My First Bike: Meet Pinkie

My First Bike: Meet Pinkie

A few weekends ago I finished the MSF Course, and thus began my journey in searching for a motorcycle.

What I didn’t anticipate, and what is now obvious is: I’m short, I’m 5’2″. So, I needed a bike that would accommodate that! This became very obvious after making a trip to see a bike, and loving the look of it, but realizing that I had to stretch to reach everything. Not a good plan. I really shouldn’t have to point my toe out like a ballerina to reach the rear brake! I realized I needed to try on some bikes.

As I visited three different dealerships, straddling each bike, playing “Motorcycle Cinderella,” two bikes fit—the Kawasaki Vulcan 500, and the Suzuki S40 Boulevard (650).

The dealership wanted ten thousand, which included positioning all of the controls, for the Vulcan. I went home and did some research.

After finding some very favorable reviews of the Suzuki S40 Boulevard on Youtube, I looked on Cragislist for a used one.

 

 

I spent some hours with some lovely people, who were kind and helpful. Their S40 had gone through several women riders in their family, and she was well taken care of. I felt all the more comfortable, as the woman I was buying the bike from was built just like me—short and stocky. My research and my knowledge of it all came together, and it felt right.

I brought “Pinkie” home! She is a single cylinder 650. She has one carburetor. She is simple, not a lot of parts (which is good for repair and upkeep).

I am also happy with her styling. I don’t know a lot about her performance through my experience yet, but people really seem to be loyal to the bike. I found an online forum which is excellent with support and technical knowledge. I am so excited for all that I’m going to learn, the confidence it’s going to build, and the adventure!

 

 

Moving Toward (design)

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.

Filed Under: Art

Persistence: Learning to Ride

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.”

The bike I learned on—Kawasaki Eliminator 125

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.

Yes is the Answer (design)

In a burst of trying to get myself motivated and focused in a positive direction, I have been making some colorful “posters” in Photoshop.

Here is one of them: “Yes is the answer you’re looking for.”

And this design on an A-line dress, because feel-good feeling and fashion should go together!
Take a look, here, or click on the image to go to the Shop. ♥

Thanks for reading and supporting me!

Artist Spotlight: Hope Gangloff

Artist Spotlight: Hope Gangloff

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.

  1. The intimacy of her subjects, all being friends she knows well, and has spent time with
  2. Her color choices are pop-art bright and alive
  3. Her lines, loose, and young, with structure as needed
  4. Her inclusion of household objects: sometimes as setting, mood, commentary, or just for their shape
  5. Large format, which is eye-entrancing and pulls
  6. Subject matter: common life, friends, free time, and rest—small wonders of every day life, and enduring friendships
  7. The works’ overall tone: like a friend you could tell you life story to over a bottle of wine—kindness and tolerance exemplified

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Show Up and Draw (design+motto)

Show Up and Draw (design+motto)

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—

ShowUpandDraw-1920x1896

I love you all, I hope you will continue on this creating journey with me—of fortifying self, and creative skills. ♥

Love, Penney

Firmly Planted (mixed media)

Firmly Planted (mixed media)

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.

Firmly Planted - Mixed Media

Filed Under: Art
Purple Iris (Digital)

Purple Iris (Digital)

I was looking through some photo albums a few days ago, and spotted this lovely picture of a dark purple wild iris.

Wild Iris - Reference Photo

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.

 

Wild Iris - Beginning

 

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.

 

 

Wild Iris - Final with Background

 

 

Filed Under: Art
Cintiq + Reclining Iris (Drawing)

Cintiq + Reclining Iris (Drawing)

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.

Reclining Iris - Drawing

Filed Under: Art
Nearly Flying – Graphite Drawing

Nearly Flying – Graphite Drawing

Nearly Flying - Graphite

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.

Filed Under: Art
Wild Alice – Graphite to Digital

Wild Alice – Graphite to Digital

Starting out with a graphite drawing and progressing to digital coloring.

Female-Hair

 

I couldn’t choose between a black or blue background, so I’m keeping them both.

 

Wild Alice - Blue

 

I really like how that black makes her hip and leg pop out. Bam.

 

Wild Alice - Black

Filed Under: Art
Line Braid – Digital

Line Braid – Digital

Symmetry Braid - Line

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.

Filed Under: Art
Her Winding Self – Digital

Her Winding Self – Digital

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.

Her Winding Self - Graphite

The original image, graphite on paper.

Her Winding Self - Digital Color

The final image, with dark digital lines and digital coloring.

Filed Under: Art
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