shark guard

this is not poetry
i am not a poet
i cannot stress that enough
i never imagined myself poetic
never
ever
ever
it’s just that free verse
is such an easy way
to say
what i need
to say
nevermind the rhyme
i am not a poet
not
ever
ever
i just have a lot to say
a lot rattling around
in this brain of mine
& the easiest way
to get it out
is to
just
blurt
in free
verse.

so i got rejected for the second time by the sustainable arts awards for mother artists & writers.
poop
i really really could have used the money.
also, i can only find rentals that say “proof of employment!” telling me i need to be earning three times what the rent is.
the real world just fucking sucks sometimes.
but!
am i down?
am i out?
no. for some fucking rainbow shooting out of unicorn ass’s reason, all i feel is hope.
so fucking weird.

i wrote the above not-a-poem because one of the critiques of the portfolio i submitted to the sustainable arts foundation commented on my sub-par writing while complimenting my artwork.
so!
just trying to keep my spirits high…though, again, weirdly they are staying up all on their own.

the above image is what happened when i tried to do a commissioned seascape that included a mermaid. here is the same seascape yesterday before i changed it:

do you see what i did? i put in another shark. it occurred to me as i was trying to fall asleep, another shark would create a “guard” effect rather than suggesting the mermaid was in trouble. or, at least that is my take-away.

works in progress

i survived mother’s day…just barely
noticing via instagram posts
that i cringe when husbands praise wives
& when i see daughters & mothers together
but am okay with sons & mothers
…hmmm
you don’t need to look twice
to see where my damage is….
but i survived
and will live to see
another
mother’s day
& maybe not be such a
train wreck
next
time….

here are some commissions i am working on. i realize, the more i ink, what my style is exactly–& i try to stay true to it.
i am excited to see how these will turn out…& hopefully the people who commissioned them will be just as excited.

and for those of you wondering about my patreon page:


mother grim

open a beer
or open a vein
whiskey shot to the head
or gunshot
you don’t know
you don’t know me
& how it feels
sometimes
to try
every day
to be a mother
to these ones
every day
every day
every
day
i make this decision
bag of wine
or bag over the head?
relish these years
when they are little
they say
kids grow up so fast
you don’t want to miss it
they say
miss it?
i am deep as fuck in it
living it
despite myself
every day

have you ever heard of “highly spirited children?” yeah. i have four of those.
they are wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, funny, explosive, screamy, dramatic little things. i love them dearly, but sometimes i find my thoughts wandering over to the dark side.
right now they are with their dad–who again–challenged our placement agreement.
whenever he does, i examine my determination to keep being their primary caretaker–to make sure i am not doing it for selfish or controlling reasons.
i discovered that even though i sometimes think i am a crap-ass mom…i completely believe it is best for our children to have me as a primary caretaker. even though i sometimes feel i am going insane with the stress of being a single mom & of raising four strong-willed children, i think i owe them that little bit of stability that being with me gives them.
i have been there for them since day one. i have a commitment to them. so, sure, sometimes i think dark thoughts, but hopefully–expressing those dark thoughts will help me work out those demons so i can be a better mom.
that’s important to me, being a good mom.
not a traditional or conventional mom, but the mom they need me to be. a crazy-ass mom who (most the time) can roll with the punches.

ps. i don’t drink box wine or else i would have known to call it box wine not bag of wine. oh well….

meanwhile….

this is my playing around with a bamboo pen. i did it awhile back, but realized i had never posted it. i thought it looked kinda cool…so.

meanwhile,
my day is filled
with my day job of artist
on demand
for some
demanding
children,
fists full of magic markers,
shouting out scenes
for me to draw.

color me goofy

i cannot get anything done today. seems i am chained to my drawing desk. doing art on demand so misha–& now poppy–can have pages to color. this is what i get for refusing to buy coloring books….

so when i suggested that instead of drawing me & dusty riding a swan, i could draw poppy & misha on a swan, poppy shouted, “i get to be in front!”
misha refused to compromise.
so i drew me & her dad–and i made sure that i got to be in front.
ha!



scribbles & doodles & coloring pages

as i drink my tea
forsaking the coffee
(which taunts me
yumminess
paired
with
addiction
& achy kidneys)
i eat my toast
with jam
and referee
squabbles
while considering
my own scribbles
an itch at the back
of my mind
something undiscovered
something untapped
i can feel
something
wonderful
if i can just get my pen
& brain
to work as one.

i was watching flowers on netflix, a delightfully dark british sitcom. the patriarch of the family flowers writes dark children’s books about trolls. the illustrations immediately drew me in. so i started doodling some trolls of my own to see if i could.
today i found this other doodle on the brown paper that i use in between sheets of my journal to keep the ink from leaking onto blank pages. i doodle on it sometimes, but hadn’t looked at it in awhile. i found this drawing appealing in the same way as the troll illustrations.
however, i am not sure where to go with either one of them. so i guess i will just keep messing around until i figure it out.

meanwhile, i have become misha’s artist on demand for coloring pages. she had me do two more this morning and has requested a mom & dad dragon with baby dragons after i do a picture of myself & her dad riding a swan.
i asked if the swan could be flying while i am pushing her dad off of the swan, and she began pretend crying & ran from the room.
sigh.
the things i do for my minions (i don’t want to be near that motherfucker even in illustration. i can barely look at the illustration for “absolution” from a few days back. ack! but now i have to ride a goddamn swan with him….)

ps. unlike her brothers, misha is not colorblind. just to be sure, i asked her about her colored page, “what color is the grass?” she replied, “orange.”
& i said, “awesome.”
my girl.

itchy fingers

no pages written
no pictures drawn
looking at other people’s art
& being
down
on
me
wondering
when i will get it right
when i will
win the race
trying to find my way
and feeling like
i’m going in circles
today is a new day
but
in all fairness
so was
yesterday.

just me. fucking around with lines & colors & concept after looking enviously at the art of other artists on instagram.
i looked through five journals today, trying to figure out which of my self-portraits i like the best to do a final draft of. that is a lot of me to look at. and although–yay–i like a great number of my self-portraits, i suppose i am going to have to narrow it down. maybe i will try to get some audience participation 
who wants to pick self-portraits for me?
i also worked to edit my short story, “together, tangled” while sharing my laptop with three minions who think they should all come first. c’mon kid, is daniel tiger more important than my becoming a successful writer? 
i guess that depends.
eventually, i got tired of the editing & pulled out my journal to see what would happen if i put pen to paper.
but even in my goofing off, i am working towards being a better artist, a better writer. 
i feel very grateful that the things i love to do are the things that i love to do. 

i love my kids…but i hate being a mom….

i hate being the one in charge
i hate being the bad guy
i hate having to be the one who makes sure we don’t run out of
toilet paper
clean clothes
toothpaste
shoes that fit
food
i hate being the one that has to make impossible ends
meet
i have to
no one else is going to do it
i have to find ways to fix
messes that seem impossible to fix
i have to referee fights
that seem to have no end
i hate being referee
i hate being mom
i want to not have to worry about everything
to not be the one who is supposed to have all of the answers
i want to find room in my heart
for me
to not feel overwhelmed by them
i want to be able to breathe

it’s not them though
is it?
it’s not being a mom so much
as my being damaged
damaged by life
damaged by parents, damaged by exes
never taught to love myself
in the way a person needs to be able to
so that person can be a good mom
neglected by my own mom
leaving me unable to cope
abandoned
abused
by the man who was supposed
to do this with me
be there for me
now
i just want to hide, heal, and lick my wounds
but as a mom
i just can’t seem to
there are just too many other things
that need to be
done….

page11

yesterday i collapsed in a heap and all i could think was, “i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom. i hate being a mom.” it was both a relief to think it…and horrifying.

i didn’t always hate being a mom…if you read my wordpress profile thing-y here, it sounds like i used to really think i was a good mom….
(i wish i could remember that feeling.)

though it was a cruel awakening when i became a mom and realized i was working harder than i ever had before–but i wasn’t getting any pay or benefits. after a lifetime of supporting myself, i was now dependent on a partner who was–well–crappy. he would tell me my position as a mom was pointless and why was he the only one earning money? he would tell me to get a job. i was exhausted to my bones–and he was telling me i wasn’t earning anything therefore i was lazy…useless? and he wasn’t the only one. our society echoed him. subtle or blatant, i got the message loud and clear.

i was a mom now–and now i did not matter.

page12

gone was my independence. my ability to just pack up everything i own and go somewhere new. just go. whenever i wanted. be free whenever i felt caged. now i was anchored. by one..then two..then three..and finally four little anchors.

gone was time to myself. my crappy partner put that last nail in my coffin. no art. no writing. (right now i have a five year old begging me to color & i really really don’t want to color–i want to exorcise this demon–i want to write.) no exercise even because no one would let me. seriously. i was not allowed to do the walks i used to do daily to clear my head & keep my weight down. if i wanted to go–everyone wanted to go with me–and it became an unbearable circus…

page13

i know there are people out there devastated because they can’t have children. i used to be one of those people. i wanted to cry every time a friend or a sister got pregnant. i tried for 10 years before i got pregnant. i dreamed of being a mom. i dreamed of having that love in my life. of course, i thought, being a mom will fix what is wrong with me.

but i wasn’t careful about with whom i had my kids. that was my mistake. my biggest mistake. i didn’t realize how much that would change things…taint things. that partner who doesn’t value you–or your role as the mother of his children.

it’s devastating…at least for me…it has damaged me so deeply sometimes i feel like i am unable to love at all.

but i love my minions. i do. as much as i hate being a mom sometimes–i never stop loving them.
so that’s something, right?

something salvageable?

page15

(these illustrations are moreĀ  from the project i am working on “the mistress of mud” with a friend of mine. yesterday i posted that i hadn’t gotten any work done, but i realized i actually had…and i did the one at the top of the post last night as i played around trying to emulate david mack’s style.)

bunny moon

part of my process
when i am getting familiar with a character
is to draw that character over & over
until i have gotten to know her.

i really like this character
i am excited about being part of her story

i also started another ink stain drawing

IMG_3673

it’s kind of chaotic, but i think i can pull it off
that’s part of the fun for me
making cohesion
out of chaos
that is actually my life
gluing together the good bits
arranging the parts that work
filling in the blanks and drawing out the whimsy
to make a perfect picture…
or something like that.

let me illustrate

a friend asked me to illustrate her story. this is an ink i did in my process of figuring out how i want the characters to look. it’s just a mess around rough draft, but i really liked how it turned out. my months of doing ink stain work has shaped my drawing skills and given me lots of fodder for other projects.
i’m excited about working on this project. it is my first chance to work as an illustrator. other than my own stuff, that is.
i like collaborating. i always have. i have found that i work well with others. either flushing out their ideas or letting them help me flush out my own.
i hope that this is the first of many collaborations & illustration gigs.

i haven’t gotten much art done.
i have tried to milk sheep with minimal success.

IMG_3607

i have been growing seeds for spring.

IMG_3626

i have been putting in beehives.

IMG_3581

and raising up more chickens.

IMG_3589

and planting potatoes…(no picture here because planting potatoes is not really a photo op)
ah. the life of a homesteading artist.
with kids.
and dog.
and sheep, chickens, and bees.

and, of course, the dysfunctional relationship that i am working really hard to avoid dealing with.

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