Not good enough may sometimes be just right 

…what on earth am I on about now? I think most people who know me would think that those words aren’t even in my vocabulary. Generally I always aim to be as good as possible at anything I do, and strongly dislike (because “hate” is such a strong word) not being where I feel I should be, skill-wise. 

As for my photography, I had an art block for the longest time because I felt I wasn’t good enough, and because of things that were said. And then I felt uninspired, like I had nothing else to photograph, nothing I had left. I knew it was far from perfect, but still the best I could do. And that was a pity, since that’s kind of what I do when travelling.

But then I started going through my photos again in order to figure out which I should upload here. 2500 became 1500 and then 1000, and I aim to cull the collection to maximum 100 before I even think about making a photography gallery here. At that point I realised that no, I hadn’t actually taken that really good photo of waves, or of the sunset. They were good, yes, but I could do better.

In other words, the hunt for a good photo of this and that is not over. And that’s a good thing. For one because I love to photograph. I may not always find the best composition or subject matter, but I’m learning, and I love just doing it. I have a purpose still, something to aim for. 

Secondly, it means that I have finally started to detach myself a bit more from my photos just since I am able to see it, and able to leave out photos I actually like (but which I like because of the memories and the idea of what the picture could have been like, not because of the actual quality).

We live and learn, and it’s good to have somewhere to go that’s not an immensely long way ahead. It’s also good to find peace with not being good enough, and to realise that this means having a perfect reason to devote time to it. If you have nothing to improve, why bother?

In a short while I’ll probably go back to being a self-critical perfectionist who would like nothing better than to be fantastically skilled at everything, but for now I’ll try to savour this feeling as long as I can. It would probably do me good to try to apply it to my other creative pursuits. After all, if you don’t like the process of doing it, why spend so much time on doing it well when there are so many other things you could do? Perhaps we (I) should try not to be so goal-oriented in everything we do.

Well, enough talk. I’m going out to photograph some waves.

Ready for Camp?

Since it so happens that my deadline for writing the next draft of Rogue Sorcery coincides completely with the deadline for Camp NaNoWriMo, I have decided to officially participate in it, even if it’s not a full rewrite and definitely not a first draft. To compensate, my goal is 80k, not 50k. In order to prove that I am sometimes a responsible adult I won’t even make any super-ambitious goals this time around. Mostly because I cannot bend the laws of time to my will yet. (I wish!)

Perhaps participating in Camp will help me stick to my deadlines. Because so far this deadline thing isn’t going very well. (I’ve only committed myself to following the main deadlines of my plan, right? Right?) I am supposed to have revised the ending of Rogue Sorcery fully by April 1st, but considering I also have two translations due before the weekend… Yeah. No.

I can plot an ending by then, no problem, but a good one? That’s a bit more problematic. Same goes for figuring out the problems with the old one. Currently it’s a bit too “whoops, look who happened to be in the right place at the right time!”. I feel a bit hesitant to change things around too much at this point, especially since the rather vague changes I have in mind will add a lot more words, but I might have to. The main question is: Will they all end up in the same place in the end as I had planned (which is a bit too convenient, really), or will they actually do stuff separately? But then what will Group B do (the ones who are not fighting the main baddie)? Are they even travelling? Perhaps something happens in Village A that means they will go back there? But then who does that? Does it have something to do with the plot in Forgotten Sorcery? Or perhaps C’s background, which has been sort of an unresolved issue? Do they even go to Fortress A? Isn’t it a bit too convenient that they reach the city where Group A is exactly at the right time?

Clearly there are some issues going on here. I could of course just say that it’s my good old perfectionism that rears its head again, but it’s better to tackle potential ending issues now rather than later. My gut feeling isn’t happy about it anyway. Besides, I have a couple of ideas. Some are rather easy to implement, others are more extensive and require changes to be made almost throughout the book. And some carry more weight, plot-wise, than I would really like. Still, everything’s up in the air right now. I haven’t found any one idea that really work, that ties everything up nicely while leading into book two, that is sufficiently dire and not too conveniently neat… Why are endings so difficult?


 

I am also working on my website nowadays. I have an unused photoblog and I’m not too happy about the layout of everything, so I’ve been thinking heavily about it. My current idea is to have one subdomain for my art and one for my photos, with separate wordpress installations (so that they can have themes customised for the content (For example a photo header for the photo section, while the art will have a painted one) and can be reached neatly and easily), but I haven’t completely decided yet.

I could of course put everything inside my current WP installation, but I don’t want it to become too cluttered, and then I would have to find a layout that works equally well for my photos and art and writing and blog and everything. In other words, I would never actually get it done. I just discovered that there is a plugin that allows you to have a completely different theme for certain pages, but I expect there will be a significant amount of tweaking there too. For example, the gallery pages will probably not have a sidebar or many widgets at all, or they might have a featured image section and so on.

Also, wouldn’t it be easier to direct people to art.ciuva.com than to a page address? If I link from my deviantART account it would be more sensible to link directly to the art section rather than the front page of everything. I can link to the gallery pages in the menu anyway, and there will still be only one blog (this one).

Or would it be confusing with three different themes? I cannot decide! The art and photo sections will most likely have the same theme, only with different graphics, in order to look similar, but they will all look different from the main site. Unless I change that too… Ideally I would find a theme or a design that works for all three sections, but I somehow doubt it.

Of course, to add to the problem, there are no themes I am 100% happy with. Either they don’t have the right fonts, or the right colour options, or they don’t work completely right, or I get frustrated because I cannot tweak that tiny little thing I apparently really, really need. Typical.

Anyway I think I have decided to stick to the subdomain idea, now if I can only decide on a theme…

Shameless Self-Promotion Saturday!

Today I met up with Cicilie at Starbucks for a write-in of sorts – it’s becoming quite the tradition – and I got absolutely nothing useful done. Well, I got some work-related business done (some e-mails that needed to be dealt with), but apart from that… I’ve had problems sleeping for the past week, so I wasn’t exactly focused or able to do anything that involved much thinking. But the coffee was good, at least 😉

The Saturday Snippet will start again in two weeks (next weekend is the Sketchbook Saturday, and yes, I do like alliteration, how did you guess?), but I wanted to post here anyway. I am redoing the galleries on the site (my photoblog is officially dead, long ago, and so I’m adding the photo galleries here), but I’ve talked about redesign and organisation and such so many times that I don’t want to inflict that on you guys again. And yet I found a way to talk about it…!

Instead, I decided that a little self-promotion is in order. I am normally hilariously bad at it, since I feel I’d be putting myself far too much forward. On the other hand, if you want to sell something, you can’t exactly hide it, so I thought I’d just mention that you can actually buy my art and services. I will freely admit that my art has certain room for improvement, but that improvement is happening (I hope), and I’ve seen far worse for sale.

Free at last - new

Fiverr services

Fiverr is a website where people offer their services for 5 dollars. That is, 5 dollars is the base price, and then you can select add-ons or get custom offers. I have two gigs currently active:

Translation between Norwegian and English: This is my most-selling gig, where I translate between the two languages. It has somehow also become what people order when (by agreement in advance, of course) they need something else done that is too specific to make a gig for. In other words, you may not need translation, but there is a whole lot of other things you may need done.

Portrait of your character: This is a newer gig, where you can request a portrait of your character. If you can write but cannot paint, this is your solution! The header was a bit rushed, but I haven’t had the time to redo it.

Green

The deviantart prints shop

 

I may have talked about my account at deviantART (or I may not), but I also have a print account there. Yes, that’s right, you can buy my art! People have actually bought my art, as a matter of fact, and I only know one of them. No threats or bribery here, in other words 😉

You can find the shop here.

I have not put all my deviations (art uploaded to dA) up for sale, but that’s merely a matter of coincidence. If it isn’t already too full of awesomeness, you can also take a look at my regular deviantART gallery. You can request a print to be made of any picture not already available as a print (it will be stated underneath the thumbnail). I thought there was an actual button for that, but it seems as if they removed it in the last redesign. But just send me a note, comment or e-mail and I will fix it.

I also have a separate account for my photography on dA, but it’s mostly old stuff now. I will update it as soon as I’m finished redoing the galleries here on my own site.

Commissions

If you cannot find anything you like in my shop, I am open for commissions! You can request one through my Fiverr gig above, for example, through e-mail or via deviantArt. I do require that you contact me first, however, just in case I have my hands full with other work at the moment. In addition to portraits I also do things like custom fantasy maps and similar.

Well, that’s it! Go and check it out!

 

 

 

Art Comparison: Winter’s Child

When inspiration runs low and I cannot think about a single thing to paint, I often redo old pictures. The “right” thing to do would be to start from scratch, but I simply continue working on the original picture. Still the two versions often end up being very different.

This is a comparison of two pictures you’ll find over at my dA account (I haven’t added any of my new pictures to my gallery here yet) of the main character of Rogue Sorcery, Shanni. At the time the first picture was painted, she was still called Shanouna (though Shanni sort of was the short form), and I had wanted to paint her in the snow. In danger of sounding pretentious, many of my stories have oppositions that relate to the seasons or elements. Shanni has always been winter. One of the story beginnings, which I wrote about in this post, starts in an unnamed valley in the winter, and has sort of become the picture I always have in my head of her. But also personality-wise – she is not really cold, but she often seems like it. She’s both dark as the night and yet bright as the snow at the same time. Both beautiful and dangerous, mysterious and scary. At times.

Anyway, I’ve written far too much. Here’s the picture – there’s around ten years between the two pictures, so there of course should be quite a bit of a difference, but I am always glad to see it… 😉

Winter's child comparison

What do you think?