Sunday, March 13, 2011

Smell the Roses??

Have you ever noticed that people who are demanding that you stop and smell the proverbial roses already have a garden full of said flowers? They preach about how you should be counting your blessings and feel they have uplifted some pathetic souls in some way, but they wouldn't be singing the same tune if they didn't already feel wonderfully blessed.

I've never noticed someone in the worst depths of despair calling out to everyone ELSE to stop and smell the roses. Count the blessings.

Okay, once I heard of a man who counted his only blessing: "At least I'm not twins."

Before tossing platitudes about how everyone ELSE should be acting and thinking, why don't you stop and think? When you are already happy, you don't have a clue what it is like to be the unhappy person. No, you really don't. You only know your version of unhappy, and you probably have been very fortunate in your life, indeed.

Forget "walking a mile in their shoes." A mile isn't long enough. The truth is that you can't possibly know what it is like for another person unless you become that other person.

This is not a snarky commentary on how you should stop preaching to people you don't understand and will not join in their own misery. It's just a request for you to rephrase your own superior commentary into something that's non-judgmental.

Try again. Make it kind and uplifting next time, instead of a command with finger-pointing, eh? Cliches do not help people in need; they just piss the people off.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Alexander Skarsgard sketches

Out of the blue last week, I decided to see just how bad I might be at sketching a portrait in graphite. Really, I was just going to see if I could "see" shadows and highlights in a picture well enough to just play with them. I found one of Alexander Skarsgard's head shots and got the major outlines down using a light box, and then went freehand on all the rest of it.

When I got about halfway through with my sketch, I was actually shocked at how good it looked. Mind you, I know there is a lot of room for improvement, and I know that I needed better contrast, but all I had was a #2 mechanical pencil, and you just can't do that great without a small range of hardnesses.

Still, it looks a LOT like the original photo (plus the additions I had to make to compensate for deep shadows covering stuff like a whole side of his face and a hidden eye), and if you've seen that photo, a lot like the subject. From about 6 years ago, of course, and a lot of people change between their late 20s and mid 30s. (though the headshot isn't one that looks like he typically looks, and not like he is often seen in real life, which is kind of slicked back, goofy, big brother looking - that's adorable) In other words, it's a really good beginner's sketch, for all its weaknesses. :D

And I did another of him which is closer to his everyday look and not quite so old. Found my sketch set by this time and got to play with my woodless graphite pencils, which I REALLY enjoyed doing.

I'll get better with practice. I'm thrilled that my first two (ever!) portraits came out as well as they did. It tells me that practicing will be worthwhile, for me. :) Happy happy joy joy.

You know how good pens and pencils get me thinking like Gollum. My precious-es. LOL Seriously, I love good writing and drawing instruments. To the point that when I find a pen I love, I buy lots of them and use them exclusively. Thick, heavy ink that doesn't smear if you look at it crosseyed. Love Sharpies especially much too.

Maybe that's because growing up I always got frustrated when markers started running out of ink and the color came out streaky. Try to color over the poster or paper again and the paper started disintegrating. I wanted a veritable flood of color to come out. When I started creating my own classroom decorations and signs, I would use my paint pens by pressing down on the tip until the paint started flooding out of the reservoir, and then spread it to the borders with the tip. (That's not a marker... now THAT'S a marker!!) Strong, bold, serious thick color is what I love.

So, it looks as though maybe I *can* draw after all, if I have a really good reference photo that I feel comfortable working from. If nothing else, if someday any of the local colleges (UTM, Are you listening???? Help me!!) start offering any studio art degree classes at night, I'll at least have a portfolio to show.

The second sketch surprised me too. Granted, both would have probably been better on somethingh other than printer paper, but that's what I had and I didn't think that anything I'd be able to sketch would come out well enough to potentially sacrifice something like Stonehenge. I didn't even remember that I have a pad of Stonehenge in my studio... duhhhhhhh... I found it when I lifted up my tins of Prismacolors in search of my sketching set.

I have seriously got to do something about that slapdash little room of a studio. When I had to build my own work table, I should have accepted that was the way it was going to have to be and got the rest taken care of . It's still a mess, though it has the bones of organization in it. Someone needs to learn to put her failures in the trash and get on with life.

But... my suspicions about being bipolar come from my rabid jumping from one project to another and completely forgetting about the old projects altogether. Maybe that's just a memory issue. But then again, maybe there is something to those stretches of weeks at a time when I'm lying in bed, unable to sleep for one creative idea after another flying through my head. I have to give them the think-through time or I just will not be able to sleep. Then months of depression... I could see yet another doctor but I hate the risk that they won't really be listening to me and then I'll just want to rip their head off. Really.

I gave it a good shot with one counselor and when I told him that my mother (who I had told him of my very serious issues with on the visit prior) had just died the previous week.... he told me that my mother's death didn't matter at all!

Well, it mattered to me! Thus the desire to commit bodily harm to this person who was getting paid to help me and couldn't even call me by my first name until he shuffled through my folder and looked at it a few times. Add another loop to the noose for my trusting men, and forget me trusting a stranger with my personal demons.

I might be crazy. I might just be suffering from major clinical depression. However, I think that any of that puts me right in with your average member of society. And I know that a lot of people out there pretending that they define normal do things behind closed doors that would make everyone else run away from them, screaming, if they knew the truth. There's no such thing as normal. Boring yes, but normal, no. And I don't consider creativity a character flaw, as the uncreative consider it.

Yucky March

Okay, it's March now, and I know I can't expect a sudden Spring to blossom forth.

Still, it looks like it's the dead of January right now. Grey skies, mushy ground, cold and rainy once again.

Just politely putting out there my request for some warm, sunny weather, because I'm going stir crazy.

Went to Hastings yesterday where the only inspiring stuff that I saw was an article in GreenCraft depicting a pair of patchwork jeans. They were really cute looking, but also, really 20s looking. Somehow I don't think that wearing something meant for a 20 year old will catch even the eye of one of those many men out there in their 40s with their hearts just set on having a 20 year old trophy wife / girlfriend. Oh yeah, and I do know who they are. Got 'em pegged already, and they are the only ones who don't realize how obvious they are being.

I've dated a few. Two of them actually did say that I was too old for them, and I was a couple of years younger than them. *snort* Okay, I know what they were getting at. They wanted someone who looked and dressed like she just came out of a Girls Gone Wild video so they wouldn't have to go to the trouble of remembering that when they WERE in those girls' dating pool, they weren't desirable to those girls at all. Now they have jobs and stability to boast of, and they think it's enough to get the hottie on their laps. LOL

Yeah, good luck with that fellas! :) You're still old. And it's really okay. I'm old, you're old. We deal with our agedness however we can. Women lose weight and men get sports cars and gold chains. :D And ex-wives, as if they are collectibles. *ducking*

Speaking of losing weight, I'm getting healed up slowly but surely from my own exercising injuries. Uh huh, bet you thought I hadn't been doing anything. Did enough to damage a hip flexor and crack a bone in my foot, I sure did. But now the pain in both places is beginning to lessen and I feel like I can go back at it soon. Hopefully during Spring Break. Maybe next week, if weather and pain permit.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hip Flexor Strain

Found this while I was researching tonight: "Hip Flexor Strain is a muscle (psoas) strain felt in the front part of the hip. It is often associated with speed training or compensating for another injury, especially Achilles tendonitis or plantar fasciitis.

To see if you have strained your hip flexor muscle try the following maneuver: while standing, flex your hip such that your knee comes up towards the chest, then have a friend apply moderate pressure to pull the knee down while you resist. This test should result in pain similar to your symptoms.

You may be able to run just fine at slower speeds and shorter distances, but as the distance or speed increases; watch out - it can bite. Be sure to fully recover before resuming progressive training."

So THIS is what has been making walking painful for me for the last month. Darn it. Now I just have to figure out how to make it heal, since regular old exercise looks to be a bad idea in the meantime...