It’s time to listen

I normally stay out of serious discussion on the internet. I think it’s mostly a waste of time and energy. But I’ve been reading a lot of stories on the internet this past week about what it’s like being black in America today, and I wanted to make sure that anyone reading this who isn’t white, or wasn’t born in the United States of America, knows that I’m listening.

I grew up believing racism was a thing of the past—which I suppose is evidence enough that I am white. I was surrounded by international students most of my childhood due to my parents’ work and knew more about the tension between China and Taiwan than race tensions in the US. I thought because I loved the different tones of our skin and valued my friends of non-European appearance that everyone did. And since I am, in fact, white, I never saw racism because no one did it to me. It’s taken a long time for me to see the skin colors around me at all much less ponder the different experiences afforded each.

This week’s internet conversation reminds me of the #metoo movement in some ways.

Every woman knows what it’s like to be woman in a man’s world–even if, like me, you largely live in a safe bubble. Men just don’t. Unless they start listening.

Every black person knows what it’s like to be black in a white world. White people just don’t. Unless they start listening.

You can’t know what it’s like for someone who doesn’t look like you.

One of the worst parts of adulthood has been discovering exactly how much racism is still a thing. It’s shocking and appalling, and it’s beyond being watched suspiciously in stores–it extends to dress codes designed to shame them for their spectacular hair. It is hatred, obvious and ugly. And it’s rules no one thought to change once they forgot why they were there.

Most of the time racism feels far away to me, that is my privilege, but in listening to the stories of black friends and acquaintances and total strangers who are now coming forward to share…I’m so sorry…I had no idea…And I’m so sorry I didn’t think to ask about it.

And thanks for spelling out how we can help. I’ve found out about a lot of cool Instagrammers, authors, and artists who I never knew existed before this week. I plan to keep listening.

I’ve put some links in this paragraph, mouse over the words to find them. I encourage you, especially my white readers, to read people’s stories. To listen to them. And to keep listening to them.

Not Your Momma’s History – historical reinactor

Twisted – book on the tangled history of Black Hair

Mulatto Meadows – bringing horses to under privileged communities

Here’s a snapshot of some books by black authors which are now on my TBR list:

I’m happy to have more recommendations! I know this is just a tiny smattering. Let me know in the comments who are your favorite minority voices–in books, art, fashion, science, equestrian sports, especially.

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Fanciful Dragon

This one has a story.

We were at a friend’s house to play games, and one of their daughters (who is…5?) presented my husband and I with paper and pencils and told us we each had to draw half the picture.

I think it was me who suggested a hobbit hole, with the circular door being in the middle. I sketched out the left half of the hill, and when I looked over at my husband’s side, he was putting intricate scales on the head of a dragon.

The little pencil sketch ended up being really cool so the next day I sketched the whole thing out again, and then painted it.

I used a piece of paper too big to scan easily, so I’m still trying to get a clean image so I can upload it. But I really love how it came out. Especially the tall grass spines of the dragon.

This picture also reminds me to be imaginative and try crazy things. I never, ever, would have thought of making the hill a dragon, but he did. And I love it!

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clothes

I really love clothes.

They are SO HARD TO DRAW.

The eyes of an owl? Easy. The drape of…well…anything? Not so much.

Pinterest is my friend and tutor. I scroll through pictures and collect images and cobble together outfts off a selection of reference photos. Most of them aren’t really practical, but I like to imagine the one above is actually quite feasible and also flattering. Imagine linen, a thick elastic fabric, and leather.

I’m finding that often less is more, when putting paint on paper. Which is sort of disappointing sometimes because the very act of putting paint on paper is fun.

This is Zare, the heroine of the stories I write over on ZareCaspian.com. I paint her often. Sometimes it comes out great. Other times it REALLY doesn’t. But it’s all educational.

I used to fashion blog a little, part of me misses it. But not really enough to get back into it. Taking pictures is time consuming. And not looking like a doofus–regardless of what you’re wearing–is also an art form. I am out of practice 😛 But I still like clothes. I like to play around with make up some days–I refer to it as war paint. Because that’s what it is, in many ways.

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Adventurers

If you don’t know what you’re looking at, this is probably a weird picture. I was commissioned to paint an adventuring party portrait for a friend–it is VERY difficult to fit 7 people in a single portrait! There is a fighter/barbarian, a wizard, a sorcerer, a druid, a ranger, a paladin and a bard. So, basically everything 😉 if you’re familiar with tabletop roleplaying games.

I made this with inktense, brushpens, watercolors, and masking fluid. Oh, paint pen and metallic pens by kuretake, also. Layer upon layer upon layer. It easily took me 8 hours.

I don’t know why wordpress isn’t letting me rotate these pictures, so, sorry you’ll have to crane your head. But you can get a feel for the layers of detail easily enough.

Also raspberry pie.

This was done in August, but it was a Christmas gift so I couldn’t say anything about it till now 😛

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The Mud Horn

Redbubble

Are you watching the Mandelorian? Did you see the finale? Man. This is what I want when I start into a Star Wars story. It’s so grounded. So inspiring. It’s like…Firefly meets Star Wars.

I’ve enjoyed a handful of Star Wars novels, none of which are canon anymore. Most of them by Timothy Zahn. James Corey (the pen name for a duo) has a couple good ones also.

I predict that soon, the Mudhorn signet will have almost as broad a reach as Boba Fett’s signet. Well. Ok. Maybe not, since you have to have Disney + in order to see the show and fall in love.

But it *should* because it’s that good. So I pretty much immediately drew a Mud Horn signet in ink (prismacolor) and put it on Redbubble so I could stalk their sales and buy myself something. It’s a brilliant plot.