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.

31 Day Challenge: Days 22 – 24

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22.  Best Thing to Happen

The three best things that ever happened to me were all things I stumbled upon: my job, my husband, and my son.  My job was the result of blanket applications to any place I was remotely qualified, and that turned into fifteen years and a decision that this would likely be my life’s work (unless something drastic changed).  My husband was someone I met on a dating site, whose profile amused and intrigued me, but who I never really thought to message until one day he just happened to message me, and just happened to live walking distance away.  My son was not planned (which is not the same as not wanted; kids were on the horizon, we just got there unexpectedly early), but my pregnancy was probably one of the happiest times of my life.  I don’t think I ever conscientiously did something that worked out quite as well as those three things

23.  Dream Job

It used to be “writer,” a no brainer.  Now, honestly, I’m not sure.  I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to write professionally, but I keep thinking I’d love to work with, like, The Office of Transformative Works preserving fan culture, or doing social/creative/academic studies regarding fan and fandom culture.  Or, hone my drawing skills and be an illustrator and collaborate with people on graphic novels or storybooks.  So I suppose my ambitions haven’t changed much; they’re still creative, but the definition of creative has expanded a bit.

24.  Favorite Childhood Book

Define childhood.  Younger childhood, I was obsessed with the Disney Classic adaptation of The Great Mouse Detective (I still would love to read/intend on someday reading the original Basil of Baker Street series), Charlotte’s Web, and an incredibly obscure book called Felita.  As an older kid, I loved Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and basically anything Christopher Pike (which, if you were also a Pike fan, please go listen to Teen Creeps, they have some great episodes about his books).


Oh my God, my head.

This has been simultaneously an unbearably long week and a surprisingly quick one.  I feel like the quarantine is going to be (and should be, honestly) longer than anticipated, and I’m not sure if I’m cool with that (I feel safer at home, and the last nearly week-and-a-half passed way faster than I anticipated) or dreading it (Bear has been awfully restless, and hasn’t listened to a damn word I’ve said except for the two hours or so of formal instruction we do each day.  Outside of that, everything has been a chore.  Getting him to do anything I ask has been like pulling teeth, and despite my best efforts, it’s grating on me).

I have, however, been keeping occupied.  I’m almost ready to post another batch of micron drawings to the gallery (I’ll post them in a blog entry first), and I’ve been playing around with the Copic markers my sibling-in-law gave to me before they went to Sweden (oh my God – I had no idea how pricey they were.  They’re like $5-$10 a marker.  Even at the low end, that’s $120 worth of markers they gave me!!)  I ventured into the shallows of — what do they call it?  ArtTube?  Artist YouTube?  There are some enviously good artists out there, and I’ve been enjoying exploring some of their videos — not just tutorials, but sketchbook “yours,” tips and tricks, motivations, and time-lapse painting/drawing.  It makes me want to get good, fast, ha ha.  I’ll post a list of my favorite when I have more of a chance to dive deeper.

It’s Tuesday.  Stay safe, sane, and vigilant.  Get off social media for a while (my WordPress is curated to this doesn’t feel like social media — I don’t get the gloom ‘n doom vibes).  Do something you love, and share it (uh… when you get back on social media, I guess?  Look, curate your social media.  Honestly.  You know how many people I’ve snoozed, muted, or unfollowed?  It’s helped a lot).

Take care of yourselves and each other.

PS: Anyone else feeling totally unprepared for NaPoWriMo/Camp NaNo/A-to-Z Challenge??

A Break (31 Day Blogging Challenge: Days 20 & 21)

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20.  Difficult Time in Life

Ha, I kind of think I’m going through one right now.  My anxiety has never been higher, and for the first time in my life, I can’t really talk myself donw from thinking that my anxiety is misplaced or exagerated.  The silver lining on this is, this is it – this is the hardest time of my life.  I feel like that probably means I’ve been incredibly fortunate.

21.  Favorite Books

Ugh, I was away from reading for so, so long.  I don’t even know what my favorite books are anymore.  One book I normally name, which I did legitimately enjoy, is Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveller’s Wife.  Beyond that, though, I think realistically I more have favorite authors.  Augusten Burroughs, David Sedaris, Terry Pratchett have been pretty perenial favorites, but right now I’m trying to read more frequently and more broadly to discover new favorites.


Saturday means a break from homeschooling.  I’m not going to lie, that almost makes me sad.  Doing the homeschool routine gives my day a bit of structure and gives me time with Bear, but by the same token, I recognize that he needs a break, as well.  We go pretty hard for him being only five; we do about 2 or 3 hours of pretty rigorous academics that includes two Scholastic lessons (including assessments), YouTube videos and do-alongs, Kahoot reviews, and Khan Academy.  He needs time to decompress and so do I.

It feels weird to just have time-upon-time.  Up on today’s roster is a ton of reading, working on some art (I started two sketches yesterday just to get the juices flowing again, as it were), and trying to prep for April’s challenges (I am having a harder time than expected finding songs for certain letters; that being said, I’m okay with branching out to Decemberist-adjacent acts, but I need to take the time to sit down and figure that out).

In the midst of everything, I am finding myself excited to have time to work on projects, but I’m also going to be honest ad admit that I’m still looking for new things I can do to pass the time, and I’m wondering if other people are feeling the same way.  I have plenty of things to keep me occupied for the next couple of weeks, but let’s be honest — I’m pretty sure the lockdown s going to last longer than that.  Anyway, I’m wondering if there exists or if there is a need for a “hobby exchange;” a place where people can say things like, “hey, this is what I’m already into, here’s the stuff I have access to (internet, fancy paper, yarns, etc), what other things are there that I can do with what I have?”  Or even more specifically, “hey, I’m in search of new point-and-click online games/Steam recs/Netflix shows/family activities/social or creative forums, etc., here’s what I already like/have/do, what can you recomend me?”

Does such a place or post exist, or is it a niche that needs to be filled??

Also, I updated my Art Gallery with the Birds of Black acrylics, for those interested.

It’s Saturday.  Take a breath, take a walk, take a stretch.  Settle in.  There are no expectations on you at the moment except to try to stay safe.  In the midst of a lockdown, there is some strange freedom in that.

31 Day Challenge: Day 19

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19.  What I Collect

I mean.  Dust, mostly.

Ok, so for real.  I honestly don’t really collect much of anything any more.  Back when I was a teenager, before it got prohibitively costly, I’d collect music I loved.  I had the entire catalogue of Queen CDs, including several rare releases, live release, solo albums, foreign releases, as well as VHS concerts, music video compilations, documentaries, and something like half a dozen books, including a book of narrative poetry about Queen and the author’s own experience in Queen fandom.  It was a lot.  I mean, I don’t think I’ve felt quite that devoted to something for quite that long since.

I, in some sense, collect poetry forms, since I actively seek them out and I’ve written in at least thirty different, distinct forms, and I love reading about their orgins and playing around with them to see what they can do.  But that’s a collection of an entirely different kind, isn’t it?

Maybe I should find something worthwhile to collect again.


I’ve been painting birds again.  In some earlier iteration of this blog, I definitely had a pretty low-quality phot of the first “Birds on Black” paintings I did, on a stack of black plastic plates my late grandfather had left with my mother.  Well, the past few days saw me with enough time and space to break out my arcylics again, and I painted two more, bringing the collection to five total.  The sun has gone down here, and the lighting in my home leaves much to be desired, but I intend to photograph all five and add them to my Art Gallery tomorrow.

It’s Thursday.  If you are able to be home, I hope you are comfortable; if you have to work tomorrow, I hope you are safe.  Whereever you are and whomever you are with, I hope you are kind.  Take care.

From Home (31 Day Challenge: Day 18)

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18.  Blog Name Meaning

No big secret behind this one, since the inspiration for my blog name is right now my side bar (for anyone who has ever been to my blog “in person,” as it were).  There’s a quote with several various attributions (also, as a result, often credited to “Anonymous”) that goes, “Creative minds are rarely tidy.”  Given that I knew I wanted my blog to be a mativation to be more creative, as well as a showcase for my creativity — and given that I have dealt with pretty prohibitive ADHD that definitely “untidies” my thoughts and maybe causes me to be a little less than succinct — the name just made sense.


Third day of learn-from-home.  Thank God for some of the free resources companies are offering; we’re using Scholastic (hopefully they’ll extend what is currently 20 days worth of lessons), Khan Academy Kids (so highly recommended), PBS Kids Learn and Grow, Kahoot (a Basic (free) plan, where I’m making him little quizzes), and various YouTube channels (I found a few channels that do exercise videos for kids, Civics and Social Studies lessons (including “Sung History,” little music videos about historical figures and events), and a number of channels that do storybooks readalouds that include animations or costumes).  I also still have almost entirely untouched Crayola phonics and math workbooks I bought at Dollar Tree and put aside for vacations or illness, and a Craft Activity Jar I picked up a while ago at the Target Dollar Spot.

I’m going to be honest, my anxiety has been on ultra-high alert lately, and as someone who, even under ideal circumstances, suffers with anxiety (including hypochondria and medical anxiety) and obsessive thoughts, this is an especially trying time for me, mentally.  Which doesn’t mean I’m cowering in a corner 24/7; I’m playing with my kid, doing art, reading, laughing and smiling.  But there’s always an intense undercurrent of fear and anxiety there in the back of my mind, and it has it’s moments of creeping up to the forfront more often than I’d like it to.

So while I can’t ignore what’s going on — and I don’t expect anyone else to — I think I am going to opt not to write about it, either.  I feel like we (collectively, but I know myself, definitely) could use some spaces where we aren’t being bombarded with the shit that’s going on outside our windows right now.  So, I will be posting my challenges (this one, NaPoWriMo, and A-to-Z), my daily thoughts, observations, and anecdotes, and my art.

I may also flail and fangirl more than usual, since I will need to fill up more time than normal and I’m going to be deep-diving when it comes to the media I love. Fair warning.

It’s Wednesday.  My husband is home, and this is a great comfort in itself.  We ordered from our local Indian place to try and support a local family-owned business and have something special to enjoy while we’re stuck at home.  Hope you are all remembering to treat yourself.  You deserve it, now more than ever.

31 Day Challenges: Days 16 & 17

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16.  Top of My Bucket List

Well, if we’re to go with the literal top of my literal Bucket List, it’s apparently “Learn ASL,” which is funny because it is literally the one things I haven’t touched or looked at in weeks (I think I might be logging off and rectifying that today.  I’ve got at least three weeks with nothing but flexible, self-imposed household commitments).  If we’re talking about my at-the-moment greatest ambition, it would be to have my art featured in a gallery (which I’ve taken steps towards; I know the world is crazy right now, but I hope they at least still go forward with art selection for when it is once again possible to stage the exhibition) and to small-press publish a collection of poetry.  That ambition has been put off a bit for a lot of reasons, but who knows, maybe sometime during this weird hiatus from normalcy I’ll have the opportunity to take stock of what I have and figure out what I still need to pull together a coherent collection.

17.  My Proudest Moment

This is hard, because I feel like it “should” be something momentous, like my wedding day or the birth of my son, but while I would assign any number of glowing descriptors to those two days — exciting, life-changing, thrilling, joyous — I wouldn’t say they made me proud.  I am happy and grateful that I am in a marriage where I feel supported and comfortable in my own skin; I am proud of my son, but for the person he’s growing into, and at five, no single moment stands out.  Though, I suppose there have been one or two moments when, after spending time socially among a group with my son, I’ve had one or two people approach me and tell me what I good job I’ve been doing; that they’d been watching me with my son, and commended me on my parenting.  And I have to admit, as someone so consistently riled with self-doubt, especially regarding my abilities as a parent, that felt pretty damn good.


Well, I haven’t quite been at this everyday, which was the primary point of the exercise, but I suppose now it’s a matter of keeping on it as well as I can, and soldiering through to the end.  I want to be warmed up and in good practice for next month given I’ll be doing two challenges (full disclosure, I may well begin prepping sketches for A-to-Z in the next few weeks, since I can’t prep for NaPoWriMo (I really do like trying to follow the prompt challenges), but still.  Sitting down, logging on, and posting something is a commitment and a habit I need to develop.

Day Two of Learn-at-Home for Bear, though I think that’s an entry unto itself.

It’s Monday, y’all, and days are already blending into one another (though to be fair, I would occasionally end these posts with “It’s _________” just to remind myself what the hell day it was, so my slipshod recollection of the day can’t be entirely blamed on the lockdown.  Keep yourselves occupied and stay social; reach out and say “hey.”

Blogging A-to-Z Theme Reveal

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I’ve done the A-to-Challenge since 2017, when I started trying to blog in earnest.  That first year, my theme was literally just All About Me, because frankly I had no idea what I wanted my blog to be, or what purpose it served.  The following year, in 2018, I opted to combine Blogging A-to-Z with NaPoWriMo, and wrote a poem in a different form or style everyday (honestly, that was a lot of fun, and I’m still a fan of some of those poems).  2019 saw me trying to make this blog more about life with neurodivergence, so I wrote an A-to-Z about adult ADHD.

This year, armed with a little more knowledge about what the purpose of this blog is — rekindling and nurturing a creative self, however that manifests itself — and eager to push and challenge myself more, it took me a while to decide, but I’ve chosen a theme.

This year’s theme is: sketches inspired by song lyrics.  I’ve decided to try to keep the lyrical choices, so much as I can, to songs by one of my favorite bands (The Decemberists), because their lyrics are, at least to me, amazingly evocative.  I am hoping upon hope I can do them justice.

I am so looking forward to reading/seeing other people’s contributions this year!