How It All Began…

Every artist got their start somewhere… I’m going to share with you the story of mine:

I used to draw a lot when I was a kid.  But almost all kids draw a lot when they are little, so does that mean they are going to end up as artists?  Probably not… and I never expected that was going to be any different for me.  In fact, I wasn’t a particularly gifted kid when it came to art… my friends pictures were always more creative, more colorful, more accurate… just better.  What I drew wasn’t actually art, because in my little 8 year old mind, “ART” had a very narrow definition: paintings of flowers in vases with hazy color-melded backgrounds.  Kind of like this:

I thought art had to be painted, that it had to be realistic, that it had to be sophisticated.  What I only recently have discovered is: none of that is true.  Art can be anything, and through this blog I am still trying to explore what it means to me.  It is exciting because for most of my life I had held on to that very particular “flowers in vase” idea of what art was, even though as I grew older my definition did grow to encompass things like sculpture, carvings, pottery, illustration, photography, and more.  But my umbrella of ‘art’ never included anything I drew… especially not the picture I am about to show you of a little cow.  The little cow that started it all.

*Disclaimer: the photo quality of the drawings i am featuring in the post may not be the best quality as they are actually photographs of prints, not the original art.  I drew these between 10-15 years ago, and the hard drive they were saved on has long melted or exploded or disintegrated, but about 7 years ago, while I still had the original files, I luckily had the foresight to print them out on the fancy color laser printer in the admin office at my work.  All 85 of them.  Let’s just say that when my boss reviewed the end of the month print log, they noticed.  And I learned of something called an ‘end of the month print log’.

I’m not sure many artists can pinpoint the exact moment they drew something that would lead them to become artists, but that little picture of a cow was the beginning for me… sure, I had drawn pictures of horses, bunnies, kittens, puppies and other things that little girls draw, but none of them were connected to the style of art that has become “mine”.  I probably drew it when I was about 15, and everything before that falls into one category, and everything afterwards has led to me today.  This is the second picture I drew:

I got my start using Microsoft Paint.  The cow picture was probably the result of some intense procrastination of geography homework or an English essay or something.  In my post-cow world, I would often doodle on the computer and create all sorts of pictures instead of studying.  I probably created hundreds of drawings, but only 85 of them were saved and printed out and now exist.  I never appreciated their value until recently, because I started considering them as more than silly little doodles and as part of my story.  I’m sad the original files are lost, but at least I’ve got something. 
Below are a few of my favourites, and the link to the album on my facebook page has the rest.   I don’t remember what the 3rd or 4th or 5th pictures I drew were, so they are not in any particular order.  These may not be sophicated, realistic, or have any deep meanings, but I’m coming to learn that they are art nonetheless. 
A helicopter ride over the jungle: I added a lens flare to this one at some point after I got Photoshop
and was messing around with the effects

Camping trip: these tents were modeled after the BRIGHT orange tent my family had

Chico flying through the city on a pencil: my old dog Chico was a shar pei,
and I don’t know why he travels via giant pencil.  I guess everyone has their preference.

Elephant for one.

Snowy night: since it didn’t snow a lot in Vancouver, I liked to pretend it did.  I always thought Christmas lights looked better in snow because of how they reflected the light

Jungle hut: I would advise against hanging around here for too long

Hummingbird: it’s a prehistoric giant hummingbird actually

Rainbow land: I want to go to here.

Frolicking rhino: because, you know, sometimes you just gotta!

Shark canyon: I don’t know what that little monkey creature is doing, but he is probably trying to figure out how to befriend the shark and ask for a ride down the river.

Jungle hut 2: drawn using the pencil tool, then an effect added in photoshop

Gravity: it always wins


I’m home!  After a great trip to Canada for my friend’s wedding and my Nana’s 92nd birthday (and a whirlwind of visits with old friends and favourite places) it feels good to be back home.  And back to BLOG POSTS!  Yay!  That said, I have had zero time to actually draw something new, soooo we are resorting to Microsoft paint yet again!  …it’s still art, right?

Part 1:  The Explanation
This was a letter I originally wrote to a friend a while back, and wanted to share it because if it had not been for her (indirectly) and for whiskey (indirectly), there is a huge possibility i’d be in JAIL or something right now and would have never started this blog at all because i’d have been pulled over, arrested, locked up, and left to wallow for eternity in the sorrow of not having had better judgment (or more accurately: having had good judgement but completely ignoring it).  Ok, jail might be a bit dramatic… not just a bit dramatic, EXTREMELY dramatic, but hey, we have to have a worst case scenario to make the story more interesting, right?!  

Part 2: The Letter

Thank You.  This story is about how you inadvertently saved me from possibly having my car impounded plus probable exorbitant fines, a misdemeanor, and maybe even JAIL time (jail being an extreme scenario if the police officer was having a bad day and not buying any of my innocent charm… but a possibility nonetheless).  Why would all that have happened?  Because my driver’s license expired and I’ve been driving all over town completely oblivious to that fact.  To make things more interesting, it was an out of state license.  Now, this is no big deal really if one obeys the laws of the road and doesn’t DO anything to catch a police officer’s eye, but my work days start off each morning the same way: in a huge stinking rush.  Here’s how it goes:  6:30am, alarm goes off, snooze, 6:40 get up, 6:41 back to bed for 4 more minutes, 6:45 really HAVE to get up, shower, turn computer on, let out the dog, turn on the oven with door open to warm up the house, feed the dog, boil some water for tea, get dressed, apply mascara, dry hair (if time permitting), get out the bird, pet the bird for a minute because he doesn’t want to be picked up without a head scratch first, put the bird in his cage, feed the bird, tea water ready, make tea, make lunch (ie. grab can-o-soup), check facebook, check email, make tea  to-go, ‘gottarunbye’ to tim, out the door 7:30, back in the door: forgot keys, forgot phone, forgot water bottle.  Back out the door, leaving for real, get in the car, ohno MY HAT!, who needs it, too late now, not going back, finally on the road.  This is the daily routine.  And in order to make it to work without being late I have to drive a little “faster” down the freeway than the “suggested limit”.  This is what my brother says about that: why don’t you leave 15 minutes earlier and drive the speed limit?  Great advice marty, I never thought of that.  Tomorrow’s a new day, maybe I’ll leave on time then.  Anyways, my probability for getting pulled over was high to say the least but I’ve always relied on the ideas that 1) everyone else is driving fast also, so I won’t get singled out 2) driving in any lane other than the fast lane has a lower probability of being pulled over, so I don’t drive in it 3) I let someone go just a tiny bit faster ahead of me, so if someone is getting caught, it’ll be them 4) if somehow I do get pulled over, I could talk my way out of it and get off with a warning and then maybe that would be true motivation for leaving for work on time and driving the posted speed limit. 
Anyways, after realizing my license was expired (which is where you come in… we’ll get to that in a minute) I know there was NO way that I could have talked my way out of a ticket, and probably would have ended up having my car impounded, a huge fine, a criminal record, etc etc etc. 

 So friend, how did you inadvertently save me from all that?  Your love of whiskey of course!  The other day I was at the liquor store because a girl tim works with was having a birthday thingy and I had settled on Cake flavored Vodka as being the perfect gift since we weren’t going to be having actual birthday cake.  Tim buys it, but before we leave I see something fun that I thought you would like… but we were late and in a rush (story of my life) and so I went back the next evening to get it for you.  I get up to the register, get ID’d and they scan my id, and they’re all ‘uuuh, your license is expired’  and I’m all ‘noooooo, impossible’ and they’re like ‘yeah, it is’ and I’m all ‘whaaaat?!’ and sure enough my beautiful rainbow id is no longer valid.  Sigh.  So they wouldn’t let me buy anything, and I leave empty-handed and extremely nervous that I’m going to get pulled over immediately and I become very conscious of every car around me, as well as my turn signals, speed, stop signs, etc.  Nothing I can do about it at night, so I don’t tell tim because he’s been on my case about that for a LONG time: ‘you have to go get your CA license. Don’t let your other one expire, just go DO it, it’s not a big deal’ etc etc and I was all ‘I’ll DO it eventually, before it expires, don’t worry, I’ve got it under control’.  

So the next day is where the real fun begins:  I go to work (rush rush rush, out the door only 8 minutes late!) and it’s pouring rain out and i have already accepted the fact that I am going to be wet all day.  Rain coats are no defense against that kind of weather.  I decide that I have to take care of my expired license issue right away so after cleaning, feeding, and doing my other morning chores, I go to the DMV and hope the line isn’t too bad… it’s not horrible.  My number gets called, fill stuff out with the lady, pay, do the written test, pass (yay!), get photo taken (funny, because I am still drenched and my hair is a mess and I’m in my work shirt… that’ll be funny for the next FIVE years, then right at the end they say there is a problem with my name not matching my social security  number and that there’s nothing they can do and I have to go to the Social Security office to find out what the problem is… sigh.  Go back to work, look up where that is, tell everyone I’m hoping to be back by the eagle show, go to the place, stand in another line, watch some crazy lady go nuts and yell about people line cutting in front of her (they weren’t),  we all awkwardly look around like ‘weirdo’, they kick her out, she leaves with a barrage of curse words and flailing arms, my number is called, there is no problem with my name or ssn, they send me back to the DMV with a note, get back there, some lady tells me I need to stand in line again (which is long now, and it’s still raining and most of the lineup is outside), I almost cry, they let me back to the same lady I was working with before without waiting, she re-enters stuff, and boom,  done, officialized.  Everything went through fine and I now am a legal driver once again, with a CALIFORNIA license and a ridiculous photograph of me being a hot mess.  Ha.  Better than being pulled over and ending up in jail, so thank you friend, for liking whiskey. 

Part 3: A Few Weeks Later
You would think that was the end of the story… but about 2 or 3 weeks later, I noticed that my car registration had expired in DECEMBER (it was March when I noticed).  So I had been driving around way above the speed limit with an expired out of state driver’s license and expired registration and then to add to it, I was only about 10 miles from the Mexican border and if I had been pulled over they probably would have thought I was some sort of wanted fugitive on a getaway run. 

Moral of the story?  I don’t know, because I got away with everything consequence free.  But I have a feeling this story could have had a very different outcome if it had not been for whiskey.