Embrace It

"Embrace the glorious mess that you are." ~Elizabeth Gilbert

I can't believe August is already here. This summer seems to be going faster than usual. Normally it feels as if it will never end because it's sooooo hot and miserable. I just keep reminding myself it's loads better than snow, slush, ice, and bitter, wet, cold that sinks into your bones and won't let go.
But summer in Arizona has me feeling like a veritable shut-in. I get cabin fever and it makes me bored and restless and not a little blue.
I try to keep my mind busy by doing a lot of reading, art, video games, writing, but there comes a point where even that stuff doesn't fulfill me during those long hot summer days. It's too much energy to get all the supplies out for whatever artistic endeavor I want to attempt. Or, running the computer is a heat source that quickly raises the temperature of the area in which it is used. Reading is good, but it isn't long before my eyes begin demanding to be closed and my head slips to one side or the other. And do you know what? I hate naps. I don't wake feeling refreshed at all. I feel more miserable, tired, and blah than I did prior to sleeping. It doesn't matter how long I nap either. I always feel like I want to keep sleeping. And there's too much life to live to waste it napping away. Yes, even in summer.
I've been doing a little creative work these days, I'll show them at the end. A little drawing, some painting. I made stupid little silly paintings for my friends that I won't show. I have one canvas with a color wash on it, and an idea of what I want to paint. But my skills in rendering this particular subject are few. It's a struggle.
I have a second canvas that's nearly done, just awaiting a second coat of varnish. I've discovered texture paste and am experimenting with that. THAT--that is a lot of fun.
Oh yeah, and I've enrolled in classes!
I'm taking a color class and two art history courses, 1 and 2 at the same time. I might be a little insane but one was available online and the other wasn't. So I thought the more I can do at once, the sooner I'll finish that degree. Besides, I'd like to have more knowledge and understanding about art in general before I delve into the mechanics of it.
Many a year ago, I took Drawing 1. Unfortunately it was a combined class and Drawing 2 students were also in attendance. The teacher would give us Drawing 1 students some simple thing that took very little skill, and then expect us to spend the entire class period on it while she placed her full doting attention on the Drawing 2 students. I would finish the work and then, left with nothing else, I would read. Why was I there, wasting my time when she couldn't be bothered to teach me anything? I do hope she's no longer at the school. I might turn around and leave if I recognize her as one of my teachers. I don't even remember her name, that's how much of an impression she left on me.
At the end of September my friends and I are taking a trip for one of their birthdays. She'll be turning 60! We're going for a whole week and I can't wait to escape Arizona and responsibilities (except for the school work I'll have to do while there) and let go with my greatest allies in this crazy world.
I'm trying to find my way. It isn't easy. I keep running into that brick wall in my mind that has spray painted on it in bright neon colors, "You should have done this all 15 years ago!"
But I'm ready to find a battering ram, or a load of dynamite and blow the shit out of that wall. If I could just get that one thing I need for the moment that would help a great deal. But in the meantime, I will do my best at what I can control and work on what I can't. One day at a time. I tell my friends this phrase on a regular basis, because I really believe it. I need to apply it to my own self.
Another friend posted a quote on Facebook this morning by an unknown source; "Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it." It's true and it's something I struggle with. I'm  now realizing I'm a little bit of a perfectionist in a lot of aspects of my life. And I need to learn to let go of that and realize that sometimes, good enough is, well, good enough.
I have a shirt my mom ordered for me. It's Mark Sheppard's most recent Represent shirt. It says on it, "Even when I lose, I win." I think it's a good way to view life. Because even when you make mistakes, you can still learn something and win. Maybe not in the way you envisioned but that's ok.
I hadn't planned to go this route on today's post but it's where my fingers led me. My apologies if my ramblings bored you. Now look, some pretty pictures!

This is my baby. My first texture paste painting. I had an image and I saw it through to the end. I want to do a second coat of varnish just to make sure the texture paste is sealed.
Fireflies
M. Lyon
August 2017
The view above is from window light.
The view below is the task light.
Fireflies
M. Lyon
August 2017

It was all Acrylic paint used and I began the background with a mixture of (mostly) Mars Black, with Shimmer Sky, Metallic Sterling, Cerulean Blue, Pthalo Blue, and a few touches of Dioxazine Purple. The colors can be seen better with the eye than the camera.
When that was dry I chalked out the basic idea for the tree and the moon. Then I painted the moon using Titanium White, a bit more Metallic Sterling, and some Cerulean Blue. 
I knew I wanted to have the tree look very textured, and to represent the bark as best as I could. I considered a lot of paint but thought there had to be a better way. When I came across the texture paste I watched so many Youtube videos and knew it would work perfectly.
I purchased a tube of Artist's Loft Texture Paste from Michael's and then set to work. I squeezed it right onto the canvas, used a knife to spread it, at least to begin with, but then switched to my fingers for the branches. I loved how it looked. I waited days to be sure it was fully dry-and would remained affixed to the canvas-before I painted over it with a mixture of the Mars black, some Burnt Sienna and Burnt Umber. 
Difficult to see in these images, there is the hint of tall grasses near the bottom. This was done with more Mars Black and a mixture of Deep Green. The fireflies were brought to life with a few cotton swabs and Primary Yellow, Cerulean Blue, and Emerald Green.
Fireflies
M. Lyon
August 2017
Pre-Varnish
I finished the tree with some touches of moonlight and then went over a bit of the moon and all of the fireflies with glow in the dark embossing powder. Unfortunately, though the glow is great for the naked eye, it doesn't photograph for beans. 
Glow-In-The-Dark Embossing Powder by JudiKins
Close up of the moon.
Fireflies
M. Lyon
August 2017

This painting took me about a month from beginning to end. Partly because after I did the background, I wasn't sure what exactly I wanted to do with it. I wanted something that wouldn't cover the coloring too much, because I really liked those colors. It clearly looked like a night sky to me but what could I do with such a thing? At night, everything looks black. I don't recall how the firefly idea came to me, but I ran with it.
And I LOVE this painting.
So much, that I think it might be worth selling.
Maybe?
Stay tuned. 

Yeah, so, once again, a really long post. Apparently I should post more but I like to be sure I have enough art or writing material to show you. In fact, I finished a short story too! But I'll save that for another post. To finish, I'll post a few more pieces I worked on recently. Ciao for now!

Coffee Stains
M. Lyon
July 2017
Inspired by Youtuber Maremi SmallArt
Coffee Stains
M. Lyon
July 2017
Inspired by Youtuber Maremi SmallArt



I drew this one to test the Crayola Scented Colored Pencils. The scent was lacking strength but the pencils work pretty nicely.
Tourmaline
M. Lyon
July 2017
Porky and GoGo DoDo
M. Lyon
July 2017
Original Image from Warner Brothers Animation Art ©1997, 2002
Original Artist Last of the DoDo's Bob Clampett





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