Had a nightmare a few weeks ago about a terrifying sea creature that looked very angry and seemed a bit aggressive. I was told that I could walk away and live a long life or I could have a short life and live with the sea creature. There was a pill that was offered if I chose the latter of the two, which I did. Even though I was terrified, I felt that someone needed to care for it. I thought I would be the only one to do it.
A friend of mine claimed I probably give way too much of myself after I told her about the dream. It’s a fair interpretation. Lately, I’m starting to think she might be right. I’m overwhelmed and exhausted. I’m starting to think I need to nurture myself a bit more since I think it’s starting to affect my health. It’s a weird time of the year to really focus on the self when it’s really the time of year for giving. I guess the key is balance.
So, I indulged in my favorite hobby tonight: Doodling. I got lost in a drawing that resembled the sea creature from my dream. I’m still working on it but here’s what I have so far.
Not an exact replication of my nightmare but I feel that I got a nice abstract essence of the creature from the deep that demands attention. I gave it my artistic attention, I guess.
Anyway, I hope this winter allows you all to wind down and enjoy the company of your loved ones. If you’re unable to meet up with your loved ones, may a cup of tea and a napkin doodle nurture you through the winter evening. Take care of yourselves and hope you have a wonderful New Year!
Happy Friday! Went to a street sale and bought a used copy of the movie, The Fountain. If you haven’t seen the movie, I highly recommend it but it might take a few views to really get what the director is going for. The whole movie is based on the desire to find eternal life. One man in present day, finds it through his medical research. One woman in his past life finds it through creating in death. After she dies, her body deteriorates and it nourishes the tree. She becomes the tree. The birds eat fruit from the tree so she becomes the birds, and so on…
That movie led me to thinking about Fibonacci’s number sequence which is a pattern found in all things including nature and human beings. In made me feel like we are all one, people and the natural world.
So anyway, I began to draw stripes on the arm of the man which is holding a striped branch that he took from the tree behind him. I wanted a repetition in the complex striped design in the tree to be reflected in the human arm and the branch (the tree’s metaphorical arm).
Maybe I’m putting too much thought into this napkin piece. It was lunch time when I drew this, once again. The napkin came from the best deli in East New York that makes something called a Jacked Up sandwich…hot, melted pepperjack cheese on honey turkey and the works.
Napkin drawing has been a great way for me to distress at work so I’ve been doing quite a bit there. I’ll do my best to visit some other parts of Brooklyn for my next one.
Doodle & De-stress, everyone!
When I was younger, I took a Psychology in Art class. There were universal shapes that were often drawn by children of the same age around the world. Then there were drawings that helped children without the words to articulate their feels who would draw their family members. Some of the more dominant individuals in the family were drawn bigger. There was something to be said about the proximity of each family member from the others. And then, there were illustrations of self-portraits that were somewhat angular with no eyes or no hands, maybe a home with no doors. Those were the parts that we, as students, were asked to pay special attention. They might be indicative of something that the child felt he or she was unable to express. No ears, eyes or mouth could mean, hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil. It’s a bit speculative though.
I tend to draw a lot of faceless people. I’m not sure if this indicates anything in particular psychologically or if it’s just my own artistic inclinations. I guess I wonder from where our own inspiration comes. Is it our psyche speaking up? Maybe I should try a Jungian analysis of my artwork and see if there are any female archetypes represented here.
The process of creating seems somewhat like a waking dream, I guess. Maybe that’s why so many creative types often feel like a vessel of some unknown creative spirit rather than assume complete conscious control over what is put down on paper. Where do you think your creative inspiration comes from? Anyone know any books about this subject? Will have to do some research on it. My favorite book is Shadows Bright As Glass by Amy Ellis Nut about an individual named Jon Sarkin who became this creative prodigy after experiencing brain trauma. His personality changed and he just felt an overwhelming need to create constantly. It makes me wonder if creativity is biochemical or from the part of the subconscious responsible for dreams. Maybe it’s from our experiences or all of it combined. Anyway, it’s a great book and it’s worth a read. Here’s a NY Times review by Abigal Zuger, M.D.
So, yeah. Here’s my drawing. Pointilism with a micron pen. Happy Doodling!
I do not know whether I was then a man dreaming I was a butterfly, or whether I am a butterfly, dreaming I am a man.
-Zhuang Zi (a.k.a. Chuang Chou, Zhuang Zhu, etc..)
Was watching the movie Inception while my boyfriend slept intermittently on the couch. He’d wake up with some vivid dreams and I would tell him that he’s still dreaming just to mess with him. Both the movie, his dreams, and this butterfly I began to draw all afternoon reminded me of this Zhuang Zi’s quote.
I remember reading Zhuang Zi’s works when I took an Asian Philosophy course during my undergraduate years. Maybe life is just a dream. Some of my dreams bring me such epiphanies that they feel more vivid than my waking life. Usually, drawing puts me into a dreamlike state during my waking hours as I let my subconscious produce an image that surprises even me. Other times, I search for some inspiration so I can plan out my drawing for the day, like today.
Near Pratt University in Brooklyn, there’s a lady who sells her extensive art book collection every Saturday morning down the street. I finally bought one from her. It’s called, America 1585: The Complete Drawings of John White by Paul Hulton. John White sailed to the New World and illustrated what he found here. I borrowed one of his illustrations of the “Swallow-tail Butterfly” for inspiration. Took a fine tip Sharpie and tried my hand at pointillism again for most of it.
And here’s the completed drawing.
When I was about 21 years old, I went to live on a Navajo Indian Reservation in Chinle, Arizona by Canyon de Chelly and Canyon del Muerto to do volunteer work for Talbot House for a year. It was my big adventure. I hiked canyons, went to Pow Wows, visited the Anasazi Ruins, Pueblo Ruins and checked out the Hopi Tribe too.
I considered being a social worker, at one point in my life but there was another crazy reason why I went. I had a dream that I was in my bedroom and a Native American in traditional headdress kept trying to shake me awake. At one point, he held my foot in the air. When I woke up, I thought he was still there because my foot was in the air for some reason. A week later, one of my five sisters came home from college. We went for a jog the night she came home when she told me that she and her classmates (all Social Work majors) had been on a trip through the Navajo Reservation last week. She told me that many organizations were looking for volunteers. I told her about my dream and we both felt it meant that I should go.
Being somewhat impulsive in my youth, I wrote to them right away, was accepted, and left a month later. At the time, I was being offered a small scholarship for a college that I had considered. I remember telling my mom after I bought the one way plane ticket and she laughed. Glad I have an opened minded mother! I came home to the East Coast after many adventures that year. I even experienced some culture shock when I got home since I had been living in the quiet desert where Medicine Men, Skinwalkers, hogans, canyons, fry bread, and dirt roads were the norm to a bustling city with lights everywhere, no horses or sheep anywhere, and tons of restaurants. Anyway, I miss Arizona now and then.
Years later, I thought it might be fun to go to a psychic. The psychic kept insisting that one of my past lives had been as a Native American and that one of my spirit guides was too. He had a “broken wing” or a broken arm that supposedly made him “pass over.” So, my imagination ran wild with this and I decided to draw a new wing for my ‘spirit guide’. Regardless of whether or not you believe in such things, all of these experiences and dreams help to fuel the imagination. So, yeah, just go with it sometimes. It can lead you on some interesting adventures.
Went to DeKalb Ave. after work to a nice little café called Cammereri’s for a Café au Lait, some homemade peanut butter cookies, and some mellow World Music to counter the bustling sounds of the city. As I am doodling on my napkin a film crew plants itself in front of my view at the window and starts filming two guys dressed in nursing scrubs drinking a beer. I started to worry if I was in their shot but then remembered that I was there first! I was going to finish my huge coffee and my doodle because it was a long, long work week for me. I deserved a moment of peace, darn it! I was the diva that was not an actress in their film but, I might have held it up for a few minutes anyway.
Yesterday, Law and Order decided to film on Sheffield Avenue in Brooklyn where I walk to my teaching gig. I think that’s why I keep dreaming that I live on a film set. I dreamt that the buildings were these interchangeable crates and none of it was real. The city was a mere illusion for the lost souls who drift around the streets to find themselves. My dreams are so involved that they feel like it’s a second world that I return to each night. My subconscious must really be working hard to make sense of all the visual stimuli I ingest each day.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy my surrealist napkin art. I held up a movie so I could make it for you today. 🙂