Landscape #4517004

August 26, 2017

Last week I showed the progression painting of the landscape I did which I mentioned I had started out on a canvas which I’d originally airbrushed on. Fortunately, I remembered to take progression pictures as I started this one. Here’s the actual canvas before I started painting:

img_4567

Landscape #4517004 (work in progress) 5″x7″ acrylic on canvas © 2017 Dawn Blair

Yeah, it’s not pretty. After sitting, probably for a year or more, it had gotten dirty, dusty, and scratched. I’ve cleaned it off pretty thoroughly before taking this picture. In fact, from the looks of the wavy lines on it, there might even be another coat of white acrylic Read the rest of this entry »

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Fractured Echo

September 23, 2016

So I’ve been working on this little story called Fractured Echo which is now released in electronic and audio versions. I won’t be doing a print release yet; I want to be able to compile several stories together for a print version.

fractured-echo-cover-2-72-dpi-web

While I was writing this, I figured it would be a story I would release (or even – gasp – try to traditionally publish in a magazine) after I released Dragons of Wellsdeep. Instead, it decided it wanted to be the forerunner for the novel, something to prepare readers for what is coming.

Oh, I had better start at the beginning and take a moment to reveal the story behind the story.

I’ve often said that anything and everything that happens in a writer’s life is fodder for a story. Let me share how Fractured Echo begins:


“Hey, that was the car!” The boy riding his bicycle across the street turned to look back at Echo’s white Purreal as she sat at the stop sign. His words along with how he looked at her made fear punch her into the gut. She knew she’d done nothing wrong, but what if she’d missed something?

A smaller, dark haired boy pedaling along shortly behind was now in the middle of the intersection in front of Echo. “Huh?” he said, swerving to miss his friend who had slowed down. He then corrected quickly to avoid hitting the curb.

Echo thought the boys were going to stop. Fairly certain that the intersection was now clear, she stepped on the accelerator and turned right, the opposite direction the boys were heading. What have I done now?


 

That is exactly what happened. I was on my way to lunch one day and had taken a different route over to where I had been planning on taking a walk that day. Two little boys rode across the intersection and the boy in the lead turned around and said, “Hey! That was the car.” His friend almost crashed into him. I really was afraid they were going to stop.

As I drove off, I started wondering why I had panicked. Why indeed? I hadn’t done anything wrong. Right? What if I’d missed something?

That’s when Echo emerged in my head. I couldn’t get to my destination fast enough at that point. I instantly started writing, trying to hold the birthing story in my head long enough to begin getting it down, first in a voice memo, then on paper.

It took a few days to write and finalize this story. While working on it, it was hard to not become invested in the characters. While I was talking to my youngest son about it one day, I mentioned that I felt I wasn’t done with these characters, and that I had more stories to tell with them. He just grinned at me and said, “Of course.” Maybe that’s why the ending feels so abrupt to me. I will warn you know, the outside influences of the story don’t get finished – they are still going on. Okay, some of the internal issues aren’t fully resolved either, but I get Echo to a place she needs to be. The story told me to end it there. Literally, it screamed at me not to go on. So I didn’t. It leaves it hanging, as I’ve found most short stories do. But, I feel that at some point I will be back with these characters.

And that’s what makes writing such a joy ride!


Is your life sad?

April 18, 2016

Last week, I was talking to a reader who is very excited about the next books in each series and was wondering when they were coming out. She asked me how I find the time to write while also working full-time. I laughed and told her it was because I didn’t have a life.
She looked at me and said, “That’s sad.”
Suddenly I was taken aback. I could see how someone might consider that a sad condition.
The truth of the matter is that we all get 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no “do overs.” And, there is an expiration date on the package and none of us can be exactly sure when that will be. But when you and your neighbor each have 168 hours in a week, the two of you can spend that time in radically different ways.
Now as I stood there in this moment, I realized that yes, there are some choices I make consciously so that I can have the time I need to create. I quickly explained that there was nothing I’d rather be doing than telling stories. I trade the hours of my life to do that so that I hopefully can bring joy and entertainment to people. If that means I miss out on many of the things that other people do, I can live with that. All I’ve ever wanted to do was to tell stories. Even when I was younger, I was trading all my “free time” to do that. I was always writing.
Now my stories have expanded into other mediums when I have the time (here I’m talking about painting and drawing mostly, but I am trying to also squeeze in time to produce my stories as audiobooks — yes, it really is happening!) and I am grateful that in do so I’m chasing other dreams I had as a child but that I didn’t realize I’d had until I was older. That could probably expand into more explanation, but I’m going to keep it short and sweet here. Suffice to say that art and audiobooks aren’t on orbits far out from what I was thinking about when I was growing up. The more I review my life, the more links I see.
My challenge really is getting all the tracks of my life to line up rather than being like LEGO pieces scattered all over the floor. I’m still working on getting it all snapped together, but each day I feel closer.
So how do I find the time to do what I do? Fifteen minutes a day on some projects. Deciding to make time for others. And lately, a calendar to make sure I really do make the time. You do only have those 24 hours in a day and you have to know how you will spend them. If you don’t decide, someone will decide for you whether it’s a spouse, your children, your TV, Facebook, etc. It is your life. Do you really want to hand the reins to someone else? When you reach the end of your life, will you be happy with what you traded your days for? That’s a question only you can answer.
For me, dedicating my life to my stories, to my creativity, to my imagination, is the most valuable thing I can do. I love every moment of it.


I Feel What You Feel

April 8, 2016

It’s so easy to forget all the things you’ve written. Just last week, I ran into a friend who said, “I loved that story about the slave girl.” Slave girl? “You know, the slave girl who posed.”

I was still stuck at, “I wrote a story about a slave girl?”

I have a vague inkling of that story, but it still doesn’t want to come back. Someday, I’ll have to go digging through some of my boxes of old stories.

Recently, I was going through some files and pulling out stories. No, the slave girl story was not in there, otherwise I would have known exactly what story my friend was talking about. What surprised me was the number of stories that I had but I didn’t remember until I started reading them. It was like visiting Wonderland.History of a Dead Man

Just the other day, I was thinking about History of a Dead Man, the companion novella for the Sacred Knight series. I recalled that I wrote a note from the author in the beginning and I got curious about what I had written. So I went to read it. Not only did I do this introduction, but I had written a section on notes about the story and the series in general. I had completely forgotten about it. In reading it, I found tears coming to my eyes. It took me right back to what I was feeling in that moment when I had originally wrote those words. It’s in that moment that time really becomes incredible. To get transported backwards in that flash… ah, yes, time is not quite as linear as we all believe it to be.

 

It’s also amazing to note, for as long as I’ve been working on my Sacred Knight story, I still love my character. Steigan and I have walked quite a distance together. I often feel like Mr. Spock, “I feel what you feel… I know what you know….” I literally have to remind myself (sometimes) that he’s not real. Figment of my imagination or not, Steigan has influenced my life in profound ways. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve had an issue in my life and I’ve stopped myself to think, “What would Steigan do?” I always have my answer.

I’ve rattled on enough about Steigan for now. But do stay tuned for Monday, when I share an interview I did about Steigan’s world.

And, if you’re interested in more about those short stories I unearthed, please sign up for my newsletter. Some of those stories are a few of the things I’ll be sharing with readers of my newsletter. You don’t want to miss out. Sign up using the button in the right column near the top.

I might even at some point share my never before seen fan-fiction (hint: Doctor Who and Star Trek!)


Progress on a Cloudy Start (7)

July 9, 2015

Things are coming together fast now. The bird now has color and I’ve changed the color of her dress.

A cloudy start Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

Now the bird gets more work:

A cloudy start Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

Notice her hair has been fixed — there’s even an ear in there now.

A cloudy start (closeup) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (closeup)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (face closeup) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (face closeup)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

Now for the finishing touches on the hair and to paint the birdcage:

A cloudy start (birdcage added) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (birdcage added)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start ( birdcage closeup) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start ( birdcage closeup)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

Now I’m ready to put on the finishing touches.

 


Progress on a Cloudy Start (6)

July 6, 2015
A cloudy start  Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

I’ve now blocked in the girl and the bird. I can’t say at this point that I’m happy with her dress, but it’s a start. At least it’s covered in paint so the background and grass won’t show through with whatever I decide to do.

Here’s a closeup:

A cloudy start (closeup of girl and bird blocked in) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (closeup of girl and bird blocked in)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

And a closeup of the girl so far. I asked my son how she was looking here and he said, “She has no ear.” He’s not wrong. I admit that I’d been so focused on her face that I didn’t even think about the ear though I knew it wasn’t right. I had intentionally left her hair back like that because I knew it would be lighter closer to her face. Yes, an ear and the hairline are still to come.

A cloudy start (closeup of girl) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (closeup of girl)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

Painting fingers that tiny is hard! I really think I need to get a brush with tiny, firm bristles. Let the quest begin.


Progress on a Cloudy Start (5)

July 3, 2015

I really had been at a loss as to what to do with the painting. I had some suggestions, like adding little flowers in the foreground (Thanks, Patricia!). I still felt like it needed more. So I pulled the painting into Photoshop and tried some things out. What I discovered was that I needed to take out the tree to the right. Everything felt crowed with that tree. I’d already removed the castle and felt successful about that, but this involved the ground, the mountains, and the sky; could I be successful at correcting all that?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Here’s the painting after the tree was removed.

A cloudy start (tree removed) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (tree removed)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

I have to say that I’m amazed I actually got the tree removed.

You will notice the big X on the painting. It is a square canvas and my new idea required me to find these sloping lines. You’ll see that X a little bit more here in this closeup picture of the tree removed.

A cloudy start (closeup where tree was) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (closeup where tree was)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

So what am I going to add? Here’s my sketch:

A cloudy start (new sketch) Work in process Dawn Blair ©2015

A cloudy start (new sketch)
Work in process
Dawn Blair ©2015

It’s a girl releasing a bird from a cage. The bird is flying off to the left side of the center of the X and the girl’s head is lined up on the extending right leg of the X. I feeling the energy in this piece now.

More to come soon.