Wednesday, February 23, 2011

For Amy: To Contemplate in Crisis


Lazyness is something we all must fight, whether it is at our jobs, in our skills, or managing our time. The ones who are closest to us are often the ones to point out our flaws, they have greater potential to build us up and tear us down. Criticism from the people we love can hurt the most, but it also can help just as much.

This week my world was shaken and my future wife had her universe turned upside down by an earthquake that ravaged Christchurch, New Zealand. The earthquake has killed many, injured more and left an undetermined number of people homeless. My fiance and girlfriend for the last 4 years calls Christchurch her home. I was startled by a text message on monday, it read, "Oh my gosh honey everything is smashed. Everything is broken. Please Pray FOR CHRISTCHURCH! PLEASE GET EVERYONE TO PRAY!" This text had an urgency to it that shook my very core. I immediately called her phone, the first try didn't go through, and on the second try I heard a small trembling voice. For those of us who do not know Amy, she has a strong personality, sense of moral conduct, and can be brutally honest, and I really do love these things about her. To hear the same person in such a vulnerable state is unnerving to say the absolute least.

In 4 years of extreme polarity in our relationship due to the distance between Canada and New Zealand, I have never felt more useless and distant. My heart and soul were stripped from my body, longing to be with her in Christchurch, to hold and comfort her, and my body and mind were imprisoned in the cold north of Thunder Bay. I have a dangerous tendency to be overly reflective and analytical of my own perspective and reasoning, this event had me turned entirely inward. I have never felt so distraught, scared, and tormented, while being absolutely safe. I lost myself in the recesses of my mind, completely overwhelmed by the fear of losing the one I had planned to spend my life with.

Commiting yourself to another human being creates a vulnerability that one cannot feel on their own. The emotional and physical attachment you gain in a commited relationship also adds a risk greater than I could previously comprehend. I fear the loss of her life more than I do the loss of my own, and prior to this event I never had a reason to worry. It is truly amazing how quickly physical possesions and money lose all value in a crisis. The first thing that came to my mind when I got the text was whether she was alright, and then my thoughts turned to her family.

I was overjoyed to have heard her voice, and that her and her family were alright, and I will admit that I cried. I simply can not imagine my life with out her, she rounds me as a person in a way that I could never replace. She acts as my moral compass and guide when my thoughts turn the world grey. She pushes me in my skills and in my ambitions, and she calls me out on my lazyness. The more and more I learned about painting in art school, the more lazy I became in my drawing. Amy noticed this, and called me out on it. She outright asked me why I didn't complete a drawing any more and then questioned whether or not I still could. Lazyness can plague the best of us, and I know for a fact that I can not scrape the surface of my potential without my Amy.

This is a drawing I did for her when I couldn't get my mind off of her crisis in New Zealand and it is a reminder of the qualities that she inspires in me.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Of Benchmarks and Things


Every so often I like to benchmark myself. The problem with progress in a skill is that it is often very gradual. it can be so gradual that it is almost impossible to see the improvement for yourself. Sometimes I question whether I have gotten better at all, and it can be very disheartening.

A couple years ago I found a solution to my problem. I decided to paint something I had painted years before. The results were overwhelming, that when I tried drawing or painting an image that I created in the past, the progress becomes immediately apparent. You can put the paintings beside each other and the gradient of time becomes a strong visible contrast.

There are three times I have attempted to benchmark myself over the last couple years, and the progress is overwhelming to me. I thought some people might enjoy an opportunity to see the examples.

In the upcoming weeks and months I'm going to be allowing my beautiful fiancée, Amy, take control over my blog. I will still post from time to time, but Amy will be posting my art and what is going on with me from her perspective.