Sunday, February 17, 2013

Maybe procrastination is a good thing?

So you may not know it, but I'm a procrastinator.
And I don't know what it is. I am still rather productive as far as senior college students go, but I know I procrastinate also. I get the weirdest (read, deathly fear) inspiration or gust of perpetual PRODUCTIVENESS when the deadline is closing in. And I know this isn't just me. 
But it's weird, and I can't explain it.

I know that the brain, for as much time it takes to be concentrated and productive and thoughtful, it is healthy for it to take some time out and watch some silly videos on youtube.
If you keep squeezing a sponge, it will eventually just be dry and crusty and gross. 
Nobody wants a brain like that.

Gotta soak it in some tasty mindjuices. Tasty, tasty mind juices.

Hm. Maybe this is me trying to explain away procrastination.
Well, not really. I know I need to reign in how much mind juicing I do- I know having a to-do list (with really generalish goals for each day) it really helps me get my butt in gear. So, I'm going to have a go at trying to do that more.

The worst problem I guess is that both of my jobs and both my degrees require me to be on my laptop pretty much constantly... and the internet is so tempting. Games I can somehow more easily say no to.
But facebook, reddit and youtube kill me.

Oh by the way, if you are a potential employer reading this, please know I make concerted efforts not to procrastinate when I'm working. I feel there's something fundamentally wrong when I'm wasting someone elses' paid time. Also, I have really liked all the bosses I've had thus far- a few of them have been more like friends/family than bosses really- and I'd feel like a scumbag for messing with their trust.

That being said, if I do procrastinate, I detract hours, or work overtime to make them up.
 And this is me being honest- just as I was honest above ^^^ 
My time, I will wantonly waste :P No arguments there. 
But I have definite conscience and morals when it comes to wasting others'. 
So please don't read this entry and NOPE away.  


Well now, with that being said, here's some art from the last week and a half. 

These were all painted and scribbled in beginning painting class. 
Oh yes, I forgot to mention, I am taking Beginning Painting in my last semester of College.
And it's the best thing I've ever done. All the BFA and Honor's Capstone Thesis stress is over, all my other requirements are fulfilled. Time to sit back and do some awesome painting after learning about colour theory and composition for the last 5 years, and getting to relax and put it into a beginning class. Best idea ever. 

Working out tiger stripe patterns.

TADA! Final piiieeece!

Tiger bum.

I have not done acrylic painting in YEARS. This is a huge learning curve for me.
It's like digital art, but HARDER.

WIP of Kindan-No. I spent a lesson preparing the canvas and background 
(it had been bright yellow before).
Then I spent last Thursday freehand drawing in the design and starting the painting.

Scribbled while I was waiting for paint to dry. MEESTA TERRORDACTEEL!


Goodness, I am sincerely hoping employers don't find this. They're going to think I'm nuts.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Talent vs. the Evolution of Skill

So I have been thinking about careers and skills and such lately, with my graduation soon approaching, and I have been pondering the dichotomy of natural talent vs. hard earned skill.

And the summation of my pondering is as follows.

As humans, we are cruddy at gauging and visualizing time in sizable quantities. We just suck at it. It's why the concept of evolution (tiny changes built up over time) can be so hard for people to understand. To visualize millions of years of selective pressures morphing and redefining organisms due to environment, predators, natural disasters... that's a big idea to get your head around.

Another example is the stars in the night sky- the distance that light has to travel is so vast, that by the time it reaches us, the gaseous body from which it was sent may have already died. That idea explodes my brain every time.

I think the concept of evolution can be applied to an individual's skillset, on a smaller scale. I'm not saying this idea will be foolproof, and it's idealistic, so feel free to disagree.

You have 300 children- let's just say they're five years old, for the fun of it. And they all want to be artists. Let them progress and grow for 15 years. You will see a gradient of skill levels. Some of this can be attributed to outside forces- family encouraging/discouraging their interest choice, free time and materials to practice their craft, health, disposition, etc. etc.

The skillset gradient can also be partially attributed to internal forces. What am I getting at? Let me explain with antelopes. We can all agree that predators are a selective pressure for antelopes. Therefore, any little genetic alteration a baby antelope inherits that will improve it's chances of surviving predators, will help it survive to pass it's genes on to the next generation. This might be slightly longer legs, better eyesight, faster reflexes, a more cautious disposition, better lung capacity, etc. etc. Over time, these genetic alterations add up, and what started as a small advantage (to the current set of selective pressures) can become a rather dramatic advantage.

Let's apply this to our 300 young budding artists. What would be perceived as talent could be something as subtle as slightly better hand-eye coordination, slightly better perception, spacial awareness, colour sensitivity, enthusiasm/inclination, etc. Over time and with a lot of practice, these small *internal forces* can give the children an advantage over those who possess advantages in other areas (but not relevant to the selective pressures of this skillset).

What is passed off as natural or 'god-given' talent could perhaps be attributed to small advantages from a young age, wether it be inner drive or a subtle physical advantage. (maybe these are linked also... if at a young age you find certain interests improve with relative ease, you might be more inclined to pursue them over others...)

So I guess what I'm getting at is. I disagree with people deciding not to pursue certain fields of interest on the argument of 'I'm not talented', or, 'person X has natural talent, I've never been able to draw like that.' And so they give up before they started. Because of (what I would argue is) the social myth of talent.

Sure, maybe they have a small physical advantage. Maybe outside forces enhanced this also (very encouraging parents or unlimited materials and time...) What you are seeing is perhaps a seed of unfair advantage, supplemented with a lot of time and effort.

When people have directed questions to me about talent or how I learnt to draw, my answer is time and practice. I did a lot of terrible terrible drawings in order to draw less terrible ones now. And the terrible ones I draw now, I draw so that I will draw non-terrible ones later.
Whatever small advantage that might be coined natural talent is negatable, and without practice would have been for naught. So never tell yourself you can never be like your idol. The only thing that truly separates you from them is time and practice. Skill comes with deliberate practice.

I hope this in some way makes sense.

Feel free to comment and disagree, I'd like to hear your opinion.

This was the result of my musing over the past few days, after a friend asked me for help learning to draw, and beyond the usual advice to study figures/ favourite artists and books, I could simply only suggest practice. I felt bad that I only caused him frustration (it has not been the first time that answer has inspired that emotion). But in all honesty, I and anyone else who has a specific skillset has dedicated a lot of hours to their craft. There is no easy way to fast-track those hours of hard work and pain.

If there is, please let me know.

To show what I mean about pain and dedication to improvement....
here is a picture of horses I drew circa 2004 (forgive my eerie staring O.O)

circa 2007

circa 2011

circa 2012

I don't even want to try and calculate how many drawings of horses go in between these four. 
Or before these four. Or after these four. I guess this post could be condensed to: 

~nothing worth having in life comes without sacrifice and patience~

I think I forget this sometimes.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Fume Art & Muses

I often thank my lucky stars that artists are generally accepted by society. Because think about it.
We are (for the most part) emotionally raw beings. We must wear our hearts on our sleeves in order to truly see and feel the world around us. So we can internalize it and remember it and make something out of that. In order to be inspired we must feel. That's why Artist  Blocks suck.

But back to my original point, I am glad we are accepted... because if you stand back and think about it, we are beings who are for the most part incapable of processing intense emotions without the aid of visual/auditory media. I challenge you to find an artist that does not feel the need to create when they are experiencing intense emotions. I know it's how I work.

Feeling really sad? Angry? Happy? Remorseful? Whimsical? Reminiscent? ART.
Even being inspired by music or really gorgeous art, or some terrible/wonderful thing you saw or heard about. People can be really good inspirations too, dependent on their relationship with you. And what emotions they draw out the most.

I have found loss, sadness and helplessness usually drive me to draw a lot. They are emotions you can't really do much about usually, so I draw. It helps me disconnect and funnel my feels into my painting, instead of bottling them up and just being intensely unhappy. I feel like I'm doing the feelings justice, and feel a sense of productiveness, even if it's misleading.

I don't know what I'd do or who I'd be if I couldn't draw out bad feelings. Maybe I'd be a lot grumpier. Who knows. I just know it helps me stay on a happy even keel most of the time. For some reason giving bad feelings a look and face, it's like you're creating something beautiful out of terrible feelings. I guess that's it. Making the best of a terrible situation, haha!

So yes. I'm very glad that every artist is not committed for emotional processing difficulties or some twaddle. Or being emotionally unstable. Which would also be a copout, haha!

Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments, I'm interested to see what you think.

Here is some recent artworks, all but the last two I did today, it's been a fumey productive kind of day!

Umé the Wolf

Ceb the Demon-dog

Tentacle Kitsuné


Pachyrhinosaurus Hearts <3 p="">