If it were harder…would it be easier?

Hey. It’s a bit early for me yet, but…I’ve realized why I’m hesitant to paint: it is truly creative work, and I don’t understand it. That is, I don’t understand how I paint.

On top of this, there is a major, “woo,” factor in the way I’ve explained my own talent to myself, which isn’t helping me, but I have no other way to conceptualize it. I think maybe I’m avoiding the, “woo,” by not practicing.

I’m not sure if, “woo,” translates well internationally… 🙂 I mean that painting brings up for me, thoughts on spirituality and metaphysics, which are things that I used to be heavily involved in, but with which I scared myself.

The way I paint and draw is to visualize my next mark…and then mark, “over it,” with my hand. My hand, at this point, is relatively steady and accurate. I don’t know why. I also don’t know why or how I visualize the correct place for the next mark, and I don’t know how I seem to be led step-by-step through a process to create something I didn’t know I could or would make in the first place.

So I guess a lot of fear of my own creativity is fear of the unknown.

Also, I think my level of, “talent,” puts me in the, “gifted,” range, but I’m afraid to use that gift because I don’t know why I have it or where it comes from. The only way I’ve found to explain this is spiritual…and I can get crazy spiritual, both literally and not.

I thought I should record this before it goes away…I can expand on it later.


School-life tension? :P

All right, I’m set to go out tomorrow and blow $30 on some paints. 😛 (I feel silly going all the way out to the art store and spending $5. Even though that may be the sensible thing to do.)

I’ve checked: I have more weeks in the semester than I expected! So now I for real have three weeks left of classes! And I should get started on my peer grading.

I think Database Management will be…manageable, given that the work I’m doing for the last group assignment seems easy enough. Then there is the Final, which…I’m not really sure I’ll do well on, but I think it will be OK (as a co-worker of mine is fond of saying). I have a tutoring session scheduled for tomorrow morning; I’m hoping that this will make the Final easier.

And then there is improving on my Instructional Design proposal, and dealing with the Research Guide for my Reference course. Not really liking that last class, right now (perceived interpersonal friction because I was stressed, and now the Prof thinks I don’t care; and I’m wondering if I care enough to explain to her what was going on, which isn’t her business), but I might be able to do something with the last project which will make it worth my time.

The other day…I did get out my colored pencils. Like the archive of colored pencils going back to 1994 or whatever…

They work well, still; they just aren’t suitable for reproduction work (which is why I started in with the watercolors in the first place)! I have found, though, that some of these pencils are actually using pigments which appear very similar to what’s in my paints (like Cobalt Turquoise).

The major issue I have and have had with these is that it’s difficult to cover the paper 100%. The workaround I found for this is to paint the paper first, then color it with the pencils, so that what shows through is not white, but something else that adds some kind of depth or contrast.

I mean, that’s old news, but if you haven’t been following this blog for years, you might not have found the information. (I need to work on my organization of past posts.)

I also have too many colored pencils. I need to choose one or two of my repeat colors and then give away (or at least put away) the rest. It’s just annoying when I’m trying to match a color and I have more than one that look very similar…

…and I should aim to get rid of the older Prismacolors, first (some of which may be older than some of my readers).

Hmm. Well, aside from that, work was…tiring. And I still have yet to decide on my topic for the Reference Guide.

I’m thinking that color dynamics aren’t an “academic” enough topic, and that I would be better off going with something like an Art History angle where it comes to Japanese woodblock printing. I mean, it’s niche enough that I probably wouldn’t have to worry too much about narrowing my search…whereas color dynamics would have me sorting through masses of shallow books.

They’re not all shallow, just most of them don’t touch on what I want to know. At all. Like, I don’t care about interior design…or picture books…I’ve tried researching this before, but maybe my mistake is trying to use my home library system instead of one that has an effective OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog).

On the other hand, I’ve been reading handprint today…and that site has a wealth of information on watercolors. I’ve mentioned it before, but I haven’t until now just read it for kicks. But if I did want to do some work on pigments and watercolors as regards a Research Guide, I think there is a page there somewhere with an annotated bibliography, from which I could start.

Actually, that sounds a bit too hard to risk an assignment on it.

I’ll think about it.

Recap of the past three days

I’ve been told to go to bed, but I know I won’t remember what happened over the past three days, if I don’t record it. I’m pretty sure I made the last post in the early morning (i.e. after midnight) on Tuesday.

I think I was able to go to the Japanese market for foodstuffs that day (soba noodles, senbei)…I know Wednesday, I worked and went out later. I also started designing quilt layouts.

Thursday, I saw a professional in the morning and then…either Tuesday or Thursday, I went to the fabric store, and either Tuesday or Thursday, I went to the produce market. (It’s all kind of blurring together.)

Today I was mostly asleep until evening, but I have started working on assignments, again.

I also did check that lightfastness chart on Tuesday, but I haven’t made photos yet. There are about 6 or so paints that I now know fade after about 4 weeks of direct sunlight, and a few others which are also starting to do so, but it’s only barely noticeable. (On the other hand, the difference between Winsor & Newton Yellow Ochre and Yellow Ochre Light has been magnified: Yellow Ochre Light is yellower and less red than regular Yellow Ochre!).

I need to re-swatch Scarlet Pyrrol (from M. Graham & Co.), because it looks like it has been altered, but I don’t know from what; if memory serves, it is different underneath the covering paper, as well as on top. This could indicate heat or atmospheric influence, or some kind or corrosion, as versus just light…it looks grittier than I remember.

Of course, no one hangs their paintings in the window in direct sunlight, but it’s meant to replicate advanced wear.

Aureolin is still holding up fine (surprisingly, given its reputation), as have a range of pink-magenta-red paints. I may want to go and get W&N’s variant of Scarlet Pyrrol (it’s called something else, like Winsor Orange Deep, but I’d have to look at my archive or look it up online to be sure what it is). [EDIT: It’s called “Winsor Orange (Red Shade)”.]

Okay, I need to brush my teeth before I totally conk out. But yes, apparently I’m doing very well right now…

I get a little free time, and I stay up ’til 3 AM…

I now have free time…and I’m not entirely certain of what to do with it! The last few days have just been crammed with the Instructional Design work plus the Database work, plus the Honors initiation. And before that was the Reference Sources writeup, and my trip to Southern California. And before that was trying to get things out of the way so I wouldn’t have to study the whole time I was in Southern California.

So I suppose it has been a long run of stress.

I have books I can read — lots of them, and reading might help me prepare for my upcoming Research Guide assignment (which is due in 3 weeks!). I also can check on my lightfastness samples — it will be about four months since I’ve set those paint swatches in the sun, and I do want to see what they look like!

Speaking of time elapsed, I should also note that in about two weeks, I’ll be able to go up in gauge to 12g earrings…which has got me thinking about what I want to do with my ears. I know I don’t want to expand my piercings to the size where I’ll be wearing plugs, and I’m fairly certain I don’t want to go over 9g-10g. The thing is what to do with them if I won’t be wearing anything over 10g.

The thing I can think of, besides getting some tunnels so that I can put fine (easily torn) thread through them and from that, hang drops, is to get a second piercing on the left side. Probably a lobe piercing — I do not have enough trust in my environment and hygiene to discount the possibility of infection over (or within) cartilage, which can seriously (and permanently) deform the tissue.

Not to mention that I can’t bet on antibiotics working, which is the major concern. Even if I could, I don’t want to wipe out my beneficial gut bacteria (I’m the only person in my immediate family without stomach troubles).

So I do think that I’ll be looking at the color chart. I wonder if I should try something with watercolors again, or drawing, or playing with beads (the last sounds easiest, for someone who hasn’t been doing art regularly, but the first sounds most potentially rewarding, for a color fiend).

I could also play in my Art/Design journal with markers, which was really enjoyable the last time I was doing it. (There’s something just comfortable for me about experimenting with graphic text.) This might be fun and relaxing, just because it’s informal.

I should note as well that I have a couple of books here on watercolor that I could read if I were too scared to pick up a brush (which is silly, right? It’s just a brush…and they’re just colors! Stop thinking about how much they cost!).

Then there are the 5 Persian cucumbers which I need to pickle, a bunch of spinach which still needs to be eaten, and I have to pick up some more soba. Not to mention the two separate bags of radishes, one of which can go in with the cucumbers (though pickled radishes smell awful, just as a warning! I submerge them sliced and raw in a 1:1 mixture of cool unseasoned rice vinegar and sugar. They take a few hours to macerate. Cover them so they don’t stink up the refrigerator too much).

And then I can get back to trying to read in Japanese again, or maybe review the xeroxes I have on composition in Chinese brush painting. I actually do have ink (and brushes) for Sumi-e…not sure how related those two are. But if I wanted to work monochrome and nontoxic, there is a very good option.

Not sure if I should try and buy the book I got from the library on Chinese brush painting techniques. Looks like it’s out of print.

And oh! I totally forgot about the sewing projects! And the embroidery stuff!

Hmm…I did get a book just to learn new embroidery stitches. And I have the two new books on Shinto and one on the Atthakavagga…the latter of which may inspire at least one new story.

Which I can write in (or make notes on, in) my Art/Design journal as it arises. That sounds good!

So, tomorrow:

  1. Go get some more soba (and some kamaboko) so that your remaining two days of the soba tsuyu isn’t wasted. (It only stays good for three days.)
  2. Pickle the cucumbers and radishes.
  3. Eat soba with the rest of the spinach, kamaboko, and pickles.
  4. Look at the lightfastness chart and photograph for reference, if the sun is out.

And maybe:

  1. Play in your Art/Design journal, or
  2. Read in The Buddha Before Buddhism: Wisdom from the Early Teachings (by Gil Fronsdal, 2016, Shambhala).
  3. Write in your Art/Design journal.

I think that’s enough!

The day is gone. I did turn in something.

At the risk of letting people know I’m up at 1:40 AM after having completed a major assignment, and am not immediately going back to studying (or sleeping)…

I will mention that I got up today, tried to read in my Database textbook, and wasn’t feeling it. Really wasn’t feeling it. And like I said, I had a major assignment due (300 points!). So I shifted away from the Database work and started working on my Instructional Design stuff…which…made me feel more confident…? Useful?…

I did turn it in 35 minutes late, but I think that the process of editing my drafts down to something cohesive and coherent…showed me where things could be different and where maybe it would be better if they were. But the whole Instructional Design process is iterative, so there isn’t any point to beating myself up about not being perfect, about something that isn’t permanent in the first place!

But I did learn how to screencast, and by that I realized that if I wanted to teach, I really could do that online. And if I taught online, I would be able to teach what I wanted to teach to anyone who wanted to hear it. The possibility is really interesting.

Tomorrow I may or may not be doing anything other than trying not to totally bomb my personal Database Management assignment.

And I’m getting a little woozy (lightheaded). It’s been coming on since I reviewed my posted assignment to make sure it worked. I’m also getting a bit of heart arrhythmia (even though my tea was herbal, earlier). Maybe I should get off the computer.

Projects, projects…

Right now I’m here trying to figure out what to write about, which would not be too personal. Or controversial. By surprise, I got tomorrow off of work, so as I spent pretty much all of today dealing with school things…not homework, other things…I was able to concentrate on the experience and not the work that I was missing at home.

There is another group project due in what will be approximately 72 hours. Along with that is a late assignment. I am almost done with the lectures, but will likely need to spend the majority of the weekend dealing with these two projects (same class!), and making a screencast (due in 48 hours). Everything else can wait.

And I am now officially a member of an Honors society. I’m guessing that feels pretty good, though the induction ceremony reminded me of Hogwarts.

I also got to visit the University library for the first time, which was almost overwhelming. Because we arrived for the ceremony early and looked lost, one of the librarians also gave us a tour…which was really nice.

At this point, I’m trying to keep my head together and wondering if I should be in bed already. After the ceremony, we were able to go to a tea shop and I got a diffuser…and a couple of new teas (this place is way out of our normal sphere, so I got what I could when I could). There was also a Japanese bookstore in the area where I got a couple of books on Shinto (this material has been hard to find in English, even within Japanese bookstores), and one on Buddhism.

I’m wondering if these can be of use in my final project for Reference Services…if I haven’t done it before! I know I wanted to do it before, but I wasn’t able to because of the constraints of the class. I just don’t know if I’ve done it since: I’ll have to look through my archives.

Ah — I see now. I set it out as a proposal for a website, but it was beyond the scope of the class. Before then, I set it out as a proposal for a study guide, but it was again, beyond the scope of the class. I also may have some constraints here because I may have to use sources from within libraries to which I have access.

I’ll have to look at the requirements for the assignment. If I use InterLibrary Loan, I might be able to work something out as regards art and design, as well — which might be more fun, particularly if I narrow down my search to something like a particular form of the graphic arts I’m thinking of now…I just have a choice between taking an art history angle or an art practice angle. Or a philosophy or cultural angle…

That’s not due for a while, though. I’m also thinking that my angle may depend on what’s available to check out.

I’m also looking at the subject of “composition in painting and drawing” right now…which sounds fun! It would also get me out of what I already know (or have more of a good start on knowing).

Weird…I’m starting to know how to research and present this stuff…


heyyyy. I got my paper turned in on time!

Despite my recent surprise at having mysteriously gained a couple of pounds (it was likely from two donuts, two ice cream bars, and juice over the past week — my metabolism is wrecked on Prozac)…I went and got some ice cream after work today.

It was THAT BAD, YO. I got a double scoop. it was THAT EFFING BAD. I’m like is this actually half a pint of ice cream? How the **** much ice cream is this–

I knew I was comfort-eating (in addition to dealing with crashed blood sugar), but I also knew that the ice cream would give me a break from my anxiety and allow me some time to collect myself. What I didn’t bet on was that it would keep digesting for a really long time (it’s still in there, not kidding). Because it takes so long to get into my system, the fat in the ice cream leveled off my blood sugar (unexpectedly). Now I may weigh three extra pounds tomorrow, or have stupid high blood lipid levels tonight, but I just need to exercise. Trying to manage my weight just by diet is going to make me angry.

(What’s weird is that it actually calmed me down, which I expected; but the calm continued way after I ate it. But I was working out a strategy to attack this paper, on the way home.)

Amazingly, yesterday I went 1.75 miles on the exercise bike (15 minutes), and my legs ARE NOT SORE. (I don’t know how.) Which means I can probably do a lot more than I think I can. (I should probably start stretching before going on the bike, too, as well as after; torn ACLs are not something to envy. Speaking of which, now that I look it up, an ACL isn’t in the same place as I thought…)

I don’t talk about it a lot here, but I’m vulnerable to blood sugar crashes, where I start feeling awful and thinking unclearly, if I don’t eat enough of the right things at the right times. Apparently, I didn’t eat enough in the morning, or at break, or at lunch…I did eat, I guess it just wasn’t enough.

So today I was super stressed out about having to write the paper I just turned in, anyway, because I didn’t think I’d make it in on time (and was planning to tough it out until 3 AM)…then there is my group project (which I’m behind on), and then a study guide I have to make. On top of that, I’m going to need to record an oral presentation within the next week. But the PAPER THAT WAS WORTH 25% OF MY GRADE IS NOW TURNED IN. Gah.

And I think I got a B, but anyway…it’s not a C. It would fit in with the rest of my grades, in that class.

So now I can concentrate on my group project, which isn’t terrible, especially as I volunteered to do data entry (I am not confident in my ability to implement databases, anymore). Can I take a back seat with this project? Can I actually give myself permission not to lead the intellectual work of this project?

It’s not something I’m used to.

But, let’s see…tomorrow I can get back on listening to the lectures, and work on what I’m going to present in my oral presentation (the scenario for which, I have to look up, still). If I get bored, I can start working on my Research Guide, but I think what I’ve mentioned will be enough.

And — and — I have remembered why I took the Digital Services pathway: because I wanted to get foundational skills in Web Publishing. Cataloging wouldn’t have focused on this. And it would have trapped me with skills only relevant in Library Science.

Seems like a lot of my life revolves around production and publishing, though…(informal as that may be, right now)…Art, English, blogging, Japanese, Web Design…

That is what I wanted to get out of it, even though Cataloging might be more practical (even if old).

Yeah, I’m starting to sound like a Young Adult, now…I wonder if it’s ever permissible to have an aspiration to be like the next generation…