art, body modification, tattoos

My Tattoos

My tattoos were incredibly important when I got them 15-20 years ago. I love them and have never regretted anything about them.

I think I made good choices that reflect my artistic vision, which is weird because I only dabbled a  little in art at the time and didn’t think I had a vision or style.
My artist who has done all but my very first tattoo which I got when I was 17, influnced me more than  anyone. Mind you, this is about my drawing style, not my painting style.I helped design them and actually drew some of them. All but one are abstract.


 they are still very important but I don’t feel the need to have them showing all the time or talk about them all the time the way I have in the past. Sometimes I dress, not on purpose, and wear my hair down,such that you can’t see any of them. I feel like I have a secret! Also, I wonder if people would treat me differently if they could see them.

People argue about who is the “owner” of the tattoo, or who is responsible for it. Tattoo artists help with the design, or do it entirely. They draw it and ink it on mimeograph paper. They’re making original pen and ink drawings that they color on the skin. If your tattooer is a good artist, you’re not just getting random marks on you’re getting original, custom art. The tattoo artists get paid for their artwork, like any successful artist. spend A LOT of time on anything that’s big or intricate or both. They usually take a picture to put in their portfolio. So, you could argue the artist gets the credit.

 But people who have gotten tattoos say that they helped design or gave picture to the artist. It’s their body, their  blood, their time sitting uncomfortably. I had do a lot of that, sitting on a chair with your body turned so that you can twist your arm backwards. Try sitting like that for hours. For a tattoo I have on my right calf, that goes from the middle of my foot up to my knee, all the way around. i had to stand with my knee bent on a chair seat and the other leg standing with my foot next to the chair.I was leaning on the back of the chair. I was in that position for 4 hours (with short breaks to smoke pot) with blood running down my leg.that might not seem like much to some people and could see remarkable to some. 

Either way, you can see why the person getting the tattoo could see it as *their* tattoo. I think there’s some truth in both.
There was a brief period of time that I was incarcerated. They took everything away from me, but I still had my tattoos. They were my art, clothing that was part of my body. I could run my fingers over them and feeling them slightly, here and there. I could run my eyes over them and tap into a thousand memories.

Some of them look like armor and they all feel like that. I put thousands into paying for them. That was when I was working so it was the sweat of my brow. My husband supports me now (wonderful man that he is), so I don’t feel like any of our household income is 100% mine.

Because I paid for all the tattoos with money I earned, when I was working, it is very important to me, sincebe because of that, they belong to me and me alone.

I love the permanency. Most people are scared of it. I want to stay true to myself. The tattoos force me to be.

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good times

today I was going through a big pile of stuff that i found in a box in a mess, lol, and I saw a little thank you note from my gramma for a gift I gave her. there was a letter inside the card but I couldn’t handle reading it.

the main point of this is the card itself. it’s just a piece of folded watercolor paper. but my gramma was a professional painter, so I knew it was an exciting find. she had written,on the back, in perfect printing, “original watercolor by Ruth Mabie” the title is, “spotted adder’s tongue.”

the painting is a delicate yellow flower with beautifully shaded leaves and stem. it was cool to find the painting, but to see it again now that I can paint, is pretty amazing.

I can understand how she made this part or that. I can understand why the composition is the way it is, and I can identify the colors…

I can remember eating my gramma’s berry pie (omg) and watching her paint.

good times.

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new technique practice

new technique test

this monstrosity is another ultra-detailed drawing in my moleskeine journal (anybody wanna buy a journal with several epic drawings and some ravings of a mad woman?? lol).

i don’t like this and the only reason i’m posting it is because my husband told me i had to, considering how long i spent on it. hehe

the problem is that this happened from a little doodle i didn’t expect anything from. the composition is crap because i didn’t plan it from the start. the colors are nice, the detail is pretty impressive, but it’s just a mess of squiggles to boggle the eyes.

there is no optical illusion or eye candy. the longer i drew, the more i could see that i could have made it work, but didn’t.

i’ve been mulling over some really tough stuff from my past recently. i think it’s memories i need to examine, but i don’t want to and i don’t like it. i have to come to terms with some facts of life and move past them. i’m clinging to past traumas. of course they never go away entirely, but after a couple decades of talk therapy i’ve figured out that some things have to be dragged out of the shadows and explored to ever be able to leave them in the past. i’ve succeed with that idea on several things.

this one hurts like hell but i’ll never heal if i don’t tackle this issue. after having a disturbing talk with my dad i started this drawing. all the time i was drawing this i was thinking about it all, intensely. working on the tiny details allowed me to do something that became almost muscle memory since i’d been doing them so long. i drew and i could focus on thinking.

i worked somethings out and when the drawing was finished i could set it aside temporarily so as not to be overwhelmed by emotional turmoil and was left with a very haphazard drawing.

i don’t think of it as a waste of time, i think it let me doing some growing without the fear and anxiety that usually takes over and keep that from happening. i like that i did it in my journal. it seems more like a journal entry than a piece of art.

i don’t know where i’ll go from here. i might start another tricky drawing to work on for hours, just for the therapy. it makes me feel good to see the journal get fat with pages of squirmy detail.