Friday, April 30, 2010

A Day To Myself

As I'm flying out to Amsterdam today I have not gone in to my temping job. This suits me for several reasons, mostly because it means I can feel relaxed about catching a flight, instead of rushing around to get everything in order and dragging luggage with me to the office.

I have plenty of time and I'm so well organised (All my bags are packed and I'm ready to go...) I decided to take advantage of the lovely sunny morning. I've not been to the Wimbledon Temple in ages and I wanted to spend some time centring myself and meditating. This can be achieved anywhere, but I'd not been in so long and I also wanted to see what the Temple gardens look like. I've been going since my arrival in January, when the grounds were still quite green but it was bitterly cold. It seems that the green just doesn't go away in England, but when the sun comes out it certainly enhances it.

I don't think there are words to describe the Temple as I found it today.

After walking around the grounds I found a place to sit and meditate. Sitting on cool stones, surrounded by the scent of honeysuckle, budding roses, tulips, daffodils and bluebells, I focused on my breath. Usually my meditation is a practice of Metta, in which I send blessings out to the world, to all beings everywhere. Today I tried the Zen approach in earnest. Just focusing on the out breath, on the moment. I touched my thoughts and gently let them go.

It was new for me, and it was quite lovely because I have often found it too difficult to focus my mind in such a way. I've been gentle with myself when I am unable to do this sort of meditation. I accept my jitters or the way my leg cramps or that I eventually just need to stretch and let my muscles loosen because I'm unable to maintain the position I'm sat in.

Tomorrow I'll be 25. Quarter of a century.

I don't know about the significance of birthdays when it comes to the number alone. I know this one is a big one in the eyes of most. It is for me too, but not because of the age. It's because a few years ago I was near annihilation. I was so close to losing myself completely until this fact occurred to me and woke me up.

My mum once said that she doesn't believe an anniversary is worth celebrating unless it was earned. It's nothing to be with someone for another year unless it was a year in which there was great struggle and growth.

This birthday means a lot to me because I've really earned it. I've learned to love myself again and being with myself is no longer difficult. I'm still growing, always growing...forbid I ever stop. I've learned to listen to my heart and my gut. I've learned how to let go. I've learned how to take charge of my life.

And here I am, a painter, a writer and an explorer. May I never stop growing, never stop changing and never stop learning. Happy Birthday to me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The 15th Card

The sketch is done. I'm utterly chuffed with it.

I've chosen a ram as my animal. I love how long and curly their horns can get and I found some photos of rams which looked particularly Devil-ish. This was my inspiration.

As usual I have included key elements most often found in the many representations of a Tarot Card. In this case, besides the obvious (fire) I have a spiderweb and a chain. The chain represents attachment and being held back. Again, some of that Buddha nature comes through in these cards and I like that. Because attachment is so often misunderstood, I wanted to include it in this particular card.

The other symbol is a spiderweb, which represents lies, most often, but has also been described as representing confusion. I don't find spiderwebs confusing, but since they do entrap things and the Devil Card is all about imbalance and denial, it seemed a good fit.

When completed the original will be available for purchase.

Remember, if you like my cards but can't afford an original canvas, I have prints available via Redbubble.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Own It

" own your dreams and your future."

A very dear friend of mine said this to me in one of our many e-mail correspondence. Sometimes I'll receive a compliment that sticks a lump in my throat and fills me with a great sense of gratitude for the person who says it.

When a compliment is truly genuine it stays with me. I've commented on it before and probably will again. There is so much to be said for genuine appreciation. Anyone can say, "Good Job" or "You're cool" but it takes a certain level of awareness, trust and observation for someone to deliver a compliment that not only has meaning, but a lasting effect.

It's an unfourtunate side-effect of our world that so many people lack self-respect, dignity and self-knowledge. One can argue that those who pursue their dreams are feeding their ego or being selfish. But it's the difference between pride as a result of hard work and satisfaction and pride at bettering yourself by belittling someone else.

There's a strange idea that there's not enough happiness to go around. That happiness is somehow finite and if someone else has it you can blame them for not feeling happy yourself.

This entire concept seems ridiculous to me now but it was one I wholeheartedly believed for some time. In that time I don't think I got a lot of compliments that I believed were genuine. Certainly a lot of people told me that the work I was doing or how I performed at a job was satisfactory, but I couldn't accept them with grace. This was because they were delivered by people who didn't know me through no fault of their own.

I didn't know who I was so I couldn't have possibly shared that with the world. I didn't know because I didn't own anything. I let life happen to me instead of making life happen. It wasn't something I'd always done, but it's something I'll never do again.

So when someone acknowledges that ownership...when someone I admire through and through can say that they see something I love about myself, it feels good. As it should.

Funny. I was going to write an entry about business cards and how important they are. Another thing about knowing yourself though is knowing what's important, going with the flow, and accepting change.

Such is life.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Devil Be With You....

In tarot most of the cards can't be labelled as 'good' or 'bad'. They represent something different depending on where they fall and what spread you're using. Sometimes it might be representing a path you've already taken and it serves as a reminder to make wise choices.

The Devil is no different in that regard, but it is one of the darkest cards of the Tarot Deck. It's difficult to argue what the Devil represents. Whether you believe in one or not... he's not meant to be particularly nice.

The best way for me to explain the card is to compare it to Temperance. Temperance is the ability to find a perfect walk the middle path or achieve the Golden Mean. The Devil is complete imbalance. He is a blind card stumbling along through a twisted path of rubble. He represents unpleasant chaos.
My goal to complete every Major Arcana in the Tarot Deck requires me to do cards with a darker side. I am by no means a negative or 'dark' person, but I'm quite looking forward to doing the Devil. Not only have my fans told me they want to see it, but I myself am curious to find out what the canvas will reveal in time.
I taped it off last night, in preparation for sketching. I'm beginning my usual round of research, studying different decks and comparing notes to ensure I include the key symbols. I've chosen the animal already, an animal I picked out months ago. I won't yet reveal it though. Keep watching on my website as it will soon join the ranks of Recent Work.
Thank you to all my fans for their input. I really enjoyed asking what you wanted to see and as The Sun and The Moon were close seconds to The Devil, they will likely be my next cards of choice.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

English Camping

I went camping in England! Some might think this isn't possible and I admit, I had my doubts. England is a tiny country with a large population. Certainly, there are farming communities and therefore areas with greater isolation, but that's all relative.

Growing up in Canada and having gone camping in Canada, (Proper camping...none of this mamby-pamby 'I need running water' business.) I equate it with being at least an hour away from anything.

English Camping was explained to me as 'pitching a tent on someones property'. In this case the property belonged to Guy Mallinson, a green woodworker who was featured on MasterCrafts on the BBC. My girlfriend would be participating in one of the many courses he had to offer and I would be taking advantage of the holiday and some further exploration. I didn't imagine where we were headed would be particularly wooded or private, but I wasn't really fussed. Camping has less to do with the location and more to do with the complete break it offers. For me camping has been about exploring, reading, napping in the sun and doodling in a sketchbook. When I was a kid I would go on adventures, find streams to muck about in and climb trees to dangerous heights.

On this particular trip my mindset was to get as much sun as possible, enjoy a lot of delicious food and see how many books I could finish reading.

The first surprise occurred before we even got there. As we wound our way down to Dorset it became apparent that we were going to pass by Stonehenge. First there were a few signs directing the way and then, over the rise of a hill and around a bend, there it was.

It seemed almost surreal, sitting there in what looked like farmers fields. It was obviously too good to pass up so we crossed the motorway and took the road down to the tourist centre. Getting closer it's easier to see how it's been fenced off and whilst it does sit amongst the farmers fields (surrounded with sheep, in this case.) the actual sight has been enclosed and separated.

It was windy and a bit chilly so I wasn't able to linger as long as I'd have liked, but I snapped gobs of photos and truly marvelled at the mechanics of it. To think it had been assembled in the stone age was incredible. My only disappointment is that the stones are so fenced off. I would have loved to be able to sit amongst them, pondering their placement or just letting my mind fall blank. I think it would be an incredible place to meditate too, but as it is a few have spoiled it for the many. Some names carved in the stone and a short fence and many signs reading 'Do No Cross' keep Stonehenge at a gazing distance.

The wind spurred us on and we returned to the car to continue our journey through the West Country.

England really is beautiful and the view of the sky and sloping hills of the countryside as you drive down to the coast are both breathtaking and quaint. It was a marvelous trip down made no less wonderful by the arrival at our destination. The parking area was at the top of a hill and a line of trees blocked the view of where the camping was. All my doubts about English camping were left behind as I stepped through those trees on to the path down to the workshop.

Guy has done a brilliant job of setting up an outdoor space in which to teach his woodworking skills. There are three round stretched canvas 'ceilings' creating three sheltered work spaces. A rectangular 'ceiling' provides the cover for the kitchen area, where Guy took us to make tea as soon as introductions were done. This kitchen is completely kitted out with a dishwasher, two sinks, fridge and stove. It overlooks a pond with a small duck house in it.

We took our tea and had a bit of a tour around. Guy showed us the loos, which have a grass covered roof, and the new outdoor shower he'd just put in. The shower was incredible, actually. It's a 'living' shower so in a few months time it will sprout leaves over the top and create an extra bushy shelter.

Down the path at the lowest point of the property were the camp sights. We picked the largest one and then went back up to finish our tea and have a little rest after the long drive. Guy had to get back to working on a project he was doing so we were left to our own devices. Sitting on some stumps stuck in a circle around a fire pit, we took in the patch of wood we were sat in. Below us the pond glinted in the sun. Three ducks came wandering up the path, curious to find out who we were. They're Indian Runner Ducks, as we later learned, and they were a constant delight throughout the entire camping trip.
The rest of the day was spent doing what needs to be done when camping: Pitching tent and settling in. Dinner was chicken and salad and the later evening was spent by the fire, enjoying a sky that wasn't obliterated by light pollution.

The next day I was left to my own devices. I was already learning a lot about camping in this country. I can now identify a pheasant by it's call (They're very loud and not too courteous when one is trying to sleep.) and I know how to spot a wren, the smallest of small birds I've ever seen.

I went exploring around the edge of the wood, along a path Guy told me should be good fun. He said to watch out for faerie houses so I brought my camera and set out. The path took me by the edge of the farmers field that runs up against the wooded property. Several lambs were playing in the field, bleating loudly as they ran about in the sun.

I found my first faerie house whilst trying to get nearer the lambs for a good shot. They kept running off though and as I was maneuvering myself between to trees I spotted this lovely little abode.

In total I found about six, although it was hard to say if some of them were only one or simply different rooms built around the roots of the same tree. Regardless, it inspired me and I set about gathering sticks, bark, leaves and reeds. I made my own contribution, which I hung in a tree above one of the many streams that ran down the length of the property.

I'm happy to say I did manage to capture a clear photo of the lambs eventually. Later in the day they were being fed and I went up to see if they were going to be less nervous about my presence. They were entirely curious about me and I was able to capture them in a short video, as well as this shot, which I'm really pleased with.

The next day I finished reading two books and started another. I'm reading 'The Book of Dead Philosophers', which I'm finding absolutely brilliant. I spent the better part of the day sitting in the sun, occasionally setting my book down so I could chat with the ducks. They were extremely sociable, although a bit nervous on occasion. I fed them a few handfuls of their duck food. After that I often found myself as parade master, as the three of them would toodle along after me making all their delightfully ducky sounds.
There really wasn't much else to the trip. I brought my sketchbook and did a bit of work on some different projects, but mostly I took the time to just be. I think that's what proper camping is about anyway. When you're away from the traffic and bustle of a city there's no need to try and duplicate it. Camping is about drinking big mugs of tea whilst settling in with a book. It's recharging in the sun, exploring in the woods and learning something new about a world you wouldn't otherwise notice.
I feel as though I'm bursting with inspiration now, but I'm also feeling balanced and serene. I have a lot on the go now-a-days, between my artwork, writing, temping and exploration. It's all about balance though, and an escape to some woods is a great way to find that reminder.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I made a dragon!

I don't often feel inspired to sculpt anymore, so I seized it when it happened and this little feller is the adorable result.

The only thing about him is he doesn't have a name! After posting on my Facebook Fanpage for my followers feedback (Alliteration is frequently fun.) as to which Tarot Card I should do next, I thought it might be fun to bug my blog brood to bestow him with a name!
Post your comments below. Suggest a name! Who knows what wonderful prize I might have in store for the winner. You won't know until you try!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Painting outdoors

I am solar powered. Like a majority of the world's population, I'm vitamin D deficient. I also love the sun. Ideally I should probably be living on a beach somewhere, basking in glorious yellow rays every day, I love being outside so very much.

But I don't know how I feel about painting outdoors. One would think it would be the perfect setting. Nothing to block the best light you can get, all the sounds of nature to inspire you and if you're really lucky, three cats frolicking, which adds to the atmosphere.

But the direct light isn't so great when you're working on a white canvas or with the bright colours I choose to use. Often the painting looks washed out to me and I have to tilt it into the shade to see it clearly. Not that painting in the shade helps much. The colours can become mottled, patterns from leaves messing with the tone. If you create your shade it might do but that pesky sun keeps making its way across the sky and if you're like me, having to adjust every half hour isn't conducive to the artistic flow. When I paint I am usually too absorbed to notice much going on around me. Especially in the glorious outdoors where I have always found a sense of serene relaxation.

The other problem that arises is when the sun illuminates the canvas from behind. Suddenly every pencil line from the original sketch is visible and on a part I thought was previously completed I might suddenly feel the need to go back over it. Of course, no one will notice these lines because it's unlikely my paintings will be lit up from behind when displayed. If anything it may be beneficial to learning how to better cover my canvas.

It is a tough one to work out but I think the ideal setting would be a studio with large french doors and one entire wall of windows. The sunlight won't be directly over head but I can still benefit from it. Better still, I won't get sunburned, as I did today.

But I'm not complaining even a little bit because The Magician is complete and I'm quite pleased with the result.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A curious situation

In four years time, with the support of many, many people, I created a Not For Profit organisation from scratch. I did it with the connections I had and I used my natural anal abilities to get it fully established.

Then I burned out, which I thought would never happen.

At the time I thought it would be absolutely dismal to hand off everything and expect it to continue running smoothly. I thought I'd have to do extensive preparations and training and that, even after it all, it would still be unable to go on.

This was quite foolish of me as I was far better at making it sustainable than I first realised or gave myself credit for. I also wasn't giving nearly enough credit to the incredible volunteers that had been supporting it since inception. It was surrounded by a solid group of committed individuals and the hand-off took a few short weeks when I thought it would take months or even years.

Not only was the hand-off successful, but the organisation itself has moved forward with incredible strides, growing into exactly what I hoped for it. It is with a great sense of pride that I see how all the individuals involved have taken it and made it their own. It's become an incredible success and all the more for the fact that I can look at it from afar, know I played a part in it and also know it doesn't need me.

My burn out occurred when I realised the largest cause of my anxiety was the fact that I was spending too much time worrying about everyone around me and not myself. As a very dear and perceptive friend and fellow Yapper said, "It's about time you worked on realising your own dreams instead of realising other peoples dreams."

This has been mentioned before on my blog. It's the reason I write on here and the reason I answer, "I'm an artist and writer," when people ask what it is I do.

But as I've said before, these things take time. Recently I was reading a blog by a fellow artist. She's got an incredible talent with ballpoint pens and her blog has been one of my favourites to follow since I began using Social Media for my career. Her latest entry was about '5-9'ers. The breed of people who work a day job to pay the bills but begin their real work when they come home. I've seen comments on this before from other artists in a similar situation.

Since I began committing myself to my artwork I've been working in the retail world of odd schedules. Towards the end I think I ticked someone off as almost all my shifts became the dreaded 1:30 - 10:00pm...or worse, 5:00 - 10:00pm. At first these shifts drove me nuts because I like to be in bed by 10:30pm and messing with my sleep schedule would often mess with my then fragile state of mind. Of course, when you do what you love and you're good at what you do, your state of mind tends to improve.

I also got really good at waking up at 6:00am, no matter what. I felt fine with this and when I worked at 1:30pm or 5:00pm, it didn't bother me. I spent the entire morning doing my real job. I would paint, sculpt and write in my blog. I'd accomplish loads and head to the retail world, tired, satisfied and with a smile on my face.

I didn't look at the retail experience as a detriment to my abilities as an artist. I didn't care about selling the brand, but I did care about selling myself, which is what I'm doing. I used my customer service as practice to be memorable. At the end of the night I wanted to feel that I'd stuck in a persons mind as being personable, helpful and interesting. I used it as practice to brand myself.

And until I departed to London this was the pattern of my life. Of course I was no longer happy working the retail patterned hours and I was ready to move on. I wouldn't wish to be back there...but now I'm experiencing something new.

My abilities to organise, my knack for working in a charitable organisation and my ability to sell myself have landed me an extended contract at the place I'm currently temping. I should be elated, and in many regards I am. The stability of an income means I can continue my exploration of the UK and the Continent. It means I can buy more art the remaining five canvases I need for my Tarot Paintings. It also means I can potentially look at putting some cash aside to use for self-publishing.

But it also means that my day is spent working and my evenings are going to be time allotted to my artwork. It means, when I come home at 5:30pm I've got to try and squeeze making a lunch and preparing for a new work day in around my absolutely unavoidable desire to paint, write or draw.

It's a new experience, most definitely. In the mean time I'm going to keep saying that The Magician is nearly done. I do have another stained glass piece in the works and with cash flow comes the ability to get my work imaged so I'll have more prints available soon. I will also remember that dissatisfaction breeds change and as long as I am always striving for this to be my sustainable form of income I will never allow myself to be lazily content about where I'm employed. There is so much more to life than a paycheque and there's something to be said about doing what you love and doing it wholeheartedly.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Maslow was on to something...

The sun has come out and birds are singing. It's a bright and gorgeous day without a rain cloud in sight. It's a day for sitting outside and painting...but before I go do that I figured I should write in my blog if only because I've got something I want to write about. When I make up my mind to write about something it needles it's way through my brain to my fingers until I can't help but sit down to type at my computer.

This particular thing of which I've been thinking about so often these past two days has come from the book I've been reading. I discovered a wonderful book called "The Psychology of Happiness" by Samuel S. Franklin. I don't find the book wonderful for having taught me anything particularly significant, indeed, it's only reinforced things which I already knew. I love this book because it explains so much of what I believe and how I live my life as a Buddhist without the Buddhism.

I know full well that people balk to hear someone talk about their spiritual beliefs and how they 'saved' that person. I know because I myself can feel how unreceptive I am. This is largely because no one likes being told how to live their life or that they are currently doing it in a 'wrong' way. In fact, no one can tell us how to live our lives and the decision is very much up to us to make. This is probably one of the scariest lessons to learn, but that's an entirely different matter and not what this entry is about.

This entry is about happiness and, to put it simply, The Meaning of Life. As humans we are seemingly always wondering what the definitive answer to the question 'Why Are We Here?'

is. Of course it's largely come to be accepted that the answer to that question is different for every single human being because we are not the same and cannot, nor should not want the same outcomes. Ultimately, however, we all want to be happy.

As a Buddhist I believe that through mindful practice and a sense of self-knowledge and exploration, happiness is not only easy to come by, but a state of mind that exists even when our lives are experiencing a sense of turmoil or upheaval. For me, happiness is about finding joy in the mere fact that I exist.

This is what the current book I'm writing is about, because I didn't always feel this way. I came to understand it and I happened to come to understand it through a solid belief that I am a Buddhist. Just as I know I am attracted to women or I know am an artist. How we come to find this sense of understanding is going to be different for all of us, but it is a place we all have the potential to reach.

So I'm reading 'The Psychologsy of Happiness' and in it, surprise, surprise, Samuel speaks of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of needs. In school they did teach us about this hierarchy. It's significant, it needed mentioning. But I think that's all it got: a mention. There was no actual explanation of it in great depth and on top of that, the final point of the hierarchy was almost untouched. It was as if it was taught with the understanding that we couldn't hope to reach the last platform.

I think it was actually taught by people who didn't understand it. Often those who can't do, teach. I know I've been fourtunate to have teachers who are passionate about the knowledge they are bestowing and also passionate about the minds they are working with. I have had an abundance of teachers who have taught me well because they truly believed in my ability to learn...but none of the teachers who taught about Maslow fell into this category.

Whilst reading Samuel's book I found the chapter on Maslow to be the best explanation of why I live my life as I do. For those who can't recall or those who haven't seen it, the hierarchy begins with the most basic needs: Food, shelter, water.

When those are achieved an individual moves on to a sense of security, a sense of being free from fear.

Having the basic necessities covered and a sense of security in place we then seek love and belonging. We find community.

From community we begin to explore ourselves and accept who we are. With self esteem established we are suddenly on the perspex of something great:

Self Actualisation.

Whilst the levels before are general fixed in their places, Self Actualisation can slip and slide between each stage. The experiences we have all accumulate to create a greater sense of who we are and why we exist, but when we do feel that every other level is accomplished Self Actualisation becomes inevitable.

It is upon reaching this inevitability that the best in us comes forth and it is here that we find our Einsteins, to use the example given in the book.

It is because I am well fed, warm, safe, loved and love myself that I make the time to paint, write, and explore.

I feel hugely lucky for it and as a Buddhist it is also my belief that I can contribute to helping others find this place. So on this bright and beautiful spring day in London I am sending the world Metta, as I often do.

May you be happy.

May you love yourself.

May you have ease of mind.

May you have strength of spirit.

And may you take every opportunity afforded you with an open heart and mind.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

London Journal - Three Months In

"Love is the best reason to move somewhere."
-Ocean Leroy

Today I took the train from the place I'm temping to Camden. The stained glass class I attend is located at the end of Camden market. The walk from the station takes me through the main street.

To avoid the droves of people I stay on the sidewalk edge, close to the road. Everyone else is looking at the shops, mesmerised by the abundance of knick knacks they can buy. Greasy punks with Mohawks and piercings stand with signs pointing to the various tattoo parlours. The smell of frying food penetrates the cool air.

My steps are self assured.

I know this place. Although I've only been here a short time, I feel that I fit. On the underground or on the street, in the crowds or the echoing emptiness of a museum, I feel like a Londoner. I know I'm not really. If you live in London it seems you don't actually experience London. So many people here tell me they've only been to one of two museums, never taken in the theatre and haven't a clue how to navigate the underground if it isn't their particular line.

It's a unique perspective I hold. I'm a resident so the tourist image doesn't fit me. I'm here to explore and discover, certainly, but I'm here for a long time. I have a home here...I even brought my cat over with me. I'm establishing myself in little ways. I'm making friends, finding venues at which to perform my drag, setting up my art and finding comfort in re-visiting favourite spots.

In January I was still stunned, finding my footing and learning to adjust to the change in time and altitude.

In February I was desperate for friendship, missing the ability to just converse. Lonely in a city of millions.

In March I found a groove. I set about doing as much art as I could, blogging and marketing myself. I found things to keep me busy, met new people, accomplished a few fun projects and hooked up a position with a temp agency that fulfills the requirements of my Visa.

It's April and I don't know what this month holds yet. Promise of income is a relief as a trip to Amsterdam for my twenty-fifth birthday rapidly approaches. Recognition of my artwork in local circles gives me moments of *glee*. And last night? A performance on stage at Wotever, since I do oh so love doing drag.

Such promise, such opportunity, such potential.

Three months means this adventure has only just begun. But those three months went by awful quick and two years really isn't that long in the scheme of things. Must remember to savour every moment and take advantage of it all. Don't want to become like those real Londoners and feel complacent about this place. It is a wonderful place and I'm so happy it chose me.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Quick Sketch

Generally my style of art is cartoonish or anthropomorphic. I use bright colours and even my more realistic pieces are more of an illustration than a depiction of a real life image.

But when it comes to pencil sketches of animals I find myself drawn (pardon the pun) to a style very unlike my usual. I love capturing the softness of fur and I find pencil allows me to do this extremely well. When I sit down to sketch an animal I usually have it in my head that it will be extremely labourious and even frustrating. I choose a photograph and then I work out the basic outline of it. Almost every time I find myself producing a sketch from start to finish in under thirty minutes. I'm generally always pleased with the result and quite often stunned that it was something I did. I'm quite proud of my last two, especially given the difficulty of sketching a mostly black cat.

So here they are, Gert and Mabel... two lovely London cats.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Student of Life

And so it was done....

Four days off in a row for the celebration of the resurrection of our lord and eating chocolate. This is what happens when Pagan and Christian customs get mashed up together.

I however, don't really recognise this particular holiday as anything more than a long weekend.

Already I've managed to nearly complete an animation with a friend. Despite the utter lack of proper equipment (Other than his brilliant camera and tri-pod) and a ridiculously short amount of time in which to work, I feel really good with the result. Not everything is done but what is left is relatively minor. We have managed six rough animations of about twelve seconds each. This took us six hours collectively and there is still one left to do. Ironically enough we have been animating the seven deadly sins for use in a play written and performed by some Yoot's. It's a gritty animation, but then, these are the seven deadly sins we're talking about.

I really enjoyed working on it and hope to have the footage to add to my portfolio in short order. It made me miss the creative flow that comes from animating something and I'm trying to formulate ways in which I can work it into my other creative projects. I think an animation of a stained glass piece slowly building itself up would be fabulous.

Again, it seems I'm just adding to my list of things to do and create. I continue to tell myself to specialise, hone my skills and modify my work so it improves in one area. I don't know that I haven't though. Certainly, I do tackle many mediums and often with great success, but I am by no means dabbling in everything. I think my style is less about the medium and more about the elements. Everything I do is bright and almost all of it has an aspect of the natural world to it. Even these animations, which were quite gruesome, employed the use of some very bright colours.

Or maybe I am truly in an apprenticeship of my own making. I am a student of life and right now London is my classroom. I meet teachers everywhere in the people I'm begining to call my friends. I find special lessons on the television or at a museum and I create my own assignments.

And this is as it should be.