Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Creative Person's List of Laments

….Because we creative people have the amazing magical power to create neuroses out of thin air!

I may not be as helpful or clever as Merlin Mann, but hopefully this is reasonably entertaining. I enjoyed writing it, although I'm vaguely embarrassed at how many of these neuroses—er, laments—I have personally indulged in on repeated occasions.

So You've Got a Bouncing Baby...Whatever That Is 

1. I'm not even sure this is a very good idea in the first place. Perhaps I: am getting old / killed too many brain cells in [insert college name here] / should have been a [insert more lucrative career here]. (select all that apply)

2. I'm never possibly going to finish [project title].

3. I'm never going to finish revising / perfecting [project title].

Once Your Project Is Done. Or IS it? 

4. Is it really done? Maybe I should just tweak this word / sentence / line / stray pencil mark.

5. It's not done. I never should have sent it off to that literary magazine / editor / agent / contest / juried show.

6. Another rejection? I'll never find an agent / a gallery / a publisher. (See #1. Repeat as needed.)

Break Glass In Case of Unexpected Non-Rejection 

7. They're never going to like it as is. They're going to ask me to completely recreate my drawing / painting / sculpture / main character / plot. 

8. Nobody's going to read / notice / like my book / poetry / artwork.

9. My work will never be as good as [insert name of more talented and accomplished colleague] or [name of ridiculously successful professional in prime of career].

10. The reviews and sales figures will only prove my unsuitability for this career / lack of creative ability / mediocrity / insanity.

When It's All Over...Lather, Rinse, Repeat. And thank your lucky stars you're doing this instead of anything else in the world.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Son of Figure Drawing: Escape from Monster Island

Just kidding. No monster island. But I am happy to report that the first ever figure drawing session held in our home art studio was a success. It's a closed session--just five of us total for this first one (not counting the model), and honestly, that's as many as can comfortably fit in the room along with enough tables and easels and chairs for everyone. Anyway, Rob's idea behind the private sessions was to have more control over poses and timing than is usually available with the sessions that are open to the public in our area.


It ultimately costs the same amount per person, but it's much more comfortable for us, and also affords us the chance to focus on whatever type of drawing we want to do that day as opposed to what's set by the organizers of the open session. We've been hoping to set this up for a while, so it was satisfying to actually set a twice-monthly schedule and hold the first session. Next time, we iron out the kinks and really get down to business. Honestly, though, I can't complain much because I got two good drawings out of it. It took me about half of the three-hour period to get warmed up, but once I did, the results were pretty fair. I'm looking forward to producing some useful sketches in the near future, and maybe even a few finished pieces. I've been wanting to put my artmaking time on more of a regular schedule; this should really help.


Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Me As Pathetic Victorian Child


Among other things that have been keeping me pretty well occupied lately, I finally started the laborious long-term project of scanning old childhood photos into digital format. I'm putting some of them into Flickr (sorry, you won't be able to see them unless you have a Flickr account and I've marked you as a friend/family), including this one of me in London in 1981.

We were visiting Hampton Court Palace with a friend of my Mom's and her nephews (pictured). I look a bit disgruntled in my frilly dress. I have no idea why my mother put me in a frilly dress, but there you go. I guess I can blame it on the 80s, like the socks-and-sandals look I'm also sporting, and the bowl-cut/pageboy hairdo.

My parents had met in London, and lived there before I was born. On this trip, we were touring around England and Wales, visiting old friends of my parents and sightseeing. I actually have quite a few memories from the trip, thanks to a travel journal that my mom kept. She'd write in it with me every evening, jotting down about a page about the events of the day. Back in Southern California, I would read it over and over again for years afterward, cementing some of the memories in my mind.

That day at Hampton Court Palace, my mom wrote, "We saw some lovely costumes from 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' (BBC Production), and the king's kitchen, the beautiful gardens full of trees and flowers and interesting rock paths; and best of all, we went into a maze!" The hedge maze is nearly all I remember now of that day--scary but fun, with kids running and screaming down the rows, gleefully getting lost and finding each other again.

I have one other memory of that day, something that was significant to my child-mind but seems so ordinary now--finding a strange but interesting rock on the ground, somewhere amid the otherwise-unremarkable gravel of the paths. It looked broken, split open like a tiny hemisphere, with the broken side showing both dark greyish-brown as well as a lighter beige center. I remember showing it to my mom, who was sitting on a bench. She let me keep it as a souvenir. I'm not sure what ultimately happened to it, but I kept that for years with my other mementos of the trip--which included other stones, beach-smooth ovals from the ocean at Tintagel (where King Arthur was born, according to legend). Apparently I really liked rocks.