Coming up for air…

So I’m pretty tired, and fighting off a cold (still)…plus, work tomorrow (catch-up from the two days we were closed) and a little post-holiday depression.

The last bit always happens, even this year when we didn’t have a big celebration or strange people or problems with others’ lack of boundaries and respect for our boundaries.  We didn’t really have gifts this year, either, which took a lot of stress off of us.  But with this, things boil down to something like…one more day of the year.  Nothing special.

I think it was supposed to be better that it was nothing special, but at the same time, I am not sure what I feel.  I do feel a bit like I have let down some people due to my reduced capacity for being social.  I wasn’t able to say much when we did video chat with family, or after we ate dinner, today.  I kind of hate these feast days, too, because I end up starving for hours before everything’s ready (when no one else appears hungry) and then my whole eat/sleep schedule gets thrown off.

I didn’t get to see my friend before they left, and I’m feeling kind of “off” about that.  We didn’t see extended family for multiple reasons.  We did meet with family friends, but I wasn’t fully capable of engaging with them.  And after I ate (after being hungry/borderline angry for most of the morning/afternoon), all I wanted to do was go to sleep.

If Xmas hadn’t been today, I probably would have either been making art, writing, reading, or asleep.  I did get some artwork done, but I didn’t have the extended time and full space I’d need to really get down to work.

I have noticed, however, how much easier it is to take photos of what I’ve done and write about the process of making these things and what I’ve learned while doing them, than it is to make more.  Today I was working in pencil — just a simple HB, wood-cased pencil (which I’m really wearing down)…and I think that what I need to be doing, in order to grow, might be not to work with pencil as my mainstay, anymore.

It may be too precise, and encourage tight, heavily detailed/ornate drawing, at the same time as it kind of intimidates me at the prospect of feeling like I have to be so exact.  Pencil is fine for laying in faint, thin guidelines.  It’s probably worth more if I use the softer grades.  But right now, I think I’m leaning on it too hard, and it’s not giving me what I want.  The image in my last post would not have come about that way, had I used pencil instead of ink — unless I used a blunted woodless graphite stick or something, but, that doesn’t really behave like pencil.  It’s actually more responsive, and easier to see.

Before anyone came over, I did, somewhat, organize the craft table (so someone other than myself could use it).  In doing so, I was able to take note of the different media I had been using, or wanted to use.  I was able to put things into multiple piles; media, and papers…I have tons of colored pencils which needed to be put away.  These are what I’ve used since I was a teen in order to add color to my drawings.  It can be really nice, but there is a delicateness and lack of boldness when I use them.  Which…the medium encourages.

Then there were the oil pastels (Niji) that I’ve wanted to use, but just haven’t, yet.  And, the Neocolor Is and IIs.  I really do enjoy working with the Neocolors; I’m just not certain at this point whether to get the water-resistant or water-soluble ones.  Eventually, it would be nice to have both, but I’m sure that it will take some time to get a full collection (especially with my income level where it is, now).

Maybe I should be looking for a different job.  I know I won’t really be free until after Spring semester; and maybe not even then, seeing how things are going.  I’m no longer certain that I want to be in Digital Printmaking, because I started trying to read a graphic novel today and realized how not into it, I was.

I am just largely not into fictive storytelling at this point in my life.  I’m not entirely sure how or why I lost it — other than that I’ve had to unlearn that skill in order to get along in the real world (I’m better off leaving things alone instead of trying to explain them when I can’t) — but…I’m thinking that there are better ways for me to approach things.  That is, there are ways I hadn’t thought of when I was a young adult — other than straight literature or straight graphic-novel — to approach expressing what I need to express.  Poetry, essays, creative nonfiction, illustrated books, blogs, articles, paintings, scrolls, etc.

(Yeah, like who is going to buy a scroll?  –well, maybe that’s not the right question.  Who is going to sell a scroll?  Boutiques?  Galleries?  Hair salons?  Restaurants?  Bookstores?  Anime fan stores?  My cousin suggested bars.  I suppose anyone who would sell other forms of fine art — or Asian art — might sell it, if they could install or hang it.)

Anyhow, yes…I’m…I’m thinking a bit on dropping Digital Printmaking.  One of my friends took actual Printmaking last semester, and really loved it.  And I don’t think it’s a mistake that when we had our flash-gallery showing, almost none of the digital art was being noticed, even though there were exhibitions going on in the same building.  I’m not sure what it is about handmade art as versus digital; but I know that some people — including M and myself — respond to digital art really differently than handmade art.

For me, there’s just something about digital art which looks really slick and refined and high-tech, perfect verging on spun sugar — but having taken Digital Imaging classes myself, and having known some people who could draw on computer but not by hand…I know that there are different skill sets which go into utilizing physical media as versus digital media.  It’s easy to look at digital art and see effects which could not have been achieved by hand.  At the same time…maybe that’s the turnoff?

It’s super easy to take a digital photo, load it into Photoshop, and print something at a higher precision than one could ever achieve without a computer.  But maybe part of the draw of handwrought work is its divergence from reality — the places where human interpretation, and the work of a human mind, shines through.  Maybe it’s the imperfections that are the draw.

I’m not sure.  What I am sure of is that I made the right choice for myself in going for the Fine Arts curriculum instead of the computer-aided graphics curriculum.

But I’m still freaking myself out with my own work, particularly given the context that this is what I’ve chosen in order to have a reason to continue to live.  I’ve got to get past being freaked out by this, somehow…it’s just that every time I have a drawing that turns out well, it’s like, “yes, this is my reason to survive,” and…maybe constantly being reminded of my situation (that is, having a tenuous link to the world of the living) isn’t the easiest thing.

But I do always get that flash of, “if I’d chosen a different path, this beautiful thing I’m holding would not exist,” and that is nearly always…profound.  I’m not sure of an English word for it.  Melancholy?  Kanashimi in Japanese language kind of strikes close, but then again, I don’t know all the variants of cultural meaning with that word.

Maybe it would do me some good to get back into contact with my spirits.  It may help.  My job is to bring things into being which have never before existed.  I get the sense that there is a group of beings supporting me in this.  It might be of benefit to me to take the chance in believing in them again, and see what comes out of it.


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Haru ("Codey") is a third-year Master's student in Library and Information Science, hoping to find a way to fuse their desire to make the world a better place and to finance their art.

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