The Uplift

My mood post-convention is often pendulous; the surges of motivation and excitement give way to sadness, give way to eagerness to embark on new projects, give way to lamenting that things are over for another year, give way to grandiose plans for the future.

This is the first year I attended panels about the meta-aspects of How to Do or How to Make; I’ve done a few makerspace panels in the past that were single-project “make ‘n takes” that have been wonderful, but not much of anything I would pursue beyond the confines of the convention.¹  This year, I opted to focus on trying to get Some Ideas About Art — what to pursue, how to pursue it, how to feel like a “real” artist.

Well, I succeeded on the first two counts.  Most of the “maker” panels I went to were really more about “making;” people who dabble in cosplay, prop making, electronic bits ‘n bobs — which are all amazingly cool, just not what I personally pursue.  Luckily there was a local artist on both panels whose primary focus really is more on art — pottery, watercolor, acrylic, inks, and a new-to-me medium/process called encaustics, which is painting with hot wax and sounds incredibly interesting.  All the panelists had some great things to say about creating makerspace in the confines of your own home (even if it’s small, or rented, or shared), and I got to get a few questions answered at a panel (yes I asked questions, which I never do!) about the logistics of baking Sculpey-altered boxes with mixed-media findings (such as wooden and glass beads, scrapbooking paper, metal findings, etc.) and was actually told that they hadn’t really heard of mixed-media altered boxes, and they sounded like they’d be really beautiful!!

I think I was so ridiculously happy to hear this because as a 101-level art novice and as a person with anxiety, I spend so much of my time fighting off Imposter Syndrome and generally feeling like everything I do is derivative and uninspired (even if I feel an initial surge of excitement or enthusiasm for a project, I wind up looking at it hyper-critically and feeling like an amateurish fraud calling myself any sort of “artist.”)  That gave me a surge of hope that maybe some of my ideas are worthy of pursuit, and while I had sworn off clay work for a while, I might make it a point to devote a weekend here or there to a particular project.

Today was surprisingly easy to get back into the swing of things; I took care of a few final things for the class I’m being pulled from, and wound up going out to coach, which, can I say, I nearly had a heart attack over because I completely and utterly forgot I was supposed to go out today (I always go out on vocational coaching on Tuesdays, but with the extra-long weekend and the chaos of Arisia, I completely forgot it was Tuesday.  Luckily I had to drop some paperwork off in the vocational office anyway and happened to glance at the schedule).  Bear was a little slow going in the morning, but was excited to report to his friends at school about the weekend.

Today is already Tuesday!  Smile, you’re nearly halfway there.

I will be starting my previously proposed deep-study of the human face, feature by feature, tomorrow.


¹With the exception of mini-hats, which is an Arisia-specific craft that I have utterly fallen in love with, and I think I might want to start making some in my free time.

Back to Reality

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I arrive back from Arisia 2020 tired, inspired, and more than a little bit down; post-con letdown/blues/depression/hangover/whatnot is real, and it is potent.  I had a wonderful time, and after seeing Bear interact with various peers (and even older children and adults this year), I have big hopes that next year he will be able to qualify for Fast Track, which would give he and I both a greater measure of independence at the convention.

Bear has also decided that he wants to be a Masquerade participant next year in the Young Fan Division, and I am feeling a stronger and stronger pull to apply to be a panelist next year, so I have grand hopes that Arisia 2021 will be epic… but it hurts, just a little, knowing that it’s a whole year away.

Back to work tomorrow.  I’ll do a quick rundown of the con, including the things I’ve been pondering in it’s wake, and what it’s motivated and inspired me to do and consider.  It was a productive year, and I have lots of hope and excitement for both my fannish and creative projects going forward in the near future.

But just for tonight, I think I’ve earned some junk food, a big margarita, and a good (mostly metaphorical) cry into a pillow before I’m forced back into the Real World tomorrow morning.

Hope your weekends have been restful and rewarding.

Tonight

Tonight, I opt to do nothing.  No, not even a daily sketch.

Tomorrow is going to be a whirlwind.  Up at 6 am, I’ve got to cut my hair (it’s so convenient when you’re hairstyle is buzzed, super-short undercut), clean the house, drop Bear off at school, hit the gym, shop for food for the hotel stay (hotel food is ridiculously priced), finish packing, pick Bear up, and head to my mom’s — all before 11:45.

I’m thrilled for this weekend.  Conventions always serve to rekindle my desire to be creative, but it’s only recently that I’ve begun to cultivate creativity as a part of my everyday life, so I’m looking forward to seeing what the added boost of inspiration does for what is already semi-regular output.

And can I talk about how glad I am that I’ve moved past that seemingly endless stretch of procrastination and stagnation?  I still have a long way to go towards being a prolific creator, but at least I’ve gotten to the point that I’m doing something creative, or something to further a creative endeavor, just about every day.  I’m sketching, I’m starting drawings, I’m planning paintings.  For the longest time, the furthest I got along in a creative project was to lament that I had no ideas or motivation.  That I couldn’t find the time to sit and work.

The latter is still sometimes a struggle, but it’s gotten so, so much better.

I’m so excited for the Art Show; I love seeing what other people are doing, and getting ideas for other themes or subjects to explore in my own stuff.  It gives me something to aspire to.

Work today lasted forever, and it wasn’t even a bad day — it was actually a pretty good day, all told — it was just one of those days when you know you have something desirable coming up and you just want to get things over with.  I did some review on my ASL lessons between sitting exams with kids (I’m up to Lesson 12, after a long period of stagnation at Lesson 10), and popped into the party the vocational program head hosted for our main internship site.  It was a good turn out, and so nice to see the kids and catch up with some of the staff in the Excel program, which I was a part of last year.  All in all, it felt like a well-spent day, but in the back of my mind, there was that constant, niggling reminder that I had a four-day weekend and a con waiting for me at the end of the day.

Depending on the wi-fi situation, and my daily con schedule, I may pop in to say hi, or it might be radio silence until Tuesday.  Either way, I hope you all have fantastic weekends.

A Few Days Left

My daily sketch:

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I did not feel up to drawing a full human figure this evening, so I focused on a single eye.  I’m not thrilled with it, but the sheer act of drawing a human eye from a reference photos forced me to notice things that I, in the past, have repeatedly messed up when attempting to draw faces.  While I really struggled to get them into the drawing — a combination of rushing and sheer lack of skill — I realized that I usually ignore the bottom/top plane of the top/bottom eyelid.  “Eyelids are not flat,” but all too often I draw them as sort of being like form-fitting jeans, perfectly contoured to the eye, and they aren’t; they have some thickness.  I am going to need some serious work to map all this out, but I did happen upon this page which seems like an excellent resource.

I’m thinking I might use that page above for a series going forward, where maybe I devote a week at a time doing daily sketches to some of the tutorials the artist offers.  As in, a whole week where my series of seven daily sketches are just ears, or just eyes, or just lips, etc, culminating in a week of full face sketches.  Just a thought, but one that is rapidly gaining traction in my mind.

Bear has been waking every morning asking me if it was time to leave for Arisia yet.  He’s so funny.  There are several things I’m planning to take him to, including Make Your Own Wings (his from last con finally fell apart) and a Make Your Own Mini-Hat/Fascinator (which is not strictly a kid’s workshop, but which welcomes well-supervised kids), a few sword/fencing demonstrations, and both the Geeky Bellydance performance and the Masquerade.  He’ll also be accompanying me to some kid-friendly panels, and probably spending some time at some other playdates/makerspace kid events with my mom.

Honestly, I wish I had something like Arisia growing up; some place that celebrated my geeky interests, my intense interests, my creativity.  My parents tried to be supportive (and were successful in some ways, and less successful in others), but I feel like getting to know like-minded peers at a young age, or even seeing grownups still enjoying and reveling in the geeky interests that had already begun earning me eye-rolls from my family, would have done wonders for my self-image.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel the need to apologize to people for how into certain things I am.  Maybe I wouldn’t feel embarrassed, in certain social circles, for my level of enthusiasm over some silly piece of pop culture.

Meanwhile, I feel like work kicked into hyperdrive this week and looks to maybe be calming down, now that finals have actually started?  I have only two finals to sit with students this term, and will be spending the rest of my time doing some correcting and editing on student papers and doing some vocational evaluations.  All in all, for me, the next few days are relatively chill, which is welcome.  Coming back post-Arisia and having only casual/incidental student meetings and a single final to sit is far easier to handle while suffering post-con burnout than a full-fledged day of classes and training.

Tomorrow is my Friday, but hey, maybe for you, it’s just Friday Jr.  You’re still almost there.  You can make it.

 

Sunday, (Fan)day

My daily sketch:

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Not happy with this sketch; I actually generally dislike all the human figures I draw (which is why I’m trying to make it a priority to draw more of them, because I need the practice).  My biggest issue, as I’ve said, is proportion, and, going sort of hand-in-hand with that, perspective.  I have trouble conceptualizing forms in space in the abstract, so I absolutely have to have a reference photo, and because my sense of proportion is off, it never ends up resembling the reference and I end up just feeling discouraged.  I hate how hard it is for me to be okay with not being good at drawing things; this was, again, a sketch I wanted to sort of sweep under the rug.  I’m not.  I’m owning it.  And I’m going to draw more and more human figures, because that’s the only way I’ll get better.

I was excited to see, when the schedule went live tonight, that Arisia is having a few “figure drawing” panels/workshops; the timing really seems like kismet, given my resolve as of late to get better at art.  One of them will actually be the first panel I attend on Friday night, and I’m excited.

Actually, I’m excited the Arisia schedule went live, full stop.  This is late for them, and I’m thrilled by some of the panels and offerings.  I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet on this iteration of the blog but I’m intensely interested in fandom culture, and I’ve been attending fan conventions for eleven years.  Arisia is, by and far, the favorite of the cons I’ve ever been to.  This is my seventh Arisia, and I’m just as excited as the first year.

Today was oddly Arisia-centric.  Along with going to the gym (and woo, what a workout that was), my only foray out of the house today was to Savers, to try to round-up the necessary accouterments to put together a Crowley cosplay.  Good Omens was a huge fandom for me in the summer of 2019, so much so that I had a Good Omens-centric Tumblr and read more fic in that one fandom over the summer than I’ve read in all my fandoms over the prior six months, I kid you not.  I was lucky enough to be gifted his sunglasses over the holidays, and thought it’d be relatively easy to find the other pieces —  grey slacks, a vest, a blazer.

Sadly, it was not.  I might try again next week, but I’m not going to pretend I’m not a bit discouraged.  I don’t do cosplay generally, I just don’t have the time or the money (or really, the inclination in general, though I do love cosplay-watching at cons, and have deep respect for talented cosplayers), but Crowley, I don’t know.  Crowley was special to me.  I gorged myself on Crowley-centric fic over the summer, particularly the “Crowley Was Raphael Before He Fell” and “Genderfluid Crowley” tags over on AO3, and I was really looking forward to putting together something for the con.  Maybe I still have a chance.  We’ll see.

Back to work tomorrow, and Bear’s first day back at school.  I’m almost done my micron pen piece, so I might work on it and possibly finish it tonight.  It’s not perfect, but I’m still thrilled with how it’s come along.

Here’s to a good work week.