You can’t isolate a hermit

Meet #maudecharron. She’s a pretty cool powerlifter. After watching her at an international meet, I felt the urge to draw her. Her expression tells a story. She was about to go for her second clean and jerk and while chalking up she shot the weights a defiant look. Now you have to understand; up until this point she had been a ray of sunshine. She almost danced with glee on the platform for her first lift. She was so energetic and upbeat that I was happy for her. But her demeanor changed here. You could tell that she felt that this would be a challenge, but her confidence in herself was unwavering. I love that about athletes. It’s a confidence borne of achievement. “I can because I have”. Of course she made the lift. And her playful excitement returned, but I CV had seen the steel and conviction behind her grace. So I drew her. Right at that moment when she decided that she would succeed, no matter what. Look at that expression. You almost feel sorry for those weights.

Safety over Freedom

It reads like a rant, right? It’s not. I’ll always pick freedom. But I also know better than to think things go away because I wish it.

Anyway…

I rarely draw kids. It’s not that I don’t like them; it’s that I don’t want to be trapped in the business of kids and pets. I have no interest in them.

But I do get it. My son was a little cutie, like this one. Curly hair and all. It took a long time to perfect those ringlets.

Drawing loved ones isn’t the same. It’s an interesting challenge, because you don’t really see the person only. You see them through the lens of your affection for them.

That makes it difficult to accurately judge what you are seeing. Even the most ordinary act can seem to be wonderful in such light, to say nothing of the person. To me my mom looks young and has a special glow.

You aren’t able to see that for the loved ones of others. Sometimes your interpretation of a person or pet can actually upset a customer.

People often don’t understand that an artist has developed a style that they may not appreciate. We’re not Xerox copiers and I’ve had a few experiences where expectations didn’t sync up with the reality.

That’s why it’s important to communicate with your client; if they are interested in a commission of any type, find out WHY they think that you’d make a great choice. Are they fans of your work? Did they pick you out of a hat? What are the expectations of the final work? How do they feel about the subject? Can they tell you a story about them?

Emotional stuff is NEVER irrelevant.

Fudge It

My son is back in Afghanistan. He took leave and we took a pretty fun roadtrip. I miss him already.

Anyway…

Things have been… interesting. My art life has been somewhat quiet. I have a few projects lined up, but without a deposit, I don’t start, so that’s a non issue.

Plus I found out that Staedtler discontinued the pencil I use to sketch out my art! I suppose I could just buy an 8H pencil, but I tend to lose the color with my vision issues. Oh well, something will come up.

In the meantime, I’ve resorted to colored pencils. They tend to shade really heavy and it requires me to use a more delicate touch. NOT my forte, lol.

Also… I’ve had a few people complain that I don’t draw many PoC (People of colour). The reason is…

…they don’t ask. Or I don’t post.

My paying customers often ask for a still life from a photo and the biggest hesitation comes from the concern that I’ll post the image. Of course I don’t. I have more than enough who don’t care, lol. And some are made up.

For some reason, most of the ones who say hell no are black.

Now one lady gave me an ENTIRE FOLDER of nudes to use! She only asked that I make a poster for her. Deal.

Cloudy

Last post before the new year! I’d love to lie about being ready. I really would….

As you can see, I’m back to doing digital painting. Believe it or not, this one was fairly easy for me.

Everyone thinks that I have my own special, custom brushes for doing this kind of thing. Nope. I’m doing it the hard way. Opacity on 10%, so most of the brush strokes you see are built up. It’s how I get that feathered look.

As for the details… I’ve gotten a lot better at crossing the finish line nowadays. Those little things are the difference when it comes to your art.

To be honest, I never trusted myself with being able to bring them out.

Anyway, I’m not sure if I’m happy with it. I gave the old background more pop and a 3D feel, but…

…. we’ll see.

Bounce [re]

Once upon a time, I used to want to go into space. I was good at math and thought I wanted to fly. Then I chased a bullfrog into one of those rain culvers under a dirt road….

….and got stuck.

I went from annoyed to scared fast. I yelled for help, no one heard me. It took about an hour and I found that I could only go forward, so that’s what I did. I stayed calm and freed myself.

Later I watched the Android Bishop do the same thing in the movie “Aliens” and had an anxiety attack. I didn’t know what it was; I just couldn’t breathe and felt as though the room was closing on me. Then I learned that you have to be strapped in and still for training and actual missions and I knew that wasn’t for me.

I needed to be free.

But I never lost my love for space. Watching the shuttles, Voyager, Skylab. It all seemed so, BIG.

Then, one day, I was given a chance to work for NASA, as a contractor. The people bringing me in didn’t know it, but I was so excited!! By then we had Hubble and we’re building the International Space Station. Still launching shuttles. Getting ready to go to the moon again. I was proud to have a PIV card that said that I was at Goddard Space Flight Center. It made me so happy.

But I forgot that happy is a temporary state.

Twilight

I’m going blind

I have glaucoma. It’s pretty far along. They were supposed to operate but I can’t afford it and now my right eye is almost completely gone. My left is down to 86%. And I’m freaking all the way out.

I’m not sure if they can save my eye. I hope so. But I’m really scared right now. I’ve drawn all my life. I don’t have any memories of not doing it. My job is photographer/video editor/ artists.

What happens when I lose my sight? Forever?

I don’t live with anyone. There’s no family nearby. And I suffer from the kind of mental issues that are mocking my continued efforts to not give in to despair. Suddenly that suicide thing that I’ve been holding at bay feels like a mercy killing.

As an artist, if you’d ask me what I feared more than anything, it would have been losing my sight, with losing my hands a close second.

I’m not close to anyone. I’ve been dealing with this by myself for months. The surgery can only save what’s left, maybe. And because it’s the optic nerve that’s dying…well, maybe it’s already done.

I gotta have the surgery. I need to. But my window is closing and soon it won’t matter. I’ll be in the dark. And I’ll never come back.

Starter for Self

It’s officially #inktober! I get to make an image a day for the month 😁. And they have to be own and ink.

Since I’ve been doing a lot of that already, it’s not taking any real effort. All the speed work I’ve done helps with the actual images; usually it takes about two, maybe three hours.

The real issue for me is the themes.

I have ZERO interest in drawing someone else’s choices for fun. I get that this is supposed to be an exciting time for art, but honestly?…

It feels a lot like crowdsourcing.

Why do I need to create something that thousands of others have? No. I’m making original work. Going on my own tangent.

Too many people are actually cheating anyway. I’ve seen different people repost the same image in multiple groups!

If you’re going to cheat, at least be original.

Doggo

This is Hank. He’s a one year old Husky and his owner thinks that he’s the bestest doggo. How much?

She paid me to draw him.

I didn’t have a lot of time; about two hours and then we’d be leaving work for the day.

That nose. I am singularly proud of it. I didn’t do any samples or practice that texture. I just went for it.

It takes quite a few years of experience to do. To intuit color, values, scale. And there’s varying degrees of this ability; that’s why I believe in the concept of talent.

I gave up the piece to the young lady. She was really happy with it, but wanted to wait to take it, since it was raining out. No problem.

#inktober starts tomorrow.

Are you ready? I am!

Prep

Well, #inktober is a week away, so i should slow down, conserve my arm right?

Hahaha, you’re funny!

No, I’m trying to finish off another sketchpad which is a VERY tall order. I have a pad for the inktober stuff.

Despite the aggravation, I do enjoy drawing for lunch. Just going for it, seeing what I can get done. This one surprised me because that facial expression?

That’s EXACTLY what I was going for.

Maintaining an expression over layers is tricky. Anything in fleshing it out can change your intent and unlike other mediums, once you put marker to paper, what you’ve got is, well, what you’ve got.

Plus I’m still learning the limits of my vision loss. Hopefully my upcoming surgery will help.

Anyway, having things turn out well shows improvement. So yay for me!

Sorry if I seemed a little silly. It’s been a pretty bad week for me and I think I may have overcompensated on the good vibes. See you guys next week!