Apr 29 2011

Finishing Friday.

As I mentioned, I have art that I am working on this week. In addition to that, I have a list of contests and literary magazines, and publishers to submit writing to. There are two upcoming art shows that I will be participating in – the black and white portrait I posted is for the first show.

I mentioned on twitter last week that I seem to have a hard time switching hats. Either I am a writer, or I make art. I have a harder time calling myself an artist than I do a writer.. I suppose since I have at least one finished novel, it’s a little easier to say ‘I am a writer’. Even if I am an unpublished writer. I suppose after this first show, I will feel more inclined to say ‘I am an artist’ as well. We shall see. (No, I don’t have confidence issues AT ALL.)

My focus tends to be narrow when creating. I am either focused on writing (plotting, drafting, editing, etc), or I am focused on art (sketching, shading, painting, experimenting, etc). But I can’t seem to switch back and forth easily between the two. When I’m doing one, the other sounds hard. So I like to stick with what I’m doing, keeping with the groove I’m in. It has been my goal, of late, to change that. I’m getting there.

I have deadlines rubbing up against each other now. This means I have to work on art and writing together. Like, on the same day and stuff. Eek! So far, so good.

Last week I finished up a submission that was due April 30th and sent it off. Then I got to work on sketching ideas for the upcoming art show – Portrait of an Artist. I have been working on those for the last week and then realized I have another story submission deadline on May 1st. Yikes! Only a few days left to edit a story for that one! And the story happens to be unfinished.

I generally write better in the morning, but I can do art pretty much any time. So I have been trying to get my writing done in the morning, saving the afternoons for art and the evenings for either editing or more art… or just hanging out with the husband.

So yeah… anyway. It’s working. Yay! I have to finish up the story today so my editor (hi, Keith!) and I can polish it up tonight and tomorrow and I can send it off on Sunday. I’m editing/finishing the series The Other Girl and submitting it to a contest. Some of you may have read that one, back in the day.

Enough boring you with details of my process.. pictures!
Here is the picture I am drawing from (this is D Ryan Allen, a local artist who drew some of my favorite coloring books! zombie coloring books!):

The outline sketch:

After the first session of adding in charcoal:

After another session, finishing filling in and adding highlights to hair and shirt:

At this point all I have left to do is some shading on the face and in the background. I do like it a lot as it is, but I think with at least a little shading in the face it will have a bit more depth. And I have a bit of time still, so if I totally screw it up I can start over. Once it is finished, I will spray it thoroughly with fixative and then mount it on a board. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

Today? I will finish drafting the short story, and finish up this picture… I hope.

Apr 27 2011

Empty head

Some days I get up and I just feel empty. Purposeless, useless, tired, aimless. I don’t know what to do with myself. This is one of the many ways that depression can affect a person.

I woke up this morning to my 3 year old (Joella – aka Jo, Joey, JoJo, pain in the butt…) having a tantrum because her shows were not being turned on. This was not the fault of the people trying to appease her, but rather she got up a bit earlier than they begin. (Thanks, Nickelodeon, for waiting until 8am to start Nick Jr shows.) So Joey proceeded to scream and whine just as my husband began preparing to leave for work.

Not my favorite way to wake up.

Still, I didn’t feel all that bad, necessarily. It was just annoying.

I laid there a bit longer and contemplated getting out of bed, eventually deciding to skip the shower and just throw on some clothes and go make coffee, cleverly slipping downstairs just moments before 8am and serving Joey her cereal.

Most days, I go to the kitchen, get some breakfast and coffee, eat, take my coffee up to the office and sit at my computer to drink it while I surf the web and make my plan for the day.

Then there’s days like today. I ate my breakfast, I got my coffee, I sat down at my computer… the internet seems to have nothing to offer me today. I don’t have anything to say on twitter. I don’t know what I want to do when the coffee runs out or even while I drink it for that matter.. I feel empty.

I’m going to try to describe to you what dissociation feels like. (Dissociation: is a partial or complete disruption of the normal integration of a person’s conscious or psychological functioning.) Many people liken it to a feeling of being ‘out of body’ or beside yourself – watching yourself from the outside. I don’t feel it like that. For me it’s more like a feeling of not existing. I usually explain it more as being a ‘lights are on, but nobody’s home’ kind of feeling. I don’t really feel far away, but rather as if I’m not there at all. I’m not anywhere. I don’t exist.

It is a very odd feeling.. even more so when you are aware of it.

I have two pieces of art that I am currently working on.

They’re sitting here in the office, waiting to be finished. Normally, I would putz around online, and then get to work on some writing, editing, or art work. But today, I’m not feeling it. I look at those works in progress and I don’t know what to do with them. Much like the portion of the painting where my daughter will be, I feel like I’m simply a missing part of the picture of my life. I’m just not there.

I know this feeling won’t last. It is not permanent. I know that at some point today, I will reconnect with some part of myself and we will get up and move on from the stagnant state. But in the meantime, I will sit in this foggy abyss and feel as if time is standing still despite the hours passing by, and wonder what to fill that empty part of the picture with.