I spy with my little eye…a disorganized art project.
This week, I’ve been working with oil pastels, the adult artist’s fancier version of crayons. I stumbled upon them while cleaning out my supplies. Pastels feel childish to draw with at first–it’s all very waxy and chalky and messy. But a bit of blending and mixing will bring out a bit of realism!
6.4.18 | Daily Art
Gesture and movement–I used to practice figure drawing by drawing random passerby’s in coffeeshops or sketching people’s faces in class.
It is about capturing their essence!
6.5.18 | Daily Art
Shapes, shapes. This was a fun little exercise in colors.
6.6.18 | Daily Art
6.7.18 | Daily Art
6.8.18 | Daily Art
6.9.18 & 6.10.18 | Daily Art
Unable to decide between the fuzzy border and circle border, I took it to IG story, where I set up a poll. The fuzzy border gives it a messy, organic look; the circle border, as my boyfriend suggested, makes it look like the view from a telescope.
Of the 80 voters on IG, 70% voted for the fuzzy border and 30% voted for the circle border. Which of the two do you prefer?
6.11.18 | Daily Art
Scrambling for titles–the figure reminded me of a model, and the twins as if they’ve been cut out of construction paper. Unrelated thoughts:
- Summer sounds like hissing cicadas outside my window.
- God, I miss Austin and Gordough’s. Could we vacation there ASAP? Eat and eat and eat? Kayak furiously? Again with the so-nostalgic-it-hurts feels. Every year, one year later, I’ll look back fondly on what happened about 365 days ago. It’s a curse of sentimentality.
- I know I started a blog to write, but sometimes my head cramps and I won’t want to write anything because it’ll seem too insignificant.
- Reminder to self: don’t fuss over the larger picture. It’s better to set large goals, break them down, and take life day-by-day.
6.12.18 | Daily Art
A bouquet of plastic flowers
6.13.18 | Daily Art
Strawberry fields forever
6.14.18 | Daily Art
It comes and goes in waves.
6.15.18 | Daily Art
6.16.18 | Daily Art
6.17.18 | Daily Art
Sunny side up
6.18.18 | Daily Art
Inspired by The Incredibles 2, I drew the main character in the short film, Bao, as well as my favorite character ever, Edna Mode! I threw in a little cartoon named Eggy for unrelated kicks and giggles.
Bao bao in Chinese is a term of endearment; it’s like the word “honey” or “sweetie.” A bao zhi is a type of meat dumpling. In the film, the mother’s bao bao (her son) is embodied in a bao zhi named Bao!
6.19.18 | Daily Art
God, I love Edna.
6.20.18 & 6.21.18 | Daily Art
This, world, is Eggy.
6.22.18 & 6.23.18 | Daily Art
Micron bloom. I didn’t realize how much I enjoyed drawing flowers until I started this project, and drew them almost every other week.
They’re just…naturally beautiful subjects, although I’d never paid them much attention when I was younger.
6.24.18| Daily Art
Today, I felt like making spicy Shoyu ramen. I’ve never appreciated ramen much; the word “ramen’s” conflated with cheap-low-quality-noodles, and I never understood the appeal. Recently, though, I went to a Japanese sushi restaurant where I ordered some ramen. Life-changing. Mind-altering! The broth was rich (it’d probably been boiled for hours with meat and bones) and spicy; the egg was runny and soft-boiled. I thought I’d try my hand at a slightly simpler version, since I don’t have pork bones within reach, and I’m too impatient to boil broth for a whole day.
So I used chicken broth and dashi broth with sesame oil, garlic, soy sauce, etc–a whole slew of ingredients I threw into a pot and brought to a simmer. I soft-boiled an egg that decided to crack on its way down, so I crossed my fingers, barely moved the pot, and lo and behold, it came out solid. Misshapen, but solid. I threw in some seaweed, and there I had it: slightly altered ramen, but not the cheap Instant stuff you find for 25 cents.
6.25.18 | Daily Art
Creeping, crawling tendrils.
6.26.18 | Daily Art
We drive past sprawling landscapes dotted with cows and horses. Over the years, I’ve grown more and more appreciative of crosses between the suburbs and countryside.
6.27.18 | Daily Art
Mountainside. Recently I stumbled upon an artist’s IG page where she staggered her pieces based on color scheme and B&W. I’m trying to do the same. I’ve yet to see how it goes, but hopefully it doesn’t require too much work. And I can practice simpler pieces, too–although, admittedly, my whole project’s been mostly simple illustrations.
6.28.18 | Daily Art
“There is the mud, and there is the lotus that grows out of the mud. We need the mud in order to make the lotus.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
6.29.18 | Daily Art
In the cosmic blink of an eye–
6.30.18 | Daily Art
I’ve been feeling antsy, and gulping down books in an effort to squash summery mugginess. In the past two days I’ve breezed through five books–the latter five on my list of seventy books read so far. Three books have stood out.
Published in 1959, its story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century.
One: Things Fall Apart, a book we’d been assigned to read in high school–one that hadn’t held my attention long enough for me to finish it. By section three, when the white man and his horse had arrived at the African village to convert everyone once over into Christians, I could understand why we had been assigned it. It mirrored Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, but with a far more sympathetic and grounded portrayal of the fictitious African society.
By section three, all I could hear in my head was: White Man’s Burden. White Man’s Burden. White Man’s Burden. I kept naively wishing that the African society in Things Fall Apart could remain as it’d been described…before the Christian converts came riding along with their horses, religion, and forceful government. But that would be to rewrite fiction! ….and to rewrite history.
Soviet Daughter provides a window into the life of a rebellious, independent woman coming of age in the USSR, and the impact of her story and her spirit on her American great-granddaughter.
The second: Soviet Daughter, a comic about the author’s great grandmother who’d grown up impoverished amid World War II. The great grandmother had been fiercely independent, the eldest of seven children, a typist, a nurse, and a survivor of the purges. The author occasionally interspersed sections with her own story identifying with her great grandmother, who, like her, was open-minded, political, and embraced the arts.
The book echoed of MAUS, a book about the author’s father’s experiences in the Holocaust. It was a comic that catapulted itself into the ranks of visual literature. I’m guessing MAUS inspired a whole slew of historical biographical comics, such as the one on the atomic bomb in Japan, and then this girl’s great grandmother’s experiences in the USSR. Oh! The sociopolitical fumes of World War II linger….
The Founding Fathers tried to protect us from the threat they knew, the tyranny that overcame ancient democracy. Today, our political order faces new threats, not unlike the totalitarianism of the twentieth century.
Which brings me to the third book: On Tyranny. It not-so-subtly hinted at the pre-fascist-like tendencies that American politics has recently devolved into. It offered twenty tidbits of wisdom detailing how certain American norms have become vaguely reminiscent of those in Nazi Germany and East European Communist regimes during WWII. Its lessons were sound: investigate, beware the one-party state, be wary of the tendency to comply–as a citizen, as a professional. Why? Because institutions have risen and fallen and lied and slain and led people astray in a similar fashion.
Yet the irony lies in the fact that Americans who might benefit from reading this book, in heeding to the lessons of history, likely wouldn’t read it to begin with. I doubt that the masses–specifically, the subset of the population that tosses around the word “fake news” while consistently turning a blind eye to political lies–would ever pick up this book. Those who would pick up this book–people who enjoy reading about politics, thinking about politics–perhaps might be already aware of these 20 lessons, and might be politically active. Those who need to hear these 20 lessons most wouldn’t even begin to listen….
Those are my 2 meta-cents as I read through it. But I may be wrong. Of the three books, I’d most highly encourage others to read the third book, On Tyranny.
Started a reading challenge project mid-spring. The goal: read 100 books
by summer in a year. I’m inching along, albeit at a slower pace than I’d like. Figured posting the list on my blog would hold me accountable–also, I get to share cool books!
So here’s a list of books I’ve reading; I plan to update every 10 books or so. If you have any book recommendations, I’d love to hear them! 🙂
- One! Hundred! Demons!, Lynda Barry
- James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie
- Here, Richard McGuire
- Zombie Survival Guide, Max Brooks
- Burned, Ellen Hopkins
- Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy Kaling
- Walking Dead 1, Robert Kirkman
- Walking Dead 2, Robert Kirkman
- I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Maya Angelous
- Milk and Honey, Rupi Kaur
- Partner Track, Helen Wan
- Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen
- Kafka, R. Crumb
- Project Jennifer, Jill Rosenblatt
- Dignity, Donna Hicks
- Can We Talk About Something More Pleasant, Roz Chast
- Ginny Moon, Benjamin Ludwig
- Autobiography of Barefoot Gen, Nakazawa Keji
- Meow Meow, Jose Fonollosa
- Beautiful Darkness, Fabien Vehlmann
- Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
- The Skin Above My Knees, Marcia Butler
- Essential Poems (To Fall in Love With), Daisy Goodwin
- Sailing Alone Around the Room, Billy Collins
- Future Tense, Paintings by Alex Gross
- Why Not Me?, Mindy Kaling
- Thirst, Poems by Mary Oliver
- Global Street Art, Lee Boffkin
- Men Without Women, Haruki Murakami
- Vintage Cisneros, Sandra Cisneros
- Have You Seen Marie, Sandra Cisneros
- Woman Hollering Creek, Sandra Cisneros
- The Quiet Eye: A Way of Looking at Pictures, Sylvia Judson
- Blue Nights, Joan Didion
- The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros
- This is How You Lose Her, Junot Diaz
- The Embassy of Cambodia, Zadie Smith
- Love Mad Poems, Rumi
- The Wolves In The Walls, Neil Gaiman
- Forms of Distance, Bei Dao
- 73 Poems, E.E. Cummings
- The Love Bunglers, Jaime Hernandez
- Little Book of Little Stories
- Shoplifer, Michael Cho
- Rick & Morty Comics
- Fresh Complaint, Jeffrey Eugenides
- Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg
- White Teeth, Zadie Smith
- South and West, Joan Didion
- Dear Dumb Diary
- Stories Julian Tells, Ann Cameron
- Stitches, David Small
- Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch Albom
- Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka
- Pretty: Stories, Greg Kearney
- Night Watch, Malin Lindroth
- Constance and the Great Escape, Pieere Le Gall
- Rapunzel, Paul Zelinsky
- Jane and the Fox & Me, Isabelle Aresenault
- I’ve Loved You Since Forever, Hoda Kobb
- Corduroy, Don Freeman
- Buck, MK Asante
- Chemistry, Weike Wang
- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo
- Soviet Daughter, Julia Alekseyeva
- Things Fall Apart, Chinua Achebe
- LIFE 70 Years of Extraordinary Photography
- On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, Timothy Snyder
- Beijing: Imperial and Contemporary
- Abandoned America
- The Polaroid Book
I’ve slipped back into life as it’s been: seeing friends, talking to my boyfriend, spending time con la familia. I hear about relationships fragmenting and forming. It’s strange how relationships, by default, are in flux. I imagine that friends in the mid-to-outer circle are changing–not so much for closer relationships. But I guess that’s an illusion.
Life is too short to not spend it with the people you love, I murmured. Did you just read an Instagram caption? my boyfriend asked. I huffed. I said that it was a midnight musing–not an Instagram caption. But it’s true. To me, at least. From reading children’s books to books about death and illness and meaning and regret, I gather that this abstraction–love!–that poets wax on about and singers warble on about and writers scribble on about is what matters most. It isn’t money or material items or career or achievements or resumé markers or positions or charm. It’s the simple, deceptively simple! equation of existence: to love and to be loved.