Friday, May 28, 2010

The Day Without Art

So I was getting some bad art-anxiety. I'd sit down at my desk and feel dizzy, I'd pick up a pencil and feel this pang in my gut. So I decided, since I was slowly painting myself into a box and nothing I was doing was looking any good, that maybe I should step back from art for a little while and come back to it again with a different perspective. Which is pretty normal for the creative world, to stop what your doing for a while and calm the heck down.

So I decided I would go 24 hours without doing any art, and what I discovered is that I have almost nothing else to do. By getting rid of all my usaul distractions I pinpointed what has been bothering me this whole time, and I compare it to a little voice in my ear that talks in all caps, saying

"LETS DRAW GEORGE WASHINGTON FIGHTING A ZEBRA ON A FLYING SHARK WITH A BOOMERANG!" (yes, these are the thoughts which often drift through my mind) and I'd have to tell myself
"No. I am taking a break from art."
"I will draw Narwhals tomorrow. Today I am taking a break from art."

and thankfully the idea is gone forever because what the hell?

So, to try and starve the little stupid little voice I did some more excercise than I usaully do and tried to take a couple of naps. I played piano (which I decided wasn't visual art so it was OK) until my pinkies hurt. It was really really boring and I thought to myself "Is this what normal people do when they have a day off of work? This sucks."

Throughout it all I kept getting these pangs of guilt saying

"WE HAVE NOT DRAWN ANY CATS TODAY. SURELY YOU CAN DRAW JUST ONE CAT." and I'd ignore it to read this book on Russian Communism (which is some reasearch for a pet project of mine that might not go anywhere if my History is incorrect) and my guilt would say


and I'd say "Oh crap those are really cool clouds." but decided I would just admire the clouds and let them go. Like normal people let clouds go.

and so I thought the best thing to quell my inner super-ADD art-anxiety voice was to go back to learning programming. So I was reading through my Flash Actionscript 3.0 book and I was still having problems


and I was going to give in to the stupid little voice, until Apple and it's horrible Monopoly stopped me, because in order to make an Iphone App you must 1.) Own a Mac 2.) Own an expensive program for the mac 3.) Own an Iphone 4.) Give them some more money and 5.) write it in XCode because Iphones apparently don't take Flash.

And so I went to watch TV, and it was at the moment when I was watching Cops that I heard the voice die


and it was dead. And so now I'm back and I feel so much better! I'm totally ready to go back to work. Yay!

And I still drew George Washington, but in a way that is a lot more senseable and less havoc than on a narwhall fighting a zebra.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Finding my 'zone'

So I was reading some stuff in my inbox, I'm suscribed to this mailing list for writers by David Farland (free, for those interested in writing. Talks a lot about himself but he knows himself best so...) and he's an epic fantasy writer which isn't what I'm really into or anything, but still good basics of story to know as I get ready to enter into the Children Book World, and he said something that hit on the head what I'm doing wrong with my drawings.

Kinda weird, yes? It always blows my mind how similar the process is for art, music, and writing.

Anyways, he was talking about how when we do programs that stress us out, or when we work under stress we produce a lot of stuff, but he said

"I find that I have three problems when I’m writing while stressed: 1) I lose my sense of humor, and my tales become darker and grimmer. 2) Because I’m trying for a high page count, I take less time to think about plot twists. Thus my tale becomes more predictable. 3) I take less time for wordplay, and I find that my style suffers. " (DF)

Which is exactly the problem I have with my art! It's dark, its grim, I make a lot of it but its getting too simple (see my excuse of a mermaid) and my style has been meh.

So maybe I just need to relax more?

I've realized as I've been underemployed and at my parents house, forced to relax, forced to sleep-in, forced to not work (Because there isn't any), forced to not date (because its one of those times in my life), and where my only real paying job is a super-easy service job for a nice old lady, I have had something unforseen come out of it: my expression has improved--a lot--not in my art, but in my piano playing.

I'm not even focusing on piano right now. I don't play nearly as much as I did in college or high school. But my expression in the piano playing touched on my sketchbook (because, to me, playing the piano is like the sketchbook, and when no one's around I make up a lot of good/bad songs like I make good/bad drawings.) And so I looked at my sketchbook, the one place I was never stressed, where my line quality was the thing that my teachers loved and kept wanting me to do, but, by the time it was a final painting would dissapear under layers of stressful paint application, and saw it was a distinct and different style I always had but never really paid attention to.

So I'm thinking I should...not stop painting...but produce more drawings. Somehow keep that spontaneous and more humorous energy all the way through the painting and finished stages. Basically I need to calm down and relax. I'm not the only one in this situation. I've met dozens of others, who have 'real' careers with math and logic and things that actually make money who are also unemployed. I was never really any good at this whole relaxing thing. Now I'm going to stress out about it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What did I do today?

I painted a cookie to look like Jupiter.

See the Great Red Spot? See it? No? O well. At least it tastes good. Got the cookie from Icing on the Cake in Los Gatos. Mm. I love that place.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Looked at too many depressing blogs

I was looking around at some other blogs yesterday, at the really artsy ones with the vintage and the prose and the dresses and the 70's style collages, and I felt with a pain of regret that I really wasn't one to dwell and sink anymore as others dwell and sink in the blogsphere in a thoughtful pretty way.

Don't get me wrong, I used to write a lot more. I sometimes put some prose in it with quite a bit of the sinking and the dwelling, sometimes too much so, because the prime reason I stopped was because I was tired of the dwelling and tired of the sinking, and I had all these words that needed to be written but I didn't know where they went or even if I wanted to write them down. And so I wrote a bunch of sappy songs about it.

That being said, I look at where my blog is now years and years later, and instead of being clearer because it isn't wrapped up in the sinking and the dwelling, it's confused and complicated.

I started this new blog to try and find a voice, and I find that I'm still searching. And I can't push from my head words from an old doctor I had at a walk-in-clinic who told me, quite frankly

"what are you going to do when you grow up?"
"I dunno."
"I don't know either." And I stared him down and he suggested, "I just keep trying out until I know."

which isn't really the thing you want a 60 year-old doctor to tell you before he does minor surgery on you, but thats life for you. An endless search for a type of vision and distinct voice, and by the time I find it I might already be dead.

But the one thing I can promise, is that, at the very least, I won't get stuck talking about my 'darkness' or any of the other sinking dwelling terms that permeate through this emo blogsphere in vintage colors and super-saturated filters. Since I've been there done that, and while I might not be the same writer that I was, because I remember being wittier and I remember being more clever, at least I'm not that same writer that I was. And that I know worth something.

So I'm reminded of another thing I learned from an old teacher of mine that when you feel like you're drawing worse than you were in Kidnergarten--it means your about to grow, you're about to get better really soon, and you just have to keep pushing it and you'll be better than you ever were before it.

and I think I know why now, it's because I know how faulted my art is, and that's the problem with being an artist and the ability to be an artist all in one. Like you can always be a good accountant when you graduate school, but not in art. Art is a life-long process without anything test to show how good you are, and you might never be 'good artist' as long as you live to yourself while everyone else insists 'of course you are.'

So I'm in a slump to try and be better, using everyone elses ideas to try and fix my artistic problems. I've been reading other peoples lives as if it were a premonition of what mine could be. I've been trying to copy other people's trends thinking 'will that sell?' and while that's good to a point, I still wonder in the midst of it...but what do I really want to do?

And apparently all I still want to do is draw cats and fat chickens. Sometimes penguins. And people in weird outfits with long skinny legs.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finished it!

And it doesn't make my room too crazy.