Re-defining success…

Although it felt good mentally to get back in the studio last week, it was way to early physically. Apparently you need more then a week of bed rest after getting your appendix removed and even the great determination of Ren Albon can not change that fact. So this Wednesday the doctors sent me back to bed for a few days after making me promise that I will take it easy until Thanksgiving. Four hours of taking it easy is hard enough but they want me to go four whole weeks of asking for help and not working to my full potential. Then I realized that my body has seriously altered what my full potential is and I need to spend the next few days getting mentally onboard with this change. It has been a huge lesson in terms of listening to my body and redefining how I view failure. Just because mentally I am ready to fire on all cylinders does not mean I can ignore the fact that physically I can not keep up, and that is okay. Well I’m working on being okay with it. As long as I am better today then I was yesterday I am being successful.

All this free time has sent me looking to past projects I have worked on and ideas that have been forgotten in the whirlwind that is often times my life. It is refreshing to look at old work and love it. I often go through an emotional cycle with my work where I start out really excited about the idea, then I go to execute it and lose all self-esteem while realizing its the stupidest idea in the world, pushing through the worst-artist-in-the-world phase and beginning the project leads to determination to make it awesome. When its almost finished I begin to slowly hate it more and more, then am totally conflicted between hating the final project and loving it. Then I just hate it until I go back to it some time later and fall in love with it all over again. I have realized there is absolutely nothing I can do about stopping this process from happening, other then acknowledge it and allowing it to happen while staying focused on executing the idea.

Here are some of the old projects I have been looking at today…

The main reason for hating this series was the instructor feedback I received the entire time I worked on it. I was constantly told it was too dark and made people too uncomfortable. He hated the juxtaposition of the pink barbie tutu and the pool of blood in this photo. “Its just too disturbing for anyone to ever want to look at it,” was his remark when it was hung on the wall. I stood by it and told him that it was supposed to be too disturbing to enjoy but then put the piece in storage and never wanted to look at it again. Defending the project every step of the way left me despising the series at the end.

It is hard to believe that it was only a year ago that I wrote, illustrated, and printed a children’s book. The finished project is rough and definitely needs a lot of finishing touches, 5 weeks is not enough time for character/story line development. However I absolutely loved the process of drawing each piece of the scene, scanning it into photoshop, and coloring it in with various textures and photographs. It was such a satisfying way to work. 

Then there is just drawing in general. I tell myself that I am not a good drawer but then I look at this and have to admit that is not true. If I take the time and apply myself I can draw well. A copy of Da Vinci’s Battle of Anghriari, it took over 40 hours for me to complete this large drawing, and that was after weeks of drawing every day to work on the skill of drawing itself. It is probably the most meaningful piece I have done to date in terms of personal growth and being a constant reminder that I am not as awful as I like to believe.

As always, thanks for reading.

-r.n.a.

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