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Tuesday, January 29, 2013


There is a change a comin'. In fact, I would say that it is already here. I am not dealing with the same old crap I used to put up with. I am blunt but compassionate. And people who can't handle that don't need to be part of my life. And frankly, it is only the people who are offended that I can see through their falsehoods that have a problem with me... thus they are with whom I have a problem. I am dealing with an adult right now, first one that I have met in a long time that is a grown up beyond the age on a driver's license. Phone and email contacts are edited. And I feel pretty dang good about getting the clutter out of those places.

And out of my art process. I posted a wish list last year, somewhere, maybe on facebook. And this year I added a couple of those things to my life. Continuing to update my schlager library always makes me happy. MATZE! And adding an easel to the studio is invaluable. Here's a geeky thing that I did not know.

When you work in a small format, say 9x12, on a flat surface you eyes can focus on the whole page and allow you to see the work as others will see it. Your drafting will have proper proportioning. If you work on a larger format the things at the top of the page will recede more than you had intended because of a phenomenon called "fore-shortening". It is a trick of the art trade to make a 2
dimensional drawing look 3 dimensional to the eye. We exploit the natural tendency of the eye to achieve realism. But your eyes do it accidentally all the time. And unless you are super observant you normally are completely unaware this is even happening. Youthful eyes are able to reduce fore-shortening because the muscles are still pretty limber. In older eyes... um... not so much.

The last large format watercolor I was working on showed me just how much I needed an easel. As I started working on the top portion of the paper I noticed things getting really weird. I thought at first it was because I skimped on the prelim and just wasn't confident with the view point of my main subject. When I propped it up and stepped back to have a look at my handiwork I was so disappointed. Flabbergasted! And sick to my stomach. All those hours of work and the bird was squished near the head, entirely too wide at the bottom and instead of being incorporated in the composition was nearly literally bleeding blue everywhere. I realized immediately the foreshortening effect. The only cure for it was to break down and get an easel.

Of course it arrived. Just in time for my birthday. And instead of being the liberating defender of the art locked away behind my tired aging eyes... it sat for a few days before I touched it. I set it up. Patted myself on the back because I was a real live artist now! And then, because no creative person can be happy with themselves for long, my old friend Crippling Self-Doubt stopped by.
SD: Are you sure it was your eyes?
Me: Yeah. Remember the art class when we bitched about having to learn how the eye works.
SD: yeah.
ME: Fore-shortening
SD: Or you suck.
Me: Huh.
 SD: I mean c'mon. The last one was money. This... this piece of shit is money too. MONOPOLY money.
ME: Well no.... It's the larger format. I just didn't consider...
SD: Rookie mistake.
SD: Your Ryan impersonation is getting better.
        To bad your art isn't.

I walked away. And I sat on the edge of my bed for two days staring at the easel, wondering if it was me or my distinct lack of tools. I've been doing this for how long and made that rookie mistake? But ya know what... I at least recognized the mistake. Sure.... to the untrained observer and Castle fan, it would seem that I have totally nailed Kevin Ryan's verbal stumbling. But to anyone else, to anyone without a vested interest in my failure, I learned something that will make me better.

Artists of all kinds are so good at tearing themselves apart. They don't really need any help at all in that department; not from an alter ego, the Id, Ego, Super ego, echoes of things people in their past have said and especially from an untrained casual observer. And 2013 is the year I have resolved to keep those people out. Even the people in my head that look like old art teachers, my mom, my sister and everyone else who doesn't want me to be an artist. I didn't let anything stop me from being a geek. Why the hell would I let anyone stop me from being an artist? Including me!

Someone recently summed up my interpersonal interactions very well.
Yet, despite your ability to be blunt there is something of a warm, nurturing, feminine side coincident with your directness.

 My German styled plain speaking is one of the best things about me. That means that no one really has to guess what I am thinking, feeling or angry about. It is all obvious. And because it is obvious and out there for everyone to see, I cannot not be accused of being manipulative. It also occurs to me that the bluntness seems like a slap in the face when I set boundaries. And that bluntness is a slap to reality when I aim it at my work. Somehow, when it comes to me, I shut off the compassionate part. That last one really did suck. But instead of berating myself I could have just done for me what I do for everyone else... "Try it again. No reason to give up."

Why do we do that to ourselves? I really need to be more compassionate toward myself when it comes to art or I will never get my stuff in a show.

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