Thursday, November 5, 2015

power up


One of the Instagram challenges I’m participating in prompted participants to letter a modern convenience that we are grateful for. I’ve seen a few of the results and I wasn’t surprised to see smartphones and such, and I agree with those choices. My selection, however, is not quite as recent, and I know it’s one that we have taken for granted.

For nearly four years we have used solar panels to power our home. It’s been fantastic not having to pay a monthly bill for electricity, and it’s been particularly wonderful knowing we didn’t have to pay the $60,000 that was quoted to add company-provided power to our property. The obstacle we’ve had to face, however, has been a system that is too small.

We have nine 120-watt panels and eight batteries, together allowing 1kW of power per day. With care, that’s enough for a day of power, but it doesn’t allow for any reserves. That means that when it’s not sunny, we’re in trouble.

Our first winter was one without sun. We ran the generator daily to compensate. Last year was extraordinary because we used the generator just once. This year, however, is looking just like winter Number 1.

When it’s cloudy as often as it has been we have to turn off the refrigerator at night, we unplug computers and clock radios and anything else that might draw even teensy bits of power. We can’t use a microwave or even a toaster. Happily, our stove and oven are propane-based; otherwise I’d still be using the camp stove we got from Canadian Tire in the summer of 2011.

We don’t plan to live here beyond next July or we would have built on our system this fall. With a move in the works, however, we’re going to suck it up and live with what we have.

This kind of balancing act has taught me to appreciate flicking a switch without having to first calculate the impact it might have on the rest of my day.

In honor of electricity, here is the lettering piece I submitted to the challenge:




Wednesday, November 4, 2015

learning to draw

I'm pretty proud of this apple. It's not fantastic - I'm not delusional, I swear - but I never could have done this before last night.

Here's how it started:



This page represents the first lesson of Learning to Draw, an illustration class led by Oksana Zhelisko at The Paint Spot in Edmonton. We used 2B and 4B pencils from the Gioconda Mini Art Set, pictured below.



We were to use pressure on the pencils to go from dark to light using a variety of shapes and techniques, including cross-hatching and wacky circling. It wasn't as easy as Oksana made it look on her sample page.


Every student agreed we'd have to practice these. I usually practice lettering and calligraphy while watching TV, so I'll just add this to my routine.

On the three-hour drive home last night I pondered how amazing and unexpected it is that I'm still interested in becoming an artist after so many months. Is it because I've not had to work full-time, allowing my interests to enter my heart more deeply without distraction? Is it because of the determination I'm cultivating? Is it because this is who I am? All I know is it's unusual: I've been passionate in the past about social media, poker, and cycling, for example, and I have even participated in some of those interest for a period of several years, but I have never felt this deeply about anything before. This feels more real, although I know that feelings shouldn't be given too much weight.

Ultimately, however, it's hard to imagine that I could become so much more skillful - relatively speaking - at something that I would eventually stop caring about. If that were to happen, mind you, I can at least be grateful that I've added those skills to my life.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

goals

I have to put 600 more words to page today. I also have three lettering challenges to participate in, and I'm leaving home in about 45 minutes to attend the first of three illustration classes in Edmonton. It's going to be a big day.

The writing goal comes from Sean McCabe, who produces short, excellent, self-improvement videos at http://seanwes.com/tv/. I've taken the goal on because writing is good for me. I want to do it more often than I have been doing. I want to move past the procrastination, the excuses, the doubt, and the fear of failure.

Having goals, I realize, provides some structure to my day. In fact, that's probably the biggest benefit I've noticed: I don't waste time moving aimlessly from one task to another, only to find at the end of the day I haven't really accomplished much. I have to fight distraction and stay focused. I feel good at the end of the day, even if I haven't completed everything from my list, because I know I've done the best I can.

I'm 50 years old and I'm telling myself it's not too late to start something new. Certainly that's one advantage of turning to art: nobody is going to refuse me entry into the field because entry depends entirely on my own efforts.

I experience moments and periods of doubt, and I've mentioned those in previous posts. But I have enough life experience to know that doubt can pass, that it can be overcome with effort and faith in myself. Every good letterer I've listened to has talked about practice, and practice is something I can do easily. I just have to make it a goal. And I have.

Two things frighten me, however; the first is the travel Sean and I will be doing as of the 22nd of this month. As excited as I am about spending time in Amsterdam, Johannesburg, and Rome, I am anxious about how little time I am likely to have for practice. My goal for that period is to have one hour a day to do something relevant; I hope that doesn't prove unreasonable or unattainable. I'll probably make it a morning practice to avoid the expectations of others.

The second source of anxiety will be more permanent: the work that I will be returning to in January 2016. Being at home full-time has provided me with incredible opportunities and advantages that will no longer be available to me once I'm working 40 hours a week. Again, I'll probably be limited to an hour a day. That's not much.

Sean McCabe has another practice that might help, however, if I can get my employer - who is unknown at this point - to agree to it. McCabe takes a sabbatical every six weeks. He works for six days a week, takes one day off, and after six weeks of that he takes a full week off. It amounts to the same amount of time worked and time off, but that full week of no professional obligations allows him to give significant attention to other interests. It's refreshing, and it's brilliant.

One way or another I want to stay on this path. I don't want to lose my way or forget how much lettering and Zentangle and creativity mean to me. If that were to happen, I would lose a valuable part of myself that has taken several months to cultivate and encourage.

Monday, November 2, 2015

second home


This morning I launch - or relaunch, more accurately - my Wordpress blog. It will focus entirely on lettering and I plan to contribute to it weekly at minimum.

My first post, which I have yet to write, will include a list of the resources I've accessed so far. Please contribute to the list if you can by sending me an email at lillian.wight@gmail.com or by posting a reply to the post once it's up. The blog can be found at lillian2611.wordpress.com.

This blog will continue as an outlet for more personal thoughts and for non-lettering projects I pursue, including Zentangle. Again, I plan to publish a new post at least once a week.

My goal is to have a regular writing practice. I got the idea from Sean McCabe, a prominent letterer and highly-focused business owner. Sean writes 3,000 - 5,000 words every morning, he produces a podcast, short daily videos, and hosts live classes occasionally. He’s also got a remarkable series of hand-lettering lessons, and he’s responsible for an active community of equally motivated people.

Like anyone else would, I have high hopes for this practice. The challenge will be to keep the commitment to write every day, and as we all know, that’s easier said than done. Encouraging words - and the occasional cattle prod - are welcome and invited!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

disaster and doubt

As a complete beginner, making bad art isn't a surprise to me; but I can't help but wonder if I'm a fool for thinking that I can develop these skills at such a late age.

When I tackled my most recent project - a Day 11 Zentangle on Artist Trading Card using Pentel Color Brushes in black and in gray (the latter for shading) - I approached it with a fresh attitude: my previous Zentangles had been about filling spaces and getting the work 'done'. This time. I would open my mind to the possibilities of the card and I would let something from within guide me towards creativity.

The tangles should flow on the card, I decided, so I started with Fescu at the top. Despite having practiced with the color brushes in my sketchbook before touching the ATC, Fescu went very wrong when I tried drawing the third one as though it had wrapped around the second.

That's when the nausea set in.

I'd already torn up one ATC that I'd barely begun, something that should *never* happen in the Zentangle practice:

There are no mistakes in Zentangle, so there is no need for an eraser.

That's from Beckah Krahula, author of One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun. Her book is my Zentangle guide.

Today, I'm not sure I agree with her about mistakes. Take a look at the disaster that is my second Day 11 ATC:


Fescu Number 2 seems to be sporting a hula hoop. And Purk, in the right hand top-most corner, looks like a bad slice of pizza. I still can't make Flux (bottom right) look 'alive', and tossing the Echoism variation between Festune (bottom left) and Flukes (the diamond-like one), doesn't look natural at all. I was trying for that sense of flow but it still looks like I was just filling empty spaces.

Oh, and notice the smudging on the right side of the card? My black color brush tends to be a little inconsistent with *its* flow and I clearly moved my finger through a still-wet spot.

Ugh.

The one positive - because I have to find one - is I love how dark the ink is. It's very rich, even if the scan doesn't show that well.

About the rest, I'm not being picky, I swear. Here are some other icky productions:

Learning to do a dry on wet watercolor wash didn't go very well. I used eight 9 x 12 pieces of watercolor paper - including one very expensive piece of Arches hot press - before giving up and seeking some YouTube videos on the topic. I found one particularly helpful because I learned I could tip my paper to make excess paint flow into the spaces where I was getting streaks.





My ninth attempt at the dry wash (and a few wet on wets), was much, much better.

The good (with notations):




The bad and the ugly:

Arches paper

Canson paper


Very streaky.

But that's not all. There was my stamping project/obsession using Tombow Dual Brush Pens.

I was trying to practice the "Stamp and Blend" technique from Brush Marker Magic by Marie Browning. The idea is to paint the ridges of an outline stamp with appropriately-colored Tombows, stamp your paper to transfer the paint, then use the Tombow colorless blender to "pull the color from the stamped lines into the open areas...".

I used a stamp called "Softly" from Penny Black that I had purchased at R & R Scrapbooking.



I tried and I tried to Stamp and Blend. I experimented with several different kinds of paper - even photo paper! - and each result was either boring or icky.





That's when I turned to Google and found this:


Absolutely beautiful.


I switched up my colors, and that's when things really went to hell in a handbasket.

The photo paper disaster. The ink dries almost immediately, so blending isn't really an option.

This one looked so boring I added a halo and a wash. Ick.

Still trying to get the right orange. This one turned into practice paper.

My stamps crossed where they shouldn't have. Adding paint to the trouble spot was a 'nope'.

Crossed a leaf again.

Wash with no halo still didn't work.

It was time to find out how the cardmaker had done it. I went to Heather Telford's blog, and that's when I realized that Stamp and Blend wasn't going to get me where I wanted. Only painting would. I added the Antique Linen Distress Ink Heather used for stamping to my wish list of supplies and eventually found it in marker format at The Scrapmobile in Calgary.

Then I set myself to identifying the Tombow colors I wanted by testing them on a scrap of the same paper I'd be painting.




I'm not sure it's finished, but the current product isn't bad.



I still think there's too much white, but once I rehearse how it looks against cardstock I may find it's okay. I may also try some simple embellishments, if the right ones cross my path. Of course, I'm open to suggestions! The finished piece is intended as part of a congratulatory card for an expecting friend, complete with a message written in calligraphy ... once I learn calligraphy.

So I may not be good, but I *am* persistent. I just hope persistent gets me to good.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

bookmarked: the story of a personal emblem

On Day 8 of One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun, I was introduced to Vega.

An amazing drawing from the All Things Tangled blog: http://allthingstangled.com/one-zentangle-a-day-day-8/
I saw Vega as a bejeweled bangle and I wanted to make it into a ribbon-shaped emblem for myself. The journey was a little messy and awkward, but I persisted (I couldn't help myself), and finally created what was in my mind.

The Day 8 tile, featuring Vega, Purk, Tipple, Flux, Printemps, Nekton, Amaze
 
First attempt at turning Vega into a ribbon. Ick. Tile also features Jonqal, Poke Root, Printemps, and Hollibaugh.

Trying again, this time on a black tile using a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen. The ribbon is better, but still goofy.




Not-so-charmed third effort. Tried various colored Gelly Roll pens.
What bothered me the most making these drawings was my sense that the design on the ribbon wasn't following the laws of physics (or whatever the principle is that determines how things appear when they are bent like this). I did some real world studies using some clear piping we had kicking around, and then I cheated (Zentangle is all about spontaneity and acceptance), by actually drawing my ribbon first using pencil.

I was very happy with the result. Finally.

The background of the bookmark also features Tipple, Isochor, Flux, Hollibaugh, Poke Root, Purk, and Printemps.

I painted the ribbon with Tombow brush markers.

I'm also happy I can stop thinking about this particular project. There's another obsession - a stamping-related one - I have to get out of my head now.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

three recommendations, one post

I have just this minute restored a cheap paint brush that had been hardened by my not cleaning it soon enough, and I did it using this:

I bought the bar at Kensington Art Supply & Instruction in Calgary for $5.95.

The shop is fantastic, too, by the way. When I email them with questions or product inquiries they are prompt with their reply, friendly, and very helpful. It's also the only store in Alberta that I've found to carry my favorite moisturizer.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

the week that was 35 days

One of the most significant tools in my new journey towards art and graphic design and lettering and such is Beckah Krahula's book, One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun. As the title implies, the idea is to learn as many as three new tangles per day, practice them in a sketchbook until you have a sense of them, then create a tile with them.

Several factors have made this a much slower process for me: fear of failure, other projects, stupid surgeries, among others.

Even Day 1 took three days to complete. I don't feel bad about that, however; I want to be present and mindful for the effort, and it takes time to settle into that.

Here are the tiles I created from Week 1:

Day 1: Static, Tipple and Crescent Moon tangles
Day 2: Knight's Bridge, Nekton, Fescu
Day 2 repeat: Knight's Bridge, Nekton, Fescu, Crescent Moon, Static, Tipple
Day 3: Hollibaugh, Poke Root, Festune, Static, Tipple, Knight's Bridge
Day 4: Jonqal, Nipa, Shattuck, and one accidental
Day 5: Isochor, Printemps, Static, Poke Root, Hollibaugh, Crescent Moon, Knight's Bridge, Fescu
Day 6: Amaze, Mooka, Flux, Nipa, Hollibaugh, Festune, Nekton, Knight's Bridge, Crescent Moon, Tipple, Static
Day 7: Hollibaugh varied by Tipple, Nekton altered
I know I've gotten better at it - many of these were done in the hospital and nurses were kind enough to comment on them and ask what I was doing - and along the way I've become very drawn to specific tangles. Hollibaugh, the one that's like sticks over a dark background (I varied it with Tipple above), and Printemps, the spiral one, are particular favorites.

My Zentangle goals are maybes at this point (i.e. maybe I'll become a Certified Zentangle Teacher and start offering my own classes); no matter what, I take it seriously enough to make notes in my sketchbook whenever I'm learning a new tangle. Here's the page for Crescent Moon:

Notes include my impressions of the tangle and which tools I used on a particular practice.
I'm on Day 10 now. Between blogging, learning javascript, learning lettering and painting some ceramic pieces I bought from a friend, I haven't done any Zentangle for a little over a week. I am working on a personal Zentangle project, however, and look forward to posting about that shortly.

In the meantime, I've decided to upload my tiles to Instagram from now for motivation. Please find me there!

Friday, August 28, 2015

surgeon: 1, infectious diseases: 0

Yeah, so I didn't have an infection beneath my sternum after all.

A half-dozen visits from the Infectious Diseases team, who eventually went up the chain to a second surgeon to convince him of their concerns, not only turned me into a ball of anxiety, they had me feeling like the prize in a tug of war with the original surgeon.

The original surgeon, Dr. Saber Al-Boernazar, believed there was no infection. The CT Scan results that supposedly showed differently were normal, he told me. Furthermore, there was no redness or discharge from the sternum wound. Finally, I had no fever.

He had me convinced until I received a visit from Dr. Geoff Taylor, who very effectively expressed his team's concern for my well-being.

When I finally met with Dr. Mullen, who would eventually re-open my sternum, I was desperate for his unbiased opinion. He confirmed he'd seen cases where infection sat under the sternum without manifesting the symptoms Dr. Al-Boernazar was looking for, so we agreed we would not take a chance: surgery was a go for as early as the next day, August 20th.

I was prepared for surgery around 1 p.m. on the 20th. I have no idea how long I was in the operating room, but when I was being transferred back to my room on the fourth floor of the Mazankowski, I thought I heard someone say nothing had been found at the sternum. But that couldn't be right; the anesthetic must be messing with my head.

Turns out I'd heard right. The potential 'pus pocket' on the CT Scan turned out to be old fluid from the original surgery. Normal stuff, just like Dr. Al-Boernazar said.

Still, it was a good thing they'd operated: my sternum had become separated after the original surgery and would never have healed properly. Dr. Mullen did a massive repair job and it's now as solid as a cage, apparently. I can confirm that despite the bigger wound and despite the staple job done on the outside, I feel much more stable than I did after the original surgery. I'll focus on that and let the rest of it go.

Because ultimately, shit - and mistakes - happen(s).

Monday, August 17, 2015

back under

Sometime between now and Saturday I'm going back into surgery. My sternum will be reopened, and, as the new surgeon has said, it won't be pretty.

Last time was rough, to say the least. This time I know what I didn't know then: I'll be asking for more pain relief before they start having me move from bed to chair and such. Of course, those exercises might not happen as quickly this time around, if what I understand about the new wound is correct.

This time, by the way, the surgery won't be on my heart. It's to clear an infection found under the sternum. Dr. Mullen says he'll likely be removing one to two millimeters of bone to get it out.

I learned of the infection last Saturday. Since then, Infectious Diseases and my last surgeon have been disagreeing about how to treat it. The decision was finally handed up the chain to Dr. Mullen, who visited me yesterday. We agreed on the plan.

I've been back at the Mazankowski since August 10. I expect I'll be here for at least a full week after this next operation. I know I won't want to go home unless I'm feeling stronger than I did last time. I want this to be my very last hospital stay for this valve and related issues.

Friday, August 7, 2015

hot air, balloons, and the ticking inside my chest

I didn't expect to feel worse when I left the hospital than when I arrived.

To cope with the discouragement that comes from that truth, I need regular reminders that my body - my heart - has been hit hard with a virtual two-by-four. It will be three months before my heart has fully adapted to and recovered from the assault.

I've been lucky in one significant way: virtually no pain, despite the separation of my sternum during the surgery. I was told to expect some tough times, but a small dose of Dilaudid once or twice the first day or two and the occasional Tylenol after that has been all I've needed to manage what has mostly been an intermittent ache.

Unsteady coloring

There were a few unlucky moments, however. The first came on Thursday, the day after surgery, when my ICU nurse saw signs that blood might be building up around my heart. She was right, but again, I got lucky: a doctor was able to drain it without sending me back to surgery. Best of all: I didn't even realize there was a problem until it was done, as my level of consciousness was poor at best.

Also on Thursday, I experienced a terrifying few minutes of delusion where I became convinced several days had passed without anyone talking to me. I had seen that kind of confusion in my dying father and now that I have experienced it for myself I feel grateful that I was there to reassure him of my protection. The nurse who explained to me that I had only been alone for five or 10 minutes seemed more amused at my predicament than sympathetic.

My left lung had collapsed during surgery, which wasn't as big a deal as it sounds considering a breathing tube was in place at the time, but it did mean that my oxygen levels were lower than anybody liked on Thursday evening, so I was connected to heated oxygen that blew so hard it forced me to work to breathe. After several hours of that I was nearly begging to have it removed, and when offered Dilaudid and a sleep aid I took them, just to escape what I was sure I wouldn't be able to endure for much longer.

I added some Tangles before coloring this time

Friday was a new day, particularly thanks to Stacey, one of the best nurses I have ever met. She is young but she is in charge, not only of herself but of her surroundings. She got me moving, even if it was just from the bed to the chair.

(You never know how much you use your chest muscles until you try to stand using only your legs. The pain of my first few attempts was intense but thankfully brief.)

I was a balloon at this point, absolutely topped up with fluid retention. My hands looked like blown-up latex gloves, and when I walked I could feel my skin stretching over my thighs. I improved quickly - my morning weigh-ins regularly confirmed two-plus kilogram losses every day - but it made blood collection difficult for the techs.

I learned a lot about this stamp just from one use

It wasn't until Saturday, I believe, that Dr. MacArthur finally told me what he found when he could finally use his own eyes to determine my condition: my aortic valve was going to be fine now that the mechanical one was in place, but the veins and vessels to my head and to my stomach have been inflamed by polychondritis.

It's my rheumatology team that will have to help me manage this now, and I sense that if we don't find a medication that gets the polychondritis to back off, my quality of life will be going down the toilet.
My first Artist Trading Card

In the meantime, I am at home. I can't drive for two months because I can't sit in front of an air bag, which, if deployed in a collision could reopen my sternum. Doesn't much matter, really, because I can barely do anything at all right now. I'm exhausted and I'm weak. I've done some coloring, some Zentangle work and even some first-time stamping with my Tombow brushes, and now I have done some writing. I am sincerely proud of these small efforts.

By the way: that ticking inside my chest? It turns out the mechanical valve makes a clock-like sound that seems quite loud when the house is quiet and I'm trying to sleep. Just one last bit of awesomeness to get used to.


Monday, July 27, 2015

my broken heart

In 36 hours Dr. Roderick MacArthur of the University of Alberta Hospital will be cutting into  - or cracking open - my chest.

I'm more than scared. I'm stunned, I'm overwhelmed, I have difficulty breathing when I think of it. My whole body seems to tremble from the inside.

But it has to be done.

This is my relapsing polychondritis story.

Polychondritis is rare. Attacks on the heart aren't unheard of, but they are rarer still.

When I experienced heart failure at the end of April - after 18 months or so of fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, muscle weakness, depression and more - and the leaking aortic valve was finally discovered, I heard every day from one doctor or nurse or another that I was a "mystery". Even at this nationally-renowned teaching hospital, none of them had ever seen this before.

Because I don't have heart disease, per se. In fact, the angiogram I had on July 17th showed perfectly clear arteries, which is fantastic.

I have relapsing polychondritis, an autoimmune disease that is most easily compared to rheumatoid arthritis ... except that I don't have swollen joints or daily pain.

Relapsing polychondritis attacks cartilage, usually in the ears and face. I had two episodes like that; the first was in 2011, the second in 2014. The pain was intense, but once I received steroid treatment it faded. I believe, however, that the second episode never really ended, even if the pain did. I believe it continued, targeting my heart, inflaming the aortic and mitral valves until they were unable to pump blood properly and I ended up at the U of A emergency room around 2 am on April 30, 2015.

And now, on July 29th, the aortic valve will be replaced with a mechanical one. But that won't be the end of the story, because it won't solve the polychondritis problem.

I started receiving a monthly infusion of Actemra on the 14th of July, but we won't know if it's going to help for a few months. The idea is to find something that brings the inflammation down. Actemra is a new drug and there is nothing in the medical literature to tell us how effective it will be for me, particularly considering it's a rheumatoid arthritis drug.

In the meantime, I will be taking 50mg of Prednisone for the indefinite future and I'll get some new heart bits installed.

I'll be back when I can.

Friday, July 24, 2015

javascript for n00bs


Challenge: CRAZY Face





Made using: Khan Academy Computer Science.
 

It's not a smiley face, but it's a start. I've completed five per cent of Khan Academy's free Intro to JS: Drawing and Animation course and I've learned to draw rectangles (squares), ellipses (circles), and lines. I can move them around and I can size them however I like. Hence, the appearance of CRAZY Face.

Next I learn to color. Right up my alley.

the low maintenance me

I used to want to be loved. There was a time when I craved it, in fact. Sometimes that craving would lead to desperate acts that embarrass me now when I think of them.
My partner of five years has never said he loves me, and I don't expect he ever will. I don't need him to say it, though I tell him almost every day I love him.
I stopped wanting 'romance' when the relationship before this one ended.
It was in 2003, and he was married. Our breakup hurt so much I came to wish I'd never met him. For years afterwards I would fantasize he'd change his mind and come find me, sweeping me back into the life I'd dreamed of with him.
I came to my senses eventually, and met Sean. After six years or so of singlehood, I was in a balanced place. I liked myself and was content. I still do and I still am.

I understand how this must sound. It's natural to suspect something must be wrong, to believe I'm missing something. I'm not saying my feelings won't change, but right now and for the last five years, I just haven't needed or wanted any of the verbal expressions of affection. I don't need or expect Sean to tell me what I mean to him. I know it from his actions, yes, but it's not something I even think about except in passing.

It's as though the cravings I used to endure finally flamed out, freeing me to accept what I have and what I receive.


This post was inspired by The True Secret of Writing: Connecting Life With Language, by Natalie Goldberg.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

'click'

Something fell into place as I was doing my fourth Zentangle today, and I feel excited.


I completed Day 3 of One Zentangle A Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration, and Fun, and learned the tangles Hollibaugh (the one that looks like thatch), Poke Root (it looks like cherries to me), and Festune (upper left corner, it reminds me of candy ... or blood platelets). I used Tipple (the bubbly one) to balance the dark areas of Hollibaugh; Static (the one below Festune) because even though I don't like it it was a perfect fit for that straight space; and I tossed in Knights Bridge (checkers) as a transition between the roundness of Festune and the black/white of Hollibough.

I'm terribly excited that it worked out so well. It's a helluva boost to my confidence.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

lost, found, lost again

I really like this question from reddit:

If someone handed you a box with all the things you've ever lost, what would be inside?

My grandmother's engagement ring immediately jumps to mind. I lost it in a house where I was renting a room in 1995. I think I left it on the toilet tank while I showered, it got knocked off and fell into the toilet. Or I forgot it on the toilet tank and the landlady took it, but I don't think that's likely. I looked for it for weeks and never found it, that's all I know.

It was the second time I'd lost it, too. The first time, in 1992 or so, it disappeared from my father's home. I found it many months later in a retail space we'd rented for a software store my family was starting. It must have hitched a ride on some furniture we moved from the house to the store. I was pretty excited to find it that day and thought I'd be more careful in the future.

Not so much, apparently.

Monday, July 20, 2015

tipple, static, crescent moon

The Day 1 Zentangle
Beckah Krahula, author of One Zentangle A Day, writes:

There are no mistakes in Zentangle, so there is no need for an eraser.

I'll be taking her at her word.

My hand is shaky, perhaps from the medications, and my eyes don't focus properly, but I love what I've made today. It's such a scary thing to set something to paper - to make it permanent - but I'm so committed to this book that I'm willing to experience that fear.

I used a 3.5"x 3.5" tile from Artist's Tile Sketchbook; the Sakura Pigma Micron 025mm (01) black pen; and a Tombow 2H pencil and the Derwent blender for shading, .