I watch back all of my watchers.
I look at the galleries of everyone who interacts with me.
FYI - I am not single. I appreciate a compliment as much as the next person, but please do not heavily flirt with me. It will save us both a little discomfort. (I also don't need any comments about how you wouldn't flirt with me - I had a good reason for posting this, and it probably isn't you.)
Hello everyone! I hope you all have been doing well.
With regards to my semi-hiatus:
I figured it was time write about it so my watchers can see that I'm still around. I've been in a state of low-to-no-activity here on DA since my previous post (World Oceans Month Feature + Some Updates). I have been checking in on my notifications and on the new deviations by the people I'm watching, I just haven't posted anything myself. Part of the reason for this is that I've been away from home, and will continue to be until mid-September... and there's a possibility that may turn into mid-October. I was visiting friends in New York for a little while, and now I'm away with my fiancé. He's taking a class before he goes back out to sea again for a few months, and if the possibility presents itself, he may be taking another class after the one he's in currently.
While I'm still away, I might post several more photos and/or poems, here and there. That depends on several things, including the variable quality of the internet where I am currently. But, I plan to be much more active on DA once I'm home again. One of my specific plans is to make an autumn project out of scanning and uploading some of my drawings.
About my crossroads:
I suppose I'm looking for some direction or advice.
I'm feeling a little lost when it comes to my various interests, including (perhaps, especially) the creative ones. I'll be moving into a new place sometime before the end of this year, where I'm going to have the space to set up an efficient and fun work space. The possibilities that presents me with are appealing, but... it's like this: I'm not sure what to do with it.
What I mean by that is, I feel sometimes as if I have too many interests.
If I'm going to discuss just the creative ones, I enjoy drawing with various materials, painting, photography, writing fiction, writing poetry, and making jewelry.
Just making jewelry alone is an interest in which I feel like I lack direction. I've tried making a bunch of types of jewelry in different ways, and I'm not sure what my niche is. At the moment, I think my favorite medium is working with wire. Working with string is something I can do and enjoy, but it doesn't feel as engaging to me as working with wire. To me, making jewelry by buying beads and string feels more like working out a puzzle than it does like actually making something. Which is nice and all... but I feel that's something I'd do more if I wanted to make a gift for someone rather than something I'd do on a regular basis. Although, I appreciate having learned that skill because I can repair or alter a lot of store-bought string-based jewelry now. Anyway, when it comes to wire, I like making chains and findings... but not so much actually wrapping pendants with it. I see that done a lot, and it's quite nice... I just think I like it better when other people do it. My position may change on that, but it's just not my thing right now. Perhaps, by writing this, I'm finding some more clarity on my preferences. But, if I'm going to make necklace chains and findings, I think making pendants to go with the chains would be nice. But what to make?
I have tried making image pendants a few times with metal frames, glass inserts, paper images, and glazes. That would be a nice way to overlap my interests in photography and drawing with my interest in making jewelry. But, I feel like the materials are expensive and easy to mess up. I've had a pretty hard time with bubbles turning up with the glazes too. I don't know. I think it's promising and I like the idea, but it requires a lot of practice for me, so I'm not going to throw all my eggs in that basket right off the bat. I'm just not sure what else I would try at the moment. I could make beaded chains and things like that, since I have a lot of beads lying around now. I could theoretically try out making pendants with clay or metalworking or something, but I don't know how much fun that would be for me because I haven't tried it yet.
I guess it's time for me to point out that I'd actually like to sell jewelry, and maybe prints or drawings, eventually. Ideally it would be for profit as a side-business, but to start with I'd be satisfied even if it paid for the materials while I'm in a learning phase.
Writing, as an interest, actually doesn't cost me much of anything financially, aside from having a laptop and/or a paper notebook, which are multi-purpose items. I don't know yet if I'm interested in being published or if I just want to write for my own satisfaction. So, the only thing it really costs me at the moment is time. I do have ideas for at least 7 different books, and at least three of them are meaningful enough to me that not working on them makes me feel anxious. Which is where having so many interests and ideas becomes a little overwhelming. Sometimes when I have free time, and all these ideas hanging over my head, I feel exasperated... like I don't know where to start. And that's true even if I just consider writing books in and of itself, let alone all the other things I want to do.
As a side note, I have a strange relationship with writing poetry (which I consider separate from my interest in writing stories). At least, it seems quite strange to me. I blow really hot and cold on it. To make matters worse, a wording or a concept that I find interesting (in terms of my own poetry) one month might sound completely asinine to me the next month. So I think, for now, that will pretty much remain as something I do when I feel like it.
To get into talking about drawing and art... I've been drawing for a long time. That's another thing I'm just not sure what to do with right now. I try to keep up with it here and there by continuing to sketch, but that's most of what I've ever really done with it. To go over where I am with art as briefly as possible: I took several drawing classes, an oil painting class, a watercolor class, and an introductory film-photography class in college (I minored in art). I enjoyed all of them at the time. There were aspects I preferred to oil painting, but I feel like dealing with the materials is more trouble than it's worth to me at the moment. I liked watercolor better, I think as far as dealing with the materials. However, I felt like it was much more difficult to fix mistakes or try to edit, compared with oil painting. I think they were both worth learning. I might very well pick them both up again when I have the space for it. But, for my preferences, as well as the way my mind processes trying to create an image, I feel like digital painting would give me everything I want out of painting with none and/or less of the things about it that I find to be a pain in the ass. That's a personal viewpoint on what I think I'd work better with, and it's subject to change. I think trying to say one medium is generally better than another is like trying to say that one language is better than another. But, anyway, my issue with that is that I've never had the opportunity to try using a tablet or Photoshop or anything like that myself. I've seen it done, but that's the extent of it. So... I really don't know. What if I'm actually awful at it, even though I find the concept appealing?
Then there's the whole issue of which version of Photoshop or something comparable, I should I get and whether it's worth the cost. Since I'm also interested in photography, that becomes irritating when I sit down and try to sort it out. I could get something cheap and geared towards hobbyist photographers, but then what do I do with trying to scan drawings or trying to learn how to draw things digitally? Is software geared toward noobs even going to produce the kind of results I'm looking for in the long run? This is especially more complex because I'm in a position of pretty much needing to teach myself everything.
When it comes to photography specifically, I realize I'm not much better than a complete beginner. I think I have a decent ability to compose nice looking images, or to find interesting things to take photos of. But, when it comes to technique, I'm practically non-existent. Especially since I had some intense health problems during the semester in college in which I took film photography, so I don't remember most of what I learned then that clearly- and none of it provided me with experience with software or digital cameras. I do want to take photos good enough to produce prints that I'm proud of, but I don't have any idea what kind of software I should use or that would make sense with me to start out with (as I mentioned above). I've read a bunch of articles and reviews, and it just kind of makes my head spin because I don't have the experience to know what's a lot of hot air and what isn't. And I don't have the money to be throwing at purchases that turn out to be bad choices.
All of this is complicated by my other interests and other things that demand my attention. Art is probably never going to be my main career or source of income, because that will probably end up something related to the fields of ecology and environmental science. Most likely something related to limnology and/ or lake management because that's what I started getting my Masters in, and it's still close to my heart. When I return to school and then when I find science-related work after, that's going to eat up a lot of time and energy... and resources. I hate having to make choices like that, between all the things I'm interested in and want to learn... but you know, there's only so many hours in the day and so much energy I have to go around. Not to mention that I'm planning a wedding sometime in the next year and a half or so - and that's going to demand some attention. I'm looking forward to all of those things, but just thinking about it makes me want to down a gallon of coffee.
And it's not just that. I have other interests besides. I like reading... fiction, poetry, textbooks, news articles, scientific articles, manga, web comics... a lot of different types of reading. I like watching anime and TV shows that are engaging or exciting, and I playing video games. I really, really like playing video games and even watching other people play video games. I like video games even more than movies or TV, because, they're very interactive and involve problem-solving or competition. That can eat up a lot of time if I'm not mindful of it. I like going outside, to parks and beaches, and I like kayaking and swimming, and I'm working towards being very physically active. I'm part way there now, but ideally I'd be at the gym 5 or more days a week. I want to learn CPR and first aid. I'd like to learn how to be a lifeguard too. Even if I didn't end up using it as a job option, I'd like to have that skill. I spend a lot of time around the water and I think it's something I should know how to do. I like sailing and archery too, even though I haven't been sailing in a few years. I was really interested in it at the time and I miss it. I'm interested in learning other languages, too.
The list is probably even longer than that. I really like learning, and experiencing new things. It's just... it's cumbersome, too. On one hand, it would be nice to choose just a handful of things to focus on so I could get really good at them; but at the same time, I hate the idea of limiting myself.
So yeah, the root of the problem is: jack-of-all-trades vs. specializing. There's my crossroads. I figured it might be helpful to post about it on DA since there's a lot of different kinds of artists and creative people on here. It might be worth getting perspective from people outside my standard social-circle.
If you read this to the end, thanks. Even more thanks to you if you share your thoughts with me.
P.s. to anime folks:
All of this is why I think Naruto's shadow clone ability is very desirable. Imagine being able to read all of the books in library in one sitting, or being able work on all of your interests at once? That's what I'd use that ability for, and I would love it. (For those that don't know what I'm talking about, naruto.wikia.com/wiki/Shadow_C…)