What’s talent, anyway?

I was kidnapped by a friend several times last week. Said friend mistreated me with ice creams, delicious lunchs, trips to Tarifa, dinners and beers. Somehow, I managed to go camping to the beach side with my best friends too. And along the way, I’ve been working out, reading like a mad woman, and unfortunately, I’ve been (I am) ill too.

Translation: I haven’t painted a thing. 

Do not fret, my friends. I made myself sit down this morning to start a new piece. However,  I am not happy at all with the sketch (thus, the lack of picture of it) and I was so incredibly frustrated after a few attempts that I decided to leave it until I was in a better frame of mind. See? This happens constantly to me. Insecurity takes a hold of me every time I start something new, because I believe I will never be able to transform my thoughts into something worth looking at. It’s only when I’m stubborn enough to overcome those initial doubts that I end up finishing what I’ve started.

For those of you who believe that painting is just second nature to some of us, that it doesn’t require dedication, patience and hard work, you’re completely and utterly wrong. Talent without a backup is wasted talent. Talent will get you nowhere if you rely exclusively on that, if you wait for it to give you the best of you. Talent is volatile and unstable. Haruki Murakami expressed what I’m trying to say brilliantly in Norwegian Wood, one of my favorite books:

“I know I have a pretty good sense for music, but she was better than me. I used to think it was such a waste! I thought, ‘If only she had started out with a good teacher and gotten the proper training, she’d be so much further along!’ But I was wrong about that. She was not the kind of child who could stand proper training. There just happen to be people like that. They’re blessed with this marvelous talent, but they can’t make the effort to systematize it. They end up squandering it in little bits and pieces. I’ve seen my share of people like that. At first you think they’re amazing. Like, they can sight-read some terrifically difficult piece and do a damn good job playing it all the way through. You see them do it, and you’re overwhelmed. you think, ‘I could never do that in a million years.’ But that’s as far as they go. They can’t take it any further. And why not? Because they won’t put in the effort. Because they haven’t had the discipline pounded into them. They’ve been spoiled. They have just enough talent so they’ve been able to play things well without any effort and they’ve had people telling them how great they are from the time they’re little, so hard work looks stupid to them. They’ll take some piece another kid has to work on for three weeks and polish it off in half the time, so the teacher figures they’ve put enough into it and lets them go to the next thing. And they do that in half the time and go on to the next piece. They never find out what it means to be hammered by the teacher; they lose out on a certain element required or character building. It’s a tragedy.”

So yes, I am not one of the talented kids that gets the easy approval by doing what feels good to them. I am a firm believer of the trial- error method and a constant participant of it. In truth, I haven’t studied anything related to art, I only went to painting classes when I was 10 years old (and didn’t last long in them) and I hadn’t had any contact with watercolors until 6 months ago. However, whatever comes out of this insanity of mine is not the result of talent. While painting, I have to fight my insecurities into submission. I have to do ad re-do sketches a hundred times. I spend hours just looking at what I’ve drawn or painted to decide if I actually like what I’ve created. It doesn’t come easy to me. I make it come.

I’ll leave you some pictures of the places I’ve been to lately. Hopefully, next time I’ll be sharing pictures of new paintings!

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“Newsfox” and “Mother of Notes” Soundtrack

Most of you won’t get what I’m posting here right now; it is what you would call a private joke between some friends and I. “Newsfox” is the much-hated nickname I gave to one of the guys a few months back for reasons that fall into our Confidentiality Clause Agreement – I wouldn’t mind sharing them with you all because it’s a pretty funny story, but I think he would retaliate somehow in the future if I do so and I don’t want to give him more ammo than he already has- and “Mother of Notes” is the one that I’ve been sporting since they decided to mess around with my notes, like I explained in another post a few months ago – although Newsfox started calling me “Molly” a few weeks ago and I’m nort entirely sure why…

Anyway, as much teasing as there is going on between the both of us, we have a kind of an unspoken agreement to pamper each other from time to time, so we can breathe a bit from the relentlessness of our borderline harassing banter. Last Friday, right after one of my exams, I went to a friend’s house where he was too drinking beers and watching a movie. At that view I made sure to let them know that I was hating them both for not having anything to do while I was stuck with college responsabilities. But Newsfox surprised me when he got his guitar and began playing “Silver Coin” (the last song in this post). Apparently, he had learnt how to play it in the past few weeks so he could show me before I leave to the south of Spain.

I am not someone who makes a habit of going up on a stage and sing about my inconditional love and loyalty to someone. But I do have a blog, and so far a few thousands have read the ramblings that I here write, so I decided to return the favour in front of a wider audience – and if I know him at all, I just turned this thing that we have going on into a challenge…

Newsfox, we have a soundtrack!

Won’t you give me something I need
Won’t you peel me off the street
Gonna wet my tongue
Spit me up and break me a fever
Give me something I can believe in
Give me something to walk me away
I’m a wasting time
And all in all a waste of a living
Waste of a living

Can’t you see me walking alone
I’ve been down to the horns and back
And I’m way too tired
Of blowing out on a burning candle
I got no money but I want you so
I got no money but I want you so oh

I’ve got so much I cannot handle
Cannot handle
I cannot handle

We are all just pissing around
Cutting loose in this fucking town
I aint coming back
I’ve got my ticket, onto the next one
I got no money but I want you so
I got no money but I want you so oh
And I want, and I want, and I want, and I want ya 

You’ve applied the pressure
To have me crystallized 
And you’ve got the faith
That I could bring paradise

I’ll forgive and forget
Before I’m paralyzed
Do I have to keep up the pace
To keep you satisfied?

Things have gotten closer to the sun
And I’ve done things in small doses
So don’t think that I’m pushing you away
When you’re the one that I’ve kept closest

You don’t move slow
Taking steps in my direction
The sound resounds, echo
Does it lessen your affection? No…

You say I’m foolish
For pushing this aside
But burn down our home
I won’t leave alive

Glaciers have melted to the sea
I wish the tide would take me over
I’ve been down on my knees
And you just keep on getting closer

Glaciers have melted to the sea
(Things have gotten closer to the sun)
I wish the tide would take me over
(And I’ve done things in small doses)
I’ve been down onto my knees
(So don’t think that I’m pushing you away)
And you just keep on getting closer
(When you’re the one that I’ve kept closest)

Go slow

Heard the rattle from the train
Sounds of a hundred people,
Maybe more
Cut through the ropes before you came
I had a dream that you were gone.

I’m in the days of throwing rocks
When I saw your picture on a silver coin
Stole a kiss through your golden locks
I had a dream that you were gone.
Woke up and you were gone

All this love has gone away
Cause I didn’t have the heart or strength to say
I’ll miss you when you’re gone
I’ll miss you when you’re gone
I’ll miss you when you’re gone
I’ll miss you when you’re gone

Heard the rattle from the chains
This goddamn room it gets so small sometimes
Found a drink and hit the shame                                                                                                 I had a dream that you were gone
Woke up and you were gone.

5 things closer to the definition of happiness.

  • Green tea in the morning. And in the afternoon. And in the evening. Several times. And then once more.

Tea time!

I have been shown the greatness of tea. I have struggled, I have tried to make my way out of this tea craziness that’s going around lately, but there’s only so much fight in me… My mother is a complete tea-freak, any kind at any time with no sugar and no milk – that would be tea blasphemy! My brother has green tea every morning. One of my friends is as addicted as I am to Starbucks Chai Tea Latte so he decided to begin buying that kind of tea. Now, in the event of a zombie apocalypse, he’d have a year’s supply of the goddamned thing! Another one of my friends is clinging to his homeland kind of tea as if it was his only british identity reminder. So I could safely say that my newly discovered love for tea (with no milk in it) has been an orchestrated plan, and that I had no say in it whatsoever. Tea has officially become a hipster thing.

  • Emails.

Lately I’m receiving loads and loads of emails, mostly spamming the hell out of me, but from time to time I also get these unexpected nice and sweet emails. Emails telling me not to lose my faith in humanity (literally). Emails with songs that speak of someone that I don’t recognize, but that they swear it’s supposed to be me. Emails with funny pictures and with embarrassing videos that give me too much power for my own liking. What can I say? I am a sucker for emails.

  • Sketching while watching a TV- Show.

I am getting into my last row of exams, so most of my day is spent on dwelling on the fact that I have to study and on the actual act of studying. It’s a very lonely task. So when the nighttime comes, I am out of my mind and I need to do something to make it stop reeling. But I don’t have much time because I have to go to bed relatively early in order to get up early aswell. So, I multitask. I have dinner while I am watching a TV-Show (now it’s the West Wing) and while at the same time I do some sketches on my brand new sketchbook! How do I pull it off? No idea – I am surprised that there’s no ketchup stain in any of my drawings. I can say without a doubt that this moment is the happiest moment of my day. I know there is no obligation waiting for me afterwards, I know I get to sleep and rest when I’m done and it’s nearly the only moment that I actually have to spend some quality time with my family. Bliss.

  • Kings of Leon.

I was way too late to this party. How I had never heard anything by them before is something that escapes my logic. I was at a friends’ house when I first heard “Sex on fire”, and I only paid attention to it because it said the word “sex” (sue me!). Now not only do I think that “Sex on fire” is not one of their best songs (I can’t understand why it is the most famous one… I guess sex is a very attracting advertising theme), but I also have their entire discography and know most of their lyrics. There’s actually a joke going around about my obsession with Kings of Leon and my friends have started communicating with me through lyrics from their songs. What they don’t seem to understand is that I’m not bothered by it, so the teasing loses its purpose.

  • Cheese. And pizza… with extra cheese.

cheese-pizza

Self-explanatory.

Weekend Recollection

It’s been a really weird weekend. A really violent-fun-nice-wannamurderyou kind of weekend. It’s been nice and fun because I had the opportunity to finally meet someone that I’ve come to really care for after a few years of Tumblr/Twitter/Facebook interaction. He’s a talented musician (my absolute favourite among his pieces is “The Departure”; you can listen to it here), a master of film criticism (here’s his website, although it’s in Spanish) and a good friend who understands me and the situations I usually go through because he has experienced them first, and knows better than anyone the prize that comes with frustation and failure when you know how to transform those feelings into art form. Nothing I could say about him would make him justice, so just click on the links above and let his brilliance do the talking.

It’s been a violent wannamurderyou kind of weekend because some things have happened that have made me stop believing in human race. Well, yeah, I am exaggerating, but the fact that I am incredibly disappointed in someone I never thought I would have a problem with remains. And because I am who I am, I have extrapolated my anger to everyone surrounding the offender (I’m as nice as I sound). Right now, I hope red wine and cheese are being placed on a tray so I can get bribed into forgiveness. And it will work because the way into any respectable woman’s heart is always red wine and cheese. If she doesn’t like either one of those things, run! She is not to be trusted.

Anyway, I have painted A LOT. Those of you who follow me on Facebook know it. I’ve been doing something slightly different, though. I’ve been focusing a bit more on male portraits because I want to master them before I start doing the more serious portraits I plan to do: real people portraits. And by real people I mean the people around me; family members, friends etc. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

I don’t want to finish this post without some sort of musical reference, without a soundtrack.  Somehow it’s easier for me to process certain events when there’s a song in my head portraying such events or my reactions towards them. What can I say? Sometimes I’m that melodramatic…

Single book of matches, gonna burn what’s standing in the way
Roaring down the mountain, now they’re calling on the fire brigade
Bury all the pictures and tell the kids that I’m ok
If I’m forgotten you’ll remember me for a day

I, I won’t ever be your cornerstone, I

All the black inside me is slowly seeping from the bone
Everything I cherished is slowly dying or it’s gone
Little shaking babies and drunkards seem to all agree
Once the show gets started it’s bound to be a sight to see

I won’t ever be your cornerstone
I don’t wanna be here holding on
 I won’t ever be your cornerstone, I

WATCH HER RUN, CAN YOU FEEL IT? 

 I won’t ever be your cornerstone
 I don’t wanna be here holding on
 I won’t ever be your cornerstone
 I don’t wanna be holding on

Late Weekend Recollection

I know, I’m nowhere to be found. I don’t update my blog like I used to and I haven’t painted anything in a while. Why? Life happened. I’ve been focusing more on my exams, and last weekend was also my favourite person’s birthday, so I was busy with family visits and gatherings. I wish I had something interesting to say, or some painting idea to share with all of you, but the truth is that I don’t. I could tell you about International Tax Law, or about Philosophy of Law, but I have a feeling that you might not find that thrilling at all! I can’t tease and embarrass my friends on my blog either, because they’re also struggling with real life obligations and the only time I had to actually go out a bit and enjoy myself was yesterday after the could-have-been-a-disaster-but-maybe-I-pulled-it-off  International Tax Law exam

Post exam celebration

So, as a way of compensation for my lack of eloquence right now, I am going to show you the song that has been in my head lately.

Like I said, last weekend was my brother’s birthday. I still owe him his present (I have NOT forgotten), but when I’m  on my exam period I have very little time to do anything besides wallowing in my pain and actually studying, so the only thing I could do for him was to help him (or should I rather say make him help me?) bake a NY Cheesecake to celebrate his new year of wisdom. Here are some pictures of both the baking process and the celebration.

Last week I also received the Agnes Cecile’s artwork that I ordered on Society6! I can’t wait to put it up on my wall. I am IN LOVE with it.

Having said all this, I promise I will try to send little “I am still alive” signs every now and then while my exam period is still going on!

xx

Email II

I didn’t know you then, but I sure as hell knew the signs of someone hurting and trying to put a brave face on. I’ve been there myself, you know that by  now. I sat there beside you for a few minutes not saying a word, not wanting to disturb the apparent peace that you were obtaining from venting on that little notepad of yours. I pretended that I was looking at my own notes, and I couldn’t help but notice you sheepishly looking at what I was studying. I guess you got way too curious, because you actually sat there reading them without realizing I was watching you with a smile on my face, and by the time you did notice I was way too amused to pretend I didn’t catch you. I thought you were going to say that you were sorry, that you hadn’t meant to pry or something inbetween those lines, but what you said surprised me and made me want to kneel in front of you and ask you to marry me (yeah I know, gross, right?). You told me that I was wrong, that Plato had never said that quote, that I was mistaking it for Aritotle and that it was a huge error for someone who is apparently studying philosophy. I swear, that was the moment when I vowed to myself that I was never going to get into any arguments with you. Who the hell says something like that right after crying and being absolutely vulnerable to a total stranger, possibly offending that said stranger or alienating him?

A fighter.

I know you well enough by now to know that arguing is your way to run away from your own insecurities. It’s your defence mechanism, and it was in overdrive when I first met you. I’m incredibly proud for having survived your wrath those first few months; you were unbelievably tireless, picking retorical fights whenever and wherever I took you. You argued about things you afterwards confessed to not having any idea, and still you left the poor bastards feeling like they had been emasculated by your reasoning. It was quite a show you pulled off at the parties you went to with me, and by being quite the verbal enemy of nearly anyone who was willing to talk to you, you made me and all of my friends fall unconditionaly in love with you (in a platonic way, obviously).

Why am I telling you this? Well, first of all I know about your email fetishsm. You love long and deep emails (and by deep I mean meaningful, pervert!), so I thought about pleasing your ego – or the lack of it for that matter-  a bit after the whatsapp conversation that we had against you a few nights ago. You know we were messing, and it was our own retalihation for having beaten our confidence with every statement you’ve made in the past few months. We were attacking you because we were defending what was left of our intelligence. Don’t flatter yourself, though.  Some of us were taking it easy because of your… condition (I still feel weird every time I mention it to you) and now you’re going to start having real mature conversations with us people who tend to confuse Plato quotes. Secondly, I feel like you need a reminder of how special you are. You don’t say it out loud, you don’t trust us with such information. But we’re not fools, and although you enjoy locking yourself up to paint and read literature of questionable reputation (and study, of course), we do know you. You’re hurting. I don’t know why, we don’t know why. But I know there is something in that beautiful head of yours -and yes, I said beautiful just to spite you-  that is making you a recluse. Our duty is to stop that from happening. You are well aware of that, that’s why you’re avoiding any whatsapp conversation we initiate. DO NOT DO THAT or we will be forced to invade your home and get you out of that artsy room of yours. You might not be hurting for the same reasons you were hurting the first time I talked to you (and if you are, I swear to god there will be hell to pay).  I believe you’re having an identity crisis of sorts. You’re quite the existentialist, eventhough you try to convince yourself of being a  nihilist. And I’m guessing that you loved that little philosophical reference and that you’re about to refute it by more philosophical stuff that you find on the internet and in the books that you have at home, but please that was not my intention! Don’t mold this email into your own battlefield.

You might not believe in it anymore. You might not aknowledge it to us, or even to yourself. You might be afraid of it. But you love us. And I (we) am (are) not afraid to tell you that I (we) love you, too. 

Let the people who are capable and brave enough to love you take care of you. Being vulnerable does not mean being weak, and getting help does not make you dependent because “need” is something that you’ve mastered to control, and so you’ve made sure that you don’t need any of us. So, in order for you to understand where we’re coming from, I’m going to talk about loyalty. Loyalty is the feeling of allegiance. In feudal society, loyalty was materialized in the obligations of a vassal to his liege lord. And while you’re no master to any of us (you’re only the Mother of Notes), we certainly do have obligations to fulfill where you are concerned. You are the one who constantly talks about responsabilty and the need for people to commit to what they say by logical following actions. Well, the logical course of action here is to make this little interventation so you can come back to us loyal vassals and put us out of our misery with your sharp tongue. We’re getting bored to death here, Mother of Notes! See? This is just another evidence that shows that your Aristotelian thesis about selfishness and altruism is right! We’re being selfish here by pursuing you!

So… pick up the f*cking phone right now!

[And so it ended. Like I said, I’m speechless. Emails like this one make me commensurably happier and with the permission of the author, I posted it here to… honestly, to brag a bit about the friends I have and to nurture my own ego! Sometimes we all need people to remind us that we’re not alone in whatever stupid situation that has us feeling a bit out of it.]

Email I

When I first laid eyes on you you were boringly taking notes. It was a few years ago, 3 maybe, and you were all focused on whatever area of law you were studying, with your hair up in a messy bun, not caring at all if it was neat or if you looked like a crazy person in need of a serious make over. You had no make up on from what I could tell, you weren’t wearing heals like some of the girls surrounding you and you weren’t looking up from what you were doing, apparently unbothered by the stares that you were obtaining from me and my friends from the table right across yours. I wanted to talk to you then, but I didn’t. And you became my enigma.

But I forgot about you, until a few months ago when you walked in the library area, a lot thinner and a lot messier than I remembered you. But what took me by surprise and made me want to jump and hug you and tell you that whatever was bothering you was going to be ok, were your eyes. I remembered your eyes from the last time I saw you because no one would ever forget something so expressive and pure. So beautiful. I know now that you hate that word, but it’s the truth. When I saw you for the second time though your eyes were screaming death and sadness, and I wondered if you’d let me make whatever was making you mourn go away. But then again, the pull I was feeling towards you was broken when I could sense the barriers and walls that you were wearing as protection like they had materialised in front of me. Do not bother me. Your body was screaming. So I didn’t. I just looked at you, daydreaming of things to tell you, about how old you were, what were you doing here and what was making you so miserable. This time you didn’t seem focused, and for sure you didn’t seem bored. You stared at your notes like they were written in some foreing language and looked at your phone every 5 minutes to put it away a second later with anger and distress. And after an hour of a fight against your will, you got up and took off like the place was in flames.

It was a friday morning when I first talked to you. You were in the hallway, looking down and writing furiously on a small notepad. I stopped in my tracks because I honestly didn’t know what to do, and I was fighting against myself wondering if approaching you was a very lame thing to do. But then you looked up, directly at me.  My expression must have given away what I thought the second I saw your mascara all over your face and your red eyes, because you tried to hide your face with your hair and pretend that you were invisible and that our eye encounter had never happened. I was not taking it this time. I sat beside you and felt you getting a few inches away from me. I asked if you were alright, and you said the biggest and fatest lie… and the only one I’ve heard you say since then:

“I’m fine”

[ All errors, spelling mistakes etc are entirely mine. I had to translate the email my friend sent me and I really tried my best, eventhough I still believe I didn’t capture the feelings and the ambience described by him on the original fragment that he emailed me. This is just the first part of the email. I thought it would be too much to put all in one post so I’m dividing it. He’s narrating how we met… and the reason behind the email is revealed in the second part. I’m just so extremely glad that I have the honor to be friends and be surrounded by amazing people like him… I’m so surprised by this, that for once, I’m actually speechless.]

The cold winds are rising

(yes, that was a reference to GoT)

I vowed to myself that I wasn’t going to let college make me a hostage of my own life. It had been that way for the past few years, and I can’t be that study machine that I used to be if that means that I have to lose my sanity in the process. So, I’m taking this studying phase incredibly calmed down, unbelivably rational. I’m not freaking out; I read, I study, I go out, I study some more,I indulge in some guilty pleasures that I’m far too embarassed to specify and I get out of the house craving some social interaction. Yeah, it sounds basic, but I didn’t use to do that when I was facing a huge load of exams coming my way. I wouldn’t get out of the house in a week, I would live on coffee and diet coke and at most I would allow myself to talk to one person in my life. I turned myself into a prisoner because I thought that way nothing would break my concentration, nothing would be able to erase whatever I had been memorising for the past few hours. I felt guilty otherwise. I felt guilty because I thought that way I was actually doing what was expected of me, and there was no chance that anyone would say that I hadn’t tried because I had turned down everything else in order to be that study machine that everyone used to be so in love  with.

Guilt used to fuel most of my actions.

Not all are flowers, rainbows and unicorns though. Of course I’m worried and a little stressed out. I have to admit that I am a controlling sadistic bitch when I’m memorising. I might turn into a psychopath aswell if anyone wrongly thinks that he/she is allowed to touch my beloved notes. Right now, my notes and me are the closest thing I have that looks remotedly like a relationship and I get incredibly possessive of them. My precious

But I’ve also found out that some people believe I’m incredibly funny when I’m put on the spot and that my way of dealing with pressure is adorable. Surely, those people suffer from some kind of undiagnosed brain damage, but I’m not going to be the one bursting their bubble. Their company is anchoring me to sanity and keeping me far far away from college madness. They protect me from the competitive aura, but don’t let me get distracted. At all. They are incredible that way.  I might be – I have no doubt I am – an amazing pain in the ass from time to time. However, they cut my bullshit pretty quickly. Too damned quickly for my own liking…

What can I say? Masochism is an important quality that I look for in my closest friends.

I’m sure I’ll get bullied for this post later… (Hey guys!) But, I couldn’t help myself after last night to write something like this, with a title like this. Not after the shit load of jokes that came my way comparing me to certain Game of Thrones characters…

Guys“, right?

The climb is all there is….