Today is a rest day for me. I was fortunate enough to be able to take today off and just stay home for some relaxing time. I can’t sit in front of the TV for long periods of time so that means I am “relaxing” by sitting at my desk doing creative work.
Now, there is a process to this. A cup of coffee/tea, comfy sweats, shuffling downstairs to my office and the first thing I do is open the shade. This mornings ritual produced some wonderful surprises, specifically a handful of robins, 3 ducks and a rabbit to welcome me when I opened the shade. In fact, the rabbit was INCHES away from my window enjoying his breakfast! We both froze for a moment and then he ran away when I moved to get a picture but I DID manage to get a shot of the ducks “boots up” eating there breakfast!
Now, sitting at my desk, looking out my window, nature sounds playing in the background from Siri and a cup of warm coffee doing it’s duty…my mind starts to wonder. I see the ducks sitting out there in the overflow pond eating and I see them just sitting in the water, like… it was just… holding them up and I start to think of when I was a kid, growing up with a lake shore cabin and how swimming and drawing were my major past times. No internet, phone, tv, or even a radio. Just me, the beach and the lake. I can still smell it, the water, the beach and even the breeze.
At a young age I learned to swim, hold my breath and dive done into a different amazing world, but more importantly, I learned the ability to stay buoyant IN the water, i.e. if I relaxed and controlled my breathing, I could actually “rest’” on top of the water and it would hold me up. Portions of my head, belly, and extremities would rise and float on the surface. Years later in Scuba Diving Class I would find out that there is a scientific principle for this and trying to teach it to someone is nearly impossible. You have to FEEL it. I just knew it as “resting ON the water.” You could swim and swim and swim and when you needed a break, roll over face up and LET THE WATER HOLD YOU. It was calm, it was quiet and it worked in all kinds of surface conditions as long as you timed your breathing properly. Did I mention I LOVE the water??
Back to the ducks.
Watching them on top of the water, floating, feeding and swimming around reminds of those quiet times as a kid, and the beach, and the water, and I smile and laugh to myself and then…just like that…I’ve slipped into “Creative Mode.”
I start by drawing “Barney” standing on the shore watching the water come up to his toes; nah, needs more. Drawing two; Barney dipping his toes in the water to check the water temp, funny as it is, still needs more. Finally, minimal drawing; just a few parts of Barney showing up above the water as it holds him, Bingo!
It’s quiet, relaxing and he is going with the flow of the water…I should do more of that in my life. Instead of running to the next minute, whats the harm in having life just… hold me for a moment …and rest …and breath.
Man, I am learning a TON from this window!
Just for the record, even though the cabin is gone. A few years ago I took a sound recording of the waves lapping at the shore on the very same beach that I learned those lessons of all those years ago. Oh! I did mention that I got some of the beach as well?
They say when you grow older, you can’t go back, but I refuse to accept that.
I have the Beach, I have the Lake… and now, I have the ducks.
Go make your life SPECTACULAR!!
When I draw these cartoons, it is usually on the weekend, early morning or late evening and I start with a blue line pencil and begin by drawing a nose and then building the scene from there. They almost NEVER turns out as I think it will. Its always just better to grab onto the pencil and hold on for dear life.
The other thing is that sometimes things come out in these pieces that I never even planned. More than just Bunny Slippers and Heart Boxers. I mean, what I think are deep meanings. Let me show you.
(My personal point of view here!)
These are just things that immediately cross my mind when I first look up after doing these drawings? Do you see something else? Let me know in a comments below..
Enjoy the run!
April was a special month for our house as we celebrated all 3 of our Father's Birthday this month. Shannon's Father, Mike, on 4/3, Step-Father Jerry on 4/14, and my Father Raymond Sr. today, 4/6.
Even though all 3 men came from different backgrounds, each were tops in their respective fields. Unfortunately, over the last few years we have had to say goodbye to each one of these men as age take its toll.
Even though non are still with us, their memory lingers on with us, as well as the lessons that they taught. Everyone says they hope that their parents are looking down and smiling on them. I can only be certain of one thing, IF they are looking down at us, all three of these men are laughing at us.
Happy Birthday Dads..."din dumma sill*"!
I am not good at posting to the blog because I have an issue with spelling and sentence construction. To be honest about it, I hate it.
I have never been good at grammar or spelling, all the way back to Mr. Cook’s 5th grade class when the class picked on me because I had so many outstanding late reading and writing assignments, Mr. Cook would write all of them down on a list for EVERYONE to see. I still remember one day Mr. Cook stood in front of our class, taking a special moment he pointed out the length of my list and how he “could stand on it and reach light bulbs to change them.” The rest of the class jeered and laughed at me, I sank deeper into my seat, …and cried later at home. Two things happened that day; 1)I grew to never fully trust another teacher and 2)I grew to hate anything about the written english language. Hated reading it, hated writing it, did everything I could to get away from it.
Shame on you Cook, your lack understanding and motivation of children with different needs shut me off from WORLDS of great stories to other places. Landscapes of beautiful scenery and it’s inhabitants were barred to a young man by your callousness. In fact it turned that young soul in the opposite direction, where he vowed to never read again because all he could hear in his ears was your laughter in unison with an entire class of children against one. Congratulations, you status has now been changed from teacher to bully!
Thank God I later in life had enough curiosity and fortitude to look into fiction and non fiction works, on my own, where I found escape, love, humor, beauty, creativity, strength of character and purpose.
More importantly I found that I could create entire worlds ON MY OWN and I found friends in those worlds that cared about me and what I thought and gave no thought to what my recent test scores were, how fast I read, what cloths I wore or even what I looked like. I found a home at the tip of a pencil.
Fast forward to today where I have turned that love into something more.
I publish my cartoons to the web site a week in advance, I used to do an entire month of them at a time but to do that kind of work turns out being like trudging through a marsh, you just pound one out right after the other with no appreciation of them and also, if something important happens during the week I still have enough time to change them as it is still fresh in the minds of my readers.Two weeks ago I was working on the cartoon for 3/22, which had a Wizard and a monk trying to carve a single figure in stone, a self portrait if you will.
I use the visual gag stone carving a lot. To me it represents the creative process, invested time, skill, planning and it’s fun visually. Sometimes I have Shannon look at my work, she checks grammar, spelling and sometimes overall composition. Frankly, it is nice to get an extra set of eyes on something after working on a group for a length of time. After she looked at it she thought that I should change the single figure to a bunch of figures in different poses just for fun and she walked out of the room.
Ok, challenge accepted.
I began changing the drawing to what it is today, a series of characters planted randomly in a "tree trunk" formation. When I finished, I called her back in and she just looked at me. “You just did this?” she asked. “Yup.” I said. “No you JUST did this?” she asked again. I looked at her. “Sketch, I just stepped out of here TEN MINUTES ago and you did all that in minutes??”
I guess the old saying is true; time flies when your having fun with your friends.
Go be creative!