Recovering back to where I was earlier:

I’ve been at my computer for a good amount of time, today.  It does require effort to juggle three classes at once; one of which, I was barely even aware of falling behind in, until I started rooting around in the Learning Management System (LMS).  Luckily, I’m only behind in the readings…also luckily, we’re less than a week into the semester, and I’ve turned in the majority of my homework.  I think what I still need to work on, is just responding to others.

I have more (hope) than a drop of sunshine that I will indeed be able to handle these three classes, plus work, art and exercise.  (If that makes sense?  Yes, I’m probably referencing one or more of my citrine crystals, which in turn reference gem lore which I’ve probably only retained subconsciously — and energetic impressions, which…well, I am highly interested in color and its emotional and mental effects, what can I say…)  Tonight, I have also been looking back through my archives, and found an entry from a while back which it might be good to “reset” to.

Recently, I’ve been working with the watercolor pencils, plus acrylic inks, fineliners, and some drawing which felt intense, even if it wasn’t.  😉  (I’ve also started to branch back into interests in sewing and embroidery, which is a relief just from being content-neutral and fiddly enough to sate my desire to manually puzzle things out.)

I’m thinking that I will be better off coloring my illustrations with watercolor, at this point, than I will be with utilizing acrylic ink.  I have finer control with the former, stemming from greater experience.  After dealing with inking and colors, I can see where I stand in regard to using the acrylic inks as a serious art medium (as versus an experimental one).  Though, of course, that will take more experiments.

But I want to get back to color studies, specifically with the watercolors.  I also have a good deal of gouache which I think will be useful…and I have recalled the lamination film I bought just to make bookmarks.  This could keep me busy.

I think maybe I’ve been spoiled on having good-quality paints…the colors in all of my paints are just seriously vibrant.  Possibly moreso, than my pencils, aquarelles, and the acrylic inks I currently have (though the last are decent — just not great).  Pencils and aquarelles are useful, don’t get me wrong — but for me the usefulness is in the portability and cleanliness.  I’m not completely certain, but I feel the chroma (color intensity) of colored pencils and aquarelles, suffers a bit in comparison to the character of paint.

I can even work with heavy-body acrylics, on canvas — I have canvas pads which are a very forgiving surface for experimentation, even though they warp with water.  I could then cut apart a composition and layer different elements together.

Not to mention that I’ve nearly entirely lost the linocutting thread that I had at the beginning of Summer.  I want to get back to that.

I’m not too hot on either of the character drawings I did a little bit ago…which is as good a reason as any to experiment on them.  I may not be planning on working on my story, but I can still play with drawings.  (I’ve also realized that I’ve hit the *ahem* “Precious Point,” I guess I’ll call it, which has stalled me out on working on either of them; a.k.a., “I don’t want to ruin it!”)

At some point, though, an image either has to develop or it has to be abandoned or finished…there’s not much point to freezing for an indefinite amount of time, until — until what, until my skills or “vision” get better? — which won’t happen if I don’t push myself to gain the experience of working through this.  The alternative is stunted growth, fear, and a bunch of half-finished (or barely-begun) drawings.

I’ll need to have some practice at drawing, inking, and coloring, in order to deal with this at all in the future, as well.  So there’s really no point to giving up illustration — even if it is difficult for me to develop, in words, the story which the illustrations support.

I think I’m ready to try and get some sleep, now.  It shouldn’t be too hard…

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Bahahaha

Okay, so I learned how to use the scanner to upload some black and white drawings!

Shiitake capShiitake sideEnokidakeOnigiriSwirly

Bahahahaha!30 mins

Alright, I’m working on that multiple-spiral form I mentioned to you all before, though it’s still generic enough that I haven’t played with it as much as I’ve wanted…so I’m not releasing my in-development toying-around, yet.

Yesterday I was able to turn in a couple of things (including an 18-page paper worth 30 points), which was a big weight off of me.  I did just find out tonight, though, that one of my professors has something due during Finals week!  😮

I’m pretty sure I’ll be okay, though.

These sketches are from the little moments in time between studying that I’ve allowed myself to doodle.  In particular, the mushrooms are from yesterday 😛 and the “30 mins” image (along with the two on the far right) is from that day when I was “mindfully wasting time.”

The far right image is just something that I did to show myself the difference between a Lumocolor marker and a black Copic…I’m fairly certain I used the 100 (Black) Copic marker right there, and then drew over the top of it with a Staedtler Lumocolor.  (I haven’t yet tried the 110 — “Special Black”, with the Lumocolors.)

Similar things happen with Sharpies, though I try not to use Sharpies for anything I want to last.  They’re pretty notorious for degrading/yellowing paper (among other surfaces — they’ve actually seemed to eat through some tape I marked on — not only did the writing seep through to the surface below the Artist’s Tape, but the plastic below yellowed; though that was over about seven years of aging), and fading.  But pretty much all markers are notorious for fading; it’s just that some won’t damage the paper as much, or the ink will last longer (pigment inks are said to be more lightfast than dye-based inks, though I’ve never had an image on my wall in the sun long enough to notice).

I’m not sure what will happen with the Lumocolors — they were a gift from a family member.  The pens say that they’re refillable, which is probably why my family member bought them.  The Copic SP Multiliners are supposed to be refillable (I’m using the disposable version), but I don’t use them hardcore enough yet to have to refill them, replace the nibs, etc. (though it might not be a bad idea for those super-fine nibs like the 0.03 and 0.05 that can easily kink).  Rapidograph (technical pen) is also an option, though I’ve never tried one, yet!

And, right!  The varied-width lines in the mushrooms I drew (from imagination, it’s probably obvious) are from a Pentel Pocket Brush pen.  It’s really sensitive to pressure and flicks of the brush tip, and is ideally held upright to take best advantage of this.  The hatching and cross-hatching of uniform width is with a Copic 0.03 Multiliner, although there is very slight line width modification even with a fineliner.  It’s just not obvious like with the brush pens!

The grey on the musubi/onigiri (rice ball with nori, or the triangular spiral, fourth from the left) is some kind of Copic marker (I honestly wasn’t paying attention to which one I used), while I’m pretty sure the linework was with a Fine-width Lumocolor pen.

And the lettering…was just me messing around!  I have been trying to find ways of incorporating ideas from other scripts into play with English lettering, though I haven’t shown it much, here.  The “for art” text in the lower image is in Medium-width Lumocolor, while everything else is in Fine-width (except the wavy line under “Lumocolor”).  I find that because of the way this ink pools (and the tips may as well be felt), the two pens I used weren’t as good for varying line width.  However, they’re good for consistent line width.  One annoying thing, though:  I found that the Lumocolor Fine pen tended to catch on the page and spatter.

Oh, right! and I wanted to mention the paper!  I got the pad which these were drawn on for notes in a class.  It was a really inexpensive pad I got from Barnes & Noble (the brand is “Piccadilly”).  It looks like the MSRP is $12.95, but B&N almost never sells them at that cost.  I’m sure it was likely around $5 or less — I got it because it was a cheap enough experiment.

There are issues with bleed-through — the inks (particularly the Lumocolors) can seep through one page and onto the next.  (You can see this in my first Shiitake image, upper left corner of this post.)  That wasn’t a large issue with the Copics or the Pentel; though Copic markers will likely bleed through given heavy enough application.

The reason I like this pad, though, is that the surface of the paper is very smooth and very white, kind of like opaque marker paper; and the proportions of the working area are interesting.  It’s spiral-bound at the top, meaning that I don’t have to worry about compensating for binding issues.  And — it was really inexpensive, so I don’t have to worry about destroying or blowing through an expensive pad of paper (which is sometimes something that can inhibit me).

I am hoping to get what I need to get done, done sooner rather than later — though I’ll try for getting everything done in a week, I can’t guarantee it.  After that, I will have plenty of time to play!  Well, until Summer School starts.  :/  🙂  But actually, I do think I do better with something to do.  It’s amazing what I can get done when I focus!  (And yes, focusing does involve, sometimes, taking five or 10 minutes to draw mushrooms!  Or lying down for 15 or 20 minutes.  It doesn’t have to be a marathon, I know that now…just so long as I can concentrate…)

😀 😀 😀

(And before anyone says anything:  Yes.  Yes I am thinking of working in black and white and scanning it.  I don’t know if it will be a comic…but it’s fun!)

Caffeine does wonders for motivation…

A’right.  So what’s up is 1) I think I have a migraine, and right now am trying caffeine to get rid of it.  And 2), right, I reinstated my Wacom (drawing tablet), which appears fully functional except that the tilt mechanism for the pen isn’t working quite as I remember it.  Could be a software setting, or the fact that I’m not using a painting program (which…now is something I know I can use).

I don’t know, but I may have time to tinker it out tonight, if this tea has anything to say about it.  I am glad that this has worked out:  I was about to go after a new tablet, but the one I already had was both newer than I remembered it to be, and bigger than what I would buy, otherwise.  One point I can see, though, is that it feels very different to draw on this tablet than it does to draw freehand with…an actual pencil or brush.

There is something nice, though, about being able to use old peripherals which you thought were obsolete…(not to mention the video games I haven’t touched in months…  Wasted time.  Can’t remember where I’m at in Final Fantasy IV.  Do I care?)

Anyhow…I am getting something of a taste of what it is like to be someone into writing and the arts who works in a library (finally!).  With the interests in art and writing coming together at the juncture of graphic novels…it’s kind of interesting to see how this is shaping up.  I seem to be developing as a person and finding out who I am while I’m going through all of this.

It’s really apparent by now that I have strong interests in the Humanities, though I still have a somewhat diminished taste for fiction, and some internal resistance to writing it.  The positive point is that I don’t have the same issue with art as I find with narratives (though granted, my first narratives were through art).  It might even be a thing to work with an author as an artist — not as the primary writer — in the future.  I would be surprised not to find an abundance of authors searching for someone to illustrate their work online, as well.

I am not sure if I would have come to this point four years ago, when I initially started the MLIS program.  While I have a clearer idea at this point of where I want to go, things are still not entirely clear to me.

I’ve just been looking over my school’s options where it comes to specializations.  If Cataloging doesn’t work out, I’m thinking that Web Programming/Info Architecture will be my next best bet.

I’ve just here taken about an hour break to chart out a courseload for the next three years, although it appears I could be done in less than that.  What is apparent is that both the Cataloging and Web Programming/Info Architecture paths share a majority of classes, and if I can do what I’m planning on doing, I can be clear in four more semesters, at nine units a semester and without summer classes.  This is having taken most of what I can out of both paths (apparently some classes are recommended which are not given by the school, and some classes are recommended which I can’t take, as things stand right now).

What appears to be crystal clear is that I should not aim for a job in Public Libraries; regardless of the altruism of my motivations, I’m probably not the right type of person for it.  Everything appears to point to the fact that I would likely not be happy in the position of a Public Librarian.

And it remains that I only have 10 remaining open slots in which to fit in all of my future courses — unless I work during Summer Session and/or take more than 9 units per semester.  (Or unless I graduate and then take one or two courses on my own.)  With what’s happened over this Winter break, maybe I should take Summer Session, just to keep myself sane.

I should probably really take up my co-worker’s offer to talk to the person in our system who works in Cataloging…and I have a book (now that I think about it) on non-traditional jobs utilizing LIS skills, which I can read.  I keep forgetting about it because it’s an electronic book, so it doesn’t stand out to me as a resource I actually have.  (This book is What’s the alternative?:  Career options for library and info pros, by Rachel Gordon.)  I would have checked it out from the library again, but our extra copies have somehow disappeared.  :/  Hmm.  Not to mention that it’s now out of print.

Speaking of electronic resources, I’ve just found the libraries subreddit, in case I ever forget it in the future.  I wouldn’t even have thought of Reddit, but one of my classmates mentioned it last semester, and at least this subreddit appears interesting.

At this point, I seem to have outlasted the migraine.  This much is good…

late night color play…

It took me until 5 PM today, to fully wake up.  Accordingly, even though I am tired now…I know I should go to bed; I just don’t want to.  I did, however, get up the courage to play around with some colors.

3114-doodle
My one pearlescent FW ink is at center bottom — it’s the one with the glare.

Long story short, all of the non-glittery FW acrylic inks I have at the moment, are transparent, and neither my Micron nor Copic fineliners bleed under them.  The glitter in the pearlescent color I’ve got, however, blocks some of the underlying drawing, even when there isn’t that glare off of the surface (the glare is illustrated above).

Though I’ve tried to color-correct for this, all of the photos in this post were taken under artificial light.  Therefore, some of the more delicate aspects (like the differences between those three yellows up there) are probably not going to be as apparent as they would under full sunlight.

3118-doodle
Don’t let the water pool and dry, or you get this:

So, up next was the attempt at color blending.  These guys do a decent job of blending wet-into-wet if you drag the colors into each other with the brush (and not so much water), as indicated on that inside corner between red-orange and yellow-orange; they don’t do so well if you let the water and pigment pool and then dry on its own.

The latter technique was what achieved the blot in the upper right corner of this photograph.  I’m thinking it would have been alright if the amount of water had been far less.  But it’s an obvious difference from Western-style watercolor paints, which would probably not have dried like that.  You can see as well that glazing appears very effective.  I was working on Canson Montval cold-press paper, here.

Drawing a new color into a brushstroke which has already been laid down has the same subtle effect, as seen here:

3121-doodle
doodle.

…and I can actually somewhat see the colors separating out in the bluer “tail” of this doodle.  I’m not sure if that’s due to incomplete mixing or to the pigments actually settling out.  In any case, I’m really surprised that some of the color mixes I’m showing here look as decent as they do, because they looked pretty bad on my palette.  I can just say that.  🙂

At one point I did get the urge to see if these things could work wet-into-wet like regular watercolors.  The short answer to that is “no,” at least not when using staining colors, and at the same time having paper which is not fully saturated with water.

3120-doodle
The result of attempting to drop pigment straight onto wet paper.

The image to the right is the result of attempting to drop a few different colors into what was essentially water which I had spread on the paper, but not allowed to soak in.  The stain in the center-top area seems to be the result of Phthalo Blue working its way into the paper itself, as the paper absorbed the water that had been laid on top of it.

I kind of wonder if things would have been different, had I allowed that water to soak in fully before adding in the ink.  It would likely have changed the response a bit.  I notice that neither the green nor the yellow which I dropped in did the same thing, though, so maybe the difference can be attributed to Phthalo Blue being a staining pigment.

And, right:  that same pooling and settling thing happened in the snakes on the right side.  I’ve got to remember not to let that happen again, unless I want the effect.  🙂  (It really didn’t look that way when it was wet…then again, I saw a lot of subtle variations when the inks were wet which became difficult to see after they had dried.

Okay, see, and now I want to do a comparison between these and my true watercolor paints…soon, maybe.  What I can say is that I have got the saying in mind to let paintings be paintings, and drawings be drawings…I don’t remember who said that, but it is surely difficult to wed the two.

Having said that, I went out on a limb and tried drawing a person tonight.  Right now, she’s kind of a wireframe and difficult to see, being totally in pencil.  But if I were going to work in illustration, as for a comic book, I really do think that this media would be ideal for that.  The transparency of the inks allows inked underdrawings to show through, easily, and the acrylic component in the color allows lower layers of acrylic ink to stay put.  However, there is also a bit of an issue in my recording tools not being able to pick up the full spectrum of the light which I can see reflected off of the paper.

I wonder if maybe I should look forward to a dedicated scanner, if I’m going to be doing this stuff seriously (no, that is not a dare)…I just don’t want to deal with public machines where it comes to scans…

(long) What to put my time into?

It’s…interesting.

Over the past few days, I’ve been having a dialogue with myself about where to put my energies.  For example, with my homework, and from there out, with my art, creative writing, reading, blogging…music…?

I have seen some people online develop in a given medium very quickly, due to daily practice.  The most obvious example of this I can think of (and I hope I’m thinking right) is Charlie at Doodlewash, but as best I can remember, there are others whose names I have neglected to pick out of the ever-coming tide that is the Internet.

I’ve started to think about my activities, not in terms of what I do well, not in terms of what I presently can do, but in terms of what I want to do.

This is assisted, no doubt, by the curricula I’m presently studying…though that might get a bit arcane here.  Basically, when someone realizes they need information, they likely start out with a very poorly-formed idea of what it is they’re searching for, because they don’t know what they don’t know — and asking them what information they need is asking someone to define the parameters of what they don’t know…which, they don’t know.

When I first started researching Buddhism, for example, it was along with studies of alternative spirituality (particularly Theosophy and Spiritualism; I don’t remember whether Pantheism was along with, or after, this) and the Western Occult Tradition.  Right now I know more about Buddhism than most people around me — I know more than what every beginner book I’ve seen recounts, as though it’s new — but I reached out of my sphere, in the first place, to try and escape people and their twisting of religion to support their bigotry.

What I have found, over about 15 years of studying Buddhism, is that Buddhists have their own problems to deal with, irritatingly enough.  Not only that, but it’s kind of impossible to find an authoritative voice on the matter.  Buddhism is 2500 years old, and orthopraxic (right action) instead of orthodoxic (right belief), or so my World Religions class would have told me.

Instead of asking and expecting a clear definition of nirvana or Buddha-nature, it’s more like, “does the interpretation you’re reading agree with you or not?” or, “where are the holes, and are they large enough to matter?” or, “is this logically coherent?  (Be honest.)  If so, what are the consequences?”

I may not be reading enough modern thought, in this field, though.  I’ve come to realize that the world now is different than the world 2500 years ago, though people’s problems are still largely the same.  The issue with me is the idea that everyone’s “awakening” will be qualitatively the same; that inherently, everyone is the same.  This may have been unquestioned 2500 years ago in India, but I cannot go without questioning this, now.  Living in a major metropolitan area will kind of do that to a person.

In addition to this, the entire idea of a “soul” or spirit is one of these things which …I have not read a full treatment of, from a Buddhist perspective.  What I gather is that a phenomenal self is recognized, but that this self is constructed, and not essential.  This differs from, pretty much, every other religion I’ve studied; but it also becomes entangled in current-day discourse about constructivism vs. essentialism as regards gender; a.k.a. whether all gender is “socially constructed” or “inborn.”

As a person whose gender expression (and historically, identity) inhabits a range rather than a locus, it’s hard for me to have an opinion on this.  The major point is that Second-Wave Feminism (I think this began in the 1970’s) has tried to argue that what one is “born as” is what one “is,” with the transgender movement historically fighting against this.  This axiom would state that, for example, a transgender woman was “really” a man and thus could be excluded from “women’s space,” without everyone in the group feeling bad about it.  In consequence, everyone which was included looked similar enough to be assumed to be qualitatively similar (as definitions of “man” or “woman” did not go beyond physicality; causing the [hypothetical] inclusion of trans* men within women’s space, instead of trans* women).

However, the current state of transgender politics seems to be coming to a newer resettlement where very young children are expressing identity with members of a sex which they do not physically align with…so now it seems that the argument is again back to “one is born as what one is,” just that the mistake (and it does seem to be a mistake) of assigning a person to a gender category based on their physiology…causes more harm than good.

In short, we are back to an essentialist argument, but with what is “essential” being something one cannot physically see (though there have been studies showing similarity of regions of the brain between trans* women and cis (non-trans*) women, and dissimilarity of those same regions between trans* women and cis men, at the least; last I checked, trans* men were not well-known enough to have any acceptable sample size.

But anyhow…I’m not sure if I should be a philosophy major or something, 🙂 but my own experience of myself brings me to the point of feeling that …I do or may have a “soul,” which is distinct from other “souls.”  I wouldn’t say it to be irreducible to something like any other living being would experience — that is, I’m not sure at all that what I recognize as myself is “essential” — but there does seem to be something that sets me apart in this life, that, when violated, brings me illness.  That is to say, I have a “nature.”  It’s a very changeable nature, but it’s still a nature.

And this, in turn, is separable from an ontological stance which states that no one has a soul.  The clearest representative of this to me is Scientific Materialism, though I am not a subject matter expert on this, having veered away from materialist philosophies, myself.  I did purchase a book on Sartre (Existentialism) recently as well, and it would be interesting to see what he says about it…but this is mainly for my own breadth/surveying the field.

The problem I’m having is being unsure that any organized religion is actually and honestly for the good of its members (excluding the priesthood).  In short, I’m not sure if any of it is true, and I know there are vulnerabilities commonly found in seekers which are being played upon (notably, in Buddhism, the experience of psychic pain and the drive to death [thanatos — it’s a Freudian idea]).

I’m not sure I’ve seen the latter actually explained outright anywhere in relation to the desire for nirvana and cessation of rebirth; but I know that for me it has been an issue.  Buddhism was one of the things which kept me alive when I was going through a fairly relevant depressive phase, to the point where I realized that if Shakyamuni had ever actually existed, he was probably a depressive who lived before we had a term for it.

And…I have wandered far away from what started this post.  The question is whether to continue with this line of study, or drop it and find something else.

I am thinking that if, every day, I practiced guitar for at least half an hour, I would become fairly good at it, after a while.  This is, as versus my art.  I have to do enough reading as it is, but I could get back into that (reading for pleasure), as well.

Art is one of those things which I know I was praised for, very early on.  I know it’s something I’m relatively talented at.  But without a clear subject, it’s tough for me to get into; this being why I was prolific in the Art program at my Community College, but which I have trailed away from without the outside support and prompting.  I’m fairly certain that if I did get back into Creative Writing, this would in fact give me things to draw.

Of course, that’s Illustration, there — which is actually the drive which caused me to come back and try the Art program again in the first place.  When I first came back, I didn’t even know if I liked drawing, to be honest.  Things had just gotten really dull for me, where it came to image-making.  I remembered that I had originally liked to do it (when I was making a story with pictures [could you call that a comic?], as a kid), and I remembered that drawing the same thing over and over again — as I did as an adult — wasn’t worth it.  I’d get bored.

I re-entered with the hope that instruction and refreshed subject matter would help me see if writing and illustrating my own Graphic Novel was even something I would enjoy; and if not, I could just trash the whole Graphic Novel idea and work on pure writing, instead.

What I can say is that Art is difficult.  There hasn’t been a time for me when it hasn’t been difficult, except when I was a kid and didn’t care at all whether things looked wonky to other people.

And then, Writing…writing, writ large, 😉 isn’t hard for me.  Fiction Writing, though…is just psychologically difficult.  I have a habit of not being able to clearly tell the story I’m writing, apart from reality.  But through the Art program, one of the things I realized is that Art is not a representation of reality.  Photography isn’t a representation of reality.  Fiction writing, is not a representation of reality.  Neither is television, nor movies.

Verisimilitude to reality is used to a greater or lesser extent to provide familiarity and context to a story or message…to be honest, I’m not entirely certain what I or we are trying to get across in a way of thinking about the Humanities in terms of content as versus form.  The one thing I am certain about is that when one is within a story, that story is constructed around you, to a certain extent for you (and to a certain extent, by you).  For what purpose?  …I’m not entirely sure.  If you have thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

In any case, thinking back on it…it does seem, now that I think of it, that I’ve found expression through writing and art, and now am re-trying music.  Music is interesting, though I’m so new to it that I’m not entirely sure I can say why.  Certainly there’s a rhythmic component, and the emotional states elicited by certain tones being played next to each other and harmonizing (or not).  Then, of course, being a time-related thing, it is also — like writing — linear in format.

Tonight I was just having fun with arpeggiating guitar chords — particularly, starting with the F-major that’s closest to the top of the neck.  I think I could, eventually, make a habit of writing my own music; the question arises of if it is what I want to do, though.  Do I want to write?  Draw?  Paint?  Play music?  Make beaded jewelry?  It’s fairly obvious that writing is part of my lifeblood — I don’t feel right when I don’t do it.

I miss my beads.  I stopped my practice and working on new designs when I realized that this was not something that I could rely on to pay any bills (except maybe a blog bill for a nice layout here, if I started on Etsy); but it is what got me into Painting (which enables much more subtle custom color adjustments).  There is a lot of work which goes into designing and constructing beaded jewelry which has to do with light and color…it may be playing with my tendency to engineer from prefabricated parts, as well.

(Two of my most favorite toys from when I was a kid were my Erector set, and a circuit board D got me for Christmas, one year…)

And, hey…I just realized the linear component to that, as well…it’s just that with what I do, there is the mode of interweaving that can be realized, as well as anchoring and knotting.

Interesting…but I think I should get some sleep, right now!  Heh!  If anyone has anything to say about the content we try to get across in the Arts & Humanities, I’m more than listening…

Life. Planning to split the blog.

I am planning to either revive my alternate blog (the one I had to start for class in 2012, when I was acting insecure) or start a new one, and put my overtly school and career related stuff there, while this one is saved for art and life, with a more conversational tone than a record-keeping one (or one which is overtly reflecting on my job and readings).  I will link that other blog to this one, after I get it set up and presentable.

I did make it out over the past couple of days to replace or acquire five tubes of gouache — opaque watercolor.  (I also found I like Ivory [Bone] Black better than Lamp Black, at least in gouache…strange that they’re both carbon blacks, but they don’t look the same.)  This meant that I also had to take time out to test the ones I had — which was super fun.

I hadn’t painted in a really long time.  I pulled out a new brush that I’d never used before and had at it, just color-testing.  Most of my gouache was good, but I was able to get some new Holbein and Winsor & Newton gouache (the kind without the acrylic polymer added).  I got Lemon Yellow in Holbein because it was beautiful and just what I was looking for, and an Ultramarine Deep from them, too — W&N no longer makes that color.  I’m planning to use the opaque watercolors in combination with transparent watercolors, in making some new mandalas — and possibly in illustration.  With opaque media, though, I’m going to have to start thinking in terms of shape and blocks of color, rather than line, to describe what I want to describe.

And it isn’t worth it to denigrate mandala art and avoid doing it because it seems too simple.  I make things too hard for myself.  If I want to do mandala art, and that’s what is going to get me to do art that I want to do at all, I should do it.

I also made it out to a certain clothes store today, where I realized that the Mens’ shirts fit me better and were more comfortable than the Womens’.  In the past (when my hair was very short and I was overtly looking gender-variant), this would have been more troubling for me than it was (I have felt exposed there, before) — but fact is that when it fits, I look pretty good in menswear.  Not only this, but…it was OK, emotionally.

In the sizing of this store (which caters to a smaller-than-normal clientele), I wear an M in Mens’ shirts.  Right now, I wear something closer to an XL in Womens’, there, though I don’t appear terribly overweight.  The Womens’ shirts will make me look overweight, though.  They cling, and show more body and form than any of the menswear.  Showing my body is not something I desire, to be clear; I don’t particularly appreciate being expected to do it.

Then, though, of course you get the either very muted color palette or the screaming bright colors on the Mens’ side.  I (mostly) feel good with what I came away with, with the exception of one shirt which I didn’t try on, which was unlabeled…and so I’m not sure I know what I got.  It fits more closely, but won’t be a problem if it’s tucked in.  The Mens’ shirts have hems long enough to tuck securely; which is more than I can say for a lot of what I’ve had, previously.

I have had three days of what feels like not studying very hard.  I know it isn’t completely true, because I had to attend a group meeting, and I had to prepare for a group meeting (2.5 hours, yesterday); then I was doing readings today both before and after getting new clothes — which I needed, by the way.  I also picked up a book I needed for a project.  And, I was able to assist some family.

It isn’t as though I haven’t been productive, but, was I burned out at the end of Tuesday night, after writing 16 pages total the past two days before?  I didn’t want to do any readings at all on Wednesday.  I just didn’t want to have to think…especially not about the Library!  Though I have realized that I do still want to be an Art Librarian, and shouldn’t let fear of being a beginner keep me from holding an informational interview with at least one person.  My vocational program kind of depends on it.

Right now I’ve realized that I do need to get back on my studying so I don’t fall behind.  I have a lecture to listen to, two readings to do, some stuff to respond to; I just need to get on it.

The good thing is that the group project is off on a good foot.  We have stumbled a tiny bit, which I encountered last night while thinking about this; but it’s salvageable.

Tomorrow is Saturday; I should be studying in the morning, if I randomly wake up at 8 AM again.  Then I’m occupied for six hours, then I’m off and can work some more on my Master’s.

Working with the gouache on Monday night sounds good.  I want to see those new colors!

Beginning work on a creative writing/illustration project.

Hmm.  I haven’t gotten to start on my schoolwork yet, today.  I know I should prioritize work for my Database class, as we have a group work session coming up.  What I have done is begin listing out worldbuilding attributes of the story that I want to write (and probably illustrate).  I haven’t started with the story’s universe or irrelevant details, so much as the known attributes of the story which I’m already certain of.

(I’m trying to hold to my original vision because of realizing that the imagery I’ve been dealing with for a while, actually is fairly loaded with relevant symbolism.)

I started this work today because I tried to start writing from nothing, and realized that most of my writing recently has been either on the blog, or academic; not creative.  I also remembered what happened when I tried to go about this the way I had been taught in my English classes:  no planning, no research, train-of-thought.  What that has gotten me in the past (when taking on a novel-length project) is a lot of wasted effort.

If I can get the facts and plot synopsis straight at the beginning, it will give me something concrete to build around.  Sometimes, just to get the structure straight, actually thinking this stuff out in writing beforehand, does help (even if, yes, it is in outlines, or other documents which the general reader never sees).  And I don’t mean rough drafts; I mean prep work for rough drafts.

This is needed, at least, when I’m doing something like this, and the story has an indefinite length.  It may be short; it may become a series of short stories (which would be particularly sweet — and ideal — if I dealt with this series in graphic format); it may be novel length, with chapters.  I’m hoping it doesn’t become a saga like Dune…though that is a possibility, particularly if more complications come up later; and I should try and be open to it.  Even though I’m kind of not.  😉  I kind of don’t want that.

I’m fairly certain that this series will be aimed at an adult audience, at least.  I’m thinking that…due to the (mature) subject matter, it isn’t meant for kids or teens — although it would have been a nice thing for me to find, before I was diagnosed (mental health issues are a major theme).

Something that I didn’t mention in my last two posts last night is that I had a dream near waking, which ties two broad branches of storylines which might otherwise be separate — and one plotline which I had left off of since late college — into one whole.

What is becoming apparent as I note down the essential elements of the story:  This story isn’t set in this society, although it is generated from it.  But just realizing that it is in no way this world, is really freeing.

There have also been things happening in current events which are kind of showing me that things are possible that I had closed my mind off to, as a teen.  Kind of scary, but it does broaden my horizons.

I have also come to the point of not knowing just what the subject of my art should be.  I read that illustration is not defined by a style, but rather illustration is defined by its role as support to a main body of information (text, in this case).  If I work on this story, it will give me material to draw from in my art.

I should post this and get to work.