my tiny moleskine (August update)

08/23/2015 § Leave a comment

I am, as always, late to the party. I’m pretty overdue in reporting the progress on my book. I also have some “news” to report.

First, I’ve changed my domain name and updated my identity to ourladyofinkanderasers.com. I’ve talked about it before, but I was dying for a name change, something that maybe better fits where I am now and is more sophisticated than a name you can yell at a drunk person to remember later. I’m also kinda lazy about some things, so of course I waited until the last-minute to do anything about it. Yup, I waited until the day after my old domain expired. But… it’s done. Sometimes you just need to liberate yourself and to start over.

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I was in a quandry over it all until I spied a statue of Kuan Yin in a friend’s garden. Strangely enough, it sparked an epiphany. Now my brains are sorted.

Second, due of a number of requests (read: light harassment) from friends, I’ve started a public page on Facebook for my sketchbook posts. Does that mean they’re tired of my posts to their feeds but yet don’t want to unfollow me for the few text updates I make, or do they think my drawings are fantastic enough to be shared on a dedicated page? I’m not sure and I wonder. Either way, it’s also done. So if you’re not on Instagram and would care to follow my sketchbook endeavors there, please do!

Lastly, I’ve started putting up a print or two on Etsy. My shop is here. It’s meager pickin’s now but I’m hoping to add a piece or two a week, until I get through this archival box that’s sitting on my desk. A cat is trying to claim it as furniture, and that just won’t do.

April went well, and I was plugging along in my diary, recording pages nearly every day but also not really falling very far behind if I missed a day or two. I recorded a my nuns orchid in bloom:

(It’s that same terrestrial orchid I drew earlier in the year. I’ve had for a few years in a giant pot in my backyard. Zero maintenance! Orchids are fan-freaking-tastic for lazy people, like me, who like flowers and live in warm climates.)

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I recorded my evil tortie distracting me from my telecommuting work, which is a daily routine:

(Daytime is her nice-nice time, regardless of what her facial expression says here. She does occasionally smile, but I have not yet been able to capture that in a drawing. Angry and disdainful is her look. “Resting bitch face,” if you will.)

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I recorded some alone cuddle time I had with one of my other cats, also routine:
(If I didn’t document her, no one would know she exists because she hides from anyone, everyone, and loud noises. She’s been that way since kittenhood. She’s very loving but very afraid. Up until a year ago, she would tentatively walk all the way around me on the bed to get to the other side at night. Something happened, who knows what, but now she just walks right on me instead. It’s a bit of a nuisance in the middle of the night, but honestly, isn’t that what cats are supposed to do, just stomp all over you with disregard? I consider it positive progress towards her growth as a confident adult.)

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I recorded the few days I went salt water fishing with my high school friend, Ann, who often comes back to visit Florida from Colorado:

(This is a view of Phillippi Creek, which is the waterway we boated on to get out to Roberts Bay and surrounding waters. I’ve been told you can just feel the heat and humidity in this drawing. Is that true? Beats me, I was drinking beers all day, so I didn’t feel anything. Come on, what else do you do when you spend a whole day out fishing?)

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Here’s a drawing of the fish that Ann caught. Sadly, I had to throw back everything I caught these days. My catches were either not tasty eatings or were too small for keeps according to state regulations:

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AND THEN IT HAPPENED. My sketchbook died. The threads in the spine that held the pages together had been loose for a while, but they finally snapped and all the pages were just… hanging half out of the book. Here’s what the book looked like at the beginning of May, before I killed it:

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So… I had to start a new book. One of the reasons I broke the older, smaller book was because the paper was too thin for drawing. I was constantly gluing new paper into it or priming pages with gesso so the inks I used weren’t bleeding through. I considered cutting pages out of the signatures throughout the rest of the book to adjust for the added width of the newly inserted papers, but this book had dated pages, and deleting dates at random didn’t make me very happy. What if something fabulous happened and I didn’t have a page for it?

I decided to go with a new Moleskine with better paper for drawing. It’s slightly larger than the old one and measures 3.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches tall. The pages are no longer pre-dated, which is a bummer. It doesn’t inspire the same urgency to record daily. If I didn’t record a day before, I had a rigid system to stick to and would end up with blank pages. Undated pages are now flexible, so that means there are no more blanks, and brings up the possibility of skipping really boring days, when nothing worth mentioning happens at all.

Basically, during this period, I took some time off from the book. Between deliberating over all this stuff I just wrote about and being exhausted from working two jobs, I wasn’t very active for almost two months, between May and June. I started to gear up again in July. I had realized in the middle of last semester that I really didn’t need a second job, and since it wasn’t fun anymore, I gave notice and left my position in May. I really needed to decompress after that. Some folks might judge me for that, not keeping up my daily practice as promised, but I don’t care. Everyone needs to refill their well.

After deciding on my new sketchbook, I started with a drawing of the desert roses in bloom that my mom had planted some years ago in the front yard:

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And another drawing of one of my cats:

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Then I started making weekly excursions on Sundays to my local botanical garden, Selby Gardens, to spend the days siting under this huge Bodhi tree, drawing and reading, or generally wandering the grounds to photograph things to draw later:

(These are koi in a pond at the gardens. They are terrifying monsters, with many of them being longer than the span of my arm.)

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Being outside this summer has influenced me to begin consistently drawing a lot more images of tropical Florida nature, both native and invasive plants and animals. Every time I see something I’m not sure about, I end up researching stuff on the interwebs and learning more about the ecosystem I live in. It’s been really great!

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Although I’m enjoying my exploration of the local scenery, I have to be careful about the time I spend outside. Between the swarms of mosquitos, the great potential for sunburn and heatstroke, and not to mention that I actually did get heat rash in my armpits from spending too much sweaty time outside, I’m working a lot more from photo reference in the comfort of central air right now. It doesn’t take long to hurt yourself if you’re outside and unprepared on a hot day.

There’s a reason why people don’t vacation down here during the summer.

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