I’m back!


I know it’s been ages since I last posted anything here. I’ve been very busy with real life, and I feel like that’s the understatement of the year. I moved to Chicago for work at the beginning of the year, and a few months ago I moved back to Spain to finish some studies that I still had to put an end to. I’ve met a lot of new people, some of them have impacted me in ways I didn’t expect and can’t even possibly explain, as I’m still trying to understand myself. I’ve seen beautiful places and landscapes, I’ve spoken different languages with people from all over the world and, sadly, I’ve also taken a break from painting. I never meant for it to happen, but I guess sometimes we get caught on routines and feelings that don’t let us fully evolve. I was stuck for a long time, and then I was just extremely busy. Either way, my need to create never fully stopped as I did some sketches here and there when I was traveling, but nothing too special or worth sharing.

But now I’m back. What moved me to paint again? I have no idea. A pile of things, I guess. New feelings, new living arrangements… but still the same coping mechanism: art. It’s comforting to know that there’s a blank canvas there waiting for you to bring it to life, depending solely on you to be something.

So, to familiarize myself again with watercolors I started by playing around with this little woman figure study.

Girl Study

 After I got a little braver -and messed up some other paintings- I decided to go hard or go home, so I brought out the biggest watercolor paper that I had and started painting on it. I began feeling utterly insecure (shocker) and at first the monsters in my head were impelling me to quit, to stop trying because there was no helping it; I was miserably failing. I talked about talent in the last post and how I have to fight my insecurities into submission while creating something. I think I forgot about this part of the process because I wasn’t ready for it, I wasn’t ready to put up a fight. But I guess my stubbornness won the battle anyway, because I did push through and, eventhough it’s not finished yet, it’s definitely moving forward. (Sorry about the quality of the pictures, they were taken with my phone. I’ll try to steal my brother’s camera next time)

I still have a lot to work on, but I’m happy about having my inspiration – and the time to take advantage of it- back.

I hope it lasts!

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!

“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.