Phillip Guston made me cry

In a moment of utter frustration and despair, I went downstairs to the Gallery at the Gap to seek solace in some great art. I stood in front of Phillip Guston’s painting: The way things go. Of course I don’t know what was running through his head when he paintined it, but to me it is a painting of frustraion. There are lots of fists and watches and targets and manhole covers and paint brushes. The fusts are forceful looking and draw dynamic horizontal lines acorrs the canvas. His glasses are sitting on the table as if in a moment of total frustration, he has said “That’s it! I can’t take it anymore!” and tossed off his glasses onto the table.

Deep inside me, so many emotions from the past couple months welled up. Frustration over this week, my career, my wants and desires, my confusions. They all became crystal clear. I let myself steam for a while. I walked down the water and took some pictures, I got a Starbucks Grande cappucino (in the true spirit of the corporate american lifestyle) and just tried to let it go. Later, at my desk, I was finally able to just let it all go and I came to a fantastic discovery. I know what I’m going for my next painting assignment. I’m not to map my job. I’m collecting all the little doodles on post-it notes, all the weird scribbles. I’ll make collages from Functional specs of words like “Requirements Phase” and “Vision & Goals”. And the candy cane and the little Happy Holidays’ card I got. It will be great.

So thank you Phillip Guston. You are a really good painter.

Look what I can do!

muscle car

Holy crap! I painted this today. I have 3 – 4 sessions left on it probably but hell, what a great start. I felt so good to be doing an “Alanna painting” in oils. I really just did not like my experience last semester with acryllics. I feel like starting this painting today, fixed so many frustrations I’ve been feeling. Look! I can paint strong, beautiful paintings that I like and are meaningful to me! I AM a good painter! Hurray!

cereal boxes

I was looking for cereal boxes or scenes from old cereal commercials when I found this site. There’s too much fun stuff on here. lunch boxes, old packaging materials, toys, you name it.

freak out time

I’m having a minor freak out. I think I’ll be ok but I sorta have lots of plans this weekend and no time to work on my book. I have to get a good way through laying out the pages. I’m not even sure what monsters I’m going with or what they will be doing in all these glorious paintings I’m going to do of them.

Wow, freaking out! freaking out! Talking about it makes me freak out even more! I did however finish my weekly Western Civ paper last night, had a nice dinner with my boyfriend, and gave myself a little drawing exersize. I also figured out what I’m going to do for my painting project, which shouldn’t take much time. I just need to get to the studio for about an hour and I should have enough materials to finish it. I’m going to do two or three mapping projects of birds. I hope it works.

If I just get a rough layout of my 32 page book by next Monday, I’ll be in ok shape for another week. Just gotta hold on! One more month and I’ll be done with my Gap project.

I talked about apartment rental stuff with my painting teacher for the France painting trip I’m taking this summer, so things are coming together there slowly but surely.

Tuesday is ok

Hi, Today isn’t as bad as yesterday. I just had to learn to accept my fate yesterday. This job is teaching me patience and calm, or something like that.

I had my first critique for my children’s book class last night. I was very under prepared and am a little intimidadted by how talented everyone in the class is, but they seemed to like my idea and I think I’m on the right track. Now I just have to do the work! I think this might be a good excuse to get some of that canvas paper I’ve been wanting to try out. I think I might have to paint my monsters in acryllic instead of my initial idea of watercolors.

Today I have painting class. Our next assignment is a “mapping” assignment. I’ve been having trouble finding information on the interweb about mapping but saw some interesting articles in the Guardian that I think are on track with what I’m supposed to be doing. I guess I’ll find out more today. We are seeing slides and are getting a print out of an article about mapping. Maybe that will help. Since we didn’t paint last Thursday, I was hoping to get started today. Must just be a slow week all around. I will just have to accept the fate of this week.

mapping and nature

My next painting assignment is to employ the formal technique of “Mapping” with a nature/environment theme. I’m not totally sure what mapping means in a 2-d art application. Mapping could be something like the video of fruit erroding. Or it could be mapping the progress of a disease, or mapping a snail’s path on a window. I think chuck close’s paintings could be considered mappings of the human face. I’m having trouble thinking up something to do. I thought about doing a coyote on top of a hill and layers and layers of houses creaping up the hill toward it. Maybe play with transparencies. But I don’t know. Got any ideas? I could do it in a grid, like a comic strip, but I’d rather do one scene if possible. 2-d painting doesn’t seem like all that easy of a medium to express mapping. I can’t find any good articles on the interweb to help me out.

We had our first critique yesterday. I was really impressed with my teacher’s abilities to come up with thoughtful questions and observations about people’s paintings. Words that came up about by abstract were “whimsical, playful, decorative” I’ve heard all those words before. People seemed to like it. I think it was a successful experiment.


Folsom has had the middle lane closed off around 6th street for several weeks now. It is a complete nightmare and us two wheeled motorized vehicles do everything we can to get away from the mad house. Sometimes I do a bad thing, I drive my scooter in the bicycle lane. I feel guilty every time I do it. I am really careful to check for bikes. Well today I went into the bike lane and didn’t noticed a bicyclist. I heard him yell “Thanks a lot” from behind me and I scrambled to get out of his way. I felt so bad. I appologized profusely when he passed me. He seemed to be over it but I still feel guilty.

school day

You know that elated feeling you had on the last day of school, when you walked off campus for the last time and were so full of joy to be free? That’s the feeling I get on Thursdays when I leave work to spend the day at school. I feel like singing “School’s out for summer” and throwing books into the air or something. Only I’m excited about leaving work to go to school. I guess I could throw my badge into the air, or an ERD (Engineering Requirements Document) or something like that.

wacky summer

I have some exciting news to share. This summer I’m going to the South of France for a painting workshop. I can’t really believe it’s happening. I’m pretty damn excited. One bummer is that it means I’ll be away from Tom for up to three weeks. I haven’t been away from him for more than a couple days in the 5 years we’ve been together. So I’m going ot be a very sad girl. But at the same time.. Weeeee! I’m going to France! Anyone got any French Language cds to loan me?

I’m going with a group from City College. They have gone for 6 years now. Seems like it will be a lot like Torodel but with painters, and um, in the south of france.

I think this summer is going to be all about exploring opportunities.


Ug, I’ve been sick for a couple days. I feel better today but I slept until noon and I feel like something died in my mouth. I still managed to ship off my computer, write a paper and later I am going to class in Oakland. Yesterday despite feeling really aweful I got a table cloth for our new table and a very tiny French phrase book. I’m not a very good sick person. I’m like the walking dead, but probably more productive than most dead people.


I am really marvelling at the world today. There are dog treadmills. Do you know that? Take a look at Jog a dog.

Also, did you know that if you apply for renter’s insurance, they ask you if you have a dog or a trampolene? I guess there are some risks they just aren’t willing to take.

I think my next painting will be of a dog on a trampolene, so if you have any good photos of dogs leaping into the air, send them my way. I figure I can find lots of photos involving frisbees and then just replace the frisbee with a trampoline.

tom’s poem

I love you
I miss you
Sometimes I just want to see you.

I realize that only a few hours ago we were
both asleep in our bed, clinic and I can still feel
the little kisses that you gave me as I was
half asleep murmuring to myself listening to the radio.

I still miss you.
Sometimes it hits like a brick.
sometimes it floats on by.
Sometimes I feel it walking behind me.
So I slow down til it catches up.

Your Boyfriend.

crazy painting

Um, I made a crazy painting. I don’t know if it’s done yet. It’s pretty crazy. I’m kind of embarrassed to show it. But here it is anyway. It’s 30″ x 40″.


fantastic design

Hey, you wanna see a really great website design? Go here.

I’m staying a little late at work tonight because I’ve been spinning my wheels and I’ve finally got a solid chunk of work I can sit down and get done. I want to get it done before tomorrow since I have to leave at 12:30 for my fantastic painting class.

Work is a little frustrating and confusing. I hope the new project I am going on will have a little more human interaction. I don’t work well in a vacuum.

On a positive note, it seems that if I get frustrated enough, I do have the ability to figure things out on my own. I’m writing a bunch of java code all by myself for some form validation. It felt really great that I figured it out all by myself.

I’m no programmer. Well, I guess I am today for a couple hours. But it’s kinda a joke. I couldn’t program my way out of a box with the lid wide open and someone shouting “Take my hand, I’ll pull you out!” I probably wouldn’t understand what the hell they were saying and I’d probably think their arm was just pointing at something inside the box, or maybe a stain on my shirt. And I’d probably think that to get out of the box, I would first have to figure out how to get out of the room. So you see, I’ve got some problems.

minor freak out

I had a little minor freak out session last night about my life and how my contract is just postponing my immenent failure of my dream of switching careers and that I should give it all up and not leave my day job. Once I was done freaking out about that, I decided come hell or high water I’m 1. Going to see Azure and Jason during the week of spring break 2. take the painting intensive course over the summer at CCA and 3. try to stop freaking out so much and read more Walt Whitman.

I can try anything I want. I work really hard and if anyone can make it work, I can. The good news is, I actually really like my comnputer career, so some combination of either would actually make a fine life. as long as there is some balance. And the percentage of computer work and art work, will probably always wax and wane. That’s fine. That’s life. Slow and steady wins the race.

And kids, be cool, stay in school. I made good choices in life but boy I wish I wasn’t working towards my first college degree at age 34.