Recommendations: April 2021

Fiction

A Handful of Sky by Elly Bangs (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

A Stranger Goes Ashore by Adam R. Shannon (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Colors of the Immortal Palate by Caroline M. Yoachim (Uncanny Magazine)

Quintessence by Andrew Dykstal (Beneath Ceaseless Skies)

Sarcophagus by Ray Nayler (Clarkesworld Magazine)

That Boy in the Picture by Alex Sobel (Daily Science Fiction)

The Giant with No Heart in Her Body by Nike Sulway (Strange Horizons)

Where Oaken Hearts Do Gather by Sarah Pinsker (Uncanny Magazine)

Nonfiction

how come these ghosts is white? by Brandon Taylor (Substack)

Podcasts

Black Dice Society (Youtube)

Lingthusiasm #54: R and R-like sounds – Rhoticity (Youtube)

How I got into acrylic painting

I started painting with acrylics in October 2019. A few months earlier, an artist I followed on Youtube had gotten back into non-digital painting. I’d watched videos of people painting before, but for some reason, I was extremely interested this time and thought I’d try out some painting on my own.

I genuinely can’t remember if I had a particular reason for choosing acrylics over gouache or oil paints. I knew acrylics were cheaper and they didn’t need special things like oils did, and I also knew I didn’t like watercolors. I’m pretty sure I had no idea what gouache was at the time, either.

What I initially bought were a set of paintbrushes, a set of 10 small acrylic tubes of paint, and a pad of linen paper (specifically for acrylic paint). You can see my first ten attempts here:

10paintings

It was not as easy as I thought it would be, especially since I had no previous painting experience. I only started getting the hang of acrylics at the sixth painting – the one with the sunset and the clouds.

After I ran out of linen paper, I tried a couple of paintings on watercolor paper and learned that I don’t like the texture of watercolor paper for acrylic painting. Then I bought some canvas panels and discovered that there’s a reason you use acrylics on canvas and not paper. Canvas genuinely feels a lot better to paint on than paper does.

I’m really glad I thought about trying this out back in 2019. I’ve discovered a new hobby that I really like, and as a result I’ve gained an interest in art that I did not have previously, even though I’ve been drawing for most of my life.

The kind of art I want to make vs. the kind of art I like making

I’ve been an artist my whole life. Like a lot of kids, I started drawing as soon as I could hold a pencil. It was always drawing – never painting or crafting. Maybe it’s because it was easy and inexpensive – all I needed were pencils and paper. Those were always plentiful because of school, and I filled tons of notebooks (not sketchbooks) with my drawings.

Once I got proper sketchbooks (around age 12-13) I proceeded to also fill those with my drawings. They were never elaborate – usually character portraits and designs. I never really drew animals or landscapes or furniture/other objects. That was something to work on in the future, not the present.

In high school, I set up a list of goals I wanted to achieve. One of those was to be comfortable with my art skill by age 25. It was so far away at the time – I had years to work on my art! I’d surely be able to learn how to draw anything by age 25!

I turned 25 in mid-2019. Needless to say, I was not comfortable with my art skill at the time. I hadn’t improved as much as I wanted to. I couldn’t draw landscapes or machinery or the things I wanted to draw. In fact, I wasn’t particularly interested in drawing anymore.

Thankfully, I discovered acrylic painting a couple of months later. And then I discovered that I really like acrylic painting. I can paint landscapes and starscapes with relative ease! Those are things that would take me forever if I tried to draw them!

I’m actually enjoying myself when I’m painting, which was a thing that wasn’t happening when I was drawing. Years ago, I might have been upset by this. Now I understand that it really isn’t worth pursuing a hobby – a hobby! Not a job! – that isn’t bringing me any joy.

The art I wanted to make was not the same as the art I actually liked making.

Maybe I’ll come back to drawing sometime in the future. My interests and likes are fluid and have changed a lot over the past few years, and they’re sure to change in the next few. Maybe I’ll start over and actually learn the basics.

I’ve also found that this applied to my writing. When I was first starting out, I wanted to write all sorts of things! Then I actually tried writing in various genres, persons, etc. until I learned what I actually liked writing. I talked a little about this in a previous blog post.

I imagine everyone who’s ever done anything creative has realized this at some point.