Monday, April 14, 2014

Paradigm Shifting

Post race team festivities with beer and Pringles
The athletic world as I see it shifted slightly from its axis this weekend. No, it has nothing to do with the Cleveland Indians (who, in classic fashion, have shown signs of brilliance and signs of not-so-brilliance, as is expected in the life of a Cleveland sports fan). Instead, it has everything to do with a new group of training friends (in fact, my new team), the Spin Second Sole Multisport Team (SSSMST).

I wasn't sold on being a member of ANY team this year. I needed to seriously detox from paying attention to many of the triathletes I know or follow in social media. I was creating too much stress from all the comparisons I was making to them.. I obsessed that my training was never good enough, my racing was never fast enough, and that I couldn't keep up with the gadgets and the GPSes and the bikes and the shoes and the compression gear. Seriously, I already had waaaay too many visors.

And then, along came a surprise in the way of an invitation to join a long-established Northeast Ohio tri team that trains with the support of Spin Bike Shop in Lakewood and Second Sole in Rocky River. I had been fortunate enough to know a few of the team members from long ago. In fact, I had coveted a spot on this team since the mid-2000s because of the great respect I had for its members and two supporting sponsors. How could I say "no" to them now?

So I said "yes" - but with some trepidation. Would I go back to my old comparison-ing ways? Would I constantly feel like I wasn't worthy enough to be in the presence of my new team members? Would I get carried away trying to perform well and get on podiums to thank them for the support? Would I burn out from the stress of worrying over the stress of these things?

The answers to these questions came this past weekend.

Sick of training inside all winter, I made the decision - come hell or high water (coincidentally) - to support several of my teammates at an event this weekend, the "Forget the PR Mohican 50K" at Mohican State Park in Loudonville, Ohio, on Saturday. I drove down Saturday morning with my SSSMST teammate Kevin Krol. The goal was to do a short bike ride then jump on the 50K trail and run backwards from the finish line to meet up with two of our runners - Aaron Rood and Aaron Henely.

It was the first time this year I've actually felt warmth from the sun, and nature threw an amazing day at us (I'm told last year's race was miserably cold and rainy). Our ride went well, especially since it was the first time I've had a real riding partner in over two years, and, a week ago I was terrified of not being able to keep up with Krol (he is really fast). But Saturday morning, it was hard to find reason to worry about anything.

Then came the run. We changed into our running shoes, packed our pockets with essential nutrition items, and took off running.

With teammates Jen (with poster) and Mark (yes, that's a kilt)
All I can say is... Wow. By the time we found the Aarons, my appreciation for trail running was in full swing, and my mind's view of running had been permanently altered. We ran through rivers. We ran through rivers of MUD. I slipped. I tripped. I fell. I got covered with mud. I had scrapes and bruises. My shoes were soaked through. By the time we finished, there was mud in places that I never saw mud before (like, how did it get caked INSIDE my socks?). I had nearly vomited at the top of the steepest hill (because someone challenged me to RUN up it while everyone else walked). And I had also reached a new level of appreciation for beer and Pringles. My only regret is we didn't take a picture of our "after" and how much mud had latched onto us. In Krol's words: "I never saw clothes come out of the washer as dirty as they went in."

But most of all... the biggest pleasure came from knowing I had helped my teammates finish this grueling event. I was there to be their foot guide, their voice of motivation when their own inner voices betrayed them. And I understand now what it is to be part of a team (something I only ever experienced once before, in high school track). Although they were saying the thank-yous for saving them, I couldn't thank them enough - for saving ME.

And, as if that weren't enough, the next day, I learned what it was like to have training partners to get ME through a grueling day.. my first 100-mile bike ride since September 2012. Unlike Saturday, Sunday was somewhat ugly for anyone on two wheels. The wind was brutal and I certainly would have packed it in early if it hadn't been for Krol and teammate Anne Callahan. They met me about 25 miles into my ride and pulled me through wind that almost knocked me off my bike. By the time I was alone again, I only had about 35 miles to go - only about 13 of it into the wind. It was easily do-able, and even though I would have been happy with 90 miles, I managed the whole 100 because I was in such good spirits. It was my fastest ever first-100-of-the-year (surprising considering the wind). My favorite part of the ride was when another rider passed us, and we let him go... then I told Krol I wanted to catch the guy, and he responded the way any training partner would after trashing his legs fighting wind for 50 miles - he kicked it into high gear and dragged me at some ungodly speed until we caught and decisively overtook the guy.

And so I say it again.. Wow. It looks like 2014 is gonna be a great year - if it doesn't make me a faster biker and produce podium finishes, it certainly will be fun trying. And isn't that really what it's all about?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Injuries, Friends, and Injured Friends

The clocks went forward a couple weekends ago. It's usually my wake-up call for the upcoming season. We'll get more light in the evening hours and I can now think about getting my bike off the trainers and out to ride after work. With my an almost-two-year injury on the mend, I am once again struggling with something that has weighed heavily on me for the last five years of racing. How can I ever hope to compete with people who have all the time in the world to train when I have a nine-to-five job with no flexibility in my work hours?

Here's a quick update on my injury. A couple months ago, my physical therapist gave me the green light to put more stress on my hamstring tendon (it started out as more and harder miles on the treadmill as February has been mostly sub-15-degree days). I've also been increasing my time on the CompuTrainer and spending more time in the pool. Although there's still pain, my hamstring has responded much better than expected, and I've had several hard running workouts with no pain at all. The pain usually subsides before the next training session, but the tendon is still not at 100%. My orthopedic doctor recommended another PRP injection which I will got a few days ago - right before I left for a four-day vacation in Los Angeles.

Increased training time has also brought to light the limitations I now have in pursuing additional goals outside work and racing. It's more difficult than in the past because I've been focusing on my art during the injury recovery, and now I'm torn between wanting to make a go of it (showing/selling my work) and go back to racing Ironman. With a full-time job and trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep nightly, I can only expect about 5-6 hours on weekdays to spend on myself, my family, my social life. When I write it like that, it sounds like a lot of time, but when you add cooking, shopping, housekeeping, etc., and bad rush hours, that time disappears very quickly. Pop culture TV series have been right out - to my dismay.

Until now, most of those hours have been spent stressed out about what I cannot do - or what I didn't get done - and feeling like a failure for it. Recently I found myself being overly honest about it in social media.

Fortunately, I've made goo friendships over the years, and my stressed-out, injured plight turned out to be near and dear to another athlete I've known for many years - his name is Kevin. In his own state of injury, he reached out to me and it turns out that we have quite a bit in common: the same orthopedic doctor, the same physical therapist, the same sport (although he was a triathlete back in the days when it wasn't popular like it is now), and the same worries.

As good as my husband Jim is at helping me through these rough times, having a peer to discuss it with has eased my mind in a way that I never dreamed was possible. Here was someone I had always admired as an athlete - someone I deemed "one of the cool people" because he knew, trained, and raced with all the local heroes of our sport (I mostly trained alone with my self-deprecating thoughts). For the first time ever, I have been able to see myself through another athlete's eyes. I didn't think anyone noticed what I did or how I raced, and Kevin regarded me (ME?) as somewhat of a local hero. He was one of "those people I was always trying to impress" (for lack of a better way to say it). Brain-dumping our thoughts about racing on each other has resulted in an amazing transformation: his outlook on life (somewhat stress-free but not without a lot of work to get there) had begun to affect my own. And now I want to achieve a similar state of ease with who I was and where I was at this point in my life.

It doesn't (and won't) come without sacrifices. I know I have to make big changes in attitude and behavior - changes to be fair to everyone, especially myself. Setting lofty race goals in hopes of being noticed by others was something that only mattered in MY mind. People HAD noticed, but it didn't make me any happier. It was a behavior pattern that began in high school - trying to be a famous athlete and exceptional student so my parents/teachers/coaches/schoolmates would pay attention to me. It was also when the constant stress began.

Thirty years later, I'm still trying to be the best employee, the best web developer, the fastest triathlete, an accomplished artist, and the perfect wife. But all I am is the best at being stressed out and depressed. I've lost any concept of success. And this is what Kevin taught me (because he's been through it): I had to (truly) search my soul for why I couldn't be happy with myself no matter what I did or excelled at.

It came down to something I've known for years.. that I wanted people to notice. That I only judged myself through how I thought others viewed me. My accomplishments only mattered if other people acknowledged them.

So why is this realization different this time? Because this time, unlike the last many times, I have a working model of someone who's been through it and came out the other end with flying colors. Someone I admired, an equally-accomplished athlete. Someone who has the perspective I need. And I've started to let go of trying to impress people and stopped looking at myself through other people's eyes.

One of the first things I did was quit my triathlon team. I used to think being part of a team meant I had "arrived" - that I was "good enough" to be on a team. I wanted to perform well to make my teammates proud of me and thus be worth keeping me on the team. Being injured for a year made me feel I had failed at that too. I maintained the team's website to make up for it. But in the end, no one seemed to care either way and I found it nothing but frustrating. Since it didn't seem to matter if I were on the team or not, or doing the website or not, and knowing I couldn't get to the team's once-a-week rides because my job was on the other side of town, I decided I needed to stop feeling useless and just quit. I still feel sad about it, but I no longer feel stress from it. And I'll always be grateful for three years of support I got from Fleet Feet Sports and Bike Authority.

This  is obviously just the beginning. I still need to get healthy. I still need to learn how to leave work at work. I still need to learn how to say no to extra work and freelance web jobs. And I still need to decide if I want an art career more than racing long. I can't help that I will put my heart and soul into anything I decide, but at least I can be sure it's what I enjoy doing - and not because I need to prove anything.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

A Passion for Letterpress: Refurbishing a Century-old Machine

While in England for the 2013 ITU Age Group World Championship last year, Jim and I did our usual jaunt around London-town, especially to familiar spots to purchase gifts for family and friends. One of our favorite places is Fortnum & Mason, the 300-year-old department store on Piccadilly.

During our stroll around the store, we took in the London Design Festival where SORT (Society of Revisionist Printmakers) Design was demoing their Letterpress printing process. I took some pictures and was helped in typesetting my name to print a souvenir notebook with one of their presses. Here are some photos I took of the event - ink, paper, samples, type, and most importantly, the press - I can still smell the ink (one of my favorite smells in the whole world):

A few months ago, I hooked up with another printmaker on Tumblr, Antiquated Press. One of their posts was about restoring an old letterpress machine, and it lit a fire under me to finally do something fun and productive with the tiny letterpress printer - a Baltimore No. 9 - that my father-in-law gave me for Christmas a couple years ago. He found it at an auction, and knowing my passion for old-school printing/printmaking, thought it would be a nice antique for me to have (the seller included the press, the lead type, and the old roller, from circa the 1890s).

The first thing I had to do was find out if it was in good enough shape to ever print again. Close inspection revealed that indeed it was. Although it had been repainted, all the parts were in some semblance of working order except the ink roller - which had pretty much reached a state of petrification. (Seriously, when I started cleaning up parts, it broke off its metal shaft like chunks of volcanic rock.)

I enlisted my husband Jim to help -- because guys always know exactly how to play with machine parts and solvents (think WD-40). He helped me take the press completely apart, get rid of the rust, and clean up all the pieces. Steel wool was involved. Here are some photos of this process:

The deconstructed press:

The springs, screws, and roller hooks soaking in one of those solvents, something called "PB Blaster":

The chase - which was in very good shape and the inking plate which had dried ink from God-knows-what-century on it:

The body of the press after cleaning it up:

The super-clean inking plate after scraping ink off and and steel-wooling, and the other parts nicely de-rusted and cleaned:

The sorted type (don't even ask how long it took me to sort type with my old blurry eyes and a tweezer after it was delivered in a plastic baggie):

The final task would be to find or make a new roller. Thank heavens for e-bay. Would you believe that someone actually builds these things? I purchased a brand new roller for a Baltimore No. 9 press on e-bay. It had new trucks and rubber that didn't look shriveled up like an old tree.

New roller next to shaft of old roller (after carving off what was left of the old rubber):

And then came the final assembly. The only thing I was afraid of was if everything would actually fit together with the new roller. Much to my surprise, it fit like a dream. Here are two shots of the roller in different positions - on the inking plate and along the chase - perfectly flush:

Stay tuned to see what I manage to print with this thing. The only thing I can guarantee is that any prints will be rather tiny since the platen (the plate that holds the paper) is not much larger than a business card. But I just got my first delivery of letterpress ink, and a friend at the museum is digging up additional artifacts (printing blocks and tools for positioning the printing plate and type in the chase) from his old letterpress printing days.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Finding Inspiration while Running

No, this blog is not about my 2014 racing season. It's about finding inspiration for my art while [attempting] running. The other day, I dug out my trail shoes and went for a run after a soaking rain. The trail was lonely, but I was moved by all the footprints and bike tire prints in the mud, despite the bleak landscape created by winter rain in Cleveland. I tried to capture it in my latest print, titled "Scenes from the Towpath: Signs of Life" (this one is much bigger than all my others - it's 8 in x10 in, and it's the largest I've ever printed with my tiny etching press). It took about three evenings of work to produce - using an acrylic plate and only my drypoint needle:

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Hello 2014.

Meet my little etching press.
I've been dwelling on a new blog post for so long that I can't remember when my last one happened or what it was about. But I feel a brain-dump coming on so I'll just start writing.

Several times since creating this blog, my first post of the new year has been a recommitment to personal athletic goals. It usually comes after the realization that spending most of my time trying to please others (family, friends, peers, bosses) is a losing battle, that hard work rarely pays off in the workplace, and that I am crap at office politics (well,.. politics in general). After the realization, I crawl in a hole and bash myself to pieces, then crawl out, stand up (slowly), and recommit myself to a new season of running or triathlon. This has been the only thing that depends entirely on me.. and the one way for me to reap the benefits of goal-setting and hard work.

This year, part of me so desperately wants to write that athletic recommitment blog, but I can't. I can't put my "all" into training when I know damn well that my hamstring tendon is still injured. Lately I've had to remove myself from social media because most friends and those I follow are runners and triathletes. After reading and celebrating everyone else's successes for the last few months, I now find myself, not inspired by them, but feeling like a bigger loser, viewing my 2013 season as a huge fail, and declaring my 2014 season a failure before it even happens.

Before racing in London, I had the injury diagnosis. And after returning, I was forced to take time off and focus on healing. Then I survived a car accident. Then I survived buying a new car - which was, perhaps, more stressful than the accident. To avoid going insane, I started compulsively drawing again.

And then came an unexpected light at the end of the tunnel that had nothing to do with training. Somewhere in the mess of the interwebs, I landed upon several artists' websites describing intaglio printmaking with an acrylic plate. I was instantly hooked. My etching press (bought to expedite the process of making Christmas cards) would no longer have to sit in a corner unused for eleven months out of the year. Almost immediately, I was digging out tools, impulse-buying plastic plates and ink, and pulling my old printmaking studio books off the shelf.

This was mid-November - in the midst of the pre-holiday rush. Still hanging over my head was my yearly "other" creative endeavor: block-printing my 2013 card (which due to my procrastination, became its own fiasco of a time crunch). But, I don't f*ck with inspiration. Especially when it is artistic inspiration. I must drop everything and follow it.

And now, after a couple months, I am able to relax a bit and write about it.

For my first prints, I used random photographs I shot on my iPhone. And I couldn't even wait for the purchased materials to arrive. In desperation to get started, I scrounged up some old scraps of plexiglass from an old picture frame and secretly cut it into rectangles at 5:00 a.m. in the farthest corner of the basement to avoid waking up my husband Jim. (If you've ever scored and cut plexiglass, you already know it sounds like a gunshot.)

My first print was average at best, and more impulse purchases were required to find the right ink and all the right tools. I'm still developing my techniques, but I'm seeing improvement (there's that hard-work thing again...). In the even that I never race again, I hope I've found something that keeps me creatively and energetically engaged and has future development and growth potential.

2014 now seems like a new direction. I have some new art and I'm hopeful about my future artistic possibilities for the first time in about ten years. Creating stuff is giving me a sense of internal fulfillment, and if I can no longer compete at the level I'd like to as an athlete, all does not seem lost.

Anyway.. below are a few of the new intaglio prints - starting with the first one - made from a photo of my headlights while I was driving at night. The method I'm using is called "drypoint" - scratching the image into the plate directly instead of etching it with acid (and thus avoiding the hazardous-materials-in-the-house issue). In the future, I would like to switch the imagery and use some of my drawings for inspiration, but my photos are giving me ideas for now.

"Headlights on Boston Mills Road"
"Riverfront Trail Scene 2"
"Le Canal"
"Scenes from the Towpath I"
"Afternoon Near Corn Hill"

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

On Artistic Inspiration, H. R. Giger, and Dr. Seuss

For most of my life, I've intermittently asked myself the question: how can I make it as an artist? The answer always comes back quickly: I can't.

But before you string me up by my toes for being "negative," hear me out. I do NOT believe it's impossible to "make it" as an artist. As the eternal idealist, I feel quite quite the opposite - I believe that if I work hard enough, I actually COULD make it as an artist - and by "make it," I mean, generate enough income to be self-sufficient.

Unfortunately, defining success this way and making it a goal is self-defeating in a field as subjective as visual art (except in rare cases like that of Andy Warhol). For many artists, including me, expression comes from within and rarely serves the masses (again, with the exception of rare cases such as Michelangelo or Jacques-Louis David who produced incredible inspired commissioned work). And feel free to debate "what IS art?" for the rest of your years, but when it comes to creating art, let me simply quote Albert Pinkham Ryder: "The artist needs but a roof, a crust of bread, and his easel, and all the rest God gives him in abundance. He must live to paint and not paint to live."

Mind you, few artists have the ability to live according to Pinkham Ryder's ideal. My personal artistic inspiration is a very powerful feeling. It can make me deliriously happy. But sometimes I think it will drive me insane. If I deny it, I will start to feel sick. I won't be able to sleep. Or eat. Or focus on anything else. But then, it comes and goes. And when it goes, it leaves me with gobs of unfinished work, curled up in a heap on the floor, depressed, hating myself, crying, and confused. It's quite a vicious thing. Especially because I'm not even trying to make a living with my art.

Recently, I've been riding a new wave of inspiration - both to draw and to explore various printmaking techniques - notably, intaglio with plastic (acrylic) plates. I'll write about that in a subsequent blog. But what I really wanted to write about is my latest drawing and the story from which it came - involving a long-ago search for elusive inspiration.

It was back when I was in college - studying engineering. I was a die-hard sci-fi buff, and I saw a contest in a magazine to create an image for something called "the supreme intelligence" from the upcoming remake of "Invaders from Mars." Until that day (and well after, I might add), all of my art fit into the category of realism. But part of me longed to draw something mind-bogglingly creative. Something that had very little resemblance to earth or human or animal. You know, something like H. R. Giger's Alien... yes, that's it, I wanted to design something totally unique, yet horrific, and I was haunted by this one thought for many days.

Drawing a mental blank, I had almost completely given up hope while mulling it over before bed one night. That night, I had my scariest nightmare to this day. I was in a cave, and something terrifying crawled out of a hole in the ground in front of me. Something completely unreal and unearthly. And within a matter of seconds, this unfathomable horror was out of the ground and racing toward me at breakneck speed. It had no legs and I couldn't figure out how it moved forward, it just did. Unable to get away, I woke myself up instead - with a scream on my lips. I didn't sleep the rest of the night. And I chose never to draw it. I was too frightened.

Until this year.

My first attempt has already been posted (without explanation) in one of my drawing-a-day blogs, but here it is again. It was way too cartoony and almost comical - nothing like the horror in my dream. My physical therapist would describe it "like something from Dr. Seuss." (He says most of my drawings look like scary Dr. Seuss.)

This weekend, I tried to draw it for the second time. This one is a much more accurate depiction of it. I'm still baffled as to how it moved in the dream.. maybe I'll figure that out in another drawing:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Seven Weeks, Running is Go

Finishing (and winning) the
Sylvania Tri in 2010 may be the last
time I wasn't in pain running
It's been seven weeks since my PRP injection. During this time, the thing I've longed for most is the feeling I get when I'm out on the pavement with only my heartbeat, my running shoes, and my thoughts. I solve problems when I'm running. It's the only time I can let go of the damaging self-critic. It's the only time I can be myself without being terrified of what everyone else thinks. I need to run.

Unlike before, this time off from running has been one of inner reflection and fighting demons. Because I wasn't sure I would be able to run again. That fear was always there. What will I do if I can't run? I turned to introspective stream-of-consciousness drawing - the only other thing that gives me similar peace. But the fear continued. What will I do if I can't run? My physical therapist quoted the medical report ".. you have SEVERE tendinosis .. seriously NOT good" (as though I didn't fully grasp the severity of the injury). He said my hamstring tendon was "breaking down" - made it sound like it was actually disolving. The fear grew. Seriously. What. will. I. do. if. I. can't. run?

The fear made me ok with taking seven weeks off without a single step in a running gait. Sure, I was an emotional wreck (further compounded by a car accident). I became religious about my physical therapy. Heck, I became religious. I prayed. But I never stopped worrying. I frantically searched the internet for hamstring PRP success stories. Six weeks went by with not much improvement. And I had pretty much given up hope.

Then, in what seemed like an overnight miracle, this week the familiar always-there pain faded. And today I got the go-ahead. To run. It's been a rough year so I'm not celebrating just yet. But I will run. And it will not be far. It will not be fast. But there is running in my future. And unfinished business - with a finish line.

All I can do to explain is offer this (and stifle the tears):

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Rain is not Forever (Saved Again by Music)

Singer/songwriter Mark Dignam
at the Barking Spider Tavern
Once again, I shift gears to write about music. And once again, where I usually discuss running, swimming, biking, and less frequently, visual art and technology, writing about music will be very uncomfortable. It's not necessarily something want to do, but today, it's something I am inspired to do.

You may already know through social media that I've been muddling through a really bad year. A hamstring injury continues to threaten (and potentially end) my ability to train and compete in a sport that I not only love but one to which I've dedicated many many years. And in disaster-magnet fashion, a few weeks ago I was in a car accident. I was rear-ended by another driver, my 14-year-old car was totaled, I suffered additional injuries, and my emotional well-being, already hanging by a thread, was further pushed to the limit by being given only three days of a rental vehicle by the other driver's insurance company. Stressed out with new aches and pains, frantically searching for a new (or used) car or come up with alternate work transportation, I found myself crying a lot and drawing for mental relief (having lost the stress-reducing factor of running that I've so relied on in the past).

So what does this have to do with music, you ask? Well, although it shouldn't happen this way, last night I had to be reminded of one of the great uplifting, anxiety-relieving things in this world - something I can get lost in that gives me hope and makes me want to get up the next day - something that gives me an appreciation of beauty and good in the world. That thing is music.

The musician is Dublin-born, Pittsburg-based Mark Dignam. The first time I heard him was in 2010 supporting the Swell Season at The House of Blues in Cleveland. He has a storied history having grown up busking on the streets of Dublin with the likes of Glen Hansard. And like Hansard, he truly embodies the spirit of the singer-songwriter. If you want to know more, Google him like I did the first time I heard his music. I watched every video I could find... the more I found, the more I wanted to kick myself for not having heard of him earlier than 2010 (seriously, it was embarrassing). But the most amazing thing about Mark Dignam is that he IS his music. When he performs, it seems like every molecule of his body is belting out the song. (Note: I stole this description from my friend Andy - an artist and occasional musician - who seems to have made it his mission to turn me onto good music. In the past, he's described some of his favorite musicians in this way - they "are their music.")

Mark Dignam is one of those musicians. Watching and listening to him, I can't imagine he could ever have done anything else with his life. It's an all-incompassing talent that I would proverbially give an arm and a leg to have (especially in my art). It's a talent that rarely sees the light of day in this world - a world in which we have American Idols crammed down our throats and are force-fed monotonous pop "music" via uninspired corporate-owned radio stations.

The only thing about it that makes me sad is that Jim and I were two of only about ten people there to witness Mark's performance in Cleveland, a city that claims to have great cultural institutions. It would have been easy to pack the place - a small bar called the Barking Spider - because it was a free gig right smack in the middle of a big university (Case Western Reserve). Unfortunately (in fact, it was a damn shame) only a few people were there to see it. A very lucky few, but in the end, only a few.

I am sure Mark Dignam made fans out of everyone sitting in the audience last night. One customer - engaged in conversation with him when we arrived - had no idea he spent the better half of his time at the bar talking to the performer. Having to leave half way through the set, the still-shocked new fan walked up mid-gig and asked to buy Mark's one CD. (Note that upon finding out he brought only one CD to Cleveland, this was the one I had set my heart on leaving with.) My point is, it's hard not to be blown away seeing Mark Dignam live. And if you didn't already know about it, he will introduce you to the catharsis of the sing-along. I don't know about you, but it's hugely fun (and stress-busting) singing out loud with (not quite) a roomful of people.

As we did last night. And hopefully will again. And again.

So, because I sometimes make it my mission to turn people on to good music, I have to share some of it. The title of this post is a line from this, one of his more well-known songs, "Stormy Summer" (since I had a pretty bad summer, hearing this live was my personal catharsis). Here's the video I took of it (with his permission):

And here's another song from last night - this one is called "Build":

Friday, October 11, 2013

Daily Drawing - I'm Drawing Daily... Again

Here are some new daily drawings.

5 October 2013:

6 October 2013:

7 October 2013:

8 October 2013:

9 October 2013:

10 October 2013, I actually titled this one, "Negative Space":

That's all I got for today.

Friday, October 4, 2013

With Pain Comes New Drawings

Here are my latest two drawings - the first one was made on the airplane to London. The second one was made yesterday (because it was the first block of time I had to draw since getting back from London).