darker grass

I was ten when ET came out. Unequivocally I thought Elliott should have gone with the aliens, had no hesitation about the idea of leaving family and world behind. Two years later, I was appalled Tom Hanks didn’t swim away with Darryl Hannah at the end of Splash. Into the unknown with a girl!

Maybe all of my generation’s teenagers felt alone and different, but I remember watching the couples easily making and breaking and remaking like interchangeable pieces of a simple jigsaw. And feeling like a piece from a different type of puzzle altogether.

I spent too much time with my own thoughts, and smoking weed probably didn’t help that, but eventually found my own way. There was a long planned but never started picture idea in my early twenties. A wild lone wolf me following a harsh and isolated path through the night, pausing to look in the window of a bright and warm house, pausing to look at a mirror self inside. A self connected to a family, peering out at the darker path.

Looking back at some of the things that darker self did, taking social risks I couldn’t imagine now. Loving going to parties where I didn’t know anyone so I could be free of worrying what people thought. Moving to another city not knowing a single person. That me was fearless, but often very lonely.

Two decades later I’m inside that warm house, a piece in my own puzzle connected with family and purpose, wondering where the hell that guy outside would have finished up. Watching movies with themes of alienation, and hoping they’ll have a happy ending.

“muse x”

There’s no irony in a picture about neglecting my drawing to work on some coding projects, being delayed by working on some coding projects…

But that is launched and this picture finished. I did debate a little about it being super self-referential, and even more about whether I could still use a nude woman to symbolise creativity, but if you can’t gratify yourself on an anonymous blog there’s no hope!

The colours are from the web project, and the central idea is a reversal of this one about giving up on code. The candle comes from a long time concept of altars to things I thought I wanted, and the one below in particular after coming back from my first big overseas jaunt, lighting candles to make choices about the future. From way back in 1996, maybe not safe for work!

I hated it as a drawing at different points, the anatomy of the figure itself, some terrible shading before it got slathered with blue ink, and in the end the thing I like most is the bottle… but it was good to try some new things out, mainly bright colour!

Drawing had better watch out, I love code.

Original rough with extra wheat!

“new juggler”

I was looking to draw something a bit lighter in tone, and had been wanting to do an update of a very old drawing for a while…

One of the role playing games I played back in the day was an Australian superheroic setting – Super Squadron! In a great campaign run by Mike (hi!) I played an acrobatic character “The Juggler” who had a frog sidekick. There was a luck rule that if you rolled triple 6 you would hit no matter what. During a fight we were losing, the frog attacked, rolled the triple and knocked out the bad guy!

I’m a bit unconvinced by this drawing. Been sinking my creative juices and spare time into a coding project, and getting a bit existential about drawing… “why am I doing it?” The deep / unhappy pictures answer their own question, but the fun ones feel a bit pointless. Doing some life drawing again and getting the anatomy less wonky might help too!

The raw drawing

The original, from back in 2001!

“untitled #43”

For what was supposed to be a quick sketch before bed to remember an idea, it turned out surprisingly well! An accidental cover page for the next journal, but couldn’t think of a title that wasn’t trite.

Musing on the feeling that stress / reflux / sleep deprivation was degrading my mental competence. A slightly less super-heroic pose would have been good…

“canopic dolls”

Was a fun family project! I bought both the girls a set, and taught them how to use a spray can in the backyard. They finished theirs pretty quickly, but I got nervous about “wrecking” mine and kept procrastinating. The long weekend just been I finally had a crack. The paint marker was a little crude, and it probably would have been less human-centric to have the urns in size order… guts, brains, heart then bladder… but it was satisfying to complete.

Do I need to explain it? Egyptian canopic jars × Russian matryoshka dolls + cytotoxicity.

volume 2

Passed cystoscopy no 9 today. After last year’s shenanigans I was a little nervous.

My file is now so fat it has run to a second volume…

unfinished business

Was putting a birthday present to use, a big folder to store old drawings more delicately than in the shed, and was looking at some of those drawings. Some good and bad, some pretty wacky, and a few unfinished.

This one was a cracker, all about the rawness and uncertainty of trying to find love on the Melbourne nightclub scene in the late 90s. It got derailed by the hand. I couldn’t get it right, drew and redrew it till the paper got rough. Even took some reference shots back in the day when you had to get them developed and printed. Eventually I found love and moved on.

It was in a brief phase of large works on paper, and I love the fluidity of the big pencil strokes, but most of them didn’t get finished. Elaborate and labour intensive, and eventually too separated by time from their inspiration.

I also forgot to give a woo hoo when I posted that last picture, it was post number 100. Woo hoo!

balance #17

balance 17

So I broke my sleep.

In the last couple of years I’d been putting some serious cracks in it, stress waking me up in the middle of the night. Over time it turned into reverse insomnia, falling asleep within minutes at the start of the night, but waking up and not being able to get back to sleep. 5am was workable, grinds you down but you can function. As it crept earlier, to 4am, to 3am, it got harder.

In contrast, my work life just got better and better. I built good relationships, particularly with my boss, was working on some interesting projects. Over the Christmas break I caught up on sleep, really unwound, was looking forward to going back to the quietest time of the working year.

Second night after going back I woke up at 1am after an hour or so of sleep. And went to work. And knew I had to do something about it.

Temazepan. In the end I think it was a great placebo, was a security blanket to help me get over the anxiety about sleep itself. The directions said to make sure to be in bed within ten minutes after taking it… I was often awake reading for an hour or so afterwards.

The good news is I’m mostly over it. Exhaustion was one of the reasons for the lack of drawings. The other is teaching myself javascript to build a website mapping beer flavours. It’s still a bit buggy in parts, but aren’t we all.

balance #17 - bonus drawing

Tucked in

2018 goals

The last one was a great visualisation, so this is a bit of a reboot with a reason, with a central goal to tie it together.

Leaving off the obvious, like being a good husband and father(!), and passing all my tests…


An overdue reminder to myself that there is no tail to catch.

Back in the day, in work and sometimes in life, there were times when I would catch up. Finish all my jobs and reflect. Maybe even prepare and look ahead. I need to stop looking for that end, that pause. Need to work the process not the task, like that old cliche, the journey not the destination.

Just have to make sure there are rest breaks along the way, if not toilet breaks overnight.