I Won 3rd Place in Another Art Contest!

Maranda Russell, Untitled #1, 2.5 x 3.5

I got some great news yesterday! The above artwork won 3rd place in the “Finding Your Inner MozArt” art contest! I get $75 in prize money plus whatever the piece sells for, so not bad!

I think the best part for me personally though, is that the head judge is the Director Emeritis of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego! This is the first time I’ve had someone that important associated with a major art museum recognize and reward my artistic endeavors! I know we shouldn’t focus too much on important job titles and all that, since the art itself is most important, but it still rocks to be recognized officially like that!

I saw quite a bit of the competition works for the contest and they were very impressive, so I know winning 3rd place really is a big deal! Had I been a judge, I would have had a hard time deciding!

New Painting: Shiny Happy People

While I was painting this acrylic picture last night, trying to capture the burgeoning depression I could feel weighing on me, the REM song Shiny Happy People came on the satellite channel I was listening to. I felt that song perfectly captured how I was feeling, as I always felt it was a rather tongue-in-cheek, mockery of a song. I decided to name the artwork after the song, so here is my version of Shiny Happy People:

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Check out all my art currently for sale on my ebay store.

Twittering Tales #126 – This Is It

The prompt for this week’s Twittering Tales writing challenge immediately brought back sad memories of an ill-fated tour of a great entertainer (one of my all-time personal favorites), so I went with it. Here is the photo prompt and my entry:

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“It was meant to be my swan song. I pulled out all the stops…the moonwalk, the sequins, the white glove, the gangster getup for Smooth Criminal.

It was the only chance my children would ever have to see me live on tour. When I said This Is It, I meant it, but it came too soon…”

(280 characters)

I wanted to add the video and song by the same title as well. It is a beautiful, though sad song and the video features footage of rehearsals for the tour that never was…

 

I Am An Obsessive Collector

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Part of my toy/collectibles/art room, unfortunately you can’t see all the stuff organized in the closet or in the cabinets behind me.

I collect too many things. I collect tons of toys/action figures/dolls/squishies/stuffed animals/minifigures (Barbie, My Little Pony, Sesame Street, Looney Tunes, Lego, Nickelodeon, Disney, Schleich, Funko Pops, Reborns, Cabbage Patch Dolls, Coraline, etc.) I have an entire room for all my toys and collectibles. I collect books, especially children’s books and books about subjects I am obsessed with, ranging from Michael Jackson, Nirvana, and Dance Moms, to art/artists, writing/writers, poetry, comics/manga, and antique books. The books also have a room of their own, which they share with my husband’s smaller but still sizable book collection (mostly history, true crime, and science fiction grace his shelves).

I have a huge collection of art supplies and stickers (which also get shoved into my extra “toy room”). I have a large collection of cds, especially from my favorite artists (MJ again, Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Enya, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, 60’s 70’s & 90’s hits, Disney soundtracks, etc.)

I have an entire dresser drawer full of bookmarks, a wide selection of cute or nerdy notebooks/journals/stationery and a cabinet full of magickal/pagan themed objects I use for my little ritual altar. I also have a large collection of sentimental items I have saved ranging from photos to cards to letters to objects from loved ones who have passed on.

I am emotionally connected to many of the things I collect and the idea of parting with them is traumatic. I figure this need to collect things is part of the autistic side of me, but sometimes I become overwhelmed by the size of my own collections!

New Artworks for an Autistic Music-Themed Art Contest!

I made these 3 new mixed media ACEO collages for a new autistic music-themed art contest being sponsored by Mainly Mozart and The Art of Autism, who I have worked with many times in the past for various contests, promotions, and art projects. This particular art contest is called “Finding Your Inner MozArt”. Winners get a cash prize, as well as having their works displayed and put up for sale at Mainly Mozart’s month-long festival in San Diego, California. I hope I win, or at least place!

maranda russell, untitled #1, 2.5 x 3.5

maranda russell, untitled #2, 2.5 x 3.5

maranda russell, untitled #3, 2.5 x 3.5

Party Like It’s Your Birthday…

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Yesterday was my 36th birthday! I had a great day! My mother and her new husband, Bruce, took me and my husband out to eat at Perkins where I had some delicious spiced pear and cranberry waffles, then we went back to my house and visited for a while. Those of you who follow my blog regularly probably know I have a rocky relationship with my mother at times, but yesterday was actually really nice.

My mom also gave me some gifts, including cash and all this stuff:

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The llama dances to the tune of “Pocket Full of Sunshine” and is so adorable!!!

After my mom and Bruce left, my husband gave me his gifts for me:

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The t-shirt is awesome since I adore black cats and that lyric is from one of my all-time favorite songs (by Simon & Garfunkel). The black skeleton candle and Hello Kitty card are big favorites too!

A good friend of mine also sent me a little care package which was extremely sweet:

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I’m looking forward to reading that book since the movie looks pretty cool too. And you can never go wrong with ponies and cats!

Overall, I had a great day! Thank you to everyone who helped make it special!

Kanye West is Bipolar?

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A couple days ago, I was watching Kanye West’s “interview” in the White House Oval Office with Donald Trump. I must admit I mostly wanted to watch it just to see what kind of crazy stuff Kanye would come up with. To be frank, he has always seemed a little like a loose cannon, even back in the days when he announced that George W. Bush didn’t care about black people, or when he interrupted Taylor Swift during her award speech to say that Beyonce should have won.

However, when I heard Kanye say during his recent interview that he had been diagnosed bipolar, suddenly, a lot of things clicked into place. I hadn’t really thought of it before, but Kanye does come across as highly manic in his speech sometimes, especially when he is all worked up about things and causes a scene. He definitely seems to have pressured speech (his words just flow out everywhere and in every direction), and I recognize flight of ideas as well (his train of thought is often hard to follow, he shares his thoughts in a way that definitely isn’t always linear or seemingly coherent). Kanye often appears paranoid during these times as well.

I heard that after the interview, Kanye was asked about the bipolar diagnosis and said something along the lines that he thought he was misdiagnosed or he had somehow been cured (contradictory thoughts together). Even this reminds me of manic episodes, after all, what is more predictable than someone with bipolar denying their disease or refusing treatment when in the throes of mania?

Anyhow, my main point is that as someone who has bipolar type 2 myself, I do have empathy for whatever Kanye is dealing with mentally, even if I don’t agree with some of his bizarre or outlandish statements.

Lyrics of My Life, “Keep the Faith” by Michael Jackson

This may be my favorite song of all time, even though it is a little known song by the King of Pop. It is a song that I have always found incredibly inspirational and supportive when I felt like everything was going wrong and the world was conspiring against me. I have listened to this song on repeat during many drives to scary things like job interviews, or when I had to give an author talk in front of an entire elementary school years ago. Without the song, I’m not sure I could have drummed up enough courage and willpower to do things that cause me such enormous anxiety.

I think what I like best about this song is that it has kind of a kick-butt attitude, even though it sounds a lot like an African American gospel song at points. It definitely isn’t a wishy-washy song, with lyrics like:

“Better stand up and act like you want to do right
Don’t play the fool for the rest of your life
Work on it brother and you’ll make it someday
Go for what you want
And don’t forget the faith

Look at yourself
And what you’re doing right now
Stand back a minute
Just to check yourself out
Straighten out your life
And how you’re living each day
Get yourself together
Because you got to keep the faith…”

“I told my brother how to do the thing right
Lift up your head
And show the world you got pride
Go for what you want
Don’t let them get in your way

You can be a winner
If you keep the faith
Straighten out yourself
And get your mind on track
Dust off your butt
And get your self-respect back
You know me long enough
To know that I don’t play
Take it like you want it
But you got to keep the faith…”

…And that is only a small portion of the lyrics (it is a long song lol)