20ish minute sketch…

So for a handful of years now I’ve tried to give my sister a hand made piece of art/ painting/ drawing for a birthday gift or gift. I’ve usually gravitated to giving her something Disney villain or something Disney that we shared fond childhood memories around. We’re sentimental and nostalgic like that. Love her so much.

This year I asked her what she would like a drawing of, thinking her response would be in the same realm of Disney. But NOPE. This year she requested something “Lord of the Rings”. My initial reaction was a huge laugh because God damn, LOTR, that shit is some of the most vast, detailed, beautiful and realistic area to try and draw and to successfully capture that is a CHALLENGE. A challenge I appreciate receiving, but I’m not that skilled YET. Nevertheless, I’m going to try and create something good for her.

I need to have something decent by Christmas. So I began my mental preparation last night. Playing around and trying to see where my base level is. And this is where I’m at… Gandalf and Frodo

…I don’t know lol I’m going to do my best. As soon as I decide what I want to actually do I’ll spend more than 20 minutes putting it together, but this is where I’m at currently.

I will say as a gag gift I do plan on giving her this drawing below framed, since she didn’t specify what she wanted exactly, it was simply “something Lord of the Rings”…

Something Lord of the Rings, tada!

I’ve got to accumulate a somewhat higher level of skills in a small amount of time. Wish me luck. I’ll be immersed in LOTR images and trying to create something.

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Ugh…Fine I’ll process some shit…

First of all I don’t know whether or not to say Happy Thanksgiving. My idea of Thanksgiving is very Wednesday Addams at camp. So I guess, however you choose to spend the day I hope it goes well!

I’ve been in kind of a depressed and anxious headspace recently. I can list a handful of reasons why, but why do a list when I can try to collage it out of my system! Just reminding myself that life and art work together for me, so I just need to pull my head out of my ass and face it/ gently and lovingly process it. Both vibes tend to be a tug-o-war.

So let’s begin!

I started last night, then I got a call from my mom, the conversation wasn’t particularly bad, but because I’ve just been feeling so blah I ended up crawling into bed. In my attempts to convince myself to get back up I ended up just falling asleep. I’m trying to AVOID a lot of the stuff on my mind and the feelings around it. Anyways! Avoidance has never solved any of my problems so this morning I chipped away at it some more.

Let me break this down.

Every single one of those “shards” with letters on them represent the people I have lost in my life that held some significance in my life. Starting from the age of five until now. Most of their deaths were unexpected, traumatic, horrible accidents or self inflicted. Everyone handles grief differently, and when faced with the topic of mortality we also all handle that differently I think. It’s not necessarily a fun topic, but it’s something I think about on a daily basis.

I’ve seen lives end so abruptly in my personal life that I tend to live my life with an intensity of “if I die right now, I want my last words to be worth something. I want my last actions to be ones I stand behind.” On some level I think I live my life as if it were my last day alive. I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS! Like I know there’s a healthy approach with this mentality, I just don’t necessarily know what that looks like. Which leads into the next part of the collage…

The amount in which I think about NEVER doing the WRONG thing and ALWAYS doing the RIGHT thing is exhausting. I’ve got lists upon lists on how to make sure the people in my life are shown how much I love and appreciate them. I bend and break myself for people and I do it happily. It’s part of who I am. I’m just trying to make sure I do it for people who won’t take advantage of it. My roommate told me yesterday that he’s gone out of his way to talk to his mom (my other roommate) about NOT asking me to do things because I will always say yes. I would never assume these two lovely humans would take advantage of me so it’s not that big of a deal. But it was weird, sweet and refreshing to know the people closest to me are considerate of my well being and feelings.

I really try to assume positive intent. I grew up around and have been with people who overreacted to things and took it out on me. I will consciously know something isn’t right about how I’m being treated, but write it off as I’m just being stupid or overreacting, never bring it up and continue to let people manipulate me. I will rationalize someone’s actions to a point where I accept it despite the fact I probably shouldn’t. When I’m loyal to people… I’m loyal. Goal today is to make sure the people I’m loyal to are worth it.

All I have is my word and my actions to justify my existence so yes I’m a bit intense. I love deeply. I take people’s reactions to me to heart. I try to listen and change to make sure those around me are thriving. I know the advice from everyone around me is to put myself first, but what if the only thing keeping me here is living to serve other people? Is it wrong to simply learn how to use, what is perceivably an unhealthy thing to do, to my own advantage? Applying discernment and the stipulations that I speak up and give myself boundaries.

I don’t know. But I know enough about myself that it’s time to start accepting there are things I can’t change, things that I don’t want to change, and I can learn how to live and work with it in a way that ends up benefiting my happiness. Which leads to the last part of the collage…

“Me”

This area is very much D.I.D related. It’s really me and one other “personality” running this life. Together we try to keep things functioning. But we’re human and life’s been exhausting and painful. We persist though.

We want to be happy, and there’s a lot to be happy about. Just there’s a reason why Death, Right and Wrong are on top of “ME”. It’s what calculates how we move forward. It’s a whole freaking process… which is why we(I) don’t like to be alone for very long. We’re always in our head… other people help bring us into existing with a purpose.

Me and this other personality used to be the main bitches. The last several years a different personality was in charge and things got super messy. Putting it gently. For me it was HELL. I love deeply and there was a time years ago with our ex that despite being in tears begging for a friendship with our ex it was met with cold rejection and them saying I wasn’t safe and needed to go away. Our ex was CRUEL to me specifically for legit no reason.

But they “LOVED” the other member of my system and he loved them so fucking deeply and was so fucking loyal and ripped himself apart trying to make everything work out. GUYS THAT RELATIONSHIP/ MARRIAGE WAS THE MOST CHAOTIC, MINDFUCKED AND DYSFUNCTIONAL BULLSHIT! I REFUSE TO LET THAT HAPPEN AGAIN.

Abusive relationships. Doing my best to avoid that without isolating myself. It’s scary. But I don’t want to be alone… technically I’m never alone due to DID but like even we get bored of each other and recognize we need physical interactions. Lol

Anyways, it’s kind of nerve racking running things again. Sort of like I’m trying to pick up where I last left off before I was pushed aside and shoved way down. Getting us back on track for real happiness with more confidence about who I am and what I want for us all(myself as a whole individual). I had big plans at one point…I can accept plans have changed and they tend to on a regular basis, but God damn, there’s been a lot of unnecessary time spent on a things we shouldn’t have. We live and we learn.

Doing my best over here. Part of why I share this stuff is because for the longest time we weren’t actually allowed to speak about anything. Another reason, because I think it’s important to demonstrate vulnerability in a way that says it’s OK to be struggling, And it’s OK to not have the answers, it’s OK to exist with feelings. Something I’m passionate about is making sure I’m able to support those who are just trying to be happy and accomplish something that means something to them.

Main disclaimer is that it can’t be something that causes harm to other people or to yourself. There’s a level of discernment I find important to have here. Bottom line, as long as long as you’re capable of or WILLING TO care for another human being despite it not having anything to do with you, there’s hope. I have my own conditions to determine how much I offer of myself per individual for safety reasons, and those conditions are there because of my experience with those individuals.

I try and avoid double standards, but life is filled with nuances so everything feels like they have drop down troubleshooting tabs. It’s whatever… point being I share more than I probably should because I want a better more accepting world. That’s what I’m trying to really say. It’s important to recognize our accomplishments and struggles. It’s important to show that people grow, adapt, try new things, learn, stumble, crash and burn, but get back up because giving up can’t be the option.

I will continue trying to be the bravest person I can be for anyone who needs that. I will continue fighting my battles and getting my hands dirty. I’m just one small human being trying to be the change I want to see in the world. All we have is each other. There is no omnipotent being about to step in. So it’s up to us as individuals to just do better and be better towards one another.

Stop the hate. Stop the abuse. Be better. Do better. We’re not idiots we understand by now what cruelty looks like. We understand by now what the patriarchy is doing to people. We all can provide a list of things that would be nice to see changed. Things that are basic human needs being met. We understand what oppression is and what it does. We understand by now A LOT of things right? As a millennial and an aunt I see it as my responsibility to “get good scrub”. That’s just part of my core though, no one has to be that intense about it, but I am.

And that’s my holiday rant because holidays remind me of a variety of things. Enjoy the day everyone! Peace!

A drawing exercise and me being me….

Sometimes for a test I like to see what I can do without a reference photo. Sort of like a check in with how well I’m able to portray what’s in my head.

So I just think of whatever I want, for this example it was simply “a hand”. I close my eyes and think of everything I know about drawing hands, then I start visualizing hands and I begin to piece together an image.

Once I have a sense of what I’m going for I just start sketching. Here’s the result.

It’s not perfect and there’s plenty of areas where lighting and shading need some help… and form is a bit off… but it’s actually not that bad of a sketch.

I hadn’t drawn anything the last couple of days and my art brain was feeling cramped, so that’s why I did this exercise. Trying to get those gears unstuck. I could blame my new work schedule but the truth is I’ve just been feeling a little low and like I’m walking on eggshells. This is not an uncommon way for me to feel so I do my best to pull myself out of it. I’ve got some tools under my belt for these moments, but it takes a lot of brain bandwidth.

The act of stepping on those eggshells and breathing through the stinging pain of the fears and anxieties. Eventually those steps become less painful and I’ve come out the other side… but the process can be slow. AND that’s what it’s like when I’m trying to self soothe through certain triggers. Maybe if I asked for help more I’d get through it a lot faster, but that option has never felt safe.

Asking for help and/or expressing myself was usually met with condescending impatient remarks and I was just a “selfish” person to ask anyone to hear me out ever. Thus a lot of times people in my life won’t know I’m struggling unless I’ve hit a wall… and even then I’m still trying to avoid inconveniencing anyone’s day or life.

I’ve been working on this for years and have gotten way better at asking for help. But there are certain areas that if I have a single shred of shame around I’m hiding with it and trying to tear it apart until I find out why I feel shame, assessing it’s harm level, assessing whether or not I need to even feel shame or if this is another stupid religious indoctrination and irrational fear of anything I do hurting someone because I’m not PERFECT. I have been trained to find any thoughts or feelings or wants I may have as selfish. It’s a whole thing trying to convince myself I’m allowed to exist as myself.

Maybe some readers can relate. I feel you all. So in case you feel this way just know you’re allowed to exist! In fact it’s highly appreciated that you exist and bring your unique goodness to this planet and those around you. Your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and voice matter and screw those who make you feel like you’re not worth it. I’ll be your cheerleader telling you to pursue the things that bring happiness and well being in your life, and you’ll never be a waste of my time.

Generally speaking, unless someone is legitimately a dangerous and cruel narcissistic person, I’ve got your back. Even those who are dangerous I’m on the sidelines saying “go get help”… they never listen but one could still hope.

Anyways! Let’s exist awkwardly, bravely, silly, and authentically together! We got this! Have a great day everyone!

Painting city scapes

It’s been I think a week since I last posted but worry not! I have been painting and drawing and reading about painting and drawing and thinking about painting and drawing…I haven’t thought about art this much since I last went to art school. It’s so cool!

When I look at things my mind starts to break things down into basic shapes and it starts to try and map out how to convey a series of colors… on some level it feels like how Iron man’s computer helmet works. Scans and reports lol is that weird? Probably, but I don’t know how else to describe it. So there ya go 😂

Point being, my art muscles are hard at work and it feels good.

I haven’t really completed this project/test but I wanted to paint the same image multiple times to see how it transforms over time. I’ve done it three times and don’t have THE ONE I’m completely satisfied with but here’s the process.

Step one: Pick out the reference photo or photos. I just had this one but if you want to try this out don’t feel limited to one photo.

Aside from this photo I also take a regular dose of ferry trips to the city so I’ve see this city scape day and night. Something I recently read talked about how although a big part of being an artist is the skill and techniques acquired through practice, the next biggest thing,finding “YOUR” style, comes from how you perceive the world around you and how you learn to convey that into your work.

So for example everyone sees color differently. Yes we have a consensus understanding of what red, blue, green, yellow, etc is, but each person experiences color differently. Green is one of my favorite colors, I love the whole freaking spectrum of greens, they make me happy, they sometimes can make me feel bad ass and sexy. But I’ve seen people find green disgusting. It doesn’t have the same effect. Thus maybe when they go to use green on things it won’t be portrayed the same way with the same vibe.

Color aside, perhaps the way I see the city isn’t the same way the person next to me sees it. I might notice different things or find other things more prominent, especially in my memory. So when I go to paint or draw something my focus and what I go to convey could be ENTIRELY or subtlety different. But different nonetheless, and that my friends is where “YOUR” style is found.

I’m finding it VERY difficult when I’m painting these city scapes to not throw in a bat signal. Don’t worry it will happen. But for the time being I was wanting to keep it as close to the reference photo.

I didn’t capture any real step by step on how I did these paintings. So for a quick recap I basically broke down the image into three parts/shapes. The sky shape, the city shape, and the water shape. I’m using the word shape for a specific reason. I’m not looking to paint buildings or clouds or water, I’m going for things in their simplest form. I’m going to try and convey water, buildings, and clouds. This helps in calming the mind down so it doesn’t stall or glitch out on details. I’m also taking note on where my brightest brights are and where my darkest shades are. With all these in mind the image really just starts to form itself details and all. There will be a time and place for DETAILS, but for this project it wasn’t my goal.

So here’s the first one I did. I know this set of images is very step one “draw a circle” and step two “draw the rest of the owl”. But hopefully my recap helped shed some light on the process. Lol

And here’s the second one I did.

Now for some reason in this one I decided to paint the city before the water. Sometimes the process of creating something is just going with the flow. So even though there’s how to’s and basic breakdowns, I’ll add don’t restrain yourself. If your feeling like you just want to focus on something in that moment, ride that moment out. I’m discovering for myself that when I’m in the zone, I have many moments like this that I have to ride out. Kind of like I’m trying to solve a mystery and when I start feeling the case going cold, I give my mind the next clue it needs to move forward…I have weird metaphors lol

But as you can see, different things started to stand out more. I felt a little bit more confident and comfortable and was able to explore a little bit more. Also notice that my city scape isn’t EXACTLY like the reference photo. I did take creative liberties. Most important part though is you can tell it’s a city at night.

Here’s the third one I did. Now with this one I tried something new. I actually primed my canvas. I forgot this is something that is recommended. All this is taking like a gesso paint and painting it on before you do anything so it creates a smoother surface. After that I tried painting the sky first. Then add the city… it was a bit more technical and methodical.

I can’t say I found this way the best process for myself. I want to try it again and see what happens. I mean it challenged my mind a little bit more. But when things are methodical and technical I can feel too restrained and it comes out in the painting. At least to me. I can tell I was trying too hard to get things “right” versus riding out those moments.

For me finding the balance is like a strategy game. It’s necessary to know how to do this stuff in a variety of different ways because within that exploration I get to learn different techniques, but the application of such things isn’t a black and white process. No matter what I learn along the way, every time I sit in front of a blank page or canvas my application of methods can vary dramatically. So I guess keep that in mind when doing your own stuff. Learn the how to, understand the mechanics of it all, but if you find you get a more desired result by doing it differently then do that! In art you can be a rebel and I love it!

I think out of the three city scapes my own personal favorite so far was the second one I did. That said I did do another kind of city scape…

I’ve been slowly, but surely working towards creating some fantasy and cosmic/sci-fi horror stuff. I read a lot of comics. I see a lot of art. I watch a lot of movies. I’m venturing into the world of D&D and role playing games. All of it is food for my brain. Because one day I might just want to make a comic or something, and collaborate with others on a project of that sorts, it’s whatever lol just a lil dream I’ve had for awhile. Time will tell.

ANYWAYS, this painting didn’t start with a story, but I was inspired by a friend’s own rpg adventure and it helped shaped the scene. (This next part is where you start to read as if there’s some dramatic narrator)

What you see before you is a world continuing to exist due to the heroics of an individual. Their last action, although it created a giant a crater, saved lives. What lies ahead for the rest of humanity is unclear. For they live in a world constantly invaded by monsters and forces of nature that seek out complete domination. That wish to see the world in complete chaos and ruins. Perhaps there are more heros out there. Hunting. Seeking to rid the world of the factions and gateways that are letting these creatures in. Hoping that in the end, should they survive, it would bring about peace. Or perhaps, that crater unearthed something that had been dormant for millions of years, and the storm looming over the distant city is an omen of the danger that is is about to crawl out from the depths. Whatever awaits these people, let’s hope there are more hunters willing to save them.

So there you have it folks! Painting city scapes and having a good ol’ nerdy time. Remember, have fun, laugh and let life be a silly adventure sometimes. It’s good stuff. Peace!

Just some art stuff

Below are some attempts at quick sketching out one of the photos I caught the other day. I was ultimately just trying to wake my brain up and get in the zone.

And then I was like I’ll try to watercolor it.

I wasn’t liking how it was going BUT I started seeing a city off in the distance in some little world. So I decided to play around.
I think I’m hardwired for the weird and quirky. Growing up with abstract cartoons on cartoon network and nickelodeon, plus just constantly wanting to be in a different world, my mind likes to wander.

But this is the process I’m trying out. I need some structure in my life in some way otherwise I start to feel ungrounded and out of control. This is something I learned about myself recently.

Had a brief bit of time I was unemployed. I needed to not be working, I couldn’t work, but I was floundering. The struggle was real lol.

Anyways, enjoy the day and thanks for reading!

Nature was calling to me

It’s probably been a solid decade since I’ve really been OUTDOORS. I shoved that longing and love for the outdoors way down due to circumstances and codependency.

Now and days though it’s a huge goal of mine to get some camping gear, a fishing pole, and build a campfire. I’m a simple creature. I relive my fond memories of my adventures by going back into Facebook to look at my old photos. Here’s a few.

I see mountains to climb and I want to look down from them.
I see trees and I want to climb them all.
I see tall grass and have to pretend I’m on some adventures.

The one above is one of my favorites. The person on my back is my sister and what started out as a bike ride ended in this. I saw mud puddles and couldn’t resist getting down and dirty. Hit those puddles on my bike BMX style and started a mud war. Call it my inner hobbit. I was 18 at this time. These are the shenanigans my sis and I would get into. Good times.

That all said yesterday I decided to go somewhere new. Ideally I would have drove to the ocean a couple hours away, but I had made plans that kept me within a certain time frame. Boring details. But I wanted to get outdoors and take a walk. So I did and I took some pictures for reference photos since I left all my art supplies at home.

My plan is to try and sketch these out in some way. Practice some stuff. Working on that whole light and shadow goodness.

It felt good to get out even though it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for. I’ll get there soon. Fresh air does my soul, whatever that even is or means, good.

Applying techniques.

Strangely enough, painting little 3D miniatures has helped me with painting on flat surfaces. I used some of the techniques I was shown to paint these lil guys (see below) to help me with layering contrast.

It’s a whole process of building up color. Layering pigments to give a more realistic contrast of lights and shadows. It was kind of cool watching it work. It’s a little bit more time consuming, I tend to want to rush through things, so being patient with what I’m trying to create is a challenge in itself.

Learning how to balance the specific application of techniques and not overthinking is difficult. I can overthink my way into complete non action because I’ve become so frazzled I’m overwhelmed. So as much a I love knowing how to do things, there’s a point when I have to just let go and do what feels natural. Aka I need to just relax.

So that’s what I did last night and I’m pretty proud of what came from it. I met my own personal goals and had fun. Low key excited. This whole doing art daily thing really does make a difference.

Now for the semi pointless rabble see below lol.

As silly and ridiculous as this sounds, progress and improvement terrifies me. Investing time and energy into something I love doing is such an uncomfortable thing. It’s like I don’t want to get my hopes up but the truth is I’m FUCKING STOKED. I don’t know where this journey is headed but it might actually be somewhere cooool. See I can’t even use the appropriate descriptive words.

I tend to keep the vibe of excitement at this certain volume. Treating it with this fear thinking if I get too loud I’ll scare it away or someone will come to remove it. Yay! Fun quirks that PTSD gave me! CUE my life mantra “It’s all good. No big deal. I’ll figure it out. I got this!” LOL

On a random side note I’m also missing my dad LOADS and craving the outdoors and a campfire. There you have it folks! Keep on keeping on! Have a great day! Peace!

My only First Place award

I think I briefly mentioned how art has been a source of valuable life lessons for me. I’ve had some amazing mentors along the way who, through guiding me through the challenges of trying to get a good drawing, ended up teaching me a valuable lesson in general.

With this next piece I’m about to share I learned that sometimes just saying yes and giving something a try, despite what I think or feel initially, can be rewarding.

I believe I was in 9th or 10th grade. I had finally been allowed to go back to public school and I made sure my electives was any art class I could get into. Well this project involved doing an abstract portrait with oil pastels.

I wasn’t impressed by what I did. I saw all the flaws but the art teacher was like “just let me put it in the art show” so I said fine. The day of the art show I didn’t even plan on going UNTIL my mom gets a phone call saying I’ve won first place. I was shocked. Like… wait what?! That won something. So I go to collect my award still just so confused.

Truth be told I’m still confused but I hang on to it because it’s a reminder that life can pleasantly surprise me, despite myself. I just needed to step out of my own way and take a risk. So here it is.

People saw something in it that I couldn’t and didn’t see and I think that’s beautiful. With light discernment I continue to put myself out there in various ways. Whether it’s just with myself or publicly I see the challenges and brace myself for the experience. Crash and burn or succeed, either way it’s an experience to learn from.

So as I move forward I remember that one time I got first place in something I didn’t think I had a reason to win, smile, and keep trying.

Because I couldn’t sleep.

Call it insomnia. Call it anxiety. Call it the artists curse. Call it bad timing lol enjoy this purging of the need to do something creative and avoid/ coast through feelings, whatever they may be, physical or emotional.

I decided I wanted to play around with watercolor. I know it’s a mess but I like it. Besides it’s all just practice for now. It’s better than what I did this morning that’s for sure! See below.
These kinds of posts will hopefully pay off down the road. I really am just trying to not lose track of progress and growth. This sort of thing for some reason helps keep me accountable. I do what I gotta do. (As I defend myself for no reason to no one lol) go me! Alright, keep it real folks. Peace!