Ugh!

As it turns out, my first-choice university is snottier than I expected, and I may not be moving anywhere near it anyway. Not one to give up, I found an awesome online university program from a different, and more reasonable, university. I am now patiently awaiting my acceptance letter. The university I was hoping to apply to at first basically told me that my college transcript was worthless, and I just don’t jive with that. I worked hard and was successful, so why should my college transcript be discounted in favor of my high school transcript that I received six years ago (or “only” six years ago as they said), and was completed at a time when I was horribly depressed and bullied (hint: not very successfully)? Although I’m disappointed that my former first-choice school is operating under a false sense of superiority, I am excited to have found a university with excellent ratings, progressive programs and high student satisfaction that has the common sense to acknowledge college transcripts and offer a broad range of programs online. What I can’t help but wonder now is why don’t more universities have online programs offered? There have got to be more people like me out there that just can’t be on-campus but still want to pursue a university degree. Maybe that will be the “next big thing” for universities, something to save them from their dropping application rates. Here’s hoping!

 

Edit: In Canada, colleges are more like trade schools and are “less academic” than universities.

Some People Have Bad Days…

…I have bad months. My husband (yeah, I have one of those) found out early in April that he was being sent to another province for six weeks of training beginning May 2nd (one of the perks of being in the military I guess). The rest of my month was spent preparing for that. Cleaning the house, arranging vet appointments for the dogs, using up stuff in the fridge, making plans with my parents… etc. etc. THEN, on the day he left he found out that he has been approved for the transfer he put in for that had little chance of going through. So, more preparations are happening as I come to terms with the fact that a) I’m going to have a house soon. A real one, too, not an apartment. b) I’ll be very close to my first-choice university and should probably apply ASAP if it’s not already too late c) I have to pack and move. I hate moving!

Needless to say I’ve been pretty exhausted. Every once in awhile I’ve looked at my sketchbook. It kind of mopes at me, hoping I’ll keep adding stuff to it, but I just haven’t had the energy. This blog too, has suffered. I’m a little disappointed in myself because I always seem to abandon things when they begin to go well. Hopefully I can get back on track and pick up the thread of my day-to-day again in both my sketch book and blog. It’s important to me that I learn to stick with things, to move through difficulties and learn to handle them with grace. I will admit that right now I am totally lacking in that department. Perhaps this afternoon I will have a moment to make a cup of tea and doodle a bit. Here’s hoping.

The Perfect Time Is Now

That’s the name of the next exercise in Desire to Inspire, and also the phrase I should probably adopt as my mantra. My current mantra is “surely this can wait ’til Monday…” and Mondays already suck. So, new mantra and new exercise in one go, yay!

The Perfect Time Is Now

Part One – I Should

What is a dream of yours that you’ve wanted to pursue but have not yet started? I want to be a full-time artist.

You have one month to prepare, what do you have to do? I’ll have to take some life drawing classes, get a portfolio together, update Photoshop to pro, rewrite my resume, practice all the time.

Now you only have one week to prepare, oh no! What can you do with a week? I can update Photoshop and practice drawing (which might result in some portfolio pieces)

Uh oh, you have one day! What now? Practice drawing!

Part Two – I Will

I hereby commit to practicing drawing within the next 48 hours, the first step towards being a professional artist. The time to begin is now!

I like this exercise because it forces me to look at what I need to do to get going, and then gets me off my butt and doing something. I have a real inertia problem (you may have seen it here /shifty eyes) so having bite-sized chunks of stuff to do works well for me. The trick is to keep it going. We’ll see what happens. Now, I’m off to draw!

Birthdays N Stuff

Monday was my birthday, so I’m automatically older and wiser than I was last week. Also, I totally forgot it was Easter weekend, and was summoned to my parents’ house to partake in chocolate eating and a Tarantino movie fest (we’re odd folk). In my hurry I forgot to pack my journaling supplies, but I was too busy anyway. So now, as promised, here is the next update from Desire to Inspire:

The Passion Exercise

What passion is starving for attention?

I went with the no-brainer; my passion for drawing.

Diagnosis

Why is this passion malnourished? There is a steep learning curve I don’t feel I can get over, my headaches get bad when I draw (left-handed + pinched nerve or something on the left side of my neck = ouchie), I was not encouraged as a child (almost discouraged), I’m afraid of disappointment – failure, or getting good and realizing I don’t like drawing after all

Is this a secret passion? Not really. I tell people about it all the time. I don’t often show my work though.

Am I afraid this passion will change my life? In a way I’m hoping it will, though I suppose there is an underlying uncertainty.

How long has this passion been with me? I used to love drawing as a kid. I loved markers and crayons – colours! I was critiqued pretty harshly and stopped drawing around grade seven, but my interest flared up again in high school when I got into tattooing, and again after high school as a way of combatting depression.

Do I remember where this passion came from? I think I’ve always loved drawing. My mom likes to tell the story of my second Christmas; I was given a chalk board and refused to open any other presents because I was so enthralled.

Questions

What would it take for this passion to grow? Time, patience, practice… three things I suck at. Non-judgement would be nice too, maybe low expectations.

How much time? Maybe an hour a day or less. Just some doodles so I can gain some footing. Save the intense stuff for later.

How much money to start? I think I have everything I need to begin, so maybe just some snack money.

What kind of changes in the house? A revolving still-life would be cool, but not necessary. Sine I hate working at a desk I’m ok for that too. Maybe a computer-free day now and then.

If there were no limits, what would this passion ask for? Art lessons, a better sketch book, a cool set of markers (copics, or more marsgraphics), a roll of nice paper, a trip to California

What are this passions’ goals? To explain the cacophony of cartoon-esque stuff that goes on in my head, to be a professional artist, to tattoo again (maybe)

What would happen if this passion was in control? I would work on a portfolio, I would start life drawing, I would look for or create an art group, I would give up video game time to draw

Reality Check

Is this passion real or fantasy? I’ve been struggling with this question for a long time. It seems pretty pie-in-the-sky sometimes, but I think the foundation is solid. I believe I can learn to draw. Whether I become a professional artist or not remains to be seen.

Is this grounded in reality? Definitely

Can this passion participate in day-to-day life? Yes

Can I start to make space for this passion? I’ve been trying to free up more time, which is ridiculous because all I have right now is time.

What is the nature of the partnership with this passion? I think I am more demanding than my passion is right now. It’s pretty used to being ignored. I’m going to have to push myself and start listening more to the guiding voice in my heart.

Finding the Space

Play out each scenario:

Your passion takes over, replacing most of what is in your life right now: I would probably be happier, I don’t have a whole lot going on right now and art would be a better choice than non-stop computer games and aimlessly wandering the internet for hours.

Your passion is integrated into your life, finding its spot in your day-to-day: I can see this happening if I choose to remain casual about drawing. It’s what I’m aiming for right now so I don’t scare the bejesus out of myself.

Out of the two scenarios, the second one is more appropriate for the short-term. At some point if I decide I want to “get serious” about drawing (which I’ve kind of already decided to do but don’t want to freak myself out) I will have to take a more immersive approach and give up some other time-hogging habits. That’s just how I operate.

Passions as Distractions

Am I using this passion to distract from something missing in my life? No more than I use anything else, I guess. I don’t have a job, I don’t have any near-by friends or family, and my husband works a demanding job. Right now I feel like art is what is missing from my life.

The exercise goes on to have you make a schedule for your chosen passion to begin working it in to your life. It encourages you to use baby steps so you don’t overload yourself, and so you can gauge how much time will be needed in the future. I’m starting to plan some mini-dates with my sketch book, 5-15 minutes at a time to do quick sketches throughout the day.

Better Late Than Never?

I missed posting on Monday because of another stupid migraine, and was all set to post yesterday, but couldn’t get my scanner to work. Clearly something is against me. After much struggle (and success) I bring you the first few pages of my art journal (they go chronologically right to left on the pages, I’m left handed):

Sketched of the doggies, filled in with watercolours later on.

Sketches of the doggies, filled in with watercolours later on.

More random stuff. The picture on the right is off because I couldn't sit still to keep in one perspective.

More random stuff. The picture on the right is off because I couldn’t sit still to keep in one perspective.

I was going to draw/collage stuff to go with my list of values, but I got distracted by a present.

I was going to draw/collage stuff to go with my list of values, but I got distracted by a present.

About half way through I was ready to give up drawing this candle, but I stuck it out. It turned out ok anyway I guess.

About half way through I was ready to give up drawing this candle, but I stuck it out. It turned out ok anyway, I guess. The Micro Mink Sherpa thing is still a mystery.

Tomorrow I will be posting with my progress from Desire to Inspire. I’m still having trouble finding collage materials (the magazines I do own are ones I wouldn’t want to cut up, the newspaper is lame and I don’t have a lot of money to buy silly magazines and extra printer ink), but I moved on to the next set of exercises so I don’t just give in to inertia.

My Inner Critic

I accidentally wrote something today, which is good news because my work on the Desire to Inspire exercises is slow going and I was worried I’d have nothing to post today. In my morning’s free writing I ended up ranting about my inner critic, and I figured I’d put it in it’s place by exposing it to the world (or y’know to the couple of people that read this here blog). Here goes:

My inner critic is sneaky and cruel. It uses the voices that hurt me as a child, and mimics them perfectly. It convinces me that what it’s saying are what people are already saying about me, not just what they are (inevitably) going to say. My critic has attached itself to my heart, and there it feeds on my most tender thoughts and dreams, and my fragile hopes. From this rich fodder is excretes the sap of fear, directly to my blood. It blackens my heart and mind, dulls my senses and freezes my joints. It paralyzes me. If I try to resist, my critic tells me that it’s all for the best. I never really wanted to dance and sing, or draw, or paint. They would have murdered me. They. My critic assures me it has many friends, and that it’s just trying to protect me from them. If I go against my critic’s orders They will find me, and my critic will have no choice but to join in with its friends. Together They mock my foolishness at daring to dream.

Desire to Inspire – Exercise One

I stayed up late last night watching TEDTalks (addictive!) and noodling through the first exercise in Desire to Inspire. It takes you through this long-winded process of writing out keywords for each area of your life, and then paring them down into your “top ten core values”. I did the exercise, but when I looked it over it was lacking something. I already know what my core values are, where my uncrossable moral lines are, and I do my best to incorporate them into my daily life. So I rewrote my answers. My “Core Values” are as follows:

  • Love – for myself and for others, acting from a place of love (not fear)
  • Respect – for myself and others, respecting differences
  • Honesty – to myself about myself, to myself about others, to others about myself
  • Joy – finding and sharing joy whenever I can, wherever I am
  • Humor – to keep myself from being too serious, to stay positive

I’ve started a journal page about it (it’s not done yet, don’t peek!) and I’ll probably post it tomorrow. I’ll also be working on the next two exercises, an inspiration deck, and a collage of what drains my soul and what feeds my soul.

The Power of Vulnerability

I came across this amazing talk by Brene Brown on Netflix and I just had to share it. It spoke to me not only about how we need to be vulnerable to create connections person to person, but also to create connections to and through art.

Video

Resurrection

I was unfaithful to my blogging commitment. Things got out of hand, it would seem. Commuting an hour and forty minutes to school and back every day for two months, dropping out and feeling like a bum and then having seasonal depression hit made for a rather dead period in my art-making. So I apologize for letting life get in my way and I will now restate my commitment to blogging, and unveil posthaste my future plans for this blog.

I have a lot of books. A LOT. Most of them are instructional, and while I’ve read them over and think there are great ideas available, I rarely utilize them. My plan, therefor is to work book by book through the activities and plans and step-by-steps and then report back to the blog with my progress. I’ve been chewing on this idea for awhile now. I wrangled all of my books into a pile and tried to figure out how to go about such a thing. Would I pull a title out of a hat? Throw books everywhere and choose one at random? Painstakingly devise a “lesson plan” or map to follow and build my skills like a curriculum? My first instinct was to plan everything in advance, which books when and how long I would work on them. That seemed kind of boring though, so I modified my aim a bit.

For this project I will start with… an art journal. Duh. I will sketch and paint and collage and whatever else I want to do. Alongside my journal I will choose a book (maybe randomly) from a predesignated sub-section of my collection. For example, I might choose a book from the drawing category, the painting category, or the inspiration category and work my way through it in addition to keeping my regular journal. Some of the books I have chosen are a little light on the visuals, there’s lots of writing about my feelings and working through issues and hugging people, stuff that doesn’t necessarily translate well to blogging. I’ll do my best to squeeze in what I can and fill in the rest with my journal pages, pictures and Bad Monday Morning Poetry. This process could conceivably go on for the rest of my life. There are thousands of art instruction books, and that’s just a start. Maybe one month I’ll do yoga instruction, or music maybe. The variations are endless. I’m pretty stoked, actually.

At this point you may be intrigued (I hope so anyway), and you may be curious about my book list. Below is a list of all the books I have on art kicking around the house right this very minute that I plan to, at some point, work through:

  • The Creative License Giving Yourself Permission to be the Artist You Truly Are – Danny Gregory
  • Desire to Inspire Using Creative Passion to Transform the World – Christine Mason Miller
  • Mastering Calligraphy The Complete Guide to Hand Lettering – Gaye Godfrey-Nicholls
  • Artist’s Journal Workshop Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures – Cathy Johnson
  • The Little Book of Drawing A Friendly Approach – Dr. Mary McNaughton
  • Just Draw It! The Dynamic Drawing Course For Anyone With a Pencil and Paper – Sam Piyasena and Beverly Philp
  • The Magic of Drawing Bring Your Vision to Life on the Page – Cliff Wright
  • Book + Art Handcrafting Artists’ Books – Dorothy Simpson Krause
  • The Art Journal Workshop Break Through, Explore, and Make It Your Own – Traci Bunkers
  • The Journal Junkies Workshop A Visual Ammunition For the Art Addict – Eric M. Scott and David R. Modler
  • Digital Art Wonderland Inspirational Journaling & Beautiful Blogging – Angi Sullins and Silas Toball
  • The Artist’s Way A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity – Julia Cameron
  • The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain A Course in Enhancing Creativity and Artistic Confidence – Betty Edwards
  • Graphic Design for Non-Designers Essential Knowledge, Tips and Tricks – Tony Seddon and Jane Waterhouse
  • The Big Book of Realistic Drawing Secrets Easy Techniques for Drawing People, Animals and More – Carrie Stuart Parks and Rick Parks
  • Drawing With Your Artist’s Brain Learn to Draw What You See – Not What You Think You See – Carl Purcell
  • The Watercolorist’s Essential Notebook A Treasury of Watercolor Tricks and Techniques Discovered Through Years of Painting and Experimentation – Gordon MacKenzie
  • Mastering Sketching A Complete Course in 40 Lessons – Judy Martin
  • Start Sketching and Drawing NOW Simple Techniques for Drawing Landscapes, People and Objects – Grant Fuller
  • Experimental Painting Inspirational Approaches for Mixed Media Art – Lisa L. Cyr
  • ART Revolution Alternative Approaches for Fine Artists and Illustraters – Lisa L. Cyr
So many berrrrks

I’m fairly sure I singlehandedly financed North Light Books last year

 

After awhile these books may become redundant, but I can bet each one will have something to offer, be it a quote that changes my point of view or an exercise I haven’t tried before. As I mentioned before this is really just the beginning, I plan to branch out into other creative endeavours when I’m feeling more confident in my capabilities.

Up until last night I was all set to start with Danny Gregory’s wonderful book The Creative License. My thinking was that I could get the ball rolling on my journaling and then backfill with drawing instruction, colour theory etc. The problem is I started reading Desire to Inspire, and it was absolutely lovely and felt like the perfect way to set my foundation for my artistic journey. Desire to Inspire is about how you can use your art to become clear about your values, who you are, and how you can make a difference in the world through your service. It seems like the natural choice for beginning my project, it will lend a sense of direction and purpose which always makes things harder to wriggle out of when the going gets tough.

With my next update I’ll share my first few goofy journal pages, and perhaps some insights from Desire to Inspire. In the mean time, I have reading to do!

I’m Not Dead, I’m Just Resting

Due to a summer job, a new puppy and a mid-distance relationship I haven’t had as much time as I thought I would for continuing this blog. I will have part 2 of my zine-making instructional series ready shortly when I get a moment to put together a zine. Have faith! I will return!

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