Art, Ever After 2018

Kuan Yin: Day Three

For my creative practice, I completed step one and step two of adding color to my #KuanYin oil pastel from Lucy Chen’s #EverAfter2018 lesson.

Today I proved to myself that if I just sit down and start at any time, I will get something accomplished. I did not want to create anything today. I was very, very resistant. So, much later than usual, I decided to just sit down and start the video. Two hours later, I had made quite a bit of progress. I also learned that I love working with oil pastels a lot, and the ones that I am using are just the Pentel Arts brand that I bought for about $6.00!

Art, Art of Manifesting Quest

EMI Internal Compass and Finished Idea Journal

I am participating in EMI’s year-long Quest, and for today’s sketchbook practice, I completed the first step of this month’s art prompt. The prompt had to do with marking your internal compass using colors, words, images, and symbols of your own choosing. Then throughout the week, you add whatever comes to you building upon the foundation you created. I used an old piece of round cardboard that had been part of the packaging of something I received in the mail (I can’t remember what). I covered it in white gesso, and then used a red paint marker to mark the compass. I then used acrylic paint for the color and symbols.

In the Quest, we are always looking for the red thread (common theme) throughout each of our steps, so I decided to write the four directions and their questions in red. Then I chose symbols and colors that spoke to me. For North/Earth I chose purple and the symbol I kept seeing was home. For East/Air, I chose green, and the symbol that came to me was wings. For South/Fire, I chose yellow, and the symbol that came to me was flames. For West/Water, I chose red, and the symbol that came to me was a magic wand. I look forward to seeing how this develops over the next week.

As a little extra, I thought I would also share pictures of my completed idea journal. The cover didn’t turn out how I had envisioned, but the rainbow cording I used to bind it together is divine.

Art, Find Your Flow

Day Nineteen: Find Your Flow

Today I stayed with the water theme. I decided to use a blue liquid watercolor and add a little white. I wanted to achieve some depth and movement in the painting by using darker and lighter shades of the blue and with the addition of the white.

It is nearly 100 degrees today, so we have no plans to spend time at the beach. Yesterday we stopped by for about an hour and then came back and spent time at the pool. I have significant body image issues, so it is very difficult for me to put on a bathing suit. Last year was my first time in a pool in nearly seven years. It was like pure heaven. I promised myself I would not let my body image issues rob me of such an experience again, but of course, I did not keep that promise to myself. Before yesterday, it had been an entire year since I had gotten in the water. It is still really difficult to give myself permission to do such a thing, like somehow having a large body means I am not deserving of such an experience. I got in the water, though, and it was again pure heaven. I love to just float and feel my body as light instead of something that weighs me down so heavily in my daily life. I want to remember that light feeling and carry it with me each day as something that is possible for me.

Art, Find Your Flow

Day Thirteen: Find Your Flow

Today was the day. I counted to be sure. Five business days since the biopsy. I called for the results half thinking this will end up like all the other tests, half hopeful that an answer would be found this time around. I had a biopsy two years ago for the same dis-ease – it came back positive. It’s crazy to feel relief at being diagnosed with something incurable, and yet I was overjoyed and relieved to finally have a diagnosis after sixteen years of declining health. I was referred to an oncologist, a bone marrow biopsy was done, a second opinion sought, a finding that the original positive result was a false positive. Depression, hopelessness, everything negative you can think of followed. I was back to no diagnosis, the echoes of so many doctors’ findings “it’s all in your head” echoing off the walls. Fast forward two years. More unexplained symptoms. A decline, decline, decline. This diagnosis the only one that makes sense, even to a new set of doctors. A request for a second biopsy just to rule it out once and for all so we can move on.

Today was the day. The nurse says something about a protein build-up, I don’t really understand what she is talking about.

I say, “this was a test for amyloidosis.”

She says, “Yes.”

I say, “Is it positive?”

She says, “Yes.”

“I have amyloidosis?”

“Yes.”

Holy shit!

Two years later and another positive biopsy. I feel relief at first, then skepticism. Did I hear her right? Did she make a mistake reading the results? Are they going to take it away from me again? Are they going to say it was a mistake…again? Am I going to have to go through all this again only to be told there’s nothing they can do, it’s all in my head?

Then I realize, I have lost two years of treatment. How much damage has been done? My amazing primary physician says, “they can’t call you crazy anymore.” He’s already referred me to the oncologist, but they can’t get me in until August. A waiting game…

UPDATE: I decided to call back the doctor’s office and ask for a copy of the results to be sent to me and guess what??? The results say that the biopsy was NEGATIVE for amyloidosis, NOT positive. I am feeling quite angry right now, but I thought I would at least post an update here.

I didn’t want to sketch today, but I made a commitment to my daily creative practice…no matter what. So, I continued with Nina Rycroft’s Guide to Drawing Eyes class. Today is square-shaped eyes. I created three characters using the three square eye shapes from the video. I added color again, this time using Caran d’Ache Neocolor II Aquarelle for the skin and Derwent Inktense for the rest of the color. The sketch paper did not hold up well because it’s not made for watercolor, but there was an interesting bubble effect that showed up on the skin that I think is really cool. And, the baby looks a little sinister which I like 😉

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Art, Find Your Flow

Day Twelve: Find Your Flow

Since I finished Nina Rycroft’s Face Shapes class yesterday, today was the perfect day to watch Karen Abend‘s next #FindYourFlow video on resistance and procrastination. In the video, she discussed self-discipline and self-awareness as ways to help with resistance and procrastination that comes up when implementing a daily creative practice. One of the suggestions she had was daily revisits to the thirty-day plan I created at the start of the program in order to come up with daily commitments and intentions based on that plan. It was incredibly helpful (and I loved the accompanying PDF she gifted us with) because when I reviewed the plan I had created, I realized at its core was a desire to focus on character development. This realization helped me decide that, moving forward, I would continue with Nina Rycroft’s illustration classes and move on to the Guide to Drawing Eyes class.

I wasn’t sure how exactly to make it more than just a bunch of eyes on the page. I wanted my practice to be a bit more fun than that…so, I decided to create characters based on each eye shape.

Today’s sketches are based on Nina Rycroft’s round eyes. She suggested three different round eye types, so I created three characters based on those. I kept the noses and mouths the same (for the most part), and kept them in the same location on the face. I used the same oval-shaped face for each character as well. When I was done with the rough sketch, I let my intuition guide me on what to do next. On the first character, I tried a new graphite pencil over the blue pencil, but it didn’t feel quite right, so I decided to use a Sharpie art pen to outline the characters rather than a graphite pencil. When that was done, I still felt the need to add more, so I decided to add color! Since I’m working on basic sketch paper, I had to choose an appropriate medium, so I decided to use watercolor pencils and then add a very light wash with a waterbrush. The paper held up nicely, and I’m really happy with the results.

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