Thursday, December 8, 2011

Diary of a Trailblazer: Well Isn't This Cheery.

I'm a kinesthetic person - I tend to think of things in terms of shape and sensation.  And so if you asked me what motivates me to paint, I'd tell you it feels like the inspiration comes out of a tube in the middle of my chest.  But my chest is also where my emotions seem to sit, and when I'm stressed or sad or angry those negative feelings cause a blockage and everything gets all backed up.

Recently, I sat down to paint and nothing happened.  It's not that I lacked ideas.  I go through periods where ideas avalanche down on my head faster than I can get 'em onto canvas, and I always write the extras down so I don't forget them; I have literally pages of them.  I knew what I wanted to paint and I was sitting there with a blank canvas balanced in my lap and a paintbrush in my hand and I literally couldn't make my arm move.

My first reaction (as usual) was to yell at myself to fucking DO SOMETHING JUST DO IT COME ON.  When that didn't work, it occurred to me that I probably had a wad of sticky emotional crud pluggin' up my arthole.  So I stopped pressuring myself to execute the specific idea I'd sat down to paint, and instead sat there as calmly and non-judgementally as possible and waited to see what would happen.

And lo, like the cryptic fortune in a Magic 8-Ball, a series of images floated to the surface of my mind.  Suddenly, my paintbrush-hand was able to move again; it wanted to paint what I'd seen.  To wit:

And now I'm unblocked again, for the time being.  But I've also realized that I've been squishing down a lot of fear.  

Basically, I've been trying to deal with the reality that my future is very much up to chance.  I'd like to believe that if I work hard enough - if my paintings are prolific and amazing and I offer excellent customer service - I'll end up successful, but the bottom line is that I can't make anyone buy stuff.  I can only maintain and promote my store as best I can, and the rest is just...luck.  This idea doesn't sit well with my inner compulsive planner/control freak, hence the image of a fist clenching so hard that blood drips out.

Just to be clear, I don't for one moment regret quitting my day job to do art full-time. These past few months have been fucking amazing!  And that is the problem: I don't want to give up this freedom, but if my savings run out before I'm making a living wage at the art thing, I may have to.  And there's nothing I can do about it.  And that sucks.  And the suckitude built up and up and up until finally I had to paint a woman so filled with viscous black goo that it's forcing itself out of every orifice in her head.  

I suspect both paintings are basically a letter from my subconscious:

"Dear Meredith

You are repressing a lot of dark icky thoughts.  You need to address them before you self-destruct.  SERIOUSLY.

Your Superego."

I...don't actually know how to address my feelings of overwhelming...ness.  But I guess even acknowledging that I feel them is a start.


Let's all stop thinking about angsty shit and daydream about something nice instead.  Like sushi!  Or paintings of sushi.  Or how quirkily wonderful my paintings of sushi would look on your wall.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Caturday: GET A JOB, BIRCH!

The Boy and I have an Ikea Expedit in our living room*.
EXPEDIT Bookcase, birch effect Width: 58 5/8 " Depth: 15 3/8 " Height: 58 5/8 " Max load/shelf: 29 lb  Width: 149 cm Depth: 39 cm Height: 149 cm Max load/shelf: 13 kg
It looks like this, only crammed full of books, knicknacks, and a bunch of The Boy's lingerie and wigs.
A few days ago, The Boy completely cleared out one of the second-row compartments so Birch would have his very own fort.  He stuck Birch in there and Birch got all huffy about it...

...for about fifteen seconds.  

Judging by his body language, the progression of his thoughts went something like, "HEY!  Don't pick me up and put me places, jackass.  You're not the boss of me!  I'm a cat and I go where I wanna go!  ...Is that a view of the couch?  That's kinda cool, actually.  What am I, like, two feet off the ground?  Sweet!  And I like the low ceiling...very cosy.  Y'know what?  It's awesome in here!  I'm gonna settle in and make myself comfortable."
"...Reeeeeeeeeeeally comfortable."

And from that point onward, Birch hung out in there all the time.

We were referring to that space as Birch's "compartment" until The Boy randomly used the word "cubicle" instead...and inadvertently opened up a whole new world of hilarity.  Birch's "compartment" is now his "office" and when we pass by, we make jovial quips at him like, "Logging some overtime, Birchy?"  "Sleeping on the job, Birchy?"  "Frank from Accounts Payable filed a sexual harassment complaint against you and HR is asking for your voluntary resignation, Birchy" or "I'm promoting you to Vice President of Cuteness!"   

Birch somehow fails to see the humour in any of this.  Maybe he's been working too hard.  

I should probably encourage him to use some of his vacation days.

*Yes, we routinely refer to it as "the Expedit", and yes, this makes us feel like pretentious douchebags.  But when one of us misplaces something there, it's easier for the other to say "You left it on the Expedit" than "You left it on the big shelving unit with all the square compartments."


Have you seen the "furmaids" in my Artfire store yet?  These original paintings of housepets with mermaid-tails make wonderful, whimsical gifts for pet owners!  And until December 31st, you can use coupon code SHESAIDPOPBLOG at checkout to get 15% off your first purchase!

My Heart, it Soars!

Today I got an email from a customer that said, "I wanted to let you know that the bacon ornaments arrived and are SPECTACULAR.  I love them.  Thanks!"

Receiving that wonderful feedback put me absolutely over the moon.  I love that people are appreciating what I make!  Not to mention that this person took time out of their day just to email me saying something nice.  I felt so fabulous that before I went out to run some errands, I put on my new human-heart-soaring-through-the-air necklace to broadcast my lighthearted mood to everyone I passed*.

This necklace is a Zazzle creation made from one of my paintings - I got it in the mail on Friday.  I'm super-excited because I love dramatic, funky, colourful jewellery and this certainly fits the bill!  It came out fantastically vibrant and detailed, and when I wore it to the store I felt like a million bucks!

Originally, I designed this necklace as a "private product"...just for me.  But when I got home from the store today, I thought you guys might like the chance to own a human-heart-with-wings necklace, too!  So I made the design "public" and here you go! :)

You give my heart wings necklace
You give my heart wings by SheSaidPop

It's displaying a square version, but the necklace does come in "round" as well; you can see your options by going to the Zazzle listing and clicking "choose your style and size" on the right side of the screen.  Zazzle necklaces are plated with swanky sterling silver!  

BUT!  D'you wanna know a secret?  My necklace - the one I'm wearing in the photo up there - is actually a keyring with the ring pried off and my own chain added on!  Zazzle's keyrings are the exact same product as their pendants, except made of plain silver-coloured metal.  If you're not fussy about your jewellery being sterling, this option will save you some cash (plus, y'know...maybe you're actually shopping for a keyring).  This one comes in square or round versions, too.

In summation: I'm in a great mood today, and I'm using my sternum as a canvas on which to express this.  And you can, too!

*I'm a big believer in lucky talismans of various kinds.  I might wear or carry something with a happy theme to show that I'm happy, or because I'm sad and hoping to turn my mood around.  Maybe these "lucky objects" make a difference and maybe they don't, but they can't hurt!**

**Unless your "lucky object" is a really big butt plug.  Then all bets are off.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Adventures in Vertigo

On Tuesday night, for no discernible reason, my head started feeling spinny.

And as time passed, it got worse and worse.

Now, let me just say, when I was a kid I used to stand in the middle of the living room and twirl around and around because I enjoyed the little rush of dizziness I got in my head when I stopped.  I know dizziness, folks, and this...was not it.  This was magnitudes beyond.  It felt like the actual floor was jerking from side to side at unpredictable intervals.  I kept randomly lurching and having to catch my balance.

And then...I checked my email and saw that I'd gotten a new Artfire order!  I stumbled wonkily out to the living room to tell The Boy the good news.

This is an exaggeration.  But I did flail and ALMOST fall over.
Packing that order was...difficult.  But I managed.  It helped to stay seated and keep my head perfectly immobile.

By the end of the night, the vertigo had reached truly epic proportions.  I've never experienced anything like it.  Any movement of my head, no matter how small, made the room swing wildly around me.  When I lay down in bed to go to sleep, the mattress felt like it was pitching violently up and down like a mechanical bull and I clung to The Boy in abject terror for a good five minutes, waiting for it to pass.

He is remarkably solid and reassuring for one so dainty.
The next morning, the spinny feeling seemed to have spread from my head and into my eyes as well - the harder I tried to focus on anything, the more swimmy it became.  It felt as though my eyeballs were twirling in opposite directions...and the floor was still randomly jolting under my feet.

And there was still that order to mail out.

I considered waiting another day to go to the post office.  Maybe I'd feel better by then.  But - and this was a terrifying thought - what if I felt worse? Like, so bad that I couldn't even stand up?  I couldn't take the chance of keeping my customer waiting.

So, I went.

The sidewalk felt like one of those bouncy-houses you can rent for kids' parties, and I was staggering like a drunk, but I got that package mailed in a timely fashion.  And I didn't crack my head open on the sidewalk or get hit by a car!  I arrived home radiant with triumph and nauseous with motion sickness, and immediately fell asleep for five straight hours.

Today, the ground feels solid again...but so do my sinuses.  I'm guessing the whole vertigo thing was a rather baroque first stage of a cold or flu.  I'm gonna spend the next few days sleeping a lot and see if that helps.


Have you been to my Artfire store yet?  I've recently listed an adorable (and arboreal!) tribute to Bob Ross.  Happy!  Little!  Trees!