A lot has happened in the last few months! Let's get right into it.
While Christmas break was a bit rough for me, but I was able to pull things together for Further Confusion in mid-Jan. Our friend Julie was able to join us as an assistant for the second time, and between that and the fairly chill atmosphere of this particular con, we had pretty much our smoothest and easiest convention to date, while still doing great sales-wise and establishing important connections.
Having Julie available and familiar enough with our work to cover sales meant that Jonathan was able to attend a couple of other events at the con to network with other active Twitch streamers in the fandom, and to participate in a charity event on the main stage.
We hit the higher goal I'd set for sales, which meant that I decided to go forward with A Pretty Big Deal; we traded in the old Honda and got a new used car with much-needed additional space!
I've never pursued buying a car before, since I had just inherited the previous one from my family. So the whole process was fairly nerve-wracking, but we managed to get it done in a single day trip to Denver.
I don't know that I ever took a photo of the Honda Civic in full con-packed mode, but I've been managing to fit the entire convention setup in there for as long as I've been doing cons. As I upgraded both setups, though, the cargo space was becoming more and more packed, to the point that as of the last few trips we haven't even had rearview mirror access or the ability to lean our seats back. I would have to fit certain items in by rolling down the backseat windows, wedging things in, and rolling them back up. This whole situation was especially uncomfortable for Jonathan with his longer proportions, so an upgrade was well due.
And, I very much have you folks on Patreon to thank for my being able to afford to make this upgrade! I literally wouldn't have been able to go forward with this purchase without the stability that you provide me in my life.
Having this upgrade means that I'm finally able to go through with a bunch of upgrades to our convention setup that I've been planning for a while now. I just started a membership at the local maker space, where I'm using the wood shop and laser cutting equipment to custom build new signage and displays.
It's a big learning curve and a lot of hard work, but I'm starting to get comfortable in the space and so far I'm on track to get the upgrades I wanted done in time for our next convention at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, it's finally starting to warm up a little bit outside-- just enough that the nights aren't always below freezing and a handful of days per week are getting up into the 'pretty nice out' range. My winter garden is starting to yield results, and with the soil no longer frozen, I'm back to work on expanding the beds and making room for the plethora of vegetables I have planned to grow this year.
Being able to work outside is very welcome, since truth be told, it's been a hard past few weeks in some ways. Jonathan finally finished the last piece in the I AM ANIMA series he's been working on for the past two years, and that final stretch took a lot out of him. On top of that, a recent phone call to his mother resulted their cutting ties after she said I would not be allowed in her house because she didn't want to 'give any mixed signals that she supports his homosexual lifestyle, because she doesn't'-- it turns out she blocked both of us on Facebook back in the fall after learning I was trans (from Jonathan sharing my article on Facebook). A day later she called back to let him know his grandmother died, and he's been sick on top of that.
But, while I know that particular relationship will likely never be restored (she refuses to listen to anything he has to say because 'she already knows everything she needs to'), I know that this most painful initial period will pass. It feels as though healing from the particular episode that the past few weeks have brought has already begun, albeit slowly.
The feeling of building things helps. Working in the garden feels like cultivating a future. Pulling the new con build together while also getting on top of my admin tasks feels like I have a good handle on things and relieves some of the anxiety of struggling to make it. I'm down to my last few big commissions before my queue is finished.
Between Further Confusion and now, I've also gotten to have a few bursts of days where I was able to just sit down and do oil painting. While more than half of my days are still being spent on admin work instead of art, I'm starting to pull ahead a little and am able to do more artwork again. Above are a few paintings I finished in January drying with a layer of varnish, and I've gotten several more finished since then. It's been very restorative to me to have oil painting as part of my life again, since opportunities to do so over the past year were scarce between admin work, conventions, and digital commissions.
Part of my 2019 Goals include doing two small oil originals and one large one per month. I didn't quite get there in February (very nearly!), but I think I'm much closer now to hitting that rhythm. I'll be finishing my first new painting in my trans art series in the coming weeks. And now that Jonathan has finished his personal series, we can start doing collaborative paintings as well-- something we've been wanting to do for a year and a half.
In the coming months, I'll be investing more time into making my Patreon an active and exciting place to be, as well as publishing new writing content and plenty of artwork. I've been working towards the space I'm now entering for a long time, and I'm excited to get to share the results with you as they come.
Thank you again to everyone for your support and investment in my work! As always, this update is brought to you by the ongoing support of my patrons. If you want to contribute and see behind the scenes in the process, my lowest tier is just under 7¢ a day.
Thanks for reading, friends. <3