Inktober Day 13 – “guarded”

I thought it was kind of funny that the one part of the reference photo I didn’t even attempt was my own tattooed arm! Haha! It was such a small drawing (see my thumb for reference), and I didn’t know how to even start it. But don’t take that to mean I don’t love my sleeve, I do! But how do I draw that? No idea.

The other night Jason asked me what my current Inktober prompt was, and I told him it was “guarded”.

“I don’t know what to draw,” I said. “Maybe one of the guards who stand outside Buckingham Palace?”

He took out of his phone, and I thought he was going to look up a photo of a palace guardsman. Instead, he pointed the phone at me. “You should draw this,” he said. “The way Finnegan is always laying on you. He’s guarding you!”

Sure enough, he does look like he’s guarding me all the time. He’s such a good baby. I call him my “soul-mate dog”. He takes care of me. While I’m sure he doesn’t understand what fibromyalgia is, it seems clear he understands that I’m not as strong or energetic as other people in the household, and he watches over me a lot. If I’m upset, he comes directly to my side and comforts me. Anytime I’m on the couch, Finn jumps up with me, and curls up like he is now, against my legs.

Finn is my third corgi, and my first Cardigan. While there are other differences, an easy way to spot the difference between Cardis and Pems is that Cardigans are the corgis with tails, while Pembrokes are the corgis without tails. With both my Pembrokes, I felt that missing a tail meant they were missing a lot of emotive capability, and that idea seems well borne out by Finnegan’s wide range of expressions in the swish of his mighty Cardigan tail. That tail can telegraph excitement, contentment, playfulness, questioning, exasperation, pensiveness, and total ecstatic joy (like when we get home from the store and he knows we have pizza), among others.

Finn was purchased from Léo at Toreth Cardigan Corgis, and is, hands down, the happiest and most relaxed and intelligent dog I’ve ever owned. I was able to get to know Léo and visit her home a few times, and I’m in a Facebook group with other owners. My adoration of and good experience with Toreth Corgis is shared by many others! If you’re looking for a corgi pup bred for all the right reasons, I highly recommend Toreth.

In random other news, while I was painting, I was listening to this talk on “shadow work” by Craig Lambert, who has written a book on the topic.

A quote from his web page:

Shadow work includes all of the unpaid tasks we do on behalf of businesses and organizations. It has slipped into our routines stealthily; most of us do not realize how much of it we are already doing, even as we pump our own gas, scan and bag our own groceries, execute our own stock trades, and build our own unassembled furniture. But its presence is unmistakable, and its effects far-reaching.

Interesting stuff! I agree with a lot of his points, but I don’t know how we go backward. I see that problem a lot with our culture today – especially those areas of our daily shared lives that have been shaped by market forces and completely out-of-control corporate power. Yes, it’s bad, and I’m pretty exhausted talking about how bad it is, but what do we do? 

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 Day 5 – “Chicken”

The obvious answer here is “draw something earlier”, and I will work on that, but I spend much of the day, lately, dealing with pain. The fibromyalgia is just awful. Or chronic fatigue syndrome? I’m tired of not knowing which one it is. Is it one? Or the other? Or both? IS IT THE CHICKEN OR THE EGG? Except that isn’t the right analogy since fibro and CFS aren’t related like that, but hey, I worked in a chicken analogy on the day of the chicken, so….that is a small kind of accomplishment I suppose*.

Tomorrow is DROOLING. I know what I said about enjoying the prompts, but here is the exception. I don’t want to draw “drooling”. I might draw something else. It won’t be official Inktober theme day, but it will be Something I Inked On Day 6, which might just be good enough for me.

*If you hear Kiera Knightly’s voice when you read this, then you’ve watched Ang Lee’s Pride and Prejudice as often as I have.