Entering the online craft and art journalling world some years back has been an eye-opener.
Here are my impressions of watching both traditional and craft artists at work. This is not stating a preference for either because both types have something to teach:
I have a few bugbears though and will gladly note them here.
* I hate (yes, strong word but applicable here) the way artists WASTE PAINT! Ok, I'm not being precious here about using paint. However, I've seen artists frantically washing out their brushes when only ONE COLOUR is on the palette. Then they use the same colour again! Why wash out the brush if only one colour is used? Adding a little water to add flow and transparency is fine, but wash out all the colour only to use the same colour again? Ok enough now :D
* How people hold their brushes, pens. So uptight, restricting their view and their flow, although that is never mentioned in a video about freedom and self-expression!
A "traditional" watercolour by me:
An art journalling piece by me:
PEACE FROM NERVOUS SUFFERING
Dr Claire Weekes (11 April 1903 – 2 June 1990) was an Australian general practitioner and health writer and
also had an early career as a research scientist working in the field of comparative reproduction. She is considered by some as the pioneer of modern anxiety treatment via Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. She continues to be noted for her books on dealing with anxiety disorders. Many of today's anxiety self-help books cite her work. I was greatly helped by her books in the 1990s and have just found her on youtube. Click the "PEACE FROM NERVOUS SUFFERING" link above to be taken to her playlist.
...do people hold their pen/pencil wrong? It is painful to watch and their writing is a sorry excuse. Here are three different youtubers:
To the person above on youtube, I commented: "When I'm watching a stream I cannot see what the person is drawing because their hand is in the way. Why stream at all if viewers can't see what you're doing? Also, the "right" way is the relaxed way. RSI is a problem with incorrect handling, and you won't know that until you're a lot older."
Check out the below image. It was live-streamed. I can't see what she's colouring in nor can her hundreds of chat viewers. Can she? Obviously not. (And yet she has over one million subscribers on youtube, 62 thousand followers on the live-streaming site Twitch, companies sponsor her, young tens and teens look up to her and the channels are her livelihood.)
The saddest thing is that young children are watching these videos because they're "wholesome" art channels (except when there's a scandal). Millions of copycats. Commenting things like "I loved watching how you color in real time. It inspired me to use my markers more" and "seriously no one can tell you how to hold a pencil , you just hold it however you want" and "You can hold your pencil however you like so long as you're happy with the end result! " and "No body really taught me how to hold a pencil "correctly" so i hold it between my middle finger and ring finger" (can you imagine?!?).
I'm so glad I was taught how to hold a pencil correctly in school. It just comes naturally. I love writing, I write beautifully and artistically, even in simple letters to a sister. Yes, I take pride in what I love to do. I take pride in the type of art tools I buy, love holding them, love using them. There is no beauty in holding a pencil like above, no beauty at all. Just plain ugly.
That's a quote from Dr Leah Kaminsky.
I've been reading two books - The Long Goodbye by Meghan O'Rourke (U.S. author) and We're All Going to Die by Dr Leah Kaminsky (Australian author). I found them at the library by chance, in the 155.937 section.
As I've said in an earlier blog, I was born thinking about death, terrified of it, bemused by it, fascinated with it, my artistic temperament trying to make sense of it. Year after year after year.
Kaminsky talks amongst other things about the marketing of death, how the medical profession is more about cure now than helping the dying face death. "We keep people alive, hooked up to ventilators and IV drips, pumping drugs into withered bodies to keep them going when the life force has clearly left them. Preserving the dying in ICU like living mummies, we no longer know how to let them go." She mentions how the stethoscope is being replaced with "gadgety digital LCD readouts based on some super voice recognition technology" and worries with humour that she'll be listening to someone's heart and there'll be silence because she's pressed the wrong button. The company assures that you can record and share sounds like never before, that it has power that will amaze and volume that rocks. She addresses as a GP her and our fear of death and dying. It is truly an indepth personal look, yet very uplifting.
Meghan O'Rourke finds she is unprepared for the intensity of her sorrow at her mum's death of cancer at only 55. Woven throughout with references to her relationship with her mother and the process of dying, it's also a story about resilience in the face of loss. Lyrically written, it's an eye-opening memoir.
I highly recommend both books.
I turn 67 in a few weeks. Woah, that's confronting but as my mother said "what is the alternative". Wise words. At a sisterly gathering a few weeks ago, one of my sisters said that she thinks about death every day.
I was born thinking about death. I was brought up in Calvinism so many nights I would lie in bed looking at the stars through the window wondering if Jesus would come back on the clouds to the sound of trumpets that night. And freaking out about it. Of course now I know it's all nonsense but as a child, being taught the 10 Commandments every Sunday morning at our Reformed Church was like being beaten about the head with a stick. Believe or die! So of course I wondered about the Five Points of Calvinism:
1. TOTAL DEPRAVITY
So according to Calvinism, as a child I was totally depraved and sinful until rescued. God had chosen who was to be elected as a Christian and too bad if I wasn't on the list. Only if I was elected and chosen would my sins be forgiven. God would only be gracious to me if I was sovereignly chosen and only then could I not resist his grace. This was all set in concrete and God's will could not be changed, or "frustrated" as we used to say.
So now I'm an adult and what do I think about all this? I don't think about it. Ever. I'm more concerned with the now and what the hell is life all about and on the other hand being happy with my life, then not being happy, vacillating, up and down wondering about it all. I don't think any one of us is going to be on our deathbed thinking wow I did great, what's next! We are always looking for the beauty, for the spiritual. As for me, I have my antennae out all the time, twitching, sensing, wondering, loving, hating, worrying, content.
We were chatting in the kitchen this morning about our parents, how we didn't really know what they were facing in their old age. I have no regrets about how I related to my mother, right up to her death on March 2 2006 at 2.30pm. A friend this week asked what was my father like. I got all animated and was surprised how I could sum him up in a few sentences. They were like chalk and cheese, much like my marriage. She was more complicated in an extrovert way, he as an introvert hid much.
Someone once said to my father about my mother, "klaagt wel veel, he?". I said to my friends this week - we complain, not because we want to whinge but because WE WANT TO MAKE THINGS BETTER. They agreed.
And that is how I believe elderly people are often seen - as complainers, whingers, stroppy, bucking the status quo, bucking the way "old people are supposed to behave - I mean, after all, we are looking after them so they should be grateful". "Sweet little old lady" is heard often these days. But do they really know that person? And yet as I get older, I feel that frustration of a build-up of years where things I thought as a young person should be fixed by now, should be understood by now, should be addressed by now, aren't. I broke my shoulder a little over a year ago, and as an older lady was shocked at how I was mistreated - patronised, spoken down to, cajoled, literally shut up for speaking the truth about my situation. My sister (older than me) was treated rudely in hospital, mocked for "not being able to speak English properly" when she had had a mini-stroke and language was affected. Numerous medical situations confirm the trivial way the elderly are treated.
So complaining may not be such a bad way to go. Stand up for ourselves as the older generation, speak up at the risk of hearing "klaagt wel veel" ("complains quite a lot") and say "I'm not complaining. I want things to change for the better and here's why".
As I'm aging, more people around me are dying - friends, acquaintances. Thankfully, not family. Yet. I have 5 sisters, all older than me, the eldest 80. Who knows how much longer any of us will live but we (or some of us anyway) have longevity (pronounced lon-jevity not long-jevity) on our side, back a few generations. At least half of us have inherited heart defects. Our father died at 73 on a Saturday morning from two heart attacks in a row. One of my sisters said she'd been terrified at 73 that she would die that year.
I was secretary in the 1970s for a kind man who died last year. I was an accompanist in the 1970s on the piano to a singer who died in his 80s the year before. These people take my memories with them. It's true yet harsh to think my death will make way for the next generation.
Over the weekend friends visited. He already has an out-of-alignment posture, he has no idea why, and then he tripped two weeks ago, busted his hand, bashed his head in, unconscious. He is in his mid-70s and wonders what's ahead, his body caving in, doctors unable to come up with why, his mood flat. This is aging in the raw, the bare bones stuff where we come face to face with what we can and can't do. When we realise that all those trite little phrases of "you can do anything you dream" and "you can be anything you want to be" is for the young. Only.
I broke my shoulder a year ago. I'm still not out of the woods. Will it be all downhill from here?
This blog is my reality. I will not be sugar-coating. There are people who need to be heard without a pat on the back and "you'll be fine dear" or "you're so negative", "things will improve", "life will get better, you'll see".
Questions I would like asked as I age: What do you think about this, what would you do in this situation, what helped you in this area. In fact, I wouldn't mind being asked questions, period. I am an asker, I ask questions when I'm with people. The benefit is validity - I am a valid person, not invalid (read that both ways).
Stories of goings-on in aged care facilities curl my hair. Close to home as well, as a family member worked in aged care. The way sons and daughters treat their aging/dying mothers and fathers, the invisibility of the invalid (the sick/the unacceptable), whichever way you want to pronounce that word, the lack of communication, the lack of questioning, the lack of interest, the lonely person sitting in their chair being talked down to by a worker in the tone of "you all right, dear?". That is not the right question.
Ask an older person a question today that's meaningful to their life. By older I mean in their 60s and upward. Try it and see their eyes light up. Unless of course they're a super private person, in which case you should be using some tact :D
I write stuff.