Art/Author Blog

I don’t have talent enough—

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This is a visual of the climax of my YA novel, The Spell.

I’ve just completed the final revision before I send it out to eagerly awaiting publishers, (maybe not the ‘eagerly awaiting’ part)

I created this image in the Painter app on a Samsung Galaxy Tab A with Stylus.

The Spell

…is the story of young Averil, third daughter of Doft the Mender who wants nothing more than to study at Zoff Academie of Magicks, but she doubts that she has talent enough.

Worrying about having talent enough is something that almost all creatives do. They have a love/hate relationship with it. If you are like me you’re greedy for talent, you can’t have enough of it, but then someone says to you, “You’re so talented.” How does that make you feel? Pissed off.

Why? Because you’ve been breaking your butt on this stuff. You’ve worked so hard, you’ve been bleeding from your eyes, and your fingers are nubbins and you’re husband things you’re the creature from the black lagoon because you haven’t showered for so long, and…

You see how it is.

Talent is Real

I’m not going to tell you that talent doesn’t exist and that anyone can do anything if they are willing to work hard enough. A little common sense and a quick look around makes it obvious that everyone doesn’t have the same abilities. And that is fine. I tell you that’s how it should be. Homogeneity is not what we need in the world. We need people with differences. Trust me, the world works better that way.

But if you have a crazy, burning need to make magick anyway, no matter that the world mostly doesn’t care, then do it. Do it! You have talent enough.

As did Averil, in the end, because when she thought about it, even a little talent could offer help to a dark world. Averil does make it to Zoff where she finds that a terrible creature is eating the hearts and minds of the students. Someone has to save them.

They, all the students, were giving up, one by one. Was she going to be like the rest? No, she couldn’t give up, even if all she ever managed was one small spell that somehow lightened someone’s load. Perhaps she couldn’t light the world, but wasn’t there still value in giving light to just one?

These be hard times. We need light. Go forth and create it my friend.

Goals, have you got ’em?

2017-11-19 11.50.26Okay, we’re moving on into the second week of January. Many of you have set and begun to work toward goals. Lots of goals. You are going to be so much better in 2018. Your friends won’t even recognize you the new you.

It feels as though anything is possible in the New Year. All your old blots have been expunged. You can dump that frayed old you and become…anything, everything.

Some of you are really good at setting goals and working toward them. You write them down in your journals, and you plan for them in you schedules, and when 2018 ends, you’ll have accomplished at least some of what you planned to accomplish. Yay you!

Now, I’m a seriously conscientious person. Not in the orderliness aspect of that trait, but in an industrious way. I’m the person who can’t just sit there. Part of the reason I don’t like parties is that mostly it’s just sitting there making inane conversation. Come on, if we’re going to talk lets talk about really important things.

Yes, I know, I need to learn to chill. Perhaps that should be one of my goals this year. Wait, I’ll write that down.

I have a confession to make. I find it really hard to set goals–the precise written down kind of goals. Oh yes, I have a vague plan in my head. I’m going to begin a new novel, and I’ll finish the revision on the current one. I’ll submit the novel in revision to…and I’ll make digital art at least once a week I’ll work on analog art three times–no four time, maybe…

See, not very specific. So what’s the problem? Why am I so reluctant to make specific goals?

It might have something to do with fear of failure. Or, maybe it has something to do with my tendency to remain open to new things for as long as possible. If I tell you I’m going to do something, I can’t change my mind and do something else instead. My conscientiousness won’t let me. To compensate I make vague goals. It gives me direction, but doesn’t lock me in.

What about you? Do you find it easy to set specific goals? Reasonable goals that you can achieve? What makes it work for you? If you have as much trouble with this as I do, why? I’d love to hear from you.

I’ve been working hard on revising a young adult fantasy novel, called The Spell, and haven’t had much time in the studio. The above is a small sketchbook collage I made in November of 2017

 

 

 

It’s a New Year!

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Cezanne’s Jar, Collage on Canvas, Eve Barbeau

Every year, at this time I get a little manic. It’s both a delicious and slightly uncomfortable feeling made up of anticipation and fear, of potential and possible failure.

Okay, so failure goes without saying. You’re going to fail this year. I’m going to fail, but man! Look at all that potential.

We can try anything. And, I’m biased I know, but how about trying something new in the “Maker” arena today?

  • Do you like to cook? Learn to make something delicious.
  • How about electronics? Go ahead, order that Raspberry Pi kit with Arduino, and make something.
  • Sew a new dress.
  • Write a short story.
  • Paint a picture. Sure, go digital, that’s fine.
  • Throw a pot!

Hey, not like that. You know I meant for you to create a pot on a wheel or hand build one if you prefer.

There is nothing like the satisfaction of having made something.

Sometimes you fail, yes, that’s life, but you always learn, and that is the most exciting part of it all. You learn.

I already know I’m going to take David Schmid’s course on mystery writing (The Great Courses) and a whole lot of classes in psychology.

What about you? What are you planning to learn and make this year?

The artwork above is one I made some years ago. I used a process of sticking down many little bits of paper (on canvas) until I began to realize an image of sorts. This one came out looking a bit like a Cezanne painting.

 

 

 

Happy Holiday Right?

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Okay, you think I’m going to get into a conversation on what is the politically correct way to wish friends and relatives well during this holiday season.

Nope. I don’t care. I wish every one of you well. It’s a wonderful time to celebrate with family. To take time to enjoy. To socialize. Yes, even you, my dear introvert friends. I’m one of you and I’m sure I’ll find a little corner somewhere, sometime, to think of ways to make that chapter sing, or how I to use a resist with watercolour, to…

That’s allowed. It’s also allowed to think about how lucky you are to have what you have, and how wonderful the people around you are. And it might also be a good time, at night before you fall asleep, with your belly too full and your mind still buzzing, to think about the things you did this year.

Take an Inventory

Don’t spend time on shouldas. This is not an exercise in making you feel like crap. But if you are like most creatives, you expected an awful lot of yourself and you’ve noticed all the things you didn’t do, and have forgotten how much you did accomplish. I bet if you take an objective look–do an inventory–you’ll be surprised at how far you’ve come. There are the real things, like the number of drawings and paintings you’ve made, or the number of stories you wrote, the revisions you’ve completed, the rejections you accepted, the acceptances that thrilled you, and then there are the things that matter even more. What did you learn? What new wisdom have you attained? When you worked, how did it make you feel? Did it calm you? Did it give you respite from the craziness of the political world? Did it bring you peace, even for a moment?

I bet this is year was a win for you in more ways than one.

You Want to Keep Your Marbles?

ElenoraThis may not be the cheeriest topic you’ll find on a blog, but it is, I think, a timely one. You know we boomers have never been ones to step back and let others take over from us.

Hang in there you poor Millennials, we’ll step aside one day, but we’ve still got a lot to do.

Okay, so we’re going to make them wait a bit, but you don’t want them to have to take care of us when they finally get to be boss. It isn’t a fair thing to do, besides, you know, there are still things to do, and you can’t do them if you can’t think.

About 27% of us will get Alzheimer Disease

I know. Depressing! But wait, not one-hundred percent, only twenty-seven percent.

Only about the quarter of the elderly populations get Alzheimer Disease? But what about Auntie Mildred, and Great Uncle John and most of those poor ones in long term care?

The Majority of Dementias are not Caused by Alzheimer Disease.

That’s right! And unlike Alzheimers, you can take actions to keep from developing many of these other types dementia.  I recently picked up Dr. Antoine Hakim’s book called Save Your Mind. Dr. Hakim is a prominent Canadian Neurologist, and he firmly believes that we can stave off non-Alzheimer Dementia by doing seven things.

  • Control you blood pressure. Strokes, even those tiny TIAs hurt your brain/mind. Your brain needs a lot of energy to function, which means you need to get nutrients to it. Hardening of the arteries, doesn’t help you. So take care of vascular issues
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Lay off the sugars, and don’t go overboard on the fats
  • Learn something new all the time. Read and write. That’s right, writers, you’re helping your brain. Make art. Heck, make anything.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Exercise regularly – Walking is good.
  • Care about other people and have some good friends who care about you.
  • Find a way not to be sad for long. Depression hurts in more ways than one.

Not so bad, eh? You’re doing all these things already aren’t you?

If you’re not, consider it. It’s not to late to start and you don’t want to burden all those hard working young uns.

Above is a drawing I made of my little sister. Here she is as a young beauty.

 

Character Sketch

 I am lucky enough to have an away studio–a space I rent from another artist–and a small home studio. Paintings are stored in both places wherever I can find room for them. There is a tidy stack in front of the treadmill, which shares my home studio space.

One of the paintings I look at while I’m doing my daily mile is a large work made up entirely of small bits of paper that have been washed over with acrylic paint and metallic gold powder. The effect is as though you are looking at leaves strewn on a watery surface.

My eyes are always looking for form. It’s kind of like looking for creatures in the forms of the clouds above. One day while walking I saw a little figure, and then another, and another. One figure in particular spoke to me and I later decided to draw her on some stained paper. The side view is the first drawing I made. When I’d done that, I needed to see her from the front.

There’s a mystery about her that I find intriguing. Perhaps one day she’ll show up in one of my stories.