Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Adventure Monday (brought to you by Posting Things Two Days Late)

On Monday, I had a painting to do. The assignment? Controluce. Against the light. There wasn't much to be seen in silhouette from my window.
So I went for a walk. I started looking at tall buildings against the sky.
I liked the pictures, but none of them seemed quite right. Up the Hill I went. I found some houses looking out into infinity,
and a pretty brick house ready for Halloween.
Then I found a place where the asphalt truck did not pick up after his dog.
I had a color moment when the leaves went so well with the house,
and then I realized I had no idea where I was. I was afraid I had missed the light.
But suddenly I was no longer alone.
The cat pointed me in the right direction, following me to make sure I'd be okay,

and then hid in a bush when a dog passed by.
I turned around,
and the light was perfect.
I made my way back down the hill. I passed the house that looked onto infinity,
and the racist statue contemplating the modern age.
I said a brief hello to RoboPig and RoboCat, standing vigil over the city,
and then the street lights began to turn on.
Even the abandoned dormitory seemed kind of nice.
Then it was back to the RISD campus, where Monday night activities proceeded as normal.
It was a good day, but sunset paintings are still kind of lame.
*To be fair, it's only halfway done. But it's still lame.

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Monday, October 11, 2010

words about words

Do you read every day? Yes, I believe most people do--even if it just only the front of the cereal box in the morning or the beginning credits that roll along the bottom of your favorite TV show's opening. But do you read purposefully? With the intention of getting some sort of information, some sort of experience out of it? I think I do. Every day. And that's a weird thought.

My vested interest in words was brought to my attention last week when I turned in an assignment I'd done for Oren's Illustration class. We were supposed to document everything we did for a day, in order to realize that beauty and inspiration were all around us--even in the most minute of moments. While Oren found my "first Eggs Benedict" to be particularly beautiful (and what greater beauty is there than runny, golden yolks and buttery Hollandaise?), he and my fellow classmates also found the amount of my interaction with words to be worth noting.

On the particular Saturday that I documented, of course, I was entirely aware that what I was documenting would be judged by a jury of my peers, not to mention a particularly honest professor. Naturally (or un-), I tried to be productive. My log began with staying up to finish writing an e-mail, a short story, and reading (short stories by Karen Russell) until 3:30 AM; I couldn't help myself. By late afternoon, however, I had slipped back in front of my computer and my entries in the log read something like "read online... webcomicsssss... read online." When I read that list aloud, all I heard was "did nothing, did nothing, did nothing." But apparently what I consider fooling around on the computer is not necessarily fooling around on the computer.

Now, I know that I love words. I love reading, and I always have. Books are important to me in a way that is pseudo-divine. I would never deny that I have a deep and lasting relationship with words, but it's just that hearing it from someone else puts things in a new light. For some reason, until that moment, I had always thought that a love of reading meant a love of reading books.

Especially during the last few years of high school, there was a marked decrease in the number of books I read for pleasure during the school year. I was on the varsity fencing team from November until February each winter, participated in the creative writing club and my school's art and literary journal, Reflections, and my fair share of homework and college applications to worry about. I missed books, but on weekends when I had moments of downtime, I was far more likely to put my brain to dead and turn on the TV. I thought I was a sham, a pretender--to pick TV over books? Blasphemy! No one who truly loved books, who was truly worthy of them would dare to do such a thing!

But I had never stopped reading. I was reading webcomics (even then I would spend nights not writing papers to read the entire archive of XKCD or Inverloch). There were literary submissions to Reflections, good and terribly, terribly bad. And of course you could never escape the inevitable: once in a blue moon, you would be assigned reading that, at least in retrospect, you actually enjoyed (The A&P by John Updike, The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins, and Of Mice and Men by Jon Steinbeck were all examples of this).

Although now I make a point to read every night (whether or not my roommates think I'm crazy), I still spend an amazing amount of my week on my computer following at least six or seven blogs, a staggering thirty webcomics, and lengthy e-mails and Facebook messages from my friends, in addition to any websites or articles I come across that strike my fancy or give me pause.

I read a lot more than I thought I did.

And now that I've written all of this, I think I finally know how I am going to execute part two of my Illustration assignment.

It starts with words.

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Saturday, October 2, 2010

things on my desk

I cannot keep my desk clean, and such disorderliness greatly hinders my productivity. Not only do I have no room to do work, but it also inspires me to write posts like this one.


Keeps things interesting, doesn't it?
No. No, it doesn't.
  1. Colin. Ugly, poorly designed, but gets the job done (mostly). This is the last time I let my dad talk me into a Dell. Hopefully.
  2. Speakers. Yes. I have needed these for so long. Sub-woofer under the desk (perfect thing to terrorize the neighbors).
  3. External hard drive. My soul in a box, basically.
  4. Change in a macadamia nut tin.
  5. Ikea desk lamp
  6. Mini-Moleskine journals for an Illustration project. Because I am a pretentious sucker.
  7. C-Thru right angle ruler that my drawing teacher had us get for some as-of-yet-unknown purpose.
  8. Glasses. For my vision.
  9. Short story concept sketch :)
  10. Depleted bag of baby carrots (save one carrot with suspicious black spot that I examined too closely and couldn't bring myself to eat:
  11. Pilot G-2 05 black pen. Favorite brand of pen. Presently I prefer 05 over 07.
  12. Simple mouse (surprisingly hard to find) with SolidWorks mouse pad. I have been using this mouse pad (that my dad got as a freebie for beta-ing) since I got my first laptop seven years ago.
  14. Tea Forte tea tray in bone white. Suitable for skeleton tea parties.
  15. 70% cacao dark chocolate. Complete with Edward Coate Pinkney love poem ("As one may see the burthened bee forth issue from the rose..."). I don't think he knew very much about the life of bees.
  16. Gold and black inks. Half of them are mine.
  17. Pens in a soup can!

    1. Less fine drawing pen I stole from my high school
    2. Draughting pencils. I have a lot of these, but why?
    3. Pilot G-2 07* mechanical pencil. Best mechanical pencil ever.
    4. Fine drawing pen. Birthday present from Nora.

    5. PILOT G-2sssss

    6. Official Andúril replica. Freebie with the LOTR BlueRay set that my dad felt compelled to buy. I use it as a letter opener (most epic letter opener ever? Perhaps).

  18. GUMMY VITAMINS (For Adults) and calcium vitamins (because I have Osteoporosis written all over my milk-hating body)
  19. Ugly fat chef mug from Fred Meyer (holla) with Coconut Chai residue
  20. HeadPWNS
  21. Rulers that are never long enough
  22. Stuff I didn't feel like labeling individually (sketchbook, tape measure, rape alarm, fish wire, CURIOUS GEORGE PENCIL CASE, Ticonderoga pencil**, belt)
  23. Paper chain that I found on the Brown campus. Can be worn as shackles. Proven.
  24. Origami butterfly :)

Man, a lot of brand names in this one. Product placement (but only because they are products that I have placed on my desk).

*I've always used 07 lead because it was the only size that B hardness lead seemed to come in. I haven't been able to find B hardness pencil lead for awhile, but for some reason I'm still using 07, even though I prefer finer pens.
**Ticonderoga pencils are my favorite pencils to sketch with. I feel less finicky with them than when I'm using drawing pencils of higher quality. Are they archival? Who knows? All I know is that Ticonderoga SOFT pencils are my favorite (and the erasers never dry out. Never. How do they do it? Magic, obviously).