Torn

It has always been the plan, as money allowed, to get a bunch of kick-ass artists to create self-portraits for the top-left hand corner of this website. Fortunately I know a lot of people plying their trades online, so it is literally the cash holding me back. The first of these was by @Goobijen and is now replaced by a piece produced by @byelacey. I’ve got one more in the pipeline and once that’s completed, we’ll crack on finding some new people to draw me.

I am beyond happy with the new header. Once there are enough, we’ll start rotating them on a monthly basis.

Sail Away

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There is now no escaping the understanding that I am looking at things differently. My clothes fit differently too, body parts doing things that were never the norm before. The last 23 days are the base layer of something quite unique and separate to that which has come before, at any point in my whole life. I realised last night, as husband urged me to sprint to a new personal best on Zwift, this is no longer about proving I can. This new year is understanding what I really want. Previously after having done a leg day at PT I would have (sensibly) relaxed for the evening. Not anymore. If I have the energy to do it, that is what will happen.

It also means embracing what matters most in the projects I’m working on and listening not simply to body’s capability. This is also hearing and attending to inner desires.

When I started my drawing project the belief was that I simply needed to be able to reproduce what was in my head onto paper. As time has gone on, the subconscious has begun to sublimate that desire, reminding that my art is not solely reproduction. I love photography, and increasingly the use of collage to tell stories. In fact, the comic strip is heading that way so that when I start telling a story at the beginning of February, there’s the ability to back up my feelings with appropriate imagery.

I’m getting quite excited about the ability to draw what I see, however, and that the ability exists at all. There was a concern I didn’t possess that capacity to begin with, but now I feel I could make a decent fist of still life work with enough time and focus. The next step, therefore, is to make time, and the change in working practices that’s currently in progress should allow that to happen without too much fuss.

I am surrounded by artists on my Twitter feed, and all of that disparate (and very brilliant) creativity is undoubtedly aiding the evolutionary process. It is true what they say that conducive environments create more possibilities to be creative if you choose to take them. I’m confident at this point I’ll do a year of strips too, and maybe beyond because this is a part of the expression process that is becoming increasingly vital. However, what is apparent is that pictures won’t just be hand-drawn, but created from other materials.

This is a development I’m more than ready to embrace.

Design for Life

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Yesterday, I went out with husband and daughter for my first meal post-operation. I played it safe: nothing overly fatty, healthy choice, and only a single beer, and woke up at 5am with a hunger I can’t recall for quite some time. Yesterday’s PT was all that was hoped for too: weights were utilised, exercises suggested that put no pressure on my healing umbilical hernia, and once my daughter’s packed off for a sleepover with a friend, I’ll go and do 5 miles on the Octane. When I do that tomorrow it will be with press ups, TRX rows and single arm rows as accompaniment. This is maintenance mode for two weeks, so that the hernia gets a full month to heal. Then, we’ll go back to where we were.

I’ve put on half a kilo at weigh in time, which could be as much about the Gym clothes I was wearing or the fact I didn’t use the loo before I stood on the monitor. What matters below the weight, as I have discovered in the last few months, are the important details such as the percentage of my body that is fat, and how exercise translates to general body health. In that regard, owning the body of a 40 year old is something to be pleased about, and having lost 4% body fat thanks to the operation? Yeah, let’s take that as a win. The trick now, of course, is to make sure it stays that way. Doing the work has never been a problem. My PT yesterday made the point that she wasn’t surprised I was back in and exercising less than a fortnight after the operation, that was ‘just the way you are.’

You bet I’m going to take that as a compliment.

Poppies Wave

We also went as a family to see the installation of poppies that has been adapted from the original art at the Tower of London. Hopefully I’ve done the magic with the URL from my Flickr account to link that here so you can take a look. It’s on land that the MoD sold to developers about a decade ago, and the original Barracks were converted into housing. Needless to say, it was a lovely evening and very moving when, at 7pm, a lone bugler came and played the Last Post by the wave of poppies.

Without further ado, let us get on with the day.

Return to Sender

As promised, writing bits are getting shuffled to the other site for a bit now, so that everywhere’s getting used. That means if you’re here, there is likely to be more personally-focussed rambling, and today? That means ART.

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Doodle To Greatness

I’ve never felt the need to draw ‘properly’ at any point in my life, but I do love doodling. This means that, over time, there’s been things like this notebook produced quietly, for my own benefit, and never shared with anybody else. Mostly I tend to restrict myself to smaller canvases. That means, in the main as I’m sitting at a desk, Post It notes.

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‘Angel’

I don’t think about anything at all when I draw, it is mostly a release of tension and a means to relax. last week a Twitter friend encouraged people to draw for a week, and I took up the challenge, and by five days in I’d shifted from the abstract to including letters in the mix.

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My daughter saw these on Friday and asked if I’d do her name in a form she could put on her wall: initially I assumed she was just being kind to me and offering a suggestion, but as of right now my Saturday effort has taken a prominent place at the bottom of her bed. I actually asked her why she’d done this and the response effectively floored me: ‘Why wouldn’t I put these on my wall, Mum, they’re *really* good!’ I’m still not sure how I respond to that, because a part of me knows that’s not true. Except, when your 11 year old complements you, the world view does a bit of a subtle shift.

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It is an odd feeling, knowing you are capable of things you hadn’t previously considered as viable and possible. I’m not going to start drawing people or poses any time soon, I just don’t have the time on top of everything else I want to do, and so priorities very much come into play. But what this last week has taught me is that I do have the ability to be creative with things other than words, and that is something I think I might like to try and explore for relaxation purposes especially. It has given me an interesting window on a part of my psyche I wasn’t previously aware of, and has opened my mind to a number of possibilities that didn’t realistically exist, but could now become reality, if I decide to pursue them.

Most of importantly of all this exercise has proven a salutatory reminder that unless you actually try something different, nothing will ever change. That’s probably the biggest take away from all of this, that ANYTHING is possible with enough thought and consideration. I’d like to thank Faebelina for providing the impetus to start me down this new route, and I’m already quite looking forward to seeing where this new path takes me.

This is a new world I’ve discovered inside myself and I rather like it.