Drawing my Art: A Musing

I’ve been exploring art. My art. My art, my heart, my words, my stories. Art for my stories and art for art’s sake. I thought I might share a bit of my art, as part of my stories.

I began drawing again two years ago to illustrate my stories. My plan is to illustrate and e publish my own told stories as written tales. I have completed one. I’m not happy with it. I want to pull it apart and re-do it. Of course. It’s going to take a long time and lots of practice until my ‘art’ is good enough.

I also like tattoos. I like variety. I joined an online drawing challenge after observing and commenting for six months. Most of the illustrators are so good, I despair. One of this year’s themes is Shakespeare. I like the “to be or not to be..” quotation and paired it with my first ever Sugar Skull. This comes from a tattoo tradition and while mine may have butterflies, it is within the bounds of tradition. Except, perhaps, for the vampire teeth. Those I drew for Youngest Daughter. Thirteen and excited by vampires and zombies. Well, zombies really. There’s no accounting for taste.

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I’ve experimented with chalk, soft pastels, crayons, oil pastels, acrylics, paint pens, permanent markers, graphite and charcoal. I have mixed all of the above and collaged with them. No-one could ever accuse me of purity. It’s allowed these days, mixing media. When I did art in high school, I believe we were not allowed to mix media. Thank goodness I’m far far from high school.

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I painted the Lotus above as an housewarming gift for a friend. I enjoy painting backgrounds and will use the mixing and texturising of paints as process work. While I am pondering and figuring and working out my feelings, I will mix and smooth, brush and layer, plaster and texturise paint on canvas paper. Then I have an assortment to choose from when I come to create images. Canvas paper, who knew there was such a thing? Marvellous and totally suitable for the learner.

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I am slowly graduating from single images to still life. When someone will sit still for long enough maybe I can practise drawing a real person. Youngest Daughter cannot be still and strangely I draw her older, every time. Mind you, I only learnt to draw faces in January at Yearly Meeting, I certainly haven’t graduated to bodies yet. Well, I try. I study my Pinterest collection and my online drawing program and keep drawing distorted and oddly shaped bodies. It’ll kick in sooner or later. Changing expressions in faces is interesting and my art journal is full of single, random eyeballs and stray cats.

The animals have come in for more than their share of posing and while cats are achievable, there is something about dogs that is more challenging. I have a number of side on, eyeball goggling disturbing pencil sketches that give me a start when I turn the pages.

I have begun using coloured pencils again and was determined to draw a dog. I wasn’t game enough to draw the full body but was sure that I could manage the head. Some success but still, incorporating the other side of the face and placing eyes appropriately is a challenge I haven’t mastered. I was quite pleased with the hair though. So pleased I went onto draw a rabbit, with a body! Hooray! Here’s the doggy anyway.

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Okay, long way to go on faces and bodies. Still, battling on. I really want to create the illustrations I can imagine for my stories. I have to keep practising until I am satisfied. That’s how I started in storytelling. Practise, practise, practise, then practise some more. I’ve created collage pictures for the next story I’m planning to publish. Need help with formatting though. I have a long way to go before I will be confident.

Hah! Wait until you see the bulldog on the skateboard!
Happy art.

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Perspective, Perception and Expectations: An Introspective

I am thinking about the crossover between perspective, perception and expectations. How what we see is what we get. I am outside with my daughter’s 6 month old kitten and hoping that he stays in the yard. He’s had his op, his microchip, no collar (my poodle uses cat collars as handles for dragging) and I am just a little concerned he might disappear before I can catch him.

My perspective is this is an adventure that could go very wrong. My expectation is that he will want to explore too far and my perception is that I am being over anxious, especially as he comes every time I call. Oops, first stalking of a bird. He is getting an enclosure and will only ever be out supervised. See? Perception: cats are killers. Expectation: he will catch a bird if he can. Perspective: I can be a responsible cat carer and environmentalist. Does my perspective alter my perceptions and expectations? No. My perspective demonstrates my commitment to both, hence cat enclosure and supervised outdoor time. Fences, dogs next door, my own Fluffy Floozy dogs giving him a chase, keep my perspective bounded. I hope. As long as he doesn’t go under the house.

I’ll try for a clearer example. Years ago I married. A lovely young woman. I was a young woman too and I was absolutely besotted. She seemed like such fun, full of life and adventure. When we wanted to have a ceremony, because she wanted the surety of commitment, i assented and asked friends to join us. They were horrified. None of them wanted to participate. It wasn’t the wedding aspect, it wasn’t the commitment, it was her. No-one said to me, don’t do it, she’s nuts. No-one tried hard to dissuade me at all. A few did question closely why I wanted to do it. I was doing it for her. I was absolutely broken-hearted that no-one wanted to join in. Maybe some did, but my crushed expectations altered my perception of my friends and my perspective of friendship. Within a year, I had a whole new barrel load of friends and I was married.

Within 6 years I could see that things were not working. I understood that she had lied to me about numerous things to make her appear more agreeable. I came to understand that my perception of her was clouded by my perspective of relationships and my expectation of how we would travel along together. I realised that how she operated was vastly different to myself and the compatibility I had perceived was a fabrication. By whom? Both of us. Her through lying and mine through my own expectations. It took me a further 7 years to extricate myself, they were bad years and not what I wanted. I was clear from the outset that I wanted children and to grow a life together, which included a business. She said yes yes yes, until it became clear that she didn’t mean a word of it. I said we foster together or I foster alone. I’ve been on my own with the kids for 12 years now.

The young woman inside of me who fell in love with the young woman inside of her, still loves. Love is a creative energy, you can never run out. However the grown woman who looks at my ex and sees the needy person she is, so greedily grasping for people’s time, energy and refrigerators, is not someone I would allow in my life now. Now my perspective has changed. I understand that we can love someone and not allow that person in our lives because how they are choosing to live and the person they are choosing to be. My perception of myself as a individual of worth who deserves honest and respectful relationships has changed. My perspective of the landscape of my life has shifted. I never wanted to be a single parent but I would rather be on my own than shackled to a relationship where I end up unrecognisable to myself.

More recently this has occurred with my ex foster son. For ten years I raised and loved that boy, taught him (he has autism and functioned poorly when he came to live with me), cared for him and was proud of him. He showed me a young man who was caring, could love, form relationships, be insightful and would lend a hand. I’m still so proud of the steps he dug into the hill for me, closer together so I could step down them easily. He could be so very kind. Eighteen months ago he started changing but would not tell me what was wrong. There was always a nasty streak but doesn’t everyone have that? I chose to see him as my lovely boy so was much troubled by his nastiness. His desperation for a girlfriend culminated in meeting a woman online, 9 years his senior, who came from interstate and took him away. I was devastated but gave them a farewell dinner and planned to keep in touch. Over the year he morphed into someone I didn’t recognise. Someone who chose to return to calling me by my name but never had the courage to discuss it with me, who called one of his ex foster sisters an “attention seeking whore” and his youngest ex foster sister a “black slut”. This is the tip of the iceberg. I have moved through profound shock and grief over the past year as this unrecognisable person stomped in his hob nailed boots all over our hearts.

My perspective was that he was my boy. My perception of him was not that he was perfect but that he could be kind, loving, caring and thoughtful. My expectation was that he would continue to be a member of our family. I love him. He can never take away the ten years he was my boy. However I will not have the person he has chosen to be anywhere near my life. The abuse was such that I had to get my solicitor to write to them to tell them to leave us alone.

What’s interesting here is how thwarted expectations cause the most pain and it is our perspective of relationships and our perceptions of individuals that have to shift. Doesn’t mean we don’t love them but sometimes it does mean that we have to set them free.

The kitty? Yep. He’s gone under the house to explore where I cannot get him. I’m off to get a can of tuna. I perceive that he’s a cat and I know he loves tuna. I hope my expectations, of enticing him with it, are right this time.

P.S. He came out just after I finished writing. Oh, the power of food.