Archive | June 2013

Escher cookies

My roommate’s friend showed me a cookie cutter that he created using a 3D printer. It was a tessellation that looked like a puzzle piece. That’s when I thought it would be really cool if he could create one that looked like an M. C. Esher artwork, he did some fabulous tessellations. Then it would be edible fine art.

Later, the same guy showed me the design he had for a salamander cookie cutter for just that purpose. I can’t remember if he came up with the idea before I suggested it, or if he took my idea and decided to make it more of a reality.

Either way, people are really creative. I think that’s exciting.

Sometimes I stare at my doodles

Sometimes after I finish doodling, I stare at my work and think about how awesome it is. Seriously. Or I will flip through my notebook… and then flip through it again because it was a good experience looking at all of those doodles.

My school notebook is interesting to look at. For one thing, I don’t segregate the subjects. So you will some spanish verb conjugations on the same page as some bullet points about Islamic art and archetecture.  Sometimes it doesn’t go in chronological order, because I’ll go back and fill out the margins with some quick jots. But the biggest thing is that I doodle more than I take notes. My notes, when I take them, tend to be scanty or sparse. The doodles, however, are important. I think they prove to be more useful than the notes I do take. After all, you can go back and reread textbooks and power-points, and major concepts aren’t usually that hard to remember. But inspiration needs to be worked and drawn out.

I think it’s fun sometimes when I remember the specific class I did a certain doodle in. I do use these doodles, they fuel and inspire my artwork. And I need inspiration. Sometimes the hardest part about art is knowing where to start, pick which idea you’re going to run with. You need to get ideas churning if you want to make progress. At this point, there’s not enough time to do much else except churn ideas and gather inspiration. Hence the doodles.

Also I doodle because it tends to be more interesting than the lecture, and I will get bored otherwise. Sometimes even when the lecture is good I can’t keep my hands still. It’s nice to think that the urge to draw is so engrained in me that way.

Slow down

Today I feel unwell. Yet in a way I feel grateful. I feel like I’ve really been pushing myself this semester, but there’s a difference between challenging oneself and going at it too hard. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between the two, and I think maybe I’ve been going at it harder than I need to. Feeling sick has forced me to rest, and I don’t have to feel guilty about it. In fact, I’ve considered the possibility that all of my accumulated stress is part of the reason I’m feeling ill right now. Thankfully, I have no pressing assignments, just a few big assignments due at a later date. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to pace those.

I like to think that as I grow older, it’ll be easier to identify when I need to let myself slow down. In the meantime, I’ll just keep taking it week by week.

How I am doing

Yesterday I took some time to evaluate my semester and my year here at BYU-I. The first thing I concluded was that I was tired. I’m tired of being tired. But other than that, I can’t complain. I’ve been getting work done. I’ve learned a fair amount. And I’m trying to gear up for whenever I have a free moment to explore my creative capacities.

I like to… gather inspiration. One of the methods I’ve been employing now, even though it will be some time before I am able to indulge in creative work, is finding images that I find inspiring and setting them to be my desktop wallpaper. I have a lot of desktop wallpapers, and I set them to change frequently. I figure with a lot of visual inspiration, I’ll be able to get ideas churning more easily when I have time to actually sit down and create an image.

I am looking forward to school finishing in a month or so. I have enjoyed my semester, but I am tired and a break would be nice.

What now?

It’s been so nice to have a bit of free time. It almost felt like vacation for a while there. But then… then I have to work on that take-home exam, and there’s an upcoming essay, and if I don’t get a quick start to that Children’s Lit assignment, I’ll have to go through another nightmarish week. Work that might be enjoyable at the beginning of a semester has become tedious. And yet there is a persisting feeling, the one that says “Life is good! Things are better than they were, and in a month or so it will all be done.” So what do I do now?

Well, I look forward to that vacation we get July 4th for one thing. It occurs to me I should be more patriotic on that day than I tend to me. I admit, when I think of something other than the day I get off school, I think about my little sister, who was diagnosed with Leukemia on a July 4th– I think in 2008.

As for the rest of it… I suppose I just take it one week at a time, like I always have. Just go about it as if the Saturday was something to look forward to, even though it only manages to be another day of work. And in the intervals, I will toy around with the ideas that float around in my head.

At last!

Well, it finally finished. That long string of late nights and headaches? I think I finally have a bit of respite, and it feels great. I was really ready for a break, and I got it at last last night after I gave that burdensome twenty minute presentation. I still have things I need to do, some assignments that need to get finished, but… I feel like I can play a little bit and not feel really guilty.

It’s interesting, looking back on the past few weeks I’ve noticed that stress can manifest itself in a number of different emotional responses- I bet they vary from person to person, but for me the most common expressions are loneliness, envy, or homesickness.

 

But at any rate; life. Life is good. Right now I’m thinking about writing and stuff, because my sister’s sharing her story with me and I’m reading a book by James C. Christensen. I really wish I could write something. I suspect I will be able to one day complete some kind of creative writing work, but in the meantime I just struggle through some ideas. I’ll keep working at it. I think picture books may help with writing, as well as with my art, because they focus on simpler stories. And they’re shorter, so I can read a lot, and then have a big reservoir of ideas and influences. The thing is, it’s going to have to be the right kind of picture book in order for that idea to work, like the book that I’m reading now and the Lloyd Alexander picture books. Those were good.

I’m also wondering what sort of things I’ll produce with my art this year. It’s exciting to think about, though no doubt the whole thing will be far more arduous when I actually get started. But it will be good to be creating things. Right now I’m just allowing for influences and inspiration, which is fun in and of itself since it often involves being exposed to new ideas, and to looking more closely at things in life. Both are good things.

 

Honestly, everyone should be an artist in some way or form- though not everyone should be the kind who publish their work. But they should be engaged in creative activity. It’s what makes us human, it’s essential to the enrichment of our lives. It’s only beneficial. Failure is almost… impossible, since it is an exploration and an expression. I still think it’s more exploration than expression though.

Bunbury

“SPOILER ALERT: In The Importance of Being Earnest, Bunbury DIES!”

 

See, my literary friends might laugh at that.

Or maybe I just hope that they would laugh at it, because I’m feeling grumpy and I thought it was clever when I came up with it.

 

In The Importance of Being Earnest one of the characters (Algy) is a self proclaimed “Bunburiest.” Basically, he’s made up this invalid friend named “Mr. Bunbury” who suffers from poor health. Then whenever Algy needs an excuse to miss an appointment, he’ll say something like, “I’m terribly sorry, but my friend Mr. Bunbury has asked that I visit him, he is unwell you know.”

Sometimes I wonder if I too would be something of a Bunburiest if I weren’t such a strong advocate for honesty and integrity and all that.

 

Anyway, I mention all that because it amused me when I thought of it, and I feel in need of amusement right now. I’m so tired of not getting homework done until nearly midnight, you know? I’ve got a twenty minute presentation tomorrow which I’m not looking forward to. And I’ve just been grumpy and I don’t want to be. So I just want somebody to laugh at something I came up with. Call it a plea for attention.

In which I briefly cover what’s expected of me, and then talk for real

There are actually some good guys in the world. I mentioned two the day before yesterday. And there are many others of my acquaintance. My Dad is one, happy Father’s Day to him.

But because it vaguely annoys me when people  make public Father’s Day cards, on Facebook for example, I’m not going to say more than that. Don’t ask me why it bothers me, I really couldn’t tell you myself. Maybe it’s just because I personally like to keep the words of praise I receive to myself. Then I know that the person who’s saying the words is doing it for my benefit, and not so that other people can see how nice they’re being to me. Because Father’s Day ought to be something personal, I think it should be kept on a person-to-person level, and not broadcasted to the world.

 

When I was a kid, I thought there ought to be a Children’s Day if there was going to be a Father and a Mother’s Day. Nobody could give me a satisfying reason why such a day didn’t exist. I remember one of the replies I got was “every day is a Children’s Day.” It seemed to me then, and it seems to me still now, that adults have a rather idealized view of childhood. Some of them laugh at the kid who wants to grow up. I don’t know, I guess I don’t take the Peter Pan view of things. But then, I always did grow up faster than most of my peers.

Now admittedly, I don’t know quite what it’s like to be an adult yet. I mean, technically I am an adult, and I living somewhat independently at the moment. But I still have some growing up to do and these days I get the feeling that if ever there was a time of life more idealized than childhood it’s young adulthood. And I do think I’m more happy and content at this time in my life than any other I have experienced. Who knows what the future will hold?

Occasionally I wonder what it’s like to be an old person. I mean, you hear about the aches and pains, and loneliness, and watching your friends and family leave you. But every once in a while I wonder if there is some sort of special pleasure one gets from being an old person, perhaps from being so wise. Honestly, it’s frustrating sometimes for us young people to be so naive. We have a lot of decisions to make, and we wish we could be more assured of ourselves and our judgement, you know? We really do admire even envy the level of confidence people have in their wisdom as they get older.

 

As for me, I think there’s an old lady inside my head just waiting to come out. I think there’s a kid up there too, who never did go away and never will go away. She’ll keep the old lady young at heart. In the meantime, I think they’re both going to laugh at me while the I– the young woman– try to sort things out.

 

Thank you

Every once in a while, one feels like one hasn’t done right unless she has properly set aside a time and place to express gratitude. And I for one like to express my feelings in writing. So here it goes.

I’m really quite content. I mean, I still have homework to do that I don’t really want to, and it may just take most of the day. But I can’t help but feel… like things have been really good. As I said, I thought this week was going to be a nightmare, and that was before my laptop died, and then I fell sick while getting a new one. It just makes me so happy, happy to think that I had friends at the time who helped me through it all, and– may I say– I feel I’ve received blessings from above.

Life is good again, you know? Tomorrow I can look forward to cleaning my room (which I actually like doing, provided I have a time set aside fore it), and my grandparents are coming next week. It’s easier to look forward to road tripping when one isn’t feeling a bit homesick, so even that idea is looking a little better right now. In the future I can look forward to playing Phoenix Wring and watching The Hobbit. And I intend to create, to write and draw… just think about how great I could be if I keep improving as I have!

Moreover, it seems like my sister has had a better semester this semester than she has ever had. I enjoy spending time with her and chatting with her. As for back home… my siblings are on vacation and can enjoy spending time with friends and creative pursuits. My brother will be coming back in October.

And… I just really love this laptop. It feels wonderful to know that I was able to get it myself, and that all of my stuff is still on there… do you know that seeing one’s own desktop wallpaper is like coming home? Also I’ve finished with a number of those sizable assignments… I can almost catch my breath. I have the best roommates, and I’ve read some good books this semester. I may read more good books that my roommate will bring back with her when she returns. Then there’s the fact that I was able to go and watch a movie on Tuesday…. Life is just really, really lovely right now. Makes me want to sing, you know? Except that there aren’t a lot of songs out there for expressing gratitude.

Further reasons we should be awesome

Well, I got my new laptop today. And once again witnessed others do a service for me.

I went with that Computer Science Major guy. He wanted to experience the joy of getting a new computer vicariously. Unfortunately for the poor guy, he didn’t witness me experiencing a lot of joy. Don’t get me wrong, I am really happy to have the new computer. But I wasn’t feeling well this morning, and then I started to feel really sick in the midst of buying the computer. I probably should have cancelled the trip, but I really wanted to have my computer today so that I could work on my schoolwork (that was the plan, currently I’m finding myself a little distracted). I ended up not being up for walking home. Thankfully, there was a parking lot nearby. So I sat on the curb while he went to get his car. While I waited, a guy from my HE group walked by and offered to keep me company.

Wasn’t it sweet? Isn’t it great that good people exist in this world? I was touched, really I was. Walking home would have been an excruciating experience. But now I have my laptop and I’m feeling better (still don’t want to do homework though). Isn’t it great to think that we can be of service to somebody else as well?

Remember what my week has been like; full of big assignments, a test that I didn’t have as much time to prepare for as I would like, my laptop becoming terminally ill, and then today feeling sick. And yet… I still consider it a great week. Partially because I’ve managed to say on top of things, but a lot of it is because of the great people who have helped me get through it, including the two guys I mentioned above, my roommate, my parents, and my sister (SISTERS ARE AWESOME). I thought this week was going to be a nightmare, but I think I can count more tender mercies in this past week than the rest of this month. Truly I am grateful.