Brave vs. Crazy

To call the last couple of months “crazy” would be an understatement. I think, in fact, the adjective should be applied to me generally, rather than a small portion of a calendar. As I mentioned back in September, I resigned from my engineering job to go back to school full-time, and to afford to go to school, being single and therefore the only bread-winner in my “household”, I had to sell my house. To add to the excitement, while I did resign from my job, I am also still on a contract as a “consultant” to finish the project for which I was the project manager.

The last two months therefore included full-time school, part-time work, selling the house, finding an apartment, downsizing the amount of stuff I have, and moving. Work got interesting because the commercial launch of my year-and-a-half project happened right in October, at least semi-fortunately during reading week. Fun times!

Most people call me brave but I think it’s generally just complete ignorance of the magnitude of what I’ve gotten myself into. I still feel like I’m living someone else’s life because mine has changed so radically. All that said, I’m glad I made the move! Despite the incredible stress, so far I think it’s just about the best thing I’ve ever done in my life.

I’ve learned a few things in this process:

  1. work + school + moving = not a good combination. That was definitely crazy bordering on insanity.
  2. In fact, at this point, I hope I never have to sell a house ever again. What a gong show! It’s truly amazing the mountains that people will make out of molehills.
  3. I need to learn to read faster. A LOT faster.
  4. Being able to write fast and well has been a lifesaver. Thank you, NaNoWriMo and 3-Day Novel!
  5. Slow cookers are helpful, but my schedule is so weird that I’ve had to run it overnight. Kind of messes with your head when you wake up in the morning and it smells like dinnertime!

Now it’s still crazy busy but at least the house sale stress is gone. Thank the Lord Almighty!

As you can imagine, in all this, art has been more or less sidelined. One problem is that I have no idea where I’m going to set up “shop”. The easel is basically sitting out on the balcony because I have no space for it, and I got rid of the dining room table (aka Studio 1) in the process of moving. The little black trolley is being used to prop up boxes of junk that I still need to sort through.

I also had to back out of a commitment to make a painting for a charity auction. I hate having to back out of anything, but the deadline ended up being square in the middle of all the craziness described above, and my sanity was on the line. Fortunately they were understanding.

So, for now, I will leave you with a couple of reasonably recent pieces. One is another watercolour sketch I did in Emerald Meadows park. I decided to try something simple, given the experience from trying to sketch St. Pat’s. Proportion is still my nemesis!

Hut sketch
Sketched Utility Hut in Emerald Meadows Park


Real Hut
The real hut


I also ran across an ornamental pattern on the web, which comes from the Gradac monastery in Serbia (whose website unfortunately just went down a few days ago). I am very fond of neat patterns like this, so I decided to give this a shot. I like how it turned out!

Interesting pattern
Interesting Pattern Sketch 


Finally, this is a bit older but I don’t think I posted this to the blog for some reason – an artist’s trading card I painted of Anissina and Peizerat. It’s acrylic on watercolour paper, as usual.

ATC - Anissina and Peizerat
ATC of Anissina and Peizerat (3.5″ x 2.5″)


Soon I will be back into my art somewhat more, and one of the areas of exploration will be iconography. In the future I would love to do work on church art and architecture. Iconography is primarily an Eastern Christian art form, so I’m not very familiar with it. While there are some icons that I really love, such as this one of the Mother of God of the Sign, To me icons often look sullen and either bored or angry, such as this one of Jesus of Navi (aka Joshua, not Jesus Christ):

Jesus of Navi (Joshua) Russian Orthodox icon. [Source: Wikimedia Commons]
Jesus of Navi (Joshua) Russian Orthodox icon. [Source: Wikimedia Commons]


Yet, they are considered the pinnacle of religious art in these traditions. If an icon looks distorted because it depicts a heavenly reality not bound to the effects of the fall (i.e., aging, decay, big mouths, etc), and if going to heaven means a state of ecstasy from union with God, you’d think these people would be a little happier-looking! I’m obviously missing something out of the equation here.

So, I’m going to follow my curiosity and learn more about them from the people who are in that tradition. In that vein, I’m doing two things. One, as a project for my Intro to Theology class, I’m reading St. John of Damascus’s Three Treatises on the Divine Images, which is a defence of icons during the time of iconoclasm in the 8th century. (This originally seemed like a good idea, but is proving to be an intense read. I fed the first line of this text into the Readability Test Tool, and it came out with grade 50, i.e., grade 12 + 38 years of post-secondary education!! St. John of Damascus loves huuuuuuuge run-on sentences.)

Also, at Saint Paul University where I’m studying, the Sheptytsky Institute is offering an intensive workshop on icons. I’m very much a visual and tactile learner, so I’m looking forward to being able to try it, rather than read about it. Hopefully it will also be a good way to meet interesting people!

1 Comment

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