August 6th, 2005


(no subject)

Today was actually really productive, although I'm not sure why. I got a lot done on a painting, got most of a Digger done, and then on a whim I sat down around nine, and got two and a half hours of work done on Black Dogs, encompassing a surprising number of needed edits. I am glad to get some work in on that. I can't quite shake the feeling that I would write a better book today, but perhaps it would only be a different book. Maybe all authors feel like that. I dunno.

And this afternoon I took a nap and had seriously nasty sleep paralysis--I've sort of figured out how to get out of it by thrashing wildly back and forth, which eventually seems to wake me up. (The ironic thing is that you're not actually moving--the hypnogogic hallucination is utterly real, tactile and everything, you're writhing around like a fish on a hook in your head, but you're not moving At All.) Unfortunately, this time I managed to move my head, and then couldn't move any more, so I was left with my neck at a weird angle, paralyzed, and pissed off, and unable to keep my eyes open. And then I got the heebie-jeebies, and was briefly convinced that something was about to come walking in from the other part of the house, around the corner of the desk, and since I could just see the edge, I'd see its knees coming at me, but I'd be paralyzed. (I'm never specifically afraid of what it'll do--seeing Enemy Knees would be horrific enough.) The paralysis only happens when I take naps. I don't know why. It's fairly recent, too--it used to happen once in a blue moon when I was young, but as I get older, they get more intense, or maybe I'm just aware of them more. I could stop taking naps, I suppose, but some things are non-negotiable.

Finally, I thought, "Crap, I have to go to the bathroom--" and WHAM. Paralysis breaks, I wake up. It appears that being housebroken overrides even the lower brain functions. Go figure. Next time I'll avoid thrashing and just concretrate on my bladder, and maybe that'll work.

The Agony and the Ecstasy

Many artists will doubtless be familiar with this experience...

You're doin' a painting. And it's comin' along well, and you're relatively pleased with it, and it's nearly done, a good two thirds at least, and you start another bit of it, and suddenly you do something Really Freakin' Cool.

And you gaze at it, and it is, indeed, really freakin' cool.

It also doesn't match the rest of the painting. If you'd done it first, you'd be set, you could do the rest of the painting just like that, but noooo, your flash of brilliance came well after the halfway point. It sits in solitary splendor on one side of the page, looking both awesome and awesomely out of place.

I now have three options--finish the painting with a cool, but totally out of place bit, re-do the entire painting to match the cool bit, or--I cringe--paint out the very best bit. The heart quails. My mother called. I whined to her. She recounted something she heard in grad school--"Sometimes you have to get rid of the best part of the painting to save the painting." This is one of those agonizing truths. I squirm in the chair as if afflicted by Muse pinworms. Oy. I must do another painting with the really cool bits in it. Goes without saying. And yet for this one, I just don't know.

(no subject)

This painting is flawed. Well, they're all flawed, arguably, but in this case, the perspective on the tiles inched out of true. Things like that are so impossible to fix--you have to redraw the whole grid, and then repaint, and even then I usually can't get it quite right--that I cannot bring myself do it. It is not important enough, in and of itself, to kill myself over. (Alternately, I could simply repaint the ground as ground, and take out the offending lines, but for some reason, the notion galls me.) No art is ever finished, but only abandoned, they say, and this one hit the abandonment point, I fear.

The important thing, anyway, is the tree on the right. That was the bit that I did most of the way through, and loved. (I obviously didn't make it clear that this was a digital piece, on the prior post--no tearing or photography needed!) I spent a couple of hours altering the rest of the "trees" to match it a little closer, and that more or less ended my patience with the painting. I am in love with the metal trees, though. I have to paint more metal trees, a scene inside the forest, say. So while I'm a bit frustrated at the painting's failure in that bit, I am sufficiently pleased at the existence of the visual idea that I figure I came out ahead in the long run.

Also, I realize, the older I get, the more I work big and loose. Much of this is pure scrawl. It's just scrawl at 600 dpi. All those years of carefully chiselling out detail, and in the end, I feel happier with multitudes of teeny scribbles, and it looks almost indistinguishable (and in some cases better.) Go figure.