Sunday, September 30, 2007

Getting ready

Finally, getting down to the trip.

I work, now full-time, at a woefully short-handed town library. Presently we have three full-time people and one part-time person, with a few volunteers off and on. One of the full-timers had a lot of medical problems (bust her foot, knee surgery, etc.) and so ended up being out for much of the year, and da boss has to run about doing boss things, and the part-timer has had medical and other problems of her own. So, suddenly I've been rather busy. I didn't think I'd get another grand trip again, but Boss Lady thought things could be handled, and it sounded like the last opportunity I'd get to see Mr. Frid, and I'd not had a Trip in my van-replacement, the Toyota minivan, so I thought, well...

At the same time there was a con or three to think about. Conventions have art shows, and I like to think of myself as an artist, so it's nice to attend one now and then. But I really didn't have much new, and little sells once human eyes have befouled it. I thought maybe I could whip up a few new wonders, perhaps, and at least sell off the magnets. So whattheheck, I'd attempt two trips in one.

Consequently, taking lots of Stuff, and other factors galore to debate upon, it would be best to drive, even with gas prices what they are these days. I needed to fix up the car for long-distance travel and make all the travel arrangements I could wangle for two different arenas. I got my first cell phone, since Amy was also going on a trip and my parents were going to Houston to see their grandson graduate, and a co-worker set me onto a company she saw in AARP that seemed to have what I was looking for, something simple for emergencies. Amy and I split it as a business phone and so we're now quite with-it, LOL. Of course it would have come in handy a number of times on earlier trips...I have been lucky getting out of dire scrapes. So far.

I narrowed options and decided to go to Armadillocon, since it's close and I get in free for being enough of a somebody to sit on a panel (but not enough of a somebody to be a guest of honor, mrph). And since I just illustrated a book with Amy--Dr. DNA and the Anaconda Invasion, by Lucas Miller, plugplugplug--I thought maybe I could display/sell/speak of that a bit, since Armadillocon is a literary sci-fi con and although Dr. DNA is for kids, it definitely falls into the Armadillocon set of interests. So I got in with Nancy C. to share a room and got some show space, started planning and seeking another roomie and other con-type things.

Jonathan Frid finally announced he'd agree to be at the Tarrytown Dark Shadows event celebrating his anniversary of taking on the role of Barnabas Collins--40 years--so that gave me an excuse to go up north. His first reader's theatre DVD would debut there, and I'd get to see assorted folks I rarely get to see for geographical reasons. Each con was a week apart, which only gave me the problem of just what to do/which way to go, to time things right.

I managed to get ready in little ways...I took my Jack in the Box antenna ball and remodelled it a bit in honor of Barnabas. This was the original Jack, during the great Freeze of 2007 we had in January.

And this is Barnajack. He accompanied me for the whole trip this summer. Actually he's still wobbling on the antenna as I type.

I found that someone was throwing out a large painting canvas...apparently it had been used for some school project, got its grade and was tossed out, though still fresh enough to have the little size triangles attached in the back. So I lugged it home and gessoed over it, sanded it down a tad, and debated about what to do with it for a few months. I thought it would be too large to do something with the idea of showing/selling it at a con, but it would be fun to do a full portrait of someone on it. It took a little while longer to think up something I could do to make it worth the effort...

Figured a series of photos (now that I am armed with the digital camera) of it being painted would make a cool and informative slideshow, so that was a possible Reason to do something...I enjoy drawing Jonathan Frid, but there is certainly a lot out there of him, and he's posed a few times for paintings (if only for TV), so what else...then it hit me that it would be fun to do King Richard III, but with JF's mug. Who better for a regal pose than a royal poser? I had a pose from a photo that was inspiring me, so I started scribbling and sketching and flinging paint around, taking pictures intermittently.

It began looking something like this for awhile.

Just when I thought things would slow down so I could get the car seen to and finish up some art, and finish up Richard, casually...other stuff happened at work and things got ramped up. I got the go-ahead to do JF's DVD cover, but nothing much in the way of instruction so I dove into that too, plus another big commission came up...i.e., when it rains it pours, and boy did it rain a lot in every sense this year. Not even taking work at the library into the equation, stuff snowballed...Virtually at the last minute I had to redo the DVD cover, then something I didn't know about, then figure out how to deal with assorted bits of technology I'd not dealt with before...and as it turned out, the night before the con I was still putting JF's face on Richard once more and then slapping on some varnish to protect it; never did get a moment to take the car in but did discover that the emergency power source wasn't working right so I had to run out and get another one and charge that puppy up (only got it about 3/4 done, however); didn't get much in the way of new pieces done for the con or find another roommate for Armadillocon, and certainly got no sleep (ok, I think I got 2 hours). Not that any of that is unusual for getting ready for a big event. I had just hoped for once (since I took off an extra day at the last minute to give me some margin time) I'd have a good night's sleep and time to go over everything in my head before launching into a 3-week expedition. Ha.

Anyway the sketchy Richard morphed many times until I finally had to accept this as good enough, since I had already entered him in the art show at Armadillocon (backdrop for my magnet table) and I hadda GO! But I was mumbling about it the whole while, kicking myself for redoing something at a point I shouldn't have and thus messing it up, causing me to re- and re-do it half a dozen times. It's tough for a mommy to let go of her baby, and my little hunchback wasn't at all what I had in mind (which I guess is also pretty common, LOL!).

All the same, not too bad. In which case it would have met full frontal gesso.

I did eventually make it into Austin, found Nancy C. and the art room and other points of major interest, got checked in and spent most of the day hauling things here and there and putting things up and finding stuff and whatnot. Phew. I nibbled the carrots I brought but took most of the afternoon just setting up in the show. Got registered and read what I was supposed to do, went and died in the room for a bit, eating my free Doubletree cookie. Explored briefly (feet, ow) and did my best to just 'hang around.' I had no way to show the Dr. DNA books I brought so I'd sit at tables and color stuff or otherwise 'look interesting' and set out a book. Did get a few questions on it and sold a couple! I imagined getting a big raincoat and going around whispering, PSSST!, flashing it open and displaying Dr. DNA books, asking startled people if they wanted to buy a book...but it's too hot for that in August in Austin. Attended the opening ceremonies, which were incredibly short relative to years past, and then it was one of my duties to be at the Meet the Pros party--hang out in the art show, which would be open during it, this time. A good idea, though there wasn't much to do, standing there with a soda. Usually I get a virgin bloody mary (sometimes not virgin) with my drink ticket, but the bar guy said nope this time, no juices, and I ended up with a diet Coke. Which is fine but seemed a waste considering all the sodas in the room parties, machines, etc., lol. The alternatives were a vast assortment of beers--don't tell anybody but I don't care for beer--and a couple of wines. Probably should have had wine, but my default response is 'Diet's ok'...;-).

I was on an artist panel about book covers...not sure I quite fit in, outside of Dr. DNA, but I fudged my way through it; and I was on a Dr. Who panel, in basically the same situation. Wandered in and out of the con suite a good deal, and talked to a lot of people (I brought tons of puzzles and art to do to keep me busy but did very little of either). Once a daughter and her dad came to me, the dad asking me to give advice to her about becoming an artist, what to do about college, etc. That was interesting, especially since my whole life is either about doing things backwards or opposite to the average bear, or how to do them without any actual money, but I did my best to offer what I did know, lol. Nothing in the dealer's room screamed out for my ownership...roamed the halls with Nancy C. a bit for the room parties, ran up and down the stairs here and there, popped into the art show now and then. One lady spent most of my putting-up time telling me how she needed an artist to do this and that for her, and I told her to take my card and contact me but I've not heard anything yet. No biggie, didn't expect anything anyway...friends wonder why I don't leap with excitement over every offer, but about 1% of the opportunities ever pan out to anything, so it ain't worth the energy. But it is very flattering. And that's the main reason (for an artist/writer/etc.) to go to a con, for a dose of egoboo. (ego boosting)

Of course it's way more flattering to Actually get hired.

Anyway the con is teeming with authors, publishers, artists and other bigwigs of that ilk (you can google Armadillocon if you care to know details), so it isn't like there's nothing to take pictures of...consequently I photographed the main star of the show. The hotel.

I mean, I didn't know what I'd do with shots of a bunch of people I didn't really know, and I had other things to do anyway. But I like to take shots for how cool the image is...i.e., got that dang artist's the nifty patterns of the arches screamed for attention. A friend of mine used to ask why I always took pictures of plants and animals and rocks, and I thought a sec and said, honestly perplexed, "What else IS there?" After all, that covers your basic animal/vegetable/mineral stuff. But she meant people and architecture. I do take Lots of pictures of people and architecture, but I don't take photos of anything unless I think the whole shot would be cool or useful...shrug. So I see things a little differently. That's why I'm cursed, LOL...

Anyway I love the sun and shadow pattern off the courtyard here. Hope you do too or we've just wasted a minute of your life that you could have been looking at a celebrity. snicker

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