I'm sure that I'll soon find all my free time once again consumed by the tedium of trying to be a responsible adult, but all of last weekend was happily wasted on my own selfish pursuits.
There would be no going to the bank and there would be no paying of bills. There would be no house cleaning. No handy-man bullshit for my friend's parents. No business cards or logo murals. No car fucking fixing. And no taking of dad to the DMV or the doctor. And I'm not saying that I don't LOVE hearing every goddamn detail of my dad's struggle to learn how to insert his own catheter while I try to eat lunch, but goddamnit!
There was only going to be one activity done and one activity only. I was going to draw a semi-naked girl! And if it came down to choosing between finally drawing something for myself or caring about some one else's needs, I wouldn't hesitate to beat every person on earth to death with their own pet to ensure my uninterrupted selfishness. Though my killing rampage would have likely taken up most of my immediate painting time, it would've practically guaranteed me free time the next weekend!
After a fairly productive day of drawing I was beginning to see something interesting taking shape on the canvas. I had screwed around with different variations on the pose from the previous painting and had come up with what I thought was the winner. The new girl had lost a lot of the slouchy aggression in her pose and traded her cigarette for a long coat. It seemed like another layer of open invitation that went well with her new reclining position on the sofa.
I had found a fancy new couch for her to lounge around on and everything seemed to be going fairly well except for one area. Her goddamn left arm had loads of problems. It directed the viewer's eye straight off the canvas which is not usually what a painter wants to happen. Also, it covered up the curve of her hip, which I felt was throwing off the rhythm of the rest of the figure and not really helping the illusion of the other hip sinking into the cushion. It was making our lovely, slender young lady look like a lumpy stick.
Furthermore (and I know this is a major problem because I'm a professional), her left shoulder looked like it had been broken and the adjoining dead arm was enjoying it's retirement from usefulness in a full state of rigor mortis. Sadly, zombie arm was not really going to work with my concept for this painting.
A couple of days later, Alisa texted me to tell me that she had been thinking about the dead arm and thought she had solved the problem with the positioning. This is exactly the opposite what every person that thinks of themselves as a creative type wants to hear. She probably said something like...
"Hey! I thought of idea that might work for your painting."
but I usually hear something like this...
"Hey! Since you are beyond all hope thinking of anything interesting or clever, I've taken the liberty of simply proving how talentless and dim you are by easily solving your pedestrian little design issue. It all seems so easy! I don't know why you're always making such a fuss about how this is so difficult."
Worse than hearing that though is the part of the conversation where the person has told you their magnificently stupendous idea that almost always sucks ass (be it donkey or rectum, your choice) and you, as a well mannered member of society, have to agree that it truly was the best idea that you've ever heard. The inside of my brain goes all static-y and my teeth scream at each other, but usually I try to say nice things about their suggestion because I know that's what somebody who wasn't dead inside would do.
Usually it turns out that these people with such creative ideas used to draw in high school and they were really good, but don't remember why they ever stopped doing it. I have a fairly good idea why... It might be because THEY WERE TERRIBLE! If their current helpful idea is any indication, it may have been that every thought they had was crushed by a giant cliche, forever extinguishing any hope of creating something that was not entirely awful.
Saying mean things on a blog and saying them somewhere that matters are two completely different things! Usually I am the sweetest, but I think I got off on a tangent...
So anyway, Alisa thought that she had this great idea for me, but I'd come up with a new policy for just such an occasion. I told her that if she wanted me to even consider her idea she was going to have to draw it out for me. The drawing didn't have to BE good, she just had to TRY for good. Just put in some kind of effort and it would be fine. I think this is fair. If you're willing to do the criticizing you should be willing to take some criticism. I put my crappy paintings (partially completed no less!) up on the fucking internet for the whole world to judge, the only person that she had to show it to was me.
Well maybe not just me.
As you can see from her drawing, Alisa thought the formerly dead arm should be bent up to be pulling the coat open. Well actually, it may not be readily apparent to the novice what this drawing is try to convey, however I am fairly fluent in most known forms of stick-figure gibberish and I understood it right away. Annoyingly, she seemed to have accidentally stumbled in some miraculous fashion onto a good idea. Goddamnit. I suppose I should've been happy but I like to be the one who knows everything and usually my art-related nonsense is the only time that gets to happen for me.
She told me that she worked on multiple versions of this for over an hour and how frustrating it was trying to get the leg crossing over to come out right. Imagine my complete shock to learn that drawing isn't always super-easy and super-fun! I should write an blog post about it and tell the people!
I know the idea of bending an arm isn't exactly revolutionary, but sometimes I get so stuck on trying to figure out how to make my existing preconception of the piece work, that I entirely miss a simple, logical solution. Scroll up there and click on the top picture and look at how much erasing went into trying to force that arm/hand into something usable when it should've been clear that it really wasn't working at all. Alisa's little drawing was enough to get me thinking about the solution in a different way.
After the arm was fixed things came together nicely. I'd gotten her hip back as well as the figure's grounding and rhythm. Besides some adjustments to the coat and the legs, the only thing that remained was drawing the pointy tines on the body. Flush from her valuable artistic contribution, Alisa must've been positively brimming with know-it-all-ness. This is the conversation that followed...
Andrew: I wanted to figure out a way to glue some tines on you to get all the little shadows right, but I guessed that you probably wouldn't go for hot glue directly on your skin...
Alisa: Eyelash glue! See, you should bring these things up. I'm very useful. (a few seconds pass) ...but we don't have anything to use for the tines.
Andrew: How about toothpicks?
Alisa: See, I was going more realistic. I was going to shave a cactus!