Had an ecology book dropped into my lap, today…

So maybe I should stop trying to predict the future and just go with what happens, eh?

Today or yesterday, someone returned a book on Global Warming to my library.  I found it while I was shelving, today.  Finding this odd enough (though not beyond the realm of speculation, given that my teacher did tell us to research “global warming” recently), I took a look at the books close to it on the shelf, and found a number of ecology titles.  One of them, opened to a random page, gave me a hit on the story I want to express in Graphic Novel format…two others were hits in a different way.  This is after I — by chance — found the activism section of my library, the time before this last time I went.  (I didn’t even know we had books on activism.)

I do these random exercises because I feel like it’s relatively easy to get spirit messages from random/chance events.  Of course, it isn’t quite random, because the books themselves get worn, and so one may open to one well-used spread or another, preferentially.  But it’s still fairly random.  The chance that I’ll even be at work and be the one shelving said cart and it’s related to what I’m working on now, and it’s a title I notice, and I open it to something which directly comments on my current thoughts; that’s just a lot of things to line up.  But after I stopped getting frequent visions (which I do believe are linked to brain chemistry, as my medication specifically put a damper on them), I started looking for synchronicities as a way for my spirits to communicate with me.

That, by the way, in addition to my project, does have me eyeing the Yi Jing/I Ching…totally random, that.  And it might fit me better than tarot.

I have done some research into tarot, though a lot of it seems to be subjective interpretation which is not on the part of the one who is being read (plus possibly, a bit of channeling by the reader which is not necessarily aware of itself as channeling).  It’s also a lot of time spent in researching archetypes…the system doesn’t quite fit me culturally.  But that’s an aside.  I’m just thinking of reading the Yi Jing as research for this graphic novel thing.  I’ve just got to find a translation which is relatively good; not easy when there are tons of translations.

I…had remembered what M told me about having a Bachelor’s degree:  that a BA basically just says that you know how to find and sort through information on your own.  In a BA program, that is, you’re taught how to teach yourself.  I could, hypothetically, teach myself about ecology by learning from the library (or more appropriately, “libraries”); I just won’t have the practical skill set to do primary research.  (“Secondary research,” is what I’d be able to do — I’d be able to look up studies and accounts of those who have witnessed what is going on first-hand, and sift through that.  “Tertiary research,” IIRC, is what happens when someone’s work refers back to someone else’s prior or contemporaneous work and then you view the latter, yourself.)

So, I’m thinking, this might be (could be; may not necessarily be) a sign to me to continue looking into the path of possibly becoming involved in environmentalism.  However, I’m thinking that my best expression of the results of my research, might be in story format — likely at least illustrated; more likely in graphic novel format.  There are ways to learn, other than being in classes, after all.  And…I do have strengths that an ecology major probably wouldn’t have had the time to perfect.  Only, instead of being an ecology major who took an interest in creativity, I would be a writing and art major who took an interest in ecology.  Slightly different spin, and different weak points.  Very different weak points.

Maybe I can contribute in my own way, that is, to helping out the state of the world…in some way where maybe I don’t need to be a scientist to do so.


Revisiting that Graphic Novel concept…

I’ve been doing some reading over the backposts on this blog.  In the process, I ran across this little gem, here:


…which I’ll just link for future reference, in case it gets lost among the rest of these posts.

I was describing a bit of a more fleshed-out version of this to someone IRL today.  I have a feeling that this project, though, could get really deep.  I’m also thinking that I should take a look at some of the Sandman books, because the direction I’m thinking about taking my story is mind-bending.

I should be able to work on this during Summer session — if things turn out well, I should be taking a scriptwriting class, then.  I may also be able to work on it in Fall session, during my Special Projects class.  By that time, I should have the first part developed.  I meant to take a look during lunch hour today to look for one book I’ve seen and put down and seen and put down.  I ended up reading some homework material instead, though (I felt like doing it, and I can’t say that most of the time).

This is one of those “how to write a novel” books, which really doesn’t tell you how to write a novel, but does outline aspects of a basic framework of a world.  It helps to at least be aware of these factors before starting to write.  This really applies when you’re having to do some worldbuilding in a “science fiction” or “fantasy” story.  My project will probably be in the same general category as Avatar:  The Last Airbender, where it comes to having an Earthlike world which incorporates some aspects of the supernatural.  Dragonriders of Pern also comes to mind.

It would be nice to have a fuller understanding of the real-world context of this piece (I read several novels of the Pern series as a kid) — it’s just hard to know where to start.  Which, I suppose, actually is where the library comes in handy.  The adult Graphic Novel section is probably really great too, when you don’t want to amass a giant collection of expensive graphic novels.  🙂

I did write out some material here to flesh out my concept, but I’m thinking I’ll keep it undisclosed, for now.  (I have enough people Following this blog who actually know how to write, that it may not be the greatest idea for me to track the evolution of this concept in real-time and in public…)

Practice Zentangle, upload #1

So I know I should really be working on homework (it’s supposed to be up by tomorrow night), but right now I’ve for some reason decided to upload a Zentangle that I liked.  I’m not very far into my workbook — there’s some tension between things being too open and too limited that I’m having trouble with.  But here is one of the Tangles I did that I still like:

One of the Zentangles I did that I actually still like.
Practice Zentangle:  “Printemps”

I’m using Let’s Tangle! by Kathleen Murray.  It is really a guided walk through the sandbox, if Zentangles were a park, and other art forms, the outside world.  I got it initially because, IIRC, I was going on a vacation and didn’t know which Zentangle book to get (plus, I knew relatively nothing about Zentangles or Zendoodles).

Normally, I do well with structure — or at least, better so than without it.  But I’m thinking that I’m going to have to break some rules and skip around in the text in order for this to hold my attention.  Online, I’ve seen a good number of examples of what can be done with this form, and most of it is not as rigid as it’s being presented in this book.

If nothing else, I’m thinking that it should help me with problems of composition.  And hey, maybe it could account for some of the meditation I’m supposed to be doing!

(I kind of wonder if art work in general can be used for meditation, or just art work which is repetitive in nature…)

Reconsidering the direction of this blog.

As regards the purpose of this blog — with hesitance, I’ve concluded that for now, it seems best to keep this blog to a personal level, and continue to record my progress in art classes.  Above all, this is to keep records and continuity for myself, though sharing with others is also a secondary goal.  But this was never really intended to be a business or professional blog, or an activist blog.  These are just topics that have come up over the course of my trying to figure out who it is that I am and want to be and become.

Like I’ve said in prior posts, initially this blog was here to help me figure out my direction as regarded career paths.  Over time, I settled into a place with the Art where I feel like I may have found a calling — how that will work out, though?  That’s hard to say, from here.  Ideally I would be a Graphic Novel illustrator or a book illustrator — the latter of which is obviously mostly taken up by a kids’ market.  It could be interesting, but I’d definitely have my own style of relation to the reader, should I take that up.

The newest thing which has popped up is the idea of (eventually) being an exhibiting Fine Artist.  The problem with that…is that it doesn’t seem to be a realistic career path.  Though I suppose, I could do both.  🙂  And that is a much more grounded idea.  (And I suppose I’d supplement this with either part-time or full-time clerical or writing work?)

Working in art isn’t easy, at all.  Particularly with me, trying to find out where to start is difficult.  And trying to get started on new projects after having stopped for a while, is difficult.  But once I force myself to start, things flow.  And I am a lot healthier when I’m doing this.  I don’t quite understand why, but it helps.

One of these days I’m going to have to actually push myself to start writing and illustrating Graphic Novel scenes like I’ve always wanted to do…and upload them here.  Maybe I can even start working on some concept sketches, now!  After all, I don’t have to have the details of the world worked out, to begin drawing…

Easy stuff first: results of about 1.5 hours of work, today:

So this is what my painting is looking like, now:

A bit more detail, here.
A bit more detail, here.

I’m still wondering how to mask out areas where I added color and should not have, or whether that lower left area actually needs the branches in front of it that were in the original image.  In any case, it’s looking better than I thought it would.

In progress painting (Arboretum/Global Warming)

It’s really interesting how more people are drawn to images than to words.  🙂  Something to take note of as an artist/writer, going forward…

…as, for example, I’d thought that people would look down on Graphic Novels as a medium of communication, but if the Web is in any way a signifier of taste, people would be drawn to books with images more than text alone.

Here we go; this is the image I’m currently working on as regards Global Warming, from the reference sketch and photo I took at the Arboretum.

We had to incorporate the theme of Global Warming somehow into our paintings.  My idea was the threat of fire.
We had to incorporate the theme of Global Warming somehow into our paintings. My idea was the threat of fire.

Here is what it looked like, on Monday (I worked on it yesterday in class…and we all got a time extension for a couple of weeks):

This is what the image looked like, before yesterday.
This is what the image looked like, before yesterday.

What is really interesting to me is to see this thing develop.  It’s still kind of scary, though.  🙂

Rethinking my focus…I don’t presently know much about ecology, but I can speak on other things.

So I mentioned what I was feeling in my last post to M, yesterday.  She says that it’s difficult to write about environmental issues without a background in ecology — or at least, that is my understanding.  I have an inclination to take this seriously, as she was once an ecology major.

I keep having recurrent dreams about going to a prestigious University which I got into twice at the undergrad level.  When I was a kid I was aiming to get into this University — it was the goal of all of my work.  As I got older, however, I essentially became ill, and didn’t think I’d be able to handle the workload or graduate successfully.  I got in, that is, but there was a lingering question as to whether I’d be able to get out with any sort of degree.

At this point in time, I realize that I could have used Disability services in order to give myself some leeway, but at the time I don’t think any of us really understood the significance or seriousness of my illness.  I was even encouraged by my parents to avoid using Disability services at the University I did end up going to, as they feared I would be stigmatized if I did.  I ended up completing my program of study there — just, very ill at the end, and without any assistance from the State, and in a major that might have been fairly useless.

I’m not certain about the latter, as you do see I’m writing, now.  It’s just that fiction writing isn’t a very practical career focus.  Plus, there is the issue that it is granted I can write, but what is it that I’ll write about?

These recurring dreams I have — they’re about dropping what I’m doing now, taking Math again, and getting back onto a Hard Sciences track with a goal of working in Biology.  In the past this has been with Botany — I’ve wanted to work on developing medicines or treatments for pathogens which may soon be untreatable (like medication-resistant strains of bacteria).  The goal there would be working for a pharmaceutical company, though I doubt I’d really be well-equipped to carry out animal testing.  This is one of the reasons I never took Biology in high school — despite eating meat, I didn’t want to cut up fetal pigs.  It just didn’t seem right.  It’s still hard for me to handle raw meat.

I did take Microbiology later, to the best of my recollection.  But this was a bit too abstract for me.  And the prof for that class was kind of a trip — he’d won some big award and had retired, and was teaching as a community service.  However, he’d get really mad when the students would be eating or talking during his lectures…

And actually, now that I think about it, I don’t know all that much about Biology.  Certainly, I was into Ornithology (the study of birds) when I was a small child, and was fascinated by genetics when I was introduced to it as a teen.  (I found out about genetics when reading about cat breeding in my free time at the library.)  I also took Biology of AIDS when in college, which did much to dispel fear of the disease.  But beyond this, and my experience of my own illness, I don’t have a lot upon which to base my draw to the field, other than my own (literal) dreams.

Well, and the gardens which the University tends to.  I was around these for a good while, when I was a kid.

Much more realistically, my areas of expertise or experience are much closer to home.  I could write about race, gender, sexual orientation, neurodiversity, culture, spirituality.  These are topics I’m more prepared to write about, as versus things like the mining industry or forestry or global warming or ozone depletion or factory farming.  The topic of colonialism crosses over many of these, though, and so that might be a good place to research.

I think I’ve typed for long enough now, though.  I’ll try and do something else for a while…