dark flame

when i was nineteen i went into therapy for the first time. i was dating a man who would lock me in his basement/bedroom to keep me from leaving. escaping is one of my go-to defenses, so this was pretty devastating to me. he was one of the most awful people i knew and i knew this before dating him–and still felt attracted to him. so i started therapy.

i was unhappy without knowing i was unhappy. i mean, i considered myself an optimist even though my mom said i was a pessimist and another boyfriend labelled me a nihilist…or was it a fatalist?

anyhoo. i was unhappy without realizing it. or maybe it was that i had hidden my happiness so far away that i had forgotten where it was. i was also afraid. ever since i was a little kid. terrified of the dark. so afraid!

but in therapy, one day, it felt like a miracle, i found my happy. and i was no longer afraid. i didn’t realize i was no longer afraid until later that day…or that week…when a lightbulb needed to be changed in a storage room in the attic of the rooming house i lived in. to whomever was with me, i said, “i can’t go in there. i’m afraid of the dark.” and then, without thinking, i walked right in, fearlessly.

the miracle felt like a glowing in my chest. i could feel it like i can feel myself blinking, breathing, my heart beating. i could feel it in my chest.

i confessed to my miracle-worker of a therapist that i was afraid i would lose it again. that it would go away. i compared my fear to the story flowers for algernon. where someone is given the gift of intelligence, and then has to watch as it slips away again.

she assured me that it was mine to keep.

and it has stayed there. i check on it. sometimes it is small & hard to find. sometimes it is bursting out of me.

lately i have begun to wonder if i can share it? can i spread it around? infect others with my own happiness?

i remember that i have at times infected others with my seething anger. pushing & pushing it out of me until it clings onto someone else and i am free of it….

two days ago, i accidentally pushed too much of my happy out and left myself empty.

yesterday i left my happy unprotected and allowed someone to crush it.

today i am recovering. wondering how to do it right. do i keep trying? do i hide it away again? i don’t want to  hide it away anymore.

when i open myself up, i can feel it in my whole chest, glowing. a brilliant flame. it feels amazing.
so how do i share it without depleting it? without losing it to careless strangers?

darkflame1

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bumbles

i was going to wait since i got done so late.
i was going to post this tomorrow.
but i was really happy with how it turned out & wanted to share it. so i’m hoping some of y’all are up late and looking to browse some art.

so yesterday’s ink. i posted it on facebook…and then after several episodes of doctor who  with the minions, i went to check to see if it had gotten any likes or comments and there was nothing. nada. zip.
and i was like, “holy crap, it wasn’t that bad. is it too weird?”
and i shut down my laptop and started reading some neil gaiman, but my mind kept going back to my ink.
that’s when i realized that i had drawn athena popping out of zeus’s head. and leda and the swan. and possibly dionysus. without even meaning to. my brain is a funny place.
that is also when i realized i had earlier, on facebook, posted something just for myself on my page, changing the setting from “public” to “only me.”
so i turned my laptop back on
and got back on facebook
and re-posted
and got myself some likes.
yay.

i may have gotten this done earlier…but, again, facebook. i posted about doing a blackout on the inauguration and my “trump is god’s choice” little sister decided to lecture me about letting trump into my heart.
and i fucking went off.
i could feel my heart pounding out of my chest
and it only stopped after i went on a rant.
sometimes, when anger is rightly placed, it makes me feel better to get pissed off and blow.
okay, always, when my anger is justified and rightly directed, it makes me feel better to express it.

after i calmed down, i did myself some inking.

bumbles1

figures.

today is another experiment with white on gray tone paper. it was kind of a quick one. darker & weirder than yesterday’s super happy one that provoked thoughts of beatrix potter and disney. maybe an antidote to the sweet of yesterday’s ink.
today’s is kind of sparse…but it felt done. so i let it be instead of trying to fill up negative space.

so! now that people are asking for originals (only a couple so far, but i’m hoping it will become a trend) i am having to learn how to price my stuff. from a book about selling art online, i was given the advice today that if you are not a little bit uncomfortable with the price you are asking–you probably are under-pricing your art. that made sense to me, as i’m sure it does to many other artists. so that is going to be my major tell. i am going to imagine asking for prices and see where my comfort zone is–and then push it.

also! in learning to value myself & my art, i am going to have to invest in more good paper. yesterday’s was done on watercolor paper whereas today’s was done on lighter weight paper. when i use the pad i used for yesterday’s, my work is almost always of a better quality. the stain works better & the paper holds the ink better. the mixed media & sketch ones i like to goof off in do not translate as well. which is fine, until someone wants to buy one & i am all like, “well, the paper is crap.” so i really need to invest in more of the good stuff. though i do like how the ink messes with the weaker paper. i would probably mount/back the lighter paper with thicker paper or mat. i did that today with one that was done in my journal, “jar of hearts.” i removed it from my journal and affixed it to a heavier piece of colored paper.

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because that journal paper is so thin, there is some noticeable glue marks however. fortunately, the buyer was okay with it. i need to play around more and figure the best way to do this. make sure i can present my art in a marketable & professional-ish way.

i have a lot of stuff on mediocre paper. but i think the art is good even if the paper sucks. so i think i will just price them accordingly.

i can do this. this is not scary. i can do this. this is not scary. i can do this.

jam!

iggy will tell me i am cheating when i do something like color in the eyes, to make them more visible, lightening them with white or yellow ink. he thinks that is cheating.

iggy doesn’t understand that i make up the rules…or lack thereof…in both my art & my parenting. iggy is always ready to challenge me.

iggy is mad at me for selling an inking that he really likes. he says that if i loved him i would give it to him and not sell it. iggy is always ready to challenge me. always.

i am thrilled that i sold an original. i also sold several prints. so…i’m actually doing it. i’m actually making art for money…or making money with my art…depending on how you look at it. tonight i was able to say to the minions who were of course squabbling right on top of me as i worked on this one. i yelled, “hey! i’m working here.” then i added that i could call it working now because i am making some money at it now. yay!  it’s hard for me to wrap my head around. it gives me  hope that i am actually doing something right. i really need to make a store on this site. i have the directions…i’m just waiting for the inspired moment to make it happen.

on the topic of minions & art, i really think i must have a guardian art angel. or a horde of fairy guards helping me. for as much as they wreak havoc, they really don’t destroy any art or even fuck up the art i am working on. i mean, i get slammed into. my desk gets jiggled as they crawl under it. my elbow must have a target on it. plus i will leave art out to dry, and they (almost) never smear it or jostle it or spill anything on it. it’s amazing.
also, once the dogs got ahold of my journal and only chewed off the spine.
and one night the cat who likes to sit on my desk while i sleep actually puked on my art journal and managed to not destroy any of the inkings inside.
and i, of course, have ample opportunities to fuck up my own art…and i don’t.

i need to remember to set out a little offering to the angels or fairies that protect my art.

so i showed y’all this stain in my last post. this one is a good example of how sometimes i manipulate the stain. and sometimes i stay true to the stain. sometimes the stain just gives me the idea. sometimes the stain is the idea.

here it is again:

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focus on art (not romance)

i really have been trying to get art done. aside from being distracted by dating sites, part of my process is to just stare at ink stains. this one feels really strong to me. i see the picture already, and for that reason, i am hesitant to start because i am afraid i will fuck it up & not pull off the image that is already in my head.

also on the table for today is trying to do intentional stains for pictures. instead of letting the stain choose the form entirely, manipulating it a bit to capture what i am thinking. i’m going to play around, see what happens. i’m still not sure it is a direction i want to go, but i definitely want to play with it.

i am very excited about my art right now. what started as an exercise is turning into a style that i really click with. i love the randomness of it. i love the originality of it. i end up creating pictures i never would have if i had just sat down with a blank piece of paper. and no one else can do it. i mean, give the exact same stain to another person, it will turn into a different drawing. plus, they cannot be replicated. i could take one image and replicate it, but i cannot replicate the stain that creates the inspiration for the image. if that makes sense. and that really appeals to me.

each one is a special snowflake…just like me…ha!

so i am posting this now, in the morning, to see if it reaches more people. often my inkings are not finished until evening or even night depending on the behavior of my minions and my attention span. i post them then…but i am wondering if i should wait & post them the following morning/afternoon.

let me know if you have an opinion.

finally.
i quit the plenty of fish online dating site. so that’s two dating sites down. next time i weaken, i will have to try another one. but for the time being, i just want to focus on my art and see if any romance happens organically. i don’t like trying to force it, and i felt like i was forcing it. i felt like i was saying, “oh he’s not completely awful” when i should be saying, “holy crap i would have a fifth child to be with him!” (i don’t want a fifth child to come out of my body–just demonstrating what i would do for the right guy…hopefully the right guy would not want to make more babies with me because…well, that ship has sailed. again, just emphasizing what kind of insanity i want to feel when i see a potential mate…hmmm. maybe i shouldn’t date until after menopause sets in….)

so!
in summary, i am focusing on my art which i have fallen in love with and not worrying about the whole dating thing right now.

yay.

the intervention

i have been spending way too much time goofing off with the online shopping for relationships.
it’s not that i’m that desperate & lonely–although sometimes it feels as if i am that desperate & lonely.
it’s just that i really enjoy the attention. i enjoy the dialogue. i enjoy just saying whatever pops into my head to a total stranger & not caring if they decide to block me or not.
let’s call it an exercise.
can we call it an exercise?
make it so i’m not some shallow narcissist playing with the fragile egos of men.
i’m not.
i’m really really not.
i’m being honest.
but so many of them are not asking for honesty….
so who am i to interject with the blunt truth when we are having such a nice conversation?
although, today i did have to tell a nice gentleman that i was not interested in dating him. he took it very well. so yay for that.
and i got refused very nicely by one of the few men i have initiated contact with (none of the others have replied to me!) he said he was already seeing someone.
every day i think
today i am going to delete my account….
maybe tomorrow.

(i think i made a date today…with an older man…i don’t do older men. sure sure, my first husband was seven years older than me. but usually, usually i like the younger men. you know…except i really do like the twelfth doctor. iggy suggested i should date the twelfth doctor.)

so here is a white ink stain on gray paper. i like the way it worked out. i need to play around with it more. it is difficult laying other colors on top of the white, so it got a bit blotchy when i tried to shade. that’s something i need to play with. but i really like how my map turned out (i love maps.)

 

watching the ink dry.

i think i’m addicted to online shopping for relationships.

i’m having conversations with people i am not romantically interested in just to have a grown up conversation. is that against the rules? my plan is to just bail & cancel my account if things go south.

ha!

i did a bunch of ink stains last night. i am waiting for them to dry. looks like picnic style meals today! yay! another thing they will put in their tell-all autobiographies.

here is kind of an idea of what the white ink on grey & brown tone paper will look like:

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i am very excited. looking at the stains as the ink dries. so excited!