Adventure Time

December 10, 2015 at 3:12 PM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, Braille Wail, EYE believe | Leave a comment

So many things have happened, so many things will happen.

That’s life of course but here’s what is going on with me.

I FINALLY passed the final braille transcription and I am now a certified Braille Transcriber by the Library of Congress! Woo!

Now I get to learn UEB so I can get that added to my certification. Also so I can read new publications. Thankfully there are a lot of publications out with the old braille so I can read everything that is out. I feel bad for the kids who are being taught only UEB from now on because they will miss out on so many publications. I hope things will be re-transcribed. Maybe something I can look into doing….

I had checked out a braille book from a library and had decided to work on my reading. I totally should have picked kids books. I went in to the deep end far too soon. For a book that normally is over 300 pages in it’s paperback form it is in 4 binders (volume) of double sided braille. Reading for fifteen minutes most every day for a few months I have managed to read half of a single volume. To be honest I have given up for now. I will go to kids books or something easier and work up to the giant books. Plus I’m pretty sure I’m way overdue on returning these braille books. I should send those back soon…..

I’m painting a bunch. Not as much as I think I should be doing but as much as I can do giving I spent so many years not painting so it will take a long time to get back into practice.

I actually tried out to get my work shown in a gallery at the library I used to work at, but was not chosen. I’m okay with that because I know I want to have more items that I’m proud of, instead of items rushed. If you saw my college gallery show you would have seen the results of things being rushed. It’s not that great.

This is why some paintings take a really long time to work on. I get excited about an idea and work on it until I am exhausted over it. Then I leave it alone for several months. I let myself stew over it, and wait until I get that same passion for it again. Then I work on it some more and keep going until it is finished which can take a couple weeks.

I’ve started a twitter account that is just for artwork so if you’re interested check it out. The twitter handle is @enirenbergart I also opened up an Etsy shop here: ENirenbergArt

Don’t worry, I’ll post a couple of my favorites here.

My upcoming adventure is going to be quite interesting.

I did decide to go to the Center for the Blind in Lincoln, Nebraska to get some serious training. I have been training here in Omaha but it is time consuming with the terrible bus service here. I will be starting in January and am hoping to get done by June for my 10th anniversary with my husband. I’m both excited and scared.

I know it will be hard and at times I will most likely cry. I just need to accept it and that it’s okay. I know it will be helpful and I will come out with skills that will become so natural to me that when/if I go completely blind I will be able to continue life fairly normally.

I do plan to do posts about my adventure there. Probably a weekly summarization so I don’t go insane with anxiety trying to post everyday. i will continue to paint as well because I’m taking my gear with me so I will post some art along the way.

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“Zipper” 12″ by 12″

 

Who Arted?

December 3, 2014 at 8:31 PM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, Change the World | 1 Comment
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I finally finished my second attempt at my braille transcription for certification. It’s mailed in and now I get to wait.

Actually what I’ve found is a great weight lifted and I can breathe a bit better. I’ve been able work on some paintings finally. I have two that I’m currently working on but I have put them aside as they are at stages I don’t have supplies for or don’t want to work on it.

I started this piece because I sit at home all day reading online about the protests across the country in response to the injustice of the American “justice” system towards black people. It makes me sick that victims are not even getting a chance for justice. I wanted to make something simple, because it should be something simple. Treat everyone like the humans that we all are.

Five hands of different colors reaching up towards images of love, peace, equality and the world.

Hands Up

“Hands Up” 12″ x 24″ acrylic on canvas

Here are a couple detail shots.

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I’d love to sell this and donate to the Ferguson Library (Here). Comment if you’re interested.

Another thing I am doing is trying to not waste the leftover paint I have when I’m done with a painting and trying to create something else with it. I finished this one yesterday. it’s a landscape of another planet with advanced civilization, Nice orange sky with three light blue moons. A silhouette of a futuristic domed city with a tower. I really like how this turned out and I’m going to try to do random other world scenes with my leftover paint.

"Orange Sky" 8" x 11" acrylic on canvas board

“Orange Sky”
8″ x 10″
acrylic on canvas board

For those that follow me on twitter you already saw this next one. I was inspired by a title of a song by Disparition (Check them out here.) Their song titles can be so specific and descriptive that I wanted to make a few just based on the song titles. Here’s one based off of the song title “The People Who Carry Their Forest Around With Them”. I’m finding that I’m more of a literal painter, as much as I would like to be more abstract, I just can’t not make a thing a thing.

I can however exaggerate facial features and skin color. Three green skinned figures each carrying a large tree on their backs with a background of birch trees.

11" by 14" acrylic on canvas board

11″ by 14″
acrylic on canvas board

My style seems to be all over the place as I’m doing what I should have done right after college. I got scared of and lazy with the art process so I didn’t spend that time figuring out a direction to go in. That’s what I get to do now.

When it rains, it pours and there are many clouds.

May 26, 2014 at 7:05 AM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, Despair, EYE believe | Leave a comment
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It is pretty wonderful being able to sit here and type this. Being able to see the screen without blurriness or strain is more wonderful than I ever thought possible.

At the end of March and a week later in April I had one of the most routine surgeries one can get to improve their vision. I had cataract surgery in both eyes. It was two pretty easy and quick surgeries but the month afterward was hell for me. I was not blind from my cataracts. They contributed to my night-blindness (my RP is the main culprit for night-blindness) and may have been contributing to fuzziness during the day time. It’s hard to say if it was really doing that because I’m missing so many areas of my vision that I’m never sure if that’s a blurry area because of a cataract or because that’s a section my brain is making up.
Either way, my new retina specialist recommended I get the surgery. It makes sense. If it is an easy procedure and they will only get worse with time, why not clear up my vision now.
I say it was hell afterwards because I could hardly see after the surgery. Everything was getting more and more blurry as my old glasses failed to help with the new mono-focal lenses in my eyes. I could see far away without it being blurry but close up is gone. It’s a watercolor painting that someone spilled more water on top. Nothing came into focus from arm’s length closer. I had been warned that I would have the eyes of a 40-50 year old and would need to compensate for the loss with those readers you can buy at a pharmacy. I did buy a pair but it was hardly help. Those kind of glasses do not take into account if you have an astigmatism so everything was a strain.
I no longer could focus on my computer screen at work. I had to put on the readers and get close to the screen to figure out what I was doing. I hated every single day of it. I counted down until I was allowed to go in for a new prescription for new glasses. You have to wait a month after your last surgery to make sure everything is settled and looking good to the eye doctor before you can go for the new Rx.
I thought the day would never come. I thought I was doomed to strain to see anything if I could see anything at all. I was in a big ball of self-pity and despair.
This really hit home the fact that some day I will actually be blind and there won’t be a countdown until a day that I will see again. There are so many advances in science and technology that I had brushed off the thought of final blindness and forgot.
I am deeply afraid of being blind. The helplessness and frustration and the general lost feelings were terrible. I don’t want to feel them again. But I have to remember that I will someday. I have to be ready for it. I need to prepare.
But how does one prepare for such a thing?
You can sit and watch a friend or family member on their death bed and know it is coming but it does not prepare you for the actual death. Your mind and heart are still shocked from the loss.
I could prepare by learning skills one needs to use to get around when blind. Tips and tricks to identify your clothing. Equipment to read and write in braille. Equipment to keep yourself connected to the world via the internet. How to use the infamous white cane.
The skills needed are really best learned when sight is mostly if not already gone. The equipment is expensive and will be outdated by the time i need it. All of these things would make me feel like an imposter. Like I am cosplaying a blind person. Like I am taking equipment away from those that need it now.
What do you do?

I think all I can do is wait. That and keep the knowledge that it IS going to happen one day prominently placed on my brain’s cork board of important things to remember.
Until that day comes I also need to remember to keep living. It is extremely difficult not to wallow in despair knowing that watered-down watercolors with giant areas made up by my brain is on the horizon. For too many years I have done this and have avoided or given up on art and creating. I’d make things here and there as gifts but never seriously. I think it’s time to fix that. I think I am now in a race with my failing vision. I’m going to take its looming figure as a challenge. It’ll see how many things I can create until it rears its ugly head.

I now have new glasses, those snazzy progressives that have three different strengths but without lines. They are pretty difficult to deal with for my computer at work. The area for that distance is kind of small but I just need to learn to move my head and not just my eyes to see everything. It is wonderful to read again. Having my eyesight corrected made me feel elated for a while but now I’m back to being very aware of how much the RP has taken from my field of vision. It’s a constant battle against self-pity and depression. (Add medication for treating endometriosis which makes your body basically act like menopause, now there’s a recipe for “fun”.)

I have never needed a vacation more than the one I will be going on in 5 days. I have a heck of a beasty for a camera that was a gift from my husband and father-in-law. I now have the Canon Rebel T5i Digital SLR. It has quite the thick book of instructions. Time for me to get reading! Prepare for many pictures of the skies over the Midwest and blog posts about my two week adventure on a tornado tour! Fingers crossed for amazing weather viewing.

Click here to read an article about how cataract surgery is curing blindness in developing countries.

Click here for a great documentary for National Geographic with the same doctor in the above article in North Korea. They were allowed in to perform eye surgery.

Click here for information about cataracts and treatment from the National Eye Institute.

Click here for a fact sheet from Womenshealth.gov about endometriosis.

On Tuesday, my birthday, we get to take my mom in for her to get cataract surgery. Luckily she only needs the one eye done right now. I could have sugar coated the after-effects but I didn’t. I flat out told her it was going to suck. However I did tell her it was an amazingly comfortable surgery. They don’t put you fully under, just give you some amazing anti-anxiety dopey meds. I felt pretty uncaring during the surgery. The first one I was mostly aware but I didn’t care what was happening. The second one I think I had a bit more juice so I’m pretty sure I fell asleep. I know I passed out in the car on the way home. My stomach took over once I got home and manipulated my arm, hand and mouth to eat. Then back to being passed out for the rest of the day.
I hope her surgery will be the smoothest of all.

Purple Tornadoes

February 24, 2014 at 9:46 PM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, AWEsome Sights | 2 Comments
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I am what is crippling me when it comes to art. I constantly compare myself to other artists and instead of seeing it as inspiration I feel defeated. I am very good at telling my “what’s the point?” I’m lazy naturally and I like to have easily known outcomes to situations before I put myself in them. I used to be fairly decent with change as it was more forced the more we moved when I was younger. I had to accept change because it happened and I had no way out of it.
Now I’m able to avoid nasty outcomes by not doing a thing. I basically stay in the shadows. If I know someone nearby is better than me at a certain thing I will stop because clearly, the other person is better so why would anyone want what I’m creating.
Art is the hardest for me. I’ve had a self-induced block since I graduated college in 2002. The responsibility of creating is very hard to deal with. I know I am not the best but it means a lot to me to be heard, or seen, or noticed. However, I am overly fearful of anyone noticing me at all. That opens the chance of negativity. I don’t handle it well. Every negative remark, constructive criticism, or blank stare I feel as a cut to my very being. I take it all as I’m not a good enough human being to even exist.
Therefore, logically, I have found it better to not create and not open the door to pain, defeat, and unworthiness. Which of course has left out any positivity I may have gained and instead leaves me stewing on the fear of rejection.

I am trying to pull myself out of this.

It is extremely painful and wrenching.

I started slowly to get myself back into painting. I first stretched my own canvas and applied the necessary gesso. I left it alone for months. Letting it stare at me, judging me for not going through with putting a painting on it.

Then I was inspired. I watched the beautiful footage of a tornado near Rozel, Kansas that Dick McGowen ( @stormpics on Twitter) captured and was shown on S02E04 of Tornado Chasers. This beast was a thing of beauty. There were purples, pinks, and oranges and the tornado itself was pretty much perfect.

Here’s a couple of stills I captured for reference.

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Just look at the patchwork of colors!

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Such a perfectly shaped tornado.

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What it grew into. It’s so pretty!

I decided I needed to paint it. So I finally put paint to canvas as fast as I could like I used to. It turned out crap and I hated it. But it felt good to actually paint. I enjoyed myself as I was painting. Which is a very important feeling I need to hold on to. I forget it all the time for some reason or another.  I left the painting alone for a while. It was once again sitting and judging me. Screaming it’s awfulness at me constantly. Take a look below.

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Wow. Much Crap. Very Awful.

So the other day I finally decided to work on it and make it better. It has been an exercise in learning how to be okay with me. I am constantly angry with myself because I can’t get realism down. I don’t have the patience or the skills right now to do such a thing. So I deemed myself a failure as a painter. So as I was painting I was chiding myself for smoothing something out and then for the first time I answered that chiding. I said to myself, “but I like to smooth things out. Maybe that’s just my style.”

Maybe. That’s. Just. My. Style.

Guys, I actually accepted something about myself. It is astoundingly liberating allowing myself to do something. Giving myself permission to be me is a terribly difficult thing to do for some reason. It’s like I don’t feel worthy enough to have even my own acceptance. Self-doubt is very crippling.

Something is changing in me and I hope it is staying. My husband even pointed out how I’ve asked his opinion before I’ve finished the painting which I normally do not let anyone in. So I’m sharing the progress with you.

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Redoing the bottom section. The oranges were fun. I’m in love with that white cloud coming in from the left.

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Putting in the light purple section of the storm. Covering up the pink. Smoothing out the clouds.

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Putting in the little puff clouds that are being sucked into the tornado.

Now, here it is finished. I’m quite proud of it and I’d actually be okay with constructive criticism.

Maybe.

We’ll see. 😉

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Ta-Da! Now to think of a name………

(Yes, I know. I need better lighting in my room….also less garish curtains.)

Cloudy with a chance of cataracts

February 1, 2014 at 4:12 PM | Posted in Artsy Fartsy, Braille Wail, EYE believe | Leave a comment
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I feel compelled to write the first line about how astonished I am at how much time has passed since my last post. But this time I won’t.

Wait. Darn.

Oh well, moving on.

Something I took away from reading The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick was instead of a New Years resolution have a word or phrase to help get yourself through the year. A term that will help motivate you when you’re sitting there wondering what the heck to do. Last year I used the word ‘create’. This year I decided to go with two words: ‘start’ and ‘finish’. I chose them because I’m fairly good at starting projects and abandoning them when they get too hard or I find something else interesting. So whenever I have a time where I honestly don’t know what to do with myself I will think of everything I want to do and everything I have already started. There’s quite a few things so I don’t think I should be too bored in 2014.

I’m starting to get really excited for my spring trip around the Midwest on a tornado tour. Still need to finish paying for the trip and getting my plane ticket to get down to Oklahoma. I plan on documenting the trip and sharing my adventures on here.

I found out about a wonderful project where artists create postcard size art and they have exhibits to sell them for charity. Each year they pick a specific group and the money goes to them. Check them out here http://twitterartexhibit.org In anticipation of my tornado trip I made a piece of a very green supercell on the plains. I really hope I get to see something like this out there.

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The reason for the title of this post is that I have recently found out that I have cataracts in both eyes. I knew about my left eye but the right one is new. I know my vision has been blurry and out of focus for a while but I thought it was due to old prescription glasses. Well, I’m still quite sure that’s part of it, but the cataracts explain the rest. My retina specialist passed away and I started with another doctor who found the other cataract. He is suggesting that I get surgery. I’m not a fan of the idea but I know it will help my vision to improve. So, I will be calling my optometrist to get a recommendation for a surgeon.

It’s never a dull moment thanks to these blobs of goo in my head.

Oh! Oh! I almost forgot to mention! I finally finished my big Braille transcription for certification. I sent it in last weekend and they have acknowledged its arrival. They said it will take 6-8 weeks to find out the results. Fingers crossed for better than an 80!

Now I’m off to park my rear in front of the tv and work on the hat I’m knitting for my mom.

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