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Daily Art -- Two More Sketches!



Bird Sketch on gray Canson Mi-Tientes with Holbein Academic oil pastels, from Painting with Oil Pastels by H. P. McLaughlin, Walter Foster #152. It was on page four. I cut a bigger piece of gray in half to get two 8 x 10" pieces and some bookmark strips.

I was going to do another one from the book but I got up for coffee and passed Miss Gemini sleeping in a pretty pose. So I had to sketch her on the other piece with the same pastels.



She was asking for it. She didn't move. She didn't move for the longest time, not till I had finished all the black bits and was starting to put in the gold after doing the gold on her forehead. So I finished coloring in bits of gold and red fur in her lighter patches after she rolled over and turned around, but she's quite accurate. I'm pretty sure her mom will recognize her from the sketch when she comes home to see it.

Kitten is happily off at Farrier School in Virginia giving manicures to horses. Sascha and Gaby are watching Spirited Away in the living room and Karl got up on the good ladder today in the entryway fixing up the front entrance and the stairs, finishing off the things he had to do to the walls to get ready to paint. He has been energetically doing lots of home improvements and repairs for weeks, it is awesome.

It's funny. I've lived with a lot of male housemates over the years and most of them will talk about doing painting, fixing, home improvements and stuff. Make great plans and discuss them in detail showing off their expertise. Then they don't do anything. I don't exempt myself. I had the colors planned out to repaint every single apartment I ever lived in and only actually painted one once.

I also think about all the guys who have recently lost their jobs to downsizing and know so many are out there moping. Putting in some awkward, forced time getting ready for interviews, maybe managing to get their act together well enough to update the resume and send it out... many times not even doing that. Spending weeks just dealing with the shock and retreating into moping or video games or just mindlessly watching television.

It might work for guys doing this if you think about a gap in employment as the time you always wished you had to get around to those home improvements.

I am not kidding. This is on a par with the best writing advice I ever got. David Gerrold told me that if I got blocked on my writing, I should get up and clean the house. This made sense, because I hated house cleaning so if I was up doing something I didn't want to do, ideas for what to write would crowd in all over the place to give me an excuse to stop.

Weirdly, following that advice made the cleaning up turn to fun. I was mostly thinking about novels instead of remembering getting screamed at for not doing it right. I started feeling some satisfaction in seeing some stupid simple physical thing done right and finished, and that would jump start me into creative effort.

Well, it's sort of the same way with the fixing things up. You have something tangible and when you apply work to it, there are real results. They are measurable. It is an accomplishment. Emptying that closet and tossing out junk leaves a convenience -- places to put things. Painting the walls leaves you living somewhere that isn't shabby looking. Most of all, it kicks off the day or the week with a success under your belt.

That gives confidence when approaching something that's not as much in your control, like whether some Human Resources person is going to pick you in the adult-version Choosing Up that's just as agonizing as it was in grade school, but worse because more people get left out. Anyone not used to sales and marketing winds up crushed by repeated rejections in the job search process -- but sales people know that the rejections are routine and a shotgun approach is what gets results, finding the one in a dozen or one in a hundred or a thousand that says Yes while pretty much ignoring anyone who said No because they're not important.

So there's some thoughts on fixing up and home improvements -- it's tangible stuff a guy can do to rebuild some self respect and confidence before going out to job hunt. That confidence can easily shift the balance of who gets hired or not anyway, it leaves the HR folks wondering what coolness you have up your sleeve that you're so sure of yourself and you look great compared to any nervous bloke.

And don't beat yourself for feeling down after getting turned down on any interview -- it really is a hit or miss, shotgun approach thing and the rejections are impersonal. They aren't about whether you're good enough. They're about picking almost at random one person out of lots who are good enough and you're up against anyone who got recommended by word of mouth anyway, which always takes precedence. It's someone you know against a stranger who looks good, they'll go with who they know every time even if "know" is that some employee's sister in law said the guy was good.

Of course I have the ultimate confidence builder -- that's blowing off the whole "work for other people" thing in favor of doing something independent, which brings freedom and responsibility and this intense delight in being able to ignore Monday mornings if you always hated them. Not for everyone but for those it fits, nothing else will do for a lifestyle.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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