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Showing posts with label my art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label my art. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

I think I got welfare shamed and I'm not on welfare

Sketch a day - day 7
I went to the grocery store for two reasons... lunch, and cash-back. Cash back is awesome because I don't have to pay atm fees to spend my money, and since I had to pay the dude repairing the woodpecker holes in my house today, I needed cash. (I probably won't use him again, with one of the reasons being he doesn't take checks.  Who wants to go to get cash two days in a row to get enough money to pay someone?)

Anyway, I said to the cashier I need $100 cash back, is that possible? She replied, the max is $50, but I can split your bill. Cool.. Cool.  So she rang up my bill with a few things left on the conveyor belt.

As I went fishing in my wallet for my debit card she got annoyed.  I was trying to find the right debit card, for our joint account, since I didn't want to take it from my main shopping account because most of the money was for house repairs.

She replied in an annoyed voice... "that's a lot of cards".  I apologized.  "They are all for different things", I said.  "Well, I don't know what anyone needs all those cards for".  I was so caught off guard, I started explaining. "Well, I have joint cards for each kids account, they are in college.  And I have a joint account with my husband. And I have the card I use for most purchases, groceries and stuff, and then I have one credit card", I explained, feeling flushed.... as if it were any of her business.  "Well" she huffed", I only have one card, I don't have enough money for all those cards, but a little is better than nothing!" I started to explain again, and then realized how ridiculous I was being, I paid for my second half of the purchase, got my other $50 cash back and left.

It is nobody's business how many debit or credit cards I have. It is nobody's business how much money I do or don't have. And I should not feel guilty or ashamed for what I have or how it works for me.  It is my money and it is my system. It works for me.

This isn't the first time I have felt attacked by this particular cashier.  Over the summer I purchased pre-cubed watermelon.  Sure I could have purchased a whole watermelon, but I didn't want to deal with it.  She chastised me for not making the more economical choice and that the pre-cut watermelon was a lot more per pound.  I felt so convicted (bad) that I purchased a whole watermelon the next time... and guess what, most of it was yucky... unevenly ripe.  I would have gotten a much better bargain buying it pre-cut, seeing how much I tossed out.

I will be avoiding this cashier from now on.

Before her, and when my kids were younger, there was another such cashier.  She would tell me that I needed to get a job every time I saw her.  "The manager is here, she would say, you'd be a great cashier".  "I'm good", I would reply, but she would keep insisting. It bothered her that I clearly did not have a job and was spending what she though was a lot of money at the grocery store.  Surely, I needed a job, right?

So what gives?

I am being made to feel just like those people others shame for using a EBT (food stamps) card for buying what they think is excessive, only I don't use any of those cards, and my husband makes good money which I manage well, and I can afford to feed us well, most of the time.  Still, I am being treated the exact same as those people.

Maybe it is because I don't dress up and look rich.  I look like the average joe-schmo always dressing casually, and when I go to the grocery, I often dress like I'm homeless! (I don't really know how a homeless person dresses)  If I am cooking or cleaning, or just took a nap, I just roll out in whatever I had on.. so is that why they are judging me?  Do they think that there is no way I am getting this money I am spending honestly?  Do they think they need to remind me to be more careful with money, because they don't think I have any or should have any?

I don't know, but it befuddles me.

I'm going to have to be rude and put a stop to it.

Monday, October 27, 2014

What I probably do best, but not what I want to keep doing

Sketch a day- day 6
I was busy today updating my computer with the next mac version and then trying to get back photos from when my computer died... I think my daughter's sweet 16 photos are gone... going to try to snipe a photo or two from people who were there.

My sketch today is something I do naturally and often.  It is a sketch of my bedroom floorpan.  It is a stupid room.  The most obvious place for a bed, between two windows is under a vent and right next to the bathroom.  I don't like that.  There is a huge sitting area with a slated ceiling like a huge dormer.  My bed is there now, top photo, but I have been bored with it.

The biggest problem is where the cable jack is is also stupid... on the wall behind the couch in the upper photo and so I can't really see that from anywhere that it makes sense to put the bed.

It is an enormous room really, just poorly planned.  The people across the street actually took half the area where we put the bed and but a wall creating an extra closet (for him) leaving only a little bump out on the side for two chairs.. it does look nice, but once again, I don't want to hear every time hubby flushes the toilet from my bed.  I guess I could have bigger problems though.

The lower photo is how I am thinking about changing it... putting the desk armoire in my bedroom and the couch in front of the TV... but we do like to watch tv in bed, so there's that dilemma.

This is a very messy sketch, but in it is my biggest strength.  I have a great grasp of scale. I can look at a piece of furniture and know it is going to fit in a room... i don't even need a measuring tape.  I just know.  I can draw a room to scale without graph paper, and still get it right.  I have a similar skill for color.... I can look at a sofa, go to the store and bring back coordinating fabric without a swatch.  I still gladly do floorplans for friends with decorating dilemma's and help pick fabric, but my own bedroom has me stymied.

Yes, I did do interior design work in a former life... when we lived in New Orleans, and also the year following that when I was just outside of NY, waiting for my husband to change jobs because I kept getting sick in New Orleans.

I gave that up to do murals,  (I still do on occasion, about one a year) but also slowly gave that up when I started homeschooling.  I began writing about decorating for websites which did very well for a while,  I even had a homeschooling column or two, but citizen journalism died hard... and now I have come full circle, trying to find my artistic fit.   I could go back to decorating, but I don't really feel called to it... it just comes naturally.  I am ready for the art gallery in my heart.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Brainless doodles

sketch a day- day 5
It's Sunday, and I really have no deep thoughts. So here is my day 5 sketch of the day.  I tried to portray a couple of celebrities, and then a random person from a magazine.  Portraits are really not my thing! Can you name the two celebrities?  

Good luck! 

Fighting the urge to delete these.  Not my best work. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Perfectly imperfect

sketch a day-day 4
I looked at some of my work from 25 years ago today... It was in the garage.  I am going to toss it, after taking a few pictures because it is all charcoal and has become muddy over the years.  Still, there are some good things about it. I will take some photos before trashing it.

One thing I noticed is that there is a slight slant to everything I draw.  I think it is because I don't sit still and I don't hold my head still... I move around and kind of lean to one side, so there is also a slight lean in my work.  You can see it in this candlestick drawing from my mantle.  Also the middle candle is out of perspective because I drew it first and then when I moved my persecutive, I did not change it.

But... nothing in life is perfect, and interestingly enough, my most slanted, imperfect pieces have been purchased (long ago, when I drew regularly).... so there is clearly beauty in not getting it quite right.

Perfection is a dangerous thing anyway, isn't it.  It can hold us back from showing our work... I almost didn't post this.  It can keep us from moving to the next step professionally. It can keep us from doing anything at all because we feel like it might not be our best.

When children, (and in my experience, especially boys) I have learned that perfectionism often gets in the way. When my son was in public school, before homeschooling, he would take his completed homework out of his bag and leave it on the table because he would rather not turn it in at all, than to have it not quite right. This fear of being imperfect still follows him in college, and I have to push him to do things like publish the darn website already, or to just do your best at that moment and hand it in!

So, I have some question for you... What are you holding back as you seek perfection? What have you let go and allowed to be imperfect?  What lesson have you learned from these actions?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Real life still life and lessons learned

Today's art education video was on doing a still life. I've done tons of still-life's over the years, but I am not fond of them. They are always so fake and contrived.  For example, where in life are you going to find an apple, next to a vase, next to a wooden model?  Only in an art classroom. That kind of unnatural situation often bothered me when I was studying art in school.  I think the situation that bothered me the most is when a nude model stood on a ladder. Who is going to climb a ladder naked in real life? No one. That's who.

So, my still life includes items that really were on my desk and arranging them, meant only moving them a few inches so I could get them all into an arrangement that would fit on the paper. A real-life-still life.
sketch a day- day 3

Still life reminds me of that old Sesame street song "one of these things do not belong here". Remember that? I have learned in life, that sometimes it is good to be out of place in the world... to stand out like a sore thumb. After all, that was a huge part of our homeschool experience, often being the only one of our type.  Still, when we force things that don't necessarily go together into a setting, it can be unsettling and confusing... much like a still life set up in an art classroom.

But if you are willing to, you can examine these items and make sense of the relationship they will have with each other. Let's look at the items in a typical classroom still life:  a clear vase gives the artist the challenge of portraying transparency on paper. An apples give the challenge of portraying a round object on flat paper, and the artists model helps you to process a more complicated item in the background, which by the way you can draw in a more impressionistic style because it is typically further away. These items are put together to create a challenge... as a learning tool.

Perhaps that is why God places unlike things together. At some point he decided to take people from Africa and throw them in with people from Europe and other countries around the world. That didn't start out to well did it? But over time, people began to look at the relationships between us and found a lot in common.  Red blood, organs that are undecipherable from each other, and emotions that act thusly to injustice. We still have so much to learn from each other, but I have learned that this real-life still-life is not as awkward as I thought, and that all of the discomfort and feeling out of place, has been quite educational to me, and to others as well.

We still have a long way to go, but we are richer for the experience.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Rote memorization- just practice

sketch a day- day 2
In the art video I watched today, the artist instructor demonstrated how to draw the human figure and understanding how the body works and what shapes it is generally made up from.  So, today's sketch is of a model dummy I have that interestingly enough is not comprised of the same shapes that he demonstrated in the video.

Something he said in the video caught me as very interesting. He said that an artist has two talents... the first is being able to remember what things look like and to draw them from memory. I am and have always been weak in that. The second is in being able to see in a way that most people cannot, to break down an item, a figure, etc, and draw it on paper in a realistic way. That is my strength.  I have always happily leaned on it.

I always thought that my talent was what it was and that I could not fix the missing part of my artistry and learn to draw from memory. But according to this instructor, I was wrong. It seems that the way to strengthen this missing part of my skills is through wrote memory.  To practice. To draw items (in this case he was talking about anatomy and the human figure) over and over again. Use anatomy books.  Draw bones, tendons, muscles, etc until I can draw them without looking at the item.

Sounds familiar doesn't it. Isn't this how we taught our kids the alphabet, to count, to multiply, and history and grammar facts when we homeschooled them?  And the homeschooler becomes the homeschooled!

Why wouldn't I treat practicing my art like my kids practiced piano, or like I have always insisted they practice math through doing a few problems a day?  Why should it be any easier..  And considering that my hand feels crampy after just a 15 minute sketch, I can tell you it won't... but I will be better for it. Likewise, kids will be better for daily practice of math, language, and whatever they are endeavoring to learn.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Sketching and the Devil in the White House

Sketch a day, day 1
I am trying to force my creativity by doing a sketch a day.  I am using some free video lessons by http://www.jerrysartarama.com/art-lessons/free-art-instruction-videos.html to inspire me.  I used a lesson today on using shapes to draw buildings... this is the house across the street from me.  You could say I am homeschooling myself in art... kind of as a refresher. This sketch took all of 10 minutes.  I am sure I will revisit it later and add ink.

As I was drawing, the news was on. I got distracted from my task when I heard the phrase "the devil in the White House". They were interviewing an elderly early voter who was saying he was voting a straight Republican  ticket because he dislikes the devil in the white house. I had a personal heart response to his comment. It hurt my feelings. I've heard presidents called a lot of things by fellow Americans but never the devil. I couldn't help but wonder what in him made him view Obama as the devil, and what about Obama made him do so.  Do I have some of the same qualities?  Am I a devil too?  I should hope not.... I am sure he though what he was saying was cute. It wasn't cute to me.

And then well-meaning people try to defend it.  I. Just. Can't.

But it did feel good to do a sketch...

One of the lessons I viewed suggested I hold the pencil differently, so I am drawing with my arm and not my hand.  I'm not sure if it was effective or not. It worked well for scaling out the house, but when it was time for detail, I could not help but flip the pencil back around.

Speaking of art, have I ever mentioned that my daughter is minoring in art in college? She wants to up it to a double major, but that is crazy. Her art major (for which she is scholarshipped) already takes up 99% of her time.  That kind of time commitment would be educational suicide. She's real good though. Everything she has created in her 3D class so far this semester has blown me away. You can still see the theatrical influence in her art, so it is a nice compliment.