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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Another oil painting

I’ve been taking a break from writing. It’s not that I don’t want to write, or that I’ve ceased to have anything to say, but rather that I’ve become obsessed with a new ambition. I love painting!

I talked about it on my previous post, and I guess I’m just going to repeat myself, but sketching and painting have become my new outlet. I spend a considerable amount of free time to sketching in my sketch pad. I’m not great at it, though I am getting a little better. It’s still a lot of fun.

Eventually, I’ll get back to my writing. I have a few ideas for short stories bouncing around, and I still would like to publish something, but I’m wondering if I’m good enough to even try. The voice of doubt has been echoing strongly lately.

But for now, here’s my most recent painting. I don’t have a name, but again, it’s on black canvas, this time a 16 x 20.

 

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Yellow City Comic Con

I attended my first Comic Con today, which was held in Amarillo, TX. Yellow City Comic Con was a small gathering of who you would expect would attend, various nerds and geeks celebrating their particular awesomeness. There were artists selling their artwork, most, oddly enough, focused on comic book characters, steampunk enthusiasts, cosplayers, authors trying to get their names out, food vendors, and people like me wanting to see what it was all about.

Since I was a first-timer, I didn’t know what to expect. Sure, I’d seen clips from sit-coms, internet clips from larger conventions, and okay maybe I had some idea, but it was all so new. Add to that the fact that I’m among unfamiliar people and character types, I felt a little like a fish out of water. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, just a new one. It’s good for me to grow, or so I have been told.

My friend bought a few things, and I did buy a book for her, Splintered by A.G. Howard which the author patiently waited for us to purchase so she could autograph it. That was a awesome thing to do, in my opinion, in that A.G. was actually on her way out, her time at the convention having come to an end.

Also, and this was a bit awesome, she recognized me. She couldn’t remember how, but at least she remembered seeing me. I had already attended two of her book signings. I have all three hardback books signed on my shelves, the last of which I reviewed here on my blog. I know it’s a silly thing to be excited about, but leave me alone. I’m allowed to feel some excitement about things! Makes life worth living.

Unfortunately, we did miss the panel for Chris Sabat. That door actually said Pannel Room – hurray for spelling! – but I digress. I mean, I don’t know who he is, but my friend did and she was slightly upset. It didn’t help that I may have laughed a little. I’m such a horrible friend, but I did buy her a book. It evens out in the end, if you ask me.

It was an interesting experience, especially seeing the cosplayers walk around without any inhibitions. In fact, I envy them. To be able to be yourself and allow yourself the freedom to simply enjoy the moment is something I struggle with on a daily basis. Maybe one day I’ll work up the courage to wear a costume. I think I’d make a convincing and sexy Sailor Moon. Or not.

I want to go to another Comic Con soon. There’s one in Lubbock in February. I’ll make sure to keep that in mind. I also need to find out when Dallas has theirs. Also, and this is just me wondering aloud, how can I put myself out there to have a booth of my own to pimp my own books out? I suppose I need to finish one up. There’s always a catch!

Success or failure: What do I choose?

I’ll never make it as a writer…

Quill and Ink

Quill and Ink (Photo credit: cgsheldon)

I can hear the voices clearly sometimes. You’re not good enough. No one will ever want to read your stuff. Why do you even try? The voices are jerks. I hate the voices in my head.

The voices are my own insecurities and doubts. Fear keeps me from doing what I should be doing to get ahead. The thought of another JOB makes me want to curl up into a fetal position and cry. I don’t want to work for the man. I don’t want to waste my life making another rich while I wear myself out. I don’t want that.

And neither does anyone else.

I see the dead look in people’s eyes as they trudge through the muck that is their everyday existence, and I can see the my own blank stare reflected back to me. Clock in, work, clock out, and then try to salvage at least a little bit of our day for ourselves, and our family and friends. We slave to break even, if we’re lucky. We toil just to put a roof over our heads and food to eat. We break our bodies only to fall further behind in life.

It’s happening. Look at the news. Look at the discontent among the laborers. Wages are stagnant, there is no real job growth, and hours are getting cut. The economy isn’t growing because the wealthy have stolen this country’s wealth and are hoarding it for themselves all the while wondering why they aren’t making anymore money.

I finally got a job and I’m off this week. I don’t go back until next week and only for 14 hours. The following week is about the same, but they scheduled me for a day I’m in class. Sorry, but I’m not jeopardizing my education for a go-nowhere-job where they don’t even care enough to get my schedule right. I did that once and I spent over a decade being miserable.

I’m not saying this to trash the labor force. I’m saying this to trash the employers, which is dangerous for me as I’m in the market to find a real full-time position somewhere. I am beginning the transition from student to employee all over again, and yes it scares the hell out of me.

What can I do?

Keyboard

Keyboard (Photo credit: Quinn deEskimo)

My only recourse is to use the only talent available to me and try to write for a living. Right out of the proverbial gate I’m met with the reality that most writers don’t make a living as writers. I wonder; how many aspiring writers are out there right now, toiling away on their computers, typewriters, and even notepads and pens, trying to write the next big thing? I know I am. I’m one of the invisible group, hoping to be taking out of obscurity and made famous for doing what I love.

Hell, here I am writing for free for myself, just to have an outlet to express my thoughts. I have a very limited readership, and I’m okay with that. Although I do want to grow my audience, my main objective is to write for writing’s sake. I write in order to discover what I believe, to put it into words, in a logical manner, that I can defend if I have to. I write in order to practice putting my thoughts down onto paper, or in this case onto the web. I write in order to learn.

You are my teachers and my evaluators. You who have taken the time to read my thoughts have become my greatest assets. I take my blog stats very seriously, and I take my Likes as a positive sign that I did a decent job. When no one reads my post, I feel that I did a poor job and that I need to do better.

My main problem is that I haven’t been as diligent as I should. I haven’t committed myself to write everyday like a writer ought to write. Be it trash or a masterpiece, without taking the time to sit down and actively engage in this craft, I will end up as a dreamer who wants the stars but remains content to watch them from afar.

But I’m not content. I’m tired of laying on the meadows at night, looking up without trying to reach out for those distant points of light. I’m tired of dreaming the dream that I yearn for, but refuse to pursue. I’m tired of hearing that I can do it, that I have the talent, “if only you’d go for it.” I will go for it. You’ll see.

In the meantime I will trudge along on this merry road, working for the marketplace, selling myself for a meager wage. It’s a sacrifice I have to pay, that I’m willing to pay, but this time I do so with my eyes open, with a plan for the future and a hope that I can escape.

We all have our dreams, and mine is to be financially independent, as much as is possible. If I have to work to enrich some man’s coffers, why shouldn’t that man be me? If I have to wear myself out, shouldn’t it be for my own benefit? In the process, if I am successful, I will end up helping others make money.

I just have to remember this: I need to sit down and write. Success or failure rests solely on my ability to set aside some time to write. Unless I sit down and get serious, I’ve already failed. I don’t want to fail, not this time and not with this. Failure is always an option, but success only becomes a possibility if I not only try but I do.