Archive for June, 2019

I am a hero.

Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

Did everyone have a nice Friday? I did not. I had a Mission: Impossible Friday. Let’s start at the beginning.

I received a letter from the DMV. “You need to renew your license,” it said. “It’s going to expire. Come in so we can do the thing.” Okay. I got all the documentation. W-2 with social security number, passport, mail from ConEd sent to me with my address on it, etc. Cricket made an appointment for me at 10:45 am so I could zip past all that sadness that the DMV is famous for. I arrived at 10:45am with all my paperwork. I totally forgot that they take your photo and I didn’t have my hair done or any makeup on but whatever, I’ll get in and get out and that will be the end of that. Who cares if I have an janky license pic. The picture-taking woman handed me a number, told me to fill out a form and wait. It was B366. The screen was at B317. Not too bad. I sat down on those uncomfortable church pews and waited.

AT 2:15 IN THE AFTERNOON they got to B366. I had – foolishly, it turned out – parked at a meter that only lasted an hour because ha ha! I was only going to be there for the wink of a dog’s sphincter or whatever. So every hour I had to panhandle my way around the DMV. “Anyone got change for a dollar? Hey pal, can you spare some quarters for a sad lady who hasn’t had breakfast yet and whose phone is at 27%?” When B366 popped up on the screen I scraped the moss off of myself (there was no air conditioning, it wasn’t cobwebs, it was moss) and approached the counter. At last, my task will be complete! Hurrah! The guy looked at all my documentation and said, “Do you have a birth certificate? Or a social security card?” I was like, no but I have every other document ever issued to me in the history of forever, look at this heaping pile of documents in front of you and rejoice, sir. He said, “Well, all your documents say ‘Jessica N Rothman’ but nowhere does it say what the N stands for.” I said Nicole, it stands for Nicole. He said he needed proof that it was Nicole. I said, hey let’s look at that license y’alls issued me and the one before that and ooo here’s my learner’s permit, they all say Jessica N Rothman, clearly this office is super-cool with this so can I go now please. He said no. He said if I can get back to the DMV with my birth certificate by 4:00 that day I would not have to come in again and wait for another billion hours.

This would be the time to press play on this video and listen to it while reading the rest of this story.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAYhNHhxN0A

I ran to my car, found the Port Chester Clerk’s Office on my phone (19 minutes away!) and drove there in great haste. I ran into their office (it was air-conditioned and for the duration of my time there I smelled less like an unwell donkey so that was nice) and asked for my birth certificate. I filled out the info. I gave the $10 fee. It wasn’t even 3:00. I was going to make it. And then all my dreams were shattered. The clerk that notarizes the printout wasn’t there with his punchy-punch. The clock was ticking. I told the Port Chester office people my sad tale and they called the notary and told him to stop doing what he was doing (I believe he was at Stop & Shop) and get back asap. He came back at 3:30. He signed. He punchy-punched. I now had 1/2 hour to drive about 20 minutes, not including traffic. I drove like I was powered by Satan himself. I may have honked at an elderly man to get out of the road. I pulled up to the side of the building, parked illegally and put on my hazards, tickets be damned. I ran up two flights of stairs and got inside the DMV at… 3:58.5. I did it with a minute and a half to spare. Now I had to stroll casually around the waiting area for a minute before dealing with my license because I was panting so hard and seeing black spots in my peripherals and sweating all down my back. I think the security guard thought I was going to die. Hell, I thought I was going to die. During my recovery period they indeed locked the doors and had I been late I would have had to come back.  After I collected all my organs together into a body-like shape I went up to a counter. I explained my predicament to the new guy and he said that I had all the things finally and I could get my new license. I might have wept with joy. It all was taken care of.  Then I saw my license photo and wooo it was unfortunate. I would describe it as somewhere between a walrus wearing a wig caught mid-blink and a cryptozoogical forest monster made of burrata with purple twigs where the hair should be. It’s not great. But it will forever remind me of the time I spent about six hours at the DMV and how grateful I am to not have to do it again for about a decade, praise the God of your choosing.

St. George and the Dragon: The Force Awakens.

Friday, June 7th, 2019

I went to a three-day beading intensive in New Orleans a couple months ago and I needed a project to work on. I was going to bring a board with a design on it to glue tiny beads to but an employee of mine quit. I took over her work and therefore didn’t complete as much as I wanted. So I ended up gluing teeny tiny sequins instead. Let me tell you my story with St. George and the Dragon.

A while back I went to the Neue Gallerie, the German art museum in NY, for their Weiner Werkstätte exhibit. In the entrance hall there was a mosaic (you know how I feel about mosaics) of St. George and his dragon.

I was like GIVE THAT TO ME I WANT IT  but shocker, they did not give it to me. So I was like FINE I’ll make it myself. And I’ll make it exactly how I want it. For example, I don’t love that dragon, but I very much love the dragon on the fountain in Antwerp.

I decided to use the head and some of the body style. Done. Then I wanted smoke to come out of the nose. And I like the way the Chinese draw clouds.

Boom. Put that in.

I decided that I wanted the piece to be matte but the suit of armor and his halo should be encrusted like a Russian icon. I’ve had a soft spot for Russian icons for a long time. The hands and face are painted and the rest is hammered metal, usually gold or silver. Here is an example.

And finally I’ve always wanted to make a drawing with red outlines instead of the usual black. I like to make my life difficult because that’s how you grow and evolve as a creative person.

SO, armed with all this everything I made a drawing.

That’s Cricket’s face which I used as a guide for the face.

I did such a good job! Hooray for me! So talented! (Get ready for a fat pile of hubris.)

I transferred the design to the board by punching little holes using a pushpin onto the lines using a soft backing, in this case I used foamcore, taping it to the board and pressing a pale-colored Sharpie on the holes thereby making wee dots on the board. I can then connect the dots and have the pattern.

And I colored in all the red. Which is when I realized I screwed up all the proportions on St. George.

His head is too big, his waist is too small and his legs are too short. But I didn’t have time to redo it so I convinced myself hey, it’s the Middle Ages, he’s a young child and he has rickets and a tapeworm. Fine, good, solution. Moving on.

Gray and silver washes as a background. And darker gray for depth.

And the beginning of the sequin-gluing process. I found some flowers and cut off the petals to make the chain-mail.

I finished all the sequins and started on the dragon’s body. I painted it a rich deep blue-green.

And then I screwed up the cloud. And scraped it off. I proceeded to screw it up three more times. And at that moment I made the decision to start over. George was the wrong size, I didn’t use a sticky enough glue for the sequins and they started coming off, and the smoke cloud was not happening. You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, etc.

First thing I did was find a photo of a tall man, chopped off chunks of my original St. George drawing in Photoshop and reassembled them over the new body so the proportions were correct.

Then I made an entirely new drawing. I wanted the cloud to balance the curve of the dragon so I moved it over.

I used the same technique of the pushpin on the soft backing material,this time apadded envelope, taping it to the board and tapping a Sharpie on the dots. This is what the paper should look like when done if it’s done correctly.

Before I got to the tail I decided I didn’t like that odd turn and redesigned it using light pencil lines. You can see Old George who is not great and New George who is really coming together.

And now I begin the painting process. Since I made a ton of mistakes on Old George I feel like I’m starting New George with a lot of good information. Let’s see if I’m right.