WIP 25 Feb., 2013: Acrylics on 9×12″ canvas board.
Working out my winter-blues demons with my tiny watercolor portrait last week was incredibly productive for me. It shook me out of my doldrums, spawned several productive studio days — now I find myself itching to branch out further and signed up for a Strathmore multi-media instructional art workshop. After I signed up, I thought I’d better reacquaint myself with my rather neglected collection of acrylic paints. Initially, I’d set up a rather ho-hum still life. Bleh, no fruit or household objects, please! Since I’d learned so much from my little watercolor self portrait revelation, I again turned to my mirror for a handy subject.
This work-in-progress shows about three hours of fiddling. I’d dreamed of big swaths of brushstrokes and thick, buttery paint … the opposite of my effort. Yes, there are primitive stabs at technique, nearly fatal proportion problems here and, ugh, I have portrayed my eyes as flat and too small. Something I didn’t omit, however, was my brilliant fledgling set of Gramma jowls; looks like I exaggerated them, instead.
Ach, unless I spontaneously burst into an interesting new rhythm with my approach, this strange “selfie” will likely be covered in gesso after a few more hours of fiddling.
Angst, pencil and Daniel Smith watercolors in 3.5×5.5″ Moleskine watercolor
notebook. Mirror self-portrait, Windham, Maine. 19 Feb. 2013.
Feeling restless this winter. Don’t want to go to bed at a reasonable hour and don’t want to get out of bed in the morning because I stayed up too late. Activities that usually got me to spring out of bed weren’t motivation enough anymore. I was feeling mopey and sluggish and looking grey faced and haggard. I’ve gotten winter depression before, but it snuck up on me this year and hit me like a ton of bricks.
Tuesday morning the angel on my shoulder must have whispered into my ear, because all at once I thought, “Ah-hah! It’s Seasonal Affective Disorder!” This explained my arty dry spell; I needed to use my neglected stash of pencils, pens, ink and beautiful watercolors to find my way back. Before I had even brushed my teeth, I was looking in the mirror and scratching out a self portrait. I saw evidence of my state of mind. When I looked at the finished sketch again Tuesday afternoon, I felt like the spell was broken. I’d nudged my downward spiral upward and outward just by picking up my tiny Moleskine watercolor notebook and a pencil.
Thankfully, I’m much better now. Realizing that I am experiencing symptoms of S.A.D. seems to be half the battle for me. I’m trying every trick in the book to claw my way toward spring with a genuine smile on my face: Yoga, meditation, chocolate, extra Vitamin D3, drinking plenty of water and — most importantly for me — continuing to express my feelings with art supplies.
Noodler’s Lexy Gray ink and watercolor on 5″x7″ Strathmore 400 series watercolor paper.
January 7, 2013.
Feeling smug about my intact sanity despite the daily avalanche of political ads this past election year, I used to recommend employing iron gate mental blinders and a knowing grimace that could pass as a wry smile in a pinch. But now a certain media-savvy and extremely annoying celebrity (and I use the term in its loosest definition) has a bun in her oven and my mental survival efforts have failed me miserably. Although I do my best to avoid Web sites and cable channels that pander to pseudo-celeb publicity stunt crap, my retinas are flapping like flags in a gale from the recent barrage of headlines and images of this young woman, whose name shall not translate from my brain through my fingertips to my keyboard today; no, it will not.
Before I could help myself, a photo caught my eye, I read the headline and, yep, clicked through to the story. The offending image was of this particular famous-for-nothing who was shown tossing her yard-long, raven hair extensions, pouting out the injected fat in her prominent lips and flaring her tiny plastic nostrils at her notorious baby daddy. (Can you even flare your nostrils after rhinoplasty?) To clarify, I’m not talking about Kate Middleton and no, I’m not talking about LiLo — although I might give in to the urge at some point. Previously, I was blissfully immune to the annoyance factor of this not-to-be-named public figure whenever proof of her existence crossed my consciousness. Sadly, a brief scan of that one article provided me a lifetime overload of her and I am on a mission to Ninja out anything to do with her from my consciousness.
I use Google News as my browser’s home page because I like the myriad sources they use to compile the list I am presented with. Yes, I was aware that I could personalize this page, but never considered it until I saw the above-mentioned headline about her in their “U.S. News” category. Not “Entertainment” or “WTF” or even “Health” (think plastic surgery) but “NEWS”! Since then, I opened the settings, selected news sources and got rid of the “Entertainment” category entirely on my personalized aggregate page. I now enjoy fewer random exposures to the ubiquitous “news” regarding the state of this woman’s uterus. Until somebody invents magic glasses to filter unwanted visual noise, I suggest that there is sanity and control to be gained in exploring the filter options on your home page and displaying that wry smile as needed.