Monday, October 09, 2006

I did these last night, while trying to figure out how to illustrate the image that's in my heart on this size paper. I would go larger, but I'm limited to the size of my scanner bed (8 by 10) I've been in a real funk lately, part of it comes from wanting to draw larger and the other from wanting to work on another project instead. I know its silly, and I should just put this aside for a while. I may in fact do just that, then again...

My brother calls my funk artist block, sort of like writers block, but for illustrators. I've heard that every artist occasionally goes through periods in his/her life where every thing they try to create comes out wrong. Of course these are also the times when we learn the most too, while we struggle to find solutions to our creative problems.

Me? Sometimes I think I'm the biggest kind of fool/dreamer, or both. Me and my self imposed deadlines, my delusions of talent. Still, what I may not possess in skill, I make up for in determination. I hate giving up, I hate depression and I'll hate myself even more if I don't find a way out of this maze.

Do you know that a maze was traditionally used as a spiritual tool in some myths. Really, its a symbol of going within, of facing the challenges on our quest and of reemerging whole, centered and reborn upon finding our way out of the innermost chamber.

This is definitely one of those quests for me. I gave up my freedom, my power, my friends sixteen years ago when I got married. Its no one's fault but my own. I suppose it was the heart ache of years of defeat that made me lash on to seeming security. Well, yes its been secure, but what a price to pay. We women (those that have survived much abuse and little love) have a tendency to trade our freedoms for a false sense of belonging. In truth, we will never belong anywhere, until we belong within ourselves. But, when you are young you are often not too bright (at least I wasn't) and so you tend to make a lot of stupid choices. Mine was handing over my power, my life to another, thinking he was better able to make the decisions about my career than I was. Its about trust really, learning to trust our own power, our own wisdom, our vision, our own worth.

The soul has a way of refusing to stay silent. It screams within so loudly, that sooner or later you find a way to give in. Mine has found quite and not so quiet ways to be, writing, art... No, I don't have much skill in any of them, but I can no more refrain from their impulse than I can from breathing.

I'm a devoted mother, wife, homeschool educator for my kids, care giver to a menagerie of 10 animals, (it would be 12, but my daughter is very responsible with her two pet mice) and self taught visual storyteller. Still, there seldom if anytime left over once all my household chores are done. Yes, I find time to write, time to sketch, paint, create, but the cost has been so incredibly high. Did I tell you I've had to fight tooth and nail for it? I still do. Sometimes it seems the harder I work at my craft, the more Hubby and family pull, push and scream for my attention. No problem, I'm not a quitter, a perfectionist in training maybe, but come heck, or high water, I hang on.

I have two favorite quotes, one is from Galaxy Quest. "Never Give UP. Never Surrender." The other is from Finding Nemo. "Just Keep Swimming." So no matter how defeated I may feel, I find a way to keep on going.

Here is my attempt to get past the funk, break through the block and keep swimming. Hopefully by the time I'm half way through this dummy, I'll have worked out the page for the gypsy encampment and the page of their journey along the river bank. These quick study sketches are my poor attempt to analyze and work through some of the wagon and cage designs. I need to find some references, especially for the horses. Until next time, "Never give up. Never surrender."

Friday, October 06, 2006

I've been working on these two illos for the last two days. The first is a rough for page 10 of my dummy, (pages 1 and 2 consist of the title page and credit's page). The second illo is one of my character sketches. I decided to spend a little time playing around with color pencils...playing being the key word.

I took a trip to visit my Mom in the hospital two weeks ago. Its her sixth time in the hospital since June. I know, I've mentioned this before, but here I am again trying to work the feelings rushing through my heart. Its strange all we keep in, all the years of dysfunction and pain we've pushed away. Sooner, or later though, we discover that no matter how hard we've tried, there's no escape.

So, we step forward and face our fears, our silenced tears calmly in the face of adversity. We continue to hold things in, till we return to our homes once more. Then, we close the windows, and try to disconnect ourselves, till we can manage assorted increments of pain.

I've spent the last two weeks rewriting parts of a graphic novel I've been working on for the last two years. In truth there are three books thus far, book one has had more rewrites and revisions than I care to remember. Somehow, it seemed just the right place to be after my visit with Mom. In addition to writing, I've been walking in my woods again, not just once a day, more like three, or four. I've gone through another set of guitar strings too...sometimes nature and music are the only medicines your heart response to.

Oh, yes, one more thing...I read Terry Brooks new novel Armageddon's Children. Its dark, terrifying in a profound way. Great read, I can't wait for the sequel.