My newest sketch inspired by the Tree of Life from ancient stories of old.
My friend dropped off some treasure for me. 1970′s Conan comics. These were a huge influence on me as a kid. They were my gateway to the realms of Fantasy. My art, my stories, my daydreams…all started because of one Conan comic I picked up from a garage sale. Conan will always have a special place in my heart. If it wasn’t for Robert E. Howard, creator of Conan, Xena would have never existed and I would have never met my soulmate. Pretty cool. I was lucky enough to score about 10 of them. Awesome. Now, to read!
I lost another friend today. It’s part of the price you pay for getting older. Things happen to people. Sometimes awful things. Sometimes the awful thing is something they do to themselves.
My friend took his life.
Suicide is weird. Many people see it as selfish. I never have. It makes me angry and sometimes I can’t help but feel guilty that I didn’t do something that maybe I should’ve to help that person see a different outcome, but the truth is, sometimes, it’s no one’s fault. Some of us weren’t built to handle huge amounts of stress. Some of us hurt way too much. More than most people can ever imagine. It’s a different kind of hurt. A hurt that makes everything just end. You wonder what the point is or why you even feel like there should be one at all. Sometimes it’s not any of those things. Sometimes it’s medication. Medication that changes who you are and what you would do.
We’ve all seen those commercials. May cause suicidal thoughts or actions.
Suicide is weird because it comes in so many different forms. This will be the 3rd individual I’ve personally known to end their own life. None of the 3 are anything alike. Not in who they were or how it happened.
This guy was the orneriest yet one of the kindest kids I ever knew. Crazy and fun. His laugh was infectious and a little dopey. LOL. He’d hate that I said that. He always tried to be so cool. Such a badass. He was really a sweetheart and in reality, when he wasn’t trying too hard, he was one cool dude. He was like my college brother. When I missed my real brother, J was there. They even had the same nickname. JJ. We didn’t agree on some things, but he always had my back if someone tried to start something or if I ever needed anything. He loved me and T for who we were. Unconditionally.
I’m sad, of course, and actually a little surprised. I really thought he was going to be that dirty little old man that had a table at Hooters or a strip club with his name etched into it. I didn’t see this one coming. I’m going to miss you J.
This is the show that my work, “Faded Glory” will be in. It’s a show that will benefit The Bella Foundation and feature several artists.
When I attended Spectrum Art Live! in Kansas City in 2012 I learned a ton. Stuff that has stuck with me. One of the main lessons I learned was to not force yourself into a place you don’t fit when it comes to your work. As T has repeatedly said aloud to herself, “Don’t set yourself up to fail”. My friend Cindy posted a similar lesson with her writing over at her blog Elephant Soap. At Spectrum, artist, art director, publisher and more kept repeating that as an artist, it’s important to find that place you fit. There IS a gallery you fit in, you just have to find it. I searched and searched and then, quite by accident found DNA GAlleries.
Still, I didn’t have enough me work to submit yet. All the crazy at the J-O-B, the health stuff going on and the money problems were making it hard to focus on creativity, so the art was going and has been going, slower than I want. A couple of weeks ago I checked DNA out again and to my surprise they were doing an open show with a theme. BAM! Instant idea. I had just cleaned my art room up in order to really get to work over a three day weekend and had rediscovered the topographical map I had purchased this past summer at a garage sale. The idea just popped in my head. I could see it clearly. I got to work. I had a completed piece before the deadline and on Sunday, & I headed up to the city and the Gallery to hand it over.
It was awesome. Handing my art to someone who seemed really excited to take it.
I remembered several of the artist’s at Spectrum talking about how they feel and have felt like frauds. We are taught that creating artwork isn’t a real way to make a living. To paint and draw and make the things we love come to life on canvas is for old dead guys you learn about in Art History. Not someone like me. I’m just pretending. I never felt that way before taking a job in retail and being beaten down over and over again. I’ve been finding my way back to my confidence since Spectrum. I grabbed that painting and went with it and when I handed it over, the wonderful young lady at the Gallery seemed excited to get it. It felt right. When she came back out from putting it in the back, she even expressed her personal interest in purchasing it. Before I made it back home, another person had also expressed interest in purchasing it. I was a little floored. As I pulled away from the gallery, the song “What a Feeling” by Irene Cara came on. At that moment everything in the Universe was right. It was perfect.
On New Year’s Eve I announced that my goal was to “take back my power” and not give it away any more and I was going to do things that scared me. So far, so amazing. I have e-published “The Chicken Story”, submitted a work to Spectrum to be judged and possible published in their annual book, and taken a work to a gallery to show. Not bad. Not bad at all.
I need to draw. I need to draw every day. Sometimes I just can’t get into it. I tell myself I’m exhausted, which I am, from having to deal with all the crazy from people I work with that make 3 or 4 or even 5 times as much as I do and don’t have to worry whether or not they are making their house payment next month. Such is life, I’m told. Get over it and go on. Excuses get you no where. It’s true and I still need to draw every day.
I decided to do something to help me over my fears and also meet my goal of drawing every day.
Xena 365. Or #Xena365 if you happen to wonder around Facebook using hashtags. You can also use Xena Netforum a fan site that T & I admin, to follow along and watch as I attempt to draw something or someone in the Xenaverse every single day for a year.
Already, it’s forced me to up my game. On days I don’t have time at work to squeeze in some time to draw, and I don’t get home until 7, I was slacking off and scribbling something. It made me feel like a phoney. Souless scribbles that look like crap. Ugh. I realized I do care about the quality of my work. I can see things better already. Artists are trained seers. It’s the biggest part of being an artist. Seeing, then manipulating to make it yours.
I had already told the peeps on Xena Netforum and my personal friends that I was doing this and I had to post the pics to prove I had done one each day. Posting sub-par art made me feel yucky. I don’t want my art look like crap. The best way to avoid this, is to make time to sit and draw. Every day. And isn’t that what my real problem was anyway? I was convincing myself I didn’t have time or energy or both? Suddenly though, looking like a hack concerned me more than being tired. I didn’t want anything else to look like this drawing:
I mean, with a drawing like that, who is going to believe that I can actually draw the good things I’ve been posting? The paintings? OMG. I was being held accountable now. There were people watching. And waiting. *gulp* I wanted all of them to look good. That’s the problem sometimes with being good at drawing/painting/etc. When you are good, even when you slack it’s better than a stick man, but to you, it might as well be a stick man because it sucks as bad as drawing a stick man. In fact drawing Xena as a stick man would be funnier.
Competition. Deadlines. All things that prove once again to be good for me.
It’s even more fun now because followers of the Xena Netforum have shared the works and posted about how a Xena fan is going to try and draw Xena every day for a year. OMG. Now I have to do this. I have Xenites rooting for me.
I have to go now. I have to go draw Xena.