I am intentionally not doing homework right now.

I think that the homework and study thing is decently under control.  I have about two to three days to complete this next round of work — most of that is reading, but there is some writing as well.  And, well, database stuff.

It just seems that for the past week, the vast majority of my waking time has been either going into preparing for this semester, getting used to the user interface, reading for this semester, or doing homework.  To be honest, I’m not even…really aware of whether I am (or will be) qualified to be an Art Librarian after I get out of this program.  It seems like a narrow goal.

And…you didn’t see that, but WordPress is telling me that I just spent an hour crafting an email to one of my old professors, between this paragraph and the last.

One thing that I’ll have to keep in mind is that if I’m going to be sitting down at this computer for long periods of time, I’ll also need to factor in time to move and stretch.  I actually exercised yesterday for the first time in months, because all I did otherwise was sit in one place and eat.  Yes, it gets boring after a while, doesn’t it?

And I want to prevent another round of that weight-gain that I got in my first semester.  I noticed that I had a lot more energy at work, today, though.  Maybe the sit-ups and push-ups and leg lifts increased my metabolism that much?  I don’t know, but I did shelve an Adult Nonfiction cart in 15 minutes, whereas it normally takes me 25.  Usually, the only carts that can be shelved in 15 minutes are the A/V carts, New books, or Picture Books.  I guess I was just kind of ebullient, today.  It kind of makes me wonder what would happen if I actually did go for a walk.  I didn’t exercise enough to be noticeably sore…except when I stretch.  Then, it hurts!

I’m sure that eating tons of fresh produce helped, too.  Pretty much the only unhealthy things I ate today or yesterday were candy corn (sugar + corn syrup + shellac D:) and brownies (after the brownies had been baked, that is:  I didn’t make them, I just ate them).  It actually is worth it to go to the produce market, because then we get a ton of fresh food; and when there is a ton of fresh food, I eat (most of a ton of) fresh food.  Not to mention that preparing fresh food (like the salad I did last night) is a good excuse for getting out from in front of this computer.

I have also discovered the little wonder that is a Manzano banana.  “Manzano” means “Apple,” and appropriately enough, Manzano bananas taste like apples but have the texture of firm Cavendish (normal) bananas, with a tiny bit more seediness.  It’s a little addictive!  Not to mention that they’re only about 4″ long.

I would have picked up some baby (Niño) bananas last time (about 3″), which I’ve heard taste like guava; but they all looked a bit bruised up, and possibly refrigerated.

Anyhow, I came back to write in the blog because of needing to get away from the homework.  HAD TO GET AWAY FROM THE HOMEWORK.  In any case, I’m feeling a bit better, now.

Maybe I should work on my homework for the Vocational program, instead of working more at this LIS thing, for now.  I can also transfer my files so I can work offline.

And I really don’t want to deal with any more tech stuff, right now.  I think I’ll go read a book.  Which is made of dead trees.

Coming up for air: Week 1, down.

I’ve been away for a few days, haven’t I?

Wow.  A week, basically.

Well, classes have begun.  I’ve been spending more time studying than I really…would have expected to enjoy.  Then there is all the technology to handle, but most of all the best point is the window up and out of my relatively manual and clerical and low-paid position.

Point-blank, though, it gives me a reason to interact with others locally and through the computer, explore and gain new ideas, and it gives me interesting material to read which I can (and am expected to) then think and write about.

In comparison — at least prior to the unofficial series here which I’ve been writing on what I’ve been reading; and excluding the posts on Art process which have gone back some number of years — it has seemed that I’ve somewhat been spinning my wheels.  (So it wasn’t just a feeling!)

My database/technical course is interesting, and ties right in to the problems of organizing my digital photos which I was talking about, some time ago.  I can try and figure out when, another night.

The other two courses, I will need to get working on; along with setting up some kind of calendar, and trying to figure out where I really want all these communications sent.  The technical course is just much faster-paced than the other two, which reflects what I’ve been told at work:  that the core courses are difficult, and the electives are not as intense.

I can see that I may need to rethink (or at least loosen my grip on) my career direction, though…if I do find that I really like this database thing…

Angelic Mistakes

I’ve…probably just spent a good two hours looking around on the Reader.  It seems that the lifespan of a blog here is not all that long; though I’m following many people, those people tend to wander off; sometimes to return, sometimes not.

One of the things I wanted to mention was my identification of an Art History book I found by chance.  It is called Angelic Mistakes:  The Art of Thomas Merton, by Roger Lipsey.  The method of my location of this was strange enough to cause me to take pause:  I looked up to a certain shelf, saw the book, became interested in the book, and then saw that someone had shelved it in such a way that two of the digits of the call number were transposed.  This caused it to be shelved in the Sports section instead of the Art History section.  Had I not found it, it eventually would have been considered, “Missing”…and likely not found until someone did a book-by-book check to make sure everything was in correct order.  Considering that this may have well been an, “angelic (i.e. purposeful, even if unconscious) mistake,” which I had successfully located, I brought it back home with me.  (Bibliomancy is one of those things which I just…do.)

It might be noted that this is a Shambhala book.  Having read through (and tried to read through) a number of books from Shambhala Publications…there’s a certain feel that I can discern from them.  I wouldn’t be quick to discard anything published by them, though what I have read in the past might have been topically unsuited to me.

Those who have been following this blog might recall my mixed cultural heritage:  Japanese- and African-American, before we get to the regional influences of culture on my parents (Southern California, which in turn is strongly influenced by Mexico) and myself (Northern California).  When I was growing up, my Japanese-American grandmother kind of tried to mold me to be as Asian as she could, despite my racial difference from her and the rest of that side of the family.

To avoid getting into gritty details, I’ll just say that I’ve had something of a cultural conflict growing up, because of largely being exposed to only one side of the family, but still being between worlds, so to speak, where it came to culturally-segregated groups of youth.  Because I didn’t look stereotypically Asian (and it’s seen as a bad thing to be mixed-race in at least my own background and in many other Asian cultures as well), I’ve had a history of being rejected by Asian groups; because I am distant from what is, by now, traditionally African-American culture, I didn’t quite fit in with the kids of African descent, either (they actually told me I wasn’t “Black enough”).

When I was in school, I began studying Buddhism on my off-hours.  One of my aunts is Buddhist, so I guessed that I would try and learn what that was about.  What I found initially put me off, but I am familiar with exoticization of non-White cultures within White U.S. society — which is often enough the target audience of these books — so I kept digging.

What I may not have really had the maturity to admit until this portion of my life is that perhaps in chasing after Buddhism, I was looking for some kind of proof that I really was Asian…and Daoism, Shinto, Hindu faiths…just did not have the same kind of popularity or easy access.

(For example, in introductory Buddhist texts, many core terms will be translated out into English, even though this results in a loss of meaning.  Duhkha will be translated into “suffering,” though duhkha in reality implies much more than the English word, “suffering.”  In Hindu texts translated into English, the key terms [amrita?] are often not translated out, which probably holds more closely to the words’ original meanings; but they can also make the texts relatively opaque, to a newcomer.  Daoism is relatively…not talked about [though Chinese influence is becoming stronger where I live; not to mention that there is Chinatown — but I have no proficiency in either Cantonese or Mandarin, and only know of one place which sells apparently quality info on Qi Gong in English]; and Shinto, being a local culture thing, is near-inaccessible outside of the islands of Japan.)

The texts I can recall reading which were published by Shambhala (not one by name [EDIT:  untrue, A Concise Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism by John Powers was great], but enough by content) dealt with Buddhism, and I am learning I may not be suited to be Buddhist at this time in my life — at least, not so in a Theravadin vein.  There is no reason for me to get into personal views of Theravada vs. Mahayana vs. Vajrayana here…  If I were anything in this vein, I’d be a not-fluffy version of one of the latter two, to the point that I know the warm fuzzies (metta, along with the belief that it is possible to live without causing others pain) may feel good to the participant but may be intellectually dishonest, political in nature (Buddhists were nearly wiped out in their original birthplace of India for having no gods [apparently offensive to the Mughals]; subsequent to which, a Public Relations campaign showing Buddhists as moral and virtuous is understandable), impractical and/or against the rhythm of life.  Well, of course, if life is samsara, yes?

I also have here at least two books from them on Daoism, and one on Hindu Mysticism.  The latter, I’m still interested in; one of the former is quite dense…and there is the fact that Daoism and Buddhism in the present day appear to mirror each other, despite having possibly (or at least, originally) different goals.  The distant past — before the school of Theravada was developed, though (Theravada was not the first school, it’s just the surviving school with the earliest roots) — it’s hard for someone who doesn’t know either Buddhist Hybrid Sanskrit or Pali to parse.  I know that in Daoism, the goal either is or has been either immortality or long (and pleasant) life.  In Buddhism, the goals differ; but at least within Theravada, it seems to have been not to be reborn again.  This has been interpreted as “immortality” within the state of nirvana, but …this kind of mirrors the saying, “the only way to win is not to play the game,” which seems kind of…static, to me.

It would be interesting to see what goes on behind the doors of Shambhala; what the actual statements are which the books I have, are selected and edited towards fulfilling…but anyway, that is not the aim of this post.

The book I’d found (Angelic Mistakes) references an author I had heretofore not heard of (Thomas Merton), although to hear the book speak of it, he’s famous.  The book itself publishes images of some of the drawings and prints from his later (“mature,” as art historians like to call them) years, though he didn’t live a particularly long life.  Shambhala probably picked up the book because of the influence of Asian art (particularly Sumi ink drawings) on Merton’s drawings and prints…apparently, the guy was friends with D.T. Suzuki at one point.  (Suzuki was key in disseminating knowledge on — particularly — Zen, in the Western world, from what I know.  This was back around the 1960’s [with the Hippies] and probably a bit prior, with the Beats in the 1950’s or ’40’s.)

I feel better reading that Merton was a Spiritualist — as that’s a vein that I’ve also followed, at one time in my life — it’s just that all the Christian stuff in that book is a bit difficult for me to deal with.  I’m just…not Christian, and as far as I can remember, after the age of six or seven didn’t want to be Christian (I’m not one for gratuitous violence, and threats of Hell and separation from loved ones drove me away rather than bringing me closer); so it’s a bit alien to me.

Anyhow; the reason for my beginning this post at all was to express some form of letdown after having begun to read this book and starting to wonder if all of this art, creativity, culture, stuff — is based on non-truths.  That is, I may eventually become a walking encyclopedia of Buddhism, but unless that cultural-heritage material is making a difference, helping somebody, what is it worth to know?  I may come to know about the routes of evolution of Art from prehistory to the present, but is that knowledge actually helping anyone?  (Other than people who trade in art as a form of currency, who then may need to know if the Van Gogh they want to buy is fake?)

Granted that the knowledge is enriching, and definitely is something that makes life worth living, both for the artist or creative, and the person experiencing the results of that creativity.  What would life be without music, or design, or dance?  We could get along, but we probably wouldn’t know what we would be missing — or that there was anything missing — or that in our state of deprivation, that there was anything wrong.

Is the question one of, “what is the value of culture?

I’m reminded of having taken a trip down to the Central branch of San Francisco Public Library and finding a very, very stripped down Spirituality & Religion section.  I have a feeling that it was that way because so many books on Spirituality and Religion are based on such shoddy thinking and scholarship (granted, the latter reasoning may be sound but the premises [or canon] may not be:  and it remains to be seen whether logic and reasoning are useful where it comes to this facet of human experience at all) that whoever was doing Acquisitions found them to be not worth buying.  (Either this, or it’s possible that these books had a habit of growing legs and walking away.  The area is at the edge of the Tenderloin.)

This is granted that a Spirituality section may not be true in most any way, shape, or form; but insofar as these kinds of thoughts allow us insight into the minds of others, there is still value in having the knowledge.  Knowing that others think differently than we do cannot help but have a positive impact on our own communications with others, right?  There would still be a use where it comes to broadening tolerance, towards enriching our lives, toward making a life that is worth living.

So maybe my interests, in Art and Art History, in Spirituality, in Writing, in Culture(s)…in Music…aren’t actually useless.  I’m not sure why the lifeblood of a person or a community may run through these creative generative cycles which would seem to have little to do with the day-to-day of actually surviving.  I don’t know why my own proclivities draw me to learn about and practice things that don’t seem “practical,” except maybe they keep me alive by pointing to what is possible, not just what is; because what is is pretty heartbreaking.

I guess we all need to dream.

remaining fluid, hopefully not sloshing around too much…

I have…just finished going through the major part of the tutorials I had to read through for the new (to me) Learning Management System for this Fall.  I suspect there will be something of a learning curve, especially since I’ve never used this system before, and haven’t been in the program for three years.  It would have made sense for me to retake my first core course — the one which was expressly about navigating the LMS and the Library — but I’m thinking that I would have had to ask special permission for that to be granted.

The good thing is that I seem to be more or less on track.  My hardware is good to go; I have electronic copies of both of my textbooks — though as to whether I’ll want a physical copy of either, I won’t be able to fully tell until I’ve tried using them.  I still have not read ahead in either of them; and haven’t read the last 1.5 chapters in the @*$& management textbook from 2012, either.  (It left me with a less than pleasant memory, what can I say.)

But at least things are moving along.

I can’t say as much for work…we are just going through a bit of a staffing nightmare.  I’m not entirely certain when it’s going to let up; fact is that four of our Shelvers left within what seems like the last two or three months; I’m the only experienced one left.  I’m hoping that I don’t get called in for extra hours while I’m trying to work on my Master’s program — things are pretty stacked for me already.  (I also just realized that I will need to tell them that I can’t come in early Wednesday, because I have an appointment which I had no hand in scheduling, which I have to attend.)

That granted…after next week, things should be kicking in and I can then see what I’m looking at for the rest of the semester.  I’m pretty sure that all of the downloads I’ll need are things that I can’t sign up for on my own, so there’s really no use in worrying about that until late Thursday or early Friday.

There is some other material about work which I have been thinking about:  but realistically, that stuff shouldn’t be made public, so I’ll try and remember to record it privately.

Otherwise…gah.  I still need to complete my paperwork for the Vocational program (which is where I need to be on Wednesday), and get together my questions for the informational interview with my old co-worker, about Digital Services.  That latter option is not looking too bad for me now, either, now that I think about it.  The tough part would be the legal part (re-negotiating license agreements) — but I am not certain how much of the job that takes up.

And if I did that, I could actually honestly focus more on the computer work and not worry about that 1-2 years of (expensive, I mean) extra schooling in Art History.  Hell, I could even take programming classes locally, at the same time as the Master’s.  I don’t think it will be hard, except for dealing with others’ personalities.  (I’m kind of on a little kick because of being able to access materials online which I -had no idea existed- until I looked on the website and found it to be like my University’s.)

The main issue with that is having to take maybe an extra semester or two in Special Session (kind of like Continuing Education:  these are classes that people who already have degrees, take) to get a handle on what I can’t take in Regular Session.  If I did have to go into Special Session, though (which voids my grant)…I wonder if the Vocational program could or would help me pay tuition?  It’s something to ask about, definitely.  I’m not totally bound to the idea of working as an Art Librarian, right now; and the tech field is something that I’ve been more than curious about.  I just haven’t taken so many tech courses (though I have had an interest in Web Design combined with Information Architecture and User Experience).

Yeah, that…kind of comes out of left field, no?  But there are so many cool outlets online which would be fairly awesome to improve, it seems…though that is probably a relic of the early Web.  I wonder what Web Designers are using in lieu of Dreamweaver, these days.  (haha, hope that doesn’t make me look too vacuous.  I’ve wanted to get into Linux and programming for years, but haven’t known even where to start…)

Reading is much easier than writing…

…for me, at least.

Apologies for the unannounced absence:  I’ve been without significant internet connectivity for the past several days.  In the meantime, I’ve managed to finish Where Does Art Come From? by William Kluba, and have broken back into The View From the Studio Door by Ted Orland, one of the authors of Art & Fear, which he co-wrote with David Bayles…and which I read in one or another of my drawing classes.  (The last book I mentioned wasn’t required, but it was mentioned in class, and I found it on a trip to the Legion of Honor’s bookstore.)

What I can say is that it’s much easier for me to absorb information via reading than it is to come back to writing without having practiced for several days!  (Kind of parallel to viewing art being a much different experience from making it.)

Right now I am getting a little…a little hesitant.  Classes start up in about a week:  I keep getting emails from the University…most of which don’t apply to me, but…it’s a little scary to have this all becoming so real this soon.  I’m about to jump back into 9 units (!), which I don’t think I’ve done since my undergraduate days.  Next week I talk to my old contact who has worked in Digital Services; I go to meet my personal counselor at my Vocational program, and I have a mandatory meeting of the most important of my classes.  Before that time, I will need to finish filling out my paperwork for the Vocational program, clarify my questions for my old co-worker, become acquainted with the school’s interface (which has changed since the last time I attended), and install a couple of things.

I hate installing things.

In any case, work also starts up for me again on Saturday; and I will need to return some career-oriented Library books.

*sigh*

Most of today, I’ve been asleep.  Over the past several days…it’s been a bit stressful.  We had a family reunion, which actually wasn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be.  Trying to figure out where to eat, how much it would cost, and weaving through the casinos and drunk people…that was a lot more incoming information.  Not to mention that my sibling is now with us, and we haven’t seen each other in-person in months (meaning there has been some friction).

I’m thinking that the best things I can do for myself right now are to begin to read in my textbooks, and read over the tutorials for the learning platform.  I am not sure if I will have to install more than one program (as versus peripherals)…but I know it is at least one.

Or, if I wanted to burn off some anxiety, painting would probably be a good outlet.

I think dinner is almost ready, and this is a good breaking point:  I’ll try and continue to think about what it is which I could post, which wouldn’t be too much to say, here.

Language acquisition…does open up some new worlds. Wanting to go there, again.

I may have to actually (!) start planning out some of these posts.  Recent posts in my Reader, and a Picasso quote in the (paper) text I’m reading…have spurred off a number of questions in my mind.  Or, maybe not really questions.  The questions present are along the lines of, “why is this having an impact on me?”  There are four subjects in specific that have come up over the last 48 hours, only the last two of which, I’ll be able to tackle in this post:

  1. Apocalypse
  2. Compassion
  3. Spanish language learning
  4. Japanese language learning

The Spanish language topic was prefaced by the Picasso quote from yesterday:  “el arte es una mentira que nos acerca la verdad,” or in my loose translation, “art is a lie which brings us closer to truth.”  I think it was translated differently in the text in which I found it (Where Does Art Come From? by William Kluba).  “Acercar” is also a term which relates more closely for me to, “to acquaint/to bring closer/to bring into one’s sphere,” but I am not sure of the directionality of that last definition:  are we moving into something else’s sphere, or is that other thing coming into our sphere?

It’s hard for me to tell with the level of English grammar I was taught…apparently, no one wanted to teach English grammar in my District.  This kind of handicaps me when I’m trying to learn another language, though; and what I’m learning from mentions transitive and intransitive verbs, and I don’t have a clear idea of what is being referred to.  I can kind of grok it, but that’s not fully ideal…

I have partial skills in both Spanish and Japanese, though I’m limited in both as things are now.  I took Spanish for six years as a teen, and Japanese for two or three quarters as a young adult.  As much as I’d like to jump directly back into learning Japanese (this is a cultural heritage thing and a beauty thing), I’m much closer to functionality in Spanish — and Spanish is of much greater use in California (and tremendously greater use, south of the U.S. border:  it’s why I chose Spanish over French, before I learned about the post-colonization chaos and U.S. interference which has affected much of Central and South America [which can in turn make U.S. tourists less than welcome]).

This doesn’t mean that I can understand sophisticated Spanish (like legal notices), but I can get an idea of what’s being communicated, much of the time.  It might be a thing to do, to just — on my lunch breaks — go into the kids’ section and just start reading through the Spanish books, there.  Of course, if I’m reading aloud, it may cause unwanted attention…in addition to a testing of my skills!

I should probably do that.  If nothing else, it will acquaint me with the language again…without my having to sit through a Pimsleur CD set or the like.  I seriously can’t tell how people learn through those.  I brought home one or another set of Spanish language CDs one day and tried to listen to it, then turned it off after a while of the CD repeating “un ca-… un ca-… un carro.  un carro.”…GAHHH!!!  Does it really take two minutes to learn how to say “a car”?

And yeah, I probably have a Chiapas accent, because one of my early teachers (whom I had for two years) had a Chiapas accent.  But maybe I’ll sound…like I have street cred or something?  I don’t know.

(I probably shouldn’t get into why having a Chiapas accent is popularly seen as a negative thing — it’s really political, and has to do with colonization, resistance to colonization, and resistance to assimilation.  Unless I’m mistaken, the entire Zapatista thing is centered in Chiapas.  I should probably leave the rest of the subject alone, for now…I don’t know enough about it.)

The positive thing about having taken Spanish for six years, though, is that — for one thing, I already have some sort of grounding with verb conjugation, though for the life of me, I can’t remember much of it offhand without hearing or reading it first…and for another thing, I also know a method of intonation which works, even if that intonation is perceived as culturally inferior.  (I’ve heard that the status of having a Chiapas accent in Mexico is like having a Southern American English accent in the U.S…though I am not sure the parallel is completely accurate, as I don’t know enough Mexican history.)

Japanese, on the other hand…I can teach myself to read, but I can’t teach myself not to speak like Siri.

I think that’s enough said about that, though the bright side of it is that in those two or three semesters of Japanese, I got a pretty good handle on Japanese grammar.  For a newbie.  I know enough to be able to pick out parts of sentences and common words, but I don’t necessarily know what those words mean or what the subject of a sentence is, if it’s in kanji — I just know that it’s the subject.  I probably shouldn’t even get into on and kun readings, and when to use each one…and then there are the compound words which have kanji as the main part of the word, followed by kana which vary according to word use.

The positive part is that, apart from writing, Japanese seems relatively simple; and I’m sure learning the words first and then encountering them in text would make picking up what word is which, much easier.

The major drawback is finding people to practice with, and finding a teacher who isn’t going to be harsh.  Right now, the nearest place I know to go for lessons is in San Francisco, and that is not ideal.  The classes don’t meet anywhere near frequently enough, and it’s…a drive.  Where one would find others to converse with on a daily basis, as well…?  I don’t know, unless you like hanging out in Japanese dollar stores or markets, or work in one of the same (the latter of which, is probably a good idea, if you want to build language skills along with customer service skills).

Ahh.  I think I’ve been sitting here for long enough.

Maybe I’ll go read something…

Surprising myself a slight bit…

I actually have been able to get something done, today, other than work and art.  The mess of receipts that I have from late last year have (mostly) been documented.  In the process, I found a receipt from October of last year showing that I paid $0.98 for what I believe were three tiny persimmons.

It’s the good things, you know?

Ja…right now I’m thinking that I will really have to get on the University reading, soon.  Today, instead of doing that, I did some reading in an actual (!) paper book!  (Where Does Art Come From? by William Kluba.  It is an art-practice book instead of an art-history book, but it’s really a good thing for me to try and remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.)  And I just finished the last of the candied ginger of unknown age.  Go, me.  (Hopefully, it won’t do a number on my stomach…)

If it’s possible, I think I really should pay for the groceries I get at the produce market, with my own funds.  I know I will be going into (more) debt because of University, but that aside:  when I pay for my own perishables with money I’ve earned myself, I’m more aware of their existence, and have more of a tendency to actually eat them.  Otherwise, I have a tendency to forget about them until after entropy has set in and they’ve started to decompose.  I think that if it’s my money I’m wasting, it will make a difference.

I still haven’t done much of any reading in either of my school texts, though at least this semester, I’m starting out with a note-taking system.  I can only read one book at a time, so I have a notebook dedicated to notes on whatever I’m reading.  If I’m smart, maybe I can have three different pens; one color for each class.  I know I have the pens; replacing them (along with ink longevity) will be the iffy part.  It could be cool, though, if archival-quality inks are not demanded (the notes must last for three years), to use gel pens (Sarasas are nice).  Actually, that sounds like fun!  Maybe green, purple, and orange…hmm.

Tonight, as well — I realized that my huge watercolor palette may not be as inconveniencing as I had been convinced it would be.  For those who haven’t read the backposts, this is a Mijello Silver Nano 40 palette, which is pretty darn huge for someone used to things that are, well…easy to carry.  But it does easily hold all of my colors, and it gives generous mixing space, plus the construction seems to be quality (so far), which are three qualities not simultaneously matched in any of my other palettes.

I also re-tried fitting my half-pans into one of the small tins I bought.  I was mistaken in an earlier post; one tin will hold at least 28 Winsor & Newton half-pans (seven across, four deep).  However, what D said might also be the case:  the sides of the tin may be too deep to allow easy access with a brush.  I’m also not convinced that a half-pan format is the best way to carry dried watercolor paint…especially if I’m using a large brush.

The Maruman NEW SOHO Series Sketch pad is too lightweight to take watercolor with abundant moisture.  (watercolor that’s wet…?)  It is advertised to take watercolor, but it isn’t a good-quality watercolor paper (whereas with my limited use of dry media within it [basically only graphite sticks, so far], it’s great).

I mean if you wet it, it warps.  It warped so much that I tore the sheet out of the pad and threw it away before it could warp the rest of the pad.  I probably should have waited until it dried out to see what it would do, but generally speaking, when a paper does what it did, I’m not likely to turn to it for watercolor work!  Please forgive me for not taking a photograph of it before getting rid of it.  It was just a mess; but I was also using my dying Utrecht #10 Sablette Round, which holds a good deal of water.  (It’s dying because the ferrule has loosened on the handle, though it grips again after being wet for about 20 minutes.  It’s only a matter of time until the brush head itself falls off.)

I also tried a small sheet of Stonehenge paper, which performed much more favorably…but it also really absorbed the paint to the degree that if I wanted to lift the pigment out, I’m not sure I would have been able to do so.  The stability of the paper was much more “on” for the way I’d expect a watercolor paper to behave, though granted I think that the highest grade of paper I’ve yet used is Canson Montval — not Arches, which I hear is top-of-the-line (and probably so expensive as to discourage me from using it).

I think I’ve used Strathmore 300 and 400 series before, too, and have just begun to try Fluid “Easy Blocks” (they’re only gummed down on two sides, so they’re supposed to be “easier” to lift away from the block…but this sacrifices some stability.  And how much harder is it, really, to cut away those other two sides when you’ve already got out the butter knife?).

What I remember about Stonehenge is that I’m pretty sure this is the paper which easily pilled when I rubbed a dry tissue over a wet area — though granted, this was on the back of the sheet.  I’m pretty sure that the tissue wasn’t what the pill was made of.

Otherwise…hmm.  Things have been fairly stable.  I’m still not certain whether to go for Digital Services or Art Librarianship.  Art Librarianship is the ultimate goal…ideally.  It’s just that looking at four more years of college is a bit painful.  But I still have not been able to clarify exactly what Digital Services entails, or what the field is looking like, moving forward.  I’ll get to find out some information on this, later this month.

For now, there’s nothing much I can do besides read and work through my tutorials, and get a head start on the class readings I can do, now.  Good to keep some perspective, I guess…