Sunday, January 29, 2012

On a boat with a paddle

My birthday turned out to be a lot better than expected.  The day started off like any other day: I went to class followed by lab followed by gym.  The gym was the first place where my expectations were overcome.  To my surprise, I ran the longest and furthest I have every run before.  A pleasant surprise.  From there, I got ready for the planned festivities, which thanks to my roommate, was a sushi and candy sushi themed dinner party.  Each guest brought an ingredient for either candy sushi or real sushi, and we all proceeded to make some of the most delicious sushi I have ever had (and I did try an excessive amount).  Sushi was followed by Apples to Apples making the night complete.  Just another reminder that expectations can be exceeded and that expectations in general are not the best predictor of an outcome.

This year was the first year that I celebrated my birthday without my parents, which made it difficult.  Even though my parents weren't present, they sent me a bouquet of flowers in the mail all the way from New Jersey (something they get me every year for my birthday).

The card sent with the flowers brought tears to my eyes:

"Life doesn't always come with a road map,
Hope you always enjoy the ride....
.... and you never forget your way home."

It just reminded me that no matter where I am, I will always have a home where my family is and that I still have people that care about me.  Home is where the heart is, and although my heart is both here and in New Jersey, a part of me is still at home with my family.

Lastly, my roommate bought me a book on sketching as a gift.  I am very excited to open it and hopefully learn how to improve my sketches.  Below is a sketch I did a while back.  I was at a park and attempted to sketch the scene, but it did not come out as I had hoped (this book on sketching will hopefully help with that in the future).  I added the boat and paddles: this was my idea of being on a boat without a paddle.  I sketched this at a time where I felt lost.  I still feel lost at times, but I no longer think that I am on a boat without a paddle.  I'm on a boat and have paddles, but I do not know exactly where I'm going.  For this, I have time.

Once again, I am grateful for my friends and family for making my birthday so special!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sweet 23

In 24 hours, I will be turning 23.  It sounds pretty insignificant to most, but for some undetermined reason this year is hitting me pretty hard.  Turning 19 lead to the last year where I could blame my reckless behavior on being a teenager without any inhibitions.  Turning 20 meant that I had an entirely new decade to explore.  Turning 21, for the obvious reasons at the time, was an exciting birthday and was followed by an exhilarating year.  Turning 22 meant that I could finally say I was a year older than the young 21.  And now 23....

I have been dwelling on the decisions I have made and the things I have done in the last 22 years and nothing strikes me as great.  My accomplishments are not as grand and as high in number as I thought they would be. At 23 (at least almost), I feel old.  I cannot quite put my finger on why it is that I feel this way, but I have an inkling that my expectations of myself have clouded reality.  Growing up, I assumed I would get my Bachelor's degree from a prestigious university, travel the world, discover myself, find a well-paying job, meet my soul mate, start a family, and embark on "the adventure".  So far, I have managed to receive my Bachelor's degree and have slowly begun to discover who I truly am.  Not too shabby, but my expectations have gotten the best of me.  My plans have changed quite a bit in the last 5 months.  These alternations to the "plan" have caused me to reevaluate my goals and what it is that I truly want.  I feel like I have spent the last 22 years on a roller coaster that never stops.  I have taken a number of things for granted and have gotten lost on numerous occasions.  Twenty-three....

A majority of the time, I feel like my doings have not amounted to anything significant.  I forget to consider that I have years upon years to do all of the things that I have planned (and a number of things I have not planned).  Up until a few months ago, I had no idea what sketching and painting were all about.  I was not aware of the fact that there was more to life than science and studying.  Now I lead a duel life.  A life majorly devoted to sketching and painting, and to a smaller extent science.  These two different aspects have melted together.  The sketch below displays these two counterparts in my life.  A double-helical strand of DNA separates the two halves with science on the left and art/photography on the right.

I hope to find the perfect balance in art and science, joy and sadness, confidence and insecurity.  And even though I currently have this undying feeling that I have reached the pinnacle of my life and am on a downward slope, things can only get better from here on out.  I have all of the time in the world.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A new canvas

It is exactly midnight as I start writing this post - I should most definitely be sleeping as I have an early class tomorrow morning.  I just finished a painting, one that I am very proud of.  A picture of it will follow soon.  I am grasping new techniques quite rapidly, and each new painting gives me more confidence to continue on this painting adventure.

As I have delved into painting, I have, unfortunately, almost completely stopped sketching.  I have never really explored painting in depth and have, therefore, found it more exciting than sketching at the moment.  I still have a number of sketches I have not posted yet.  Below is one of those sketches.

I drew this while thinking of my brother.  As kids, him and I used to play badminton in the backyard for hours until it was dark and we could no longer see the birdie.  My brother and I have always been very close.  Upon graduating from high school, he became a personal trainer and went to college full-time.  He has now graduated from Rutgers University a semester early, and I couldn't be prouder.  My brother has now found himself on a very different journey compared to my own, but an exciting journey nevertheless.  I worry about him more than he knows, and hope that he continues on a path best for him.  

A long journey lies ahead for both him and I, but this period in our lives gives us an opportunity to really discover ourselves and who we really are.  I have been thinking about the past quite a bit in the last few weeks.  With the help of some pretty amazing people, I have come to terms with my past and understand that this past is not truly mine.  Today is what I have.  And then tomorrow followed by the day after that.  

I am now lucky enough to be able to document this journey daily in a journal given to me by a close friend.  This journal has become a new canvas for sharing my thoughts using words instead of sketches and paintings.

I leave you with a quote I found on a friend's blog.  It's beautiful.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

To a new year

It's a new year.  It seems that a lot has changed in the last few weeks and I couldn't be happier.  I feel like I have grown in more than one way, and these changes have really inspired a whole new me.  I am finally completely comfortable in my own skin, and have set new goals for myself that I intend to see all the way through.  I found this secret on another blog, and it just resonated with me.  I don't feel like I have lost anything, and would rather replace losses with changes.

Below is a sketch from almost two months ago.  It is of the window in my room adjacent to my bed.  In addition to the window, I sketched a full cup and a cup half empty (could be seen as a cup half full, but to me I saw a cup half empty).  I can finally say that my cup is full to the brim.

I have also decided to post some of my paintings.  I don't consider my first painting the best work of art, but it was a good start.  I was watching a movie where the film captured the moon illuminating some trees in the middle of the night.  This movie inspired me to paint something like that.

I then decided to paint a rendition of another painting for a friend.  I think this one turned out much better.  The sky is my favorite part.  I have found that painting is very relaxing and stress-relieving.  Sharing my artwork with my family and friends and seeing their reactions makes me so ridiculously happy.

I hope to continue sketching and painting in my free time.  I have a feeling that 2012 will be full of surprises, both good and bad, and I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

And the real journey has begun

As of tomorrow, I will have survived my first semester at Dartmouth.  It's been both the most stressful and most exciting time in my life.  Once again I plan on making my way home, and I look forward to spending the next two or so weeks lounging around my house.  I have no expectations going into this, but I do hope to get some rest.  

It's been a long journey these past four months, and I know that I still have quite a bit more to go.  I have a feeling that I have already learned more in these four months than I have learned in the last 22 years of my life.  This voyage is nowhere near over, and I still have plenty of time and opportunity to go down many different paths.  The sketch below is a symbol of my journey.  There is a path that I initially set out to follow while being here, but there is a good chance that a different road will be chosen.  

There comes a time where one must chose an altered path no matter how scary it may seem.  I don't feel obligated, but I do feel that it is important to explore the unknown.  I feel that my journey is evolving and changing in ways I never would have expected.  The idea itself gives me chills, but I cannot wait to lead myself down this unfamiliar road.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

If I'm going to run, I may as well leap

I had been thinking about finger and foot prints (and how we all leave a piece of ourselves on everything we touch) and decided to sketch a montage of foot/shoe prints.  I find it pretty amazing that at one point millions of years ago dinosaurs and various extinct creatures were out and about living their lives all over the world including the very place I am sitting right now.  Our planet has evolved quite a bit since then; however, these ancient creatures were able to leave their footprints behind for us to now marvel at.  During their time, they would never have guessed that they would be studied and admired the way they are today.  Dinosaurs have made quite an impression on history.

One day I hope to make such a permanent impression - not necessarily on the world.  I would be content with just one person having a lasting memory of me and of the goals I have set for myself and hopefully accomplished.  I would like to look back and know that I have been the person I knew I could be and have no regrets.  This sketch attempts to convey these thoughts.  One large leap for me is just another small step for mankind.  Nevertheless, I hope to be a part of that step.

Monday, December 5, 2011

"I get by with a little help from my friends."

For those of you who know me, I don't really need to go into detail on my deep love for pigs.  For those of you reading my blog for the first time, I have an obsession..... with pigs!  Most people see a pig as just another filthy animal.  Well I personally do not agree, and think that they are the cutest living creatures on the planet.  If it were up to me, I would have my very own pig as a pet/best friend.  This particular sketch puts my obsession into perspective:

It is a sketch of my hand, a hand of a very close friend (nobody in particular), and my very best friend, Mr. Pig.  The hands are centered around a circular mirror, which to me signifies the intimacy and closeness hoped for in an everlasting friendship.  I have always wanted a friendship like this, but have found that truly caring and giving friends are much more difficult to come by.  One of my main objectives while in New Hampshire is to form bonds that last a lifetime with amazing people who are good down to the bone.

And now I leave you with the most adorable picture you have probably ever seen:

Teacup Pigs!