The Starting Line

I still have neuropathy in my hands and feet. It’s still difficult to do anything that requires fine motor skills like crafting, typing, and avoiding walls when I walk. The other day I was cleaning up some clothes and I randomly fell down. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know how to avoid it. All I can do is focus on what I am able to do rather than what I can’t do. I can hold a pencil well enough to draw (it’s mostly in the wrist anyway). So far drawing has not made me fall on my ass and I feel pretty safe with it. Being unable to do a lot of what I want to do has been limiting, but limitations, rules, and restrictions are the best thing for creativity. It’s hard, but we artists are always craving something harder. Give us arbitrary rules and an impossible goal and creativity comes instantly. With my new restrictions I have been unhappy that I am not able to draw from my mind. I had this idea for a drawing I wanted to do, and I can see it in my mind, but I can’t make it happen on paper except for possibly a childish looking cartoon outline. It’s not that I don’t like cartoons, but a cartoon would not properly express this idea I have.  What I lack most is being able to draw a figure in 3d, especially because I currently cannot add real looking shadows. I can do all of this if I have a reference photo that I am copying. I can mimic and copy like a champ, but ask me to repeat it without a reference, or to draw something from my imagination, and all I get is a bunch of frustrated looking lines on a page. As of two days ago I am on the path to learn how to draw true-to-life 3d human figures from memory. I’m taking a course offered by Riven Phoenix. I’ve done 6 of the 189 lessons so far and as of lesson 6 it is difficult work that’s taking a lot of practice to understand.

These lessons start with basic lines to learn proportions, next will be bone structure, and then muscle placement in great detail, so I’m not just learning how to draw, I’m also learning anatomy more than I would ever care to for any other reason. The 101 and 102 course totals 55 hours of class, plus all the practice necessary in between classes, because I can’t move on to the next lesson until I’ve mastered the one prior. I’m happy to use my healing time toward a goal I have always had. Aside from drawing, learning how to create a human from my mind will help me take the next steps in my photo-manipulation as well. The knowledge of shadows and understanding the form in 3d will help me to add more realistic looking effects to my models.

No matter how much my current situation sucks, I’m generally happy because I’m focused on the future. I’ve been exercising for an average of an hour a day. I’ve been walking to the store rather than driving. I’ve been keeping up on chores. And I’ve been continuing my artistic passions with a pencil and paper. I do have off days where chemo brain and chemical imbalances in my mind make depression set in, but I remind myself that it’s chemical, and I remind myself that all I need to do is start. My oncologist said if the concept of cancer doesn’t give me depression, the poison will. I don’t like pills, for me the negative side-effects usually outweigh their usefulness. I’m doing my best to use my own will-power, though I think I’m only able to do that because the chemical imbalances come and go and they aren’t every day. On a bad day I feel like I don’t want to do anything at all, but I don’t give in to my mind, and whatever it is I need to do, I just START. Start, and the rest will follow with ease. So far no amount of chemical imbalance has been able to stop me from feeling great about finishing a task, it has only been able to prevent me from starting one. So I remind myself again and again. Just start.

Here is a photo from day one.



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About Kamina Kapow

I have dimples and friends

3 responses to “The Starting Line”

  1. Amber Gregory says :

    I come back here every so often to see if you’ve written. Very happy to see that you wrote today. I may not have experienced cancer but I am no stranger to depression, and the importance of not giving in to my mind. I use a similar technique of reminding myself that my mood is chemical, and it works really well — I don’t take pills either so this is critical. Thank you for writing … I have missed reading.

  2. Markis Melarkis says :

    “On a bad day I feel like I don’t want to do anything at all, but I don’t give in to my mind, and whatever it is I need to do, I just START.” This is the best advice ever, depressed or not. Depression enervates, achieving invigorates!

  3. Mom says :

    The fact that you can even look at what you can do and do not dwell on what you can’t do shows how amazing you are! I am very proud of you. Thank you for “just START”. I will have to adopt that attitude and apply it to my life.

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