Sleepy

Today, I am exhausted.  This is midterms season, and work has me beat, so no daily sketch today.  I know, I know.

However, in lieu of it, I wrapped up a micron drawing.

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I didn’t feel like cooking tonight, so my husband stopped for some quick food before heading home, and in addition to a small salad and some egg salad sandwiches (which I love; I can’t seem to make a good egg salad, for some reason, and our local grocery store make a great one), my husband picked me up a giant jug of pre-mixed Jose Cuervo maragaritas.  That, paired with some popcorn, was a nice little after dinner treat.

Anyway, I know I’m getting old because that one (single, solitary) margarita has knocked me on my ass.  9 pm bedtime, here I come.

Also, I’ve been reading The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan, who is a new-to-me author but is apparently quite prolific.  I’m really loving the book so far.  Has anyone read any of her others?  Are there any recommended follow-ups?

Tomorrow is Hump Day.  You’re halfway there.

Quiet Sunday

The daily sketch:

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After yesterday’s sketch, where I used shadow incredibly sparingly, I wanted to try a sketch that used more drastic contrast, so I found a reference photo of a model in dark shadow and gave that a shot.  It didn’t turn out the way I wanted, but this is after two reworkings, and is a vast improvement over the sketch that was on the page when I first laid my sketchbooks down (I then returned to it after lunch, with a clearer head).  I’m beginning to realize that time and persistence are probably the two greatest determiners of whether or not a piece I’m working on will be halfway decent or not; I don’t have great fluency yet, but returning to a piece over time does, eventually, yield better and better results.  I think I’m going to find reference pics that will allow me to work on light/dark values for the next few sessions.

Today Andy, Bear, and I headed into Waltham to meet his cousin Janice, her husband, and their daughter while they moved her back into her dorm.  We met up at a small Thai restaurant — the kind of hole-in-the-wall with six tables and a storefront right on the sidewalk (step up off the curb into the dining room) — and had an enjoyable lunch.  Janice is an illustrator, and came bearing a gift for Bear, a book she had illustrated called The Little Esrog, which Bear received enthusiastically (for a kid his age, he is incredible gracious when receiving gifts… and he genuinely likes books).  We were late getting started on bedtime routine tonight and it’s a text-rich book, so we won’t be reading it until tomorrow, but Bear is looking forward to it.

Besides that, which was a worthwhile diversion I was happy to have had the chance to share in, today was frustratingly stagnant.  I dressed in gym appropriate attire for our lunch date (black leggings and a nice black-and-white tee), and then stupidly pulled on my boots before leaving the house, and didn’t realize it until I was literally walking down the interior corridor to the gym (luckily Andy and Bear were right next door grocery shopping, but still.  I was — and still am — incredibly angry at myself for such a stupid mistake, and generally frustrated that I didn’t get to have my workout today).

I came home feeling drained, but dragged myself through putting away groceries, cooking dinner, folding the week’s laundry, and packing for Arisia (all our clothing, at least; anything I wont need between now and Friday).  I’ve just been generally down and lethargic this weekend, just very low energy.

On a positive note, last night I opened Google docs and clicked on a few unfinished fanfics from last year.  Two of them I had been working on a bit in November and still had their general shape in my mind, but I was reminded of how silly, self-indulgent, and fun they were, and how I really should continue them just for the hell of it… and then I opened another one that I hadn’t touched since July.  Crowley-centric, in the Good Omens fandom, and something I had struggled with and absolutely hated every word as I commited it to paper (I had been reading a lot of GO fanfic at the time, and it felt like my prose just didn’t hold up to some of the amazing authors in the fandom)…

…But, oh my God.  It was so much better than I remembered it being.  For a first draft, not edited or combed through or revised, it was surprisingly sharp and focused.  It wasn’t the pinnacle of the craft, by any stretch of the imagination, but it was a solid piece of writing, and I can’t believe I agonized and self-flagellated so much over that story.  It made me really hopeful that I might actually return to and finish it, possibly after the con (there’s a GO panel I’m attending that I’m hopefully will rev up the fandom in me).

Oh, and the con is on Friday.  I’ll probably reinstall WordPress Mobile on my phone so I can post, at the very least, my daily sketches, but there may be a four-day stretch of little other than that.  I’m sure that comes as devastating news.

Hoping Monday is gentle with you all, with something enjoyable waiting for you at the end (for me, it’s a cup of tea, a 9 pm bedtime, and a stack of trashy magazines to read with my husband).

Doing In Order to Do

As usual, the daily sketch:

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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.

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Cultivating Creativity

Daily sketch:

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A sketch that took about 25 minutes, that could have been vastly improved by a good set of pencils, a durable eraser, and a straight-edge.  Again, the values are off, and the finger on the shutter button is seven different kinds of messed up, but that was the fourth or fifth redraw, and I had to remind myself — it doesn’t have to be perfect.  The daily sketch is not supposed to be about showcasing perfection, it’s about cultivating a habit, learning as I go, beginning to understand my relative strengths and weaknesses, and taking ownership of the things I create, however good or bad I perceive them to be.

I eeked out some free time today and read the first 108 pages of The Great Spring.  I had read a summary prior to starting the book, so I knew it wasn’t about writing, per se, but there is a fair amount in the book about mindfulness and mental presence that I feel can apply to developing a writer’s sensibility.  Also, these passages, which are about Zen meditation, but can so easily be applied to absolutely any creative endeavor:

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My husband is heading out to his weekly Game Night (different then our monthly Game Nights!), so I am putting Bear to bed, having dinner, and then I’m eager to continue working on some art with my microns and digging into Fansplaining, which I stumbled across looking for a good fandom podcast.  I recently listened to their episode The Shipping Answers (analyzing the results of a survey I participated in; it was how I first heard of them), and I really enjoy their overall vibe, and the episode descriptions sound intriguing; they seem to talk about a lot of fannish topics that are of interest to me.

I hope you all have a relaxing Friday night to look forward to, and a wonderful weekend.