Progress has still been so slow with this one. It hurts. Particularly, the tree branches have been taking a long time to render. I believe once I finish those, I will be able to finish everything else pretty quickly. I hope so. I keep thinking of other things I want to draw and it really, really makes me wanna get started on a new piece!

I’m also noticing I have a long ways to go with getting the value scheme of this one right. There’s too much dark on the bottom, not enough dark on the top, so I will need to find a way to better balance the values.

Rendering tree branches is boring. So having good music to make it less boring is a necessity! I was on a mission all last weekend to find some new music, as what I’d been playing just wasn’t really motivating me. I wound up finding this incredible song that is so strange and beautiful, almost poetic… I shared it below. I love that feeling when you find a song that really blows you away and you can listen to it on repeat for 2,000 hours without going mad. I’ll be sad when my addiction to this fades, but at least there’s all sorts of other stuff by this artist to enjoy once that happens.

Here’s a progress shot of where I’m at with the next drawing of the series. It’s a close up – there’s more to the piece, but I haven’t started those parts yet.

I’m trying my best to hunker down and put my everything into making art. I’ve been feeling an undercurrent of anxiety about getting infected again, especially now with the U.K. variant being present in the U.S., and I want to make sure that doesn’t happen before the vaccinations reach the general public. This means around 3-8 months of isolation, I guess.

The important thing is I find some sense of purpose in these next months. I can’t spend too much time idle because that’s when isolating becomes painful. When I’m working towards the completion of something, such as a series of graphite drawings, I’m less likely to dwell on how much I miss being able to leave my house for reasons other than going to my job or the grocery store.

If I wanted to, I could take away the positives from my current predicament. While living alone during this pandemic has been hard sometimes, there is something to be said about my home always being safe. It’s my haven right now, a place where no virus can reach me. And for that reason, when I’m here by myself, I can relax, I can make art with no distractions.

Soon life will be closer to what I once knew it to be.

“Night Fawn”
6.5 x 9 inches

Another graphite drawing of a deer.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what direction to go in with the deer art and have landed on the idea of doing a series of graphite drawings. Or at least I think. I change my mind a lot. I’ve just been longing to put something together that feels cohesive and comprehensive. I want to do at least 10 graphite drawings, but ideally 15 or more, just to feel the sheer satisfaction of having that many and being able to see them all together side by side.

The last time I did a series of 10 drawings, I had to yell at myself a lot, be bossy at myself. Because otherwise I wouldn’t have ever finished them. I suppose I’m ready to yell at myself again! I’m already 3 drawings in, so why not try 7 more?

As for whether they’ll all be deer, I’m not sure. I know I have at least 1 more deer drawing in me, perhaps 2. But I might start depicting other animals too.

I guess I’ll see if this idea sticks.

Well 2020 is gone, but I don’t think I’ll quite feel a sense of a year having gone by until it’s March 13th, 2021 a.k.a 365 days since the lockdown in my state began. I think back to my life before that date and I have to say I lived a very charmed life. I was healthy, content, and overwhelmed by all the different avenues I could take in my life. I had freedoms I now realize were privileges, and I’m coming into 2021 with a much deeper appreciation for the things I can do. I can breathe, I can walk, I can make art, I can drive a car… There’s so much I have that I could lose, that I actually almost lost.

I’m looking forward to when the vaccinations bring some sense of normalcy to daily life. Until then, I have no reason to think 2020 has turned me into the person I am currently: a humbled version of myself who is literally just trying to get by. Not until I can safely venture out of my house and see friends, meet new people, and work towards personal and professional goals will I really know how 2020 has changed me. Until then, I’m all white knuckles… just going forward, just managing.

Hope everyone had a happy new year. I spent mine working on the drawing above. I’m getting close! Almost done.

Osteo Sky
9 x 6.5 inches

I’m all done with this drawing! I actually finished it a few days ago, but ended up noticing some issues with one of the bones that I’d been wanting to touch up and fix, so I did that today.

I’ve got a number of deer sketches in progress, both for potential paintings and drawings. I’m hoping one of them will give me that butterfly inspired feeling. So far, I’m getting hints of that feeling from each sketch, but not any one is giving me enough to turn it into a finished piece.

Happy holidays. This year has been horrid, and I’m hoping so much that next year is better. I’m glad that at the very least I am ending the year feeling like I’m on the mend physically, so much so it seems suspicious! I suspect recovery will still be up and down for a few months. I’m trying not to be too celebrative. Haha.

Seeeeeeeeee ya, bye.

Feeling happy. Healing is such a strange process. It was only two weeks ago that my breathing was still so labored, my chest so heavy. But now, just this last week, something has dramatically changed in my body again. For the first time in 2 months, I feel somewhat close to how I felt before I got sick. I feel a lightness in my feet, an effortlessness in walking. There’s less thinking about breathing. I’m suddenly just breathing. And my chest barely hurts, the stabbing pains particularly seeming now like a distant memory.

Hopefully it’s all up from here. Of course, there’s some personal responsibility I have in making sure it is. Just because I’m feeling better doesn’t mean I should go out and start taking long walks again or working my full work schedule. I might be feeling this way because I’ve prioritized rest, healthy eating, and relaxation so much in the last few weeks. It’s important I continue to do so. My lungs need that from me.

Anyway, above is the drawing I currently have in progress. It’s of a deer skeleton. Hopefully I’ll have it done in the next few days!

And here are some pictures of my kitty. While I’m drawing, he likes to curl up in his cat stand and sleep or simply pose adorably. I love him so much. =)

This little white ferret toy is his absolute favorite. He always sleeps with it and drags it around the apartment like its his prey, haha.

6.5 x 9 inches

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 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.

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