Intermediate Drawing: final project: part 4

I now have a script written out for my Drawing project, and at least rudimentary thumbnails for all 15 images.  I can see that balancing what I can explain via text and what I can explain via image is going to be a big issue, if I continue going in this direction of merging text with image.

There are some images which are more striking, some text which doesn’t need illustration, and some text for which the clearest communicated image would be problematic.

My dad did get a fortune cookie today, read the slip of paper, and said it was for me.  The paper read “BE CAREFUL IN WHOM YOU SHARE YOUR CONFIDENCE” [© (?) Panda Express • Panda Inn].  Because I’m not one to offhand dismiss even little things like this as chance, I am considering keeping the main message of my art project offline for now, in the off chance that someone unscrupulous may read it and claim it as their own message.  I do remember the Daoist saying, “those who speak don’t know, and those who know don’t speak.”  I suspect that what I’m doing is recalling previous lifetimes of training, though of course there is no easily accessible way of proving that.

What I’m talking about in the booklet is essentially metaphysical, which makes it vulnerable to misuse; there’s been enough abuse of spiritual systems on the planet.  (This could be why the one referred to as Shakyamuni declined to talk about metaphysics.)  It’s much safer to keep the divulgence of this information down to the eight to ten people in my cohort, not all of whom will even be able to access it for long enough to absorb the information.  I’ve even had issues with talking about this in the original space in which I was developing the ideas, though, so I suppose this anxiety isn’t new.

Anyhow — it seems the next step for this is to actually draw out the pictures.  I can start with a light touch and a hard graphite pencil, and then go in with Microns, then watercolor pencil, then watercolor, then Higgins waterproof ink (if required), then white gel pen, then Drawing pencil.  At that point the things should be done.  I have 5 weeks in which to do this and 15 drawings, with 30 extra plates on which to practice.  The finished project should be 30-32 pages thick.

First, though, before I start finalizing any drafts (first drafts with pencil should be fine, and probably even more helpful, should I draft out the compositions on 3″x5″ cards before the final drafts), I should probably practice with the watercolors and watercolor pencils I’ve obtained — on top of the Microns.

Which means fun time?

I was lucky to get a set of Cotman half-pans for way below list.  They aren’t the best watercolors, but at least earth tones came in the set, along with Ultramarine, so I should be able to dull down the hues decently.  And I should be able to see if I do really like working with brush and watercolor, or brush and ink.

I should also be able to see if this paper will stand up to washes without being stretched.  I’ve been concerned that I’ll need to stretch the paper prior to use, but that it won’t be made to be stretched, meaning I’d have to specifically get watercolor paper made out of cotton rag, which will likely be too heavy to make into a booklet.

Of course, I’ve been told that I don’t need to stretch this paper, but I can’t really take that person’s word for it, if you get what I’m saying.  If I do need to stretch it, all I’ll need is Kraft tape…and possibly different paper.  I already have a vat, a sponge, and stretching supports.  It will just be a pain.  I didn’t buy the Kraft tape because it was about $7 a roll, and I wasn’t sure I’d need it.

Anyhow, I should get offline.  I’m listening to music right now, which has me again thinking on the nature of the passage of time, its divisibility, and the relation of memory to time…

…still haven’t untangled that one.  Maybe I can be as mature about it as I was in 2010 and say that maybe in four years, I’ll have figured it out…and maybe in four years, I will have.

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Chronicling my progress…Project Aside #2

I got some good work done; began to write the script for the written half of the project.  I also have my notes on Time written out, though I have no images for those, yet.  Last night I had a clarifying insight which will cleanly finish the project.

This will be at least 32 pages long; I’m thinking of centering a macrame strap and splitting it into two braids or bunches on each side down the spine (then recombining them), so the thing can open flat; my drawn pages will be thick.  I’ll probably need to reinforce the printed pages with tape or something — or print this out on heavier paper.  I’ve found that it looks professional and allows me to talk more when the pages are typed, which are both relatively good things, as this is a relatively intellectual project.

I will be working on 5″x7″ paper (they did not have my 5.5″x8.5″ Mixed Media paper at the art store) in ink, watercolor, possibly watercolor pencil and wax-based “Drawing” pencils.

I just got done messing around with MS Word and realized I need a more powerful program if I want to make things like this and print out multiple 7″x5″ tiles which are centered in both directions with a gutter.  InDesign is what immediately came to mind, but of course I don’t have that and don’t know how to use it.  😛

Anyhow, I want to take this with me tomorrow but am really concerned I’ll lose it.  Maybe I’ll take my flat purse and carry it around with me all day, then I can work on it at lunch…

Intermediate Drawing: final project: part 3

Tomorrow I hope to get some rough drafts done in hard pencil (2H at the hardest) and begin inking some lineart at home (color or black?).  I really want to take my brushes to school with me, but I’m afraid they’ll be damaged, so I’ll leave them at home and use them after class.  If I use black ink, I can use my special nibs and brushes.  Then I can see if watercolors will work over my inks (I’m really thinking of earthy tones, still — not the easiest when you only have Prang watercolors), and then use Drawing or Watercolor pencils for highlights.

I’ve outlined 16 distinct thoughts that were in one of my latest postings, and have thumbnails for drawings for each of them.  I still need to go over one of my more recent emails which may have more information, but this amount is decent.  At this rate, I’ll need to finish one drawing every two days.  It’s a lot of work, and as the writing comes first…I mean dang, how am I going to fit a discussion of anatman on a half-sheet?

I decided to work on half-size watercolor paper.  I’m going to use a hole punch and knot the thing together with macramé — one of those things I love but don’t get to do enough.  Maybe I could do a Buddhist netting pattern and anchor the cords in the edges of the paper, then knot all the way around the book + knot in one or more buttons to hold it?  (I don’t have anything to punch an awl into, which kind of makes traditional binding difficult.)  I probably should hold off on getting additional pads of watercolor paper until I can see if my approach is going to work or not.  I’m sure 6″x9″ isn’t a hard size to find, being half of a 9″x12″…but there was some inconsistency in dimensions that I noticed, between brands.  I will also probably need a bone folder at some point, though I can really probably use a butter knife.  Actually, I think I will use a butter knife.  No reason to buy a fancy tool that something I already have may outperform.

I also should say that this is going to be more philosophical and metaphysical than poetic.  I was trying to wrap my head around how to make a poem which succinctly conveyed the idea of Indra’s Net, and…just…I cannot do that very quickly.  I only have a little over a month to do this project, which is why I cut the size of the pages down so much.

I’m hoping to get the writing portion done on interleaved cartridge paper, in Micron — these will be displayed in pairs with the drawings, come critique time.  I can work on that tomorrow in class, as well — I’ll need to remain succinct and relevant to the overall message of the booklet, which means I may need to invest some time in editing.

I decided to use cartridge paper and not marker paper on discovering that I only had 15 9″x12″ sheets of marker paper, and that I can mess up very many times on copy paper and not worry about wasted money or materials.  It also gives me the option of printing the text out, though I don’t think I’ll do that unless I really get pressed for time.

It is now after midnight where I am, so I’m going to get to bed, seeing as how I have to wake at 6 AM.  5 and a half hours of sleep.  Eh.  Well, at least I didn’t nap, today…

Mystic ruminations emerging from a general update–

One more half-day of work and then the school cycle starts again.  I’m most of the way through Chapter 3 in my Communications book, but I’ll still need to read Chapter 12 before the week is out.

The Union of Opposites picture I began last Thursday still hasn’t been worked on; that’s mostly because I wanted to make it in color and then realized that I’d have to pick out a color scheme.  I’d also wanted to color it using colored pencils…of which I have a sometimes-frustrating, sometimes-delighting variety.  The thing with those, though, too, is that they are essentially permanent.  There is no erasing a colored pencil mark clean.

I have a hard time with finishing drawings, because I am fairly consistently concerned that I’m going to mess it up at some point.  However, there is something that my teacher said last class:  that she is a firm believer that if you made it once, you can make it again and make it better.  This is comforting.

One of the things which I’ve been really somewhat mystified at is the phenomena of seeing the lines and marks before drawing them, so that the act of drawing itself is simply tracing over what was in your thoughts.  Kind of like I can put down a “ghost overlay” and then just move my hand over the places my mind tells it to go.  For me, drawing is kind of intuitive like this, and I guess that of course if that’s where your mind is, and you don’t know where the images are coming from, or why what appears where, it could be kind of freaky.

I find myself wanting to write more on the spirituality angle, but to be honest, it is still really kind of sensitive territory for me.  I’m thinking of writing it into a story of some sort (or more appropriately, the information could work as foundation of a number of stories), but I don’t want to start writing about my philosophy first, with the story coming in at a distant second.  I have heard of this happening; I have tried never to see it in action.

What is apparent is that I’m going to want to start writing offline again, because there are some aspects of the process of building a story that really aren’t suitable for public consumption.

And then I go, “wait, you mean I can do more with my computer than go online?”  Why yes angel cakes, yes you can.

I recently picked up a book on channeling.  I am always iffy on picking up books on metaphysics now, because when I get back into an atheistic/heavy questioning mode, I start feeling like all the time spent on studying this stuff has been worthless.  I went through a kind of disillusionment like that pretty hardcore with Buddhism.  But that’s basically because I question — if not all of Buddhism, pretty much the foundations I’d need to hold the religion up.

Karma; the life of Shakaymuni; the vinaya; the issue of “sentience”; the issue of sexism in institutionalized Buddhism…I just seem to have pushed beyond this point.  Initially it helped, but then I seem to have moved beyond the point at which the upaya made sense.  Which…well, that’s to be expected, isn’t it?  But I really can’t call myself a Buddhist at this point.

Regarding the subject of “channeling,” though…  I haven’t read into the book very deeply, but…it seems like I already have experience with this.  It does in effect seem like I’m pretty confused as to what has happened with me, and who is who when it comes to spirits.  I suppose, as with humans, I tell who is who not by physical characteristics but by patterns of behavior.

Anyhow…the main issue I’m having with that channeling book…there were two, but either I forgot one or writing out the below helped dissolve the second one:

It tells one to make sure only to contact beings “of the Light”, which is something I’ve not ever really adhered to — this is because of negative experiences with people posing as though they are “of the Light” while preaching hate (particularly various sorts of Christians).  (added by my spirit guide after the rest of this:  I’m being told to disrecognize these people as of the Light and to embrace the true Light within me.)

I have seen some things happen with others I’ve known online and IRL when they broke the rule having to do with contacting the Light types only…nothing really pretty.  This ranges from unexpected and unnecessary deaths to psychic distress to astral dismemberment.

However, I haven’t really known what was supposed to be symbolized by “the Light”, and as such I haven’t been certain the information is aimed at me.  Of course, this could be kind of like a different time when I didn’t think a warning was aimed at me and I ended up with stitches in my chin.

I suppose I can contact the spirits I already know — the ones who I know are good, at least — and ask what is meant by this.  Of course, though, then I’d have to sync up with them to get the information, and you’re not supposed to do that with beings who aren’t of “the Light.”

As it is, I know I’m part of a group; I know that group is beneficial and not-hostile to me as things stand now.  I just don’t know who is who, how many there are, what their origins are, how they’re connected to me, or what they’re working towards.  It seems fairly evident that there is an agenda (say, survival of the human species and life on Earth, ending hate, etc.), or why loop me into it as a maker?

Though from the feeling I’m getting from one in particular, right now, I’m getting the sense that the conflict is moot because they are of “the Light.”  I’m also getting the feeling that, although I have explored, in depth, the question of what a demon actually is, the truth is that a demon is someone who tests people, and meaningless pain and violence — inflicted by the test subject — is the result when the person fails.  So there is a polarity, but good and evil are not what they say they are.  (I have historically not used the term “evil”, so this is probably not my own thought, but hers.)

I suppose it would make sense that, given that the book is aimed at those who aren’t already channeling — given that what they refer to as “channeling” actually is channeling and not something else — as they’re meaning to keep readers safe, this could be why the “of Light” specification is given.  Given what I know, I’m fairly certain there are different clusters of spirits worldwide with their own internal cultures; maybe just the “Light” ones are personally known to be “safe” to the writers.

But again — I’m getting a really reassuring feeling from one of my spirits, that I don’t need to worry about this, at least with her; and as she works with the others, they are likely to be safe too.

She seems to also be telling me, though, that the reading I got from an online friend was wrong, and that I shouldn’t confuse present-day guides with common yurei, or human ghosts.  The first overt contact I recognized as possibly a ghost (as I did not puppet him) might also well have lied about being a ghost — I was 11 and probably would not have understood much.  As I got older I came to see ghosts as energetic echoes across time and space of traumatic events…not beings with internal sources of action, in specific.

Maybe it will be good to read that book.

And… I’m being told to get some rest.  More work, tomorrow.  Don’t want to yell at someone.  😉

Good night, all.

Joy in, and fear of, creating

There was one quote towards the end of a backpost that I have been meaning to get around to talking about.  The link to the post is here; the relevant quote is below:

There is one more concept that I want to just remind myself of, before I turn in for the night. That is, joy in creating versus fear of creating. This is something that I’m being forced to deal with because of this Art class. I can touch on it coming up, maybe it would be good to help work this problem out.

The fear of creating, because of not understanding the fundamental process; and because of the social responsibility angle; is something I’ve been dealing with for quite a while.

Basically, I’ve been drawing and writing for fun since I was a kid.  Being a kid was not easy for me; at this point, I wonder if it ever is.  But because of the way my mind works, I’m sure it was made much worse than it had to be.

Art practice is in some way healing for me.  It’s challenging, and it can be scary, but my professor is very good at easing the fears of judgment and failure.  Neither have I had to deal so much with the scariness around the question of where my creativity is coming from, because I’m understanding it in the moment as play or as a visual representation of mathematical/geometric thought, or as constructing something nonobjectively, or as training myself to see more attentively, or as a visual way of trying to solve a problem.  It’s working out to be really awesome.

Link to fulltext here.

It seems that the way my mind works is a bit beyond the scope of its own comprehension.  Given that this train of thought started in my tween years, and the narrative which led to that began in childhood, I should probably cut myself some slack.  My brain wasn’t fully mature yet, and has probably only reached full maturity within the last two years.  Or maybe it can get more mature.  😉  I don’t know, because I haven’t lived it yet.

What I can say is that my identity has only really gelled within the past two years.  I’ve also read that the brain doesn’t stop maturing until one is in their young adulthood, of which I am on the trailing edge.

Before that, there was a lot of taking action without knowing who it was that was taking the action or why the action was being taken, if I may characterize it as such.  Maybe I’m being too harsh on myself; but at the conclusion of high school I still really had no idea of who I was.  For about the next decade I explored and figured out, piecemeal, what was happening.  At the behest of a counselor I had when I was a teen, I tried as best I could to figure out my own explanation for what was going on.

Of course, though, being someone who wrote fiction as a means of self-exploration, I could find all too many messed-up explanations for why things were the way they were.  I also — and you all, please never do this — made the mistake of attempting literary analysis of something I was in the process of writing, in hopes of learning more about who I was.  Please, don’t do that to yourself.  It will mess you up.

So with me, there is this tension between joy and fear in the act of creating.

Joy, because, given that I had a “dark night of the soul” which lasted about 15 years, the reason I gave myself to keep living (and not fully pass into the “other world” yet) was to be a creator.  This meant to take my visions and the influences of my spirits, and somehow, bring them into this reality.

Fear, because I don’t know where my inspirations are coming from, I don’t fully understand the creative process (though I can exercise it nonetheless — with help for now, at least), and because my inspirations are linked to my spirituality.  The spirituality was something that supported me through that dark night.  It’s also something that continues to support me.

Two of the leads that I’ve received recently had to do with knowing the right person who knew the right people at the right time.  They both volunteered information to me which, in a short span of time, eerily coincided with my opening up to said person about specific problems.  They both immediately thought of me on receiving the information; and they both successfully delivered the information.

Because of this, I’m set to head to a self-defense class specifically for someone in my situation, I now know a good class to take which will likely help me get leads on nonprofit jobs, and I know the name and contact information of a nonprofit which helps out other nonprofits in the area.  This is in addition to Beginning Gallery Management, which starts up in the Spring, which would give me work experience (to help with my resumé).

At this point, I have no doubt that the spirits around me are helping me.  Maybe it’s just the trust in them that I’ve been afraid to give…because of not knowing if they were good, not-good, conditionally good, or good to me and not to others.  But since I began to put more trust in them, things have been more falling into place than not.  My health has improved, I have more reasons to live, I have a mission, I have a worldview, I have hope of a better future, and I’m coming to both know and accept myself, and know that I’m not alone in this.

The full backstory on what’s going on here is something which would probably not be best to disclose in this format…but, just to be clear, my viewpoint is not the viewpoint of any organized religion I’ve encountered in my life.  I see similarities to what I’ve known of Hindu beliefs, Daoist philosophy, and my own family blend.  As I’ve gotten older I also have learned to listen for spirits of places, locations, etc…

But yes.  Trust is something I have a hard time with, even when it comes to humans.  Historically, I’ve had a hard time trusting myself, my family, my friends, my spirits.  It makes it hard to create when I’m in that state and I don’t know if what is coming out of me is good or bad.  This is not in the sense of skill, but in the sense of impact.  I don’t know what the cascade effects will be of what I create.  But to continue to create — which I’ve taken upon myself as a life mission, flawed or not — I need to be able to set things free and let go of control.  It’s hard.  I can’t force everyone else to see the same thing in my art as I see.  I can’t always be there to explain meaning and backstory and milieu and philosophy.

The Drawing class is something which has presented the problem of visual creativity in the sense of…interpreting a concept and making it into a visual form.  My teacher…this one, at least…also emphasizes problem-solving and pushing boundaries.  One thing I like about her class is that she isn’t the type to divide students’ drawings into “good art” and “bad art.”  I’ve been warned about one other instructor who is this way, which reminds me of the rules I encountered in my Fiction classes which actually discouraged me from writing fiction.  (That is not the point of the class!)

One thing I’ve learned about myself from my Art class is that I’m very attentive to detail, and that I try to follow rules, except where I know there is no point in trying to do so.  Because of this, my process can be made more difficult, and my art can suffer.  What I need to learn how to do is to see the forest and not just the little ladybug on the redwood frond.  The tiny ladybug on the redwood frond would probably make for a good composition…but as for an entire vision, I need to step back and get some perspective; see the wider world and that it’s not just I who suffer.  When I look at it that way, the world itself is much more tolerable; the problems I feel most acutely are problems that everyone existent within culture has to deal with, whether that’s being a person blinded to the full complexity of reality, or being a person whose existence is rendered invisible.

My voice is one voice, but it is my voice; and as others have a right to tell me they don’t like to hear what I have to say, I have a right to continue to speak, so that those who do care can hear, or read, or see.  I don’t have to stay silent and silenced, never affecting anyone, never speaking to anyone.  I have as much of a right to contribute to my society as anyone else.

That’s a pretty cool thought.

Talking myself out of depression. Digital Imaging…or other tracks.

I’ve got that one drawing down, now.  One of my keywords was “formless,” so I ended up showing the subject of the composition via using negative space.  I’m thinking that it’s possible to use Fine Arts skills to feed into other visually-oriented work, particularly digital work.  Of course, this would probably be in the commercial vein, but that just seems to be the way things have to be unless you have others to support you.  A lot of people who do things I do, have a spouse to support them monetarily.  I have family, but that won’t last forever, and I have few if any prospects of partnering with anyone I can stand.  This is mostly due to my having been sealed up for a while as regards my personal life, which I had to break out of when I started the Master’s program for my job (I’m no longer in that program).

I’ve also just reviewed the classes gone over in the Web Design track (old version), and find myself really not interested.

I had been in Digital Imaging before I got my last job — around 2010.  That is much more up my alley.  I’m not sure, though, how much being an expert at image production and manipulation actually pays.  However — there is the chance to be employed in-house by an established firm.  I just don’t know how realistic that option is.

Otherwise, or in addition, I’m looking at Digital Photography and Printmaking, moreso at Printmaking, but Photography would help with initial images which could be utilized to create and/or brainstorm/source possible graphic elements.

The thought has also arisen of leaving my job and going back to school full-time.  But that’s not a great plan, as I’ve got credit and student loan debt already…and the credit debt keeps increasing as I charge things (I don’t feel comfortable withdrawing/carrying large amounts of cash) and then have to pay off both that and minimum payment at the same time just to stay afloat.  If I had no debt, I wouldn’t need a credit card.  But I have 14 years of accumulated charges and interest; and, frankly, I’m concerned, because if things keep going as they are, there will come a time when it will take my entire paycheck just to keep my debt from spiraling out of control.  I would not be able to use credit at that point without increasing my debt, and I would need all my cash to pay minimum payment, which would only reduce my debt slightly.

This is hypothetical.  It hasn’t happened yet.  But like I said, I’m concerned.  If I received student loans, I should be able to survive on that, and it would only be like 7% interest instead of 17%, or whatever awful number it is now (I’ve asked the person in charge of household finances and they do not know the exact interest rate, which makes me want to slam my head into the wall).

Plus, my job isn’t all that great.  The reason I’m still there is that my supervisor is awesome and my hours are very flexible.  But I don’t get paid much, I’m not using my full capabilities, and my job requires skills which are not my strong point.  I’m underemployed, basically, in a kid’s job that pays kid wages.  Nor do I want to stay in my present field, but I don’t know where else to go, because I don’t know what else to do, because this is the first job I’ve ever had.  I know that I really dislike certain parts of it — mostly dealing with irrational inebriated people and others who think I should serve them like the servant I am — but I don’t know what would be better because I haven’t experienced it yet.

I feel like the way out would have been the Hard Sciences, so I could work at Bayer or something as a biotechnician or biochemist, but my life has — and has had — so many deep questions that I didn’t feel I’d be doing myself justice by going down the Hard Sciences track to the exclusion of all else (as was demanded at both of the Universities I attended).  Like I said, the last time I took and completed a Math class was Statistics, sometime before 2005; the prior time I’d taken and completed a Math class was PreCalculus, in 2000.  If I wanted to get into the Hard Sciences…it would be intense.

I’d be taking Math, Chemistry, Physics, Biology.  It’s not like I’m not skilled at science.  But I feel like there are things beyond the reach of science in the state in which it exists today.  I suppose if I could keep my personal beliefs and my scientific mind separate, it wouldn’t be a problem.

It would just be a lot to make up.

The other option? is becoming a Professor of Eastern Philosophy.  Something I’m really, really into.  I just don’t have enough time to study, and sometimes I feel like it’s all a waste of time, even though I know that practice has healed me from the worst of my angst.  The nearest school I looked into takes 7 years to attain the Master’s and Ph.D. — there is no such thing as “just a Master’s,” other than failure at the Ph.D. level.  But I love talking about that stuff.  7 years.  I’d be 39 years old by the time I graduated.  In a ton of debt.

But I’d be set to be a professor of Eastern Philosophy.  At any college in the U.S.  And maybe then I’d be set to live in college towns with high numbers of A/PI students, meaning I wouldn’t have to worry about being away from my cultural community ever again.

Maybe I shouldn’t trap myself in corners.  Don’t be afraid to dream, right?