Friday, May 10, 2019

Life lessons I learned from my favorite pastimes

img src- pixabay.com/images/id-794978

Outside of blogging and making art, I spend a lot of time doing my hobbies when I feel able. Most of my free time I spend talking to friends through text or Discord, sometimes playing Stardew Valley or other things multiplayer. Other times I feel like sitting back on the couch with my cats snuggled up onto me and reading a book- to view a post about my book collection, read here- https://weearthboundstars.blogspot.com/2018/11/my-bookshelf.html

These are some life lessons I've gleaned from my hobbies and how I spend my spare time. I hope you enjoy!



Practice secondary belief- 
"On Fairy-Stories", an essay by J. R. R. Tolkien

 

 I'm a big LOTR fan ever since I read The Hobbit in 6th grade (and got in trouble for using the word paraphernalia on a vocab test because I'd seen it in there), fell in love with Tolkien's works and set about trying to understand them as I got older. Every time I read them I understand them more, having gotten a little older, experienced more, and just had room to forget the words verbatim so I could read them new again. In an essay regarding Andrew Lang's work in compiling fairy tales in to the classic colored Fairy book range, Tolkien wrote about the notion of fairy tales taking place in a separate realm often referred to as Fae or Faerie realm. He argued that these tales shouldn't be put with things like moral fables or animal origin stories because they describe events that take place in a separate realm, a realm that is very real as long as it exists in fiction and therefore, people's minds.

As an example, the children's book The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton. I hope you've read it or had it read to you at least once, but if you haven't it's pretty easy to sum up. Three? Children move to a house in the country and to occupy their time, they go exploring in the forest and discover a magical tree whose branches reach so high that the tops of them break through the clouds and touch different and strange lands that can be traveled to by climbing the tree, as long as those who do are mindful to come back before the tree branches shift and are no longer touching that land.
Every time the children go up the tree, there is a different land to go to and each land has unique and bizarre features like the ground constantly spinning under their feet or rolling like the sea, and the children must learn to accept and navigate the quirks of each world to explore it. When they enter a new world, it's there for them physically and they don't do much questioning or disbelieving that the ground rolls or animals talk, because that's just how it is there as the rules of that land.

When we open a book, it's a portal to a world another person has already created. In his essay, Tolkien says that when you write a book, you create that realm somewhere in existence, and it's real as long as at least one person holds it in their mind. Those who read the book are allowed to visit that realm, to experience its history through the creator's account and then to explore the world at their leisure through imagination, once the idea of that realm has been established in their heads.

When I struggle to become invested in a book because I can't suspend disbelief, it's often because the rules of that world don't make sense in my comparison to the world we live in. The idea of suspending disbelief works to a point, because the practice is telling yourself "It's okay that this doesn't make sense, it doesn't exist in my world." It's a method that brushes putting aside the content you're trying to get into as a separate universe from ours, but it misses the vital part of investing yourself in this new world with different rules.


Talking about Blyton, my fairy tale fascination, and reimagined fairy tales is a great segue into my next example-


Getting over the fear of starting/ being afraid of your potential-
The Magic World- E. Nesbit
Book 5- "SEPTIMUS SEPTIMUSSON"
 

Another fantastic classic Children's writers is Edith Nesbit. One of her books, The Magic World, is a collection of short stories about magic happenings. The 5th story follows the classic pattern of a young man who must go out and seek his fortune, and because he has a kind heart, he helps people and animals along the way who show up later on when he's in need.  
The message I take away from it is that making progress towards a goal is often less daunting when you begin it for other people, and find a purpose in it for yourself along the way. Even if it's scary, the only thing you can do it just start anyways because you'll never truly be prepared. Here's the part that was most meaningful for me-












" ‘I can’t speak to the wind, I won’t,’ said Sep, and almost at the same moment he heard himself call out, ‘Oh wind, please come and blow up the waves to save the poor mussels.’
The wind answered with a boisterous shout—
‘All right, my boy,’ it shrieked, ‘I’m coming.’ And come it did. And when it had attended to the mussels it came and whispered to Sep in his attic. And to his great surprise, instead of covering his head with the bed-clothes, as usual, and trying not to listen, he found himself sitting up in bed and talking to the wind, man to man.
‘Why,’ he said, ‘I’m not afraid of you any more.’
‘Of course not, we’re friends now,’ said the wind. ‘That’s because we joined together to do a kindness to some one. There’s nothing like that for making people friends.’
‘Oh,’ said Sep.
‘Yes,’ said the wind, ‘and now, old chap, when will you go out and seek your fortune? Remember how poor your father is, and the fortune, if you find it, won’t be just for you, but for your father and mother and the others.’
‘Oh,’ said Sep, ‘I didn’t think of that.’
‘Yes,’ said the wind, ‘really, my dear fellow, I do hate to bother you, but it’s better to fix a time. Now when shall we start?’
‘We?’ said Sep. ‘Are you going with me?’
‘I’ll see you a bit of the way,’ said the wind. ‘What do you say now? Shall we start to-night? There’s no time like the present.’
‘I do hate going,’ said Sep.
‘Of course you do!’ said the wind, cordially. ‘Come along. Get into your things, and we’ll make a beginning.’"



Discovering your true potential by facing your fears and insecurities-
  Bleach vol. 13 ch. 111 "Black and White" / ep. 39 "The Immortal Man"



Bleach is one that I started watching as a teenager but didn't really get into, and recently re-watched it up to the end of the rescue arc (where it ends like a good anime should. Right? Right.)

In this episode, the main character Ichigo is fighting to retake his sword from a manifestation of the corrupt version of himself that wants and threatens to take control if Ichigo slips up.


He has to fight that part of himself to retake the sword, and his dark self laughs at him that he hadn't taken the time to try and understand his sword's true power.



Your true self, as much as it seems like some future goal, starts with the potential within you, and it's what you're afraid because you recognize your future but for some reason from and fight. 
There are moments in life that you can put yourself in that will either be enjoyable experiences or learning experiences. This episode reminded me of a really poignant experience I'd had, where I'd spent a while doing some soul searching staring in the mirror.  I saw in my features the kind of features I'd til then disliked or thought intimidating in other people, and I realized I'd felt that way because I saw them in myself but denied it. What also struck me was that the kind of features I'm so often drawing and see as loving and maternal were also there in my expression, like a shadow of a person I might become in the future.
 







Dedication and patience, aka Slow and Steady Wins the Race-

Zen and the Art of Knitting- Bernadette Murphy


I love to knit, especially so I can make things for my fiance (or often our cats so I can put them in silly hats or every now and then make them a new felt mouse to roll in catnip and surprise them with). My grandma taught me to knit and sew when I was around 10, and I did it as a hobby making scarves and small blankets from then til I was about 19, which is when I started branching out and trying new techniques like making lace, fair isle knitting, more complicated designs like socks and sweaters, etc. A couple years ago I picked up this book at the library, and it got me thinking about the positive effects of knitting and how it applies to life.

In order to reach a big goal you don't have to be fast, you have to be consistent and not stop in order to reach your goals, so have patience- if you rush the quality will suffer.

It will always be a process, and you can either be mindful of it and use it as a meditative process, or allow it to become a mechanical habit that you do while seeking other distractions. Like anything in life that causes us to want to rush through it or daydream to take us away from the monotony, there's that choice to do it fully and mindfully or to distract yourself until it's done. You'll never get that time back and if it's working or studying it's what you'll return to the next day and the next. If you spend all of it wishing you could be doing something else, getting through it so you can spend a small amount of time doing something better, you'll have spent years in denial doing what you hate.

Sometimes, to get better at it, you have to do it wrong to figure out how to do it right. If you can't understand the pattern or directions fully no matter how many times you hear or read them, sometimes you have to start the project knowing it won't be right, so that you can look it over and see the problem and try it again.




Communication is important, and difficult for everyone indiscriminately-
Frasier



Frasier is one of my all time fave comfort shows to marathon, for all its faults and parts where it hasn't aged well. Kelsey Grammer and
David Hyde Pierce are so fun together.



What I really love is how it shows that even when you know how to communicate well- meaning what the pitfalls of communication are, how to avoid mood swings, etc, knowing that is way different than being able to put it in practice. 


Many times you know what you should do but aren't able to make the decision to do it, other times you are able, but stubborn and it's more cathartic to react negatively. It takes more energy to put what you know into practice, and even those (especially those, in this case of a family of psychiatrists getting into communication breakdowns constantly) who should know the most about it struggle doing this.



_______

So what's our conclusion?


The great thing about blogging sometimes is that although I may start writing a post not intending for it to have a theme, as I go along putting it together and reading over it I see themes within the things that I thought were scattered and mostly unrelated. 

You're free to take away whatever message you like from these little anecdotes, but the theme that I feel is presenting itself to me and why all these moments were so meaningful to me lately is this-



it takes time, nurture, and practice to become your true self and you have to allow the person inside you to talk, to voice their personality through preferences and morals. although that journey is frightening and is something you want to be prepared for and do properly or not at all, there's no way of knowing which way is 100% right til the end when you look back, so at some point you have to just make up your mind and begin







Take care of yourselves, friends. Til next Friday-

























Friday, May 3, 2019

Fluid Art Paintings







(Reminder- myself and 2 other artists are doing a Twitter giveaway til 5/11, to enter and possibly win all of this amazing art go to - https://twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056 ) https://twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056https://twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056 )ht

 











This week I wanted to show you all the paintings I have that are finished and ready to sell. I don't currently have the cash for shipping materials to ship these, which is why I haven't listed them on here or my Twitter. But that doesn't mean I should keep them hidden from your beautiful eyes!



The first one I wanted to do in Starry Night colors. I added coconut milk serum to add cells, because I knew I wanted more cells and swirls than the bold, crisp shapes of fluid art done with straight paint (see Dancing Ghosts and Granite below for examples). But other than that I really had no idea how it would turn out. It's often a silly idea to go into this kind of art with expectations anyway.

I used one cup to do a flip-cup technique for this one, and I did zero swirling of the paint so all the swirls, I genuinely can only say it must have been the fluid art gods granting me those because I wouldn't know how to do those on purpose if I tried.




Next, this one I wanted to do in shades of purple, inspired by a friend whose favorite color is purple. I hit the cell jackpot with this one!! The space where all the little cells are were originally big patches of light purple but as I hit it with the butane torch, all these wonderful little cells began to appear til it looked like a coral reef scene that I'm absolutely in love with.





Another one I wanted to do in shade of purple, but I wanted do do a drip effect over a background of solid white. I call it Purple Rain 




In contrast to the cool hued purple drip painting, I wanted to do one that looked like magma, but over a solid black background. 





These ones I already had finished-


 the 2 Riddler drip pours



























Dancing Ghosts



Granite










































Wave





Fire Elemental




























5x7s I've sold & sent out-







This one I made & kept, it sits on my desk now to keep me focused on the way to make progress in art & recovery. The bottom is an eggshell white and metallic gold that's not pictured well here.





That's it for this week! I hope you enjoyed :)




Friday, April 19, 2019

Poems old and new, one for me and one that will never rhyme because fuck you that's why







(Reminder- myself and 2 other artists are doing a Twitter giveaway til 5/11, to enter and possibly win all of this amazing art go to - https://twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056 ) https://twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056https://twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056 )ht









To preface, I want to share the long term goals I made for this year- begin promoting and selling my art after spending the holidays cranking out finished pieces, return to weekly blogging, release my book and get more serious about sharing my poetry.

Recently I started going to a poetry slam and for the first time, read a poem of mine aloud to other humans that I hadn't written shoddily for a high school project. Going to the weekly slams and the poetry workshops been amazing and really helping with my social anxiety. Although, maybe not my back and shoulders if I continue adding more books to my bag.



My book (or chat book, I don't exactly know what it is yet) is poems from 2010-2018, and all but one were written in my usual way, which is to not intend to write a poem but have it suddenly pop into my head, fully written, and I have to scramble for a pen and paper before it's lost forever. 
It's usually in response to my emotions and is a big part of how I deal with things.

After meeting some poets doing the 30 for 30 (what's that? I'm still not 100% certain on the origin but many poets I've met are writing 30 poems in 30 days for the month of April, which is National Poetry Month! Here is a site I found with rules but I'm not sure if it's the one any of the poets I met have been following-  http://3030poetry.com) I was marveling to my fiance at the idea of being able to sit down and intentionally write a poem, every day.

I think he was already on a roll being proud of me for reading my poem and having encouraged me enough to actually go there, and his belief in me that I clearly don't have spurred him to challenge me to write a poem to share by the next week's slam.

WHAT IS HE DOING TO ME.

So, I told him it would never happen, and I stewed on it, and put it aside but sort of stewed on it still because that's how my anxiety works. 
And slowly, bits and pieces and ideas started to come to mind but nothing fully formed. I scribbled it down, changing things and taking them out. When I was finished, I looked over the finished poem and it surprised me by not being so terrible. Of course, this made me furious with my fiance.

HOW DARE HE BE RIGHT ABOUT ME.

I let him know of his grievous offense and he grinned like he'd eaten the moon. Jerk.
Seeing as I'd scribbled the poem on the back of a drawing, he also took me to get a new leatherette journal to write my new poems in. Someday I dream of having all my journals and sketchbooks be bound and covered in stickers. I only had these 2 to use, but plan on using any birthday money I get for buying art to get some stickers.

(Having 1 greenpeace sticker does not mean I am fine with their actions in Peru in 2014 but instead does mean that the organization has tons of helpful info on their website about taking sustainable action and if you judge me for a sticker I'll take that as a warning that you're not worth getting to know. I haven't been yet online but got some funny looks in person from people I wonder would rather have no ecological protection groups at all)




I'm always on the hunt for stickers and taking recommendations on Twitter. I came across the witchy stickers from dovahviing.storenvy.com and I'm in love!! I'm going to order a set and show you all as soon as they come in.





This is the poem I wrote! So much wite out, scribbling over, changing things. The scribbled out bit I changed just before reading it aloud actually. That's the part I'd reworked the most, originally using the word "purge" but I didn't want to worry about triggering anyone at the slam, so I took some time and changed it to "evacuate" and then "eliminate", which I liked the raw and gritty feel of.

But looking it over in my head, it seemed too similar to another poem I'd heard recently and even though it wasn't intentionally taken from it, I wanted it to be something that felt 100% natural.


It's pretty messy on paper and if it's hard to make out, here's the full poem typed out- 


This is a poem I wrote on purpose
Which sounds simple, even standard.
But clearly in this way, again, I haven't fit that standard.

I watch, jealous,
and listen to words that sound like
they were written out of interest, or purpose,
not some raw possessive need.

I wish I could write into existence
rosy fingered dawns,
mysteries and histories.
Not shedding unsung words like an upheaval-
A base and primal urge for release.
It's why I'm far from being a writer

Perhaps just the artist I started as,
haunted and directed by some creative spirit
with unfinished business

I joke but I knew her,
you can ask but you really should have seen her.

It's like my struggle to fit in,
in this world, in a body,
when it seems to be the story that
if you don't feel right one wat there might
be some other way that fits you.

But every name and game and suit feels wrong.
Everything I try feels forced and faked unless
I stop trying to be one or the other

and become myself naturally,
unapologetically





And that's the post for this week! Thanks for reading :)




Friday, April 12, 2019

Little life update

Hey everyone! I'm gonna show you all what I've been doing recently. Lots of new paintings and drawings I made for myself, which is rare for me to do. The great part of making things usually is that I can give them away to people I know will be really happy to get them.


Some character sketches of my favorite character from Brion Foulke's webcomic Flipside




Acrylic paintings of Tamako from Tamako Market, Brewster from Animal Crossing and the movie Doubutsu No Mori, and Tsu/Froppy from My Hero Academia



I've also been finishing magnets to sell at craft fairs this summer. 

 Trying to figure out the most cost effective material to fill them with has been a process, so here you can see the latest experiment which is rubber sealant.

So far I've tried-
-clay
-clear resin
-craft resin
-rubber sealant











Two of my magnets and a handmade teal choker (pictured below) are being given away in a month-long giveaway on my twitter. To check out the rules and enter- twitter.com/Real_Stars24/status/1116397162315821056





There was also a low point, some secondhand shoes I'd ordered to replace my 10 year old converse for my birthday got stolen right from my door. If you understand depression/anxiety/CPTSD at all or even just have compassion for someone who's had their only birthday presents stolen for two years in a row, you'll understand how derailing something like that can be. 
It felt miserable, wondering if I'd still be safe to order supplies to send out art if I can't trust that things will be delivered safely. Wondering why someone would steal used, $20 shoes from someone that bought them for their own birthday with disability money. Wondering why someone wouldn't think about things like that before just stealing something.

If you have an answer, please tell me.


I also finished a bunch of chokers. I mean, a LOT. at least a dozen. I'm still building a supply to sell at art fairs with my magnets and (long shot) hopefully some paintings.

 

I've also started going to poetry events, and read for the first time this week (and from my book, too!) That was terrifying, but it was an awesome experience participating and getting to judge in the slam.



Spring is here! Well, kind of. I'm looking forward to warmer weather and real Spring but also not sure if I'm ready for the too-hot weather and having to shave half my head again, my undercut is grown out and fluffy and I feel cute!

I played around with makeup when getting myself ready for the poetry slam, so you can see me showing off my not-so-skilled makeup skillz here with an eyeliner star and a gel peel (that went horribly, made my lips bleed, and transferred ZERO color to my lips. RIP)
























That's been my week! I hope yours went well. 






Thursday, April 4, 2019

Anime fanart & a contest!

This week, I took a break from fluid art and chokers, and made some small paintings of a few characters from my favorite anime series.  I'm running a contest to give away a custom painting like this of any anime character, so keep reading to find out how to win!





Most of the time when I make art, I make it either for someone as a gift or with the intention of selling it to a home in the future. I don't usually keep things and make things for myself, because it's not what drives me and also I have trouble feeling worth spending money & supplies on.


I started out just doing one for a birthday box I've been putting together for a dear friend. I'm at that stage where there's still over a month til her birthday, and I can't stop adding more things but I don't even know if the box will be light enough to ship flat rate, lol! Everything in there is a surprise, so I can't post any of it here yet. After doing one I just really wanted to make a set for myself!!

I knew I wanted to do them on a nice, pastel colored and textured looking background so I used a cut piece of sponge to dab on a mix of teal and white paint in the areas I'd marked out.








Next I sketched out and traced in ink the outlines of the characters I wanted to paint.

On the left is Tamako from Tamako Market, a slice of life anime that I adore and which gives me genuine feels.

On the right is Tsu/Froppy from My Hero Academia, a superhero anime that also gives me genuine, undeniable feels.



























I took my time filling in the colored parts, as for most of the colors I had to mix my own shade, wait for it to dry, paint another layer, and then wipe that out of my mixing tray and start on another shade.















After doing those, I started thinking of what other characters I would want to have paintings of hung up in my place, and I thought of doing a collage of a character from one of my favorite webcomics ever. I spent the course of a day drawing it, and after posting my initial first sketches I thought the idea of revealing progress pics until the character was guessed would be a fun contest idea, so I began a contest on my Twitter page to give away a character painting like the one above to anyone who could guess which character was being drawn. It's still active, and every day I'm adding another picture of the progress along with hints about the character and the comic they're from. There are only a few more so it'll be finished Sunday or Monday, if you think you know!

The contest thread is pinned to the top of my Twitter profile, and these are the updates posted so far. If you're a webcomic fan and you think you know who it is, leave a comment on the Twitter thread or email me your guess!

The hints so far have been-
1: Upside Down- Jack Johnson
2. This character was introduced in 2010

3. A white-headed whale with a wrinkled brow and a crooked jaw






And that's been my week! Yesterday (Thursday), I went to a poetry event and spent most of the day putting together and editing this post. I hope you enjoyed reading it and seeing the things I've been making. Thanks for reading!