Thursday, April 19, 2012

What (really) keeps me from drawing / painting

Following my last post "Does someone can tell me...??? " and the few comments that I received (mostly on a forum), I was able to put some ideas at the right place.

First things first: thanks to the ones who took the time to leave me a comment. It did help me to put those ideas in place! =)

1) Accessing the "artistic mode"
When I'm working on visual art, I need to "build a bubble" around me in which I can escape. I often called that state of mind a "bubble" or "being in an artistic trance". Since I have read "Drawing on the right side of the brain », from Dr Betty Edwards", I have understood that in fact, I need to "shut my left cerebral hemisphere up" (side of logic, maths, language...) in order to let the right side (intuitive, creative, visual, artistic side...) take ALL the commands.

This is essential for visual art, because, according to the author Betty Edwards, the art is a very rare discipline that requires exclusively the right cerebral hemisphere (the majority, say almost all the other tasks needs a certain balance between both right and left side... not to mention all the tasks that requires mostly the left side. According to her, the main reason why so many can't "draw well": we live in a society which educates mostly the left side (logic, language, maths...) and let aside the right side...

This is surely the reason why I have the impression that I can't work my art in the presence of my daughter. She is young, she still needs a lot of attention and doesn't understand well that mommy works for a long time (that is to say for several hours in a row) on the same thing, while she gets disinterested most of the time after 10 to 15 minutes, like any child of her age. So I can't "build my bubble" in her presence (I need to remind that I have no sibling and as a child, I spent many solitary hours with all my time and the tranquility to release my artistic creativity, in visual art and writing alike).

2) Share art with my daughter
From "Custer" commentary (that you can read next to the same last post "here"):
"(...) Or make it a game with your daughter, get her to suggest something you should draw for her..."
Yes, this is a game we do for some time now. Among other things, it helps in her language development. Though she doesn't yet speak with as many vocabulary as the other girls of her age, she is interested with letters and sometimes asks us to write the words under the drawing we do for her.

I also started last fall to initiate her to painting (with gouache), a thing that I came to realize that many mommies fear to do or at least, don't know how to do this with a child that young (fear of making a mess, staining clothing, etc.)

Each time that I do these activities, I have as much pleasure to do it with my daughter than I feel some bitterness... First, she gets tired (too) quickly (for my taste), but as I was mentioning, it's normal at her age. Then, almost everything I do with her will end up "disappearing". Which calls for a third point.



Here's two example (my favorites) of painting my daughter did, with me.


3) The result of Art
In my last post ("Does someone can tell me...??? "), I was mentioning music. Music is one form of artistic expression that can be played and each new interpretation of a piece becomes unique (left aside that since more or less a century, we can henceforth record it and make it play to the infinity, which is recent in the history of humanity). Visual art for its part, likewise literature, are art forms that needs to be lay down on a support, paper or other and stay there.

I don't know if it's the fact that I have chosen those two form of art, visual and written... but I have this habit of caring about keeping the result of my art. Whether its a sketch, a study, something experimental, or a finished work worth being hang on the wall, I like to keep everything I do. This also applies for writing: all the planing, the research, parts of texts, the written questioning about a project, I keep everything (it's even easier in literature with the hard disk storage ; it's another thing when it comes to the visual art storage...)

So, though I love to share this initiation to painting with my daughter (and I even started to think about how to keep her experimentation into home-made portfolio), I don't have the time to express myself (since the goal is to show HER how to express herself! and she does it in a very short time).

All of this will change in time as she will grow up and that we'll be able to work side by side; I'll teach her how to use other medium than gouache and when she'll have more autonomy. This is only a matter of time.

Until then, I have about two hours a day (and still) of free time, when she sleeps and I'm not. I could use that time for personal projects (like at this moment, I'm using it to write this post). But because I already tried, there's not much I can do in two hours : either I take more than two hours late in the evening (which it's not recommended at five weeks away to give birth, to get too tired) ;o)  either she wakes up when I just start having fun.

There's one last option though that comes in mind as I write those lines : spring is here and it's often nice outside. I could try bringing some sketchbook or something at the park (normally, I bring a book and / or something to write). Last summer, I brought my water-painting at the swimming pool. My daughter came to draw by my side and when she was getting bored, she had to pool and all the kids to play around). I could try something alike, at the park. =)
(Wow! And like in a movie with arranged with the photography director, I get to this conclusion and I have the sunlight that falls on my face from the window!) =P

Monday, April 16, 2012

Does someone can tell me...???

I was impressed by the superb spring weather of this year, while I was telling myself that it was a shame that I'm not a musician or a singer. I did try music as a child and though I was not practicing as much as I was writing or drawing, I always loved music (as much as "playing music myself")... Well, childhood wound, long story... I'm not a musician.

I had that thought, among other, while thinking about French rap. I don't particularly like rap (but since my common-law-spouse is French, I hear about French rap slightly more often). Those young rappers and their songs denounce the social injustice, the political mistakes, etc. The French rap is often seen as "hateful", whereas what it wants (according to those young rappers) is to be the voice of truth that others wants to shut.

I'm not a musician and even less a rapper (it wouldn't be my style of music anyway!!) and I was founding this really sad in this period of lockout where I'd like to have a voice to be heard, with all what is happening now on the political scene... You know, the kind of music that "you can easily bring outside in the streets"... But I'm no singer nor music. What a pity.

And in the following instants, like if my cerebral right hemisphere (the one that is intuitive, creative, visual, artistic...) was answering to my left (side of logic, mathematics, language...), I started to have vision of images that would be representative of the messages I'd like to express. Eureka! I'm not a musician but I'm a drawer, painter and computer graphic artist! That is not nothing!

Back home... toc, there it goes again. This damn blockade that gets into me since too long. I don't know where to start, I freeze, I have the impression of "I don't have the time because I'm with my daughter" (while I haven't even tried anything yet). It's like if I was freezing in fear of not succeeding, fear of failure...

Failure of what?? Since when do I think about drawing in terms of "succeeding or failing", like if my life depended on it? Drawing, like painting, has always been an experience of enjoyment, like a game, experimentation, exploration (colors, techniques, different medium...), so where did it came to me this absurd idea of performance that keeps me from doing anything at all!?!

This is really irritating!
Does someone can tell me...???
Your comments on this matter are very welcome!!
Thank you!  =)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The "after commentary"

It's been a long time since my last update.


After I've received commentaries linked to "2nd writing, 1st objectif reached", a bit like every time "after commentaries", I think a lot about what should I keep and what I should let go...

Among Élisabeth Vonarburg commentaries, (our "mentor" of the writing workshop), she points to the way the narrator tells the story. I thought it would be helpful to re-read of her book "Comment écrire des histoires" (translation: "How to write stories", a book that I suggest to everyone who aspires to professional literature; it's only available in French though).


It was a very good idea to re-read (I'm not finished yet). It's been years since I've read it the first time and it's very uplifting to have the memory refreshed at an important moment of my project.


Of course, my pregnancy getting close to the end (2 months to go before the due date), I'm getting tired faster and faster and every task of the every day's life needs more of my time, so... it's getting hard to find time left to work on my project, but my brain continues working on it.


I have to admit that in the course of the last few weeks, the events in this province (Québec) helds me in suspense. I'm talking about the university students in lockout against the raise of inscription fees to university. The movement, that I must watch passively from my computer (pain and tiredness of my pregnancy in the way; I can hardly walk more then 15 minutes without being in pain in the pelvis and bottom of my back and I almost need a day and a half to rest from a task like going for the week grocery or do the vacuum), brought me to get re-interested to the politic in general.

The politic situation, in Québec as well as in Canada, is not swell. It almost feels like witnessing the death of democracy on all fronts. I have read numbers of articles about federal and provincial politic, I'm watching movements of revolt everywhere around the world, watching documentaries on economy, why all countries are in debt... Many are in French, so I can't give example here, though there's this documentary (the beginning is interesting for the history of money and the base of economy):

The Money Fix - A Documentary for Monetary Reform:





Ou ce reportage (en anglais) qui avance une solution sur comment devrait se tourner la société du future :

Paradise or Oblivion:


Myweb surfing as much as the recent events are inspiring me a lot for a certain change on the "background" of my project.

My ideas are working a lot. I have many ideas for a couple of projects (and so little free time to start them). It's still well, because it's been some time since I haven't handle that many ideas, that many projects. It makes me feel more alive =D. I keep them in mind and I'll work on them as I have time. After all, kids are growing! And I prefer to be present in their life while they are young and ask for it.  ^_^

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

2nd writing, 1st objectif reached.

I got a cold-bronchitis and stopped working on my project for about twelve days, then I took my work again. I was getting to a part of the story that I had for about 1 year in my mind. There were elements missing to be able to write before.


There's something really satisfying to get cross this kind of "hilltop" within a project. Furthermore, it was marking to cross over the 100th page of the manuscript. Those two points (the first 100 pages and this part of story, which is a major pivot in the story) was my first objective, the one I was waiting for before sending the beginning of my second writing to get some comments.

On 5 persons that I've sent it to, one gave me back a list of comments (within the hours after following the email!!!) and 2 others confirmed me that they would look into it soon. The fourth probably will not have enough time and the fifth, no news yet (but that's someone is really busy).

I have to say that the commentaries that I received, comes from the most "severe" of them all, which is my dear Élisabeth Vonarburg and mentor through the writing workshop. And I also have to say that I've NEVER received that many positive comments from her! Of course, they were NOT all positive. But lets say that the whole underline a major improvement since the workshops I went to in 2006 and 2007. So, it seems that I did learned the subject of matter! ^_^
It's progressing well!
And it keeps going!!  =D

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Count down (Correction about my progress)

I have to make a correction about my previous post Winter = Cold

It seems that I keep having a feeling of not going forward fast enough, or I'm justifying myself for not progressing at the rate I wish I was...

But after my post Winter = Cold, I had a little more time to write... to complete a chapter and to count down my progress... So here it is:
  • First part of the manuscript is completed. I'm probably at ¼ of the second one. I should have five or six parts in total.
  • Seven chapters are written and completed (I have counted that I should have about 30-35). I try to keep an average of about 10 pages or less per chapter, so this number can very a lot during the progress. As an example, chapter 6 that I just finished was too long (21 pages), so I decided to cut it in two halves (12 and 9 pages).
  • So I have a total of 70 pages written, in 12 days (on a period of a little more than three weeks).
  • According to my tracking of time, I usually write about 1 or 2¼ pages an hour, depending on how good (or bad) I can concentrate and focus on written (a lot depends on my daughter) ;o)
So, a false impression of not progressing fast enough, it seems, counting that I'm part time on this project and that the other half goes to my beloved daughter. =)

I should also mention that this morning, my daughter doesn't show any sign of having a cold. It was about 8 hours sickness for her!  ;o)

Friday, January 27, 2012

Winter = Cold

Well, it's winter now. Clearly. 

This year in the region of Montreal, QC, Canada, it's relatively a mild winter, then it rains, and then temperature drops to -20°C, so all become a super skating-ring jawbreaker.

And who is talking about frequent change of temperature, talks also about the colds that come with it. We don't often have colds in my family, and when we have it, it's rare that it last long. It seems that we have a good and strong immune system.

But here, we're in the middle of it. My common-law husband was fighting a cold (which wasn't winning, but it was trying), and when I came back with the same symptoms, his cold won... Now it's my turn to fight, to be "on the edge", I have it but not really...

I have to precise that since I started a herbalist class, obviously, the "everyday silliness" like colds are treated with herbal medicine... But also, as soon as we feel that a virus tries to reach inside, we also use herbal medicine to prevent to be sick.

Taking my plants in prevention, I don't really feel sick (and when I do, it's time to take more plants), beside maybe some more pronounced tiredness (little reminder: I'm pregnant, so tiredness is never very far!). It was the same for my daughter, but this morning, she waked up with a fever, so the cold won over her too.

So, it's a slower week, a week of tiredness and "take good care of yourselves"... The projects obviously don't go forward as fast in this situation... But that's part of life! ^_^

Friday, January 20, 2012

Advancement (1)

At the step of writing, finally! =D
Of course, it's part time, as I'm at home with my three years old daughter. And pregnant of the next one!

But it goes forward at a reasonably good rate. I've calculated that I do an average of 6 pages a day (with sometimes a little revision on what's already written). I take it stress-less. If one day, I'm tired, I don't write and I take it easy. Sometimes, it's only half a day writing, other time it's only a part of the afternoon.

Or sometimes I'm writing and my daughter comes and asks me for painting (she is in a very important phase about discovering the colors), I finish my sentence or paragraph, then I prepare her painting stuff (with a dismounted box, I cover the floor, I cover her table with a plastic blanket, I make her wear a waterproof apron with long sleeves...), I make her choose 4 colors and then I go sit on a chair to read (a book which help me do a research for my writing projects. So in the other hand, I'm still working on my projects, but differently and without neglect my daughter).

She is in a phase where she starts to get a little more independence, she asks for me less than before. So, when she comes to request some attention, I give some to her, I take a break from my work and take the time for her.

Today, I have surpassed myself : 9½ pages written (in an interrupted day of work. I have counted 4:15 hours of assiduous work, among others while she was taking her afternoon nap)!

35 pages completed so far. Only a few more and the first part is completed. And I'm happy at the same time for the advancement of the project and for what is completed. =)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Finally!!!

Finally!!! Euréka!!!
My writing project staging (more or less) since month of May (since the after Boréal convention). 

I had to admit that many things were not fitting in the story.
I had to question and think a lot about it. Let it take some dust. Find new ideas. Which didn't fit well with the older version. Re-questioning. Think more. In short, for every answers found, I had to redo some cleaning on "what should stay among the ideas of the older versions", "what should stay" and "what should change". With some well dosed pauses to avoid losing my head in between...


But it's done!
I finally have a plan that works, a story that holds together -- well, a lot better than what I was writing back in May -- something that I feel like telling and which satisfies me.

Ok, now, I only have to... well actually "write it for real", as it's only a "plan", a nine pages of a detailed summary (written small and tight, but still in a "plan mode") =P