Paint nights

20200113_193025.jpg

This one was very quick; I completed it in under fifteen minutes, while listening to my husband read Bear The Little Esrog before bedtime.  The shading on the stones of the planter feels very satisfying to me.  Less thrilled about the cacti, but I really leaned into the idea of a “sketch” while doing them — less refined, more the general shape and sense.  I some point, I really should invest in some good drawing pencils and a portable sharpener.  Probably about ninety-five percent of what’s wrong with my sketches can be attributed solely to my own lack of skill, but the Dollar Tree bulk supply of mechanical pencils probably aren’t the absolute best tools to be using.

I got suckered into spending the afternoon at my parents’ house by Bear, the master manipulator, which was not a problem (it was actually quite welcome, as they provide coffee and company after a day at work), but meant I got nothing at all done at home, and had to start dinner immediately upon setting foot in the door.

All I really want to do for the rest of the night is work on my micron drawing and think about my next painting project; after I get back from the con, I really want to use weekends to experiment with paints again, especially since I got a brand new set of acrylics for Christmas.  Acrylic painting is a bit too messy to break out every night after Bear goes to bed, but on a lazy weekend day, might make a good Saturday evening project.

Speaking of, I’ve actually been thinking I would love to host a paint night for some friends some day in the near future.  I should make that a goal for the coming months.  Buy some wine, make some appetizers, and invite people to bring potluck and alcohol, and we could either paint in tandem from one reference work, or each pick a subject near and dear to us.  How awesome would it be if it became a routine or tradition of some sort, even if it was like only two or three times a year.  I would love to give that I go.  I think I’ll have to put some further thought into it, but maybe once the weather turns nicer.  With a small enough group, we could even do plein air painting on my patio.

You survived Monday, the hardest hurdle of the week!  Breathe.  You got this.

Doing In Order to Do

As usual, the daily sketch:

20200106_192431.jpg

I am, as a whole, happier with this figure than I was with yesterday’s.  As odd as it sounds, I think the shading/shadow under her chin and along her throat is my favorite part?  I’m just really pleased with the facial contours, even though I know they aren’t perfect.  For a quick sketch, I’m strangely content with it.

I’m struggling today with accepting that the spirit of some of my goals is, in fact, more important than the letter.  Meaning, the spirit of my 2020 goals is to lead a healthier, happier, more balanced life, right?  To enjoy things more, expand my horizons, break free of my particular, frustrating brand of inertia.  For example, I went from someone who would read sometimes dozens of books a year in their early twenties to someone who last year, read one (and only then to encourage a student who was reading the same book).

So it made sense, to me, to make “read 50 books” a bucket list goal, the unstated but implicit limitation being, obviously, that meant 50 books in a year.  A lofty goal, probably, given my recent history.  And I knew that when I chose it.  But I wanted to push myself.  I wanted a challenge.

But then I was listening to some of the back catalog of I Don’t Even Own a Television (because, as established — crushing hard on Jay), and they were discussing people who listen to podcasts at 1.5x speed, and Collision (being magnanimous) admitted that while he wouldn’t begrudge people who truly enjoyed listening to podcasts that way, it did seem to him that people who did that more wanted to be able to check “listened to podcast” off some kind of To-DO list, rather than listen to a podcast for the sheer enjoyment of it.

I will admit, I felt kind of called out.  I feel like I’m already, six days into the new year, doing that with books.  I’m eeking out the time I can to read, in between work, and house work, and parenting, and drawing, and sign language, and cooking, and working out, and writing, and… it feels like all the benefits that I’m supposed to be reaping from reading — escapism, insights, knowledge, whatever — we’re being sacrificed for the sheer attitude of Get It Done.  I’m rushing through pages and having to go back and consciously re-read it more thoughtfully, more slowly, until I’m actually paying attention and not just letting my eyes flit over the letters on the pages.  I’m turning pages for the sake of updating my page count on GoodReads, you know?  And while I do want to eek out time to read every day, and I do want to aim for at least a couple of books a month, maybe I don’t need to lean so heavily on the specific number.  Maybe it’s ok — better — if I just read.

I’m going to have to be more conscientious about what other things I my life I rush through just to say I’ve done them.  What other supposedly enjoyable activities might I be sabotaging?

I got in a 20 minute workout on the elliptical at home today while Bear did yoga on my yoga mat, and made this spicy Thai basil chicken with baby spinach and rice, which was very satisfying, and actually managed to get up to Lesson 8 of 10 in my ASL review (I’m going to go through all 10 lessons again this week before moving on).  All this on top of working all day after getting up at 4:30 am, and I am beat.  I’ll probably get in my last two ASL lessons in tonight and then read some magazine with Andy in bed.

Oh, also, my first micron pen project is complete!  I’m going to open a gallery on the blog as soon as I have a few more pieces.  This is a bit of a reworking of a watercolor I did a while back that I was wholly unhappy with.  I’m much happier with how it came out this time.

20200105_205438.jpg