I've had some vivid reminders of death lately. A few relatives are slowly declining in health. Another few are not quite as lucky. I had a saddening but somehow touching instance at work today:

A middle-aged woman walked into the library with a small child by her side and several books under her arm. She set them down on the counter top and turned as if to walk away, but paused instead. The little girl looked up at me from below the counter with a look that I can remember so clearly now. It was as if she was sad, but there was some blankness behind the expression that seemed to indicate that she didn't quite understand what was happening. She only knew that she should not have been happy just then. When I saw her, I could tell that they weren't there just to return books.

When I put my hand on the first book, a glossy cover with some indistinguishable title and eyes that looked up at me, the woman started to speak. "My daughter used to go here," she said "but she passed away. I was going through her things, and thought that you might like these back." The woman looked down, as if about to cry. "I've returned them to you now. I'm sorry that they are a few years late."
I haven't written in a while. Amongst various reasons, I'm in a bit of a rough spot. I've started countless drawings and paintings, but I haven't been able to bring myself to finish them. My next two weeks are filled with final exams and projects, and to top it off I'm still undecided about where to go next year.

Despite the constant confusion, I'm incredibly happy. I'm not certain that much has changed but my outlook. Perhaps I'm just happy to have something to hope for, as distant as it may be. As strange as this may seem, I've never really wanted anything before now.

I have been insanely busy lately. I’ve had three exams this week. I think I did quite well, but I’ve still got a lot ahead of me.

In the meantime, I thought I would share the video of one of my talented friends. Her name is Rachel, but I call her Rai. She’s wonderfully brilliant and knows more about language than anyone I’ve met. If I recall correctly, she can speak some French, Danish, Spanish, American Sign Language, as well as some others that I have probably forgotten. She also has a lovely voice.

Anyhow, this is Rai covering All I Want by Joni Mitchell:

I have always enjoyed watching people paint or draw, so I decided that it might be interesting to document my own progression.

I first started with a rough outline of an eye. That is what I usually start with if I'm not certain of what to paint or draw. The rest comes to me eventually.

Sadly, the color in these images is slightly off. My walls should be a shade of lavender.

Next, I started to work in greater detail. Most obvious in the image above is that I've added the lashes, but I also did some shading and touched up on the eyelids. I also seem to have lost my blue paint, so the iris is now mostly green.

I've been told that I shouldn't paint in sections, but it's simply what works for me. I would also like to note that the dripping paint is intentional.

I'm not sure when I'll be able to paint again, so here is a close-up of what I've done so far:

Last night, I had a dream that I was on an airplane. I had a four hour flight, I desperately needed to pee, and I was afraid to use the bathroom. Instead of getting over my fear of airplane toilets, I called JM on my cell phone and told him about my situation. We joked and chatted about it until the airplane landed, and I could find an alternate bathroom in the airport.

Oh, and my mother cut the pineapple up quite a while ago, and it was soon devoured by my family. R.I.P. Pineapple, I loved you.

I'm annoyed with some of my classes. I do my work, get mostly A's, but I feel like a drone. I am less inclined to think for myself. When I was one of four hundred and my teachers knew my name, it was easy to take pride in my individuality. Now I feel like a statistic.

I should sleep, but I know that as soon as I pull the covers over myself I will not be able to. I have been an insomniac for as long as I can remember. I have tried everything that has ever been suggested to me. Sleeping pills induced a sort of artificial sleep. Evening exercise left my body exhausted, but my mind awake. Chamomile tea helped me become slightly more relaxed, but nothing more.

I often went to high school after sleeping for less than an hour. Sometimes, I went without sleeping at all. I wonder if it will shorten my life.

Perhaps the worst part is, I honestly don't want to give up the night.
I have two tests next week that I need to study for, and I'm sick. Since my throat has been hurting, I thought I would share my remedy for itchy throats:

Tea with honey and lemon juice. Cayenne pepper can be added, but it tastes horrible. Although the pepper doesn't taste very good, the combination of all three anti-inflammitory ingredients has never failed me.
Alas, my rival has quit our little competion, so I am free to roam the web once more.

It would be nice to be gaming right now, but instead, I've got a paper to write on A Rose for Emily.
I have temporarily reduced my screen time. Zelda, AIM, Guild Wars, and Social Moth are only tolerable escapes for so long. E-mail, or anything work or school related is permitted. I label blogging as work. That said, if you were wondering why I've vanished from the online realm, you now know.

I'm not sure how long my experiment will continue, as it has become a competition between my friend and I. Knowing her, I'll probably win.
It seems to be a common misconception that I.E. means "In Example." It doesn't.

I.E. is from the Latin id est, which translates to "that is."

E.G. is the equivalent of "for the sake of example."
It's Free Hugs day, and I've forgotten my sign. I've got two consecutive three hour classes to look forward to in about half an hour. For some reason, I'm feeling just fine. I probably shouldn't be, but I am.
Next Monday (09/10/07) is Free Hugs Day. Check out the forum at http://www.freehugscampaign.org/ for a gathering in your area, grab some markers and make some signs, and hug a few strangers.

Unfortunately, I have nearly six consecutive hours of class that day, but maybe I'll carry a sign around campus with me. If not, I'll do it on another day.

A series encourages the artist to create multiple works of the same theme, and sometimes results in hundreds of drawings. Van Gogh, for example, painted shoes. I have previously done some drawings with my flute (left) and guitar as subjects, but I would like to give something different a try.

Any suggestions would be wonderful.

Since this is my first post, I’ll provide a few details about myself and how this blog came to be.

I am a college student, and art is not my focus. However, as art has always been important to me, I would like to continue to incorporate art into my life. Up until now, I have not been doing a very good job of that. My goal is to create and contribute something of artistic significance nightly, which explains the title “Nocturnal Artist”. Hopefully this will encourage others to do the same.

Tonight, I finished working on this drawing on the back of my sketchbook.
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