Saturday, April 24, 2010

It just doesn't end!!!!

I keep telling myself "just make it to Sunday and things will calm down" "one more paper" "this weekend I can relax"

... but it doesn't happen! Somehow new things come up, or I don't realize what day things are due, or things take way longer than expected!

After I installed my exhibit and held the opening I thought things would slow down. But they didn't. This past week I had my thesis defense. It was much harder than I had anticipated. It was an hour of questions from my advisers and I wasn't nearly as prepared as I had hoped. Good news is - I passed with revisions, which means after I make a few changes to my thesis and submit it, I'm done with it! These past few days I've been working on a research paper that I put off due to my exhibit.

Today, I uninstalled my exhibit. It was very unpleasant. Today was the only day I could uninstall. Yesterday was an MFA student's opening so I couldn't clog the hall while she had people walking in and out. And tomorrow the next exhibit is being installed, so today was my only option. Unfortunately, today was also the Jazz Festival, which I didn't realize would be taking place in my exhibit hallway!

I arrived around 10am and there were litterally 50+ middle and high school students lining both sides of the hall and the entire floor. Almost all of my framed prints were hanging crooked and students were actually leaning up against a couple of them! I couldn't believe it! I know that younger students may not be as aware of their surroundings, I know I wasn't, but I was still considerate when things were hanging on the walls - I made sure not to touch them or even get close. But these students had not only knocked and bumped them sideways, but some were leaning against them! I was frustrated to say the least. First of all, I can't believe the students didn't realize what they were doing. Second, where were all the supervisors and parents and such? I walked up to the couple students leaning against my work and asked them to move. Then I loudly asked for everyone's attention and explained that they needed to stand in between the images or sit on the floor. very very frustrating.

I took my images down one by one and moved them into the other gallery (with a locking door) so I could pack them up away from the crowd. The crowd dispursed and Jaime arrived to help me patch a paint walls. There will still people filtering through the hall so we setup some chairs with tape to keep people from running into the walls. The rest of the afternoon was frustrating. The Jazz employees or volunteers kept moving our chairs in towards the walls because they said there would be big crowds soon and we needed to keep it open. We had to keep moving things around. There has been an issue with the paint the last few weeks and so two of the three exhibit walls in my gallery were painted the wrong shade of white, and so our touch up paint only made the wall worse. Jaime and I repainted the entire surface of those two walls and then on the third wall we just patch painted the scuffed areas.

Multiple times during our painting the jazz organization people came by and made a fuss. One lady came over and rudely tried to tell me I needed to stop and come back and paint later. Apparently, they had been promised the gallery space for people to stand in, but I was also told I had to take everything down today. She argued with me and was very forceful in suggestions for me to work on it later, trying to convince me the walls would get ruined later by people leaning against them and I'd have to redo it later anyways. I told her I felt she was being very hostile towards me when I was trying to work out a solution. She left. I understand their frustration of having someone in the halls when they expected them to be empty. However, I was just as surprized to find out that I was expected to not be there during that time. I was frustrated because rather than speaking to me as an adult, and having a civilized conversation, she was rude. The director of some part of UNR came over and had a civilized talk with me and we straightened things out. Four hours of painting and the walls were done, and dry enough to hang little signs that said "Do Not Touch!"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Looking Forward

As graduation approaches, there are a number of things I'm looking forward to, including:

reading books

planning dinners

catching up on laundry

doing some spring cleaning

spending time with my husband - especially in the evenings and weekends - watching movies, sushi dates, etc


no homework

decorating our house

printing our own photos

catching up on photo editing

finally finishing the revision of my website

hanging out and building relationships with friends - I miss all of you!

taking on my commercial photograhy work

and working on my own creative photography work

painting, sewing

getting my pottery wheel and kiln working and throwing some pots and mugs!!!

volunteering my time to help our church body

spending more time in God's word


Less than a month till Graduation!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Thesis + Exhibit = Running on Empty

This past week has been a complete whirlwind. Last thursday I spent the afternoon-early evening cutting the windows for all my mats. I ran a fee tests in scrap board before starting on mine. I made a few mistakes on the first few, but quickly got the hang of it and sliced through the rest (haha). It felt really good to cut my own mats. My professor had warned me against doing my own because of the stress it could cause, especially as I was nearing my exhibit. But since I'd finished my printing I decided I had enough time to not stress and would do it myself. Thurs night I continued to work on my thesis.

Friday I worked and took off a couple hours early to work on my thesis. I'd made a lot of progress, but also had a ways to go so a couple extra hours was great. I took a short nap when I got home and then set up Jeff's computer with our tv so I could have multiple docs open at once on a larger screen and be more efficient. It was great. I put in a solid 8+ hrs of work.

Saturday, I got up early and put in some time on my thesis before our landlord arrived to renew our lease. Then it was off to Reno. I spent the day assembling my prints and mats into frames. Framing took all day. It's a much longer process than sticking the print into the frame. You have to align the print in the matte window and adhere it to the backing. Then, carefully, I cleaned both sides of each sheet of plexiglass, and then put the plexi-mat-print-backing sandwich into the frame. It took forever because dust LOVES plexi and so no matter how well I cleaned it - more dust always appeared. Plus I had 12 frames and although I got
into a routine, it didn't speed up the process. I had forgotten about tieing the hanging wire to the frames and so that was an entire additional process after the prints were framed. Saturday night I spent more time reading and editing my thesis.

Jeff and I went to church and then I dropped him at home and I headed back up to Reno to install my exhibit. Everythingalways takes longer than expected and despite this understanding I was still frustrated at how much time it took. After I laid out the order of my images I got advice from photog friends on the hanging height- distance and starting blocking out and marking my installation. Unfortunately, during this process I discovered scuff marks all over the split wall of my exhibit. It is gallery practice and courtesy to patch and repaint the wall when you take down your work. The artist before me had done this, but since they were only on the long wall, they only redid the long wall. There had been a student group show the week before and so they must not have painted. I figured I'd paint over just the scuffs and did a small test patch to ensure it was the right paint... But it wasn't. And the second can wasn't either. I decided to stop wasting my time and took my friend's suggestion to sand the scuffs instead. After my images were hung I moved on to my lights. With ducktape and zipties I secured 7 clamp lights to the old track and positioned them to light each print. I forgot to purchase extention cords and didn't know the gallery had extras, so I left them to finish on monday. Sunday night I read through more of my thesis.

Monday I was up bright and early and was able to finish my thesis. I printed it and headed to school. Of course I forgot to turn it in (must have been due to a lack of sleep).

Monday and Tuesday I finished the final details of my exhibit and Thursday I hung a shelf and some artist cards.

Thursday's opening was really fun. Tons of people came - lots of pepole I invited (thank you thank you for coming!!) and lots of people my fellow artists had invited.

I've been running on no-to-little sleep, finally catching up with me. Tonight I went to bunko - and offered to give my friend Joleen a ride home when her sister-in-law needed to take her car home early. I didn't realize until we were getting ready to leave that I hadn't even driven to Bunko! I'd caught a ride from Ariel! (Major oops - but we were still able to give Joleen a ride to her car) It was a clear indicator that I need to get some sleep.

So I'm really looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow! It will be the first time in months I'll get to sleep past 7 or 8am.


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

all grown up

Its weird, being so close to graduating. It feels like I've been in school my entire life. And yet in just over 4 weeks, it will come to an end. I'll be done with school.

I've been working harder than I have at any other point in my school career. These last few days have been rough, but God is so good and has given me strength when I feel like I can do no more.

Friday I worked a full day at my office job, came home, napped, and spent 7 more hours working on my thesis (from 7:30pm to 2:30am). Then it was off to bed to catch a little shut eye.

Saturday I was up at 9am and headed up to UNR to print. I'd been trying to print in the afternoon-evenings, but I kept getting kicked off the printer. I'm printing my photographs on matte roll paper - and there are only 2 of 13 or 14 printers that can do that. One is designed to print on 17" wide paper (that I am printing on) and the other goes up to 20 or 24 or something, but is much slower. I've been sticking to the one printer (Epson 4800) to stay consitent. Unfortunately there are TONS of beginning classes that have been in lab these past couple weeks. When a class is in lab - they get priority on the printers - which means I can sit down to print and 10 minutes later get kicked off. Its frustrating. So all last week I managed to only get 2 or 3 prints done. So Saturday I headed up to school and from about noon until 7 or so I printed. My friend Elizabeth came and kept me company and let me bounce ideas off of her. I managed to get 3-4 prints completed, for a grand total of 7 of 12 finished.

Monday rolled around and my routine of getting kicked off after one test print began again. I managed to get one print done by 8:30pm and headed home.

Tuesday I ran into a new problem. The lighting in the gallery my exhibit is going to be held has two walls and two tracks for track lighting. However, only one of the two tracks works. Apparently the other one hasn't worked for a few years - and the last time someone tried it sparked and almost started a fire or something. The light canisters can be pointed at either wall from the one working track; however, they only have 5 working canisters. Five lights for twelve prints isn't ideal or even really workable. The entire track system is so old that you can't buy these canisters anymore. I spent all of Tuesday afternoon working with my two photography professors to find an alternate solution. Its unprofessional that I'm having to come up with my own lighting for an exhibit in a school's gallery - but it's good experience to prepare me to troubleshoot for exhibits in the future. I was really bummed out because instead of printing I was now having to solve a problem that shouldn't have been something I needed to deal with anyways. But after some food and quiet time I got back to troubleshooting. We figured out the only option was to purchase some clamp lights and run an extension cord up the side of the wall to plug in 7 additional clamp lights. Thankfully I still had enough money left in my grant to pay for the 7 clamp lights and bulbs. A run to Home Depot and I had what I needed to rig up my own lighting system.

Today (wed) I had another full day. I spent all morning (9am-2pm) printing again. I had a few printer problems, but I finished the rest of my prints. I now have all 12 prints completed. It was a huge relief when I sleeved my final print. I still need to lay them all out next to each other and see if any of them need to be touched up, but I have 12 prints. Now I need to get the windows cut in my mat boards and then assemble each print into its frame.

The biggest thing still looming over me is my actual thesis. After working on it on Friday night, it grew to 79 pages. I have edits from multiple reviewers in multiple forms (tracked changes, text boxes, handwritten, and summary in an email) that I need to sort through and incorporate. And I still have a few more artist summaries to add, my conclusion to write, and my intro and abstract to rewrite. But I'm getting there. I'm feeling way more confident than I had.

I should also mention that a few weeks ago my photography professor informed me he was going to nominate me for a deans award. I was very honored and excited. They accepted my nomination and asked for a resume, transcript and short bio. It was a small confidence boost putting together my resume. I've already had two joint exhibitions, had my art published three different semesters, had a scientific paper accepted for publication and presentation (coming this june), recieved a grant for my honors thesis, and will be presenting my thesis research at the Nevada Undergraduate Research Conference next week. It was exciting to see how much I have accomplished.

Then this week I got exciting news! I won the 2010 College of Liberal Arts Dean's Award for Outstanding Graduate in the Arts. I'm very excited. When I transitioned from being a math major to undecided to photography one of the biggest things that loomed over me was the nagging feeling that I wasn't pursuing a "scholarly" degree. I felt that many people looked down on art degrees as though they were less worthy than other degrees like engineering. [In fact, I've had some people flat out express this view to me in conversation]. However, with a growing resume of both artistic and academic/research accomplishments - I'm proud to say I'm an artist. I'm an artist and also an honors student. I'm an artist, but I also do research and work hard in my studies. I'm an artist, but it doesn't mean I'm not as smart or hard-working as my peers. And it feels really good to be recognized as such.

I received an email yesterday from a journalism student asking if they could do their final project for their class on me (and my project). I had to read the email a couple times to believe it. Someone is interested enough in my work (from only a research abstract in the conference program) to want to learn more about it and do a presentation on it/me. Its weird! I'm not really sure how I feel about it. Its a mixture of excitement and hesitation.

I also bought graduation announcements today, and I just can't believe I'm almost done. A few more weeks of hard work and then poof! It'll all be over. And then I can catch up on everything I've pushed off to the side - like laundry and editing/posting 365 pictures.

I'm procrastinating by writing this blog rather than spending a productive 20 minutes on my thesis. But its time for bed. For once Jeff and I might get to sleep before midnight. Goodnight everyone!

Don't forget these key dates!

Exhibit begins Mon 4/12
Research Presentation at NURS Tues 4/13 ~1-3pm
Exhibit Reception Thur 4/15 - 6:30 to 8pm-ish - Be there!!!!
Thesis Defense Tues 4/20
Exhibit ends Fri 4/23

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Who Am I?

Who Am I?, originally uploaded by HarmonyHilderbrand.

Come join me for the reception on April 15th! There will be food and lots of people!

Missing, but too busy to care.

I wrote an extremely long blog (probably my longest one yet) on my experience of running my half marathon. I composed the message on my iphone using a blogger app over a number of days, adding pictures and such. I tried to post it one night and the app froze. so I canceled out of the app, and reentered and the blog was still in my draft section from the last save I had done. I reread through it, and the next morning I tried again. This time it worked. It said it was working for a little while and then told me my blog had been posted and asked if I wanted to view it now. I clicked yes.

However, when it took me to my blog, it took me to an older post, not the post on my half-marathon. So I opened a new safari page (mind you I'm still doing all this on my phone) and went to my blog's main page.. but my half-marathon post was not there. I figured it must have had a glitch and didn't post so I went back into the blog app thinking I could try again or email the text to myself and post from a computer. Only my blog post was no longer saved in my drafts, or in my posted blogs, or anywhere! I closed the app, turned off my phone, turned it back on and went back into the blogger app and it wasn't there. I double checked on my blog again and still nothing.

I have no clue where that blog post went. All I can figure is between my phone's app and the internet it got lost. Maybe its floating around out in Internet land and will one day post to my blog. But for now, it is lost. I was on my way out the door to school, and didn't ahve time to worry about my blog post. I love writing and posting blogs, but that was the last entry I intended to make until I finished my thesis and exhibit work. That particular blog took a long time to write, and although the sooner I write it the more material I might remember, I simply do not have time. So I put it out of my mind, and let it go. There was no point in stressing about it because there was nothing I could do.

I'm now in over-drive, working at 150% capacity to finish my thesis and exhibit by my due dates. My final thesis draft is due Monday 4/12. My exhibit starts the same day. I present my research at the Nevada Undergraduate Research Conference on Tues 3/13. Then my exhibit reception is on Thursday 4/15 (my artist cards arrived and they look awesome - I'll post a picture eventually). The following week I have my thesis defense on Tuesday 4/20 and a nice fat art history paper on Thursday 4/22 (that I haven't even started).

I'm working harder than Ithink I've ever worked in my college career. I've been getting up early to work on my thesis and then staying at UNR until 7 or 8 almost every night to work on my prints. Tonight I spent 7 hours (7pm to 2am) working on adding more material to my thesis. I've been running on little sleep, lots of chai tea, and the knowledge that I'll graduate in 5 weeks if I can power through these next 2.

My priorities are all out of order right now. I haven't done many if any chores around the house. If I manage to cook dinner its usually a quick meal like pasta or hamburger helper. Homework for other classes is being neglected. I haven't run since my marathon (its only been one week - and my knee has been sore so I figure some time off is fine). I've been a stranger to Jeff. And I missed the Good Friday service at church tonight. My sole focus is getting my thesis and exhibit done.

Once they're done, the rest of the semester will fly by and I'll graduate. Then I might have time to catch up on neglected relationships with family and friends and maybe even get my house back in order. And maybe at that point I'll get around to rewriting the blog about my half-marathon. [And finish the blogposts for San Diego Day 2 and Day 3].


Follow us on Twitter

'Like' us on Facebook