Judgment befalls the art supplies

So after dinner, tonight, I was able to separate out some art supplies I have and don’t want. Some of these things, I got from other people. There were also some things I reconsidered. The below is what I was going to give away but decided to keep, and why.

  • Chartpak markers

These markers are xylene-based and thus, toxic (and for me, anxiety-inducing). However…I tried coloring with them in a circular motion, as I had heard one needed to do with markers to avoid streaks. For some reason, they didn’t bleed severely, as I’ve known them to (it must have either been the paper, or their age). A bunch of these, I got for graphic design for my job.

On those grounds alone, I might keep them, just because I may need to make more signs.

However, what really got me is that they dried so slowly that the color…was really smooth. The strokes blended into each other. I decided to keep them because of this, and because I realized that I can put the work into the bathroom to dry, turn on the fan and leave the door open, to form a makeshift evacuation hood. It keeps the fumes from collecting and giving me a headache.

I’m also interested in what I can draw or paint on top of these.

  • Prismacolor black markers

The Prismacolors didn’t smell as noxious, today, as I remember them smelling. They’re alcohol markers, and when used like I used the Chartpaks, they cover the paper really well. I’m curious about what I can draw on top of them.

  • Copic Cool Grey markers (in multiple intensities)

I decided to keep these alcohol markers after I got out my marker paper and tested a couple of Copics like I had tested the Prismacolor and Chartpak markers. Copics are basically a serious investment (they cost upwards of $3 each for the cheapest models, on sale), and the major drawback to having the ones I have, is that they’re all the same color. But…on the off chance that I do start illustrating again, they’ll be nice to have around. Especially to do grisaille (a greyscale drawing) under other (Copic) colors.

  • Faber-Castell Polychromos Grey set

I was going to get rid of these colored pencils, until I found some test marks I had made on black paper. They…are interesting, on dark backgrounds. The upshot of using light colors on dark paper is the fact that you get to paint in the lights, instead of the shadows. Because I’ve been wanting to deal with awareness of negative space and balance between positive and negative space, my interest in these, I think, will help me grow.

  • Rembrandt grey soft pastels (multiple shades and tints)

Same thing, here. I figured that if I was going through my toxic stuff and keeping some of it, why not keep these? The big issue here is dust and nanoparticles. I did keep my ArtGuard barrier cream for my hands…and I’ve never even tried using it to keep the pigments out of my skin (though the greys I have, don’t stain). I can try using this, and see then if I still want to get rid of these guys. The darker greys, in particular, are beautiful on black paper, and the whites are intense, on same.

Rembrandts are also a brand I trust, although I have seen some Caution Label warnings about some of the “shade” colors (shades are pigments mixed with black). I’m thinking that the warnings are because the black is likely carbon (I’m reading Lamp Black) and may be contaminated with creosote. Generally when that’s even a remote possibility, the pastels get tagged with a “Cancer!” label. (That’s in addition to anything with Titanium White in it, being tagged with a Prop 65 label, when Titanium Dioxide is nontoxic and only a mechanical danger.)

That’s just a guess, though. On looking deeper, I’m finding that Lamp Black itself may be classified as a possible carcinogen, and that it’s weakly toxic.

If it’s just the black that’s a problem, though…I’ll try the barrier cream!

  • Derwent Watercolor Pencil set

These are just too nice to give away. Selling them is something else. I have a set of Supracolor aquarelle pencils I was going to replace them with, but I’ve found my Neocolors (by the same company, Caran d’Ache) not to age very well. If the Supracolors (made with the same pigments as the Neocolors?) are going to appear dull over time, and I’m giving away the Neocolors, I might want the Derwents as a backup.

  • Japanese Pentel brush pen

This thing is just neat. It’s a pen with an ink reservoir as a handle, and synthetic hairs at the tip. I realized what was wrong is just that the tip needed to be wet because the thing on the whole is drying out. But I still have a refill for this, and it makes my kanji look awesome, so I’m keeping it.

There are a bunch of things I’m getting rid of. I’m just not sure it’s worth it, to list them. However, there are a number of paints — some acrylic, some watercolor — which I don’t have a need for, anymore, or which are poor quality. I’m not sure if some of them can be saved (for example, by mixture with an acrylic medium), or if they’re just unrecoverable garbage.

I’m getting rid of a large pencil wallet which breaks pencils (but might be good for pens), a couple of sets of sketching pencils (I have enough graphite), two sets of Pentel oil pastels (one of which is unopened), a large collection of Neocolor II water-soluble oil pastels, some Neocolor I waterproof oil pastels, and some scholastic-level markers. Also, there are some colored pencil duplicates that have nothing in particular wrong with them.

I might also try and pawn off one of our two sets of Prang watercolor paints, here. And I have a number of watercolor palettes…which I probably am not going to use, all at the same time (though I might surprise myself).

The tough thing I found, tonight, is that the stuff I want to get rid of is the stuff that isn’t in my face. I’ve recently reorganized, and so I have art supplies which haven’t proven themselves yet to be inferior, in front of me.

Now, as for the question of which of these mediums I’m actually going to use…and in the near future, at that?

…that’s a tougher question.

Advertisements

Distance grown from past pleasures

At the risk of being wiped out from lack of sleep, tomorrow, I’m going to give in a little to the urge to write. The most significant theme I have right now is that much of I was once enthusiastic about, I’ve grown distant from — because I haven’t had time to devote to actually doing what I wanted.

Along with this comes the recognition that what I know isn’t necessarily correct, just because I know it (or thought I knew it). This applies to my cultural studies, particularly with Buddhism…that is, just because my ancestors and heritage have something to do with it and it’s part of the fabric of my existence, that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily correct or true, or not-problematic, or better than anyone else’s heritage.

These are two different topics that I may be able to intertwine, though maybe I shouldn’t. Actually, the latter could be its own post, so maybe I’ll actually save it for a different one, and link to it from here, after I’ve actually written it.

Time division

Looking in my archives, I’ve realized that I’ve grown a bit distant from a lot of things I used to like. These include:

  • Reading
  • Drawing
  • Beading
  • Writing creatively
  • Learning Japanese language

Now that I’m planning to factor in time for myself (aside from University requirements), how to spend that time is coming to the fore. The major focus (or distraction) I’m having now is that some of these things require more or less daily commitment in order to progress and avoid losing skills. Japanese language is pretty much like this. Drawing is like this, too. It’s a reason I stopped playing guitar. And, of course, reading even a single work, requires a set time commitment.

There are also some just basic things that I need to do or maintain, like:

  • Hygiene
  • Driving
  • Exercise and stretching
  • Laundry
  • Housekeeping

And then there are more urgent things, like:

  • Applying for jobs
  • Preparing my portfolio

When I put it like that, it’s easy to see how the first group of items got left behind. They just aren’t that urgent.

Fear of flying: Overthinking design

Right now I’m coming off of a few days of intensely dealing with beadwork and jewelry design. While I could plow forward and keep at it…the phrase that came to mind is, “I wonder if I’m missing something.” I mean, I could definitely keep moving forward on this, but I know my hands will be sore. Maybe that could be a self-limiting thing; like, I can work on micromacramé until my hands get sore, and then I’ll stop and do something else?

That could work, actually!

My major concern is that I tend to over-intellectualize things, when I need to be diving in and learning by experience. Of course, that’s hard when you’re afraid to mess up or fail…when messing up and failing is how you learn.

So there’s tension here between my intellect and its perfectionism, and the part of me that is generative and messy and creative, I guess. I wouldn’t be surprised if those are actually different brain regions in conflict.

I really should have taken a picture of the craft table before I cleaned it up. It was…awful.

But something grew out of all that messiness, and I’m wearing it, now. And I actually now have a storage solution for all my wires and cutters and pliers, that actually works (I used the big toolbox I got the other day that turned out to be gigantic). So now I have another free flat storage area…

Maybe I just need to get more comfortable with uncertainty. I mean, you can’t fly if you’re afraid to jump.

And no, I don’t know where that last sentence came from…it just came. I guess that counts as a, “jump.”

But I’m not going to learn macramé if I’m afraid of, “wasting,” cord on learning. My necklaces aren’t going to make themselves, but to make them, I have to be willing to be wrong a few times (maybe, several). And I have to be willing to experiment if I want to ever make truly great and original art.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t have unpopular cord to play with. For supporting frames, it’s not like I don’t have heavy (and cheap) wire and tools to form it, with which to experiment.

I just have to let myself experiment. Like give permission, to.

After all, those spools of cord are meant to be used, not meant to be hoarded. Hoarding them doesn’t make me an artist; it makes me a collector. Using them (to learn or to make) is something different.

Fear of drowning: Tension in drawing

Drawing is one of those things — another one, anyway — that I get scared to jump into, because I keep forgetting that I know how to swim. But I’ve been looking back over my work for the Art program, and …I have had this “thing” about not wanting to be tight in my drawings.

My drawings — a lot of them, anyway — aren’t tight. Most of them aren’t what I would consider, “overworked.” And yet there is this fear of making tight and overworked drawings, likely because I’ve seen them and I’ve done them and I know they suck the pleasure out of the work. But, maybe I don’t have to fear that.

A couple of my drawing instructors would really, “admonish,” people to consistently try and work, “looser.” But I look at a bunch of my figure studies, and they’re fine. Maybe it’s because with a lot of them, I only had a 5-minute pose to work from, but a lot of it is notation of key elements.

If nothing else, I can take that away from my Figure Drawing training.

And I’m finding less hesitation about working with the human figure, now: at least, my own.

I’m thinking of taking in my Monolith graphite sticks to work tomorrow so that I can practice just drawing from life, in monochrome. Sometimes, it’s good to get back to basics.

And I still want to make a design for a linoleum block print using the flower image I mentioned a while ago. Maybe I should just use that as a jumping-off point, though, instead of trying to copy it. After all, I’m not sure there’s any more virtue in copying it than in imagining it; it might just be easier in the initial stages, when I don’t understand the forms.

That’s a good enough stopping point. It’s all I can think of, at this hour, and I have work to get to, tomorrow. I’m sure these things are very connected, but just how is something that isn’t totally clear to me, at the moment. In a few months, I bet it will be…

Things that aren’t equivalent

I started to write this last night, but adjourned to my bed and my blog notebook. It’s probably a good thing, because I was really tired. (It’s not good to be that tired and exposed to the blue light of a computer screen; it can make me stay up longer than I should.)

The notes I took are all about things that I at once thought were related, but which turned out to be more dissimilar than expected. I also started drawing on the side of my notes…which was surprisingly satisfying. Yes, even though it was on lined paper.

I was using a Yasutomo Liquid Stylist pen, which is a fiber-tipped pen with a nice juicy flow. The drawing just came out of wondering what would happen if I made shapes in some way other than letters…

…I’ve also started drawing images of my houseplants, because they’re kind of the reverse of the memento mori that happens with cut flowers. In this case, because they’re still growing, they’ll never be this tiny again!

For a while now, I’ve been discouraged from drawing because of the fact that nearly everything I see has a human touch to it. Botanical gardens aren’t even immune, because they’re planted and maintained by people. Outdoor areas are often landscaped and built upon. Someone designed those buildings. Someone designed everything within those buildings.

An extreme example would be driving out to the middle of nowhere in Las Vegas and copying down a display of some statue surrounded by plants which don’t naturally grow there (like much, does). It’s obvious on that point that the display was made to be seen and to have the impact it has. It’s worse when the plants are poorly taken-care of and obviously being used.

It’s why I didn’t take too many photos of Las Vegas.

While there are some relatively wild areas nearby, they also seem somewhat forbidding. Like I can go into the Sierra, and it’s beautiful; at the same time I know I can easily die there, just from making one mistake. So it’s gorgeous and at the same time…I don’t know if, “sobering,” is the right word, but there is an element of heightened awareness and caution, there.

I haven’t yet been able to reconcile recording human-built and -designed landscapes within urban and suburban areas, and the feeling of being out-of-place in relatively untouched areas.

Anyhow, to get back to my list. (I’ve expanded upon it, below.) These are things I have drawn parallels between in the past, though now…I recognize their differences. In the below, I’ll be using the “!=” shorthand to mean, “not (exactly) equal to.” It would get unnecessarily wordy, otherwise.

  • drawing != painting
    • even though both result in the creation of images
    • Drawing uses lines; painting has an absence of line.
    • Drawing may make much less use of color than painting.
  • beading != painting
    • even though both can be dependent upon color use and combinations
    • Painting requires some thought as to subject matter, which is not necessarily the case with beading.
  • beading != “Jeweling” (Silversmithing) even though both can result in the production of jewelry
    • Beading requires weaving (in its simplest form, stringing) and design, incorporating skilled usage of pre-made components.
    • Jeweling requires metalwork (and in advanced forms, skilled use of fire) to assemble metal (usually sheet, wire, and [if casting,] grain) into a new, coherent form.
    • Jeweling may make much less use of color than beading.
  • sewing != beading
    • even though both use fine needles
    • Sewing requires the use of fabrics (or two-dimensional soft surfaces), which feel entirely different than assembling pierced glass, stone, metal, etc., components through the usage of fiber.
  • “making things” != programming
    • even though both “create”
    • “Programming” is listing instructions to a computer which have to be 100% correct (or near), and logically consistent, or they won’t work at all.
    • Logic and semantic precision don’t factor into, “making things,” nearly as much (as I’ve experienced them); there is room for imperfection in, “making things.”
  • literature writing != comics
    • even though both tell stories
    • Comics have a strong graphic component requiring a different skill set than writing.
    • Comics may utilize a different form of communication than writing.
  • “Communications” class != social skills class
    • I took a class in “Communications” hoping it would make me a better communicator. Lo and behold, they meant, “public speaking,” not “interpersonal skills.”
  • Sociology != “the study of people”
    • Sociology is the study of people through the lens of how power dynamics constrain people, not the study of people and societies in general.

I’m not sure if this is some sort of cognitive or experiential deficit with me which has caused me to think that the things I’ve listed above have been related because they had a common factor (such as beadwork and painting having a common thread of color dynamics; thus I thought I’d enjoy painting [more than I have] because I’m enthused about color, and had enjoyed beadwork).

I’m hoping to get back to beadwork, very soon. I would have done it earlier today, but it’s been nice just to not have to do anything, for the first time in weeks. It felt like as much as I could do, to write this entry!

But I do have some pearls I want to do something with, and at least one project in stasis; I can start there.

Actual and Perceived; getting at truth

So…I found a book the other day at a bookstore, which I checked out from my library a long time ago. I was given the choice to buy it, but figured I would take another look at the free copy before investing the $15.

This book is The Sixth Extinction, by Elisabeth Kolbert. It’s written in a style similar to another book I own, Savage Dreams, by Rebecca Solnit. Both of these books, like The Midnight Disease, by Alice Flaherty, could be classified as creative nonfiction. That is, they’re writing about things that actually exist, but in a way that is accessible, and which sounds a bit personal. It’s kind of similar to Evolution’s Rainbow, by Joan Roughgarden, in that way.

(And yeah, I’m looking at this now and noticing that all of these writers are female.)

I’m thinking that when a person cares enough about an issue — especially if the work is a labor of love rather than contract — it’s becoming more accepted to write in a style acknowledging one’s investment.

As for how any of this applies to me, I’m thinking that this style of creative nonfiction could be a really good niche for my style of writing. What I wrote the other day, here, (which I’ve set to Private for now), I realized later, could have passed for either reality-based fiction, or embellished nonfiction (when I say “embellished,” I mean that I have chosen a path out of a presently ambiguous situation which may not endure. It’s something one does in fiction, but which can damage one in life). Which, I suppose, is appropriate when it’s difficult to separate the actual from the perceived. Expressing that difficulty and finding someplace to rest, is an extremely strong element in my work.

Speaking of which, I’ve also been putting some of my artwork into frames. In one piece in particular…I find a way forward out of clear realism or total imagination. I think I posted this one a while back, though I disliked it at the time, and I don’t think I showed it in my final portfolio. Let me find it again…

2253w-aww
Fire — cleansing, shaping, life-giving, destroying.

Alright, it’s to the left, there. Apologies for the watermark; this was originally posted a while ago (likely Spring 2016, when I was ending my AA in Art).

This also looks like a work-in-progress, as I hadn’t yet untaped it from the Masonite which was holding it flat.

Anyway, you can probably see what I’m about to mention, already.

In this piece, there are multiple overlays of different elements, some of which look as though they could plausibly be resting in 3-D space, and some of which are flat and 2-D. They appear to be overlaid on top of the 3-D image.

That’s not a mistake. I had been looking for a way to combine the psychological and the representational. The gryphon is something which had special significance to me, as did the incense, the orb, the pinecone, and the acrylic, “gems.” In a way this piece is really metaphysical, kind of overblowing it in that way. Not to mention that the majority of these symbols are personal, which I wouldn’t expect anyone but myself, to understand.

In particular, that orb, the pinecone, and the gryphon are things that I have recognized in the past as important, but which I haven’t perceived as totally harmless. They’re things that I am aware of and find beauty in, though.

If I go any further into this, I may reveal too much about my mental state (then or now); but I’m just noting it as an example — to myself — as a way to move forward. If I did unpack the symbolism of all of these, visually, I could make a series. The problem is that it might be a disturbing series…the content of which, I may not want to touch (I don’t anymore have the mental state that inspired this symbolism).

In any case…I’m thinking back to my freshman class at University where we read, I, Rigoberta Menchu, and discussed whether it was actually biography or not (the author cobbled together a bunch of other peoples’ stories and presented them all as — when viewed by the general reader — her own. But it was normal and accepted in her culture for her to tell these stories and claim ownership of them, as the people these stories had happened to were members of her community, and she identified with them).

The largest issue I have with writing is finding a way to tell the truth, especially when some people whose stories I know, don’t want that. And…yeah, sometimes expressing an emotion truthfully, does mean that the means of expressing it, may not be literally true.

Probably, I should back off of this and get some rest. Maybe tomorrow I can write, or something. I still need to finish my work for Programming, too…and maybe I should just try and get it done as soon as I can, and not rely on the deadline.

Aging artist?

I’m experiencing doubts. About the value of continuing to be creative, as regards the arts and crafts. Somewhat, as regards writing too, but like it or not, writing is something I’m always going to have to do.

(That doesn’t mean it’s ever easy.)

Of course, I know the doubts aren’t true. Arts have a way of guiding or prompting people to consider viewpoints other than their own. And as irritating as it is, I wonder how much of the present-day relative acceptance of gay and lesbian identity in U.S. cities has to do with early 2000’s mass media which presented stories of multifaceted (human) people experiencing homosexuality. (I’m thinking of Glee, by the way.)

I am old enough to remember that episode of Twin Peaks where two female people kissed and…that was the first time same-sex sexuality had been seen on U.S. broadcast television. It was incredibly controversial.

I’m old enough to remember Ellen DeGeneres’s coming out on her show. Again, incredibly controversial. Even though innocuous, as I think most people would see it, today. (Or maybe I’m giving America too much credit.)

Today I’m writing about this because I’m literally wondering why I am a creative person, if I am a creative person, what the worth is of being a creative person, whether to continue to be a creative person.

But I think every creative person who isn’t a constantly-inspired genius (read: pretty much everybody), deals with this.

And I think pretty much every creative person on the Internet has had to deal with people trying to shut them down.

No matter what someone says, someone else is going to have some issue with it. No matter what is made, people are going to judge it and have something to say about it. No one on the Internet is immune from random abusive people trying to make it seem like the abuser’s problem is their problem. Someone’s always going to be offended by something, regardless of the offender’s intent. On top of that, no one knows everything, and creative expression often involves being wrong in some way — of necessity — because if we waited to be experts on everything we imagined in order to increase its “realism,” we would never imagine anything.

I realize I universalized a lot — or all — of that experience (gained from having grown up with a large online component to my socialization), and that itself tells me it may be wrong. It’s why I’m leaving it that way.

Prior to writing this post, I realized that there are a number of words which come to mind about being “out there” as a creator (at least as a creator of ideas), which everyone has to deal with:

  • Attack
  • Judgment
  • (Destructive) Criticism
  • Abuse
  • Wrongness
  • Offense

Given this, it’s amazing anyone makes anything. Or anything new, perhaps I should specify.

But then maybe it’s like my job, where most people are appreciative and kind, and then there’s a small percentage who are just “off” (and there’s no one way to be “off”). If I concentrated entirely on what to do about (or how to “solve” my relations with) the approximately <2-5% people (though actually, today it has felt more like approximately <1-2%) who either can’t or won’t behave appropriately, there is no way that I would even consider pursuing a front-line career in libraries.

There would also be no way I could work a service job at all…which would shunt me into the 20% of U.S. jobs that were either manufacturing or agriculture (the service sector is said to make up 80% of all U.S. jobs, though I’d have to revisit what I viewed in order to try and understand what they meant by “service”).

But the rewards (including the internal reward of not treating people with bias because of what I may be tempted to assume about them, which actually makes me feel pretty good, given my history) are greater than the annoyances.

And…is the reward of being creative, greater than everything I have to go through, in order to create? I think it is, though I couldn’t easily tell you how. I should probably start a file demonstrating the rewards of creativity, as well as the setbacks. Maybe you all could help contribute.

I have a tendency to focus on the negative, meaning it is going to be harder for me to describe these. The only reason I know that is that I’ve dealt with depression, in the past; and I know that sometimes it is literally not possible to think positive thoughts and (initially) believe them.

What I know is that artists and writers are both, as groups, more tolerant of personal irregularities than the general population. I think it’s because neither group can avoid confronting their own irregularities in the process of creating. Both, as groups, are also familiar with constructive criticism (as versus destructive criticism: criticism designed to destroy the author or artist or craftsperson).

I’m also starting to wonder if we’re just wired differently, but obviously I’m not a neurologist. Trying to read about cognitive function is also not easy. Right now I’m at the beginning of The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer’s Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty. It’s reading like a textbook which is also partly creative nonfiction…

But yeah…it’s difficult. I guess how do you describe the actions of the temporal lobes without introducing the overall structure of the brain…

Not to mention, just maintaining a creative practice, is difficult. Right now I don’t have any regular practice time set up to draw or paint. Generally I write at nighttime, before I go to bed. I did come up with an interesting twist to help me out with one of my stories, which helps it feel more legitimate and real…and human. It actually makes one character seem genuinely caring, as versus predatory or parasitic, and it shifts the narrative away from the main emotional problem in the story.

I’ve been going through some culture earthquakes recently, as a follow-up to some relatively recent posts. It’s probably because of my age. But someone I spoke with mentioned that my experience, being surrounded and influenced by so many cultures, as mentioned in backposts, sounded much like…an “American” experience (as versus a fragmented, complex, nameless mix of influences). I’m not quite used to the term “American” not being used as a conservative buzzword, but what they said felt accurate.

And it is odd for me to be called “American” without a qualifier, kind of like I didn’t expect that could be the case, I realize now. But what I’ve been reading about at work…is showing me that in some way, I am culturally American (for instance, in dealing with things like Freedom of Speech, freedom of inquiry, tolerance of dissent, and recognizing the existence of an educated public as essential to democracy).

Maybe what I’m dealing with now, is wondering about the possibility of my intended career, becoming more important than my art or my writing. As versus…just being a Librarian to survive, and having my main drive be my art and/or my writing.

I probably won’t be able to solve that problem, tonight, though.

Trying to figure out what to do with free time.

While I wish I had something in-depth and philosophical to share tonight, I think I’ve done enough talking about that, for now. (I actually talked with people about things that matter, today. A lot of it bridged off of that last Creative Writing piece…which is helping me process a lot…at the same time. I understand now why this stuff used to make me break down, before.

Tomorrow…I believe I can choose what I want to do. A short time ago, I did go out and buy some leather to tool. It’s been a very long time since I worked with leather, but right now we have some stamps (including an alphabet) which could be cute. So far as I know, the leather just has to be dampened before I press into it. It will be something to experiment with.

I want to combine it with some micromacramé and seed beads, using an awl and cork board to pierce holes for twine. I also just now realized that I could put a button clasp on the leather portion, instead of making two separate straps for the bracelet. (I could also thread the macramé portion behind the leather…if for some reason I can’t punch the holes.)

I have two little bee buttons in pewter, one of which should work — if I can clear the shank. I also have a number of shell buttons, and those might also work, if I use a small one. (A large one will require extra length for the button to clear the buttonhole.)

I already have a thread burner to cauterize the ends of C-Lon or S-Lon cord. As for whether the thread burner still works, that’s a different question — especially as I don’t remember how to change the battery (or if the battery is even still in there). I had been wanting to use light hemp twine, though.

The big issue is thinking about the leather portion creatively, and about how to unify the design. I had been thinking of using just a strip of leather with a word (the word would guide the design), but I had to buy a small sheet of leather to get the type I wanted. That means that I don’t have to use a strip (though I’m uncertain if I need a special swivel knife to cut it — I already have a good number of X-Acto blades, which I can try first).

I still need to design what I want to tool into it, as well; and I had been thinking about using leather paints. Those are two different design elements.

Not to mention that the color of the macramé and the color of the beads need to coordinate or work into this, somehow: it would make the most sense to tailor the paint colors to the beads and twine. I can blend the colors of the paints; beads are something different!

All of that together would work around the word or design tooled into the leather. (I’m thinking about botanical themes, though I’m putting that brainstorm in a separate file.)

As well, I still have the toile (practice version) of the monpe (field pants) that I can work on, tomorrow…which might turn out to be one of the types of pants that would actually fit me (the waist, ties). Right now, I’m at the point of sewing the inside of the second leg together.

Maybe I’m not as into that as I thought? Or the gratification is too delayed. Or I haven’t looked at that beautiful ikat in too long.

I’ve realized I can cause myself serious pain, with needles (in particular, I have displayed the tendency to gradually destroy my left thumbnail by using it to stop the needle…which lets me know just how soft nails are, next to steel). I do now have a soft thimble which works well, but I may just be a little shy of even trying.

There are other things I could also do, like work on my portfolio. Up until now, I’ve just been setting up the technical foundation for this. I can work on the intellectual portion a bit, tomorrow.

Or I could draw and paint the succulents. (I also want to try and photograph that little baby succulent in the crack in the front yard…)

I’ve made the temporary decision to try putting in my values with black ink and then come back in with multiple washes. This is as versus putting in very dark values with paint alone, which I am thinking is a very different technique. One of my old classmates used to put in deep values with sumi ink, though, and then put transparent color over that (kind of like what I at least think happens when one gets a tattoo).

It’s a more mature version of playing around with black fineliners and then painting over the lines, which is what I’m considering. I also have dip pens which I do want to try out with at least the Dr. Ph. Martin’s Bombay Black Ink…

That could be interesting, if I tried to make something stylized in black ink that was an interpretation of what I saw, then I went over it in watercolor!

Fresh ideas, eh.

Validating existence.

I have finally realized what my reasoning is to check my blog several times a day (when I’m able to). As long as I’m creating things, I have proof that I exist, and that something has changed because of my existence.

In other words: I’m making at least a small bit of difference in the world. Thus I am at least somewhat fulfilled in staying alive. So…it actually could be the case that on some level I do believe that I have survived in order to produce.

I am not totally sure this is the explanation, but with me it is easy to lose touch with reality, and this is my way of grounding myself. It’s kind of like looking at myself when I pass reflective surfaces…to remind myself that I have a physical form, and of what it looks like.

It’s easy for me to lose touch with my own embodiment, otherwise: sometimes I forget that I look like something to other people (and that what I look like isn’t what I imagine myself to be). Let alone forgetting that I have a body that needs to be maintained…I am much more centered in the worlds of ideas (and dreams) than in the physical one. I think the Art and the Writing bridge this, for me.

Although I’ve reached the point where I’m not constantly looking at my own blog to see my most recent writings (really, it’s boring when you’ve read it three times and you’re looking for development and the entries keep repeating information), I do find myself constantly wanting to see new material that I’ve hashed out, and almost always falling short of that mark. Because…it’s scary to create.

I love creating, but I also find it terrifying, before jumping in. No matter what is said, someone somewhere is going to take issue with it. That’s just part of the deal. The alternative is to change nothing, “leave no footprints,” as it were, like I’m an alien obeying the Prime Directive. (And yes, during that “Indigo Children” phase of the early 2000’s, I did qualify as Indigo. If we’re not careful I’ll start taking this seriously.) But even then, passivity is its own demon, and everyone I know who doesn’t forge their own path…has handed over the reins of power in their own life to something or someone else.

I have realized that, at least after I graduate, it will be easier to have time to read and write — and draw, if I want to. Right now I am unfocused. I have so many directions in which I could go and so many directions in which I’ve started to go, that I’m not really going much of anywhere, it seems. I start and then stop; I get distracted by other things I could do.

The good part of this is that I have a route into the Library world, which feels as though it will provide ample opportunity to be exposed to the work of others. I’m still not sure if I want to be a Reference Librarian — it’s seriously intense work with people — though the primary other options are working in Technical Services (this includes Web Design and Development) or Cataloging. If I did do Reference, it would be likely that I would be called upon to do Reader’s Advisory, too, which would get me reading Fiction again (though not necessarily the Fiction I want to read).

What I’m thinking I would also be able to do, however, would be managing Circulation. Right now I’ve been working Circulation for about seven years. I don’t want to step out of my role as a worker to try and run things in my current position (I have a Supervisor, after all), but at the same time it’s really obvious to me where things are breaking down.

I’ve gotten to the point where at least I feel like I am one of the people who gets the most done, on my shifts. This is probably why I keep being sorted to staff the desk instead of shelve. When I’m shelving, I’m finding myself taking too much extra time fixing the shelves (books out of order on the shelves! people taking the books out of order and then leaving them lying around!) as versus putting what’s on my cart, on the shelf, and leaving the shelf in **** condition.

See, this is what I mean about getting distracted. I was writing about getting back to creating, particularly in creative writing. BUT, at least the above distraction has a potential monetary gain if followed through, which could sustain me — physically.

Right now…what I want to do is write. But I know that I’ll be writing ****** first drafts, and there is not the instant gratification that one gets when one blogs.

Maybe I could balance it: work part time on the blog and part time at writing creatively…