1st Grade

I started this week a bit fragile.

Late last week, I took a trip down the Spiral of Self-Pity to the Land of Frustration and Impotence. I kept beating myself up for not having exactly the life that I want at this moment in time. (I am beginning to see a bit of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory theme happening here. A creepy tunnel that seems like it will never end and a little girl singing “I want it now!”)

Ten years sounds like a long time. Ten years was a long time to me when I was a teenager but now in my 30s I can indulge myself on time. These ten years feel like felt like two and still my anxiety demands to know what I have to show for these 10 years.

Looking at photos, I can see that my face and my body has changed. My personality has changed too but the only empirical evidence I have is I don't still like my ex-husband. I look for faults. Change that hasn’t happened and bad habits that I continue to have.

While at my mom’s house in Texas earlier this year, I came across comments from my grade school teachers. It was reaffirming to see that the same things I struggle with now were important enough to comment on 30 years ago . I still love to read but I also still struggle to complete tasks without external motivation.

1st Grade in Aberdeen, Scotland

1st Grade in Aberdeen, Scotland

I want more life than the one that comes easily to me. There is nothing wrong with my ambition except for when I am cruel to myself. I demand a lot of myself without giving myself favourable conditions. Then when I am unable to reach simple goals, I try to convince myself that my past successes were only flukes. As if I moved back to Europe alone by chance.

When I talk to other people (who appear to be of sound mind) about my frustration they are confused. They tell me that they see me as beyond capable of doing the professional things that I want to do. They say that they see a person that does not match with my own self-description. The things they say didn’t feel untrue but rather hollow. As if they didn’t land.

Recently, my new lady friend joked about how I always fight with her when she tells me that she loves my eyes. Every time she told me "Qué ojos bonitos" I would say "Qué linda sonrisa." I thought that I had to return the compliment with a compliment (she has a great smile so I couldn’t just NOT tell her). But she was right. It feels strange to say something nice (and true) to someone and for them to constantly deflect it. And it feels so good to just accept her compliments.

I am not quite sure where this all gets me. But it doesn't matter. I am capable and unable to complete tasks without a little push.

Clara the Clown

When Clara was discovered by a modeling agent as a teenager, she was ready to get out of her tiny town and do something glamorous . The agent was in his twenties and flattered. her.  Her mother thought it might be a scam but, it turned out to be okay except stray hands were a workplace hazard.. 

When she finally followed her true passion and went to clown collage, she was ready for something new. Her face was happier too because she now wore less make-up. 


Clara the clown.jpeg

Letter to a dear artist

Hello cariño,

I hope this letter finds you well. As you know, I can’t help worrying about you, regardless, of how much faith I have in your ability to always land on your feet. Kitty Caster,  who DOESN’T always land on his feet, is telling me how much he would appreciate it if I respected a reasonable bedtime. But like you have told me, being sensible and reasonable didn’t always work for me so, here we are.

I suppose that I should tell you what has been happening lately. I will put some of the things that I want to tell you about in a list. You can always ask for more details on things that I don’t explain here but, most should be pretty self explanatory.

Things I have thought about recently:

  1. I want to get my septum pierced. Yes, I know that people will say that I am “too old” to be getting new facial piercings.  I also know that bulls have their noses pierced but, that brings me to my second point…

  2. The idea for my finger tattoos has come to me as clear as a bell. I will need to draw some reference pictures. I am very excited.

  3. It seems like some funding for this soul-seeking sabbatical seems to be on the horizon. Please knock on every piece of wood near you because, while not prone to being superstitious, I am jinx averse.

  4. Just my general feeling of being overwhelmed with choice continues to overcome me.But, the most important thing is that I actually left the house today. I met a friend. I had a glass of wine and I put my toes in the rain. The walk home was so nice The breeze was cool and my sleeveless dress was just enough clothes. The 20 minute walk from Benita's house smelled like pine. The moon had not a cloud to hide it tonight, unlike last night.

If I haven’t told you before, thank you for all of the advice and support. Just knowing that you are there makes my daily stressors seem minimal and overcomable. When I don’t believe in myself, I believe in you.

With all the love imaginable,



"Oh,  please, go on. Tell me more about the new procedure that is going to add to all the other work I can't finish. No, of course, I don't mind that you will have to pass, again, on my most recent proposal to improve working conditions for everyone. Thank you for making me wait on the interminable chain of command to receive an answer that someone else will do it....in six months. Of course, it doesn't bother me that people get huffy when I take initiative...."

s daggers in my eyes.jpg

But no. I'm not bitter.

No, really I'm not. You helped me.

You helped me realize that I was finally more angry than scared. Anger was always one of my weaknesses. 

I have time to work on it now though. Along with some others. 

I will accept my grey hair though. For now. 


Hello 2018

I have been intending on writing something since the beginning of January and since we are almost at the end, which I cannot believe, I am kicking procrastination's ass out of the studio. 

This year has started off great especially since I have way more studio time but it is taking some time to adapt.  I quit my job at the end of 2017 without much of a financial plan. I have always been someone who needed to take big risks or else I don't do the things I want to do. I have quit jobs, moved and gotten married all with a certain faith that everything would be fine but leaving a stable situation with the intention accepting myself as an artist just felt too scary. 

My depression and anxiety have been flaring up but I trying not to shove it down. I am trying to let myself be free. I have returned to a regular yoga practice. I am reading more. I am just trying to feel peaceful and to treat myself well. 

I am ambitious and in some ways, I still measure success monetarily but I am trying to move away from that. I want to sell things I make because I love creating. But more than making money, I love being able to do exactly what I want to every day. I am healthier and happier when I can give my body and mind the freedom to not do exactly what I want them to. One night of insomnia doesn't turn into a full week of a fucked up schedule. 

I am still adapting. I have been feeling blocked the last few days but I can take action. I can exercise, read, nap, snack, masturbate, etc. I still need to drag myself out of isolation and see people but I am working on it. 

This blog will be a record of what I am up to. I want to be able to look back this time next year and see that I was not stagnating. I am nervous but, more than anything, I'm excited. 

December 4-12

I didn’t intend to wait so long between posts only because I am critical of my ability to implement habits. I quit my job because I was tired of answering to somebody else so I am trying to not be my own micro-managing boss-from-hell. Ideally, I am not in conflict with myself over deadlines so I am trying to be more compassionate with myself and unsurprisingly to some, I end up getting more done. Win-Win! My productivity has included more posts on Instagram. I have not kept the best notes about my activity this week but you will get the idea.

What I have watched

I watched a few videos on creating a content plan social media. This is just a basic outline for the types of post that you will make on specific days. Companies use plans as marketing tools. The punk rocker in me wants to say "fuck marketing" but I recognize that learning more about marketing supports my goals. It also helps me separate myself from my art a little bit and to think about my work more critically which has helped me improve quite a bit. The plan also works as mini illustration projects. 

I have also been binge-watching Doctor Who for so many days in a row while making collage that time and reality have become kind of fuzzy concepts

What I have read

I have been reading a comic called Ayako by Osamu Tezuka, a Japanese manga artist. Not only is it a fun exercise for the brain to read from right to left and from back to front, the story is great so far. His drawings of people can be a little weak in terms of the same person looking the same in every panel but I like the composition, texture, and emotion that he translates onto each page.

I also started Principios de Ilustración but haven’t gotten very far.

What I have listened to

As I have been watching so much Doctor Who, I haven’t been listening to a lot of podcasts but here are some:

  • The Voices Hiding in Your Favorite Movies by Every Little Thing
  • This Present Moment: Philosophy & Neuroscience by Stuff To Blow Your Mind
  • New Discoveries into Manga. (Guest:Åsa Ekström) by TOKYO ART BLOOM

I have been listening to music but I have been having some anxiety which makes it difficult to concentrate. 

What I have done

I have been making a lot of collage and doing a lot of drawing practice. I feel like I am making progress.

I actually uploaded an entry for Illustration Friday which was very difficult for me. I don't have any expectation to win anything but I still have a little attack of shame and self-criticism. These are the fears that have held me back these last few years so I am trying to find ways to face them.

What I have learned

Meditation works. Dancing to booty shaking music helps reduce anxiety.

What I hope to do

I want to keep up the motivation with my practice. I signed up for a gallery tour this Saturday and I hope I go because sometime being social is just too much for me. 

December 1-3 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, I have been reflecting back over the previous chapters of my life. I felt distracted yesterday so I spent maybe 3 hours organizing my Google Drive. While it is an endless task, I have made some significant progress with my reference library. I even made slideshows of images for specific purposes like figure drawing. 

Looking ahead to this last month in 2017, I am experiencing a mix of emotions as it will be my last month at my full-time, big girl job. While I have my anxiety and fears, I sometimes have the most beautiful moments of pure joy. 

Taking control of my life and taking ownership of my dreams is already one of the best things that I have ever done. As I move forward, I hope to keep track of my progress through simple posts that document the work I am doing outside of Instagram posts. 

What I have watched

The hosts my new favorite true crime podcast, My Favorite Murder recommended Mindhunter on Netflix so I gave it a second opportunity. It is okay. We finished the first season. 

I watched The Good Place last weekend. I found it satisfying. Kind of like Groundhog Day. 

Art and Comic Book Art is an interesting lecture on the value of comic art by Arlen Schumer who makes a case for comic artists to be considered on the same level as fine artists. I love comics but was never into superhero comics. Schumer shows artists like Jake Kirby's multidisciplinary influences. For example, texture taken from photographs of space. 

How to Find Your Comic Book Style Pt 1 and 2 were the videos that inspired me to organize my reference library. I am still learning how to think more critically about art so that I can use my observations and this video gave some good advice. He gave some good book references. He also discussed finding drawing shortcuts, a revolutionary idea for me. It would be easier if I could be more systematic about my drawing when setting in figures.  He showed how great comic art is as drawing references because you can see the same face from different angles. He also talks about thinking consciously about works in an artist's work and what doesn't. He recommends finding what doesn't work in artist's work and actively finding an artist that does it better. 

I am currently watching Drawing the Head s 3 hour drawing course. It starts with the basics and also identifies 3 possible basic forms that you can use as shortcuts when drawing the head. He discusses the pros and cons with each. 

What I have read

I am still working though Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain as well as Ink Drawing Techniques by Henry C. Pitz.

I went to comic book club last week and have already read Tintin in the Congo. I have quite a few more to read this month which should keep me busy. I am also reading a book of short stories by Margaret Atwood but I can't find what the title story is called in English, Érase una vez. I am trying to illustrate it but I feel limited by my skills. 

What I have listened to

I listened to the Thrive Podcast interview with Daniella Krysa which had a very interesting conversation about time managment. 

I somehow downloaded an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert on Oprah's podcast. They reinforced what I had be talking to a friend about earlier in the day about recognizing how lucky we are to have the options that we have compared to our mothers and grandmothers. This interview also discussed how necessary it is to live your life for yourself. 

What I have done

L and I finally went to Montserrat. On my way there I was working on drawing repeated forms which are fascinating as a pattern building exercise but also functions as fine motor exercises. The organic forms of the mountains gave me some ideas for other repeating patterns.

What I have learned

I have realized that I feel the need for being recognized by others and derive my value from other people's opinions of me. I feel frustrated when I don't feel like people care about me. For example, I am leaving my job after 4 years or so and I have seen that when people who have been there less time have left and they have received a nice send-off. This bothered me because I have felt like I sacrificed so much for a company that doesn't care about me. 

I have learned that ruminating on this does not benefit me. I am wasting my brain cells thinking about this. Even if I turn it around and am grateful that I have another reason to leave it still does not serve me nor does it support my values. 

What I hope to do

I hope to do more yoga and exercise because my back is giving me a lot of trouble and making it difficult to focus in the studio. I also hope to continue to improve how effective my study and practice.