I was feeling a little burnt out from painting so I decided to switch back to my favorite medium ever: graphite. I’m still on the deer train, though. And no idea when I’ll be off it. Maybe not for a while, ha!

I was planning to do a series of 4 deer graphite drawings this same style and size, but then yesterday I started thinking I may actually just do 1 more. I guess it’ll all depend on where my energy is at when I finish the next drawing I have sketched.

I am hoping to make more art than usual these next couple months. My physical health is unfortunately poor at the moment, which has prevented me from working full time. Through much trial and error, I’ve found 10 hours a week to be the maximum amount of work my body can handle right now. It’d be nice if I could recover quickly and comfortably support myself again, but over and over I have heard from doctors that this is going to be a 3-6 month journey of healing, if I’m to heal. I’m only 2 months in, so I’m still at the beginning. Or near the end? I guess that remains to be seen.

Just gotta be patient. And celebrate all the little wins. I mean, overall, I can confidently say I have gotten better, so there’s that. =) And… thankfully thankfully thankfully, I am still well enough to make art.

Be back soon.

“Bodily Injury” (aqua oil, 14 x 18 in)

Well, I’ve decided to call it quits with this one. There’s more I could have done, but I’m feeling anxious to start the next deer painting!

This is my first (and perhaps last, haha) time doing a primary color palette. It is tough! I’ve always leaned more towards monochromatic color palettes, so doing this felt a little unnatural at times. I just had to keep remembering that it feeling unnatural to me does not mean it is unnatural in and of itself. It’s okay for a painting to be only primary colors. More than okay.

As for how my life has been going, it’s been nothing but an ongoing test of my own mental and physical resilience. I feel more attuned to my body these days than I perhaps ever have. Because if I’m not, I risk making a big dumbo mistake and hurting it. Like in the way this here bleeding deer is hurt. I’m making sure I can breathe, I’m doing what I can to keep my chest from smoldering. And mentally speaking, I’m using every tool I’ve got in my toolbox to stay sane, which, thankfully, is a lot of tools – 17 years worth of tools, really. Long-term therapy has a way of doing that for you.

It’s just one day at a time. Take care of yourself. Surround yourself with people who care. Be in places that are healthy, supportive. Stay flexible. Healing is never linear. It’s all over the place. It’s unpredictable.

I haven’t been as productive lately as I would like to be. It’s a bummer because, creatively, I’ve been feeling great. I’ve had so many ideas and been filled with such inspired feelings. Unfortunately, physically, I’m still playing catch up.

This is my current painting in progress. It’s of an injured deer. I originally sketched this out while overwhelmed by the possibility of developing a disability after contracting COVID-19. Sadly, this isn’t too different to how I am feeling today. For a while, I was doing good, but just this last week, after attempting to return to my full work schedule, I’m right back where I started: when I push myself too hard, I can’t catch my breath, and I feel burning and knife-like pains in my chest.

Anything serious that could stem from these physical problems has been ruled out. While I’m relieved to know I’ll be okay, this isn’t gonna kill me, I’m also uncomfortable with the uncertainty over what exactly has happened to me and how long I will feel this way. My (very unprofessional) guess is the problem lies with my immune system. I can say with confidence my immune system has always been overreactive. Like person like immune system, huh? (I overreact a lot, too!) So perhaps it’s just overreacting again. Or more accurately, having a complete and utter meltdown.

This deer is just a representation of how this all feels. Just a big old stab right into my body. I feel so much for anyone dealing with COVID-19 right now, whether personally or in close approximation. I wish there was something I could do for them, for anyone hurting these days… It’s been such a hard year.

I’m just trying to keep myself in check, remind myself there’s good stuff happening too. Like that my country will soon have a new president. Like that my brain is still sharp, I still have a lot of energy, I can still live a lot of my life, I can still make art. Like that I’m simply alive and so are all my family, friends, coworkers, clients, and the like. Like that my kitten, MY KITTEN, has been the best damn friend I could ask for in a time like this. I love him so much. Sweet Marcel.

Hopefully I can finish this painting soon. It’s a tricky one given there’s not a lot in it, so its “success” will depend on how well I handle the values, mark-making, and shading. Given how little experience I have with paint, I may not do it right, but I’m sure I’ll learn a lot in the process.

Bye bye.

So I’m all done with this baby deer painting.  This one has a much more illustrative style than the other two paintings, I think.  This wasn’t my intention, but I believe it’s an indication I’m starting to find my own voice in painting!  

Things have been going well.  The shortness of breath I had been experiencing has largely disappeared, at least when I am mulling about in my apartment.  I don’t know yet if I can work, but I will find out this Monday, which is when I am set to return to my job.

I’m so grateful to be feeling significantly better.  The clouds in my life seem to be clearing.  That said, I don’t underestimate what this virus did to my body, and I have no plans of pushing myself physically for the next few months.  The last thing I want to do is get overconfident, exercise beyond my limits, and suffer a huge setback.  

I think my body deserves a long period of rest.  This year has been really hard on it.  

Here’s a progress shot of the painting I’m working on right now, which is also of a deer.

My doctor excused me to 4 weeks of “partial duty” due to my lingering COVID-19 symptoms, which I guess have become something of a temporary disability. Crossing my fingers it’s temporary, anyway. Otherwise, this is going to make quite the impact on several facets of my life, especially professionally…

While I’m bummed I can’t move around as much, I’m grateful I’ve had and will continue to have so much time to make art. Painting, particularly, has been an effective way to calm both my body and mind and lose hours of my days in the process. Also, it’s been great spending so much time with my kitten, Marcel. I’m finding he is very much a companion cat and is loving the 24-7 human company!

I’m hoping to have the painting done in the next week or so. It’s not too big, only 12 x 16 inches, so one week seems doable. Till then, here’s a nice little song to listen to:

I finished this painting today. It’s officially my COVID-19 painting because I spent the entire time working on it while home sick with COVID-19. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still impacting my life today, 3+ weeks after I first started experiencing symptoms, and I’m afraid I might end up as one of those young people who take months to fully recover. I hope not. I am doing my best to remain positive and trust my body will be able to heal itself. Currently, I’m in what feels like an endless quarantine due to a shortness of breath that likes to crop up anytime I try to do something outside of home, like run an errand, take a walk, or go to work. I also can’t smell anything, which is… weird. I’ll be cooking some sweet potatoes or chicken and simply be in awe that I cannot smell any hint of them cooking. Or I’ll be cleaning out my kitty’s litter box, utterly unfazed. Like literally just… nothing. I smell nothing.

COVID-19 is a strange one.

Thankfully, I can still paint and, while moving around sometimes comes with physical consequences, it certainly doesn’t mean I need to banish myself to a life of no movement. I still go on short walks and what not, but I now also take some time afterwards to get my breath and energy back. And given my overall health before I contracted COVID-19, the chances are in my favor that I will be back to my normal self at one point or another.

The other thing hanging in the air is fear I may have infected any of those I had been in contact with the few days I was asymptomatic. If any of these people get sick, especially severely sick, I don’t even know how I am going to deal with the guilt that will come from that. I don’t even want to think about it.

Truly hoping for the best.

My mandated quarantine ends today, which means I will soon no longer get to see this cutie 24-7:

Makes me a little sad, if I’m being honest. I’ve bonded a lot with this guy and I’m worried he’s gonna get stressed out when I go back to work. He might. But maybe, hopefully, it’ll just be me who misses him.

Here’s a progress shot of my current painting, which I’ve been spending my time in quarantine working on. It’s of another deer because, for whatever reason, deer are the only subjects I feel like depicting right now. I think a part of me feels comforted by deer. To me, they signal self-care and gentleness, two things I’ve tried hard to focus on these recent months.

Hopefully this painting works out! Right now, I’m still figuring out what parts I want to add detail to and what parts I want to keep spare. I’m also still figuring out the value scheme. All I know is the deer needs to be brighter, like much brighter, along with the butterflies.

Marcel has been keeping me company as I paint. This is him when I start painting (usually):



And this is him after a couple hours of painting (haha):

Hello.

A lot has happened since I last updated, so much so I feel incapable of expressing myself in paragraphs, so I am going to make a list instead.

1.) I finished that painting I started.

I am selling it for $100 if anyone is interested. I can ship. It’s 16 x 12 inches, unframed.

2.) I got a kitten and named him Marcel.

2.) There is now a virtual walkthrough of the two solo shows I currently have up at the Phipps Center for the Arts. Check it out (along with other artists’ work) at the link below…

https://thephipps.org/event/galleries-september-11-2020/

3.) I’m in quarantine… again. A family member of mine I’ve been in close contact with recently tested positive for COVID-19 and so now I am laying low for at least a week, possibly longer. Crossing my fingers Marcel and I do not get sick, or only mildly sick!

I think that’s about it for the last month. I’m about to start a new painting today. And yesterday, I found this fantastic song by Roisin Murphy I’d like to share. Take a listen!

See ya.

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