Proud to be a Fjord – drawing explained

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Yesterday I drew a horse portrait based on this picture of a Fjord stallion. I omitted a lot of details and used only a black pen, but am quite happy with the result.

The first step of my drawing was the outline of shapes with a pencil. I printed the picture and used a window as a light table, so that I got all proportions right. It is a very effective shortcut, but it made me omit the initial observation phase. That’s probably why I could not be so accurate with the drawing itself.

Then I moved to the desk and started the outline of the bigger shades using a broad hatching. I overlaid hatches until I got the appropriate darkness of each area.

I would end with “That’s it!” – there are indeed very few secrets in preparing a drawing like this one. It took approximately half an hour. If you have further questions do use the comment form below.

Happy doodling everyone! 🙂

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On objectives and life goals

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Quarter Horse – painted by Maike Josupeit (source: Flickr)

I’ve been thinking a lot about what is my main interest, my main passion, since I was a child. As I have been interested in many things, I could hardly choose one and make it my main occupation. This made me start many things, meet many different environments and groups of people, which I find enriching. Lately, I read a book about how to make this approach productive and enjoyable, instead of seeing it as an “I don’t know yet what I want to do when I grow up” attitude.

I thought more about this approach and yesterday I found out that my current strong interest is the perfectioning of small things. Single movements, finding the right word in a sentence, the right little jump at the end of a staircase, the shoulder twist when putting on a coat. Music practice is of course on the list – my drum practice especially. All these small gestures can be brought to perfection by using only the minimum amount of energy and movement, weeding out all the rest. This is not new and not original, it is common to many disciplines; it happens to be my priority now.

This was not possible in many of the jobs I took, and that made me so uncomfortable and miserable, at the point that I was barely able to stay rational when I tried to explain what was wrong with them. Now that I put it into words, I know what I have to look for in my job search, and I am able to explain it simply, without begging for understanding. If this perfectionment is not a priority for the employer, I will hardly be a good employee in their eyes. I know I can not be too picky, but I will try to stay away from obvious misalignments of opinion.

I am not sure how much time I will keep working on this perfectionment of small things. Maybe one day I will notice that this won’t be my main drive anymore; then, I’ll be ready to go on and focus on a new objective. For now I am overly glad to have found a couple people with this same focus, and I hope to work with them as long as we like and need it.

 

On leadership mindset

Love Bite -- by Chad Hanson

Lately I collected many hints on how a good leader should be: at my kindergarten, at riding lessons and by music rehearsals. At the same time I thought about how it takes to be a good team member.

In the past I had my strong opinions on some topics and would not accept any other, even from people who expected me to conform. I used to fight back, first with explicit force, then more softly but still very firmly. I was not especially good at leading because I was not so good at presenting my ideas and getting feedback from others, on any level. I was sometimes a difficult musician in my orchestra: the more I was pushed to play in a way I didn’t like, the more unmanageable I became.

Since then I understood many signs, or maybe, I got older and I don’t cling that desperately to my opinions anymore. It was an interesting lesson with the horse I ride: I have to communicate clearly and show a calm, focused mind, in order to be accepted as leader by an animal that is many times bigger, heavier, faster than me. I can occasionally bluff and play calm, even if I am not, as it is usually a safe thing to do – opposed to be scared by default, scare the horse and create an actual dangerous situation.

It is almost the same with children. They have marked personalities and clear ideas on what they want, but also rely on adults for guidance and exploration of the unknown world. When I feel that I am teaching something new to them, I am like a mountain guide, walking in front, showing where I put my feet, leaving the freedom to walk in another path when I consider it safe too; I check often with them to see if the way is manageable for them, if they are tired, happy, scared,curious. I learned in these last months how to pay attention to small signs that help me understand how another person feels, even if his/her words say otherwise. It happened too often that people answered “No thanks, how nice of you that you offer help, but I don’t need it now” and I saw on their faces that they needed that help so badly. Then it’s another diplomatic game to play, how to help them without patronisation.

And on this fine tuning, I exercise my leadership skills and my team member skills, usually by trial and error in real world situations. Sometimes I manage to make my tests with people who have much to teach me on this field: it is a real enjoyment to know that I can practice with the confidence that I am in a playpen, in a sandbox where I don’t have to worry that I could hurt somebody in order to learn my lessons.