Here I am again, struggling to find my balance. Winter has a way of wonking me out of alignment, derailing me with carbolicious cravings and unwanted pounds and a brain that feels more like a gaping maw of unbrushed, unthinking moss-covered teeth. Spring arrives (slowly), and I wake up, squinting owlishly, look around and realize I’ve been letting things slide. My joints feel creaky, my limbs feel leaden. My skin is dry and scaly and I just don’t feel quite right.
But I do feel motivated.
So I’m taking steps to get back to my fighting weight. This generally involves a lot of fiber, a lot of berries, and a lot of yogurt. I’m not thinking about how to lose the extra five pounds wrapping their blubbery arms about my middle just yet, I’m just concentrating on nutrition. Fewer simple carbs, more fresh fruit and vegetables. I’m stretching out my walks bit by bit as weather and Finny J. allows. And this evening I will attend my first ever yoga class.
I’m a fiddlehead unfurling.
Spring will start officially in about an hour or so. finally! It really should be trumpeted in by angels or something, don’t you think?!! the whole of the earth should give it up Enya style with chirping birdies and the poof of blossoms suddenly sprouting and the green ping of new leaves unfurling all at once. It won’t, of course, but it should.
No one ever asks me what my favourite season is (though they should, because I have a lot to say on the subject), but if they did, I would instantly reply autumn and then I’d wax all poetic about indigo bottomed clouds and scuttling leaves and crisp sunshine and trees the color of flames. But when I stop and think about it, no season is as welcome a relief as spring. Real, true, pink tipped spring.
Real true pink tipped spring hasn’t arrived yet here. Today was blindingly bright, but cold. There are no real buds on the trees yet, none of those fat sassy numbers all plump and pouty with promise, though I think I spotted a shy, silvery slip of pussy willows peeking out from beneath an underpass this morning on the way home from the train station. The photo above is from last spring. But it’s just around the corner. I can feel it. It’s almost here. Just have to hang on a little bit longer….
In other news, I got gleefully chomped by the fattest, wriggliest, goofiest bulldog puppy named Frank today and have the pink pinprick scars all over my hands and wrists to prove it. Frank has black rings around each of his eyes and a perfect fawn colored oval on the very top of his head and when you press it gently with your fingertips, his whole face squinches with delight. It like an easter egg shaped joy button. swoon. I wuv Frank. Dogs are just the very best thing in the whole wide world.
Real true pink tipped spring would rank a solid second with me right now.
I don’t know where my words have gone. maybe the coyote ate them. maybe they have evaporated like the snow leaving gravel and goo and snow mold in their stead. I dunno. I feel kinda guilty about it… like I should have something to say, something to tell you. But I don’t just now. All i have are drawings and graphite dust and a deep yearning to have the kind of gorgeous spring they are having elsewhere, the kind sewn about with pretty pink petals and delicate new leaves. And a mango hurricane smoothie.
Another february page from ye old sketchbook. Have no idea where she came from, but she looks like a girl with a story of some sort, don’t you think?
Wow. Look! Drawer-ings! Will wonders never cease? I know, I know… it’s been awhile since I posted any of my artwork and even longer since I updated my on-line portfolio (eek… gotta get on that!). Mostly because my plate has been full of design work so far this year. But now most of that is behind me and I’m switching gears again, focusing on illustration. The comic book I started last year for Scouts Canada is on my drawing board again, nearing completion. I’ll be posting lots about that soon.
But even when I’m occupied work-wise with design, I’m drawing all the time. Mostly doodles on Post-its and receipts and the backs of magazines, but sometimes I actually manage to get some into a real honest-to-boots sketchbook. The sketches above are from last month. ‘Course, they weren’t all on one page… I like to draw big and I absolutely abhorr the feeling of my hand falling off the edge of page, so I can rarely fit more than two images on the same page. Which is sad, really, because I love that crammed full look. And I have major moleskine envy, but they just don’t make ‘em big enough for me.
A couple weeks ago as I was doodling while we were watching teevee, Johnny HusbandlyGuy asked me if I know what I’m going to draw before I sit down for one of my sketching sessions and it took me awhile to come up with the answer to that. The answer is yes and no. Most of the time, I think I have a vague idea of something I need to work out creatively. Usually this has to do with perspective or some kind of anatomy issue. For instance, I sometimes have problems visualizing exactly how the head connects to the neck and shoulders, especially in profile or 3/4’s view. And since I rarely use reference when I’m drawing people or animals, this is something I work on quite a bit, consciously or unconsciously. I draw figures in that attitude over and over again, till I have the proportions correct and things fit fairly comfortably. It’s kind of like muscle memory, I guess. I sort of drill myself regularly to overcome certain issues with postures and attitudes and perspective I have, to figure out how it all goes together so that when I have to use those skills in a particular setting, I don’t have to go hunt for photo reference showing that exact position.
But it’s not really a concerted effort, you know? Mostly, it’s just whatever leaks out of my head and out my fingertips. That’s what sketchbooks are for, I think. Just goofing around. Working out the knots. Playing with line quality and expression and different styles.
Anyhoo… it’s no accident that I’m suddenly all about the illustration today. I have the great pleasure of announcing that I am an official contributor to the brand spanking new Illustration Friday Blog where I will be regularly posting sparkling bits of illustrative inspiration collect on my sweeping marches over the internet.
My fellow contributors include Penelope Dullaghan and Brianna Privett, the spectacular women behind the whole of Illustration Friday, and the terrifically talented Josh Sears, Kate Hamilton, Rama Hughes, plus fellow Canadians (and artistic wonders) Steve Mack and Amanda Woodward. Good company to be in, let me assure you!
Today is the official launch, so set your bookmarks and be sure to check regularly! And feel free to comment and suggest any sites or inspirational bits you feel deserve wider attention and recognition.
Ooooo, I’m really really excited about all of this!
On a frightfully fridgid Tuesday morning, I received this glorious gift from one of my favourite clients (and friends), Heather of Lilyfield Cakes. It woke up my whole week and made me feel like spring is honestly on its way. This particular box, The Miss Melanie, is named after me (and maybe that chick from Gone with the Wind too.) When I told Johnny AlreadyEatenHalf that, he let out a low whistle and said “wow, that’s better than having a sandwich named after you.”
I couldn’t agree more.
There’s been a real dearth of postings round these parts, I know. And I’m certain you’re getting sick of hearing it, but the thing is I’ve been very very busy battling hairy deadlines and stuff (February was completely frantic) and the last thing I wanted to do is spend more time in front of the computer. I’ve caught up now (well, almost!) and have a little more breathing space, can relax the pace a bit, although truthfully I’m more than a little burned out. But cake and coffee, sunny tulips and a spring green namesake can go a long, long way toward reviving me again. Getting ready for the second wind….