Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Beautiful Human Pretzel

Well, my run of not-great drawings continues, but I just had to post this one anyway. I did this sketch in about 60 seconds during the break- thus the model has her clothes on. The class is an advanced one and the models hold poses for up to half an hour, so Darinka took the opportunity to do some yoga to get the kinks out. I hope you can tell what you're looking at- her hands ran into the binding. Her shoulder blades and her knees are on the same plane. Wow. If you could see her face, you would be able to see just how much she's not struggling to hold the possition.
I've had this model in portrait drawing too, and she's always fun. Just wish I could do her justice.

Monday, October 19, 2009


It's funny. Feedback hurts so much, sometimes, especially when you are first starting out. but really, it does get better.
At the beginning, it's like you're driving. And you're lost. Your companion wants to stop and ask this guy on the corner but you think, who's driving this car, me or him? So you drive on, facing stubbornly forward.

But you're still lost. So you pass a lady with a buggy and kids and your companion finally convinces you to stop, and he asks for direction. The lady gives them. They're pretty simple, she's pretty sure, she's only been living here for two weeks, but yes, she's quite sure.
So you follow her directions for a couple of blocks but the neighbourhood doesn't look quite right, even though she clearly said go down Maple till you get to Elm, so you turn off on Spruce. And you're lost again. You defend your actions saying, hey, the lady was out walking; she probably doesn't even have a license. What does she know?

The thing about all this is, after you spend a sufficient amount of time refusing directions, or ignoring the ones you get, you learn that they are not insults to your intelligence. They are not attacks on your personal worth, or your skill as a driver. Yes, you can probably find your own way without it eventually and thump your chest and I say I did it all by myself, but is it worth spending the whole day driving around in circles?

This seems totally obvious in a way, but haven't we all been in a car with someone, lost, who refused to stop for directions? And we're sitting in the passenger seat thinking, why? Why won't you stop and ask, you big lummox?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Oh, What Fun!

Another writing exercise from EE. The brief was to use the first 20 words of seven letters or more from a randomly chosen opening and then write a scene. Really, in a way I failed, because with this many French-rooted millitary words, I gave up trying to get away from the subject of the original text. But it was fun:

Mina SCREAMED as a bean burrito on a paper-napkin PARACHUTE DROPPED into her COCKPIT. Her COPILOT'S self-confidence was SHATTERED, and he BUCKLED as Mina let-fly a barrage of ANTI-ARTILLARY mashed potatoes, which was the best weapon the school cafeteria could PROVIDE. The ESCARPMENT her class had built out of lunchroom tables was already FALLING as tater-tots RICOCHETED like BULLETS against the makeshift SHELTER. BRACING herself, Mina launched a square of non-dairy cheese pizza. The AIRSPEED dwindled when the slice caught an UPDRAFT from one of the cafeteria ceiling fans. Still CLIMBING, it overshot the intended target. To uphold the honor of Mrs. Jenkins class, Mina selflessly THROTTLED Alec Fitzhugh, Mr. Walters' class president, into surrender. Merciful of his AGONIES, she declared victory by squirting him with catsup and took him prisoner. Mrs. Jenkins was pleased.

(from New Beginning 228)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

One More Post About The View...

... and then I'll shut up. I did this watercolour one morning when everyone else was still in bed. It's not a masterpiece, but I really like the way drawing or painting something forces one to *really* look at things. I find they stick in my memory better.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


No excuse. I always think that if I can find a peaceful place, where there are no "you suck" messages seeping out of the walls or the internet or the phone, then I will be able to scrape myself together long enough to write something publishable. I know I am repeating myself here, but it is really frustrating when all the writing teachers say "it's great! don't know what you could change!" and all the publishers say "form rejection." (ok, a couple said "it's highly creative/original/had fun with it BUT," which is better than "fr," i admit.)
*Anyway,* (I seem to have a severe case of the post holiday babbles, here) above is the view from my office window, as of this morning. Note the violas, the nasturtiums, the cool welded chain sculpture in the neighbour's garden (big wooden thing is neighbour's house). And check out the picture below that, the view from our holiday cottage. There were grapes growing inside the winter garden there. Grapes!
I ought to be writing fucking masterpieces. I mean, any normal writer would have written a Pulitzer prize winner or a Nobel candidate by now! (I would just like to record that the temptation to go off on another HHGTTG babble here is almost overwhelming. Instead, you can see what I would have babbled about the idea of "normal" here, at about 1:30.) Just look at those views! You should see the view from my office when the roses are blooming!

Still. There is something amazing about windows. I love their symbolism. Not the "normal" exit. A hole built into a structure to let in light, or air, or chase a stray bee out of. But not for people. The temptation to climb out the window and not the door just to see if it changes anything, to see if I wind up in a different place, is very strong.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The Big Whine

Maybe I should just cross out 'writer.' It would take some of the pressure off. Or 'Artist.' Nevermind that these are things I have always wanted to do, and have always enjoyed doing. But my attempts to get published (and actually, my attempts to even get an education as a writer) have been frustrating. I know it takes a long time. I know it takes a Teflon-coated solid steel heart. I find it so difficult, though, when I'm never even sure I'm on the right track.

At the moment, it's more like a hollow heart. Like the next person who manages to hit it, it's going to go "BONG." (and echo a lot.)

Pout. I need a hug.
Then I need a writing teacher who actually knows what he/she is doing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

For the moment, a picture will simply have to be worth a thousand words. I'd just like to say, though, that I never enjoyed hanging out the wash so much.