"Upwards," 2016, Acrylic on plywood
She's my favorite version of my big-eyed InsomniaBird yet! This piece started out with a black background, and the bird seemed more like she was flailing than flying. As time passed, bright green eyes were painted from the darkness, and the mood became more hopeful. I decided on a lighter-colored background to complement this new direction. Upward and onward we go!
After watching the Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis," and reading an article, the reality of failure was brought to the forefront of my mind. IndieWire summed up what made me squirm emotionally watching the movie: as creators, as humans, we face failure, and there may be no redemption or grand comeback. When something is out there, whether it be a painting, webcomic, project proposal, relationship, or new dinner recipe, it is open to judgement and opinions. With a heaping pile of rejection, uncertainty, and indifference served on the side. Despite our best efforts and intentions to remain positive, incorporate constructive criticism, and take risks, we can still fail. That's an anxiety-inducing thought for someone with anxiety, and also for those without. As figuring out how to art can become part of my livelihood causes me to gnaw on my fingers, I am still moving forward. Why? The alternative would involve simmering in an anxiety stew, and the chance for learning and growth would slip through my chewed-up fingers. Inaction would hurt more than failure.
"Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this. It never changes. Even when you're happy...you still won't know what the hell you're doing. Don't ever forget that. And don't ever be afraid of that." -- Mark Manson
"Astro Panda," 2016, Acrylic on plywood
Astro Panda: he travels the universe in search of breathtaking cosmic views, and perhaps will discover a more nutritious form of bamboo.
This painting was based off a custom sticker created during Galerie F's Draw! Draw! Draw! event on September 10th, 2016. Someone wanted a sticker drawn from a photo of her two dogs, one of whom was named Bamboo. The sticker came out wonky, so it was remade, leaving me with a sticker of a bear-like dog. After the addition of a space helmet, suit, and a starry background, Astro Panda was born.
The dog named Bamboo sticker, which was transformed into Astro Panda, sold the same night. I hope future iterations of Astro panda will spread his existence through a speck of this Milky Way's landscape.
"Insomnia Bird (Version 2)," 2016, Acrylic on plywood
Listening to: "Holocene" -- Bon Iver
This second version of Insomnia Bird was created in 8 hours, including prep time. As the first completed personal painting in 7 years, it brings relief. A vital part of me that's been neglected is given the priority it deserves, before it was relegated as a luxury, buried under work and stress. My creative soul is breathing and stretching again, no longer gathering dust.
My new anxiety (and don't we all have one that replaces another?) is discovering a path with my art-making, and forging a living in the creative field. "Insomnia Bird (Version 2)" is an artifact of how far I've come, and how much more there is to learn.
Despite moments where the reality of making a fraction of my previous income grips me, gratitude overflows; there are part-time tutoring opportunities, health insurance has been obtained, personal relationships are flourishing due to an influx in time and energy, and my sleep hasn't been better in years.
This journey is worth more than a paycheck. It is my struggle to find an arena where I can grow and contribute without compromising my health. My parting reflection is from DailyQuotes.com:
"Divine," 2016, Ink
"Divine" is a finalization of a sketch created in college, most likely during a three hour-long art history course. Organic lines materialized on lined paper as if by magic, and I had been anticipating her finished version for years, as it sat in a neglected box labelled, "Art." Her reemergence and completion is symbolic of what I hope to obtain: growth, radiance through health and compassion, and freedom. The art journey has begun! In the voice of Ira Glass from This American Life, "Staaay with us."
"Purple and Yellow," 2015-2016, Ink and color pencil
Complementary colors are more prevalent in my sketchbook these days; my allergy to bright colors is fading. Leonardo da Vinci noted that "art is never finished, only abandoned," and this piece exemplifies that. She has traveled to cafes throughout Chicago, and though I love her serene expression and vine-like hair, it's time to let her rest. Perhaps she'll provide inspiration for a future piece.
I am grateful for having worked with an exemplary staff, full of hard-working, compassionate, and humorous educators in a district where there is a budget for the fine arts.
I am grateful for the financial knowledge to be able to depart from a full-time career, and live on less than what my income is, while enjoying and appreciating every dollar that leaves.
I am grateful for the opportunity to embark on this art and health journey, and for those who support me with their encouragement and feedback.
I am grateful for the time I have in existence to create, and create for others.