Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What Was I Thinking?

When I was at ArtUnraveled in Phoenix I took a class from Mary Beth Shaw where I learned to use Wood Icing and scratch into it, and using Ampersand Claybord, and all about colors and mixing them. This was in early August. Who would have thought that September would bring fires all around us in Austin?

The class was supposed to be focused on depicting layers, like strata in rocks, but I sort of fell off in a different direction, although I did manage to maintain the 2-panel idea. Mary Beth is totally cool with people who fall off her planned route so I want to take more classes with her in the future.

I've been practicing my color mixing stuff by using her methods of painting your own style of color charts. It's more interesting than I thought it would be.

The fires are still around, it was 103 degrees yesterday, and winds are starting back up. People are still being kept away from their homes in Bastrop, whether to sift through the ashes or to be thankful their home is still there. Even if the house is still standing, electricity will be a long time coming.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember

At the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial the benches representing the victims that were inside the Pentagon are arranged so that when you read the engraved names you are facing the Pentagon's south facade, where the plane hit; the benches dedicated to the victims aboard the plane are arranged so that when you read those engraved names you are facing skyward along the path the plane traveled.

Susan's step-brother's bench is here.  We remember.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Scorched Earth

Our drought has led to the inevitable - fire. Fires everywhere. Wildfires or wild fires or flash fires or fire zones or whatever you want to call them. In Bastrop, our friend Mary lost her home - everything. In Spicewood, our friend Regina watched flames come within 200 yards of her home. In Austin, we worry continually because we live on a greenbelt, now dry and parched looking and a potential firespot, as it is a popular hiking area and home to a number of transients.

Late edit: Our friend Susan S.and her mother both lost their homes in the Bastrop fires.

The image above is today's map of Bastrop, black circles mean heat/fire within the past 24 hours, yellow means some current heat, red means a still active fire. Current estimates are that 38,000 acres have burned and 885 homes have been destroyed.

Late edit (Thursday morning): 1,386 homes have been destroyed so far. The fire is 30% contained. The map above shows only a section of Bastrop, there are other areas that have been destroyed.

When most people think of a fire they think of the possible loss of life and then they think of the homes burning up and all possessions gone. It is more than that. It is the people frantically packing up their cars to evaculate, frantically calling for their pets that they eventually have to abandon as the flames come closer. How much time do you have to evacuate? Take a look at this video to see how fast fire can move. Now think about how fast it moves when the wind is blowing 20 miles per hour.

It is the exhausted firefighters, many of them volunteers, who haven't had a break for days, even to go back to see if their own homes were among those destroyed. It is the children, wary of their now unstable environment, not able to go back to the routine and security of school. Not because the school has burned down but because the buses can't travel down the roads, roads covered with ash, roads with bridges and guardrail posts burned out. It is the air that smells of smoke, even to us, miles away. It is the ash in the air that impedes the breathing of people with asthma, elderly people, babies. In the end, it is just scorched earth.

The map images are courtesy of Bill Gabbert's WildfireToday website. In the Bastrop image shown below Bill says: 
"An interesting footnote. You may have noticed on the lower-right side of the satellite imagery map the name “LUECKE” spelled out in green. The landowner clear-cut trees on the property, leaving enough to see the letters. They are huge, and span about 2.5 miles from the “L” to the last “E”. Astronauts on the International Space Station use these letters to check the resolution of their cameras."

Monday, September 5, 2011

Have A Grate Day

Here are two more grates, but with only glazes, no nailpolish (go here for my experiment with that stuff). I liked doing these but they were more therapeutic than creative, in that I sort of relaxed and just let them happen. Or maybe that is creative. I don't know and I don't care and that's my story and I'm sticking to it because I just like playing with mud.

What else have I been doing lately?
Fair Game - 5 stars and gave me the creeps. Why does stuff like this not make more people furious?
The Company Men - 5 stars and gave me nightmares because I spent 32 years looking over my shoulder until I was pushed out.  Susan was horrified at the beating Kevin Costner has taken in the looks department, as she (and I) both really liked him in an oldie, No Way Out.
Last night I watched Unstoppable -- 5 stars and Wow!
It starts out with you knowing bad things are going to happen and knowing it will end well and knowing you cannot stop watching until it's over, even though you know how it will end!
American Assassin by Vince Flynn.
Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell Zuckoff
Too much.
A lot. Because I can. Because I can't help it. Because I have an outrageously expensive Relax-the-Back zero-gravity recliner and it makes me fall asleep every time I get in it.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Final Step Pending

These two pieces need to be glazed. As usual, I have no idea whatsoever.  The nicho (below) has that crab shell positioned in it but I'm not sure what glaze will make it really look good. 

I have two possibilities:
1) Something fantastic will happen. It will be an incredible glaze that I have no idea how to recreate and I will spend the rest of my life trying to recreate it.
2) Something really ugly will happen and I'll mope around for at least 3 days until Susan kicks me back into action by telling me I'm a crybaby.