Monday, April 26, 2021

We Went to a Restaurant!!

 We went to a restaurant for dinner last night!  First time in well over a year that we've done that.  Says a lot about the world's situation when we can get excited about going to a restaurant, doesn't it?  Well, it was a special occasion (a birthday), we've had our shots, our neighbors have had their shots, and we went to P F Chang's in Biltmore Square.  We chose it since it's one of our favorites and also because we figured a chain like this one would take covid precautions seriously.  

And it was fabulous!  The food was outstanding, the drinks perfectly made, the service was great, and all the staff definitely took all the right precautions.  We asked for, and got, a booth in the bar, where traffic was pretty non-existent.  Even out in the dining room, there was plenty of room between tables.  We ate too much and had a wonderful time.  

 There's light at the end of the tunnel.  And life is good.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New Artworks

 I haven't posted about artworks here in quite some time, have I?  Well, I've been busy making new works, but you don't want to see most of it.  Or, rather, I don't want ANYbody to see most of it.

Much of my work over the past year has been an experiment of some sort or another.  It was about time for me to do something that was less an experiment and more of a "just me" approach.  This was the result.  I used a much looser approach than in other recent works, letting the brush strokes pile up.  So on one hand it's a young woman, on another it's a mood, and on another it's all about paint.  After all the other types of styles I've tried recently, it was like coming home again.  Except I really haven't named this one yet ... maybe "Muse"?  It's small, 12x12, oil on panel.

Here's one of the earlier experiments:

I carefully developed this one in a drawing, gridded it up onto an 18x24 canvas, and worked up the image.  And wasn't quite happy with it.  It seemed a bit dead, or overworked.  Maybe I was too careful in both the drawing and painting.  So I took another 18x24 canvas and painted it again:

This was done very differently.  I didn't grid up anything: just grabbed a brush, loaded it with paint, and started blocking it in, then refining it as the image developed.  Hard to see in this photo, but the brushwork is livelier and looser and the painting as a whole has a spark to it that the first one doesn't have.  Why?  Maybe because it was less about "getting it right" and more about "letting it live".  So I'm happy with #2, but #1 has a date with a can of oil primer so I can have a blank canvas again.

I just signed the newest painting yesterday:

"Missing Model", oil on canvas, 24"x30".  Pretty much sums up a figurative artist's life for the past year, doesn't it?  

So what's next?  Well, I have two ideas ready to go.  Will get started on one of them tomorrow.  And in two weeks, I'll be working on another wedding painting again.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Technology Pains

 The past month-plus has seen us have an inordinate number of problems with the wonders of technology.  Some are just maintenance items that have come due, other items just wore out, some are broken, and others are new-to-us and require an apparently steep and very long learning curve.  And they're all happening at once.

To start with, two of my dental crowns decided to call it quits at the same time.  They were probably 15-20 years old, so I can't really blame 'em.  But going to a dentist during this time of Covid raises the anxiety level.  We didn't have a warm'n'fuzzy feeling for our dentist's Covid precautions, so we hadn't been since the crisis started, and we really didn't want to risk it now.  So we found another dentist who advertised his Covid precautions.  I was very happy with the results.  Not only was the dentist and all the staff VERY careful about procedures, but he replaced both crowns in one visit.  No waiting for a week or two for new crowns to be made somewhere, then shipped back, and requiring a second visit to be put on.  Nope, it was all done in one trip.  It cost out the wazoo, and insurance didn't even cover a quarter of it, but overall, it came out well.

At about the same time, our lawnmower decided it had mowed its last yard.  The repair place said that fixing it would cost about the same as a new one.  Easy decision, but the timing was awful.  Along with the crowns, that was a very expensive month.

Immediately afterward, both of our cars were due for regular maintenance.  You know, oil changes and tire rotations.  And the tires on one of them were about worn out.  Great: now we gotta get a set of four expensive tires.

In the good news department, our neighborhood is getting fiber optic internet connections.  Yay!  We can dump the lousy DSL lines from Frontier!  The team came yesterday to do the hookup.  Took them quite a while since our house had some yard and house layout issues that made it difficult, but they got it done.  While they were doing it, our old DSL connection crashed again.  Goodbye, DSL, and good riddance.  So last night, I was busy switching all our computers and phones and stuff over to the new system.  Much mo' better.  

A fiber optic connection means we can finally join The Wonderful World of Streaming.  That was my chore today: getting and installing a streaming device, signing up for YouTube TV, and shutting off and removing the decrepit old Dish Network system.  It's all more or less done, but it was a slog, and there's still some stuff that needs to be done.

And today we discovered that our landline is down hard.  Maybe the installation crew cut through the line yesterday?  Whatever - a technician is coming out tomorrow.  I had other things planned, but inoperative phone lines don't care.

The next step is to figure out how to use the new system.  We knew how to use the Dish system and how to find the things we wanted to watch.  Now, it's not so easy.  It's gonna take us quite a while to get it arranged where we can find things, and also to get familiar with navigating the system.  Don't forget, both of us grew up in households with black & white TV's that could only get three or four channels, and you actually had to get up off the couch and walk across the room to CHANGE THE CHANNEL BY HAND.  And you haven't lived unless you've spent hours adjusting the rabbit ear antenna to reduce the amount of snow on the screen!  Figuring out how to find the shows we want from the 4.9 million available is gonna tax our old brains.