Monthly Archives: August 2010

How I spent my summer vacation: The Art

This summer, I enrolled in an art class on a complete whim. Somewhere in April I was feeling a serious drain in the creativity department and needed an infusion. I thought about photography, but for some reason, drawing was calling to me. After checking into a few local community colleges, I finally enrolled in a summer course at Detroit’s local art school.

The class was billed as Drawing for Beginners so even though I can’t draw a straight line and haven’t stepped foot in an art class since high school, I felt pretty confident. I diligently went to the art supply store and bought all the required supplies and on the first day of school I showed up, sketch pad and pencils and hand. Ready to learn how to draw.

Let’s just say the first class was an experience. I walked in and was greeted with a true studio space — no desks, just a few seating options (benches, stools, the floor) and easels if we so desired. I followed the lead of a few other students and set up a work area and waited for the instructor. He immediately started talking about composition and a bunch of other “artey” terms I’d never heard of. The first thing I thought was: isn’t this a 101 class?!

As I looked around, it seemed there were several other people who felt the same way. They looked uneasy and unsure of what they had gotten into. After some more brief (but incoherent) remarks from the instructor he let us loose on a drawing assignment that dealt with light and shadow.

I had no clue where to start. I had expected to learn a process. Get instructions on how to hold the pencil and how to shade. That was obviously not part of the plan.

So, I just started. I fudged and fumbled and did a lot of erasing. And then about 2 hours in, I had a moment. A moment when the lines did a thing and the shading worked just so and…it looked good. The rest of the drawing turned out as utter crap, but I was beyond proud of that one corner. And it ended up being a pretty zen way to spend a few hours.

As I left class that night, I realized that I hadn’t really enrolled in the class to learn how to draw. I’d enrolled to step outside my box and to learn to be happy with imperfection. I’d enrolled to learn how to take some time away and find a different way to take a mental break besides vegging in front of the TV.

As the weeks wore on, none of my drawings ranked with Da Vinci or Van Gogh. But there’s something about each of them — a line, a shadow, a composition — that I’m proud of.

Sure, I had more than a few frustrating moments and as the 10 week class continued, I got less and less excited to spend 3 hours indoors. As work got more and more intense, I forgot about the whole “mental break” thing and began to see the class as one more thing in my already busting to-do list.

But, I did make a concerted effort to lose some of my perfectionist tendencies and just be proud of whatever came out. And I really am.

The next trick will be keeping the skills alive and making time on my own to draw. I keep saying I will and then never do. I know if I don’t make it a part of my routine, I’ll lose the knowledge I gained — about both the art of drawing AND the art of imperfection.

Without further rambling, here are my two favorite drawings. (And, yes, they DO hang on my fridge. It’s like I’m my own child!)

First, my hands. Which were surprisingly hard to draw. Who knew?

Aaaannnnd, my first foray into non-anonymity. A self-portrait. Hold me.

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Filed under Detroit, glass half full, Hmm, rambling nature, Uncategorized

How I spent my summer vacation: The Work

Let’s get the not so fun stuff out of the way. I promise, the rest of my summer recaps won’t be so Debbie Downer.

Work has been, well, inSANE this summer. It started out all happy go-lucky; mainly because I chose to ignore my to-do list. April and May were filled with carefree days, evening walks, and a general lackadaisical attitude.

That behavior caught up with me along about 4th of July. For the past couple months, I’ve been pretty beaten down by both work hours and work politics. I’m consistently logging 50 hour weeks, on some projects that could have been fun, and some projects that are necessary — but mundane — time sucks.

Unfortunately, the projects that would normally be fun became some of the biggest nightmares I could have imagined.  I spent more of my time fighting with co-workers in an effort to prevent poor decisions instead of working with them in an effort to create compromise and good outcomes.  Usually, I lost the fights, leaving me feeling exhausted and useless. After all, if you’re just going to ignore my advice and do your own thing, why am I even there?

There’s been more than one night where both DD and I have dragged ourselves home after 8 or 9 p.m., flopped on the couch, looked at each other and said: “who gets to quit today?”

It’s not the best situation for our relationship, because we’re so exhausted that there’s not much time or energy left for us to take care of each other. Even our — well, my — communication revolves around all the work badness.

Luckily, I think I’m coming out of the woods. The to-do list is shrinking, and more exciting things are coming on the horizon.

But for now, I’m just making it through the days, keeping my weekends blissfully work-free, and looking forward to the few days that I can get away.

It’s just a bit depressing, because as we bear down on the last summer holiday, I wonder where my summer went.

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Filed under career, crazy crazy, DD (aka My Man), glass half empty, rambling nature, rants

How I spent my summer vacation: Not here, obvi

Anyone still out there in Google Reader-land?! Does this feed even work anymore?!

When last we left, I was mourning a fallen Marine on Memorial Day.

We’re now quickly approaching Labor Day.

Wups. In the blink of an eye, 3 months have passed.

Over the next couple weeks, I’ll catch you up on my (not so) exciting summer — including work drama, an art class, birthdays, and other fun ways I spent my summer vacation. Which, now that I’m staring down 30 and haven’t been in school in nearly 10 years, hasn’t really been much of a vacation.

And after I’ve chatted at you as you enjoy your morning cup o’ Joe or your evening cup o’ tea, who knows, maybe I’ll get back into this blogging thing on the regular again.

Or maybe not. I’m a bit flighty!

In unrelated news, I’ve been thinking about coming out of the closet — the anonymity closet, of course. Not that I plan to start using actual names and outing DD and all my friends, but I am considering posting actual photos of my actual face.

I started out anonymously because I knew I’d be using this space for things I wouldn’t necessarily want my boss, mother, best friend, to read. But, it turns out I haven’t turned this place into a total bitch-fest.  And,  I’m already Facebook friends with a few of my favorite bloggers — and actual friends with several Detroit bloggers.

In reality, I’m not all that anonymous anymore.

But…what if I ever WANT to write about something controversial? What if I want to bitch about my job or my friend or my family and I’ve outed myself?

For now, I’ll remain the pseudo-top-secret-Supergirl.

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Filed under blogging rocks!, glass half full