been moving slow I'll be getting a little more action in posting a special "Ask me anything" on Facebook tomorrow and will give results here on my blog later this week. Waiting til things calm down in my personal life to do this - 2/26/14.

Additionally here's an update on how "Bianca" is going:

Thanks and until next time!

Love, Lydia


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Days 43-49

Hello everyone,
Today I've been going through old notebooks.  I have a stack of them kept from about the time I started college.  There's some class notes, but a lot more in the way of personal notes and journal entries.  It's always interesting for me to revisit them.  I can see how I've changed, and how I've been impatient for all the things I thought I should have in the future.  Everything is always different from how you think it will be.  Being content and making the best of things as they happen is sometimes the best we can do.  I definitely have a lot on my mind right now, as you can probably see.

I'm going through some transitions in what I'm doing careerwise.  I've been applying to jobs daily and looking for more.  Some art related and some not at all.  My application to Penland is in and I'm waiting to hear back about that.  I'm still working on art, but not nearly as much of my time is going into it as I would wish.

Stay posted for updates, photos and new pieces are a bit delayed for now though!

Love, Lydia

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Days 39-42

Hello folks,

My weekend was filled with taking care of my poor sick husband...who had food poisoning or some other nasty illness.  I'm still not quite sure he's over it, but he's doing better at least.

Otherwise my Kickstarter is over, and as predicted in my last post didn't make its goal.  I'm ok with that, though it means a lot of hard work from me for the coming months.  I'll be keeping tabs on job openings, making art, and finding various ways to earn extra money on the side.  I've really already been doing these things, but will have a little more time to do them now.

On the side of good news I got my application for Penland School of Crafts in the mail today.  I'm so nervous about it, and hoping it will arrive in time even with all the snow and ice the weathermen are promising here.  I'm glad to have it off, and will be checking the tracking number at least twice a say until it makes it to their doorstep.

Bryan and I worked on our budget today, which is continuing to look good.  We have a long way to go before we can feel relaxed, but we're getting there, slowly but surely.  I look forward to having emergency money saved up and debts paid off, and we're closer to that each day.  In the next few weeks I'll do our taxes and hopefully we'll get a refund we can put towards our debt.  For some reason I really like doing my taxes.  I'm not sure if it's because I like the feeling of knowing they're completed or simply enjoy the process.  I think it might mean I'm a bit crazy either way.  haha

In book, news I read an article shared by a friend of mine via Facebook on Alternate History Novels.  I've loved this kind of book and idea for a while now, and have added many of the books from this list to my "To Read" section of  (If you're wondering, my "To Read" section is enormous...I'm always seeing great looking new books.  I can only hope to get around to them all.)  Right now I'm working on 1632 (Ring of Fire), which I got for free as a Kindle book.  I'm betting it's still free, and you can read it on most platforms with the free Kindle book app (computers, tablets, smartphones).  It's been interesting, and Bryan and I also decided to give Darwinia, The Aquiliad, and The Peshawar Lancers a try.  We got the physical books for those though.  While I like reading though Kindle it'll never be the same as having a book in hand.  I've also been working my way through the graphic novel series Y The Last Man, having finished number 6 out of 10 volumes.

Beyond all of that I've been continuing work on art pieces and should have at least one if not more completed pieces to show everyone in my next entry here.

Until next time.

Love, Lydia

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Days 37-38

Hi guys,

So, There's just one day left to my Kickstarter, and I think I can let you all in on one of the new projects I was talking about.  Really this is the biggest one that I've been working on this week.

I'm applying to take a summer course at Penland School of Craft.  I've been creating my scholarship/studio assistantship/workstudy application the past few days.  Today I completely revamped my resume, and have been calling in the folks I will use as references.  It's an exciting process, and I don't mind the work.  It feels good to be doing some solid work towards a goal.  I didn't know if the Kickstarter would work out, but this is something that I can handle.  I know I can get it done and sent, even on a tight schedule.  The application is due Monday the 17th, and if all goes well I'll have sent off everything on Tuesday the 11th.  Penland is here in North Carolina, but up in the mountains so it may need the time it will take to get there.  I'm applying to two different classes, one is a photography based course that would involve darkroom work, learning new techniques and ways of working that I think would go quite nicely with my collage work.  Some of which should be out of darkroom techniques that I can use existing negatives, photos, and digital files for.  The second class is a collage class that would survey a variety of techniques within the scope of collage, plus encaustics, and monotype printmaking.  (Monotypes are a printmaking process that creates a one time only printed impression or uses a base that will print fairly or even very differently each time it's used.)

I like the idea of both the classes, and honestly can't decide between the two.  The photography one has a possible assistantship, but no possibility of full scholarships.  The other could yield a full scholarship, but has no assistantship available.  Then both could have workstudy or partial scholarships, though that would mean I'd need to pay some portion as well.

So, it's exhilarating to see things come together, as taking a class at Penland is something I've had in mind for several years now.  Ever since one of my friends went and came back raving about how great it was I've been itching to go myself.  While she's not able to make it this year, I'm still happy to try for it on my own.  It'll be a fantastic way to meet some new people and shake things up with my own work.  A kick in the pants is just what I need!  haha

Other than all that I spent my evening with my husband and my brother in law, having dinner together and watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics.  While writing a letter of intent for Penland too of course.  It felt like college all over again...not that I mind!  I've also been working on the "Bianca" piece too, but at the moment I'm not rushing it with the Penland app unfinished.  I was still able to enjoy the ceremony, and I always love seeing each country's Olympiads carrying in their flags.  The nods to great Russian artists throughout the production were great to see as well.  I just hope we've seen the last of the failures to finish preparations in time so that all will run smoothly for the games.  I always look forward to watching them, and this year I've got lots of willing family members to get together and watch with.  I think my biggest problem is wanting to see all the events and only having so much time for viewing.  As a kid I loved the figure skating routines, but I grew to love pretty much all the winter sports as the years went by.  Do you all have favorite events or do you like all of them equally?

Until next time!

Love, Lydia

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Days 32-36

Hello dear readers,

Over the past few days I've been hard at work promoting my Kickstarter -  Any help spreading the word and getting pledges in would be fantastic!  Things are close to the end, but haven't progressed too far.  However, as I said in an earlier post I'm not giving up hope on accomplishing my goal of creating at least one piece per week.  It will just be a harder later in the year if I end up getting another job to go with it.

In any case I've got lots of works in progress, the character portrait, which is to be titled "Bianca" is progressing nicely.  And I'm also working on a couple of other projects, but I'm keeping them under wraps at the moment.  Once I get done with the Kickstarter I'll probably be able to mention more.  I feel like I'm being very secretive this past week, and I'm kind of sorry, but most of it is just having a lot to do, and being more of a private person in general.  I do have things to share with you all, they just don't always flow out of me steadily.  Also, sometimes my life is a bit boring.  I keep busy making stuff, and do housewife stuff.  (All the while planning crazy trips to new places and scheming to make things happen which may or may not ever pan out)  At least I dream big!

So, going on to the next topic.   I was thinking earlier today and wondering what music people favor when they're working on creative projects.  I'd love to hear from you all about particular songs or albums that you've found helpful or inspiring.  I'm always looking for more new music and have found that lately I'm listening to a lot of the same thing.  I have a lot of music, but am looking for some new perspective too.  So please hit me with your best shots!  As for me, lately I've found Fleet Foxes album Helplessness Blues to be pretty inspiring and I'm starting to get into the latest Avett Brothers album as well.  They're rather similar in feel, so they don't cover all the moods I need music for while working, but are good for many occasions.

Beyond my creative work I've also been working on health plans and such to keep up with my goals there.  I've been keeping track of my food intake and monitoring it to see how it compares to what my ideals are....and was surprised to find I'm not quite as great at estimating everything I'm doing.  Some days I'm great, but other days I don't realize at all!  So I'll be keeping up with tracking things for a while longer until I see more permanent changes in my habits and choices.  I'm trying to keep things vague here because I don't like talking about numbers, it gets to being very specific to an individual person and I don't want to make anyone's ideas any worse than our society is already making them.  I'm also keeping up with exercises, between dance games on the Wii, yoga, walking, and doing a challenge focused on squats.  The biggest thing I'm looking for is getting more energy and feeling better.  Over the past couple years I've had a very noticeable dip in my energy levels, which is partially due to some thyroid issues, but something I want to overcome if possible.

Sorry I'm all talk and no pictures this time, but I want to hear back from you all.  Let me know what you think, I want to get some conversation going!

Love, Lydia

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Days 28-31

Hey folks,

Well, this has been a crazy week!  We got about 3 inches of snow Tuesday night (that's crisis level for North Carolina) and Bryan stayed home from work Wednesday.  It was nice to have him at home though it definitely shook up my usual weekly schedule.  I've been working in fits and spurts as I can find the time all this week.  Thursday night, when Bryan got home from work, we ended up spending half the evening visiting our urgent care doctor and finding out that Bryan has Shingles.  He's has a rash most of this week that was bugging him and that explains why.  So we got meds and such and will hope it goes away fast; I hate seeing him uncomfortable.

Though Thursday did bring that craziness it also brought one of the loveliest sunsets I've seen in a while.  I managed to get a half decent camera phone shot for you all here:
As for Friday, I worked on a new piece and straightened up my desk.  In starting the new piece I found an unfinished watercolor that I'd forgotten about.  It's the one propped up on my desk here:
It still needs a good bit of work, but so far it's pretty solid.  It's from a still life of tiny shells I had set up back in July when we went to Myrtle Beach.  The other things in from the shell painting are various other works in progress, though it's not all of them.  I will confess that I love starting new pieces, but sometimes it's harder for me to finish them all.  It's definitely compounded by the fact that I enjoy having a variety of pieces to work on at any one time.  However, things are definitely moving along well despite any distractions from my personal life.  And I found some little plastic cups to put my pastels in, solving the organizational problem I mentioned last time.

My new painting will be a mix of watercolor with some inks and pastel.  Here's a shot with only a little color added:
It's a more figurative form of portrait that's based off a character I've created for a game.  She's a lady thief and an albino, who's convinced yellow is her lucky color.  In terms of style I've taken some inspiration from playing card designs as well as Manuscript illustrations.  I've worked a good bit with more Irish styled pieces, though this is drawing from more general medieval examples.  I still have a bit to design in the border as well, though I've got some ideas for it already.  I've been enjoying the style of work and may make several more to I get a good series going.  It's definitely the kind of piece I wouldn't mind doing commissions in!

Beyond all that the deadline for my Kickstarter is nearing.  I could use all the help I can get!  Either way 52 pieces will be made, I just like thinking I have the support so I won't be as stressed while making them.  And the idea of making 365 pieces will be sad to let go of.  If you can spread the word I'd appreciate it!  -

See you all Monday!

Love, Lydia