My refuge

We went for a walk at 8:00 this morning despite the cold temperature because we wanted to be back inside before the wind started blowing again. And we just made it. As soon as we returned, I went out to clean and refill the bird bath (which was filled with pine needles, dirt, and other debris from yesterday’s wind) and that’s when the wind began raging again. (Note: the bath’s already polluted but there’s no point in cleaning now).

As noted yesterday, my anxiety levels were high (update: the fire in Park County spread to Teller County and has now burned 1,200 acres) and I chose to put on music loud enough to drown out the sound of the heavy gusts of wind while I played with ink and paints.

I copied each of these animals from a drawing book and consider them a huge success. Not because the crocodile looks like she has mumps or because what appears to be an otter was actually supposed to be a weasel. No, I consider my little art session a success because for a while there I was not thinking about our wildfire evacuation kit, the extreme drought and water shortage here in the West, or how the Biden administration continues to authorize more oil and gas drilling on federal lands. Instead, I was focused on drawing silly little pictures and learning how to use paints.

And now I’m going back to my art table where I’ll turn up the music and create some more. Oh, and comfort Emma when she gets agitated about those 50-mph gusts of wind.

Wishing you calm wherever you are.

Sunday Confessional: learning curve

Historically, technology and I have maintained an uneasy relationship that borders on adversarial. Which is why it was quite a shock when last December, I spontaneously decided to purchase a drawing tablet which would require learning new software.

Big surprise, I became discouraged fairly quickly. Because not only was it all new to me, I was trying to learn while dealing with vision issues. Rather than push on through, I set aside the whole endeavor until this past week.

Unfortunately, the learning curve hadn’t magically disappeared. I found many YouTube tutorials on various aspects of Krita (free, open source software) and began learning things. A few things. I called upon Zippy to watch the one on removing backgrounds from images and we worked together to figure it out. It was a boost to my self-esteem to find out he also struggled to understand just what in the hell was involved in the process. Still, at the end of yesterday’s session I was exhausted and demoralized: all those hours and I still didn’t really know how to do what I wanted.

Today, I had an epiphany. Rather than view Krita as a problem to be conquered, I switched my perspective. Krita and I were allies! Krita was there to help me bring my creative visions to life! I won’t lie . . . I still felt discouraged at times today, but I also relaxed into the process. And now I’m proud to present my very first creation:

The Halcyon image is from footiechic on Pixabay and I hope that stunning bird is happy in the little setting I created. I’m grateful for it’s presence.

Heron painting

We went camping in the Routt National Forest for a couple days this past week and were gifted with a Great Blue Heron sighting. Another heron (that we never saw) was making a huge racket with its harsh call, sending this one into a nearby tree.

Unfortunately, we were far away and my heron photos didn’t turn out. But with the aid of a filter, the too-soft image has an atmospheric feel. It’s almost like a painting.

July 12, 2022

I tried drawing the heron in our Moby travel log, copying it from one of my photos, and was embarrassed by the attempt. Really embarrassed. That’s the bad news. The good news is I found a series of videos for beginners and am determined to up my sketching skill level. I began yesterday and Day 1’s lesson was “The Sphere” (complete with shadows and shading to make them 3-D) and today I drew¬† “Overlapping Spheres.” Five 3-D spheres in a row! Some of those spheres are a bit squashed-looking, but that’s okay. That oblong shape might come in handy if I ever attempt to draw a Great Blue sitting on an egg.