Painting My Heart Out

Woo Hoo ! I am an artist WHIRLWIND again! Hang on, cause art is flowing out of me in a torrent, and I need more hands. I am happy to be out of “funk town” for a while! I entered six shows in the past month and now have 5 paintings accepted into these shows . Four of the five shows. I can’t believe how things snowball. The piece above is a Work in Progress, one of my Surrealist pieces, with a working title of Angry Birds, a little pun on the silly game people play on their devices. I’m rethinking that right now, I may put people off by that. But who cares if I like it, right? Naming Art is the Artist’s privelege. Kind of like children; you made it, you name it! And here’s a fun little twist…how many Birds do you see?

I painted what I believe to be my best piece as far as figurative art, it’s an acrylic mixed media piece which is a statement piece about justice and human trafficking…It is named “Stuck in Traffic (Framed) and I will post it, and the one mentioned above as soon as I sign them in a few minutes here… Be patient, I had to lie down for a minute. I decided a while back that I must sign my work before I post it online… Silly, really, you can’t stop the thievery no matter what you do, if you decide to post your art online. I recently read a piece considering the benefit vs risk of putting your art online. If you decide not to you are missing out on reaching millions of people, perhaps billions. If you want to sell your art, and/or share it with an audience, then the risk is one you must take. Unless of course you are going to let it spead just by word of mouth. Then it would take 100 years telling 5 people a day to reach 182,500 people, if they did not tell anyone else. If each one told 5 others then… wait a minute, you get the idea. It would take a long time.

Impressionism is my dearest love, and I hope one day to paint like Pissaro, or maybe Gauguin… Of course I have my own style, and I concentrated more on my brushwork in this piece, and multicolored skin to show my feelings rather than accurate realism. I especially love the dramatic shadows, I tried to be brave! Like I’m not passionate enough, right? I’m proud of the results! I will list all the shows I’m in in the next few days, with their websites and dates…

The Hurrier I Go…

THE BEHINDER I GET

How true, how true that Pennsylvania Dutch saying is. I squander my art endeavors, rushing from this deadline to that, frazzled, befuddled and unsatisfied. That may be what drove Van Gogh insane, the constant turmoil to do better. I am making the presumption that perhaps the rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder that I enjoy(!) was somehow effecting him, too. Many artists share this mental illness, I know that The Ryan Licht Sang Bipolar Foundation has held Insights Art Exhibitions, to establish a permanent collection of works by artists who are effected by this disorder. I am proud to be one of the Founding Artists of that collection, and proud to know these beautiful people who have done so much to further research in the field.

Three years, three works of my art in this collection. It blows my mind, just as my art has been blowing peoples minds since I was a child. How easy I forget, and wallow in my mire. That is part of this disease also. The dark days, when no amount of internal dialogue can push me out of bed, out of the bleak landscape in my head. Do you think Van Gogh, or Matisse, or Dali had such dark times? What about Francis Bacon, Pollock, Warhol ?

Then why do I feel so alone in my efforts? Yes, I’m sure the worldwide pandemic has a dampening effect, on artists as well as everyone else. Perversely, I also treasure the isolation it affords me. No one can chastise my late hours, or visit to be aghast at the paint on my floor, on my walls, on me. I think I need to get out of the house more, go walk on the beach, visit a park. All things strange and alien nowadays. I know this will pass, I have been in counselling and under proffesionals care for my Bipolar Disorder and PTSD for nearly 30 years, I take my medication every single day, because I have been all the way down into the abyss and made friends with the monsters lurking there. Only to find out that they all wanted me dead. I don’t want to be dead. I can fully understand why I did, because this pain is all encompassing. I feel each cell screaming at me to give it relief.

Not too happy, guys…

The only thing I can do is paint myself into a painless reality, a utopia of color, a sweet dream of lavender and silk, a field of gold. When sleep won’t come I will disappear into the garden that flows out of my pen, winding its way into sweet fantasy-lands where no one is mean and there is no such thing as loneliness…

IN the Mirror

recognizing my BIPOLAR self image

“A Big Beak”…by Susan T. Martin

I’m in “Wonderland” right now. Been here for a week or so. Time seems to be inching by, my head too heavy to lift off the pillow. Not sick physically, I’m just…just…what can I tell you? I have had some unknown trigger going me headlong into a timewarp. Into a place I never ever wanted to return to…

Is the reflection REAL?

My art, from it’s earliest inception, has contained 2 sided faces. Always compelled to create a smiling side juxtaposed to a moody/dark side. Even before I consciously knew the face was symbolically my own, before I had ever heard of mental illness or anyone called manic depressive illness bipolar, I was painting my double sided inner person. I have doodles and sketches from grade school where this manifested…it was a necessary act to portray my protagonist self this way. This was the girl inside of me, who would soon find ways to hide from physical reality in altered states…

The inner struggle raged on in imagination…detail of “The Sentinel’s Prayer” by Susan T. Martin2018

After the traumatic events of my young life had begun, my self-image became warped and twisted. My mental despair manifested itself in self harming behavior: anorexia/bulemia, punching walls, suicide attempts…to this day, nearly 50 years after the onset of the abuse, I still cannot eat without feeling ugly afterwards.

Are You Confused?

Who Was I Then? Am I Now? Who Will I Become?

I know that we change, it is a natural thing. I’m not hung up on the aging process… the CREATIVE PROCESS is where my interest lies. My creative life ebbs and flows like the ocean, like my moods, like my illness…

Must I always speak of my art as it relates to being mentally ill with Bipolar Disorder, PTSD, OCD and /or whatever else plagues this brain of mine? YES, I think I must, because they are so intimately entwined and entangled. The Creativity comes out of the Mood, like a hand from the mist, holding a paintbrush. Flick of the wrist, this way or that- a line drawn here, a dot placed there…Mind expands, engages with the mood, holding the brush…as these wheels turn emotions are enhanced, a certain recognition occurs-as the act of painting plugs into the unconscious. Now I am unburdened, unbridled…set free to run as far and fast as I please. My physical self is left far behind on distant shore, I am just line and color, shape and opacity, flow and ebb, ebb and flow.

I want to stay suspended in my artistic dream forever, and I try. Forgoing sleep, even food, I immerse myself in the sensuality of creating beauty, even if my beauty is ugly on this day. It is a feeling felt, a thought expressed without words, a slash of yellow, a bobble of green. Fresh, lively-dank, dark. Run the gamut, go the distance…

I never stop at “dainty”, or find relief at “pretty”….no, I have to press on, and pile on the color, make it scream with indecent pinks and green. Make it cry out in crimson, dance wildly in plum. Bring on the tears in every shadow of the colors of the night.

I remember these works. I want to make more.

I like selling little birdhouses, but painting them is hurting my fragile psyche. I wasn’t made to paint smiley faces, was I? Am I selling, or am I selling out…?

A Freewheeling Frenzy!

This Beauty is one of a pair of Cabintet from a large entertainment stand, The Other is outside, drying…

I have to get the mix just right: a smidgen of anxiety, a pinch of hunger, a good dose of caffeine and just about 48 hours without sleep and *BAM*! The NY creative lightning strikes! Tonight was the night, today was the day, cleaning off my museum pieces with fine brushes, repairing and sprucing up the shelves to display new work… Giving my custom painted floor a deep cleaning in preparation for the faux Renaissance tile I will be handpainting there.

I am pulling out all the stops while the proverbial light is green for GO!! I pulled out all my nearly finished projects for a big push to clear the studio, putting all the months (years?) of pondering into real execution. Clean the brushes, check all the supplies and paint paint paint!!

Here are a couple newbies, from today…

oooo…
“M’lady Insomnia”, 12″ x 12″ on Canvas ©STMartin2020

Yellow Belly.

…Random Words, Targeted Pain….Red, Yellow, Green and Brown Pain…White Pain…My Pain…

Red Jello. Green jellybeans…Green-Eyed Greedy Gut: runs around eating the whole world up.

Red Beans and Rice. Red Eye Gravy. Red Bone Coon Hound,

Yellow Rice. Condaleeza Rice. Yellow-bellied Sap Sucker. Red Robin. Red Skin Potatoes.

Green Godess. Long Island Iced Tea. Rum. Lots and lots of Rum.

Brown Gravy, Brown Eyed Girl…Skin Browned by the Sun. Skin.

Smooth Skin, Tanned Skin, Supple Skin. Skin Head

Random Words, Targeted Pain. Lasting Pain, Throbbing, Stabbing, Burning, Achy , Dull, Acute Pain.

Red Yellow Green and Brown Pain. White Pain. My pain.

Starting Over, Over Again

“… can you see me going mad in here?…”

             Things will seem to go OK, when suddenly they’ll stop,

.            Face in the dirt, there I lay-then poof! I am up top.

.            This brain of mine, this machine, that whirrs inside my head,

.             Makes the bells and whistles ding even when I lay in bed.

.             I need relief, some way, some how, to quiet racing thoughts,

Instead they throw some pills at me to make me who I’m not.

I always knew I would wind up alone,

.             Now that it happened, now that I’ve grown…

.             It’s the worst pain I’ve ever known.

.             Can you see me going mad in here?

.             Can you hear me? Can you, Dear?

.             There’s a slim chance, if you hurry,

.             That all the scary things will scurry,

.             That the sky will clear, the rain will stop-

.             And once again I’ll be on top.

All Writey Now

…seems to be less like a monkey…more like a huge Brahma that has lain down, groaning and farting…

I’m feeling disgusted with myself. Yet again I have lapsed into the void. The Void that exists inside me, when I feel incapable of creating anything of value. My fellow artists, do you ever come to this vast zone of inability?

Many would tell me that it’s the Bipolar monkey, bouncing up and down on the seesaw of creativity that exists between my ears. Right now I want to “shock the monkey”…(thank you Peter Gabriel)…It seems to be less like a monkey and more like a huge Brahma that has lain down, groaning and farting, on all my art supplies. (warning:EXTREMELY GRAPHIC WORD PICTURE!!!)

The warning should have come before the farting bull. Sorry. NOT.

Oh, the wonderful bucolic images that now dance ’round my imagination. Huge farting cows in pink tu-tu’s daintily dancing hoof to hoof. Hey, maybe I’m onto something! I hear Brahms playing in the background while the Brahma’s cavort! Wait for it… Wait for it….There!!

THE HORN SECTION!!!!! (Cue maniacal laughter!!!)

I Miss What I Imagined I would Miss

…the room seems to awaken with her…golden rays fall…like the petals of an opening rose…

this isolation is kind of nice, (she thought), it gives me time to explore my thoughts. But too much pondering of self is no good, (she thought to herself), it can get messy. Really, it is messy, all this thinking in isolation, (she remembered), because it makes me so sleepy, (she yawned), not doing the dishes, nor combing my hair, (she sighs), flummoxed, just flummoxed. I should try to eat something, (she groans), but there’s nothing here I want, (she moans) it all takes too much energy… e-n-e-r-g-y…(she sleeps…)Izzy's 3rd Litter Dec 16,2011 5am 026footsteps recede, door closes. 

Ahhhh, fresh air… Curtains of pale yellow blow in the morning breeze. We know it’s morning, hear the cardinals breakfasting at the feeder. A nuzzle of cold snout under the hand leads to the opening of an eye: Here is Izzy, the proud mom, ready to show us her new brood.100_0306

” Good Girl Za-Za!”, we exclaim, thrilled now to sit up, taking a long draw on the crystal glass of water at our bedside.

. “Hey, Kiki old-man! You gonna show us the grand babies?”3D0E4E9E-4112-4873-9B74-C8D27E8CE8F0

.  Swing the legs over the side and stretch, then again before standing…

“Show me!”.

.  With that, off they dash as we stumble along behind, into the hall then into the den. We can already hear the tiny grunts and squeals as the teeny pups angrily demand breakfast.

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“Get in there, Izzy!” She’s already in the basket, dutifully cleaning little backsides as they squirm and nuzzle in for a teat. “Good Za!”

.  She gives us a look of pure bliss, eyes narrow and smiling with a mother’s pride. Not to be outdone, Uncle Kiko, gives a little nose-nudge to the basket as if to say, “I helped too!!”

.  ” Good Boy Kiko, you’re a trooper, indeed!”

In the quiet of the morning the scent of brewing coffee tantalizes our senses, and as we look up into the kitchen, there is Dad, in his Dad chair, reading the newspaper as he’s done ten thousand mornings before. He glances up from his cup, mid-sip, to wink and smile, mouthing a silent ‘good-morning’.

.   We move down the hall towards Mom’s bedroom, still closed as she slumbers on. We can’t resist a peek, gently opening the door and gliding over to stand and caress her sleeping face with our eyes. She is so beautiful in her repose, a wisp of brown hair touseled over her brow. We must have made a sound, she stirs and the room seems to awaken with her, the birds chirp louder, the golden rays fall around her like the petals of an opening rose. She stretches, smiling, her hand reaches out to touch ours…

It’s just a dream, just a dream. But it will be a reality soon. I miss you, Mom and Dad.

 

 

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“INSIDE VOICE” a New Series of Works

“…look into this inner world and I promise I will use my “INSIDE VOICE”.

Hello again, and welcome to the big show! I have begun what will become a Major Series of New Works entitled , “INSIDE VOICE” a series of works that speak to my inner battle with Bipolar Disorder’s lows and maniac highs, my way to shout out how the battle rages on inside even when silence prevails outside.

Many people who meet me may be uncomfortable being near a person diagnosed with mental illness, such as Bipolar Disorder. However, they are often surprised at how “normal” I seem. It has been my experience both with my current diagnosis, and with my original diagnosis of Chronic Depression, that friends and family are amazed that I don’t run around slathering at the mouth, or beating my head against the wall. They often try denial on, “No…not you…” or, ” You seem so happy, normal, well adjusted, calm, smart …”

Dysfunction Junction
Dysfunction Junction ©Susan T. Martin, 2015 Best of the Best Juried Show entry, Sold.

Some have even gone so far as to comment on my family tree, as in, ” Well your Grandpa was a little odd.” Or the opposite, “Nothing like this has ever been on my side of the family…” In my family, on my Mom’s side, my Grandpa and his Brothers had come to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania from Woodbury, Tennessee because there were good jobs to be had at the State Hospital, which was what insane asylums were called in the early 20th Century in the U.S. The treatment of mental illness was a whole different ballgame back then, my relatives saw many terrible and terrifying things, indeed.

Their positions within these huge hospitals required them to live on the Hospital Grounds in Dormitories, where they could hear the “lunatics” screaming and carrying on all day and night. It’s no wonder they were aghast at the idea that their kin were somehow linked  to those poor souls in the “Looney Bin”. I am so glad to live in this century, and I am very grateful to all the poor souls who were the subject of many ghastly experiments and treatments, who helped behavioral science and the Mental Health Community to become what it is today. As a “50 Something” woman who was not properly diagnosed till the age of 32, my life now is a dream compared to the suicide attempts, the self medicating, the self debasing promiscuity, the manic spending, the jail time, the fate-tempting, death-defying thrill-seeking, mayhem-causing pain I lived thru before. The sheer energy it would take to put up a happy, smiling front…man, I needed a eight ball just to keep it up for a weekend.

But it would all unravel in the end. I was not OK. I was really, really not OK. Inside my head I was screaming, and my thoughts were rolling at warp speed. I was that cat on the electric floor in that Steven King movie, running up the walls. I would try to hold down a job, and this is after a year of sobriety, after a few hours I would go to the loo and hide, shaking like a leaf. After about a year and a half clean and sober, I got my hands on my first credit card and inheritance at the same time and bought 5 acres in the wilderness, had it cleared and levelled, had a well dug, fenced it and then went to the mall and purchased a bunch of tanzanite and diamond jewelry, winding up spending  over 20 grand in 2 weeks(and ultimately filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy).

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Mania Illuminata, sold

Interspersed between those bouts of mania, where I seemed so “normal”, I would cry. And cry. And Finally I just couldn’t take the pain anymore, so a dear friend said I should go to a local Mental Health Facility, called New Horizons. I was given this ancient psychiatrist who looked wizened, emaciated and nearly blind. But, bless her heart, she had me pegged. With her help, with my determination to stick with my med trials, with a great therapist and social worker, I have been able to stay alive there past 23 years, now clean and sober for 21 of them, come September.

.  So, anyway…(whew, that was quite a tirade!)…I am painting this series to let you look inside a person with this illness, look into this inner world and I promise I will use my “INSIDE VOICE”.

.                                              Susan T. Martin, August 1, 2020

INSIDE VOICE #1
“INSIDE VOICE #1″©Susan T. Martin/12″x12″Acrylic on Canvas

LANDFALL(In the Garden of my Father)

…see what this work has gone thru on it’s journey to fruition…

.  You know I like to keep working on my paintings, don’t you? I believe it comes from not having enough money for canvases , as well as not sketching out my paintings first, as well as total and complete impatience to put my idea down fast, for gratification. So I thought I would make a brief compilation to see what this work has gone thru on it’s journey to fruition… I will make a better video tomorrow… No sleep for me (again) last night…Can you say, “MANIA!!!!” It may Hurt later, but right now it’s SO EXCITING!! PAINT PAINT PAINT!!!

The Journey, a Debut Art Video

 

.  This project was a couple years in the making for me, and was born from the bottomless grief I was dealing with then. As caregiver to both of my parents after a 23 year-long active addiction, and after a devestating breakup of my marriage when my ex went to Federal Prison, I was an emotional train wreck. I had not been creating visual art except for private sketches and some mural work, but I made a smart move during those early years back home with my parents by purchasing a Surface Pro in 2006 with all the bells and whistles. As a result, I did have a creative outlet in the new digital editing and photographic capabilities of this amazing device.

.  During the  long illness of my Mom, who was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in 2007 (after years of passing blood but afraid to get a colonoscopy!!!!), I had much pent up emotion to release. Any moment of freedom I had was spent exploring the new medium I now possessed. I think I was at an advantage due to the fact that I knew no rules about photography, so I was very free to experiment and play. As a computer illiterate during my long years away from civilization, this was both hell and Utopia as I navigated thru the most basic techie stuff. But I was enthralled. I could take a photo and make it a work of art!

.  Alas, my next 9 years were so pain-filled, as Mom’s cancer progressed she and I had to navigate colostomy’s and ileostomy’s and her suffering was so acutely mine that I wanted to die with her. And a huge part of me did, on the first day of spring in 2010, her birthday and day of death. I wrote endless prose and poetry, keeping her alive in words and rivers of tears.

.   That seemed like a joy ride compared to nursing my father until his death. Dad developed dementia even before Mom died, and it became full blown Alzheimer’s afterwards. He also had prostate cancer which had been diagnosed 20years before but had never been treated. Years of violent outbursts and vile language and hate filled conversation poured out of my Father for the better part of Six years, and out of my warped sense of love for my mean Dad I determined in my heart to never let him go to a nursing home.

During those years I had a catastrophic fall which injured my brain, neck, back, shoulder, hip and knee, causing me to undergo a 12 hour double neck and back operation so that I would only have one recovery and could be up and about within weeks to caregive again. Wow. Five levels in my neck were fused and a previous 3 level lumbar fusion was repaired and taken up another level. I had torn major cartilage in my hip, needed arthroscopic surgery there and in my shoulder, and also was left with a type if vertigo that still effects me on a regular basis 7years later! Oh, my. Need I mention my mental illness battles with rapid cycling Bipolar Disorder and  PTSD from a history full of childhood sexual abuse, violent sexual assault and rape as an adolescent and severe emotional and physical abuse due to 7plus years of Domestic Violence? No, I really had given myself a heavy, heavy load to carry with Daddy. But somehow I did it.

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For Our Lost Ones, “Cry Me a River” detail of larger work©susant

.   I cannot describe the last weeks of his life, as there was a lawsuit and a non disclosure agreement with the establishment that hastened his death. But his last night was spent in a hospital bed at home, alone with me, while he screamed and pleaded with God and me to help him. For hours. And hours. The morphine did absolutely nothing so I covered my ears with my fists and screamed with him.

 

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.  During this unimaginably daunting, heart-wrenching and overwhelming time in my life there was a story on the news that just planted itself in my brain, because it was so horrific. A group of 27 immigrants were being smuggled into this country from South America. My video is my interpretation of what they went thru, and also a cry for compassion towards all who suffer such indignities and trauma.

.                                                                                 Susan T. Martin

Keep Your Head…and Mine Too

…crack a smile or frown a frown…about the wonderful gift of creativity!

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You open your eyes in the morning, and briefly it feels like a regular day. A “before” day. We need a name for that now, something catchy, that we don’t mind saying. I do mind saying “before the Pandemic”, “before Covid”, I suppose because I am on sensory overload about the ” situation”. I want to be safe, follow the guidelines, but I also want to talk less about it!!! 

I am getting used to the “new normal”, a phrase that seems to be a paradox. If it is “normal”,  the very definition suggests it is not “new”. I just want to ‘breathe’, and ‘let go’ of all the must do’s and need to’s, to float above it all mentally. Isn’t that a lovely thought?

.  Remember the movie “UP”? I hope you’ve seen it, if you can be your inner Child while you watch; you will love it. The whole premise of a bunch of balloons carrying one away into the sky… Did you ever have a scary moment as a kid when your older brother told you to hold onto something or you’d float away? I kept imagining that I wouldn’t be able to hang on when I was so high the fall to earth would smush me, and that I’d be afraid to let go when I was still low enough to survive. What a lack of confidence in oneself, even in an imaginary setting!!!

.  Who was the cartoon character who said, “What a Maroon!” every time the main character did something ‘dumb’? I’m thinking it was Barney on the “Flintstones”. It was said so often that it became this background sound, and up until today I couldn’t figure out what he was trying to say about Fred. Now that I sounded out the word to type it, I am thinking he was calling Fred a Moron.

I’m a wee bit disgusted about not being paid my winnings yet for recent painting, nor have I received payment for the sale of it. The Show and sale ended May 30th, and here it is July whatever…Poo. The organizers must know we are all starving.

. Anyhoo… I still have time to draw a line or make a dot. So I’ll write words again afterwards. Words. Just not the “P” word, or the “C” word, or “19”.  I’m going to share some of my digital art with you tonight, hope you crack a smile or frown a frown, just have a thought about the wonderful gift of creativity! Goodnight all.

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Am I a Brave Artist?

I must push myself to new heights. I want to. I am still th

thWIN_20200104_22_03_58_Pro (4)_LI  I used to think so. Especially in High School. My mind was ablaze with boundary pushing content, just under my skin and ready to burst out in neon glory. Most days it did, and if I had a dollar for every cool doodle I left in that building I would have at least 500 dollars . I was going to say a million, but….

.  No, seriously-why am I so stuck? So careful? Who really cares if I am different anymore? In the Arts it is desirable to be different! Many artists feel they need a gimmick or a persona to excite interest. That is not always the case, however it really helped me drop my self-consciousness.

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The Party’s Over©Susan T. Martin 2018

NOTE TO SELF: Take pride in uniqueness, courage to explore, new and untried substrate and media. I must push myself to new heights. I want to. I am still that artist.

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Climbing Out (Detail of Larger Work) ©Susan T. Martin

It is beginning to pain me, keeping all my hair in a nice, neat ponytail. It is time to set the locks free, jump up and down, scream like a banshee!! Roll myself up in Saran-Wrap and hug the world! Paint my body, paint my face, paint! Paint!

.            PAINT!! PAINT!! PAINT, GIRL!!!

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I applied for a new grant today, and I have some prize money coming soon from the 2nd place award I won in “The Art of Possiblities” Show and Sale. These are certainly lean times for all of us. I am heartened by all the offers for grants and loans that can be found for all artists online, with just a few minutes searching. My advice is to just “Apply, Apply, Apply!!!” Fill out applications till your pointy finger turns blue!

Also, I have committed to walking more, getting outside and seeing! I will also write down 3 things I am grateful for each night before bed, and draw them. We mustn’t let our mind’s stagnate!!!

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Brave?detail, self portrait©STMartin2014

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Flashback 937(detail)©STMartin2017

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Susan Past ©STM2018

Sick, Sick, SICK OF IT…

…this post is winding itself around my consciousness like my fairy python-mother…

That’s a cheery title, eh? Yes, I’ve been wallowing again, in me muck. (as the Brits’ say.) I guess that’s what they would say, actually, because I have never heard Benedict  Cumberbatch say he was wallowing in his muck. Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I spelled that dashing young man’s name properly either… So now I can really wallow in it…me Muck, that is. (why this godawful computer wants to capitalize Muck is way beyond me, it also capitalizes Young. See?

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“A Wee Bit Peckish”,detail

By now you have most likely discerned that this post is winding itself around my consciousness like my fairy python-mother, to the end of pinching my head off like you would a bug. Not me, I don’t pinch bugs’ heads off, no way. I freeze them. Especially grasshoppers which grow to monstrous  dimensions here in South Swampland. I do not freeze them out of malice, or hunger, just a matter of survival for my broad leaved tropicals and dahlias.

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.  In actuality I find grasshoppers rather endearing and one of my first works of art in 5th grade was of a lovely grasshopper. That was before I moved from the Allegheny Mountains just north of the Mason Dixon line to South Florida’s semi-tropical jungle of behemoth bugs. It really fakes you out down here, cause the hundred tiny-baby black and yellow-striped grasshoppers you see in your yard today are tomorrows’ five-inch long yellow-green monster’s that decimated your mango trees in ten minutes flat.

My hunting technique is to take a few (10) plastic grocery bags and race around my property swiping those suckers off my plants with ninja-like swiftness until I have about 20 to 30 per bag. Then, whoosh, seal it up real quick before they can turn those bottomless black orbs of eyes towards you to make your will turn to water. They plead in tiny high pitched squeaks: “noooooo” and “pleeeeze”. Don’t listen, whatever you do, because it’s all lies, if you looked like a plant they’d mascerate you like it was their aim in life.

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.  After the big seal of the bag, I dash into the kitchen and whisk them into the freezer and slam the door. Then I get another bag and do it all over again until grasshopperville is no more. It may seem cruel, but when I used to raise saltwater fish and animals, the really top fish guys said that is a humane way to euthanize a fish, so I just assumed it would work as well with my grasshopper friends.

.  The only downside is when you tell your auntie to help herself to a glass of iced tea and she reaches in your freezer for some ice cubes. When you hear her unearthly screams you know one of your critters has escaped his grocery bag tomb and decided to gasp his last in the ice cube bin. Sometimes you pull out the whole carcass, other times it’s just a random leg in the bottom of your glass.

.  Ok…any questions? That’s where I’m at, I hope y’all are keeping as tight a grip on your sanity as I am! On that note, Cheers and Bottoms Up!

more self portraits 026
my idea of an artistic selfie!

 

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