3/1/22: This is Fine.

I completed the second in my Deer series (I should give it a proper name, shouldn’t i?  I feel like it deserves to be called something better than “the Deer series,” but I’m absolutely trash at names).  I’m slightly less thrilled with this one than I was with the previous one, which is not to say that I hate it, or even that I think I did a bad job.  I think I was working just at the edge of my abilities – animals are challenging, and I have next to no practice drawing them, so to that end, I feel like the fawns turned out surprisingly well, especially considering that the one at the forefront is at a less-than-typical angle, which was challenging in and of itself. I just don’t feel like it elicits the same “wow” from me as the previous one did.

 I’m also  still warring with myself internally about how I feel about the lines.  I don’t strive for realism – I see myself as more of an illustrator, someone who might do comics or graphic novels or things like that, rather than a realistic artist, and in that case, having stark lines is a stylistic choice, and not an uncommon one.  But then, I do a bit more than typical cell shading, and in that process sometimes the lines look – I don’t know if invasive is the word? – but in those scenarios I might just be that I need to move layers around, fade lines in strategic places, etc.  All in all, the more pieces that I do, the more I start to think about what I want to do, and how to achieve that.  It makes me feel like I’m moving forward.  Like I’m actually making progress.

I have not yet returned to traditional art in the way that I promised myself I would.  I did fill a canvas with absolute trash in a desperate attempt to say that I did, though, so that’s… sure something.

I don’t feel like everything I make has to be an absolute banger, but I’m honestly angry with myself about how my rush to just get something done resulted in an absolute abomination.  And I don’t talk about most of my work like that anymore – I take a sense of pride in my work, while acknowledging how far I still have to go – but I will be derisive of this particular piece because it wasn’t a well-thought out piece that went awry, or an ambitious experiment that failed.  It was literally a mad dash to be able to say, “yeah, I used acrylics!  Check that one off the resolutions list!,” and the end result showed that.  It was thoughtless.  There was no care, or thought, or anything put into it.  It was just paint on canvas for the sake of saying I’d done it.

To be fair, nothing I was feeling particularly passionate about or interested in painting would have been suited to this small canvas board (8” x 10”), so maybe the first step is to go and buy some larger canvases – when I was primarily doing acrylic painting, my go-to was 11” x 14”, with an occasional 16” x 20” thrown in for a laugh.  8” x 10” feel restrictive, especially when I’m not a very skilled precision painter.  I may need to give myself literal space in order to grow, and to accommodate my need for painting in broader strokes for now.  I think my goal for April and beyond might be to spend at least one night a week doing traditional painting – but first, I need to consider what I want to paint.  I don’t want to go in without an idea this time.  It doesn’t have to be a ground-breaking idea for my next magnum opus. I just want this one to have some thought.

My break was topped off with about a foot of snow on Friday night; I’m mostly relieved that it didn’t add another snow day to our schedule, but also sort of bummed that vacation wasn’t a day longer.  I’ve spent most of the last few days exhausted, even though my personal life has been fine, and honestly has shown rays of hope I hadn’t seen in several weeks.  I just feel like I need about a week to catch up on sleep, but that ain’t gonna happen with a seven-year-old (even when my wife steps up to keep our kid entertained while I sleep in – and she’s great, she does it every weekend – the minute her back is turned, or the second he goes upstairs to “use the bathroom,” bam, he is in my room and on my bed, bouncing like it’s a trampoline).  I suppose all I can do is count down the days until April break and take it a day at a time.

This weekend we are finally planning on a library trip to get us all new cards (it will be Bear’s first!) and hopefully take out some books (I have so, so many here at home to read, but Bear could definitely use new reading material, and if I’m there, hey, I’ve got to at least look, right?)

Hope all is as well as can be.  Cheers.

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