Inktober Day 12 – “whale”

It’s an unintentionally tail-less whale-ess. The prompt “whale” was assigned to today, and I’ve been hustling to get it done so I can catch up (this is my second post today). I love how I’ll picture something in my head, and then ask Google to provide me with a reference photo, and Google often obliges to a surprisingly accurate degree.

Here’s the photo reference I used:

I wasn’t trying to draw the exact photo, I was aiming for just the whale. I was thinking I’d put her in space, but then I’m just wanting to put everything in space because I seem to want to put stars around everything. Maybe it’s an artistic twee phase. I fought the impulse and went with a sunset instead. I could have done the photo and tried to put the whale’s reflection above her in the water, but I always have to weigh my skill against how long it would take me to practice and get to a reasonable ability to draw the thing, against how much time I have to finish the assignment.

I was focusing so intently on trying to get the proportions right that I realized – oops – I lost the tail off to the left of the page. Ah well! More practice.

The drops of pale silver in the water and sky is Arctic Fire by Daniel Smith, a glittery, translucent bit of magic that I like to try adding to things. I like it in the water but I biffed it a bit in the sky. No big. I’ve decided to like it.

I might need to get a convenience orange. I’m having a weirdly hard time blending a good orange. It shouldn’t be that hard. Translucent Pyrrol Orange is great but I can’t seem to lighten it to where I want. I also want a good coral. I love coral! Oh, you salmon pink of wonder and light, coral. I’ve tried to make it a few times, they were just so-so. It looks like I might need to go to the art store. GEE, THE THING I HATE MOST IN THE WORLD.

 

Inktober Day 8 – “star”

Things I enjoyed about this:

  • It was fun to mix the colors. I started with the red by itself (Rose Madder from Daniel Smith, mixed with Arctic Fire, because SPARKLES!), and then I just kept adding colors to the rose to make the rest of the colors. A little yellow to get the orange, more yellow to get the yellow, then blue to get the green, then more blue to get the blue, and then more rose to get the purple. Mixing colors is relaxing.
  • I love stars, in general. So yay stars!
  • I used gold ink for the middle, which I applied with a brush. It was fun to paint with what felt like liquid gold. Hi! I’m five. Glitter is still the bomb.

That happy little zing I get from some little pieces of art I do, it wasn’t there with this one. This was more a nice shrug. The Shrug of Niceness. That’s okay! I love the zing, I want more of the zing, the zing is what drives the desire to get better. But if I only made art for the zing, I’d never make art. It helps to know that the zing comes every x times I do art. It’s the intermittent reinforcement that keeps me going. I got a big zing from the one I did yesterday. I still get the zing when I look at it.

And the important thing is that no matter whether the zing is there that day or not, I always feel better off, emotionally, for having made art. However imperfect, however novice, however un-zingy. It’s healing just to use the paints, just to scrape that nib of ink across the paper.

People keep asking me how I’m doing, and it’s hard not to just say, “I’m in pain all the time!“, with the same urgency I’d feel if my answer were, “There’s a tiger right behind me!” Pain can bring with it such urgency. It’s hard to explain how distracting it is, to someone who only gets sore when they workout (ahhhh, workouts, I remember those), or if they stand for hours (I’m in pain when I’m standing, and it gets worse and worse until I have to sit down, usually after about five minutes).

People think it’s just no big deal, but it’s such a big deal. Chronic pain is so exhausting. Mentally, physically. Shoulders, spine, and hips always flaring like fire, always creaky and stiff. What I’m sure must be gravel in my low back. I want to break out of this shell like a caterpillar from a cocoon. Leave it all behind. No, that isn’t suicidal ideation (I promise – I have good support), it’s what I almost literally wish I could do. Somehow crack the shell off and crawl out with a fresh spine, fresh nerves. If I were a good enough artist, I’d draw that.

Oh! I did take some turmeric today, after my friend Elaine suggested it. I’ll give that a few days and see if it works.

Okay, that’s enough about pain. FOR TODAY, muhahaha. You know I’ll talk about it tomorrow.

Inktober Days 6 and 7 – “drooling” and “exhausted”

I missed yesterday, I had some mysterious illness and was on the couch sick for hours. That means I missed yesterday’s Inktober prompt, which was “drooling”. But when I saw that today’s prompt was “exhausted”, well, hello fellow fibromyalgia/CFS sufferers! It’s our word, eh? I knew this had to be my first self-portrait.

So why not put exhausted and drooling together? Here’s me, asleep and drooling.

I took a reference photo of myself, and used a pencil to do some line work before I went in with the ink:

This was really fun to do, because I gave myself enough time! I worked at my little table upstairs, not on the couch with my corgi half in my lap and the TV on to something distracting. Instead I got a snack, I came up and cleared off some space, and I sat down  to do some art. Being intentional about it made for an entirely different experience.

Last night I watched a video on Skillshare from Yasmina Creates about pen and ink. It was great, I was surprised how much information she packed in to just a half hour video! One of the things she went over was hatching and stippling, which I really need to practice but that’s fine because I love it, as well as how to take care of ink nibs, and brushes that you use with ink, and a bunch of other things. I tried to use some hatching in today’s piece, and I’m moderately pleased with the results. I can see how I need to get better at it, but for a first go, I’m liking it a lot. I get the little zing of happiness from this one (that I sadly didn’t feel from the chicken, lol).

My forehead is also way bigger than I thought it was! Proportion, it’s a thing. And the upper left side of my forehead isn’t actually so squared off, but that falls under, Oh Well, I’ll Do Better Next Time. Such a nice heading that is. I put everything under it these days.

What really matters is how much joy I feel when I draw and paint, and I felt that tonight. I was having a hard day before this. The pain continues to be awful (I feel like it’s a fall/winter thing, but taking loads of Vitamin D don’t seem to be helping, and I’m not yet willing to move to California), and there comes a point where I just feel broken down by it. Being in pain all the damn time is the most distracting thing I can think of, and I hate it, so much. It interrupts my thoughts, my sleep, my every waking moment. It like a Pac-Man in the brain that just looks for any happy chemical your body produces and rushes over to it, gobbling it up.

When I draw and paint, it puts more of the good chemicals out there. Oh sure, Pac-Man will eat them up, later. I know. I’ll wake up tonight and have to walk to the bathroom with this crazy stiff spine and hips, gripping the end of the bed, trying not to exhale from the pain so loudly that Greg wakes up. But tomorrow I can draw and paint again. I can make happiness happen, with a tiny little sketchpad and a set of paints and a brush and a glass of water.