Saturday, February 27, 2010

best day ever

Well it's a far cry from a year ago, let me tell you. 365 days ago I was sitting under a banyan tree bawling my eyes out, about to go into the Matrimandir in Auroville. It was a very strange/poignant/hellish/beautiful day. My couchsurfing host family tickled my toes until I woke up to the still-cool(ish) Indian summer morning and gave me home made gifts, utterly charming. They made me dinner and I invited a german fellow who I met on one of those dusty red roads leading to a whimsical guest house. There have been many days in between then and now spent bawling and braying, heaving and praying (at the risk of sounding histrionic). I expect there will be many more. I just don't feel quite as hysterical as I did a year ago, and let me tell you what, that is one huge mo'fo' relief.

This morning I woke up to sunshine, which was completely NOT forecasted and it was the first of many pleasant birthday surprises. That I woke up early(ish) feeling pretty alert and happy was a huge bonus (despite some really intense dreams last night where I was....oh yeah, I was bawling my eyes out! it must've purged a good something!). I did my usual morning exercises, and listened to NPR where I heard about the devastating earthquake in Chile as well as a very moving conversation between a young man and his father, who was only 16 at the son's birth.

Before riding off to the UofO's open figure drawing studio at 10, there was time enough to sit and do some art (post a pic when I'm done with it). What a wonderful early morning......rockin'! Oh yeah, Ozzie Osbourne was featured on NPR today too. Whoah! How liberal!

I was hoping for a male model this morning, since we've drawn three females in a row there. As it turned out, young Michael announced his 21st birthday........and we gave each other big high fives and hugs. Is that not the coolest?? Ha ha! Funny, I'm very nearly twice his age (WHAT?!!!). Michael was fun to draw, great poses, dynamic, interactive. Cute. Cocky, in a 21 year old way. Said he was out last night at the bars as soon as the clock struck midnight. With more partying tonight. He was great -- and he gave me some good pointers on my drawing, was appreciative of my efforts, and I signed one of the pieces and gave it to him which was really fun.

One of the guys next to me drawing announced a Sketchcrawl at 5th St. Public Market in the afternoon -- it's a nationwide event where folks gather in groups or singly (gather? singly?) and hit the city, draw, and post to a website. After figure drawing I rode over to cook for Tracy and Family (awwwwwwww she gave me a bottle of kombucha and some extra dough for my birthday! BEST EVER!) for a couple hours, and then I swung by the Market and sat with Jay (instigator of Eugene's Sketchcrawl, by virtue of just deciding to do it). It was so nice, the sun was still shining, and at four in the afternoon, it was still light and it was warm. We sat by the fountain and sketched and talked. Nice. People threw pennies in the pool, occasionally missing and landing by our feet instead. Jay is a sculptor who has been through school and is returning to drawing as a discipline to strengthen his sculpture, and for the enjoyment of it. He said he'd still be in school and going for yet another degree....but his practical wife said he needed to pay off the loans from the first two degrees first :)

It is so awesome to be talking with other artists. God! Woo!

Bike ride along the river........and the moon so full and HUGE, with the sun not yet skimming the western rim but tucked behind a cloud. I was hungry so I treated myself to dinner at Laughing Planet. Burrito! Jamaican Me Hungry with jicama, sweet potato, spinach OH YEAH. And, as has been a sort of tradition on my birthday, I ran into someone I hadn't seen for months and months and we yakked and she invited me to see her place of work a few doors down. She's a clothing designer/costumer/entertainer and the store is the Redoux Parlour - clothing resale/local design/alterations. What an amazing place. Aesthetically fun, swank, tasteful, inspiring. A LOT going on in there. I'm going to take some art in for sale, and I hope to gather a body of work together, I could book a show I'm sure. It was great fun poking around the store and seeing what local artists are up to. Wicked Hook makes knitted hats of all shapes and colors....bird clocks made from repurposed items...blank page journals from old book covers, very smart......a raised dais near the door for clothing display in the window and an old tyme piano. It just went on and on. And, one saturday a month you can bring in your clothes for free alterations and repairs. How cool is that?! There's a big studio at the back of the store with sewing machines (of the old-fashioned variety) and seamstresses, cloth and warp and weft galore. Amazing.

Stopped by and saw Jackie on my way home, it's great that we live in the same neighborhood now and are becoming friends. Really like her. She gave me some chocolate (we dipped into her stash for next week's's HER birthday next sunday! whoopee!), and a really nice art book that I only paid a token fee for and she gifted the rest (she worked at a local book store and is able to continue ordering books at a nominal cost). We laughed our heads off, agreed to meet tomorrow for a nice sweet treat, and she sent me on my way with a posie of daffodils, hyacinth other sweet flower.

It's so great that flowers start blooming so early in the spring here.

Coming home, I saw a bag was hung on my doorknob - from three other girlfriends with some goodies inside. That's sweet!

So I'm rounding out the day with a blogpost, sending you all good cheer.

Here are a few pictures of the sketchies from this morning's figure drawing, and I bid you adieu!

Friday, February 26, 2010


Today I SOAR'ed up on campus (Student Orientation something something)...I'm official now and will be registering for classes on monday. Polls open at 7am. Will I wake up early to scramble for the classes I want? HELLS YEAH!!

Woke up super early (for me, 6:43) even though I coulda slept another hour or more. Been freaky tired all day. Despite green tea and biking to and from campus (which I still feel burly and bad-ass's not so much the distance as it is THE HILL, and it's not exactly in town; in fact it is not at all in town).

okay where was I....a friend just called and we yakked it up for some minutes....hee hoo! Well anyway, tonight's drawing session: an hour (plus) of hell, and then something shifted and OH my god I feel so much better. Sometimes when you grind away at something, you just keep grinding, and it's just a big huge shitty mess that will compost into something beautiful someday down the road. Tonight I was grinding along and grinding along and you get the idea....and then I flipped to a new page and a new pose and remembered a video I saw on gesture drawing for animation. The guy's lines were so loose and fun. Who is that guy?

Oh right, it's Mark McDonnell.

What follows is a one-minute slideshow of my drawing session tonight. See if you can spot the shift. It's not difficult :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

welcome to hell

So says Farley, the guy who facilitates the figure drawing studio space time continuum at New Zone. He breathes deep and sighs during the drawing sessions (so do I). We've talked a couple of times and agree that doing art isn't always fun (see the Title Subject line) but it's so much better than the alternative (NOT doing art). Farley's ankle screws were coming out so he went to the doctor and had them removed (old skateboarding accident). GNARLY!

I felt more at ease tonight than I have in a group, is that true? I felt different. Maybe it's a function of familiarity - with the space (it's my second time), the exercises, the arc of a drawing session, and making some connections with people in the group. I dialed through all of my usuals with drawing: loosening up, wanting so much to make those gestures look like the ones I see other people do (who have been doing them for years...) and most of the lines just being like so much chicken-scratch; dogged determination; despair; aha! moments; delight in a line or two; then the settling in and studying, finding pockets of aaaaawesome...sometimes I had to seriously suppress my laughter (at what I was drawing) (sometimes laughing because it was so ludicrous -- what's the deal with the gap between what/how I see and what/how I draw? waaaaah! -- and sometimes laughing because I hit something spot on or pulled something off I really dug, in a comic style.....'why so serious, Victoria?').

Tonight we drew a guy! For all the sessions I've attended at three different places, it's been women up the wazoo. Which is good, because I tend to draw males more. I need the practice. But hey. I've never drawn from a live male model. So it was a nice change of scene. The guy's name is Randy, and I'll follow here with a few pics of tonight's efforts before I heave myself into bed (must be bright eyes and bushy-tailed for student orientation tomorrow! woo!).

Here's a few warm-up gestures (click for biggie size)

Yes I have a hard time fitting the whole figure into a frame. Working on that. I think it's pretty common.

And some more loosey goosey wtf am I doing sketches, which I actually had fun with

And then a more finished one (still trying to fit the head in there...)

And this one I like and was laughing at because it actually looks most like Randy...poor guy, I think he was super tired, or maybe the lights were bothering him because he was squinty and droopy. Randy looked at them and said this one didn't look like him. Isn't it interesting how we see differently? And he immediately put his hands on his stomach and rolled his eyes. When I saw him all clothed and standing on the floor (he was elevated), he looked so much smaller and his barrel belly and chest looked REALLY TINY (she says in caps). I've noticed this phenomenon with other models and the way I see them. They look much bigger when they're standing/sitting/posing several paces away from me. When they're clothed, they all look smaller and slimmer, even the very robust model we enjoyed last saturday at UofO.

oh right here's the picture, and then goodnight

I love seeing different body sizes, shapes, and genders. If we all went to figure drawing class and/or modeled for artists, we'd all be a lot saner and healthier about nudity and body confidence/acceptance in general. I'm experiencing what I've heard and read others experience: when you start drawing, and studying the figure (or anything really), it is all so ridiculously beautiful.

4 weeks and counting

Oh we simply cannot go on like this; the absenteeism and lack of emotional content is just killing me. If I can't manage to squeeze a sentence out for nearly two months just think what it would be like if I was a full-time student. Yes, keep thinking about that.

It could mean that I would actually post more often. Then again, perhaps not.

And I have so much to relay and there I've gone and let it all pile up like so much....piled up seems daunting to try and say it all so I'll just hit the high points:

I'm going back to school as a full-time student (oh yes brilliance with the foreshadowing). Starting Spring term, at the end of March (tomorrow is new student orientation - then I'll be able to register for classes! yee!).

I am top-drawer thrilled about this. I had to travel around the world and back to figure out what I wanted to do, so it was worth it. Completely re-energized and fizzed-up about my decision. So, for the last couple of months I've been studying math for placement testing (which I'm glad I did; otherwise I'd be in sub-remedial classes for years); sending for transcripts; filling out FAFSA and scholarships (which means writing booty-loads of do students apply for scholarships and go to school?! I guess I'll find out) and

drawing a lot.

I mean every day. Gestures and more gestures. I'm going back to school for a BFA (yes, in Art) and then I'll be able to apply for an MLS program (Master of Library Science). So I'm totally knuckling down and learning to draw....I mean the fundamentals, the stuff that's like learning your letters as a kid. It's completely frustrating, and completely glorious. I'm doing this pre-college self-directed study to help me hone in on how to concentrate and to re-inforce the commitment I'm making to myself, to art, and um....yeah basically to Life and the Here and Now, as cheesy as it sounds.

I even accepted some Stafford Loans, which is a HUGE deal for me, since I haven't been in debt in YEARS...the only debt I ever had was a car, and I paid that off years ago. I have this Thing about Debt, as in, a sort of pride along with great reluctance to accumulate any debt and thank god I haven't had any major hospital bills to wipe out my savings...but I decided what the hell, I finally figured out that if what I REALLY WANT is to be an artist (a paid and professional artist), and going to school will give me the structure, mentorship (hopefully), opportunities and the kind of thrust I need to get off my ass and believe in myself....then I'll take the loans (since I haven't landed a job yet despite numerous attempts).

There's a chunky opportunity for a Pell grant too, which will pay for tuition and most of the books. But there's living expenses of course, so I'm hoping for scholarships and minimal leaning on loans.

That's the big news.

In other news.....this mole popped out on my neck so I'm going to the clinic to have it removed and biopsied. I'm not freaking out; I'm taking care of it so I don't freak out.

I saw The Fantastic Mr. Fox and I can't stop raving about it. One of the best films EVER, and it's stop-motion animation to boot.

Tonight at New Zone Gallery is figure drawing for five bucks. I've gone to three UofO figure drawing sessions (free and open to the public though designed for UofO art students) and I LOVE THEM. I've never felt confident enough to go to live drawing I am accepting that my art looks like shit while I learn how to put a human body together again. Actually there are times when I love the lines I make, but for the most part, the drawing I'm doing isn't anything I like to gaze upon with wonder and awe, which is a nice blow to the ego. It's actually quite psychically horrific, and funny.

But things are falling in place, every day. People are super supportive and excited for me in this collegiate decision and the new direction I'm going in. Little things happen every day that are very cool. I will endeavor to write more often about those cool things. Here is one that happened today: I placed an ad on our FreeRecycle board (online, it's a Yahoo group) - Wanted: Paper. Buying pads of paper is way too fucking expensive to be doing at this stage in the game for me. I go through reams of it, all for one-minute or two-minute drawings. So I've been raiding copy shops and cutting up paper bags. Well a very cool and kind lady answered my ad for paper, rounded up several rolls of end-newsprint from our local newspaper and even DELIVERED them to me (since I am on bike, and since I also do not have a big trailer to haul that kind of stuff around in). She also gave me several tips on children's book writing and illustrating, various organizations and grants, that sort of thing. I didn't even tell her that's what I want to do.........she saw some of my art on the walls here but my jaw dropped when she started talking illustration.

The largess of certain people on the planet astonishes!! And I mean generosity in terms of time, energy, and resources, not just the moolah. The less I'm afraid of not having enough, and just giving anyway, and living as though I already do and always will have enough......the more wealthy I am, as cheesy as THAT's true.

I'll post some pics at some point; meantime you can see my doodles and sophomoric gesture drawing samples on flickr.