Making Time for Art – Even Bad Art

I was at my friend’s house yesterday and they were watching something I’d already seen and then after that came something I wasn’t interested in.  I pulled out my sketchbook and went to work.

This was my pen and ink drawing done with little light and I love this little sketch!

multitool

While I sat there drawing I thought on the people that would have found it insulting that I sat there drawing while everyone else watched TV.  I was still talking with them, paying attention to conversations, listening to snippets and watching a little bit here and there.  I was still actively with them.  But that wouldn’t have been good enough for a number of people from my past.  They are no longer in my life and it wasn’t an active choice, but I find it serendipitous.  I no longer care if someone complains to me that I am drawing in a restaurant.  I’ll say right back to them “I don’t whine about you constantly being on your iPhone, so cut me some slack.  At least I’m still involved in the conversations.”  But I wasn’t always so… confident, I guess is the word.

Most likely this is because – before the last few years – I never put my art or myself first (no matter how often my husband told me to).  My husband’s constant reminders didn’t fall on deaf ears though.  I started doing what I wanted in my free time instead of what I thought I should be doing.  I did what I wanted with my hair for me.  Little things.  Then when I opened my first business I learned to say ‘no’ to people who wanted me to spend my time doing something else because I could have a flexible schedule if I wanted.  The hardest was friends, but I learned.

If I wanted to be successful at whatever I was doing, I had to give it the time.   I had to invest in it.  It had to come first at some point.

This year is the first time that I am putting my things as a true priority – my passions, writing and art.  I did prioritize writing and sometimes art in previous years – meaning they were higher on the list of things to do than before.  But this year those two things come first.  Like my husband must allow his job to come first (unless there are extreme circumstances like an emergency) I must too learn to allow writing and art to hold that same priority.  So every day my husband must work, those are also work days for me.  If he gets up at 5 am, he wakes me up shortly after (my request).  This way we share most of the time we have together in as equal states as possible.  It also alleviates the guilt that comes from taking a complete day off to just fart around with him and play video games, go on aimless motorcycle rides or hang out with friends.

Sometimes when you don’t have that support system in place though, it’s very hard to explain to people why you’re spending time doing something else.  And I honestly cannot help those who struggle with apathetic spouses or non-supportive friends.  I won’t have the arrogance to give tips or advice here or to link articles that I chose that might have spoken to me because how would an article picked by someone who has never felt that struggle you feel, help anything?

I will say that early on in my marriage I learned that both husband and wife serve each other.  I supported my husband’s dreams, he’s supported mine.  Now that he works full time, I have taken on his chores and tend to run around more when he’s home doing things for him so that he can relax – his job is very physical after all.  While he’s at work I have the luxury of staying in my PJs if I want, writing for hours on end uninterrupted, drawing and drawing.  Yes, there are chores, animals to care for, errands to run.  But we both fulfill our end of the bargain. When you support each other, when you serve each other, you find harmony.

A friend of mine is an artist (a painter with acrylics and a multi-media genuis) had her marriage blossom when she finally figured out that her husband didn’t act supportive of her dreams because she’d never been supportive of his.  To him, having a man cave where he could smoke and drink and watch the games with his friends was a dream.  She’d always put it down.  So he’d never been overly enthused or supportive about her art.  Once she helped him clear our their basement and start to work on it he seemed “transformed” to her.  He didn’t complain if she was going to go paint.  In turn she bought him a mini keg of his favorite beer for the first game in the room and he bought her a brand new easel.  Crazy people in love, huh?  She told me when he asked her to paint something football related in his basement, she cried.  He’d never shown any interest, never cared, never said she was good or bad – anything to her would have been better than indifference.  So she painted one whole wall with his football team’s logo, years, championship years and his favorite player.  Needless to say, he became her biggest fan, lol.

Like I said I don’t know what you personally are going through.  Maybe Cindy’s story above helped, maybe not.  But the point is that there is an answer.  Whether you have to have a heart to heart, or Google for art support groups, it’s there.  Someone somewhere else out there (most likely MULTIPLE someones) has been through what you are going through.  They can be invaluable resources on how to get out of situations, fix circumstances or just be a good person to vent to.

Wow!  What a long post!  So sorry!  My goodness.  Here is another piece, this one a COMPLETE FAIL lol.  I drew it for a friend of mine.  The top image is the meme she adored and asked me to make her something like it, the bottom is my drawing.  Lol, needless to say, I was having an OFF DAY.  Still mailed it to her though, lol!  I’ll just have to do better on my next attempt.

omg2

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What Should I Draw?

I figured I’d start doing posts when I had little to no time to post, something small but still helpful.  One of the things that I run into as an artist is feeling uninspired and wondering “WHAT SHOULD I DRAW?!”

Anyone who has ever driven themselves crazy with this will understand the insane amount of emphasis I put on that phrase.  It’s the same with writing.  It can make you mad.

One of the things I have learned from Danny Gregory’s Every Day Matters and The Creative License was when feeling like you don’t know what to draw, literally draw anything.  Pick a random object and draw.  Sometimes I would.  Sometimes I would ask my husband to pick.  Sometimes I would run over to the Every Day Matters list I have printed out and pick something.  There might be a more recent list somewhere, but I think that one is still good.

So, that being said, if you’re looking for something to draw, click on the link and go with it!  I’m doing a Buddha statue in my house right now, but here is an example:

On 12-1-12 I did “Something you have made” and the choice was not easy considering I have like a million things that I have made in this house.  However, I just settled on this elephant that I made my husband (who loves elephants):

"My Heart's Crocheted Elephant by Me" by Rebecca Galardo

“My Heart’s Crocheted Elephant by Me” by Rebecca Galardo

Happy drawing!!

Art as a Way of Expressing Intense Emotions – A Path to Healing

I’m obviously not a doctor of any sort.  I don’t write in depth on the subject of pain or intense depression with physical symptoms.  All I know is that in my life when I have felt the most depressed, worthless or helpless some form of art (be it writing, drawing, playing the guitar, painting, etc) has always, ALWAYS been a huge contributor to pull me out of that funk.  Movement (or exercise) and cleaning/organizing have contributed too.  I have never taken medication for depression (I did once have a prescription for anti-anxiety during a VERY rough patch but I didn’t end up taking all of those pills: they didn’t seem to help) but I definitely don’t imply that art is a replacement.  Speak to a doctor regarding these things.

I didn’t post anything yesterday.  While I didn’t start this blog with the intention of daily posts, I certainly wanted to post any day I had time and I did have the time yesterday.  I was just in a bad mood.

I am passionate about animals.  I always have been and I guess that passion and sensitivity isn’t going away.  I haven’t known a single other person in real life that gets so intensely involved, but through the Internet I have met a handful.

I’ve recently taken to a neighbor’s dog.  He got a dog he couldn’t handle.  Whether he got it or someone got it for him (which I believe might be the case) there was no research done into the type of dog that would be best for his family (PLEASE do a little research before you get a dog!  It takes maybe 15 to 30 minutes to look up bread types and the requirements for happy integration & now Animal Planet has an awesome BREED SELECTOR to help!!!).  She’s a very active and incredibly strong lab mix – and he’s in his 80s or 90s and is not really the active type.  I finally got the nerve up to go and talk to him about her spending time with my dogs so she’d have companionship.  She was kept in a large pen outside with nothing all day long.  He just didn’t know what to do and couldn’t physically handle her.  I wouldn’t demonize him ever, it was just a no win situation.  He said yes, happy that I was helping and asked me if I could “take the puppy out of her” so that she could be inside with him.  That warmed my heart!  It wasn’t long before my daily training/walk/playtime had become a real highlight of my day.  I imagined she’d be my running buddy once I got her to work well with leashes and that would be her daily exercise to get all that energy out.

Alas, to yesterday.  I go over and, despite my efforts to walk and train her, he’s gotten another dog, a smaller dog and it was already on its way.  He said he’ll be looking around trying to find someone to adopt her and he has a lady helping.  He told me she’d stay in her pen until they could find her a new home.  It made me sad to think this wouldn’t be her home, but it was okay.  He was getting a companion he could handle and she would find a new home.

My normal playtime routine went as usual and when I got her home the lady from the Humane Society was there to take her.  I was floored.  I thought she’d stay.  I thought I’d still have every day to help her with her behavior so that when we found a home she’d be ready.  And now she’s just being shipped off to the humane society??

I handed her over and left, already crying.  I just can’t take her with my three dogs and three cats.  One of the dogs is smaller than the cats and Ginger has never even seen a cat before!  I just can’t risk anyone getting hurt, including her.  And feeding the 12 animals I have at the moment is no small financial feat.

They have my number.  If worse comes to worse, I can foster until they find a home.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not devastated, mostly for Ginger who never did anything wrong and is now down her buddy and training partner, the only person she got attention from.

Clearly whatever pro-animal, anti-ditch-your-furry-family ads/shows/movies played in the eighties and nineties did their job well when it comes to me.

Now to the art.  I am doing the 100 Faces in 100 Days challenge.  It never said those faces have to be human.  So last night, while a live art class played in the background, I pulled up a picture I’d done of Ginger and took out my Wacom Cintiq.  I drew a light sketch to start off with.  It took about 15 minutes to get about right.

Capturing the Sketch

Capturing the Sketch

Because of the light, it’s hard to see the entire sketch.  So here it is:

Initial Sketch

Initial Sketch

Then I started adding little details, then got really into the eyes.

It's in the eyes.

It’s in the eyes.

I spent the rest of the time adding little details, doing her fur, more on the eyes and finally scribbled in color for my sleeve, jeans and background  I was up 30 minutes past my regular bedtime to finish this drawing.  2.5 hours.  I am not a fast artist at all, but I like the end result.

"Me and the Gingeroo" by Rebecca Galardo

“Me and the Gingeroo” by Rebecca Galardo

I think the eyes and tongue look the best from afar, but the overall picture isn’t bad.  It’s not perfect, something seems off proportionally, but that’s okay.

Here are some close ups:

Tongue

Tongue

Eye 1

Eye 1

Eye 2

Eye 2

While this artwork didn’t stop me from being upset at the thought of her in a kennel, it did help me feel better about the time I got to spend with her.  I know I’ll look back on this picture and remember a really happy, playful, sweet girl who just needed a better home.

“Ruby” Sketch

When I was 19 I was living in an apartment with my ex, a friend and his sister.  I’d never had small animals and had gotten two turtles early.  Then I got two rats, two hairless female Dumbo rats.  One was Chloe and the other, an albino, was named the oh-so-unoriginal but still pretty name, Ruby.

The other day on Facebook I was nominated by a fellow friend (and a really great artist, Amy Lehr Miller) for an Art Challenge that is going around.  I’ve seen artists like Adebanji Adeola Alade (find him on Facebook here) doing it and when she nominated me I felt special to be in the same challenge.  Not that it meant I was anywhere near that caliber!  It just felt neat.

So I sat down with a picture of my long gone friend, Ruby, and started to draw.  I thought I’d have at least an hour and a half, but unbeknownst to me my husband was making dinner plans with friends and after 25 minutes I had to give up the drawing and run out the door.

Here it is:

"Ruby" by Rebecca Galardo

“Ruby” by Rebecca Galardo

I’m pleased with it, though the lines of the cage are wobbly and I was interrupted while doing the inside of her ear.  I might try again, but honestly it was just a fun sketch to do.

I chose her for a couple of reasons: I wanted the first post of the artist challenge to be special, I wanted to push myself to draw an animal (I don’t) and didn’t want to start with one of my cats or dogs (fur intimidates me when it comes to pencil) and I love rats.

It was drawn with a very old (like at LEAST 17 years old) Faber Castell B pencil in the gray Cachet sketchbook by Daler Rowney.