Month: January 2013

The dog in the traffic

So here’s a little story for everyone.

It happened as I was leaving my chiropractor’s office. I was waiting in a lane behind others at a red light. There was not anything particularly special about this day. I have some ambient song playing on my stereo and I look across to my right side view mirror and there it is. Trotting between the cars in hot afternoon traffic is a little fluffy dog.

dog in traffic

Then it’s gone, moving behind an SUV’s bumper. I do a double take and stare into the mirror. That can’t really be what I saw, right? There’s no way that small fluffy dog is moving in and out of traffic. Right? The little seed of doubt is squashed, depraved of its precious package when that dog trots back into my line of view. It sniffs at the cars around it, mildly interested, peering up into the windows at the people inside who are ignorant of his presence. The light is still red for now but I’m gripping my steering wheel with both hands now. Move little doggie! I think. Get off the road! Anxious I eye the other cars around me. Does anyone else see the canine? That light could turn at any minute now and then it’ll be a mad dash across the limit line. It doesn’t have a collar that I can see and there doesn’t seem to be a pedestrian looking out for it or calling to it. Where would he have come from?

Then it happens.

The little doggie raises one hind leg and proceeds to urinate on the back tire of a green SUV. I can’t help but laugh. These busy people with busy lives and their eyes attached to the light ahead or a mobile are completely missing it! At this point I wonder if I should pull over and try to coax that dog off the road and take it to the nearby humane society but my mind is still muzzy and on autopilot so when the car in front me moves forward at the green light I feed gas to my engine. I regret not pulling over and making sure the dog was alright. I don’t even know what kind it was. I did have my camera in the car but I was too busy watching both the traffic and the dog to reach for it.

I am hoping that the next time I see something like this, I’ll pull over as soon as I can and make sure.

Not much writing was done this week but a ton of drawing was completed! Well, as in I filled a few pages in my sketchbook with multiple basic sketches. Concepts, poses, characters, requests. At least now if I”m ever bored I have a few things I can play around with!

Until next week, happy trails~

Followed

The horse rescue center where I volunteer has three main stall locations, all of which we nominate as barns for simplicity, along with one corral, one jumping ring, a trail area, and several pastures. Last week I brought one carrot from the fridge and entered the pasture closest to the tack and feed room where only two horses watched me.

I break the carrot in half and hand one to the white speckled horse I may take lessons on in the future. The other half goes to the second horse who follows me relentlessly. He knows what that crisp snap of orange vegetable is. He recognizes the smell of it. I press my hands to the speckled one’s neck. He is warm. And fuzzy, and patient while he still munches on the half of carrot. I walk around him, sweeping my hands along his body, trying to feel the separate muscle groups, checking that he is in the right weight range by how closely I can feel ribs. When the white speckled horse lays back his ears at his unpleasant companion I roll my eyes. They both had been given equal parts, silly horses. When the other lays back his ears as well I clap and shout wordlessly, which startles them away from me. Both of them circle them back, eager for more carrot but again they lay back their ears and I quickly remove myself from between them. The last thing I want is to be in the wrong place at the wrong time for a nip or kick. I rub the neck of this second horse too but both keep coming together and I sigh, knowing it’s my own damn fault for giving out treats. Eventually I walk away from them and through the open connecting gate into the largest pasture.

The rest of the herd grazes quietly and I make my way to the back section of stalls, intent on checking the water levels and if they  need to be mucked out. There is a presence behind me and when I turn my head to look it is the second horse from the first pasture. He is a thoroughbred and I think he is the one we have who is descended from Secretariat. There are many thoroughbreds at the rescue center, ending up here due to injury or retirement, not only abuse. This one is currently undergoing training and he is obstinate. Now he twitches his closest ear in my direction and raises his head a little. When I slow so does he. When I stop he does to, then looks at me as if to say, “Bah, I am not following you. I was intending to go this way anyways. Now move. You’re on the patch of grass I’m after.” I draw my eyebrows together in a frown at him but my lips rise almost involuntarily in a smile. I feel a sudden excitement, a prickling, a tiny sparkling under my skin. On part of me thinks, Oh my gosh, Kiri, he’s following you! Another part thinks, Nonsense. He just wants another treat. The electric spasms of excitement continue to jump inside my chest. Outwardly I say nothing to the horse. I turn and continue forward.

Not only can I hear him move forward – the shhif of sand and dirt under his hooves – but I feel him moving to follow. He speeds up though and walks beside me, shoulder even with mine. I raise one hand and scratch the skin where his neck connects to his shoulder. One ear twitches to me and back forwards and still we walk. Then place my palm high on his shoulder and we walk diagonally across the length of the pasture. I stop once more and he stops when I do. He doesn’t turn to look at me but waits, observing the other horses and the rest of the pasture.

When I reach the fence separating the back barn and it’s smaller field I pat my follower on the shoulder, thanking him silently both for the company and for following my presence regardless of his reasons, and step between the horizontal wood. Unfortunately it seems my traverse was in vain because none of the back stalls need water or cleaning. I say hello to the horses there and then go back the way I came. The follower isn’t in sight but before I am a quarter of the way back to the main barn he pulls even with me and this time I grin. Somehow I manage to wriggle my toes happily while I walk.

We are not connected by a rope, he wears no halter, and I have never ridden him. There is, however, an invisible joining feeling when a horse walks beside you like that, of its own will and you don’t care about the reason.

I still don’t care about the reason and it just makes me more excited to bring them in for feeding, for holding the halter when their hind hoof needs treatment in a solution, for constantly striving to learn what ails them, what heals them, what natural ways I may learn to train them with. Sometimes when I go I just observe them after chores. I watch how they behave around each other and I try to pick up on it. What does one do when they want the other to move without baring teeth. How do they play? How do they warn the other equally volatile horse to back the heck off or stop misbehaving?

Thank you for bearing with me through all of that and if you enjoyed it, let me know and I’ll pop a few more of these in here. Next week will be a post about something different!

A quick note on horses and art: when I go to the rescue center I observe the horses and lighting on them in a number of locations and with the help of said observance and tutorials by artists, I was able to figure out a new lighting and a few anatomy lines I had missed when trying to shade horses before now. Here’s my newest creation:

DevID-2013

It’s a personal ID image of myself in a long sleeved shirt I have yet to attempt to make (I will try eventually!) and my favorite animal! I’ve tried a line-less style and personally I like how this one came out. It’s better than how I have tried in the past. I’ve also tried using a new brush and I finally figured out how to mess with the brush settings. The image was composed completely from scrap and I referenced a few photos for the horse. I’ll do a post in the future about artists I reference often for helpful tips and tutorials.

Do you have any requests for a topic I could write on in the future? Feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments!

Until next week, happy trails~

Standing in the Middle

Last week I stood amongst a horse herd.

I stood in the grazing field and held out my hands and they came, covered in dust, to lick my hands, testing for sweets. Granted, I already took a few treats to one of the older horses and was following him around. I do this often when all the chores are finished: observe. I observe for artistic studies, for behavioral learning, and for the pure pleasure of all that power shifting minutely to self-nourish. The herd moves more in the cool weather. They are frisky and full of play. They jump into the small expanse of water nearby and, wet, roll in the sand, protecting their bodies before returning to graze.

Even when they do not find treats the horses still mill around me, grazing, watching, or licking my hands (then leaving behind half-munched grass). For those that stay I stroke. I scratch their sides, speak softly to them, and simply watch them. Half of my mind is noting muscle and bone structure while the other half is content to just puddle into a metaphysical box of nothing thoughts.

Being among the horses like that is not an entirely describable feeling and it did not change when the man that works there came across the field to converse with me. As we spoke more individuals from the herd come over, curiously sniffing and nosing around us, ears perked, heads low. The one I had given treats even nudges me a few times and I move obligingly, laughing. I like to imagine he was hoping more treats would tumble out of my hands once I was physically displaced because he kept at it for a while, whickering at me every so often.

I can’t wait to go again!

The more I try to describe what I’m feeling and what is going on in my head in those moments the better I get at it.  Eventually I will phase this into my writing for a character but for now I feel like I’ve been given a dose of endorphins.

horse sketches

Happy trails everyone~

Sketching and Clutter

Hey everyone! I hope your week is going well so far. I haven’t been doing much recently. There is a lot of clutter in my room that I have to clear up. In that way I clear out the mess in my mind that blocks me from going forwards. Right now the clutter is all the manga and art that I have on my shelf. I’m going through to see what designs I can practice sketching. You see, I’m having a little trouble figuring out how to design a few pieces of desert empire wardrobe. One of these pieces is a key element to the main character and it’s a subtle key for her personality changes. I’m sure I’ll figure it out. In the mean time I’ve started reviewing the Korean I do know and I’m adding a few more words to the vocabulary. There have not been any great adventures recently to report about so instead here is a sketch I finished recently!

Image

Also, I have done a simple tutorial on how I go about drawing humans, wrinkles in clothes, and the basics I use for female bodies. I did the tutorial in a lifestream I was not able to save footage from. You can find the tutorial here. For now I have been livestreaming with join.me and it seems to be working well for me until I can figure out how to fix my screen capture for Procaster. To receive updates on when I do livestreams in the future please visit my deviantArt page or my Twitter account.

Until next week, happy trails!

Here Comes 2013

Welcome back everyone! I hope you enjoyed your holiday season an for some people it goes on for a few more days.

So, last week I reviewed the resolutions I managed to get started which I am proud to say was the majority of them! This year I’d like to continue doing some of those as well as try a few new things. Just saying you’ll do something does not make it completed, doing it does. Whatever I do along the way I try to share with you guys and my intent is that maybe you can learn from my experience or perhaps you were apprehensive about trying something new yourself and the post including this action will help you urge yourself to go out and do it! That said, here are a few of my goals for this year:

  1. Sketch or draw something every day – it could be a doodle just do at least one!
  2. Read more books.
  3. Put more of the comic ideas in my head on paper.
  4. Take horseback riding lessons and practice to improve
  5. Keep up publishing shorts on Smashwords.com. Move a few to Amazon and maybe Kindle.
  6. Maybe find a second job?

Going along with number 1, here’s a drawing from December 31, 2012 (left) and a sketch from January 1, 2013 (right):

The winged man is a younger version of a character in The Green Book.

You can find the link to my Smashwords page in my “About” tab. Unfortunately I may have to push back the January short I intended to publish this month pending the time I spend to edit it. I’ll keep you updated.

So, ready to start new things? Set different goals? You can do it if you want to.

Until next week, happy trails~