Monday, December 30, 2002

Happy holidays!

Last night -- a little after midnight -- I made one of my world famous custom martinis. I should call it a Brytini. Or perhaps, even better, a Tiptini. As New Year's Eve approaches, my recipe is as follows:
- 6 parts gin (Tangueray, although Bombay Saphire works equally well)
- 1 part vermouth (Martini & Rossi Extra Dry)
- 1 part Triple-Sec (Hiram Walker)
- 4-5 drops of bitters (Angostura)
- 3 large jalapeno stuffed olives
The ingredient list reads a bit eclectic, but somehow they all work together. For me, a "part" is equal to half a shot, so the martini amounts listed above will equal a total of four shots. Enough alcohol to induce a coma. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 22, 2002

Completed my first acrylic painting on wood this afternoon. Wood definitely has a different feel than canvas. It absorbs water and paint quickly, so there is less forgiveness, but it makes up for it with its smooth surface. I'll be trying it again.

Acrylic is a resilient medium. You could take a finished canvas, tie it around your neck like a cape, dive under water, and sans sharks and unruly penguins, return with it largely unscathed. Despite this fact, it's a good idea to seal the canvas with coats of varnish. I just picked some up last week and am now in the process of going through all my acrylic canvases and covering them with varnish (which resembles diluted glue). I'm using a medium matte type, so it doesn't appear to change the colors or look of my finished paintings. However, I encountered a problem when using the varnish on my painting that is a combination of acrylic and ink. The varnish makes the ink disolve and run. Not good. Fortunately, I was able to minimize the damage, but am now confused on how to protect my other combination acrylic and ink paintings.

Friday, December 20, 2002

My friend Martha recently informed me about the 50% off canvas sale the Art Store in Little Italy (San Diego) was having. I'm not sure if this is a natural progression for most artists, but I feel a desire to work in larger formats, and I have seen myself progressing to bigger sizes. Canvases can be expensive, so with this sale, I decided to buy a decent size canvas. I ended up with one 30x40". It's difficult to realize just how big this size is until a blank one sits in your living room.

I'm not able to articulate my reasons precisely, but I believe that London women are the most attractive in the world. If I was limited to one city to pick a prospective girlfriend, it would be London. They have an independent, down to earth quality I cherish, while also possessing a wonderful sense of humor. Plus, as I have said before, I believe that women growing up in colder climates have an additional quality to them I find most attractive. Resourcefulness? Common sense? A survival instinct? I don't know. But I do know it's present. One night in London I rode the Tube from Holborn station to Leicester Square, on my way to see the musical, Les Miserables. Across from me sat the most amazing girl. We both sat quietly along my two stops. Her with hands clasped on her lap. She non-descript and unassuming. No make-up. Dark, shoulder length hair. Her wearing long coat in the bitter chill of a London evening. Subtlely subdued. Perhaps sad, but with a smile lurking on the surface. And for these two stops I wished she was my girlfriend. On my 30x40" blank canvas, I want to capture this scene, and call it Cosette.

Along with my large canvas purchase, I paid twelve dollars for a piece of flat maple wood measuring 10x10". Tonight, I started painting a portrait on it and while it's a bit strange painting acrylic on wood, it has an ease about it I enjoy. Although from here on out, I'll start buying it from the standard lumber yard for much less money.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Added Cameron to my Watercolor section.

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Been a busy couple of weeks.

Over Thanksgiving I drove to my sister's place in Phoenix where my mom and step-dad met, too. It was great spending time with family and the drive went well for it being almost 400 miles.

My best friend since 7th grade, Jason, and his wife came down from Anchorage to visit for four days. Had a lot of fun drinking beer, hanging out at the beach, and touring around town.

Made a recent discovery at the grocery store this past weekend. Found out that the grocery store carries the French cookies I became addicted to in France. They're called Le Petit Ecolier.

After Thanksgiving I received a rejection letter from the Anchorage Quarterly Review for my short story, Naive Ants. Need to find a new magazine to send it off to.

Went to the San Diego Museum of Art this afternoon where they recently opened up two new exhibits that were both great. The first is titled Mastering the Medium: American Watercolors from the Museum's Collection, 1870-1970 and features great watercolors from three of my favorites, Frederick Frieseke, Andrew Wyeth, and Winslow Homer, in addition to other fabulous artists. The second exhibit is titled, Painting Women: Fragonard to Bouguereau, and features various artists' stylistic depictions of the female form. I really enjoyed both.

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

To my Watercolor section I added Leslie Sitting, Rachel Standing, and Molly. I've added a hyperlink to the Molly picture itself, so if you click on it you get a larger version. I removed Heather Sitting.

Sunday, November 17, 2002

Last night I went with Shannon to see one of my favorite live bands, The Young Dubliners, play at the Belly Up Tavern. Incredible show. Amazing musicianship. During the show, everyone was jigging -- jumping up and down in place. Between being packed together and the jumping, it's quite possible that I unknowingly got someone pregnant.

Thursday, November 14, 2002

Added Untitled (A. portrait in ink) and Toulouse to my Pencil, Charcoal and Ink section. Added Untitled (Reclining and Looking Away) to my Watercolor section.

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Yesterday I mailed three poems (Air Hole, Where We Are, and Two Beds) to Tin House.

Tuesday, November 05, 2002

Added a picture of Notre Dame to my Paris picture section and pictures of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to the general Europe section.
Went to the post office in Pacific Beach this morning, after eating a great breakfast at the Eggery and before enjoying a hot tea at Cafe 976 (my favorite place to write), and mailed my short story, Naive Ants, to the Alaska Quarterly Review. While sipping on my Earl Gray tea and working on another short story at Cafe 976, I talked with two girls for a while, Melissa and Nikki. Nikki is auditioning for American Idol in Los Angeles in two weeks. I may be able to say, "I knew her when...." Our conversation started when Nikki asked if anyone's ever told me I looked like someone famous....

Friday, November 01, 2002

Returned from a month long backpack trip through Europe. Absorbed an enormous amount of inspiration that I look forward to putting to good use. An incredible experience.

Went to the post office today and picked up my large stack of mail awaiting me. Among the letters, I received a rejection notice from Zoetrope for my short story, Naive Ants. I anticipated this, as my 580 word story didn't fit with the long, character driven stories (~15 pages) they publish. I figured it was worth a shot though. When you get a rejection notice, they shove a small form into your SASE, and send it back. I received the rejection form, but at the bottom was a handwritten note saying, "I enjoyed reading your story. Thank you!" This event is a rarity, and made me feel really good.

Monday, September 30, 2002

Received a rejection letter today from the Colorado Review for my four poems Where We Are, Empty, Midwest Girls, and Dandelion. I'm pleased that they responded to me so quickly (within three weeks), but unfortunate that I received it the day before I leave for Europe so that I'm unable to submit the poems to another magazine before I leave.

Really looking forward to the inspiration I receive being in Europe. Between idle time riding on trains, sitting in cafes, and being immersed in an amazing place, I think I should turn out some good stuff.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002

Added Why We Broke Up to Oil and Acrylics section.

Monday, September 23, 2002

My first exposure to Christo's art occurred during a college film class where we watched a documentary about his project called "Valley Curtain." This project involved spanning a vast fabric curtain between the walls of a Colorado canyon. It was an engaging documentary, and I was fascinated by the artist himself. Many of his projects are enormous in scope, and he finances them himself by selling his initial sketches and drawings of the planned project. Today I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (La Jolla) where they devoted the entire museum to displaying photographs of Christo's projects with descriptions, in addition to his incredibly beautiful sketches, instructions, and plans. I previously had a difficult time tracking down any cohesive books detailing his oeuvre, so it was a great treat seeing his work collected into one exhibit. The museum also published a wonderful accompanying book.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Once per month, I attend a writer's workshop started by my friend, Tracy, whom I met in our creative writing class at Mesa College during the Fall 2001 semester. It's held on the 10th floor of a building located on Banker's Hill, an incredible location that overlooks downtown San Diego and the bay. Attendence varies, but this past Tuesday night we had five people. We critiqued my poem, Air Hole, and this morning, while sitting at the Mission 2 coffee shop in Pacific Beach, I put the finishing touches on it. It's done. Now, I just need to find a magazine to send it to. A problem with submitting poetry is that magazines typically want a batch of three to five poems sent to them at a time, so I need to complete a few others to accompany this one, before releasing it to the world.

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Added four pencil and ink life drawings to Pencil, Charcoal, and Ink section. The pieces are Jacqueline, Kristi Reclining, Kristi on One Leg, and Kristi Sitting.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

Watched Amanda Peet on the Conan O' Brien show today. Just in case she reads this journal, I want her to know I love her.

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Added painting R. with Gold to Oil and Acrylics section.

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

I went to the post office this morning and mailed a short story and five poems to two different magazines. I submitted my short story, Boxes, to the Blue Mesa Review. I submitted five poems to the Colorado Review. The five poems are Where We Are, Words, Midwest Girls, Dandelion, and Empty.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Today, I received a rejection letter from the magazine Tin House for my short story Boxes. It took 79 days from the day I sent it until I received a response. Writing short stories and sending them out to be published is a long process. Beyond the task of actually writing the story or poem, which can take anywhere from ten years to ten days, you need to find the appropriate magazine (a daunting task in itself), send out the story, then wait anywhere from two to six months for the magazine to respond. Hovering by the mailbox is not recommended.

I plan on spending tonight looking for another magazine to send my short story to. It's an odd process. It's like having a really great joke. You tell it to ten people. Six people laugh. Two people laugh hysterically. Two people don't get the joke. When you send a short story out, you never quite know how it will be received by the editor. Being familiar with the magazine itself and its tastes is your biggest ally. But sitting in an office is the editor, a real person shaped by his or her own unique set of experiences and opinions, and when they pick up your short story, reading it under florescent lights, it can go either way.
Added a new journal to record my European travels. I thought about just solely using this one but decided a separate one may work better.

Saturday, September 07, 2002

Between the general weather patterns, and rain we received yesterday, it's been very humid in San Diego the past few days. Cambodia humid. Granted, I have never been to Cambodia, so I'm just theorizing. It's starting to become overcast and threatening this afternoon, but earlier this morning it was absolutely beautiful, sans the aforementioned humidity. Went down to the Mission 2 coffee shop on Pacific Beach -- my usual hangout -- and had a coffee and did some writing while watching people fill up the beach. Stopped by the adjacent farmer's market on the way out, picking up some stargazers and sunflowers to fill my apartment with color, lovely scents, and allergic reactions. I'm not big on flower art, but it's fun to do painting renditions of the flowers in my apartment.

After picking up the flowers, I started driving away and felt the steering wheel pull hard. I instantly knew what it was. A flat tire. I pulled to the only open space, in front of a fire hydrant, and changed the tire. It only took ten minutes. I threw on the spare and drove off not knowing where the nearest tire place was. Fortunately, it turned out to be a block away. They patched my tire -- it was a clear nail hole near-middle -- and I was on my way an hour later.

Friday, September 06, 2002

Been a weird couple of days. Last night I couldn't turn off my brain and didn't get to sleep until 6:30am. I woke up at 8am to meet an artist whose original watercolor I was buying at Claire de Lune coffee shop. I'm coma tired right now. The artist's name is Martha Ambrose and I saw her original watercolor titled "Blue" hanging up in Claire de Lune coffee shop. It's a beautiful piece of art and I called her three weeks ago asking to buy it. She had to wait until the end of her exhibit before she could take it down from the walls. This morning was my first time meeting her in person. She's a sweet and very cute girl, and I'm pleased to own one of her paintings. It's a wonderful experience to buy a piece of artwork that you love, from a person who is so genuinely kind. It's my third purchase of original artwork, and I've been fortunate that all of the artists have been incredibly sweet people, in addition to being incredibly talented.

I'm sitting at home and it's raining hard. This is the first daytime rain shower I can remember this year that arrived with any force. Hopefully this storm continues eastward and delivers Colorado with some well needed water.

Went onto Rick Steve's European Travel webpage and purchased some gear for my European trip coming up. Bought a cool backpack and other assorted stuff. My task this weekend is to get a loose itenerary planned so that I can go to the travel agent on Monday and know which city I'm flying into, out of, and the train tickets I need to connect them all together.
Added Michele Portrait to my Watercolors webpage.

Thursday, September 05, 2002

Arrived back home in San Diego last night. It was a bit surreal as nearly all my neighbors that lived around me in the apartment complex had moved out and been replaced by new neighbors during the week I was in Colorado. This morning I resumed my regular schedule of having coffee on the coffee shop's boardwalk patio while writing. A new waitress stopped by my table as I was writing in my sketchbook and said, "I'm sorry to interrupt you, but every time I work I see you writing in your sketchbook, and I just wanted to know why you use the fountain pen and write so small." I told her that I like the fountain pen because I can create more dynamic lines which makes my writing look more interesting, and I told her I write small just so I can fit more on a page. I'm not sure if she was satisfied by my answer, but nodded as though she was. A little while later I was looking at a pencil portrait drawing I had done of my step-sister while in Colorado, based on a small photograph that was sitting on the coffee table. My drawing turned out okay, but it seemed off, and I sat at the coffee shop trying to figure out why. As I was looking at it, a younger woman pushing a baby stroller stopped by and asked to look at it, saying that she thought it was a beautiful drawing, and told her friend, another young woman pushing her own baby stroller to look at it too. She told me it was beautiful as well. It was very flattering. A guy sitting at the adjacent table told me that I was popular this morning. I did seem to get a lot of public mileage out of my sketchbook work this morning.

Went to my favorite art store to pick up my favorite sketchbook. I want to use it solely for my European vacation planning and travels. It doesn't hurt that the woman who works there is also very cute.

When I returned to my apartment I met my new next door neighbors. Her name is Shannon. She's sweet, and apologized for being loud last night (they had a party until 4am which reflects my extreme fatigue today). She just turned 21 a few days ago and was sampling the benefits of her new age. She said that if her and her roommate are ever loud, to just talk to them and they'll turn it down, or I can come over and join them. They seem like they'll be very cool neighbors.

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Had a great time at the Air Force vs. Northwestern football game. Air Force played perfectly and dominated Northwestern. The pregame flyover by four F-16s gave me a chill. It's an amazing spectacle. Drove up to Peaceful Valley, Colorado, Sunday morning. Peaceful Valley is 45 miles northwest of Boulder. The lodge there was charming, with the St. Vrain River running behind it, and the aspens beginning to change color. The wedding was wonderfully intimate and beautiful. Talked with old friends I hadn't seen in many years. Fat Tire beer (a regular staple in any Colorado-an's diet) was served at the reception, in addition to Beaulieu Vinyard's merlot. Beaulieu was the first winery I had ever visited when I traveled to Napa Valley (while living in Sacramento), so it has a certain sentimental quality to it in addition to being a great wine. The dinner and reception were lots of fun, and while I was unfortunately not present during the incident, co-ed streakers did make a run through the party itself. I did a few ink and watercolor drawings up at the lodge. My room was on the third, and highest story, and had no television, which was odd at first as you realize how habitualized you become to always having a TV around, but became a blessing as I did some productive writing, reading, and painting, due to not having the distraction of the TV. Monday morning (Sept 2), I drove down from Peaceful Valley to Boulder, passing small towns along the way. The small towns are one thing I miss about living in Colorado and Northern California, where you encounter quaint and endearing towns with wonderfully obscure restaurants and shops that make you feel like you know a secret that others don't. In Southern California, there is some semblance of the existence of small towns, but for the most part it feels like L.A. and San Diego are one continuous city. In Boulder I went to my favorite place in the world -- Pearl Street. Walked up and down the cobblestone road, entering art galleries and shops. Boulder, and Pearl Street in particular, are a powerful narcotic for me. I always feel so peaceful and centered there. I drove back down to Colorado Springs Monday night.

Today (Tuesday Sept 3) I met my friend Danielle for lunch and it was great catching up. Afterwards I went to the Garden of the Gods visitor center and followed that up with a visit to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. I was sad to find out that I had missed a traveling exhibit featuring the Wyeth family (with Andrew Wyeth being one of my favorite artists) by only a few days, as it closed on September 1st.

I head back to San Diego Wednesday night, flying out of Denver.

Friday, August 30, 2002

Arrived in Colorado Wednesday night. Beautiful weather -- slightly colder than when I was here a month ago -- but that's a welcome change (ninety-five degree weather and Colorado don't mix). Plan on going to the Air Force vs. Northwestern football game tomorrow then into the mountains to attend a friend's wedding on Sunday, and spending the rest of the time with family and friends.

Monday, August 26, 2002

Hi Everyone. I plan on using this journal to talk about my writing, art, and travel. Enjoy.
- Bryan