Back at (home)work

Thunder-soaked skies over Montana

Long story short, I’m no longer doing the day-job thing. I ended up in a position that expanded right as I plopped in, and while the people were amazing, the work amazing and the organization was on a clear trajectory to infinite awesomeness, that pace was way beyond what I was able to commit to, on physical and existential levels.

I thought I could do a 20-hour work week and still keep up with all my creative work, but I was wrong. Since February, up to a week ago, everything creative was on hold. House repair tasks multiplied. I stopped learning on Khan Academy and Code Academy, the Arduino and our bicycles gained a dust layer, and Jon and I were both getting fat again. Stress! The short road to death.

Visiting Grandpa, April & Inka in Kalispell, MT

I’m recently returned from an emotional trip back to Montana to visit with my beloved Grandfather and to hang out with my Sister and get to know her little cutie, Inka, for the first time. I was able to help April, with her one-woman fashion design and creation company – Inka Clothing Co. at a local Farmer’s Market and again at an art-in-the-park style event in Kalispell called “Thursday Fest“. It gave me a glimpse of what it’s like to make it as an independent artisan, and suddenly, it seemed less scary, and more doable than ever. Still scary actually, but in a good way.

Bumblebee deep in a fuzzy thistle flowerI took nightly walks to listen to the crickets and watch bumble bees bury their heads in the big fuzzy thistle flowers, and my brain was spilling over with ideas. On the long train ride back, I had time to contemplate my situation and think about where I had come off my own tracks and veered back into safe but unfulfilling territory. I knew I needed to change something in order to go forward, and this helped me come back to Seattle incredibly motivated to return to basics and get real as an artist. I want to do the work and get it out there. Anything less will be a life wasted.

Amtrak Empire Builder winds it's way through the Washington desert, near Wenatchee and the Columbia River

In addition to getting behind on creative work, all of the
house messes and repair projects were lurking and piling up, which meant I spent almost the entire first week just cleaning and fixing everything at home. We started cooking at home again and learning some new tricks and recipes from Blue Apron. I’ve also committed to walking with Jon to and from his work bus daily and making yard time happen each day, in order to get out more and be less sedentary. In the last week, I’ve built two new LED devices to go into lighting projects that will be for sale later this fall. Today I’ve even been painting – canvasses – for fun!

Cabinet, engineering by Jon, doors with paintings by TabOver the last couple of weeks, Jon and I collaborated on designing and building an over-the-bed art combined with storage thing. The cloud motif on the front is inspired by the backdrop of the throne room inside of Spider’s Web Castle, in the 1957 film, Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood(Shown in the movie trailer at 2:29).

It may look finished, but I’ve just ordered some LED components from AdaFruit, that will be hidden along the top of the wall cabinet. The fully-addressable RGB LED strip can connect to the Arduino, and along with various sensors will be capable of specialized programmable lighting schemes. It will be my first big Arduino LED project. I can’t wait!

Meanwhile on the traditional art front, here are some shots of the studio with sneak peeks of works-in-progress and complete new stuff…

My cluttered by colorful and busy home office/studio

A new cutie octopus mini-painting on a found wood block

New series of mini-paintings inspired by Nordic folk art