Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Say It Ain't So

This is where I will be sitting painting on some icicles today. After much deliberation we have decided to leave only "mattsautoservice.com" in writing on the back. I had initially thought to put our phone number or maybe write "custom paint" but once it was all laid out it looked cramped and unnecessary.

The icicles were katie's idea. It keeps with the theme of the Ice Queen which might end up being what I name this old girl once she's done.

This really should do it for the outside of the truck. I've got some painting left to do on the vinyl door panels and the front brush guard but this concludes the big stuff.

Without further ado I'm off (like a prom dress)--

Monday, September 29, 2008

Slightly Bored and Severly Confused.

I heart Ben Gibbard.
Google him if you don't know.

Here's a hint.
Don't wake me I plan on sleeping in.

Wouldn't it be fun to do a graphic novel like The Postal Service did their album? (Snap! I just gave it away.) By sending it back and forth between artists each adding a little bit more, extending the musical story until you have a beautiful, brilliant album? I'd like that.

Now if I could just find someone like-minded.

Anyway, my plans to finish the Jeep this weekend were thwarted. I peeled off all the rear designs and decided to begin fresh. Here are the babies names painted under the door handles. How cute will it be when they are old enough to open the doors themselves knowing they have their own special sides? love, love, love.

And if anyone asks me what a "Sekiah" is I'll make something up.

"Oh, it's a Native American prayer I like."
"It means 'God With God' in Swahili."

I'm such a shameful liar.

Here is a detail shot of the flamey bits. The camera quite obviously sucks and the colors appear washed out and dull but at least it gives you a better idea of the 3D quality. You'll have to take my word for it that in real life this really rocks. (It's the camera I swear!) I'll leave you with a picture of me peeling off the Frisket. How exciting (Hey, give me a break. It's Monday.) You can see how cloudy the unpeeled parts are and how crisp the peeled parts are. Ooooh!

Friday, September 26, 2008

What a bummer.

Computers do crazy things overnight. When I left work oh, what? a mere 12 hours ago? there was close to 20 GIGS of free space on my recovery drive and i get in this morning and it aborted (or some crap) because it filled itself up mysteriously overnight. And we were only 58% recovered!

The more I realize what's actually happened to my digital life the closer i get to screaming at the top of my lungs until I pass out. I can't even think about the stuff I lost. Let's also not think about how only roughly a third of the "recovered" pictures are whole or viewable or how once-in-a-lifetime-stuff like oh, let's say playing softball in Fenway Park or I dunno, flying my own private airplane are POOF! gone.

Fuck you, Bill Gates.

That's right I said it.
Fuck. You.

I'm glad they took those creepy commercials of you and Seinfeld moving in with "normal" people off the air. The next time you want to go spelunking into the lives of the common folk why don't you head over to my room and fix this mess. Or better yet, make an operating system that actually works and doesn't fuck my life, a-hole.

Enough of that, it's Friday after all.

I finished the "B" on the coat of arms. Did you guess I would paint it blue? Red would be just too bloody looking in such a cool color scheme. I added highlights and the merest suggestion of ice blue to the flamey-bits up front.

Next I'll drop in some background shadows for a 3D effect. To do that and keep nice crisp edges I have to remask off all of the white flames to protect them from the shadowy overspray. This time, intead of green painters tape I'll be using a clear adhesive film called "Frisket." The clear part is clutch beacuse I have to trace the edges with a xacto knife and that requires transparaency.

I'm pushing hard to be done with the Jeep this weekend. I have to clear on a weekend due to the smell and the cloud of chemicals clear coat generates so if I don't button it up this weekend I'll have to wait and wait and wait... and I hate waiting. I'm pushing for Sunday so I guess, wish me luck.

Computer, I'll deal with YOU later.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Red Sox Won!

It was a terrific game to watch. The Sox had a tremendous first inning blasting 4 runs but goofed it over the next 6 allowing the Indians to tie. Then Jeff Bailey just up from the little leagues bounces a triple off the top of the Monster (that's a home run in any other ballpark, baby) followed by Kotsay (it's like a brand new team man! Who are these guys?!) scores Bailey with a double for the lead. Delcarmen scares the crap out of me letting two guys on but ends the 9th with back to back strike outs. I'm hoarse from all the shouting. And as an aside, next time you're at Fenway notice how it's all the rich folks behind home plate that ruin the wave. Get off your asses a-holes.

Being that it was Wyatt's very first Fenway trip I think his doting father-slash-my best friend did a bang up job of making it awesome. Katie and I drank our wine out of smuggled-in plastic bottles --and oh yeah! I got felt up by security dude! -- Which I hardly would have noticed except Katie said something to me after about how he totally assumed I was a guy. Ha! It was more like patted down then felt up but still... hands off my package, sir!

Even though Delcarmen nearly blew it I yelled loud enough that the game was saved. My pipes are just that powerful. We ate nothing but ballpark shit -I didn't even have one KERNEL of popcorn (kettlecorn or otherwise!) but chicken fingers and french fries and cheeseburgers --lordy. And who drinks red wine at a Red Sox game? We do. And I'm proud to admit it.

Bethy-Lou came up for a visit from her pimp seats 6 rows back. I met her little sister. We high-fived a lot. Katie gave me her music hard drive to help me rebuild my life and a potent pep-talk to keep me from killing myself over losing the digital version of my entire book. Duck! 2.0 is going to kick some serious ass. This might just be the shake-up it needed.

Up for today's art project(s) are airbrushing the Red Sox "B" over the coat of arms on the gas tank and possibly finishing the design on the rear gate. I've got something laid in but I just don't love it yet.

It's shaping up to be a decent Thursday.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


I got nothing done on the Jeep whatsoever today. I haven't even turned the lights on in the booth. I'm chained to this desk restoring all our lost information. It's a long process and I'm just trying to take things one step at a time and not tear my hair out.

I did this quickie dance sketch waiting for some programs to load.
At least it's something.

Goddamn setbacks.
But enough grousing. I am on my way to the Red Sox game! Hooray! They clinched their playoff berth last night and there was much popping of champagne bottles. Now that's something to celebrate. Now to drink teeny wines out of poland spring bottles and eat a Fenway frank. Ha -ha!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


To make up for yesterdays total silence I'm posting again today.
Hooray! Sort of.

Here's the coat of arms with a little House of Kolor yellow base coat thrown in.
It's loopier than I first imagined and I like it that way.

Yesterdays data loss is really starting to hit me today.
It's all I can do not dissolve...
But the good news? Katie and I are going to the Red Sox game tomorrow. WoOt! And so are Matthew and his son Wyatt, Beth and her Dad and my cousins Marae and Corinne. Should be outstanding. I'm going to go lay in some rear gate designs.

Holy Crap

What a bad Monday.

I apologize for not having an update but my Monday was so shitty you really can't blame me. Our vista machine at work shit the bed sometime over weekend and when I arrived at work bright and early nothing worked. I couldn't log on, kept getting error messages --nothing good. From what I could ascertain our machine ran into some loop while updating itself and, since it was set to go to sleep after 5 hours it did just that, essentially turning off in the middle of a vista update. What a shit show that turned out to be.

I'll spare you the microannoying details. Let's just say they involved a tech guy, a deleted profile, losing almost all our data, losing my ENTIRE BOOK (!!) -- including Photoshop CS (where is it?!) and everything else you can think of. Music, movies of Egypt and Europe, pictures of the babies -everything.

How nice, right? Add to that the fact that I am bleeding, that it was a Monday morning, that my phone was broken and I'd say Tana had come down with a case of the Mondays. I am in the process right now of salvaging all my data using software I downloaded from the internets and I'll be checking on that throughout the day while trying to get something done on the Jeep. Dad and I got new phones yesterday, and decided to get one for mom finally, too. Back at work we were able to recover all of our information. Customers, vehicles, repair orders -all of it. So that's nice.

With the stock market crashing last week and now this it's sort of become my own personal Black Monday, don't you think?

I'm sorry if the picture up top is huge. Normally I resize them in Photoshop but... right. I can't. Anyway, that's the coat of arms design I'm putting over the gas tank. There'll be a Red Sox "B" in the center and I might try to do "real" fire behind the design to make it pop. Hopefully I'll be able to make up some ground today.

But fear not true believers, I took care of myself last night. Went to my home at the end of the world, uncapped some Shiraz-Cabernet and journaled while watching "Friends With Money." What a good movie. Understated, poignant dialog. Unhappy people who find a way to still make sense to each other. It's soft and eloquent and it feels true. In short it was just what I needed.

I'm off to make this Tuesday better.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Get Your (Ice) Flame On.

Stage one is finished!

It took me the better part of all day yesterday to finish masking off the front end of the Jeep but the final effect was well worth it.

I used paper to block off the bigger parts --like the hood and rear quarter panels. I masked off only what I needed to stop the overspray from landing on any exposed part of the Jeep. As I paint I'm careful not to overrun my paper boundaries. We don't want some cloud of amorphous white paint chilling out where it doesn't belong.

To give the ice flames (which is what I have decided they look like now that they're finished) some depth I start painting in highlights and shadows, as opposed to laying out just flat color. I pretend my light source is coming from above the hood and shadow it accordingly. I think this is my favorite part of airbrushing but I've realized it makes me a little nervous. I clench my jaw and after this was all said and done I had a headache.

After I've rendered it all I go back in with the Dark Amethyst Pearl (or "Blurple" as we've come to know it) and add depth to the shadows. Here you can see the work in process. I hit everything with slightly reduced Dupont Base White. I mixed up some black base color just in case i needed it but it turned out the Amethyst was plenty dark without the black.

Once everything is fully rendered Matt and I start peeling off the tape. Automotive paint dries fast but we still have to be careful not to dig our fingernails into the fresh paint. It's a long process but fun, like Christmas only more rewarding!

And Voila! We've got the first stage of the ice flames finished. Next up! I'll add some ice blue color to really make it pop, push our shadows back some and start masking off the rear end of the Jeep. You didn't think this was it did you?

See y'all on Monday.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Green Tape Underway

Tada! ...Sort of.

I didn't get as far along yesterday as I had hoped. God damned work interruptions. Don't they know I am trying to work on my private side project during office hours? I did lay in almost all of my front design. It's swirlier than I would've guessed. Like I said, I'm just letting this happen organically. Because I'm kind of scrunched up against the wall on the passenger side the swirls are thicker and fatter. You'll notice it more when I'm finished. I think this happened because I can move in long steps along the driver's side which makes for longer swirls and curls. but I have to sit and make swoops on the other side. SO there you go.

This picture is taken from right up against the wall which illustrates how little leg room I have on this side. And being that the rig's all taped up and sealed off there's no moving it 'til she's done.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Now the Fun Begins

Well, everything went smoothly yesterday.
Automtive paint stinks and makes a cloudy smelly mess so I had to wait until after the shop closed last night to actually paint the truck, but once I got going everything came together nicely. The paint went on evenly and, even though it's Blurple which is clearly not my first choice, a fresh coat of paint makes it look tolerable.

So, what's that messy light blue stuff on the front corner you're asking. No, it isn't paint. It's a bendy sort of making tape and it marks the beginning of the next (and funnest) stage.

Now that the body work has been done and the base coat is applied and dried (It dries really fast. Between 15 + 30 minutes) I can start laying out my design. As I've said before I want to do a tatto-ey sort of look running down the sides of the Jeep. I have a general idea of how I want this to come out but the design itself will just happen organically. I will lay out the design using this low stick, really bendy, blue fine line then I'll mask off all the areas I won't be painting in green painters tape, then I'll start spraying the actual artwork. This process will take a few days but as you can see I got a jump on it last night.

So without further ado, I'm off to lay in some funky designs. If you want to see how this process actually works with the tape and the paint and the what not see here. Be warned, the video is 10 minutes long. But worry not, this guy Ed Hubbs is pretty awesome. He really gives you a solid idea about the whole process. Plus he's goofy. Double Plus he gets his daughters involved and that's ADORABLE.

Speaking of goofy, I've got a side project going wherein I paint a cement garden frog. But one thing at a time. Ribbit.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


One minor set-back isn't bad considering.

Yesterday I managed to mask off the entire Blurple jeep. This is a straightforward but time consuming step. Using heavy but inexpensive (read: free!) paper my dad found at the dump I mask off all of the car parts that I don't want to get any paint or clear coat on. This includes the front bumper, all the windows, trim and door handles. I will also cover up the wheels using drop cloths right before I start painting.

You want to be very careful during this step. When you are taping the windows try and get the tape as close to the paint as you can without actually touching it. Make sure to wipe everything down with wax & grease remover FIRST to remove any fingerprints, dust, or anything you can't see with the naked eye to ensure proper paint adhesion later on. I washed the windows and the rubber trim as well because clean can never be too clean, know what I'm saying'?

I decided last minute that I would repaint the hood. After inspecting it yesterday I found lots of little nicks and chips and I thought after all this hard work, NOT painting the hood would look terrible. So I sanded that down, filled the pinholes with body filler and masked it off as well. The end result will be better, I think.

Lastly, my set-back.
At the end of the day yesterday, after I called to order my paint and clear coats and supplies I took apart my airbrush guns to clean them and found that I made a terrible rookie mistake. I left solvent in the clear coat gun for so long (I think the last time I cleared anything was over a year ago!) that it ate through the metal of the nozzle and rusted it out. This is death. I tried cleaning the metal but I think it's better to just order a new nozzle assembly since I would CRY if any of that rust sprayed out with the clear coat (which, given the corrosion it absolutely would) and that would DESTROY my finish.

I learned recently, that I should be keeping my breathing masks in sealed plastic bags since they are constantly filtering the air whether you are breathing through them or not. I haven't gotten the bags yet. Other than the three masks there, we've got extra filter cartridges, paper towels, lint-free towels, my disassembled spray guns (one for paint one for clear), some small paint brushes (for cleaning) , a pad of scrap paper, and as a precaution against overspray and also to give myself a test surface for checking colors I covered the desk with more of that heavy paper. This will help keep my tables from becoming gross with splatter.

That's all for today' s post.
Tomorrow: Painting Begins!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Blurple Jeep is Underway

So this is the first installation of the Duck! Special Series: How to Paint Your Own Car. Okay, so besides needing a car to get to places like the art store, this has absolutely nothing to do with Duck! in any way.

But everyone needs a break sometimes.

And quite frankly, this art blog could use a lot more art and this certainly qualifies as that. So without further ado I present: The Blurple Jeep!

The first step is to wash the whole car and get all the street dirt and grime off the factory paint job. I wash it outside then drive the jeep inside where I'll be doing the rest of the work. I'm lucky that I work in a mechanic's garage I can use during the day but you can do everything I'm doing in your own garage or driveway.

If you have any questions about this stuff I'd be happy to answer you. Just leave a comment at the bottom of the post.

Once the car is dry begin sanding all of the surfaces you plan on painting. In this case, that's everything except the hood and roof. You want a smooth clean surface for the new paint to adhere to. This is pretty labor intensive and incredibly boring. You just sand and sand and sand. I use maroon Scotchbrite paint prep pads which are roughly 400 grit.

The rear bumper is in pretty bad shape. Luckily it's all metal, not plastic, so i can use straight body filler without worrying about adhesion problems. I apply the body filler with a small squeegee, allow it to dry, then go back over top with 600 grit wet-sandpaper. I wipe away the "slurry" with a sponge. Sand, wipe, rinse, repeat. The idea is to sand off all the filler until the scratch is completely flat.

I find that keeping the surface really wet while I work helps immensely. Dip your sandpaper and sponge repeatedly throughout the process.

After spending all weekend sanding the jeep with the Scotchbrite pads I go back over everything (not just the bumper) with the wet 600 grit paper and the block of wood. I want every surface to be as smooth as a baby's bottom. The block of wood helps keep the flat surfaces flat but you can use just your hand around the door handles and curved areas.

Now, we're ready to wipe everything down with wax & grease remover and start taping off the windows and trim.

95% of a paint job is prep time. It doesn't take long at all to paint the car- just mix and fill and shoot and that's it, a few hours at MOST. But it takes DAYS to prep everything to receive the paint properly. If you screw up on this stage or worse -cut corners- your paint job will totally reflect that. So don't be lazy. Do it right and you won't regret it.

Up NEXT: masking off the windows, wheels and trim!

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's NOT another "Case of the Mondays."

This morning is off to a pretty decent start all things considered.

I had 2 dollars left in my bifolding "magic" wallet, the one from jcrew I've had since around freshman year of college. It's been through the ringer (and through the washer) more times than I care to remember. The corduroy outside has been worn down to a glossy shine. I am not looking forward to replacing this wallet since I think they stopped making them and that makes me sad.

This weekend, except for not seeing the babies at all, was near to perfect. I'm sure you know the Patriots won. What's that you say? You don't care much about football? Well, if you had a brother like mine on a Sunday like yesterday you would. I did absolutely nothing all day; I stayed in my pajamas, sipped coffee-with-Bailey's, picked at the Globe crossword puzzle, and around lunchtime ordered pizza and wings.

In between sessions of watching the Red Zone Channel - a channel devoted entirely to switching between football games being currently played- we also watched the season premiere of Entourage, played a couple hours of the XMen Ultimate Team up game and did I mention I was in my pjs? I sat my ass on the comfortable blue couch shooting the shit out of shit with The Bear and reveling in all the nothing I was getting done.

In short, it was a perfect Sunday.

We went to a bar in Plymouth the night before. (Yes, Plymouth Massachusetts, as in the place where the Pilgrims landed). It was me the singular lesbian and all the drunk boys, Nikki and Jessie came, too, and I bought the three of us girls vodka drinks all night while everyone took sips trying to guess the vodka flavor (pear). In this sea of sausage there was one lone lesbian that the boys took to calling neck-tattoo. Tana, you should go talk to neck-tattoo --she bats for your team. I could only imagine how that conversation would go down.

As it was I didn't have to imagine for long because the boys got us thrown out of the bar. Yes, thrown out of a townie bar. This is what I have been reduced to. When I asked the manager, an aging hipster with a meticulously trimmed goatee Why? he said "Because we are trying to keep the ghetto out." It took me a moment to realize he was absolutely serious. He was referring to The Bear who had twisted his hat around backwards. I felt like pointing out that The Bear was about as far from "the ghetto" as a white kid can be, with his Nautica polo shirt and brown flips flops, and that I wasn't sure a backwards hat meant we were bringing gansta' back, or that Rodeo Town- or whatever the name of the bar was- was in any real danger of being overrun by the seven of us slightly-lit goofy white kids with devilishly turned baseball hats.

But alas, the sidewalk awaited us.
At some point we stumbled into some place that made margaritas. I tried to point out that tequila was probably a bad idea but I was being handed a full glass and all of my effort turned towards not spilling a drop. Nikki and Jessie are incredibly attractive straight girls, both with boyfriends, who get hit on continuously. Two old and ugly men walked over from the pool table and challenged us (them) to a game at which point I said "No thanks. We're just not into playing with balls." That got a laugh and everything else sort of faded after that.

SO, I am going in to this week refreshed and ready to get some things done. Nothing recharges my batteries quite like having an entire day off. I'll be posting some pictures of this week's project -the repainting of a 1999 Jeep Cherokee Sport which should be interesting and artistically cool. How many people do you know who can paint their own cars? I'll take you through it step by step. But for today, this morning at least, I am enjoying the last remaining bits of my day spent doing nothing.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Red Wine Headache on a Wednesday

The glibness and inconsistencies of love.

That would make a good opening line wouldn't it?
Last night in my house at the end of the world I sat plucking at my piano drinking red wine out of a Poland Spring bottle wondering that very thing. What about the glibness and inconsistencies of love? "Frenemy" is a new favorite word of mine. I think there should be a Tana-dictionary, something like an urban dictionary but specialized to include only my favorite amalgamations of words. "Sheeple" for instance. Or "Bromance." There would be a spot at the top where you could suggest words I might like, and a prize for the people whose words I choose. I'd send off some original art to the lucky few, for instance.

I'd like to work words like "Frenemy" into my narrative but I'm concerned about making it inaccessible to the reader (doubly worrisome since I'm not exactly sure who my audience might be). Although I'm not sure one word (or two or three) would make for inaccessible reading let's remember I'm writing a novel about Lesbians in Boston. How universal will this really be?

The part I'm working on today are the sex bits. So even if you can't relate to me I'm sure to entertain you. Tana out.