I was planning to give up on wordpress.com. The interface became bogged down with multiple ways to add posts and pages. I was becoming more enamored of just plain ol’ WordPress, the kind you install on your own web host and customize from there. While WordPress.com kept getting slower and less efficient, wordpress-just-wordpress was becoming easier and easier to use.
So, why am I back? Maybe I just need to talk, to re-enter the forum I’d deserted so long ago. Maybe Facebook posts just don’t do it for me anymore. They’re not enough. Maybe the ready-made community here was the better option, at least for now.
I use WordPress a lot for my work. I even run a multisite network and learning how to manage that has been a trip and a half. But, maybe for some things anyway, I just need you.
Maybe it’s the new year. I’ve left a lot of my artistic inclinations on the floor as I’ve dealt with work-related issues which are always harder for someone who’s self-employed. I’ve had some medical issues, some of which seem to be retreating and others of which are somewhat more stable than they were before. Maybe 2018 will be kinder than 2017, 2016 and 2015. I’m looking forward to it, at least.
So…HELLOOOOOO out there. I may have nothing but my own voice echoing back to me in a vast, empty cavern. But, maybe some of you are still here. Maybe we can get a little something going that doesn’t include visits to medical specialists and therapists from a number of different backgrounds. Maybe 2017 taught me a little something about reaching out and finding another hand taking mine.
Getting a tad better, albeit slowly. Who’s got the time to spend all day drawing and learning how to draw? That’s not the only artistic endeavour I’m behind on (hello, novel?). But, a peaceful and focused afternoon is a rare commodity for me these days.
My television set. I did it as part of a perspective exercise. Nothing fancy, but I learned something. Then I decided to tackle one of the pics I took on vacation, in this case a tuft of ornamental grass.
I even managed to add the shade to the left of the plant. Dang!
Okay, it’s not a Picasso, but it’s mine. I did the drawing, based on a children’s drawing book of ancient Egyptian art. I drew it following a step-by-step guide, then colored it using a variety of color blending techniques.
I’ve been trying to get the hang of this, and I’m finding the easiest path forward is through the children’s section. I think it’s because the writers/editors aren’t making any assumptions about what a person already knows. If you’re eight years old, you haven’t had a lot of experience other than your own imagination. I find adult level beginners drawing books and videos to be much more frustrating. I have a feeling they don’t realize how much they’re unconsciously assuming about skill levels.
I find that true of all teaching, actually. I’m a very good teacher, because I take considerable pains to edit my own brain before starting out. I can use WordPress, but someone taking my Introduction to WordPress class probably has no clue. I start from that assumption and find that extremely helpful. I love that “oh, now I get it!” look from students who really hadn’t “gotten” it before, despite attempts to understand and use the tool. I may just have to break down and take an art class – but I’ll go through the ancient Egyptian art book first, using my eight-year-old eyes.
I think I’m getting the hang of drawing stairs. I’ve been playing around with doors that are either open or closed, although at this point you can’t really tell which direction. Is the door open? Is it closed? Go upstairs if you dare and find out!
At this point I’m doing a combination of reading books, watching videos and then just winging it, as in “what will happen if I do this?” I am getting better, although I’m still a pretty miserable scrawler.
A woman at the art supply store asked me why I was trying to teach myself to draw and I told her that I write fiction, with fully developed characters and environments in my head. I want to see what those characters and places look like on paper. I want to see them, not just imagine them. I realize it’s also just something new and interesting, a skill that will take time to master, as did my writing and my musical instruments. And, my left brain really needs a break.
So, when I feel like it I color and, in the process, learn about wet and dry media, psychology and color pencil blending techniques. It’s fun, on one level and a difficult challenge on the other. I want to to draw the lines and then color them in. So, with graphite, charcoal, markers and lots of colored pencils I am venturing forth into the visual world.
Arlington has gone whole-hog on the outdoor art scene. We’ve got painted utility boxes, street festivals and art exhibits in public parks. I’m just up the street from one of those parks, Spy Pond, and visited an exhibit called “Art Rocks Spy Pond,” which is going until the end of May. It was a beautiful day, so I took my camera and came back with some lovely pics. Enjoy!
I love glass, especially when it comes to photographing things through it. It’s such an unpredictable medium, showing off itself, along with what’s behind it and what’s reflected in it.
This is the storefront window of a arts gift shop in Arlington Center. They change their display every so often and I come by to catch up on the latest arrangement. On certain days, at certain times, you can see the world in front of, and behind, that window.
The hubby and I went for a brief walk along the Charles River. And -hooray! – We saw the very first sign of spring. I took this picture while standing on a footbridge over the river. We had a squad of hungry ducks and geese fellowing us around, which I also tried to photograph. Not sure I succeeded.
I was too far away, so I tried to zoom in and it got a little better.
They still look like bugs to me! But while I was shooting close up I spied a tree branch with tiny buds. I propped my elbows on the railing and snapped away.
Green grass. Blue water. Red berries. Yellow flowers. Sigh. I know they’re coming, but the mere thought makes me nostalgic. New England is beautiful in the summer and fall. You’ve got coastlines, gardens, grand old houses and blue, blue skies. It gets very hot and muggy in Boston, heat island that it is, but the perfect days more than make up for it.
I’m going to dig into my past for these landscape pictures and try a little creative cropping, just like the exercise recommends.
Okay, here we go. I took this last summer when my husband and I visited his parents in Newton, about a 20 minute drive away. They live just up the street from Bulloughs Pond and we took a walk around it one afternoon before dinner. I’m going to try cropping it a bit:
Well, that’s a little better. The water is more pronounced although the picture seems a bit out of focus to me. Or maybe it’s just my monitor. I tried a few effects on Pixlr (highly recommended online editor, by the way. It’ll let you upload a picture from a URL).