Music

Cumbia y conejos

I went down a music rabbit hole yesterday that I think is worth mentioning.

While listening to the Spotify radio station of this song by Mexican Institute of Sound:

I came across this cumbia cover of “The Simpsons Theme” by Chicha Libre (a band I’ve never heard of before):

Which then led me to the artist’s profile on Spotify featuring their cover of Erik Satie’s “Gnosienne No.1”:

Which ultimately led me to a 2014 NPR interview with Eduardo Díaz, the Director of the Smithsonian Latino Center, after googling “the history of cumbia” out of curiosity.

I may have just toppled on this by accident, but I think I’m onto something big here, folks. May my cumbia rabbit hole continue…

Standard
drawing

Off to the post

Sharing has been tough. I’m not sure why. My anxiety is creeping up again as I write. But here goes.

My version of a post card. I was pleasantly surprised.

I sent a post card off to a friend today. She offered to send a drawing to anyone who wanted one. I signed myself up to receive and to give. I figured it would be good to swap art since I haven’t been drawing lately.

I designed her post card last week and sat down to draw it last night (which I’ll share once she receives it). Coincidentally, I received her card today: a drawing of a bottle of Cholula hot sauce. Brilliant.

And the best part? The “bonus content” she sent me. There’s something beautiful about insignificant sketches and color swatches; they’re my favorite part of drawing. Never mind the finished result. Show me the doodles of how you got there. My friend knows me well.

Thank you, L.E., for taking the time to draw and send these to me. It pushes me to keep going and to have fun with it—thank you.

Standard
quick write

Despues de tanto tiempo

Sin querer queriendo me reencontré con esta canción de McEnroe que antes escuchaba mucho. Acababa de regresar de caminar cuando decidí escuchar mi “Discover Weekly” playlist de Spotify cuando empezó a tocar.

Me topé con ella hace un año cuando escuchaba más música en español. Me encantaba (todavia me encanta) por la calma y el tono de voz del cantante Ricardo Lezon.

Cada vez que la escuchaba, me acordaba mucho de M. Ward y su vercion de “Let’s Dance.” Me imagino que es por la acústica de las dos canciones.

Se me había olvidado cuanto me gustaban. Aquí esta otra canción de McEnroe que es una de mis favoritas:

Standard
Insecurity

Shadow shows

I pictured myself underwater, the skies dark, as I swam toward something that I knew was an anchor. I reached for it and pulled myself toward it knowing, feeling as though it was the only thing I had left.

In these last two months, I have felt alone, sad, frustrated, full of grief. Each feeling adding on to the next, anger being the most recent. Even with things that I thought would excite me, like having time to draw, my motivation has been low. Everything feels pointless, meaningless almost.

I’ve tried for the last few weeks to keep things “light,” intentionally staying away from referring to the pandemic and sharing how it has been affecting me personally. It was my way of keeping things positive, a way of not adding another burden to whoever read my blog or came across my posts.

But the more I operated out of that mindset, the more I felt like a phony. It didn’t matter whether I shared somber or genuinely positive material, something was still getting in the way—it was my subconscious expectation to ignore the pain.

So, as a means to clear the air with myself, I recognize my need to be honest and acknowledge that sometimes that includes uncomfortable realities and contradicting sentiments. Moving forward, I will share stories and drawings from a place of permission. May I return to this page whenever I need reminding of that.

Playing with shadows.
Standard
Creative

The land of 100 mailers

It’s been a rough start to the week. I’ve been in heavy thinking mode these last couple of days and feeling what feels like grief? Music, family, and friends have been my consolation so far.

I took a long walk, talking to a friend as I did, and came home to the box of mailers that I ordered last week. I’ve been wanting to mail some of my sketchbook pages out to friends but didn’t have the right size of envelope nor the right kind.

So today they arrived, all 100 of them. My studio (the desk area in my bedroom) is now the Land of 100 Mailers. Let’s see where they’ll go.

Standard
Creative, drawing

“Can it be tomorrow already?”

I didn’t want to go to sleep last night because I was excited for today. What was today? An entire day free for creativity.

I didn’t end up getting much done, but it felt good to feel energized again, to just feel that surge. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good.

I read a little from Show Your Work!, took some notes (“The act of sharing is one of generosity—you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen”), and brewed my cup of coffee.

I had no plan for the day other than to make sure that I played with color and created something. The colors peach and red were on my mind when I awoke, so they became part of today’s palette.

I wanted to deviate from the usual watercolor drawings I do since I’ve been doing them for my live sessions on Instagram. I find myself getting bored with that approach, so I decided to play around a bit.

This was to change things up and remind myself that my sketchbook is just that, a sketchbook—a place that gives creative license to do whatever I feel like doing and the freedom to experiment.

Composure and restrictions are the last things I want coming from my sketchbook. I want my freedom to show. It’s meant to be messy.

Standard
collage

Dead men tell no tales

I thought I posted this on March 25th, but I guess it didn’t go through. Well, here goes:

Three weeks ago, Katherine and I stayed behind at the office to work on our presentations that were due the following week. To burn the midnight oil and keep on track, we’d call each other every now and then to see how we were doing.

Once 9:30 p.m. came around, I picked up the phone, dialed Katherine’s extension and, without greeting, said, “Man, working at the State House feels like Davy Jones’s locker.” We laughed. Because it was true.

As I said those words, I pictured the Flying Dutchman from Spongebob Squarepants hovering over the State House in his green menacing glow, as though holding us back from going home.

I took to making a rendition of it that night as a way to capture the moment. I added the flowers and wash of green this past weekend.

Standard
drawing, sketches

Don’t think, just draw

I didn’t wake up quite on time for Sketchbook Skool’s “Live Drawing Party” on Instagram this morning, but I did make time to draw something. I took a piece of card stock that was lying around in my room and, without thinking too much about it, decided to draw my succulent.

I followed the artist Koosje Koene’s lead in using big bold orange and red colors for my plant’s outline. I later added the patterned blue background for some needed contrast.

@sketchbookskool

I actually stole this idea from one of the Skool’s blog posts which I came across last night. I filled the white space in as I waited for my computer to download Adobe Lightroom.

The big takeaways for me in all of this were (1) to make sure that I draw at least once before my day starts, and (2) to not give it much thought.

Doing so gives me the chance to create whatever comes up, as opposed to thinking too much about it and waiting until the end of the day to create.

It felt good to have something drawn so early in the day, and by early I mean 11:30 a.m. It helped me feel a bit better. I got to make something beautiful, even if it was just for me.

Standard
Creativity, sketches

A ghoulish morning

I haven’t been writing much, but this last week I connected with people I haven’t seen in years. I’m talking close to seven years since I last saw some of them, some of who I never thought I’d be catching up with.

I may not have posted about these experiences, but I count this time spent with them as part of the creative process. Just as you let things simmer in order to intensify in flavor, so does conversation and interaction feed the work you’re doing, sometimes without even knowing it.

Talk is the exercise ground for writing. It is the way we learn about communication—what makes people interested, what makes them bored… Talk is a way to warm up for the big game—the hours you write alone with your pen and notebook.

Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones (84).

To keep the flow going, I’ve lined up a few more conversations for this week, mainly with other artists. I’m excited to see what comes of them.

Also, for kicks, here’s this morning ghoul in boots, inspired by an artist I once met in Chapultepec, MX. I felt like keeping the ghoulish theme going.

Inspired by @mcfly.
Standard