Retroactive clock-out

Yesterday started well, lagged all afternoon, and then picked up again in the evening.

In the morning Erik and I were going to go to Bridges first thing, but Bright messaged me on Facebook and we spent a time talking. When we got to Bridges I did about 45 minutes on the machines, then enjoyed the sauna and a shower. After that it was lunchtime and we went to Daimo and stuffed ourselves. The problem with having very little breakfast and then working out is that it makes one gobble down lunch like a starving person. I felt sluggish and sleepy after that.

I had a hard time thinking about anything in the afternoon, so I did boring but necessary work instead: sorting mail, answering quick emails, tidying the office. I’ve realized that the difference between this kind of work and my other work is that these little tasks can be done by any competent person; if I had an assistant I’d farm them out to her, poor thing. It’s important to get them done, but there’s no satisfaction in it. On the other hand, even something as seemingly simple as reading a book for pleasure is meaningful and rewarding because it’s something no one can do except me; I bring something to the books I read that no one else does, and I interact with the book in a way that is wholly unique to myself. And that’s what differentiates a boring necessary task — sending an email to Eatwell, for example, or cleaning the kitchen — from a necessary but fulfilling task — writing a long letter to Tina, or finishing reading American Splendor (which I did not do yesterday, though I got through half).

By five I finally pinned down a brain to focus. I read American Splendor, had dinner and did my “morning” pages, and began making a time table for my various projects. I had intended to get this done in much more detail, but even starting it was very instructive. I realized if I want to have any kind of inventory to sell at the Oct 24 FabMo exhibition I am going to have to go full speed ahead on my crafts instead of leaving them on the back burner. At least I have a sewing machine now, and that will help a little.

At portrait class I made some surprisingly good portraits, and left class energized and extremely pleased with myself. Also, the model turned out to be my friend Simon from printing class five years ago, so it was nice to see him again and catch up.

Here is a five-minute sketch of Simon and another of one of my classmates.

Jeff said, “Wow, you’re fast!” when he saw the second one, and when I look at it objectively I realize he’s right. But I always have drawn astonishingly quickly; most things, I do quickly. It’s useful but sometimes I think it’s a handicap too. I’m not patient with my own work because it usually comes out so rapidly.

This one was a longer pose, 30-40 minutes, and I’m very happy with how it came out.

The likeness still isn’t perfect, but it’s far better than anything I’ve ever managed before, and as my neighbor (neighbor in our seats in class — the one I drew — not neighbor on our street) remarked, I caught something of the repose of Simon’s attitude in the drawing. So progress occurs!

Although, you know, now that I look a little longer at all these drawings together, I realize the long drawing has a rigidity about it that is missing from the quick sketches. The quick ones breathe more; they have a light flowing touch. I am reminded again and again of what Virginia Woolf said about how to get a finished work to have the quality of a sketch.