Art Dump (31 Day Challenge: Days 25 & 26)

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25.  Blogs I Love Following

I am incredibly selective about the blogs I follow.  I generally don’t follow traditional “lifestyle” bloggers; I miss the days of LiveJournal and true, personal journaling.  In that vein, all the blog I follow, I feel, either give me insight into someone’s life and thoughts, or share interesting creative writing, art, or journeys.  Outside of WordPress, I don’t follow many blogs, but as I believe I mentioned in my last entry, there are some websites and especially some YouTube channels and podcasts that I deeply enjoy, and that I would love to curate and make a links list for at some point in the near future.

26.  Old Photo of Me

I had to dig through Facebook for this.  I almost posted one of my unofficial engagement photos (taken Christmas morning 2009, by the person who would be our wedding photographer, who (for reasons I don’t recall) literally crashed at our apartment on Christmas Eve at like eleven o’clock at night?)  But while that picture, at over ten years old, was old, this one is old.  Like, probably about thirty years old, at this point?  I’d wager this was Christmas of 1989:

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Note the very ’80s PJs, games, TV… literally everything.

Who’s ready for an art dump??

These are the photos I’ve shared on Facebook; they were shot to minimize glare, because I generally took them as progress shots at night, when the lighting in my house is the poorest.  I’ll have better quality photos when they finally go up on my gallery, but here is some of the art I’ve been working on the last week.  There still one or two pieces not included here, but Bear is playing on Khan Academy on my phone right now, and honestly, I’m not enough of a masochist to try to wrestle it away from him to take and upload a pic at the moment.

I’m so happy with how these acrylics turned out.  The plates are hard plastic, so I can’t lay down a rough sketch, which I usually do with my paintings; I just have to take the brush straight to it.  I love the yellow bird in particular (a yellow-throated warbler, I believe); I’m very happy with how vibrant the color is, despite the lack of primer and the dark background.

My last three microns.  The last one was done without photo references, and I am very pleased with the results!  Used multiple references for the first two; I feel like I’m getting better and integrating pieces from various photo references to make a coherent whole, and relying less on them as something to copy and more as just something to help guide the form (particularly when it comes to anatomy.  I’m definitely still trying to figure out anatomy).

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Only my second real attempt at watercolor, and it’s a watercolor illustration I’m doing for my sister, very much a work-in-progress, but I’m enjoying the process and trying to figure this medium out.

It’s Thursday.  Our schools have extended their closure until at least May 4th which, honestly, makes more sense given the numbers and where we are in this whole mess at the moment.  More time to do and learn, I suppose.

Stay safe, sane, vigilant, healthy.  Do something fun.  Be kind.

Poetry

As per usual, the daily sketch:

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Here is the proof that putting in an effort make a difference; I’m fast wilting now, but when I first came home from work, I had an odd burst of energy (might have been the cup of coffee I started brewing before I even had my coat off), and actually made a my-heart-is-in-it attempt at today’s sketch.  I’d estimate it took me between ten and fifteen minutes, which is comparable to yesterday’s time investment.  It’s funny, really, given that both sketches took roughly the same time, the difference in both objective quality and my attitude toward the drawings; I clearly do better work when I’m invested.  Anyway, I don’t think I fully differentiated the light and shadow values, but overall, I’m very happy with the sketch.

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned, but I was born and raised in Lawrence, Massachusetts, where Robert Frost is a bit of a hometown hero (he moved to the city in 1885, after the death of his father).  Every year, the Frost Foundation in Lawrence, and the Frost Farm in (relatively) local Derry, New Hampshire each offer a poetry prize (1, 2) in his name.  I’m debating trying to compose something to enter; maybe even a number of somethings.

I defined myself, for a long time, as a writer, which is funny to me now, because I’ve definitely produced more visual art in the last year than writing.  I haven’t really had it in me to really “write” for quite a while.  Even during NaNoWriMo and OctPoWriMo, which are usually my most prolific writing periods, yielded almost nothing this year — a few hundred words on an older, extant story and five disappointing poems, respectively.

I’ll be honest, for a while leading up to this year’s failing, I had been wavering, from poem to poem, about whether or not I was any good at poetry.  I’d been writing it from as young as I could remember, and I know that I was good as a young poet, for a young poet.  I just think I felt like, more recently, I should have been further along in the development of my own style and voice, and I never quite felt confident in having done that.

It’s sort of the way I feel about art now, though I’ve been writing for significantly longer than I’ve currently been painting or drawing.

I do wonder, though, if those feelings wouldn’t be abated with the same sort of daily practice that I’ve been devoting to art.  Would that be too much?  Would that be ridiculous?  Too much on my plate?  There’s just so much about writing that I miss.  I miss going to poetry readings; I miss commiserating with other poets; I miss seeing my name in print.¹  I miss finding just the right word, and the deep, deep satisfaction that accompanies that small victory.  I miss the cadence of lyrical language.

Sigh.

Let’s see how I feel in the morning.


¹Back in the day, starting when I was, say, 16, I would enter a poetry contest that the Frost Foundation held through our local newspaper (unaffiliated with the Poetry Prize, and meant, presumably, to make poetry more accessible).  It routinely got two hundred plus submissions, and aside from a single year, I placed every time I entered.  There’s still archived photos of my taken at the Tribune offices for my profile in 2010 somewhere online.  It wasn’t anything particularly prestigious or glamorous, but it was gratifying to know that people were reading your words, and that those words were resonating with them.  I would love to reclaim that.  I’d love to feel that feeling again.