Art!, Redefining Evil, Writing Journey, Writing!

Vitamin R

(The subject line is a Chevelle song…man, I have some unbeatable fixation on them.)

I just wanted to make a post of gratitude to God. I was fixed by the sudden awareness of how rich my life currently is. Yeah, I have dull moments or frustrating moments…but so much more that’s worthwhile.

Especially in regard to my art and my writing.

As far as art goes, being back in a studio art class is highly refreshing – even if I only say that now, being almost halfway through it. But there also seems to be so much more life at Augsburg than at Bethany. It’s probably mostly due to my Drawing teacher. She has this deep profound understanding of people, art, and the relationship between the two. She had me early on when she gave permission to the intuitive drawers to skip the technical guidelines like using a pencil as a proportions measure and just draw it like it is. Up until then, I think I always struggled with drawing perceptively (that is – from sight) because my teachers tried to force me to follow the rules. Really, really trying to get a line the right length often made the line the wrong length. Finally, Tara said that if I could do it without thinking, then do it that way. It was sort of like this whole new breed of my drawing was unleashed, and I’m now very comfortable with drawing perceptively.
I feel like in that class my talent gets recognized, perhaps as being even greater than I would have believed it was. I’m so comfortable with everyone in that class. I’ve really, really reconnected with my art. I didn’t think that art education could bring me closer to it, not with how distant I got at Bethany as a result of my classes. There wasn’t necessarily anything wrong with my teachers, but they certainly didn’t open me up like Tara has. So…it’s very, very neat.

I have also completed something that I’m more proud of than anything I’ve produced in a long time. It’s not a new piece, per se…it’s the “Redefining Evil” cover is all. However, I’ve brought it to a higher level than anything else so far. Before Augsburg, my only experience with matting an image was on the day that BIll rejected my piece for the student art show (mandatory) and Andy had to help me recover it. Thus, it’s pretty tainted by emotions and I didn’t really like the memories. So when Tara told us that we had to mat a piece and if we wanted we could submit it to the Juried Art Show, I got a little squirmy. But I knew pretty much immediately that I wanted to mat my book cover. It definitely started off shaky. I slapped on some revisions before I went and got it printed. I had a good experience that time because the guy at UPS treated me like I was competent. He asked me if I was an art student and when I said yes, he said he assumed as much because I gave him all the right files (.pdf and .png) to work with. I asked his opinion on idyllic printing sizes and whatnot and he gave me two beautiful prints for the price of one (“Just in case,” he said). Then I had to actually mat.

Matting is an intense process because it’s all about getting the math right and the lines straight. I don’t do math well, and straight lines aren’t my thing. Fortunately I already have resources with upperclassmen art students and I got help initially from the gallery director’s intern, who obviously mats like a pro. But I still had to cut down the mat board and the foamcore, which was scary. I think leaning over the table in the drawing studio for 2+ hours is what fucked up my back, too. ): Anyway, I persevered and ended up buying a mat cutter ($30) because I figured I’d use it for the next two years, at least. It was an oddly intense risk actually cutting the stuff, but all in all I was happy with the result. Like, seriously. This lame piece of eggshell white cardboard with beveled edges made me sooooo happy. e_e; Then to solve my need for a frame, we ended up asking my godfather, a master carpenter, to make one for me. We gave him three days! When I went to his house, he’d made two for me because he wasn’t happy with the first. These frames were, like, prettier than what you’d find in stores. All glossy and midtone and custom-fit for my matting job.
Putting my cover in the matting (using, by the way, special expensive linen tape that doesn’t die over time or eat into the paper, as masking tape would) and putting the matting in the frame (perfect fit – score for my measurements) was such such such a satisfying experience.
Then, the piece had to be handed off to the Juried Art Show. This is Augsburg’s annual all-student show where kids submit top-notch pieces and a panel of judges determine whether it will be displayed in the show. Apparently, it’s a pretty big deal, and I know more people whose stuff doesn’t get in than the other way around. But when I gave the piece to Melissa and the gallery director, Jenny, looked at it and said “Aw, Mary, that’s so good!” I felt my chest puff up like she’d just complimented my offspring xD. And you know, it’s a good lesson, because…I just lost my train of thought. Um. Ohh! It’s a good lesson in being devoted to my work because I seriously don’t give a damn if this gets accepted to the show or not. I am so proud of it.


And then there’s also my ongoing mental processing of the fact that “Redefining Evil” has been chosen for publication and will be produced legitimately for the world to see. Most days I just generally feel great about it, but recently a new dimension has been added to it. I have a lot of friends who are very supportive and enthusiastic about this happening – sure. However, I do not have a lot of friends who have the same ambitions. That is, I have a lot of writing lovers, but not many writers, in my life. A new friend I made this semester in my Drawing class changed this a little. He’s a Creative Writing major and Studio Arts minor. Pretty much a win in my book. When we were discussing matting pieces for the show and he asked about my book cover and whether I did it or wrote it, I said I wrote it and that it was also getting published. He remarked that “Getting something published is my dream” and when he said “dream” his eyes widened like he meant it.
It was sort of like an enlightening moment because I remembered that I am receiving something that a lot of people want. Just because I don’t know a ton of people who want it doesn’t lessen that number. Talking to him made me feel suddenly unworthy of publication. I was all of a sudden in this position where I felt like I was getting something too easily. I am not going to be one of those published authors who have been trying to get accepted by a publisher/editor for years and years and years and pour their heart and soul into their efforts…I never worked that hard. In fact, it feels like “Redefining Evil” almost found PYP by accident. Of course, as soon as I say that I know it was no accident but was rather a God-ordained encounter, but still. It was that simple. It was only the third query I’d sent out in my life and I definitely didn’t spend October-December holding my breath to hear from PYP. I simply went on with things. I know this isn’t the case for others, and neither did I receive rejection (eventually) that many other writers learn to accept on a regular basis. So like…it was humbling. I can never forget to appreciate and show gratitude for God’s blessing me with this experience. I poured everything I had into RE, and it itself has the attention to detail and the quality deserving of publication…however, the same can be said for a lot of work produced by a lot of writers who haven’t been published. SO YES. It was a new angle, a new recognition of the awesome thing that is RE & PYP.

(later at 7:36pm)
ALSO!! I wanted to draw and I was inspired by this pretty NYLON cover that has always inspired me. It ended up being sort of a revised version of an image with Ingrid, Lacy and Micah. Check out what I did!

1 thought on “Vitamin R”

  1. I love love love Ingrid’s hair. Soooooooooo much.

    As for the rest of this, I’m not really sure what I can say to your profundity without sounding stupid in comparison. I think you undoubtedly deserve all the grace you’ve been shown, and you seem to occasionally step back and appreciate it, which is good. I really have no idea what the matting process is like, even after reading this description, but I think it’s safe to conclude that you gained a lot from putting in so much effort. And I’m glad you found people to connect with about your art.

    I’m really proud of everything you’ve been through and accomplished these past few months, and I hope you can now take some time to relax, at least for your birthday!

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