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Our instructor had us start this term working on portraits. I used to do pencil portraits, but I’ve only attempted one previous painting. So I’m pretty pleased with this version of daughter.

kat with cone

The seagulls trilogy

Finished the third of the seagull pictures. They were fun. The rest of the term will be portraits.

seagulls trilogy

Latest painting

Class is going well. This is my latest effort. I’m quite pleased overall. The wing of the seagull landing on the fence isn’t quite right, though, and I’d like more contrast with the plover and the beach.

seagulls 2

I haven’t been writing much–NaNoWriMo went well in November and I was able to wrap up a zeroth draft of Waiting for the Hurricane. I had plans to finish a first draft right away, but I couldn’t keep going through the holidays and extensive family obligations and travel. I’ve been working on my art but the writing has not been there.

Today when I was cleaning my desk and putting some stuff away, I knocked a box off the shelf. It landed on my foot. It was the draft and notes for Crows, the ghost story I drafted for NaN0 2013 and did another pass on for Camp NaNoWriMo last year.

So I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo with a goal of finishing the second draft. It will involve mostly filling in the places I skimmed over scenes, probably 20-25K worth of stuff, and deciding what to do about the two romance subplots. If I leave them both in, it might require quite a few more words. We shall see.

I even wrote a synopsis:

Everybody wants to find Carly.

Mrs. Norwood wants to kill her to protect herself. Her mother doesn’t want to lose her unpaid assistant. Heather wants her sister back. Dwight used to date Carly, but now he cares because Heather cares. He’s doing it for the woman he loves.

But the woman he loves doesn’t want him doing it. The woman he loves doesn’t believe in all that psychic stuff, not ghosts and especially not talking crows. The woman he loves thinks he’s batshit crazy.

And the crows are going to make sure he stays that way…

Art class continues

This is the project from the last couple of weeks. I did two versions of the same subject, a tuna boat approaching a pier just before dawn.

abstract view of tuna boat at Dutch Harbor

abstract view of tuna boat at Dutch Harbor

More realistic treatment of tuna boat

More realistic treatment of tuna boat

first painting of 2017

This is more warmup than anything, since it’s been a couple of months since I did any real painting (as opposed to sketching, or finishing acrylic on canvas paper. View of Heidelberg Old Town from the Schloss. I think it looks a bit like I’m standing in the remains of Sleeping Beauty’s castle, where the briers still haven’t given up.

Heidelberg Old Town from the Schloss

Heidelberg Old Town from the Schloss

2016 wrapup

It’s been kind of a difficult year for me, for no particular reason. Just sometimes life is harder to handle, y’know? Kind of like a common cold of the psyche, I suppose. There are family stresses that I could blame it on, but that’s not really the cause. I just haven’t been coping as well. Maybe more on that later.

I’ve managed to keep going. Art class, lots of music events, golf league, training for and then going on a week-long wilderness canoe trip in Canada, cruise vacation through Alaska, Japan, Korea, and China, Christmas with family here and in Germany, and lots of other fun stuff. My weight continues down, I’m fitter than I’ve been for a long time, and my blood sugar remains stable. The kids are all doing fine. Problems with my big toes, but compared to the stuff many of my friends are going through with hips and knees and backs, it’s nothing.

But when I sit down to write, it’s just–well, truthfully, I don’t usually sit down, or if I do, I read or crochet or play video games. There are words and ideas waiting. I just don’t want to write them down. I’ve had constipation of the creative process before, and this isn’t it. I thought maybe the family stress had drained me more than I thought, and gave myself the summer off, but I’m no closer to writing now than I was in May. The peer pressure and support of National Novel Writing Month let me push through most of a new draft, but since then, not much.

Truthfully, I’m scared, and that’s not something that has happened to me very often. I’ve had specific projects I’ve been afraid to tackle due to the emotional difficulty of the story itself (Michael’s unfinished story comes to mind), but most of the time, words have been my refuge and comfort. But now they’re a threat.

I don’t know what the threat is. I don’t know what I’m afraid of.

I know, I know. Sit down and write anyway. No other way around. Draft will be finished!