Life Gives You Lemons

Life gives you lemons - © R. Koleilat, 2007

Grab a cup of joe, people, this is a long one. If you have any complaints, let it be known that I blame Neda, Debi and Irene for this. Beverly a little bit too. But not Frances, or Fawzan. Well, maybe Fawzan a little.

I first started blogging a long, long, long time ago – last March in fact, so not long in the hours and days sense but in more esoteric ways. It was at the urging of hubby, financial wizard by day, watercolourist the rest of the time. He had been blogging himself for a while, partly to force himself into a discipline of creating works, whether sketches or full paintings, through this online artist diary.

I love what he does on his blog, he’s fearless about showing his work process, warts and all. He doesn’t fear criticism, and uses others’ input in a valuable, constructive manner. That’s admirable, considering how fragile artists’ egos are. Believe me, I know, because I have to deal with them not only in my family, but in my fledgling online gallery.

I hadn’t really done any blurfing* (thanks for that one, Julie!) prior to blogging myself, and didn’t really know what to expect. I certainly didn’t expect to connect (in all senses of the word) with such amazing, warm and wonderful, creative people so easily, so intimately, so rapidly. I’d read about how virtual reality is a space where anonymity is key, but what I’ve found is exactly the opposite: this is the one place where you choose to be yourself and you choose to show yourself. It is a different kind of reality, one not as encumbered by familial or social constraints, obligations and other ritual (although there is ritual involved, but that’s for some other post).

My blog was supposed to be a vehicle for helping me stretch out a little bit – I had started a newsletter for the gallery, but found it a little constraining: the format, the subjects that would be suitable, the style. Plus, to be honest, it wasn’t being read by that many, and with all the effort that went into it, I wanted more. I felt that there were so many interesting, little and big discoveries out there, a lot of enjoyable and silly/funny tidbits, not really suitable for a “serious” art website. I enjoy writing, and I enjoy the creative process of it all, and this was going to be a fun thing to try.

But most of all, I secretly wanted to emulate dear hubby, and find a way to force myself to get back to my own long-dormant, atrophied artistic self. Early on in this blog, I tried to get back to sketching and drawing, but found that whatever had been immobilizing me was not going to go away so easily. I really, really wanted a graphic for each post. I knew that this was the only way to have some discipline both in keeping a good-looking blog, and getting those creative juices flowing again. When I kicked dear ol’ sister out the blog window (so she can take flight by herself, not because I’m a meanie), I couldn’t rely on her bottomless trove of goodies anymore, so I had to find something quick and fairly presentable (I do have some standards).

Struggling with pen and paper was out of the question at that point, I would’ve had to run back to my old therapist to resolve that one and I wasn’t about to try and fix it this way. Not then, at least. And not before I win the lottery either. So I turned to digital art (with a small a, Irene).

And lo and behold, I found it! It being my little vacation, and my new doodling tool. Since I’d also like to do more design work – I’m tired of creating commercial/corporate logos, illos and designs for cheap-to-free for friends and acquaintances – this was also the perfect combo: exercise my digital design skills AND illustrate my posts.

Now you can go about your day, buoyed and enriched by this profoundly important bit of knowledge. There’s a lot more where that came from but I have to stop now. Be warned though, I’ll be picking this up again later this week, and giving you even more fascinating things to read. I need more tea now. Today is a coffee-free day for me. Endless source of compelling info, me.

* compound word of (pick one):
A) blah and smurfing
B) blue and morphing
C) block and turfing
D) blog and surfing


Sue O'Kieffe said...

the mint leaves are a nice contrast to the rest of the image, which is more illustrative. i also wanted to tell you (cuz it's been on my mind for a while) what great copy i think you write. it really is a gift!

Rima said...

Thanks, Sue - this kind of forum is quite freeing, isn't it, this ability we're finding to explore things out loud so to speak. After having written this today, I feel like I can take the step to get back to drawing without the digital crutch. For the next five minutes at the very least.

Julie said...

That is beautiful! That picture is so refreshing!

dianeclancy said...

yes - this is a pretty image ..

thanks for sharing this process ... very interesting. For me, this blogging with you guys has pushed me to get back to digitally creating so I have something to show every day.

I have lots of work on hand, but not 2 years worth for each day ... so I had to get cooking - and it has been fun!

thank you again!
~ Diane Clancy

Rima said...

I usually come up with these digital pieces in a couple of hours in the evening, and often post them the next day. Whatever the inspiration is, sometimes the image pushes me in a certain direction, sometimes I look for a specific visual. Whatever the case, this is helping me to get back to some kind of creative self-expression. A lot of people dismiss illustration as not really serious art, but you know, it's like doodling and making drafts, it just frees you to "see" things better. Besides, I loathe "serious" art.

Debi said...

Rima, honey, you are as refreshing as a whole Lemonade Stand!

I don't mind one bit being part of the blame for your creative juices (now you've got me doing it) flowing again.

Lovely illustration. And I'm with you -- I think the talent that goes into the just right illustration (such as yours) is underrated. Illustrations that go with text are like certain pictures taken of a vacation. By capturing that single second, the way the sun glints, they evoke the entire feeling.

Yours do that in spades.

Eleanor said...

I have never come across digital art before I starting blogging and came into contact with your community, but find it quite inspiring. In fact I have written my post today on something provoked by a picture of Sweet Irene's.

When I moved down the screen to read your blog I thought you were going to deal with something bad that was happening(life's 'lemons')but got quite a surprise when I saw the picture. It's as though it's not what happens, its how you deal with it. You get a bitter lemon and make a lovely civilised refreshing drink with it.

Rima said...

Thanks, Beverley - you are one smart cookie. The fact is that I was quite depressed yesterday, because of some really bad news. And I was thinking how unfair life can be sometimes, and how things can just blindside you. So the connection with "when life gives you lemons, etc..." did help me find some relief.

Frances said...

Lovely fresh picture - I have to go and get a drink now.
Love you Rima, you are one of the very best - sorry to hear you have had bad news.

Bobbie said...

Yes, it is nice to finally have a few minutes so you can sit down and twiddle with an image. The time just flies by.

I love the way you created a very painterly background, but the drink itself is in full photographic image. Very nice.

Rima said...

Thanks, Bobbie - but I guess I was being too subtle then. I did use an Artistic Filter in Photoshop on the drink, the Cutout option which I find gives photographs a kind of a 60s or 70s feel to them.

Fawzan Barrage said...

Lovely work my dear, really refreshing.

You give me too much credit for your late bloom. I did win your heart a LOOOOONG time ago. That was my best move ever.... The rest pales.

Neda said...

Speaking with some (sibling) authority, I have always believed in your creative genius. Your radiant and crisp illustration as well as your impeccable prose (and all the other wonderful qualities you have) make me proud to be your sister (even if I get blamed for everything ...I like playing the victim :)

Rima, at first, I thought it was a photograph until I saw your name underneath it! You've got to send it to Dad! C'est vraiment manifique. Bravo, ma cherie.

Neda said...

Is it Eleanor or Beverly? Or am I sooo jetlagged that I am really confused? Or is it earlt dementia?? Rima, help!!!

Sweet Irene said...

You are a wonderful digital artist/illustrator or whatever you want to be called, but you are an artist in the first place. You are truly inspiring and not only with your art, but with your words as well. You are such a generous person, it is such a pleasure to know you. There aren't many people around like you, Rima. You are a treasure!

Frances said...

It is Beverley, Neda.
Her daughter is Eleanor. Eleanor sometimes visits us and says hello, but generally it is Bev who blogs and joins in.

Rima said...

I'm all pink in the face with all those compliments. Stop already.

I did use a very lovely photograph for that drink from the image library at WetCanvas (they have zillions one can play around with). And other photographs for the background (that doesn't show very well, but I know it's a lemon tree). I'll be posting more on the few easy tricks I'm discovering on photoshop, like the transparency on the glass. So easy and so many possiblities with this trick. Stay tuned