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Tucson 2011

So we are preparing for our annual trip to Tucson for the Gem Show. This year, since we opened the gallery, we have decided to shorten our trip considerably. Usually we go for 3 weeks, but this year we have managed to condense it down to 10 days. Still enough time to meet our contractual obligations at the Westward Look Show, visit our clients at the Inn Suites, and participate in the TGMS Main Show.

Tonight I am busy reading Craigslist ads for gem show rentals. We usually rent a bigger house, out of town, with a group of friends, but it always turns out to be a disaster. This year we are just renting a small, 1 bedroom guest house, mid-city. Last year Rocky came with us, but I figured since we were only going for a week and half we wouldn't take him. So my good friend kittymonkey graciously offered to come up to LA keep him company, and house sit.

In addition to everything we always do in relation to business, this year I am participating in the Mineral Exhibit Competition. This will be the first time that I have publically displayed any specimens of my mineral collection, so obviously I am quite nervous. The competition is quite steep, being as this is the most important mineral show in the world... so I am not expecting much. Judging is based on many factors, including the display, presentation, accuracy, etc. These I am confident that I can score high marks in. However, they also give scores to each individual specimen within the case, judging it in relation to "all know specimens of the mineral known to private collections". OUCH. I know that only a few of my minerals are anywhere near "world class", even if several of them are quite nice. But I do have trick up my sleeve.... Actually, 2 tricks.

#1. Most of the cases within my class are going to be mixed specimen displays, showcasing many of the most common minerals. This makes the range of specimens for comparison quite large. I, however, am a specialist collector. I only collect minerals that are black or metallic.. many of which are quite rare, and almost certainly won't be on display in anyone else's case. :) You see where I am going with this.

#2. In going to the mineral shows all over the world, for all these years one thing I can say for certain is that pretty much everyones' display look the same. Anytime there is a unique or different case, it becomes a show highlight. I am going to exploit this phenomenon to my advantage by using an approach that is completely different from any have I ever seen, thus distracting from the fact my mineral specimens may not be the flashiest.

Dear Brandy:

This email/letter confirms that your competitive exhibit request, as described below, has been accepted for the 2011 Tucson Gem and Mineral Show™.

Exhibitor Group: General Competition

Class/Description: Novice, B-11, Thumbnails

Case Size: 2 foot case

Special Trophies:

Setup of your exhibit shall take place between 3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. and only on Wednesday, February 9, 2011. Your Competitive Exhibitor Registration Packet must be picked up at the registration desk in the east end of the Galleria starting at 3:30 p.m.

For further information concerning your exhibit, you may contact me at 602.236.4317 during the day and at 480.892.0779 in the evenings. I can also be reached at wlpresmy@srpnet.com; or if you need to contact the TGMS Office, please do so at 520.322.5773 or show@tgms.org.

I look forward to seeing you at the Show.

Best Regard,
Les Presmyk

Field Trip to Calico Mountains

Today we led one of our monthly public field trips. This one was to the Calico Mountains, outside of Barstow; about 2 hours from Los Angeles. This one was by far the furthest away trip that we have organized through the gallery, so we weren't surprised when only 5 people showed. Whatevs, we have been going to this area to collect minerals a lot lately (Thanksgiving, Xmas, New Years), so it really didn't matter. Our more local field trips usually draw about 10-15 people, so for some place a 2 hour drive away, 5 isn't too shabby.

Field trip days are fun, but very tiring. Getting up early, hiking, lugging rocks, teaching, guiding and explaining. Everyone; Me, Justin and Rocky are beat. On field trip days, we really don't get that much collecting done ourselves. However, we managed to find enough chalcedony "roses" to fill 2 sandwich bags. We promised our friend Ellen at the Culver City Rock Club that we would collect some rocks for use in the "kids rocks" grab bags while we were out. Here is a picture of one found in 2008. http://www.mindat.org/photo-200280.html

Um.. hello..

I wanna start writing here more.

I did actually think I was going to stop all together, back in September. For the past 3 years I have had billing issues (their bad), this year included. In order for me to renew my account, I have to do all this back and forth with customer service. I don't know what the deal is, but they never are able to accept online payments from my account. So this year I decided to not pursue the problem, because I didn't want to deal with it. This means for the first time since I've been on LJ, I don't have a paid account. This whole deal got me thinking about leaving Livejournal. I am sure you can see why.

But then I became nostalgic. Mostly because I have been on LJ for most of my adult life. (WTF!) Since 2002, when I switched over from Diaryland. (does anyone even remember Diaryland?) Sounds really odd when i put it that way.
I never really left, I still read my FL, and comment... But I have just been so swamped in work, that quite frankly, sitting down to type up an entry just didn't even occur to me.

But now with the new year, things have started to stable out with the gallery. hopefully I be able to manage a couple entries a month.


Dec. 26th, 2010

Well this holiday was uneventful....

Merry Xmas Everyone!

St. Nicholas as "Der Weihnachtsmann"
photoshop vector image

web version:
print version:

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

Next year I resolve to write more and to do more non work/commissioned artwork

Nov. 4th, 2010

Got a lot going on...


So I was googling hex sign pictures and designs because I am getting ready work on my next hex sign design.. (to get my head in the right place) While doing so, I came across a Camilla Spadafino from Nashville, TN that paints hex signs. Upon visiting her website, what do I see? My very own Blue Hedge Hog Hex (circa 2006), that hangs in my mother in-law's living room.

Shocking to see your own stuff looking back at you! (and reading that it belongs to someone else?) And to think, I conceived this design in our tiny little hovel we lived in on Speeway Blvd. in Tucson, Arizona. Baking in the heat, and designing this hex sign. Spraying it with varnish, and trying to keep the desert dust from blowing onto the surface and getting stuck. I guess I will go ahead and include the hedgehog design in free vector pack download I'm working on. (for my website relaunch in 2011!!)

Brandy Naugle Zzyzx
Brandy Naugle - Blue Hedge Hog Hex; Good Luck, 2006
Camilla Spadafino
Camilla Spadafino - Imagination and Creativity, 2010

But alas, in all sincerity, I feel extremely flattered that people like my hex sign designs so much, that they want to create their own versions. The evolution of hex sign design is dictated by the minds of the contemporary artists and the tastes of the public. Hedge Hogs aren't traditional animals seen in hex signs, but I like to use them. They are cute and carnivorous. So maybe I have started a hedge hog hex trend. Only time will tell :)

(on more kinda WTF thing... I charge $95, shipped for a hedge hog design... and her version is $120!? LOL!)


New Stuff...

Do to the success of my 2009 Convention Program cover, I have recently been made the illustrator for my federation newsletter. It goes out all over the country to the entire membership.

I have been whipping up article illustrations on photoshop. Even though I am in the middle of the next issue of our magazine, I decided work on these today. Nice diversion; it gives me a chance to use different techniques, ones that I don't use in making mineral related advertising. I have completed 6, most of them I cannot share... they contain secret material. Here is one I can

masonic; 3 and the world religions, 2010 Brandy Naugle

illustration for Fall 2010 "Square & Compasses"
copyright 2010, B. Zzyzx


Last night I finished a website project that has been haunting me for what seems like forever. And while I stopped taking new clients the first of the year, at the time I still had things booked through for several months. I am finally down to the last 2 websites for other people... (then I can focus on the recoding of our websites and the revamping of my own) I did have 3, but like I said, I finished one of them last night.

My main focus these days has been on the gallery... And I am sure it will continue to be for at least the next 6 months. After that, hopefully, we will be well enough established that I can take a step back and maybe get someone else to take over some of the stuff.

My biggest challenge, aside from paying for it all, has been our educational mural wall. It is 15 long, and I have the task of painting/creating a mural that goes along with that month's theme and also imparts just a tiny bit of science. Now, not to sound like I don't enjoy it, but OMG is it a lot of work. We only have 4-5 days between exhibits to get the whole gallery changed out. The thing is, I have been saying for years now that I would love to have the opportunity to paint a mural..... and now I get to paint a new one every month. (like my mother always said, "be careful what you ask for, you just might get it 10 fold", or in my case 12 fold). My latest one is a cladogram of the SUARIA clade. Sorry for the shitty picture, it was taken on my phone. (I haven't taken the good shots for the ZG website yet.)


I originally designed it on the computer, figured out all the measurements, printed our templates for the lizards, laid out the outline on the wall, and had the lettering cut in vinyl. From start to finish, including design, planning and layout, it took me about 50 hours (& $200). The painting itself took about 20-24 hours, and I painted it over the course of 2 very long days. I am, however, quite pleased with the result... Unfortunately, the very day we get one exhibit up, we have to start finalizing the plans for the next one. No rest for the wicked. :)

Justin is in San Francisco at a gem show. I gem show that I should have went to, but decided that it would be better for me to stay home and catch up on work. Hence, why I was able to finish that website project.

On a side note, I got blue paint from last month's mural all up in the crevices of my diamond ring... it is bothersome, and I need to get the high pressure water gun out of storage to clean it.