MJ Takes on a Hobby: Painting

Hey hey, it’s MJ, 

            So a continuation of my hobbies series because why not. I’m still pretty much quarantined and that means that I am crawling up the walls like I am in The Exorcist and I am bored. Now having a hobby doesn’t have to mean you are great at something and guess what we all have different skill level and styles so if you ain’t got nothin nice to say don’t day nothin at all. We all should live by the words of Thumper, seriously the world would be a much nicer place. Back to what this post is about though, I like art I always have and I spent a lot of time in classes doodling in the margins of my notebooks because I was bore listening to someone lecture about a variety of subjects in both high school and college so I would doodle. I like painting, I am not great at it but I like it, I want to acrylic pour because that has become SO popular in the last few years and it’s really cool but like such a waste of paint in my opinion. 

            I love art, art history if I could have done it for a living I would have majored in that in college, I love studying art and looking at what the old masters did. Impressionism and Post-Impressionism are my favorites and Vincent Van Gogh is my favorite painter him and Claude Monet, it’s the brush strokes. 

            I am not going to show all of my paintings, because I am not comfortable with that but I am trying to be more open about my creative endeavors and I don’t see that as a bad thing. 

            So I have a wall of painting above my desk and the older one (top left corner) is called “Garden of Whimsey” and it was done in 2017 when I started painting again after college, I was working on my masters at the time so my life was busy and I needed an outlet. I pulled it off the wall and the command strip stayed which is a pain but it was still sticky so here’s hoping that it doesn’t fall off the wall onto my desk. The next one I did was the bottom center and it’s called, “What of the Sea” also from 2017, I don’t know my motivations for paintings they just kind of happen and for the most part most of them are just a, I pick some colors and go to town with no plan. Like “Enchantments” which is the bottom left I didn’t have a plan. “Chaos” the large one on the right was another painting like that where I just went with a palette and went to town. “Say Amen” which is the top center was just me putting the song “Say Amen (Saturday Night)” by Panic At The Disco on repeat and painting what I felt. That one was in the middle of a depressive episode at the end of March 2018 so my head was not in a good place when I was working on that one.

            My mom has a bunch of my paintings which I am not going to share but I can still tell you what they are, my mom loves owls so I painted four owls from reference pictures, I had a vision of a tree in the fall and that also hangs in her bathroom, all of my paintings are in her bathroom which is a little weird but she loves them so I don’t mind. The other one is a winter scene that I wanted to do with alcohol and sharpie for the backdrop but that didn’t work out so I painted it, in again probably 2017. 

            Two more recent projects are a forest scene I painted last year, I am bad with depth so I don’t do a lot of nature scenes because depth in works of art is just not something I have ever mastered no matter how hard I try, I need to take a painting class; maybe after the rona is gone I can. I worked on this one for at least a week because I drew out my idea first and then attempted, is it perfect, no, but do I love it anyway? Yes. 

            This other one is my latest project and my mom has a larger version of it in her bathroom because I showed it to her and she said, ‘can I have it?’ my answer was no so I painted her one of her own. I love sunsets I always have and there are a lot of Facebook painting videos that inspired me to do this one. 

            I actually forgot about this one that I am going to talk about now, I love Mardi Gras masks, they have always been just so cool to me, I have several and my grad party from high school was Mardi Gras themed, I had 35 pounds of beads it was insanity and no one took them so I was left with 35 pounds of beads! Back to this painting though, I love mixed media but I don’t experiment with it like ever so putting a little bit of mixed media in this was a lot of fun. 

            Last set, I promise. I saw this “watercolor practice” on Pinterest and liked it enough that I did my own set. I’m not great with water colors but again, it was fun and for me that’s what art is. 

            Art is fun, it’s not supposed to be this serious thing that only certain people can do, anyone can make art; art is subjective what you like the next person may hate and that’s totally okay. I like art and there is a lot of art that I don’t like visually, but I can still respect the artistry of the person who created it; the time and effort that go into any piece of art any creation that involves creativity so don’t sit around and make fun of someone’s art because you might be dousing the spark of their creative fire and no one deserves to lose that spark. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post, have a good rest of the week!

            -MJ

MJ Takes on a Hobby: Quilting

Hey hey, it’s MJ,

            It’s August but let’s be honest with ourselves if you are like me you are still half in quarantine because the world is a crazy place and well, that’s where we are right now. Also this is my blog and I am going to do what I want because that’s what my life is right now. I have a number of hobbies (most of them I am not particularly great at but I try). My mom got me into quilting in probably 2013 so I have been doing it on and off since then, I am going to show some of my finished quilts and some of my current projects. They are pretty basic compared to some of the ones you can see at quilt shows or online that make me sad because I have a feeling I will never be able to recreate a photo in quilt form but guess what; that’s okay. I’m doing something I enjoy and that’s what hobbies are, they don’t have to be perfect you are just having fun. I only have one of my quilts in my apartment, aka I only have one completely completed that I have in my possession, four others went to three of my college roommates and one went to my best friend. She’s got another one showing up eventually (spoilers) but I have to tear out quite a bit of the bottom because on the long arm it went to heck. (I try really hard not to swear here, I do it in real life like all the time but I try not to when I am writing, whether that be blog posts or books.) 

            So quilting projects, this one sits on my bed right now and usually it’s just folded up and that puts creases in it so I have to unfold and refold like all the time because I don’t want those creases to become permanent. This one was my first quilt, half of it is hand sewn and it was a lot of scraps and fat quarters because at the time I was buying a lot of those and not a lot of yardage but I was proud of this when I was done. I call the border on this one “one and a half inch square hell” (that’s about the only time you will see me swear around here) because it was 464 one and a half inch squares that I sewed together and then used it at a border, like it looks cool but I am never and I repeat, never doing that again. 

            This next one I fondly call me “top in one night” quilt and I did it in the fall of 2014, the picture below is how it looked at the end of that night and then I had to change it because it wasn’t actually anywhere close to being even so I had to rip out and add to actually make the top that I have now, it’s still in my parent’s basement and I will finish it eventually but well, I just haven’t yet. I love it though, again scraps and fat quarters made up most of this one as well which at the time as a lot more my style but not so much anymore. 

            Vincent van Gogh is my favorite painter, the whole impressionist/post-impressionist era is my favorite era of art so when they came out with the van Gogh collection I had to have it, this is at the latest 2015 (I think) but it was this and the Iris painting in panel form, I have that one two I just haven’t done anything with it yet. I want to eventually hang this above my couch but here’s the thing, I have to finish it first and that clearly has not happened. 

            Last one that is anywhere close to being a full top, I am working on other projects but I am not going to show those yet (maybe next year or in a decade, who knows with my hobby schedule) but this one is one that I just finished putting this part of the top together last week of the week before, I got this is as a kit and it was just long strips and I cut them up and sewed them back together, it’s a cute little beach batik (ba-tee-k) (in case you don’t know how to pronounce it because I cannot spell it without having to Google it) theme and I had a lot of fun making a nice quick project out of this. Now I am just going to have to find the bordering materials and all that because fabric is still hard to find right now. 

            So I enjoy hobbies and I find something new to try pretty frequently but rarely share it so here’s one, MJ quilts. 

            I will see everyone later in the week with another post, I hope everyone has a great start to the week!

            -MJ 

What Do I Do for Fun?

Recently people have been asking me what I do for fun and in many cases I have stumbled over my words wondering which of my various hobbies would be socially acceptable for the situation. Most people look at me like I am crazy when I say I don’t drink because that seems to be a hobby that most people find acceptable, I come from a family where alcoholism is a very real thing and I don’t want to risk another facet of my already addictive personality becoming activated. Granted, I may have one drink once in a while but I don’t go to bars, I don’t enjoy parties where other people are drunk; I don’t even like drunk Snapchats and text messages.
Like I said, normally I just stare at the person and want to start screaming, “I don’t do anything fun I am not really a fun person to be around!” Because I would rather sit in my office, on my laptop, with my headphones on crafting a world out of thin air or getting so lost in watching YouTube videos that I lose hours on end unintentionally. I like spending time to be with just me, I don’t like big social gatherings, I don’t like crowds, and I do not really like interacting with people that I don’t know or don’t know very well. Yes, I do suffer for social anxiety and I know that; some days it takes me hours to even leave the house and then hours after I get home going over every conversation that I had while I was out and overthinking every moment of human contact I had coming up with things that I could have said differently or responses to questions that I could have had instead of staring blankly trying to think of an answer.

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