Today wasn’t an awful day overall, but it had some real low points. It’s one of those days where between having to deal personally with people being racist (not to me, just in front of me, and yeah, I shut it down but it’s gross and awful, and mostly I hate that people who are not as privileged as I am have to deal with worse all the goddamn time) and the whole shitstorm the world generally is right now, I’m just exhausted. I know this sounds redundant, but I’m tired of being exhausted. And part of it is that I know I have a lot of friends who are dealing with a ton more serious shit than I am, and I don’t know how to help. I can only do what I can do, and days like today it just feels like it isn’t nearly enough. So, that’s where the inspiration for today’s #dailyartjournal came from.
I’m going to go knit some stitches now, and think about this weekend, which I will be spending watching some of the strongest, most bad-ass women in the world compete to find out who’s the best of the best in the roller derby world championships.
(This was pretty much ready to be posted last night but then I decided to try the WordPress app again because I forgot why I’d quit using it…right. It completely breaks the blog for an hour. Oops.)
This is going to meander a bit, but I promise, I have a destination in mind. A couple of summers ago, I had the opportunity to attend an amazing knitting convention/retreat/gathering in Kent, CT. I got to spend two days taking classes from a couple of my design heroes (that would be Amy Herzog and Norah Gaughan, both of whom I learned a tremendous from, but this is not a blog about that — you can read about that here). It was wonderful, but it was also exhausting, because I am an introvert extraordinaire. You know those personality tests with the sliding scales? I am consistently 0% extrovert. Everything else varies depending on my mood when I take the test, but that is a constant.
So instead of attending what I am sure was a lovely dinner in town with the instructors and other students, I holed up in my hotel room. And I pulled out this book, Make It Mighty Ugly, that I’d picked up kind of on a whim, based on this Twitter account that I follow and really like. I did the first chapter, or maybe two, that night, and really, really enjoyed it. It’s a little workbook-y, so there’s some interactive stuff to do, exercises to kind of get into your head and figure out what makes you you and how to use that to overcome your self-doubt about your own amazing creativity. I was so excited about it that I tweeted about it (I almost never tweet, you may have noticed) (of course, lately I almost never blog, either, so maybe you haven’t noticed so much).
Then after the retreat/conference/whatever I got home and put the book on top of my book pile, which is quite astounding in size and constantly being added to. It did not stay on top of the pile for long…more books were added, some were shuffled around, and it crept closer and closer to the bottom of the pile. It’s the kind of book I feel like I need to have some real good alone, sitting-with-myself kind of time for. I want to immerse myself in it, to devour it with intensity and complete concentration. So I kept putting it off, waiting for The Perfect Moment to pick it back up again. TPM, of course, still has not come.
In the meantime, I have been continuing to follow the author, Kim Werker, and I still find her super inspirational (I’m pretty sure she’s the one who introduced me to bullet journaling, in fact). She has an art journal daily-ish mailing list thingie, and I’ve been wanting to do an art journal, so I subscribed. And in the intro email she said this:
“Actually, it doesn’t matter if you’re ready. The adventure is here! Time to embark upon it whether we’re ready or not.”
Now, she was talking about the art journaling thing, but holy crap did it hit me like a lightening bolt and make me determined to dig that book out and work all the way through it this time! The thing is, the way our various schedules are set up now, I really do have chunks of time that I can pretty easily carve out for spending some quality time with this. It had just been so long since it was on the top of my pile that it never occurred to me to grab it when those chunks of time are available. So. Back to the top of the pile it goes!
But also, art journaling starts tonight. I am taking Kim’s words to heart and embarking on my adventure NOW! The idea is to do some art journaling every day. I know. I know, I always say I’m going to do these every-day-for-a-month/year/week things, and then I peter out. And I might this time as well. But I have also decided that I am okay with that. Because the point, for me, isn’t as much to make it to the end of the month. It’s to try it and see if I like it, if it’s a thing that is meaningful to me such that I want to do it pretty much daily. So I am committing to trying it, and that’s all.
I’m hoping to Insta-blog some or all of these art journal-y things. Those will be short little posts, probably, with pictures of my journal pages (or parts of them), because this thing is supposed to be a community thing — there’s a hashtag (#dailyartjournal) and everything! — so I’m going to try to dip my little introvert toes out into the pool of sharing. Interested in coming along on this journey? Head on over to Kim’s blog and sign yerself on up!
Dude. It wasn’t even Wednesday when I posted this. It’s been a week, for sure.
I dabble a teeny bit in watercolors, and when I was trying to decide how to decorate this month’s calendar layout I thought a watercolor rainbow would be perfect. Of course, I couldn’t let March go without some shamrocks, too!
After the parade, I went and got a tattoo. Well, the start of a tattoo. This is another big one like my Vader, so it’s going to take a few sessions. I had it all scheduled and everything — it’s not like I went out and got drunk after the St. Patty’s Day parade and decided I wanted a huge tattoo.. In fact, the place I’m going (evolvInk — really nice place, recommended) wasn’t taking walk-ins yesterday for that very reason.
This tattoo is really special to me, because it’s got a ton of very personal symbology. Although I’ve drawn several of my tattoos, this — like Vader before it — really needed a tattoo artist to make it what I wanted it to be. So I did a very rough layout of what I wanted and took it in to Johnny. Because we were downsizing quite a bit from my sketch I knew I’d lose some stuff, which was fine (in fact, some of the stuff I put in was add-ons to take up some of the white space, because my model was quite large).
We talked about what the most important parts were, and he did a TON of work revamping it to make it fit and also retain the important symbols. He did even more reworking yesterday when I came — he’s a true collaborator and just a joy to work with on this. He’s not afraid to express his opnion and share his knowledge about how things will work/not work in the medium, but he’s also super open to changing things up in order to make it fit my vision. I absolutely LOVE his reinterpretation of it and can’t wait to show you the finished piece.
For now, though, a little teaser…my original sketch:
No post for yesterday. I swallowed a crown and, well, dealing with that took up most of my free time.
Today I just did a couple of rows on my shawl and a rough re-work of part of the tattoo I’m getting started Saturday. You can see a bit of the full rough under the tracing paper — the tat is going to be quite a bit different from my sketch, but I’d planned for that going in so that’s fine. I met with the artist last week, and I’m really excited to see how he reworks my ideas. We’re doing the line work Saturday, then we’ll fill in the color in a few weeks (I have to make sure I schedule for when I’m going to have a couple weeks off derby — don’t want to risk falling on it fresh!).
On the shawl, I screwed up the last two rows I did. It’s in the mosaic section, which really doesn’t read strongly with the yarns I chose, so I’m not sure it’s worth it to rip back. OTOH, if it does end up being more obvious, like maybe in the light where the solid is more gray than pink, it will always annoy the hell out of me. Sigh. Time to do some un-making.