Thursday, October 9, 2014

New Priorities

My life has been changing. With a growing child I have had to change more often then I am used to. I have had to learn, to make sacrifices, and re-assess my priorities. It is interesting to see that as he learns and grows he needs more and more of me in his life.

I have had to decided what things are more important to me. Of late I have had to concede that he needs me more than my work does. This means to me that I will have to change how I do things. There will be less time for me to sell and share my work online. There will be less time to write. There will be less time to create.

The thing is that I care more about creating than I do any of these other things, so my conclusion has been that I will probably do little to nothing to sell, or share my work for the next while. I don't see the use of it when I get so little in return, and when my child is so much more important than anything I could gain from the work, that I may just give up the attempts to earn from it.

I will be going back to what I do best. To the things I care about the most. I will focus on my kid, and my work and nothing more. I may come back here every once in a while to give updates but I will not be as regular as I was.

This was a great experiment, but there are things that are more important for me to be doing now. Till next time, goodbye.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Nothing to Report

I don't really have anything going on right now. I have been working on digital art again but it is slow going. I just haven't really been up to anything that I have needed to spill across the pages of this blog. I like to be regular and not miss writing here. I try to be accountable to myself to be sure that I don't get lazy about writing and stop completely. As it stands though I didn't write last week like I should have and I don't really have anything to report right now. I would like to write something but it seems that my mind just isn't in the place to do so right now.

So here are the words that mean I have written this week so I don't feel guilty about not having written last week. Hopefully I can have something more interesting next week.

Monday, September 15, 2014


The hardest time for me to live in or to exist in is when I am in transition. It is at these points I don't really know who I am, or what I should be doing with myself. I don't know my responsibilities, and I don't know what I need. I am never happy in these times of shift, because I feel like I lack a sense of control that guides me through my life.

I used to hate some aspects of summer vacation as I got into high school, because I began to realize that, because of this transitional period I didn't know what to do with myself. I used to lock myself up in my bedroom and read for most of the summer. I didn't know what to do with the amount of freedom that I had, especially knowing that I would only have it for a short time.

My mom, like any other normal diligent mother, would fuss over how I had become so lazy during the summer months. I didn't know then, but I realize now that, it wasn't because I wanted to be lazy, I just didn't know how to deal with this odd time between school years. This place, where I wasn't any school year designation, of freshman or sophomore, but just a kid. Where I didn't have assignments to guide my day, only my own wants and desires to lead me.

I was also knew that this time of freedom would only last for a few weeks, and then I would again be bound by the outlines of school participation. I didn't want to commit myself to something, because I knew that if it took more than a couple of weeks, then it would have to be abandoned for my studies. My limited high school kid funds meant that I didn't really go out much, and I had become bored and disinterested in child's play. I was in limbo, a place of transition, and I didn't know how to deal with that space I had found myself.

It is this concept of transition, or coming of age that probably promotes so many books and movies on the topic. The thing is though, teens aren't the only people who have to face the uncertainty of transitional phases in life. This comes to all of us, and this may be why adults are so often attracted to youth fiction, but that thought is a side note. We are all of us growing and changing all of the time. I am passed my teen years, but find myself in the in-between place of transition again. We may see others who are older than us as being more stable, less changing, but even the elderly who have seen so much of life and appear to us to be a rock of stability, are in their own kind of flux.

These last few months have been a steady realization that I am again faced with this concept of change and transition. I am here in this place that isn't quite here or there. I have obtained many of the goals I have wanted as an adult, but am in a holding pattern before I am move on to other goals. It has been hard to feel productive, and in control during this time of uncertainty. I feel like I am done with the work, or activity of the past and wish to move on to the next phase of my life, but things are not coming together yet to make that possible.

It is difficult. Just like any teen novel, I don't want to be who I was in the past, be it a child or a young adult, I want to move on to being the next version of myself. I am tired of child's play, but I don't have access yet to the adult world. It is increasingly frustrating, and more disheartening than any other place in life I could be in.

I usually know what times of year can make me depressed, and are prepared to deal with them, but this transitional phase of life has come upon me unexpectedly, messing things up and causing me to sag under emotional uncertainty at this change in life. I wish constantly that the transition would just be over, and I can move on instead of being stuck half way between two places. I try as best as I can to do what I am able to, to move things along, but there is not much more that I can do. I just have to wait, and I hate waiting.

All of this emotional baggage has been affecting my work. It is probably why last week I destroyed that piece I was working on. It is difficult to work on things that make you happy when you are feeling so mixed up and confused inside.

I need to just fix what I can and move on. Just because I don't have complete control over my life doesn't mean I don't have control over myself. These emotions don't have to control me. It is always a choice to be happy, as hard as it sometimes it is to make that choice, it is still a choice. Maybe by constantly choosing to be happy it won't be so hard to do so later on. Then I can go back to making good art work again, instead of the sad crappy stuff.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Things have always come easy to me. I was one of those advanced learning students in school, and for the most part physically proficient. I always had good grades even when I didn't try, and I was pretty good at most sports. For the most part learning and gaining skills has been quite easy for me.

This has, sadly, been something that has held me back sometimes. I guess things being easy has lead me to become lazy. Since, I really didn't have to try in school, I just don't have the patience to practice things that I am not naturally good at. I give a half hearted try, because that is what worked on everything else in the past and then lose interest if things are just naturally easy to do.

All of this has given me a rather horrible work ethic. I end up being like that sad little child, who gives up because they just weren't any good the first try at something. I also can get complacent and bored over things that were too easy. The work just doesn't seem worth it, because it doesn't really require much of me. I have just taken up hobbies that sit right in the middle, things that I don't really have to try too hard on, and things that aren't too easy.

This has also lead to weird work habits. If things are too easy, and I don't use up enough of my attention I end up doing multiple things at the same time. People in school used to think it was odd that I would have so much going on while I would work on projects. I would have an audio book, or a movie playing on my desktop while working on my computer projects. At home I play games while watching television. My brain doesn't like being idle so I have to do more than one thing at a time to keep it busy.

When I do my art I like to have at least one other thing going on simultaneously. This has become an adaptation I have had to make to keep myself on task. I have learned that if something is tedious, or difficult, or just not the kind of work that I want to be doing, all I have to do is distract my brain from the fact that I am working on stuff that it doesn't really care for.

This multi tasking may seem distracting or odd to others, but it is how I have learned to function. We all have handicaps of some sort. Even when each person around us may seem to have some skill or advantage that we feel we are lacking in our own lives, we have to realize that they are having their own personal struggle.

Not everyone struggles in the same way that I do, and though I may look at professionals that I admire because of their drive and passion for something, they have their own struggles they deal with. We all have to find solutions to our own problems.

I have been having trouble with a piece this week. I had a great idea but my lack of drive and my own laziness left my work lacking. I thought it was going to be easy and I could have it done quickly. I blew through the work thinking I didn't have to try. My own carelessness and lazy disposition ruined the piece. Because I was so neglectful in my work I'm not sure that I can fix it at this point.

I forgot for a while to use all of the techniques I have learned to keep my interest in my work. I didn't practice the distractions that I normally do to keep me on task. I didn't put as much care as I should have in the work, and now I look at what I have done with regret. My own apathy has brought me only sadness.

I cannot let my weaknesses get the upperhand in my work. When I let myself fall into these traps I only have myself to blame. I have the skill, I have the knowledge, and I have the ability to do the work that I intend to do. I just need to be sure, before I start, that I am not wasting any of that potential by being laszy or neglectful in any aspect.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Admiring Others

I often get so caught up in my own world of work that I fail to notice, let alone appreciate the work of others. Everybody works. Everyone is creative. All work of any kind can be considered art. I don't really think it matters what you do, the fact that you do something is creative, constructive and in its own way artistic.

There is beauty in a job well done. It was odd really, how I started to notice the wonderful work of others. I like to look all around when I go walking daily. I like to look at the things that most people don't. Up in the sky, at the slatting of the fences, the cracks in the sidewalk. I like to notice the things that change from day to day and see how it affects the things that are constant.

Looking up this week I noticed the beauty of power lines. These are things people try to ignore, or accuse them of being eyesores. They never stop to consider that they are beautiful in a way. These long thin lines, held up by the sturdy poles. The wires expertly looped and twisted around the metal structures and housings. The skill and organization used is a monument to the creative and artistic work of all the people who spent their time to put it there. Every piece made to function properly, but also beautifully represents someone's hard work.

After realizing the fact that the power lines were not just the things that brought me electricity, but sculptural masterpiece of a community of people's work, it made me think about all of the things that surround us. They are all pieces of art too. Someone not only invented a solution to some problem, but also designed it to be beautiful.

Though making things beautiful was not necessarily their first priority, the end results were in their own way beautiful. Making something well is wonderful. I need to be more mindful and respectful in the future of the great work that others have created, and influence my daily life.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Going off the radar

I like to take pictures of my current work, and keep the people around me updated on my progress. I don't know why this is necessary, because honestly I don't see what interest people have in my day to day progress on art work. I just do this, like any other Instagram addicted hipster, to annoy people around me with my day to day ins and outs. To me documenting my progress and my work is much like taking a picture of that day's coffee and sandwich. It is more for me, than for the random passer by.

Despite the fact that I am making these records of my work, and my methods for me it gives me great pleasure to see people like and comment on my work. I don't know why I seek this kind of praise. It is like getting praise for showing up to work. This is my office job, but for some reason I look for praise from people for doing the work could just as easily have been done if a cubicle if I had chosen a different major.

I love to flood my newsfeed with all of these samples, and then check my timeline to see if people are appreciating what I am doing. It is sad really. It is a far cry from my original artistic motivations. When I was in school I made art for the philosophical statements that it made. I tried to make smart art, art that made you think, art that was inspirational, art that showed you a different perspective, but this streaming media has changed my way of making art from being intelligent to people pleasing.

I don't know if this is a good thing or a bad thing. I like to make people happy. I like to make them laugh. On the other hand I also liked to make the intelligent art too. I liked thinking about the way art could function as a way to enlighten the minds of others. I like both of these kinds of art. I just don't have an outlet for the philosophical kind of art any more. This makes me constantly worried that the people pleasing kind of art is not pleasing people.

I worry constantly that what I am making is not serving its purpose of bringing a smile to people. This is why I am so addicted to my stats. The figures and numbers are somehow supposed to tell me the satisfaction rate of people with my art. So I continue to dump pictures and updates through social media to constantly check up with people to see if they approve of my current work. It is a sad spiral, and an addicting one.

Sometimes, because of all of this,  I lose sight of the third kind of art. The art of love. I grew up in a home where for birthdays and holidays we liked to make for each other some special hand crafted gift of the heart. My parents are carpenters and so we would go out into the shop and make things for whoever. We would make works of love.

Some of my favorite and most remembered gifts I have ever been given were not purchased but made by my Dad for me. When I was 7 I got a little stool that had a storage compartment under the seat. When I was 12 he helped me build an armoire and nightstand for my birthday. He would make these expertly crafted gifts, that were beautiful, and exactly what I needed. It was also something that I got to share with him. These pieces of art were made with love.

Now, I make painted art for my loved ones. I don't have access to a wood shop like I used to, but I still get to make for them things from the heart. Those special gifts from my childhood taught me how to fill my art up with love, so that even if people don't learn anything from it, or it isn't the most pleasing to the eye, my loved ones will still feel my love for them in it when they receive it.

This leads me to my current radio silence. It is the time of year that I start getting ready for Christmas. I make works of art for most of the people on my list now. I spend the whole year thinking about them and what they may appreciate. Then come the end of summer I get started, so that my entire list will be done in time for the holiday. Since, however, most of the people I give gifts to follow my social media I will not be posting progress of my work. I don't want to ruin the surprise for them.

So what I will be posting will be few and far between as I work my way through my Christmas list.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

That Glaring Mistake

I hate that moment when things start to fall apart. That first mistake that leads to the point where you just want to throw your work across the room, and pretend that it didn't happen.

This can happen to me at any point, and about anything. I hope I am not alone in this, and that wanting to forget your work had even happened gives you more peace of mind than dwelling on the fact that you put in so much effort, and then in the end one mistake messed things up completely. Or that a mistake that wasn't such a big deal in the beginning got progressively worse and worse till no band-aid will fix the mess you have made of things.

Both of these kinds of mistakes happened to me this week. Not really art related, but I broke my kid this week. Not in the physical sense, but in the emotional sense. We had gone to a park that was further away from home than normal, and on the way home he fell asleep in the car. Normally I would still give him a nap when we get home, but he wasn't acting tired so I just let him go without.

Unfortunately, that is where things began to spiral out of control. That one, not so great decision, to let him skip his nap, lead to further, not so great decisions. So later in the afternoon he got super grumpy. Turns out he had actually needed that nap in the first place. This lead me to think that, though it was late for him to be taking a nap that I should just give him one anyways so that he would stop being such a grump. Then the nap got a little long, and I began to worry that he wouldn't be able to sleep at night. So thus precipitated another stupid decision, of waking him up to have dinner.

This train of events, and poor decision making lead to spending the rest of the evening with a child that had a horrible mental break down. A couple hours filled with uncontrollable unconsolable sobbing was what all of these mistakes lead to. That one mistake of a decision to let him skip a nap lead to an atrocious night.

The other mistake this week was on my current watercolor portrait I am working on. It is a picture I have of my great-grandma when she was young. I have always love this picture, her with her bobbed hair cut, and cute little tilted head smile for the camera. It is great.

I have never been really confident in my ability to do a good portrait picture. So when this piece went well, I was pleasantly surprised. It was amazing to me that I have improved as much as I have in this skill set. I began to feel confident that this was going to be one of my best portraits yet. The paint was going down nicely and my line work was solid. I really had nothing to complain about.

Then it happened. I had finished the face and hair, the most difficult parts of the work and decided to move onto the blouse. Since this is a picture of my great-grandma in her youth, this picture is obviously in black and white. I had decided to make it a color picture, to practice my flesh tones. I hadn't really decided at that point what color I was going to paint the shirt. So on a whim I picked a red tone and started filling in the space.

This was not a good idea. It was a mistake to take action before I was completely sure what I was doing. Many times, our greatest mistakes are not the ones where we accidently smudge a line or sneeze while trying to do some detail. Our biggest mistakes come when we act without thinking. The color I had chosen looked exactly like the way I felt about it, garish and discoordinate with the rest of the piece. It was too bright and didn't match the careful tone of the rest of the piece.

It was too late to get rid of that color. It kind of broke me in side. This part of the piece that should have been so easy was ruined not because of my lack of skill, but because I didn't take it seriously enough. I had been so concerned with the details of the face, that when it came to the simple task of making a shirt I messed the whole piece by not giving it as much attention and care as I had with the rest of the piece.

I was able to fix the color and make the blouse look okay, but it still bothers me. When I look at this piece now I will only be able to see the muddied colors of the top and the poor detail quality because the paper got over worked. My mistakes will always be visible to me.

Seeing our mistakes on display like this teach us to not make them again. The sad thing is that I cannot go back with the knowledge I have now and fix it. All I can do is make sure that in the future I use what I know now to avoid the mistakes of the past.