Evolution of a portrait

20170617_003517I’ve never painted a portrait. It’s a lot different than doing a landscape. Though I’m far from a master, I’m slowly gaining some proficiency. I’m trying to learn techniques and finding my own style.

Not long ago, I decided to try painting a portrait. Though the final result isn’t too bad, I can’t say the same for the first attempt. It was bad. Very bad. Embarrassingly bad. I had no intention of sharing it, but this is me we’re talking about. Of course I had to share.

I took a few more pictures along the way, wanting to document for myself what I was doing, trying to discover just what the hell I was doing. You can laugh at my first attempt, or be horrified, or both.  Enjoy!

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Moving

I think the time has come to move on with my life. Things came to a stand still about five years ago, and I’ve been adrift ever since. I became complacent with my situation, neither enjoying it, but not doing anything to remedy it. I kind of gave up.

I’ve been feeling this coming on for a while now, that the time had come to continue on my journey. It’s not a big step really, but moving out on my own will be a change. I haven’t been on my own since before I got married. Honestly, she moved in before we were married. That’s a long time. I’m ready to have my own place.

Technically, I had my own place after we split up. I say technically since I was paying rent at an apartment I never stayed in. I spent all my time with some girl I was seeing. But after that, I stayed with a friend before moving in with family. I got a lot done. I finished college, found a job, made some awesome friends, but I stayed here, with my family, more out of a need to be near them. Emotionally and psychologically, I needed my family.

I’m blessed I had them when I needed them the most.

But I’m stronger now. To be honest, I came to a decision over two years ago to accept certain aspects of my personality. Since then, I found the peace that had been missing in my life. I found that I was stronger because of it. I found that I could be happy. I discovered that my friends would not abandon me for it. In fact, most have embraced me unconditionally.

Because of it, I have a need for some freedoms that I can’t have living with my parents. Some of that is due to my ego. It’s embarrassing to be 40 and living with mommy and daddy. When I moved in, there were financial concerns. I was unemployed and could not find a job anywhere. After finding one, it took some time to rebuild. When I had the means to leave,  remained behind. I had become complacent.

But complacency has put me ill at ease. I’m not comfortable here, or rather I feel as though I have overstayed my welcome. I feel the pull of life calling me, telling me that there are new adventures waiting for me out in the world, new stories to be discovered.

There’s also part of me that needs some privacy. Here in this house, I don’t have the privacy to just sit down and write. There’s too much going on, too many distractions. I lose myself in what’s going out with everyone’s lives that I don’t have a moment to withdraw completely into my own little world, to flesh out new tales to tell.

So I’m looking for my own place. Part of it is because I’m ready to move out. There’s also the practical part of me that’s tired of commuting an hour each way, five days a week. It’s beginning to wear on me. That’s almost 500 hours a year driving back and forth, or about twenty days out of every year wasted in that car.

It’s time to move on. I’m a little nervous about it, which is a little crazy. I’ve been on my own. I left for college when I was 18. Moved to the Dallas area when I was 24. I know how to be on my own, but there’s a small part of me that is worried about venturing out again. It won’t stop me, I’m sure. In fact, it’s why I’m doing it, to conquer the small battles so as to put myself out there for bigger fights.

Mostly, however, I just want some peace and quiet, and a small corner to call my own.

Still at it

I’m nearing the end of Jasmine, and it hasn’t been as bad as I thought it would be. I have had to delete a whole chapter, and a few scenes were eliminated or rewritten entirely, but on the whole, it’s been a fairly quick rewrite.

I have asked a friend of mine to read it for me and give me her input. I have to know if the story works, and if there’s anything that needs to be tweaked, rewritten, or deleted. I want to know if the characters are believable. I need to know if it’s a good book or not. I don’t want to waste time on a dud.

If I hear good news, I’ll move on to looking for someone to proofread the book. My real issue will be cost. I’m just a poor boy, after all, but I don’t want someone cheap who doesn’t do a good job. I need someone with reasonable rates, preferably with some experience and recommendations.

Then I’ll need someone to do the covers for me. I have absolutely no experience in making covers. What’s more, I have no artistic abilities. I’ll have to find someone at some point. I guess I can ask around. I’m sure someone can point me in the right direction.

Until then, however, I’ll tinker with Jasmine, maybe eventually settle on a permanent name for it. It was Unseen Obsession at one point, but I hated that name. Maybe someone can help me with that, too.

Excuses and such

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I think the past couple of months tried to kill me. Photo Credit: Amy Ebert

I feel like such a slacker. I’ve been putting all my attention on a different project that I’ve neglected my writing. I still have those aspirations, but they have taken a momentary back seat to what’s going on in my life, both personally and professionally.

 

Professionally, I’ve been given the opportunity to participate in a leadership development program in Oklahoma City. We meet once a month for a class where we sit and learn important things regarding the business, but mostly it’s about forcing us to stand up a become comfortable talking to a group of people. It has helped a bit. I do feel a little more confident.

In fact, the feedback I’ve received so far is that I’m doing well in the program. Yay me! The class is moderated by two Store Managers, and the District Manager and District HR Manager are also in attendance. Part of the reason for the class is to bring Department Supervisors to the attention of the District team, so that they may consider us for advancement into managerial positions. I’m not entirely certain I want to move up, but it’s nice to know that I may have that option.

Personally, well, I’m not really ready to discuss it here. I well say that I feel that I’m in a period of transition. I feel that there’s a move in the future. I don’t know when or to where, but that this move will be for the better. As much as I’ve enjoyed being back home, I think it’s time for me to move on, and maybe explore who I am to a wider audience than is possible currently.

After the New Year, I hope to get back to writing. I want to finish up my NaNoWriMo project. I should say that I did win last month. I meant to write a post about that, but it got away with me. The past couple of months were busy, with my LDP class, inventory, and Black Friday, and lastly a visit from our Regional Vice President. It’s finally gotten back to normal, but now it’s Christmas and New Years. I’ll try to find my grove again.

 

Nanowrimo: Day 12

I’m so behind, it’s maddening. I’m still three days behind, but I was six when the day started, so at least I’m making up some ground. I would like to catch up tomorrow, but that’s unlikely. I just hope I don’t get further behind.

November has been brutal, writing wise. First, I had a presentation to prepare. Then I had present it, in Oklahoma City, more than five hours away from home. I wrote Sunday, worked Monday and drove to OKC, no writing done. Tuesday was the class and presentation, then the drive back to Amarillo. No writing done. Wednesday was a long day, and I ended up working a full 12 hours, spent the night in Amarillo again, then a full day on Thursday. Too exhausted to write, and the first night home since I left on Monday.

I meant to write on Friday, and I took my laptop with me to Amarillo, and set up to write at Roasters while I waited for a friend to drive in. We were going to meet for lunch, and I thought it a perfect time to get out of the house, drink some coffee and write. Nope. My computer’s battery was dead, and I left the charger at home. Crap!

I ended up going to Walmart, buying a composition notebook and a pack of pens, and sat down to write out a vague roadmap for my novel. While I’ve stated on countless occasions that I’m a pantser, I’m feeling as though having no plan isn’t working for me. I need at least a general outline of what I want to write. I may not follow it exactly, but at least it’s a guide.

So now, finally, Saturday comes, and I can write. I should have written more, but I’ve played too much online. Damn Facebook. I’m still please with what I have so far, the outline giving me some direction on where I need to go with the story. I decided as I was outlining that the story needs to be organized into three parts. So, maybe planning is helpful.

I have a long way to go before the month is over, and longer until I get to the end of the novel. I wish I didn’t have so much happening to distract me from my writing. This coming week is Inventory Week at work, and it’ll be long days and nights until Thursday. The following week is Black Friday, again a lot of long days to prepare. The last week of November has me going back to OKC for another project. I need to be beyond the 50K mark before then. I don’t know if I’ll have time to write on the 29th or 30th!