So I learned a new technique.

I used to try to draw by looking at something and reproducing what I saw on paper. That worked, well, as well as you'd expect.

Then I saw some guy measuring with a paintbrush (the stereotypical hand-straight-out-eyeballing-with-one-eye gesture) and tried the same. My drawings got better, but it was a LOT and I mean a LOT of work.

Then I found out about the old atelier technique of enveloping the drawing with a few lines, then subdividing them again, measuring a few angles at a time, rather than trying to skeleton the human figure with primitives or guess at the proportions all at once.

It was like step-wise reduction for the drawing paper.

I don't throw out drawings anymore. They all work. To differing degrees of success depending on my mood and my general amount of time spent, but within an hour, if I simplify faces, hands and feet I can get a damn good image, a sketch good enough to paint from.

RAWK. Dude, a lot of baby was thrown out with the bathwater by the Impressionists. I hold a certain amount of rancour against modern art instruction, and it has intensified.

I've set myself the goal, in addition to drumming 1/2 hr a day for rudiments, to also draw ONE figure drawing a day, and three portraits (faces) a week.

Apparently one year of blockin technique as stated above, and you're freakin set.

I feel humbled by the ability of some people to be completely open about themselves - their silly desires, their vanity, the failures of their life, the pain that defines them and the weird joys that they find in odd corners of life. Why can't I be like that? I think, then just as quickly I think, I am. But only sometimes.

I was born to an odd mixture of parents - my father revealed nothing of his inner self, to the point where you had to suspect that he had none - and my mother projected an image of how she wanted to be that was at odds with her actions. They're not bad people, this is just how they are. Also, they've changed since I was young - but the imprinting was done regardless. It's how I realized, as a teenager, that I didn't want to be, but I can't help it.

I have this terrible inner conflict that I still haven't found any way to resolve. Maybe it will always be there, driving me: the urge to show you who I really am, and the urge to hide myself away behind a mask or a fiction. The urge to smile versus the urge to scream, or break down crying. I can be both painfully self-aware and inappropriately unselfconscious. Sometimes I am deliberately spontaneous. At other times I become unconsciously self-controlled. I might tell you the most revealing things about my life, that any other person would be embarrassed to share, and then act coy and mysterious about unimportant things. One day I decide that I am my mind. The next day I decide that I am my body. On another night, in the silence of the small hours, I decide that I am a thousand selves and just sit on the bedroom floor feeling lost and waiting for the compulsions of the morning.

I might be your friend but hardly ever call you. I might miss you like crazy but pretend that I am completely happy. I might never want to see you again and not even know it myself. I dream of labyrinths and forest paths, endless searches and journeys. I wake up explaining philosophical ideas to imaginary people who don't know my name.

I write prose and poetry that reveals everything about myself, wrapped in poetic language that conceals personal information from everyone but the most persistent or sympathetic readers. I get drunk at parties, then run outside to be alone with the stars. I seek out people with whom to share my life, then start to crave solitude again. I fantasize about a loving community. I fantasize about the life of a hermit on a lost mountain. The only consistent thing is the conflict and the tension, the inner mirroring, a boy and his shadow standing on a long shore trying to figure out the intentions of the sun.

I mythologize myself, as you can see; then I need to puncture the mythology. I feel humbled by people who seem to have themselves all figured out, their dimensions known, their pain understood, their likes and dislikes clearly defined. Then the humility disappears and I decide that those people have become frozen like flies in amber. I long for stability and peace, then I can't accept it when it appears. My version of balance is an endless oscillation between opposites.

I don't even know if it works or not. I feel like I don't know anything at all - then I realize that I know more than the majority of people. Where does that leave all of us, or me? Do we move or come to rest? If there's no consistency except in death, is what we need to be found in death or in life?

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