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 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 10 – “flow”

This is a relaxing – although time-consuming – drawing. I used a calligraphy pen and my waterproof Carbon ink, and I just drew rough circles, then smaller circles, and finally stippling to fill in the gaps. It’s easy, requiring very little skill (save patience), and the pattern is remarkably beautiful.

There are lots of other things I could have jumped to from there to add depth make it look more realistic, but I didn’t have a lot of time yesterday so I stuck to the basics. I’m also not skilled at that other stuff! Which is fine, I’ll learn, but I didn’t want to experiment on this piece because it’s very time consuming to draw and if I screwed it up (e.g. I tried cross-hatching and didn’t like it), I didn’t want to start over again. I was thinking it’d be a good idea to make one of these and then scan it and copy it, so I can practice different techniques without re-rocking and re-stippling.

So to finish this one for today, I brushed on a bunch of water, and then three colors of Dr. Ph. Martin’s concentrated liquid watercolor. I was hoping it would look a bit like a stream, even without the depth, and I really do like how it turned out. I don’t look at it and see a lot of artistic skill, but it’s definitely relaxing to gaze upon, and I’m calling that a win.

I wasn’t sure if I liked these liquid watercolors at first, but now I love them – I think you just have to find the right places for them. Context is everything. I love how they look here. And so fun to work with! I was wishing my piece was bigger than postcard size so that I could just play with ink all afternoon.

But no, I’m off to an appointment, including a stop by PCC Market so that I can pick up my favorite gluten-free cookie. They’re fairly big, probably the size of my palm, and they’re $1 a cookie. I always get 6 of them, so I can eat two with tea, at night, and revel in my cookie meditation. And then I have 4 days of the week left to pine for the next time I get one (it’s a weekly appointment). Greg was with me last week, and he peered down at me, eyebrows raised, and said, “Six cookies? I thought you used to get five?”

“It’s six now. I have a system.”

He laughed. “Are you sure you need six of them?”

“I definitely need six. Besides, we’re moving, I won’t have access to these cookies anymore. You’re lucky I’m not getting 14 so I can have two every day.”

He shook his head. “We’re not moving for a few months, you can’t use that excuse yet.”

I stopped in the middle of the aisle, and pointed the cookie bag at him. “No man gets to determine the need factor in my cookie schedule,” I said.

He was smart, he yielded to my faultless logic.

 

Inktober Day 9 – “precious”

Today’s word is “precious”, so I went from a reference photo to see if I could draw a decent image of my sweet Finn as a puppy. In the photo he’s sitting in our neighbor’s yard, under a shower of little white flowers, next to the sidewalk.

My zing factor is medium high, which is pretty good. I’ll take it. That green is special to me, I’ve got one half-pan of that stuff and I horde it – this is a mistake, I either need to mix my own or just buy more. Because that green needs to be on everything, all the time.

One of the things I’m really loving about this project is that all my Inktober pieces are in one little book. I’ll have this little book forever. I’ll always remember this month, this crazy month with all the pain and all the packing up and getting rid of things for the move.

A big clue to me that I needed to start drawing again was this: I love to look back on my old art, but I rarely look back on my diaries. For years, years, I have written like a fiend in a diary or journal. Since I was eight years old or so. And it’s rare for me to look back on them. Maybe once a year do I read them. And when I do, oh, they’re so cringe-inducing.

Looking back on drawings and watercolor sketches I did years ago is a completely different experience. I spend long minutes gazing at one piece, remembering where I was, what the day felt like, what I was thinking at the time. None of that is telegraphed to any other viewer, but I know. The effect is powerful, and moving to me. It’s stronger than with most photos, too. Just the most basic drawings will bring this heavy wave of memory. They don’t have to be “good”. Realizing this was a major reason I decided to start drawing again, even though my past experience with it had been so hard (I had very poor art self-esteem).