Art

If you would just stop touching it…

“You” being “me” and “it” being my blog (and me…depending). I turned 32 the other day (July 2nd) and I still haven’t learned that things will be less irritating if I leave them alone. This goes along the lines of “things become complicated when you forget about their simple, individual parts” or “…the little scratch on the roof of your mouth that would heal if only you could stop tonguing it”.

As I wrote in my last post from June-freaking-13th (nearly a month ago!), I created a self-hosted WP blog at a subdirectory at ItDoesArt.com and was trying to decide if I was going to keep this one and that one, or ditch this one, blah blah blah. Overcomplicated. Just…overcomplicated. I like this blog. I like you guys/gals that subscribe to it, and comment and what not. That other one was far too much of a pain in the ass for what I wanted it to be. Which was (get ready) a BLOG. It was slow. Posting to it was a nightmare. Really, there wasn’t any major benefit considering… I get why people do the whole self-hosted thing and it makes total sense for them. For me…not so much.

So, like most things I repeatedly attempt/redo/reorganize/overthink, I’m simply going to use this lovely one and nothing more. The rest is unnecessary. My site is still accessible from this blog, just as this blog is still accessible from my site. It’s just much faster and less complicated.

As I’ve been writing this, fireworks are being set off outside and it’s really pulling my attention away. I’m going to go hunt them down (I’m not sure which direction they’re in and the trees block most views) and admire them. Happy 4th.

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Art

Self Portrait Project – the beginning…

*cue Rocky theme*
I started the Self Portrait Project, as seen below. I assure you I am a human and not a landscape. How sweet would that be, though? Height: 6,789 ft. Weight: More than your mom. Smoker: Yes (for volcanoes). I’d get all the ladies.

Anyway, clearly I’ve not done any more than a background on it, but it’s something. Plus, I feel pretty productive today. It has been months since I’ve fondled a paintbrush and doing so was wonderful!

My head is pounding, so this is it for tonight.

Art, Art House Co-op

It has arrived…

Not me, It, but the Self Portrait Project from Art House! It’s a 4 in x 4 in gallery wrapped canvas, primed and ready-to-go! I’m currently trying to figure out just how many of my personalities I can fit on this bad boy…

There’s also a note card explaining the rules – the same stuff on the site, just in paper form (easy for those of us that get cranky from staring at a screen for too long).

Who else has done this?! Tell me! If you haven’t yet, I still suggest you swing over to the Art House Co-op and see what projects they have going on there (for free and for dollars).

Art

The idea of 365 days…

Obviously NOT my idea… I don’t know how many days I would have shoved into one year if I was in charge of that project, but I wasn’t. Maybe 5? Be really REALLY old and still look totally kick-ass? Yes, thank you.

Moving on to more sensible things, the idea of doing something everyday of the year – 365 days – intrigues me and makes me slightly ill. I’m not talking about showering or sleeping or eating the food. I mean doing what I have seen so many others accomplish – make a blog post every.single.day. Yikes.

I admire those that can do it. I even admire those that try. I like the idea of doing it, but, as I am with many things, the fear of failing is so, so great. So I haven’t even attempted. I think I might, though. I would like to try.

Aside from my fear and the many ways it manifests itself (and there are many), my other problem with not always accomplishing things is my horrible memory. If I connect a day of the week with a topic, then I think my chances of actually succeeding at posting something every day are a bit better than if I just tried to wing it.

This is why I like Illustration Friday. It’s on a Friday! So on Fridays, I get to have a pretty good idea of what I’m going to illustrate (even though, as you know, I don’t always actually do that…). Since I’m slightly more determined than not to give this a go, I have Friday checked off. Now I just need Monday – Thursday and then Saturday and Sunday.

I’ve noticed that people that post every day of the year sometimes don’t even write anything. They just slap a picture up on their blog…I like that idea! I don’t like it, though, if it doesn’t make sense. I suppose that would be okay, though, yeah? Nonsense is sometimes the best sense. Certainly can be the most fun!

Tonight I am going to figure out themes/topics for the rest of the days of the week and I’m making tomorrow (Saturday 24th of March) my start day. I might not make it to 365 days, but I am going to try to do one whole week! *weak laugh * HA! My air just sputtered out of my balloon, but that’s okay because I can use my airless balloon as a slingshot. Yes.

Tell me if you have ideas for the other days of the week! Like…Macabre Monday (that actually appeals to me now that I typed it out…) or something easy to remember!

Art, Art House Co-op

The Sketchbook Project 2012…

Has gone the way of The Fiction Project.

This is Procrastinator 2: (Putting Off) Judgment Day. In this version, everyone (including Terminators) plops down on the sofa and nothing gets accomplished because they’re too busy watching American Dad and eating hummus with crackers. No one dies and Linda Hamilton doesn’t develop arms that could break Chuck Norris in two. Nope.

I should now tell you that I started writing this post on Saturday (2 days ago). On Saturday I was under the impression that my Sketchbook Project had to be post-marked by January 21st. Clearly I missed that, so I did what I typically do every time I feel defeated: I give up and internally give my self a “talking-to” about why I suck and how I need to take a course on the Meaning of Time and How it Works, or something like that.

Pouting, I opened Opera and headed over to the Art House Co-op to check out the other artists and see what was going on with them, and pout some more. When I did that, I saw a date: January 31st! I realized that I originally misread it (I do this frequently – numbers don’t look like they’re supposed to in my head) and I still had time!!!! Yesterday, I whipped out a bunch of drawings that don’t make one bit of sense and finished the Sketchbook Project. Today I put the book in a bubble sleeve, weighed it, slathered it with stamps, and shoved it in the mail-hole. Fingers crossed that the postage on USPS is correct!

Woohoo! This might be the first time I have completed something within the time frame I am given! I would celebrate, but I have to go watch It’s Always Sunny so I’ll celebrate later…

Art, Photography

Dead foot…

I took a series of photos a few months ago (probably longer than a few, I suck at time) of feet. When I was in junior high I went through this foot-drawing phase. I just drew feet on everything and I have no idea why. My English teacher (who wasnt a bit fond of me) smiled and said “Maybe when you grow up, you’ll sell shoes”. Yes. At 14 years old, I aspired to be Al Bundy (although I should say if Her Hotness Katey Segal was my wife, I would have zero complaints).

Last night and a bit today I’ve been playing with these photos. I have a sort of love/hate for photo editing software because it helps me get my photos close to what I see in my head, but also allows me to procrastinate on learning how to fully operate my wonderful camera. Lazy. I’m just lazy. On one particular photo, I zoomed in and out repeatedly; getting up close and personal with dry skin. The adjustments I made to the photo caused discoloration and pronounced shadows and slight imperfections so much that the foot looks filthy, disgusting, and dead. I love it.  I love the horror of it, I guess.

Going back to the first paragraph of my childhood aspirations I actually wanted to be everything in the entire world. There were certain careers that stood out more than others, but I liked the idea of being able to help people with anything from a plumbing problem to an interior design crisis. One specific career that I was really interested in was becoming a mortician.  I wanted to be a Funeral Director. To me, Funeral Directors got to play several different parts; like actors, except continuous work was a guarantee (maybe this is relevant to my identity issues). This life-long preoccupation with death comes through in a lot of my artwork and this foot photo was no exception! After playing around, it started looking like a dead foot. The skin, along with looking filthy and dry, appeared mottled. I’ve done this with body photos before and I always like the outcome, but I’ve never zoomed in like I did with the foot. I like that even more.

I am fascinated with breaking people/bodies into sections. Picking one area and highlighting or removing it from where its supposed to be. Disjointing, I suppose. So taking this foot and zooming in so close goes along with that fascination. It’s truly repulsive (and I’m smiling as I write that).

Writing

One of these years is not like the others…

Out of all the adjectives that have been used to describe me, “introspective” has never waivered in its accuracy. I am 100% introspective and I always have been. It’s something that I’ve enjoyed at great length, but also a source of misery when my introspection becomes an obsession and I can’t get out of it.

I have a strong, seems innate, drive to check in with myself, see if I’m making progress in my personal evolution, if I’m following the path I set for myself as a child, etc… Once in a while, I do need to remind myself of the things that are important to me about existence. If I’m not well (mentally) it’s very easy to get derailed and lie in bed for days focusing only on how much the entire world sucks (it does) instead of realizing the “suckiness” and trying to figure out how to make it better (it is possible).

During these times of self-reflection, I like to pull out my journals and see where I was then compared to now. It’s no secret that I deal with (I don’t like to use the word “suffer”) depression. I have PTSD and a variety of other initialisms under my belt that really affect my day-to-day. I think that’s also why it’s so important for me to keep a journal to record my highs and lows and other symptoms to get an idea about how well a treatment is working and to remind myself that: 1) It can get much worse and 2) It will get much better. Since it’s New Year’s Eve, I was curious to see where I was at this time last year. Once I found that out, I wanted to see about years prior. This is what I found:

December 31, 2010 – I was severely depressed. Didn’t want to eat, move, speak, and just slept (and slept, and slept…). I wrote about my frustrations with not being able to do artwork or write. I was also going through some issues with family that were borderline devastating to me. I didn’t write any hopes for the upcoming year (2011).

December 31, 2009 – Suicidal. That’s it. I wrote that I was suicidal, but I did mention my hope that 2010 would be better. It wasn’t.

I looked further back. I found one from January 1st 2006. I wrote of thinking about divorce and being mistreated. Wanting a different life and wanting out of that place I was in. Still grieving from a miscarriage that occurred in April 2005 and angry because of how much medication I was on and how it sucked everything – my light – out of me (it truly, truly did).

December 31st 1996 – I was 16 and wrote “I broke up with him”. I was sad. Things weren’t good at home. I wanted a place to go and couldn’t wait until I grew up.

So now it’s December 31, 2011. This year is not like the others. I’m not going to write a journal entry in one of my books. I’m going to write it here and share it with you because it has been monumental for me. Even typing the last part of that sentence caused a lump in my throat because as the thoughts form in my brain to flow through my fingers they’re full of an intensity that is difficult to contain. Maybe you’ll read this and think “That’s not really a big deal” or “What the hell is she going on like that for?”. That’s okay (I get it often). Maybe you’ll see what I mean and you have or will experience it in your own life. That’s cool too.

Here it goes (in my regular journal entry form):

31 December 2011 Saturday, 5:15 p.m.
New Year’s Eve once again and, once again, I don’t have the kind of plans I always want to plan for myself for New Year’s. I am scheduled to walk the neighbor’s really, really cute dog. Last year if I knew that was what my plan was going to be, I would have thought “How ridiculous” and wished for something BIG – thought I needed something significant! But now walking that cute, fat, little Sheltie (who waddles, by the way) and watching my cats’ reaction to dog smell when I get back is a wonderful way to celebrate. It’s not a party per se, but there is laughter, smiles, treats, hugs, and general foolishness.

This year has been crazy, quite literally. The lows were severe and my mental health issues were worse than they have ever been. I’m always wary to use the phrase “it can’t get any worse” but this past year is certainly worthy of a nod in that direction. There were 2 deaths, relationships were smashed, other relationships were rebuilt, another was reinforced, illnesses, tumors, psychotic breakdowns, and then…calm. Hope. Security, strength, liberation, confidence, independence, honesty, courage, love and love and love and love and love…

Something in my head changed. I don’t know what it is, but the way I would see things when I was manic is similar to how I see them now, sans the mania. I grab experiences/feelings and, in my mind, I break them down, unravel them, take them apart piece by piece. Not in a destructive way, though; more like a curiosity. I want to figure them out from a rational, not emotional, standpoint. Even the horrors. I delight in the smallest of things, even my own achievements. I’ve never been hard to please and I could easily become ecstatic over the most seemingly insignificant thing, but it has been years (YEARS) since I’ve known that. And this time ’round, the events that bring me light are even smaller than before.

As I write this, a part of me keeps saying “You’re being weird“…it’s that part of me that thinks I need to be serious, sound serious, and take life seriously…the part of me with a furrowed brow, trying to look more adult-like (or how I used to think adults looked – no spark in the eyes, strained faces, hardened words, tired). Then there’s the part that is saying “Then be weird. And let the furrowed-browed pissy chick be a furrowed-browed pissy chick. Just let go...”

“Just let go…” I say it every day. When things start to build, I let the words slide out of my lips along with a stream of air…like a whissssssssper. It’s soothing and it’s the best advice I’ve ever given myself and the best advice I’ve ever learned how to take.

This year was remarkable in the amount of destruction and creation/restoration that occurred. I don’t wish the same thing for next year. What I wish for next year is to keep evolving toward this lighter existence. Keep reminding myself that it’s okay to go outside and I don’t have to be afraid. Let myself know that I do have good ideas and I am capable of following through with them. It’s okay to trust myself and take care of myself. I will have very bad times and I will continue to have psychotic breaks now and then, but they’re not permanent. Like very bad times, I will have excellent times as long as I allow them to happen.

I hope you were able to get something, no matter how small, from spending all this time reading. Certainly much longer than I wanted it to be…maybe it would have been better to break it up. Or maybe I should just let it be as it is. For 2012 it would be awesome if everyone could spot something spectacular in something insignificant…and in turn, make it significant. I’m losing steam and getting sleepy, so I’m going to close this.

For 2012, just let go and be excellent to each other (party on, dudes)!