Eclairs & Expletives

To elaborate, this week has been a gem. Ugh. BUT LOOK AT THAT TASCHEN BOOK! ermahgerd, it’s just as lovely as it seems. Taschen, take all my money.

It was training week at work, which means because our entire team is remote, we secured a conference room in a downtown hotel to host our newest franchisees. After being initially skeptical (you’d think they’d get something a little further from Chinatown!), I think we were all pleasantly surprised with how well it worked out. Also, food. Goddamn, the embassy suites serves a mean lunch spread. (And snacks. And coffee. With real cream!)

We had one attendee who is just a darn special raindrop of a person, and by raindrop I actually mean she’s a tsunami, or a typhoon, or a sharknado. In addition to dealing with all of the crazy, my former kitty (now belonging to a coworker) was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, my boyfriend had a strenuous week, famous people died, I’ve hardly sketched, and we haven’t hit the gym once. It’s just one of those weeks where you’ve had so much to do and been so busy, yet so little felt accomplished.

Ah, well.

Only 32 days until Europe!! I’ve been keeping busy planning and researching until my eyes bleed. As much as I wanted (in theory) this trip to be spontaneous… yeah, no. With 4 people going via train, on a budget, from Brussels to Prague (via Amsterdam, Cologne, & Berlin) – there’s not a lot of room for error here. Spontaneity is for rich people. I’ve got 75% of accommodations and transportation already figured out and I’m waiting (impatiently) for another to take over and book the last three nights in Prague & Bratislava. From there, my boyfriend and I go solo to Budapest for a night, then take the Railjet (!!!) to Zurich where we fly home the following morning. I’ve been obsessing over what to bring and how to bring it all, scouring all the “what to wear in Europe in June” articles I can find. I cringe saying this, but I bought a pair of Crocs brand flats in the hope that they will eventually prove as comfortable as all the old ladies say they are. They are actually pretty cute little canvas shoes with a lot of support, and much better-looking than Toms, if I say so myself. I do have to stretch out the part around the ball of my foot though because they are suuuper tight, but apparently you can do this with either freezing or a hair-dryer? Huh. We’ll find out, I guess.

One major milestone accomplished last week was committing to a property management company to manage my house when we are in Mexico. He’s letting me advertise and show the house myself, which saves me about $700 and a hell of a lot of inconvenience. I’ve also been told we can list it partially furnished and see what happens. God knows I don’t want to get a storage unit, but Everything Must Go. I’m still waiting for my contact in Todos Santos to confirm our rental arrangement, but hopefully I’ll hear back from her in the next few. If this doesn’t work out, I’m still a little torn between the Cortez side of Baja, or going inland to Guanajuato where I wanted to go in the first place. Either way, I feel good about it all. I’m positive about 95% of people think I’ve lost my mind. Maybe I have. But it’s worth the journey to find out.

 

Throwing some shade 

Today we had to sketch a portrait, simply, (hah) from a small & not-very-detailed photo. I think the point was to focus on shapes and orientation without obsessing over detail.

  
God I suck at pencils. 

This started out terribly, especially when I started shading. I thought I ruined it. To my surprise, it started to come together with more lead layered on. I still had a lot of trouble with the shading, and I think that was enhanced by this super strong directional light combined with her dark skin. I really didn’t know what to do. 

But, here’s the eyeball progression. From dead eyes to rheumy eyes, to something not so bad. 

I’m going to keep sketching people because I really want to get to the point where I can bust out something simple, proportional, and quick. I’m also super cognizant of figuring out my style, whatever that ends up being. I don’t hate this though; not cartoony, but not too obsessive realism either. I want a happy, fast medium. 

Europe x 8 < San Fran +3


Man, the hours I’ve spent on planning this! But, thus far I have 8 full nights booked with 4 more to go, at under $500 (lodging only). I feel pretty good about it thus far! Especially considering 3 nights in the Bay Area for just myself cost me more than 7 days in Western Europe. Boom.

Office view 

Lesson 9 in my 30 day class, and it’s “free doodle day.” Well, I’m not imaginative enough to create something, so I plopped down on the futon and drew the awfully messy office bookshelf. Naturally, my dog moved right as I got to her.

This is only the outline, because I plan to ink it tomorrow. However, I’m afraid I’m going to ruin it, so this is the evidence it’s not awful at least now.

I’m thankful work has been slow this week, as it’s been pretty heavy emotionally, as well as having just a million things on my mind to prepare for Europe and the big Mexico adventure. More on that later.

Also, I miss having a cat. :/

Little gnome facts

This is my first watercolor with ink, and I’m stoked!! It could definitely be worse. I feel like I might be slowly loosening up on my obsession with perfection in favor of developing my own style. Maybe. This is only my first one. 

My pellet stove (UGH, do not get one over a new heater, thanks previous homeowners), and the planet glass collection set. #nerdout 

   

Total sketch.

So, I’ve taken up sketching. And/or painting. There’s something really relieving about it, while also being challenging (obviously!). I’ve never been much of an artist; I’ve not had the knack for doodling and I’m honestly not very imaginative or creative. I can see good compositions, which makes me a good photographer, but that skill doesn’t lend itself to spontaneous imagination. Eh. You can’t be too awesome, I suppose.

What I really want to be able to accomplish is definitively depict a scene with my own artistic style. Which has yet to be figured out, clearly. Meanwhile, I’m decisively scribbling and obsessively erasing while dragging my hand all the way through the graphite and torally getting it on my face. My online art instructor has said that you don’t need innate sparkly art talent in order to be a good sketch artist- you just need practice. That I can do. Here’s to practice makes artist!

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