“Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out.”

“Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out. -Chuck Jones

doodle, July 2012

That Chuck Jones quote comes from Chuck Amuck, Jones’s autobiography. It’s one of my favorite books. I bought it in college after I took an animation class, which re-ignited my childhood love of all things animated. Jones–and the old Looney Tunes–had always been my favorite Saturday morning snack.

Continue reading ““Every artist has thousands of bad drawings in them and the only way to get rid of them is to draw them out.””

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“The city is one bright lightning strike of change after another but the suburbs are an oozing static.”

“Dublin is a big pretender: the city is one bright lightning strike of change after another but the suburbs are an oozing static.” -Sarah Griff, The Last City I Loved: Dublin

The above is a giant, flattened jellyfish found on the shores of Ocean beach. Look at the wee tentacles coming out the side–lovely! I wanted to push my finger into it, but I did that once before and my skin tingled for the next two days. But just look at the texture–how could you not want to poke that sucker?

Weekend quick recap: Friday night sushi & grocery shopping, Saturday design class, lunch at Chipotle, a lounge-ful afternoon, garlic grab noodles, Target, ParaNorman (good but felt as if true quirkiness of story was being muffled), Sunday dog park, Home Depot (twice), Costco, Crate & Barrel, Cole Hardware, laundry, yard work, org. of art supplies, and watched “Shameless” for a few hours. Astonishing how much we did, and yet at the same time, how much remains to be done! We have some major house projects coming up this year. Much to do.

I realize that the little summary above is not so satisfying. It’s unable to encompass the weekend; it’s brittle and small. Such is, I think, the inevitable tone of diaries that are just the grim recounting of event after event. All of the dimensions disappear and it becomes a dry list, and in a few days or weeks, I won’t be able to tell apart my memories of this weekend from any other. What I need is something more vivid to help me remember a few choice moments. Unhappily this means I won’t be able to capture everything: time and memory forbid it. Still, something startling and clear is better than a dry list.

Memory write:
San Francisco
Saturday & Sunday
August 25 & 26, 2012.

There was sunshine, unnatural sunshine, and it spread across San Francisco like a biblical plague, licking into dark corners and denuding the painted ladies, leaving them immodestly beautiful in the revealing light. For their morning walks, Chinese grandmothers tucked fans into their pockets, and the nimble-footed dogs in Stern Grove slowed to an amble, tongues lolling even at the indelicate hour of seven.

The sly sun slipped even into our bedchamber, easing between the slats of the wooden shades, painting long fingers of light onto our duvet. I heaved out of bed first, and Carter followed not one hour after, the scent of coffee rising from the kitchen counter like an invisible cloud. We remarked on the unseasonal brightness over croissants, sweet jam and caffeine. Already everything seemed to be melting ever so slightly; the heat, so rarely felt, was altering the chemical composition of the city of fog: there was now liquid in its body, a certain moral negligence, a glimmer of metamorphosis.

A few hours later the sun had abandoned subtlety, having climbed overhead it wiped away every shadow. Carter and I had donned hats, broad-brimmed and unfashionable, and this gave us our briefest relief. We were slinging wood chips across the front lawn of Chez Roux (chez nous!), our shirts and pants brindled with dust and dirt.

In brief pauses between splinters and rakes and squatting over the dirt, I marveled at the city’s transformation. I’m back in Los Angeles, I thought to myself, and if all I did was to stare at the blue sky and the way the light illuminated the bone-white sidewalk, I could believe it. San Francisco was unaccustomed to being so bare, so underdressed, and unlike her southern sister, she was unsure of her own beauty. With my eyes I tracked the black, spindly drape of the electrical wires that drooped over our street; the houses leaning one against the other like shy grade-schoolers crowded together. Today there was no hiding anything.

currently reading: My Life in France, by Julia Child; Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman.

“Maybe it’s because your dance moves are terrible.”

“Maybe it’s because your dance moves are terrible.” – Kate Beaton, Hark! A Vagrant

Last weekend was enjoyed without the benefit of laptops or internet access or smartphone data plans. Friday night were chores and the like; Saturday I headed off to the design class and then Carter picked me up for the long haul up to the mountains. Let me say: the mountains do not suit me. I am a beach and oceans person. The mountains usually mean dehydration and altitude unhappiness. It was bizarre and uncomfortable to be so thirsty all the time. It was beautiful, though, I’ll give it that. We had a very pleasant dinner with Carter’s family, and we went out in jeeps and motorbikes on Sunday morning. I got off the jeep with some bruises, tenderized like so much raw meat. I loved seeing the people but I am not a fan of the mountains. I am a confirmed city girl. My bruises are looking better today, though!

This week flew by, probably due to the start of classes at the community college. So I ended up enrolled in not one, but three classes (oy!), and am contemplating one more. Is it insane for a fully employed adult to take a 50% courseload? Probably. But I don’t care about grades any more, so I feel like this balances things out a bit. I’m taking basic design, basic drawing, and intensive ballet (twice a week). I get home between 9PM and 10PM three nights out of the week, and pretty much just crash into bed soon after that. It’s like I’m working at the ole law firm again, except that I get out a few hours earlier, with a lot less soul-crushing.

In fact, the opposite of soul-crushing: I love my drawing class. So much. Sure, I don’t think I’m the most talented student in the class, and I’m not the least talented either, but I’m having fun.

“it’s like eating the cryptkeeper, only ground up and formed into a bar shape.”

“it’s like eating the cryptkeeper, only ground up and formed into a bar shape.”-Wednesday‘s post, which yes I am linking to from here, is this a problem

Hello world! It’s Friday, the end of the work week, and I am full of vim and vigor, and possibly also piss and vinegar.

Here’s to more overcommitment: I enrolled in a community college art class in basic design (art). I’m pretty excited about it. It’s a hybrid online/in-class course, with the in-class portion being a Saturday class. I’ve emailed the instructor and she seems lovely; it’s also one of the pre-requisites for pretty much every other art class that the college offers.

As a child I doodled a lot, copying stuff from magazines and favorite books into collages of things that I liked. One of my best collages combined images from Star Wars (Empire Strikes Back), Animaniacs, and pictures of a plant that I liked from a newspaper. It was random, out of control, and a little bizarre. I took a few animation classes in college and loved drawing for them, and I really haven’t done any visual art of any kind since. It was never my greatest talent, and I never received any formal training for it, but since there is really nothing at stake now (who cares about GPA anymore?), I want to have some fun with it all.

To get an associate’s degree in art, I’ll have to take 6 classes total. Taking one night class per week, per semester, it’ll probably take me about 3 years from now to finish my degree. Splendid. I have it all laid out: basic design this semester, then basic drawing, and beginning painting and Chinese brush painting next fall. The spring after that, intermediate painting or beginning figure drawing. There’s also watercolor painting and printmaking, which might also be a possibility. We’ll see what my schedule looks like. I expect absolutely nothing to come of all this, and that’s perfectly fine and happy. It would be nice to have some self-made art for our walls.

I also signed up for intermediate ballet at the college, which will be a cheap way of getting my dance in. The class I’ve been taking is really more of  a beginner’s class.

I thought about signing up for a feature writing class, which is more in line with my most serious hobby (and this blog), but it would involve me wandering around a not-so-great neighborhood in San Francisco at 10PM at night. Meh.

This weekend, Carter and I are headed to the San Joaquin Valley for a bbq and family/dog time. Here’s to overcommitment.

Currently reading: Kai Lung’s Golden Hours

 

“No water or towels.”

“No water or towels.” -the waterless hand sanitizer bottle that I am sitting across from

From this side of defeat:

I might have a tendency to overcommit to things. But! Sometimes this pays off. I took on quite a few projects at work this past quarter (involving overtime! The horror!) and to my delight found out today that I’ve earned a really, really good rating for my work. So, I am pleased!

While projects and ideas often fall to the wayside, there are definite benefits. My tendency to overcommit has resulted, for one, in a double major in college (I actually took the maximum number of classes allowable, beyond what was required for both degrees). On top of that I piled, willy nilly consequences to the wind, membership in the chamber orchestra, chamber ensemble, and various work-study jobs: sewing, tutoring, eventually RA-ing. In fact I had a job from freshman to senior year; the cautious girl I am, I don’t think I’ve been without a job since I graduated high school. I worked every summer/off term, except for the one term where I was recovering from a car accident.

There are some very valid arguments for why I should try to put a damper on my natural disposition to overcommit. Obviously, I can’t do everything well. I recognize the drawbacks. But, in my defense, I do have a spidey sense about what my initial commitment level is. Certain things I commit to are high value and I give them my greatest amount of attention–relationships and my job. Relationships come first, then job. Next, I semi-commit to healthy habits and reading/writing. I could do more on this count, but I confess that I will periodically drop a little lower on these items. Finally, there’s fleeting commitments where I know I might work on/enjoy/study feverishly for awhile, but won’t have lasting effects on my schedule/dedication: drawing, looking at art, interior design, beauty & fashion, etc.

It would be a very sad life if all I did was to do one or two things, when the world is a glorious, multifangled oyster.

Speaking of healthy habits, a chat I had today:
Bri: Those bars they have at the gym are the grossest
you know the cryptkeeper
it’s like eating the cryptkeeper
Coworker: Necessary evil
 Bri: only ground up and formed into a bar shape
 Coworker: Hahaha

Okay, I am feeling  a little punchy today.

“…Like a hunter dropping a deer carcass on the kitchen table.”

“In the early nineties, Pizza Hut sponsors Book It!, to promote reading. For every ten books you read, you get a ertificate for a free, one-topping pizza. At the end of each month, you come home fro Mrs. Sicius’s fifth-grade class and slam down the Book It! certificate in front of your parents like a hunter dropping a deer carcass on the kitchen table. Book that, Family! We are eating tonight!” -Karen Russell, “Quests,” The New Yorker

Carter is napping in our bedroom–I was sleeping until a half hour ago. We have been sleeping like narcoleptics this weekend.

So I am failing pretty badly at Nano this time around. I think I’m okay with this. I am beset by job, house, and other responsibilities at the moment, and in the madness of the July sun (and vacation) I never got around to writing an outline. I had guessed at this while writing Nano in June, but I suck at writing things without outlines. Lesson learned, lesson learned. September will be devoted to outlining the November Nano.

Still, what I’d like to do is continue writing a lot during this month. A few remaining tasks from this Nano: put the segments I did write into a Scrivener file, and create character files in Scriv for all of the interesting new people I met while writing this incomplete Nano. It was incomplete, but there’s still a lot going for it, I think. What this project needs now is to lie fallow for a little while longer while I think about the next project and do some other things.

And what are these other things, you might ask? I want to read. A lot. I have been craving it like mad since June and haven’t yet got my fix. I devote the rest of August to much reading and a few other small creative pursuits: I want to do some drawing and cartooning, which I haven’t done in years. Years!

The reading list:
The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
3 assorted Orson Scott Card books that Carter downloaded and read already
Blankets, by Craig Thompson
Neverwhere, by Neil Gaiman
Hark! A Vagrant by Kate Beaton

It’s a motley lot but all stuff that have been lingering in my consciousness for awhile now. Time to get to it.

This weekend has been a wash productivity wise. So much sleeping. We did manage to have a fun night out at a local bar with some friends Friday night, complete with semi-drunken creation of an OKCupid profile, but that was it. Then much sleeping and loafing around the house.

Tonight: chicken & leek stroganoff for dinner, with chocolate chess pie for dessert. I am also cleaning out the fridge and vacuuming the house. And then tonight, I’m getting started on the reading. O joy!