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Mostly art, I guess

I'm starting on the painting transformation project tomorrow—I think of it as "Juliet," since that was the name I gave the painting in the play I wrote in which the painting was a speaking character. Tomorrow afternoon, Sara and I are going to apply the varnish that will allow me to collage over the oil paint.

I had a revelation about the project today while walking to Crystal's house.

(Note: This is why it's good for me to walk sometimes without headphones on. I've always done my best thinking while walking, and listening to music or audiobooks completely prevents this.)

Anyway, I've been planning to use text in this project (as it's one of my "things" in this past year or so), excerpts from things I've written in recent months about memories of my childhood and how they make me feel, all winding along intertwining vines. But while walking today, thinking about stuff, I had the sudden realization that I want to have some vines marked with text about hurtful things in my childhood—just as I'd been thinking initially—but I also want those to be intertwined with some vines marked with text about happy things in my childhood: all winding around each other. I'm very excited about it. I can't wait to get started on the project! It's going to be the most "mixed media" of my art projects thus far, as I plan to use not only paper collage but also fabric mache, a technique I haven't tried before. I love to try new stuff, so I'm excited about it. I need to find out whether I can also use ink and/or paint on the varnished surface, as I would love to use those media as well. I want different elements of the collage to have different moods and tones, and I'd like to use different media to help achieve those effects.

The coloring books haven't been keeping me as distracted lately, which has been leaving me with less defense against the headaches. I need to find some other distraction. The transformative multi-media painting/collage project is something I'll only be able to work on at CWC, since it's too large for me to transport back and forth, but perhaps I can get myself excited about the tiles project again. Perhaps that can keep my mind occupied. I'm not sure, though, because I hadn't planned to use colored pencils in that project, and my new Prismacolors are my current art obsession. I could play with my new Caran d'Ache watercolor oil pastels, instead, though, because they would work well with the tile project. And I could give the pencils a try ... sometimes I use a medium I hadn't planned on, and it surprises me. I wonder what the pencils would look like on the wooden tiles. Perhaps I'll give them a try tomorrow. They might create an interesting texture with the grain of the wood, more obvious than with the other media I've been using. Thus far, I've mostly used collage, acrylic paints, oil pastels, and watercolor, but there's probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. I've been pretty much just going to town on that project, playing with whatever media and techniques appealed to me. I specifically wanted to mess around with the juxtaposition of different saturations, textures, etc., so that the viewer could create whatever sort of mood they wanted when they choose and manipulate the tiles.

I've been discouraged about the tile project & stopped working on it even before the headaches started, because I discovered that it will be very expensive (and potentially difficult or impossible) to install the glass I planned on the thin, hinged front door of the display case. I'd had all these logistical plans about how I was going to display the project, and then the reality turned out to be more difficult than my imagination. I'm probably not in a place right now where I can effectively brainstorm solutions for those logistical problems, but I might still enjoy working on tiles. They're like dozens of tiny, separate and yet inter-related mini art projects. And the amazingly wonderful, well-deserved, enthusiastic public reception of this second publication of Shannon's Designers & Dragons history books(s) (previously one huge book in its first published form, now divided into four smaller books, divided by decade) means that I should eventually have the money to solve these logistical problems. (And maybe buy an iPad, too!)

The tile project is a funky one, different from anything I've seen anyone else do, and so I'm sort of flying blind, having to problem solve weird stuff as it comes along. It's fun, in its way, as I enjoy challenges like this, but currently that sort of creative problem solving sounds pretty exhausting, too. It requires too much rational brain.

I also have another collage book that I'd been planning to start, a germ of an idea that had been just beginning to develop in my brain back before the headaches got so bad that I couldn't think very well anymore. Perhaps I could have a look at that again. Perhaps there are aspects of the project that I could work on, even with a brain addled by pain and codeine. The early stages of that kind of project mostly involve a sort of edit-free gathering of materials, and I might be able to do that. The process of weeding out the material I don't want to use & organizing the material I do want to use may be beyond me right now, but I could probably manage the more visceral, less rational part of the process.

Because the codeine definitely does still impair my thinking, even though I'm taking less of it now (we're down to a max of 4 tabs/day, with a max of 2 tabs every 8 hours). I'm trying to take only one tablet at a time, so that I don't feel so loopy. It means I spend less time pain-free, but it also means I can get around more easily & independently. It's a compromise I'm willing to make. It still leaves me with a sort of cognitive vagueness that bugs me, but we're working on getting rid of all that, so I'm feeling patient. I'm not sure precisely what we're going to do about the headaches that led me to take the codeine in the first place, once the codeine is gone. I'm hoping that, under these codeine withdrawal headaches, the initial occipital neuralgia issues will have been eradicated by the physical therapy that was complicated by the codeine problems. So I would get off the codeine & suddenly have no headaches at all! Nirvana! I'm trying not to make any assumptions, and I suppose we'll see. As the neurologist said, it's difficult to see what's going on with the original problem when it's all complicated by the codeine.

Still, given my flagging interest & its unfortunate effect on my distraction from headaches, perhaps it's time to put the coloring book aside & dive back into my own, more personal art projects again. I've only been away from them because I didn't have the brain power. Time to stretch my brain a bit more, now that I am not so loopy on the codeine. The headaches cause their own problems with my thinking, of course, but it's worth a try.

I've also been doing some thinking—inspired by this week's therapy appointment—about how I was brought up with a sort of family pride about surviving adversity. Our conversation about it got me thinking about whether I exaggerate the difficult things in my life as some sort of competition: she who triumphs over the most adversity "wins." I'm not sure what I would "win," but it got me wondering about whether that's a motivating factor for me. Something to ponder.

Okay. Time to try sleeping again. I think that, once again, my exhaustion has grown to the point where it surpasses the effect of the headache. Just sometimes it takes a while for that balance to shift. Tonight was one of those nights. Goodnight, all.

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