Category Archives: Admin.

Trip West Photos from Jeanne

Crater Lake was a new discovery for me this trip. I took hundreds of pictures there. Heck, have one more:
That’s Wizard Island, the secondary cone. Crater Lake is about six miles across and 2,000 feet deep.
Aw, shucks, here’s one more, ’cause you’ve got to see the Phantom Ship:

Now to the Willamette National Forest. Here’s the view coming in towards the resort town of Detroit:

Below is where I like to hike around Devil’s Creek:

Forest floor.


My family has been going to Mt. Rainier since the 1920’s.

Mt. Rainier the first evening at sunset.

Clear weather is not always a given at the mountain, which makes its own weather!

I love bracket fungus and the dew drops caught my attention.

This lake can be seen by the road if you travel towards Sunrise (east) at Mt. Rainier. I’ll put pictures up of the view at Sunrise some other time.

This great view of Myrtle Falls is only a 7 minute walk from the parking lot at Paradise.

Narada Falls is too big to fit into any camera view, so I just put it in the background for this shot.


Evening sun on the mountain.

I hope you enjoy these, it’s hard to choose favorites from 2600 photos! I’ll put more up some other time if you like.

Jeanne

Taking it all too seriously– from Jeanne

“Artists shouldn’t enter the arena of competitions until they are tough enough to realize it is only opinion and not a reflection on their worth.”  (Mary Moquin)

So… I got a rejection letter.  None of the pieces I submitted were accepted, although I’ve been in that particular exhibit twice in years past ( most recently about three years ago).
The above is one I submitted. Problem is with form letters, you never know what it was that made them reject it. I’ll only be able to speculate when I go to the exhibit.

I’ve noted before that they seem partial to some 3-D element for the prize winners, but I haven’t tried that yet.  There are a lot of ways that could be done with my work, but without my work by nature being 3-D,  I suspect it would look contrived. I also get frustrated when I get too far away from the actual drawing (like those pendants, where the glass cutting and soldering is time-consuming).  Cutting paper, layering paper, rotating layers of paper, mirror-edges around the design–all of them  sound cool but don’t really sound fun to put together.  I’m really not a paper-crafter.
I have a couple of other ideas about how I can give them more depth, so I suppose I’ll concentrate on that first.

I have a couple of little peeves about these exhibits. The first is the application fee (in this case, $25, which isn’t too unreasonable). The second is that photography and other kinds of art work are usually grouped together, and I think photography exhibits/competitions should be held separately from other media.  I think photography is an entirely different beast, especially now that good cameras are affordable and it’s so easy to use the computer in conjunction with that.  I love it, but just because it hangs on the wall doesn’t make it the same thing.

Evaluating my work is a constant process, always there in the background, but it’s good to put it up front sometimes.   Right now the difficulty of getting exposure to promote sales makes it a challenge in ways that don’t have anything to do with the  difficulty of doing the work.  I hope I’ll be able to draw some  honest conclusions later on.  Maybe that will include submitting some photographs next time.

There’s one nice little conclusion to this form-letter rejection, though. I was shelf-reading at work last night (shelf-reading is checking the shelves to make sure that every book is placed in exact order). I always keep an eye out for bookmarks since I have quite a collection. Usually I find check-out receipts and boarding passes. This time, in a book called “The Lord is my Shepherd”, I found $26.00. Just enough to cover the application fee and postage to send the cd. Is that cool, or what?

Jeanne

Jeanne Checks In

While we all twiddle our thumbs in anticipation waiting to hear whether Old Jules is giving the lawyers a bad day or has gone fishing, here’s a very brief update from me, Jeanne.
I just realized I never showed you the final version of this particular mandala that I was working on in June, so here it is:

Those little shaded areas are actually a clear metallic ink.

I  completed four good-sized works in June and July before I went on vacation. I’ll put the others up at some point, or Old Jules will.  I entered an exhibit application showing those other three as examples of my work, and if one of them gets chosen, I’ll get that one matted and framed. I’ve been in the exhibit before, which is held in a local nature center building, but I haven’t heard anything yet for this year.  I like this one because they let you put prices on your work and the Parks and Recreation Dept. actually makes some purchases themselves for their buildings throughout the county. So we shall see. I’ve never won any prizes or sold anything through this exhibit, but the judge this year is affiliated with our  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), so it makes sense to let one more art professional  see my stuff.  Usually the winners from this show are either doing photography or have some 3-D element in their work.

I took 2460 photographs on my trip, most of them in Oregon and Washington. If you want to connect with me on Facebook, you can see some of them (I’m there as Jeanne Bangs Kasten). There were some really great photos because I got a new camera, a Canon Powershot Elph somethingorother.  Even just set on automatic, the pictures were great. I took pictures at Breitenbush Hot Springs, the Oregon beach, Tacoma, WA, Mt. Rainier, Ballard Locks (Seattle) and the Dale Chihuly Museum at the Seattle Center (right by the Space Needle). I have a ton of scenery and greenery photos, and I have an obsession (apparantly) with running water scenes.  I haven’t passed on very many to Old Jules yet because it involves either re-sizing them all or putting them on a separate flash drive. 
 Well, back to work!  And the rest of you can go back to twiddling your thumbs. 
Jeanne

Art Work Update from Jeanne

Last week when I finally cleared the decks and got out all the pens again, I realized how critical it seemed for me to start drawing every day. In the meantime I came across this little book while I was shelving at the library:

It describes Resistance and how to combat it. Those of you who are doing creative work already know what I’m talking about. But knowing the characteristics of Resistance and having a plan to fight it helps. I’m going to have to own this book just in case I ever see myself getting away from drawing again.

So here are a few photos for you showing what I’ve been working on.These aren’t scans, so the photo angles will be a bit off.

Although I find the asymmetrical ones very fun to work on, I also demand that I retain my ability to do the symmetrical ones free-hand. All those curlicues in the middle area compensate somewhat for where it got off track. I hope.

I rarely get out a ruler, but on this one I did for the next stage. I just used it to mark dots where I wanted to start those outside edge designs. Once I had one that I thought was round, and when I got a circular mat cut for it, it turned out it wasn’t round at all. So now I’m more careful about that, either making sure it’s round or not getting round mats!

Here’s one more from the end of last night:
I don’t think it’s finished, but at this point it’s definitely time to walk away and not look at it for a few days.

However, I couldn’t help bringing it over to Paint Shop Pro to see what I could come up with:
Love it!

Here’s a close-up of an old one that I had already matted about 6 years ago. I had pens that weren’t as good as the ones I use now, so I’m brightening it up with better colors:
I guess that center motif has always been a favorite of mine. I need to break away from that.

Just for fun, here’s a photo of the above taken under a black light:

A photo of the work table. My son took a card table and cut off the legs so it’s only about a foot high.  I sit on a cushion on the floor. I have a clamp-on light and a clamp-on magnifier. It works great since I can move it around easily and can use it for anything up to a couple of feet square.
Oh, I also worked on that long strip one lying across the pens. But I’ll show you that one again when it’s finished.
I hope everyone has a good creative day!
Jeanne

 

Mandala Dreams update from Jeanne

Hi everyone, I thought I’d sneak a  post in here when Old Jules isn’t looking.

Since I got back from New Mexico last weekend, I’ve been clearing space to draw again so I thought I’d tell you a little more about what I do with these gel pens.

When a drawing is finished, it’s never really finished because I can take original drawings and make hundreds of variations on the computer using Paint Shop Pro 7. The first picture is a really old drawing I did when I was just starting to get serious about it. Soon after it was finished, I was unhappy with it for several reasons. I  hadn’t developed the ability to plan for margins and also lacked the skill for keeping it symmetrical.  (Although it did sell, I never got a good scan of it because of the size. I’ve since learned that Kinko’s has a huge scanner so now I use their services for large drawings. This one is about 12×12 inches.)

But the second version is a favorite that I always enjoy looking at, and I frequently use it for greeting cards. It’s also in the running as a possible variation for fabric.  Same drawing, just tweaked with PS Pro 7.

The originals are always the best for viewing in person because I use a lot of metallic and fluorescent inks which don’t show in a reproduction, but playing with changing colors and shapes  gives me more variety for printed copies and fabric.  I’ve even used the manipulations as starting places for entirely new drawings.

Here’s a mandala that really is special just because of the capability of the particular gel pen I was using. There is a line of Sakura gel pens that actually makes an outline on the edge of the color as it’s drawn across the surface. If you enlarge this piece, you’ll see how much more intricate this becomes.  Although I’m pretty good at fine line drawings, these pens add even more detail. The finished size of this drawing (not the paper)  is about 4 1/2 x 4 1/2 inches.
This is  also an old one, but it shows off this added line feature really well.

Since I’m only working one part-time job right now, I have time to draw again, and I’m working on several half-finished pieces. I also have an order for some greeting cards that just need to be assembled since I already have the photo reproductions.  I also intend to get back to those soldered glass pendants since I have a stack of those that I set aside when the soldering started to drive me nuts. I listed three on Etsy last night and will probably put up several more soon: http://www.etsy.co/shop/Mandaladreamer).

Here’s what I was working on this evening:
This one will be fun when it’s finished because all those fluorescent inks glow under a black light.

I also sorted through my entire collection of pens and threw out at least a couple of dozen that didn’t survive not being used frequently last winter, as gel pens  to dry out easily. Here’s what’s left:

Old Jules suggested that I write a post about my recent trip to New Mexico, but since the main thing I came back with was a determination to keep  drawing and work harder at sharing it, I figured I’d post this instead.

~Jeanne (Mandala56)

Cosmic Mandala

Here’s one of my early gel pen drawings. This one sold at the first exhibit I ever had. I hope you enjoy looking at it.
Jeanne

Today on Ask Old Jules: Complimenting  an Older Woman?

Housekeeping

Hi everyone, Jeanne here. Please bear with me while I make a few comments on the status of things here at So Far From Heaven.

First of all, the blog site isn’t going away. I’m sure Jules will post from time to time, but he’s also relieved to have made the decision to post only when he feels the urge without any dedication to a schedule. So, less stress, fewer posts, but not going away. If you’re not already signed up for email notifications, you might consider it. I’ve certainly found it helpful on other blog sites that I follow.

I have permission to post some other things that Jules has written in the past, some items from previous blogs, poetry, some pieces from other projects. I would appreciate your feedback about this idea. I suspect I am biased about his writing and don’t have enough distance from the situation to really know whether our followers  want to see anything “old” or just wait for something current.

For anyone who wants a daily dose of Old Jules’ writing, please visit  Ask Old Jules, where you are still welcome to ask questions there through the comments.  Although I only post one question and answer per day, there is a lot of variety and randomness from day to day that you might enjoy.  The Facebook page So Far From Heaven: Ask Old Jules will also continue with shorter q/a posts more appropriate to the Facebook format.

We’re very gratified that at this point we’ve got a nice solid core of dedicated readers. I’m also following a lot of nice people that I never knew existed, and intend to keep doing so. We appreciate all the responses we’ve had so far and look forward to continuing in the same vein although not with the same frequency.

Until next time,
Jeanne

Important Updates From the Middle of Nowhere – Breaking News

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by.

Things have slowed down here a bit, but exciting things are still happening.

The freezer compartment never had a natural door, so it frosts up somewhat rapidly.

You’ve probably been through this, too.  Defrosting it’s a challenge.  Two days so far with it turned off and the door open.  Slow going because the ambient temperature’s not getting much above freezing.

Someone in south Texas cut down a Texas Ebony tree and Gale managed to lay claim to part of it.  He’s itching to begin working on it, but the bearings, both on his lathe and the sawmill went out suddenly and simultaneously.

He decided it’s time to upgrade his lathe anyway, so the old one’s got to be dissassembled and moved out and the new one assembled and installed.

We’re still waiting for the sawmill bearings to arrive from China or somewhere.

Meanwhile, the wobblyhead extensions still aren’t going to do the job on the Commie Toyota starter.  I think the 4-Runner’s down for the count until I can pull that engine out of there and get to it.  The nut-head rounded off more every time I applied torque.  I dassn’t do anything to round it off more.

Otherwise it’s business as usual here.  The cats and chickens send their regards.

Old Jules

No Blog Awards Appeal and the So Far From Heaven Blog

Jeanne's work

Please help me control the egos of the hats, cats, chickens, deer, wild hogs, dead trees and the Communist Toyota 4-Runner.

I appreciate all you visitors who come here and the kind words many of you say about So Far From Heaven.  But I’m asking a favor of all of you.  Accept our gratitude, but don’t offer awards.

There are thousands of fantastic blogs on the web.  Many of those great blogs are getting blog awards.  I believe all of those receiving those awards deserve them, aside from the awards offered to this blog.  This blog is not yet worthy of any blog award.

Jeanne and I work hard on So Far From Heaven and we’re both determined to make it better, possibly good enough to receive an award someday.  But we both know we aren’t there yet.  So Far From Heaven has a long way to go..

Giving blog awards to So Far From Heaven detracts from the value of the awards.

But the blog awards offered to this blog have also bloated the community ego.  The cats, chickens, deer, dead trees and even the Communist Toyota have all become insufferable.

So until some time in the future when we consider the blog to have reached a better standard, please accept our thanks for the thought, but don’t nominate So Far From Heaven for blog awards.

Gracias,

Old Jules

To Live is to Fly


Good morning everyone, Admin. (Jeanne) here.

Old Jules told me that some folks have been asking about who I am and wonder how I came to be “behind the scenes” on this blog. He asked  me  to explain a bit about how we met and got to this point.

We actually met in a y2k chat room. When my ex and  I were researching y2k in ’98, I  was new to the internet and immediately became addicted to chat, where this guy who could really turn a phrase caught my attention with his sharp, although often warped, sense of humor. He obviously was an expert about  emergency preparedness and soon he and his y2k website became my number one resource.

When he got his property at a land auction in the summer of ’99, we also bought a piece of land and I went from Kansas to  New Mexico for the first time to sign the closing papers. My family put up our own getaway cabin about a mile and a half down the road from his place.  After three more trips to put supplies in place, I had a suspicion that y2k was going to be less of an event than had been predicted. I  decided to take advantage of the chance to give my kids a taste of a life not only in a different culture, but without telephone, electricity, or indoor plumbing. By New Year’s I was there with all five of my kids, and I  lived there for 4 more months with the three of them that were homeschooling.  Jules and my family became good neighbors. He again became a valuable resource for us when we were studying New Mexico culture, history, and geography.

After my family reunited back in Kansas, we stayed in close contact. When I quit homeschooling and began working outside the home, he again became a mentor for me, since his career  in management positions gave him perspectives that would have taken me years to learn.  After my divorce a few years later we shared a house in Placitas, N.M. for a couple of years before I again moved back to Kansas. I’ve visited Old Jules in New Mexico many times, and in Texas a few times.  We’ve taken a lot of day trips, hit the thrift stores, and shared our cats, music, and books.  We’ve also collaborated on various  projects.  He’s been great about encouraging me in my art work, too.

I work two library jobs, and I’ve always had a passion for reading and writing.  I’ve had blogs myself, but I decided a while ago that my own expression should focus more on my art  than writing. I have other friends who are writers and I enjoy following their progress. Living on the edge as Old Jules does, with a slow dial-up connection on a phone line that I happen to know has a tree branch lying across it right now, makes it difficult for him to maintain a blog site. Since I’ve always enjoyed reading what Old Jules writes, I’m happy to help by using my fast internet connection to set up and maintain the blog.  So this blog is truly a joint project.  When we can, we use photos that we’ve taken ourselves, and discussing which music  fits each post is one of the parts about it that I enjoy most.

Because we live 800 miles apart, we don’t actually see each other very often,  so we’re grateful to live in a time when y2k didn’t bring down the grid,  destroying communications and becoming the end of the world as we know it.
We hope you’re grateful, too.

Mandala 56
Addendum: Here’s a link to my Deviant Art page for those who’d like to see more of my drawings. I don’t update the page very often, but it’s a handy place to have a gallery!
http://mandalagal.deviantart.com/gallery/

Townes Van Zandt– To Live is to Fly