It's been a long, long time since I posted here!

I am not in Minnesota any more, haven't been for years. I left Minnesota in 2006. I got Social Security in summer 2005 and it's been renewed once, so I am not on the Endangered list of people who are disabled and can't work but don't have any resources either, any more. Yay for me. I have had surgery. I have had two years of recovering from my surgery and I'm back to the state of health I was in at Colorado, back in 2004 but not living in a high altitude where I can't breathe either.

Life has been good for me in my absence and I've posted a lot more at my LJ blog: http://robertsloan2.livejournal.com and at DeviantART: http://robertsloan2.deviantart.com -- both of those were very active during my absence.

Ari is asleep on our waterbed as I type, he is All Right. He is more than All Right. His health has improved even more than mine, since with greater prosperity has come a better cat food budget. He now eats Royal Gold Katz 'n Flocken super-quality cat food from a local pet store, one of four brands of super high protein cat food the store gave me samples of. He didn't like one of the samples, liked two of them better than his usual food but went nuts like a cat food commercial actor when it came to Royal Gold Katz 'N Flocken.

He slimmed down because I moved in with Kitten into her house, an actual house, with lots of rooms and stairs for him to run up and down and his own dog to chase and many toys and space to get exercise, then gave him high protein food. Now he gets the Midnight Crazies again at varying times of the day and bangs around like he was a ten week old kitten again -- a fourteen pound kitten that's all muscle. He didn't actually lose weight. He more started working out and is now a very solid, sleek, muscular cat neither fat nor skinny. Best of all the new food improved his temperament. When he isn't playing Destructo Kitty, better nutrition mellowed his attitude about other people -- and he loves the whole family, he is friendly with Kitten and with her new husband Karl and at least tolerates the children.

Another physical change to the gorgeous Ari is that his fur, which had over the years coarsened a little, changed. It's now kitten soft and silky again. He is the only grown cat I know who's covered with fluffy long kitten fur. He's super soft and when he gets snuggly it's incredible, he's beyond other cats with that wonderful silky pelt. He still sheds many Cat Hairs of Inspiration on everyone!

They are two and four. I am a grandpa! Gaby aka Bamm Bamm is two and has just reached full running bipedalism -- he went from walking and running with some wobbles and a kittenish tubby sort of clumsiness occasionally going four legged, to standing up straighter and running like his older sister with better balance. Just in the past week, his walking went through this new phase and his speed went up by yet another factor. Human kittens have that same bounce factor that the furry ones do. Sascha is four.

Sascha likes bugs, dinosaurs, yeenas (hyenas), simbas (lions) and animal documentaries whether prehistoric or modern. Grandpa bought all the Walking With series and shows them to her on his laptop, then after seeing Whitetip's Journey one too many times, bought a four-pack of National Geographic nature specials and Eye of the Leopard, a single one. I'm putting together a good nature library on DVDs and Sascha loves it.

I did some novels over the years, latest one being last year's Three Day Novel, "The Emerald Sword," which I might publish online as a serial while releasing it as another indie project. This year I plan on actually paying the entry fee. I am researching some of the trickier novel concepts I had in mind -- a dinosaur novel set in the Cretaceous, starring Albertasaurus sarcophagus if I can find enough information on it, otherwise I may have to pick a different predator for the star character. I bought another Bienfang Notesketch for my dino-notes so that I can sketch the critters and combine the sketches with the notes about them and get a better look-it-up reference for all my research while actually writing than having to stop and go to the bookmarked websites or sort through the massive dry tome I bought on Amazon, The Dinosauria.

I put in a lot of time working on nonfiction. Not all of that is finished. I have worked on Street Sketching off and on, but need more mobility and energy to start the final work on it -- going out and doing portraits as a step by step project, getting models and paying them with a free portrait to have a variety of models and projects to put in the book. I'll need both photo references and life sittings with some of them, others I'll just need to get photo references and their signed model waiver understanding that I'm going to use their picture in a book and thousands of beginner artists will draw their likeness badly for free, or well when they start getting good at it.

I also started working on The Colored Pencil Realism Workbook, a project that mutated off the vague idea of doing a colored pencils book. If I am self publishing, that means I can use the handy spiral bound flat on your worktable format for it and put in little extras like blank pages to do the exercises on, blank color charts to fill in using the colored pencils you actually have, neat things like that. That's my current nonfiction project and it is going swimmingly.

I am also finally working on the graphic novel, Three Dead Punks and a Telepath, since I managed at last to get the manga style well enough to draw what I need to for the book. I've got a manga book borrowed from Kitten that's good enough for me to be able to do it, though I'd also like to get the action poses photo reference book sometime to go along with it for better action poses. Its cast changed. The redheaded telepath is a boy and not a young clone of Jean Grey crossed with Tori Amos any more, though he is a Tori Amos fan.

I will be picking away at penciling that for as long as it takes, until I have the story finished in pencil, then ink and color enough that I'm a month ahead at all times and start posting it online weekly. Watch for updates on the graphic novel. I'm doing a regular novel prose version as well that I'll probably serialize too.

I hang out at eBay Groups a lot now and collect ACEOs. ACEO is Art Cards Editions & Originals, it's art the size of baseball trading cards. Real art, either limited edition prints (usually small editions like a dozen or two) or originals, but done so small that if I do one it doesn't take forever to finish even if I do colored pencil realism or something that insane. So I've been doing more art again too.

I am starting a new website next month or in three months, depends on my finances and how cheap I can fix the CDRW on my laptop -- it's starting to whine and suffer, the motor on it is going out. If I can get it fixed cheap enough I may still be able to do an SBI site in July -- but even if I don't, I'm saving up for a site from http://www.sitesell.com that will take a few weeks to put together in presentable form. This will be my Art 'n Writing site, full of cool things, and have among other things a newsletter you can sign up for that'll come with useful little articles and occasional short fiction in it.

Kitten has an SBI site, her husband Karl has an SBI site and I'll be adding mine to the household's web-stuff very soon. This is all part of a strong desire I have to become self supporting again like I was back in my street art glory days, so that when I sell pro novels, I do not lose the entire proceeds to Social Security cutting me off and expecting me to live as if I was still on Social Security. It's demoralizing to think of getting a full scale book advance and then being dropped in the deep end to live on it with no guarantee of any more novel sales. I went through enough trouble getting the Social Security to want to have to go back and forth on it, plus have that come into my life without being able to use the windfall as a windfall and make a big tangible improvement in my life instead of going on as if I hadn't done it.

I have articles up on eHow, most of them are on art topics with the occasional amusing random topic I pulled from requested topics, like how to remove cat urine from your couch. You can find a full list of them in the footer of my DeviantART journal, which I've kept up pretty frequently and update whenever I add another eHow article. I've begun doing more magazine-like articles on http://HubPages this week, and have four of them up including a review of Arlene Steinberg's new colored pencil book: Masterful Color.

Here are the HubPages articles links:

How to Create Five Minute Art
Why start with a big set of colored pencils?
Tools & Materials for Colored Pencil Realism
Review: Masterful Color by Arlene Steinberg

Ms. Steinberg actually commented on my review so I am all honored and happy. Also she corrected a comment that I made on the comments thread, read the comments thread on the review for more information on the book and the Steinberg technique. Her techniques are amazing and gave me another skill leap in colored pencil realism. One that goes beyond photorealism into "This looks like real things and makes photos look flat and unreal."

So my life is going well, my writing is going well, my art hobby has finally turned into something cool to write about and fused with my writing career in a solid way, and I will be posting here again now that I have finally gotten the password on this blog sorted out. I had some problems with it for some time by an old email being associated with this blog, so I lost the password and couldn't get in. But now I can get in on my Google account and it's all good again. Whew!

I missed being able to blog here, but am very glad it's sorted out again now.

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