I was playing around with Photoshop, learning some skills, and came up with this.
It seems like a very fitting theme for today, as I’m going to look at a motorcycle, and I’m doing some intense therapy / healing.
This print, various other items, and a throw pillow, are all available at my Redbubble Shop.
And a throw pillow that looks like it belongs in a therapist’s office.
I know I’ve been distant the past month. This is due to many factors—visiting friends out-of-town, which was refreshing, working through abuse memories and healing (always), but the last few weekends it’s been about learning how to RIDE A MOTORCYCLE.
This is something I never thought I would be capable of, having been told since childhood that was so too dumb, too uncoordinated, or just plan incapable of anything! These thoughts have been plaguing me, creeping in—I realized I was experiencing a lot of self-doubt and hurt because of this self-image I still carried.
Recently, I was talking with a friend about working on being more present and connected to my body, and he said, “you should try doing something in your life that demands presence and connection.” After some thinking, I thought: I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a motorcycle. Thus, the idea was born. I signed up for a local safety class, and over the weekend I took their written and riding exam and passed!
This may sound straightforward and simple, but for me it wasn’t.
On Day One, I dropped the bike, and snapped a piece off it of. I fought a lot of emotions, crying briefly, as other people whizzed around me. I took a deep breath and determined not to quit. Whether I passed or not, or had more difficulties, I thought, “no one could say that I was a quitter.” On Day Two, I had trouble with an exercise and had to reign in my emotions again. Sweaty, sunburned, and bodily fatigued, I carried on. I failed my riding test. I was discouraged and sad, “maybe what my family said is right—I am dumb and uncoordinated.”
But, I communicated with the riding school, and they were very willing to allow me to take the riding classes again and the test free of charge. I reasoned that likely I wasn’t dumb, but was tired, nervous, and it was a new concept to me. I had never even really used a manual transmission before, so what was I expecting? I gave myself some love in my heart, and became resolute, thinking, “if average people can ride a motorcycle, so can I. I have two arms and two feet, and two eyes, I can learn.”
This past weekend I took the classes again and the riding exam. Everything was smoother. The fear factor I had before was gone. I was more comfortable being with a group of people (something that was panic attack-inducing to me not too long ago), I was connecting to my body (I suffer from dissociation, so this is a big deal), and working on active listening (asking others for clarification—which also used to cause panic in me, because I used to feel so small and inhuman).
I’m going to be writing some more about what I learned and experienced, and I’m going to be writing about my adventures in motorcycling.
By telling you about my experience, my message is, if you want something, keep persisting. And remember, if average people can “get it,” you can, too.
I have decided to do an Artist Spotlight series, with the aim of introducing you to new artists and their works. I also intend to analyze and break down my reasons for liking the artist. What is it I’m drawn to? What part of me identifies with the artist? It is beyond, “I like this piece,” or “that is an incredible amount of work and talent.”
I’m not going to be highbrow and try to even begin to assume that I really know what I’m seeing when I’m looking at an artist’s work, or their intention—that is entirely their domain, and reason, and head space. But, I will say that I will break down in terms of how I feel, what pulls me toward the work, the artist, and what I feel I’m learning from the pull of experience.
I may even cycle through artists several times, and different artworks. I don’t want to this academic. I want to this to be self-discovery through others’ discovery. Just like a good poem leaves you learning about yourself, and then asking more questions, so does great art! ♥
Without further ado, here are in-studio images of Hope Gangloff to entice you. I highly recommend you view her completed works with time, space, and attention, here.
I love Hope Gangloff’s work. I’ve been entranced with her for several years now. There are many reasons for this: of course, her portraits, which are always what I’m drawn to, but there is more.
The intimacy of her subjects, all being friends she knows well, and has spent time with
Her color choices are pop-art bright and alive
Her lines, loose, and young, with structure as needed
Her inclusion of household objects: sometimes as setting, mood, commentary, or just for their shape
Large format, which is eye-entrancing and pulls
Subject matter: common life, friends, free time, and rest—small wonders of every day life, and enduring friendships
The works’ overall tone: like a friend you could tell you life story to over a bottle of wine—kindness and tolerance exemplified
I’ve been meaning to write a more in-depth post for some time. My head space has been a bit scrambled, and I’ve been wading through a lot of current life sideline emotion and the more nebulous backlog of emotion from the history of abuse. Abuse sucks, plain and simple. It is a powerful force that for huge segments of my life has been a drain of resources, time, energy, focus, drive, even willingness to live. Never mind having to do more things in a day besides just existing. Existing was the hardest thing for me do—when the abuse was happening, when it was becoming known to me in my consciousness; as the veils and distances of time and space fell away in my healing, it made everything get closer. More personal. Harder to deny, impossible to run away from. I tried to hide physically, emotionally, mentally, and when I was all done exerting myself from that, the truth would sit there, unamused by my antics, and ever-patient, telling me this happened to you.
So, here is my new goal. This isn’t a healing-focused blog, as I’ve had them before and they have been very beneficial, but also enabled a lot of wallowing. I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in being, and in making space and saying Yes to what is left of me, and what is growing from this point forward.
This is my grounding tactic—my tether and my answer to loss, to shame, to new memories, to all manner of uncontrollable. This, I can control. I can come here. I can be here.
So, here’s my new motto, and life goal—
I love you all, I hope you will continue on this creating journey with me—of fortifying self, and creative skills. ♥
There was a lovely portrait on the front of a recent National Geographic. So, I drew her (my hand work is terrible–need to work on that!) and added a potted plant, because I have been looking at a lot of Hope Gangloff lately, and it made me think of props in her wonderful portraits.
I was looking through some photo albums a few days ago, and spotted this lovely picture of a dark purple wild iris.
Using the new Cintiq I was given, I decided to try to draw it. Even though there are artistic liberties in this picture, I like it!
The start of the image, working in the major color groups.
And the end of the image for now, with color groups filled in, as artistic and free as I believe is effective. You will note that the background is filled in with more visually interesting bright spots of color, too.
My awesome family bought me a Cintiq! It is the most loveliest, most beautiful, most responsive, happiness-generating piece of equipment I have ever had in my life. Cintiq is a drawing tool. It has a stylus and a pad, and easily enables drawing in digital format. So, instead of drawing with my Fujitsu, which I had a lot of fun with, but it was getting quite old… I now have this super device that uses the power of my existing laptop. That makes it possible for me to run Photoshop, the drawing program, and all kinds of demanding tasks at once, with no fuss. I’m really looking forward to getting more comfortable with this tool, and taking advantage of the power and freedom of movement.
This is the drawing I made today, “Reclining Iris.” To see at a higher resolution, click here.
I took a recent trip to a Daiso store and got some lovely little mechanical pencils. I felt like making a figure portrait with a butterfly in it. The pencils worked out extremely well–one is an HB and the other is a 2B. The shading on the face was particularly rewarding and simple with the softer of the two pencils. I also used some graphite pencils from Ashleigh-Nicole that are very smooth and feel great. This turned out so well that I have a lot of confidence about making more portraits with insects and other animals featured in the future.
This was a simple exercise using the line symmetry tool in Sketchbook Pro. I was trying to represent female hair in as many non-hair shapes I could imagine. I like the simplicity of this–and the view as if from behind.
After a long time of not working on portraits, I started longing to make them again. This is the beginning of my reintroduction. I am also firming up a mode of working. I want to remove boundaries and obstacles to starting a drawing–draw when I feel that impulse (low barrier of entry)–but have the power, scaling, and multi-media application that is possible with digital art.
I am trying out a new workflow: physical to digital
1) sketch the image on paper with graphite
2) semi-finalize lines
3) minimal shading with graphite
4) take a picture of the drawn image
5) upload image of the drawn image (scaling / resolution)
6) overlay uploaded image with digital lines / trace
7) working and finalizing lines as I go along
8) creating multiple layers digitally
9) manipulating layers/mood/look
10) finalizing lines
11) apply digital color
12) rework, edit, add, remove as needed
Here is a picture I titled, “Her Winding Self,” using this workflow method.
The original image, graphite on paper.
The final image, with dark digital lines and digital coloring.
It’s been a full and happy two days of poetry publications! Today, “Recovery Manual,” and “Sexology” are both in Issue 4 of Awakened Voices. I’m so pleased to be in this issue–there are some great poems with a much-needed outlet.
Today, I am happy to have three poems published at Eunoia Review! “The Classification of Rainbows,” “Requires Heavy Lifting,” and “Pavee” have found their home. I am pleased to see all three together, in such a well-represented venue. I have been a fan of poems published here for some time, and I feel privileged to be among those poets. (If you’re in a poetry-reading mood, and want to catch up with my other publications, click here.)