Friday, October 31, 2008

Etsy Mini

Note the cute little preview of my Etsy shop on the right side of your screen...


What a neat feature that Etsy has provided.

Bad Day Ben Designs is Live!

We have liftoff! Bad Day Ben Designs is now a live store, woo!

I have a grand total of four items listed in my little Etsy store. But there will be LOTS more on the way...

Go check it out:

Strange Discoveries

I never realized how much mistletoe berries look like eyeballs. It's making for a very interesting painting...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

H'Ween Fun

My son is two this year, and holidays are becoming more and more fun with him as he gets older and understands more about what the special days mean. For Halloween his preschool is throwing a "Fall Party", where all the kids are asked to dress up as a character from their favorite book. With very little notice (I found out Monday) and no budget whatsoever, I have to say I think the end result is pretty cute :-). Of course, I could dress him up in a brown paper bag and I'd still think he's pretty cute, but I admit to being a little biased. I added a pic of his favorite book for comparison.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Left Brain, Right Brain

My sister-in-law recently told me that I am one of the few people she knows who are "both brained", i.e processes things both on the creative and the logical levels. I've been thinking about that a lot lately, and wondering why I chose a career path that put me decidedly in the left-brained world (cold, hard logic), to the exclusion of my right brain. The easy answers are of course money, job safety (although a fat lot of good that did me with being recently let go), and marrying a man who is very dominantly left-brained.

But there are lesser reasons, too: in my family of origin "creative" also meant volatile and unpredictable, and to avoid that I simply tucked that side away and ran to the "safety" of logic. Plus, I was (and still am) completely lacking any kind of confidence when it comes to the results of my creative energies. Showing the world what I produce from out of that nebulous and often puzzling place is scary to me, it makes me feel very vulnerable and unsure of myself... which is exactly why I need to do it.

But my biggest hurdle in working out of my right brain is turning out to be coming from my left brain. She's been dominant for so long that she keeps trying to intervene, to direct, to self-edit. Before I even put pencil to paper she's saying "oh no, not there, you'll ruin the whole thing if you make that line". And so I must take steps to keep her quiet while I'm working. She seems to go to sleep somewhere after 9PM, so nighttime seems to be where I get the most done. I've noticed too that with any kind of white noise - the TV, the radio, the husband talking - my left brain is occupied so my right brain can work unencumbered. Alcohol works (although too much of that and both brains go to sleep, leaving me with a completely non-working brain).

The irony of this, of course, is that I'm using a process of logic to figure out how to silence my logical mind.

Anyway, all this to say that yes, I am both-brained, but it can be as much a curse as a blessing sometimes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

little love blue: and the winner is...

I just TOTALLY won the cute little acorn and leaves set over at Littleloveblue's giveaway! Announcement here: little love blue: and the winner is...

While you're there, check out her stuff. So very adorable!

Back to work

My migraine has finally resolved itself, and I managed to squeeze in some time on my latest project. It's the third in my "Flowers of Power" series, and I get immense enjoyment out of creating them. The first two will be made available on Etsy very soon, just as soon as I get my prints back!

I may have limited time to work on projects this week, as I have to scramble to make my toddler's costume for his preschool party on Friday, figure out what to bake for same party, come up with a last-minute birthday gift for a party on Saturday that we just found out about, and work with my advisor to hammer out a class schedule for next semester.

Oh, and work out a budget that will convince my husband that we really can afford to continue as we are without me returning to "traditional" work, i.e. full-time employment. Because we can, and I want to focus on the important things in my life right now: my son, my education, and my art.

Every day I can spend doing any of those three things is a precious gift to me.

Friday, October 24, 2008

It's a Bad Day

I managed to trigger a migraine today, and despite all my efforts, I simply can't SEE clearly enough to work on the projects I really wanted to work on today.

It's a Bad Day, Ben.

Off to find a dark place.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pic of my latest project

Here's a partial pic of a sketch I've been working on. I was getting pretty annoyed with the paper - it's called sketch paper but it's really far too smooth for my tastes, I can't blend the way I want to blend. I suppose it's a habit from my pastel days that I need to get in and rub everything. I also went a little crazy with the charcoal pencils that were included in my pencil kit... but after scanning it in I kind of like the effect.
As a contrast to my sketch paper, I'm experimenting with a really nice watercolor paper. I prefer the watercolor paper to work on (gets nice and smudgy and I can really get in there), but we'll see what the final piece looks like.


So when I first started sketching over 15 years ago (has it been that long???), I would use a standard #2 pencil and really cheap paper (although cheap, I liked it because it allowed for lots of smudging, which is what I do). I liked the sketches, but I was always in awe of other pencil artists... how on earth did they get all those textures in there?

Very recently I learned about softer - and harder - pencil types, and also discovered smudging stumps and those other ones... tortilonnes? I picked up a whole set of pencils and stumps, and I'm like a kid in a candy store. I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing with pencil and textures. I've discovered that I'm most definitely a smudger/sketcher, although my self-editor (left brain) does like to point out all the little imperfections in my work. I literally have to shut that voice down until I'm ready to critique my own work - a glass of wine does the job, as does being really, really tired... which is why I do most of my actual work late at night, when my right brain seems to dominate (also why I get really weird paranoid ideas at night.. that might be a good post for later).

Anyway I find myself grabbing all sorts of things for smudging purposes.... tissues, paper towels, the cat (no, not really), just to see what I can create with these things. Fun! I'd like to post some pics of my works-in-progress, but I've got to run. More later.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My story

Well, it's my first post, and I figure I should start things off by telling the story of how I got here. In short, I lost my job. It was a good job in a very left-brained field (more on this later), and three years ago I never would have dreamed that my life would take a drastic turn. Enter my first child, who with one shared glance rearranged my priorities (more on this later as well).

Anyway, I had a job, I asked for a reduction of hours so I could spend more time with my son, and I ended up jobless. So one day, while I was feeling sorry for myself, I was sifting through various clutter and stumbled onto one of my drawings from about a decade ago. His name is Ben, and prints of him will be my first listing on Etsy, as soon as they come back from the printer. Ben told me something very important. He said: "You know, everyone has bad days."

Okay, so that doesn't sound so important. But I remembered something I read once, and that is this: It's not what life gives to us that really matters in the long run. It's what we do with what life gives us that counts in the end. The good stuff and the bad stuff, all of it.

And right now life is giving me time without a job, to do... something. As I looked at Ben, I knew what that something was - I needed to gather my courage, swallow hard, and get my art out there, out in the light, for better or worse, and see where I go with it. Poor Ben has been in the closet for a decade, and it's high time I do something with him, and with my largely-ignored right brain.

Looking forward to see what spills out of that side of my head for a change...